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Posts Tagged ‘apology’

Pilgrimage Statistics 

Consecutive Days Riding:  115                                               Days Blogged: 100

New Mileage: 12                                                               Total Trip Mileage: 843

As I climb on the bike today I am reminded of a previous blog when I noted two certainties in life.  One certainty had to do with the numerous gifts of life whether it is the beauty of a blossom, the sound of children’s voices, friendship or the profound connection we find with the divine. The other certainty was the fact that life presents us with humbling experiences.  In the last day I have again been presented with both certainties.

A gift from the divine!

Yesterday a colleague who has very different opinions from my own cornered me and peppered me with questions about the most current political face-offs.  After a brief discussion I told him I was growing tired of the incessant fighting and the win-lose stances taken by all participants. He commented: “well that’s just the way it is, you’d better get used to it.”  I told him that I refused to accept that finding middle ground was impossible.  He shook his head and walked away.  This left me unsettled and sad for I believe that we must find common ground if we as a nation and world will ever solve the problems we face.

The Monks of Gethsemani.

This afternoon I was searching the web looking for pilgrimage sites and retreat centers to add to my growing list.  I came across the Abby of Gethsemani in Kentucky.  I was struck by the simple and sincere message expressed by the monks: “Communing with the Lord requires a measure of solitude, a stillness and an emptiness, a waiting on and attending to the Spirit.” I was reminded of the profound silence I had experienced at various times and places and of the connectedness with the divine that accompanied it.  I studied the beautiful images that accompanied the words of these humble monks.  The joyful faces on a group of robe clad monks, and deep sense of solitude and conviction in the image of a lone figure.  Then I pulled up another images and immediately recognized the thin monk in the colored robes, I smiled as I read the title: “Dali Lama’s visit.” 

The Dali Lama visits!

There he was, deep in conversation with a monk in a white robe.  They walked across the landscape, two humble men sharing a moment of time, creating a simple but profound image of connectedness.  Each of them is a gift, this moment is a gift, and their image is a gift for all of us.  If these profoundly serious men, each deeply embedded in their own tradition can meet, walk, talk and smile together, then there is hope for all of us.

Solitude and Silence

The website noted that hospitality is an essential element of the monastic life.  It quoted Saint Benedicts 5th century rule: “Let all guests that come to the monastery be received as Christ. For one day he will say: ‘I was a stranger and you welcomed me.”

I was very moved by this simple image of two monks working to find common ground.  I was reminded that there are those who see past our surface differences; past the names we use for God and pass the Holy Scriptures that we follow those who find the common ground of compassion and love.  Here’s what I found on my blog site when I checked for comments and messages. 

Stationary Pilgrim

Thanks for the civility and honesty.  We are humbled by and grateful for your gracious apology.

There is so much misinformation out there and if anyone really wants to know more they could just visit our website. Thank you for taking the time to actually look deeper into the story and making a fair judgment.

Jon

Faith Comes By Hearing

I was deeply moved and smiled to myself as I responded:

Thank you Jon

We all have a right to speak up but with it come a responsibility to be both honest and humble.  Keep up your good work.  I hope our paths cross again!

 The Stationarypilgrim

Find the Light Within and Then Reach Out!

There is reason to hope, when two monks find common ground, when apologies are extended and accepted, when pilgrims reach across the divide in recognition of each other.

If you like the blog please consider joining the stationarypilgrim’s e-mail list by visiting the subscribe button on the top right corner of this page.  Have a wonderful day!

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Pilgrimage Statistics 

Consecutive Days Riding:  113                                                 Days Blogged: 99

New Mileage: 16                                                               Total Trip Mileage: 833

Over the past several days I have mulled the question: Should I make a response to comments about my last posting or just let them go and move on?  On Saturday I offered an apology to a group of Christians who were sending audio Bibles to the people of Haiti.  I apologized, as a lack of information on my part lead me to make unfounded accusations about their motives. I still have concerns about the usefulness of their activities and whether that money might be better spent buying shelter for homeless Haitians before the approaching rainy season.  But that is their choice.

Follow the Leader!

A number of people responded to the blog posting, many with positive feedback and a few with concerns and criticism. In particular, one commentator who had made accusations earlier about “atheist hypocrisy” concerning my criticism toward the group supplying the audio Bibles, sent me a follow-up comment.  I hoped he might follow my lead and offer an apology to those whom he lumped together under an “atheist” heading and lambasted with negative statements.  I hoped he might hear my message about the need to find common ground and pull out of the dichotomous thinking and the win-lose conflicts.  But what I received from him was a self-righteous “gottcha” comment in which he accused me of presenting a logical fallacy. There was no comment about my call to find common ground, or to consider the long-term consequences of our statements and actions. Just a ratcheting up of the tit-for-tat conflict.

We hold the answer in our hands!

I spent a bit of time yesterday speaking to a philosophy professor at my university.  We had a long discussion that culminated in the conclusion that arguments which feature accusations of hypocrisy are almost always circular, and in the end the process of the discussion degrades into entrenched positions.   I don’t know that I’ve ever met anyone who has always been consistent in what they say and how they act.  We all change our minds at some point and we all have experiences that cause us to retract an earlier position.  I made a statement in one blog and apologized in another.  Does that make me a hypocrite?  Does that make me wishy-washy and inconsistent?  Or does that point to a process of gathering new information and trying to refine one’s beliefs.  Doesn’t it speak to a process of finding the position that best fits the facts, but leaves itself open for new possibilities?

I find myself reiterating my earlier position that we must look for ways to find common ground. Dichotomous thinking and win- lose situations always lead to stalemates and increased friction.  A friend suggested that I should just ignore this individual and delete their comments.  I thought about it but isn’t that similar to what we accuse them of doing when they label us “nonbelievers” and ignore our comments?  I’m reminded of the words of wisdom and calm behaviors emulating from two profound sources.  The first is from the Dali Lama, who, even when faced with representatives of the people, who have taken away his country, never loses his cool or ceases to see them as individuals worthy of respect and compassion. 

Ask our youth?

The second is an unlikely source of wisdom on such matters: my youngest son.  I once picked him up from a weekend Cub Scout event. As I pulled up, I saw him sitting quietly under a tree in a meditative stance.  After we drove away I asked him about his meditation, he commented that before I arrived several scouts from a prominent Christian denomination had asked him what he was doing.  After he explained to them that he was meditating they told him that he was “going to hell.”  I asked him about his response and he calmly noted “I just smiled and said: if that’s what you believe, that’s what you believe” and then he returned to his meditation. 

He continues to be the happy, smiling, joyful youth that he is. I will follow his lead and continue to be a pilgrim. I will continue on my path and continue to share my joys and my concerns, regardless of what others think.  If I was to do anything else, I wouldn’t be honest with myself. That honesty  and the sharing of my beliefs is, I believe, the most critical part of my life journey  Thank you for being part of that journey and allowing me to share it with you!. 

If you like the blog please consider joining the stationarypilgrim’s e-mail list by visiting the subscribe button on the top right corner of this page.  Have a wonderful day!

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