People Passing

Don’t Walk On By

Peter Gabel argues for an activism that breaks through the mutual distance that separates us and helps create a movement in which each of us becomes more fully recognized by “entering into each other’s presence.

Coercive Deference and Double Bind Politics on the Left (a response to the 2016 election)

I SHARE WITH I’m sure virtually all of Tikkun’s readers a feeling of pain and horror at the acts of racial and ethnic violence that have occurred since the election of Donald Trump. And I of course agree that the rhetoric of Trump’s campaign has had the effect of stirring up and legitimizing the expression of these racist and xenophobic impulses in terrible and alarming ways. But it does not help our efforts to respond to and counter these realities to simply denounce the Trump campaign or Trump supporters as “being” racist or xenophobic as if their violent and cruel behavior were just an expression of their evil essence or brainwashed minds. Instead, we must look deeply into the impacted conditions of their psychological, spiritual, and economic lives to see what in their experience has led them to burst out by the millions in response to Trump’s message.

Humiliation is the Root of All Terrorism

Editor’s Note: We at Tikkun have long advocated  for the adoption of a Strategy of Generosity in US foreign policy, decisively shifting our perspective on how we relate to the rest of the world from the “power over” approach which has failed miserably for 7000 years and produced nothing but violence and counter violence to a deep spiritual approach that recognizes the humanity of others and demonstrates our care for the well-being of all who live on the planet. In the following piece published on Truthout yesterday, our Editor-at-Large Peter Gabel offer a philosophical foundation for that vision that shows the relationship between healing and repairing the wounds that separate us and ending the otherwise unending cycle of violence that causes so much human suffering. If you find this compelling, help us spread the message. Join our interfaith and secular-humanist-welcoming Network of Spiritual Progressives or donate to Tikkun. Read our proposed Global Marshall Plan which would be a massive step toward implementing what Gabel calls for in this article.

A Response to Gary Peller

The desire for mutual recognition is not an abstract universal, but a concrete universal manifested in all human situations as an expression of the very meaning of what it means to be a social human being.

Spiritual Progressive Faith Formation

Sounding the Trumpet: How Churches Can Answer God’s Call to Justice
by Brooks Berndt and J. Alfred Smith Sr.
A Pair of Docs Publishing, 2013

For forty years, J. Alfred Smith Sr. served as the senior pastor for the Allen Temple Baptist Church in Oakland, a church with a national reputation for its ministry of black empowerment and liberation. Anyone who has been in Rev. Smith’s presence has likely been altered by the experience. He is a profound and eloquent person who carries within himself a joyful spiritual confidence coupled with a deep concern about the abiding presence of social injustice in our world. I would say that it is a relief to be around him because he affirms in his being the central message that we all long to hear—that hope and wisdom are reconcilable, that we can see the world exactly as it is with its suffering, pain, and injustice, and still feel with a full heart that we can transcend what is toward what ought to be. In his new book Sounding the Trumpet: How Churches Can Answer God’s Call to Justice, he has joined with Rev. Brooks Berndt to try to convey—through an exchange of letters between Rev. Berndt and himself—how a church can seek to become a force for social transformation.

Peter Gabel Responds

While I appreciate these serious, thoughtful responses to my book by Roger Gottlieb and Kim Chernin, I do not quite see myself reflected in their respective descriptions of the role of spirit (Gottlieb), or the role of hope (Chernin). My claim is that these are not abstract ideas that I attribute to human reality, but that they are concretely revealed by that human reality if we will but embrace “another way of seeing” that makes the presence of both spirit and hope visible in that human reality. The central idea of my book is that human beings are not actually “individuals” in the liberal sense of our existing in separate spheres as disconnected monads, but are rather inherently united by a social bond, a “fraternity” as the present pope calls it, that seeks to make itself manifest in the world through the experience of “mutual recognition.” Because of the legacy of the Fear of the Other that has shaped our cultural conditioning throughout history thus far—a fear reflected in our own individual lives through the social formation of our individual egos—our cultural memory inclines us to see the other as a threat. But coexisting with this fearful impulse in every human interaction and at every moment transcending the fearful impulse, is an unconditioned, wholly original, spontaneous movement toward a new and sudden recognition of one another in which we would become fully present to each other, and in which we would more fully realize ourselves as the source of each other’s completion. {{{subscriber}}} [trackrt]
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