Once upon a time, I would browse my local Barnes and Noble for fun. I usually hung out at the poetry section. I would pick out classics that had to do with Greek gods. I had a few books on Roman gods as well. For an atheist, I was really interested in these other-worldly beings.
I had an interest in philosophy, but never realized how much it was of interest until I found myself in a meditation class. Now, I wasn’t keen on meditation. It felt, and still does to a degree, that I couldn’t get myself to quiet down my mind.
And one day I found the Tao Te Ching. It interested me far more than Buddhism, which I also viewed as a philosophy. But, I stopped short of wanting to be a Daoist. I wasn’t very pro “organized religion” then.
Being a member of an organized religion. And being at a school for organized religion training...well all this is nothing like past me at all! And sometimes the spirit of organized religion feels mundane, and strategically placed to benefit the institution versus the people.
But, I like to dream. I like to dream of a church that focuses on living in the spirit. A kind of institution that sees the inequities of the world and focuses on building equity. Focuses on bringing the voices of the oppressed into the foreground. The oppressors have definitely had their fair share of air-time.
My church has definitely done a bit of work in this dream. With their week of action, multiple events laid down the facts about oppressive and racist systems in the United States within our denomination. But, I want to continue dreaming. I can see the future of our denomination as recovering and reclaiming the spiritual practices of the oppressed people.
Today it may be the spiritual practices of Africans and African descendants. Tomorrow it could be another ethnicity or oppressed people. In reopening the Tao te Ching, I’m remembering what spirituality means to me.
And so I have a little bit of wisdom of the Tao. To be, you must do without ‘doing’. Be involved without manipulating. This wisdom is about being intentional without being overtly scene-causing. In a personal way, it’s about my supporting Black Lives Matter without disposing of anyone’s humanity. About shopping and supporting locally black businesses. It’s about extending a hand to a brother or sister, regardless of the things that separate us.