We don’t teach meditation to the young monks. They are not ready for it until they stop slamming doors.
~ Thich Nhat Hanh to Thomas Merton in 1966
I began my morning by reading the daily meditation from Richard Rohr, which begins with the above. I then saw several pictures online and in print picturing so-called “pastors” jubilantly celebrating the passage of Amendment 1 in North Carolina, and it struck me that these are exactly the kind of people that Fr. Rohr is talking about when he comments:
First stop slamming doors, and then you can begin in the kindergarten of spirituality. Too many priests, bishops, and ministers are still slamming doors.
No one who supports the right of God’s LGBT children to live their lives honestly, openly, freely and without fear is surprised to hear that much (most?) of the bigotry that opposes such honesty and freedom is rooted in religion. Nonetheless, it never ceases to shock me in one way or another when the strong-arm of this bigotry exercises its might as it did yesterday in North Carolina.
The picture of a “pastor” raising his clenched-fist, smiling and expressing support for the fact that a majority of his fellow citizens have slammed the door on the faces of so many tens of thousands of their brothers and sisters — well, this just doesn’t seem very “pastoral,” now does it? This man — and too many other religious administrators (I won’t call them “leaders”) — would probably not yet be ready to begin to take the baby-steps that truly faithful people people take when they seek to know the path to God in humility and compassion.
Some may say this sounds judgmental, even a bit harsh. To that I plead guilty. But I think a little anger is justified when those whose actions seeking to deny the fundamental rights of others are temporarily successful. Thankfully, there’s that thing called the arc of history … and towards a better world characterized by Justice and Peace I hope and pray it will continue to bend!