Sunday Sermon (October 12, 2008)

¡Hola! Everybody…
Gawd! Last night I had a recurrent dream I haven’t experienced in quite some time: that I was incarcerated. ::shiver::

Speaking of which: Wasn’t Palin found in violation of a state law? No one’s talking about this?!!

::blank stare::

* * *

-=[ Healing the Broken Zones ]=-

“When a leader requires others to hold him unaccountable, his flock becomes toxic.”

hate speech

John Lewis, a leader at the forefront of the civil rights movement, finally called out the McCain/ Palin political strategy for what it is: a divisive and potentially dangerous hate-filled rhetoric comparable to the hate speeches of segregationists of the 1960s like George Wallace. It was such rhetoric that fueled the hate leading to the bombing killing countless blacks and civil rights supporters, including four innocent girls.

People at McCain/ Palin rallies had taken to yelling out “Terrorist!” Kill Him!” and “”Traitor!” in reference to a sitting state senator and presidential candidate. Eventually, besieged by falling poll numbers and criticism from his own party, McCain attempted to tamp down the very fire he stoked and came face-to-face with the hate — and he blinked. For one brief moment, the hate turned on him and he shat his pants.

You will find such corollaries throughout the worst times of our shared history. Fundamentalist-style rhetoric, fear-mongering, and scapegoatism, leads to violence. It was exactly the same rhetoric, for example, that led to the scapegoating of Jews, intellectuals, and homosexuals in Nazi Germany. Today, we find the same rhetoric used on immigrants, the poor, and the middle class. Just recently, Phil Gramm, author of the bill that paved the way for the sub prime meltdown and McCain’s trusted economic advisor, called the middle class and bunch of “whiners.” Even people from the middle class, perhaps internalizing this oppression, are blaming members from their own class for this current financial meltdown. It seems “we” want to say “we” are greedy, we have poor impulse control, we’re to blame! We, however, always seems to mean the “other” person.

I have written here before that the greatest danger we face today comes from the fundamentalist mindset. When I speak of fundamentalists, I am referring to all fundamentalists — Christian and Islamic and all the rest.

We are at a point in history where our species is poised to fall leap into one of two extremes — a quantum evolutionary leap that will see us through the next phase of human development, or a descent into sure self-destruction.

Many of our leaders prey on the realization that many of us face these uncertain times feeling as if things have broken. Many of us feel as if we’re drowning and gasping for breath, only one small emergency from catastrophe. Our craven, bought-for media have left us so disassociated from the actual events of the world that we can’t recognize them. The world, for too many Americans feeling betrayed, appears as black or white; good or evil; sacred or sinful. There is no middle ground. At the core of all this, you find a seething primal emotional reactivity — what could only be termed a collective state of “fight or flight” syndrome.

There are “broken zones” and every broken zone, as we have seen throughout history, has its own fundamentalist mindset. Inside every broken zone, you will find a rigid fanatic. Every broken zone creates a fear that makes the fantasy of absolute, simplistic ideals as a solution to complex issues attractive. You see this within the conservative movement, which has been mostly predicated n going back in time to an era that never existed and values that were never universal.

Let me be clear: a path out of the mess we’re in will never emerge from the terror of the broken zones. Mindsets from the broken zone will never be able to address the multifaceted and paradoxes of the world. The simple fact is that there are no simple solutions. Fear-based thinking leads only to more terror.

Meanwhile, for the middle class and poor, it’s a huge battle. No wonder our broken parts have to work so hard just to survive. No wonder it’s so much easier to fall to the seduction of blaming the “other” — the immigrant, the black man, the Korean grocer on the corner, or the Pakistani cab driver.

When will we stop voting for leaders that rely on our apathy and fear and instead vote for those who appeal to our potential?

The irony is that we need to face our collective brokenness before we can heal our shared trauma. What we need is to face and integrate our traumas, for they need to be heard, welcomed, and honored. This is the only thing that will strip them of their pathological anger.

We need now more than ever, leadership that will point the way to the broken fragments and begin the path toward wholeness and reintegration. We all look like a collection of walking Picassos. Guernicas: bombed out war zones, a devastated landscape of our brokenness and inherent fundamentalism.

As humans we need to grow into a global sobriety: if we don’t address the underlying global insane thinking of doing her same actions and expecting different results, we are doomed. Yet I find it is entirely possible for us to curb this plague of fundamentalism. We not only can do this: we must. This is the only way we can guarantee humanity and life on Earth a viable future.

Humanity won’t prevail, as William Faulkner famously said, it will evolve. I don’t care who you vote for, but you have to think: what kind of leader embraces the path toward real change. No one will bring immediate change, that’s a childish notion. What we must ask ourselves is if we need an appeal to our reptilian brains, or an appeal to our higher forms of thinking.




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