Brian’s Reflection: Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart.
Trouble no one about his religion. Respect others in their views
and demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your
life, beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and
of service to your people. Prepare a noble death song for the day
when you go over the great divide.
Tecumseh (1768-1813) Shawnee Chief
I can respect other peoples’ religions. No problem. I can respect “others in their views”. No problem.
Except I do have a problem. I can’t do those things when others determine to impose their “religious” views on me. I do indeed “demand that they respect mine”. When the Romans and the Mormons spent millions to promote Prop 8 in California (which denied civil marriage to same-sex couples), it was clear to me that they were determined to deny me my civil rights under the Constitution of the United States. It was not enough for them to live their religious lives as they wished. They sought to make me a slave to their religious beliefs. This is not, in my book, Respect; nor is it what America is supposed to be about as I understand it. I am with Tecumseh: I cannot respect other peoples’ views unless they respect mine. I demand it.
But I have adopted, long ago, Tecumseh’s further advice, which I learned on my spiritual Journey, centered in the Gospel of The Christ, but also informed by many other faiths and traditions.
I can’t say that the “fear of death” on some level never enters my heart. But I am 90% free of it. It is a blessing.
I love my Life. I know it to be equally important with all others’ lives. I know that unless I love my Life I will not be able to honour the lives of others. I expect others to honour mine equally with theirs.
I have spent 40 years of my Life in service to others. It has been – in most of it! – a Joy, and I regret none of it.
I’ve written my sermon for my funeral. It is my “noble death song for the day that I go over the great divide” – though actually I do not believe there is such a thing as a “divide”; I believe that all existence is a seamless reality.
I ask all others to respect my “religion”, and to live out in theirs the universal principles of Peace, Compassion, and Justice, rejecting all of the human selfishness we have projected on “God”.
The World can be a place of Peace and Respect – as long as each of us is willing to relinquish the sin of two things: Being the only Right, and deifying Control.