My dear friend, Nicole, gave me this lovely, lovely book for my birthday. I started reading it this morning. It is absolutely fascinating and ,somehow, healing to read. Some excerpts follow:

Right now it [reverence] has no place in secular discussions of ethics or political theory. Even more surprisingly, reverence is missing from modern discussions of the ancient cultures that prized it.

Reverence begins in a deep understanding of human limitations; from this grows the capacity to be in awe of whatever we believe lies outside our control--God, truth, justice, nature, even death. The capacity for awe, as it grows, brings with it the capacity for respecting fellow human beings, flaws and all.

Reverence is the virtue that keeps leaders from trying to take control of other people's lives...Reverence has more to do with politics than with religion...power without reverence--that is a catastrophe for all concerned...Politics without reverence is blind to the general good and deaf to advice from people who are powerless.

Wherever people try to act together, they hedge themselves around with some form of ceremony or good manners, and the observance of this can be an act of reverence. Reverence lies behind civility and all the graces that make life in society bearable and pleasant.

We have ceremonies in our own time too, but we try not to think about what they mean. In fact, I believe reverence gives meaning to much that we do, yet the word has almost passed out of our vocabulary. Because we do not understand reverence, we don't really know what we are doing in much of our lives, and therefore we are in no position to think about how to do it better.


Natalie said...

Sounds like an amazing book. I might have to add that to my book club. By the way, any book suggestion you could give would be greatly appreciated. By the way,Happy late birthday! Isn't it on the 14th? Hope you had a great day!

Dee said...

OH yes, Reverence. So, so true. I think everyone on Artie's blog today could have benefited from this message today. It was a BIG ugly blog war about gay marriage. Ann, it would be wonderful for you to weigh in. There is some Mormon talk going on now and you'd be the most suitable representation I can think of. I don't want Artie's many friends to think all Mormons think the way my sister does. Please join in if you can, but I warn you, it's ugly. I got quite heated with my sister I'm afraid and words like bigotry went flying all around. His blog is ARTS. But I know you are busy, busy so I understand if you opt out!

Love this post!

Ann Marie said...

Dee, I'm not going to join in such a fight. I'd join a respectful dialogue.
At the end of the introduction of his book, "Reverence", Paul Woodruff says something like, "If you want world peace, don't pray that everyone will have the same belief. Pray that everyone will have reverence."
So I will participate in a discussion where there is a sense of awe and respect for people.

Dee said...

I totally understand. I felt bad for asking you to join in an ugly mess and was going to tell you never mind! You are so right to stay out. I guess I was just wishing there was a different, fresh voice, but it would fall on deaf ears anyway, in this discussion.

I'm learning that most of the time, it's impossible to debate two opposite views, unless as you said, both people truly want to see the other side.

Dianne said...

Reverence has a lot to do with refining us, as humans. The idea in life is not to live with people who think exactly as we do, but to listen and allow differences that are sincere. It was interesting to me how the word "reverence" brings a quiet feel, a peaceful and feel of gratitude. The fights going on in today's environment immediately bring anxiety and a restlessness into my mind. Contention is not good.