Racism, politics…


There should be no doubt that political movements are a mix of good and bad. Because PEOPLE are a mix of good and bad. Every single PERSON is a mix of good and bad. I, and you.

I am a racist. You are a racist. Every person on both sides of the racism divide is a racist, aren’t they? And almost everyone of us likes to talk in sweeping generalizations, and reject labels that point to our weaknesses. Every spectrum can be divided into infinitesimal parts, and in the realm of racism, I contend that even a single person falls at different points on that spectrum, depending on the question or the moment.

Racism hurts most by denial. If you deny your own racism, it’s certainly easier to be dismissive about systematic racism. I grew up in a completely white town and school. More diverse environments are less familiar to me. I cannot be blamed for that. But I can be justifiably blamed for hardening my heart defensively in conversations involving these larger issues.

The following kind of remark is wholly consistent with my background, but think about its potential impact on someone else: “I’m not a racist. I have a lot of black friends. I work with a lot of black people.” That might seems innocuously natural to some people, but it wounds the hearts of minorities, women, gays, etc. It’s a statement about your otherness, regardless of your intention. Eat some humble pie and let empathy rise up inside of you. It IS inside of you, and you can’t blame its suppression on your background.

Black people are different than I am. How different? For some, the difference is only skin deep. But without a doubt, for others, it is much, much deeper. The white man seated next to me is different than I am. For some, without a doubt, the difference is very, very deep.

Are your ego defenses really so important to you that you would risk alienating the fellow white man seated next to you? If you do offend him in casual conversation, now what is your excuse? “Sorry, I didn’t know you are gay, a recovering alcoholic, an ex-con, a person who just lost his child, a sexual abuse survivor,…”

I, and you, are a mix of good and bad. If you deny that, it’s certain you are dishonest. Even if you aren’t consciously lying, you have lied to your self. This is part of wisdom. There’s not a 50-year-old on the planet who can’t see through these lies, and that’s because middle-agers have told themselves many of the same. We won’t blame you for things about which you are blameless. And many of us won’t even blame you for things about which you are culpable—IF you drop the denial so that we can see your actual goodness hidden behind your artificial anti-badness walls (“I’m not a racist”).

If this kind of consciousness is new to you, here is just one suggestion I offer for cultivating it:

https://feelwithneil.com/2020/05/20/love-is-not-a-noun-3-to-love-is-to-be-curious/

.

Neil D. 2020-09-20

Dark Night of the Soul (9) – Yeshua’s Experience, via a Cat?


This snapshot narration came to me from someone else:

“That’s [cat’s name] leaning on my elbow. She does this thing that reminds me of [some people]. Sometimes she gets very close to me. And I usually let her lay wherever she wants. I feel her warmth and I hear her purr. Sometimes I try to put my arm around her and pull her closer to me. She only lets me do that for seconds, if that. She gets up, walks around on the bed a little bit until she finds a spot that feels safe to her. Which is literally only an inch further away from the spot I had tried to hold her in. She does this every time I try to pull her closer to me. Every time. She has never just let me hold her while we sleep. And occasionally, she jumps right off the f[*]ing bed and dashes out the f[*]ing door!”

Wonder, with me, how often this might have happened in the life of Yeshua. All who encountered him must have felt a genuine lovingness and authentic tenderness so fierce that their conditioning by the trials of life caused an inner doubt that conflicted with the irrepressible draw to be close to him. He must have experienced so many who touched him, or whom he held, for moments before they settled an inch away because of their doubt that anyone could love that fiercely without some ulterior motives common to our broken natures. O, how saddened he must have felt. How lonely that not every one he wanted to hold close to him could endure that passion. Can you?
.

,
Neil D. with K.C., 2020-09-20


“The Young Messiah”


Couldn’t/shouldn’t these words be ours?:

I know everything I can for today… There’s still so much that I don’t know. But I do know this… I think I’m here just to be alive. To see it. Hear it. Feel it. All of it. Even when it hurts. Someday you’ll tell me why else I’m here. I don’t know when. But you will. I know that. Because… Father, I am your child.
[abridged transcript; unabridged in appendix]

I’ve been characterized (fairly) as resigned and cynical. But I resist the label “pessimist.” I have unlimited optimism for today’s youth. I have no bleak view of “kids today,” buried in their phones, raised by dysfunctional parents in a dysfunctional world, etc. In our age of pandemic, wildfires, hurricanes, global warming (and ignorant denial), pollution, fossil fuel depletion, shrinking social security funds, wars and terrorism, divisive politics,…

Our species has pulled together in past times of crisis, and there is no reason that today’s youth cannot wildly exceed our imaginations and solve world problems we haven’t even fathomed yet. We old farts sometimes simply lack the “eyes to see…” So, farther below, I share one snapshot that fuels my optimism. But first,…

The transcript above is from my new favorite movie: “The Young Messiah” (2016. 1h51m. PG-13).
The Roman centurion Severus (played by Sean Bean [Eddard Stark in Game of Thrones, and in Lord of the Rings, and Borimir, the only member of the Fellowship of the Ring who succumbed to its temptation]) is confronted with deciding the fate of 7-year-old Jesus, though under orders from Herod to kill him. Also starring David John Bradley (Argus Filch in Harry Potter, Walder Frey in Game of Thrones).

I made this clip (https://youtu.be/xOU3eqDzto8) with my phone off Netflix (9/2020) because, sadly, I can’t find this 2-minute closing scene online. Here’s the preceding scene: (throughout the movie, his mother Mary struggles to keep his origin from him, until she finally can’t, in this, the penultimate scene of the movie):
https://youtu.be/wcZs9vRmq-Y

REVIEW OF THE FINAL SCENE IN ISOLATION

Below is a review of my clip, the final two-minute scene, by a person who loves the whole art form of cinematic movies, AND who had not seen any other part of the movie! I’m not sharing it to promote the movie, but instead, as an example of a person who lives from their soul, and has surprising wisdom beyond their years, by my admittedly biased thinking.

***

That’s some good writing because the last line is cliché, but the lines leading up to it just list the basics of life which makes us feel comfortable in being whatever we ended up being in life. It also couples a little bit of reassurance about our many insecurites, like when we get that feeling that we ‘know’ something is about to happen. It’s relatable, therefore we connect with it, therefore we feel that character is describing our thoughts himself or herself.

Plus there’s a dramatic realization which we dig because it involves something new we discover about ourselves, just like that feeling of awestruck we get when we realize something about ourselves through an outside look in, on our lives and the way we have been living; actions, thoughts on their own, and thought processes, which are all connected. Also one of the many reasons I love movies.

That’s my take. Just one of many perspectives tho🤷‍♂️.”
***
A comment made (by me) on that review:
“It was just a two minute clip. There’s a whole movie that wraps around it.”
***
And the reviewer’s response to my comment:

Ah yes, however a lot of creative juices went into that [2-minute closing scene; remember, this writer hadn’t seen any other part of the movie]. Movies take years to make, and in most cases, the majority of that time is spent on the script. A movie can be 1 hour and 10 minutes to 5 hours. Either way the ratio is year(s):5 hours.

Every moment created is scalped out and put together in a way that filmmakers thought would make a masterpiece of a lifetime. People were drained emotionally at the end of every day making it. Which by the way, happens at almost every job, not just for people who make movies, “emotional drainage variable” (oh god this is starting to sound like an infomercial).

Main point: Adore every moment you can. Lives were poured into it.

(Side note: I’m not saying this is different than any other job, I’m sure that every quality employee does their job in the best way they thought possible).

***

This unsolicited review was written on what would have been my oldest sister’s 54th birthday, by a 17-year-old young man at a public high school in Plum, PA, about 20 miles outside of Pittsburgh. I’m frankly stunned by the insights about life in general, in this review of a short clip. To that young reviewer, who has been through considerable life-changes in the last couple years, I’d like to ascribe the words of the 7-year-old Jesus; again, “I know everything I can for today… There’s still so much that I don’t know. But I do know this…
I think I’m here just to be alive. To see it. Hear it. Feel it. All of it. Even when it hurts.
Someday [Dad] you’ll tell me why else I’m here. I don’t know when. But you will. I know that. Because… Father, I am your child.
” And I am his biological father.

.



[unabridged transcript of closing scene]
“I know everything I can for today. I even know I am going to die. I used to wonder if angels would come to me. If they would sing to me. If they would fill my dreams. There’s still so much that I don’t know. But I do know this. I don’t think I’m here to see angels. Or to hear them saying. And I don’t think I’m here to make it rainy or sunny. Or anything like that. I think I’m here just to be alive To see it. Hear it. Feel it. All of it. Even when it hurts. Someday you’ll tell me why else I’m here. I don’t know when. But you will. I know that. Because… Father, I am your child.”


Cooperator, Party On (4) – You ARE Chosen Already


You’ll be given many moments to touch souls today. Touch them. Souls love to be touched by another. And souls, in turn, love to touch others. Receive your share of touches today. And do your share of touching. With you, God can; without you, God won’t.

Whether God can do God’s work without us is irrelevant. God has chosen — with a freedom we can’t yet understand — NOT to do God’s work without us. God has chosen to invite us, and to involve us, in all that God does: The unfolding of creation and the spread of real love.


Cooperator, Party On (3) – Look Inside, You’ll Open Wide


Every bit of the “work” you will do today can be performed as BOTH a servant AND a guest at the celebration of creation’s unfolding. If you assume the role of one or the other, shame on you. That’s not what the invitation is for. And when you think of the work you do with your life, if that “work” feels like service alone, shame on you. Your eyes are open but a slit, and can see only with ego vision.

You alone are the only one who can voluntarily open them wider and “have eyes to see.” You cannot look upon the fullness of creation until you perceive the fullness of You at the celebration. You are also a guest at the party. The party is not only yours, but it is yours and everyone’s. A party of one is lonely.

Eyes which look inside
Are eyes which open wide.


Cooperator, Party On (2) – Shame On Religion


I do not like the emphasis that religions put on “doing God’s will.” That makes God’s will sound like a to-do list, a burden, a set of rules and duties to fulfill. Individual persons who make up a religion. A religion doesn’t make individuals. People do not exist to serve religion; religion exists to serve persons. And burdens don’t serve persons. If you think you know best how God speaks to God’s children, shame on you.