I've been off my rant lately, too much actual work and actual living to deal with, so I'll get a couple of posts up in short order. First:
I listened to Obama's memorial speech for those killed in the Tucson massacre. He spoke effectively, lovingly, and in the way I remember from his run for the presidency. And in my mind it resonates with the celebration of Martin Luther King we had this month.
MLK was a big influence in my life as he provided yet another resource for my decision to become a conscientious objector to war. He was the first preacher I heard who spoke of actually listening to Jesus' words and applying them, really applying them to this life. And he was a reinforcement to an innate belief I had that everyone is important, is equal in the sight of God (whatever s/he is). I'm not sure how it happened that I was sympathetic to the civil rights cause— I related deeply to the oppressed in all the reading I did as a child, and I know my mother had a lot to do with my feeling that everyone is equal even tho I know she feared hiring a black person to work at our business. You wanna talk about mixed messages? Anyway, I turned out the way I am, for what ever reason.
I was disposed to feel for those who were suffering. I hated the idea that some people were demonized, excluded, thought less than human. I primarily got this thru literature (future dictators take note!) but the fact that my family also faced discrimination in the "Old World," as well as in this "new" world, also informed my development.
I'm not taking credit for this. It is just the way I was. And I had naught to do with it.
But it had all to do with the nurturing and developing of my life.
What I am leading up to is my distress about the demonizing of each other that is going on —in the news, and in internet postings. I know how insulting and snarky one can be in the mostly anonymous universe of the web. Check out some of my earlier posts—I'm not innocent. And I know in my heart that that expression of my worst feelings is counter-productive (unless your goal is to get into a fight.)
Okay. I like to mix it up once in a while, but I quickly get bored. Often I let someone on one of my forums get the last word because I realize that responding would only lead to another response and a further waste of my time. One of the benefits of getting older is realizing that some fights are not worth fighting because fighting would just pollute and obscure the message. And that one's words and ideas will still make a difference to someone somewhere, without needing to be the last word.
Believing this is a matter of trust, is a matter of believing in God's grace and the work of the holy spirit.
I could capitalize "Holy Spirit" but I won't. because the holy spirit is an uncapitalized, unacknowledged, often unhonored, wild, free-ranging, and equal-opportunity instigator. The holy spirit is your union-organizer, your concerned citizen against waste, your protector of the environment, your opposition to the validation of the rich just because they have riches, your opposition to the use of money to corrupt democracy—the holy spirit is there to support all the things which elevate humanity instead of reducing it to an accounting of profit and loss. For me, the holy spirit is the most important manifestation of divinity.
You can argue about Jesus, who he was, if his life meant anything, if he even existed, and you can argue about God, who or what or if s/he is— but if there is anything besides our own lives which speaks optimistically to existence and whether or not we really have any, and any beyond what we know, it is is the idea of a holy spirit which encompasses us all and motivates our lives.