Schedules being what they are, we will not come together as a group this Sunday, June 28th.
To give a flavor of the kinds of things we talk about as a group, when we last met we talked about the importance of owning what we say, and keeping things personal, rather than allowing ourselves to focus on our conceptual ideas about the world. (The quote below calls this engaging in “I-Humanity,” as opposed to “I-You.”)
We also lifted up the value of claiming our own perspectives, while inviting the differing perspectives of others, as a way of keeping us moving toward engaging others as “I-You,” and encouraging them to engage us in the same way.
There is a shift in how we honor others when we move from declaring things like “Everyone’s nuts!” to owning what’s behind them by saying, “I feel frustrated!” You can’t argue with a statement like the second one, because it’s my experience, not a generalized “fact.” And it even opens the possibility for a question, that initiates dialogue: “What is making you feel so frustrated?” rather than closing off dialogue with a statement like the first.
It’s a discipline to use language in this way – one that recognizes the common value of each of us as a child of God. And the more we can apply that discipline, the greater the genuine connection as we walk in relationship with each other.
This is what we used as the springboard of our conversation:
1 Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives, 2 but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them. 3 As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and Pharisees brought a woman they had caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd. 4″Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the very act of adultery. 5 The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?”6 They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. 7 They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, stone her. But let those who have never sinned throw the first stones!” 8 Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.
9 When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. 10 Then Jesus stood up again and said to her, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” 11 “No, Lord,” she said. And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”
I Statements – Owning What We Say
“At the threshold they take off the clothes of the ugly weekday, shroud themselves in clean garments, and feel restored as they contemplate primal being or what ought to be – something in which their life has no share. It may also make them feel good to proclaim it.
But the It-humanity that some imagine, postulate, and advertise has nothing in common with the bodily humanity to which a human being can truly say You.”
~ Buber, I and Thou
“The man who really knows how far our generation has lost the way of true freedom, of free giving between I and Thou, must himself… practice directness – even if he were the only man on earth who did it – and not depart from it with fear, and hear in his voice the voice of their own suppressed longing.”
~ Buber, The Knowledge of Man