Lotus of the Heart > Path of Spirit > embrace and liberalism and conservatism > Page 2

 
 

The Embrace ~ that that is belonging itself

Page 2


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I began attending, after leaving the pastorate in a mainline, conservative group, a liberal group for worship. I had assumed it was inclusive, since it presented itself as diverse and accepting of religious pluralism. I had discontinued being a pastor, partly for the exclusivism and intolerance I had often witnessed and that had been for years directed toward me as a free-thinking Christian and, later, interspiritual, universalist Christian.

During my time of worship with this new group, I decided I would inquire into ordination with it. The regional overseer of ministry and I spoke by phone. He informed me, seeing I had been a Baptist pastor earlier in life, it was highly unlikely the sect would consider ordaining me. I informed him that I had not even associated with my native religious group for years. This did not matter, according to him. One could say, I was labeled unfit for this group for life, simply for my religious background and not my present character or inclusiveness.

So, here I was, facing the same discrimination from liberals I had from conservatives. I discontinued association with the group and, for a long time, discontinued worship with others altogether.

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That we may associate conservatives with close-mindedness and exclusion and liberals as open-minded and inclusive, this is a generalization that is as likely untrue as true. Why? The sense of self, conditioned by the felt-need to be right, to be superior to others, to fear what is unlike it, this is part of the socialization for both conservatives and liberals. There is that within us each where we all could drop our labels and truly communicate, truly enjoy communion, yet we cannot do this clutching to our agendas, regardless of how we esteem them right and the agenda of others wrong.

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What I have learned is not to identify who I am, we are, with any group or its agenda, even if I choose to affiliate with it. The moment you identify your essence with a group and its agenda, you stop thinking, you become part of the group-think, and conservative or liberal, that is social tribalism.

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Communion is spirit-with-spirit, and spirit is able to be within a group, sharing a belonging that cannot be attributed to the group or called a group. Groups form on shared ideas and ideals, likes and dislikes, and such tends to given an identity to the group in opposition, even if peaceful, to others it esteems unlike itself. Communion is before and deeper.

Continued...

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Lotus of the Heart > Path of Spirit > embrace and liberalism and conservatism > Page 2

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