The Power of One
Pastor Pruitt cut a wide swathe through white complacency, in his fiery four-part review of the ugly truths of American racism. The only weak moment came at the end, when he asked us for solutions. No-one offered one, and I think that was his point. We do not have a solution – that’s what we need to work on.
But there is a solution, to the problems he described and a great many others deemed insoluble. It’s just not the kind of political solution he seemed to be asking for. But all politics, both problems and solutions, grow out of the way we think. I do not believe there is a political solution to racism: it can only be solved by changing the way we think. Altering infantile institutions like separate bathrooms and drinking fountains helps us think more clearly about the different bodies in which God has placed his souls. But political solutions are just a start.
By aligning our thinking with the wisdom of the ages, we can put an end to betrayal, domestic violence, murder, rape, broken hearts, racism, sexism and war. The way we think will only have to accommodate one simple concept: that God permeates all things, shining within the just and the unjust alike. God is immanent – not imm-i-nent, that means about to happen. God is imm-a-nent, meaning He is always already happening anywhere and everywhere.
Understanding that all things in the material world are permeated by a single Divine Spirit – the Oneness – puts us into community with all things, even our worst enemies. We cannot betray members of our own community – and everything is in our community now, because all are vessels of the same God. Do we want to betray God in His vessels?
Understanding that it is all One and we are part of that One, like God’s partners, we cannot hit or hurt our spouse without violating the partnership that binds us together with God. For our spouse is a vessel of the same God as ourselves. Should we hit God in that vessel?
Understanding that it is all One and we are part of that One, we start to live by a code of honor which protects the weak rather than taking advantage of their weakness – for even if we are strong, the weak are still part of the same God as we are. We cannot murder and also protect the weak, for anyone about to die under our hands is in a weak position and should be rescued, not slaughtered. Should we murder God in that vessel?
Understanding that it is all One and we are part of that One, we enter into such love for God that we love all things, for all things are vessels of our Sacred Beloved. Having entered into that profound universal love, we will find that we cannot rape in a state of unconditional love for all beings, because no act could be less loving. The victim of rape is also a vessel of God. Do we want to rape God in that vessel?
Understanding that it is all One and we are part of that One, we see that it is Love that binds us in community and partnership, under the world’s simplest code of honor – protect those weaker than yourself. In love affairs, we cannot break another’s heart without opposing the will of God, who wants all of us to survive our love affairs intact. Understand that God’s heart breaks in the heart-broken lover, for He walks within us down the roads we follow. Should we break God’s heart?
Do you see how, if God walks within us as an immanent Being, He suffers our pain? We are not on the cross like Jesus, Jesus was on the cross like us. Waking up to the Oneness is deciding not to hurt God any more.
Understanding that it is all One and we are part of that One, we see easily that both racism and sexism violate the Divine understanding that we are all parts of One thing, permeated by the immanent God. Do we want to make God sit at a separate table from ourselves? Is not Martin Luther King’s dream, that one day little white children and little black children would sit at the same table and eat together in peace, really a dream that we should find our way back to God, who permeates all His children without regard for color? Or do we want to pay God less, refuse Him jobs and advancement, make Him stay at home barefoot and pregnant, simply because He inhabits a woman’s body? If you believe in the Oneness, racism and sexism just fall apart. We can’t think that way any more.
Understanding that it is all One and we are part of that One, we gain a new compassion for all other beings as part of the same God as ourselves. Really, our innate self-concern expands into a concern for others as Self. Once this huge change is in place in our thought patterns, we will find we cannot go to war without hanging universal compassion on a hook and going into combat without it. Do we really want to stop caring what happens to God in His other vessels? Do we want to call Him a gook or a towel-head and then blow His brains out?
Can we do this and still call ourselves Christians? Jesus told us to turn the other cheek, and put away your swords. He gave no other instruction on the subject of conflict. That was it. Turn the other cheek, and put away your sword. Augustine said if God tells us to kill someone, it’s not murder. But that was his opinion. Jesus didn’t say that.
By aligning our thinking with the Oneness, which has been known to and described by mystics of every religion for thousands of years, we can put an end to betrayal, domestic violence, murder, rape, broken hearts, racism, sexism and war. But first we will have to emerge from our denial of the Oneness – a denial which handily empowers all kinds of wickedness.
God is not far away in Heaven. He is here, right here, all around us! This is the Kingdom of Heaven, if we would just stop calling it Hell.
Dr. Matt Miller is a trained medievalist who decided the most useful thing he could do in the world would be to teach children how to read and write, and pursue the threads of medieval mysticism through the Dark Ages into the time of Jesus ..