Week of 10/23-28/2023: War in the Middle East & Climate Change

October 23, 2023: No Vengeance: Words from a Mother Who Lost a Child to Hamas
In a moving video, an Israeli mother in the throes of grief from losing her son in the Hamas attack pleads with the world “No vengeance in my name.” She generously also speaks on behalf of the mothers of Gaza. Matthew then asks a series of questions: Can humanity survive without justice? Can we survive without war? Can we survive without an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth? Michal Halev, the mother of the slain son, is a true spiritual warrior, using her personal tragedy to plead for peace.

“No Vengeance in my name – the call of Michal Halev.” Yael Deckelbaum

October 24, 2023: Words from the Wise on Compassion and Justice
Here are some quotations from the wise ones in these troubled times: One thing is sure: man today must be obsessed; if he is, there is still hope. If he is passionate, meaning com-passionate….there is hope. (Elie Weisel) To watch over a man who grieves is a more urgent duty than to think of God. (Elie Weisel) The urgency of justice urges an urgency of aiding and saving the victims of oppression. (Rabbi Heschel)

“Bombing Kids Is Not Self Defense.” Protestor at a Columbus, OH demonstration, 10/21/2023. Photo by Becker1999 on Flicker.

October 25, 2023: Poems from the Palestinian Camps
This is one of many powerful poems by award-winning Palestinian author Mosab Abu Toha:
Shrapnel Looking for Laughter
The house has been bombed. Everyone dead:
The kids, the parents, the toys, the actors on TV,
characters in novels, personas in poetry collections,
the I, the he and the she. No pronouns left. Not even
for kids when they learn parts of speech
next year. Shrapnel flies in the dark,
looks for the family’s peals of
laughter hiding behind piles of disfigured
walls and bleeding picture frames.*

October 26, 2023: What Do War and Climate Change Have in Common
We are told that Hamas’ ultimate goal, set out in its original 1988 charter, is nothing less than “the complete destruction of Israel.” In response, Israel has declared war on Hamas and has bombed Gaza daily, even at the cost of high civilian casualites. And, of course, the war in Ukraine also rages on. Meanwhile, the western ice shelf in Antartica is melting faster than expected. If the entire shelf melts, it will raise the ocean by five meters (16 feet).  Many large cities around the world will be inundated and millions, if not billions, of humans will need to migrate.** What do war and Climate Change have in common? They will both end in “nothing less than the complete destruction” of cities, nations, other species, and “humanity as we know it.”

Polar climatologist Ella Gilbz, Ph.D., outlines the dramatic changes taking place due to climate change in western Antarctica. Dr Gilbz

October 27, 2023: Compassion and Earth vs. War and Retribution
Can the defense departments not shift their energies toward defending us from the ravages of climate change? Can we not surrender our hatreds and instead join forces to fight this threat to the survival of all of Earth’s inhabitants? Meister Eckhart teaches that “compassion begins at home—with one’s own body and one’s own soul.” Today we need to say: Compassion begins at home—with our own planet which is our common home. All our spiritual traditions teach us we are capable of compassion. Maybe our media and social media could do a better job of promoting that message.

October 28, 2023: A Question from Lewiston, Gaza, Israel, and the Globe
A man whose children’s school has been shut down due to fear of the shooter in Lewiston, Maine, links his worries with the parents and people of Israel and Gaza. He says: Today—with a shelter-in-place order still in effect for large areas where I live—there’s one question I find myself asking: What does it really mean to find safety when the world’s like this?*** And, of course we can ask the same question with regard to all the fierce hurricanes, droughts,  flooding, rising of seas and acid levels in the oceans, etc. “What does it really mean to find safety when the world’s like this?” The spiritual warrior dares to ask these soul questions. And denial is no option.

*Mosab Abu Toha, Things You May Find Hidden in My Ear: Poems from Gaza

**Damian Carrington, “Rapid ice melt in west Antarctica now inevitable, research shows,” The Guardian.

***Common Dreams

Banner image: “Peace in the Middle East, Please.” Artwork found on the wall dividing Israel from the Palestinian Territories. Photo by Amy Nelson on Flickr. Creative Commons, with attribution.

Recommended Reading

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

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

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