I dedicate this writing to those dear ones who were part of the weird and lovely tapestry of my childhood church, community, and religious upbringing. Here, I look humorously, but seriously, from that life together. I write with deep respect for the being-together that was part of that community and how it shaped my life. I seem, now, mature enough to be honest about the shortcomings, even the ways it wounded, and how it immensely blessed and blesses my life and Work to this day. I, likewise, here write with some irreverence, now knowing that irreverence itself can be a way of expressing a joyful, thankful respect. So, to them each, "Thank You, for blessing my life with your presence and love! I am blessed how you live in me and all the work I do to provide a space of graciousness for others to know the Love of Grace."
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Variety is part of what makes our world so rich. It is something to honor rather than a problem to solve. ... The only way forward is for people to bind themselves closer together than ever before. The glue that will bind us has to be our common tenderness of heart.
*Dzigar Kingtrul. Training in Tenderness: Buddhist Teachings on Tsewa, the Radical Openness of Heart That Can Change the World.
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Diversity cannot be a threat to who anyone is, only appear as a threat to whom or what one might think he or she is. When seen from the Heart, diversity leads to celebration, even reverence. To one enlightened in Grace, otherness is no more a problem to him or her than the differences among its leaves and branches are to the tree. The differences are the tree, so is the insight of one seeing the human community with open Heart.
I was raised in Christian fundamentalism. Life was divided between "do" and "don't do," with a vivid, at times haunting, sense of God-is-looking-at-you-so-be-careful-not-to-disappoint-Him (always a He). This was very serious, very serious, as the God would apparently be easily offended, so punish His disobedient children, sometimes severely. I once heard a group in our church building gathered together and speaking of the sudden death of a small child. The family was not a part of our church or community. And this group was speaking of this God punishing the family by having this little one die. Well, yes, it does sound kind of weird, and not good weird, to say that, but this God sanctioned genocide in the Old Testament, after all. And have you ever read that genocidal book called The Book of Revelation? I was to forgive others and never retaliate, yet this God seemed to live by a different set of standards than He expected of others. A motto in my church could have been: Our God ~ If He Can't Win'em with Love, He'll Burn'em with Fire. I recall persons making a joke of this attitude, saying "Turn, or Burn!"