The Conscience of Society

September 26, 2017

At a Saturday morning service many years ago, when I was about 14 years old, I heard our Rabbi speak out against the Viet Nam War. I remember how exhilarating it was to me — how for the first time I experienced the moral authority of the religious pulpit, how for the first time religion was really relevant to me. Then several days later I heard my mother remark to my father at dinner, “I hear people are really upset with Rabbi Malev for talking about the war last Saturday.” It was the first time I understood the pressure religious leaders are under to support the status quo, to not upset the apple cart, to go along with what their congregation wants at any particular time. But Jesus himself upset the apple cart when he overthrew the tables of the money-changers. I think spiritual and religious leadership is supposed to be the conscience of a society, answerable not to other people’s projections (particularly as in today, when the projection is often that spiritual means just going along with anything in the name of being “nonjudgmental” and submissive in the name of being “loving”). I’m going to go along with Rabbi Malev at Beth Yeshurun in Houston and Rabbi Jesus at the Temple in Jerusalem. I’m going to remember my ancestors who were thrown in ovens because too few spoke up while there was still a chance. I’m going to cry out with millions of others crying out that humanity has lost its mind and must reclaim its heart. I will do so with tremendous thanks in my heart, that as an American I have the RIGHT to do so. Thank you, Rabbi Malev and thank you, Jesus. Both of you showed the way.

The Seasons of Love

September 25, 2017

Relationships, even and perhaps particularly intimate ones, go through seasons: summer, autumn, winter and spring. One of the mistakes we make with relationships that we would never make with the weather is impatience with the seasons. As hot as the summer might be, leaves will begin to fall off the trees come autumn. And as painfully cold as winter might feel, the seeds of spring lie underneath the ground and will blossom when they are supposed to. We have faith in the weather, and we should similarly have faith in love. Relationships are never over; they who are brought together by God are held in His hands as one until the spring arrives. Do not bemoan either autumn or winter, for they are inevitable. And spring, when it does come, is even more glorious when following the chill and the seemingly barren landscape of cold and bitter winter months. Be patient then with the seasons of love, and your heart will hurt no more.

The Debate Is Over

September 12, 2017

Climate change deniers, primarily working at the behest of the fossil fuel industry, have slowed down progress in an area of vital importance to the health and well-being of millions of American citizens. While they represent a tiny fraction of the scientific community, unfortunately they continue to be represented in government by a much larger percentage of politicians.

Yet climate change denial is now moving irretrievably into the dustbin of history’s worst ideas. With the latest examples of monstrous weather phenomena, climate change denial is finally being exposed for the dangerous folly that it is. Its day – and its sway over America– is over. America must now embark upon a massive effort to combat the effects not only of catastrophic weather conditions, but also the effects of climate change denial on our environmental and political policies.

The American people are being vastly underserved, both by America’s rejection of the Paris climate accord and by the appointment of a climate change denier, Scott Pruitt, to head the Environmental Protection Agency. The agency, although created by Republican President Richard Nixon and with a legacy of forward-thinking environmental policy, has become under Pruitt an actual enemy of environmental protection. I am aligned with the vast majority of American citizens in vigorously and passionately defending the health of our environment against the ill-advised, dangerously recalcitrant policies of Mr. Pruitt and the political forces he represents. We will not stand idly by while millions of Americans suffer the effects of extreme weather conditions, when the vast majority of scientists both in America and throughout world have established beyond a reasonable doubt that these conditions are exacerbated by human behavior. America should always be on the side of progress. Feigning doubt about climate change, pretending the issue is still open to question, is simply dangerous and disingenuous political propaganda. It has lost the debate among the majority of American citizens and for good reason. We should reject the criminal negligence of those who for financial purposes now wage a dangerous assault upon our environment, and stand in full alliance with those who see the protection of our environment, and the combating of climate change, as a sacred responsibility to ourselves, our children and our children’s children.

Resisting Hopelessness

September 11, 2017

It would be easy to slip into hopelessness now, to resign ourselves to the idea that the concentrated assaults on everything from the planet to our democracy have succeeded to such a degree that it’s no longer possible to stop them.

Yet it is exactly that hopelessness we must resist now, even more than we must resist the forces that seem so intent on bringing us down. Our hopelessness is only called for if in fact miracles are not possible, and because they are, there is no cause for hopelessness.

Hope springs eternal because life springs eternal, and life abounds with possibility. We have within us the capacity to change things, but only if we are willing to change ourselves. We have written the human story that now unfolds in front of us, and the only way we can change the story is if we are willing to rewrite it.

We wrote the story of a country that had everything, was given everything, was blessed beyond comprehension and yet chose to sell our souls to the highest dollar. We wrote the story of a country that put economics before love, sales before ethics, and our government on the bidding block. We wrote the story of a country that has treated the earth with lack of reverence, democracy as though we could take it for granted, and justice as though it only mattered if the issue was applying it to ourselves.

We wrote that story, and now we can write another one. But we can only do that if we are willing to recognize that all of us, to some degree, have been co-creators of the one we have now, atone for our heartlessness to each other and our arrogance before our Creator, and get to work on cleaning up this mess and re-creating the world.

Hope is a moral imperative, and cynicism is just an excuse for not helping. We have no choice but to recreate our civilization.

I know many of us feel the urgency of this moment, the radicalism at the heart of what we’re being called to do. For it is not incremental, it is a-historic; jumping out of the timeline of what is to be expected, off the scale in the amount of light it calls forth as much as political and weather storms are off the scale in terms of darkness.

This new world cannot be forced, any more than it can be rationally calculated; it can only be invoked into expression by the deepest kind of reverance. Invocation is the priest and priestess’ task, and that is what all of us are being called to be right now.

When I was a little girl, I used to ask God what I was supposed to be when I grew up. I would always see the word “priest,” but I thought it was weird…obviously impossible, because Jews don’t have priests. Then I grew up to realize that indeed they did in the Old Testament, and even more importantly, that the priest is anyone who invokes into expression the unlimited possibilities that emerge from the field of ultimate Reality. All of us are recruits for the new priesthood, no matter what we do, needed to invoke into expression the unlimited possibilities inherent in the Mind of God. Yet they remain un-manifest until we have the courage to invoke them.

Like ancient priestesses at Delphi, let us summon all our powers of multi-dimensional knowing, emerge from the narrow and shallow casing of a mechanistic worldview, throw off the chains of a rationalistic approach to life, and remember we are co-creators of our future. We are not victims here; we’re merely reaping what we’ve sowed. And we can sow anew. We are here to create the good, the true, and the beautiful, and anything less than that is short of our purpose and our mission in this life.

Each of us is endowed with an internal guidance system, and if we ask within what we’re to do, we will be guided. We will be told what to do and we will be told how to do it. We will be led to each other and we will collaborate in miraculous ways. We will dwell within the golden Light of a higher kind of knowing. We will know, and we will do.

Prayer For Florida

September 10, 2017

As dramatic as the storms are on external levels, they are on internal ones as well. The displacement, the fear, the loss, the unknowing, the compassion, the lessons learned, the humility gained, the destruction, the power, the horror, the devastation, the awe before nature realized, the heroism both noticed and unnoticed….and the storm hasn’t even packed its entire wallop yet. Prayers for the Caribbean islands, prayers for Cuba, prayers for Florida, prayers for everyone affected by this in any way. May angels accompany you in your trying times and may all of us learn the lessons here. May this event make all of us more compassionate people, not just for the duration of the storm but for the duration of our lives. May everyone emerge from this a better person, with a heart more open and a greater appreciation for the fragility of life. To those of you experiencing the effects of the hurricane firsthand, I so hope you can feel the love that millions are pouring towards you. People around the world are praying for you. You will get through this. You are not alone. God is with you and so are we.

Dear God,
Please bless and protect all living things.
Please embrace your children in their fearful hour.
Work miracles for everyone
that love might lift us all above the
storms
That rage among us.
Thank you, God.
Amen

D-DAY: June 6, 1944

June 6, 2017

On the night of June 5, l944, Allied forces made their final preparations for the D-Day invasion early the next morning. And military commanders knew that even if things went as hoped, thousands of men would die in the difficult days ahead. How did they decide who would be in the front lines of the landing? Through a lottery. And just as predicted, while the Allies ultimately took the beaches, those in the front lines were slaughtered in tremendous numbers.

On this night, General Eisenhower did as he often did — he went walking among his enlisted men. “Are you scared, soldier?” he would often say to them. “Yes, Sir,” responded most, many of whom had covered their faces with war paint. Eisenhower would often tell them that the trick was to just keep moving.

In hindsight, of course we know the Allied forces were ultimately victorious. But remember — on that night in l944, our leaders didn’t know what would occur. They did know Hitler thought the Allies would be landing in Calais, and that they’d better hurry before he had a chance to realize they were at Normandy. So when Eisenhower heard from his meteorologist that on the morning of June 6 around dawn there would be enough light to allow for the landing but enough darkness to still provide some cover, he simply said, “Okay, let’s go.”

160,000 Allied soldiers participated in the D-Day Invasion. It is estimated that 4,413 of them died. One can only imagine the energy, the courage, the fear, and the prayers that were uttered on that night, this night, in l944.

There are countless articles and books and films that cover the D-Day invasion, and with the Internet anyone can easily read its history. I think it’s right that we should do so – to remember, to commemorate, and to thank the souls of the great men and women who gave so much of themselves — in so many cases, their very lives — to help defeat an awful evil on that day.

Several years ago I visited the beaches at Normandy, where barges still rest in the water along the coastline. It was one of the most moving, haunting experiences of my life and I will never forget it. On this night, may we all remember.

Once the invasion had begun, Roosevelt led his nation in prayer. http://www.history.com/speeches/franklin-d-roosevelt-delivers-d-day-prayer. There is no doubt that he meant every word from the bottom of his heart.

Pray and Meditate For the World

June 4, 2017

The issue of terrorism is extremely complicated and demands a holistic, integrated response.

On an external level we must obviously protect ourselves and do everything possible to prevent more attacks from occurring in the future. As I wrote in my last post, I have great admiration for people all over the world who are working so hard to do this.

But all of us have a role here. Just as air forces support ground troops, our prayers and visualizations and meditations can play a powerful part in curing and protecting ourselves from the sickness in our midst.

Wherever you are, consider adding five minutes of silence, with your eyes closed, praying for visualizing or meditating every day for the safety of either the city you live in or whatever place you are inwardly guided to pray for. I would suggest a time to do this every day, but I think our chances of a full-scale spiritual wave of power is greater if we keep it to each person’s individual schedule. In the quantum realm time does not matter anyway.

What does matter is that we do this. Give at least five minutes every day to the effort, the potential power of which cannot be overestimated. And please include this idea in your conversations both in person and on social media. “Prayer is the medium of miracles,” according to A Course in Miracles. And miracles are what we need here.

Have a blessed and powerful day.
#prayforpeace

This Awful Night In London

June 3, 2017

On a night like tonight, in addition to sorrow and compassion for the victims, I feel tremendous respect and gratitude for the men and women throughout the world who seek desperately every day to prevent attacks like this. On a night like tonight some of them must feel such dejection. They stop attacks, they prevent disasters, and clearly they succeed a vast majority of the time. But on nights like this, despite their hard work they are defeated in their efforts. We know that if anything they will only step up their efforts. We don’t know who they are and we will never know their names, their locations, or their undercover efforts. But we can bless them still and send to them our thanks.

Love and Freedom

June 3, 2017

In a free society we do not all have to agree with each other. That’s pretty much the point of freedom. And no one has a monopoly on truth.

Our challenge today, it seems to me, is to find a way beyond the propaganda and stereotypes to reclaim the high minded core of both conservative and liberal principles. Both deserve respect, and have had and continue to have an important role to play in our nation’s history. At best, they form a kind of yin and yang of our collective conversation. It is not either one of them, but rather the radical perversions of both that form too much of our public dialogue today, that threaten the fabric of our democracy.

This is not a time for knee-jerk attacks on people who don’t agree with us, although it’s absolutely a time to stand passionately for the things we believe in. That’s a challenging juxtaposition at times but we owe it to ourselves, and to our country, to find the sweet spot where we can bless even those with whom we politically disagree.

To those who might say you can’t bless someone and politically oppose them at the same time, I say, “Oh yes you can!” In a way, it’s no different than in sports. The competition is on another level. The fact that I understand and respect you does not mean that I have to agree with you.

What is going on in our country now is profoundly dramatic yet deeply significant, and nothing is more important than that we view the happenings not as Democrats or Republicans, liberals or conservatives, but as Americans. This is way too important a moment to diminish with personal disrespect or shoddy thinking. All of us need to rise to the occasion, think deeply and love wisely. For only from that place will we forge a better future.

We will emerge from this time a somewhat different country than we used to be. We will either be worse or we will be better, and each of us with our own thinking and behavior are basically voting for one direction or the other every day. First, let us love each other. Only that way will we choose correctly. God bless us all, and the country, the planet, and the world that we all share.

May 11, 2017

We are in the midst of a full on assault on American democracy the likes of which we have never seen. It is multi-dimensional, across the board, and deeply dangerous. I’m not saying what we should do about it; I’m simply saying what I think we should all understand.

Hitler said the only thing that could have stopped the Nazis is if powerful reaction against them had occurred early, swiftly, and hard. At this point, all of us need to do whatever we can do on any given day. If there is a meeting, attend it. If there is a hearing, watch it. If there is an article, read it. If there is something to post, post it. If there is a march, march in it. If there is something to say, say it.

Pace yourself, obviously, but see this as the crisis that it is and act accordingly. The future continuance of freedoms that all of us just take for granted are at stake. Our generation did not expect to ever have this kind of rendezvous with destiny, but we do. And we can handle it, as long as we remain awake.

All hands on deck, and NOW.

God bless us, God bless America, and God bless the world.

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