Hi everyone. This newsletter is for Swedenborgians (and friends) who want to learn how to support anti-racism. But we are not going to pretend that we are experts here; we are learning alongside you. There are lots of activists and educators who have been working in the anti-racism field for a long time. Our plan (in the words of Meera Mohan-Graham) is to Absorb and Amplify those voices, and follow their lead.
As we all strive to learn, change, and act together, we invite you join the Manifold Angels Facebook group for connection throughout the journey. The work is just beginning. If you would like to be added to the email list, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
This is an (approximately) bi-weekly newsletter, though the schedule may change occasionally. Some editions will be a deep dive into a particular issue (you can find links to these at the end of the newsletter). Other editions (like this one) will be more personal/devotional, aiming to help build stamina and commitment for the ongoing work for racial justice. Thanks for joining us!
THE GIFT OF IMAGINATION in The Mood of Christmas & Other Celebrations by Howard Thurman.
One of the most positive expressions of the life of God in the life of man is the gift of imagination. If it were not for the imagination, reflective thinking would be quite impossible. Memory would be mere physical sensation that had left its traces in the nervous system. It is unlikely, even, that human speech would have developed at all. Think of it: because of the gift of imagination, you can go back into the past, relive experiences that are no longer present, leap into the future, anticipate that which is yet to come, walk through a wall, or span an ocean in the twinkling of an eye.
Perhaps most important of all, without imagination human love would be impossible of achievement for there can be no love among human beings where there is no power of self-projection. The mechanism of love is the ability to put oneself in the life of another and to look out upon the world through the other's eyes--to enter into the feeling and thinking and reacting of another, even as one remains oneself. This can never be done completely; hence the element of profound frustration and tragedy at the center of the love experience.
Imagination is the creative vehicle that carries one spirit into the dwelling place of another. There could be no sympathy in the world if men had not the gift of imagination. The spirit of man could never take flight in dreams, hopes, or aspirations if there were no wings of imagination given as part of man's equipment for life. Man would merely be his little self--no more, no less. There could be no hope for anything behind. Think of it, just to be myself, myself alone, knowing forever that nothing could even happen to me that would go beyond my present self!
The witness of God's spirit in man's spirit is symbolized by imagination, without which there could be no sense of sin, no repentance and contrition, no tenderness and sympathy, no love and no hope.
Howard Washington Thurman (November 18, 1899 – April 10, 1981) was an American author, philosopher, theologian, mystic, educator, and civil rights leader. As a prominent religious figure, he played a leading role in many social justice movements and organizations of the twentieth century. Thurman's theology of radical nonviolence influenced and shaped a generation of civil rights activists, and he was a key mentor to leaders within the civil rights movement, including Martin Luther King Jr.
Howard Thurman died on April 10, 1981 in San Francisco, California.
FROM APOCALYPSE REVEALED #56
"And the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid..." (Luke 2:10)
Saying to me, "Do not be afraid." This symbolizes a revival, and from the deepest humility then, adoration.
A holy fear is sometimes combined with a reverent trembling of the interior constituents that belong to the mind, and sometimes with a standing on end of the hair, and it comes over a person when life from the Lord enters in place of one's own life. One's own life is to look to the Lord from oneself, while life from the Lord is to look to the Lord from the Lord, and yet doing so as though of oneself. When a person is seized by this life, they see that they are nothing, and that only the Lord is anything.
FROM THE SPIRIT
THE SACRAMENT OF CHRISTMAS by Howard Thurman
I make an act of faith toward all mankind,
Where doubts would linger and suspicions brood.
I make an act of joy toward all sad hearts,
Where laughter pales and tears abound.
I make an act of strength towards feeble things,
Where life grows dim and death draws near.
I make an act of trust toward all of life,
Where fears preside and distrusts keep watch.
I make an act of love toward friend and foe,
Where trust is weak and hate burns bright.
I make a deed to God of all my days--
And look out on life with quiet eyes.
Just a note: the various viewpoints included in these newsletters (either by authors of content or the organizations they represent) do not necessarily represent the viewpoint or position of the Swedenborgian Church of North America (SCNA). The editors present them in the spirit of learning and reflection.