February 19th, 2009

Line item vetoing

"Take what you like and leave the rest," is one of the useful sayings of twelve-step programs,  Why is it so hard for me to believe that truth and lies, nutrition and garbage, can and, necessarily do, come from the same sources.  We are all souls, sources of universal truth; and we have minds and bodies, products of a place and time.  We are products of a place and time that, at least over the last 13,000 years, has been misogynistic, inegalitarian, ethnocentric, xenophobic, and homophobic (I'm sure you can think of some other "mis"s,"in"s, and "ic"s to complete a list).

The problem is that putting any of this stuff in my face has one or both of two consequences.  1) I dismiss every thing the other person has to say as being of the same quality as the offending statement; and/ or 2) I kind of half believe the crap.  Well, if Paul thought  homosexuals are corrupting, or if the Buddha thought women are stupid, or if Jesus said the rich people have no place in the kingdom of God, who am I to argue with such great teachers and mystics?

Eknath Easwaran, the late teacher of meditation at Blue Mountain Center, felt that we should never choose passages of scripture or other texts as prompts for meditation that had any "negativity....foolish errors....or depreciation of life" in them; but we should choose only passages that "hold steadily before us a radiant image of the true Self we are striving to realize."

I often feel a little guilty when I use my "line item veto" on creeds and scriptures.  I think, henceforth  that I will consider such vetoes as rendering a service to myself and others.   The same person, I think, said "In Christ there is no male or female,"  and also "Man is the glory of God, and woman is the glory of man."   To refuse to give the two statements equal standing as truth, is just common sense.