Oneness doesn’t mean refraining from taking a stand on issues of importance. Clear-headed dualistic thinking must precede any further movement, especially about issues that people want to avoid.

Richard Rohr, Center for Action and Contemplation, May-June 2021, excerpt

We sometimes think that affirming oneness means refraining from taking a stand on issues of importance. Instead, clear-headed dualistic thinking must precede any further movement into nondual responses, especially about issues that people want to avoid.

We cannot make a nonstop flight to nondual thinking or we just get fuzzy thinking. First, we must use our well-trained and good mind, and then find our response in a holistic (body, mind, soul, and heart) response. This is at the heart of mature spirituality, and one of the most common confusions. Many assert justice by naming the problem in stark relief and “prophetically” staying right there. Others speak too quickly of love, forgiveness, and communion before they have themselves hung for a while in the “tragic gap,” as Parker Palmer calls it.

Note that Jesus reserves his most damning and dualistic statements for matters of economic justice where power is most resistant: “You cannot serve both God and mammon” (Matthew 6:24); “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God” (Matthew 19:24); or the clear dichotomy in Matthew 25 between sheep (who feed the hungry, welcome the stranger, clothe the naked, care for the sick, and visit the imprisoned) and goats (who don’t). The context is important. Jesus’ foundational and even dualistic bias is always against false power and in favor of the powerless. Unfortunately, Christians have managed to avoid most of what Jesus taught so unequivocally and with dualistic clarity: nonviolence, sharing of resources, simplicity, loving our enemies. History shows that we will almost always compromise or completely avoid the Gospel issues of justice, power, money, and inclusion. Only a small number of Christians have learned the contemplative response to these same social evils, but the number is growing. More and more individuals are finally learning the artful balance of practicing clear-headed critique and open-door compassion—at the same time!  These are people who recognize the human need for restitution, making amends, and full public accountability, and the divine capacity for forgiveness and patience. If either are sacrificed, we do not have the full Gospel. Yes, it is still a small minority who know how to do both, but they are the hope of the

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