Thursday, April 03, 2008

Dead Fish Have Been Hooked by Violence

Trinity Institute 38th National Conference was held in January. The theme was "An Interfaith Dialogue on Religion and Violence; Understanding the Roots of Conflict."

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori gave the opening homily. You can view it here. The Episcopal Cafe is also hosting the video here. You'll want to see this one. It is quite good.

What follows is a just a taste of Bp. Katharine's message. You'll want to listen to the whole thing, however, if you hope to understand some segments, such as the reference to "the valleys."

...The frequent human assumption that one cultural or religious context is the whole, and the human hubris or idolatry involved in that assumption, becomes the underpinning of religiously sanctioned violence. The self-justified truth claim, whether religious or otherwise, is the source of all violence.

If I am the most important reality in the universe, then my desires are most certainly to be satisfied, whatever may stand in the way. The use of force to meet those desires is the definition of violence.

"Violence" has its verbal origins in the same root as "vital" - having to do with life...But violence is the use of ones own life force to subvert or traduce the life of another.

The nature of religion is to provide a world view that is effective in leading us beyond ourselves, that we might give our hearts to something larger than our own narrow self interests. The great religions insist that our relationship with that something or someone is reflected in our relationship with our fellow human beings...

...Sometimes,however, religion stops at the binding of a like-minded community that is unable to see beyond its own group. That is the relgion of the valley bound, who see all outsiders as evil or impure or benighted. That is the religion of the enslaved. It is the religion of those who refuse to deeply engage another who also claims eternal truth...

...The end of violence is discovering the wild embrace of the One who created us...

...Those who drop the knife have done as the writer of I John suggests; they have given up fear. Perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love...

...Rumi, the Sufi mystic, said;
"With passion, pray.
With passion work.
With passion, make love.
With passion, eat and drink and dance and play.
Why look like a dead fish in the ocean of God?"

Dead fish have been hooked by violence.

The response to the violence of our faith communities is either to tap the knowledge that comes from scaling the heights of those ridges between our river valleys, or by jumping in the river and swimming down to the sea, but not as a dead fish.
Make sure you listen to the entire homily before commenting.

To answer a question from yesterday; what did I mean by "my salvation is yoked with yours"? Listen to Bp. Katharine's message. She has explained it better than I ever could.

My thanks to Kathy and the Episcopal Cafe for pointing me to this video.


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