Week of 10/16-21/2023: In the Face of War, the God of Compassion and Fellowship

October 16, 2023: Real Men vs. Strongmen, Netanyahu and his Kind
When Netanyahu was re-elected prime minister, in spite of allegations of fraud and bribery, great protests broke out in Israel, the largest in Israel’s history. No doubt this took a toll on the armed forces’ morale and preparedness, paving the way for the horrible surprise attack of Hamas on Israeli civilians. Ruth Ben-Ghiat, a historian, cultural critic, and expert on fascism, says: The lesson of authoritarian history is that when strongmen leaders normalize extremists, lawless and violent people are elevated to positions of extreme power, accelerating the assault on democracy and bringing unrest and instability.*

Around 200 peace advocates organized by Jewish Voices for Peace rallied in front of the White House on 10/16/23 to protest the collective punishment of civilian Gaza for the horrific terror attacks by Hamas against folks in Israel. Photo by Stephen Melkisethian on Flickr.

October 17, 2023: An Elegant Day at the Church for the Fellowship of All Peoples
The Church for the Fellowship of All Peoples was recently honored as an historical landmark by the city of San Francisco. It was the first church to explicitly declare itself interracial and interfaith. it was inaugurated in 1944 by Drs. Howard Thurman and Alfred Fisk. Matthew spoke at the recent commemoration. Howard Thurman, updating St. Paul wrote: It is my belief that in the Presence of God there is neither male nor female, white nor black, Gentile nor Jew, Protestant nor Catholic, Hindu, Buddhist, nor Muslim, but a human spirit stripped to the literal substance of itself before God.  

October 18, 2023: Howard Thurman’s Vision for the Fellowship of All Peoples, continued
At the ceremony honoring the Church of the Fellowship of All Peoples, Matthew said in his speech: To do this letting go,,,, we need to look at our mistakes and misdeeds–-personal and communal–-over the centuries. Slavery, genocide, hatred, lynchings, injustice of an economic kind, racial kind, gender kind, homophobic kind, hatred of Mother Earth–-creation itself, ecocide and matricide looming so large in our growing awareness today—all this very often in the name of religion. About the latter, Howard Thurman wrote: “the collective psyche shrieks with the agony that it feels as a part of the death cry of a pillaged nature.” This church is a model of how we can come together in true fellowship.

Yael Deckelbaum – Prayer Of The Mothers (Official Video)

October 19, 2023: The Church for the Fellowship of All Peoples as a Landmark, continued
In today’s world sometimes true elegance seems displaced by an “I win/you lose” mentality. This spiral of violence and separation is on full display now in the Middle East. Meanwhile, on the other side of the coin, we have a beautiful church now celebrating its 79th year in San Francisco: The Church for the Fellowship of All Peoples. May there be more interracial and interfaith gatherings of people on this planet.

October 20, 2023: Where is Compassion, & the Kissing of Peace & Justice?
While writing his book A Spirituality Named Compassion, Matthew was thrilled to discover that, in Judaism, “compassion is the secret name for God.” It gives new meaning to the (Jewish) Jesus’ words: “Be you compassionate as your Creator in heaven is compassionate.” (Luke 6:36) Meister Eckhart reminds us that “compassion means justice” but also he  wonderfully names the union of action and contemplation, of justice and love, when he cites the (Jewish) psalmist: “Compassion is where peace and justice kiss.” 

“Israeli Amir and Palestinian Amjad: ‘we are no enemies!’” He says, “It’s normal to help each other. Forget about bloody politics. Think about humanity.” By Nieuwsuur

October 21, 2023: Funding Solidarity and Compassion, Not War
Matthew reminds us that Compassion is the most important energy on earth.  We all need to devote ourselves to compassion at this perilous time in human and planetary history. One example of compassion in action is the attendance of five rabbis at the funeral of a young Palestinian-American boy who was stabbed to death in an anti-Muslim hate crime. (Another is evidenced in the video below.) Now is the time to stop funding war and instead finance ways to deconstruct hatred, defuse violence, and eliminate poverty like that which Gaza has been mired in for generations.


Banner image: Graffiti on the Israeli Wall of the West Bank in Palestine. Graffiti on the Palestinian side of the bar has been converted into one of the most recognizable forms of protest against its construction. The Israeli West Bank barrier is a separation barrier built by Israel along the Green Line and inside parts of the West Bank. Photo by Edgardo W. Olivera on Flickr.

Queries for Contemplation

A Spirituality Named Compassion: Uniting Mystical Awareness with Social Justice

In A Spirituality Named Compassion, Matthew Fox delivers a profound exploration of the meaning and practice of compassion. Establishing a spirituality for the future that promises personal, social, and global healing, Fox marries mysticism with social justice, leading the way toward a gentler and more ecological spirituality and an acceptance of our interdependence which is the substratum of all compassionate activity.
“Well worth our deepest consideration…Puts compassion into its proper focus after centuries of neglect.” –The Catholic Register

The Hidden Spirituality of Men: Ten Metaphors to Awaken the Sacred Masculine

To awaken what Fox calls “the sacred masculine,” he unearths ten metaphors, or archetypes, ranging from the Green Man, an ancient pagan symbol of our fundamental relationship with nature,  to the Spiritual Warrior….These timeless archetypes can inspire men to pursue their higher calling to connect to their deepest selves and to reinvent the world.
“Every man on this planet should read this book — not to mention every woman who wants to understand the struggles, often unconscious, that shape the men they know.” — Rabbi Michael Lerner, author of The Left Hand of God

Responses are welcomed. To add your comment, please click HERE or scroll to the bottom of the page.

Share this meditation


Daily Meditations with Matthew Fox is made possible through the generosity of donors. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation

Search Meditations





Receive our daily meditations

Leave a Comment

To help moderate the volume of responses, the Comment field is limited to 1500 characters (roughly 300 words), with one comment per person per day.

Please keep your comments focused on the topic of the day's Meditation.

As always, we look forward to your comments!!
The Daily Meditation Team

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Join us in meditation that supports your compassionate action

Receive Matthew Fox's Daily Meditation by subscribing below: