Soul Care–We Cannot Survive… 4/16/20


The purpose of the title is to provoke interest.  Cannot survive what?  Read on.

What are we doing here in these Soul/self care emails?  I see it this way:  Some of us want to have hard conversations toward the end of avoiding even harder consequences.  History is, after all,  relatively (more likely absolutely) unforgiving.  Having said that, I am the eternal optimist, believing that human nature is capable of much better things.   

How does it happen that I find myself these days reading A SAVING REMNANT: The Radical Lives of Barbara Deming and David McReynolds by Martin Duberman?  The stories of two Americans who spent their lives in the 20th century making sacrifices for the cause of peace and justice.  It makes me wonder what the rest of us were doing in the 20th century. 

Obsessed as we are, and no doubt should be, about the future we face, we could still do worse than consider our past for clues to the future.  The prophetic word has always started with a clear and honest look at the past, not a magic or crystal ball prediction about the future.  Prophecy knows that behavior has consequences, that the rape and pillage of lands and peoples produces moral injury in the lives of those who do it, and the future is not so quick to forgive us as we are to forgive ourselves.  
We have a fearsome corporate history. 

But we also have deeply troubled personal histories.  Our corporate and personal histories are like a bird with two wings and maybe it is too much to bring them both up at once, but then  you think of a bird trying to fly with one wing…. 

So let’s take them together if they come that way.  In an email yesterday Norman Lowry recommended the writings of Arno Gruen.  Norm wrote: 

Hello Blair (& other friends),

For a good look at The Insanity of Normality:  Toward Understanding Human Destructiveness, I would suggest the following website of Dennis Rivers (friend of John Stoner and me).  I would also suggest that you consider reading Dr. Gruen’s essay; “War or Peace?  We Cannot Survive with Real Politik” 

The second link given above (“War or Peace?”) completes the phrase “we cannot survive.”  This essay by Gruen helps us to understand our society’s culture of obedience and dominating power.  Given that we do want to survive, let’s read it and see what it says to our coronavirus moment. 

We will spend at least a week, maybe two, on this essay.  If we cannot learn something from this about our survival, we should quit wasting our time here and go back to beer, TV and shopping.  But we are, I insist, capable of better things. 

John K. Stoner