Rabbi Michael Lerner: Congratulations to Christian Peace & Justice Activists–Using Good Friday and Easter to Restore Jesus’ message of love and non-violence

Posted on Apr 17, 2017

Rabbi Michael Lerner, Tikkun

Tikkun is both the preeminent intellectual and theological prophetic voice of progressive Jews and also an interfaith voice doing our activism through the interfaith (and secular-humanist-welcoming) NSP– Network of Spiritual Progressives. So on this Easter we want to highlight the important social justice work being done by Christian progressives while simultaneously urging all Christian progressives and their organizations to JOIN the NSP so that we can coordinate strategies and activism and highlight each other’s activities. Membership also gives you a subscription to Tikkun magazine!

Meanwhile celebrate the fine work of the Christian activists described below as they reclaim the deep love, social justice and nonviolence message of Jesus’ mission.

–Rabbi Michael Lerner editor Tikkun

Justice Action At Hancock Drone Base, Syracuse

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RESIST! DRONES, PEACE, WARS AND MILITARISM By Ray McGovern, www.raymcgovern.com April 16th, 2017

Crucifixion by Drone

Syracuse, NY – On Good Friday, April 14, 2017, nine nonviolent civil resisters of Upstate Drone Action were arrested at the main entrance of Hancock Air National Guard Base witnessing against extrajudicial drone killings perpetrated from the base.

Three people hung on large drone crosses representing victims of US drone strikes in seven majority Muslim countries. Eleven others held smaller drone crosses headed by the phrase, DRONES CRUCIFY, each followed by one of these: Children, Families, Love, Peace, Community, the US Constitution, UN Charter, Rule of Law, US Treaties, Due Process, or Diplomacy.

The Good Friday Hancock Drone Action Statement reads, in part, “Good Friday commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus. Recognizing that 70% of our nation identify as Christian, we come to the gates of the Hancock drone base to make real the crucifixion today. As Jesus and others were crucified by the Roman Empire, drones are used by the U. S. Empire in a similar fashion. In Roman times, crosses loomed over a community to warn people that they could be killed whenever the Empire decided. So, too, our drones fly over many countries threatening extrajudicial killings upon whoever happens to be in the vicinity. On this Good Friday, we recall Jesus’ call to love and nonviolence. We’re asking this Air Force base and this nation to turn away from a policy of modern-day crucifixion.”

The 14 “Stations of the Drone-Cross” were confiscated by base personnel.

Hancock Air Base is located on the backside of Syracuse International Airport. It hosts the 174th Attack Wing of the NY Air National Guard – the MQ9 Reaper drone hub. It is also the national Reaper maintenance-training center. The MQ9 Reaper is a robotic, satellite-linked, remote assassin drone. Hancock is currently one of 20 U.S. drone-warfare bases across the U.S., Germany, Australia, Italy, the U.K. and elsewhere. The “Drone Papers”—based on a leak by an internal military whistleblower – show that during a five-month period in 2015, 90% of all drone victims were bystanders, including children.

The civil resistance action is the latest chapter in Upstate Drone Action’s seven-year nonviolent campaign to expose the war crimes in which Hancock AFB plays a role. This resistance against drones is linked to the worldwide effort to ground killer drones and end all U.S. wars. Since 2010 there have been over 170 arrests at Hancock of those witnessing against the grim Reapers.

THOSE ARRESTED on April 14:

Ray McGovern, formerly CIA; Jessica Stewart, Bath Harbor Maine Catholic Worker; Ed Kinane, Upstate (NY) Drone Action; Tom Joyce, Ithaca Catholic Worker; James Ricks, Ithaca, NY; Joan Pleune, Raging Grannies, Brooklyn; Mark Colville, Amistad Catholic Worker, New Haven, CT; John Amidon, Veterans for Peace and Albany Friends Meeting; Brian Hynes, Bronx Catholic Worker.

Lest you think these efforts fall on deaf ears, activist Pete Saracino invites us to please consider these words by teacher, author and part-time hermit (and modern mystic) Cynthia Bourgeault.

Practice: The Divine Alchemy

Cynthia Bourgeault ties the dynamic outpouring of Trinity to Jesus’ path of self-emptying.

The Trinitarian mystery has immediate implications for us as we try to live Jesus’ path. All too often our attempts at self-emptying feel isolated and pointless. They seem like dead ends, with no real connection to the world at large or even to our own best intentions. Even Jesus’ crucifixion seems in some sense to be a waste. Why should a good and wise man who could have been a teacher of many die meaninglessly on a cross? Often our own small acts of heroism and sacrifice seem pointless as well—except that the Trinity assures us no act of kenosis is ever isolated, no matter how meaningless it looks, no matter how disconnected, no matter how unproductive in terms of reward and gain. Through the Trinity all kenosis is a tiny hologram of perichoresis. It belongs to that great relational field of “the divine exchange” and connects us instantly with the whole of God, allowing divine love to become manifest in some new and profound dimension. As Raimon Panikkar beautifully expresses it, “I am one with the source insofar as I act as a source by making everything I have received flow again—just like Jesus.” [1]

Jesus’ teaching assures us as we move toward center along this very reckless and in some ways abundant and extravagant path—not “storing it all up” as in the classic ascetic traditions of attaining being, but “throwing it all away”—that divine love is infinite and immediate and will always come to us if we don’t cling. This is a powerful statement, so simple and yet so radical.

This is a kind of sacred alchemy. As we practice in daily life—in our acts of compassion, kindness, and self-emptying, both at the level of our doing and even more at the level of our being—something is catalyzed. Subtle qualities of divine love essential to the well-being of this planet are released through our actions and flow out into the world as miracle, healing, and hope.

The template for the divine alchemy is imprinted in our soul: the Trinitarian impulse which is both the icon of divine reality within us and the means by which that reality brings itself to fullness. As we learn not to harden and brace even in the face of what appears to be ultimate darkness, but to let all things flow in that great river of kenosis and perichoresis, we come to know—and finally become—the river itself, which circulates through all things as the hidden dynamism of love. This, I believe, is the path that Jesus taught and walked, the path he calls us to.

References:
[1] Raimon Panikkar, Christophany (Orbis Books: 2004), 116.

Adapted from Cynthia Bourgeault, The Wisdom Jesus: Transforming Heart and Mind—A New Perspective on Christ and His Message (Shambhala: 2008), 72-74.

For Further Study:
Cynthia Bourgeault, The Wisdom Jesus: Transforming Heart and Mind—A New Perspective on Christ and His Message (Shambhala: 2008)
Cynthia Bourgeault, The Wisdom Way of Knowing: Reclaiming an Ancient Tradition to Awaken the Heart(Jossey-Bass: 2003)
Cynthia Bourgeault, James Finley, and Richard Rohr, Returning to Essentials: Teaching an Alternative Orthodoxy (CAC: 2014), CD, MP3 download

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