Saturday, April 30, 2022

He’s Back!

This evening for “music night” at The Wild Reed I share “Off,” the lead single from singer-songwriter Maxwell’s forthcoming album, blacksummer’NIGHT.

The album, set for release early next year, will serve as the third in a trilogy of albums whose names are distinguished by the capitalization of letters in one phrase of the same title. The first album in the trilogy was released in 2009 and the second in 2016.

Writes Robyn Mowatt of “Off”: “[I]t’s a blissful, soft ride that preps listeners for what’s to come from the beloved singer. Hod David, a longtime collaborator, and Maxwell co-produced the cut. In its entirety, the track is stunning, it’s seductive but it’s also riveting.

Tom Breihan similarly notes that “Off” sees Maxwell in his “seductive comfort zone.”

The song’s “all about shooting all your shots and being on a mission to go off,” writes Breihan. “This is Maxwell truly giving the people what they want: I see you in the dark / You’re like moonlit spark / I’m in awe / Creamy chocolate work of art / Your skin is so damn soft / Coco butter silky thoughts. . . . The song is a slow, watery, atmospheric quiet-storm jam with a softly murmuring bassline and a slow eruption of guitar. It’s just as lovely and horny as you could possibly expect a new Maxwell song to be.”

Related Off-site Links:
Maxwell Is Finally Free – Elias Leight (Rolling Stone, November 16, 2021).
Maxwell Announces 2022 Tour and Shares New Song “Off” – Matthew Ismael Ruiz (Pitchfork, November 16, 2021).
Maxwell Gets Lost In An Otherworldly Love With “Off” Visual – Mya Abraham (Vibe, November 30, 2021).
Maxwell on Good Morning America – February 16, 2022.

For more of Maxwell at The Wild Reed, see:
Maxwell’s Welcome Return (2016)
Maxwell in the House
Rockin’ with Maxwell
Maxwell’s Welcome Return (2009)
Maxwell in Concert
The Return of Maxwell
Maxwell’s Hidden Gem

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Quote of the Day

We are no longer in the acute fulminant accelerated phase of the outbreak. We’re in somewhat of a transitional phase where the cases’ numbers have decelerated – and hopefully we’re getting to a phase of somewhat better control, where we can begin to start to resuming more easily normal activities. The United States and the entire world is still experiencing a pandemic, but there are different phases of the pandemic. And what we are in right now is somewhat of a transitional phase, out of the accelerated component into hopefully a more controlled component.

Dr. Anthony Fauci,
Chief Medical Adviser to President Biden
Quoted in Bill Chappell’s article “Here’s Why Dr. Fauci Says
the U.S. Is ‘Out of the Pandemic Phase’

NPR News
April 28, 2022

Related Off-site Links:
Former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams Talks Fauci’s Pandemic Comments, COVID Vaccines for Kids, and Mask MandatesYahoo! Finance (April 27, 2022).
WHO Warns Poor Nations Could Be Pushed to “End of the Queue” for Pfizer Covid Pill – Kenny Stancil (Common Dreams, April 22, 2022).
Analysis Shows That Vaccination Could Have Prevented 3 in 5 U.S. COVID Deaths Since June 2021 – Kenny Stancil (Common Dreams, April 22, 2022).
An Equitable Roadmap for Ending the COVID-19 Pandemic – Mitsuru Mukaigawara, Ines Hassan, Genevie Fernandes, Lois King, Jay Patel and Devi Sridhar (Nature, April 5, 2022).
COVID-19 Will Continue But the End of the Pandemic Is Near – Christopher J L Murray (The Lancet, January 19, 2022).

UPDATES: Dominant Coronavirus Mutant Contains Ghost of Pandemic Past – Laura Ungar (AP News, May 26, 2022).
COVID-19 Vaccines Saved an Estimated 20 Million Lives in One Year – Jim Wappes (CIDRAP News, June 24, 2022).
For Now, Wary U.S. Treads Water With Transformed COVID-19 – Carla J. Johnson (AP News, July 3, 2022).
“Reinfection Wave”: Ed Yong on BA.5 Omicron Variant Spread Amid Mask Mandate Rollbacks and Funding CutsDemocracy Now (July 14, 2022).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
On the Second Anniversary of the Coronavirus Pandemic, Words of Gratitude and Hope
Difficult Choices
A COVID Start to 2022
Out and About – Autumn 2021
Renae Gage: Quote of the Day – November 28, 2021
COVID Observations From a General Surgeon
Richard LaFortune: Quote of the Day – August 20, 2021
Something to Lament
A Pandemic Year
Out and About – Spring 2020
Memes of the Times
The Lancet Weighs-in on the Trump Administration’s “Incoherent” Response to the Coronavirus Pandemic
Examining the Link Between Destruction of Biodiversity and Emerging Infectious Diseases
Sonya Renee Taylor: Quote of the Day – April 18, 2020
Marianne Williamson: In the Midst of This “Heartbreaking” Pandemic, It’s Okay to Be Heartbroken
Hope and Beauty in the Midst of the Global Coronavirus Pandemic
The Calm Before the Storm
A Prayer in Times of a Pandemic

Image: Yahoo! Finance.

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Sen. Mallory McMorrow: “We Will Not Let Hate Win”

Last week Michigan state Sen. Mallory McMorrow, a Democrat representing suburban Metro Detroit communities, pushed back against a Republican colleague who, in a fundraising e-mail, falsely accused her of wanting to “groom and sexualize kindergarteners,” and hold 8-year-olds responsible for slavery.

In an April 19 speech on the Michigan Senate floor, McMorrow denounced the campaign e-mail from Republican state Sen. Lana Theis that suggested she was a “groomer,” a term that describes how sex offenders make contact with their victims.

“I am the biggest threat to your hollow, hateful scheme,” McMorrow said. “Because you can’t claim that you are targeting marginalized kids in the name of ‘parental rights’ if another parent is standing up to say no. So then what? Then you dehumanize and marginalize me. You say that I am one of them.”

McMorrow then said she is a straight, white, Christian, married, suburban mom who was taught from a young age that Christianity and faith were about service, community and standing up for others who are marginalized and targeted.

She added that learning about slavery, redlining or systemic racism does not mean that children are taught to feel bad about themselves.

“No child alive today is responsible for slavery. No one in this room is responsible for slavery,” McMorrow said. “But each and every single one of us bears responsibility for writing the next chapter of history ... We can’t pretend that it didn’t happen, or deny people their very right to exist.”

McMorrow concluded her five-minute speech by saying, “Hate will only win if people like me stand by and let it happen.”

“We will not let hate win.”

Related Off-site Link:
Michigan Sen. Mallory McMorrow Explains Why She Stood Up to a Culture War AttackPBS Newshour via YouTube (April 22, 2022).

UPDATES: Democrats Need to Stand Up for Themselves – Molly Jong-Fast (The Atlantic, May 1, 2022).
Mallory McMorrow: A Role Model for the Midterms – David Remnick (The New Yorker, May 1, 2022).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Marianne Williamson on America’s “Cults of Madness”
Jason Stanley: Quote of the Day – May 16, 2022
Bend the Arc: Quote of the Day – October 28, 2018
Trump’s America: Normalized White Supremacy and a Rising Tide of Racist Violence

Monday, April 25, 2022

Photo of the Day

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Just One Wish
In This In-Between Time
Photo of the Day – June 30, 2020
Photo of the Day – August 27, 2015
Photo of the Day – November 12, 2012

Related Off-site Link:
Cold and Windy Monday; Sun Returns Tuesday – Sven Sundgaard (MPR News, April 25, 2022).

Image: Michael J. Bayly.

Friday, April 22, 2022

For Earth Day . . .

Related Off-site Links:
What Is Earth Day? Everything to Know About the Holiday, Its History, and This Year’s Theme – Wyatte Grantham-Philips (USA Today, April 22, 2022).
Climate Emergency! – Marianne Williamson in Conversation With Climate Scientist Peter KalmusTransform (via YouTube), April 22, 2022.
Dishonoring Earth Day 2022 With an Oil, Gas, Coal, and Nuclear Heyday – Ralph Nader (Common Dreams, April 22, 2022).
Powerlands: Young Diné Filmmaker on Indigenous Resistance to Resource Colonization WorldwideDemocracy Now! (April 22, 2022).
Climate Group Calls Biden’s Earth Day Order for Old-Growth Forests “Grossly Inadequate” – Jessica Corbett (Common Dreams, April 22, 2022).
Activists Blockade Corporate Newspapers Over Inadequate Climate Coverage – Jake Johnson (Common Dreams, April 22, 2022).
We Can’t Solve the Climate Crisis With a Broken Democracy – Mark Hertsgaard (The Guardian, January 10, 2022).

UPDATE: Rallies Held Across U.S. for “Climate, Care, Jobs, and Justice” – Kenny Stancil (Common Dreams, April 23, 2022).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Biophilia, the God Pan, and a Baboon Named Scott
Bernie Sanders: Quote of the Day – July 1, 2021
The Stakes Have Shifted
Examining the Link Between Destruction of Biodiversity and Emerging Infectious Diseases
The Landscape Is a Mirror
Something to Think About – February 10, 2020
In Australia, “the Land As We Know It Is No More”
Greta Thunberg: Quote of the Day – September 23, 2019
Five Powerful Responses to the Amazon Fires
Greta Thunberg: Quote of the Day – March 16, 2019
As the World Burns, Calls for a “Green New Deal”
Thomas Moore on the Circling of Nature as the Best Way to Find Our Substance
Marianne Williamson: Quote of the Day – August 29, 2017
The People's Climate Solidarity March – Minneapolis, 4/29/17
“It Is All Connected”
Standing Together
Standing in Prayer and Solidarity with the Water Protectors of Standing Rock
The Paris Climate Talks, Multilateralism, and a “New Approach to Climate Action”
Earth Day 2015
Thomas Berry (1914-2009)
Rachel Smolker: Quote of the Day – September 19, 2014
Earth Day 2013
Superstorm Sandy: A “Wake-Up Call” on Climate Change
Chris Hedges: Quote of the Day – May 31, 2011

Art: Catherine Nelson.

Sunday, April 17, 2022

Easter for Mystics

Earlier today author and activist Marianne Williamson shared a beautiful and insightful Easter reflection via her substack page, Transform. Her words speak deeply to me, which is not surprising given that I seek to walk the mystico-prophetic spiritual path. Perhaps her words will speak deeply to you as well. I share Marianne’s reflection in its entirety below and strongly encourage you to check out and consider subscribing to her substack.


We Will Rise

Or We Won't

By Marianne Williamson

Just as there are exoteric forms of religion – from institutional realities to dogma and doctrine – there are the esoteric, more mystical layers of it as well. On Easter, whether we think in terms of the external or the internal Jesus determines how we experience the day.

To the mystic, Jesus was not just someone who lived two thousand years ago; rather, he lives in people’s hearts today. The meaning of Easter is not just what happened historically, or what happens only one day of the year, but what happens in any moment when love and forgiveness overcome the fear-laden powers of the world.

The question of how to break the chain of darkness could not be more relevant than it is today. Environmental degradation, rising authoritarianism and endless war are the stuff of our collective crucifixion. Humanity can’t stop it because humanity is doing it; our own minds are weaponized against us. What is needed on the planet now is a collective resurrection, a divine intercession from a thought system beyond our own.

There’s an obvious intensification on the planet of both the darkness and the light, both forces of planetary destruction and planetary enlightenment. The air is so saturated with toxicity now that our minds, our bodies, our entire social system is feeling the dis-ease. Even those of faith, of serious and committed spiritual practice, are having to work overtime to keep a creeping despair at bay.

So what will happen now? Will darkness and fear, or light and love, win the struggle for the future? If we just give up and surrender, darkness most certainly will win. But if we stand up and fight back, then darkness might also win. Yet is there any other option?

Interestingly enough, yes. The other option is Easter.

Easter isn’t so much a joyful holiday today – there’s too much going on in the world for that – as it is an instructive one. The point is not that God defeats darkness, but that He overcomes darkness. The light becomes so bright that the darkness disappears.

That isn’t theory; it’s a law of consciousness. The only thing to be saved from is the insane thinking that dominates this world, but we can’t save the world from its insanity when we’re holding onto it ourselves.

This isn’t just about Jesus, it’s about us. His resurrection was the overcoming by one man; today’s resurrection is the overcoming by an entire species. We ourselves must become the change, and that is the resurrection. God can’t do for us what He can’t do through us. We must be willing to be reborn into another, higher version of ourselves, in order to pull off the miracle of planetary transformation. The world as it now exists is a reflection of who we have been; the world of the future will reflect who we choose to become. We can have the overcoming, but not if we hang on to the cross.

Whether it be our attachment to the past, or to our addictions, or to our judgements, or to our victimization, or to our violent behavior – we can have those, or we can have a sustainable future. Only if we work to rid the darkness in our own hearts can we become the conduits of miraculous change.

The Messiah is a state of mind, the unconditional love that is a conduit for our own enlightenment. The question isn’t simply what we need to do; the question is what quality of personhood we must embody in order to do what it is we are asked to do. It seems to me all of us are being asked right now. In each of our lives there is some circumstance challenging us to give up a weaker part of ourselves and emerge into a stronger place. All of us are wounded by this world, but it’s a choice we make whether or not to act from the wound. In acting from the wound, we perpetuate a wounded world. In choosing to transcend the wound, we’ll create a world reborn.

Jesus wasn’t putting on some macabre show for the world to witness; he was changing the molecular structure of the universe. He was opening up possibilities for change not only for himself but for all the world. Even those of us who do not relate to his story as Christians, can relate to the metaphysical power of the resurrection and to its transformative effect upon our lives. Any one person breaking the hold of darkness paves the way for everyone to break the hold of darkness.

Hallelujah. Praise God. May it be so.

– Marianne Williamson
via Transform
April 17, 2022

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
The Final Say
God’s Good Gift
Jesus: The Revelation of Oneness
Easter Bodiliness
Considering Resurrection
Resurrection: Beyond Words, Dogmas and All Possible Theological Formulations
Resurrection: A New Depth of Consciousness
The Triumph of Love: An Easter Reflection
“And Still We Rise!” – MayDay 2015 (Part I)
“And Still We Rise!” – MayDay 2015 (Part II)
Mystics of Wonder, Agents of Change
Christmas for Mystics

Related Off-site Link:
Marianne Williamson on the Metaphysics of Passover and Easter – March 30, 2018.

Image:Universal Lord, I Hold The Key” by Thomas Blackshear II.

“This Spring, May We Renew the World”

I appreciate the following greeting and message from feminist neo-pagan Starhawk.

Happy Easter to all who celebrate today. Happy Pesach to all my friends and family who celebrate Passover; and an easy fast and spiritual inspiration to all my Muslim friends throughout this Ramadan.

Today the three holidays coincide, reminding us that these three peoples – who today are so often in conflict – draw spiritual sustenance from the same roots and have also lived together in harmony many, many times throughout history. All three holidays celebrate regeneration – Easter the sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus; Passover the bitterness of slavery and the joy of liberation; Ramadan the voluntary hunger and thirst of fasting and the renewal of faith and commitment.

Why do humans create religions – these systems of myth, belief and traditions that sometimes ask so much of us? Is it just – as I sometimes think – to make a lot of extra work for ourselves? Or is it something deeper – to help us cope with the inevitable losses and hardships of life, and maintain our hope and resilience?

Out ancestors lived in a world of far greater want and uncertainty than those of us who live in the privileged world experience today. Yet we, too, have faced disease, war, the ravages of wildfires and floods as the climate deteriorates, the violence of prejudice and hate.

May the convergence of these holidays remind us that we are all vulnerable bodies in a world of great forces beyond our control, and yet we can choose to meet life with creativity, courage and compassion, with love for one another and for this beautiful gift of a world. May this holiday season inspire us to be agents of justice, liberation, and regeneration.

This spring, may we renew the world.

via Facebook
April 17, 2022

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
“It Is All Connected”
Balancing the Fire
In This In-Between Time
O Dancer of Creation
Spring: “Truly the Season for Joy and Hope”
Celebrating the “Color of Spring” . . . and a Cosmic Notion of the Christ
In the Footsteps of Spring: Introduction | Part I | II | III | IV | V
Easter Bodiliness
Considering Resurrection
Resurrection: Beyond Words, Dogmas and All Possible Theological Formulations
Resurrection: A New Depth of Consciousness
The Triumph of Love: An Easter Reflection
Mystical Participation
Thomas Moore on the Circling of Nature as the Best Way to Find Our Substance
Prayer of the Week – November 14, 2012
Discerning and Embodying Sacred Presence in Times of Violence and Strife
The End of the World As We Know It . . . and the Beginning As We Live It
Mystics of Wonder, Agents of Change

Image: Philip Shadbolt.

Saturday, April 16, 2022

Remembering and Celebrating Dusty

Today is the 83rd anniversary of the birth of the late, great British pop/soul vocalist Dusty Springfield (1939-1999).

Dusty’s been in the news lately as a compilation album, Dusty Sings Soul, was recently Number 1 on Amazon UK’s R&B and Soul Chart.

As the title suggests, this collection offers Dusty’s versions of classic American soul songs. The compiler, Tony Rounce, hesitates to call them “covers” as he claims that a “cover version” is a recording made in direct competition to an original version. Dusty never wanted to compete with the American versions. For one thing, she had way too much respect for the singers who recorded the original versions; she simply wanted to spread the word about the beauty of the music they’d crafted. Consequently, most of the 24 tracks that comprise Dusty Sings Soul originally appeared as album tracks or as B sides – never in direct competition to an original release.

Above: Dusty singing with Martha and the Vandellas on the April 1965 Ready, Steady, Go! Motown special. Dusty not only hosted this British TV special but was instrumental in devising it. (For Martha’s recollections of her friend Dusty Springfield, click here.)

My interest in and admiration for Dusty is well documented here at The Wild Reed, most notably in Soul Deep, one of my very first posts.

Other previous posts worth investigating, especially if you’re new to Dusty, are Dusty Springfield: Queer Icon, which features an excerpt from Laurence Cole’s book, Dusty Springfield: In the Middle of Nowhere; Celebrating Dusty (2017), which features an excerpt from Patricia Juliana Smith’s insightful article on Dusty’s “camp masquerades”; Celebrating Dusty (2013), which features excerpts from Annie J. Randall’s book, Dusty!: Queen of the Postmods; Remembering Dusty, my 2009 tribute to Dusty on the tenth anniversary of her death; and Remembering Dusty, 20 Years On, my 2019 tribute on the twentieth anniversary of her death.

And, of course, off-site there’s my website dedicated to Dusty, Woman of Repute (currently only accessible through the Internet archive service, The Way Back Machine).

My website’s name is derived from Dusty’s 1990 album Reputation, and as I explain in Soul Deep, it was this album that introduced me not only to Dusty’s music but also to her life and journey – much of which resonated deeply with me. Indeed, my identification with aspects of Dusty’s journey played an important role in my coming out as a gay man.

Above: Dusty, amidst the flowing streams, standing stones and picturesque Celtic ruins of County Clare and the Galway coast for the making of the music video for “Roll Away,” a track from her last album, 1995’s A Very Fine Love. The liner notes of the 2016 2-disc expanded collector’s edition of A Very Fine Love include my reflections on this beautiful song, reflections which are also shared in the previous Wild Reed post, Time and the River.

In honor of today’s 83rd anniversary of Dusty’s birth, I share “Take Another Little Piece Of My Heart,” a track featured on Dusty Sings Soul and which was first released on Dusty’s 1968 album, Dusty... Definitely. It’s followed by an excerpt from Paul Howe’s invaluable book, The Complete Dusty Springfield.


“Take Another Little Piece of My Heart” was developed by Jerry Ragovoy from an idea by Bert Berns. Berns came to his often-times partner Ragovoy with the title “Piece of My Heart” and a line for the chorus: “Take another little piece of my heart now, baby.” The song was completed in 1967 and first recorded by Erma Franklin, Aretha’s sister, whom Berns had signed to his Shout label.

Dusty’s treatment is very similar to Erma’s. It starts with a piano intro followed by Dusty’s cool and retrained vocals in the verses; the song then erupts in the chorus as a maltreated Dusty defiantly demands her lover to take another little piece of her heart. The track is notable for the great interaction between Dusty and her [background vocalists – Madeline Bell, Lesley Duncan, and Kay Garner].

Erma’s version failed to make any impact on the charts at the time (a re-release made the UK Top 10 in 1992) and it’s unlikely that Dusty ever considered releasing her version as a single. As she admitted in her sleeve notes for Dusty... Definitely, it was a song she had always loved but “. . . due to the fact that there were so many high notes I shirked the responsibility of actually singing it. However, with the help of several cups of Philips tea . . . I made it, and I hope the result is pleasing.”

Paul Howes
Excerpted from The Complete Dusty Springfield
Reynolds and Hearn Ltd, 2001
p. 138

For more of Dusty at The Wild Reed, see:
Soul Deep
Dusty Springfield: Queer Icon
Remembering Dusty, 20 Years On
Remembering and Celebrating Dusty (2021)
Remembering and Celebrating Dusty (2020)
Remembering and Celebrating Dusty (2019)
Remembering Dusty (2018)
Celebrating Dusty (2017)
Celebrating Dusty (2013)
Remembering Dusty (2009)
Remembering Dusty – 14 Years On
Remembering Dusty – 11 Years On
The Other “Born This Way”
Time and the River
Remembering a Great Soul Singer
A Song and Challenge for 2012
The Sound of Two Decades Colliding

Opening image: Dusty on the popular British television show Top of the Pops performing her top 20 hit “Nothing Has Been Proved,” the theme song from the film Scandal – March, 1989.

Friday, April 15, 2022

Good Friday Reflections

– “Mama
by Kelly Latimore

The icon “Mama” was painted after the death of George Floyd. Many people asked whether the man in the icon was “George Floyd or Jesus?” The answer to that question is “yes.” This dualistic question (either/or) is fine for the simplification of conversation but not for the sake of the truth. It is Christ, but as St. Teresa of Calcutta said it is also “Christ in distressing disguise.” In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus tells us he is to be found in those who suffer, just as George Floyd did. The Christ figure in the icon doesn’t have nail holes in his hands because, unfortunately, the black man in America is lynched.

We bear witness to Christ present in all of the crucified people of history. Looking into the eyes of mothers who are continually losing sons and daughters who are chased and unjustly murdered by the state and angry mobs. Our hope for this image is that it will continue to guide our thought, and prayer, but most importantly, our action. “Mama” is currently installed at Holy Communion Episcopal Church in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.A.

– Mike Kinman
Rector at All Saints Episcopal Church,
Pasadena, California

The cross can heal and hurt; it can be empowering and liberating but also enslaving and oppressive. There is no one way in which the cross can be interpreted. I offer my reflections because I believe that the cross placed alongside the lynching tree can help us to see Jesus in America in a new light, and thereby empower people who claim to follow him to take a stand against white supremacy and every kind of injustice.

– James H. Cone
Excerpted from The Cross and the Lynching Tree
Orbis Books, 2013

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
He Called Mama. He Has Called Up Great Power
Honoring George Floyd
Out and About – Spring 2020
A Very Intentional First Day of the Year
Bearing Witness
God’s Good Gift
Remembering George Floyd on the First Anniversary of His Murder
Rallying in Solidarity with Eric Garner and Other Victims of Police Brutality
In Minneapolis, Rallying in Solidarity with Black Lives in Baltimore
“Say Her Name” Solidarity Action for Sandra Bland
“We Are All One” – #Justice4Jamar and the 4th Precinct Occupation
Quote of the Day – March 31, 2016
“This Doesn’t Happen to White People”
Remembering Philando Castile and Demanding Abolition of the System That Targets and Kills People of Color
“And Still and All, It Continues”
The Problem Is Ultimately Bigger Than Individuals. It’s Systemic
“This Has Got to Stop”
Love, Justice, and Amir Locke

Thursday, April 14, 2022

“The Most Authentic Statement of Created Life”

– “True Passion” by Lester Kern

Writes Ilia Delio in The Emergent Christ:

God is not a lonely deity at the top of a medieval cosmos, spinning the stars and governing the heavens; rather, God is selfless love poured out by the power of the Spirit* as dynamic newness of love desiring a beloved – to make whole, to unify, to evolve toward an infinite depth of love. God acts in creation as God is in Godself – dynamic love. It is out of this love that we are and continue to be created.

Walter Kasper describes the cross [of Jesus] as the revelation of the divinity of God, the very power of God to heal, make whole, to emerge in evolutionary creation. “God need not strip himself of his omnipotence in order to reveal his love,” Kasper writes. “It requires omnipotence to be able to surrender oneself and give oneself away; and it requires omnipotence to be able to take oneself back in the giving and to preserve the independence and freedom of the recipient. Only an almighty love can give itself wholly to the other and be a helpless love.” Thus God’s love, shown to us in the weakness and powerlessness of the cross, is the power of love to heal and transform death into life.

God is more godlike in the suffering of the cross. God does not remove suffering but transforms it from within to what is godly – to a new future. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, writing from prison, understood that the powerlessness of God on the cross is the power of God in creation: “God lets himself be pushed out of the world onto a cross. . . . He is weak and powerless in the world and that is precisely the way, the only way, in which God is with us. . . . Only the suffering God can help.” It is precisely God’s self-emptying that empowers creatures to do new things, to evolve.

. . . [T]he cross indicates that new life cannot emerge without suffering and death. God suffers the new creation not out of need but out of an abundance of love, out of sympathy for the beloved. The only way to evolve toward greater wholeness is to let go and die to those things that hinder the emergence of love from within. Such death involves suffering, accepting pain as part of the birthing process to richer life. Pain rends, but it is in separating that love gathers the scattered pieces and creates anew. The very thing we fear – death – is the beginning of what we desire – wholeness. Sin is the refusal to love and hence the refusal to die; it is the protest against relatedness and community. Those who cannot love cannot suffer, for they are without grief, without feeling, and indifferent. We suffer when we experience in suffering the lack of love, the pain of abandonment, and the powerlessness of unbelief. The suffering of pain and abandonment is overcome by the suffering of love, which is not afraid of what is sick and ugly but accepts it and takes it into itself to heal it. “Anyone who enters into love,” writes Jürgen Moltmann, “and through love experiences the inextricable suffering and fatality of death, enters into the history of the human God.”

The profound reality here is that the problem of suffering is not God’s problem; it is ours. When we aim for the perfect human life free of defects and disease; when we seek immortality through artificial means trying to bypass death, we stop being human and nature also stops being itself. Jesus’ death on the cross is the most authentic statement of created life – it speaks to us of the wild love of God, the drama of evolution, and the trust that is needed if a new future is to be realized. The illogical cross is the logic of God. It is the logic of self-involvement that requires a self-emptying, a space within oneself for new life to be born.

By domesticating the cross, we strip the Godliness of God, the wildness of divine love that refuses to be controlled or manipulated. God’s love is the untameable terror of the Holy New. To be a whole-maker, to evolve, is to embrace this Spirit of love, to trust that love is greater than death. Bonaventure wrote: “Christ on the cross bows his head waiting for you, that he may kiss you; his arms outstretched, that he may embrace you; his hands are open, that he may enrich you; his side is open for you that he may let you enter there.”

If we desire to move from conflict to resolution, from divisions to unity, then we must ask: Can we be wounded for the sake of love? Salvific love that heals and makes whole is born out of human infirmity. Salvation takes place in what is weak and fragile. Unless and until we grasp the inner core of evolution as a necessary death we will continue to spiral in violence and fragmentation. Belief in God incarnate is belief in the wildness of divine love to seize us from within, turn us upside down, and move us in a new direction.

– Ilia Delio
Excerpted from The Emergent Christ:
Exploring the Meaning of Catholic
In an Evolutionary Universe

Orbis Books, 2011
pp. 122-124

* Writes Ilia Delio about the Spirit:

It is the Creator Spirit who continues to breathe new life in evolutionary creation, who weaves together the cosmic body of Christ. The Spirit is the “holon maker,” the one who breathes new life, generates new love, searches for a new future by uniting what is separate or apart, by healing and making whole. Where there is the Spirit, there is the divine Word expressed in the rich variety of creation, and where there is the Spirit and Word there is the fountain of fullness of love. Christ symbolizes this unity of love; hence, the fullness of Christ is the creative diversity of all that exists held together by the Spirit of luminous love. (The Emergent Christ, pp. 70-71)


The Wild Reed’s 2021 Holy Week post:
The Final Say

The Wild Reed’s 2020 Holy Week posts:
Holy Week, 2020
God’s Good Gift

The Wild Reed’s 2019 Holy Week post:
In This In-Between Time . . . of Both Loss and Promise

For The Wild Reed’s 2018 Holy Week series (featuring excerpts from Druid author and speaker John Michael Greer’s essay “The God from the House of Bread” in the 2012 anthology, Jesus Through Pagan Eyes: Bridging Neopagan Perspectives with a Progressive Vision of Christ), see:
The God from the House of Bread: A Bridge Between Christianity and Paganism (Part 1)
The God from the House of Bread (Part 2)
The God from the House of Bread (Part 3)
The God from the House of Bread (Part 4)

For The Wild Reed’s 2017 Holy Week series (featuring excerpts from a 1999 interview with scholar and teacher Andrew Harvey, accompanied by images that depict Jesus as the embodiment of the Cosmic Christ), see:
Jesus Our Guide to Mystical Love (Part 1)
Jesus Our Guide to Mystical Love (Part 2)
Jesus Our Guide to Mystical Love (Part 3)

For The Wild Reed’s 2016 Holy Week series (featuring excerpts from Richard Horsley’s 1993 book Jesus and the Spiral of Violence, accompanied by images of Juan Pablo Di Pace as Jesus in the 2015 NBC mini-series A.D.: The Bible Continues), see:
Jesus and Social Revolution (Part 1)
Jesus and Social Revolution (Part 2)
Jesus and Social Revolution (Part 3)

For The Wild Reed’s 2015 Holy Week series (featuring excerpts from Cletus Wessels’ book Jesus in the New Universe Story), see:
The Two Entwined Events of the Easter Experience
Resurrection in an Emerging Universe
Resurrection: A New Depth of Consciousness

For The Wild Reed’s 2014 Holy Week series (featuring excerpts from John Neafsey’s book A Sacred Voice is Calling: Personal Vocation and Social Conscience), see:
“To Die and So to Grow”
The Way of the Wounded Warrior
Suffering and Redemption
A God With Whom It is Possible to Connect
A Discerning Balance Between Holiness and Wholeness: A Hallmark of the Resurrected Life

For The Wild Reed’s 2013 Holy Week series (featuring excerpts from Albert Nolan’s book Jesus Before Christianity, accompanied by images of Jesus that some might call "unconventional"), see:
Jesus: The Upside-down Messiah
Jesus: Mystic and Prophet
Jesus and the Art of Letting Go
Within the Mystery, a Strange and Empty State of Suspension
Jesus: The Revelation of Oneness

For The Wild Reed’s 2012 Holy Week series (featuring excerpts from Cynthia Bourgeault’s book The Wisdom Jesus: Transforming Heart and Mind – A New Perspective on Christ and His Message), see:
The Passion: “A Sacred Path of Liberation”
Beyond Anger and Guilt
Judas and Peter
No Deeper Darkness
When Love Entered Hell
The Resurrected Jesus . . .

For The Wild Reed’s 2011 Holy Week series (featuring excerpts from Albert Nolan’s book Jesus Before Christianity, accompanied by images of various cinematic depictions of Jesus), see:
“Who Is This Man?”
A Uniquely Liberated Man
An Expression of Human Solidarity
No Other Way
Two Betrayals
And What of Resurrection?
Jesus: The Breakthrough in the History of Humanity
To Believe in Jesus

For The Wild Reed’s 2010 Holy Week series (featuring excerpts from Andrew Harvey’s book Son of Man: The Mystical Path to Christ), see:
Jesus: Path-Blazer of Radical Transformation
The Essential Christ
One Symbolic Iconoclastic Act
One Overwhelming Fire of Love
The Most Dangerous Kind of Rebel
Resurrection: Beyond Words, Dogmas and All Possible Theological Formulations
The Cosmic Christ: Brother, Lover, Friend, Divine and Tender Guide

For The Wild Reed’s 2009 Holy Week series (featuring the artwork of Doug Blanchard and the writings of Marcus Borg, James and Evelyn Whitehead, John Dominic Crossan, Andrew Harvey, Francis Webb, Dianna Ortiz, Uta Ranke-Heinemann and Paula Fredriksen), see:
The Passion of Christ (Part 1) – Jesus Enters the City
The Passion of Christ (Part 2) – Jesus Drives Out the Money Changers
The Passion of Christ (Part 3) – Last Supper
The Passion of Christ (Part 4) – Jesus Prays Alone
The Passion of Christ (Part 5) – Jesus Before the People
The Passion of Christ (Part 6) – Jesus Before the Soldiers
The Passion of Christ (Part 7) – Jesus Goes to His Execution
The Passion of Christ (Part 8) – Jesus is Nailed the Cross
The Passion of Christ (Part 9) – Jesus Dies
The Passion of Christ (Part 10) – Jesus Among the Dead
The Passion of Christ (Part 11) – Jesus Appears to Mary
The Passion of Christ (Part 12) – Jesus Appears to His Friends

Thursday, April 07, 2022

Spring Rain

Related Off-site Link:
Thursday Still Soggy; Sunshine in Sight – Sven Sundgaard (MPR News, April 7, 2022).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
In This In-Between Time
Waiting in Repose for Spring’s Awakening Kiss
Photo of the Day – January 23, 2022
The Landscape Is a Mirror

Image: Michael J. Bayly.