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FROM the ASHES. A Spiritual Response to the Attack on America.

I shall never forget seeing a tape of survivor testimony at the Holocaust museum. A man tells of watching another
inmate in the camp praying. «Why are you praying?» he asks. The man naswers, «I am thanking God.» The first man
is stunned. «For what could you be thanking God? What is there to thank God for in this hell?» And the second man calmly responds: «I am thanking God that he did not make me like them.» Rabbi David Wolpe, p.40.

As a Russian mystic says, when a little baby cries, God weeps. Reverent Andrew M. Greeley, p.43.

…Our sun is itself only one star in the galaxy called the Milky Way that contains over 100 billion other stars. Our single galaxy is so large that light, traveling at the approximate speed of 186,000 miles per second, would take more than 100,000 years to go from one end of it to the other. beyond that, our galaxy is only one of at least 125 billion other galaxies in the visible universe. A supernatural God … Bishop John Shelby Spong, p.54

Remember, Jesus did not demand that we should be merely good. No, he challenged us to be perfect, to seek to emulate the perfection of God, who makes the sun shine on good and bad alike. We are exhorted to forgive one another even as god in Christ forgave us; we are in the forgiving business, whether we like it or not. And we can do this only through God's grace. It is ultimately God at work in us to make us to be like God… We have an instinct for goodness; our hearts thrill in the presence of goodness, for God has made us for himself, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in him. We are a glorious paradox, the finite made for the infinite. And you in the U.S. are some of the God's best advertisements, so generous, so caring, so compassionate.   Archbishop Desmond M. Tutu (Interviewed by Anne Simpkinson), p.10, 12.

People of both faiths (Christianity and Islam) hope to be rewarded after death for good actions, that they believe they may reach a better olace by being better human beings. It is a belief that has sustained billions of people over the centuries, guided their actions and illuminated their lives. It is also, as we know to our cost, a belief that is easily twisted… Try to imagine how it must feel right now for any of the 3.5 million Arab-Americans or the 6 million American Muslims…  Michael Wolfe, p.15,16.
Our religion, our politics, our economics, our education, our whole way of life are based on the idea that we are not one, that we are separate from each other. We are thus willing to inflict all manner of injury upon each other. We would never do this if we thought that we were actually inflicting injury upon ourselves, yet this injury inevitably does fall upon ourselves - for like begets like, and negativity only breeds negativity… If we could love even those who have attacked us, and seek to understand why they have done so, what would be the final result?  Neale Donald Walsch, p.19,20.

And that, as the Buddha's example implies, is the highest imperative for dealing with evil: Do something healing and keep doing it. Christopher Largent, p.23.

Inscribed on the hilt of Muhammad's sword: «Forgive him who wrongs you; join him who cuts you off; do good to him who does evil to you, and speak the truth although it be against yourself.»… Perhaps no single day in the history of humanity has focused our attentions as has September 11. (Wrong!) … Despite our spending 30 million dollars an hour to protect ourselves, a score of insanely committed angels of death offered their lives to attack a symbol of alluence and power and to wound the heart of the world… The disastrous inequalities of wealth, the extreme poverty of 70 percent of the world's population, the perceived injustice of policies that we fail to question, all contribute to a humanity in anguish… We ignore our spiritual unity and we blame «the other.» We attempt to control everything with our weapons and our wealth, making a violent reaction inevitable… As it is said in the Koran, «Whoever kills one person without just cause, it is as if he has killed all of humanity.»… The only excuse for grat power is great servanthood. We must convince our leaders that we the people want them to lead the way toward healing the human family. Love is the only solution to any problem. We must solve our problems not with violence, but with a generous, courageous, and faithful love…. People have been gathering everywhere for prayer, but maybe prayer is not all that God wants. God is not waiting for us to beseech him to heal the world. God, who is «nearer than our jugular vein,» is within the anguish of the human race, pleading with us to do the good that only our hands and hearts can do. Spirituality is not about easing fear, not about mere consolation; it is about facing truth.    Kabir Helminski, p.32-35.

Holding on to feelings of hatred and revenge destroys you inside… I don't think it's possible to ever forget what happened to you. But if you forgive the person, organization, or whatever it is you forgive, you're releasing yourself from those very difficult emotions. We're made out of love, God's love, and we're made to love. I think by doing this and sharing with others, we return to that love.  Steven McDonald, p.70.

No war, no even a Holy War! No Crusade of hate! Father Edward Hays, p.73

The human mind can be the most destructive weapon if negative thoughts are not properly handled.  Mata Amritanandamayi (Amma), p.75

Like most countries, we have a dark side too. That's why we are learning to apologize to our Black brothers and sisters for years of slavery and abuse, and to our Japanese citizens for sending their families into internment camps during World War II. There are very few Americans who do not feel in their hearts the pain of Hirosima or My Lai. Most of us are not proud of our mistakes. Paul Ferrini, p.92.

After listening for some time, we might need to take a break to allow what has been said to enmer into our consciousness. Only when we felt calm and lucid would we respond. We would respond point by point to what had been said. We would respond gently but firmly in such a way to help them to discover their own misunderstandings so that they will stop violent acts from their own will… In the Buddhist scriptures, the Buddha said that by using hatred to answer hatred, there will only be an escalation of hatred. But if we use campassion to embrace those who have harmed us, it will greatly diffuse the bomb in our hearts and in theirs.  Thich Nhat Hanh (Interviewed by Anne Simpkinson), p.96-104.  

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