April 2019 Inter-Belief Conversation Café
What Is Your Water?
7 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Interfaith Action of Greater Saint Paul
1671 Summit Avenue, Saint Paul, MN 55105 (View Map)
It is said, “Fish are the last ones to discover water.” Do we know the most basic and present thing in our life even exists before it’s gone? Does one learn of one’s “water” only when flopping on the ground, gasping for breath? Are we immersed in that which, like the fish its water, we take so totally for granted we cannot even see? Do others see us swimming in our fishbowl without a clue as to where (and who) we really are, no understanding of the bubble in which we eke out our existence? Would we even want to know it, if it meant accepting our life was so encaged?
Is white male privilege the water in which Caucasians unknowingly swim? What will happen when America’s majority becomes non-white? Will “blancos” still expect storekeepers’ respect, still see the justice system as fair, still assume police are their protectors, and still see mortgage lenders as only concerned with their credit score, not their color? When white and multiracial females become the majority of professionals, will white males still dismiss the idea of glass ceilings and wage differences?
Is American exceptionalism our water? Or are we, too, just fancy goldfish, 80% of us bottom-feeding on the red-white-and-blue gravel, in a glass bowl perched on the razor’s edge? When we shout out, “Make America Great Again,” where is the room for everyone else? Is exceptionalism comprising 5% of the world’s population while caging 25% of the world’s prisoners? Where is the place at the table (or is it in the kitchen?) for the children of those we enslaved? Where is the home for our First People, as we again don our dark mantle of “Manifest Destiny?” What destiny is it, again? To create God’s “Shining City on a Hill,” or just screen our porcelain aquarium castle with a bubble-curtain to blow away the clouds of brown algae? Is America, upon whom we claim God “shed His Grace,” not a visible object lesson in materialism, hedonism, and narcissism? Is America the world’s policeman, or its greatest crook?
It is said, “A lobster can be cooked alive by gradually raising the temperature in the pot. He can boil and not realize anything’s wrong — until it is too late.” Are we the lobster, swimming in the rising oceans of global warming? Will we keep funding oil drilling, and leasing ever-larger SUVs, while “just moving a little further inland” and filing insurance claims for our submerged home? Will we take our (literal) water for granted until we find we’re living in a desert? Will we enjoy bumblebee and hummingbird visits to our windowsill flowers, until one day we see no more bumblebees or hummingbirds, ever? With each annual “500-year flood,” will we still deny global warming when the snow again falls? Will the rich still pay pseudo-scientists to convince their “lower”-class worker bees that all will be well, while buying up gated ranches in far inland Montana?
Ram Dass said, “Be here now.” Do we today even see joy in life? Do we appreciate those close to us before they’ve departed? Do we take love for granted (until we have no love)? Do we daily welcome Dawn, without first brushing Death’s cloak? Do we live each day accepting it can be our last? “Men die every day, but Man acts as if He will live forever.” Is human mortality the water in which we swim, but will not see? Could seeing it give our lives more meaning, even if it means no more collagen injections and brow-lifts to smooth our frown & laugh lines, and no more red corvettes to flee from who we’ve become?
On Monday, April 15 (Tax Day!), 7-9 PM at Interfaith Action of Greater St. Paul, 1671 Summit Ave., Inter-Belief Conversation Café will “wonder about what our water is,” and other things taken for granted. Our interbelief reasoning dialogue’s certainties will be our agreements of open-mindedness, acceptance, curiosity, discovery, sincerity, brevity, & confidentiality. Treats will be available — as well as actual water!