Soon, some young people will be visiting me in the River House to share in prayer , work and conversation. I am very much looking forward to being with them . One thing is clear to me: many young people today are learning a great deal about peace and working very hard to create a more peaceful world. At the same time many are rejecting official Church and Christianity . As I listen to them I hear one young man say;" I don't believe in Christianity anymore. It has lost its credibility." Another young woman says;" I can't go to Church anymore. It is so negative and moralistic." All the young people I meet are searching for meaning, purpose and a way of living that is full of goodness and joy. Some find it very difficult to distinguish between happiness and joy; between superficial good feelings and a deep and lasting joy of life.
What are we learning from them? What do they need from us?
Just yesterday I heard a young Christian man speak of his desire to become friends with a Muslim man . It was a matter of honest human connection and not an issue of shared religious belief. The old categories are falling away. In their place are emerging mutual respect and understanding. Along the way, a greater awareness and a new sensitivity to people and language is growing. This is beyond political correctness. It is a burning desire to communicate in fresh , new language, the realities of faith. The old language is in need of transformation in order to facilitate a deeper human communion and to release the wellsprings of the spirit.
On Thanksgiving Eve Wednesday, November 25 I'll be in Long Island, New York to lead an inter-faith gathering. The chanting then will include new language such as" May All People Live in Peace; Live in Justice, Live in Peace." " May All People Live in Truth; Live in Wisdom, Live in Truth." And this: " Deep Within a Song is Heard; Deep Within My Soul." " Sing the Day and Sing the Night; Sing the Darkness , Sing the Light." "Oh...Ghra Ma Chree" ( Irish for " Love of My Heart").
Many are struggling to find and create new ways of expressing the beauty and goodness of the tradition . That is surely the task of every generation. When we clear away the dust and cobwebs( read negativity and moralism) we see the essential. Music can do that. So can prayer.
For those of us who seek to follow Christ there is much to learn and un-learn. Perhaps the best way to move forward is by listening. Take the time to listen more deeply within to our own inner life. Take the time to listen without to the things and persons in every moment of our lives.
No judgement. No rash reactions. Only deep , calm, awareness. For out of this pool of contemplation comes the wisdom of response.
Your Little Brother,