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Tue Dec 24, 2019, 12:49 PM

Merry Xmas [View all]

Below is a message from a powerful e-mail I received today from “Bend the Arc.” A link to their website is included beneath.)

In April, our community was shaken by another violent antisemitic attack at the Chabad of Poway synagogue. Tragically, the shooter who murdered Lori Gilbert-Kaye (z”l) also claimed responsibility for arson at a nearby mosque.

In response, 100 Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Sikh, and Buddhist faith leaders shared a new prayer for America:

Listen, America.
Out of many voices,
We rise as one.
We mourn with one voice those lost.
We grieve the white nationalism that threatens us all.


It seems curious to me that millions of Americans will celebrate the birth of an infant in the Middle East today and tomorrow, without connecting the fable to the children separated from their families along the border in the southwest. Most peculiar. I favor those of various faiths and of no faith who recognize that all esoteric teachings relate to the here and now – this moment of life in the universe – rather than some imaginary eternal vacation on Pleasure Island. They communicate lessons on being Real People, rather than organic material puppets that are easily led astray.

I was fortunate that my first mentor was an atheist, the son of a Southern Baptist minister, who had studied Islam in his early adulthood. Although an atheist, Rubin was well-versed in the religions of the world, and the teachings of numerous philosophers. As a young teen, I had rejected the Catholic church that I had been forced to attend since infancy. Thus, many of our conversations had to do with the Hurricane's suggesting that I not mistake a church for what is Truth.

As the years went by, these conversations reached a higher level. A person can only learn, Rubin assured me, that which is at their level of understanding. He adhered to what is known as “Liberation Theology,” which although often associated with modern-times' Jesuits in Central America, is actually ancient. Just as the ability to grasp higher meaning is rooted in the context of the individual, the teachings of various educators must be placed in similar contexts.

A great example of this would be Aesop, who history records as a slave living on the Greek island of Samos. His actual name is lost to history, and he is thus known by a variation of the land he was stolen from, Egypt. As a slave, his teachings had o be “hidden,” meaning that his “fables” – much like Jesus's “parables,” had to be contained within symbols accessible to his culture. Hence, Aesop is have said to use animals in symbolic teachings, not unlike Rubin's friend Malcolm X did in his preaching.

Some teachings lie just beneath the surface, thus making them relatively easy for most people to grasp. Yet there can be confusion when an old lesson is taken from that early cultural context, and taught without consideration to its true meaning at a much later and very different time. And this is the unfortunate circumstance with the nativity story that is so common today. In Jesus's time, an unmarried teen-aged girl becoming pregnant was frowned upon. This concept certainly continued throughout the mainstream Christian era. As a youngster attending church, I was taught by people who had zero experience in a healthy sex life that God might send us to an eternal hell for enjoying sex outside of marriage. He loved us that much.

Those who would create the nativity story well after Jesus had died were simply attempting to communicate a basic Truth: all babies come from the Divine. It doesn't matter what status their parents held. This includes those babies that come from poor families, who are rejected by “proper” society, who might be born in a stable, or held in a cage on the Mexican border. Indeed, Ephesians 1:19-20 states that the spark within each of us is the same mighty strength found in Jesus.

As Gandhi said, many of the most important Truths from the gospels were damaged when Christianity went West. Gandhi understood how symbolism was an essential part of esoteric teachings. In that context, we can best understand part of Gandhi's last Christmas message to a group of Christian friends and associates: “Living Christ is a living cross; life without Christ is living death.”

I am convinced that those of various faiths working with Bend the Arc for social justice get it.

H2O Man

Merry Xmas (War is Over) by John & Yoko and the Harlem Community Choir

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H2O Man Dec 2019 OP
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