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I'll Shut Up - Right After This

December 2, 2005

The need for interrelation is obvious

In doing a research paper on Rumi, my daughter learns that this 13th century Persian mystic is now the best-selling poet in America. It&

s not hard to figure why:

The lovers

drink wine night and day.

They drink till they

tear away the veils of mind and

melt the layers of shame.

When in Love,

body, mind, heart and soul don&

t exist.

Become this,

fall in Love,

and you won&

t be separated again.

Her thesis, which she has to argue and defend in her senior paper, is that so many people read and love Rumi now because you can never tell if he&

s talking about the fleshly lover or the divine &

150; and because so many people today long for a spirituality that encompasses all beings and all life through all time. Not just the &

saved&

people. Not just our people. Not just in heaven. But now, here, everyone.

Kurt Katzmar smiles. Yes, he&

s responsible for a lot of those Rumi sales, he says. He&

s the new minister at Medford&

s Congregational United Church of Christ, this after four years as classical DJ at public radio here, and he&

s talking about taking the flock in new directions to a spirituality that supports how we&

re all one, interrelated with each other and all nature, in God and if we don&

t get that, we&

re not going to last.

You get there by doing your &

inner work.&

You get there by a process called metanoia, he says, which means you change direction, turn around and face God. It&

s not about just assenting to a political or spiritual doctrine and &

blustering&

about it. It&

s work. You change. You do &

gregoreite,&

a Greek word that means you stay awake.

The old Seven Sisters of Protestantism have always been that way. They offer very few simple answers, but insist you do your work, he notes. But they&

ve been sidelined. We want to know who you are from the inside. The sayings of Jesus give those clues, he says, such as that saying that the realm of God is within you. That&

s a big one.

And that it&

s not about looking good, after all, the Son of Man, says Luke, &

has come eating and drinking and you say, &

145;Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!&

Nevertheless, wisdom is vindicated by all her children.&

We have a good laugh about that one. Google Rumi and wine together and you get 152,000 hits &

and, while he&

s no stranger to wine, you also know he means wine as a metaphor for the ecstasy of spiritual oneness.

God has given us a dark wine so potent that,

drinking it, we leave the two worlds ...

God made Majnun love Layla so much that

just her dog would cause confusion in him.

There are thousands of wines

that can take over our minds.

Don&

t think all ecstacies

are the same!

Jesus was lost in his love for God.

His donkey was drunk with barley.

Every object, every being,

is a jar full of delight.

Be a conoisseur,

and taste with caution.

Any wine will get you high.

Judge like a king, and choose the purest,

the ones unadulterated with fear,

or some urgency about &

what&

s needed.&

Drink the wine that moves you.

John Darling is an Ashland writer and counselor.