Week of 11/7-12: Governing Ourselves, the Inner Life, and Peter Gabel

November 7, 2022. The Bigger Issues on This Season’s Ballot (bigger than food and gas prices)
In this meditation we explore some of the big issues at stake in this election: Democracy in America, Social Security, the rights of women to have sovereignty over their own bodies, the right to marry whomever one loves, the rise of fascism and the violence that accompanies it.

Women upset by the overturning of Roe vs Wade may have a huge impact in this election. Photo by Gayatri Malhotra on Unsplash

November 8, 2022. Governing Humans Is Hard for Humans
Here we explore the difficulties we have in governing ourselves as well as our unfortunate proclivity to violence. We also look at Bible stories which illustrate our difficulties in communication and the violence we sometimes perpetrate even against our own family members.

November 9, 2022. Consciousness & Conscience: The Interior Life of Humans
In this meditation we reflect on the importance of our inner lives. Have human beings lost their capacity to look inward? Matthew Fox looks at the Four Paths of Creation Spirituality as a guide for our inner process. And finally, we have this insightful quotation from Meister Eckhart: The outward work can never be small if the inward one is great, and the outward work can never be great or good if the inward is small or of little worth.  

Our inner lives ripple out into the world around us. Photo by Snappy Shutters on Unsplash

November 10, 2022. More on Humanity’s Interior Life or Lack Thereof
In this meditation we explore sociopaths and those who lack an interior life, a conscience. In contrast, we also celebrate those whose compassion is reflected in their work, and we look at wise quotations about right livelihood, including this one from John of the Cross: My occupation: Love. It’s all I do.

November 11, 2022. Peter Gabel: Pioneer & Prophet in Law & Education
We celebrate the life of Peter Gabel, co-founder of the magazine Tikkun, which is Jewish in origin but ecumenical in practice and firmly committed to social justice. Gabel was a lawyer who questioned the ethics of his profession, wondering whether it was redeemable at all. Notably, he informed us that the “originalist” philosophy of many of today’s Supreme Court justices was never mentioned in law school. Not once.

Peter Gabel. Image from his Twitter account.

November 12, 2022. In Memoriam: Peter Gabel, Part II
In this meditation, we further celebrate this good man, called by theologian Cornell West “one of the grand prophetic voices in our day.” Gabel was not only a lawyer, but the dean of New College School of Law and the president of New College for twenty years. He was also the author of several books, including The Desire for Mutual Recognition: Social Movements and the Dissolution of the False Self. He was committed to transforming the practice of law as well as the politics of our country. At his memorial service, people said that he had an inner glow, and that he “brought out the best in everyone.”

Banner image: I voted. Photo by Josh Carter on Unsplash

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2 thoughts on “Week of 11/7-12: Governing Ourselves, the Inner Life, and Peter Gabel”

  1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
    Richard Reich-Kuykendall

    I chose to write on the DM for November 10, 2022. On this day Matthew told us that “we have a name for people who seem to be completely out of touch with their interior lives: Sociopaths. People who exhibit no feeling whatsoever in the presence of the pain and suffering of others.” Unfortunately we have some of those people in
    world politics now. But then he said, “for those who are still in touch with their interior life, who can still feel the realness of Joy and Suffering, Creativity and Compassion, and feel themselves called to respond, let us meditate with some wisdom offered through the centuries about humanity’s interior life as it relates to our work.” Then you listed five different quotations on work and ask us: “Which of these testimonies to the interior life of our work touches you the deepest? Actually these two quotations touched me most deeply: “They all attain perfection when they find joy in their work.” (Bhagavad Gita)–that is something I sometimes must remind myself , because too often I get caught up in the details of my work. And the second quotation that touches me deeply is: “My occupation: Love. It’s all I do.” (John of the Cross)–and for the same reason mentioned above I need to remind myself of this. Thank you to Matthew for all that he gives the world !!!

  2. Avatar

    I am also struck by the words about sociopaths. Years ago, I read that the two top areas of occupations that attract them are in politics and religion. It is all about power, and we surely see many of them today in both. There is no inner life except the drive for power. Yet, there are enough to give us a taste of what richness and inspiration can come from those who shine from within, like the Pope, the Dalai Lama, Matthew and others. We must continue to cultivate and enrich our inner life so that we too can be beacons of hope.

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