As John Chuchman suggests towards the end of today's reflection: it would make a good bumper sticker: "Be the God you want to see in the world!" The attribution though might belong to Jan Phillips whom John has borrowed the core text from (with permission) for today's reflection. It's a reflection on the Mosque proposal near the World Trade Centre but stretches our imagination about what religion is supposed to be about. As the reflection says: "It's not about doctrine. It's a plan for action — an opportunity to be a bigger force for good."
WWJS (What Would Jesus Say?)
What about constructing an interfaith building at Ground Zero?
There's room for everyone, and it's distinctions between religions
that's causing all the problems in the first place.
Why not build a multi-tasking mosque,
with a synagogue, chapel and meditation hall.
A building where people of different faiths come together
to make a better world together.
That's the point of religion, right?
It's not about doctrine.
It's a plan for action,
an opportunity to be a bigger force for good.
Religion is just a map.
Faith is the real adventure.
What could be better in that spot than a building that represents,
by its very structure, a coming together,
a new vision that goes beyond religious borders?
It's like taking a good idea and making it great.
The real prophets of the day know this.
Where are their voices?
You know why you have border issues here?
Because you believe the borders are real,
like they MEAN something.
Muslin against Christian, Mexican against American,
Republican against Democrat;
all those borders are made up.
You put up walls to defend your ideas-and not even your OWN,
but ideas passed down to you from someone else
and then you make other people look like demons.
It's no wonder this country is in a state of collapse.
You don't even get how connected you are.
You're like five fingers on a hand who think they're separate
and make up reasons why not to get along.
You're like children playing war games.
You spend all your time, all your energy attacking the other side
instead of realizing you need to bridge the two sides
in order to get across to a higher level of thinking.
Even news shows are at war.
What light does that add to the world?
All the TV time you could be giving to real visionaries,
all the ways you could be role-modeling good behavior,
showing how it really WORKS to bring great and opposing minds together.
What in the world are you people doing?
The ones who call themselves religious are often the most immature,
the most judgmental and intolerant.
What is THAT about?
That's exactly the opposite of what every religion teaches.
And I mean EVERY religion.
There is no distance between you and this one you call God.
God is the creative force behind all things.
It's invisible, but you are the manifestation of it.
I'm telling you, the Sistine Chapel should have been a mirror.
You are the eyes, the hands, the feet of that creative force.
That energy is in you.
It's called your breath.
Don't think there's some man out there pulling strings.
This civilization-if you can call it that-is YOUR creation.
This earth, it is not a bunch of resources to be exploited.
It is not to be owned.
It is your mother, the womb that you sprang from.
You are its consciousness, its neural cells.
The whole earth is the organism that you belong to.
You did not come down to earth, you came up from earth,
as I did.
Its well-being is in your hands.
Can you be proud of what you're doing?
Are you going to be the ones who kill it off,
after all that talk about pro-life?
We're like the physical form of the same energy.
The ice cube version of water or steam.
Same elements, different form.
The sea and the iceberg.
You're all icebergs in the Sea of God.
But the problem is you don't realize that underneath it all,
you're all connected.
There's just one big iceberg with a lot of tips.
The truth is, you're Creation continuing the co-creation of Itself.
It's not so much what you need to know all these peoples' belief systems.
That's what gets you in trouble.
No one has to believe in me to get to heaven.
There is no heaven to get to
and it's not what you believe but how you act that matters.
If anyone learned anything from reading that Bible
they should have picked up that one.
There's 3000 references to helping the poor in there.
Forget everything you ever learned in any holy book
and just treat everyone like a brother and a sister.
I mean that literally.
What If it were your brother coming across the border,
your sister with cancer and no health care,
your child unable to get an education,
your mother with no food in her house,
your brother who was gay or hated gays,
your sister who was a corrupt politician,
your brother who bombed an abortion clinic,
your sister who got an abortion?
What does it look like to love unconditionally?
To bridge differences,
to come together over what we can agree on?
Can you get through one day without thinking you're better
or less than another?
That's the thing to strive for.
That is living faithfully.
If you think Others are so different from you,
be the opposite of what you think they are
and enact that powerfully in the world.
Don't focus on who's wrong.
Just be a greater force for good.
Remember what Gandhi said?
Be the change you want to see in the world.
Well, it's time to take it further.
You're evolving as a people.
You've come through the Dark Ages, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance,
the wrongly named Period of Enlightenment.
You're now in the Information Age.
You are growing your consciousness.
In the physical world, you have Olympic marathon trainers
who run 10 miles or more a day.
They spend every waking hour in training, eating the right foods,
researching the right clothing and equipment, working out,
following a discipline.
And in the metaphysical world,
the spiritual world,
you have people doing the same;
they are your mystics and prophets-engaging in spiritual practice,
accelerating their wisdom, expanding their consciousness,
transcending judgment and radiating love into the world.
It's good to know yourself.
You're all evolving at different rates.
In the fall, when you look at a maple tree,
you see leaves that are green, yellow, orange and red.
They don't all change at the same time.
And that's what makes life exciting.
You all know different things.
That's why you need each other.
You're all right, only partly so.
Back to Gandhi. I agree with what he said, but I'll say it a different way,
just to shake things up a bit,
which I love to do.
It'd make a great bumper sticker:
Be the God you want to see in the world.
You know as well as I do,
every good idea starts out as a blasphemy.
(Excerpted and reformatted from a Museletter with permission of author/activist Jan Phillips.
www.janphillips.com/museletter.html ©2010 Jan Phillips)
The background used to support John Chuchman's reflection has been sourced from the Amazing New York City blogspot.
John Chuchman is a bereavement counsellor. He is a graduate of John Carroll University and former Ford Motor Company executive (1959-1992). He has been a Hospice volunteer since 1990. John has received Pastoral Bereavement Counselor certification and a Certificate in Spirituality (Kino Institute of Phoenix, Arizona.) In 2000, he was awarded a Master of Arts degree in Pastoral Ministries from Saint Mary's University of Minnesota. His website provides information about his regular retreats and information about his books. he also writes a "Poetman" blog which you can find on the website or via this link: [Visit John's blog] | [Visit John's website]
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