Any time we humans construct an Other to fear or to subjugate or to demean, we lessen the presence of the Divine in our community.
I've been thinking a great deal about diversity recently: diversity in light of plant genetics and global warming, diversity in light of varieties of ways our brains perform ([DE] witnessed to us in worship some weeks ago), diversity in how we understand human relationships. From a genetic point of view, the diversity of life represents the life's work of many generations in determining how to cope with a variety of conditions. Extinction of an alpine species of plant on a mountain top in California is the equivalent of the burning of the library of Alexandria: the lessons learned by generations, expressed in proteins, are lost. Yes, on a cooler planet, those lessons will likely be rediscovered, but if we can save those communities of animals and plants, the faster our planet can express those solutions once again. Similarly, [DE] spoke to how patterns of thought and understanding that are not neurotypical are well suited to a variety of roles in our communities.
The eradication from Ugandan society of gay and lesbian people (and surely the transgender and bisexual people, plus all who express love and gender in ways that differ from the norm) silences the experience and the expression of authentic selves that can help the cisnormal and heteronormal community better understand their relationships and authentic expression of self. Instead, the understandings of relationship and self become more rigid and whole areas in which the expression of Divine truth and love manifests become invisible and inaccessible.
In my thinking about diversity, i have been reflecting on the rational explanations, the answer to "Why should i care?" -- Why should i care that a species of flower and beetle on the top of five California peaks are going extinct? Why should i care about the cultural upheaval in another nation? -- and i recognize these are, to my heart, rationalizations, appealing to intellect to support the truth of right action and right relationship.
And there are so many calls.
I am in continued discernment of how i am called to witness to the diversity of plant life in our communities, and how to balance that with other concerns. I know many of us have calls to witness for justice in many different areas. I invite you to read the report below [or see http://aglifpt.org/rfk/?p=259] from David Zarembka, Coordinator of African Great Lakes Initiative of the Friends Peace Teams, and hold in the Light the work of Olympia Friends Meeting in funding the Friends New Underground Railroad (friendsnewundergroundrailroad.org esp http://friendsnewundergroundrailroad.org/overview-and-update-june-7-2014/).
In Love (and not at worship today because i have sprained both my ankles visiting Jasper Ridge, where a population of checkerspot butterfly went extinct due to climate change),
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