Barack Obama and Wholeness
Talk by Tom Baker
November 16, 2008, The Fellowship of the Inner Light
On Saturday, May 19th, 2007 Gordon Michael Scallion gave a public reading at the A.R.E. entitled Prophecy 2008 through 2012. My wife Kathy and I were present. On that spring evening of last year Hilary Clinton had a commanding lead in the democratic primaries. There was talk of Al Gore entering the race for president. The economy was thriving, really thriving. In the fall of 2007 the stock market would be so high it would set records. Economically as a nation we were, as the saying goes, "in high cotton." So the beginning of Mr. Scallion's psychic reading, conducted by his wife, was somewhat off putting. He spoke of coming earth changes and a severe economic downturn which would bring us rather quickly into a simpler way of life, a way of life that would favor barter and sharing over credit cards and cash. People would grow more of their own food and trade with their neighbors for locally grown and locally made products. Out of mutual interest and just plain need, people would grow closer to one another. There would be earth changes but the time line was less clear on those. The economic collapse and a simpler way of life was coming much sooner. Everyone in the room took a collective breath.
Then someone asked if Mr. Scallion would say who might be elected president in November of 2008 which was at that moment almost a year and a half away. He paused and then said, "If no one else enters the race on the democratic side, Lincoln will once again occupy the White House." The person who asked the question about the president followed with the obvious next question, "Who is Lincoln today?" And Mr. Scallion answered with one word, with one name that we all know very well today. He replied, "Obama." I flashed back to the second week of February of that year seeing Obama announce his candidacy for president on the steps of the Old State Capitol building in Springfield, Illinois where Abraham Lincoln began his Senate campaign in 1858: 149 years before. (Hold up New Yorker Magazine cover for November 17, 2008 picturing the Lincoln Memorial at night lit by the illuminated O in NEW YORKER). Mr. Scallion went on to say that in the years to come people would look back on the year 2008 as the first time they as Americans felt really heard and represented by their leadership: the dark cloud of economic decline in the year 2008 would have the silver lining of truly responsive leadership in the White House.
So is Barack Obama the Messiah? Our political savior who will turn over the money changers' tables in Washington and on Wall Street and make America into Heaven? No. I do think he is the reincarnation of Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln's humble eloquence comes through Obama unmistakably, and the steadiness and serenity of Lincoln is there in Obama, as is Lincoln's friendliness. Lincoln signed all his letters, "Your friend, A. Lincoln." People feel that in Obama. Obama signs his e-mails Barack. And even when she ran against him, Hilary Clinton would call him Barack, and there was music in her voice, a lilt that gave away her liking him.
He might be a good president, I hope he will, but I think of him more as a symbol of the foundation necessary for the changing consciousness which will culminate in 2012, a consciousness based on inclusion, the nobody left out consciousness. In our last several presidents we spoke of their administrations as looking like America: African Americans, Latinos, women, people of various creeds and colors represented. But in Barack Obama the world comes together in one man: Kenya, Kansas, Indonesia, Hawaii, Harvard Square, Chicago and with a middle name Hussein and a fiery Pastor who sounded more like Malcolm X than Billy Graham there comes along the rumor that Barack might be colluding with the enemy. Jesus caused the same kind of stir when he told people to love their enemies and pray for those who persecute them---maybe he's a secret friend of Caesar's or a spy for Pontius Pilate. But no, Barack Obama is not Jesus Christ. He's just a common-looking person, the kind that God must love since he made so many of them. Lincoln said that. Obama will probably end up saying it too, in different words.
But Obama represents the completion of the old karmic consciousness. Karma is essentially the expanding of our consciousness by our becoming everybody else. We learn empathy and compassion by walking a lifetime in shoes we disdained or ignored or simply want to learn about. But the new consciousness will take us beyond karma into radical trust in God. Radical trust in God says that I don't know what I want. I don't know what will make me happy. I don't know, in big ways and small ways. Yesterday I was going to the drugstore to buy two things, condoms and gum. I decided to pray about the purchase. "God, should I buy these two things?" It's a thrill for me to buy condoms since as a Catholic priest that's the one thing I could never buy. For one thing I was celibate, but more to the point, condoms were considered birth control, so I couldn't even pick them up for someone else. So I'm always a little excited about a condom purchase. I prayed, God gave the green light for the condoms, but it was clear, subtle but certain: "Don't buy the gum." I of course ignored God and got the gum anyway. Tom knows best. The gum was stale. It would hardly chew. I should have trusted. I'm not used to trusting. I'm used to control, my control. Yet for all of my present life and most of my other lifetimes my control has never made me happy. It's kept me awake; it's made me nervous. Now, as 2012 approaches I am looking at Trust. Trusting God is more than having faith in God, faith is an idea, trust is action; faith is what you have when you're engaged; trust is what you learn when you're married. The deeper the trust, the deeper the intimacy. That's marriage-counseling 101. In 2012 we will marry God and our challenge will be to write In God we Trust not just on our money, but on our hearts and in our calendars. Everyday, every moment to ask, "Oh, God, dear heart, what's next?"
The other element of the new consciousness is sharing, sharing in love. We're afraid to share because we're afraid of losing. For so long we have connected sharing with loss and in our fear we have often become selfish and greedy. In the coming years we will face that fear of sharing. My friend Dusty Rhodes tells of his father, in 1933, buying groceries every week for the neighbors next door and Dusty, not understanding, telling his father, "but Dad we don't even like those people," and his father replying that it made no difference. He remembers his father very fondly for his illogical way of sharing. What if God doesn't care who we like or don't like: "Share any way," God says, "It will make the world abundant, and new and fresh and worth remembering." In short, sharing makes history, good history.
I will stop now, I have gone on long enough. But I will leave you with something practical. You might ask how you are to include others, and trust God and share with others, especially when the world seems to be careening in the other direction. Only one thing is needed. You need to go first. We, as humans are programmed to respond, to react. You do it and then I'll do it. But if you override your automatic pilot and go first, smile first, trust first, share first, do the love first, then you will find yourself in God in loving command of almost every situation. You will be so happy; and it won't matter at all to you who the president is or is not.
Elaine Levenson has asked me to write out the Lord's Prayer in the tense that it probably first appeared in Aramaic which does not have a past tense. It probably looked something like the following:
Our Father, Who is in Heaven,
Hallowed is thy name.
Thy Kingdom is coming
Thy will is being done
On earth as it is in Heaven.
You are giving us this day our daily bread
And you are forgiving us our debts,
As we are forgiving those who are indebted to us.
You are not leading us into temptation
But are delivering us from evil.
For thine is the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory
Forever and ever and now. Amen.
This week in class I am talking about the shift in consciousness and how A Course In Miracles fits in to it. In my talk to the Fellowship I suggest that relationship in seeing Barack Obama as the symbol of the consummation of karmic consciousness and radical trust in God and sharing as main elements of the new consciousness beginning in four years in 2012. I would see A Course In Miracles as teaching us radical trust in God and how to share love and forgiveness with each other, thus the Course is basically a Course in the post karmic New Consciousness. Our assignment continues in Chapter 7 with an emphasis on V. Healing and the Changelessness of Mind (Text, pp. 119-123) and any workbook lessons that correspond.
© Copyright Tom Baker 2008