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  • CDL


The idea of separation feels like a timely consideration when there seems to be so many temptations to think in terms of being separate from, different from, or even in opposition with one another. I often say, and believe it to be true, that any perception that we are somehow separate from each other is an illusion.


In so many ways, we are prone to falling into the trap of separateness – the “us” or “them” dualistic mindset. But that is not the nature of God and how we were created. The nature of God, so beautifully expressed in the life of Jesus, is all about unifying consciousness, which is very different from the illusion of separateness. The illusion of separateness fosters division, competition, and tribal mentality, whereas a unifying consciousness fosters unity, compassion, and community. The illusion of separateness operates from scarcity and finite fear. A unifying consciousness operates from a sense of abundance and infinite love.


A friend of mine says, “Relationship is primary; everything else is derivative.” I feel there is great wisdom in those words. However, we seem to find almost interminable ways to separate ourselves. We put up dividers that not only box people in, but also imprison our own hearts, in ways that disallow relational flourishing. We are created for community, yet in many ways we seen to be headed the opposite direction into the illusion of separateness. The time has come for us to take off the labels that divide us and take on our identity as a community together in this thing called life.


What I love and appreciate about the life and teachings of Jesus is that he offers a clear spiritual design for living that fosters community, compassion, mercy, justice, truth, and love. In a world that all too often wants to divide us, it is the teachings of Jesus as a model for life that guide me. His mandate is to care first for the sick, the poor, and most vulnerable of our human family; because no person should go without proper health care, food and protection. He instructs us to welcome the stranger, because we all have the right to seek a better life. Jesus is clear about our pursuit of justice and true equality for all people because none of us are free until all of us are free.

The gospel life calls for us to put away discrimination, marginalization, and disenfranchisement of any group. We are to care for one another regardless of national origin, denominational stripes, spiritual tradition, and political affiliation. We need desperately to put away the sins of racism, the death penalty, and all other violence against humanity, because they deteriorate our collective soul. Above all, Jesus asks us to love God with everything we have and to love one another at all costs. None of these things are about being “liberal” or “progressive;” they are about living the true gospel life as taught and modeled by Jesus.     


These values are found in most every major spiritual tradition. This is a time for them to cast away any illusion of separateness, so we can together help guide a hurting world that is hungry for a sense of community and belonging. All religious and spiritual expressions have a tremendous opportunity to show the world what coming together for the common good of humanity can look like. The world needs us. Together, we can make the world a better place. As the Psalmist says: “Oh, how good and wonderful it is when people live in unity.”

Brother Dennis

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