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Monday, May 29, 2017


Sometimes synchronicity brings to me something over and over, showing it requires my attention. In recent weeks, the word "surplus" has come up in several and seemingly divergent contexts.

In one, Borg argues that when we read the scriptures for meanings, we find the surplus that has been there all along. It is more than the words alone, it means something that speaks to a place within. We may have overlooked the surplus hidden there before this moment, but now in a flash, the surplus washes over us and bathes us with its deep and profound message.

Tagore speaks of humanity containing a surplus, beyond what other forms of creation contain. That surplus calls us up and out. It draws us to eventual oneness and righteousness. Mind leads mind. The One leads the human to seek, to quest, to explore, to think, to discern, to create and to become more of what is possible.

Humans have asked for eons, "What am I? What is life? Who am I?" There is the gnawing feeling that we are incomplete, there is more. There is more to us than meets the eye, one could say. There is the ring of Infinite, Eternal, Creator sparking Itself in the depths of our souls. It calls to us.

There is the surplus that what we think and know is more than we usually comprehend. We live here on earth, in a body, with a mind, with a soul. We operate usually at the simple level of dealing with our day to day lives at a physical level. We often think there is not enough time to go on a spiritual quest, we have this and this and this to do. While our ordinary lives go on, we may miss surplus.

We think. How do we do that? What is that? If I say to you "apple," from somewhere you can picture an apple, but there is no actual apple inside of your head. If I say "Eifel Tower," you can picture it, yet there is no tall iron tower inside of you. One of our surplus areas is that we live in a virtual reality. That which is not "real" can be seen and known, coming to us from some virtual reality realm.

I was thinking of this the other night as we watched "Genius" on National Geographic Channel. Einstein's son had lived in the mental image, virtual reality, that his father had tried to burn him to death when he was a small boy. The virtual image tortured him. Then suddenly that picture was eliminated by his mother's confession that it was her fault and actually his dad had saved him.

That led me to think of all history, personal or not (or can any history escape being personal?). The mental images that come as virtual reality from our pasts, may or may not be accurate, but how they represent themselves is real to us and informs our decisions, our self-respect or lack of it, and tentacles itself into many areas of our own virtual reality and then into our version of reality. We may not be able to research whether or not our virtual reality matches reality or not, as in my case I'm sure none of the people who were there are still living on earth. We could, however, weigh whether or not the image serves to set us free or imprison us, to complete us or leave us fragmented. We could create another virtual reality that is helpful to our awakening.

Since the only thing actually going on is now, the past and future can only come as virtual reality images projected out of our own heads. The surplus there can be our healing, our release, our wholeness. A question comes to mind, can we stop ourselves from projecting virtual reality images on this now moment so as to be present for it with fresh and new eyes?

So much to think on, for sure.

Lord lead us to Your Reality. Heal the faulty images in our personal virtual realities. Lead us to You and to our whole and complete selves.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Christ Within

I was thinking about the Christ within that Paul, many mystics and others have spoken of. Let he who has eyes to see, ears to hear - often spoken according to the Gospels. I thought about looking with the eyes of Christ. What would that be like?

It occurred to me that creation that we do here is the same, or can be the same, process as Divine Creating. I imagined looking at a great masterpiece or hearing a great symphony - the great ones that were obviously inspired. To fully "get" what it is all about, I would need to enter into the spirit of it, merge into the music or the painting and let the experience flow over, around and in me. Later I might ask questions. What was the creator experiencing as the great work flowed out of him/her? In what way was the Spirit co-creating with the earthly being? But in the moment, I simply needed to immersed in the creation, enter its spirit.

Then I saw the creator, later, observing the creation that flowed in and through him/her. I saw us, the audience, observing the art or music. A piece of the person and a piece of the Spirit could be seen and felt and appreciated. We could in a small way look at the creation through the eyes of the creator.

Then I saw some brute come and destroy the creation. I felt the pain of its ending. I felt the pain in the soul of the destroyer. I felt a touch of what the creator and Spirit felt about this destruction.

In some small way this told me of how Christ sees with us, with his brothers and sisters, children of the same God. I saw the Light of Christ enfolding the destroyed and the destroyer, seeing beyond appearances, loving unceasingly, knowing that healing will come, if not now, eventually. I saw you and me merging and seeing with the eyes of Christ.

Imagine with me how we would see life looking out of the eyes of Christ. I think this is a part of our quest that leads us home.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017


Tagore was a brilliant Indian mystic and poet, and he was a friend of Einstein. Mysticism and Science met and became friends. I want to share just a few lines of his poetry.
I feel this pang inside - 
Is it my soul trying to break out, 
Or the world's soul trying to break in?
My mind trembles with the shimmering leaves.
My heart sings with the touch of sunlight.
My life is glad to be floating with all things.
Into the blue of space and the dark of time.
As with so many mystics, Tagore intuitively knew the oneness of creation and humanity as part of all that is. He also taught the importance of communion with nature, and the difficulty of Westerners to have the experience of Oneness being walled off from nature. The Indians went into the forests and meditated. The Westerners took down the forests to build walls against nature.

The "pang" he poetically addresses presents some interesting questions. Is my soul trying to break out of the prison of my paradigm or is something greater trying to break through the paradigm to my soul? Or maybe both? Can I even reach that Oneness while staying within the cozy walls of my carefully built paradigm?

My paradigm is built primarily with the bricks of the Western Mind, touched from time to time with darts of ideas from elsewhere. Jesus, for example, is outside of the Greek, outside of the Western Mind, but the popular version of him has been Westernized and bears slight resemblance to the Middle Eastern understanding of 2,000 years ago which informed his original message. His original genius and overarching shine of Oneness does not do well within the walls. I try over and over again to go there, yet today travels with me.

Perhaps I need to listen to Tagore and marvel in the sunlight shimmering upon the leaves, feel the sunlight fall upon me and float into meditation beyond space and time. Perhaps the pang leads to nature, out of the concrete jungle. Maybe that is why I feel such intense something in the redwoods. Maybe what I need is a vacation from "civilization."

Thank you, Tagore, for sparking such ideas. .

Friday, May 19, 2017


Half awake, half asleep this morning, I heard "enter the borderless land." It repeated. It felt deeply important. It felt like a door to another level.

I asked what was meant. I saw stretched before me the days of sacred holidays of many religions. I knew Oneness in a new way. I experienced a merging into nowness. This now moment is the only moment we can live. In this now moment we are to live all that is sacred. In a way, we are to live the sacred holidays every moment.

We are not to be generous only on Christmas or Hanukkah, but in every moment of every day. We are not to make amends once a year, but always. We are not to remember yearly that life is eternal and we are part of life, but we are to live daily with this joy and responsibility. We are not to worship weekly, but worship in every millisecond.

In other words, whatever sacred days we celebrate, bring them all together and live them. Each represents some aspect of the spiritual journey. Take down the walls and live in a borderless way that includes all the holidays. We don't  need to wait for Christmas to be generous of thought word and deed.

Each sacred holiday represents a fragment of what our ancestors discovered about God. Put the fragments together, and we have a more complete picture, not the whole thing, but a larger portion.

So said this morning's vision. Let us think on these things.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017


This morning when I first saw this word, "neo-traditional," I was excited because it came close to describing where I am on my spiritual quest.

Neo = new, and traditional = from the past, or in my case, the beginning. That is, I've been endeavoring to look with new eyes, heart and inquiry into the beginnings of Christianity, and in fact into beginnings of various things. I look to what was and try to see it with as little bias and accumulation of others' ideas as possible. What did "it" mean to the people who were there?What did "it" mean to those who came along later and proceeded to interpret "it" through the lens of their time and place? Who were the sincere and who were the opportunists who added to the conversation about "it"? What could "it" mean to me, to us, today? How has "it" morphed over the years, decades, centuries, millenniums? Can I truly peel away enough layers to approximate the beginning truth?

Take any "it" and delve into those questions, and it is almost certain that this will lead to astounding and new ideas.

It seems to me that we who are Christian need to engage in this process. Only 40% or so in America are in church on Sunday. The church is split into basically two camps: the fundamentalists and the progressives. The fundamentalists turn off those who are not in church with their anti-science teachings - think anti-evolution, anti-gay, total belief in inerrancy and literalism when it comes to the Bible, their rigidity of beliefs, their refusal to take new scholarship into consideration, etc. The fundamentalists hold primary control of Christian television, radio and music. They are the main face of today's Christianity.

The new scholars seeking truth and meaning have not been able to reach many of the unchurched. For one thing, many are so turned off to religion and church that they are either not seeking or are seeking spirituality on their own. On the other hand, most scholars are writing books, maybe making a few speeches, some of which end up on YouTube, but are not seeking followers. Mainstream pastors tip toe into new scholarship, fearing upsetting the congregations that have been raised believing a certain way.

It seems to me. to not only save, but to also allow the Christ message to florish, we must courageously delve into an honest quest for truth and understanding that leads to deep meaning and to the transformation of each of us into beacons of Light shining brightly on the hill of today.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Wrestling With Marcus Borg

In recent weeks I have "finished" reading two books by Borg plus one he co-authored. I find his ideas transformative, enlightening, mind-stretching, etc. in many cases. However, some of his ideas I have not taken to as fully, some doubt.

His idea about reading the Bible as metaphor and parable I find powerful and along the lines I have come to understand. I am fascinated by his idea about historical vs parabolic described as whether or not the story told could be videotaped if there had have been cameras then = a public or private experience. A vision, private experience, is not the same thing as a hallucination. I like his idea that a person can set aside the unprovable argument about whether or not an event was historical, and look into what it means. The meaning is the jewel. The empty tomb, for example, by itself is a historical oddity. The post-Easter experiences of people that continue to this day are dripping with meaning. The life changes that happen in people who become Christ mystics, followers of The Way, are incredible.

On the other hand, Borg stresses his idea that God's passion is justice for all, and this is a major part of the pre-Easter Jesus' passion and teaching. Jesus' Kingdom of God is of an earth that would reflect God's passion here. Everyone is treated with equal justice. Everyone has enough. Everyone is good and kind, etc. It is a lovely utopia.

However, if that is actually God's passion, and then Jesus' passion, what happened? That is not the world as it is or as it has ever been. If Borg's hypothesis is true, then that makes God ineffective and Jesus mistaken. There is little justice here on earth now or at any known time.

It looks to me that history repeats and replicates itself over and over. Perhaps it is human nature, I'm not sure. I know far too many people who say they are Christian, but they are unforgiving, harsh, judgmental and very unlike Jesus. They are close-minded and sometimes cruel. They are not striving to participate in creating The Kingdom of God here and now. I must say I also know some very wonderful people who are kind and good-hearted and sincerely walking The Path. Sadly, as I look at the world, I have to conclude these wonderful ones are in a distinct minority and rarely in the lead.

For much of the time of humanity upon this earth and for most of those who have walked here, there has been strife and unGodly life. Psychological hang ups are legion. People see the world through their own distorted lens. People are ego driven. We are far, far away from utopia.

I'm not sure what to do with this. Is it possible for a majority to be lifted above the fray and desire to participate in living as God's passion? Is it possible for a majority to even want to grow into spiritual beings who shine God's Light and Love powerfully enough to lift the consciousness of humanity?

Or perhaps, is earth a remedial planet for souls who need the lessons here? Is that why The Kingdom of God has not come to earth? Is that why so many stand stubbornly to stop it and keep it as it has always been? Or is the attempt, the striving, the work we do, done in order to develop our souls. Is that the point of it all? Just maybe the problems here are there for us individually to grow and expand and awaken in God?

It seems to me, since this has come to our awareness, it may be that we are being called to something greater. Are we being called to stand up and do all in our power to bring God's passion to earth? Or are we just witnesses? Or are we to co-create with God so that our lives are shining lights drawing to us all who would awaken?

I listen Lord. What would you have me do?

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Love It All

In study of the teachings of Jesus, I am constantly amazed at new depths that bubble up. I think Christians would do well to contemplate verses and mine into them to explore ever deepening meanings.

We are told to love as God loves. One clue is God loves the world. What what does that mean to us? One meaning I see is a call for us to love and cherish this planet and all that is in/on it.

Along this line of thought, yesterday I  saw a man on a bench, passed out and filthy, hair sticking up in a mess, wrapped in a filthy sleeping bag. My heart wept for how far he had fallen and for his brokenness. Of course I prayed for him. Yet he haunts me. God loves him. I'm  called to love him. What am I to do?

My thoughts range in multiple directions. If we could get the money due us, we could open a center to heal the broken. How would it work? I wonder what is the responsibility of the truly down and out person? There are food banks and showering facilities. What keeps a person from utilizing available helps? I wonder is there brokeness beyond the reach of healing? Can we love him as he is and not require him to change? How does God's  love touch him? What is God calling me to do?

Each scripture contemplated deeply leads to an ever more personal relationship with God and a challenge to us. Do we have the courage to delve deeply?

Lord, lead me to find ever deepening meaning. Lead me to go way beyond the surface ideas expoused by others. Lead me to You.