Friday, January 6, 2012

Incomplete Thoughts - Fasting Blog Pt. 2

Trust has been a recurring them for me during this trip, trust, and also language. As I begin writing, I am not sure of how these themes are related, only that both seem to intercept and underlie everything happening around me. It struck me, yesterday afternoon as I was drifting through the kitchen in a haze, preparing V8 with cayenne pepper for me, hot water with lemon/honey/cinnamon for Ted, how much we all have to trust each other in this space. Many of us are meeting for the first time, are belongings are in a shared space, as are our beds. We are putting ourselves into vulnerable positions, wearing black hoods and walking outside, inciting enmity or approbation or intentional ignoring from those confronted with our message (“torture is terrorism,” “indefinite detention is unlawful,” “shut down Guantanamo”), weary and at times befuddled from lack of sleep and fasting. Somehow this community creates a space that allows us to exist outside of conventional defenses, as though we are so aware of our mutual reliance that we hardly ever think twice about it. “there is no question that we need each other,” Carmen said during a reflection a few nights ago. It is community that enables us to continue and it is community that compelled me to come.

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Why was I thinking the other day about Hannah’s vision of the web? I was on a Skype call with my older sister, Hannah, recently and she recounted a memory from when she was six years old, standing in the kitchen and seeing a vision – an intricate web of interlaced parts, all things connected – “this means something,” she said to herself. I don’t remember her ever telling me that before, but the same idea, this notion of interconnectedness, has become a kind weltanschauung the vantage from which I view and engage with life.
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This morning’s gospel reading was Mark 1:7-11. Jesus is baptized by John after which the “heavens are torn open” and God’s spirit descends upon Jesus, “like a dove.” Bill S. observed that, in theological studies the assumption is made that this is not something that visibly happened, that people standing around did not see this rending of the heavens, this descending dove, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t true. “Scripture is calling us to look deeper,” to look toward what is unseen, to see through illusions. Illusion blurs so much of our sense of reality, sometimes created with great intentionality, through manipulation, for the sake of power – sometimes created inadvertently, through carelessness, ignorance – it is our responsibility to call one another to look deeper, to really see. And to know too that what we look to leads us. Chantal closed the morning circle leading us in a song, “woke up this morning with my mind stayed on freedom.” A mind stayed on freedom aims toward it, eyes looking for humanity, recognize it, hearts hungering for justice are filled by it.

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