From the Minister, Thu Feb 1

The Greeks had a number of words to distinguish different kinds of love: philia: love of friends; eros: sexual and erotic attraction; agape: selfless, unconditional, universal spiritual love; storge: familial love, esp. between parent and child; xenia: stranger love, hospitality, embrace and appreciation of what is Other and different; pragma: originally referring to any pragmatic, practical, mutually beneficial relationship, some writers now use this term for long-standing love that has a certain intimacy, though it may not be sexual.

The impulses that push us to care for one other, and to develop any of the various kinds of loving relationship are many -- and sometimes some of those impulses go wrong. Eros, in particular, can go disastrously, even traumatically, astray.

We are built with, as Walt Whitman put it:
“Urge and urge and urge,
Always the procreant urge of the world.”
When paired with reciprocity and mutual respect, autonomy, and deep caring, that procreant urge becomes a path of union: a communion that is the more spiritual for being embodied and the more embodied for being
spiritual. Sex is then a sacred act – sacramental, in the sense of revealing the divine, the holy.

The urge, however, may arise without reciprocity, respect, or care. As the fall of 2017 has turned into the winter of 2018, we have been buried under the continuing avalanche of stories of men’s urges, forlorn of respect or consent, inflicting painful abuse and harassment on women. Eros, God of sexual attraction, gave us an amazing gift for connecting and committing, for transcending our aloneness. He beholds the harm done with his gift – and he weeps.

"There is no remedy for love but to love more," said Henry David Thoreau. Let us, then, do just that.

Check These Out!
  • The Common Reads for 2017-18 (yes, there are TWO): HERE
  • See the Statement of Conscience, "Escalating Economic Inequity" HERE. (This version does not reflect the supported amendments.) Further amendments still to be considered are posted as comments to the post HERE. You can also add a comment to this post to propose an amendment.
  • On the Journey: the February issue explores Love. Pick up a copy at CUUC, or view it HERE.
Let's Chat

The TCC takes me to a coffee shop (almost) every Tuesday from 3-5pm -- for anyone who might find that a convenient way to get together with their minister.
  • Feb 6, 13, 20, 27: The TCC comes to Irvington! Black Cat Cafe, 45 W. Main St., Irvington.
Drop by if you can! You can also make an appointment to see me at CUUC, or invite me to visit your home. Call Pam at the church office (914-946-1660) to schedule either.

New on The Liberal Pulpit

This week's posts include parts 2 and 3 of the "Resilience" sermon:
And both parts of the "Hospitality and Race" homily:
Index, with links, of past sermons: HERE.
Index, with links, of other reflections: HERE.

Practice of the Week

Reproach Your Demons. Your bad habit, or greed, or anger, or selfishness isn’t your essential character. Think of it as a person in its own right – a demon who comes to visit you more often than you’d like. It’s the bad habit, not you, that needs reproaching. To be able to address a fault -- say, selfishness -- like this is no easy thing. This is the opposite of how we usually view our various faults. We don’t think of our selfishness as being an opponent, an adversary in its own right. Instead, we think of it as ours and that we ought to be ashamed of it. The idea that my selfishness is an independent entity that I can reproach and disidentify with doesn’t come naturally to me. READ MORE

Your Moment of Zen

Discouraged. Grouse has been bumming a bit -- feeling kind of down on herself. Raven is her teacher, but that doesn't mean Raven is always helpful. Sometimes not being helpful is itself the perfect teaching. Yeah. And sometimes not.

Grouse was looking rather moody one evening, and as the group was breaking up at the end of the meeting, Raven called to her, "Hey, Grouse! How's it going?"
"Oh," said Grouse, "I don't know. Sometimes I feel discouraged. Why is it that I'm taking so long to understand anything?"
Raven said, "Everybody takes the same length of time."
"There are folks who came after I did," said Grouse, shaking her head. "They ask intelligent questions and seem to be moving along in their practice while I just sit and sit and wonder what is going on."
Raven said, "They say the Buddha Macaw is still sitting somewhere and she's only halfway."
Grouse said, "That's not very encouraging."
Raven said, "Come to think of it, it's not."
Breath in, breath out.
Blood out arteries, back in veins.
Food in, poop out.
Sun rises, and sets.
Winter to summer to winter.
Births, and deaths.
Mountains rise, wash away.
Did you think all of this was going somewhere?
Did you think there was anywhere for it to go?
Case by Robert Aitken; introduction and verse by Meredith Garmon
Previous Moment of Zen
Saturday Zen Practice at CUUC: HERE

Other News
The e-Communitarian
RE News
Music News
From Ministerial Intern
Practice: Reproach Your Demons

No comments:

Post a Comment