Letter from a participant; Rev. Judith Stone writes to Tim Holmes:
“Responding to what you shared and thanks for taking the risk ,—– did I read this right—I feel you are looking for some more Christian, let me call it presence at the Confluence, where your understanding of Christianity is not shared by the organizers because of their own experiences, or the revolting media-presented picture, (and also other baggage–like jargon, hard to understand and sometimes outmoded and rarefied language and concepts) and I want to add to the list, folks’ failure to move beyond ideas and images of the Divine, helpful in childhood, that no longer serve.
I know I projected onto the church that” Christianity” was the problem, (Christianity does have problems) but I didn’t see that I also was the problem, until I took a class in World Religions and saw value in all the World Religions, except Christianity. (and as you say their important evolutionary role in creation). I thought though, that it was highly unlikely that Christianity was the sole religion with a dearth of meaning, so I knew it was on me too, that “My God was Too Small” (my Pastor dad’s favorite book if only I had paid attention.) I agree that institutions have lost so much of their transformative power. ( Hillman:”100 Years of Therapy and the World is Getting Worse”)
After a devout childhood, all my foundations crumbled –for many reasons, and the cracks created room for me to have new experiences with/of God. Jesus became the great love affair of my life and my guide I think of Christianity as a very deep, vast, container for Mystery, for Understanding and for Living. As I have studied it, it gets bigger and bigger. I feel that is true for you?
I had a Buddhist Priest friend who told me that Buddhists take “impossible vows” (“I vow to save all sentient Beings”) not because they can accomplish what they have vowed but because the commitment is large enough to devote a lifetime to practicing. My impossible vow is to the Holy One I experience in Jesus Christ. This is my first love, my ultimate loyalty. I can’t say that to most people, who will think me a Jesus freak, but maybe I can to you, as I am sure I could to Steve. Kierkegaard said of the religious journey– “fortunately it is a truly immense journey”.
And in great company. And it has ultimate significance for me and for a long line of others, a great cloud of witnesses —. Often as you say people take the ostrich way out of seeing or engaging with the blinding beauty and demand of such love and healing–I find it scary beyond the telling, still, and still unavoidable to take the impossible vow..
The way I can relate to Bob’s seeing Aquarius as a symbol that “this imago signals an absolutely different and new consciousness for mankind ” is through my own understanding of the Biblical figure of “The Son of Man/Humanity coming in from the Clouds/the Mystery/the Divine/the Soul. The New Humanity from God. ( In Israel when I entered Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum it said over the door Son of Man enter here–( not referring to the apocalyptic figure, just meaning all human beings.Small s son/daughter of Humanity–like small s self) My profs taught me that Jesus identified with the Apocalyptic figure who was, the New Humanity, the New Human Being( Capital S son of Man) coming in from the realm of mystery, from the future, from God’s Realm,—- he did not identify with the title Son of God, but with the New Humanity. Another Prof said Jesus raises all of us up into the second person of the Trinity.
Jesus gives me a way to envision and ground this New Humanity and a community to vision it with (God’s Intended Future). I share Bob’s excitement to move toward a new humanity, if it looks like the new humanity Jesus wants to bring, where the individual can flower because there is compassion and justice, or like that of the Bodhisatvas who will not go into Nirvana until everyone can go with them. I don’t know if you have this same understanding of the Son of Man/Humanity as I do, that while Christians identify Jesus as God (all we can glimpse of God in a human being), that Jesus saw himself as bringing in a new Humanity where all experience and share their Divine nature/Soul/Self— and that will bring a “Whole New World.”
The Reign of God/Love. Peace? Justice, The Age of Aquarius? the New Humanity or World Repair, to use Jewish language. The healing of the self and the Self, wholeness- making and integration to use Jungian terms(simplistically).
Well I have gone on and on, but I really am trying to enter into and dialogue with — what Aquarius means and Bob’s passion for it, and how ruminating the irruption into our lives, that the Pandemic is,— can help us engage Aquarius “”an absolutely different and new consciousness for mankind”. at the Confluence,— via conversation, Jung and the Arts. Does this make one iota of sense?
I just can’t see how the individual can realize their full humanity without justice, compassion, Love, honoring the interconnectedness of all life. I see how some individuals can get there, likely always have, but only some, from my perspective can “do their own thing.” unless we are working toward ALL being able to do their own thing, and that might mean some sacrifice along with the flowering, dying and rising.
It was more fun to talk about the Serendipity of our acquaintance, through your brother I don’t get in trouble with that——. This might have been a more productive conversation with give and take, in person, instead of an old fashioned missive. It is a conversation with a lot of space.
I am planning to send a poem I wrote because it deals with the need for the Age of Aquarius, but also because I am coming to the Confluence NOT because of my Christianity which does go with me everywhere, but because of my inclination to pondering, my love of, the Arts and my longstanding compulsion to write and rewrite and rewrite poems, as a way of reaching out in love to the world, because of all the world gives me.
I so rarely talk with anyone this way about my faith and love affair with Jesus–(with apologies to Mary Magdalene), it is scary to do it because it is so misunderstood.”
Dorothea Lange: “Grab a Hunk of Lightning”
Emerging like psalms of indelible lament
her black and white landscapes
stark, with their vast backgrounds,
but their focus is on the foreground
Portraits almost too intimate!
Ghostly faces disappear into
image after leathery image:
skin molded by loss
and its unwanted wisdom.
Their failing boards
flap in the wind like bark
peeling off a tree. All that exposure!
A mother becoming skeletal
cradles her infant child
in an unraveling blanket.
Another at her knee.
While Dorothea takes photographs
her husband writes the story
of a terrible economics.
Men stand patched together
than the landscape. Their farms
have eroded in the wind.
These men are holding
each other up like
a row of fence posts.
They pose for this picture
under shapeless hats.
Old, with worry,
they have traveled
beyond the outskirts of hope.
The horizon vacant. No work.
They pile families into jalopies,
drive into an emptiness,
leave the furniture of their lives
roadside, for someone else to reclaim.
They are busy enduring. Enduring.
from Oklahoma to Manzanar,
and Heart Mountain, enduring
in harsh celluloid landscapes,
in housedresses, in overalls,
in slacks and suspenders. Dark hats
hugging their heads. She documents.
Sitting with them simply
in the misery.
It seems almost inevitable that eventually
ulcers and then cancer will begin
to eat away at her like poverty,
like starvation. We see the gaunt pain
of her subjects move inward.
Inside, in her home in Berkeley
she looks out through twisted oaks.
Their writhing patterns are
She goes out to a cabin by the sea
with her husband and grandchildren,
but nothing can heal it. Not even the nourishment
of sun-salt air, and smiles, the blue Pacific,
the Works Progress Administration,
the end of that war, the optimism of that generation.
Or the photographs that have made her famous!
She is invited to gather them into a retrospective