Outside the library, on the narrow part of the sidewalk that is officially public property, the preacher man is back. Security can’t throw him off campus for trespassing unless he steps off the sidewalk, so now that he knows the rules, he has been coming for several days to proclaim loudly, at a booming volume, for 4 or 5 hours at a time, that all the college students, and probably most of the faculty and staff as well, are in league with Satan and are going to hell.
He rants and rails against the sinners, angrily proclaiming Christ’s unconditional love for them as long as they accept Jesus and get saved. Wait… isn’t that a condition? And the anger doesn’t feel like love. This is confusing.
I wonder if he has ever converted one single solitary person to Christianity using these methods. Usually what ends up happening is students gather around, a few outspoken ones start debating him, some clever students bring out a bible to quote back to this man. One student made a sign that says “You’re doing it wrong. Signed, God.”
A pastor friend of mine from the church just across the street from me, caddy corner to the screaming man, has written a few blog entries entreating these yelling Christians to stop hurting the Christian faith with their antics. It’s not helping anyone know Christ and it gives other more gentle or loving Christians a bad name. You could even say this preacher man is driving people away from Christ.
Sometimes I imagine going out there and giving this angry man a hug. Telling him that Jesus must have been a very loving and compassionate man, joyful, uplifting and inspiring to be around – not angry and yelling about fear and damnation. But then I reconsider – I don’t really want to go out and oppose this man so set in his ways that he can yell for hours at full throttle, surrounded by students who are merely entertained. I don’t really want to try to convert this man who is so set on converting me. So, I simply send him some quiet love and pray that he will one day open his heart to love all of humanity like Christ does and allow the love of God to truly touch his soul.
It’s funny, because as I was walking back from lunch, before this man returned to his sidewalk soapbox, I was thinking about how hard it is to be Pro-Unity without being Anti anything. Then I read the post from my friend Meyla about how there is no right or wrong, and then the yelling started.
So, if there is no right or wrong – how do I hold that position to be the truth? How do I tell people who think there IS right and wrong that they are… wrong?
How do I hold the Unity of All Religions, that there is only ONE God and God is loving us through all religions, and that ALL people are included in that Unity, when this man’s religion has him screaming at the top of his lungs that his way is the ONLY way and everyone else is going to hell. How do I include his religion in my Unity?
We have talked about this in our Unity & Peace meetings. We are FOR Peace, but that doesn’t mean we are ANTI military. As long as we live in a society that is choosing to create war and armed conflict, the people who are serving in our military deserve only the deepest compassion, care and support. I can’t imagine what they go through. So, we are collecting items for a local veterans club to make into care packages for our troops for the holidays – sending our love and prayers for peace to those who need it most.
But I find this whole concept of Unity and Oneness hard to navigate in this world of polarities. And I’m not quite sure what is the “right” way to go about it all (see what I mean? For there to be a right way, there has to be a wrong way, right?).
I notice that several times in my writing I am responding to something that I disagree with – like today with the screaming man on the sidewalk, or Monday with the karma, or last week with the crazy parts of the bible that are simply unjust, or a few weeks ago when the meditation instructor said “the mind isn’t designed to be in harmony with the soul.” It’s not that I’m trying to make anyone wrong, I’m not wanting to exclude anyone from the love, peace and happiness I am writing about, I’m just trying to classify or describe what I’m feeling. As my old English professor might have called it: compare and contrast. But how do I compare and contrast without making “the other” less than or wrong or in fact, “other”? Isn’t the whole point that I’m trying to make with my comparison and contrast that we are all One? It all gets a bit confusing.
How do I speak up for what feels true to me, how do I stand up to injustice and oppression while staying in Unity Consciousness? How do I oppose the violence of poverty or racism, sexism and homophobia without having an “enemy?” How do I promote a sense of Unity and understanding between all cultures, religions and peoples without playing into the polarity, without saying – you’re wrong Mr. Preacherman, we are not going to hell and Gandhi and Ghaffar Khan and the Dalai Lama are closer to Christ than you feel to me to be, even though they are not even Christians.
So, this is my conundrum. How can I be pro-Unity without judging those who are anti-unity as stupid or ignorant or wrong?? How can I be pro-Unity without being anti-anti-Unity? I really don’t know. Maybe I need to keep looking to Gandhi and Ghaffar Khan and the Dalai Lama as they all seemed to have grasped this much better than I do.
Ah – now I remember. Amma has already given me the answer to this circular dilemma – Lokaha Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu. Whenever I am caught up in a spiral spiritual question that the dual mind cannot quite comprehend, just come back to is this consciousness. Thank you. May All Beings in All the Worlds Be Peaceful and Happy!