Just How Far?

Today at Church we had a guest speaker give an award winning Unitarian sermon. The sermon was to be about Doing Your Part-titled Just How Much. The theme was to be just how much inequality and oppression do you take before you take a stand. This is a great topic and the psychological discussions alone would be enough to interest me. Plus this sermon has won awards and we Unitarians are a skeptical bunch so I was excited. I was entranced and inspired by Dr. Groth’s stories of her great, great, great grandfather’s fight for liberalism on the front lines of the Abolitionist movement. But by mid way thru the sermon I was very ill at ease, and by the fourth time the Reverend has used the term fascist to describe President Bush or a Right Wing Christian I was ready to leave in protest. THIS was liberalism? To me it was fundamentalism, not liberalism. Where there is no room for compromise, there is plenty of room for error; where there is only us and them, there is little room for me. I can get very passionate, but to me, this was not a Sermon, but a hate filled speech that stemmed from a viewpoint that once looked like mine. This goes back to my often held view that left wing fundamentalists, and right wing fundamentalists both have their backs against the same wall but are facing different directions. Many found the speech inspiring. In a way-so did I. I am inspired to never let the hate get into me that badly. I can’t shake the belief that this speech was given in a dozen other “fascist” Church’s just with “Right Wing” terms swapped with “Left Wing”. Hate is Hate.

So Just How Far do I need to be pushed until I stand up for what I believe in? I think I answered that question a year ago when I sold my sports car and started this wild journey into a more sustainable lifestyle. I almost never attend rallies. Rallies in the 60’s changed the world. But today the world itself has changed and most rallies seem to me to be more slacktivism than something that will actually change anything. I have chosen a different path-it was intended to be one of action, but in the light of today’s sermon I think it is religious as well.

Mia and I have chosen to lead by example where we can, and are building our lives from our clothes and food, to our yard and our cars to be something that others can look to and say-I could do that to! But lately we are taking more active roles. Take this week for example. Today I attended a training seminar with Sustain Dane to become trained in facilitating study groups for The Natural Step which is the Sustainability Model our Village has chosen to follow. This Spring I will be leading groups to help educate our community to start to change. Tuesday I will working with our Green Committee to begin the process on managing the stormwater in our community. And then Thursday I will be at the kick off meeting for the Smart Growth Steering Committee for our village as one of 3 chosen to guide our village through the planning process to hopefully avoid anymore sprawl here. I may not be standing on a corner with a sign, but I also think I am doing more good.

Am I angered by the actions of our Federal Administration? Hell Yes. But I refuse to dirty my mind with hate for them. I said earlier that I am coming to view our decision to change others through our actions as a religious act. Jesus very rarely got angry (I certainly can’t see him saying this speech), instead he helped thousands learn to live better lives by living his life as a servant-meekly helping his fellow man. Perhaps it was my recent attending of a Green Sanctuary meeting, but I am thinking that environmentalism is a religious and moral act. And I choose to follow in the steps of the service oriented love of Gandhi, Buddha and Jesus, not the hate and fundamentalism of Dr. Groth.


2 Responses

  1. Good for you, man. That kind of stuff makes me crazy. It can be hard to listen or read with an open mind, especially when it’s somebody in a position of authority, that you respect or want to respect.

    It’s a shame, because the topic is so full of potential. But any position or agenda can be distorted, commandeered, or misrepresented.

    I think divisiveness is the most destructive force in our politicis and our culture today. Let’s leave the we’re-right-they’re-wrong verbal self-gratification to talk radio, and just get back to work.

    Great post…

  2. Interesting post. That ‘sermon’ sounded much more like a political stump speech from the sounds of it.

    The politics of our current era has pretty much forced people to declare themselves into one one two camps. Either you’re a liberal/left-wing/democrat or you’re a conservative/right-wing/republican, as if we all can identify with either group completely.

    This is intentional, I believe, since to truly have a voice at the state or national level you need the leverage of one of the two big parties, so all of the name-calling and pontification reinforces the notion in most people’s brains that you have to be either a Republican or a Democrat, and because of that the smaller parties continue to be relegated to the sidelines. Since corporate money controls the agenda of both major parties to a great degree, you’re basically fitting into their paradigm when you join either of those parties.

    That’s why I’ve soured on politics in America and am putting more emphasis on personal readiness rather than political change, since fighting the behemoths that run both big parties is a fool’s errand. Everyone will figure the scam out sooner or later.

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