"Napa Valley" Brocken InaGlory. Licensed. Creative Commons CC BY-SA 3.0
Q now introduces us at some length to a mystic, contemplative vision of reality.
- Do you think, as apparently Sister Mary Agatha does, that cultivating a sense of the Mobius-like, unitive nature of all reality might help with the current polarization of our politics, our relationships in churches, clubs, teams, etc.? Why or why not?
- Do you relate what you know of modern science to what you know of religion? Do they go together well? Do they conflict? Is one or the other unnecessary? Is it possible for science and religion to be different ways of knowing truths? Discuss.
- Can you imagine yourself "going 'round the bend" in how you think about those with whom you disagree, trying to discover your connections with them?
He quotes an ancient Hasidic tale in which a disciple asks the rabbi: "Why does Torah tell us to 'place these words upon your hearts'? Why does it not tell us to place these holy words in our hearts?" The rabbi answers: "It is because as we are, our hearts are closed, and we cannot place the holy words in our hearts. So we place them on top of our hearts. And there they stay until, one day, the heart breaks and the words fall in."
- The Quaker writer, Parker Palmer, has recently written (Healing the Heart of Democracy) that the problem in our present society is that, rather than allowing our hearts to be broken . . . and therefore to undergo some necessary grieving, we choose instead to become cynical as a defense against our loss and brokenhearted-ness. Rather than breaking, our hearts shatter.
- Do you think that by allowing yourself to feel the disappointment and loss of some of your high expectations for people, institutions and opportunities you might become more open to life itself?
- Would a faith community devoted to pursuing such a vision be attractive to you? Discuss.
Just a year after Harry Chapin's 1981 death, his "Circle Song" was performed by Judy Collins, The Kingston Trio, the Limelighters, John Sebastian, Tom Paxton, and Mary Travers of "Peter, Paul, and Mary." To watch and listen, click here.