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Monday, November 30, 2015

God in our soul

Lady Julian of Norwich is one of the mystics I love to read. She was the first woman to write a book in English, and she is one of the highly regarded mystics. I am sharing this quote from her:

The place which God takes in our soul he will never vacate, for in us is his home of homes, and it is the greatest delight for him to dwell there... The soul who contemplates this is made like the one who is contemplated.

This idea is also in the New Testament such as John 14:20 - On that day, you will know that you are in me and I am in you.

I also am thinking of the quote in Luke where Jesus says that we've looked everywhere, but the kingdom of God is within.

These all point to what we need to do, awaken to that which already is. Contemplation, prayer, and various meditative practices done regularly can whisk away the clutter that has led us to look all over the place for God.

We find God simply by awakening to God within. We can be in a redwood forest, a seaside pile of sand, our homes or wherever. There is no rigmarole required. There are no special garments required. There are no dietary requirements. We don't have to be perfect for we are forgiven. We just have to look where what we want can be found -- in our very own souls -- now -- forever -- there!

Oh God of my soul, of all souls, lead me inward. Guide me on the journey to fully awaken. I come surrendered to Your Guidance. Lead me.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Cosmic Christ

I've just been listening on YouTube an interview of Fr. Robert Rohr on the Cosmic Christ. And a new slant on an idea, to me anyway, was expressed.

On the first day the Light described in Genesis was the Cosmic Christ. So many places in the New Testament mention the Christ being from the beginning.

Just as I've often said (as did Rohr), Christ is not the last name of Jesus. Jesus became the anointed one, the Christ. He was able to shine the Christ though his physical vehicle with no distortion. People met God in him.

From the Desert Fathers, Hildegard of Bingen, Meister Eckhart, Jacob Boehme, Thomas Acquinas to Teilhard de Chardin and more recently Matthew Fox and Richard Rohr - the Cosmic Christ has been discussed and it was known that it has been always. The first body of Christ is creation. As Celtic Christianity speaks, we read God in scripture and in creation.

If we settle for a smaller understanding, we miss the inner message and the direct experience that Paul spoke of, The Christ in you, the hope of glory.

Thankful I Am

This Thanksgiving was overflowing with blessings. We were able to be with our daughter, her husband, her two girls (aka granddaughters) and one boyfriend plus a huge number of our son in law's family members. All was in a lovely home high in the hill overlooking Temecula. The food was fantastic. Nothing could have been nicer.

I am feeling a shift in the force, one might say. After a long, dreary, but faith and hope-filled time in several valleys, sprouts of newness emerge. Lord, shine your Light upon the sprouts peeking up and help them to grow and flower and express in fullness. May this be the time of our freedom from that which bound and be the time of freedom to do and be as You Call us. Help us to remember that no matter how something appears, there are Your seeds about ready to sprout. Your Love is with us always. Your Guidance whispers always. Help us to see and hear that which already IS.

As I used to say as part of my benediction, Something wonderful is happening right now...

Monday, November 23, 2015

God Wins - Richard Rohr

I've been reading his books with fascination. I started watching some of his YouTube posts, which I love. This little 4 minute one is pretty much my take on hell, devil, etc. Hope you click on it.

Sunday, November 22, 2015


In the final analysis, life is about service to others. I shudder to think of the hours wasted focusing on myself rather than reaching out to do what I'm called to do to make a positive difference on this planet. The funny thing about giving is that it creates a perfect loop so that giving and receiving are the same thing. For example - I give you a quilt I made out of love and want you to have. I don't want money or anything for it. I want to give it to you. Your joy and gratitude come back to me and complete the loop. In giving I receive. But the rub is I cannot give in order to manipulate receiving - that fizzles out and backfires. I must give purely because that is who I am. Unconditional giving and unconditional love freely given are what we are called to do in our spiritual journey. Yes, even to the irascible, difficult and downright screwed up; even though there does not seem to be any benefit to you; even though you don't want to - as said below - do it anyway.

I love what I've put below!!!

On the wall in Mother Teresa’s home for children in Calcutta is this quote:

People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.

What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.
Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.

In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.

Friday, November 20, 2015

The Lepers

Imagine the 1st century when lepers were thought to be unclean, unable to be part of society, outcasts doomed to wear torn clothes and wild hair to warn people they were lepers so stay clear.

Along comes Jesus who not only talks to them, he touches them and heals them. Try to imagine the spinning heads of the upright. But also imagine what it meant to a person so hated and dreaded to be suddenly cared about and touched for the first time since becoming ill. Not only their bodies, but also their hearts were uplifted.

Who can we uplift today? Who can we reach out to? We need to remember ourselves too. We need to become whole so that we can shine more of God's Light. What part of ourselves can we touch with love and lift up?

I am so thankful to have come to know that God is with us and all is well between us.

Thursday, November 19, 2015


Jesus told us that the results tell so much when he told us that by our fruits we are known. We are told that the fruits of the Spirit are signs of holiness. People may bluster, people may spout this or that theology, but it is the fruit by which we are known and by which we can discern how we are doing on The Path.

Love - Joy - Peace - Patience - Kindness - Generosity - Faithfulness - Gentleness - Self-Control--- these are the fruits of the spirit according to Richard Rohr and Paul. Look for these things in ourselves. Look honestly.

I look at this list and see myself and also see that I still falter and am not constantly radiating all of the above. I need to honestly look at myself and let go where I am less than what I am called to be. Let go and let God be God in and through me. That is my prime goal.

So back to contemplation, silence, being, revealing, releasing, opening, listening, ising.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Barbarians at the Gates

The powerful Roman Empire had its problems for some years, but finally fell in the 400's (some debate about the exact year) when they failed to recognize the dangers of the barbarians on the edges. We have come to speak of it as the barbarians at the gates.

Our Western Civilization has turned back and defeated various versions of the barbarians at the gates. For example, last century the Nazis were the scourge of decency and almost destroyed our way of life, but we were able to join with others and almost miraculously stop them.

Now we face another wave of this era's barbarians at the gates.Crazed people kill at will all who are not part of them, but also some who are a part of them. They have a frenzy of emotion about a distorted idea of how life is and what the Deity wants.

In the shower, I felt a strong call to write about this situation. I do not wish to delve into the politics of it in my spiritual blog. However, I felt a strong call to discuss it from a spiritual point of view.

Spirituality contains paradox. Maybe the cookie cutter religions bound by the theology of ideologues and not the fresh knowing of the mystics have less or maybe no paradox. However, for those on a deeper path, the paradoxes are obvious.

Let me mention a few. We are here for a limited time and shall die/We are eternal beings created by the Divine. Christ once walked the earth/Christ is with all who are open right now. All things work together for good for those that love the Lord/Bad things happen to very good people. God is everywhere in the vastness of the universes/God is with us in a personal way.We are called to forgive/We live in an unforgiving world.

Eastern religions understand paradox better than we seem to. I remember the striking light that came on when I first heard yin/yang explained.

So, the 10 Commandments say "Thou shall not murder." Jesus taught to love, forgive, turn the other cheek and resist not evil.

It seems to me we have a life and death paradox to deal with. Do we fight, stop, eliminate the crazed barbarians at the gates, or do we let them destroy Western civilization? Do we listen to Ralph Waldo Emerson "Foolish consistency is the hobgoblins of little minds."?

Was it spiritually all right to fight Hitler? Would it have been spiritually all right to have let him create his world wide domination?  Is it spiritually all right to fight those who behead, blow up, destroy and act in frenzied demented ways? Is it spiritually all right to let them take over the world (their stated goal)?

I suppose each must look into their own soul to determine which side of the paradox seems spiritually correct for them. It pains me deeply to think of the great art and music of our civilization blown up, left only in electronic blips for perhaps some future generations to discover. I hurts me to the core to think of freedom to speak, think, write and be, gone for perhaps centuries. It saddens me that so many will die one way or the other - either the standing up to the evil or the letting it take over.

Think this through and perhaps stand up for freedom. It seems to me we must. The other is intolerable.

Contemplation and Action

Right now I'm concurrently reading books by Richard Rohr, Bishop Spong and George Lamsa. It makes an interesting mix feeding my quest.

What is calling me loudly is to soon have a spiritual discussion group reading and discussing Richard Rohr's book, "What the Mystics Know - Seven Pathways to Your Deeper Self." His thoughts are resonating with me in a profound way. As soon as we are in our new home and pretty well unpacked, I'm going to invite whoever is interested to come and quest with me.

Miracles are unfolding in my life! I walk long and deep valleys and then seemingly suddenly there is Light, the darkness unravels quietly. A new door just opens. Rohr talks about the Jonah-Job-Jesus experiences that breaks us out of the darkness and illusion into the depths of communion - Oneness. There is no fanfare. Just phone calls announcing the ends of the valley, then another, then another, with more on the precipice ready to announce more ends and beginnings. I watch in fascination. And I give grateful praises and thanksgiving to the Holy Presence. There are no fireworks, no fanfare. It's not on the 6 o'clock news. Quietly doors open and darkness ends. Isness breaks through.

Lord, lead me on to fully embrace Your Light. Thank You for being with me each step in the multiple valleys I have been walking. Thank You for tenderly holding me. Thank You for quietly ushering me to newness, to ends of darkness and birth of new light. My heart sings praises and thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Rules vs Kindness

Remember the story in Mark about a man with a withered hand coming to be healed on the Sabbath? The rules of the day strictly forbid doing much of anything on the Sabbath. "Is it lawful to do good or evil on the Sabbath to save a life or to destroy it? But they were silent. And he looked at them with anger, sad because of the hardness of their hearts; and he said to the man, stretch out your hand, and he stretched it out; and his hand was restored. And the Pharisees immediately went out with the Herodians, and they took counsel concerning how to do away with him."

We are presented with the dilemma of postponing doing good because of a rule or doing good and not losing a day in one's life. Bishop Spong remarks, "Since life is finite, an act of kindness postponed means a day lost in that person's life."

Where do we let excuses, convenience, history, ideology or anything stand in the way of doing kindness? Jesus modeled and lived doing kindnesses as part of the spiritual path. What if we followed that example? What if we all went out and lived today as walking, talking kindness?

A thought to consider, it seems to me.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Taking Sides

There is a shock, a horror, a sadness as I view many demonstrations for a "paid for by others life," which is only magnified by the students segregating themselves. To top it off, there are professors telling the press they have no right to be there!!! There are people strongly trying to shut down all discussion that includes all sides. The First Amendment is in jeopardy.

And, so much for a post-racial time. The great leaders of the 60's I am certain are cringing. Martin Luther King Jr.'s niece was on Varney & Co this morning voicing the same concerns I have. This racial division is nuts.

We are all children of the Divine. We all share the same air and water. We are one at every level. Skin color, eye color, hair color, heritage or whatever do not define who we are. It is the content of character that makes a difference. Of course, to develop character we are required to strive, to work, to succeed, to fail, to pick ourselves up and keep on keeping on. To earn our own self-respect requires our participation in our lives and our responsibility for our lives. To want others to do it for us does not develop character. To attack others rather than to learn from them is ridiculous and not an exercise in character development.

Thomas Aquinas said: "We must love them both: those whose opinions we share and those whose opinions we reject.  For both have labored in search for their truth and both have helped us in the finding of our own."

Thoughtful, civil dialogue has been the mark of our culture. It is being damaged by ideologues on many fronts. The scientists that point out the ice masses are growing are being accused of hate speech. Really? Fundamentalists of whatever stripe attack rational thinkers as haters. Really? What are we in Stalin's Soviet arena or Hitler's Fascist world? Lock-step thinking leads to doom. Look at history.

I think part of the problem is we have lost our spiritual center. So few people seek the depth of spirituality and personal relationship with the Divine Presence. Churches are emptying I think partially because there is the atmosphere of a sales meeting or at least not true spiritual understanding being presented. Learn the doctrine of whatever group and be included. Make other groups wrong. Keep them in business by giving them your money. (Remember Paul, he made tents to support his ministry). Get emotional and chant "Praise the Lord," but don't ever live a life that praises the Lord. Shun meditation and practices of the mystics that lead to deep and profound understanding and transformation.

Tribal consciousness seems to have taken over the planet. Us against them is a time honored folly.

It is puzzling. I must admit that I am a bit bewildered. It was not so long ago that it was different. I'm not sure, but it looks to me if it is not turned around very soon, we have a long, dark period of history coming. I can imagine people in the distant future saying "WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?" Maybe if we consider that, we can divert the mess piling up and readying itself for a long disaster time.

I know that there is a Divine Presence that is always with me, even when I turn away. Today I choose to turn toward the Divine Presence. I ask forgiveness for all I have said, done or thought that is not aligned with God and the Truth of Oneness. I release my tribal exclusionary ideas and embrace all the children of God as true brothers and sisters. I step up and take responsibility for who I am, what I do and what I say. Since I know that God is always with me, I am conscious of choosing only that which I would do or say in the Presence of the Divine. Today I choose to be a better version of me.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Faith Thoughts

Richard Rohr in his book "What Mystics Know: Seven Pathways to Your Deeper Self," has some interesting ways of speaking of faith. I'm going to give you a few quotes and then discuss a bit.

Faith is its own end.
To have faith is already to have come alive
Faith is the opposite of resentment, cynicism  and negativity.
Faith is always, finally a self-fulling prophecy.
Faith actually begins to create what it desires. 
Faith always recreates the good world.
With faith, you keep trusting, hoping, believing, and calling forth life from stones, which is exactly what Jesus intimates in the chapter that follows his healing of the blind man (Luke 19:40)
Faith is a matter of having new eyes, seeing everything through and even with the eyes of God.

I think that faith's opposite is fear - all kinds of fears including those he listed (resentment, etc.) Sadly I see so many people who truly want to be spiritual, being religious instead, and so they live with fears and anger toward those who have a different slant on faith. For many, they mistake tribal attachment to a narrow point of view with the glorious experience of faith that leads to a world of goodness.

We can easily know if we are living faith or fear. Jesus gave us the yardstick. What is the fruit (result) of doing this or that? Faith leads to Light and creates goodness for all. Fear leads to darkness and withholding of good for some.

For me, faith is that inner connection that lives with the Holy Presence and knows and knows that it knows that all is well. Straying to the edges of that, faith springs us back to the Core, to the Presence, and to all the Guidance sought. I particularly like Rohr's thought about faith being sight with new eyes, even the eyes of God,

The Christ message was/is heavily tilted to faith that loves all. That is, from the beginning story of the star over the manger which shone to all peoples, including the wise men from the East, to his final teaching to his followers telling them to go into all the nations, all were included. 

It would do us all well to examine our own paths. Are we living faith modeled by Christ, or are we tribal and exclusive? Let's look with new eyes, even seeing with the eyes of God,

I come this day to step into a new life that sees with new eyes. I fearlessly look at my own faith path and release from my life exclusiveness. I open myself to embrace life and see as God sees. Lord fill me with faith and guide me to think, say and do that which brings goodness to all.

Friday, November 6, 2015

♥ "Here I Am, Lord" with lyrics

This incredible hymn became my theme song. This version is very touching and brings back profound memories of my times in Russia and Ukraine. My dear friend, Rosalie Porter, sang it on a recording for me to take, and while there it was translated into Russian. Each seminar a small chorus developed and sang the song in Russian. Truly inspiring. My heart opens just thinking of it. In fact I have tears in my eyes remembering the years of ministry out and about the planet.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Hope Rising

It is interesting to me to note the rising and sinking of hope in one's life and how this affects everything else.

The depths of despair, the bereft moments, the grief, the darkness of the valleys we sometimes walk are seductive. They seem to replicate themselves and call to us to wallow in them. What does it take to rise up out of such a deep valley and get on with life? How did we allow ourselves to get there in the first place?

It  has been my experience that there are several factors. There is an initial shock, something falls apart, someone leaves, there is loss of this or that. But then there is the internal dialogue, the self-talk. For a person not grounded in spirituality, meditation, etc. the days in the valley linger much longer than need be. For some it can even be years.

For a person who has positive spiritual practices in their lives, the turn around time can be moments rather than weeks or months or years. This person has a different quality of self-talk and a reservoir of positive, faith-filled energy.

So, for example, I might begin to breathe deeply, to pray, to meditate and to read inspiring writing. Then I would say things to myself such as: There is an answer. Infinite Mind knows all there is to know and I peacefully listen to the Divine for guidance. I can rise above this. I am not alone. etc...

I recall a study on people with "a Pollyanna attitude," and how they are happier, healthier and more satisfied with life. I'm not suggesting the extreme is our goal, but the cultivation of hope and a positive attitude make one's experience of life far different from the opposite attitude. When we choose the hopeful and faith-filled way, it's sort of like making a deposit of Light into our subconscious minds. The Light is there to draw upon when the days seem more difficult.

I invite hope to rise up in us, and reach out into our world and help lift it. Let's believe and live knowing God is with us. Faith that the Divine,the Holy Presence is present at all times, everywhere, and is Love is really what we need more than anything. Cultivate this and the harvest will be filled with blessings.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

A Quick but Perhaps Disturbing Thought

I'm reading a Bishop Spong (Episcopal Bishop) book. I've read most of them and now a new one to me that came into being in 2009.

Just a quick outline of one of the new and disturbing ideas.

Paul, his writings the earliest written, has two simple statements: Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures. and He was buried. Mark was the first Gospel written, somewhere between 50 and 75 c.e. (Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed in 70 c.e.), and only wrote 8 verses are about the Easter narrative, while over 100 are about the last 24 hours.

The point that struck me was that the disciples scattered, so there was no one to give an historical type account. None of them were with Jesus during his prayer time in the garden, before the Jewish leaders, in the interview with Pilate, they scattered away from the crucifixion, were not at the burial, did not stand by the tomb, and were not there when the empty tomb was found. Of course, Paul was not present for any of it and took what he knew about it from Peter, and he only wrote 13 words about it. It would seem that is all Peter told him.

Even though they did not have a first hand knowledge of the Passion, the developing Jesus Movement leaders could not ignore the impact of Jesus on their lives and the lives of many, especially in Galilee which was primarily populated by the poor, and by the way also heavily Gentile. So not being present at the events, they looked to the scriptures (what we call the Old Testament). And there they found ways to speak about what surely had happened.

He says the accounts of the crucifixion and resurrection cannot possibly be historical. They are liturgical and based heavily on Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53. I re-read those 2 yesterday, and it is really striking. He is not saying the the crucifixion and resurrection didn't happen. He is saying that not being present for the key events, the disciples had to find a way that made sense to them to speak about the whole thing, and they found it in their Jewish scriptures.

A lot to think about.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Ah Compromise or Not

This morning I was blessed to be in the presence of several of my students from the days of my pulpit ministry. One of them is active in the other political party - other than the one I'm active in. We had a brief and friendly conversation about it all. I want to share some of what I said and think with you.

What I think is that to save our America that we all love so dearly, we need to get back to the ways we once communicated. The various points of view are just that - points of view. I imagine a day when the people of various points of view can respectfully listen to each other, engage in civil conversation - and since no one can know it all, the group wisdom of all sides talking to each other therefore results in better solutions than any one "side" could come up with. Maybe you call that compromise, I call it intelligent.

I have experienced the huge jump of what happens in group wisdom over polarized people standing in corners looking away from each other.

Just because someone doesn't agree with me doesn't make them dumb or evil. People mostly are of honest opinion and not trying to do something dastardly. Yes, I know some are, but most aren't has been my experience. I can become wiser and more embracing of life when I can hear divergent points of view.

In my opinion, this is not just in politics or religion, but in all manner of human endeavors from cooking to gardening to quilting to parenting or whatever you can think of, I think this "new" fusion cooking, for example, is the result of chefs of different cuisines combining the tastes. One cuisine is not bad, just different from the other, and wow look what happens when we take some of this one and some of that one. One tiny example is Mexican pizza which one of our favorite restaurants makes so deliciously.

I pray that we all mature to be able to graciously listen to one another and shift our ideas a bit here and there as we come to understand other points of view from all kinds of people.

A closed mind leads to a screaming mouth that only alienates everyone, This week, let's make an effort to listen to others and consider things we've not considered,

God bless America. God bless our world. God bless all peoples. God bless you.