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NCDD-DISCUSSION  November 2013, Week 2

NCDD-DISCUSSION November 2013, Week 2

Subject:

Re: Support for Public Engagement is Absent/Weak

From:

Bruce Schuman <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Bruce Schuman <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 12 Nov 2013 11:30:23 -0800

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (136 lines)

Just to kick in a brief counter-weight to this point of view --

I do think Tom is on the right track when he suggests the use of
"politically neutral language" for describing various aspects of the kind of
spirituality that might be appropriate for the public square.  And it is
probably also true that the point-blank use of the word "spirituality" would
be confusing and misleading, and likely to lead to the consequences Tom
suggests.

In the last few days, I basically argued this same case with a friend of
mine, as we considered how to restore a sense of healthy spirit or even
"divine guidance" into the social context of a society that seems to be
losing its grip.  I suggested we have to use something like a Trojan Horse
approach -- figure out how to introduce the kind of profound guidance into
society that was guiding our Founding Fathers -- without explicitly
mentioning anything about religion -- but instead, convening a framework and
a body of values that contain that wisdom in an implicit way.

On the other hand -- maybe we DO need an explicit connection to wholeness or
oneness or the connecting bond that links people together ("one nation under
God", as it says in the Pledge of Allegiance); the alternative can be a huge
or absolute moral/ethical balkanization where the society tends to lose its
spiritual cohesion -- and its sense of community -- almost entirely.  That
case has been argued strongly by responsible realists who see the Supreme
Court decisions removing all trace of religion from the public square as
nothing less than a huge disaster for the moral vitality of our society and
our children.

The chaplain of the Senate, Admiral Barry Black, walks a fine line on this
point every day.  Our money says "In God we Trust".  It's an uneasy alliance
in a country trying to retain its moral/ethical foundations in a context of
extreme transition. Yes, throw out the prejudiced myopic closed minded
approach to religion in the public square.  But do retain the guiding wisdom
that framed this country in the first place, and don't presume that the
imposition of secularist assumptions is not also an imposition of a personal
religious choice.  

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pledge_of_Allegiance

Bruce Schuman
INTERSPIRIT ALLIANCE: http://interspirit.net/alliance
(805) 966-9515, PO Box 23346, Santa Barbara CA 93101


-----Original Message-----
From: NCDD Discussion List [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On
Behalf Of Tom Atlee
Sent: Monday, November 11, 2013 8:49 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [NCDD-DISCUSSION] Support for Public Engagement is Absent/Weak

I suggest that it is very risky to use "religion" or "spirituality" to guide
an open pluralistic society.  While a religion binds its believers together,
it tends to separate its believers from those of other or no faith.  And
while some of us see "spirituality" as a generic phenomenon uniting people
of all religions - and even all life - others see "spirituality" as code for
"Eastern religions" (yoga, Zen, Buddhism, etc.) which they see as leading
people astray from belief in a personal monotheistic God, even inspired by
Satan.  So I tend to avoid those terms in most of my work for democracy and
community (except in explicitly interfaith efforts).

I suggest that when we seek to help people collectively guide themselves
through community or whole-society conversations, we can address (or tap)
the realm covered by "spirituality" and "religion" by attending to "values",
"vision", "aspirations", "needs", etc.  Framed like that, people can
together explore and map that territory in ways that manifest the
considerable common ground we share as human beings.  In light of that
common ground, even our differences can be viewed as useful information more
than fundamental divisions that block any collaborative action as a
community or society.  These framings evoke life energy and guidance for
what really matters to the people involved, helping them move forward
together.

Tom Atlee
Co-Intelligence Institute
Eugene, OR

On Nov 7, 2013, at 6:29 AM, Michael Allan wrote:

> John said:
>> ... from what I've seen, few people have a clue what a citizen 
>> is--or, rather, what a fully articulated role of a citizen might be. 
>> That would point to education (from an early age) as one key to 
>> addressing the issue--but such education, of course, is a very long 
>> term proposition.
> 
> I believe we must agree on where we come from and where we're going.
> You use the word "spirituality" elsewhere and I think that's roughly 
> correct.  Narrow issues (say health care in the US) become entangled 
> in an implicit debate on the overall direction of society, a debate 
> that is left unspoken and unresolved.  Even the best possible system 
> of governance cannot steer us correctly when the course is unknown.
> The setting of that course in an open society is necessarily a matter 
> of religion, roughly speaking, though I prefer the term "mythopoeia".
> This seems so obvious a hangup to me that I think it must be a topic 
> of research in some circles.
> 
> Mike
> 
> 
> John Backman said:
>> Michael, I've been pondering the same thing (though perhaps I'd use 
>> different words). Roger's thinking has reminded me that, from what 
>> I've seen, few people have a clue what a citizen is--or, rather, what 
>> a fully articulated role of a citizen might be. That would point to 
>> education (from an early age) as one key to addressing the issue--but 
>> such education, of course, is a very long term proposition.
>> 
>> John Backman
>> www.dialogueventure.com
>> www.huffingtonpost.com/john-backman
>> Board member, NCDD
>> Author, Why Can't We Talk? Christian Wisdom on Dialogue as a Habit of 
>> the Heart (published by and available from SkyLight Paths Publishing)
> 
> ---
> 
> NCDD's discussion and announcement lists are generously donated by L-Soft
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NCDD's discussion and announcement lists are generously donated by L-Soft ( www.lsoft.com ) and are powered by L-Soft's LISTSERV mailing list management software ( www.lsoft.com/LISTSERV-powered.html ).  Learn more about all of NCDD's email lists at www.ncdd.org/rc/item/4434 -- and please read over the NCDD Discussion list's ground rules at www.ncdd.org/rc/item/2624 before you post.

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