viernes, 9 de septiembre de 2011

Artículo Antiguo, Del Día de mi Confirmación.

Open Letter to the Anglican People
A way of saying thanks
Daniel Montero Bustabad

The Anglican Miracle

October 23 rd, 2005 AD
Dear sisters and brothers in the Messiah:

Shalom! This is a very special day for me, the day of my confirmation. This
let-ter is an explanation of why am I so thankful to you, and hopefully a
thought-provoking contribution to that organism that becomes today my
Church.

In these modern days of superficial “friendships” and light “principles”, it
is so rejoicing to find a people like you, whose heart has been opened by
the action of the ruach hakodesh (Holy Spirit) and Her love.

In fact, I endure a mental disability (Asperger), and thus my experience
with personal relationships has not been an easy one. Despite this, the
Anglican Communion has been able to reach to my heart in a very special way.

I was born in a kind Evangelical home. From my mother’s side, my family
pro-ceeds from Sephardic Jews. Latter they converted and moved to Costa
Rica, the place where I was born. From my father’s side, my family comes
from Brit-ish people who moved to this country in the 1840’s. They were
co-founders of the Anglican Church of San Jose (Good Shepherd). Christianity
has been the core of the legacy that my ancestors gave me. It is an
extremely valuable leg-acy.

Since I was in elementary school, I was aware that there was something wrong
in my life. I felt so lonely and empty inside. A doctor and a psychologist
helped me, but were not able to treat me successfully. Only much latter,
about four years ago, I received a proper diagnosis, one of an Asperger
disorder, and thus received the correct treatment. I always felt different,
and there was something wrong which hurt me, something that made me very
lonely. I just didn’t fit with my schoolmates or people at church, but
longed so much for acceptance, for being part of them, and this longing
represented much pain.

When I was fifteen years old, my family moved to Spain, where I lived during
fifteen years. Those years were an authentic shadowed valley. I gave my
best, but could not solve my problems, nor feel better, nor get a job,
despite sending over five hundred resumes and attending many interviews,
etc. I looked to HaShem (G-d) for an answer, but there was none. I kept a
personal relationship with Her and prayed for years, but there was no
response. The heavens were “as of iron”, and no hope came from on High.
Nature ceased to please me: I felt that, no matter how much pain I
experienced, nothing in nature would come to help me. Landscapes, which I
loved before, came to represent a reminder that nature is selfish, as
Nietzsche said.

I attended (non-Anglican) churches, but found no comfort there. People saw
me just as another foreigner, one of those thousands who flock to Spain and
are un-welcomed despite the official discourse. No matter I attended the
church several years: I was an alien, and aliens in difficulties are better
in their “home country”, not in Spain. Besides this, as I had some financial
problems, I had fi-nally to attend during some time to a lunch room
pertaining to a NGO which be-longed to a church. It has been the place where
I have felt more racism. Not even in the “wicked world” did I feel so much
rejection as in that churchly place.

There was another problem: as I love to read Philosophy and Judaism (as has
been said, my family comes from Jewish ancestors), it was extremely
difficult for me to feel at home amongst the dogmatic declarations of faith
that ought to be agreed upon becoming member of a church. For example, I
longed so much to become part of a group of young adults, and found a church
with an interest-ing group. People there suggested themes for debate, and I
talked about the importance of a contemporary analysis of the meaning of
Yeshayahu/Isaiah 52-53. The problem was… that at that time I was not able to
show that Yehoshua ben Yosef (pop. Jesus son of Joseph) was the Son of G-d.
The answer of the church was to reject my suggestion. I felt un-welcomed. So
the years passed, but I was unable to be admitted as a member of any church.
People like me, with disabilities, are more sensitive to the need of being
unconditionally accepted. I longed for this acceptance, but no church
offered that to me, a lib-eral foreigner.

I felt something was wrong, not only inside me, but also with my spiritual
life. The answers that the churches offered me were to return to my “home
country”, despite I had already lived half of my life outside it, and to
believe in some dog-mas which I was not able to agree with.

The shadowed valley got even darker. I lived amongst what Durkheim would
have described as anomy… and suicidal thoughts became stronger. I looked at
high buildings and saw jumping from them as the answer for me. There was
nothing that had the right to command me to continue living, because living
hurt me much more than dying, and I had already given my small contribution
to the world. G-d had no right to demand me to live, because She created me
knowing all the pain I would endure. So, for practical purposes, He was also
responsible for my soreness. I tried to find a reason for continue living,
but reached none. I wrote to Philosophers and Pastors, but no one offered a
refutation worth the name to the right to end my life. Time passed, and I
spent more than a year in treatment with a Psychologist who was a believer.
Thus I spent my last savings.

One day I found an interesting Canadian web page, one of Logotherapy. I
wrote them asking if someone could correspond with me. They responded saying
that they would find a local Logotherapist to contact me. I thought it was
impossible: Who would like to work hard with me for nothing? I had already
spent my last savings. However, they contacted Maria Angeles Noblejas, PhD.,
Logotherapist and specialist in developmental disorders. She was so kind to
me, but could not provide me with a reason to continue living and not
choosing suicide. Neverthe-less, after more than a year of treatment, she
provided me with the proper diag-nosis: an Asperger disorder. Her kindness
touched my heart.

After a while I found myself in a critical moment: I had to choose between
end-ing my own life and moving to Costa Rica in order to receive the proper
medical treatment for my Asperger disorder. The idea of returning to the
place where I was born hurt me: it caused me so much pain. Moving made me
feel a pain similar to that of rape. What should I choose? The peace of
death or an ex-traordinary pain?

Well, I am talking to you now, so it means I chose pain rather than the
comfort of death. Two reasons moved me to live: a secular commitment to my
life’s core: human dignity, understood as the duty to treat others as ends
in them-selves, and not as means nor instruments. This is the root of human
rights. My commitment to them helped me to choose pain in the hope that I
could contrib-ute further to this cause in the future. The second reason for
choosing a painful life was an evanescent wish of being loyal to my Anglican
forefathers’ legacy, which included their commitment to the Bible.

Finally I was here in Costa Rica, alive, receiving treatment, and healing. I
felt I had become sort of a secular person, because prayer was not
meaningful to me any more (it was a deep source of frustration because it
reminded me con-stantly of all the things I lacked) and the reason I was
alive was mainly a secular choice of the cause of human rights and dignity.
However, I wanted to be a be-liever, so I wrote again to different people
via the internet, urging them to tell me if the commitment to HaShem could
provide me with an authentic non-secular reason for remaining alive, despite
living meant so much more pain to me. The answers I received were not
satisfactory.

My love for my forefather’s legacy made me snail-mail the Most Rev’d.
Archbishop of Canterbury and ask him if there were British Anglicans who
would like to correspond with me. I long to write to British Anglicans
because I wanted –and want- to feel close to my forefathers’ legacy and thus
to have friends who are also at the same time British and Anglicans. I
talked about my interests, including that of Law, wondering if there was
someone who shared this interest.

My letter was forwarded to the Society of the Faith. It was not possible to
find any pen pals for me, nor people interested in my understanding of Law,
but the response was very gentle and also provided me with a booklet about
Anglican-ism and a year subscription to the Anglican World. This touched my
heart in a way that words are not able to describe.

This kindness reached my innermost self, making me want to know more about
Anglicans and to visit the Anglican Church which was co-founded by my
ances-tors. I visited this congregation, and was warmly welcomed. Thank you!
The service was meaningful, and the sermons were good. They reflected a deep
commitment to social justice and a progressive interpretation of the Bible.
The bishop loaned me several books, and from them I learned a lot about
Anglican-ism and its commitment to social justice.

Thanks to this I learned about the place that Creeds have within
Anglicanism. In so many churches the declarations of faith are like
immigration policemen that watch the doors of the churches and do not let in
(into membership) those who do not have the proper permissions granted by
the authorities, that is, the proper subscription to abstract dogmas.
Anglicanism shares a very different understanding of the Creeds. They are
not barriers who keep out of the church those who do not subscribe them, but
tools with which we build a worldview that enables us to remain committed to
the will of G-d (human rights and dignity) despite all the pain we may
experience. A Creed is not only what was said in ancient times, but also the
other tools we use in order to remain alive and com-mitted to the will of
HaShem despite pain. What makes someone an Anglican is not the ideas or
dogmas one has in mind, but the active involvement in Church: the
participation at services and the commitment to help the Church in other
ways. Thanks to this understanding of the place of Creeds in the Anglican
Church I finally felt sincerely welcomed in a Church despite my love for
thought.

There was something more that touched my heart in a very special way. I read
the Anglican World magazines, which I received thanks to the Society of the
Faith. The sections of the magazine are very interesting, especially that of
“Au-dacious Anglicans”. They taught me that those British Anglicans who are
com-mitted to HaShem do not base their sense of belonging in (British)
nationality, as so many people of the First World do, but in the Anglican
people as a people committed to G-d. We who live in the Third World are not
excluded from British Anglicanism, nor we are seen as second-level British
Anglicans, but we are considered just as important and just as equally
members of British Anglican-ism as those who have the British nationality.
We are not seen as Third-World persons, but as members of the same people.
This is the comforting message of this review.

My self, who longed so much for a sincere acceptance because of my Asperger
disorder, felt welcomed in British Anglicanism, and part of the British
Anglican people. Also the Anglican understanding of the role of Creeds made
me feel part of the Church. This changed my life.

All this helps us to see that the Anglican Church is ideal for people with
mental disabilities like me, because it welcomes people in a very sincere
and coher-ent way.

In this way I learned that Jesus is the Son of G-d (mashiach-adam kadman),
because the open-heart-ness that characterises the Anglican welcoming trait
can only be of divine origin.

Erich Fromm’s understanding of HaShem also helped me very much, because his
work showed me that the commitment to human rights has its origin in the
Bible and in the Bible’s peoples. Thus I saw that by making human dignity
the core of my life I had not become a secular person, but someone who is
commit-ted to the Biblical message of salvation.

A miracle is not what contradicts the laws of nature. Modern inventions have
broken what were considered before to be the laws of nature; nevertheless,
those inventions have not improved the human condition, nor made humanity
more kind. Thus the miracle is not what supersedes the laws of nature, but
what contradicts the law of the market of superficiality and selfishness.
Where there is no law of superficiality or selfishness, there is HaShem.
This is the Anglican miracle.

Every person has a role to play in the Anglican Communion, because each one
can make a small contribution to it. Books have been written explaining the
place of Anglicanism in the scheme of things. My small contribution is to
add some thing to this.

I study Law, and my life’s core is Torah, the law. Not the law of sin and
death, but the law of the Spirit (Romans 8 and many more) that has freed us
from the “law” of sin and death. The Spirit has Her law. It is not a
legalistic law, but a law that is born out of the grace of HaShem (G-d) that
forgives us and enables us to live in agreement with this justification, by
forgiving others and living each day closer to HaShem’s will. G-d’s will is
tzedaka (justice), which is another way of saying the law of the Spirit. She
enables us to live according to the fruits of the Spirit and provides us
with Her gifts. The core of this is: love to the human being incarnated in
specific actions of helping to others. Kant has presented the best
explanation (in the Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals) of what it
means to love others. He stresses the importance of human dignity as the
commitment to treat each person as an end in herself, and NOT as a means nor
instrument to something else, no matter how important, urgent or hallowed
this something else maybe. This concept of human dignity is the abstract
concept that contains all human rights, which are the specific ways of
loving the fellow human being. This is the core of the law of the Spirit.

Quoting Kant provides us with the opportunity of becoming aware of
something: Kant, as many Churches do, separate moral from law as if they
were two com-pletely independent realms. The purpose of this separation is
good: to grant the rights of liberty of conscience, by prohibiting
authorities to legislate on matters of moral or conscience. However, this
separation of law and morality has had terrible effects, like the legal
neutrality of so many Jurists (and so many Rever-ends) facing Fascist law,
and like the legal neutrality of so many Jurists and Christians concerning
contemporary decisions which are Fascist. For example, the decision of the
Supreme Court of the USA allowing people to be tortured in Guantanamo.

The Church needs to be aroused to a new sense of its role in the scheme of
things by striving not only for the rights and liberties of conscience, but
also for a law which is by definition the law of the Spirit. The law of the
spirit has two sides, as in two sides of the same coin: first, the sphere of
moral and con-science, where no legislation is warranted, except that one
that protects the rights of conscience and election of personal morality.
This is understood by all Churches. What many Churches do not understand yet
is the other side of THE SAME COIN: the law of the Spirit is also a law, a
law of human rights and dig-nity. Every tyrannical statute or Court decision
that directly destroys this dignity is void, in the same way that a statute
that violates the Constitution is void. If a Constitution warrants a
violation of human dignity, then those articles of the Constitution are void
because there can be none above the will of HaShem, which is the respect of
human rights and dignity.

This sphere of the law of the Spirit means that law has a strict and a broad
meaning. According to the second one, law is the equivalent to human
dignity, that is, the commitment to treat each person as an end in herself,
not as a means nor instrument, no matter how important, urgent or sacred
that means may be. In a strict sense, law is the ensemble of interests which
ought to be protected by public coercion in order to move forward in the
process of bringing human rights and dignity to the world. This is law. Law
is not what the Parlia-ment or the Courts say. This may be law only in so
far as they protect human rights and dignity. But this is not the only law.
Law is also, in the absence of just statutes or Court decisions, those
interests which ought to be protected in order to advance in the protection
of human rights and dignity. And, if a law or deci-sion is tyrannical, then
it is not law, but is void, and instead of it what becomes law is whatever
is necessary to protect human dignity.

The Catholic concept of Natural Law needs to be reawakened in this process
of making the Church more and more committed to this understanding of law.
In the scheme of things, the Anglican Church has a clue role to play,
because it is free from the mistakes of Rome, but is at the same time loyal
to the Catholic heritage, part of which is Natural Law. The problem of
Natural Law is that, in the way it is usually presented, it is meaningful
only for believers or for those who share the naturalistic fallacy. In the
same way, Kant’s Rechtslehre is meaningful only for those who share his
understanding of rationalism. Here we can be helped by the contribution of
Vaihinger’s As-If Philosophy. Even if we feel we can trust no Philosophical
or believing system, we can still base our lives in as-if statements, living
as-if we can find truth, not a neutral truth, but one which moves us to
protect human rights.

What is needed today is a new understanding of Natural Law that (like the
one we have mentioned before) is meaningful both for believers and
non-believers. The Anglican Church has a key role to play in creating -and
struggling for- this new understanding of Natural Law, because it is free
from the mistakes of Rome and, at the same time, it is loyal to the Catholic
legacy which includes Natural Law. I have begun this short summary by
writing from a believer’s point of view, because I believe in HaShem and in
Jesus as the Son of G-d. But my explanation of this Natural Law for
non-believers will begin by summarising Erich Fromm’s atheistic
re-interpretation of the concept of G-d, including the concepts of Rabbis
such as Mordecai Kaplan and Michael Lerner. Then I will show that the
secular commitment to human rights and dignity was born out of the
Judaeo-Christian tradition. Nietzsche has shown us what paganism is really
like, and its nature as one that, by definition, is away from human rights.
So the atheist person should accept the value of Judaeo-Christianity for
human rights and dignity. Then comes a summary of the Bible as the
historical struggle for human rights and dignity. Then must go a brief
summary of history that will show that all the institutions created for the
advancement of human rights have faded through the passage of time, but the
Church (and synagogue) is the only institution that has the power to
transcend time and, despite its shortcomings, to continue preaching the
message of a liberating law of the Spirit. The non-believer shall see then
the importance of the Church, and the need she has to participate in it in
order that her commitment to human rights and dignity may transcend time.
This means to continue being loyal to this cause despite the passage of
time, and also in to be able to raise her children in the Church, be-cause
the Church is the only really working institution that will enable the
chil-dren and grand… children to be risen and educated in the commitment to
hu-man rights.

This understanding of Natural Law and the Church will hopefully make the
non-believer think, turn down his emotional defences against Christianity,
and en-able her to re-evaluate the Bible… This new beginning (be-reshit, in
the begin-ning- Genesis-) will enable the non-believer to think again in
HaShem free from emotional barriers and appreciate anew the importance of
Her and, hopefully, to give a try to a belief in G-d.

Anglicanism has a key role to play in this struggle! A miracle is not what
contra-dicts the laws of nature, but what contradicts the law of the market
of superfici-ality and selfishness. Where there is no law of superficiality
or selfishness, there is the law of the Spirit, and there is G-d. This is
the Anglican miracle.

I will really like to know what do you think of this letter, and if you know
of any-one interested in these subjects

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