We are exploring the meaning of the word generosity.  The word comes from two Latin words: generos, which means to beget, produce, create, cause to exist, bring to life or generate.  Thus, to be creative.

Life-bearer. Isabella Mariana on Pexels

“Generosity” also derives from the word genus, which means birth, descent, origin (especially of high birth), father, family, nation, stock, offspring, race, kind, class, sort.  The words ‘generate’ or ‘generative’ also derive from the word genus or kind.  To be part of a kind, part of a genus, is to have brought being into existence, to have procreated and given birth. 

There is such an affirmation of our powers of creativity in this term ‘generosity’ and its related terms!  It takes generosity to be generative, to be creative.  Is every effort at creativity an act of generosity?

How an Alaskan family gained the trust of hummingbirds

The word ”Kin” means “a group of persons of common ancestry, one’s relatives” according to Webster’s dictionary.

From today’s creation story we know that all being is kin, all flesh is kin, all the beings of the universe are our relatives. We all derive from the same ancestry after all. We are all of one kind, one kin.

What a moment we live in for reinventing and re-celebrating community! Community motivates for generosity—in community people find ways to give with greater abundance born of their sense of belonging.

“Waverly Community Garden” Photo by d-olwen-dee on Flickr

The word ”kind” as a noun derives from the Old English word cyn or kin. It too denotes “family and lineage, the fundamental nature or essence of a group united by common traits or interests.” (The Latin word for this is genus.)

Who can deny the common interests we share with others of our kin today? The emphasis on “family values” that we hear about today is correct insofar as we seek out the common interests and traits and therefore a common morality in a group that is united.

But it is wrong to narrow the term “family” to only one’s “blood” ancestors.

Victor Watkins, Wildlife Advisor for the World Society for the Protection of Animals, with rescued Eurasian brown bears at the 160-acre Zarnesti Bear Sanctuary in Romania, funded by WSPA. Photo © Jiri Rezac 2012 on Flickr

Our true family is the family of being, the family of creation, the family of our Creator and Source of all being. Is this not why so many traditions have called the Creator “Father” or “Mother”?

The new cosmology has broadened our understanding of family considerably.

The word “kind” as an adjective means affectionate, loving, gentle, or agreeable, and also derives from the terms “kin” and “kind” as nouns.

“Lights for Liberty: A Vigil to End Human Detention Camps, St. Paul, Minnesota, 7/12/2019. Photo by Fibonacci Blue on Flickr

To be kind goes naturally with being family, with being related, with being kin or of a kind. Families survive by caring and by kindness (hopefully). Kinship leads to kindness—or ought to.

One can expect kindness therefore to take on fuller expression as we live out our true family more fully. It is time we genuinely begin to live out the blessing of our shared 13.8 billion year history with “all our relations.”

Adapted from Matthew Fox, Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Transforming Evil in Soul and Society, pp. 382-384. 

Also referencing Rupert Sheldrake, Ways to Go Beyond and Why They Work

Banner Image: “Embracing an Elder” Photo by KAL VISUALS on Unsplash

Queries for Contemplation

Are you learning to stretch your meaning of kin and kind?  Do you see how this also stretches your capacity for generosity?  Both receiving it and becoming for grateful for it as well as giving it?

Recommended Reading

Fox makes the point that religion has so often oversold the concept of “sin” that it has left us without language or power to combat evil. Through comparing the Eastern tradition of the 7 chakras to the Western tradition of the 7 capital sins, Fox allows us to think creatively about our capacity for personal and institutional evil and what we can do about them.

Your Music Your Way Summit

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4 thoughts on “Kind, Kin and Generosity”

  1. Avatar
    Sally Tardin Pamplin

    Keep our earth family safe! It was good to see that there was mention below the hummingbird video not to use red food coloring in the hummingbird food. I hope that people take note but if they did not read that far below the video, here is “the word” from the Bird Watcher’s Digest:
    It’s true that no solid research yet exists to prove that red dye is harmful to hummingbirds. … But all hummingbird feeders have red parts that serve to attract the birds, so the dye is unnecessary at best, and potentially harmful at worst. Artificial nectars have little if any added nutritional value over sugar water.
    https://www.birdwatchersdigest.com/www.birdwatchersdigest.com › Home › Learn › Hummingbirds

    1. Gail Sofia Ransom

      Dear Sally,
      Thank you for pointing out the potential danger of red dye in the foods we serve hummingbirds. There are always other layers, aren’t there? While most of us were touched by the relationship between the birds and the cupped hands of humans filled with red nectar, you articulated another layer of the relationship. There is always more to learn in every situation. Thanks for letting us know.
      Gail Sofia Ransom
      For the Daily Meditation Team

  2. Avatar

    Who Is “our Creator and Source of all being?” 

    The Hindus believe that Spirit is the ultimate Creator and Source of all being. Paramahansa Yogananda, widely regarded as the father of yoga in the West, wrote: Spirit existed before God. God is the Creator of the universe, but Spirit is the Creator of God.”  Yogananda’s Guru, Swami Sri Yukteswar, wrote that Spirit is “the unqualified Absolute, the transcendent Father beyond creation.” Hindus believe that Spirit animated/created God and that God then sinned against Spirit, causing God/god to manifest as both, 1.) the less-than-divine illusionary material universe and its soul, the world soul, who are often referred to as Mother Earth… and 2.) the Universe as it actually is, an essentially undifferentiated mass of light permeated with Christ/Krishna/Buddha/God consciousness.  Jesus said that a person has to go through Him, or this Christ/Krishna/Buddha/God consciousness in creation to attain onto, or become one with, the “unqualified Absolute, the transcendent Father beyond creation.”  
    One of the founding figures of the modern New Age Movement, David Spangler, wrote: The world soul is usually conceived as a ‘formative force,’ an active, intelligent, purposeful spiritual presence at work in the material world to guide and guard the course of planetary evolution. It is generally not accorded the status of being the ultimate source, or Creator [Spirit], but might be looked upon as a [less-than-divine] great angelic or archangelic being [or Mother Earth] presiding over the well being of the world, or the gestalt, the wholeness of all the lives and patterns that manifest upon, and as, the earth.”  

    1. Gail Sofia Ransom

      Dear Thomas,
      Your writing brings to mind the work of Rupert Sheldrake, the British physicist who has taught with Matthew, co-authored The Physics of Angels with him, and will be teaching with him at Orvieto this summer. You have mentioned him on other posts. Sheldrake writes about inter-penetrating three dimensional fields in both the material and spiritual planes. Photons are a field throughout the universe. Atoms are another field which simultaneous interacts with the smaller photons, the larger elements, as well as Earth elements, social circles, solar systems, galaxies, etc. The cosmos is alive and humming with these interactive fields.

      The same goes for the spiritual entities. You have given us several examples of structures for the divine as understood by different religions. Each one trying to give expression to the way the spiritual influences work together as interactive fields. Vin diagrams, Trinitarian diagrams. We are living in a time when humankind is seeing these different fields as interpenetrating and influencing each other’s system.

      SHeldrake posits that the paradigms of the universe, or what he calls its habits, are evolving in tandem with the rest of the universe. Would the relationships of divine influences be evolving along with their patterns of engagement? Will these relationships you describe today, be the same tomorrow? Are they a scaffolding or an evolving field?
      Gail Sofia Ransom
      For the Daily Meditation Team

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