Magazine article Tikkun

Readers Respond

Magazine article Tikkun

Readers Respond

Article excerpt

A NOTE ON LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

We welcome your responses to our articles. Send letters to the editor to letters@tikkun.org. Please remember, however, not to attribute to Tikkun views other than those expressed in our editorials. We email, post, and print many articles with which we have strong disagreements because that is what makes Tikkun a location for a true diversity of ideas. Tikkun reserves the right to edit your letters to fit available space in the magazine.

JESUS AND CHRISTIANITY

Tikkun's Winter 2013 issue provided a wonderful opportunity to consider Jesus and the cross from several viewpoints. Although I'm not a Christian but rather a Unitarian, Jesus plays a central role in my thinking: in Freudian terms, he is my superego; in Kleinian terms, he is my "good internal object." As a former Episcopalian, I was exposed to a trinitarian view of Jesus. But to me, Jesus had never really fit the trinitarian model as much as a quaternion one: the mother, father, son, and Holy Ghost-trinitarian, perhaps, as a motherfather figure. He has all the gender traits associated with (or delegated to) women as a gentle, peaceful, nurturant presence. For example, Julian of Norwich describes the Eucharist as "his feeding his children with his body and blood as a mother does with her milk."

Jesus's gentle demeanor radiates a power that is indescribable though we observe something like it in the Dalai Lama or Martin Luther King, whose posture and facial expressions, we might say, make the loving spirit visible.

-Ann Ogle, Santa Cruz, CA

GUN VIOLENCE IN AMERICA

I strongly support Rabbi Lerner's call for a gunless, violence-free America, as expressed in his e-mail comments of December 15 relating to the Sandy Hook school massacre. I myself would in fact go even further, extending the scope of nonviolence to include innocent wild animals that remain targets of sport in America for an army of hunters. One need only look into the eyes of an ambushed buck and then back at the countenance of its red-jacketed stalker to know which animal is moved by the nobler instinct.

However, given the formative influence of American history and culture on its citizens, is there any real possibility that Americans could be brought, as Rabbi Lerner advocates, to give up all their firearms except hunting rifles, and allow local elected officials to keep even these under lock and key except during hunting season? And would American parents, so jealous of their right to inculcate their values in their children, ever accept a state-sanctioned school curriculum in which academic learning is bundled with moral instruction in the values and techniques of nonviolence and caring? Many Americans are religiously connected to guns, and the entire culture, including our national political leadership, is steeped in predilections and values that strongly support an acceptance of violence. These include a me-first mentality, a belief that individual prerogative is more important than community welfare, aspiration to personal power, contempt for material failure and its victims, demonization of those who are different, and the use of violence as a tool of domination.

The common denominator for all these dispositions, it seems to me, is fear of the other, which stems from the conviction that we live in an unchangeable dog-eat-dog world. Those who have that fear-whether it's Tea Party zealots who believe the government is out to get them, or the government itself, which believes America will thrive only as long as its military power is greater than that of the rest of the world combined-will always believe that guns, not the possibilities of a more caring world, are the key to their secular salvation. …

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