Tension between identity politics and tolerance
“An uneasy tension persists between identity politics and tolerance: that is, the more forcefully group identity is affirmed, the more likely that rivalry or conflict with other groups will be perpetuated.” - Camille Paglia
Never thought of it this way before but I do see evidence of it.
As the American model of melting pot is supplanted by trends of multiculturalism and intersectionality, what values are required to mediate this uneasy tension?
Thomas Merton on God as gravity - 2
"And God, that center who is everywhere, and whose circumference is nowhere, finding me, through incorporation with Christ, incorporated into this immense and tremendous gravitational movement which is love, which is the Holy Spirit, loved me. And he called out to me from his own immense depths. And he called out to me from his own immense depths."
Dark humor take on Scripture
Visiting St Louis l went to the Cathedral Basilica today. It is in the Byzantine style (unusual in the West), rivaling the artistic magnificence of Westminster Cathedral in London (also Byzantine). No paintings...every surface overhead is covered with mosaics.
One shocking malapropism though is the message around the base of this dome. At some angles you miss out the first word “IF”, and all that remains visible is “CHRIST HAS NOT RISEN, YOUR FAITH IS IN VAIN”!
Thomas Merton on the night (excerpt)
“I sit in darkness. I sit in human silence. I begin to hear the eloquent night.
The world of this night resounds from heaven to hell with animal eloquence, with the savage innocence of a million unknown creatures.
The enormous vitality of their music pounds and rings and throbs and echoes until it gets into everything, and swamps the whole world in its neutral madness which never becomes an orgy because all things are innocent, all things are pure.”
The paradox of freedom - 3
Applying this paradox of freedom to life, I think this is what Sting is getting at when he says he is not leaving his inheritance to his kids. Daddy's money cannot confer the freedom that comes from attaining personal realization--in fact, it is more likely to hinder it.
I think also of the old saying:
"Freedom without boundaries is like a river without banks."
...and of Moon Unit Zappa--remember her?
The paradox of freedom - 2
I was reminded of this when I read of a classical musician spontaneously getting up in the restaurant where he was dining with friends and playing improvised jazz on the piano without sheet music. "His years of disciplined study of music and weekly hours of practice had enabled him to play the most elastic jazz with the ultimate freedom."
The paradox of freedom - 1
Vishnu has talked about developing musical intuition over the years, whereby one eventually ceases being aware of formalities like chord structures, because the art of it has become ingrained by habit, freeing up all one's energy to be creative. This is not the result of an easy, carefree life. No, it is the fruit of years of following the rules and exercising personal discipline.
On boundaries and inclusion - 5
This reminds me of a model of the Catholic Church I was once taught. Before Vatican II, the Church understood herself as the core circle in a series of concentric circles. Protestants were placed in the second ring, Jews third, etc. After Vatican II, the circle was replaced by a spiral, which reflected more openness and interaction than before, and allowed for freer movement throughout.
On boundaries and inclusion - 4
After that interview, the hosts brought up a different model, using a farm to illustrate. While the traditional farm has a fence around it to keep the animals in, in Australia farms are too big to build a fence around, so they sink a watering hole, and the animals can wander about freely but they never stray too far away from that central watering hole. "That’s the future of the church...not with a clear boundary but with a clear center."
On boundaries and inclusion - 3
On the Nomad podcast this week, Barbara Brown Taylor was asked how faith communities might find the right balance between defining their boundaries and being open to encountering difference. She said she asks communities, "What would I have to do to get kicked out of your community?" As they are often taken aback by this, she says, "Well, if there’s nothing I can do to get kicked out then what does it mean to be in?"
On boundaries and inclusion - 2
A while ago I had a conversation with someone here about inclusion. In frustration they said to me, "If you don’t agree with me this platform is not for you." I don't hold it against that person. It was a momentary lapse in an otherwise decent dialogue. Moreover, I had never put much stock in claims of inclusion and diversity because they are so often poorly defined.
On boundaries and inclusion - 1
Loved when @hillarymcbride spoke on the latest Liturgists episode about intentionally choosing to enter into community with people who believe differently than her. Now that's an unncommon commitment to inclusion and diversity. It reminds me of this gem:
“He drew a circle that shut me out-
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
But love and I had the wit to win:
We drew a circle and took him in!” -Edwin Markham
People no longer trust each other. Why? And how can we fix it? An interactive guide to the game theory of trust: http://ncase.me/trust/
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