Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Dialogue, not Diatribe. Letter to the Denver post.

Over the past several  months, I have been part of a consortium of interfaith clergy sponsored by Colorado's Interfaith Alliance. Entitled "Interfaith Force For Good" and under the inspired leadership of Reverends Jim Ryan and Amanda Henderson, we are comprised of multi-racial and multi-cultural Jewish, Christian, Muslim and Sikh clergy and involved laity who come together for the express purpose of showing a face of religious leadership that is neither fundamentalist nor intolerant of others. Through the use of letters to the editor, Op-Ed pieces, social media, public pronouncements and personal example, our goal is to educate our community that the words "religious" and "tolerant" are not mutually exclusive.

It is unfortunate that, all too frequently, the loudest religious voices come from the far right. These are often voices of extremism, condemnation and intolerance. They foment anger and fear against some of the most vulnerable elements of society - including the LGBT community, Muslims, and minorities. During this volatile period in our nation's history-when we are divided along political, racial, religious, ethnic and economic lines, it is more important then ever to find reasoned, spiritual voices of moderation and acceptance.
Here is my letter to the editor that was recently published in the Denver Post:

To the Editor:
Our nation’s founders understood that tyranny and oppression were incompatible with Judeo-Christian principles.  They created a government that allowed a multiplicity of voices and opinion to be expressed.  Reasoned and respectful debate was built into our national DNA.

As a member of the Denver clergy, I am increasingly concerned by the tenor of political and societal discourse. People are afraid to talk to one another.  Friendships have been lost. Lines are being drawn in the sand. Fruitful dialogue has been replaced by hurtful diatribe.  This year’s presidential campaign, in particular, has been painful and divisive.

Now is the time for us to remember the words of the book of proverbs 18:21: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” Isaiah urged us:  Come and let us reason together.” Our faith traditions provide us with powerful messages of tolerance. We need to heed them before it is too late.

Rabbi Joseph R. Black- Temple Emanuel, Denver, CO. 

(Click HERE for a link to the Denver Post Page:  )

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

New Song: God Plays Hide and Seek

One of the integral aspects of our humanity is our search for meaning and purpose.  To know God is to understand that our lives are not inconsequential or accidental.  Finding God is often a complicated and frustrating proposition.  This song is a reflection of that search.

God Plays Hide and Seek
Words and Music (c) Rabbi Joe Black - Lanitunes Music.
August, 2016

God plays hide and seek
Leaving trails of crumbs for us to find
With twists and turns along a crooked road that winds 
Among the valleys and the peaks 
God plays hide and seek

God plays hard to get
With feigned indifference to our daily toil 
Like a pot-  you watch it, but it never boils 
Like a sideways silhouette 
God plays hard to get

But even when you're  halfway thru the race 
And you find yourself in hot pursuit 
Take some time and think about the chase 
It's not the finish line you seek- it's each step along the route 

God plays fast and loose
The rules change daily at a moment's whim 
There's no devotion, prayer, or ancient hymn 
To bring about a truce 
When God plays fast and loose