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Wednesday, 16 November 2016

The Spiritual Life is One of Paradoxes

“The spiritual life is lived in a balance of paradoxes, and the humility that enables us to hear the truth of others must stand in creative tension with the faith that empowers us to speak our own.”  Parker J. Palmer, an American teacher, theologian and wise elder wrote these words; Parker has long been a mentor of mine.  This quote helps me to make sense of the US election last week... at least somewhat.

If ever there was a time to speak truth to power, now is that time.  From my liberal Protestant perspective, a life of faith isn’t about getting into heaven.  It is about seeking peace with justice, and that’s a tall task given the injustices and oppressions that occur every day in every part of the globe.  My faith as a follower of the one called Jesus leads me to protest injustice and focus on the here-and-now of cooperatively and non-violently making life better for all.

On the day that I wrote this op-ed piece, November 9th, it was the 27th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.  I remember well that day in 1989; I thought it was a new day for peace and justice.  The release of Nelson Mandela a few months later in early 1990 seemed to confirm that Martin Luther King, Jr., was right when he said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

The election of Donald Trump as the president-elect of the USA is a wobble in the arc of the moral universe.  From my perspective, it is a confirmation of racism, misogyny, homophobia and tribalism.  It is a win for power-over and authoritarianism.

But Trump’s election calls forth in me a renewed commitment to stand firm with King and Mandela to make sure that the arc continues to flow toward justice.

This post will be in the November 18th Tapestry page of the Nelson Star.

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