I loved the ritual of church. Sit. Stand. Kneel. Frankincense melting and smoke wafting. The ambience of light streaming through colorful stained glass. The processions, and performance of acts done in a way, for so long, by so many.
Then came the talk.
When I was really little, I tuned it out.
When I started to listen, I was confused. Why was I not getting the same good feeling from the priest’s words?
When I started to think critically, it was over. It didn’t make sense. It didn’t match up. God was everywhere but not within me? God loved everyone but you couldn’t be gay?
My most recent church service experience was at a church with big production value. Big screen. Great music. Uplifting from the start.
Then came the talk. The teaching.
A letter from someone centuries ago warning of the debauchery of women laying with women that could happen if we didn’t submit to (his definition of) God. Read with an air of that’s-what-it-says-here-don’t-shoot-the-messenger.
Yesterday I saw the boy from a church group in apparent confrontation with Native American Elder Nathan Phillips as he chanted ceremonially, in Washington DC.
“The boy needs love,” I thought at that moment. And wondered, “What are his elders teaching him?”
Can’t we teach love?
Can’t we teach how to love?
I believe so. I propose first and foremost as acceptance of one’s self. Compassion for one’s self as we are. Encouraging the inner work needed to heal, forgive and to connect with the peace that resides at our core. Teaching love from the inside out.
Once we get that, compassion for others comes easy. The desire to help and offer our unique gifts to the world is a no-brainer. Reverence for all forms of life is natural. Inspired action and answers abound. Unity is recognized and sought after. The Spirit of Love, the Beauty of God, the Consciousness of Christ can then flow from us and grace the earth and every one.
The talk and the teaching is important.
The talk can come from Love.
Addendum: I have read the student’s account of his confrontation with Nathan Phillips and have seen more video. It seems that there was much division and seeing the “other” as a threat or the enemy that day at that place.
I see the issues and dynamics of that particular event differently now.
The solution remains the same – teach Love.
Teach it till we find that there is no other.