Dear Sanctuary NYC Friends,
In the State of the Union address this week, President Obama said, “The greatest nation on Earth cannot keep conducting its business by drifting from one manufactured crisis to the next. We can’t do it.”
Amen to that!! Finally as a second term president, he can say what he really believes for a few minutes. I was so happy to hear this because I am really aware of how consistently adrenalized people are over nothing, and how lonely so many folks really are in the midst of all this created fear. You have to travel light when you are constantly in a “fight or flight” pattern. This climate of “manufactured crises” has put us all into a state of adrenal overdrive.
We are easily controllable if we are only reacting to one crisis after another. The critical thinking skills required to work through complex ideas, social and political challenges, as well as wisdom teachings of all kinds cannot happen in a climate where we are always set for catastrophe. Time takes time. Traditions develop over centuries, and rest on the teachings of the ancestors, on knowing how to be “right sized” and exhibiting humility even in situations where we think we know more than other people. The difference between knowledge and wisdom speaks to this.
We live in a world utterly glutted with information. There have been studies measuring the vast increase in pure information we take in every day in contrast to that which ancient Egyptians or Medieval or Renaissance artists received. We may know everything that is going on in a hundred different cities but how many of us are building pyramids or painting the Sistine Chapel? The kind of living that both goes deep and waits for answers from the deep, creates a context into which the paradoxes of wisdom can be welcomed.
When asked about one horrible dilemma or another, wise elders may say, “Just keep on livin’ “. This is the kind of response that infuriates fast food, junk food, fast forward, inch deep, quick answer, sound bite culture people. But there are some experiences in life we can only understand by living through them. That is the wisdom that may be present in elders. I say “may be” because certainly you can grow old without growing wise. The idea is to let life in a little with all of its joy and pain and in between.
We are taking a depth journey through the wisdom of the Black Church tradition this month at Sanctuary NYC. Last week, we talked about wisdom hidden in plain sight, about the consecration of holy space in the middle of extreme hardship and opposition, about the hush harbor and the usher/sentry/protector of the “sacred place of the most high.”
This week we will look at making a “way outa no way”, and will again experience a deep river journey together.
Come join us.
See you at the river.