Posts

The Gift of New Possibilities after Coronavirus

The Coronavirus pandemic has revealed the deep spiritual crisis in our world and given us this moment to deal with it. Will we come out of this period of social distancing by feeling that we are surrounded by selfish people who have absorbed the capitalist value of “looking out for number one,” hoarding the toilet paper and healthy food, medications, face masks and gloves and other consumer items—meanwhile depriving others of what they need?

Or will we focus globally and in the U.S. on the hundreds of thousands of doctors and nurses and others who risking their lives to help those who are or may be afflicted by the coronavirus, people they don’t know.

It should be no surprise if tens of millions of Americans feel that their experience of isolation and social media on each other’s selfishness taught them to put their own interests above everyone else, because they will be returning to a work world in which looking out for number one is in fact what gets most rewarded.

We should not let the ethos of selfishness win out.

New Possibilities of Care in the Time of Coronavirus

We need to use the weeks and months ahead to encourage our fellow Americans to join with each other to embrace a totally different way of organizing our society—Revolutionary Love in which we build a caring society—caring for each other, and caring for the earth. Inspired by the prophets of ancient Israel, by Jesus, Gandhi, Sister Joan Chittister, Martin Luther King Jr., the Dalai Lama, Pope Francis, the Sufis, Bell Hooks, Riane Eisler, Carol Gilligan and so many other secular humanists and religious progressives, there is reason to believe that many people can can respond to a different vision if they see enough people rallying around the same vision.

The first step is to insist that our society embrace a “New Bottom Line.” Instead of judging every aspect of our lives together by how much money, wealth or power gets accumulated, we should judge our economy, our corporations, our government policies, our legal system, our educational system, our cultural systems and our own personal behavior to be rational, productive, and efficient to the extent they maximize our capacities to be loving and generous, kind and forgiving, caring for each other and caring for the earth, joyous and compassionate, promoting environmental sanity and social justice, ethical behavior and spiritual depth, treating others as manifestations of the sacred rather than valuing them to the extent that they are actually or potentially useful to us, and responding to Earth and the larger universe with awe, wonder and radical amazement (rather than simply as something that can be turned into a commodity to make a profit.)

 Almost every progressive movement holds these values, but sadly never articulates them publicly. That is part of what we can do through zoom and social media and through everyone on your personal email lists.

For the 98% who will survive coronavirus, the opportunity to be away from oppressive or alienating or meaningless work, the opportunity to be with our families who normally don’t get enough of our time, the opportunity to think about our own inner life, our soul, the short time that we as humans have before we die, can open up deep questions about whether we want to return to the same lives we had before this plague.

Based on the research the Institute for LABOR AND MENTAL HEALTH did with American middle income workers and families, we know that there is a deep pain in the lives of many Americans.

People hunger for a life in which they feel respected, cared for by others, and connected to some higher meaning for their lives beyond the accumulation of money or power. Seeing no way to get this, many try to bury the pain of this great deprivation by turning to drugs, alcohol, embracing extremist versions of right wing politics or religion.

A Progressive Response to Troubled Times

A progressive movement that talked about love and caring and embodied that in its daily activities could provide a healthy alternative and alleviate much of this suffering.

We can do this now by building a movement for love and justice that calls for a New Bottom.

Now is the time for us to act, precisely at the moment when we ourselves, our friends and neighbors have been ripped from our immersion in “business as usual.” Send this, please, to everyone you can reach on zoom or email or social media, and help them see what a great opportunity this pandemic is giving us—if we choose to use it that way.

In the final analysis, it is our capacity for love, hope and generosity that will help us heal from the fears that so many of us have experienced these past weeks.

****

Would you like to organize for action?
Topic: COVID 19 Emergency Working Group
Time: Mar 27, 2020 01:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Join Zoom Meeting
https://zoom.us/j/267935095 Meeting ID: 267 935 095

About the author: Rabbi Michael Lerner is the editor of Tikkun and chair of the interfaith and secular-humanist-welcoming Network of Spiritual Progressives. His vision is spelled out his newest book Revolutionary Love: A Political Manifesto to Heal and Transform the World.

Urge candidates to take Climate Restoration Emergency Action

If you’re like me you’re following the presidential candidates, the impeachment proceedings and the flurry of news coming out of Washington with a high degree of wariness. It’s noisy and disturbing and eventually, we go a bit numb.

For example, there was only one question in this week’s Democratic Presidential Candidates’ Debate on climate change.

We must break through the noise because there is great news coming out of the effort to not only slow global warming but to actually restore the Earth to a healthy habitat for generations to come. 

To accomplish this ambitious, yet absolutely necessary goal, we must elect a President in 2020 that will lead Climate Restoration Emergency Action (CREA). And so far, the entire slate of candidates are coming up short. Take a look: 

Democratic voters in Iowa and around the country should be alarmed by the lack of ambition to address climate change by the Presidential candidates. All of the candidates are failing to respond adequately to our climate emergency. We need more than rhetoric and empty promises. Climate Restoration Emergency Action (CREA) won’t be easy by any stretch of the imagination. Yet with bold leadership, it’s affordable and achievable. CREA is a bold, whole-of-government and global effort to catalyze a fast transition to a net-zero carbon economy by 2030, massive carbon dioxide removal, and climate restoration by 2050– thereby ensuring the survival of humanity and our natural world.  

It’s time to raise contact these candidates directly, and we’ve made it so easy for you to do in just a few clicks and a couple of minutes online. 

Click here and you’ll come to a simple form that will directly email presidential candidates urging them to take bold action for climate restoration. 

Then post to social media and ask your friends to take action as well. Tell them to go to the Build A Movement 2020 Action Center at this link: https://www.bam2020.world/action-center It’s that easy. And it can be very powerful. 

Now is the time for voters to make sure the next President leads a global movement for climate restoration. 

Let’s join forces with all Americans and vigorously demand action to restore our climate. 

#RestoreOurClimate