Most people believe that physicists are explaining the world. . . . They are only dancing with it. —Gary Zukav 
Fr. Richard Rohr, Center for Action & Contemplation:
The more ways of knowing we use, the closer we come to understanding, and yet the full picture will always elude us. In this way, mystery is endlessly knowable.
From our own experiences we know that reality is not a seamless whole. Multiple realities rise, recede, and eclipse on our cognitive horizons as subuniverses that we inhabit from time to time. . . . The portals to these universes are not always cognitive. Perhaps they can be entered through dance and song and story.
The superstring theory provides useful analogies. . . . Physicist Brian Greene says, “If string theory is right, the microscopic fabric of our universe is a richly intertwined multidimensional labyrinth within which the strings of the universe endlessly twist and vibrate, rhythmically beating out the laws of the cosmos.”  The theory speaks of universes coiled into infinitesimal loops that may hold the secrets of all forces in the cosmos. The beauty of the theory is that it is dynamic and rhythmic. It is a resonant and dancing universe that invites us to view its mysteries. . . .
Hopi elders engage multiplicity by referring to the ineffable as “a mighty something [a’ni himu].”  Wisdom instructs the elders that one cannot stake life on limited human perspectives; there must be more. And so the elders inquire into the nature of ontology, social location, and the universe with the humble acceptance of an abiding wonder for “the thing not named.”
 Gary Zukav, The Dancing Wu Li Masters: An Overview of the New Physics (Morrow Quill Paperback: 1979), 35.
 Brian Greene, The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory (Vintage Books: 1999), 18.
 See John D. Loftin, Religion and Hopi Life in the Twentieth Century (Indiana University Press: 1991), xv-xvi.
We’re reaching a fork in the road; two paths are diverging on planet Earth, and the one we choose will make all the difference for the life of the planet. Shall we continue our medieval religious practices in a medieval paradigm and mechanistic culture and undergo extinction? Or shall we wake up to this dynamic, evolutionary universe and the rise of consciousness toward an integral wholeness?
-Ilia Delio, a Franciscan sister and scientist
From Fr. Richard Rohr
We are called to make the paradigm shift to an utterly new cosmology and worldview. I believe, even unbeknown to themselves, many are leaving organized Christianity now because these two cosmologies no longer coincide.
“You cannot be a (wo)man of faith unless you know how to doubt. You cannot believe in Gaia unless you are capable of questioning the authority of prejudice, even though that prejudice seems to be religious. Faith is not blind conformity to a prejudice–a ‘pre-judgment.’ It is a decision, a judgment that is fully and deliberately taken in the light of a truth that cannot be proven.”
-Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation
[G7 in France]
But deliver us from evil, past, present, and to come.
We must strive to overcome evil, but even our best efforts will require Gaia’s help.
The Lord said to Evil, “‘Where did you come from?’ Evil answered, ‘From prowling about on the earthmovers going back and forth on it.” Job 1:7
Cosmology: Part I
The Change of a World View
Fr. Richard Rohr, Center for Action & Contemplation
Today, every academic, professional discipline—psychology, anthropology, history, the various sciences, social studies, art, and business—recognizes change, development, and some kind of evolving phenomenon. But in its search for the Real Absolute, much of Christian theology made one fatal mistake:
It imagined that any notion of God had to be unchanging, an “unmoved mover,” as Aristotelian philosophy called it.
There’s little evidence of a rigid God in the biblical tradition or the image of Trinity—where God is seen as an active verb more than a substantive noun. But many Christians seem to have preferred a stable notion of God as an old white man, sitting on a throne—much like the Greek god Zeus (whose name became the Latin word for God or “Deus”)—a critical and punitive spectator to a creation that was merely a mechanical clock of inevitable laws and punishments, ticking away until Doomsday.
We need a new way of thinking about the universe and our place in it. To begin our two weeks on this theme, I offer a clear and concise description of our changing worldview from Australian theologian Denis Edwards (I waited in a long line once just to thank him for his fine work):
Our theological tradition has been shaped within the worldview of a static universe. The great theological synthesis of St. Thomas Aquinas [1224–1274], for example, was formed within a culture which took for granted that the world was fixed and static, that the Sun and the Moon and the five known planet stars revolved around the Earth in seven celestial spheres, moved by angels, that beyond these seven spheres there were the three heavens, the firmament (the starry heaven), the crystalline heaven, and the empyrean, and that there was a place in the heavenly spheres for paradise. It was assumed that human beings were the center of the universe, that Europe was the center of the world, and that the Earth and its resources were immense and without any obvious limits.
By contrast, we are told today that the universe began with a cosmic explosion called the Big Bang, that we live in an expanding universe, with galaxies rushing away from us at an enormous rate, that the Earth is a relatively small planet revolving around the Sun, that it is hurtling through space as part of a Solar system which is situated toward the edge of the Milky Way galaxy, that we human beings are the product of an evolutionary movement on the Earth, and that we are intimately linked with the health of the delicately balanced life systems on our planet.
The shift between these two mindsets is enormous. It needs to be stressed that most of our tradition has been shaped by the first of these, and even contemporary theology has seldom dealt explicitly with the change to a new mindset. . . .
We have no choice but to face up to the ecological crisis which confronts us. Religious thinkers . . . are searching for a new synthesis of science and faith, a new cosmology, and a “new story.” 
☆ ☆ ☆
 Denis Edwards, Jesus and the Cosmos (Paulist Press: 1991), 3-5.
Adapted from Richard Rohr, “Evolution Is Another Name for Growth,” “Evolutionary Thinking,” Oneing, vol. 4, no. 2 (CAC Publishing: 2016), 111-112.
Image credit: Starry Night Over the Rhône (detail), Vincent van Gogh, 1888, Musée d’Orsay, Paris, France.
May our prayers and our altars come together to calm the spirits of the fire in the Amazon – Sacred Temple of mystery and native jungle, lung of mother earth, place of power, home of ancestral tribes!
May our songs call the sacred water of rain, which are heard by the guardians of this place!!
Let human beings open the heart, to wake up and not sleep, to honor mother earth with each of our acts and not allow this to happen more times. Let’s send love, strength and peace to the peoples, to the animals, to the ancient trees…
Let us know in every way possible to listen to us, we need to echo the order of so many indigenous peoples who have already been giving alarm signs on the atrocities that are committed in the name of development.
How many more places have to be devastated for the ” good of humanity “, for the ” well being ” misunderstood of societies? Shattered by the policies of incapable governments! Let’s ask our authorities to act in favor of life and not against it!!
Let us act to the extent of our possibilities!! from our prayer, from our altar, from our sacred matrices that give life..
Let us remember that we are one being… that we are the extension of mother earth and what happens in it, anywhere happens in our body!
Fr. Richard Rohr, Center for Action & Contemplation:
Nonviolence is the universal ethic at the heart of creation.
The bias of white males is typically power and control. From this perspective nonviolence and love of enemies makes no sense whatsoever.
-Richard Rohr, Center for Action and Contemplation
A letter from Lawrence Lessig.
I’m writing to tell you about a critically important decision in a case of ours by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals that could advance substantially our campaign to reform the Electoral College. At a minimum, it will get us a hearing in the United States Supreme Court, so that the fundamental question that our case raises can finally be resolved.
That question is this: Can presidential Electors within the Electoral College be forced to vote one way or another?
For most of my legal career (I won’t pretend to have thought much about the question before becoming a lawyer), I thought the answer to this question was easy: Of course they can! But in 2016, when Electors (and others) started raising the question, I began to look at the issue closely. To my surprise, I came to the view that the answer is actually no: That states cannot, constitutionally, control how their electors vote.
This conclusion is a bit terrifying: Can it really be that the choice for president could ultimately hang on the decision of a handful of electors? But terrifying or not, it seemed clearly to be what our Constitution prescribes. And after a record number of electors chose to vote their conscience in 2016, and not how they were pledged, we at EqualCitizens.US determined to get the question resolved finally before it creates a constitutional crisis.
Because remember: We know Electoral College contests are going to be closer in the future than they have been in the past; and as they get closer and closer, even a small number of electors could change the results of an election. Whether you think that’s a good system or not, we believe it is critical to resolve the question before it would decide an election. That means getting the Supreme Court to hear the case outside of a particular presidential contest, when they can answer the question without worrying about which candidate would benefit from their decision.
It now looks like that’s exactly what will happen. As I’ve written to you before, we’ve had two cases moving through the courts addressing this question — one in the Washington state courts, and one in federal court in Colorado. In Washington, three electors were fined $1,000 each for voting contrary to their pledge; in Colorado, one elector was removed, and two threatened for their decision to vote contrary to their pledge. We took the Washington case to the Washington Supreme Court and lost. Yesterday, we learned that we won in the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. This conflict now pretty much guarantees that the question will be before the Supreme Court next year.
When I describe this case to people, their first response is usually something like this: Why would you ever try to get the Court to say that electors are free? The answer is that if indeed they are free, we should know that before the next election. If the Court decides as the 10th Circuit did, then that means that we as a nation need to decide whether we want to keep this system, or replace it — either through the National Popular Vote Compact, or through an Amendment to the Constitution. Or if the Court decides as the Washington Supreme Court has done, then at least we don’t need to worry about this instability within our presidential election system.
My bet is on the 10th Circuit. You can read its incredibly thoughtful opinion below. And when the Supreme Court affirms that result (in the Washington case — for technical reasons, that’s the case we’ll bring to the Supreme Court), then the race will be on to decide whether we keep the system the framers gave us, or decide as a nation — finally — to adopt something new.
Congratulations to my colleague, Jason Harrow, who argued the case before the 10th Circuit. And thank you to all the plaintiffs in both cases — Micheal Baca, Polly Baca, Robert Nemanich (Colorado) and Bret Chiafalo, Levi Guerra, Dove John (Washington) — who both did what they believed was the right thing to do in 2016, and have continued to fight in the almost four years since.
Stay tuned for the next episode. Meanwhile, we’re turning to the petition to ask the Supreme Court to take up this case for review.
A Vindication For The Hamilton Electors
Jason Harrow, Equal Citizens Executive Director and Chief Counsel
What are the powers of individual presidential electors in the Electoral College? Believe it or not, through over two centuries of history across 58 presidential elections, most lawyers are still not sure, and the U.S. Supreme Court has not definitively weighed in. But, because of an amazing group of electors we’ve been representing and a remarkable decision released yesterday afternoon by the federal appeals court in Denver, that is very likely to change before the election of 2020. And whatever way the Supreme Court goes, it’ll be a good thing for our country that, at last, the Supreme Court will be forced to grapple with the constitutional role of presidential electors.
Back up a few steps. We all know that the president is not directly elected based on popular votes but is instead elected by the votes of members of the Electoral College. The members of this most unusual College are appointed by each state following the popular election, and electors are real people who cast individual votes that may — or may not — be for the presidential candidates that they are expected to vote for.
In the 2016 version of the Electoral College, there were more of these independent electors than there has ever been in the modern era: there were seven official anomalous electoral votes for president and six for vice president, and several more electors tried to cast such votes but were prevented by state officials. Each elector had his or her own reason for casting a vote for someone not named Trump or Clinton, but many presidential electors were no doubt responding either to evidence of electoral interference that may have ensured Donald Trump’s election or to the historically large mismatch between the popular vote and the predicted outcome of the electoral college.
The issue of whether those independent votes must be counted, or whether states may intervene and tell electors who to vote for, has been percolating in the courts since then. Yesterday, a federal appeals court, for the first time in history, definitively ruled that presidential electors have the constitutional right to vote for the candidate of their choice. That’s huge.
The case arose from the actions of three brave electors in Colorado — Micheal Baca, Polly Baca, and Robert Nemanich — who were threatened with removal if they failed to vote for Hillary Clinton, the winner of the popular vote in Colorado. Mike Baca was undeterred even by threats of serious punishment (including potential criminal perjury charges) and voted for John Kasich, in the faint hope that a few dozen Republican electors would join him and send the election to the House of Representatives, where a Republican other than Trump could be elected. His vote was never counted, though. Instead, after his vote was revealed, he was removed as an elector and replaced with another elector who voted for Clinton.
We filed suit to defend these electors in 2017. Yesterday, the federal appeals court in Denver agreed with our argument the Constitution protects his right to vote for president. It did so in a remarkable opinion that dug deeply into the constitutional text and historical practice — so deeply, in fact, that the opinion is 114 pages long. But there was a lot for the court to get to, and it’ll be a gripping read for those who appreciate careful judging and wise constitutional analysis.
We at Equal Citizens also represent a separate group of electors from Washington state, and in May, the Washington Supreme Court went the other way and said electors could be penalized for casting these faithless votes. Now that there is a direct split between these two appellate courts, it is very likely that the U.S. Supreme Court will accept one of the cases for review in the coming months and, at long last, definitively resolve the issue of the freedom of presidential electors.
Finally: A win is, of course, a win. But some may be wondering why we are still pursuing this case, long after the election of 2016 has been decided. If we really believe in democracy — and, at Equal Citizens, we really do — should we really be pushing for 538 presidential electors to have the constitutional discretion to take the presidential election into their own hands?
Of course chaos and unpredictability is not the end result what we want; instead, we want to make presidential elections better, not more random or uncertain. And this litigation is consistent with that mission, for several reasons.
First, the current situation of uncertainty among increasing numbers of faithless votes is simply untenable. There have been only 58 prior elections, but we’ve nonetheless had our fair share of oddball results. We have had elections decided by a single elector (1876); we’ve seen the Supreme Court halt a recount in a swing state (2000); we’ve had a tied election thrown to the House for decision (1800); and we’ve even had an entire state shift its vice-presidential votes to throw that race into the Senate (1836).
This just shows that crazy things happen more often than we might predict, and the current situation — where about 30 states have laws purporting to bind electoral college votes, but no one knows if they’re legal — could lead to the most destructive crisis of them all: a situation where there is disagreement over the validity of one or more key electoral votes. What if the election hangs in the balance and an elector votes one way but a state official says it’s invalid? That crisis just cannot happen; it could tear the country apart. We need to know in advance of the next election whether it’s legal to bind electoral votes.
Second, whether we like it or not, we don’t think the ultimate question is even close — which means that if it were litigated in the middle of a presidential election, it could change the outcome. If America doesn’t like this result — and even some of us don’t like this result — we should have a chance to avoid it before the next election. Those who wish to change the system — as we do, and as our clients do — should therefore want this question resolved now. If the Supreme Court agrees with us, it would give real momentum to real alternatives, whether a constitutional amendment or the National Popular Vote compact. . And even if we lose in the Supreme Court, that would make clear that states in the National Popular Vote Compact could legally bind their electors and ensure there are no dissents there. Either way, this case will provide an important improvement over the status quo.
Bottom-line: next stop, Supreme Court. Exciting times.
Fr. Richard Rohr, Center for Action & Contemplation:
Rami Shapiro, a rabbi, teacher, and author on Judaism and spirituality reflects on the enriching, powerful experience of interspiritual dialogue initiated by Fr. Thomas Keating (1923–2018).
In 1984 Father Thomas Keating invited a small group of contemplatives from eight different religious traditions—Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Islamic, Native American, Russian Orthodox, Protestant, and Roman Catholic—to gather at St. Benedict’s Monastery in Snowmass, Colorado, to engage in what he called “a big experiment.” 
The experiment was to see what would happen when meditators from different traditions meditated together and shared the spiritual insights they gleaned from their meditation. Within a few days it became clear to the attendees that while their religious vocabularies were different, their experiences were not. As one attendee put it:
I enter into meditation as a slice of American cheese: thick and solid; my egoic self intact and feeling apart from both God and creation. I return from meditation as a slice of Swiss cheese: thin and filled with holes. I know myself and all others to be a part of God. Indeed, there is no other at all, only the One, the Whole, the Ultimate Reality I am calling God. And with this sense of wholeness comes a sense of holiness, a sense of love from and for all beings. . . .
During the first few years of the Snowmass Conference, a series of agreements arose among the attendees. Father Thomas compiled the first eight and brought them to the group for consideration. With lots of conversation and some editing, the Snowmass Conference Eight Points of Agreement came into being. We include them here as a way of sharing a contemporary expression of perennial wisdom arising not from ancient texts but from the lived experience of contemporary mystics—women and men who, while coming from specific traditions, dare to step beyond them to see what is on its own terms.
The Eight Points of Agreement
1. The world religions bear witness to the experience of Ultimate Reality, to which they give various names.
2. Ultimate Reality cannot be limited by any name or concept. Ultimate Reality is the ground of infinite potentiality and actualization.
3. Faith is opening, accepting, and responding to Ultimate Reality. Faith in this sense precedes every belief system.
4. The potential for human wholeness—or, in other frames of reference, enlightenment, salvation, transcendence, transformation, blessedness—is present in every human being.
5. Ultimate Reality may be experienced not only through religious practices but also through nature, art, human relationships, and service to others.
6. As long as the human condition is experienced as separate from Ultimate Reality, it is subject to ignorance and illusion, weakness and suffering.
7. Disciplined practice is essential to the spiritual life; yet spiritual attainment is not the result of one’s own efforts, but the result of the experience of oneness with Ultimate Reality. 
It took us until the late 20th century to say such things, and now we almost see them as obvious. There is indeed an evolution of consciousness and a convergence of consciousness that does not need to dismiss or dilute any one tradition.
 The Common Heart: An Experience of Interreligious Dialogue, ed. Netanel Miles-Yepez (Lantern Books: 2006), 1.
 Thomas Keating, “The Points of Agreement,” Introduction to The Common Heart, xvii-xviii.
‘The divine encounter is something of a pure or direct encounter because there are no appropriate words or concepts through which to interpret it. Maggie Ross refers to the encounter with the divine as “beholding.” 
Beholding is the antithesis of ordinary experience in that the self, which usually processes the data of our experience through an understanding inherited from our history, culture, and language community, is suspended, and we change our focus in order to be open to an engagement that defies whatever understanding we bring to it. . . .
What makes the contemplative experience universal and perennial is that contemplatives suspend the understanding through which their minds actively process and assess the data of their experience. . . . The prejudice of the modern mind is that knowledge must be something we can possess, but the knowledge that comes from our encounters with the divine possesses us and infuses an ineffable knowing within us. . . .
The prayer of the contemplative is, essentially, an attention to the omnipresence of God. God is omnipresent not as a theological doctrine, but as the great silence that is present in every moment—but from which we are usually distracted by an overactive mind that refuses to wait in a humble unknowing for a pure wisdom from above [James 3:17]. ’
-Richard Rohr, Center for Action & Contemplation
 Maggie Ross, “Behold Not the Cloud of Experience,” The Medieval Mystical Tradition in England: Exeter Symposium VIII, ed. E. A. Jones (Boydell and Brewer: 2013), 29-50.
 James P. Danaher, “What’s So Perennial About the Perennial Philosophy?” “The Perennial Tradition,” Oneing, vol. 1, no. 1 (Center for Action and Contemplation: 2013), 50-51, 53. No longer in print; a Kindle version is available from Amazon.
‘Each of us brings a lifetime of experiences to this moment, our perspectives colored by our individual history. No one is worthier than another. Relaxing, I can simply let everyone be, knowing we’re all doing the best we can where we are now.’
Richard Rohr, Center for Action & Contemplation:
Now this new epistemology is emerging all over the world and in all denominations and religions. I pray it will thrive and grow so we can heal the planet’s suffering before we’ve done irreparable damage.
Episcopal priest and friend Matthew Fox writes:
The crises we find ourselves in as a species require that as a species we shake up all our institutions—including our religious ones—and reinvent them. Change is necessary for our survival, and we often turn to the mystics at critical times like this. Jung said: “Only the mystics bring creativity into religion.”  Jesus was a mystic shaking up his religion and the Roman empire; Buddha was a mystic who shook up the prevailing Hinduism of his day; Gandhi was a mystic shaking up Hinduism and challenging the British Empire; and Martin Luther King, Jr. shook up his tradition and America’s segregationist society. The mystics walk their talk and talk (often in memorable poetic phraseology) their walk. 
How do we find the path forward? Howard Thurman (1900–1981), a mystic who sought to make peace between religions and founded the first major interracial, interfaith church in the United States, urged people to “listen for the sound of the genuine.” Read these excerpts from one of Thurman’s talks several times to fully appreciate it:
There is something in everyone of you that waits, listens for the sound of the genuine in yourself and if you can not hear it, you will never find whatever it is for which you are searching and if you hear it and then do not follow it, it was better that you had never been born. . . .
Sometimes there is so much traffic going on in your minds, so many different kinds of signals . . . and you are buffeted by these and in the midst of all of this you have got to find out what your name is. Who are you? . . .
Now there is something in everybody that waits and listens for the sound of the genuine in other people. . . . I must wait and listen for the sound of the genuine in you. . . .
Now if I hear the sound of the genuine in me and if you hear the sound of the genuine in you it is possible for me to go down in me and come up in you. So that when I look at myself through your eyes having made that pilgrimage, I see in me what you see in me and the wall that separates and divides will disappear and we will become one because the sound of the genuine makes the same music. 
 C. G. Jung, Mysterium Coniunctionis: An Inquiry into the Separation and Synthesis of Psychic Opposites in Alchemy, trans. R. F. C. Hull (Pantheon Books: 1963), 375.
 Matthew Fox, Christian Mystics: 365 Readings and Meditations (New World Library: 2011), 2-3. Learn more about Fox and his daily online reflections at dailymeditationswithmatthewfox.org.
 Howard Thurman, “The Sound of the Genuine,” Baccalaureate Address, Spelman College (May 4, 1980). Text edited by Jo Moore Stewart, Spelman Messenger, vol. 96, no. 4 (Summer 1980), 14-15. Digital version available at http://digitalcommons.auctr.edu/scmessenger/546/.
‘Fr. Richard Rohr is a globally recognized ecumenical teacher bearing witness to the universal awakening within Christian mysticism and the Perennial Tradition. He is a Franciscan priest of the New Mexico Province and founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation (CAC) in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Fr. Richard’s teaching is grounded in the Franciscan alternative orthodoxy—practices of contemplation and self-emptying, expressing itself in radical compassion, particularly for the socially marginalized.’
From Richard Rohr, Center for Action and Contemplation:
‘While our society places great emphasis on the individual, true prophets are almost always concerned with social, institutional, national, or corporate evil and our participation in it.
That’s because the future is always contingent upon our cooperation, choices, and actions. Therefore, if we live in love and treat the poor with justice, the good will happen.’
From Marianne Williamson:
‘Where racism, bigotry, anti-Semitism, homophobia, Islamaphobia and xenophobia have become collectively politicized, we must collectively politicize decency, dignity, mercy, justice, compassion and love. This isn’t philosophy; it’s strategy.’
‘She only spoke for five minutes during the debate, but she managed to advocate for reparations; implicitly compare herself to John F. Kennedy; rail on her opponents for focusing too much on policy plans; bring “chemical policies” into the health-care debate; advocate for a spiritual, love-based strategy to beat President Trump; promise to call the prime minister of New Zealand on her first day in office; and beat the other candidates in debate-night Google search interest (although Kamala D. Harris was the top “trending topic” on all of Google). We may never have seen anyone exactly like Williamson on a national debate stage, but she’s channeling a real, and underserved, constituency in American politics.’ [Washington Post]
‘Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson called climate change the country’s greatest moral challenge in an interview Thursday, spotlighting an issue at the center of the 2020 primary race.
The author and activist told PBS NewsHour anchor and managing editor Judy Woodruff that investing resources to combat climate change now would pay off in the future.
“I’d rather pay with money now than pay with our inability to breath 25 years from now, 50 years from now,” said Williamson, who supports the Green New Deal.
Williamson also said the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal funding for abortion services, needs to be repealed.
The remarks come as several states have pushed controversial bills limiting abortion services. The debate over abortion is playing out in the 2020 primary race as well. Former Vice President Joe Biden made headlines Thursday by reversing his support for the amendment.
Other highlights from the interview:
On military spending: Williamson criticized U.S. military spending as excessive, touching on an argument she makes in her new book, “A Politics of Love.” “Anybody who thinks that our military budget is based only on military considerations is fooling themselves. It is based at least as much on short-term profit maximization for defense contractors,” she said.
On creating a Department of Peace: Williamson reiterated her call for a new agency with the name the “Department of Peace,” which would deal with domestic peace-building efforts, including in neighborhoods grappling with violence. “We do not spend money and put our resources behind the factors that create peace, like expanding education for children and ameliorating unnecessary human suffering,” Williamson said.
’What I saw outside the fence is as important as what I saw when I looked over it: politicians, human rights groups, religious groups, social justice advocates and others, all bearing witness to a tragic situation and refusing to look away. Gandhi’s concept of soul force means bearing witness to the agony of others as a form of political expression. People from across all religious and spiritual and social justice communities are ready to take a stand for love, and turn it into a political force.’
God is in the roses The petals and the thorns Storms out on the oceans The souls who will be born And every drop of rain that falls Falls for those who mourn God is in the roses And the thorns. -Rosanne Cash
“Vulnerability transforms you. You can’t be in the presence of a truly vulnerable, honestly vulnerable person and not be affected. I think that’s the way we are meant to be in the presence of one another.” [Richard Rohr]
The cross was not a transactional moment, but deeper, ensconced in humility and vulnerability. [Reference to Richard Rohr]
“As he draws near Jerusalem, Jesus weeps out of a sadness and frustration at people’s blindness to what is right in front of them…oblivious.” [Forward Day by Day]
“The Talmud says that unhappy conditions arise when we mistake shadower substance. We are ever renewed by the presence of that which cannot change. We are ever renewed by the passage of the Divine light through our consciousness. Silently, I pass from less to more, from isolation to inclusion, from separation into oneness.” [Ernest Holmes]
“And this above all: that through these petals light must pass. From a thousand skies, each drop of darkness is filtered out and the glow at the core of each flower grows stronger and rises into life.
And the movement of the roses has a branch none could discern, were it for for what it ignites in the universe entire…
One could say they were self-contained if self-contained meant to transform the world outside, patience of springtime, guilt and restlessness, the secrecy of fate and the darkness of Earth at evening…on out to the streaming and fleeing of clouds and, farther yet, the orders of the stars…take it all and turn it into a handful of inwardness.”
“Hard, awful things happen in this broken world. Nothing we can do will change that fact. Bad things happen, and they will happen to good people we love, or to us.” [Forward Day by Day]
“Those who love us will miss us.” -Keanu Reeves
“Identification with suffering might just be non-dual thinking in its most active and proactive form and why nonviolence demands such a high level of transformation. Our resistance to suffering is an entire industry now, perhaps symbolized by the total power of the gun lobby and the permanent war economy in America, the fear of any profit sharing with the poor, or the need to be constantly entertained. Maybe that is why some have said that the foundational virtue underlying al others is courage (“cor-agere” = an action of the heart). It takes immense courage to walk in solidarity with the suffering of there’s, and even our own.” -Fr. Richard Rohr
As an inlet cannot close itself to the sea that shapes it, the heart can only wear itself open.
“One of the hardest blessings to accept about the heart is that in the image of life itself, it will not stop emerging through experience. No matter how we try to preserve or relieve what has already happened, the heart will not stop being shaped. It knows that the only way to truly remember or stay whole is to take the best and worst into its tissue.
Despite all our intentions not be hurt again, the heart keeps us going by moving us ever forward into health. Though we walk around thinking we can direct it, our heart is endlessly shaped like the land, often against our will.” -Mark Nepo
Sr. Joan Brown is a longtime friend and Franciscan, serving as Executive Director of New Mexico Interfaith Power and Light, a nonprofit that works for climate justice. She writes about three foundational principles needed for harmony and wholeness:
‘All of us who live, breathe, and walk upon this amazing, holy Mother Earth are called to understand the cosmic principles inherent in the interdependent energy dynamic that throbs through every element of life. Nothing exists without these three interdependent energies that emerged from the first flaring forth over 13.8 billion years ago: differentiation or diversity; subjectivity, interiority, or essence; and communion or community and interconnectedness. These energies offer vital lessons for the critical times in which we live, where diversity causes conflict, living is often at a superficial level, and individualism runs rampant. 
First, every one of us—every human being, every drop of water, every molecule, every bird, each grain of sand, and each mountain—is distinct or different. Each is a distinct manifestation of Divine Love energy. The universe thrives upon, and cannot exist without, diversity. The very differences that we shun, avoid, or even destroy are necessary for life to continue in a multitude of magnificent forms. . . .
The second cosmic principle, interiority or essence, is more easily understood by people of all religious traditions. Every created thing is holy. Every blade of grass, grasshopper, child, and element is holy. Ecological degradation, racism, discrimination, hate, and disinterest in working for justice and love each speak to the lack of honoring the interiority of that which stands before me. . . . In order to help people adjust and cope with climate change, which is the most critical concern of our day, I believe we must get in touch with the sacred essence of everything that exists.
The third cosmic principle, communion or community, is intimately linked to differentiation/diversity and interiority/essence. A quote attributed to Thich Nhat Hanh states it well: “We are here to awaken from the illusion of our separateness.”  The gravitational pull of love draws everyone and everything into relationship and communion. . . .
Perhaps, as Beatrice Bruteau wrote, “If we cannot love our neighbor as ourself, it is because we do not perceive our neighbor as ourself.”  If we are unable to see that we are in communion with another, we will not realize that what we do to ourselves, we do to the other and to the earth. Likewise, we do not realize that, ultimately, our lack of understanding turns back toward us in violence, whether that is fear of other races and diversity, or destruction of Earth because we see the natural world as an object rather than a subject with interiority. . . .
We are called to be larger than who we can imagine being in this moment. The cosmic principles are a new way of understanding, seeing, and acting in a world that seems to be torn apart by a misunderstanding of the beauty of diversity, the holiness of essence, and the evolutionary pull of communion.’
[Fr. Richard Rohr, Center for Action & Contemplation]
Love, the attraction of all things toward all things, is a universal language and underlying energy that keeps showing itself despite our best efforts to resist it. It is so simple that it is hard to teach, yet we all know love when we see it.
After all, there is not a Native, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, Islamic, or Christian way of loving. There is not a Methodist, Lutheran, or Orthodox way of running a soup kitchen. There is not a gay or straight way of being faithful, nor a Black or Caucasian way of hoping.
We all know positive flow when we see it, and we all recognize resistance and coldness when we feel it. All the rest are mere labels.
When we are truly “in love,” we move out of our small, individual selves to unite with another, whether in companionship, friendship, marriage, or any other trustful relationship.
For Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881–1955), a French Jesuit priest who trained as a paleontologist and geologist, love is “the very physical structure of the Universe.” That is a very daring statement, especially for a scientist to make. Yet for Teilhard, gravity, atomic bonding, orbits, cycles, photosynthesis, ecosystems, force fields, electromagnetic fields, sexuality, human friendship, animal instinct, and evolution all reveal an energy that is attracting all things and beings to one another, in a movement toward ever greater complexity and diversity—and yet ironically also toward unification at ever deeper levels. This energy is quite simply love under many different forms.
(Please, use another word..energy…flow…Gaia…if it works better for you.)
-Fr. Richard Rohr, Center for Action & Contemplation
[Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, “Sketch of a Personal Universe,” Human Energy, trans. J. M. Cohen(Harcourt Brace Jovanovich: 1962), 72.]
‘White dominant culture has been alive and well for centuries, and its grasp for power is only growing more desperate. Today we see unabashed racism, classism, and sexism at the highest levels of the United States government. How naïve many of us were to think we lived in a post-racial society after the Civil Rights Movement of the 60s and after we saw an African American president and his family in the White House. Now our collective shadow has again come out in the open for all to see.
It seems every generation must be newly converted. While we seek to transform individual hearts and minds we must also work to create change throughout systems. Until a full vision of equity is realized, we must continue naming and resisting the ways in which so many people are excluded and oppressed. Author and activist adrienne maree brown writes:
Separation weakens. It is the main way we are kept (and keep each other) in conditions of oppression. . . . Where we are born into privilege, we are charged with dismantling any myth of supremacy. Where we are born into struggle, we are charged with claiming our dignity, joy and liberation. . . .Adrienne Maree Brown, “Report: Recommendations for Us Right Now from a Future,” Sublevel, issue 2 (2018)
If we remain exclusive monotheists, like Judaism, Islam, and much of Christianity up to now, we normally try to impose a false uniformity on others but rarely know how to love, honor, and respect diversity. We remain in competing tribes and colonies.’
-Richard Rohr, Center of Action & Contemplation
Let’s remake the world with words. Not frivolously, nor To hide from what we fear, But with a purpose.
Let’s, as Wordsworth said, remove “The dust of custom” so things Shine again, each object arrayed In its robe of original light.
And then we’ll see the world As if for the first time, As once we gazed at the beloved Who was gazing at us.
“The beauty of being human is that we are incredibly, intimately near each other, we know about each other, but yet we do not know or never can know what it’s like inside another person.”
-John O’Donohue, Irish poet, author & priest
The genius of apartheid was convincing people who were the overwhelming majority to turn on each other. Apart hate, is what it was. You separate people into groups and make them hate one another so you can run them all.
Language brings with it an identity and a culture, or at least the perception of it. The architects of apartheid understood this. Part of the effort to divide black people was to make sure we were separated not just physically but by language as well. Racism teaches us that we are different because of the color of our skin. But because racism is stupid, it’s easily tricked. If you’re racist and you meet someone who doesn’t look like you, the fact that he/she can’t speak like you reinforces your racist preconceptions: He/She’s different, less intelligent. However, if the person who doesn’t look like you speaks like you, the brain brain short-circuits because your racism program has none of those instructions in the code.
-Born a Crime, Stories from a South African Childhood
John Adams: ‘Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.’
In a time when everything was being swept away, when “the whole world is becoming a giant concentration camp,” [Etty Hillesum] felt one must hold fast to what endures—the encounter with God at the depths of one’s own soul and in other people.
-Robert Ellsberg, All Saints: Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time
To follow their own paths to wholeness, both Swiss psychoanalyst Carl Jung (1875–1961) and Jewish Auschwitz victim Etty Hillesum (1914–1943) trusted in and hearkened to the voice of God in their deepest Selves.
When accusers called Joan of Arc (1412–1431) the victim of her own imagination, she is frequently credited with this brilliant reply: “How else would God speak to me?”
Intuitive truth, that inner whole-making instinct, just feels too much like our own thoughts and feelings, and most of us are not willing to call this “God,” even when that voice prompts us toward compassion instead of hatred, forgiveness instead of resentment, generosity instead of stinginess, bigness instead of pettiness.
Late in his life, Jung wrote, “In my case Pilgrim’s Progress consisted in my having to climb down a thousand ladders until I could reach out my hand to the little clod of earth that I am.” Jung, a supposed unbeliever, knew that any authentic God experience takes a lot of humble, honest, and patient seeking.
-Fr. Richard Rohr
[From a letter to a pupil (April 9, 1959). See C. G. Jung Letters, Vol. 1: 1906-1950,selected and edited by Gerhard Adler.]
I have what you have not. I am what you are not. I have taken what you have failed to take and I have seized what you could never get. Therefore, you suffer and I am happy, you are despised and I am praised, you die and I live; you are nothing and I am something because you are nothing. And thus, I spend my life admiring the distance between you and me. [Seeds of Contemplation, 1961]
Fr. Richard Rohr:
In very real ways, soul, consciousness, love, and the Holy Spirit are one and the same. Each of these point to something that is larger than the individual, shared with God, ubiquitous, and even eternal—and then revealed through us! Holiness does not mean people are psychologically or morally perfect (a common confusion), but that they are capable of seeing and enjoying things in a much more “whole” and compassionate way, even if they sometimes fail at it themselves. [Just This, 2017].
At the Trinitarian level, God is a verb more than a noun, God is a flow more than a substance, God is an experience more than a deity sitting on a throne. And we live naturally inside that flow of love—if we do not resist it.
Everything is attracted to everything: life is attracted to life; love is attracted to love; God in you is attracted to God in everyone and everything else. This is what it means for everything to be created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27).
Once we allow the entire universe to become alive for us, we are living in an enchanted world. Nothing is meaningless; nothing can be dismissed. It’s all whirling with the same beauty, the same radiance. In fact, if I could name the Big Bang in my own language, I’d call it the Great Radiance.
The inner radiance of God started radiating at least 13.8 billion years ago. We must realize that we are the continuation of that radiance in our small segment of time on Earth. We can either allow it and let the Trinitarian Flow flow through us or we can deny it, which is to deny the divine image.
This is nothing I can prove to you. This is nothing I can make logical or rational. It can only be known experientially in the mystery of love when you surrender yourself to it, when you grant subjectivity or a blessed I-Thou relationship to every other thing—a plant, an animal, a single tree, the big blue sky, “Brother Sun, Sister Moon” [Father Francis of Assisi].
‘I’m convinced that beneath the ugly manifestations of our present evils—political corruption, ecological devastation, warring against one another, hating each other based on race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or nationality—the greatest dis-ease facing humanity right now is our profound and painful sense of disconnection. We feel disconnected from God, certainly, but also from ourselves (especially our bodies), from each other, and from our world. Our sense of this fourfold isolation is plunging our species into increasingly destructive behavior and much mental illness.
Yet many are discovering that the Infinite Flow of the Trinity—and our practical, felt experience of this gift—offers the utterly grounded reconnectionwith God, with self, with others, and with our world that all spirituality, and arguably, even politics, is aiming for, but which conventional religion and politics fail to access.
Trinity overcomes the foundational philosophical problem of “the One and the Many.” Serious seekers invariably wonder how things can be both deeply connected and yet clearly distinct. In the paradigm of Trinity, we have three autonomous “Persons,” as we call them, who are nevertheless in perfect communion, given and surrendered to each other with an Infinite Love. With the endless diversity in creation, it is clear that God is not at all committed to uniformity but instead desires unity—which is the great work of the Spirit—or diversity overcome by love.
Uniformity is mere conformity and obedience to law and custom; whereas spiritual unity is that very diversity embraced and protected by an infinitely generous love.
This is the problem that our politics and most superficial religion are still unable to resolve.
Trinity is all about relationship and connection. We know the Trinity through experiencing the flow itself, which dissolves our sense of disconnection. The principle of one is lonely; the principle of two is oppositional and moves us toward preference and exclusion; the principle of three is inherently moving, dynamic, and generative. Trinity was made to order to undercut all dualistic thinking. Yet Christianity shelved it for all practical purposes because our dualistic theologies could not process it.
God is not a being among other beings, but rather the Ground ofBeing itselfwhich then flows through all beings. As Paul says to the intellectuals in Athens, this God “is not far from us, but is the one in whom we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:27-28). The God whom Jesus reveals is presented as unhindered dialogue, a positive and inclusive flow, and a waterwheel of outpouring love that never stops! St. Bonaventure called God a “fountain fullness” of love.
Our sense of disconnection is only an illusion. Nothing can stop the flow of divine love; we cannot undo the eternal pattern even by our worst sin. God is always winning, and God’s love will finally win in the end. Nothing humans can do can stop the relentless outpouring force that is the divine dance. Love does not lose, nor does God lose. That’s what it means to be God!’
Image credit: (detail), Andrei Rublev, c. 1400-1410, Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia.
Trinity: The Trinity depicts the three angels who visited Abraham at the Oak of Mamre (Genesis 18: 1-8); the painting is full of symbolism and is interpreted as an icon of the Holy Trinity. At the time of Rublev, the Holy Trinity was the embodiment of spiritual unity, peace, harmony, mutual love and humility.
Marianne Williamson, Democratic Presidential Candidate who bases her platform on love and connection, needs only 2,400 singular donations [$1-$5], 65,000 total, to be allowed to join the first debates schedule for June in Miami. Please donate at https://www.marianne2020.com
“A nation’s behavior is just like an individual’s – either an expression of our higher nature or our lower nature. In the case of both, cause and effect holds: whatever we do has consequences. Love leads to harmony & lovelessness to chaos.That’s why wisdom is relevant to politics.”
Fr. Richard Rohr: ‘My colleague and Episcopal priest Cynthia Bourgeault writes about this in her book The Meaning of Mary Magdalene:’
Today, within the mainstream of Christian sacramental practice we have indeed forgotten much of what our wisdom forebears once knew. Most Christians are still familiar with anointing only in its most stark and literal form, as the sacrament of “extreme unction,” administered shortly before physical death. While the ceremonial use of anointing for healing is on the increase (and this is a positive trend), even within these healing circles most people are unaware of the tightly interwoven threads that connect this action, through Mary Magdalene, to redemptive love and rebirth into fullness of being. They would be astonished to discover that anointing has not only something but everything to do with bridal mysticism and that it is not physical death but “dying before you die” that is its primary field of reference. To reclaim anointing in its original context would make it the sacramental centerpiece of a whole new vision of Christianity based on spiritual transformation and the alchemy of love.
Center for Action and Contemplation
‘The quantum, the subatomic, the elemental, and the very minerals of the earth.
The very waters that fall upon the earth, run through our rivers, our bodies, and fill our oceans.
The plants, the trees, all living and growing networks that root into this earth.
The animals in our skies, in our oceans, on the land, all creatures great and small.
Human beings: every race, nationality, status, equality, or gender–ALL human bodies.
The angels and the spirits, those that move in the unseen realms and in other dimensions.
The great planetary bodies, the galaxies, and the whole cosmic mystery.’
God loves things by becoming them. -Richard Rohr
No despair of our can alter the reality of things, nor stain the joy of the cosmic dance, which is always there.
-Thomas Merton, 1915-1968
Your religion is not the church you belong to, but the cosmos you live inside of.
“Once we know that the entire physical world around us, all of creation, is both eh hiding place and revelation place for God, this world becomes home, safe, enchanted, offering grace to any who look deeply. I call that kind of deep and cals seeing ‘contemplation.'”
-Richard Rohr, The Universal Christ
“Have I not told you that I am in the spirit as the spirit is in me? It is man who sees only poverty, for he sees with the eyes of the master of the world. But where man sees poverty, the spirit sees only abundance. What the spirit sees, I see, and what I see the spirit sees, and what the spirit sees, is.” -The Gospel of Thomas
For Richard Rohr, there are six simple claims that order the fullness of his finest book “The Universal Christ: How A Forgotten Reality Can Change Everything We See, Hope For, and Believe.”
Christ is not Jesus’ last name. It’s a word used by the ancients to talk about the anointed one, and the Reality and flow of love in the universe found from the very beginning of time.
We might then “accept being accepted”– that we are fully loved and embraced as we are, not because of who we are or what we do.
See Christ in every thing. And not just fun, ecstatic parts of life — but in the depths of grief and pain as well.
Start with original goodness. Why do Christians so often talk about “original sin?” It’s not even in the Bible. And in fact, the Bible starts with a story about how every thing and every one is good, good, good, and very good.
Love is the meaning — it’s the underlying energy that powers the universe and available to each and every one of us as a divine flow.
And, a sacred wholeness, which includes even the negative aspects of life’s way — typified in the Christian story as the cross.
The Christ Mystery is indeed “the way, the truth, and the life,” but this is not about a religion or group one can join (which is how we have heard it), but rather a mystery of Incarnation that can be experienced by all, and in a million different ways.
-Richard Rohr, Oneing
“I think New Mexico was the greatest experience from the outside world that I have every had.” -D.H. Lawrence
Richard Rohr, Center for Action and Contemplation:
“Without a Shared and Big Story, all humans retreat into private individualism for a bit of sanity and safety.
Perhaps lack of attention to the [ancient] Mystery can be seen in the way we continue to pollute and ravage planet Earth, the very thing we all stand on and live from. Science now appears to love and respect physicality more than most religion does! No wonder that science and business have taken over as the major explainers of meaning for most people today (even many who still go to church). Christians did not take this world seriously, I am afraid, because our notion of God or salvation didn’t include or honor the physical universe. And now, I am afraid, the world does not take [this] seriously.
Hope cannot be had by the individual if everything is corporately hopeless.
It is hard to heal individuals when the whole thing is seen as unhealable.”