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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 6/25/12

"No Religion is an Island" -- Challenging Injustice in a Community That's Not "Our Own"

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Message Rabbi Arthur Waskow

Dear friends, 

Two weeks ago, I wrote you a Shalom Report letter criticizing the Catholic hierarchy's attacks on the religious freedom of Catholic nuns and American women.

That letter sparked a lot of excitement and debate (possibly because I focused on a religious body's denial of religious freedom to women, rather than the accepted meme of women's health). National news media carried the story. At the end of this letter, I'll list the three items on our Website that embody the whole history.

Now let me turn to the deeper questions raised by this ruckus.

WHY did one person stron g ly committed to the top-down structures of his own reli g ious community react to my criticism of some actions of that hierarchy with such rage, even descending to anti-Jewish threats?

As I have written before, the world is living through a multidimensional planetary earthquake. Every "stable" life-dimension has turned unstable: our relationship with the earth, the global economy, the family, sexuality, even violence and war. (Terrorism rampant, assassinations airborne, and the haunting  H-Bomb: not your  Granddad's war.)

 In an earthquake, there are three ways to behave:

-   Ignore and deny.  Get repeatedly hit, hurt, killed by falling objects.

-   Freeze.  Grab hold of some object that we hope is immovable, and hold      t ig ht- g ripped on to it.  In a social earthquake, that may mean  g rippin g a  memory (often distorted) of a stable, frozen, "immovable," past, insistin g  on trying to live that way, and (since we can't do it alone) trying to coerce others into doing so.   

-   Dance.  Learn to dance in an earthquake. Be fluid with reality. all the old assumptions and behaviors, and  Transform them . It's hard to do, since the "dance floor" itself is shaking; but it's the most life-giving response.


  "Restorin g"  the past requires a lot more coercion than the past itself required. For in our remembered past, it required little force to keep all the genies in our bottle. But once some genie has gotten out of the bottle, it takes great force to put the  genie  back in.

Seventy years ago, most orders of nuns were passive, obedient to Rome and their bishops. No longer!

The "women"  genie  is out of all the old bottles.

The Jewish  genie is out of Christian bottles and also out of Arab bottles.

The Palestinian  genie  is out of the Israeli bottle.

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Rabbi Arthur Waskow, Ph. D., founded (in 1983) and directs The Shalom Center , a prophetic voice in Jewish, multireligious, and American life that brings Jewish and other spiritual thought and practice to bear on seeking peace, pursuing justice, (more...)
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