As we enter February, Black History Month, ugly news stares us in the face.
The rise of white supremacy is moving mainstream thanks to cowardly politicians who either 1) fan the flames or 2) pretend it does not matter and keep silent.
White supremacy in America is thoroughly wrapped up with anti-Semitism–the Ku Klux Klan came after Black people and also Jews and Catholics in the 19th century–and after Jews in the march in Charleston not so long ago in our 21st century (where one highly placed person declared there were “good people on both sides” of said march).
This weekend we learned of people dressed up like Nazis and saluting like Nazis on a bridge over a freeway in Orlando, Florida and the first word from the governor’s office was, “are you sure they are Nazis?” We learned that over 20 Black colleges received death threats and bomb threats in the past few days. We watch video of a Jewish student being taken from his car and beaten up by violent antisemites.
And we see state legislatures in Texas and other places passing laws that forbid teachers to educate the next generation about the history of slavery and reconstruction and Jim Crow laws. As if denial will save us; or as if young people are not strong enough to deal with the truth (because many adults clearly are not, witness the role of denial in climate change and in the January 6 realities).
There is no way to come to healing if books are banned and truth ignored and we wallow in denial. Those who preach denial are cynical in the extreme for they presume that the young are not capable of creating a different culture.
Adrienne Rich speaks to these realities when she says we live in an “unmothered world.” Patriarchy presents us with such a world; it flees from our mother capacities which includes of course our capacity for compassion and empathy. There is none of that where a grotesque patriarchy rules or strives to rule. Patriarchy kills authentic mothering capacities in both women and men. It has no room for empathy or compassion.
There is much to moan about, and as Barbara Holmes teaches: The moan is the utterance that communicates the ineffability of the crisis, the need to connect to others nearby, and our dependence on a groaning Holy Spirit.
See Barbara A. Holmes, Crisis Contemplation: Healing the Wounded Village, p. 55.
See also: Matthew Fox, Meister Eckhart: A Mystic-Warrior for Our Times, pp. 66-73.
To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.
Banner Image: “Earthy Black Leaders in History” Four posters of a series of eight by Nancy Nhi Le. Purchase at BrainyPrintables on Etsy. Reprinted with permission.
Queries for Contemplation
Do you see what Adrienne Rich sees, an “unmothered world” when compassion is lacking and racism is on the rise? How do we combat that, personally and culturally? Are you feeling the moan that Barbara Holmes calls for?
Meister Eckhart: A Mystic-Warrior For Our Time
While Matthew Fox recognizes that Meister Eckhart has influenced thinkers throughout history, he also wants to introduce Eckhart to today’s activists addressing contemporary crises. Toward that end, Fox creates dialogues between Eckhart and Carl Jung, Thich Nhat Hanh, Rabbi Heschel, Black Elk, Karl Marx, Rumi, Adrienne Rich, Dorothee Soelle, David Korten, Anita Roddick, Lily Yeh, M.C. Richards, and many others.
“Matthew Fox is perhaps the greatest writer on Meister Eckhart that has ever existed. (He) has successfully bridged a gap between Eckhart as a shamanistic personality and Eckhart as a post-modern mentor to the Inter-faith movement, to reveal just how cosmic Eckhart really is, and how remarkably relevant to today’s religious crisis! ” — Steven Herrmann, Author of Spiritual Democracy: The Wisdom of Early American Visionaries for the Journey Forward