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Worship Materials: One World

From the Celebrating Mystery collection

THEME                 The Inclusive Pluralism


  1. The establishment of justice and peace, inclusiveness and awareness may seem an impossible dream, but it is only those who are motivated by such a vision who are willing to make the sacrifices necessary to create a better world.
  2. The choice before human society is either increasing fragmentation or a new and more inclusive form of pluralism.
  3. True sacredness is never exclusive.
  4. Unity is not simplicity but the inter-weaving dance of life’s infinite variety and apparent oppositions.
  5. True inclusiveness is neither syncretistic nor reductionist.
  6. Community is always a dialectic between individual freedom and communal responsibility.
  7. The inter-action of aloneness without alienation and togetherness without oppression is one of the major dynamics in a healthy society.
  8. We need a society in which awareness replaces ideology.
  9. We are moving into an age of the proliferation of small communities and the breakdown of coordinating institutions. Our task will be to create non-authoritarian, non-hierarchical, slimmed-down forms of co-ordinating structures if we are to avoid fragmentation.
  10. The individual without community is selfish.
    The community without individuality is oppressive.
    Between the two lies freedom.
  11. When we discover the ‘we are’ within we can more easily be  aware of the ‘we are’ without.
  12. For those who have glimpsed the unitive complexity of the mystery, plurality is not the enemy of unity.
  13. It is only by unmasking and releasing our fears that we will gain
    the security that enables us to relate to people who are quite different from us without feeling threatened or angry.
  14. To work for the unity of humankind can bring peace to the heart,
    but it can also lead to conflict with those whose power and position depends upon separation and division.
  15. The space in which all human beings are relatively free to have their own beliefs, their own culture and their own religious expressions, cannot be created solely by intellectual discussion, but must involve the sharing of the deepest experiences for therein lies our common humanity.
  16. When people gather, spirit grows, either the spirit of life or the spirit of destruction, the spirit of empowerment or of dependency.
  17. To see the differences is to view the surface –
    To see the similarities is to encounter the depth –
    To hold both together is to find healing and life.
  18. Mystery incarnate is both within and beyond culture.
  19. The TRINITY as a model for pluralism:
    The NON-INTERFERING, COMPASSIONATE PARENT, a community in which the strong do not impose upon the weak.
    The VULNERABLE CHILD, a community in which the weak enlighten the strong.
    And the SPIRIT OF ONENESS, a community in which all share  equally in the inter-weaving dance of spirit.
  20. In a world of over-consumption, we must move from a preoccupation with the production of goods to the rewarding of services, such as clowning and the writing of poetry.
  21. It is only vulnerable strength that can unite us in one empowering whole.
  22. Access to oneness is less by the use of the intellect than by the imagination and the sharing of our personal stories.
  23. The more you seek “One Way” the more you create many ways.
  24. Sensitivity without inclusiveness can be destructive.
  25. The fragmented circle easily becomes a source of divisive wedges.
  26. The highest mountain of bliss is the point where all lines become one.
  27. When we move beyond the definitions to the mystery itself what formerly seemed divided becomes one.
  28. Manipulative evangelism is a denial of the true nature of the “evangel”
  29. Working for the unity of humankind brings peace to the heart but can lead to conflict with those whose power and wealth depend upon separation and division.
  30. To be able to view the mountain from two different sides is much more liberating than only looking at it from one side.



O God of all of the vast varieties of humankind, help us to move beyond the exclusiveness of an ‘either / or’ mentality to the inclusiveness of a ‘both / and’ way of thinking that venturing behind the definitions to the mystery and beyond over-simplifications to complexity we may become immersed in your all embracing reality.



The darkness and the light. (BL)

Within the shadows of our thinking. (BL)

We the many all belong. (BL)

We are always part of the other. (BL)

When we discern Earth’s fractured face. (BL)

When the world reveals a fractured face. (BL)

Deep in the human heart. (BL)


No outcasts were condemned.

O God how can there be one world?


The right time has come.

There is but one village.

I wash my hands.

Between our thoughts.

Deep in our minds.

Which place can we call home? (STS2)

Singing the Sacred Vol 2 2014 World Library Publications



Sing of a sacred circle.



In creating space for each other. (BL)



It seems we are stuck,

At the present moment,

In the adolescence of the human race.

In place of the child-like acceptance of the shackles

Of oppressive dependency inducing


We have exalted competitive acquisitiveness

Where more is better and the individual

Is the measure of all things.

How then are we ever going to be willing

To consume less of the dwindling resources of the Planet?

How then are we ever going to exercise population control

When we are biologically programmed to reproduce

And are opposed to voluntary euthanasia?

How then are we going to limit GNP

When our economic systems demand that it increase?

Only by reaching a new level of maturity which embraces



Shared ownership

And an acceptance that human beings

Are not the be all and end all of the Cosmos.

This new humility and inclusiveness

Will begin to fulfill the prophetic and mystical

Message of the Christ so long diluted

Or misinterpreted by the Church

And society as a whole.


  1. If we followed the biddings in Romans 12:2 ‘do not conform to the standards of this world but be transformed in your minds’, we would be in a position to offer an objective critique of society as a whole. However, to gain such an assessment of the church it would be best to listen to those outside it.
  2. Part of the bonding that holds society together is the communal myths. Ceremonies sustain these myths but usually do not provide any analysis of them. Empowerment comes through holding together the power of the myth and the power of analysis. Without this dialectic ceremonies (e.g. worship services) can perpetuate mental, emotional and societal captivity.



What would happen to me

If I abandoned

the idea

that my way of




is the one way to

fullness of life?

Would I drop into an abyss of anonymity,


non being,

or is there something



space where dispirit parts

reside in complex unity,

place of non threatening connection,

divine diversity,

integrated complexity,

infinite variety

like the bifurcation

of stream and vein,

root and branch,

part of the



flow of the River of Life

besides which grow

the trees

for the healing

of the nations.    (Rev. 22:2)



How can I grow beyond the tribe

with its exclusiveness,

its fiery designation and protection of boundaries,

its limitations on thought,

its power struggles and

its hierarchy.

First I must find

the tribal image

in my mind

and watch it operate in

my religion,

my politics,

my economics,

my culture

and even my spirituality.

The God of the tribe

may have nurtured me well in the past

but now I must move on to

a more all-embracing unconfining deity

if I am to be a fit citizen

of One World


Dogma divides – stories unite,

So I have been told.

And that seems to be true

Because we Western people

Tend to judge things

As either right or wrong.

If I am right

Then you must be wrong,

If you have a different point of view!

What a superficial view of truth!

What an oversimplification of life’s complexity!

What an alienating perspective on other people!

If only we could hear the story behind the dogma,

The story behind the interpretation,

The story that binds us together.

At their deepest level

Stories are about the joy and pain

Which we all share.

In the telling of such stories

Barriers dissolve

For in our human nakedness

We are one flesh,

One heart,

One vibrant particle

Of God’s spectacular Universe.


In all and through all there is the I AM as Mechtild of Magdeburg said

‘the day of my spiritual awakening was the day I saw and knew I saw all things in God and God in all things’.

In that awakening we perceive that the many and the one are two faces of the one inclusive nurturing and life giving reality.



according to Acts 2:42-46

Learning from the Apostles= valuing the transmitted wisdom. Learning to think critically and creatively

Taking part in the fellowship= developing skills in human relationships

Sharing the breaking of bread and meeting in the temple= develop bonding between people and between people and the earth within the framework of their relationship with the mystery

Holding all things in common= sharing of material wealth, sharing of spirituality and sharing the stories of the heart

In other words, a community where positive attitudes are encouraged and practiced. An inclusive community where all feel at home regardless of differing view points and cultural customs.



If I were to acknowledge that other religions, other political and economic systems could, in their own way, be just as right as those which I have adopted what would that do to my sense of security?

Would I want to move back into a more exclusive position or could I move forward into the cloud of unknowing?

If truth is more situational than absolute, where does that leave the authority of institutions which claim to be guardians of absolute truth?

How could I help other members of religious institutions or groups which I belong to make some of the above changes?

Celebrating Mystery Logo

LOGO NOTE: At the heart of the mystery all the separate boxes disappear and all is one, all is love.

Text and graphic © William Livingstone Wallace but available for free use.


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