Thursday, September 17, 2009

God - Clemens Taesler

A poem by Clemens Taesler, pastor of the Unitarian Free Religious Community in Frankfurt, Germany from 1918 - 1962:

Clemens Taesler

God looms eternally near and far,
above and within the world; –
he is its innermost intimate law,
all things he carries and holds.

God is the ever unmovable Being
becoming and passing on;
he is the line of reason
in every worldly concern.

God is the meaning in worldly fate
and radiates back in us
in all our yearning for the light
in all our sorrow-aged bliss.

Endless, eternal, unexplored, –
he nears our journey’s path,
when we try to unlearn our ego
in a precious loving-act.

Translation mine.

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Monday, September 14, 2009


In her 1842 collection entitled Words in a Sunday School, Unitarian teacher Eliza Thayer Clapp instructs her female students that “words are very important things” (136). Sikhism, as well, recognizes the power of language: even as countless names prove insufficient to fully capture the entirety of God, "words are required to describe God’s virtues and to praise them" (SGGS 4.7). In the Western imaginary, following Wittgenstein, language exists relatively, amounting to a game in which we all participate, with nothing real or fixed behind it. And yet, in Vedic tradition, there exists no qualitative or ontological difference between the signifier and the referent (i.e. the word and the thing it represents). To recite a mantra, for example, is to actually summon the gods.

What would it mean for our speech if we were to adopt such a mindset - if we were to see words as very important things? Might we replace hurtful slurs with verbal gestures of love? Might we summon tenderness over bigotry?

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