Tuesday, May 31, 2005
A Bit About My Convictions

<The following was written a few years ago, don't have an exact date.>

My current spiritual home is the Religious Society of Friends, the liberal/progressive branch. My politics are broadly libertarian-socialist. My initial interest in politics grew from a religious commitment to non-violence. At this point, that commitment is more philosophical, as I have become more secularized in my beliefs.

Moving from simple religious pacifism to my current position was a sort of journey of exploration. One of the first issues to challenge me after militarism was poverty. The Biblical Jesus, in particular, had very strong things to say about the evils of wealth and the duty to serve the poor. My first "grand theory" of combating poverty could be called "communalism," advocating that all religious communities form communes devoted to serving the poor and sharing wealth.

In some ways, this was the most ambitious vision I ever had. Millions of communes dotting the globe! The nearest real-world parallel at this point would be the Catholic Worker communities, although they don't necessarily advocate entire parishes creating communes.

At this point, I am following various theoretical and visionary attempts at economic activism, though most keenly interested in the ideas of participatory workplaces.

A further evolution occurred around gender/kinship ideas. My relationship with my wife and the patterns of leadership in a former church-community all became challenges to espouse equality and liberation. A spiritual outcome is that I now view the sacred presence as more female than male.

Racial harmony was always a serious conviction, as my non-violence stemmed from some of the message of Martin Luther King, Jr. I got to know some African-American leftists and they reinforced my views that oppressed people very naturally incline to an enthusiastic spirituality.

Being raised Pentecostal, this was also my preferred style. Being among the very sedate Quakers is a challenge to this thirst I have for the ecstatic moments of spiritual experience, but I may be learning a needed balance.

One of the most recent developments for me has been the embracing of an ecological framework for both politics and spirituality. I no longer find any invoking of the spirit-matter dualism helpful. I am more inclined to see the divine presence as dwelling in the soil and the flesh, than as floating in the sky. This sacredness is vital in my continuing evolution.

Posted at 06:00 pm by charley63


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