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Life Arts    H2'ed 9/8/19

The Unique Importance of Marianne Williamson's Presidential Candidacy

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Readings for 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time: WIS 9:13-18B; PS 90: 3-6, 12-14, 17; PHMN 9-10, 12-17; PS 119: 135; LK 14: 25-33

Marianne Williamson's campaign is not dead. True, we will not see her on the stage of the third Democratic debate. Although she has the required number of donors, Williamson has not yet attained the necessary 2% in four polls approved by the Democratic National Committee (DNC). Nonetheless, her campaign continues its concentration on Iowa, where she's been working for the last several months. Her people confidently anticipate her participation in Debate # 4.

Recently, the New York Times (NYT) ran a long very positive column on Marianne. It was called "The Gospel according to Marianne Williamson." It reminded readers of Ms. Williamson's identity, her growing and highly enthusiastic audiences, and the persuasive power of her remarkable eloquence.

The article assured readers that Williamson is far more than some New Age guru or the spiritual advisor of Oprah Winfrey. Jokes and criticisms aside, she has nothing to do with crystals or burning sage. Instead, she is a widely-hailed, best-selling author, spiritual teacher, counsellor, and generally wise person. For more than 40 years, she has been a student and teacher of A Course in Miracles (ACIM), a book published in 1976) which Williamson describes as "basic Christian mysticism."

It's that latter qualification Williamson's connection with Christian mysticism that makes her continued campaign extremely relevant to this Sunday's liturgy of the word. That's because the theme of today's readings contrasts the wisdom of God with the wisdom of the world just as does ACIM. Serious consideration of that contrast illustrates the unique importance of Marianne Williamson's candidacy at this particular juncture in the history of our nation and world.

For ACIM, the world's wisdom is based on fear; God's wisdom is based on love. In fact, according to A Course in Miracles, love and fear are the only two motivational forces in the entire world. That's true in our personal relationships, but also in politics. Either we see others as enemies poised to attack us at every opportunity, and act accordingly. Or we recognize our very selves in those the world would teach us to fear, mistrust, and hate.

More specifically, the politics of fear sees Muslims, Russia, China, the Taliban, ISIS, immigrants, people of color, LGBTQQIAAPs, and poor people in general as our enemies. Meanwhile, a politics based on love recognizes that none of those the world teaches us to fear is basically hostile. Rather, when we take 100% responsibility for the problems designated enemies ostensibly represent, a path opens up to achieving peace with all concerned.

Does such conviction seem woo-woo or unrealistic to you? If it does, please be reminded first of all, that such belief is basic not only to Christian faith, but (as Williamson constantly reminds us) to all the world's great religious traditions, including Islam. It is basic also to many secular traditions that consider themselves atheistic or agnostic.

Secondly, remember that according to Christian faith, "God" is synonymous with "love," so that Williamson's "Politics of Love" means the politics of God. That means (thirdly) that rejection of political love as woo-woo trivializes Christian faith and Jesus himself.

With all of that in mind, please read for yourselves this Sunday's liturgical readings. (You'll find them here.) To repeat, they contrast the wisdom of the world with the Wisdom of God. In any case, and for what it's worth, here are my "translations" of their content. Their thoughtful review will help you see what I'm getting at in saying that Marianne Williamson's "Gospel" is far deeper than revealed in the NYT article just referenced.

WIS 9:13-18B

The wisdom of God
Unlike the world's
Is sure and decisive.
For human thought processes
Focused on the body
And its shifting reality
Are necessarily confused.
Hence, we cannot judge wisely
Without assistance
From the Holy Spirit
Who consistently reveals
God's Reality
As filled with love.

PS 90: 3-6, 12-14, 17

This is because
Time has no meaning
For God.
Everything but Love
Passes in an instant.
Consequently
Our prayer must be:
"Teach us
Your changeless vision
Filled with kindness
Joy and gladness."
Only such
Synonyms for love
Give meaning
To our lives.

PHMN 9-10, 12-17

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Mike Rivage-Seul is a liberation theologian and former Roman Catholic priest. Retired in 2014, he taught at Berea College in Kentucky for 40 years where he directed Berea's Peace and Social Justice Studies Program.Mike blogs (more...)
 

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5 people are discussing this page, with 10 comments  Post Comment


Mike Rivage-Seul

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Increasingly, I see agreement between A Course in Miracles and liberation theology. Try reading ACIM from the viewpoint of the poor and oppressed committed to their own liberation.

Submitted on Sunday, Sep 8, 2019 at 10:00:01 AM

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Daniel Geery

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Ever so true. As usual. Even for those not "biblically inclined," from other religions, or "devout athiests," I see this as common sense if ever there was any.

As much as I argue to vote your conscience, I think most Americans aren't "ready for or deserving" the best.

My dream would be/is to see both MW and TG together leading the show. The foreign and domestic changes would give great hope and steer us in the right direction.

Submitted on Sunday, Sep 8, 2019 at 2:37:02 PM

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Phat Khat

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Well, I was sort of okay with her until she decided the power of thoughts/prayers/mind force could turn a hurricane. Oh, please! She's no different from the fundies on the beach in South Carolina praying in tongues and waving their hands in the sky. Then there is the anti-vax stuff. Okay, she isn't anti-vax, just anti-mandatory vax. The result is the same. Oprah and her whole cast are charlatans, and the fact that MW is on the list doesn't endear her to logical people. We need Bernie, not Marianne. But I'd be happy with Tulsi for VP.

Submitted on Sunday, Sep 8, 2019 at 6:21:58 PM

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Is there a link to the hurricane quote? Would very much like to see it.

She is misconstrued virtually everywhere I've been able to find her own words and context.

Submitted on Monday, Sep 9, 2019 at 3:07:44 PM

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Sorry PK. Just found it below.

"Millions of us seeing Dorian turn away from land is not a wacky idea; it is a creative use of the power of the mind. Two minutes of prayer, visualization, meditation for those in the way of the storm..."

I don't agree that was the wisest thing for a presidental candidate to say or that the two were in any way connected. And it could have been her "Dean scream" politically, given the nature of the media.

I also don't claim to be happy seeing American flags and "God bless America" on every other license plate. Or the infinite references to God and prayer in a country supposedly based on separation of state and religion.

However, her insights, values, brilliance, and deep systems understanding and thinking would get her my vote. JFK was largely condemned by many for being Catholic (same as Bolton!), but it didn't detract from his work or legacy as far as I know. Very long story short, of course.

Submitted on Monday, Sep 9, 2019 at 3:41:33 PM

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You might want to avail yourself of some of the newer scientific information on quantum physics. Yes, indeed, thoughts can change things. Check out the movie, "What the Bleep Do We Know?" for a good introduction to this concept in the quantum sciences, and/or books like The Biology of Belief by Dr Bruce Lipton (I interviewed him here), The Field by Lynn McTaggert, The Hidden Messages in Water by Dr Masaru Emoto, Spontaneous Evolution: Our Positive Future and a Way to Get There From Here by Dr Lipton and Steve Bhaerman, and E-squared by Pam Grout. Take your pick, they will all tell you the same thing that the classics, Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, or Anatomy of an Illness by Norman Cousins, tell us -- that our thoughts have the power to actually change things in the outer world. Now, there are specific guidelines of course, it's not about having a wanton thought and expecting it to magically come true. But the time in which science believed that thoughts had no effect on outer reality is long gone.

Submitted on Friday, Sep 13, 2019 at 2:12:46 AM

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Aleksandar Sarovic

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You said: "Yes, the very wisdom of God teaches that we have no enemies other than those our thoughts and resulting actions have created." Yes, our thoughts may be our big enemies, but other people can be our enemies as well. People may treat us as enemies regardlessly of what we think and do. There is a way to prevent us and others from being enemies of ourselves in establishing equal human rights. Equal human rights must be an essential will of God concerning humankind. Once they are established there would be irrelevant whether the president of US is Williamson or Trump. The president will have to work hard to fullfill the needs of people. God would never count on people but on ideas.

Submitted on Sunday, Sep 8, 2019 at 11:12:40 PM

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@DG, since the reply button isn't working for me. JFK explicitly promised NOT to bring his faith into the government. Williamson promises an administration BASED ON her brand of Christianity, which, admittedly, is better than Pence's. And, yes, she does have some very good points to make, which is a good thing. She can be the "conscience" of the debates. But President? Just no.

Submitted on Monday, Sep 9, 2019 at 4:50:22 PM

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PK: Sorry the reply button didn't work. Rob asks for feedback on these things, and Vidya, who is the guy working his rear off behind the scenes with most folks not even knowing that, has been 100% responsive to my several requests along such lines. So you might mention it to him, vidya@webwisesage.com

Meanwhile, truly not to split hairs or drag this on, I'd likely agree with you if that is what she actually said; we are a country clearly built on diversity. I certainly get that vibe from MW, but haven't yet heard her actually say that even in other words in the MANY inspiring videos I've watched, with her actually speaking. What I have heard her say I am absolutely fine with, and continue to thank Mike for bringing her to the forefront on this site.

She has personally helped me, in her simple note that we are all part of one organism, intimately related, and should be behaving that way, not like cancerous cells. Common sense and what I figured out long ago, but her kick in the head made me start acting more that way, such as in communicating more with my own widely dispersed family.

Submitted on Wednesday, Sep 11, 2019 at 4:57:40 PM

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Meryl Ann Butler

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Great, Mike, thanks. Sure wish you'd start spelling out the names of the books of the Bible, though...not all of us remember those abbreviations, LOL.

Submitted on Friday, Sep 13, 2019 at 1:54:57 AM

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