Monday, May 23, 2016

Unity - Spiritual Perspectives

Greetings all - 

For some reason, C-Span programs often seem to spark blog post ideas.  I saw some coverage of the recent African-American History Conference - "The Future of the African American Past"; notably the panel on African-Americans and religion.

It was Harvard professor Evelyn Higginbotham who reminded us of a fantastic Bible verse.  It was of import to me since there has been so much fearmongering, dog-whistling and divisive politics and rhetoric around. The verse is Acts 17:26.  St. Paul is preaching on Mars' Hill in Athens.  The verse (KJV) reads:  "And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation"

It doesn't get much clearer than that now, does it?

Of course, being a Christian I relate to that sort of perspective most of all. And I wonder if some other Christians should be reading, marking, and inwardly digesting (I think that language is Episcopalian, so I hope you'll bear with me) such verses.  Speaking of us Episcopalians, I found this wonderful quote from former Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams:  "I value unity because I believe we learn truth from each other in this process."

But those of other faiths have also been concerned with human connectedness and unity.  I can only give a few examples here, but I'm sure there are many others (feel free to share!).

His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, has certainly concerned himself with this. From his 1989 Nobel lecture:  "When I meet people in different parts of the world, I am always reminded that we are all basically alike: we are all human beings. Maybe we have different clothes, our skin is of a different colour, or we speak different languages. That is on the surface. But basically, we are the same human beings. That is what binds us to each other."

Think of this from Said Nursi: "Life is a manifestation of unity."

Now one more; this from  Mata Amritanandamayi:    "To awaken spiritual unity, and to spread to others the love that is our inherent nature, is the true goal of human life."   (Feel free to look up both of those spiritual teachers.)

This all points to there being also a spiritual dimension to the concept, the goal, of unity.  Often we think in terms of unity in social or political terms. Certainly that's sooo important and a key message here at TVFH.  Knowing there's a spiritual dimension as well makes it even more important!  Serendipitously, I also found this quote from Edmund Burke: “What ever disunites man from God, also disunites man from man.”  That seems to sum things up fairly succinctly.  So whatever your faith tradition (and even skeptics or nonbelievers should relate to the concept of connectedness of us humans), I would hope that you would buy into the desire for unity.

Related Posts:

Just click on "unity" in the tag cloud on the right to view all posts about unity.  Especially related might be  Excursion Together

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Guess What?

Guess What? Dear Readers -

We have a submission for the Positively Diverse page!

Please click on the above navigation tab and check it out!  And also consider submitting an item yourself - it could be of interest or even inspiration to others.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

On One Hand, ON the Other Hand...

Greetings all -

On the one hand, it certainly was a positive sign that Mr. Sadiq Kahn has been elected the first Muslim Mayor of London.  There has been pretty good coverage of this; I think the story at The Intercept is pretty good.  It is definitely a sign of hope when folks reject fear-mongering and divisive dog-whistles.  I liked what the new Mayor had to say about the "politics of fear" not being welcome in London, and this regarding the campaign Conservatives ran against him:  “I think it’s for them to ask themselves the question, how is it that, in the most diverse, fantastic city in the world, they chose to have a negative, desperate and divisive campaign?”

But on the other handUniversity of Penn. economics professor was questioned on a flight because the passenger next to him thought the MATH PROBLEM he was working on looked suspicious and she thought he might be a terrorist.   Here's another story.

And a third!

Oh, yes, those math symbols are quite suspicious.  Begs the question: how much work do we math types need to do?  Evidently a lot, as this gal mistook math stuff for Arabic.  And I have to wonder: would she have done the same if the professor was a blue-eyed blonde?

Take-away?  Let's get some common sense, people.  Reject fear-mongering, dog-whistling and profiling.  Be cool-headed and don't give in to paranoia. 

And how about submitting an item for the "Positively Diverse" page?

Friday, May 6, 2016

Women Must Keep Demanding Personal Power


...Still hoping for some comments... hearing from readers would really make my day...

So what about the lack of respect women are getting in some quarters, even concerning some very personal circumstances and what should be personal decision making.

There has been some attention raised about the trend of Catholic hospitals denying even life-saving procedures to women if it seems to violate anti-abortion and even anti-reproductive guidelines.  Even when doctors supposedly order them.  Here's a good round-up report from The Guardian.

There have been quite a number of cases of sexual harassment reported at UC Berkley.  A provost has resigned amid controversy.           Here is a story highlighting one case.     Here's a report on two other cases. 

The University will be spending on sexual harassment training which may not be very effective.  Here's an interesting story from The Guardian - and the researcher (who is from UC Berkeley) does have some recommendations.

And what of Brigham Young U., where some female students who have reported sexual assaults have actually been punished over "honor code" violations?  And as this report also points out, sexual assaults on campuses are experienced by - one in five women and one in sixteen men.  Think there's a problem? And obviously it's not JUST with BYU.

Now to round things out, how about some historical perspective?  I saw the author on C-Span book tv, I think it was, and reading the reviews again, it certainly does sound as though I really should read it.  The book is:  At the Dark End of the Street: Black Women, Rape, and Resistance - A New History of the Civil Rights Movement from Rosa Parks to the Rise of Black Power by Danielle L. McGuire.  Yes, it tells of the struggle for not only civil rights, but especially for African-American women, the struggle for control even of their own bodies.  As women, and men as fellow humans, we should know the issues and be dedicated to making sure that women get the personal empowerment deserved.