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At this time, when we see in the media, reports of a policeman killing a young black male in what looks like a senseless attack, it is hard to make sense of any of it. There are also a number of unhelpful opinions from evangelicals quoting the wrath of God and perhaps darker more racial themes which have not been fully aired yet.
What is even more difficult to get, is how this killing relates to a slave trade abolished 200 years ago. Protests in the UK have resulted in a statue being thrown into the river and others around the UK are likely to be removed in an attempt to lower controversy.
If we view our fellow man with a prejudged label of being black, white, yellow, gay or straight, (remember Matthew Shepard? How soon we forgot him) we are doing nothing more than drawing a perception, laying a frame around the person and hanging them on the wall like an unchanging portrait – then of course we expect that person to obey certain stereotypes – in other words, we invent the mental image of the person before us then we decide to dislike him because of the measurement of the perceived label against our own moral standards or preconceptions of how the labelled being should behave. Its a form of mortal slavery which reduces humanity down and places ourselves as a god and executioner in a world without any regulation on our thoughts towards the other person. “I don´t like that portrait anymore – I think I will change it”
Sadly in this case, George Floyd was labelled mentally, prejudged and then killed. The judge jury and executioner being nothing more than a completely wrong opinion about who or what George was or about himself, believing perhaps that he (the killer) was able to snuff out another person´s life. The scary part is that it could happen to any of us, depending on what choice of label other people put on us or worse, what label we entertain about others or ourselves.
Perhaps this is a good time to remember Jesus – in mainstream Christianity he was or is the son of God. In metaphysics he was the “way shower” and someone who demonstrated that we are all “infinite being”, far bigger than our human bodies. To understand Him more we need to separate Jesus the man, born like the rest of us and the Christ, the message he brought and carried. His legacy included raising the dead, healing the sick and defining himself as Spiritual rather than mortal. As a result, the same opinion which killed George also killed Jesus, the Romans labelled him “king of the Jews” and nailed him to a tree, believing they were able to “kill”. His body died and he demonstrated the Great Infinity of Being by “coming back from the dead” or simply demonstrating that death is another false belief. Today, the opinion about who he was still rages across humanity, each religious group anxious to give him a label, either to discredit him or to Love him and still he defies every label given, for he fits into none. Jesus was misunderstood then and surely not a lot has changed. There is a lesson in this for those who can see it.
Some people say that because his mother Mary had an idea of Spirituality, she caught a glimpse of a metaphysical idea and brought it into her view. In some ways this is reflected in Catholic doctrine calling her “the Immaculate Conception” implying that she was the one with pure vision and eventually ascended to “Heaven” in the same way Jesus did. Ironically many people think that the Immaculate conception was Jesus as he too was born without sin.
The belief in our own minds that we are the judge, jury and god in any situation goes no higher than the ceiling of the room we are in. It is a false opinion about who we are and what life we are living. That is why our prayers do not get answered and that is why we live in a world full of diseases, sickness and death. To sit quietly for a few moments every day meditating on phrases like “I and my Father are One” help us to get into the mindset of Jesus, Spiritual, Whole and Pure and to displace the loud arguments stating otherwise, around us.
In my own life, I have been the victim of many labels, some self imposed, others that people have felt the need to place on me along with the results of those conditions appearing physically. Locally in South west Scotland some people have a preoccupation with Catholicism and that remains the number one question when you meet someone for the first time or visit a Church – “Are you or were you Catholic”. I suppose that is one of the least harmful labels compared to others people could use to try and bring down my opinion of myself and others. But sadly those opinions about Catholicism have also killed, in Northern Ireland for example.
“Buddha said “with our thoughts we make the world” and the Bible has a lot to say on this including “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.
Lets drop the labels and preconceptions – you might be surprised at the results. If the death of George can teach us something – it is to stop us mentally making an identity and expecting others to live up or down to it.
Finally, the CS material organisation should not remain silent on issues like these:
- It´s track record on LGBT rights, highlighted by employee court cases in recent times is awful.
- CS Practitioners often may refuse to treat LGBT people if they wish
- The Church refuses to take any theological stand on LGBT issues, meaning that discrimination still takes place as no official policy exists. Silence kills.
- It´s permitted historical articles on the “healing” of homosexuality.
- Robert Peel´s biographical trilogy of Mary Baker Eddy makes reference to her support of the Anglo Israeli Movement. A group which supports the idea that British and American people (white people) are a remnant of the 10 tribes of Israel and favored by God. I have encountered at least one Practitioner who still carries forward this view.
Faith communities take Communion online, except for some Conservatives who don’t feel we should participate, virtual or otherwise. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-52864843
To hear the audio recitation of this rosary, please click here
The Rosary is an ancient tradition of reciting prayers on the beads or fingers. The origins are unclear, some say they came from the days when we could not read or write and had to count on our fingers, others say it has its roots on Buddhism or Islam. Either way it turned into a major devotion within the Catholic Church before the Reformation, they claimed it was revealed mysteriously to St Simon Stock.
For centuries, humanity has been taught that Prayer is one of those “hit or miss” scenarios, something which we say to one another to reassure us of the presence of God and at times a last resort offered to the dying. But few people expect it to do anything except maybe a few well meaning evangelicals.
These days it is not something en vogue – I have seen people looking angry at the mention of the word Prayer and the word itself brings up pictures of religion which none of us wants to face. Cold dark institutions and people who claimed to have the last word on God usually through a stern morality. In short, punishment and Prayer seem to be two sides of the same coin for most.
One of the quickest way to lose growth on any Spiritual path is to begin labeling people with words pertaining to material identities. Words such as addict, psycho, weird, carry all kinds of negative meanings but so do Jew, Christian, Gay, Catholic in the eyes of some people. These days “tested positive” or negative, Asymptomatic and symptomatic are also unhelpful in the time of Corona Virus.
We sometimes need labels to describe certain human behaviours and people often define themselves with certain labels which we may or may not use or try to overcome.
In spiritual life, we are required to love everyone “our neighbour as ourself” to be scriptural about it and that can be hard when a label has been pinned to the person – raising again the old duality that there is a definitive “Good” and definitive “Evil” somewhere which we need to physically avoid. Thus we become the judge, jury and executor in moral living – having the last word about people we meet. Using our own standards rather than Godly standards to judge.
I recently watched some you tube clips about Humanism the first was from the Jewish perspective. The clip came from the Secular Humanistic Judaism movement. In Judaism, people are defined by their Cultural and Genealogical roots – a material identity they cannot escape from. Although we think of the religion when we hear the word Jewish – that is only because we relate to it from a Christian standpoint, but the Jewish identity is not a religious one. There are Jewish Humanists, Jewish Catholics, Jewish Atheists, each with their own religious identity, which do not infringe upon their material identity which they are born into which is defined as simply DNA “Jewish”. As a result the Humanist movement in Judaism is not about rejecting people or faith it is simply another way of expressing it´s ideas about God within a community. Even the speaker in this clip is a Rabbi within the Humanist movement.
In Christianity, we have no such material identity, we are born effectively into a nameless culture, with or without religion, we are free to choose faith or neglect it based upon cultural or parental influences. As a result our Humanist movements tend to be a rejection of all things related to religion – we have shows like this one where Humanists fight and argue with Christians because there is no other identity to unite them or to keep them together. Its the all or nothing approach where the best speaker wins. Then in the fringe movements we have “gay catholics” and Christians who call themselves “Messianic Jews” who want to be linked with Judaism. Then come the labels which define politicians to help you decide who to vote for in the American Elections. American people actively seek out a label they can relate to, in deciding who shares their values.
With the Jewish approach mentioned above, it was not always like that – until the 19th Century, Jews had to choose to be American or Jewish, British or Jewish etc, something which caused a lot of pain and for others to turn their back on their roots and their label. Also the embracing of religious terms is a relatively new thing for people – they want some kind of tribal label but not actually the belief that goes with it. Spanish people are often heard commenting “I am Catholic but I don´t practice” because the Catholic Church no longer allows people to “resign” or “leave” officially from the Church – At best you have to simply walk away even if you can´t physically get yourself removed from the register. There is also a certain power in being associated with something however loosely as it brings you closer to a tribal identity.
Humanism in my mind was all about atheism and rejecting Christianity, but in watching the clips above, I discovered that Humanism in both religions is all about celebrating Love. In fact they love to see Love in all its forms, in society and good acts. So what are they rejecting? They are rejecting the personal God , the authority which says “you are a bad person headed for hell if you do not do as I say” and it´s negative language. So then, if Humanism recognizes the force of Love – then so do I as a Christian, Christian Scientist, muslim or Jew (whatever label I want to use today).
Lets try to drop whatever label presents itself today – and see the person, defined as Love or a reflection of Love or an affirmation of Love´s presence. If you can´t do that – do an act of Love somehow – to remind yourself that it is there and can be demonstrated by you right now, That is God and God is Love – and in Love we find God. If anyone asks your religion – drop the “ism or “ity” because it is simply Love.
“Love is the window through which we see God – St Augustine”
I recently tried an experiment by sharing the picture below on Social media of me wearing a Jewish Kippah on my head whilst visiting a Synagogue on Doors Open Day last year. I was really interested how the perceived label which people had of me changed and how they reacted. it seems that we do not deal well with perceived change. It was also sad for me that there is still, even today a lot of anti semitism out there.
I am trying to find Jan Watt from Kilbirnie who left the area in 2007/2008 she was last known to be living in Ireland after working for the Buchanan Hotel in Glasgow for many years.
If you know of her, kindly ask her to contact Joseph McTaggart using the “contact me” button on this site.
I am concerned for her during these difficult times.