Black History Month, Anti-Semitism, Ugly News, The Moan

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. 

Former judge: Expose the ‘dark, ugly head’ of hatred showing itself in Central Florida. Report from ABC/WFTV Florida.

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). 

“Banned books 2021.” Photo by pqgw on Flickr.

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

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10 thoughts on “Black History Month, Anti-Semitism, Ugly News, The Moan”

  1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
    Richard Reich-Kuykendall

    Matthew, Today you ask, “Do you see what Adrienne Rich sees, an ‘unmothered world’ when compassion is lacking and racism is on the rise?” The answer to the fist question is a “yes” for me. The toxic masculine that you have been talking about over the past couple of months, feels as if these men had not been raised at home by their mother’s. For me my father was an authoritarian and very chauvinistic, whereas my mother was very nurturing, and far more willing to love me even when I did things wrong. That’s why we need the return of the Goddess or the Sacred Feminine. The way that I combat this personally, is by teaching it through the various classes we have at my Creation Spirituality Community, which is called, “Spiritwind.” As far as the “moan” goes, “yes, of course I feel the moan… and do it more than I would like to. Thank you so much for willingness to teach us!

    1. Avatar

      We live in an ungodly world today, with many people who have lost their way. Racism is a conversation discussed and debated for over four hundred years and should not be prevalent in our lives today. What happens when all the privileged white people wake up from their white fog and realize that their white race is no longer the minority? They want to stop all conversation on critical race theory but do not want to talk about the why of it.
      The immaturity of some white people is staggering. When you do not have the courage to speak of something your kinfolks did. White folks have all kinds of kinfolk stuff in the closet, not just beginning with ancestors.
      We all have kinfolk stuff in the closet, but I don’t know of anyone so desperate to hide it as white folks are. It makes you wonder just how racist these hostile critical race theorist are ? Stop the racist rhetoric around the dinner table Children are not born Racist, they are born as loving and beautiful human being. Racism is a taught and condoned behavior. Everyone on this God given earth has a place on it, Black, Brown or purple We are all God’s children.. We have allowed one single man’s whiteness to destroy the democracy of our country. While some white people are banning books in school Trump is destroying everything America stands for. How long does it matter that he is white and privileged for us to see the final destruction of America. No Black man would ever have been allowed the privilege that Donald Trump has received. Trump was voted in despite his character or his mistreatment of women, because he was white and for some it did not matter, why are these people not fighting for America ? If we don’t have a country, reading about black history will be the least of our problems. All the hypocrites know why he is trying so hard to return to the White House. The highest status symbol for him is to destroy everything Barrack Obama put in place. One of the most knowledgeable congress woman in congress warned everyone at the beginning of his presidency of how mentally inadequate he was to serve, many psychiatrist agreed. If he is allowed to become president again, Maxine Water, Liz Cheney and many of his cronies who have fallen from his graces will be on his hit list or set for imprisonment. Nothing matters to Trump but winning; love is a secondary mindset for Trump whoever is in his orbit, and usable at any given time. Shall whiteness be the legacy of the history books ,or banned and put on the no reading list. When will all the rhetoric stop and some white people realize that banning any pertinent information from our history books is a reckless, useless, and dangerous way of educating our children. Most children of today are smarter today then ever before. There is not much that you can hide from them. Most intelligent parents tend to have enlightened conversations with their children on anything they wish to know. Anything hidden, children are likely to find out. Most parents realize that what their children find out is likely to be far better coming from them, then from anyone else.
      The News media, Facebook and Tick Tock gives them any other information they need to know. These are intelligent white parents with intelligent white children that parents send to Ivy league schools and they just don’t seem to get it. Whiteness will not be the legacy nor history of this country. Despite what some white parents think ” God is the Master of the Universe” He has the final say in all things. The Children are watching their parents and many do not want to be like their parents. This was witnessed by the many all over the world that marched for George Floyd in the height of a pandemic all over the world. The history books will not be favorable to those that want to ban Critical Race Theory nor any of the racist things happening in todays society. Voting rights, Medical care, Transportation, Schools, history continues to repeat itself everyday. How can you erase and try to hide something that is so prevalent in our society today? My mother had a saying ” What is done in the darkness will always come to light” I am a true believer in the prophecy, there is nothing in life that is truly hidden. The children will save the world.
      ” God’s Blessings Always”

  2. Avatar

    The moan of a broken heart,
    echoes through the canyon,
    for those born into a world,
    eclipsed by the darkness,
    of hate and racism.
    The Raven cries out,
    the song of human folly,
    as a lingering stench,
    fills the night air.
    The rising scent of
    decomposing flesh,
    of the true nature child,
    dries hard to fragile bones.

    The moan of a broken heart
    echoes through the canyon,
    of the ravaging pain,
    within the womb,
    of new birth aborted,
    by hands of violence.
    Undeveloped fetus,
    lies deformed, bleeding,
    wrapped in a cloth,
    branded with a swatiska.
    An unmothered child,
    stolen from living free to love,
    entangled in the throws,
    of hatred, fear and death.

    1. Avatar

      It’s true, the moan and the groan are sometimes human responses to deep human suffering and also to deep human joy… ineffable… Maybe that is why in contemplative spirituality, they say that God’s first language is silence… and our deepest hearts are human and Divine… the paradox and mystery of Divine Love….

  3. Avatar

    I moan along with all the people who are being frightened, oppressed, and “othered” by the acceptance in the mainstream of such vile goings on with no condemnation by a governor who is hell-bent (and I mean that literally) on gaining more and more power and being re-elected as a stepping stone to a presidential run. World War II was fought to make the world safe for democracy–my uncle was wounded, and my husband also served–and here we are with Nazis just another protest group and other white hate groups rising in influence, under the protection of those in power. The fringe has moved center stage. I regret having to live in the state of Florida. I think it is one of the leading states for repressive legislation affecting every freedom, from limiting the ability of communities to govern themselves to more and more voter suppression being proposed this year and restrictions on abortion even for a child who has been raped by a stranger or family member. It is very dark, but we are still called to speak out in whatever way we can. Hope is a verb with its sleeves rolled up, as someone wrote, and it is not dependent on a specific outcome but rather on a vision of what can be, like the beloved community—even when it seems very far off.

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Sue, And thus the need to walk the path of the Via Transformativa–the path of justice and compassion. As mystic-prophets we can speak out, we can protest, or as Rabbi Heschel said we can “interfere.” We are here to transform our lives so that they are closer and closer to the image of the Cosmic Christ, and we need to transform society so that it is closer and closer to the image of the kingdom and queendom of God…

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