Reflections on action & service: advocating and helping others and ourselves. Themes from Jame 2 and Matthew 7.

The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others. — Gandhi

Have you ever experienced a “work of mercy” (“good deeds for the benefit of the neighbor”) to be a two-way street? — Tanya Barnett

Prayer
Lord make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred let me sow love
Where there is injury, pardon
Where there is doubt, faith
Where there is despair, hope
Where there is darkness, light
And where there is sadness, joy
O divine master grant that I may
not so much seek to be consoled as to console
to be understood as to understand
To be loved as to love
For it is in giving that we receive
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned
And it’s in dying that we are born to eternal life
 — St Francis of Assisi

The Good You Do: Taking Action

It is not enough to be compassionate: you must act. — The Dalai Lama
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Reflections on idols & advocacy: Moses standing in the breach

In Exodus, Moses stood between Israel and G-d, when his people lost hope & trust and made an golden calf idol and G-d threatened to destroy them; Moses defended them and even made demands of G-d. Who do you identify with in this story? For whom will each of us speak? And what will we demand of G-d? Meanwhile, what idols are getting between us and our spiritual wellbeing, our connection to G-d, community and creation?

Standing In The Breach by Jackson Browne
And though the earth may tremble and our foundations crack
We will all assemble and we will build them back
And rush to save the lives remaining still within our reach
And try to put our world together standing in the breachSo many live in poverty while others live as kings
Though some may find peace
In the acceptance of all that living brings
I will never understand however they’ve prepared
How one life may be struck down and another life be sparedAnd though the earth may tremble and cast our works aside
And though our efforts resemble the fluctuating tide
We rise and fall with the trust and belief
That love redeems us each
And bend our backs and hearts together standing in the breach

You don’t know why it’s such a far cry
From the world this world could be
You don’t know why but you still try
For the world you wish to see
You don’t know how it will happen now
After all that’s come undone
But you know the change the world needs now
Is there, in everyone

The unpaid debts of history
The open wounds of time
The laws of human nature always tugging from behind
I want to think that the earth can heal
And that people might still learn
How to meet this world’s true challenges
And that the course we’re on could turn

And though the earth may tremble and the oceans pitch and rise
We will all assemble and we will lift our eyes
To the tasks that we know lie before us
And the power our prayers beseech
And cast our souls into the heavens, standing in the breach

You don’t know why it’s such a far cry
From the world this world could be
You don’t know why but you still try
For the world you wish to see
You don’t know how it’s going to happen now
After all that’s come undone
And you know the world you’re waiting for may not come
No it may not come
But you know the change the world needs now
Is there, in everyone


Idols Like Golden Calves: Feeding our Hungers

The worship of the golden calf of old has found a new and heartless image in the cult of money and the dictatorship of an economy which is faceless and lacking any truly human goal. — Pope Francis

You get your intuition back when you make space for it, when you stop the chattering of the rational mind. The rational mind doesn’t nourish you. You assume that it gives you the truth, because the rational mind is the golden calf that this culture worships, but this is not true. Rationality squeezes out much that is rich and juicy and fascinating. — Anne Lamott

It happened, you see, after the war, when I saw people making money while the others were dying in the trenches. You saw it and you couldn’t do anything about it. Then later I was at the League of Nations, and there I saw the light. I really saw the world was ruled by the Golden Calf, by Mammon! Oh, no kidding! Implacably. Social consciousness certainly came to me late. —  Louis Ferdinand Céline

God’s green earth can no longer sustain itself for those who worship the golden calf. Those who have put this planet in jeopardy shall no longer live. We have been working hard for this day to come and we have help from every God-fearing being on this planet. Many will say they believe, when in their hearts, they truly worship Mammon. — Stephen Biro

Advocacy

Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen. — Winston Churchill

When we speak we are afraid our words are not welcomed. But when we are silent we are still afraid. So it is better to speak. — Audre Lorde

Where you see wrong or inequality or injustice, speak out, because this is your country. This is your democracy. Make it. Protect it. Pass it on. — Thurgood Marshall

Great thoughts speak only to the thoughful mind, but great actions speak to all mankind. — Theodore Roosevelt

I speak not for myself but for those without a voice. … those who have fought for their rights … their right to live in peace, their right to be treated with dignity, their right to equality of opportunity, their right to be educated. — Malala Yousafzai

As an immigrant, I chose to live in America because it is one of the freest and most vibrant nations in the world. And as an immigrant, I feel an obligation to speak up for immigration policies that will keep America the most robust, creative and freedom-loving nation in the world. — Rupert Murdoch

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