Cooperation and Social Injustice
(Posted on: March 12, 2014 by David McMillin)
[NOTE: While serving as mentor for an online version of "A Search For God" study group and working on the "Cooperation" lesson, a class member shared her experiences during the 1960s and 70’s with regard to the civil rights and sexual equality movements. She requested feedback on how cooperation applies in social situations where there is injustice and inequality. Here is my direct reply and a subsequent follow-up after group discussion. – David McMillin]
Thanks for raising this important issue. Your experiences during the turbulent 60’s and 70’s are a valuable resource as we ponder the meaning of Cooperation in the Search For God.
I think your observations and concluding question address the purpose of the “When Clashes Arise” exercise for this lesson. Although the personality clashes between the members of the first study group and the Glad Helpers in no way matches the intensity and drama of the civil rights or sexual equality movements, at the core the essential issue is the same: How to do deal with conflict from a spiritual perspective. The approach suggested in the readings encouraged the individuals who felt intimidated (Glad Helpers) not to quit or give in. But rather to seek the will of God in the matter as the basis for cooperation.
With regard to the civil rights example, I wonder if Martin Luther King Jr. felt he was being cooperative when he led nonviolent protests? As a Baptist minister I wonder if he sought spiritual attunement – prayer and seeking for guidance from God? I wonder if he felt that he was cooperating with God and his fellow humans in seeking justice and equality while planning and participating in marches and giving speeches? These are open questions in my mind.
I look forward to hearing from members of the group who are working with (or have experience with) the core issues of this exercise. And thanks again for bringing this important aspect of Cooperation to our attention. Blessings, Dave
Thanks for all your sharing with this exercise. Yes, Cooperation can sometimes get complicated.
Fortunately, future lessons will provide some specific tools for working with Cooperation in difficult situations. Notably, working with Ideals provides a framework for engaging in social activity (including dealing with injustice). For example, the life of Jesus is often cited in the Cayce readings as an Ideal (which we will be considering in a few days).
Consider the biblical account of Jesus running the money-changers from the temple. Assuming Jesus was attuned to God and acting in the best interest of all involved (including the moneychangers), could this act that apparently involved anger be considered Cooperation?
One of the important aspects of Ideals is that we get to choose our own. We are each a unique individual with will, the gift of the Creator. So as we consider the comments in this and other lessons and perhaps find ourselves disagreeing with others’ views, we probably will also find that we hold different ideals.
The question of anger and whether it is ever appropriate when attempting to Cooperate in situations involving conflict will be addressed in a future lesson on Patience. The Patience lesson even includes an exercise for considering the role of “Patient Anger.”
In seeking to Cooperate at the highest level (“thy will be done”), there may be a price to be paid. Both Jesus and ML King Jr. paid a price for their Cooperation (and apparently both were aware of the likely immediate outcome of their actions and yet chose to persist).
We will be addressing the problem of evil and suffering in the world in a future lesson on the Cross and Crown. So I think it appropriate and helpful that we are addressing the complexities of soul growth from the beginning in our Search For God. Thanks again for all your thoughtful and sincere contributions to this exercise. Blessings, Dave