RNA Conference and Hadestown

After two years of limited public involvement because of covid, I attended two public events back-to-back. The annual conference for the Religion News Association (RNA) in Bethesda, Maryland, and the Broadway show, Hadestown, in New York City.

As a writer wanting to write more productively, the RNA speakers enlightened me on how the war in Ukraine is influencing the religious scene. Panel members also clarified why the word, cult, becomes an obstacle to spiritual solutions, and showed the importance of deep research as counter to repeating unresearched/shallow information.

Every speaker was on a panel of three or more speakers. Each giving their own perspective on a specific issue. In other words, they addressed more than the superficial aspects of religion that tend to divide, and addressed the deeper issues of religion that allows for the discovery of resolutions and meaning.

Panel members talked about how easily the human mind automatically stops discovering, just by hearing or reading, a word, such as Russian, woman, queer, Christian, atheist. Unfortunately, that is how the brain works. Too familiar of, or unfamiliar words, stop the brain, despite the brain’s self that believes it’s inspired or right.

Writers and readers want to discover. Most of us don’t want to write to justify an opinion. We don’t want to read to justify an opinion.

I interpreted what I heard as a reminder that writing and reading can be expansive, creative, profound, and inspiring because divine Mind is capable of imparting creativity, profoundness, and inspiration.

At this point, I was fortunate to be able to meet up with my sister. We drove to Manhattan together, where we met my daughters and attended the Broadway show, Hadestown.

Hadestown is a musical, with extraordinary choreography and acting. It proved creative, profound, and inspiring.

First of all, André De Shields was superb in his role of Hermes. The man is in his seventies! On stage. Singing, acting, standing, moving. For two-and-half hours. I sat on my bum the whole time, in awe but later forced my brain to discover, not a man with great genes but a man who apparently keeps discovering strength and power and joy.

The story-line of Hadestown follows the path of how mortal situations can bring us to hell on earth. And how imagination and trust-in-good brings us to heaven on earth.

The hubbub encircling Hadestown is that it is a sad story, but I see it as the story of mortality. Yes, mortality can be sad, but life/immortality goes on and compels us to discover the truth and love that explains a life of meaning.

Meaning and discovery require new stories, new words, new songs, and new choreography. But this newness is possible and it’s happening. Right before our eyes. We can’t stop the infinite from infinitely expressing truth. Otherwise, truth wouldn’t be infinite.

From Proverbs: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”

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