Thursday, February 4, 2016

Whose the Enemy?

“People of faith, whatever the faith, are never the enemy. The enemy is materialism.”

Somewhere in the early 70s, I heard this from the Ecumenical Institute.

At the time, it seemed so truthful, so vital. Though, at the time, my exposure to “other faiths” was pretty much restricted to Hardshell Baptists and Pentecostals. I did not yet know persons of other faith traditions. 

And what is faith?

But to look through the things of the world and see the hand of divinity, the love of the universe, the hope of the ages ... that beyond us all, beyond all sight and sound, life and death, a vast universe of goodness and purpose and justice and peace, at work in all things, for good.

Whatever the faith, however it appears, it behooves us all to welcome and affirm one another.
No one has to be wrong in order for anyone to be right.

And we’re all right, in bits and pieces, though none of us have it all. And so we learn from one another, and discover in one another the common element - our creation, and our Creator, and the love that sustains all of us.

Certainly, we’re all unique in our faith traditions and expressions, and in all of this diversity, a great richness of faith, hope and love. 

We give thanks for who we are, in the accidents of birth and culture - Hindu, Moslem, Jew, Buddhist, Christian (to name but a few) ... to be who we are, with grace and kindness for who others are, too.
People of faith are not the enemy of faith. 

There are enemies, of course - “the world of the flesh” as John’s Gospel often puts it - a craven materialism that grasps and takes and pillages the earth and animals and people, lusts for power and will stop at nothing to gain its own glory.

That’s the enemy, and it’s all around us, some of it all dressed up in religious garb, wolves in sheep’s clothing.

But that’s a story for another day.

Today, the simple reminder that whatever our faith might be, to be that faith with great intentionality and discipline, joy and hope, and to look upon other traditions with favor and kindness.

Every human being of faith is pretty much the same, when it comes to the daily stuff of life ... moments of great insight and courage, and other times, stumbling and unsure. But people of faith, whatever the faith, are all caught up in a great procession of a great mystery ... the divine of the universe calls unto us, and walks with us in the days and nights of our lives.

Glory, laud and honor to the Divine Wonder in whom we all live and move and have our being.

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