My Books Available Now on Amazon ebooks

Amazon Kindle books now have some of my books. Please keep checking for more titles as they become available. Thanks!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Whispers of Spirit

This morning I was thinking about what seems to be so, that the writings Christians call "The Old Testament" were first written down while the Hebrews were in Babylonian captivity. The oral traditions had passed the ideas and stories down for uncounted centuries. It would serve us well to remember the Law, the Prophets and the Wisdom writings were/are Jewish documents about the Jewish journey with God, and that the "New Testament" is also a Jewish understanding of God, in the 1st century c.e. incorporating the inspirations of Jesus which expand and elaborate previous ideas. And these great and deep understandings have been made available to all who will listen for they are from the One God for all of the family of God.

And, my mind was drawn to the 600's and 500's bce. Suddenly I saw the concurrently with the days in Babylonian captivity and the inspired writings of "The Old Testament",  Spirit was moving across the earth, inspiring others. Buddha was in India. Lao Tse and Confucius were in China, for example. Some of the most magnificent understandings about God and life were being thought, shared and written in relatively the same time in widely diverse places on earth.

Spirit whispered great things, and listening people heard.

Right now in this fragmented time in history, let us listen to the Great Whispers of Spirit and come to a deeper walk with God. God is always here, always whispering Guidance, are we listening?

Wednesday, September 21, 2016


In preparing for a talk on the 23rd Psalm, valleys are one of the things that are on my mind. I'm an expert, I've walked a lot of them. In fact, everyone on earth has walked, is walking and/or shall walk a valley or two or three.

I was reading Fenelon on my Kindle app on my phone yesterday, and something he wrote made me think a new thought, at least for me.

There must be a purpose for valleys since the valley experience is universal for humans. Then I thought about dross being burned off of gold, about flexing and using spiritual muscles so that we walk with courage and faith through the valleys - and know as did the Psalmist that God is with us as we go through our dark times.

Then I thought the dross is our egos. The valleys teach us to follow God's Guidance and be shepherded through the valleys rather than insist we can do it alone. Let's contemplate that thought - the dross is my ego, it needs to go, my faith needs to grow stronger so that I walk awake in God.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Teachers of Mine, of Yours

One way to look at the most difficult people in our lives is to name them "teacher." I am often reminded of the days when I practised Aikido. In our various exercises, we would bow to our "opponent" and say "Thank you for testing me." That attitude has done me well in life beyond the dojo.

I has seemed extremely odd to me that so many of my "teachers" have had mental disorders, primarily paranoia, borderline personality, manic depressive disorder, dementia and schizophrenia. It also seems to me that not many people have had the quantity and intensity of most of my "teachers." So, there must be a reason that at most times in my life there has been someone with one or more of these afflictions who were testing me. And there must be a reason that this pattern started when I was a very small child, experiencing craziness hurled at me without much let up. I don't want to go into it in detail, but just for a bit of an example: being chased around the house with a knife that eventually ended up on my throat at the age of 8, being just barely able to trip and run and lock myself in the garage; bedtime stories such as about a man in Pittsburg that crawled into windows and chopped up bad little girls into inch cubes, and he was coming for me; being awakened in the middle of the night in a frenzy of terror as I was told the Martians had landed on our roof (actually cats in heat) and on and on. It never seemed to stop. It didn't end when my childhood ended either.

The point of view from one angle is that I waited lifetimes for teachers such as these.

The point of view from another angle is that it all threw me into my spiritual quest and deep relationship with the Holy Presence.

Well, I know there are dozens of points of view about it all, and I'm going with the latter. It seems there must be something about the craziness that led me to my spiritual quest that threw me into exploration of what is and what is not true about what others said and wrote about spiritual understanding. I can recall Mother saying once in her old age that I was so spiritual it scared her. I can not remember a time I did not seek God and understanding.

I awoke this morning with some of the craziness passing by my mind, and I began pondering once again, how did I get through it and remain sane? The thing that comes to mind is that in each and every valley, the Holy Presence was/is with me, sometimes a feeling, sometimes speaking words, occasionally in person, that is visually present and also speaking and also enfolding me with an incredible uplifting energy that brought peace and confidence that I am not alone.

A thought came to me: when the water is a long way down, one must dig a deep well.

In some ways, I became an observer, sometimes looking the craziness in the face and naming it interesting or instructive. It taught me to redefine "trust." Instead of trusting others to do the thing I would do, I learned to "trust" they would do what they do, and it wasn't actually personal. They did the same sorts of things to others too. If words and actions come from the deep well of Spirit, they have an entirely different energy than if they come through a filter of mental disorder.

I am curious about how my life will be evaluated when the time comes to go on - evaluated both by folks on earth and by the Holy Presence that will greet me. The first is interesting, the second is the one that matters in the largest sense.

Lord, I am incredibly thankful that You are with me every millisecond, every valley, every mountaintop, every inch of the dig to the deep waters of Spirit. Keep me alert to Your Presence and Guidance through this maize of life on earth.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

You Matter

In a book on Hildegard, Rosten said: The purpose of life is not to be happy. The purpose of life is to matter; to have it make a difference that you lived at all. Joan Chittister, OSB adds: ... everything, everything -- we ourselves become will affect what women after us may also become.

It has been my vision for my life to be a beneficial presence wherever I am, with whomever I find myself, not controlled by the circumstances, without excuses. Not that I totally am able to always be that, yet that is my constant goal and vision, my prayer

It seems to me that the intent of the above quotes from Rosten and Chittister is to matter in a positive way. We are not being guided to matter in history as one of its villains, but as one of its heroes, perhaps even more importantly, unsung heroes. We must guard against ego running our show. If it becomes about us and not about compassion, caring, making a positive difference, then it moves to the dark side of the force so to speak. Humility is a virtue, and it is often considered essential for actually walking the spiritual path.

I suggest we sit down for a bit of time for several days and contemplate "I matter, I make a positive difference," and then write in our journals for 5 or 10 minutes, re-read what came up from our depths and consider it deeply. Strengthen our weak spots with prayer and action and keep aiming toward the highest goal, day by day, moment by moment.

Lord teach me to walk the rest of my life humbly making a positive difference. Help me to have my eyes and ears and heart open to see even tiny ways my choices can make a difference. Help me leave a foundation for future men and women to stand tall and be differences for good in their times. Here I am, I listen.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Walking Along

I'm preparing to give a sermon on the 23rd Psalm (22nd Psalm in Orthodox Bibles). I'm re-reading some things that have been meaningful to me in the past, some new things, and jotting down insights and questions.

Walking through a valley, at times a dark valley that is scary and feels like the shadow of death, is something we all do while here on earth. We are not promised to walk this earth with no valleys. We are however told we don't have to walk it alone, in fact no matter what it seems like, we are never alone. Wherever we are, God is.

And, if we are fortunate, we also have what I've called "God with skin on," or wonderful friends and families who comfort and pray us along the dark times. Of course, we too have the opportunity to be "God with skin on" to others. It is an honor to lift others and walk in prayer with them as they trudge the inevitable valleys of life.

Thank you to all who have walked with me through dark times. What a difference you make. God bless you always.

Monday, September 5, 2016


One of the areas I think is essential in any study is scholarship. In any field, the present builds on the past. The science of today, springs forward from the science of yesterday, adding, expanding, negating, going off in new directions, but most usually considering what has been found before to be accurate and what has led up blind alleys. In other words, there is no need to reinvent the wheel.

For some people this does not apply to religion, scriptures, creeds, customs, etc. It astounds me that some are content to believe an untruth just because the people around them and their grandparents accepted it. If this were true in science, we would still think the earth is flat, there is no way to go to the moon, diseases are punishments, mental illness is possession, and on an on.

I feel pain in my heart, for example, when some otherwise educated person actually tries to declare the Bible is literal and God wrote it. I know immediately they have not engaged in any degree of scholarship outside of their narrow circle.

The people of the Bible were Eastern people, with Near/Mid-Eastern languages, customs, values and worldviews. They were pre-science, pre-modern agriculture, pre-most of what we take for granted. To understand what was meant by what these people spoke and later wrote, we cannot escape learning about them. We have to skip past the Greeks who did their best I'm sure, but did not in the least have any understanding of the shepherds, prophets, and people who constitute the writings we call the Bible.

Just a tiny bit of such things for example:
The earliest portions of the Bible/Torah/Laws/Prophets written were in Babylonian captivity, for the most part centuries after the conception of the stories and myths. For example, the Exodus in about 1200 bce was written 6 to 7 hundred years later. The boundaries of Egypt had changed in the intervening years, so the trek was from Egypt to another part of Egypt, but the writers didn't know the boundaries had changed.
Almost all of the great Old Testament heroes spent a great deal of time as shepherds. Do you know about these ancient shepherds and their significance? I'm going to be speaking on this October 9th. It is fascinating to me.
The rule of conversing was exaggeration, metaphor, analogy and was always colorful, but not literal. They conveyed meaning rather than facts. That is the way of these ancient peoples. Have you studied this or learned their idioms? 
For much of the Old Testament, most of the people were nomads, villages were few, agriculture was primitive, mostly not developed beyond tending to figs, dates, olive trees and other foods found in the environs. 
It is my opinion that exploration into Bible scholarship does not take away from the  Bible, but it rather brings it alive and makes it more meaningful to our jaded modern eyes. As we take off our 21st century glasses and travel back in time in understanding, we find something powerful and deeply moving. We walk with the ancients and peer into their understanding that now informs us in life-transforming ways.

Have courage. Walk into the lands that once were, come to know the people that once were and quicken their knowing in your life.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Footnote to History

In the messy, strange and creative telling of history, in between the lines, some fact can sometimes be discerned.

I was reading about the Arian controversy, the Council of Nicea, Constantine and formation of creeds. Basically one controversy was whether or not Jesus was created by God and therefore not co-equal with God or was there from the very beginning and so co-equal. The Arians lost the heated verbal battles, and so it was decided Jesus was always and not created by God. One interesting thing, among a mountain of interesting things, around that council was that later in life, Constantine reversed his position and took the side of the Arians, who by then had been thrown out and designated heretics.

For those who don't study history and the ways beliefs were created and incorporated, there is no way to analyze what is genuine what was a control mechanism and therefore not accurate, and usually manipulative. I guess that explains some of the wildly bizarre things people insist must be taken as absolute "TRUTH."

I refer back to my previous post where I discussed the Christ Creed. I stand by that more and more solidly as my study and experience proceed down the path of life. What would happen if we dumped the ideas added by the good ole boys, and just stood firmly on the Christ Creed?  To think of it makes my heart pump rapidly and my hopes rise. What a world it could be.