Radical Listening: Democracy, the Great Experiment
Listening to what’s happening in the world around me has become arduous. Too many times I scroll the newspaper, merely reading headlines. It’s exhausting. I often feel powerless.
In my challenge to Listen in an engaged manner, I attended two fabulous seminars in March. Marianne Williamson’s “Love America” tour and “Civil Discourse in America” with both Democrat and Republican Congresspersons and National level clergy.
Marianne Williamson reminded us that Democracy was radical at inception - both socially and spiritually. The Latin expert, Charles Thomson, proposed the motto for the U.S seal at the time of the Declaration of Independence. Nous order seclorum - meaning “A new order of the Ages”. Implied in this was God giving power to all, as opposed to Aristocracy where God supposedly chose the king or queen.
However, we seem to have lost that inspiration. An archetypal force that keeps recreating itself. Once again the tables must be turned. Don’t “slip into a comfortable silence again” - Obama warned us at the memorial service in Charleston for the Emanuel 9. Democracy is a Responsibility. Our responsibility.
Sitting elbow to elbow, Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (D-WA) and Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL) shared similar frustrations and concerns, and as one might expect, differing views on how to solve them. Close proximity seemed to lessen the chances for pointing fingers. A small yet potent model of civility in action.
“Listen to the Voices who are not at the table.” - Rev Nan Cope, Provost National Cathedral
This resonated with me deeply. What is NOT being said. What Voices are NOT being heard. Who are the disenfranchised and what is my responsibility to them? My own inner listening.
As my heroic Atlantan prophet MLK said: “Our goal is to create a beloved community and this will require a qualitative change in our souls as well as a quantitative change in our lives.”
Am I doing my part? Am I willing to pay the cost? What is my right action?
Music has always been a vehicle for social speech, power, and change, and mine.
I’m listening. I’m singing. Listening and singing, listening and singing ~