A day dictation: Inclusive Revelation for the Twenty-First Century

By Steven Greenebaum

It took me fifty years, not a lot to seek out myself and embrace what I needed to do with my life however to discern how I’d really go about it. I used to be born only a few years after World Conflict II, and most notably for me that meant born simply after the Shoah (Holocaust). I used to be a Jew, born into the relative security of america. Nonetheless, the magnitude of the Shoah and the relentless hate it represented was shattering. I additionally realized that the place Jews have been allowed to stay was restricted “even” in america. There was one thing referred to as “restrictive covenants” which may legally forestall an individual from renting or promoting a home to Jews. As soon as these have been outlawed, “restrictive covenants” have been adopted by much less formal however nonetheless onerous “gents’s agreements.” My childhood was spent within the Fairfax space of Los Angeles, a spot the place Jews have been allowed to stay. The injustice of it was squarely in my face. 

It was after I approached my teenagers that I realized that injustice was much more extensively unfold. “Restrictive covenants” and “gents’s agreements” not solely outlawed Jews from neighborhoods but in addition Blacks. I used to be an avid reader and my studying quickly taught me a minimum of a number of the historical past of the mistreatment of Native Individuals as nicely. This was one other stark reminder that going through injustice was clearly not only a Jewish concern. 

By the point I used to be off to varsity, I felt referred to as to do one thing. I wanted to do one thing. One thing. However what? The problem of racial and spiritual injustice appeared so deeply and firmly embedded in our tradition. What on Earth may I do? As but I had no clue.

As a youth in spiritual college (each Sunday throughout my grade-school years), I had been taught that God was a God of affection and justice. Actually? In that case, the place the heck was God? Then the Reverend Dr. King started to steer marches protesting bigotry – bringing to public consciousness those that have been affected by the injustice of racism. It made sense to me that Dr. King was a minister. The God I believed in was a God of affection and justice, and right here was a person of God main a scrupulously non-violent motion in opposition to hate and injustice. Sure! Then Dr. King was assassinated. The place was God’s justice hiding? Over time there have been quite a few different premature deaths of individuals striving for justice.  

I spent the subsequent many years bouncing from one job to a different. I taught lessons in faculties. I taught lessons in excessive faculties. I briefly wrote scripts for Hollywood. I went again to high school (due to a beautiful scholarship) and bought an MA in Music. Now I additionally directed choirs – in each church buildings and synagogues. To be clear, it’s not that I didn’t take pleasure in myself or make an honest dwelling. And sure, justice remained essential. However whereas I gave time to varied nonprofit causes, nothing caught. My life nonetheless had no course.

I met an exquisite Chicana. We fell in love, determined to marry, and deliberate our life collectively. She was not solely splendidly unbiased but in addition deeply devoted to justice – notably however not solely for Chicanos (today the phrase is often Latinos). Right here was yet one more group affected by bigotry and injustice. She appeared so unimaginable and excellent. However earlier than we may marry, earlier than she may stay the giving life she so regarded ahead to, she was killed a visitors accident. But once more, the place was justice?

Injustice appeared to pile upon injustice, for each individuals I knew and folks I examine. That is definitely not the place to chronicle the entire of it, however in 1999, at age fifty, I hit the wall. 

God was a God of justice? Then the place was God? Why was God hiding? For a number of months, each silently and aloud, I angrily demanded/prayed, “God, should you’re there, I would like solutions!!” Then, finally, a quiet interior voice advised me to get a pen and paper and write. So I did. I took dictation – three pages of it! That dictation gave me each steering after which goal to my life. It made it clear that humanity was one household – however that household delighted in dividing itself. A very hateful means of dividing ourselves was by our non secular traditions. This gave me my calling. Interfaith.

In fact, that change of course didn’t occur in a single day. I spend a number of years learning that afternoon’s dictation. Then I went again to high school, this time learning ministry, turned an Interfaith minister, and based the Dwelling Interfaith Church. However preaching from the pulpit how and why we should always respect our non secular range wasn’t sufficient. I wrote my first e-book, “The Interfaith Different” (printed in 2012). My second e-book, “Sensible Interfaith,” was printed in 2014. My third e-book, a non secular memoir titled “One Household: Indivisible,” was printed in 2019. I had totally supposed “One Household: Indivisible” to be my final e-book. However after it was printed, I spotted there wanted to be another, a ultimate e-book to tug all of it collectively – not solely to share totally the dictation I had taken however what I’d made from it after years of examine. NOT that I in any means believed or imagine that mine ought to be the ultimate phrase; however I did imagine {that a} dialogue wanted to begin. So I wrote “An Afternoon’s Dictation”. It’s obtainable for pre-order now and will likely be printed June 1st.  

What’s “An Afternoon’s Dictation” about and why was it crucial for a seventy-three-year-old man in ill-health to jot down it?

It was not misplaced on me that whereas my calls for for solutions had been about justice, the primary sentences of the dictation have been about faith. “Faith is however a language for talking to Me. Assume ye that arbol is ‘higher’ than tree? Was Outdated English a ‘false language’ since you now communicate trendy English?” Then later, “Search reality within the commonality of religions.” My questions on justice have been certainly addressed later. However these have been entrance and middle. Wrapping my thoughts round “Faith is however a language for talking to Me.” took a while. However ultimately it made sense. 

Guided by “Search reality within the commonality of religions” I started a examine of our numerous religions, however not till I spent a great deal of time studying, rereading and pondering the entire of the dictation. As I explored our religions, the identical truths stored popping up, although various extensively in how they have been expressed in differing cultures, eras, and spiritual traditions. These truths are what I attempt to give voice to within the e-book.

I did re-order the dictation for “An Afternoon’s Dictation” (not rewrite it, simply re-order it for readability of matter). As I checked out it and studied it, there appeared to me to be 5 deeply associated however separate topics. These 5 topics turned the important sections of my e-book.

The primary two sections are titled “The Name of Interfaith” and “Coping with Dying and Dying”. These two not solely clarified how we’d respect our differing traditions, rituals, and scriptures, but in addition gave me a way more comfy deal with on coping with the darkness of loss of life. It required years of examine, however as I realized an increasing number of of the mutual truths to be present in our numerous traditions, it turned clear to me that the trail for the rest of my life have to be Interfaith.

That mentioned, for me the essential sections of the e-book are “The Name to Love,” “The Name to Justice,” and “The Name to Group.”  I discovered these calls expressed in custom after custom. In every part I quote from custom after custom simply how vital these calls are. 

And in learning these three matters I spotted one thing else. They’re related. Sure, we’re referred to as by all of our traditions to be loving. However there will be no love with out justice. We’re referred to as by all of our traditions to behave with justice. However there will be no justice with out humble neighborhood. Making an attempt to realize love and justice whereas nonetheless endlessly dividing ourselves into classes of “us” and “them” received’t work. It has by no means labored. The shortage of humility to be present in our divisions has undermined our pursuit of justice. The shortage of each neighborhood and justice has undermined our pursuit of affection – although all our non secular traditions cry out for it.

The hope of “An Afternoon’s Dictation” is that our human household may discover a means to maneuver out of the darkness we now have made from our world. Clearly, one e-book can’t magically change issues. However maybe it might assist level us in a constructive course – if we are going to examine the dictation in addition to how utterly our numerous non secular traditions have embraced the calls of affection, justice, and humble neighborhood (too usually preached whereas ignored on the identical time). The decision to Interfaith is the decision to behave with love, justice, and in neighborhood with humanity – not merely to imagine it or preach it however to ACT.

However what may others really feel about this? An advance overview copy of “An Afternoon’s Dictation” was despatched to a rabbi, an imam, and a priest, searching for to acquire an interfaith response to my work and, most particularly, the e-book. Listed here are their responses, for which I’m most grateful.

“In An Afternoon’s Dictation, Interfaith instructor Rev. Steven Greenebaum shares his non secular journey. He tells of his encounter with Cosmic Conscience, first via revelation after which via examine. Over time, he realized why love, justice, and humility are on the moral core of all non secular traditions. Writing with distinctive readability and heat, he invitations us to seek out our personal ethical middle.” Rabbi Laura Duhan-Kaplan, Director of Inter-Non secular Research, Vancouver College of Theology.

“The writer’s reflections on this distinctive e-book are profound and soulful. Steven Greenebaum is the embodiment of the reality that Interfaith isn’t about spiritual conversion however about human transformation. By way of Interfaith we change into extra totally human; we evolve into the fullness of our being. This can be a essential message for our polarized occasions.” Imam Jamal Rahman, writer of Non secular Gems of Islam.

“Rev. Steven Greenebaum has devoted his life to interfaith ministry, not simply considering, dialoguing, or writing about it however dwelling it in motion and neighborhood. In An Afternoon’s Dictation, he shares the inclusive ‘revelations’ that compelled him to pursue this boundary-breaking work. Faith is a vital improvement within the evolution of human consciousness, however in immediately’s world, spiritual expertise is in disaster – a time of breakdown and breakthrough. Interfaith dwelling is its horizon of hope. Greenebaum’s legacy will proceed to develop as that horizon expands right into a share future. Father John Heagle, Catholic priest and writer of Justice Rising: The Rising Biblical Imaginative and prescient.

I’m not so conceited as to imagine that my work will change the world. However I do imagine that if we are going to share and examine the dictation, we simply may be capable to transfer down the trail of respecting our range and reconcile our so very divided human household. 

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