Tag Archives: Identity

I and Thou

In life we do have to relate in first instance to our self, next to the creation, and then last but not least to the Creator Himself.

An “I-Thou” relation with understanding of past, present and future, is essential to build up something positively constructive.

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To remember

  • Martin Buber (I and Thou, 1923)
  • Humanist variant of/alternative to existentialism: Relationship precedes essence.
  • Identity = by-product of “I-Thou” relation
Martin Buber (1878-1965)

Martin Buber (1878-1965) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Preceding article: Curious creature or Positivist man

Next: Sacred formula of positivism

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shakemyheadhollow

The way I read the Jewish theologian, Martin Buber (I and Thou, 1923), he offers a humanist variant of/alternative to existentialism. Where Sartre might say, “Existence precedes essence,” Buber might say, “Relationship precedes essence.” In contrast to the stark “thrownness” of the existentialist, who finds himself alone in an indifferent universe, Buber finds identity itself to be a by-product of the “I-Thou” relation (connections both to fellow humankind and to Being itself). Having shuffled off the existentialist’s burden of aloneness, however, Buber is not exactly the Walmart greeter to Happy Valley. Like the existentialist, he is weighed down with responsibility. For now he carries forever — past, present, and future – the built-in burden of all that connection, the “exalted melancholy of our fate” (16).

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Summermonths and consumerism

Summertime seems to have difficulties to show her face this year. Over a few days the days will shorten again and we did not have yet some real good nice warm days.

In the supermarkets they feel the consumption of meat not taking off like they want and therefore they are presenting special bargain prices, advertising against other trying to present the cheapest products. If they would be the best products would be an other matter. Also if they would be produced in a decent ethical way is for many of no concern.

We can imagine Middle School teacher Bob James throughout the year has to face his pupils with all sorts of gadgets, disturbed and tempted by lots of consumer products and market activities.

Real teachers do find it necessary to help others. Bob James also is firmly convinced that all of us need to be more proactive in helping others.

We need to help them when disaster strikes, when they are recovering and then when developing their lives to be the people that God intended them to be. We are meant to be independent of all except for God. On Him alone should we be dependent. Thus, as I seek to help others, I seek to move beyond mere relief and am focusing on rehabilitation and reconciliation. We are to be reconciled with God, with our fellow human beings and with our environment. If any one of these is missing, we will have problems. This is a tall order, but I will always seek to bring reconciliation. {About Me}

He, like many teachers are daily confronted with the non-interest for God, is probably also seeing that today the kids, but also their parents, have made new gods and have more interest in the material belongings than the spiritual.

The Human Use of Human Beings

The Human Use of Human Beings (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In previous articles on this blog we pointed out to this behaviour which is destroying our society like CO poisoning, not seen, not smelled, not heard. We are living in a society where eyes are directed on gaining capital, even if we need not to take notice of necessary protection for man or do not mind bringing shortage or harm to others, to get more money.

Our economy is based on consumerism. Ads are designed to appeal to people like me and make me not just want, but Need, the latest thing – whether that be a soft drink or the latest model car. {June 8 – What I Really Need}

In the years straight after the World Wars people seemed to know again the value of the necessities of life. Folks appreciated again the small things. (We remember sitting with three on a bench, having one study book, which we savoured like the best we could have to receive knowledge. We never wanted to have it for ourselves alone and where pleased when we could share things with others.) They were pleased with what they could get. They also wanted to show to others who they were and used their cloths to present their identity.

Today everybody seems to be hiding behind their clothes. They now have to be from one or the other brand, design and colour which is in fashion. All want to belong to the group and hide their own self behind brands which are ‘in’. Everything must be dictated by the market. Nobody wants to go against what the market dictates.

English: RedEye Sailboat Category:Images of Ch...

RedEye Sailboat one of the things people like to have for enjoying themselves and to show off (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In Summer this is made even more clear by everybody wanting to go in the garden and show off with what the market advertises and wants to press on everybody. As such, once it is beautiful weather, we can not sit outdoors without having to smell all the combustion products, from the people who do not know how to use properly those advertised and bought barbecue sets.

Having holiday also became equivalent to travelling. When people to day are saying they go on holiday, they mostly mean and want the other person to think they are going to travel abroad. For many taking a holiday in the own garden or in the own country is not having a holiday any more. The market made them to believe to relax and to take vacation or to take leave has to be going abroad and spending a lot of money at enjoyment, entertainment parks, luxury meals and pampering and health treatments.

People have to believe they only count in this society when they can show that they are using the latest gadgets and are ‘by the time’. All people who have not the newest things are ‘old’ or ‘out of date’. They best are ignored or put aside, as not being the right people to associate with. Or they are laughed at as old fashioned or ‘nerds’.

Bob James remarks:

How easily we buy the latest thing and throw away the old. One of the problems is that we not only throw away things, we also tend to throw away people or relationships if they don’t “meet our needs.” {June 8 – What I Really Need}

Those needs have become very selfish. Everything is directed to the ‘I’ and to the ‘what can I gain from this relationship’. Most people want to associate with other people in such a way that they may be sure others will find them interesting for the knowledge and acquaintances of such people. Most relations are build on the use they can provide for the self. Not the giving away has become important, nor the meaning something for some one else, but the meaning for the person him or herself, has become the landmark.

Clearly the focus of most people came on to the wrong things. This also made many relationships not last and break down. Often we see the other person has become of no real value, when not usable any more. We see that at work. As son as a person gets to ‘old’ or to ‘experienced’ and to ‘expensive because of ‘seniority’ he is made redundant.

But also the material things do not get time to stay in use as valuable. As soon there is a new model, the old one is considered as ‘passée’ .
Most people have placed their mind on things which are disposable.

What we should be thinking about is not “things,” but people. {June 8 – What I Really Need}

writes Bob James.

What we should be focusing on more than anything is our relationship with God. {June 8 – What I Really Need} (Though in his article gives a quote about focussing on Jesus, who is not God but the son of God, but who also deserves our attention.)

Today, we can see that a lot of people who are debtors to the material things of this world. Most have forgotten that their body should be a temple, a place for clean things. Natural products for many are a laugh-stock. Biological products for many are either for the ‘loonies’ or have become a way to show off, because they are much more expensive and a way to proof they can afford it and belong to such a class of people, having enough money to buy such things.

Instead of respect for nature and respect for the Creator of all those things man shows more interest to the highly perishable idols presented on television and more and more on the internet, which brings totally new sorts of idols in the living room. All those living according to flesh, often forget that they too, like anybody else, are going to die, but if in spirit they kill the deeds of the body, and that they have much better prospects. For those who live in the spirit can find real intense worthwhile life.

Part of our problem with this issue is that our desires have been made to seem like needs. If we began each day with a focus on Jesus Christ, many of those things we think are “needs” would be shown to be desires. {June 8 – What I Really Need}

Christ Jesus is the man of flesh and blood who gave the world an example how to live according to the will of the Only One God, Whom we should consider the Most High and the Most Valuable. Jesus knew he could not do anything without God. Jesus never did his own will but always wanted to do the Will of God.  Today most consider God a flaw or useless invention.

Lots of people, having all those modern gadgets still do not feel happy. Having so many things they do not yet feel satisfied. They still have a hunger …

They are starving for the real better thing which they do not seem to see by the mist of consumerism. Lots of people are running into problems when they work so hard to take care of all their desires for material things, that they forget to spend more time to build up good relations.

Most people do not see or forget about what they really need.

Bob James thinks about a strong relationship with Jesus Christ, but seems to forget an even more important relationship, namely that with the heavenly Father of Jesus, the Only One True God.

This world needs to find the way back to God. It has lost connection with the Creator. The world has become strayed. We have to take care we become not astray by the temptations around us.

Keep your eyes on Jesus and as such find the Way to God and the way to God’s Kingdom.

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Preceding articles:

Lonely in the crowd

Misleading world, stress, technique, superficiality, past, future and positivism

Less… is still enough

Less for more

Contentment: The five senses

How to Find the Meaning of Life and Reach a State of Peace

See the conquest and believe that we can gain the victory

The Cares of Life

The natural beauties of life

Engagement in an actual two-way conversation with your deities

Just be yourself…

A Snippet of Advice on Cultural Analysis

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Find additional literature:

  1. Capitalism
  2. Increasing wealth gap of immense proportions in the Capitalist World
  3. Classes of people and Cronyism
  4. Uncertainty, shame and no time for vacillation
  5. Because men choose to go their own way
  6. Welfare state and Poverty in Flanders #9 Consumption
  7. A risk taking society
  8. What IF you’re only driven by stress?
  9. Ecological economics in the stomach #2 Resources
  10. How do you keep people from stealing your joy?
  11. 2014 Social contacts
  12. Justififiable anger or just anarchism
  13. Ability for a community to come back from a crisis
  14. Green Claims in Europe
  15. Greenpeace demands scale up of ecological farming
  16. Happy International Happiness Day!
  17. Being Religious and Spiritual 1 Immateriality and Spiritual experience
  18. Being Religious and Spiritual 3 Philosophers, Avicennism and the spiritual
  19. Being Religious and Spiritual 8 Spiritual, Mystic and not or well religious
  20. Looking for True Spirituality 2 Not restricted to an elite
  21. How long to wait before bringing religiousness and spirituality in practice
  22. Sharing thoughts and philosophical writings
  23. Lovers of God, seekers and lovers of truth
  24. Fools despise wisdom and instruction
  25. In a world which knows no peace sharing blessed hope
  26. The road to success is dotted with many tempting parking places
  27. Cleanliness and worrying or not about purity
  28. Cognizance at the doorstep or at the internet socket
  29. Jehovah steep rock and fortress, source of insight
  30. Perishable non theologians daring to go out to preach
  31. Bringing Good News into the world
  32. How should we preach?
  33. Thanksgiving wisdom: Why gratitude is good for your health
  34. Food as a Therapeutic Aid
  35. Remember there’s a light in the next day
  36. It is a free will choice
  37. To know Christ is filling life with meaning
  38. Heed of the Saviour
  39. Songs in the night Worship God only
  40. Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked

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Filed under Economical affairs, Lifestyle, Spiritual affairs

Passover and Liberation Theology

by Jonathan Granoff 

There is a dynamic relationship between identity, community, and grace-awakened values, which, if they are authentic, are universal and without regard to nation, tribe, gender, race, or religion. In other words, God’s love is for all, wisdom is without prejudice, and justice properly wears a blindfold when she weighs deeds. The Passover moment is as an example of how the specific group in which one lives can and should be used to expand one’s circle of compassion. Tribalism is a distortion of God’s grace. The expanded heart alone is capable of knowing a reflection of the Unlimited Heart of God’s love for all.

English: Jewish Community Festival, Downtown P...

Jewish Community Festival, Downtown Park, Bellevue, Washington. “Jew-ish.com” and Seattle Kollel booths. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Being Jewish and being part of the Jewish community can be a blessing or a curse. If being part of a community helps develop compassion for others, a sense of being loved, and expands one’s capacity to serve others, then it is surely a blessing to be in such a community. If being anything increases one’s capacity to experience God’s qualities and to share them then that too is a blessing. If being part of anything gives one a sense of arrogance then developing wisdom will be thwarted and authentic understanding of one’s relationship to God as well as one’s fellow human beings will he occluded. Liberation from any identity that separates one from one’s fellow human beings and God is necessary for authentic peace. Commitment to caring for others is a prerequisite for spiritual and psychological growth. Whatever identity one receives from birth or choice will have value based on these principles.

Rights, rituals and practices can deepen one’s sense of gratitude and appreciation for all lives.

For example, Passover can be experienced as liberation theology at its best. It is about social justice, freedom from slavery, crime and punishment, patience and fortitude, courage and God’s grace. It is also about overcoming the Pharaoh of egoism with faith. It is a multilevel source of inspiration for those who participate in its dimensions of family, community, teaching, and eating.

It is for many an affirmation of the intervention in history of God on behalf of a people God protected and to whom He revealed Himself. It can awaken gratitude for being a descendent of those people and not being a slave today. It can create a sense of duty to help free others. It can inspire to uplift us to a clearer awareness of the presence of the sacred. It can help us remember God.

It can create a distorted sense of identity. It can make one think that based on blood one is closer to God than others. One might ask: Is being a Jew a necessary part of being close to God? Only a fool would think so. One might also ask: Does being Jew distance oneself form God. Only a fool would think that. So, if you are a fool, stop reading, otherwise, join me in these reflections.

A heart filled with compassion and a life lived from that place of goodness where the presence of God is remembered will do just fine. So, then the question is what value is there in being part of a community, like a several thousand years history of stories about that community’s relationship with the mystery of life we inadequately call God. It could be good and it could be bad.

Good includes being accountable to people who know and love you. Bad includes thinking that by virtue of being part of that community, or tribe, you are specially blessed and better than anyone else anywhere. Good includes gratitude for the teaching that God is with us and One with all. Bad if that teaching makes one feel different from any of God’s other human creations.

Compassion does not have a boundary of blood, religion, race, caste or gender. It resonates like the circles from a pebble in a pond from the center of the heart where the intention to honor the lives of others and God’s sacred gift awakens when the pebble of that purity descends into the human heart.

So, here are few thoughts for your thinking:

Why do we need a tribe when the message is love and unity with and for all? Is not our God the One God of the one human family and is not the calling of those who accept the calling to love and serve all? Of course, and is that realization not a liberation from the slavery of egoism formed of separation from the overwhelming blessing of the oneness of life’s bounty? The ego mind that identifies with all that we cannot posses forgets what we can really receive, the radiance of the soul.

Crossing over the sea of blood ties into the open space of wisdom:

 

~And This Too~

love without action is

hollow

action without love is

dangerous

love with action

that’s

plenitude

each breath, deep love in action

each thought, deep love in action

each moment, deep love in action

Deep Awake

 where gratitude lives,

 salt changes to sugar

tears of sorrow, sadness and separation

changing to

tears of joy, love and union

a mere whisper of the grace of deep awake,

listen carefully

this whisper is a thunder of healing light

oh may God’s resonance be known.

in love’s way of peace

 

Jonathan Granoff is president of the Global Security Institute and reachable at granoff@gsinstitute.org.

– From Tikkun Special Seder Messages for Passover

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  • Queer Passover Seder Helped Me Reclaim Judaism (blogs.forward.com)
    At the time, it didn’t occur to me to be offended or concerned that I was being circled by the cheerleaders and other popular girls who held hands, bowed their heads and prayed for my soul. They were part of “Christian Life” at my high school in Olympia, Washington. I recall several instances when they earnestly attempted to save me from eternal damnation. I didn’t refuse their efforts or consider the implications of their actions. I just wanted to fit in.I grew up Jewish in the Pacific Northwest. But not in a religiously observant family, or a proud intellectual family, or a family of labor organizers who taught me early and often never to cross a picket line. My family was on the fast track to assimilation, and by high school, being Jewish was simply a reminder that I was an outsider.

    By the time I was in my late twenties, I was reeling from a spiritual crisis. A decade of organizing and social change work had left me feeling hopeless and burned out.

  • What Passover Means to Young Adults (ejewishphilanthropy.com)
    Passover is a unique moment. As we learn every year from the hundreds of Birthright Israel alumni who host Seders for their friends through NEXT’s Passover initiative, the holiday provides young adults with a whole new space in which to explore identity, experiment with tradition, and build community.What moves and motivates these young adults to create their own Passover experiences, and what can we learn from their stories? We dug through a trove of qualitative data contained in hosts’ post-Seder surveys to find out. Their stories illuminated important lessons and questions for the entire field of engagement.
  • This Passover (danielswearingen.wordpress.com)
    You tell me to look outside me this Passover, to actualize an infinite need. It seems strange, you asking me for holiness, for blessing a harvest, you of oneness, the lock of my key.
  • RAC Blog: A Fifth Cup ??? Going Beyond What is Required (blogs.rj.org)
    Today, as many of us are busy preparing for Passover, I find myself less occupied by the meticulous aspect of the holiday’s demanded mitzvot, but searching instead for ways to supplement the narrative and to find meaning in a modern context. I commend those who find deep meaning in cleaning out their kitchens and sterilizing their homes, making sure that all leavening ceases at the 18-minute mark and [in the Ashkenazi tradition] nothing that could resemble wheat flour – such as legumes – will be consumed during Passover. However, I would like to offer an additional perspective on Passover by suggesting some meaningful ways to supplement the seder.

    Zionism and living in Israel were the answers to my search for Jewish identity, and to me, Passover became a holiday of peoplehood. The central narrative became the one that we clearly state after we sing Dayenu,that B’khol Dor VaDor: “In every generation we must see ourselves as if we went out from Egypt.” In the traditional Haggadah this statement is followed by a biblical and liturgical reading.

  • The Evolution Of Passover – Past To Present (jewishengagement.wordpress.com)
    Passover (Pesach in Hebrew) is the most widely celebrated Jewish Holiday. It begins on the 15th of the Hebrew month of Nisan and lasts for either seven or eight days depending upon location and religious orientation. In Israel, all sects of Judaism celebrate Passover for seven days with one Seder (Passover ritual feast and in Hebrew means “order”) on the first night, while in the Diaspora (communities outside of Israel), traditional Jews celebrate it for eight days with two Seders held on both the first and second nights. This year Passover will commence at sundown on Monday, April 14th with the first full day celebrated on Tuesday the 15th. Passover is a Biblical Holiday, which commemorates the story of the Exodus—G-d freeing the Israelites from Egyptian slavery and bondage; establishing the Covenant with them as a people not just as individuals as in the past e.g. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; and in turn creating the beginning of our sacred history as a Jewish Nation.
  • The Worm Moon- Nisan 14, and Happy Passover (ireport.cnn.com)
    “Passover commences on the 15th of the Hebrew month of Nisan.
    In Judaism, a “day” commences from dusk to dusk, thus the first day of Passover only begins after dusk of the 14th of Nisan and ends at dusk of the 15th day of the month of Nisan.
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    Passover is a joyous holiday, celebrating the freedom of the Jewish people.
    http://www.policymic.com/articles/31025/passover-2013-5-things-to-know-about-the-jewish-holiday
  • Taking Passover Back to Its Roots (algemeiner.com)
    the 14th of the Hebrew month of Nissan, they’ll wait for the kids to recite Mah Nishtana, the four questions; pucker up to inhale the bitter herbs; relish the sweet Charoset; dip herbs in salt water; sing rousing renditions of Dayenu and Chad Gadya; and knock back four cups of wine.But none of these rituals are part of the Passover observance of Israel’s Karaite and Samaritan believers, who observe the biblically mandated holiday in quite a different way.
  • Review: Two Messianic Passover Haggadoth (messianic613.wordpress.com)
    There’s no lack of Passover Haggadoth for Messianics. The best known are perhaps The Messianic Passover Haggadah by Barry & Steffi Rubin, and the more recent Vine of David Haggadah published by FFOZ. [1] There are many more, especially in internet editions. Some show a beautiful lay-out and are richly illustrated. There seems to be enough material available for all styles and tastes.

    To our taste, however, the materials offered thus far show many liturgical defects and inconveniences. Despite many serious efforts that have been made we haven’t seen a messianic Haggadah which successfully and convincingly integrates the traditional Jewish and the typical messianic features of the Seder. It is our perception that the difficulty of doing so is often underestimated, and that authors and editors are not sufficiently aware of the decisions involved in such a project, or the halachic and theological problems connected to these decisions.

  • Passover: A Time To Remember (jacksonandrew.com)
    The basis for a Christian interpretation of the first of the Seven Festivals as the decisive component in God’s plan for redemption pivots upon the identification of Jesus with the paschal lamb (Ross 2002, 409). There are, in fact, strong associations between Jesus and the Passover lamb in both the Old and the New Testaments. Centuries before the Crucifixion of Jesus, the prophet Isaiah declared that the when the future Messiah appeared, he would be “led like a lamb to slaughter.” (Isa 53:7). As John the Baptist saw Jesus approaching him he proclaimed: “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). Similarly, Peter described Jesus as the spotless Lamb of God (1 Pet 1:18-20). According to Augustine of Hippo, “The true point and purpose of the Jewish Passover . . . was to provide a prophetic pre-enactment of the death of Christ” (Rotelle 1995, 6:186).And not only has Passover been connected to the death of Christ, but also to the Lord’s Supper, which is also obviously a symbolic pre-enactment of Christ’s death as well as an re-enactment celebrated by the Church since that time. After Jesus’ sacrifice, Paul assured the early Christian community at Corinth that they have been saved “for Christ, our Passover lamb has been sacrificed” (1 Cor 5:7). Of course, the context of this passage points to the man who is living in persistent sin and thus not being allowed to receive the Lord’s Supper. Cyprian of Carthage also connected Passover to the Lord’s Supper and to the root, being the unity of the church (Baillie 1953, 129).

     

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