Bless Us With Discomfort. Bless Us With Anger.

(10:30PM EST – promoted by Nightprowlkitty)

Finally, someone spoke for me. You know how it is, if you’re at all a news junkie. Face after face, article after article, and yeah, you agree, or no, you don’t. That’s mostly true, gee I wish more people got it. And on one goes. And then, you’re tripping along, and something just…gets you.

Bishop Eugene Robinson’s pre-inaugural invocation got me. He said some things I wanted to hear someone else say. Which make me feel less like the fat kid at the wall, watching everyone dance. Now…just for context. If you asked me if there is a god, I’d tell you, flat out, no freakin’ way. If I go to a ceremony or a ritual, it is probably wiccan, and reclaiming wiccan, at that: I don’t think I have to believe in any of it to know there are parts of ourselves which are connected, which express and experience faith at levels which don’t have much to do with absolute fact. But…even so, I’d say that an invocation beginning with “god of our many understandings” was off on both number and gender, since to the extent I entertain religion, it is in a polytheistic and wiccan frame.

But he got me. Maybe because I was raised Anglican. I still remember going to church camp, and one day at lunch we had to draw lots. We were all pretty spoiled kids. Our moms would never deny us…lunch! Certainly not their trusted and devout proxies at church camp. But we hiked up the hill, and every kid got a little slip of paper. Some of us got pieces of paper with “Africa” on them. Some (mine) said “Latin America”. Some said “North America”. Almost all the kids had to sit at the Africa table. Maybe ten kids at the North America table. Thirty or so at the Latin America table. Then they brought out our burgers and fries. The North American kids got almost all of them. The African kids, maybe ten. And then…we had to vote. Every kid should go through that.

Anyway, I loved Bishop Robinson’s address. And this is why…
These were the first three passages. The very start of what he had to say. It has nothing to do with winning, with hope. With a great huzzah.

Bless us with tears – for a world in which over a billion people exist on less than a dollar a day, where young women from many lands are beaten and raped for wanting an education, and thousands die daily from malnutrition, malaria, and AIDS.

Bless us with anger – at discrimination, at home and abroad, against refugees and immigrants, women, people of color, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

Bless us with discomfort – at the easy, simplistic “answers” we’ve preferred to hear from our politicians, instead of the truth, about ourselves and the world, which we need to face if we are going to rise to the challenges of the future.

What blessings. If you have those things, I think you can get the rest of it, the idea of social justice, the impulse to right action. He talked about – not just America, not the liberal club of social belonging that Obama seems to offer, but the people who will still be standing outside of it. If we do not remember the “other” people now, then we will never do so.

There was more, of course…you can read it at the link below…but I wanted to diary it, not on LGBT grounds, or because it’s “breaking” (and it has, indeed, been diaried as such) but strictly as a personal note. Because if I had a wish, a hope…these are the things I want us to remember.


Diocese of New Hampshire Link

(note this is the official site script, there is some difference in the actual speech — it’s actually a little better.)


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    • jessical on January 19, 2009 at 7:15 pm

    …which I’ve already posted.  But what the hell…

    • jessical on January 19, 2009 at 7:18 pm

    …diary, where I made a comment saying pretty much just this, with less blather.  rjones also has the vid, which didn’t hit me nearly so hard as the text.

    But it’s DD, and we’re free!  Free to blather!

    • Edger on January 19, 2009 at 7:38 pm

    I am the universe experiencing itself from one “point” of view, while you are the universe experiencing itself from another “point” of view, while everyone “else” is the universe experiencing itself from a myriad, maybe an infinite, number of “points” of view?

    But we are all the universe “experiencing”, and it can’t experience anything that isn’t “the universe”?

    Alan Watts, interpreting Vedanta in his “The Book: On The Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are”, probably had more influence on my own thinking than anyone else. (Castaneda and Owsley had a fair amount too)

       “There was never a time when the world began, because it goes round and round like a circle, and there is no place on a circle where it begins. Look at my watch, which tells the time; it goes round, and so the world repeats itself again and again. But just as the hour-hand of the watch goes up to twelve and down to six, so, too, there is day and night, waking and sleeping, living and dying, summer and winter. You can’t have any one of these without the other, because you wouldn’t be able to know what black is unless you had seen it side-by-side with white, or white unless side-by-side with black.

       “In the same way, there are times when the world is, and times when it isn’t, for if the world went on and on without rest for ever and ever, it would get horribly tired of itself. It comes and it goes. Now you see it; now you don’t. So because it doesn’t get tired of itself, it always comes back again after it disappears. It’s like your breath: it goes in and out, in and out, and if you try to hold it in all the time you feel terrible. It’s also like the game of hide-and-seek, because it’s always fun to find new ways of hiding, and to seek for someone who doesn’t always hide in the same place.

       “God also likes to play hide-and-seek, but because there is nothing outside God, he has no one but himself to play with. But he gets over this difficulty by pretending that he is not himself. This is his way of hiding from himself. He pretends that he is you and I and all the people in the world, all the animals, all the plants, all the rocks, and all the stars. In this way he has strange and wonderful adventures, some of which are terrible and frightening. But these are just like bad dreams, for when he wakes up they will disappear.

       “Now when God plays hide and pretends that he is you and I, he does it so well that it takes him a long time to remember where and how he hid himself. But that’s the whole fun of it-just what he wanted to do. He doesn’t want to find himself too quickly, for that would spoil the game. That is why it is so difficult for you and me to find out that we are God in disguise, pretending not to be himself. But when the game has gone on long enough, all of us will wake up, stop pretending, and remember that we are all one single Self-the God who is all that there is and who lives for ever and ever.


       “God is the Self of the world, but you can’t see God for the same reason that, without a mirror, you can’t see your own eyes, and you certainly can’t bite your own teeth or look inside your head. Your self is that cleverly hidden because it is God hiding.

       “You may ask why God sometimes hides in the form of horrible people, or pretends to be people who suffer great disease and pain. Remember, first, that he isn’t really doing this to anyone but himself. Remember, too, that in almost all the stories you enjoy there have to be bad people as well as good people, for the thrill of the tale is to find out how the good people will get the better of the bad. It’s the same as when we play cards. At the beginning of the game we shuffle them all into a mess, which is like the bad things in the world, but the point of the game is to put the mess into good order, and the one who does it best is the winner. Then we shuffle the cards once more and play again, and so it goes with the world.”

       “The Ultimate Ground of Being” is Paul Tillich’s decontaminated term for God” and would also do for “the Self of the world” as I put it in my story for children. But the secret which my story slips over to the child is that the Ultimate Ground of Being is you. Not, of course, the everyday you which the Ground is assuming, or “pretending” to be, but that inmost Self which escapes inspection because it’s always the inspector. This, then, is the taboo of taboos you’re It!

    People who hate, hate themselves….

  1. And a wonderful blessing.

  2. …is to love oneself just that much less.”

        Eldridge Cleaver, “Soul on Ice”

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