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Thursday, December 31, 2015

End of the Year Thoughts

The somewhat arbitrary last day of the year, any day could have been chosen, nevertheless has meaning to us. It marks something is complete, wrap it up, go on to the new.

In some ways it is related to forgiveness where we release our attachment and feelings to some real or imagined hurt. We set ourselves free. The person/memory no longer affects us negatively. We may even move to the idea that they have been our teacher, and we have learned an important lesson.

2015 comes to an end tonight. Here in Temecula, the grapes drop. In New York it is a crystal ball. There will be fireworks, cheers, kisses and various celebrations. 

Whatever 2015 was to us, it is almost over. Let us glean the lessons that make us better, wiser, stronger, deeper, more loving, more compassionate and rejoice we were here on earth to walk through it all. Let us release all that was, whether or not it lived up to our expectations and desires - forgive it, release it, be free of it, don't let it harm us. Don't drag it into the New Year.

Confucius suggested that wherever we find ourselves, be the gracious host [hostess]. When I think about that in today's context, I think about  how that plays out in line at the store, on the freeway, in organizations, in the family, wherever we find ourselves. 

2016 has not been lived yet. It is 365 blank pages. Let's write something new, refreshing, spiritual, loving, uplifting on its pages. Let's be gracious hosts/hostesses. Let's chose this year to be the best we can be, make the most positive difference we can, grow spiritually as much as possible, and be a light wherever we are.

This is our year. Let's live it to the fullest.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Things and Stuff

Yesterday a dear friend and I had a discussion about the things of our lives. We both noted that things we have collected in our lives and things we've kept from our heritage (Great Grandma's silver for example), are not wanted by our children and grandchildren.

At first this phenomenon was odd to me, especially when I realized many of my generation are experiencing the dilemma of - why don't they want it? But I saved it because it is our family's and want you to have it!

I had an aha about that a few weeks ago. I was going to speak to the Methodist Women's group about my ministry in Russia. My things are in storage, so I borrowed some Russian items from a friend who had gone with me on one of my many trips (to teach spiritual seminars). When we packed up our house, I gave her several more Russian things, including a little carved box that meant a lot to me (I kept one of the boxes, and it is in storage). I had gotten it in Siberia in a sort of drug re-hab center. The wonderful Natasha found herself with a son in jail because of heroin. She didn't know what to do and there was no literature about it. As I understood it, the official stance was that there is no drug addiction here, so there was no literature about how to deal with it. She got the idea to get parents together to talk and support one another and their family member in trouble. She also got the idea to teach the prisoners how to do things such as carve boxes and then have them for sale in her center so that they would have some money to restart their lives when they got out of prison and she would organize support groups to help them stay off of drugs. She got the city to let her use three rooms to start her center. I admire her soooooo much! On intuition and desperation she created something so helpful. Whenever I went to that city, I went to her center and talked with the recovering addicts and parents. It was such a moving experience for me. I wish I could go there again and hug Natasha and help her work in some way.

So I say all this, because this little wooden box was a symbol for me of profound memories. My friend, who now owns the box, forgot the story I had told her about it, and the box meant little to her other than it was a trinket from Russia, I felt so sad about that. But it led me to a new understanding.

Our things in and of themselves have little value. The memories attached to each item are the value.I thought of some of my "treasures" which are only so because of the memories hovering with them.

There is the olive wood Jerusalem cross I received in the olive wood factory in Bethlehem from the owner who discovered I knew about the Aramaic prayer of Jesus. It doesn't look like much I guess, just a little piece of carved wood, but it means a great deal to me. There is my Toni doll I got a very long time ago. I gave her many "permanents" (remember Toni home permanents) and enjoyed playing with her for a number of years. There is the hand-hammered gold bracelet with a heart dangling. Inside the heart are photos of my paternal grandparents. On the heart there are engraved the initials of both of them in fancy letters. The dent on the heart was caused by my father's first tooth. My paternal grandmother died when my Dad was 7, so I feel a bit of her with this and remember what Aunt Jeannette and Daddy told me about their parents. I have also a couple of their wedding gifts from 1905 and their dining set (which I sat around with family long ago in Pennsylvania and with my family here after it came to me). I feel connected to my family with these, and they are really deeply moving for me to "have". I thought would pass these on to the future. Also, I had the cradle that for a couple of hundred years everyone on my Dad's side of the family slept, including me, my children and grandchildren. My son had it last, and since he has gone away from us, I don't know where it is. Interestingly, my daughter dearly wants it for her grandchildren one day. But I know she wants it because she has memories that mean something to her. I doubt she recalls being in it, but she remembers her three being in it. We hope he still has it, and it will resurface.

Look at the things that seem important, and I imagine you will notice that it is the memories that hover around them that really matter. If we don't want our treasures to end up in a thrift shop, we need to somehow pass on the memories that make them shine to us and hope our descendants will pass on the stories - and maybe even the things themselves.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Do You Remember T.A.?

Back in the day when my children were small, Transactional Analysis, T.A., was a big thing. Maybe it still is, but I've not heard of it lately. Actually I hope it is because it simply describes how we relate to one another in a way almost anyone can grasp. In fact, my daughter's 3rd grade teacher had the whole classroom set up on that theme. Part of it was two basic ways to interact - warm fuzzies or cold pricklies. Just reading the words, a person can get the gist of it. A person who gives warm fuzzies is different than a cold prickly kind of person. Of course, we are all somewhere on a continuum between the two, however, some seem stuck on one side or the other.

This morning I awoke with someone vividly on my mind. It is someone I love, yet who is stuck on the cold prickly side of life. He wants so desperately to be loved, and at the same time, he pushes people away with his cold prickly way of relating, combined with a rather large pinch of paranoia. I spent quite awhile praying for him. I saw he has an essential, profound need to be enfolded in love. But, he finds something wrong with everyone and pushes away with caustic rages and attacks.

Then I began to see that so many push their good away with similar tactics. Then I saw those who live far (in their minds) from God, have cold prickly reactions toward God. But, I'm pretty sure their cold prickly God relationship is based on some of the history of religion, which has often been led by those with no spiritual understanding at all and so distort the meanings. So many have become religious leaders for all the wrong reasons - feeds the ego, is a good living, etc. and not - I am called, I have felt the hand of God, I have seen the Light, It seems to me that the ego-led religious leader becomes a religious tyrant who has tons of rules to control others. This is opposite of the founders of their religious traditions who taught setting people free to love and live and be all they can be, knowing they are living in the Presence of God,

In my journey I have met many agnostics and atheists. They tell me they don't believe in God. They talk about the strange god that people have made in the image of the worst of humankind, This god is jealous, angry, violent at times, keeps score and eventually will put some subset of people into fire for the rest of eternity. You'd better not upset this god, or you'll be one of those people in the fire. And on an on, I'm sure everyone is acquainted with this incredibly sick idea of God.

I tell them that I don't believe in that god either, I believe in an Infinite Presence who is pure, unconditional Love, This God lives and has Being in all of us. This God has given us freewill. This God participates in our lives with Guidance and Insight, Forgiveness and Love, pure Light and is also the Creator, Creating and re-Creating every moment. This God is limitless, thoroughly good, always with us as Divine Energy, the Holy Presence. This God does not judge, but rather encourages us to grow and expand and make ever more holy choices. Since God gave us freewill, there has to be a contrast, so there is darkness/evil. Without the contrast, there is no actual freewill, for there would be nothing else to choose. So, we are free to choose the light or the darkside, and there are consequences, which are our feedback, our teachers. In some ways, its a giant bio-feedback mechanism set up for us to learn what happens when we choose well and what happens when we choose poorly.

So I ponder this morning, how can we heal the cold prickly situation that binds people in a lonely place seemingly far from God. I think I've mentioned before, that the word "hell" is an old English term meaning walled off. There are people walking this planet who walk in hell because they are walled off by crazy notions about God. Jesus told us the Kingdom is within. There are people walking this planet who walk in heaven.

Guide us out of any remnant of a cold prickly kind of life. Open our hearts to live a warm fuzzy kind of life. Open us to live aware of the Holy Presence every moment, THE Presence. We release old, superstitious, strange notions about God. We open to know the actual God, the God of Love and walk this earth in a heavenly way.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Where Is God?

St. Bonaventure said many amazing things, including this: God is an intelligible space whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere... God is within all things, but not enclosed, outside all things but not excluded, above all things but not aloof, below all things but not debased... God is supremely one and all-inclusive.

Acts 17:27-28 states: So that they should seek and search after God, and find him by means of his creations, because he is not far from any one of us; For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as some of your wise men have said, for we are his kindred.

I could give hundreds and hundreds of references saying similar things. God is here, now, with us, in us. We may turn and act as if we are alone, but we are not. We may have forgotten, but God is still present. God is The Present our soul longs for.

So much of "modern" life keeps us busy with nothingness, so that few of us seem to have time to sit quietly listening, watching, being. The path of the mystics, the deep path requires some investment in what does matter and turning from what does not matter.

I love the statement in Acts "find him by means of his creation." That is in alignment with Celtic Christianity that says there are two places to read God - in the scriptures and in nature/creation. I have often been comforted, guided and awakened while contemplating in nature. One such time was a couple of months after my husband had died suddenly of an aneurysm in the main artery of his brain (many years ago). I was in the mountains on a retreat, but I just couldn't participate, so I went outside to be away from people. I sat on a rock and just was there with an evergreen tree. I was pondering why he had died, what happened, etc. Suddenly I heard a message - Your life is like this tree. Some people just stop by and caress your branches (as the butterfly I watched). Some run around quickly and leave (as the squirrel I had just met). Some build a nest and stay awhile (as the birds I was watching). None stay with you the whole way except for yourself and Me.

Where is God? Here. With us. In us. We live in the Presence of God. Whatever we do or say or think is done in the Presence. The catch is we have to listen, watch, be still, be in the moment, believe. I also know that part of the deeper path requires kindness and compassionate participation in making the world a better place for everyone. I am sure that James is right that faith without works is nothing, In fact, I wrote an entire chapter about his book and point of view in my latest book and found a formula for living in it. He tells us how to live the Christ Light, be it, show up as a point where God can be known.

Here on Christmas Eve, the Present awaits. Open the Present from your Kin, the Divine Presence.

Lead me to the quiet place wherein I may find You. Clear my eyes so that I see the meaningless and release it from my life. Show me the meaningful things that You would have me do. 

Guide me to receive The Present which is You and so live a Christ-filled life.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

What On Earth Is Going On - Spiritually Speaking?

I was thinking of my book of the above title, which my dear, dear friend, Sveta, is translating into Russian for me. My dear physicist friend, Wm. Gough, wrote the forward (I hope you read it - one thing he said was science is catching up with my ideas! Wow!), and my spiritual discussion group went through it with me and challenged me to make the ideas ever clearer. And then it went up on Amazon for all with Kindle apps to be able to read. I hope and pray that it will touch and lift many people.

Someone remarked to me that my books there are not very much money, and I replied that I just want to share the ideas and make them accessible to as many people as possible. I suppose my book on forgiveness most especially is in that category as everyone has hurts that need to heal, and I have heard so many testimonials as to what a difference that book has made in so many lives in various countries. It made the ugly twists and turns of my early life worth it to be able to write authentically about forgiveness and be able to be of help to others.

So many things I want to share and discuss and lift to a higher level. Ideas swim into me from somewhere, I think often from a spiritual dimension. In fact, often when I re-read something I've written, I am surprised by it as if I had not written it but it is as if someone far wiser than I did. It is an odd feeling.

Anyway, I just want to share a bit of my intro in the book of the title of this day's blog:

I didn’t want to write this.

It kept nagging at me. I ponder life on earth, as have countless billions I suppose. As far as we know, human life has been on this planet since the cave people days, hundreds of thousand years ago. We have records of some of those who have gone before and their thoughts on ---what on earth is going on?

It is remarkable, I think, the consistency of the woes, challenges, answers and journey of us humans. Why is this I began to wonder???

The most obvious answer would be that this is a school or a correctional planet or insane asylum or an incubator for souls, some even say this IS hell, some say this is the lowest plane of the Divine Ray emanating from Pure Consciousness. At best, we all seem not quite put together yet. And, we seem to be experiencing the same kinds of positives and negatives that people have always experienced here. So, as some have said, this is third grade for souls. We cannot change it because the next batch of souls needs third grade. When you really think about it, that is hard to disagree with. It doesn’t ever seem to change. There must be a reason, a purpose buried in it somewhere.

With the craziness ever flooding us from the daily news, this opening thought came to mind today. And, I ask myself, and you, once again - What on earth?????? Anyway, I do dig into that in this book and offer some original thoughts on it all. What do you think is going on here on this little blue planet????

Sunday, December 20, 2015

This Moment

This morning I saw this moment at the top of a pinnacle. This moment is the culmination of all that has gone before. And, in this moment we have the thoughts, decisions and actions that determine the next moment atop its pinnacle, and on an on. The points of the pinnacles are this moment, here and now. The rest of the pinnacles are filled with what has gone before.

I also saw multiple pinnacles - the world's, the various nation's, the various religion's, the various family's, the individual's, etc. 

We can learn from what has gone before, but we cannot change it really. We can of course change our perspective via forgiveness, compassion and love and thereby change the effect upon this moment. What has gone before can seem to be changed by historians who write what they think happened, --- which is never what happened because their version is the version of the winners or sometimes the bitter losers, plus it is filtered through the eyes and understanding of those recording what may or may not have happened.

But this moment, yes this moment, has not been written yet. This is the moment of possibility. My question to myself is -- am I able to come to this moment freshly, without bias, and fully listening to the Holy Presence?

Whatever I do in this moment can make a tiny or maybe even a major difference. It changes things because out of all the possible futures laid out before me, this choice, this moment sorts out some of those and makes others more likely.

Life is lived only in the present moment. We can live imaginary lives in the past or in various possible futures. But this moment is here, now and it is our place of empowerment. Here and now we can do something new, something loving, something holy.

Can I stay awake enough to live this sacred here and now in alignment with the Holy Presence? Can I grasp the courage and truthfulness to be in this moment, and the next, and the next... so that the impact I have on the direction of my life and the life of others is what God calls forth? Or do I sink into ego and separation, otherwise known as hell?

I suppose this is a spiritual practice that takes a lifetime. Be here now. Be fully here now. Be fully present to the Holy Presence and be One. Let go of what the world distorts, and open to the lens of the One. See with holy eyes. Speak with holy words. Act as a holy one. That is what is the truth of us. Love, forgive, be the Light, let go and let God be God in us.

This is what I saw this morning. Sitting on top of the pinnacle of all that has gone before, being empowered in this moment to alter the direction of the next moment, is a sacred challenge. I shall do my best. Lord help me. Lord help us all.

Friday, December 18, 2015

John Wesley

Yesterday I had the joy to be at the local Methodist Women's Christmas meeting and luncheon. One of the parts of the program was to install the 2016 board. The ceremony concluded with all of us reciting a quote from John Wesley (the founder) that I LOVE! Here it is:

Do all the good you can; by all the means you can; in all the places you can; 
at all the times you can; to all the people you can; as long as ever you can.

My mind was afire with what a world this could be if we all lived this quote. If we put muscle and bone and heart and soul into being such a person, the world would be immediately lifted into a new age.

That would be a Christmas/Hanukkah present that shines above all other gifts we've ever given. Perhaps it could also be the top ever New Year's resolution for all of us.


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

How Would A Mystic Look At Recent Events In My Life and the World?

First, I am going to type a little Meister Eckhart quote: There, where clinging to things ends, is where God begins to be. If a cask is to contain wine, you must first pour out the water. The cask must be bare and empty. Therefore, if you wish to receive divine joy and God, first pour out your clinging to things. Everything that is to receive must and ought to be empty.

In my situation, there has been a great stripping away at almost every level of my life, home, finances, trust in government, family, friends, and health. I have identified with Job in a profound way. But, if I look at it all from the point of view of the above Eckhart quote, it is a spiritual exercise, or maybe gift, to empty me and be made ready to receive another level of spiritual growth. This touches a spot in me, because I have daily spoken with God and continued my spiritual practices, yet the outer of my life has been in a very strange place.

I think I can say that I cling to very little now. I feel different. I await the next surprise God has prepared, trusting it will be restorative and that the emptying is complete, at least for now and a long time to come,

As for our world where crazies seem to be calling the shots, I see an emptying too, but it is only in the baby step place. I see people cling to their mobile phones, computers, cars, ideologies and all manner of material/outer things. This is without the balance of genuine spiritual practices, without study of the words of wisdom of the great spiritual lights of the centuries, with times of silence and meditation and quiet contemplation.

I see so many people completely absorbed with their cell phones - restaurants, sidewalks, cars, or wherever - their life force is bonded with the phone more than with other people or with God.

I see in the emptying in general, there arise ridiculous extremes of religions that lead people to the opposite of Love and Light, away from the Divine, God. Perhaps the caricatures of religion are so ridiculous that people will suddenly be snapped awake and see the joke and turn to spirituality.

It seems to me that we would do well to pay attention to our own emptying out to make room for the God experience and life of Joy. We would do well to note where we send our life force and make adjustments if we are "owned" by the material. The restless soul within is only satisfied by dwelling, nestling into, enfolded in the Divine Presence.

Lord, help me view my path with clear eyes and heart. Lead me to empty out that which fills me with nonsensical activity and ideologies. Fill me with You. Open my eyes and mind and heart to You. Lead me to the spiritual home within where we are One.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Completing the Circuit

Meister Eckhart (as you know the mystic I feel so aligned with - probably the most: The eye through which I see God is the same eye through which God sees me; my eye and God's eye are one eye, one seeing, one knowing, one love."  And St. Symeon (949-1022): I have seen the Totality, received not in essence, but by participation. When you light a flame from a flame, it is the same flame that you receive.

I could put tons of quotes from the great mystics here, but I just want to put a sample along the same line of knowing to point out the goal.

And, I would like to ask WHY, HOW did the great mystical understandings get sidetracked and lowly outer law teaching -such as Jesus railed against- get to be what is considered to be Christianity? Living from the inner place of Oneness, there no longer are relevant outer rules, they are superfluous. No one who is fully awake in God needs to be controlled by minutia.

Our path is to Oneness, to see with Spirit, to see as the Divine sees, to meld into being what God created us to be and calls us to be. Our path is to go deep and ignite our inner soul with the flame direct from God's Light and to take on that Light and shine it, ever shine it.

To find that place, I think we need to seek out mystics who speak to something deep within us, spend regular time in meditation, prayer and reading inspirational materials, Journaling is also helpful. I pray for deepening in our lives

I am that which Thou art, for You have sparked my soul with Your very Light. My Light came from You, is You.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Human Divine Relationship

The writings of Fr. Richard Rohr are exciting me for a couple of reasons. He writes and speaks ideas in alignment with many of my conclusions. In some areas, he takes my thoughts and stretches them into something larger and even more attuned to the mystics and the strain of perennial wisdom/spirituality that has graced humanity from the beginning. 

I am presently reading his book (among other things) "Immortal Diamond: The Search for Our True Self." I don't know what page I'm on, as I'm using my Kindle. It says 46% where I am right now.

He writes of the divine/human divorce which is based on incompatibility and irreconcilable differences! What an interesting way to describe it. He places this sad situation primarily on the lap of formal religion which has sold separation - God and Jesus far away but maybe we can contact if we follow what the formal religion tells us to do, or maybe if we play our cards right will one meet them after this life.

Just a brief quote from this section: You do know, I hope, that it is formally incorrect for Christians to simply say, 'Jesus is God,' although that is the way they do think. But it misses the major point and goal of the incarnation. Jesus does not equal God per se, which is for us the Trinity. Jesus, much better and more correctly is the union between God and the human. That is a third something - which in fact we are invited to share in. Once we made Jesus only divine, we ended up being only human, and the whole process of human transformation ground to a halt. That is how the dualistic mind works.  

And a bit farther, he says: It killed what is the exciting inner experience and marginalized the mystics who really should be center stage... The concrete, historical body of Jesus represents the universal Body of Christ that 'God has loved before the foundation of the world' John 17:24. He is the stand-in for all of us. The Jesus story is the universe story, in other words. His union with God that Jesus never doubts, he hands on to us - to never doubt.

So many things come to mind, when I ponder these thoughts. I invite you to re-read this several times and maybe jot down in your journal what comes to mind. 

For the moment, I just want to say, if Jesus handed his faith and union with God onto us, we as a people have not been willing or maybe able to accept and carry on. What would our lives look like if we lived each moment awake to Oneness with God? What would our planetary experience be if all who call themselves Christian lived aware that each moment is in God and God is in each moment and in us? If we accept Jesus' gifts, who do we become?

Thursday, December 10, 2015

"Past" Experience Is Not Lost, It Is Here

I want to share an unusual moment from this morning. I'm not sure I can put it into words, but I will at least hint at it.

This morning as I stood in my friend's kitchen musing about an air flight I might soon be taking, suddenly all flights I had taken in the past sort of merged into some bubble of oneness, I had one of those between time, sort of cosmic moments. It was as if all at once I saw/knew all the flights I had ever been on.

Then I realized that all of them contributed to this moment in a way that made them not past but now. I understand and absorb what it is to fly in an airplane. The many moments come together to make a rich understanding. From the rickety airplane to Tatarstan to the elegant 2nd story business class flight to Hong Kong to all the other flights - they are still alive in me and give me a broad experience/knowing that make my understanding here and now unique. Every millisecond lives here. My experience/knowing is only mine, no other has had the exact same flight experience as me. My friend, who is a commercial pilot, has an even deeper and wider experience/knowing of what it is to fly in an airplane.

And then I saw/knew this is so of all of my experiences in this life. They are alive. They give me experience/knowing in many, many arenas of life, and they are unique to me. Each of us live in this moment with widely different combinations of experience/knowing in many areas. And also we have widely divergent bubbles of non-experience/not knowing. For example I know very little about gymnastics first hand. My experience is not really knowing but rather experience/observing. I watch gymnastics on the Olympics broadcasts, so my experience is not first hand but rather is from observation. I therefore have very little credibility speaking about gymnastics. I might add that there are people who experience/observe and still pretend to speak with credibility.

What I saw was that there is a challenge in our accumulated bubbles of experience/knowing if they are not sufficiently updated or are slanted to one direction or the other rather than being wide and deep. Bias, prejudice, ignorance live here. For example, if we immerse ourselves in a group that has a strong point of view about something that may or may not be accurate, we may find ourselves in a narrowed down life and uncomfortable discussing with people not in the narrow path we've been on.

I think, for example, travel helps widen and deepen our experience/knowing. I also think the study of various religions and cultures and visiting them widen and deepen our experience/knowing. There are many paths to Godliness, not just whatever ours might be (which is usually whatever one is in our culture and early home life). One thing I know is that for spiritual depth, prayer and meditation are essential.

Anyway, we come to this moment with all of our past experiences/knowing alive and dancing in our consciousness. Who we are is a mixed bag of many bubbles. The past lives in the here and now in us, in our choices, in our beliefs, in how we approach life.

If we find ourselves upset, angry, hating, hurting or expressing any negative energies, we would do well to look at that bubble and bring it in prayer and meditation to the Light. There release and open to receive that which is Light and Love. Enter the Christ and invite the Christ to enter in. Be lifted up to live as we are meant to live. As Paul said, The Christ in you, the hope of glory.

We would do well to aim our lives as fully as we are able in the direction of being our piece in the puzzle of the Cosmic Christ. Weigh our choices - is this Christlike? Fill our bubbles with the spiritual, the holy, the loving. Be as Christ-like as we can be. Really. Actually. Don't talk about it. Be it.

This was a bit of my morning between the moment experience/knowing. I pray I explain it so it might also have meaning to you. God bless you.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Oh I Love This!

Still reading Richard Rohr this morning. I just read: Salvation (salus: healing) is not dependent on feeling or an person's response to me. It is not a theory believed, a theology proclaimed, or a group that gives one identity. Is is an inner clarity that forever allows one to recognize bogus authority and pseudo-surrender.

Salvation is healing, especially of the mind and heart. Salvation is being able to discern between the charlatans and the genuine spiritual ones. Salvation keeps us from being gullible to the spiritual snake oil salesmen/women. Salvation brings new eyes and ears to life. 

This all seems to be so to me. I have been reading the mystics for many decades, and my spiritual understanding is greatly informed by them as well as by my personal spiritual experiences and my study of scriptures. The mystics do not speak the fire and brimstone, come to Jesus kind of things that some still spew. They speak of the Christ Presence awakening within. They do not spout fear and superstition, they speak of God's Love. 

Theology is basically what other people said about God, and they did not necessarily know what they were talking about. A person can say most anything, whether or not we believe what is said is highly dependent on our inner clarity and direct connection to the Holy Presence. What do you say? What do you know? How do you live when you know you are living up to the highest and best? What does a healed you look like?

There is a story at Teresa of Avila, when being questioned by the church, was asked if she believed in hell. She answered "yes," and turned to the nun beside her and quietly said, "but it is empty." She knew God directly and was not morally bound by the theology of the day. It only spoke of what men of old said was the way it is. 

The choice between good and evil is necessary in order to give freewill any meaning. That does not mean that the God of Love is really going to put the ignorant in eternal fire. It is ridiculous to argue that God is pure Love and will do awful things that humans cannot even do and be named good. Too many have made God into a giant human, sometimes into the worst kind of human.

Well anyway, the upshot of what I want to say this morning is this: Beware of those who try to control you, use fear and superstition to hold you, and do not urge you to explore and study and seek. Seek that inner clarity that sets you free. Walk with the Light of God. Be the beacon of Love and Light and Clarity into this world. Remember Jesus made it all quite simple with his 2 great commandments, which are basically LOVE LOVE LOVE. Be healed. Walk out of the fog of fear. Dare to live awake in God.

With the strange times we live in, it is perhaps more important than ever that as many people as possible reach inner clarity. I think we need to lift up our civilization, our core values and the actual life lived with the Cosmic Christ.

Holy Presence, I give thanks that You are with me, in me, with and in us all. Quicken in us that inner clarity that sets us free from nonsense. Free us from ourselves, from accumulated false beliefs, from ignorance. Set us on the path of awakening to You in real ways. Heal us.

Friday, December 4, 2015


Front and foremost in the news right now are huge stories about people who are ideologues.

According to Webster:  someone who very strongly supports and is guided by the ideology of a particular group: an impractical idealistan often blindly partisan advocate or adherent of a particular ideology.

So we have people so tilted, brain washed, that they slaughter proudly?!?!?!? How such rationalization works inside of a strong ideology is dangerous.

On the other hand, we also have stories about so-called "normal" people (college students, the extreme left, the extreme right, the press, some "religious" people, etc.) who are clinging with clenched teeth to ideologies that preclude the possibility of rational discussion.We have college students so delicate and so brain washed they want to silence all points of view except theirs and are even talking about changing the 1st Amendment that gives us free speech, guarantees free speech! We have politicians and press who report terrorist violence as possible militias or local groups or workplace violence??? We have so many people in politics, religion, education, etc that are truly ideologues and bound by whatever is deemed politically correct from within their ideology,

I wonder if we can survive the ideologues. I wonder if the true thinkers, the critical thinkers, the people who know we don't know it all can rise again. Can civil dialogue be restored? Is sanity possible at this time in history? I think it is up to us. Stand up. Speak up. Be the next America's great generation.

It is time to dig deeply and enter prayer in a sacred way. I hope you read the link I posted yesterday.

God, I know You are here with me, with us, in every moment. My desire is to be awakened in Your Wisdom, to be Guided so that all I am and say and do is in harmony with the highest and best, with You. Lead me to live aware that Your Presence is present. I stand before and within You. I stand for Wholeness, for Love, for Beauty, for Faith... for the gifts of Spirit working in and through us all. Lead us to stand strong.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Richard Rohr's email for today

This writing on prayer/contemplation is incredibly fascinating to me. I hope you will click on it and read it. I have read it twice this morning and want to explore it more. Quest into his ideas on prayer with me.

Monday, November 30, 2015

God in our soul

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Cosmic Christ

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

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

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

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

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

Thankful I Am

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

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

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

Monday, November 23, 2015

God Wins - Richard Rohr

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

Sunday, November 22, 2015


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

I love what I've put below!!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, November 20, 2015

The Lepers

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

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

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

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

Thursday, November 19, 2015


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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Barbarians at the Gates

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Contemplation and Action

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

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

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

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

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Rules vs Kindness

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

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

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

A thought to consider, it seems to me.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Taking Sides

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 9, 2015

Faith Thoughts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, November 6, 2015

♥ "Here I Am, Lord" with lyrics

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

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Hope Rising

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

A Quick but Perhaps Disturbing Thought

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

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

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

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

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

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

A lot to think about.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Ah Compromise or Not

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, October 23, 2015


Over the years of this journey I have found such colorful differences in our languages and cultures. The most obvious and easiest to spot are those in English, since obviously that is my first language. The manners of speaking, idioms, etc. in the American South are not quite the same as in California, nor are they in Great Britain, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and other English speaking areas of our world. In Great Britain, someone might say, "Put it in the boot." Confusing to a Californian who pictures the ones that go on the foot. But over there it means in the car's trunk. Or they might say "I'm going to buy a jumper." A what??? A sweater. There are tons of examples as you know, but I imagine you get the idea.

This is leading up to the Bible. The language in Bible lands was Aramaic. Jesus spoke it, his disciples spoke it. The account of Jesus' teachings was written first in Aramaic, but apparently the West did not know this for many centuries. From Aramaic, it was translated later into Greek as the Jesus Movement spread out. The people in the Bible lands did not speak Greek but spoke Aramaic, and the Romans spoke Latin and some Greek. The Western people somehow thought the New Testament was originally written in Greek and took the versions translated into their own languages from the Greek as the absolute correct versions. Meanwhile, the Peshitta (the original Eastern text of both the Old and New Testaments) continued to be the scripture of the Eastern Church. Because of the quirks of history, its tyrants and movements, the Eastern Church in the Near East and the Western Churches went on unaware of each other.

One can immediately imagine the problems of someone translating the Peshitta into Greek +1900 years ago without knowledge of the customs and idioms of the Aramaic speaking peoples.

So, for example Lot's wife was turned into a pillar of salt. Let's say, I say to you "I'm in a pickle." If you take that literally, you will mentally see me in a giant cucumber - which we know is ridiculous. You have to know our idioms to know what I mean. Well, in the Aramaic, a pillar of salt is an idiom for having a heart attack or a stroke (they didn't know the difference way back then). It is equally ridiculous for us to think that she was actually turned into a pillar of sodium chloride. That was not what was meant.

Back in the 70's, I became acquainted with Dr. Rocco Errico (in fact he was one of the 3 who laid hands on me and ordained me in 1978). Rocco was carrying on and expanding the great work of Dr. Lamsa, the Aramaic Bible scholar. I hope you'll get some of their books either on Amazon or from the Aramaic Bible Society.

Anyway, Rocco introduced me to the knowledge of what was spoken and what was meant, especially in the New Testament from his study of Aramaic. It was way beyond eye-opening for me. Just to be clear, I'm in no way an expert, just a student and reader of their various works.

The first I studied was Dr. Errico's book on the Lord's Prayer. Right from the beginning it was/is stunning. For example, the Aramaic word Abba is usually translated "Father." It is sort of Father, but it is actually not gender specific. It is more like Beloved because Abba is used by spouses to one another, to children. to those friends who are close. I just re-read this book last week on my Kindle, and enjoyed it once again. (I read Lamsa's book on the 23rd Psalm this week too, soooo good and soooo helpful). Also, Rocco has some Youtube videos on the Lord's Prayer from Aramaic. You might look at them if this is of interest to you.

In storage, I have Lamsa's Bible, his Bible Commentaries, his book on idioms, and some others plus some of Rocco's books. I've downloaded several to my Kindle and bought a paper copy of the New Testament translated by Dr. Lamsa because I got tired of waiting for the time to come that we can unpack and be home again. I pray that this time in the wilderness for us is about to conclude.

Anyway, if we want to take the Bible seriously and honor those who lived it and wrote it down, it seems to me we need to do a little scholarly digging on our own. I hope many, many Christians will do some study along the vein of study I have been mentioning in this little article.

I'll share some more along this line in coming days. Please let me know if this interests you. I know people are reading my posts because of the statistics that show up, but people don't speak to me or write to me about the ideas usually. I'd love feedback if you feel so led.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Sermon on the Mount

Jesus' Sermon on the Mount has always been special to me. In fact, when we were in Israel, I read it aloud on THE Mount, and was deeply moved. There are Franciscan Nuns who live there now, and one came to me and told me she was moved by my reading (I didn't know there was anyone there except my husband). It was a profound day for me.

Scholars do not know if the Sermon on the Mount was given in one day, over several days or a composite of sermons over a longer period. Nevertheless, it is deep and incredible. Some say that it is Jesus' modern interpretation of Moses' 10 Commandments. I have read that it is the constitution for the Kingdom of God here on earth, and I really like that idea. If lived as reported, the world would be an entirely different place.

I guess what troubles me about it, is that there are billions of people now and over time who identify themselves as Christians. Yet, there is so little action in line with this Constitution of the Kingdom of God.

It seems to me that saying one is a Christian implies that there is sincere attempt to follow Christ by doing everything possible to live as he outlined and modeled. It is not about words. It is not about spouting theology. It is not about being a modern Christian version of the Sadducees and Pharisees. It is about being on fire within with the walk. It is about that immediate and personal life in God that speaks to God as Papa, Beloved, Abba. It is about shining love and forgiveness, about being a peace maker. It is about living the Kingdom of God.

It has often been said If you were hauled into court and accused of being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you? Perhaps we could add, Is there evidence to show that you live a life in line with the Constitution of the Kingdom of God?

Some days I weep for the strange and awful ways of this world. I ache over the judgmental and angry "Christians" and the loss of the meaning of what it means to follow Christ. I don't know, but it may be that those on this planet are not able to live the divine constitution. Perhaps we are yet too primitive. But, wait, there are glimmers. There are scattered across the centuries and the planet those who did "get it." So then the question might be What needs to happen to spread that fire in the belly to quicken the hearts and minds and to establish life in alignment with the Constitution of the Kingdom of God?

Let's contemplate this and listen for the Holy Presence whispers. There is an answer. In the meantime let's you and me do our very best to emulate Christ and walk with fire in our belly's. Let's be contagious with goodness.

Oh God, today is the day You have chosen for me to turn even more to You and to the life of Christ. Lead me to walk and talk and be a person who upholds the Constitution of the Kingdom of God. Show me The Way Beloved Presence. 

Monday, October 12, 2015


If you know me, you know I am patriotic and deeply care for our nation and our freedoms. I have just finished the 1st reading of "A More Perfect Union" by Dr. Ben Carson. I am officially impressed.

I hope you will read it! He goes through the Constitution in a deep, but easy to read and comprehend, way. He has a great grasp of our history and our founding document.

It seems to me that we are on a precarious position, and need to be very careful.

Much of the Constitution is being overlooked currently. In our case, it seems to me that the 4th, 5th and 14th Amendments have been severely violated so that we experience tyranny. I am told that this is because of the Patriot Act, which allows and maybe even encourages these violations. It makes me think that this act is itself Unconstitutional.

The Constitution tells us to be vigilant. Now is definitely the time.

P.S. - A long time ago in school, we had to memorize the Preamble, and we loved it and took it into our hearts:

We the people of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

And the words of Thomas Paine that inspired Washington's troops of 4,000 to win a victory over 20,000 Hessian fighters can inspire us today to stand for our Constitution and our Freedoms:

These are the times that try men's [women's] souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country, but he that stands it NOW, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; 'tis dearness only that gives everything its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods, and it would be strange indeed, if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly regarded.

This day, this Columbus Day, this patriotic holiday, Guide us Lord and Strengthen us. We are grateful to have been born in this amazing nation. We are thankful for the many blessings that have come to us by virtue of being able to live here. Give us courage to stand up for what our nation stands upon, the values, the freedoms our founding documents that underlie it all. Open our eyes and ears so that we know what is really going on and give us the guidance to address it in such a way as to preserve for generations to come what we love and cherish here in the United States. We fully open ourselves to You and to be led in Your ways. Glorious Holy Presence, we give thanks that You hear us and answer. We seal this in the ancient seal of faith, Amen, Amen and Amen

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Thomas Jefferson

I am reading Dr. Ben Carson's newest book, and finding it fascinating. A quote from Thomas Jefferson comes early in the book: "Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted into tyranny."

Anyone paying any meaningful attention to the current state of affairs in our world can see the truth of this statement. However, I don't want to dive into the murky waters of politics here. I saw some other ramifications in this statement.

I was thinking about the human condition, morals, spirituality, etc. I want to note here that I was raised in a middle class environment in a lovely town, so not the same as many others.

When I was a girl, everyone I knew went to church, had high moral values and tried to be helpful not only at home, but also in the world by participating in various worthy causes. We wanted the adults in our lives to be proud of us. We wanted to do well in school. We could see the values echoed in music and television (which was new when I was young -we got the 2nd TV set in our neighborhood in 1952). There was a certain goodness in the various television shows and in the music we danced to and sang.

Somehow we shifted to anything goes. We became somewhat free from the bounds of social morals, church, family, etc and became as if individual governments of our own lives. And in many cases, the lives of individuals under their own rule sank to the opposite of my youth. Now many are under the tyranny of their own perversions.

Behaviors absolutely unthinkable in the 40's and 50's are now displayed as if normal. It is mind whirling to try to understand some of the currently "all right things." Actually, I am horrified at some of the drift I see in the world.

It is said that one cannot put Pandora back in the box once Pandora is out and free to wreck havoc. But I believe with God all things are possible. Perhaps the ship has sailed on the more innocent 1940's and 1950's kind of life, but there must be a way/ways to shift the idea of what is normal back towards what is wise, what is moral, what is for the highest good, what glorifies God. These should be our governors, in my opinion not the unbridled binges into darkness, ugliness and horror.

Guide us to live as You would have us live. Guide us to be governed by wisdom, morality, the highest good, and what is spiritual and glorifies You. Lead us out of this valley of darkness back into Your Light. Show us the Way. We are ready to follow where You lead.

Monday, September 28, 2015

On Being Oneself

I read some quotes this morning that seem to me well worth considering.

    1. Be yourself, everyone else is already taken. Oscar Wilde
    2. I think the reward for conformity is that everyone likes you except yourself. Rita Mae Brown
    3. Most people are other people. Their thoughts are some else's opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.  Oscar Wilde
    4. Your time is limited, so don't waste it living some else's life.  Steve Jobs
    5. Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind. Bernard M.Baruch
    6. When you are content to be simply yourself and don't compare or compete, everyone will respect you.  Lao Tzu
For some, it is a long journey to finally be at home in their own skin. I think there is no inner peace until we finally accept who we are, keep refining that, and live from an inner core. God created each of us to be unique, knowing that the unique talents/gifts in us are needed, or at least helpful, here on earth. 

I have often counseled - Be yourself, you are the only person who can be you, and if you do not live fully as who you are, there is a hole in the web of life. No one else can be you. That is your job.

In my understanding of life, I think our uniqueness is required to come together with our brothers and sisters and their uniqueness in order to create a life on earth for all that is glorious. It is our job to bring the high consciousness, compassion, kindness, and love to earth and transform earth to be that. In other words, part of our job here is to bring the kingdom of God to earth, to heal, to lift, to care, to be a light --- each and everyone of us is needed for that. Our authentic selves are needed desperately. 

As so often it happens across the history of this planet, we come to a crucial pivot point. We see old values disintegrating. We see long rationalizations for horrific things. We see breakdowns all over the place. Instead of playing music as Rome burns, we watch television or play games while the ugly and the hateful take over more and more of earth.

Somehow let's reach deep within to our authentic selves and participate fully in whatever ways we can to bring this planet and its life to peace and love and light. As I see it, we must stand up or the darkness will spread and it will be a long time, centuries possibly, before we have another chance to pivot to the kingdom of Light. 

Today let us each think of being a bearer of Light and Love to wherever we are and to whomever we meet or even just see. Let's make a positive difference today. Let's pivot the direction of life on earth from the darkside to the Light. Let's be who we were created to be.