Tuesday, September 01, 2009

The Shadow of the Spiritual Warrior

I've been wrestling with the shadow of the Spiritual Warrior. I've been wrestling with myself, as well, trying to define just what is the highest response to this unholy alliance between right-wing political ideologies and right-wing Christian movement in the United States today that confuses soldier and warrior, prophet and soldier. What's the highest conscious response from a moral, ethical, and spiritual place of being available to me?

Twenty-five years ago, when Pat Robertson and other radio hosts and televangelists began talking about a new political religion to create a global, Christian empire, Dr. James Luther Adams, a former ethics professor at Harvard Divinity School, who fled Germany in 1936, warned of the coming rise of American fascism and religion's role in that rise.

As one example among many, the Christian men's movement, The Promise Keepers, and it's founder, Dr. Tony Evans, a Dallas minister, talks about creating a Christian state. He teaches that America should be governed by biblical concepts and that "dominion" has been given over the "elect" to rule the Earth and America in particular. Dominionism has also found a home with George Bush, Tom Delay, Pat Robertson, and Zell Miller, and more recently Sarah Palin. Pat Robertson has stated, "our aim is to gain dominion over society."

Within the dominion context, Christ is portrayed as a warrior and is very appealing given the loss of manufacturing jobs, lack of affordable health care, the lack of educational opportunities and poor job security. The ideology is appealing because it offers hope and sanctifies their rage. One only has to look at the birthers showing up at town hall meetings, shouting everyone down and sometimes carrying guns, all with the intention to shut the other side up and intimidate.

Other manifestations of this pathological warped warrior ideology are America as Empire, anti-scientism, the popularity of the apocalyptic Left Behind novels (60 million copies and counting), the attacks on gays and lesbians reminiscent of early Nazi Germany, and the promulgation of the patriarchy in all elements of culture, religion, business, and politics.

In his book, The Hidden Spirituality of Men, Matthew Fox writes:
"Examining the the situation in Nazi Germany, Adams was very critical of liberals who talked of dialogue and inclusiveness and lacked the backbone to confront what was really going on. "The power and allure of evil and the cold reality of how the world worked was being ignored by such platitudes." He also criticized prominent research universities and the media in Nazi Germany; he considered these institutions too self-absorbed and compromised by their coziness with government and corporations, so that they were completely unwilling to raise the moral questions of justice and inequality."
It is this mentality that seems to be showing up in our own media, our own legislators, and, disappointingly, perhaps even in our president, who seems to think he can still pull everyone together in a well-meaning wave of bipartisanship. Unfortunately, the right-wing Christian Political movement has no intention of engaging in any kind of meaningful discussion.

Chris Hedges, Adams' student and a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist writes:
"All debates with the Christian right are useless. We cannot reach this movement. It does not want dialogue. It cares nothing for rational thought. It is not mollified because John Kerry prays or Jimmy Carter teaches Sunday School."
The biggest danger, he believes, is our complacency.

Also disappointing, from my perspective, is the the complacency I see within the Integral community. I fear we have not yet evolved far enough into a second-tier perspective that says, "while we recognize the essential contribution and value of each level of consciousness to the overall spiral of development, we also recognize that we must stand up and speak out against pathologies and shadow that threatens others."

Instead of a false war waged on a shadow projection of "secularism", what if we, as a nation and a world, made war on poverty, global warming, racism, and on forces that would co opt the true meaning of the spiritual warrior substituting hate for justice and love? There are plenty of injustices for real warriors to wage.

What are we waiting for?

(note: My deep thanks to Matthew Fox who contributed so much to this post through his book "The Hidden Spirituality of Men" and helped me formulate my thinking)


ComeRide TheWhale said...

I'm in full agreement with your exhortation to define our political vision in terms such as making "war on poverty" etc. but I feel you go too far in equating Obama's bipartisanship with Nazi deal makers.
There is another problem in the integral community that I think should be addressed. Although, this issue is not mentioned in this article, I thought I would throw it into the discussion. There is a tendency to downplay involvement in progressive political causes by labeling such efforts as “green”. This does a disservice to the free exchange of ideas. The heuristic use of these colorful categories to discredit arguments short circuits the need to critically examine what is being expressed. Issues such as health care reform, the environment and nuclear disarmament can all be labeled as “green” but to ignore such causes based on our imagined evolutionary progress shirks the responsibility that living in a society demands.

Gary Stamper said...

Thanks for your comments. I'm deeply concerned that President Obama's apparent complacency about what he, and, by in large, the rest of the forward-thinking nation, are dealing with here. I think he made a huge mistake by allowing Congress to define his health Care policies, and while he's not making deals, he's allowed them to control the conversation.
I agree with your added assessment about the integral community labeling progressive political causes as "green." Disassociation from green is beginning to appear to be one of the shadows of integral. I don't think the majority of the integral community is at a place where it can sufficiently differentiate, and therefore effectively use, the tools of green from a 2nd tier perspective, and when someone tries, they're often accused of being "green." Perhaps it will take more people moving into Coral before this subsides

Anonymous said...

The short answer is to congratulate yourself that you are aware of these dichotomies and conflicts among the religion, the politics and your inner identity as one disaffected by these severely mixed messages in the outer world. Indeed in that awareness is the path to the answers if the path includes befriending yourself in deploring such untruths and low level consciousness.
Ken Wilber's Integral Spirituality and Soul and Sense would be good readings on the way to reconcile religion and science (and politics). But your personal way is to know yourself as a more mindful person of consciousness with, clearly evident in your question, a "pull" (telos) to evolve beyond the monological source of the regressive conflicts among different levels and strands of culture and sociology presenting themselves to you.
Your powers are sundry: meditation, contemplation, dialog or action in any applied venues you may choose to explore the question to form your answers and express them when and as you will as part of your story. Tell it past; tell it present; intend its future. Make it your sotry as part of your spiritual warriorship.Center in that as a gentle compassion as you proceed, for yourself and for all sentient beings.


Roger said...

I get where you are going here, but I might say you were pretty hard on the right and easy on the left, when both sides have their issues. Both seem to be blinded by greed and power and unable to deal with the complex nature of our current issues.

Mark said...

He teaches that America should be governed by biblical concepts and that "dominion" has been given over the "elect" to rule the Earth and America in particular.

Somewhat hilariously, Integral reproduces this will-to-power by positing a 'second tier' vanguard who can grasp the complexities of those 'below' them but who are themselves unfathomable to their inferiors. The salvation of the world depends upon getting the levers of power into the hands of this liberal 'master race' who will benevolently run the show for the benefit of all involved, with the lower orders humbly aspiring to 'develop' up the hierarchy to become like the masters to whom they defer.

Nice work if you can get it.

Gary Stamper said...

I can see you're going, but I'm not agreeing with you, here, Mark. You're certainly taking a "perspective," but I think your conclusions are inaccurate, although there will probably always be those who try to manipulate others at whatever stage they may be. I'm giving credit for people supposedly waking up.