The Church for the Fellowship of All Peoples
Consciousness Birthing Beloved Community | October 10, 2021 Dr. Dorsey Blake
I invite you to join Fellowship Church in celebrating its
Annual Howard Thurman Convocation and 77th Anniversary,
next Sunday, October 17, 3:00 PM, Pacific time.
The program features music composed by African American former slave Blind Tom, German composer Johann Sebastian Bach, and French composer Ernest Chausson. The recital presents music written for piano solo, piano duet, and piano with string instruments.
Performers include Bay Area Award-Winning Musicians: pianists Carl Blake and Bill Quist and members of the Temescal String Quartet.
A special feature of the concert is a video that contains a biographical sketch of ex-slave Blind Tom who was the world’s top-earning musical performer of the 19th century.
The concert is free. Donations are accepted. It is also our major annual fund raiser and inaugurates a newly acquired concert grand piano at Fellowship Church. It will be a glorious event.
I encourage you to bring at least two of your friends or acquaintances. They will thank you for the experience.
COVID protocols will be followed.
Consciousness Birthing Beloved Community
If you have read past messages from me, I hope it is clear that I believe in the search for common ground, that it is within reach, and that the more we are stretched toward it and by it, the more its horizon becomes manifest. This ideal has led to the best efforts of humanity’s striving and most lasting accomplishments. Such a statement may seem strange given the estrangement and/or enmity of so many of the earth’s peoples and non-human companions. Yet, there have been major successful efforts throughout the ages to realize the interconnectedness of all life.
As I have stated numerous times before and will state numerous times in the future if my days are extended into a future, it is essential for us to develop consciousness based upon this search for common ground, this ideal of the Kin-dom of God, or its contemporary manifestation, Beloved Community. It is a consciousness that comprehends when the actions, politics, the societal structures under which we live promote the demolition of human personality and community. It is a consciousness or way to thinking and being that reflects upon present-day living with an awareness of historical processes and the intentions and effects of such processes. This consciousness makes it possible for people to enter the historical process as responsible subjects, rather than as objects manipulated and acted upon, illuminating, and sanctioning us as actors, agents in the contemporary process of ennobling individuals, communities, and global constituencies.
Such consciousness is not thinking or reflecting in the absence of some type of engagement in life. For such reflection would become self-absorption leading to a type of sentimentality that traps the individual in rhetorical abstractions and anxious living, without the power to effectively move to a new creation, a new heaven, a new earth.
John, the Baptizer, understood that and as forerunner to Jesus called upon people to change their entire way of being, to become new creatures. For only new creatures could wholeheartedly participate in the Kin-dom of God reality that was dawning in their midst. Repent, turn away from, reject the slave mentality, he preached, a mentality that for us means obeying masters whose concern is for the economic stability of the plantation rather than the sanctity of the lives and souls of those who live on the plantation. The words of my favorite hymn during my childhood could easily be changed to open my consciousness.
Open my eyes that I may see Glimpses of truth Thou hast for me; Place in my hands the wonderful key That shall unclasp and set me free. Silently now I wait for Thee, Ready, my God, Thy will to see; Open my eyes, illumine me, Spirit Divine! Open my ears that I may hear Voices of truth Thou sendest clear; And while the wave notes fall on my ear, Everything false will disappear. Open my mouth and let me bear Tidings of mercy everywhere; (alternate: Gladly the warm truth everywhere) Open my heart and let me prepare Love with Thy children thus to share. With eyes and consciousness opened we can grasp this new way of living that this day, this moment requires – the aborting of self-annihilation or deep resignation to the status quo which stands in contradiction to the intentions embedded in the flow of creation. We are empowered to live beyond the contradictions, to transform the contradictions into tools of the spirit that allow us to build the new selves, communities, nations, global realities that will bless rather than curse the world.
William Martin explains in his book, The Activist’s Tao Te Ching: Society has been too long out of balance. Whether or not the human race will notice, and we will align ourselves with this return to balance, is not clear. If we are able to do so, we will find ourselves experiencing a new sense of freedom and justice in all parts of the globe. If we are not able to do so, we will be swept aside and the Tao will restore balance to the planet without us. There has never been a more important time in human history.
I have watched only the first of four episodes of the British produced documentary series entitled: “A Century of the Self.” It is powerful in documenting how Edward Bernays, a nephew of Sigmund Freud, used Freud’s understanding that there are forces within the human personality that are irrational and primitive. His concern was how people with such drives participate in a democratic society.
Potentially from a spiritual viewpoint the existence of irrational forces within the personality could be good because it means that there are intimations that defy the norm, that can break through the lethargy, that can resist the control of rational, or rationed living. Demonic and angelic consequences are possible. Barneys realized that these beyond rational urges needed to be controlled especially in his concern about people participating in democratic society and worked to control, manipulate these urges in ways that supported the capitalistic system through mind control developed through public relations/advertising that reduced people to consumers, constantly creating desire for things people did not need and greasing the wheels of consumer capitalism. One consequence is that it created and continues to create this desire for instant gratification.
Martin’s poetic rendition of the first chapter of the Tao Te Ching reads:
Ideas, concepts, and words
Have separated us from life.
Masquerading as friends,
They have made us enemies
of each other.
Free of our own prejudices,
We act with spontaneity.
We move naturally.
We accomplish what is necessary.
Caught in our prejudices,
we act as puppets,
moving in lockstep
to the beat of commerce.
All emerges from the Tao,
all returns to the Tao in time.
Meanwhile darkness deepens,
bringing fear and despair.
Darkness faced, however,
Opens into daylight.
He interprets this to mean: There is a transformative movement within the Tao that cannot be stopped, any more than water can be stopped from returning to its ocean home. Dams can be built, but it will seep under, flow over, burst through, or evaporate and rain on the other side. This is the energy we have flowing within and through us.
We are called to pay attention! Why do children fail? Why do we punish if the test scores don’t meet standards set by politicians and others who know little if anything about education, resulting in students not being admitted to schools or denied diplomas necessary to secure employment? Why should they take up space in the nation’s crowded classrooms society says? Send them away from their communities to prisons where there is little possibility that they will ever come into their own, or be rehabilitated, re-equipped to participate positively in society as productive citizens, rather than mere pawns. Why do people languish on the streets of our city? Would sheltering them from violence that is so prevalent, the continuous hurricanes that besiege their families, communities, consciousness, their personalities, and playtime help? Would creating communities where violence was not such a ready, ever-present option help, where relevant books were more readily available than guns help? Would providing them with the essential for affirmation, growth, and excellence help?
We are called to be vinedressers in our communities—people who will spend time nurturing the environment, the dreams, so that growth can come forward. This is how each of us can participate in creating beloved community, a world that works for the masses of people. Let us move from the consciousness that leads to death of consciousness, soul, and the vision of common ground. Instead, let us absorb and live into Martin’s poetic translation of chapter 3 of the Teo Te Ching.
When a nation values wealth and status,
its citizens are easily controlled
by their desires and their fears.
When we learn to value simple things
And are not enticed by power,
We can open the hearts of people
to the joy of ordinary life.
We will not be fooled by clever words
designed to keep us captive,
promising us a better day,
When we no longer believe
these empty promises,
already better days
are on their way.