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Friday, May 31, 2019


As Richard Rohr says, it is better to be connected than correct. An old saying came to mind, would you rather be right or be healed?

Our Western norms have been so skewed to the individual that we neglect our connectedness to one another, to the earth, to the cosmos and to God. So much Christianity has bent into pretzel shapes the teaching and life of Jesus. There is a franticness about getting "saved," whatever that is. God is love, we are safe. There is the fanatic's cry that they are Right, that their sacred writings are infallible and perfect. There is the "need" to be correct and acceptable.

All of this laid a foundation based on ego and getting a ticket to heaven. It led to worthiness issues, exclusions of groups based on current predjudices, inconsistent positions (If pro-life, is war okay? ), false adherence to the current fads, rarely able to own our mistakes, so project them on others, and a desperate need to be correct and therefore superior.

BUT, I think what we need is connections open to one another, earth, cosmos and God. We are all in this together. Our bodies consist of the same carbon compounds and function the same ways. Our lives are all currently lived on this little planet, our Mother Earth. Molecules and atoms re-circulate constantly so our bodies are at all times made of atoms from everywhere and everyone and are almost totally made of other atoms each year. We all suffer. We all celebrate.

I am certain that we all carry a kind of homesickness, a hunger to remember who we actually are (not our masks or roles), a hunger for connection to All, including God, especially God.

If we could somehow shift our awareness to the underlying truth of Oneness, life on this planet would shift dramatically. Instead of me, me, me, it would be simply us.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

The Message of the Comma

A comma strings things together in a sort of list. Sometimes the comma tells us a lot about what is not there as well as what is there.

It came to my attention this morning that in the Apostle Creed (As far as we know, the first Christian creed) there is at least one important comma clue as to what was left out. It seems clear that it made a negative impact on the development of Christianity.

The creed, via a comma, jumps from born of the virgin Mary right to suffered under Pontius Pilot, leaving out the entire life and teaching of Jesus. There is no mention of love, forgiveness, relationship to God, breaking bread together, healing, caring, the call to bring God's Kingdom to earth or to anything else that Jesus lived and taught.

The omission of His life from the creed was one of the set ups that led Christianity into believing this or that as the main thing rather than living as He lived. It led, along with Augustine, Jerome and others, to focus on getting a get out of hell-free card, to saving being an individual thing rather than an "us" in a community encouraging each other to walk The Way. It spoke to ego, to control and therefore to shallowness.

I propose our lives should focus on between the commas. We would do well to scour the life of Jesus to find out what He lived and taught and do our best to live such a life. Turn from what others say about Him and engage personally with what we know, at least know from the earliest understandings as recorded in the New Testament. With the challenge of translation, I find it helpful to read various translations. I also find it helpful to explore the history of the first century, as context is important.

Life between the commas is exciting.

Monday, May 27, 2019

God Juice

Hildegard of Bingen wrote about being verdant and juicy. Jesus talked about vines and branches. I spoke about this in my homily/sermon yesterday. Let's explore the vine and branches metaphor.
I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing. --- from John 15:5   NIV translation
Many philosophers and theologians have spoken about God being The Ground of Our Being. Imagine a vine being deeply rooted in that Sacred Ground, drawing up its sustenance, its nourishing juice, and that juice flowing to the entire vine, to the branches and then to the fruit. 

Now the metaphor from Jesus points to this process. He draws from the Divine Ground, the Source of all (it is the Father within doing the work), and when we are in tune with that Christ awareness, the juice flows into us, the branches. If we stay connected, we produce good fruit. If we disconnect, we have no such Divine sustenance and can produce no good fruit. So much of Christianity has dried up, disconnected from The Vine and full of fears, superstitions, idols and hoops to jump. 

We can tell when we disconnect by inner clues, if we dare look at our own selves objectively. If we are judgmental, angry, hostile, excluding this or that group of people, feeling superior, etc. - we think, speak and act from ego, not from the juiciness of God. Jesus told us to get the log out of our own eyes before we try to get the speck out of our neighbor's eyes. Ego wants us to keep busy shaping everybody else up, thereby avoiding doing our own inner work - which can be arduous and painful but necessary in order to get to the amazing Oneness for which we hunger.

Keeping our connection, once awakened, becomes top priority. Seemingly magical things can happen the the life of those connected to the Divine Vine. It is as if caught in a special kind of jet-stream. 

Divine Presence, Holy Ground, lead me to live rooted in You, producing fruits of beauty, peace, love and light. I come to this day assured from the depths of my being that what I have sought so very long is You. I surrender all that is not of You, and I come humbly to this moment wishing with all the fiber of my being to keep constant connection to You. May Your juiciness feed my life. Lead me to be a lifter, a healer, an avenue of You. May this be the day through which I walk into an awakened life in connection with You. I ask this in the name of the Christ and seal with the ancient seal of faith and integrity, Amen Amen and Amen

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

True Believers Over and Over Again

Watching the television this morning, I am struck by the history of true believers and their hysteria. Once falling into the true believer pit, logic and reason vanish.

Social control techniques whip up people throughout history. Attack, kill, shun "others," outsiders. Words fly. Emotions rise. Self-righteousness smirks on faces. Bandwagons roll.

Crusades match into infamy. Crusades take many forms - against whoever is defined as infidel - women called witches, scientists called heretics, this or that group called enemy, Jews called Christ killers, Christians called abominations, Muslims called invaders of holy lands, people of other political parties called evil, etc.

It is easy to whip people up into frenzies. Lower brain emotions lead us astray.

Our time seems to be especially prone to such craziness. What is called social media (there is a case to say it is actually not social) creates mobs of people whipped up over this or that, whether or not there is even a grain of truth in it. History is rewritten, but few notice. Religion's commandments are trampled to bits. Constitutions are shredded until almost unrecognizable.

Let us take a deep breath and calm ourselves out of our lower brain and rampant emotions. What is actually important, true, in tune with what are called our higher angels? What Truth simmers in our souls? Could it be words of Jesus we turn to? "Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, and love your neighbor as yourself." Or inspirations from our founding documents such as, "We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal..."

If an action or idea are not in alignment with those truths we hold dear, then we need to take some quiet time for reflection. We need to live lives that are congruent, that is, what we say and do are reflections of what we believe. Let's get off of other people's bandwagons. Let's be true to ourSelves.

P.S. I recommend an old favorite book for more in depth discussion of true believers, it's by Eric Hoffer, "True Believer." I was assigned it in college in several classes and have re-read it several times since.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019


As I meditate in preparation for Sunday's sermon/homily, some concerns keep coming to mind.

There is the decline of Christianity in the West that is of deep concern to me. The causes are myriad, including the crazy and odd theologies that have been attached to the original teachings of Jesus that cannot be accepted. I speak of original sin, the creeds, etc. But the slide has moved us now to where atheism and functional atheism are the main religion of the West.

We now are at a point where apathy and therefore inertia have a major influence. Huge numbers of people don't seem to care about having a spiritual connection to God and to a group that focuses on God. So many people are more into their electronic devices, consumerism, sports, celebrities, politics and other things that keep them somewhat satisfied.

Is it too late for "modern" humanity to turn to God? Are we too self-satisfied? How can we open hearts and minds to spirituality? I am pondering and listening.

Oh Divine Presence, open our hearts and minds to You. Inspire us to find ways to touch the apathetic with the spark of Your Presence. Show us how to reframe the journey to You so that people feel drawn to embark upon that journey. Lead us. We listen.......

Monday, May 20, 2019

Prayer for Week

I felt led to share the prayer I wrote for my sermon handout for next Sunday. Please pray it with me.

Oh Divine Presence, open my deepest being to You. Fill me with Your Light of understanding. Help the scales fall from my eyes and my heart and my mind.

I come this day not only to be renewed but to also be transformed. I come eagerly to hear your call, to live Your life, to shine and share and lift all who cross my path.

I let fall from me all that is unlike You. I turn and see that Light and Glory in each aspect of Your creation. Wherever I look, I see You. Truly You are The Ground of all being, including my being. All creation is an outpouring from You and a reflection of who and what You are and a call for me to rise and bring Your Love and Light to every moment.

I see You in the beauty of the flower, in the power of the ocean waves, in the tiny hand of the baby, and also in the cry of the homeless asking me to bring compassion and help, in the ache of the grieving and the sorrow of the lonely. Each calls to me in a new way.

I am thankful for the transformation that is beginning in me. I walk this path with trust in You, knowing there are many steps yet to walk.

I'm the name of Christ I seal this prayer with the ancient seal of faith as  I say Amen, Amen and Amen

Sunday, May 19, 2019


Speaking at church again today, passion filled me as I shared how key to my life from very early years has been my relationship with God and Jesus. I am certain it was that relationship that kept me going and kept me relatively sane. I am sure my little New Testament that I read and read and read again informed and led me through some deep valleys.

I took it to heart that we are to live as Jesus lived and taught. We are to love and forgive and shine our lights. We are to know we are connected to THE vine as its branches, so that the God energy that flowed through Jesus flows through us too. We are to take care of one another as if we are taking care of Jesus. We are to do our best to create a glorious place here in earth, "thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven" we pray regularly. And that's exactly what we are supposed to live.

If we actually believed what Jesus taught, oh what a place this could be.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Consider Some Barnacles to Pull Off

One of the main sources of barnacles laid over the life and teaching of Jesus are the ideas of Augustine of Hippo in the 3rd and 4th centuries. Let's consider just 3 of his additions today.

First and foremost was his idea of original sin, that is his interpretation of the ancient myth of Adam and Eve and the eating of the forbidden fruit. He declared that this story was about sin and how from then inward all humans were born as sinners and were lower than the low. This was a new idea. It was not the Jewish interpretation (and it is their story), so Jesus never heard it. Tentacles of this ugly interpretation spread throughout the Western world. People whipped themselves, wore vests of nails, mistreated themselves, others, animals and earth because creation became bad and sinful.

Out of this he created individual salvation. Jesus spoke about bringing the kingdom of heaven to earth, of loving and caring for one another, etc. Augustine spoke of whipping yourself into shape to get into a heavenly next life.  The emphasis of what it meant to be a Christian whirled around 180'. And later people took off and ran with it. Luther said we sin in the womb. Calvin spoke of total depravity, etc.

As an aside that is important to half the human race, Augustine agreed with Aristotle. Women, he said, had no souls. The extreme bias against women lingers still. Usually men don't think so, but ask any women about how anti-female bias has shown up in their life. It's better than it has been for centuries certainly, but it lingers.

I don't have time or space to go over in detail all the heart breaking ideas that Augustine planted and others extended and went wild with new and degenerate applications.

Part of the situation is that Augustine's ideas have insinuated themselves into theology for so many centuries. About 200 years ago, with the birth of the scientific method and the Enlightenment, his ideas began to be  questioned. Mainstream schools of theology began to teach ideas free of Augustine and his later proponents.  But many preachers did not pass it on. Many are stuck in original sin, individual salvation for the next life, women excluded from high places, and other ideas opposite of Jesus' life and teaching.

To restore The Way of Christ and turn the tide around, I propose we need to pull off the teachings that lead us away from Jesus. Will you join me.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Barnacle Removal

Although I have no conscious plan, and find it hard to imagine how it could actually come into being, I feel a strong call to walk in the direction of stopping the decline of Christianity and reversing the decline. It is clear to me that the life and teachings of Jesus, as far as we know them, can stop the general slide into violence and destruction going on all over this beloved planet.

I see the misguided, perverse, insane ideas of men that have been attached to the original ideas, as if barnacles, obscuring the view and understanding of so many people.

Perhaps the most horrendous of these ideas is Augustine's original sin. For at least 9 centuries before him, nobody taught that. Jesus never heard it. It was not in Judaism, Taoism or Buddhism, or in any other known religion. It now permeates religion, government, entertainment, and almost all of Western civilization if not all current peoples.

It tells us we are born as disgusting sinners and have to jump through hoops to maybe become at least acceptable. From having to wear the "right" makeup, to singing we are wretches,  to devaluing life and our planet, to being controlled by power hungry politicians and tech giants- we live out the  lives of lost  sinners.

I am certain we need to root out the poison of original sin that sickens us in a multitude of ways. We first need to be aware, alert and be on a journey to see it, otherwise how can we turn it around?

I first began to see it and study it in the early 80's when I read Matthew Fox's "Original Blessing." I have reread that book several times. I recommend it to you as a fabulous place to start or continue your quest into spirituality.

I know with all of my being that God creates and recreates the blessings of life with Love. At the center of our being is the Spark of the Divine. It eagerly awaits our birthing it into this time and this place.

Monday, May 6, 2019

Reframing Christianity

Yesterday, and May 19th and 26th, it is my honor to preach at our Methodist Church while our pastor is away on a renewal couple of months. My general theme is reframing of Christianity, updating of the theology.

Recent studies show 62.5% decrease in Protestants since 1980, and in fact decreases in all kinds of Christianity. The only increase is in the group that answers "none" to the question as to what is their religion.

Obviously, something is going on, something that brings sorrow and pain to my heart. God touched me, came vividly into my life very early on. Masses of people run from church now, for they do not find it a place of Love, of meaning for their lives, of food for their souls and are not led to know The Presence.

I call for us to go back to the life and teaching of Jesus. In the 2,000 years from him to now, men, mostly men, have come up with some pretty convoluted ideas that we are supposed to go along with. People have been burned at the stake, beheaded, tortured, shunned for having other points of view than those of the men in power.

In a vision, I saw barnacles attached to the original life and teachings of Jesus, obscuring clear sight, with a tiny fraction available to see. These barnacles had names, their names were ignorance, false theology, fear, confusion, counterfeit ideas such as original sin, power, control, and all the ramifications of these poured upon us a certain darkness.

This chilling vision called me to do my part to quicken a reawakening of understanding of the life, the historical context, and the teachings of Jesus. It showed me walking The Way is key to survival of the inhabitants of this planet and maybe even the planet itself.

I urge you to get the free Message Bible app, a modern translation of the Bible, not a paraphrase. Read the New Testament several times. Imagine being out in the countryside, a peasant, a resident of the cruel Roman Empire, with no knowledge of science, highly likely to be illiterate, and let the Jesus ideas flow around and in you. Let go of what men have made up about it, find it yourself.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Stuck In The Dark

A person I love very much said a curious thing to me last week. I've been mulling it over. He calls occasionally lately, but I've not seen him for 9ish years, except for one brief afternoon. Last week I told him there is a hole in my heart with him and the children gone from our lives. He said, "well, we just can't agree on what happened in the past."

I've mulled that over quite a bit. I think one of the reasons he has trouble with relationships is that he can't get 100% agreement with his perceptions. I also think that is partly why he is drawn to extreme fundamentalist ideology. He requires agreement, and no debate is allowed in his world.

I can see roots in his dad and grandmother, for they were quite inflexible. But we are each responsible for going into our own darkness and to emerge with wholeness and compassion.  We know there is need to do this when we create pain in ourselves or in others, when we can see we are not living the Christ-like life. There are no excuses in the life of one sincerely on a spiritual path.

I'm pretty sure we do not have to be stuck in darkness, in fact I am actually totally sure of this. From a Christian point of view, we are to love, to shine our lights, to forgive, and to receive the same back, for it is all reciprocal. For example, I am to forgive others, myself and accept forgiveness. No grudges are in forgiveness. The Christian heart is ideally a shining light on a hill. We get to shine by going into our darkness, facing it, letting it go and emerging free of it.

Wherever, whenever we find ourselves stuck, we have a great opportunity to dive in and enter the darkness so that we can arise with more clarity and light. The dark night of the soul is a spiritual gift.

Oh Divine Presence, I enter this day hungering to live more fully awake in You. Lead me through the darkness. Help me release all unlike Christ. Give me honest sight of myself so that I may fearlessly enter into my own darkness so that I can release it and live more as You would have me live. I surrender