For Father's Day, let's consider this. This is the tomb of Abraham, the father of all 3 monotheistic religions- Judaism, Islam and Christianity. All three religions have strong narratives about him and his children playing parts in the formation of their story. The phrase, "Abrahamic religion", is taken by some to mean that all these religions came from one spiritual source. And the word DIVISION itself, so common when we are talking about the Holy Land and attached religions, really does imply that there once was a SINGULAR point of origin.
So i think about my children and i imagine for one moment if both of them went on to start their own families who started their own families and so on, until one day they were not only estranged but at war with each other. Children against children. It feels so personal and wrong and avoidable in that sort of 'close to home' context. I see so many examples of unity in the world and i seek to be one of them but nevertheless, we are so divided. So divided that in the tomb of Abraham, one side of which is Jewish and the other side Muslim, in that tomb there is a wall of bullet proof glass, put there to keep people from taking shots at one another from the adjacent windows. All because Abraham's kids can't get along.
This photograph could be so much fuel for the naysayer and being a cynic is pretty easy position to hold in today's world. For me though and hopefully many of us it's a reminder to give all others a kind regard, no matter how different their traditions are from ours. Any beliefs that separate us from the rest of the class aren't higher beliefs at all. They are delusional human twists we put upon the deal somewhere along the way and they aren't doing any of us any good.
The astronauts all come back from space wondering why we've bought the lie that we are separate from each other. I came back from this trip more convinced than ever that it's our fatal flaw. Couldn't we all learn to see that and act accordingly? It could be a Christian visit to a Synagogue or a Jew and Muslim having dinner together. And of course some of you are already doing this so im talking to the ones that aren't. It's just hard not to take this earnestly. I have spent the last 6 months immersed in Holocaust studies and stories, seeing The Holy City divided with guns and metal detectors, seeing Palestinians who cant see their families in neighboring towns and watching Americans verbally slaughter each other on social media over gun laws and different ways to skin cats. Beyond the nationalities and titles its really just the same fundamental and self centered human problem of Us and Them.
I'm celebrating Father's Day today by being free from that and loving all you other kids out there. I don't belong to any of the above religions but find gifts and beauty in all of them and figure Abraham would want us to get along, whoever he was. So celebrate with me.
You could be part of the problem if you don't.