Friday, July 14, 2006

You've Got to be Carefully Taught

A few weeks ago we went to the summer music theatre near our house. The show for that two week run was South Pacific. Like many other shows written in the same era, it carries a very pointed social message. South Pacific confronts bigotry with the song, You've Got to be Taught to Hate. We are born real and spiritual beings, and where does that go?

For the first five years I was in school, I attended a different school each year. I learned quickly that being real placed you on the outside of "the group" and to get inside, you had to be like "them". Of course being like them and looking like them would not have changed my status in school, because I was from the outside. I tried harder and harder to fit in and became lost to myself. It took a long time to be comfortable in me. I learned to put out there what I thought other people want to see at the cost of who I was.

Nothing seems to trigger that facade more easily for people than formal religion. We learn early the motions and rituals of religion that make us fit into a community. We take to long to understand that the purpose of that formality, and the purpose of the imposing buildings, is to transport us to a different plane of awareness, away from the everyday. We get the religion part connected with going through the motions, and we see religion as empty. We experience going through the motions only to walk back into the facade life.

My journey to real and spiritual started with the PBS special The Power of Myth as Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers juxtaposed religion, belief, and spirituality. It continued with my teacher, L. Lee Knefelkamp, at The American University, who taught me from In a Different Voice and Women's Ways of Knowing to find my voice and listen for others. I went on with Matthew Fox and learned that original sin is only one way to look at the Genesis story. I began more and more to understand that the notion of God had been socialized as being something "out there" to seek, when Jesus in nearly His final words had talked about being in God AND being in us.

Our pets and our dens surprise us when they exhibit behaviors that show us what they really are not what we think they are or hope them to be. A dead bird shows up every now and then, and do we love them any less?

reference:Being Real and Being Spiritual


ChristineKane said...

I recently referenced this song in someone's comments on their blog, and I couldn't remember for the life of me where it came from! Thanks for the reminder! Great thoughts by the way...

David Jackson said...

Christine, thanks for stopping by! At my age, it's amazing what I can remember and what I can't.

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