This is a test.
by Leonardo Boff
If it is true that climatic disturbances are anthropogenic, that is, that they have their genesis in the irresponsible behavior of humans (less of the poor, but much more of the great industrial corporations), then it is clear that the issue is more an ethical than a scientific one. This is so because the quality of our relationships with nature and with our Common Home were not, and they still are not, adequate and positive. Pope Francis says in his inspiring encyclical letter, Laudato Sii: on the caring of the Common Home, (2015): «Never have we mistreated and hurt our Common Home so much as in the last two centuries…These situations provoke the howls of Sister Earth, joining the wails of the abandoned of the world, with a cry that demands that we take a different path» (n. 53). That different path urgently implies a regenerative ethic for the Earth.
July 1, 2015
Interdependence Day Celebration
Transforming July 4th into an event affirming the value of everyone on earth and affirming our interdependence with them and with the earth itself
Faced with July 4th celebrations that are focused on militarism, ultra-nationalism, and “bombs bursting in air,” many American families who do not share those values turn July 4th into another summer holiday focused on picnics, sports and fireworks while doing their best to avoid the dominant rhetoric and bombast.
We in the Network of Spiritual Progressives believe that this is a net loss. There is much worth celebrating in American history that deserves attention on July 4th, though it is rarely the focus of the public events.
We also acknowledge that in the 21st century there is a pressing need to develop a new kind of consciousness—a recognition of the interdependence of everyone on the planet. A new (and this time, nonviolent) revolution is necessary—one in which our actions reflect a realization that our well-being depends on the well-being of everyone else on the planet and of the planet itself.
We’ve designed the following material as a possible guide for individual families or for public celebrations that share the values we hold.
Editor’s Note: as a Jewish and Interfaith magazine, we seek to publish the most love-and-justice-and-environmentally-sensitive articles we can find from any religious or spiritual or secular humanist perspective, feeling at some level deeply aligned with people of all faiths or none who want the NEW BOTTOM LINE as defined at www.spiritualprogressives.org/covenant. A Christian Humanist Manifesto: November 14, 2012 by Roger E. Olson
Few words provoke such a negative reaction among conservative Christians as “humanism.” Few single words so well summarize secular culture and its anthropocentrism as “humanism.” In the popular imagination, anyway, “humanism” evokes the impression of what media talking heads call “the indomitable human spirit” and conservative Christians call “man-centeredness.” By itself, however, without adjectival qualifications, “humanism” simply means belief in the dignity, worth and cultural creativity of human beings. Add “Renaissance” to “humanism” and you get Michelangelo and Shakespeare. Add “secular” to “humanism” and you get Aldous Huxley and John Dewey. What do you get when you add “Christian” to “humanism” and is that even possible?
To acknowledge our own screw-ups is an important first step. But the High Holidays are not about getting ourselves to feel guilty, but rather engaging in a process of change. If we don’t make those changes internally and in our communities and in our society, all the breast-beating and self-criticism become an empty ritual.
Why work? For the Benedictine spirit,
work is not simply work. Whatever kind of work it is—
professional or technical,
physical or intellectual,
financial or social—
it is to be good work,
work that makes the world
a better, more just, more fair,
and more humane place. for everyone. The truth is that work has a spiritual function.
Rav Kook on Relating Israel and Humankind – 2
With translation by Rabbi Itzhaq Marmorstein and some comments by Dr. Yitzhaq Hayut-Man, we bring here two passages from the Rav’s notebooks. Rav Kook was the inspired religious leader of Palestine in the early part of the 20th century. I – 8 notebooks, book 7 entry 166
The compassion of Avraham includes all humankind, and the compassion of Aaron is concentrated in Israel. Whoever is cleaving to the quality of true compassion, in (or to) the light of Torah, needs to join together the two ‘clouds of glory’ of Avraham and Aaron, and these two lights will radiate upon him. And then it will be said ‘Beloved is the human that was created in the image of the Divine, and beloved is Israel who were given a vessel of delight’ (Ethics of Our Ancestors, 3:14).
Editor’s note: What’s attractive about this piece is the way it highlights the universalism in Rabbi Kook, whose teachings were twisted by his son into being a cheerleader for right-wing politics. Yet what still remains troubling is the insistence that the people of Israel have a special role, which can only make sense if we redefine Israel to include those of all nations committed to a world of peace, justice, love and generosity of spirit and action.–Rabbi Michael Lerner
Rabbi Kook’s Understanding of Israel and Humankind
Selected and translated by Rabbi Itzchak Marmorstein
Comments by Dr. Yitzhaq Hayut-Man
Among the greatest admirers of Rav Kook’s teachings are, naturally, those who studied at Merkaz haRav and are the spearhead in the settlement movement. So there is a widespread impression that Rav Kook’s teachings are chauvinistic -nationalistic, seeing Israel as a nation set-apart not considering the nations. But in truth, Rav Kook has a most universal vision, yet one in which the nation of Israel has a special role in, producing a particular gift for the greatest benefit for all humankind. We shall present here just two quotes from the many in Rav Kook’s inspired writings, with a little commentary on each:
“It is proper that all humankind (Enoshiyut) would unite into one family, and then will end all the quarrels and all the bad characteristics that derive from the division of nations and their borders.
The Spiral of Jewish Learning by Natan Margalit
Posted May 29, 2012 by nmargalit in Organic Torah. 1 Comment
As we come to the end of the school year, it is traditional to reflect on one of the central values in Judaism: learning. I want to start with a quotation from Mary Catherine Bateson, a wonderful scholar and writer in her own right and also the daughter of the famous anthropologist Margaret Mead and of one of my intellectual heroes, the anthropologist/philosopher Gregory Bateson. Ms. Bateson writes:
Nature and Nonviolence
by Thich Nhat Hanh
[Listen to Audio!]
You don’t discriminate between the seed and the plant. You see that they ‘inter-are’ with each other, that they are the same thing. Looking deeply at the young cornstalk, you can see the seed of corn, still alive, but with a new appearance. The plant is the continuation of the seed. The practice of meditation helps us to see things other people can’t see.
Excerpts from The Thunder: Perfect Mind
(Translated by Rev. Hal Taussig and others from a text
in Coptic from the Nag Hammadi library,
1st 2 centuries of the Common Era.)
I [in Coptic, Anokh] am the first and the last
I am she who is honored and she who is mocked
I am the whore and the holy woman
I am the wife and the virgin
I am the mother and the daughter
I am the limbs of my mother
I am the sterile woman and she has many children
I am she whose wedding is extravagant and I didn’t have a husband
I am the midwife and she who hasn’t given birth
I am the comfort of labor pains
I am the bride and the bridegroom
And it is my husband who gave birth to me
I am my father’s mother,
My husband’s sister, and he is my child
I am the slave-woman of him who served me
I am she, the lord of my child
But it is he who gave birth to me at the wrong time
And he is my child born at the right time
And my power is from within him
I am the staff of his youthful power
And he is the baton of my old womanhood
Whatever he wants happens to me
I am the silence never found
And the idea infinitely recalled
I am the voice with countless sounds
And the thousand guises of the word
I am the speaking of my name
You who loathe me, why do you love me and loathe the ones who love me? You who deny me, confess me
You who confess me, deny me
You who speak the truth about me, lie about me
You who lie about me, speak the truth about me
You who know me, ignore me
You who ignore me, know me
I am both awareness and obliviousness
I am humiliation and pride
I am without shame
I am ashamed
I am security and I am fear
I am war and peace
Why do you despise my fear and curse my pride? I am she who exists in all fears and in trembling boldness
I am she who is timid
And I am safe in a comfortable place
I am witless, and I am wise
Why did you hate me with your schemes? I shall shut my mouth among those whose mouths are shut and then I will show up and speak
Why then did you hate me, you Greeks? Because I am a barbarian among barbarians?
Sayings of the Jewish Buddhist
If there is no self, whose arthritis is this? Drink tea and nourish life; with the first sip, joy; with the second sip, satisfaction; with the third sip, peace; with the fourth, a Danish. Wherever you go, there you are. Your luggage is another story. Accept misfortune as a blessing. Do not wish for perfect health, or a life without problems. What would you talk about? The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single Oy.
Reb Zalman is one of the most inspired teachers of Judaism alive today. I was blessed to have him as my teacher for thirty years while I studied under his supervision for my smicha (rabbinic ordination), and he chaired the Beyt Din (rabbinic court) that granted ordination and conferred on me the title of rabbi some sixteen years ago). –Rabbi Michael Lerner
A Mystical Message about Hanukkah from Rabbi Zalman Schachter Shalomi
Several times the Bible tells us that God wants to have a place “to make His name dwell therein” it’s interesting that it says not that ‘I will dwell there’ but that my Name will dwell there. While everything isGod, in God, the whole cosmos is not separate from God, the point that a Temple makes is – that there is a concentrated, stronger focus of the quality of divinity for those who enter there. So while it is true that God is in everything there is, everything that is broadcasts its own quality, a Temple was a broadcasting tower from which a signal went out to the world.
The Earth is precious, we have no other home. The people of the Earth are one people. The differences between us are small
Compared to our common nature
And our common future, as humanity. Every person deserves
To share in the Earth’s bounty:
Enough to eat,
Clean air to breathe,
And a chance to contribute
To the well-being of the Earth
And all its creatures. We cannot ensure a healthy future
For our planet
Without protecting and caring
For all of its people.
I don’t know if you got the snail mail letter I sent a few weeks ago but since I haven’t heard from you, I’m trying email. I like to update our community each year about my personal news and our Tikkun/Network of Spiritual Progressives situation as we enter into the holiday season and into the new year. I know this letter is long, but please read all of it!!! If you’d prefer, you can read it on line at
Let me start with some great personal news. The nodule on my lungs has not grown, and there is no indication of cancer elsewhere in my body as of the last CT scan in July.