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Saturday, December 29, 2018

Life Is Weird

Sometimes I remember things are not at all how they seem, in fact almost weirder than I can imagine.

For some examples: my body is made up of around 37 trillion cells that die and rebuild over and over for the course of my earthly life; my body is basically a carbon compound made of stardust, aka earth; my body and everything else is mostly empty space; my body began as two half cells and grew to be the amazing human body totally unlike its beginning; the subatomic world breaks all of the rules of the material world; my granola and milk this morning are being transformed into body parts that will bear no resemblance to granola or milk, etc.

Some people use such scientific knowledge to suppose there is no God, no soul and no free will. That would be way too strange they say.

BUT we live in such a weird reality that  contradicts what our senses tell us, it seems to me, especially by comparison, God makes total sense. I know God, I know others throughout history who have known God, I am frequently guided by something beyond my local self which I might call God, Spirit, or The More.

I love much of science. I am certain that it does not negate God. If I am to believe in quarks, which I do not see and cannot experience, why is it false to believe in God whom I can experience? It's silly to me that so many intellectuals have proclaimed God as dead but believe all sorts of other things that are less knowable or are unknowable.

My life experiences and my studies have led me to the conclusion that there IS a Higher Power (you can use any name you wish), we do have spiritual essences that continue after this body returns to earth and existed before we had this body, and we can have free will, but it requires we break free of cultural assumptions and childhood conditioning in order to fully exercise it.

It seems to me life goes adrift without a vital relationship with God. I just look around to see as spirituality declines, quality of life declines. I hope and pray this is the day spirituality quickens in hearts and minds all over our blessed earth. God is with you. 

Wednesday, December 26, 2018


On this day in 1910 my mother was born. Blessings to you, mother. Thank you for being my teacher.

It was such a different world, so unlike today. Here in the USA women would not be able to vote until she was 10. There was no airplane to fly across the country, few cars, no radio, few psychiatrists, no antibiotics. Pandemics raged, as the one in 1918 that killed an estimated 100 million people globally. If a person's heart wore out, there were no cures, no transplants. Communication was either face to face or by letter that travelled slowly to the recipient. Science was in it's infancy. Most people believed in God and church. And there were tons of other differences.

I came along in 1940, and that world is barely recognizable from 2018 eyes 👀. And even when my children came in 1960 and 1966, it was still far removed from today.

Changes have been accelerating at dizzying speed. It is hard to imagine how it will be next year, let alone in 50 or more years.

It seems to me our wisdom has not kept up with the pace of change. Plus with so much huge change in numerous areas, no one can keep up with every area. It is possible the wheels are off the cart as we race feverishly into an unknown future.

I feel concern about some of the science, from meddling with our genetic codes, to creation of cyber human replicas, to ever more horrendous weaponry, to the chemical and chip controls of our minds, to the turning over of our freedoms to "big brother," to the turning from personal responsibility to blame and control of other points of view, and so much more.

 It seems to me we cannot stop a lot of this. What we can do is step up our wisdom, focus on expanding our consciousness, while refusing to give away our freedom.

As always, the paths I think are crucial involve spiritual growth and real spiritual questing. My list is fairly consistent - prayer, meditation, contemplation, times of quiet, study of spiritual writings, spiritual conversation with others, and journaling.

So,  not only for ourselves, but also for the future let us continue with enthusiasm upon the path. All that has gone before is today's foundation, and today is tomorrow's foundation. Let us build it with wisdom.

Monday, December 24, 2018

Christmas Eve

It's Christmas Eve here. I'm the liturgist tonight,  no longer the clergy, but still participating. All over the world for 2,000 years or so, tonight has been celebrated as the symbolic birthday of Jesus who became the Christ (no one knows when or where, maybe 4 bce, maybe Nazareth or Bethlehem).

I think of Meister Ekhart in the 14th century asking - what good did it do if Mary birthed the Christ child 1,300 years ago if we don't birth him now in our hearts and lives? That has always struck me as the heart of our Christian problem.

We are called to follow and participate. But for so many the call has been ignored, not only ignored but violated with violence, viciousness, hate, attack and all things opposite.

What would it be like if every Christian tonight let the Christ be born inside? What if we walked out of tonight showering our world with God's Love? What if we took seriously the things it is recorded Jesus asked of us? Imagine radiating Love and Light unconditionally to one and all.

Let it be so.

Friday, December 21, 2018


This morning thoughts of balance came to me, particularly historical balance. Our personal balance is of course connected to the general balance of society, but let's think about the overall balance for a moment.

For the vast majority of recorded human history, superstition and ignorance reigned supreme. There was no science as we know it. From bloodletting to fairies, fantasy ruled. Mixed in were spiritual insights and fabulous intuitions - many of which were punished.

Then came The Enlightenment, the birth of science and modern logic, and the world shifted. Cause and effect, truth or lie, prove it or discard it, etc. came into being. The balance drastically shifted.

Churches declined. Moral values disintegrated. Anything goes seemed to be the new norm. Horrendous weapons were created, and used. The 20th century was marred by mustard gas and nuclear weapons. It also was elevated by medical breakthroughs; studies into consciousness and near death experiences; exploration of outer space and the tiny space of quarks; more prosperity for more people, etc.

The balance is delicate for we have not grown spiritually as much as we have scientifically. Humanity for the first time can quickly and easily destroy all life on earth and possibly our planet itself.

It is time for us to bring spiritual balance here. Not ancient superstition, genuine spiritual awakening. Science can participate. The new physics is amazingly spiritual. It can confirm there is Intelligence. We can read studies on intuitions, synchronicity, before and after and between life studies, etc. Science can be our cheerleader.

But we must do the work of finding The More ourselves. We must still ourselves and spend regular time engaging in our spiritual practices in order to not only bring balance to our own lives, but also to contribute to the balance of humanity. The future needs you so that there can be a future here.

I know there is More. Today I open my deepest self to be led to the deepest truths. I come for balance for myself and for humanity. Lead me on Divine More.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Bigger Context

Today I am thinking about a bigger context for our lives. We do not exist in a little box 📦. Who we are is not this day, this body or even this life. We are more.

I have come to know that we are part of the eternal flow of creation. Who we are at the soul level is indestructible. I believe we exist, we existed before this life, and we exist after this life.

We have come to this earth school to learn love. The great religions instruct us to love. Jesus even said that love fulfills all of the previous commandments.

Some of our teachers challenge us more than others - can I actually love old so and so? It's not easy going, sickening sweet love we are to learn. It's not all romantic love. We are to learn to BE love. We are to be walking, talking compassion, joy, understanding love. We are to be unconditional love. No one can earn our love or lose our love, for we place no conditions upon it. We are to BE the kind of love exhibited by the great spiritual masters who have walked this earth.

That is our job description. Christmas and the end of the year are good times to check up on our progress. Let us assess ourselves as observers, not as judges. Let us decide to BE more love, unconditional love, in the coming year. Let us heal our pain and anger that stand in the way. Let us set ourselves free from all that is less than love.

Lord, Divine One, I place my life before You. Heal me of remnants of fear and anger that remain with me for whatever reason, from whatever past event. Wash all unlike Your Love away. Set me free to fulfill my true destiny of unconditional love. I rejoice. I feel the strings fall away. I soar into Your Love and share it with all that I am. Thank You, God. 

Saturday, December 15, 2018

One Minute for Christ

Today I'm reading, "Letters of a Modern Mystic" written in the 1930s. He suggests some interesting practices.

First he suggests something many of us find essential. He says to start each day with an hour of spiritual reading,  contemplation and prayer. Amen to that!

Then he suggests we form a new habit. He says a new habit is as easy to form as learning to type. The habit is to spend one second or more of every minute of every waking hour thinking of God or Christ. It gets easier with practice I assure you.

You can do this by carrying on a silent conversation with Christ, by silently singing a favorite hymn, by placing a picture that represents Christ where you often look, or whatever technique assists you in thinking regularly about Christ or God.

This can even be done while we are out and about. I've often taught people to go to the mall (or while in an airport), sit on a bench and silently bless each passerby. I often silently say, "I salute the Christ in you." Or " May God's highest good for you be set free to shower you with blessings." Maybe you have a special way of saying it, but the main thing is to silently say it with words and heart.

You will feel so close to God and so loving towards others after just an hour of this (you can start with a smaller amount of time and ease into a fuller practice if you want). And the other person walks on with a sprinkle of blessing now sparkling in their life and about to bring them some spiritual surprises.

As we develop the habit of walking more closely with God, we open to absolutely different ways of being human. Some have called it a second birth.

Christmas is a perfect time for rebirth. May the Light of Christ be born anew in you this very Christmas. I salute the Christ in you. Go into this world as a walking blessing. Miracles are stirring. I feel them.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Catherine of Sienna

She speaks to us from the 14th century. Some of her ideas are fascinating to me. Her standard for Christian perfection is charity. She put emphasis on faith, hope and prayer, but she said all virtues are built on charity. Charity in the Bible is also translated as love. I think love and charity are united as a generous spirit and attitude toward life, a caring and compassion that require action.

She also made a lot of statements that I've been mulling over. One is that wickedness is essentially a form of stupidity and ignorance. Therefore it is imperative that we learn to know ourselves, to know God and how we are united. She refers to God as Truth and us as reasoning beings.

There is much wickedness at every historical juncture on this earth. It seems to be quite active nowadays, but that might just be the result of our instant communication, as we know about so much via internet, television, etc. Anyway, the idea of wickedness being stupidity seems apt.

Wickedness could be defined many ways, but at its bedrock, I think it means purposely engaging in hurtful, unloving, shallow and self-destructive ways. One of the reasons this is stupid is karma, sowing and reaping.

Let's say promiscuity is stupid/wicked. Why? Emotionally it leads to inability to have intimacy, to deeply share and care. Physically it can lead to horrible diseases,  incurable for most of history and some still incurable today. This has been true for all time. So it is a stupid thing to do.

We can take any "sin" and see its stupidity. Gluttony leads to extreme obesity and disastrous health, and it takes away the joy of good food. The person just stuffs food into their mouth without savoring. So it is stupid at a number of levels.

Without going over an extensive list, I am hoping you get the point. Behind all of this wicked/stupid behavior, I think, is a hunger. But it is not a hunger for sex or food or greed. It is a spiritual hunger that can only be satisfied by knowing God, knowing The More. Nothing else can satisfy.

Pursuit of a God filled life calls us, and even the beginning morsels are more satisfying than mountains of anything else. Let us turn and refocus our lives on the God we seek, the God that is seeking us.

Our feet are upon The Way. The grandest adventure opens before us. And so we set off.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Black Holes

This morning I was reading some of Teilhard de Chardin's thoughts. One minor point was the distortion a black hole creates. My mind took off with that thought. I was shown another way to look at it.

In our spiritual lives we come upon virtual black holes. Our best intentions get sucked down into a minefield of black holes. Some of their names are: ego, self rightessness, emotionality, close mindedness, anger, hatred, judgementalness, ignorance, addictions, fear and so on.

Our task is not only to dance around the black holes in order to try to not step into their pull, but to be so grounded in the Ground of Being that they have no attraction to us. The ways I know to do this include daily/constant spiritual practices, the study of enlightened ones, sincerity, congruence, integrity, love, honest self assessment and course correction, interaction with others on The Path for example.

I come with experience to verify that to learn by being sucked into a black hole is doing spiritual growth the hard way. I've climbed out of several of them with grit and perseverance. I've come out a  bit bruised and battered. I strive now to live in awareness of the More as constantly as I can. My life is my spiritual test tube, my divine experiment.

Divine More, Precious Presence lift me to You so that I may live more and more fully grounded in You. Help me as I try to stay Awake and live my life as a beneficial person to all who come my way. I thank You, for I know You hear me and are in fact with me.

Saturday, December 8, 2018


We're watching one of my all time favorite Christmas movies, the original "Miracle On 34th Street." They are deciding if Kris Kringle is crazy saying, Maybe he's just a little crazy like artists or composers or those guys in Washington. 😇  Some things seem to stay the same.

We've also watched some sweet Hallmark movies. They totally redefine Christmas, making it about lighting the town tree and falling in love. 💞

I enjoy these, but actual spiritual meaning is ignored or maybe even lost. For me the deep, mystical and personal meaning is what stirs my heart.

I consider Meister Eckhart one of my teachers, traveling through the ages to us via his writings (from the 13 and 14th centuries). He said that it didn't much matter if Christ was born to Mary 1300 years ago if he is not born today in my heart. He talked also about the seed of God being in us. Thomas Kelly (in the 20th century) talked about the seed of Christ in us. Thomas a Kempis (in the 14 and 15th century) talked about us imitating Christ.

So my thought turns to our personal Christmas experience, or lack of it.

I like the thought of the Christ child being born in the cradle of our hearts. The child leads us to the Presence of God, to a life of service and compassion, to fulfilling our purpose and being the difference we are called to be.

Let us turn out attention inward to that birth so that our Christ-light can truly shine out into this world 🌎.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

The Funeral

Watching the funeral of President Bush, I am struck  by the uniqueness of this family. Their lives seem to be diametrically opposite of the life I've led.

Moments brought tears of grief from the contrast. I didn't get to cuddle with my grandmother. She told me horrendous stories that showed how I should be torn to pieces, how I was killing her, condemning me to hell. My mother slapped,  beat, and told me how she almost died when she had me and how daddy was sorry he made her pregnant.

It went on an on like that. Only my relationship with God kept me together. Year after year slings and arrows of attack stalked me. New people joined the chorus of proving to me how flawed and undeserving I was. Sometimes I was my own worst enemy as I tried to get a grip on this life.

Yet, here I am. Survivor. God walked this tumultuous journey with me.

I now see that this life has been tailored to crack the shell so that I could be more useful to spiritual seekers, for I speak from a deep knowing. God seeks us, is with us, and, if we listen, guides us through whatever life experiences come our way.

I see with Vikor Frankl  that there is meaning strewn everywhere. Our suffering can make us stronger, in closer relationship with God, cracking  away ego, setting us free.

Everyone is my teacher. Every moment, every stone and every embrace have molded me. This life began without a golden spoon and has unfolded over 78 years with  countless ups and downs, twists and turns. It has made me courageous and yet tender and soft skinned, confident and yet reticent,  but most of all certain of God.

Lord, my Companion, my Guide, my Savoir, I give thanks for this messy life and most of all for Your constant Presence. Lead me to lead the rest of this life to Your Glory.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Faith and/or Works

A long standing debate has been whether faith or works is our Christian requirement. The brother of Jesus, James, stressed works, works that grew out of our faith. Paul stressed faith in the resurrection as the necessary way to go.

Metaphysics focuses on Presence and Principle. Presence is our personal relationship with the Divine. We feel, know God. Principle is the impersonal, the Laws that work the same for all, and therefore we need to learn them and get in harmony with them, whether gravity or karma.

I was thinking of a pair that also works for me - Presence and Practice.  

The experience of The Presence is vitally important to me. It is precious. It is real treasure. It is almost urgent I think for people to spend study and quiet time to develop the mind and heart that are receptive to The Presence of God. Weary people scurry this and that way trying to fill an aching and hungry heart with things that can never satisfy. Things of this world are fun and great to have, decorations for our lives. But our hunger is for that which cannot be bought and sold. "Seek  ye first the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added unto you."

For me, the spiritual path is not  only  about cultivating the heartset and mindset that lead us to be receptive to The Presence. It is about implementing Jesus' To Do List. The more we are awake in The Presence, the more effective we will be in our Practice. But we can start wherever we are. We don't need to wait until we are totally enlightened.

Reading the earliest Gospel, Mark, thoroughly and then the second, Matthew and the third, Luke (that is the chronological order of their writing), look for our To Do List.

You may find such things as: love God, love your neighbor, forgive, be generous, break bread with all kinds of people, etc.

If we just implemented this short list, the entire world would change for the better (just imagine if we took all of The To Do List as ours). And all of us would grow spiritually too and be able to be more and more aware of The Presence. I see it as reciprocal. The Presence and The Practice are in relationship and strengthen one another.

Sometimes I get discouraged by the state of people on our planet, but then I see the possibility of what it could be if enough people took on Jesus ' To Do List. We can do our best. Let's go for it together.

I come to this day ready to know You God. Open my very being to You. Lead me to awaken to Your Presence. And grant me the vision and the courage to implement Jesus' To Do List. Starting this very day, I set my life more fully than ever  before on Your Path. 

Monday, December 3, 2018

Re-reading the Most Meaningful Books in My Life

As you may recall, one of my practices is to re-read books that have been meaningful and profound in my life. A couple of days ago, I searched Amazon for Thomas Kelly's "A Testament of Devotion." His words opened the mystical Christian world for me and explained some of my own experiences many decades ago. I discovered that his son had gathered together more of his father's writings and sermons, published 25 years after his death. So, I downloaded it to my Kindle. It is called, "The Eternal Promise," and his thoughts brought once again a special kind of spiritual fire into my life. I'm going to share a few of his words and ask you to just contemplate them, maybe jot down a few thoughts and then take the words into your heart of hearts.
Each one of us has the seed of Christ within him. In each one of us the amazing and dangerous seed of Christ is present. It is only a seed. It is very small, like the grain of mustard seed. The Christ that is formed in us is small indeed, but He is great with eternity. But, if we dare to take this awakened seed of Christ into the midst of the world's suffering, it will grow
American Christianity is in need of its deeper strain of expression of direct contact with God, as the source, not of world-flight, but of the most intensely practical Christianity that has yet been known.
 ...there is a core of sincerity in all men, a yearning for the Real, a deep-set hunger for the Homeland of the soul.
We stand at Your door and knock. Fill us with Your Light, Your Wisdom, Your Love. Water the Seed of Christ in us with Your tender care and lead us to the Homeland of the soul.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Soul Sight

As Walt Whitman expressed, we have a soul sight that is aware of the Divine Clue where we know the connectedness, the unity, the oneness of everything from the seeming!y insignificant to the most grand.

I've been mulling over the glorious idea of a Divine Clue, life as a mystery to discipher. I also thought about an acquaintance of mine, Michael Talbot who wrote a book that fascinated me, "The Holographic Universe." As a kind of hologram, each speck contains the whole.

So I might say that the experience of the Divine that we seek has left us clues strung all over. To decode the clues, we must use soul sight. We must step outside of the limitations of our senses into a place Jesus described as having eyes to see and ears to hear.

I recall some of my early meditation experiences where we were led to just be with some God -created object such as a flower or sea shell. Opening to soul sight through the portal of stillness, the object became teacher, even preacher. As part of the All, each speck has a clue to offer.

There is a spiritual hunger wide spread across this planet. Let us be alert to the Clues that lead us to be spiritually fed.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018


Amazon sent me a notice that Viktor Frankl's book "Man's Search for Meaning" was on sale for under two dollars for my Kindle. This is one of my favorite all-time books, and my copy is in a storage container waiting for our restoration. It seemed to be calling me to re-read it. So, I had to download it.

It struck me as even more amazing than when those light-filled words first spoke to me those decades ago. It is one of the books I wish everyone would read. So please read it.

He tells us that we all search for meaning, which has become more difficult in this nihilistic time and place. As a survivor of four Nazi concentration camps, he has a remarkable story to share. Even there he found meaning. He went on to create Logotherapy, which is such a sensible way to restore a life.

This edition had a lecture he gave in 1984 added on the end of the book. He calls for decency and for an attempt to join the ranks of the decent. He said that the world was in a bad state, but it would become worse unless we all try to do our best. I ask you to contemplate his ending remarks.

So, let us be alert - alert in a twofold sense.
Since Auschwitz we know what man is capable of.
And since Hiroshima we know what is at stake. 

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Developing Theology

Once upon a time, as a young person, I didn't even think about how our minister arrived at what he was preaching. I guess I thought Christianity came in one swoop, all done up with a big bow on top. The theology I heard I assumed was the way it was in reality.

Wow! Was I disillusioned when I discovered there have been fights over this and that from the gitgo, and a lot of violence too. And, I discovered even now there is no consensus on many things that are really important.

Gregory of Nyssa is a case in point. Almost all of his family were named saints as was he. He is often spoken of as the founder of mystical theology. He said, "Blessed are the clean of heart,  for they shall see God." He stressed knowing God in the darkness as well as the light. The utmost, in his view, was the way of union through love. Those who thought faith was "it" argued vehemently.

But then there was Maximus the Confessor. He thought Jesus must have had two wills (since will pertains to a nature rather than a person), both a Divine will and a human will. He was charged with treason, banished, tried again, had his tongue torn out and his right hand cut off. He died shortly after this. BUT 18 years later, he was vindicated at the 6th Counsel at Constantinople and  to this day is revered as a saint.

It hurts my heart that men make up sets of beliefs we have to agree with, and do violent things to people who view  whatever it is in a different way. This has gone on from the very first.

If we just study what Jesus actually said and did and asked us to do, we can hear directly and simply. We can jettison the theology fights and obscure pronouncements. We don't need the good ole boys blustering, fighting and maiming in the name of the rabbi who taught love, generosity and forgiveness.

Let's just follow by being as much like Him as we can possibly be. Let's give the world a Christmas present this year of following Him for real.

Friday, November 23, 2018


This is one of those times when dilemma might be its label. It's a time when others want us to do something so much that they threaten us.

We thought we wanted something, but the funds weren't released so we couldn't do it, at least so far. We keep getting promises of our assets being released from their bizarre frozen state, but no action. It has drug on for months.

On the sellers side there has been a lot of pressure and more. There was one sort of ambush meeting including two scary mafia types. There was another attempt at an ambush today, but we limited it to a phone conversation. My husband was threatened. Maybe he'll finally listen to me and let it go.

What to do? I've been meditating and got that others are also being threatened and so are setting us up to protect themselves. I also got that this is a signpost telling us it is time to enter a new phase of life.

I've missed some important signposts in the past for sure. This one is right in the center of our path flashing lights and honking horns, so to speak. We simply cannot miss it. We can ignore it - at our own risk. I know from experience dark and awful things come from ignoring such signposts.

I think at some point in our lives we've all said, "I knew I shouldn't have done that." This time it is clear ahead of time - danger lies in this direction.

Lord, thank You for lighting our way. Thank You for clear and unmistakable signs. Fill us with the courage to go as You lead.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Guidance - Inspiration

I know and believe that we receive an array of Guidance that is the inflowing of Spirit, Inspiration. This is true of the sincere seeker it seems to me. The insincere have some sort of block that keeps them from being aware of higher counsel, at least until they set their lives on a spiritual path.

Sometimes it is an intuition. It can be something someone says or a line from a book. It can be a voice as a whisper or a shout. It can be a vision or a vivid dream. It can come while asleep or awake or in meditation. The more receptive we are, the stronger and more consistent it is.

It tells us we are not alone. Something More is aware of us and offers to help us. What I cannot see or understand can be informed by The More.

Yet there are times when it seems all is silence. What do I do left to my own devices?

Do I wait? Do I make lists of choices? Do I look through my life and seek to find Guidance from the past that could be applied to today? Do I panic?
Panic, of course, cuts off access to our higher thinking, so is not a good choice.

What about being in a situation unlike anything you've ever known or thought about and there is silence? That's where I find myself. My day involves a lot of reading, prayer, meditation and participation in activities that help others. Nevertheless, I seem to be at the end of this potent spiritual set of lessons. It needs to be solved, resolved in the next two days. I must not panic. I listen.

God of all, Divine More, Thy Will be done in our lives. Speak, for I listen. Lead me for I will follow.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Rereading John in The Message Translation

I love the mystical understanding the author has. He (highly unlikely a woman 😢 impossible really) wrote in Greek somewhere in the Mediterranean area near the end of the first century. I do wonder what would be said by a woman of The Way. What would her take be? In what way did she understand Jesus? I'm pretty sure we'll never know.

We can see how the understandings morphed from Paul to Mark to Matthew to Luke and then to John. It's an interesting exercise to read Mark (the first Gospel written) and then to immediately read John (The last Gospel written).

I adore the Message translation. It is a modern translation from the Greek in modern language. It shares a different way to understand the familiar verses because it is in today's words.

For me, pondering, praying, meditating, studying all things spiritual are essential parts of my life and have been for as long as I can remember. It feels to me like I'm reborn over and over in the course of my life. Who I am and what I know are continually being updated so to speak.

God, being Infinite, offers us endless opportunities to grow, expand and enter more fully into the Great Mystery. So off I go into today's mystery.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Bible Ideas

I want to share some of the ideas I spoke about yesterday. I'm still contemplating them. (See some more of these ideas in my October 30th entry.)

First of all, it was the 100th anniversary of the Armistice. Over the course of WW1, 9 million combatants and 7 million civilians died - mostly Christians killing Christians. I wonder who thought that was a good idea? I try to imagine the conversation as maybe a sales pitch. How do people get convinced to do such horrible things?

I moved into persons in the Bible and some of their turning points. There are many ways to read the Bible, and one is it is the story of humanity and our struggles to move into relationship with God. It is our story.

Adam and Eve, symbolizing the beginning of human life, born innocent, lost their innocence and lived the rest of their lives east of Eden, wanting to return. We too are born innocent, but we learn things like we're not good enough and also want to return to innocence, but also live east of Eden.

Or think of Abraham. He lived in Ur and experienced God guiding him to pick up all his possessions and people and move to Palestine. Because he listened, prosperity and many good things came to him. Like Abraham, our ancestors heard the call and moved to a new country or city. My dad's ancestors heard the call and moved to America from Ireland in 1730. We hear the call to a profession, to a spouse or to write a blog. Sometimes we answer the call, or sometimes, like Jonah, we resist.

There are prophets in the  Bible, mostly scolding. We are prophetic too. Think of the times you said, " I knew I shouldn't have done that! " You knew, you were prophetic.

There many examples of applying their stories to our lives as we discover our shared human story. I hope I got you started and you can carry on with applications to your life.

I want to consider Jesus of history, what he did and what he taught, in distinction from what others later said it meant to follow The Way. The original teaching  could be called Alpha, the first. It came to me that he gave us to do lists. These things invite us into his understanding of God and life and how to live it. His parables draw us in and suddenly we see with new eyes. Reread Mark, Matthew and Luke, plus James  and make a list of what he suggests we do in one column and what he tells us we have to believe in the other column.

Later people made up lists of what to believe. We could call Beta all that came second or hundredth as people created rules, regulations, and theologies. Most of them were well meaning. They couldn't seem to cope with the simple to do list from Jesus, so they had many convoluted theologies including the  ridiculous (how many angels sit on the head of a pin?)

Jesus asked us to help create the kingdom of God here in earth, a kingdom of justice and compassion and relationship with God. If we focused on the Alpha, the original teachings, I think we could answer that invitation to enter in to a sacred relationship that calls us make this world a wondrous place for everyone. Just as surely as God called Abraham, he calls us this very day. The invitation has been issued. What will we do? How will we repond?

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Cosmic Physician

A vision came to me this morning in the shower. If a Cosmic Physician took the temperature of our earth, the diagnosis would be fever so high that hallucinations would be inevitable.

At so many points on our earth, there are feverish goings on accompanied by distorted views, maybe even hallucinations.

What could be the cure?

On the other hand, the vast majority of us are good people with no intention of doing dastardly things. It could be that with social media and 24 hour news, it all seems more dire than it actually is. Perhaps the antifa folks are really a tiny group. Perhaps the threats of politicians are just cries for attention to feed their egos. Maybe the villains on TV are just characters in the earth soap opera. Perhaps it can all be sorted out.

Divine One, Holy More open us to Your ideas on how to lower the fever raging across our planet. We dream of peace on earth, but we seem to be going the other direction. We need Your Wisdom and Guidance. Open us fully to You. Open our ears, our eyes and our hearts. Give us courage to walk in your Ways.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

A Huge Day

Today is a huge day in the USA. It is election day, though many of us voted early with absentee ballots or at early voting sites. We voted at the mall last week. I like the actual process of going to vote rather than mailing in my ballot. Our church is all set up as a place to vote today. It is exciting and a bit scary - what will the outcome be?

I LOVE this country and the ideas behind it. I am concerned over the strange things happening.

Normally I don't discuss political things here, but today I feel strongly led to say something exemplified in the hearings to confirm Justice Kavanaugh. He was accused by several women of sexual misconduct. Within this past week 2 of the accusers admitted they lied, and today the main accuser, the one "everyone" found convincing, said she doesn't know who it was that treated her so badly. I've heard these women have been referred to the Justice Department.

My concern, maybe fear, is the political theater put on by one party as they screamed SHE IS BELIEVED without a shred of concurring evidence. A pattern emerged: Shouting those who don't believe her are misogynists and worse; Intimidation of Congress members who dared to believe something was not right with her vague and conflicting recollections;  Congress members recommending harassment by the public of other Congress members of the other party; Also ignoring the mountain of people who knew him well and spoke only in glowing terms; and not in the least, ignoring the details of his life and humble service. Where oh where is integrity? What drove them to such madness?

Some of these horrid acting people stand to be heads of committees, if their party gains a majority today. Who else would they try to railroad? What emotional and ignorant things would they profess in unison? What economic disaster would they create? What hatred and violence would they promote?

They showed us their hand in the so called hearing on the Justice. I hope and pray the good people remember that ugly circus as they vote.

God save us from the political class.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

The Witness

There is a clump of ideas in my mind of such things as The Witness, The Over-soul, The Cloud of Witnesses, Christ Consciousness, Buddha Consciousness, Cosmic Consciousness, and so forth. I realize that in many minds there are distinctions, one from the other, within this list.

The idea of the Over-soul first came to me, I think, from Ralph Waldo Emerson and the American Transcendentalists that I read in college. Later I had a lot of fun with it as I read the series on "Over-soul 7." It seems to me that I've had some personal experiences that lead me to concur that what is incarnated here is not all of me, not all of us.

The Witness idea is in various scriptures, in writings of medieval mystics, and in modern attempts to understand what is going on, such as Ken Wilbur's ideas. One strand says there are other worldly beings watching and guiding, our Cloud of Witnesses. Another strand tells us that it is spiritually healthy to be our own Witness that observes and feels and engages with what is going on here on earth, both personally and globally, BUT takes none of it seriously for it is just a play.

The Christ, Buddha, Cosmic Conscious ideas are the awakened soul's understanding in the awareness of Oneness. We breathe in the atoms of the cosmos, of one another, of the past, of the future for they are one dance. We are not only connected, we are in a cosmic dance of Oneness. God and I are one. You and I are one. There is no one here but God.

BUT the vast, vast majority of sentient beings on this particular planet are content in their own little versions of what life is about and, so stay in their fiefdoms, never seeking, never questing to Know. I pray for ideas that might spark awakening to humanity.

I know we cannot move forward much longer with crazy ideas, crazy actions, violence, etc. Daily on the television I see screaming people telling people who disagree with them to shut up, even calling them fascists  all the while being the ones exhibiting fascist behavior. I see supposed leaders inciting attack against those with a different point of view. I see talking heads on television saying outlandish and untruthful things. I see increasing hit and run attacks, as well as knife and gun violence. I see South African leaders going down the crazed road of Zimbabwean confiscations of lands. I see hoards of invaders going into European countries and into our own country, people with a different culture and values who want to destroy the West. But, we are destroying it ourselves, for we seem to have abandoned our spiritual and historical roots, let alone pursuing the journey farther.

Civilizations come and go over the course of history on this planet. Somehow we seem to learn little from history, so we repeat it in endless variations. I am certain the way forward and the end of the ad nauseum repetitions involves authentic spiritual growth and understanding that leads to awakening, to wisdom, to compassion. We are capable of such an awakening. Will we do the work to heal ourselves?

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Assessing Today

An array of things shining upon my morning made up a rather odd recipe for a morning. 

Books: "Waiting for God," "Let There Be Light," and "Practicing the Presence" each have taken my attention for considerable time. TV cooking shows intervened for almost an hour. My email caught my eye, especially the one from Richard Rohr.

He wrote a tribute to Fr. Keating who passed on Oct. 25th. A strange thought fluttered across my mind, "I knew him." I realized I didn't know him by being physically present with my body in the same room as his body. Then I thought about the way I knew him. I knew him from his writings, from what others said or wrote about him, from practicing Centering Prayer, I knew him from YouTube, and so I felt him in some deep place that made him a friend, a spiritual friend. This world was made better by his sojourn here. I suppose we all hope that in the end that can be also said about us.

Then I read an email from my husband that contained an article about the growth of New Age thinking coupled with the demise of traditional church and its theology. Even those still in churches hold some New Age beliefs, the majority of them it seems, and even Evangelicals do, almost half of them!

I saw a snipet about Google employees walking out because a big mucky muck was accused of sexual misconduct. I tremble at the loss of due process and the new mindset that accusation is proof of whatever.

Then I read an article about the raving, raging, irrational on the verge of taking over the politics of our fragile republic. This amazing experiment here, long known to be the land of opportunity for all those willing to work hard, is tottering. Never before had this occurred to me in my lifetime. I thought the magnificence of our Constitution would speak in the hearts of us all for a long, long, long time and we would stand with it and before it in reverence and with courage.

Perhaps this planet is the insane asylum of the universe. Perhaps we are incapable of learning from history and the folly of those who have gone before.

But, perhaps we can turn around and find the Spiritual and work together to make this planet the Kingdom of God planet, the place everyone wants to be.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

An Ah Ha Moment

Light bulbs are made to turn on and shed light. I think our minds are meant to turn on to God, to The More, and shed spiritual light. In preparing my handout for my talk at church on November 11th, I had one of those precious light moments.

I was re-reading ideas about Alpha and Beta ways to follow Jesus, to walk The Way. I re-read Mark. Light flooded in, or maybe through.

Jesus gave us "to do lists," later people gave us "to believe lists." Think about it. What do we know or think we know?

  • Do this in remembrance of me...
  • Do help others... 
  • Do unto others...
  • Do talk with God intimately, even as a beloved daddy...
  • Do as the parables teach, about doing good and noble things like forgiveness...
  • Do live the Beatitudes.
  • Do live the Great Commandment- do love...
  • Do love even outcasts and enemies...
  • Do participate in bringing the Kingdom here, on earth as it is in heaven...
  • More examples- Mark 3. Matthew 25, John 14, the book of James (brother of Jesus), etc.
It was other people, mostly men, who didn't know Jesus, hadn't seen or heard him, that made up believe rules. Believe in creeds, believe in metaphors as literal, believe in a kingdom after death not here, even while saying "The Lord's Prayer" regularly, believe in whatever the hierarchy of men tell you, take what Jesus said and modeled with a grain of salt so you can buy whatever the "holy men" say. Be satisfied with a 2nd hand religion while waiting for your rewards later in the next life, and on and on. 

Since all the Beta ideas are men's ideas, they find it reasonable to violently fight for them, such as the Crusades, the racks of the Middle Ages, the Inquisition, the witch hunts, and so forth. They ignore the Alpha teaching of Jesus because they "have to" fight for their creeds and destroy all who understand otherwise.

It has occurred, strongly occurred, to me that by taking the Alpha teaching of Jesus seriously, we find the biggest turning point in our lives, and all is made new. At the same time, we participate in the biggest turning point on earth where the Kingdom of God has breathing room to exist, but hatred suffocates and limps away. 

So we have a choice who and what to believe. Where does your choice lead? Is that where you want to go? I want to live the Alpha teachings of Jesus as best I can for as long as I am blessed to walk this earth. I may fail, but I will pick myself up and start again and again and again, doing always the very best I can in every moment I live and breathe.

 God, give me strength and courage to walk The Way.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

The Hatred Sickness

This morning I weep. The news. Oh no. A shooter in a synagogue in Pittsburg. The shooter apparently shouted hate against Jews as he killed and wounded worshippers and police. How can I not weep?

People throw around the word "hate" on frivolous things such as broccoli or opposing sports teams. But this morning full fledged hate is on display.

It began in antiquity, the hating of people or groups that are outsiders, the other, not us, not the in group. It began in Christianity as it morphed from the original teachings into something else in response to the march of history. What began as a Jewish thing, separated and then turned on its parent religion.

So much happened. The Romans got angry and demolished the Temple in Jerusalem and most of the city and most of the people. About 88 CE the followers of The Way and the synagogues parted ways. It has been said by scholars that the loss of the Temple, the center point of Judaism, the House of God, sent the rabbis into protecting their written scriptures and into strong orthodoxy.

We can see the march of antisemitism from Mark, the first Gospel and with no such sentiment, to John, the last Gospel written near the end of the first century and packed with antisemitism. He blamed the Jews for the crucifixion.

The Jews did NOT crucify Jesus. Only the Romans crucified and only for sedition. The emperor was king, not Jesus, and the idea of this upstart competing with Caesar was too much. Jesus may have upset the balance within Judaism, but only Rome could crucify. Pilot was a violent man. The people were never consulted on who to crucify or on Pilot's decisions. It was Passover time, and the people were agitated remembering the Exodus from captivity and again being captives, this time to Rome. Pilot could not tolerate any demonstrations or upheavals, such as the Palm Sunday celebration and the Temple courtyard overturning of tables and booths. He might start a major revolution. He had to die according to Roman thought.

As The Way moved out into non-Jewish  circles, to the gentiles of the Roman Mediterranean, it was not safe to blame the all-powerful Rome. John and others shifted the blame away from Rome to Jesus' own people.

Strangely, Paul made his theology mostly about the crucifixion and resurrection, practically ignoring the way to live a spiritual life taught by Jesus. Just reread Mark, for example,  and notice the guidance Jesus gave.

Over the centuries the teachings hardened into  theology often opposite of the first teachings. And we see pogroms, gas chambers, and moments like today, opposite of love, forgiveness, kindness, generosity, etc.

This is an extremely simplified history, of course. I encourage you to delve into it for more detail. There are many fine and readable scholarly books, websites and YouTube videos. In other words, don't just take my word for it.

Sacred Presence, touch our core with  Your Light and Wisdom. Lead us to peer at life through Spiritual eyes. Lead us to walk The Way with gentleness and kindness. Teach us to love as You Love.

Thursday, October 25, 2018


Part of my quest for many decades has been/is to discover all I can about the 1st century and what happened or didn't happen. I truly wish to know the TRUTH.

The book I mentioned in the previous entry has many interesting things to say about the 1st century. For example, it includes a letter written by Pliny in 109 CE that is the earliest known description of what went on in an early Christian service.

It also discusses the development of Christianity in stages: Alpha (Jesus and his teaching), Beta (Paul and his followers and their change of the teaching), Crisis (the excommunication of Jesus followers from the synagogues and Judaism), and Gamma (the various understandings that included direct knowledge).

The Alpha understanding, and Arius its main proponent in 325 CE at the Council of Nicaea, "lost" to Athanasius' view. In fact the main reason for calling the Council was Constantine wanted unity and no debate about what the Church taught.

Mark, being the earliest Gospel written. tells us a lot about Alpha Christianity, although, Brooks and others, say there are insertions that can be detected by discontinuity (obvious brief changes of topic) and other research tools such as use of language, style. etc.

It is interesting to read Mark and just notice what he does not say. You can go to Bible Gateway and read it in various translations:

 I like the Message Translation, as it is in current language. You can choose whatever translation or translations you prefer. I also suggest you read the book of James, the brother of Jesus. I hope you will try this experiment.

I think it is important to distinguish what Jesus was about and not so much about what others, later thought, although later thought is interesting as it shows what people thought at that time and what Jesus came to mean to them.

Basically, Alpha thought is about being a good person, doing good deeds, making spiritual choices,  helping to bring the Kingdom of God into actuality here on earth, honoring God with our lives as told in Mark and James. Beta thought is you just have to believe in the crucifixion and resurrection because Jesus was a blood sacrifice to save us from our bad choices, it's about the next life being the Kingdom and not this one. It was a huge shift from Alpha to Beta- a vastly different God and a vastly different Jesus.

I definitely lean to the Alpha view with a touch of Gamma.Where do you stand?

Monday, October 22, 2018

Some Thoughts on Reading

This week one of the books I'm reading is "Jesus and After, the First Eighty Years" by E. Bruce Brooks. Let's look at some quotes near the beginning of the book.
What makes Paul so important? Why has he been called the second founder of Christianity? Why do his letters make up so large a portion of the New Testament? He says of himself in I Corinthians 9:22, "I am become all things to all men, that I may by all means save some." By his own testimony, then, everything Paul says is said for purposes of convincement; none of it merely documentary... His commission as an Apostle came straight from God. And more than that, God has identified him as an Apostle even before he was born. That is, he outranks them in the hierarchy of the Apostles. Or so he says. Not the least of our problems in getting Paul straight is that Luke (in Acts) also tells us a lot about Paul, little of which matches what Paul himself says.
It seems like Paul was so convincing and congruent that he sold his point of view and people bought it.  No wonder the actual followers of Jesus were upset at Paul. There are some problems to be resolved for us today too.

There is so very much to consider when trying to decipher ancient texts. They were written by premodern people who wrote in languages whose words have either morphed into different meanings over the centuries, or even ceased to be used. There are many translations of the writings that in themselves testify to the challenge of translating meaning, not just words.The basic assumptions of the ancients are light years from ours. Plus we have no copies of original documents for the vast majority, or we only know about what they wrote by critics calling them heretics.

So I am astounded in my 21st century mind that Paul could make such claims. God called him to be an Apostle, the top one, of a man he never met, and this qualified him to redefine the whole shebang. He didn't have to be accurate, just  convincing.

Then the author of Acts wrote a ton about Paul, many years later, much of which disagreed with Paul's writings about himself. We, these many centuries later, can hardly know assuredly what actually was done or said.

To me, the larger issue is how do we here in their future come to have our own experience of God or God as revealed by Jesus? Instead of second hand religion, or 2,000th hand religion, can we get a direct connection? I propose Jesus taught we could.

The immediacy of God to him is offered to us to share. We are part of the same vine. We are brothers and sisters and God is our Father too. We are asked to do even greater things than Jesus did. The kingdom of God is within. etc, etc, etc.

It seems to me our spiritual lives are more important than most anything. Let's pray to move into first hand, alpha relationship with God.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Two Ways to Look at It

Although I am a person who believes in Oneness, the Divine More in and through and around us, sometimes to further discussion, dividing in hypothetical categories can be helpful to understanding. I came across two categories this week that I want to explore a bit.

They are two functions of a religion and are named translation and transformation.  I might call them skating the surface vs delving into the depths, or second hand vs experiencial.

In the first category we use Christian, or Buddhist or Islamic or _____ ideas to translate the experiences of our lives. We do our best to live ethically; we pray, usually actually to ask for some thing; we attend church, at least in special days; even though we are asked not to judge, we do judge who is Christian and who is not, who is in the in group and who is out. We translate life through the lens of beliefs so that life makes sense somehow. Our religious decoding ring seems to help us to get by in this thing called life. Some people, maybe most, settle for this.

It seems to me a stage of life, like adolescence, one through which we are supposed to move. But I also see a planet full of adolescent religious people, seeking solace in less than meaningful activities. It is  definitely tiny amount of earthlings that continue on to transformation.

But, transformation is the point.

From a newborn trying to understand what is going on, to an adolescent who thinks they know everything, we must move into the mysterious More where no words suffice. The second birth, the knowing experiences of the Love and Light of the One is the transformation that lives as yearning in our core.

Our egos must go. We must break out of the old wineskins. We must take the uncomfortable journey that shatters our smugness and spiritual adolescence. We must walk through the dark night of the soul, setting aside pat answers and surface thinking. We must have the courage to walk out of the birth canal of our valley into what God has in mind in creating us, in to the fullness of life outside of the box.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The Word "God"

An interesting question is, what do think when you hear the word God?

There are many answers to this question. I think how we answer it has major consequences for our lives.

There are two major answers in Christianity, depending on what group is your group.

  • A being beyond the universe, in addition to the universe, supreme, almighty, related to the universe rather like an artist is to his/her creation, separate as creator and created, somewhere else, often thought to be a person that is male who is authoritarian and who intervenes at times suspending his own laws, a person who gets violently angry and judgemental but is somehow said to be love. Or...
  • A sacred presence permeating, participating, not somewhere else, right here and at the same time more than here, mystical, encompassing, as Paul said, in whom we live and move and have our being, as Psalm 139 says, where can I go from your presence for your presence is everywhere, wondrous, glorious, inviting us into sacred relationship.
You probably have guessed that my understanding of God is the second one. What a different life it is, depending on which way you see and come to know  or think you know God.

The first is a fearful mindset. Afraid God is not pleased; afraid God does not hear your prayers; afraid of the afterlife, for heaven/ hell and violent retribution are part of the theology; there is an in group and an out group, and you desperately want to be in the in group.

In the second understanding  there is a personal, intimate, safe, constant relationship with God. Spirit offers  guidance and counsel. Creation is an ongoing event, re-creation going on every moment. The laws of nature are not malleable to our whims, but we are guided through the maze of this life.

I could go on with these differences for many pages, but I will stop with this small set of lists.

What I hope is that you focus your life on knowing the Divine Presence that is as  near as the breath of your life, so that the yearning can cease and exuberant life is yours. 

Oh Divine Presence, Infinite Spirit, God, open my eyes and my ears and my heart fully to you. Lead me out of the path of fear into The Way that leads to You. Lift the cloud and lead me to Your Light. I come to this day ready.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Neil Armstrong, Mile High Swings, and Bits and Pieces of a Life

Yesterday we saw "First Man," about the moon landing, the people involved, the sacrifices, the journey and so much more. My mind kept going to my son and his excitement. In his 8+ years, this was the biggest thing ever. I was there in mind and heart with him again, or was it still with him and that time?

I texted him about that, and he texted back that he had vivid memories of those days of the historic journey, landing and return from the moon.

Last night I dreamt and awoke with snatches of memories of moments of my life. I mused before getting up, memories rolling off my mind as if I were there still. There was the tall, tall, tall swing my daddy made me of pipe and chain and wooden seat that took me on wide arches up to the blue and back, surely a mile high to the little girl I was. Yet she is still in me, still swinging to the heavens and back. There was the tetherball pole my daddy erected at which I played many hours.

There were memories of my children, of places and tbings, as in Alice, of shoes and ships and sealing wax, of cabbages and kings. Memories of glorious  momments, of hideous moments, of joys and terrors. They came to me neutrally with me simply observing

I began to see that one way to look at my life (our lives) could be that all of it is going on, simultaneously, all of it. Mixed together in some unknown way it creates Marlene 2018.10.14.

Yet there is More. I am not just a bag of earthly memories. There is the more of me that is part of The More. There is the knowing that assures me of realities not tethered to, not limited to this physical life. For I have known The Light, I have seen through the veil, I have touched and been guided and instructed and led by The Presence. I am more and more of the time aware of and living in this holy place. It calls me, for my true home is there.

I pray that increasing numbers of my fellow earthly brothers and sisters awaken out of the fog of this life into the Light of God's Infinite Presence, into The Love and Light of the More. I pray this for you.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Concern for Today's Seeds

Words, ideas, actions, etc. are seeds that bear fruit. Think of Jesus ' "test" - by the fruits you shall know them. Do we really want the fruits of the seeds we are currently planting?

I see so many hysterical seeds being scattered right now, people operating with pure emotion in charge. In that stage higher cortex functions are inoperable.

Some of the emotional, out of control people consider themselves to be people of faith. what does that mean? Lets think about faith for a minute.

The word faith in its ancient context was fidelitas and fiduciary in Latin and Greek. In relationships with people in business and personally and with God this meant commitment, loyalty, allegiance, attentiveness, and trust.

To a Christian, this means commitment, loyalty, allegiance, attentiveness and trust in and to the God Jesus revealed. It means fidelity, not infidelity.

What we know includes forgiveness, mercy, loving enemies, caring for others as precious stand ins for God (what you do to the least of these, you do to me), unconditional love for God and for all people including oneself, etc.

Let us apply these to our words and actions. Are we living in alignment to the qualities of God revealed in the life and teachings of Jesus? Our goal, if we want to be faithful, is keep honing ourselves into what we know of the life and teachings of Jesus. If/when we do, we will be planting seeds that will bring great fruit. Otherwise we plant seeds of questionable or even evil fruit.

I challenge us to take Jesus seriously by our choices that are aligned with his life and teaching.

Monday, October 8, 2018

The More

William James and others have called The Divine "The More." I find this extremely meaningful. I resonate with this way of speaking/ writing about God. Touching that Presence has taught me that there are limits to language, as I cannot express what I have come to know in such a way as to tell you what it is and how I felt, for It is More.

For untold centuries in many cultures it has been recognized that words do not suffice when trying to speak of the Creator, the Source, the Divine Presence. It is More than can even be conceived.

There are various practices that have been developed to help people have an experience of this More. Sometimes they are effective. Yet some of my moments in the Presence of More have come in unexpected moments such as contemplating a tree, sitting on a cliff overlooking the ocean, meeting my baby for the first time and other quiet and lovely times of my life.

I think it has to do with being present in the moment, being still, being receptive. Spiritual practices such as meditation lay the groundwork, but the experience feels like a surprise gift, I guess you could call it grace.

My hope for the world 🌎 is for more and more of us to experience The More. This is the path I see that leads to peace on earth, the kingdom Jesus taught -thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

May you receive the gift of More this day.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Christian Words

I am reading Marcus Borg's "Speaking Christian." Wow! I wish everyone would read it. Part of his point is that the meaning of key religious words has drastically changed since the Enlightenment as well as understanding in general.

After the Enlightenment words were either factual/true or lies with little space for truth in myth, little space for truth in things not literally true but true in meaning. Hence the fundamentalist idea grew that everything in The Bible was literally true and contained no error. A new duality was set up - fact or fiction. Out the window flew mystical understanding, with it nuances, stories that have deeper, maybe even hidden meanings etc. New meanings for theological words developed.

 The part I've come to this morning is about salvation. The Old and New Testaments speak about it in relation to this life, as salvation from the Pharaoh. Marcus Borg says the Bible teaches 2 salvations, personal and political, inner awakening to God and corporate salvation in the form of justice. Both are about this world and our present life. Christianity shifted to be about going to heaven, to being in the in-group. All the words about creating God's Kingdom are about doing it here, heaven is already all right.

A quote from this chapter that sent me into contemplative mode, and I invite you to contemplate it with me:
Most of us as we grew up acquired a Pharaoh within who holds us in bondage, tells us to work harder, and gives us meager rations... Many live for decades, some for all of their lives, with a strong demanding critical voice within. Salvation is liberation from the Pharaoh within as well as the  Pharaoh without. So also return from exile has a personal meaning. Some people are literally exiled to another country, where they live in conditions of disempowerment and impoverishment. But exile is also an archetypal image of the human condition. We often feel cut off, separated, exiled, alienated from life. Salvation as return from exile is return and reconnection to what matters, a center of meaning and purpose - to God. 

Monday, October 1, 2018

Monday Musings

The new week begins with one of my granddaughter's birthday. Last week ended with the forgiveness retreat I led on Saturday and the ministry fair yesterday. The week was strung with promises of restoration of our assets without any actual restoration - again.

Last week moves into the cloud of what was, only to come to this moment if I drag it here. It is over, even though there are echoes of it in the soul. My hope is that some of the Saturday people carry forgiveness with them in new, powerful and healing ways. My part is over. I spoke from my depths, gave them a forgiveness journal that I wrote, showed my PowerPoint, led meditations and prayers, led discussions. My part is now over. Where the seeds go and how well they root is in other hands. My job is to scatter the seeds and those who find them in conjunction with God take them from there or let them go to rot alone.

This moment is the only moment I can live. The only moment I can draw a breathe is now.

I was thinking about the seeds I've scattered via this blog, beginning in 2009. My job is to write what Spirit urges me to write. What happens then is not up to me. From time to time I look at the stats and see the seeds I write have gone to unknown people all over the world, and curiously in the past few weeks have gone to "unknown regions," 25 of them, whatever they are.  Each carries a little piece of me with them. Where will my seeds go? What will they sprout? That is God's business, not mine.

Still, curiosity stalks me. Have my words helped? Have others been led to God by some idea or the other found herein? I seem to not be able to keep myself from nudging into God' business. So I see that I need I let this blog go, again, to go where Spirit scatters it to the people called to it. That is not the part I've been assigned to play.

My love pours out of this page to you who honor me by considering the words that come through me. May God bless you with joy and peace and love, with coming to know and awaken and walk The Way as a God-conscious, Christ-conscious beacon of Light.

Perhaps I'll see you somewhere on The Path.

Monday, September 24, 2018

An Old/New Dilema

A couple of days ago I read an idea that struck me with flashes of new- to- me thoughts.

Basically, the idea is that pagans did not have the concept of "sin." It was the Jews and Christians who brought the idea of sin into the mind of humanity. It was the high ethics that drew God-fearers of the Greek world to attend synagogue, even though most did not actually convert and take on all of the practises such as eating Kosher. It was the loving kindness of early Christians and their congruent lives that helped draw new members.

The idea emerged that God has certain expectations of us, and, when we don't meet them, we sin. We have to change, turn back to God and God's ways. God's ways lead to an upright life of love, integrity, generosity, kindness, honesty, etc. Our behavior then is far more important than a positive civic life, for our choices matter to God and therefore have eternal ramifications.

As I look upon our current world, the decline of churches, increasing violence, crazy political theater, porn stars defended, babies murdered in the millions, tensions based on nonsense and on and on, I think paganism. It looks like people no longer believe God cares what one does, so nothing is a sin.

I hear the words "post Christian world" even at church gatherings. Perhaps we are therefore in a "post sin world" where anything goes. Perhaps we are reverting to paganism, back to the bad old days.

I am afraid for us. I am afraid, however, only if we don't turn around, back to God, to knowing what we do matters at a cosmic level. Dear friends who read this, contemplate with me the turning to God away from paganism. Ask God to inspire you with ideas that can spread and lift and heal these agonizing and lost times.

It really does matter.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Inequality of Is

When we learn a new language, usually one of the first things is to conjugate the verb "to be" -- I am, you are, they are, I was, you were, they were, etc. Back in the day, I was taught that the two things on either side of "to be" are equal and interchangeable. This morning I had other thoughts about that.

So let's say --- The flower is red. Supposedly I could also say -- Red is the flower. But I see a possible different inference in these two examples. The first sentence implies that a specific flower has as one of its qualities the color red, perhaps even implying that is all the flower is or is of importance in the moment. The fragrance, the shape, etc. are not discussed - whether or not they are of importance. All we know is that the flower has red coloring.

In the second sentence there is an inference that the color red can at least partially be defined as flower. It could imply that is where red is seen. Maybe it can be seen elsewhere, but we don't know that from the sentence, Also the sentence doesn't address purple or pink or other colors of flower. Red and the flower are equated. But they cannot be equated. The flower is so much more than red, and red is so much than flower.

My thoughts then moved to theology. Jesus is God is a sentence often heard. Reversing it, God is Jesus. The two sentences have the same challenge as the flower example above.

We need to ask -- in what sense?

Jesus is God implies that this specific man has the quality of God without addressing the rest of his life and without defining in what sense is this accurate. Common modern scholarship says things like, Jesus was a person so aware of God that people felt God's Presence when they were with him. He was a place where the Divine shone through clearly and without distortion. He was a man who consciously walked with God. He knew The Way to God and taught us how to walk The Way too. It does not address others who also walked with God, Elijah for example. Jesus walked with God, yet is not the only one to have done so.

But the reverse is radically different. God is Jesus implies that Jesus is where God is in fullness, that the High Almighty God, the Creator is contained in Jesus, perhaps exclusively. This, of course, is impossible as God is infinite and cannot be contained. But without thinking this through we get some pretty shaky theology that does not withstand philosophical examination.

Jesus did not claim that he was God and for sure he did not claim he was The Father God. He prayed to God and told us to do so too. Jesus never told us to pray to him. He urged us to do greater things than he did. He told us the kingdom of God is within us. He told us stories about how spiritual life worked. He was magnificent. You can be magnificent too. We can, if we take Jesus seriously and deeply hear him tell us about God, God's Love and The Way to walk to be in communion with God,

I think that some churches, which are declining in attendance all over the planet, are telling a shallow understanding that just doesn't fly. I think people yearn for relationship with God and Jesus can lead us there, not with the mixed up theology of Nicea and other definitive groups and persons, not with patriarchal nonsense, not with ignorance of the context of his teaching, not with make believe. We need a more mature, examined, mystical path, which I believe can lead us to Know God and not just take second hand information about what others say.

This is the day and you are the person -- let us set our lives upon The Way.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Contemplating Forgiveness

September 29 I will be leading a woman's retreat on forgiveness. So, many thoughts are dancing in my mind around the topic - some of them new to me, some thoughts I've had before, some new looks at previous thoughts. I want to share one today.

It seems that one of Jesus' stories has colonized my mind (see my entry Sept 15) and shows me new sides of the message. We all know, I assume, that Jesus taught forgiveness as one of his main tenets and things that must be done in order to walk The Way. Read the two translations below and consider/contemplate them before reading the rest of this entry - Please.

Matthew 5:23-24 New International Version (NIV) 
23 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you,24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.

Matthew 5:23-24 The Message (MSG)
23-24 “This is how I want you to conduct yourself in these matters. If you enter your place of worship and, about to make an offering, you suddenly remember a grudge a friend has against you, abandon your offering, leave immediately, go to this friend and make things right. Then and only then, come back and work things out with God. 
This scripture has been wafting in and out of my thoughts for a week or so. It is obvious that Jesus wants us to keep a clear heart and mind, not cluttered with judgments and upset. But, also I am "hearing" that we cannot even worship with unforgiveness in our hearts. It is so important that we are to drop our worship activity and do our forgiveness work first. 

The word salvation means getting right with God. Here he is saying we cannot get right with God unless we first clear up every misunderstanding. I think that is astounding. It is akin to the 12 Step injunction to make amends, but even more so - encompassing our entire lives and stopping our worship in its tracks.

To take Jesus seriously would include this teaching. Yet how often I hear people who consider themselves a follower of Jesus say unkind, condemning things about others, about those who don't totally agree with them on theology or politics or some such thing. They create hard feelings between themselves and others, and yet still say they are Christian. Some lie and verbally attack others (think politicians for example) and yet say they are Christian.

I say, that these people do not take Jesus seriously. They pick and choose in his teachings and stay on the surface of The Way.

Christianity is about transformation, becoming the new person in the image of Christ. It is about dying to the old. It is about a life of equality (there is no Jew or Christian, no slave or free, no male or female Paul wrote). To modernize this let me say that in a life aglow with the Christ Presence there is no Republican or Democrat, no Protestant or Catholic, no male or female, no skin color, no eye color, no age, no lines of separation - for we are all God's children, loved equally (the rain falls on the just and unjust), all figuring it out the best we can. 

Let us turn over our hearts to God and welcome the cleansing rush of the Presence that transforms us into who we were always meant to be. Let us clear out our resentments and judgments, calm down our egos, free ourselves and others and at long last take Jesus seriously.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Our Minds

I read a phrase this week that has fascinated me. It is about what we allow to "colonize" our minds.

My studies over the years have included a lot of variety regarding how our minds work at various levels and in many models. For example, the subconscious, the conscious and superconscious; the visual, auditory and kinesthetic, etc.

Our subconscious mind reasons deductively, working with what is placed in it without argument. The conscious mind is the door-keeper and can argue, reasoning inductively. So if I say "I'm stupid," our conscious mind can argue with that statement with contrary evidence. If we say it with emphasis and feeling, especially if we say it repeatedly, our subconscious mind receives it and creates thoughts and interpretations of experiences in alignment with "I'm stupid."

So at the basic level we have colonized our minds with negative self-talk. The value of affirmations is we can colonize our minds with positive, life affirming, uplifting thoughts. Affirmations are sort of antidotes.

One of the pitfalls of "modern" life is that we are bombarded by intense negativity via movies, television, music, games, internet, thereby our subconscious is colonized with terrible things. And once installed in our minds, our subconscious has difficulty in sorting fact from fiction because it works deductively and not inductively.

It's funny that as I write this, the spell checker keeps changing deductive and inductive to seductive :) I guess that concept does apply because the violence and ugliness of so much input does seduce us to more and more violent movies, games, etc.

As we allow the violent and ugly to colonize our minds, we errect a sort of barrier to the superconscious, the part of us attuned to all things spiritual. So I see a correlation that I've not seen before. I have a hypothesis -  movie attendance/violent game playing/hateful music, etc.
 grows and church attendance goes down partly because the negative calls for more negative and sees the spiritual as something not believable.

Therefore, the great spiritual moments cannot happen in those whose minds are heavily colonized by the opposite.

Let us begin to be more careful about what we allow to colonize our minds. Let's prepare for a life more attuned to Spirit. Let's recognize our yearning is for God and cannot be satisfied elsewhere.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Passing IT On

I spend time, and have done so for years, inquiring within as to how I/we can pass on what I/we know spiritually. How can I/we convey our experiences, visions, knowing and time in The Presence? Not about it all, but in a way sort of like contagious, so that others can know deep within too.

I see and hear almost desperate yearning for direct and real spiritual moments, moments so profound that they inform every millisecond of livingness. I hear it and see it in most people. A yearning, a hunger. Not theology, not rules, not pat answers, not on the word of others, but a genuine personal spiritual relationship.

I've read books that spoke to places deep inside and pointed me in the "right" direction. I've known tremendous spiritual people that imparted some of themselves in me. I've prayed, meditated, written, spoken, walked out in faith on spiritual limbs and so much more. I've spoken and taught in many states and nations.

Yet I know there is something more I must do. I know because spirituality is in taters for so many people. They worship politics or sports or money and have an emptiness in their eyes. They argue over fine points of manmade theology rather than moving into knowing.

What can, shall we do? In gentleness, compassion and love perhaps we can and will light a spark.

Divine Presence, You are always with us. You have led us safely through so many twists and turns to show up today. You have saved us countless times. We have laughed and cried together. You are the very breath of life. You call us to share, to pass on what You have instilled in US in such a way that others who are ready can know too. Show us how. How can such a thing be done? In whatever way we can be useful, lead us to play whatever tiny part we can in the desperately needed spiritual awakening on earth.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Beginnings and Now

Christianity began as an apocryphal understanding that God was going to bring about His just kingdom any minute and people needed to be prepared so they could enter it. It was to be here on earth, an earthly kingdom where good would triumph finally over evil. Jesus talked about the end being in the lifetime of his hearers, as did Paul and others. The way to live to be prepared included living as one who actually walked The Way of Christ, such as:loving kindness, forgiveness, taking care of the less fortunate, integrity and the various virtues. Salvation was getting right with God.

But the revealing of this new utopia did not happen. People have looked for it ever since, and there have been numerous predictions of the actual date, all of which have come and gone without anything even near utopia emerging.

I think the point is that if we actually lived as Jesus suggested, the kingdom of heaven on earth would come because we would not put evil into it, rather we would fill it with all the good and lovely things listed above plus lots more.

The problem is that so many walking earth are so wounded that they act out of an angry ego. They don't know or can't imagine healing is possible for them. Then there is the problem of the dizzying array of interpretations of what it means to follow Christ. Then, too, there is the history of the development of Christianity that shows contention from the very beginning, sometimes along the way erupting into terrible violence. Rarely have the people and institutions taken the teachings of Jesus seriously and as recipes for living a life that is right with God and with all of God's creation.

How can we shift to walking The Way? How can this emerge for sufficient numbers of people?  How can we be encouraged to walk upon The Way? How can this holy walk then sweep across the lands with the Light and Love of God, thereby actually transforming what it means to live on this planet?

I think it is possible for such a spiritual awakening, but I do not think at this time it is likely. I pray for guidance.

Oh Presence dwelling everywhere, always, fill us with Inspiration. Breathe Your Spirit into us. Show us how to heal ourselves and life on this beautiful earth. Open our eyes. Open our ears. Open our hearts. Lead us to The Way.

Friday, September 7, 2018

The Gift of Life

I was pondering this morning how strange and marvelous life is. We reside in our bodies, knowing that we are definitely more than our bodies, and knowing that our bodies are wearing down to the point that one day we will return them to earth out of which they are made. And we are more.

The more of life has been considered from the distant light of the humans in antiquity to this day. Pneuma, Soul, Divine Spark, child of God and other names have been given to the mysteriousness of that more. Our essence exists and doesn't seem quite definable.  We sense it, sometimes are aware of it, but we have a challenge to speak of it in any meaningful way.

How did we come to "possess" it? What is it and how did we get it?

Is it a gift? Is it a curse? Is it one of the phases through which a soul must pass?

If it is a gift of Divine Grace, for what are we expected to use it? Are we stewards of it in some way? Do we have an assignment, a mission, a purpose? Are we held accountable for this life? Are we then punished by our mistakes rather than later for them?

Considering the more of us can lead us to interesting and challenging thoughts. Perhaps how we answer the questions varies according to our own uniqueness, for we are one of a kind, crafted beautifully and although part of all that is, we are a single individual --- in many ways part and yet also a one of a kind. Perhaps all answers lead to paradoxes, so that the important part is to question and think and assess and wake up every so slightly daily until aha, we are AWAKE.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Inner Malware

I am enjoying Richard Rohr's new book, "Just This." In fact, much of what he says is in line with my current spiritual understanding. He seems to think that mystical Christianity and the Perennial Philosophy are rising across the planet. I am hopeful.

He presents an idea rather like one my husband came up with some years ago. In one sense we can visualize a computer screen and drag unwanted thoughts and feelings to the trashcan. A new to me idea in this book discusses malware in human terms. Here is a bit of that:
I think of scanning for malicious software as a good metaphor for what the first few minutes in any session of contemplative prayer must always be... In time, you will get good at sensing/recognizing when you are flowing outward with a positive and generous energy and when you are sucking inward with a stingy, complaining energy (malware). One is love, the other is death. Stay at prayer for as long as it takes for you to move from negative energy to positive energy, from death to love; otherwise you have not prayed at all..,. Thoughts and energy have consequences.
I find his statement that we have not really prayed, if our energy has not shifted to the positive in the process of our prayer to be astounding! Perhaps as Paul said - nothing more than clashing symbols if not love.

I have long thought that prayer's purpose is to move us not God. Our job is to awaken to the ever-present Presence and get our lives in harmony with that incredible Divine Presence. We cannot move or inform Infinite Intelligence. We can clear away in ourselves that which is out of alignment with God and move into love, flowing generously outward.

His idea that the ugly in us is malware is such a good example in modern life. We know what malware is in our computers. We absolutely need to identify malware in our own personal operating systems. We need to observe dispassionately and release that pesky malware. It is not part of our original operating system - God said it is good, we are made in the image and likeness of God, as Paul said - we are temples of the Most High. We are called to live that Truth.

Presence of God, Presence of Love, Presence of Wisdom, lead me to You. Give me courage to face my own foibles and malware and to release them fully and completely. Lead me to You.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Tiny Disappointments

Life has many moments we experience as disappointments. It seems to me, this happens because we have expectations, but some other thing happens. In the end, we set ourselves up, but it can be difficult to own up to our part of the dramas in life.

I had several disappointments this week. First I was reading merrily along in Thomas Merton's book, that I've mentioned in the last couple of entries, enjoying words and ideas primarily about contemplation. Then I hit a brick wall of his very Catholic ideology. He told of how very important dogma and theology are, not understanding the chains they usually bring to hearts and minds. He spent a chapter telling us that we should give all of riches away. All I could see was my tour of the Vatican and the astounding riches there plus the historical knowledge of how it got there. They could feed the world if they sold half of the possessions stored there, not to mention riches they own or control all over the world. And on and on, until I closed the book and put it away. I am extremely allergic to hypocrisy. I'm not opposed to riches, just to those who have them and intend to keep them, and then tell me to give mine away so I can have enlightenment.

Secondly, we have received hundreds of promises from very important people over quite a long period of time that tomorrow all will be restored. But the proverbial tomorrow never comes.

This morning I saw a pattern that somehow needs to be broken. My mother had a habit of taking my things without warning, and I'd never see them again - my box of comic books, my violin, my car, etc. Not only disappointing, but many things from powerlessness to sorrow. Now some amorphous groups (not certain of all of the details) have taken my funds without warning. Unlike my mother, they issue promises of restoration and compensation, which so far are always tomorrow or next Monday. I see a similar pattern.

So my questions to myself are - What in me needs to be healed to break and end this pattern? What is the lesson I need to learn? What do I need to do in order to receive the restoration and compensation?  Do I need to take some further action, or trust and release?

Lord, I seek guidance. I seek Your way to address the small and large disappointments in life. Cleanse me of darkness so that my heart, mind and body may live in Your Light. Show me Your Way.