About July 4th -- In circles & marches, in USA & Holy Land,

citizens engage

04 July 2009


"The only viable context for future survival seems to be . . .the planet Earth and its integral functioning.

Only such a referent to the Earth itself, beyond all the various nations of the planet, can evoke a sense of common future.

There needs to be a realization that no nation has a future if the planet does not have a future."

        Thomas Berry (1914-2009)

        American cultural historian,Earth scholar, ecotheologian

    July 4th, 1776 the people of the U.S.A. adopted our Declaration of Independence.
     We unified to reject outside authority, accept responsibility for ourselves.
     Still rather self-centered, we were expanding our world view, courageous, evolving.

     Today, July 4th, 2009 we have seen Earth from space and are compelled to declare our global interdependence.
     Around the planet we are meeting each other and discovering - in our useful diversity - we are one, echad, wahad, and born to cooperate as eternal neighbors.
     This is illustrated by an inclusive, gorgeous World Flag - http://theworldflag.org/indexHigh.php .

     SYMBOLISM FOR THIS TIME IN HISTORY is on the reverse side of the Great Seal of the United States.


     In this Citizens' Century, we are reminded it is time to end the "pyramid scheme" that since ancient times we've allowed to enslave us.
     Neither in-dependent nor inter-dependent, we have let ourselves remain de-pendent.
     We citizens - passive spectators to pharaoh-like experts, leaders, and heros - until now have abdicated our gifts of independent perception, creativity, and innate desire to be healers and citizen-statesman to cure relationships and move beyond fear and war.

     Ancient pyramids, in part, were monuments to slave labor dedicated to self-absorbed monarchs and nations.
     At the apex of the new pyramid is the all-seeing eye that perceives and considers everyone, the whole of life, all stories - no exceptions.
     Below and instructed by this principle of One are the foundational building blocks - people - citizens and governments working in parallel.
     No more top-down, except for allegiance to the highest principles - One, especially.
     Increasingly, we're seeing citizens and governments working both independently and interdependently with the new excellence in communication, cooperation, and unmatched creativity.
     This is the NEW ORDER OF THE AGES - Novus Ordo Seclorum - emblazoned on The Great Seal, the foundation of our new national and global community of equal human beings and equally respected nations, each contributing needed qualities.

     Here are stories of citizens in the U.S. and Holy Land living by these principles and symbols for our time.
     Each youth and adult walking in one of six billion paths to peace - in cooperation that benefits all, forgets no one.

                        - L&L

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Forward March
Three faiths walk in pursuit of peace
New Jersey, USA

     Carrying a banner decorated with stars of David, crosses, and crescents, nearly 100 Jews, Christians, and Muslims marched together in Trenton during the Tri-Faith Walk on Sunday, May 31.
     Cosponsored by the Coalition for Peace Action and Fellowship in Prayer, the 3.7-mile walk was the second of three events inspired by Rep. Rush Holts (D-Dist.12) statewide initiative to promote religious understanding and appreciation of diversity.
     Perspectives on peace was the theme of the day. Participants met at the first stop, the Masjidut Taqwa Mosque, where Imam Abdul-Malik Ali stated that Islam is based in peace. He outlined the Five Pillars of Islam and tried to dispel misconceptions about the religion. Our biggest challenge, he said, is getting people to know who we are rather than what people say we are.
     Rabbi Adam Feldman ( AFeldman@thejewishcenter.org ) of The Jewish Center in Princeton and vice-president of the Princeton Clergy Association, said he thought the imam set just the right tone.
     Im always amazed at the similarities between Islam and Judaism, he explained, especially when it comes to charity and prayer.
     Feldman, who was part of the original planning group on interfaith dialogue that led to the events, said that the goal is not only to educate the participants, but to get them to talk to each other between presentations.
     The next stop was the New Jersey State Museum, where Rabbi Donna Kirshbaum ( Rabbi@stringofpearls.org ) of String of Pearls Reconstructionist Congregation in Princeton led the group in song and explained the significance of shalom.
     The rabbi, who was ordained a year ago, said she had taken a course on Islam in rabbinical school and made a promise to her professor to leap into interfaith work as soon as she became a rabbi.
     Car horns beeped and passers-by cheered as the group proceeded to the third and final stop, Trinity Cathedral. Liz Lacey-Osler, a Unitarian Universalist from Doylestown, Pa., said she was heartened by the responses of the onlookers. I love the idea that just by being seen, we are sending a clear message to the community.
     Deacon Chris Cox continued the peace theme by conducting a brief service using passages from both the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament. Participants then sat down to a pot-luck dinner. The Rev. Robert Moore, executive director of Coalition for Peace Action, asked the group to sit with someone you dont know in order to continue the exchange of ideas. We are a part of a miracle this afternoon, he said. We have become better people today, not just through our faiths, but by joining together into a community of conscience. By coming together in our diversity, we have learned what it means to be Americans.
     Michele Alperin of Princeton said the interfaith event could serve as a model for dialogue within the Jewish community itself.
     Ive seen a lot of division within the Jewish community, she explained. Maybe listening to different perspectives and then discussing them over a nice meal would be a way to unify us as well.
     See the FULL STORY and PHOTOS:


Forward march

Three faiths walk in pursuit of peace

by Virginia L. Luppescu

New Jersey Jewish News - June 9, 2009


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Parents Circle
Palestine and Israel

     Parents Circle-Families Forum - http://www.theparentscircle.com/ - since 1995 has provided a safe place for hundreds of Israeli Jews and Palestinian Muslims who have lost loved ones in their long conflict to learn to replace hate with human contact, listening, and reconciliation.
     Rami Elhanan ( RamiElhanan@gmail.com ) and Mazen Faraj describe how well that works and gives meaning to their lives as part of the growing public peace process.
     Elhanan and Faraj have given more than 1,000 joint lectures in Palestinian and Israeli schools.
     They say most of the kids have no idea that Palestinians and Israelis can be friends.
     Most importantly, the two men model the life of relationship building the youth and others can emulate.

     VIEW the inspiring TV broadcast from the West Bank:


Parents Circle

Broadcast by PBS-TV Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly - 26 June 2009



     Here is part of the PBS-TV transcript you'll read:

     Mr. ELHANAN:  People tell me that Im a traitor or a but I think more people are impressed by my ability to translate the pain into hope.
     Mr. FARAJ:  I really believe in what Im doing and but not all the people they really accept that, but anyway, if you believe in something you have to continue.
     LAWTON:  Parents Circle supporters hope these relationships can be a model for others, which they believe will help further the political peace process.
     Ms MUNYAS:  By building trust with each other they become more and more ready to trust the other side, to compromise, and to tell their leaders that they are ready, that they can move ahead, they can compromise, and they can sign the peace agreements.
     LAWTON:  Faraj and Elhanan agree.
     Mr. FARAJ:  We have a different culture, a different religion, and different, also, conditions on the ground, too. So how we can find a way? This the problem. Its not about thats it, I found the solution for the conflict. No. But the first step, we have to know each other.
     Mr. ELHANAN:  I devote my life to go everywhere possible to tell the very simple truth that we are not doomed. Its not our destiny to keep on killing each other, and we can stop it by talking to one another that simple.
     LAWTON:  Simple in theory, much more elusive to work out. But they hope their relationship proves it is possible. Im Kim Lawton in the West Bank.