I'm fascinated about how religions mix and incorporate varying aspects of culture into their spiritual expression. And no where is that more apparent than in the Caribbean where aspects of religion can be traced to African, European and the local First People (Indian) population- in Puerto Rico, the original population was Tanio . What is Catholic or Protestant here is not what I knew these to be in the United States. Culture and religion are frameworks for understanding but we can be flexible with these frames if our true purpose is to understand and accept each other. Once we know that 'there are many paths and one goal' which is conscious unification with insert the most comfortable term here: Love, God, Jah, Jehovah, Alla, Rama, Consciousness, Higher Being, Higher Self.... Within this accepting space, we can all say with Bob Marley, "One Love," and feel no conflict. I think that we all must include each other as members of the 'one earth community' so that we can learn to negotiate and put religious fanaticism aside. If we accepted that we are all connected through whatever belief system that feels culturally/religiously right; then we know that we have to work with others who have made different decisions-including the decision of non-belief.
I'm troubled about the situation between the Muslims in Pakistan and the Hindus in India. I'm troubled about the threats and disapproval that most Muslims are experiencing. I'm troubled about the unrest in the Middle East. I want all of us to learn a new way of communicating with each other. If we are to survive as a people, we have to find a way to understand that we are all connected. We must care about each other; it's a question of our survival. The root of our problem is lack of acceptance and intolerance of differences in our belief systems, resulting in insurmountable barriers to trust and negotiation.
I can clearly see a facial expression in my mind. A disapproving but reserved critic of Caribbean literature and culture was expressing her distaste for Matisyahu because he was ripping off the Rastafarians. She also felt that Bob Marley had become a sellout in the middle and later years of his musical career. She particularly held firm in her belief that his son, Ziggy Marley, was not an authentic Rastafarian. She completely missed the charm of Ziggy's performance when he was singing his father's songs. She didn't value that he was attempting to create something special, to extend his father's tradition into another audience. Maybe it didn't entirely work in a musical sense but it was about more than that- he was finding his way.
And now dear bloggers, it is time for our Fusion musical program
(Are you still with me?):
Close My Eyes Ethiopian Jews
Matisyahu on David Letterman (I'm afraid Dave was unmoved.)
Bob Marley One Love
Ziggy Marley Tomorrow People (Cute!)
And if that one didn't 'catch you' scroll down and fortify yourself by listening to John Lennon's "Imagine," in the Imagining Peaceful Action (2009) posting.
Ziggy photo on flickr