Reading the Diary of John Woolman, that famous colonial Quaker from New Jersey, I noted that he, like other Quakers, used the word “opening” in a special way. An opening is when God “opens” the Truth to you, and you realize something you’ve never realized before. Woolman, for example, had an opening that slavery was not part of God’s plan, it was an evil that Woolman worked all his life to eradicate.
In the same way the Seven Universal Sacraments are openings: they are windows to a better life, a Greater Good. They reveal a general truth that there is something sacred about the human experiences of birth, death, and sexual union. They are not to be taken lightly. They are openings to our higher selves. Call these experiences sacred. Call them God if it helps. We need to honor them, no matter what we believe about the origin of the universe, the afterlife, and anything in between.
It is painful to live in the year 2014 and to realize that the battle to eradicate slavery is far from over. If the girls in Nigeria and Iraq and Syria are free game according to their predators, we all have a tremendous amount of work to do. The men who are enslaving these women are not going to be convinced by bombs or weapons. If anything that will create more recruits for their cause. Our only hope is reason: robust dialogues and debates that plant seeds of doubt in their minds, doubts about whether their way is the right way, doubts about treating women as sexual slaves, as chattel, doubts that become openings to a Truth greater than what they have been taught in their sacred texts. A herculean task, and one that will take decades to accomplish.