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Reflection on the words of The Prophet

The President of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, before the United Nations General Assembly, calls U.S. President Bush “the devil,” and goes on to say that the very podium where he is standing still smells of “sulfur,” referring to President Bush’s presence while giving a speech there less than 24 hours earlier.     

Pope Benedict decides to reference an obscure 14th Century text which stated that Islam is “evil” and “inhuman.”  Followers of Muhammed become angry, protests erupt.  The Pope issues an apology for how people reacted to what he said.       

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Doesn’t this all sound like bullies in the schoolyard?  “I know you are, but what am I.”       

“I can say what I want.  There’s free speech, isn’t there?”      

“I’m mad and I’m going to say something about it.”     

Notice something here?     

These things being said, and many being said throughout other centers of power around the world, are the stupid words of men.  Controlling, powerful men who have forgotten what their mothers told them when they were boys:  “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”     

What’s with this name calling?  My religion is better than yours? You’re the bad guy, I’m the good guy?       

(Meanwhile the true believers go to worship in cars filled with Venezuelan gas and pray for peace in the mad world in which s/he lives.)       

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“You have been told also that life is darkness, and in your weariness you echo what was said by the weary.  

And I say that life is indeed darkness save when there is urge,

And all urge is blind save when there is knowledge,

And all knowledge is vain save when there is work,

And all work is empty save when there is love;

And when you work with love you bind yourself to yourself, and to one another, and to God.    

And what is it to work with love? 

It is to weave the cloth with threads drawn from your heart, even as if your beloved were to wear that cloth.

It is to build a house with affection, even as if your beloved were to dwell in that house.

It is to sow seeds with tenderness and reap the harvest of with joy, even as if your beloved were to eat the fruit.

It is to charge all things you fashion with a breath of your own spirit,

And to know that all the blessed dead are standing about you and watching.”

                         —–Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet   

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To work with love, and to think while doing so that all the dead are standing around us, watching us.      

Haunting, save when the light of true love is present in our actions.

(written 24 September 2006)

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