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Saturday, December 31, 2016

The End

Well, today is the official end of 2016. We, however, carry the past with us in many ways. When all the issues are resolved, the threads of the year simply blend into the tapestry of our lives and become part of who we express ourselves to be. When issues are unresolved, we lug them into the now to be dealt with by either forgiveness, healing and love or with the fire of resentment and negative passions.

My preference, of course, is to cease all negative ways of non-dealing with the issues.  By not dealing with our issues, we keep them active in our now. They only gain entrance when we choose to pick them up and carry them forward.

Let's end this year with forgiveness, generosity, and love for ourselves and others. Let's begin 2017 with a clear heart.

In addition, I was thinking of a different way to reflect on the passing year and looking into the new year.

  • Contemplate the moments when you felt God's Presence.
  • Contemplate the moments of love - unconditional love given to you and given by you (God is Love).
  • Contemplate the times of compassion you experienced. (It is said that without compassion we cannot be said to know God).
  • Contemplate the good deeds you did and were done to you.
  • Then contemplate how you can encourage more such moments in 2017. 
    • What would be helpful to that goal? 
    • What choices could you make that would lead to living in the awareness of God's Presence?
    • What stops you from walking more fully on the spiritual path?
May God bless you and yours every moment of every day. May we join together to create peace on earth and kindness to all.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Ways of Thinking

I was thinking about modern thought and how it diverged sharply from previous thought during the Enlightenment, which is sometimes said to begin as early as the mid-1600's CE. Before then, it was a general idea that God created everything and that all life is sacred therefore Truth was something that was because it was, self-evident, rather like Joseph Campbell's statement about myth being something that never happened but always went on.

After the Enlightenment, Truth was only true if it were also fact. Much of the great body of spiritual insights became, therefore, suspect or deemed merely ignorance or superstition. They were not fact, not provable by scientific method.

I don't want to explore that more deeply here, only to say that this has created a shift on the planet. We now have a new literal fundamentalism that dismisses much of what has gone before. We see the decline of church attendance. We see many models of society have shifted, one might say, to the darkside. Anything goes for way too many people. It almost seems that there has been a shift to paganism where anything can be one's god. The center most important thing in one's life has moved for many people to a place that would horrify the thinkers who knew all was sacred and saw God in every speck of creation.

I can barely stand to read or hear the "news," for so much of it is ugly.

We are in a spiritually hungry world, where the deepest places of one's being are not being nourished with communion with the Highest Light for far too many people.

If we could turn and embrace what has been known by spiritual lights, our world would become so different and the news would cease being painful.

For example:

  • See each and every person as a sacred life, created by God.
  • See each animal as a sacred life, created by God.
  • Cherish this earth as a precious Divine Creation.
  • Forgive self and others.
  • Practice loving, kind, compassionate, caring behavior.
  • Choose to be the best you that you can be.
  • Unpack the gifts and talents within and share them.
  • Study the words of the great lights in history: Lao Tse, Jesus, Buddha, Meister Eckhart, Hildegard of Bingen, Mechtild of Magdeburg.
  • Study the words of current lights: Richard Rohr, Matthew Fox, John Dominic Crossen, John O'Donohue, John Philip Newell and others.
2017 approaches rapidly. We could make it such a glorious year. Let us love one another and walk in The Way.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Dealing With the Blows of Life

It seems that no matter what, we get curves and blows coming at us from time to time in life. Sometimes they come in clusters, sometimes few and far between. The latter is my preference, but it usually doesn't seem to be my choice. Sure there are times that my errors or arrogance set them in motion. There are times, however, they just seem to come without rhyme or reason. Or, perhaps there is something reasonable about them, but I don't see it, or maybe it comes from some time past, some other life. I don't know. I'm not decided about that part. Some experience/effect in my life could originate outside of my memory.

One of the main spiritual ideas about all of this has been about karma/cause and effect/sowing and reaping. I can see that as accurate part of the time. I also think there are general life lessons that come with life on earth. These lessons are learned at various levels, repeated until totally internalized. For example, one such lesson is forgiveness.

I've had a couple of sleepless nights this week dealing with another layer regarding someone I love very deeply. He has hurt me and the rest of our family with cruel and uncaring behavior and ridiculous accusations. He has robbed us of years of joyous memories. After a year of intensive forgiveness work along with grieving (6 years ago), I came to peace with what he did and the ongoing ramifications and released him to God's Care and Keeping. I have prayed almost daily for God's Love and Light to wash away the darkness, the paranoia, the confusion in him. Then this week I learned from what might be called "incredibly credible sources" that he is responsible for the past 3 years of our assets being frozen and the valley we've been walking as we and others work to undo the mess.

To my surprise, forgiveness came easily this time, but there is new grief. Grief has been part of it all, of course, but now has a different focus. My grief is for him and the suffering he has inside that makes him able to behave as he did/does. My grief is for the realization that he can likely never be in my life again unless he is healed. It is not safe for me. I am not as young as I once was, so that the blows upon our hearts are almost too much to bear should they continue. Again, I release him to God's Care and Keeping, but this time without much hope that he will return and be restored. It is a more final release. With the billions of people on earth, I can choose to have in my inner circle the kind, the compassionate, the joyful, the caring good people who live and walk in faith. I acknowledge that God can heal him at any moment, and for some reason has chosen not to do so up until now. It is in God's hands.

The trick to living through such blows is to observe, learn, grow and at the same time do forgiveness work and grieve and pray our way out of the clutches of pain. Then the trick is to redefine its meaning. It is a lesson. It is an exercise to strengthen our spiritual muscles. This too shall pass. How we deal with something is more telling about us than most anything. Our actions speak of our core of being, who we are and who we are becoming.

Who are we on this Christmas Eve? We are spiritual beings having a human experience, and it's all spiritual. In the cradle of our hearts, we can birth the Christ-life and encourage it to grow until we are the shining light Jesus spoke of. The Light deflects the blows. The Light leads us if we so choose.

Have a blessed Christmas. Welcome all of its meaning into the core of your being. Go out and shine your Light.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016


Alert - if the stories around Christmas are essential to you, to be protected as absolutely literal at all costs, please skip this entry. You would find it upsetting.

I've been pondering the stories, the history, etc. Paul's letters were written first, and he makes no mention of Jesus' birth, other than that he was born of woman. Mark was written next, and he makes no mention of Jesus' birth and starts with his adult life. John was the last Gospel written, and he makes no mention of Jesus' birth. Matthew and Luke tell different stories about the birth, including where their home was - Bethlehem in one and Nazareth but traveled to Bethlehem in the other.

The first thing that jumps out at me is that the birth was not important to the early followers of The Way. It was not a topic of prime conversation and teaching.

The second thing that jumps out at me is the "details" that are mentioned in Matthew and Luke could not be accurate not only because the two who wrote about it don't agree, but also because historically they don't match up. Example - there was no census. Can you imagine the chaos that would cause to have everyone (mostly poor people) travel to their family historical birthplace, on foot for the most part, in the coldest time of year? It is not mentioned in Roman history, and neither is the killing of Jewish baby boys. One more example, stars are millions of light years away and are huge. They don't come close to earth and point out a particular place. I could go on and on, but I want to get to a hypothesis.

The people of the Bible were people who were interested in meaning and not historical accuracy. We see that over and over again. They were poetic and tellers of stories. Jesus often taught in parables. Let's consider that perhaps the birth stories are parables that tell us deeper meaning, more mystical and spiritual meanings than possible if the magic were actually the story.

I encourage you to consider what deeper meanings are in this story, once we look at them as parables.

I'll give an example. In Luke the little family had visitors. There were the shepherds. To the history of the Jewish people, shepherds were important. Most of the main men in the Old Testament were shepherds - think Abraham, Moses, Jacob, Joseph, David, etc. The shepherds were the caretakers of the wealth of the people - the sheep. They were often doctors and healers and the ones who settled disputes. They fended off thieves and wild animals. They were key to the history of the Jewish people. In a parable, they come representing all of that- and they stand in for his people by bringing welcoming and acknowledgment. First, he came for his own historical people.

Then there came wise men, probably around 3 years later. They confer with the powers of domination in Jerusalem, but they don't stay there for they go to the now toddler bearing gifts. They represent the outside world who later come to honor Jesus' Way. They bring valuable things to the new movement. And importantly also, they acknowledge the spiritual kingdom and the turning from the world powers of domination. Jesus taught the kingdom within and the way to live a spiritual life, he was not about worldly power.

I challenge you to re-read the birth stories and consider that if they truly are parables, what profound and deep meanings are they carrying across the ages to us? I believe as parable they can lead us to a new spiritual understanding that will change our lives and lead us to be more awake and able to walk The Way.

Oh, Divine Presence, open the doors of my deepest place and lead me to understand the messages in the parables. Show me how to walk The Way more fully. Lead me into this coming new year as one who is waking up the Seed You have planted in me. What a glorious feeling flows over me as I see more fully. Thank You dear God.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Levels of Consciousness

It has come to my attention that many people are confused about the term "mysticism." I'm going to share briefly my understanding re: the levels of consciousness.

We walk around in conversation in a beta sort of world. We know that energy cannot be destroyed for it converts. Every thought, word, emotion since the beginning are energies existing in some way. Jung called it "the collective unconscious."

When we tune into the collective unconscious, we get psychic impressions amidst a hodge podge of energies. That's why different psychics give opposite "readings." One psychic says your aura is red with anger and another says it is green with oceans of love, etc. One says you are going to meet your soulmate while another says your work is your soulmate. People can go crazy there. I've seen it happen with my own eyes.

But, at another level there is the mystic understanding, the Christ consciousness, the Buddha consciousness.

Let's just imagine there are layers of consciousness. 1. The everyday thinking and speaking. 2. The collective unconscious. 3. And on the top, mystical understanding. The goal of spiritual awaking, in part, is to punch through to the top layer.

In the mystical, there is agreement. The great seekers across history are in agreement about the highest Truths. I wrote a little book about some of these people that shows how simpatico they are. In most cases, if you didn't know who said x, you might guess that anyone of the mystics might have been the origin of x.

Some of my particular favorites include: Jesus, Buddha, Lao Tse, Mechtild, Hildegard, Eckhart, Boehme, Rumi and many others.

It has been part of my journey to read the words of as many mystics as possible. I seek The Truth, The Highest Understanding, The knowing of the mystics. My aim is there. I pray for more and more people to aim high and leave ideology and superstition in the dust.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

What Is God?

This question has been asked most likely since human thought came to earth. There are deep answers and silly answers.

The Infinite God cannot fit into words, of course. Words only point to something that cannot be reduced to words. Say, for example, I write the word "tree" here. This word is not a tree. This word points us in the direction of tree. Then we must ask many questions such as: What kind of tree? How big is the tree? What colors are its foliage? Does it bear fruit? And yet none of these questions nor any of our answers is actually a tree. We can explore scientifically what a tree is - whirling atoms. We can explore it historically - is this an old tree? We can explore it poetically, artistically, musically, etc, but our answers are not the tree itself.

The same is true of God. None of our explorations and none of our answers are God itself.

Jesus told us God is Love, so God is a verb and not a thing. We are told in scriptures that God is Spirit and not material, but created the material so leaves clues in our visible world. We can consider what God is not to find more clues. To define God is to limit God, take away infiniteness.

It seems to me we often get sidetracked by our own word definitions so that we settle for pat answers rather than to engage in the thrilling quest to know God, experience God, live moments of breathless experience of the Divine Presence. 

Let us come to peace with the fact that there cannot be a God who fits into human words, but we can be humans who live within God. 

This day Beloved Divine Presence, I bring all that I am to You. I turn once again to journey the path that leads me on a spiritual quest to come to know You more fully. Awaken me. Show me. Lead me.

Thursday, December 15, 2016


Endings flow into beginnings as we walk this path of life. At this time of year, we arbitrarily decide a year is about to end and a new one to commence. We choose to mark time in this way.

As best we can, we mull over the lessons of the year, what was learned and what still needs some work. We lay it down, give ourselves and others a clean slate, take a deep breath and put our feet upon the path of 2017. This may require some forgiveness work, maybe some repentance, maybe some restitution or some other action we need to take. It is a potentially healthy time of year, when we take these steps honestly with clear intention.

Of course, there are some "bad actors" that come into our lives who may need to be released. Not everyone needs to be actively in our lives. But in the release, we can bless them and turn them over to God, with absolutely no rancor. Rancor only hurts the person holding it in their heart.

In thinking about beginnings, I am also preparing a sermon for New Year's Day partially based on the creation stories in Genesis. In the context of beliefs in the area at the time, there are a lot of new ideas. For example, God created Light, the sun and moon, so the various lights were not gods as was thought to be true by other groups. God created them. The power to recreate was placed in the seed, so fertility gods were fired. All of creation was called "good," so the original sin idea of some groups is negated - original sin came into the world via Augustine of Hippo and not from the Bible. There is no idea of God creating the darkness and ugliness. God created, and it was and is good. Come on New Year's Day, and I'll go into detail (Temecula United Methodist Church).

The ideas which we hold as so familiar were huge paradigm shifts back in the day - and I might add for many people today who are stuck in superstition and far from scholarship.

So - all/you/me = created by God, and = good. What is needed is contained within creation. You, me, all of us are children of Divinity. It is our nature to be like our Creator. When we behave in a way less than our true potential, there is already within us the knowing of what the right path is for us.

Let's prepare ourselves to wrap up 2016 with honest reflection. And let's step onto the 2017 path with fresh eyes and heart and see how spiritually awake we can be. This year could the THE year to remember in our lives. Let's go for it!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Two in One Day!

Yes, I know two in one day is unusual for me. But there is something I really want to share and ask you to check out.

Last night on "60 Minutes," a segment was on Columbia. It was about how with advertising, creativity, and research, with a bit of humor, the drug wars were ended.

If you didn't see it, please seek out the story on the internet. I'd like us to consider how those techniques could be applied to today's terrorism problem.

This story gives so much hope. Thinking outside of the box did wonders, and it could again.


It seems to me that the natural flow of life is to go toward the light both physically and metaphorically. But, I am seeing that somehow the natural is far too often given a wave good-bye. I am puzzling how that can be

The seed planted in the soil cracks open, and a sprout works its way up to the light, and continues to orient itself to more and more light. It turns the little seed and the soil and the light into a plant, could be a tree, could be a vegetable plant that also bears edible food, could be gorgeous flowers, all with luxuriant leaves. Often at night the flower closes, perhaps rests. At daybreak, it opens again. Life and light go together.

The great spiritual teachings often speak of light metaphorically. I am the Light. We have idioms about light, my mind lit up with new ideas. We have, at least in the back of our minds, that light is essential. Darkness may be taken as rest, as the time to slumber, or it may be taken as turning from the light/the right/the good. I realize that we have at least some degree of free will (we cannot wake up today and decide to be 10 feet tall for example), so that with a speck of free will we can make some choices such as between light and dark, but why would we choose darkness?

Yesterday, for example, people turned from the light and went to the darkside, as Star Wars has so named it. Coptic Christians were slaughtered in Egypt, Syrians had another day of violence, people in the Southside of Chicago were shot, people betrayed one another, people lied and on and on. Why would darkness seem preferable to the light for them?

I don't know for sure. I am sure that I know a piece of it. As I think of Meister Eckhart's words of the seed of God in us, some clarity lights up my mind. We have some degree of free will as to whether that seed cracks open and sends its sprout up to the Light to become all that it can be.

We have a world that has greatly turned its face to the darkside. That is not to dismiss the good people doing wonderful things. It is to notice how prevalent darkness has become. I wonder, are we now numb to it?

At every turn, we see violence, promiscuity, and wild abandon promoted - in movies, television, books. We see church attendance down. We see crazy offshoots of the various spiritual paths that teach their own made up ideas of what is and what is not true. We see hatred and fear of others promoted as "good." We see attacks on those who see whatever it is differently.
Image result for yin yang symbol
As the yin yang symbol exemplifies, even in darkness there is some light, and even in light there is some darkness. There is redemption, yet perhaps while on earth we cannot 100% be free of darkness. But looking at the symbol, I want to be on the side of light with as little darkness as possible.

We, carriers of the seed of God, recipients of the breath of God, are called to turn to the Light. We are called to be all of the good and great things that shall spring forth from us as we reach for the Light. We are called to evaluate our choices - does this ____ lead to Light or to the darkside? We are called to be of great courage and stand firmly focused upon Light, upon Divine Light. We are called to be all that we can be, all that is in the seed of God within us.

Beloved Divine Presence, always with me, always guiding me, always loving me -- lead me to still myself so that I can truly hear and follow You. Give me courage and clarity so that I can fully turn from the darkside and send Your wondrous sprout in me shooting up to Your Light. Let this be the day of my rebirth in You. In joyous expectancy, I turn to You. Thank YOU.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

E---- go

Ego has come up several times in my reading this week. I've often said that we must address the ego to go away -- e..... go.

There are several ways to define ego, but spiritually I think of it as the part in us that over or underestimates us, and always seems to make us our own gods. I am superior or I am inferior are two sides of the coin of ego. Part of the path of awakening is letting all of that go.

We are one, all of us, at all levels. Our bodies are formed of Mother Earth, made of atomic particles that freely circulate as we share them. Our souls are made of God's Light and Love. We are engaged in a spiritual drama and comedy played out on the stage of earth. We are only here for a time, and when we move on, we are accountable for how we lived and loved.

The nothing is off limits wildness of today's world is pretty much the opposite of following The Way. The ego shouts with glee -- come follow me; whatever feels good, do it, it's all about me, the other person be damned; you absolutely have to agree with my ideology or you are to be shunned and attacked; there's no such thing as too much sex or money or power; etc. No wonder so many people feel empty and lost.

The Way is about Oneness, humility, kindness, caring, giving, living consciously aware of others and of being in the Divine Presence each and every moment. It is quieter. It is profound. It leads to an inner depth for which the soul hungers.

As we take a deep breath, let us turn to The Way and leave the craziness of ego behind. One by one, two by two, ten by ten, hundred by hundred we turn to The Way and thereby change our own lives and the life of all on the planet.

Dear Beloved Divine Presence, I give streams of thanksgiving to You, rejoicing that You are always with me. I let go of the lesser things of ego this very day. I turn to set my life on Your Path. I ask for Your Guidance as I endeavor to follow You. Wash me free of the things of ego, and bathe me in Your Loving Kindness. Prepare me to live aglow in You.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016


The day that will live in infamy has come again. And, it seems to me that there have been many before and since that would fit in that category. Awful as Pearl Harbor was, it is one of countless unthinkable days.

My mind is astir with questions. Why is it that such things even happen? What oddity is at work in the minds of men that gives them the idea that violence, murder, torture, the taking of other people's lands, and war are worth dying for? And what strange idea leads them to suppose they have the right or maybe obligation to take away life and limb from others? How do they reconcile it spiritually? How can they rationalize it as even acceptable behavior? Once it begins, defensive behavior has to spring into action for self-preservation, and then acceleration occurs.

This happens over and over and over and over throughout the known and discovered (think of all of the archeological digs) history of humans. Do some of us have a logic chip missing? Is this really a prison planet mostly populated with the dredges of the universe with a few wise ones thrown in just in case someone decides to listen? Is this planet the insane asylum for the universe with a few spiritual psychiatrists showing up from time to time to try to speak sanity?

For almost all spiritual paths --- peace, love, honor, forgiveness, repentance, non-violence, oneness, non-attachment, etc. are tenets. So we know at least some people have had sense enough to write down those ideas. The problem seems to be that not enough people have taken these to heart and lived them. Even supposed followers of spiritual paths have done dastardly deeds.

Since it has gone on so long, is there really a chance to make this planet the kingdom of heaven on earth? I've spent a lot of time and energy aimed at just such a goal. I wonder if the task is not possible, but that the attempt is what is needed. The attempt changes a person interiorly, so that spiritual awakening is possible one by one.

I weep for our planet, for our people, our brothers and sisters all created by the One, all made of the same substance. We are the people of God. Some of us seem to have forgotten or not gotten around to the spiritual path yet.

I pray for a wave of true spiritual awakening to sweep across earth. I pray for Light and Love of the Divine Presence to spark awakening across this planet. I pray that people put down the ways of darkness and turn to the Light. I continue to pray for peace on earth, for peace in each and every heart. So be it.

Sunday, December 4, 2016


I'm in the middle of reading a book about Jesus' last week, starting with Palm Sunday. It states something I've not heard, or at least remembered. At the same time Jesus was processing into Jerusalem and being celebrated with hosannas and garments  and branches waving  -- at the other side of Jerusalem, Pilate was processing in with his impressive horses and guards and weapons. Pilate lived in Cesaria where the weather was more pleasant, for it was on the water, plus it was a new and more modern town. He only came to Jerusalem when there were Jewish High Holy Days, which made it more likely there might be uprisings.

It is suggested that Jesus timed this entrance as an instructive drama. On one side of town came a humble procession celebrating the inner kingdom and the great spiritual leader who touched the hearts and minds of the average person, the man who called them brother and sister and opened the Kingdom of God to all. On the other side of town came the procession representing domination, oppression, violence and ego in all its pomp and circumstance.

The drama was soon followed the next day with a showdown in the temple grand courtyard. The high priests were no longer holy men in the line of Aaron but were selected by the Romans. There were many changes of priests, for they had to fully cooperate with the Romans to stay in power. The minute they did not follow precisely, they were thrown out. So they sold out.

I can see it in my mind's eye. Can you?

History is rife with those who ruthlessly dominate. In fact, there has been domination as a way of life in most of history for most of humanity. Liberty is a rare thing, even today. The temptation to dominate rears its ugly head over and over throughout the hallways of time.

I suppose it is quite seductive to go for the glam and glitter over the quiet and humble. So, I'm wondering which procession are we in? Do we chase after power and attention? Do we humbly serve to make the world a better place? Are we cheering the dramatic procession of the oppressor? Do we have the courage to quietly shine the Light in every little corner?

Who do we follow? We can check ourselves out by noting how much time, energy, talent and money we spend in our lives --- for what? What are our genuine priorities? All we have to do is observe ourselves impartially. and it is clear.

Lord, I lay down the bright shiny objects that draw me into the procession that leads to oppression of anyone. I open my heart, my mind, my life to the humble Shepherd and do my best to follow in His Footsteps.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Around Every Bend

What surprises lie around every twist and turn of the journey here on earth. Sometimes glorious, sometimes challenging, sometimes wonderful, sometimes downright awful. It certainly keeps one on their toes.

It is fascinating, and it makes me want to stick around for a long time to see what happens next. Oh, I realize that I have some influence on what happens and a lot of power to focus my responses, but I don't have as much power as I once thought.

Perhaps there is a list of hoops we have to successfully jump through while here. Overcome the errors/sins available in the earth experiences seems probable to me. But then there is the need to put into practice the behaviors that testify quietly to living awake in the Divine Presence and not be swayed by darkness or use excuses for not living up to the highest.

I am struck over and over by the book of James, the brother of Jesus. It is a KEY I am sure to know how to live spiritually. I've read it in many translations, each giving unique nuances. I've read a variety of commentaries. I wrote an entire chapter on it in my book, "What On Earth Is Going On Spiritually Speaking." For all seekers, I suggest regular reading and contemplation of it.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Living On Hinges

The metaphor of the door is profound, for the door is not just something allowing entrance and exit from our homes, our businesses, our churches. Spiritual writings have spoken of doors in many ways, such as, "I am the door."

I just read about Jean Paul Sartre's play, "Exit." Basically, people are trapped in a room for eternity, but then the door is unlocked. Guess what happens. No one leaves. They trap themselves. The obvious question then is, in what ways do we trap ourselves?

So let's look at doors in our lives. They are on hinges and can open out or in. They are a gateway to another place. A door opening out is a metaphor for us walking out of what is less than whole. Let's say something seems to bind us, and yet we hesitate to walk through the door to something else, something new. The binding may be an addiction, or the feeling of entrapment, or our own lack of self-worth, for example. The door is present for us to walk into something else, to freedom and to growth, yet the hesitation often seems to be the fear of the unknown. We know the pain of this place, but the other side of the door is what? Take courage and walk through it. There are other doors ahead. There are many opportunities ahead. Doors lead to other doors, to eventually a more cosmic life.

From a spiritual vantage point, the Christ is a door. This door opens in, for it lets into the core of who we are the Light Divine. To be a follower of The Way is to walk through that inner door and let the Christ walk in. James, the brother of Jesus, has told us that following The Way is an active thing. We are to do good and merciful things with our lives. We are to live in such a way that we are doors for others. We are to be our unique versions of Christ, shining our lights, doing kind and loving things. We are to be forgiving. We are to have a deeply personal relationship with the Divine Presence, so that we too can have the knowing that God is our Divine Parent, our Beloved, and we are within that Presence every single moment -- as are others, some of whom just don't know it yet. We are compassionate for we recall how we were before we walked through That Door and welcomed it to swing in to welcome all that is Holy to every fiber of our being and every millisecond of our existence.

When we actively live The Way, we become doors for others. And, we discover more and more interior doors that open for an ever deeper walk in The Way.

Beloved Divine Presence, guide me to open more inner doors to You, and at the same time to open out to shine Your Light and be a door to You for others. I humbly present myself to You this day as I set my life once again on Your Path and do my best to walk The Way.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Story of Job and Marlene

I've re-read the Book of Job a number of times in the past 3 years, being that I've been under siege from the powers that be this entire time. I keep looking for clues. I keep pondering the responses of people around me. I keep checking to see if there is some stone I've left unturned that could set us free and give us our money back.

I re-read Job this morning in the new translation, "The Message." I received several new thoughts from this reading. In chapter 13 I found a favorite:
You graffiti my life with lies.
Wow!That's just what happened. An anonymous accuser told lies - put graffiti on my life, on our lives. Without even one interview or one question or even one email from them, our life has been financially frozen by the powers that be. They put another layer of graffiti on my life. Many of my friends and family are like Job's "friends" in their unbelief of my/our innocence and their surprising trust in the powers that be and pointed disbelief. They added another layer of graffiti on our life. It is amazing and oh so disappointing to me.

Bearing false witness can cause havoc in an innocent person's life. So, I thought it is really important that we speak only truth and refrain from accusations, refrain from putting graffiti on the lives of others. As Jesus told us - let your ayes be ayes and your nays, nays. Just tell the truth. Don't accuse others we supposedly know and love, for we don't ever know the entire story. Find out the story. Stand with them.

This dark valley has been challenging to walk. I have grown and deepened. However, I may have experienced just as much growth and depth without the deep valley, because I am always on  a quest to learn and grow and shine more and more Light. It is said that it is almost over. I hope and pray so.

I declare the end of the power of graffiti on our lives. The Truth shines brightly. Let there be Light.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016


As holidays approach, I feel a particular kind of angst. I have always loved the holidays. I have always loved my kitchen working at full speed, filled with incredible smells, mounds of gifts under a sentimentally decorated tree, sparkles everywhere, laughter and hugs galore. I loved the candlelight services I used to lead on Christmas Eve, and after retirement loved visiting various church services on Christmas Eve.

For 3 years of challenges, we've had none of that, well except we still go to other's candlelight services.

Now, we are supposedly within a hair's breath of restoration, life given back, a new start, and the Christmas holidays in our own home once again. I try not to want it too much. Afterall, part of the lesson of these years has been non-attachment. Yet, my heart aches for return to "normalcy." Scenes of what could be, maybe will be, drift into the pictures in my mind.

I know there are many associations tied to Chrismas for many or most people. My family had tragedy on Christmas of 1976 (my husband's aneurysm and subsequent death on New Year's) which has tainted the holiday for my children and me for a time. There are crystal clear memories of what was, of joys, of disappointments, what never was but was yearned for nevertheless.

But this Christmas has never been lived before. It is a new celebration of so much, of family, of friends, of love, of hope, of the birth of the Christ in the cradle of our hearts. Let us prepare ourselves once again for the Divine Light emerging through us. Let us prepare once again to birth a fuller version of the Christ in our lives. Let us love one another and answer the call hurled across the centuries to us - love God, self and one another. Let's do it.

Saturday, November 19, 2016


If you've read my book, "What On Earth Is Going On -- Spiritually Speaking?" you know that the book of James deeply speaks to me. The brother of Jesus was the head of The Way after Jesus left. His words convey pointed keys on how to walk The Way (what the group was originally called).

I recently noticed quite a few quotes from a modernized translation of the Bible called "The Message." so finally I ordered it from Amazon. Today I read James again, but in this new translation and received some more light on the subject.

First of all, since my husband and I have been walking through, and hopefully out of, a 3 + year deep valley, and the opening speaks to that perfectly:
Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. James 1:2-4, The Message
Since I recently gave a sermon on the 23rd Psalm, I have been seriously considering something like the above. I can honestly say that my faith walk HAS deepened during this conglomeration of experiences. Looking at light at the end of the tunnel as imminent, I can see who I am walks into it with a more aware spiritual consciousness. Masks have dropped off. Attachment to outcomes has shriveled. Prayer life has deepened. Peace has expanded. And much more.

In my attempt and goal to be congruent - that is the same person without masks no matter where I am or with whom I am - My faith has definitely been in the open for all to see, if they are looking. I have done my best to continue to participate in life and make whatever positive differences I can. My moments of grief and of joy have been/are genuine.

I want to share one more James quote today:
Every desirable and beneficial gift comes out of heaven. The gifts are rivers of light cascading down from the Father of Light.  James 1:17-18, The Message
Light, Heavenly Light, Divine Light -- all real and important to me. I've had numerous experiences in and with That Light, moments of true Treasure, precious moments that live on in a continuous flow. Even when it is not visible to me, I know It is enfolding me, always with me, filling me, lighting the way - Lighting The Way.

The empty souls that try to fill empty lives with material things will hopefully find, or be found by, The Light. There ARE rivers of Divine Light cascading from our Father of Light right this very moment. We can turn to receive and then shine that Light.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Pedigree - Body, Mind and Spirit

This morning I felt compelled to write about who we are, what our pedigree might be. These thoughts came whirling in.

BODY - What are our bodies? From one perspective they are the host or the spacesuit for our soul to wear in order to navigate life on earth. They are carbon compounds, made of Mother Earth (and belong to earth and will stay here when we go on). In that respect, the 2nd version (which is actually the 1st historically) in Genesis makes more sense. Our bodies have something called DNA that carries messages from our ancestors. Our bodies are made of earth and sunshine that come from plants and animals and miraculously turn into finger nails and elbows. At the atomic level, they are mostly empty space made up of whirling bits of particles and energy and unknowns that emerged from the beginning big bang, bursting forth, declaration of  "Let there Be..." Those fast moving bits interchange constantly so that it is said that we all have atoms that were once part of everything that ever was and is. Physically we are ONE.

MIND - The first thought about mind is often the brain, which goes back of course to body. The brain is truly a phenomenal thing. We keep learning more and more about this mysterious organ. But then, there is consciousness, the who that is using the brain, the something greater. The mind is unique yet part of the one. That is, the way we think, the thoughts we think, the actions we take because of our thoughts are more than a physical organ sparking, rather they are something of a record or blueprint of where we are in the journey of awakening. It has been said, "You cannot hide your consciousness." It just shows up in the way we respond to life with all of its twists and turns. The intuitions that flash in our minds are something greater. The moments we experience God, are something far, far greater. As we still the craziness of unfocused thinking, we get a peek into the Divine that indicates we are inlets and outlets of the Divine Mind. Our consciousness, our souls go on when we give our bodies back to Mother Earth. In Mind/Consciousness we are ONE.

SPIRIT - Variously called the Cosmic Christ, the Cosmic Buddha, the Holy Spirit, the seed of God in us, God. As we awaken, we understand Spirit to be a verb. The scriptures speak of the wind, of light of all kinds of motion to hint at the Divine. In the beginning, God breathed life into humans. We all carry the Breath of God in us. The daily miracles working in our bodies, in our gardens, in the tiny atom, in the cosmos are shouting to us that Spirit is moving in, around and through us. We are not separate from God, we are part of an infinite dance of Spirit moving, dancing, expressing, and showering us with evidence that Yes, God not only exists, but exists in all I see, all I hear, all I learn, all that I am. Spiritually we are ONE.

Oh Divine Presence, I celebrate as I come to know that You are with me, are part of me, created and re-create me every moment of every single day. I realize that my body is a holy thing that comes from You and houses my soul for a time. Body, Mind and Spirit are in You. Still my mind that I might Know You more fully and live as You would have me live. I accept the sacredness of this life and go forward into this journey on earth ever aware of this Truth.

Sunday, November 13, 2016


Light is a universal understanding about the Divine, and darkness is likewise an understanding but of being far from the awareness of God, in the dark, not in the know.

Scientifically, spiritually, metaphysically Light is the glorious ignition of creation. The big bang/flash, in the beginning, in the whirling atoms, Light, mystical experiences, writings of the illumined -- all point to Light.

In Christianity, we are called to be the light of the world, to let our lights shine, to get out from under our bushel baskets.

We were also told of a great measuring stick - by the fruits we shall know. The result reeks of the origin.

The fruits we seek, when we live as best we can in and as Light, are the fruits of the Spirit, and as Jesus boiled it down, love.

Today is the day to sincerely look at ourselves and our fruits and just check out how Lightfilled they have been up until now. Then to take courage and redirect any parts of ourselves that are not in Light, not creating Love, but creating murky or even dark results. We know if we will just admit to ourselves, because The Light dwells within us.

Lord, I open myself to fully embrace and express Your Light. Flow away all darkness in me and lead me to live in such a way as to produce the fruit of love in every corner of my life. I throw open the windows of my being and welcome Your Light to shine fully in me. I am Yours.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Once Upon A Time

This morning I saw the following:

Peeling off the layers of centuries of people saying a huge range of things about Christianity, Jesus, the Cosmic Christ and theologies, I stand on a hill under an olive tree, looking down at the lake called Gallilee during the time of the birth of The Way.

This was a time of strong restraints from almost every direction. The Romans ruled with iron fists. The Pharisees had so many rules that were mandatory, yet it was impossible to find enough time in the day to actually do. There was widespread poverty, illiteracy, ignorance, lack of hygiene, short life expectancy, etc.

Into this tightness came a breath of fresh air. Love for all, forgiveness, redemption, healing, personal direct relationship with God, and it was for everyone. It was not just for those who jumped the cultural hoops successfully. It was for every single person!

It was a sweeping energy. In the presence of such Presence, everything changed.

But then the unenlightened, the power hungry, the greedy, the partially enlightened began the calcification of this breath of fresh air, of Light. Layers grew as each generation of these pilled on more and more nonsense.  And then we were back to the restraint, just in new forms.

It seems to me we need to touch again that Breath of Fresh Air, that Light, and set our feet onto The Way . Something is telling me we actually can.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Jigsaw Puzzle

This morning I was thinking about a new television show that is about time travel and trying to stop a villain from popping in to crucial historical moments and sabotage them. It occurred to me for that to be actually possible, every moment of our lives would need to be still going on. Those horrible moments and those ecstatic moments would be forever actively operating. Perhaps one could view past times, but to interact with them seems to me to be not probable. What confusion if our history kept changing via someone interfering with the events. I know it changes now in the books as new evidence is unearthed or new interpretations are applied. However, to go back and stop one moment of folly, for example, would create all kinds of ripples of unexpected consequences that could change everything.

Yet, at another level, in our minds, our lives and our tapestry of life, all we've experienced is here with us.

I saw jigsaw puzzle pieces that fit together to make a pattern of who I currently am. Some of the pieces are dark shadows and some sparkling light, in a rainbow of dazzling colors. They all have a place. Without any one of them, the puzzle that is my life would have a hole. My puzzle is incomplete, in process and lived at various levels.

There is this earthly life of Marlene that began one day a very long time ago and one day will be complete. One day I will place the final piece of this puzzle and it will be a rap as they say in the movies. There is also the unending journey, the infinite puzzle, which includes this puzzle of this particular life as a tiny piece. There is the eternal soul of me that was before and shall continue to be (think eternal).

So, I see it essential to embrace all the pieces of the Marlene puzzle that are in place and already lived. They contribute to this moment. They can inform me, be a reference, point out consequences, but they cannot be discarded. They are part of this puzzle. I can relax and stop vainly trying to change the past or relive it. It's just there. Now I must turn my face to the puzzle piece of the moment. Which part of the puzzle will this moment fill -- the dark corner of despair or the sunlit center?

Just before I act, before I speak, I can consider if I want this _______ to be in my puzzle or not. My today will soon be my yesterday, my last year, my last decade, as I move forward through the corridors of time and then into the infinite expanses of eternal life beyond earth.

Today I hold in my hand two pieces - fear and love. Which shall I put into the puzzle to be part of who I am forever?

Wednesday, November 2, 2016


Matthew Fox in his new book, "Stations of the Cosmic Christ" points out:
... we now know that we belong to a universe that is vast and in motion and expanding and full of creativity (a star is being born every 15 seconds!) and deeply mysterious... Given the facts that there are seven billion humans on Earth and at least 200 billion galaxies in our universe each with hundreds of millions of stars, you and I and every human being on the planet could "adopt" or hold in our hearts and minds our own "nest" or "family" of galaxies. This would come to over 27 billion galaxies per person on the planet.
The question that comes to mind for me is - is your understanding of God big enough?

It seems to me that the incredible creation, its vastness, its magnificence, its variety, its never ending surprises, shout of a God that big and beyond and beyond and beyond.

When anyone tries to make God small, containable, controllable, in the image of humans, they are delusional.

Whatever we know about God - there is more, it is Infinite and Eternal afterall. Our words are arrows pointing, metaphors speaking of unspeakable things, only in an expanded interiority, deeply can we experience that which cannot be spoken.

Do we have the courage to let go of the small god we have placed comfortably in a corner of our lives and open to the Great Mystery?

Monday, October 31, 2016

Cosmic Christ

My beloved friend of many, many years, Pat, gave me Matthew Fox's new book, coauthored with Episcopal Bishop Marc Andrus. It is entitled "Stations of the Cosmic Christ." The book is quite wonderful. I've only read the first 39 pages so far, but I have to share a bit of my thinking.

First, many of the things written mirror my own conclusions from years on the quest, the study of various religions, mystics and my interest in new physics. Some of the ideas in the book contribute a leap of thought that is exciting.

I will write more about the book in a day or two. I want to begin with contemplation on a quote from Einstein that is on page 23. It is regarding humanity.

Now moving into the third phase of religious experience: cosmic religion. With his growing knowledge of the vastness of the universe and its trillions of stars, each one many times larger than our planet, stars whose light takes hundreds of years to reach our eyes, man must consider it an insult when he is told that his conduct should be motivated by fear of punishment or hope of reward. And it is just as much an insult to the God who created all these marvels, to be lowered to human level. The true religious genius has always been endowed with this sense of cosmic religion... This oneness of creation, to my sense, is God. This concept of God will unite all nations... A new age of peace will be inaugurated when all people profess a cosmic religion, when the youth have become laymen with scientific minds.

Let's mull over these profound thoughts for a bit.

I'll get back to you.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

To be Numb or Not...

This morning I awoke with thoughts of desensitization and numbness. The gang member gets desensitized to violence. The abused becomes numb to the abuser. We get accustomed to our ruts. Then my thoughts turned to spiritual awakening, the spiritual hunger in our souls, and why are so many turning away from church, why did I for periods of time?

Thoughts flooded in: too many "clergy" are not called, just have a church job; many teach fantasmal things that common sense and science scoff, that offend our intelligence; many just want our money; many think they already know all there is to know about the Infinite Deity; many cannot see the Presence in all paths and times and so do not honor others; many come from ego rather than Presence; they know about what others have said about God, but do not KNOW God; and on and on. We become desensitized to the true spiritual journey because for the most part spiritual leaders are just doing a job and not alive and on fire with the Knowing. Most people don't even know this is what is happening or that they can awaken to live in awareness of the Presence.

I guess, for me, the key to dwindling church attendance across the planet is heavily leaning upon the unknowing clergy and denominations. Universes apart are the two positions: I know theology, I know about what others have said about God, I know scriptures, I know how to put together a joke, a couple of quotes, a scripture, a story or two and make a sermon, I can make you laugh and sometimes shed a tear --- BUT I have not had a direct, personal, pure experience of being in God's Presence, so I cannot lead you there.

It's kind of like trying to describe a food to someone who has never tasted it or even seen it. You can hint, but you cannot give them the essence. They have to eat it themselves. If our leaders only give out second, third or fourth hand information, we cannot be led to the essence, at least by them, for they do not know the way.

Perhaps "church" needs to be re-booted. What if the mystics were studied, discussed and considered? What if contemplation and meditation and journaling were usual practices? What if the leaders knew what they were talking about so that they could lead others to the edge of knowing and let them go forth those last steps into the Great Mystery? What if the sincere goal were to be the experience that we all live and move and have our being in the Presence? What if we came to know in every fiber of our being that wherever we are, whatever we say, whatever we do is all done in the Presence of God?

Instead of being desensitized to the true path, we would be rejoicing as we began to walk It, live It, Know It. The original name for following Jesus was "The Way." Let us return to the beginning and step into The Way.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Another Thought On Valleys

As I awoke this morning, thoughts whirled in my mind. I saw how at my birth, I still knew who I was and where I came from. I saw a toddler still in tune. Then I saw a deluge of abuse. I saw the hiding blanket of shyness. I saw the valleys I walked. I saw my relative clarity in my "golden years."

A flash through my mind brought a new idea. The valleys were a kind of electric shock to wake me up, bring me to myself as well as burn off ego. They were the Zen Master shouting "WAKE UP!" They were actions to move me on through and out of the valleys and take with me the teachings they engendered.

It is urgently calling -- we need awakened beings on this planet NOW.

Open my eyes, Lord, to know You fully and lay down all the dross that has barnacled itself to me. My Soul rejoices in You.

Monday, October 17, 2016


The situation in our country is disturbing to so many of us. I look with dismay and barely recognise the land of my youth, the land of my ancestors. Sure, some things have moved into positive directions, especially during my lifetime. But right now even those moves seem to be falling apart. For many of us, it is scary. It's a sort of Halloween kind of feeling, real maybe, just scary maybe.

Our people have, for the most part, historically, been generous, caring, spiritual, hopeful people. I have to believe beneath the turbulent mess going on now, if you scratch the surface, you will find the very same spirit that led us to do great things, often self-sacrificing things. People of great courage have risen up and moved us through horrible times, think Civil War or the World Wars. We stopped evils such as fascism with loss of loved ones and with huge financial costs. We did what had to be done.

So, today we need that spirit to rise up again. With so many disintegrating places on earth, with the ugliest presidential campaign in our history, with racial tensions growing, poverty worse, etc. we really must pull ourselves up and do the right and spiritual things that will reestablish balance and goodness.

Let us pray and act from a deep commitment to all things spiritual. Let us remember that each and every one of us is a Divine Creation, carrying the breath, the seed of God within --- every single one of us, and that makes us family.

Love, caring, goodness, compassion, wisdom - they are inside of us. Let them out. Let's turn our world around by being the children of the Most High in every word and deed.

Lord of all, speak in our hearts, speak deeply in all the people of earth. Help us remember who we are and what it is that You want of us. Lead us to be all we can be. Lead us to be an instrument of Your Peace, Your Love, Your Light, Your Wisdom. Set free in us, unleash in us, a flow of Light such as has not been seen for a very long time. Let there be goodness on earth, and let it begin with us.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016


I just read in "Christ & Empire, From Paul to Post colonial Times":
Is the ultimate challenge of the way of Christ not that Christ is human like us, but that we are human like him? 
That seems to me to be a statement worth contemplation. It has mind stretching possibilities.

As someone who is human like him, I also then have a Divine pedigree.  I too am not only God's own, but am part of, connected to the Christ and all humans. This is a Oneness position, the point of view of mystics in all ages. And it is what I know to be so.

Lord, I open my heart and soul to receive these words and let them grow into full bloom so that I completely realize who I am in Truth, in Your Eyes.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Preparing for sermon, I found this version of 23rd Psalm.

Our Nature/s

A new thought for me revolves around a well-known fact - when the gases hydrogen and oxygen come together, they form H2O, water which is entirely different than gases, a new thing. 

Well, that's not the new thought, as you have guessed. The new thought is  - what happens to the original 2 gases, do they still exist or have they become a new thing and no longer are also their old thing?

Then my mind moved to spiritual awakening. This person called "Marlene" who has been walking an inordinate number of valleys and having the ego burned off in the process, walks to Oneness. So this me made new, is now something else than before the experience of Oneness. Who I once was has transformed into the current me who knows that God and I are One. Is the previous me still there too?

The reborn idea seems to me to be part of this. I once was this, but now I've awakened to other, in a sense reborn as something that I've not been before. So, I become as a little child as the new me, and grow and embody, and then is there another such event down the path? Is this spiralling path and pattern of becoming new an eternal adventure? On and on I journey to Oneness, yet never quite able to get there, for that would imply I could become God. The best I know of is to have the Cosmic Christ, the Seed of God, Wisdom - alert and active in me, to be a place where Light shines.

Am I the eternal caterpillar becoming a butterfly? Where is the caterpillar after the butterfly emerges? The original caterpillar dissolved into liquid before reforming into the butterfly. Is something in me dissolving so that the newness can be set free? Is it the ego that dissolves? 

I need to think on these things. Please join me.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Another Huxley Thought String

In "Perennial Philosophy," Huxley wrote:
Contemplation is that condition of alert passivity in which the soul lays itself open to the Divine Ground within and without, the immanent and transcendent Godhead.
In the silence, so much has come to me. In what he calls "alert passivity" it becomes possible to hear the wee small voice, or sometimes the booming voice. Contemplation and meditation are like soul conditioners that make the ground of my being able to receive the Divine Ground.

So many in "modern" times seem to be in a hurry to rush to the next great thing, whatever that might be in the moment - more of something whether it be more of a physical thing, emotional thing, experience, for sure something ever more stimulating,

At the same time, I observe a soul hunger that can never be satisfied with the neon lights of consumerism. More, more, more is not what satisfies the hunger, the yearning. the call from the depths to something else.

I am certain that if we all took time each day to spend moments in contemplation and meditation, we would discover another layer of self and life and the journey on earth. A half an hour a day dedicated to this would change individual worlds and the greater world also.

Personally, I like to begin the day with a cup of tea and some inspired writing, selecting a thought from it to roll around in my mind, that is contemplate. Then silence, just being present. Then a bit of writing whatever comes to mind. And at various points along this way, prayer. My entire being is then "conditioned" so that I can walk into the frenzy yet not be part of it, for I know who I am and at least some of my purpose for being here.

Dear world, try this for some weeks and let yourself be amazed.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Whispers of Spirit

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

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

Spirit whispered great things, and listening people heard.

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

Wednesday, September 21, 2016


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

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

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

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

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Teachers of Mine, of Yours

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

You Matter

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Walking Along

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

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

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

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

Monday, September 5, 2016


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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Footnote to History

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

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

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

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

Saturday, August 27, 2016

"Finished" Book

This morning I came to the end (for now) of "The Syrian Christ." I found this book fascinating, and it led me to know a bit more about customs, ways of thinking, idioms and so forth of the people of the Bible lands. I am going to share the concluding words of this book here:
Free and co-operative individualism is winning signal victories over the unnatural authority of creed in the Protestant bodies, and the bondage of the letter is giving way to the freedom of the spirit. The Gospel of Christ is triumphing over the theories about Christ, and spiritual self- fulfillment by becoming Christ-like is crowding out of existence all theories of magical salvation. The creed of the theologians consists of many "articles"; the Creed of Christ only two --- 'Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and thy neighbor as thyself.'  I prefer Christ's Creed. 
Me too!!! I prefer Christ's Creed.

However, his optimism in 1916 seems to have grown clouded by 2016. There are many leaders of congregations who have doubled back to the old magical ideas of the creeds of the 300's and embroidered new and strange ideas upon them. Following Christ's Creed is simple, but perhaps too difficult to put into effect for some people. So, manipulators have added all kinds of hoops to jump through to be judged by them to be acceptable and what is sometimes called "saved." It seems to me they have dropped the 2nd half of Christ's Creed to all who are not in their category of "saved." So they deem Christ as giving mere suggestions and the control freaks of history as much more solid.

I don't want to get into it today, but I find the concept of "saved" as ludicrous - Jesus said God is love. What is there to fear? They speak of the words saying to fear God, which more accurately might be translated as "awe." They don't know the history of the human creeds, what Constantine did and why, how original sin was non-existent until Augustine and his buddies added it in what some say was a mistranslation of Paul, they don't study idioms and customs of that part of the world, they don't realize Jesus spoke Aramaic, they don't know of the shift from a Jewish sect to a Gentile world who did not understand anything Jewish and so really got far fetched from original meaning, and thousands of other facts that inform the true seeker on the Christ-led spiritual path.

Anyway, all the crazy details are really meaningless, except they control so many. I urge all who wish to follow Christ to work on His Creed, implementing these two items into every moment. See where that takes us spiritually. These two simple/challenging parts of the Creed could actually usher in peace on earth, the Kingdom of God here on this strange little planet.

God is Love. Love God back. Our neighbors have the spark of God within, salute the Christ in everyone. I salute the Christ in you.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Yin and Yang

Today I was thinking about my life here and the wide range of experiences -- and why???

On the dark side I've known: terror, fear, abuse, rape, loneliness, bruises to body and mind, betrayal, extreme pain, dramatic deaths, desertion, mental illness of those close to me, tears, and just about anything you can think of.

On the Light side I've known: God, Love, usefulness, inspiration, joy, friendship, creativity, hope, intelligence, success, laughter, happiness, peace of mind and probably most everything you can think of.

My first conclusion is that this earth experience is not for wimps. We have our spiritual muscles tested to the max. Sometimes we get some respites so we can catch our breath.

So this is not the vacation planet for the universe. This is maybe an intense school, or an asylum, or maybe a correctional planet. I think we must do our best not to get distracted by the dark side. We've been told over and over again the Way. the Path, yet so few of us walk it.

We've been told that when we do leave here, we are asked if we learned unconditional love and if we completed our purpose for this life. Therefore, we would do well to focus on these two things.

We might contemplate Love and Purpose, journal about them, focus on them and do our best to be able to answer "yes" when the time comes.

Sunday, August 21, 2016


This morning I awoke with the thought that something is amiss on earth, something is screwy. It is strange here.

First of all, the great spiritual lights across the eons have spoken about what a spiritual life displays. Some of the common words are: compassion, love, peace, kindness, forgiveness, generosity, praise, devotion, holiness, honor, Oneness...

BUT I look around my life and life in general and these are not the most common ways people historically or currently walk this earth. In many cases the display is opposite or far on the way to opposite of the signs of spiritual awareness.

How can this be? Centuries upon centuries of spiritual ones speaking, yet seldom heard. By now, shouldn't a large number of us, even a majority, have heard and heeded and strive to be actually spiritual? Sure, I know many who are, but maybe not enough to make this place the kingdom of heaven on earth it could be if most everyone sought to be spiritually awake. Not enough to tip the consciousness scale on the side of Godliness.

Perhaps it is partially that we have to start over with each new entrant to earth. We are always getting a new batch of souls and another batch are leaving. The influences on each new soul are varied. Today the influences are extended beyond family and community, books and teachers. Now there is the wild mix of evil and goodness on the internet, the television, movies, games, etc. There are huge differences being presented to impressionable new recruits to planet earth. And we see our Western civilization breaking down. It is terrible, frightening, filled with deep sorrow and yet fascinating to observe from sociological, psychological and spiritual vantage points.

I see that we stand on one of those huge historical divergence of roads - as in Frost's poem, "The Road Less Traveled." I can see the likely road humanity is taking is not the highest and best, it is the one that leads to much pain and destruction.

I call out into the atmosphere of this earth for souls willing to somehow know this call and turn and walk into a genuine spiritual awakening time, to turn from all that is unGodlike, to turn to all those things that define a spiritual being, to purify and allow the working of the Holy Presence in deep and profound ways. Before it is too late. Before darkness descends upon our earth for centuries, bring forth the Light.

Lord, I have heard Your Call and I send it out to all willing to hear, to those who never even read this but touch the energy, the meaning of these words. Speak in those hearts, Lord. Lead us to turn this darkness into Light and lift not only today, but also the future into harmony with You. I know the time is short, and I also know that with You, all is possible. Lead us to usher in a new era of Goodness and Light, spark the hearts and souls of us all to ignite with this Vision and be filled with Your Love. Let it be so. Amen, Amen and Amen

Tuesday, August 16, 2016


This morning I read something that I've said many, many times to myself and also out-loud.
The purpose of life is not to be happy. The purpose of life is to matter; to have it make a difference that you lived at all.  --- Rosten
My vision for my life has been for as long as I can remember is:  be a beneficial presence. Not that I always succeed, but that I always aim for this keeps me seeking to do better and better. I want to be the best version of Marlene that I can be and to do the most good I possibly can.

There have been times that I failed miserably. I have picked myself up and brushed myself off and tried again. Never in all these 76 years have I tried to be a hurtful presence, yet some say they have felt hurt. My intentions have sometimes misfired in strange ways. I am thankful that God knows my heart and forgives my periodic artlessness in this thing called life on earth.

I share this because we all experience the slings and arrows times, but we must be brave and not let that define us. We must not seek nor allow excuses that inhibit us from standing up with courage to be the best we can be. I believe we need tall standing Spiritual Lights now, perhaps more than ever, to shine the Light of God's Love everywhere. We must step up and be all we can be, for I see that we are almost in an emergency time on this planet.

Great Holy Presence in Whom we live and move and have our being, ignite in us The Light and help us to stand tall and shine Your Love every second of our remaining time here on this planet. Help us to be beneficial presences, witnesses for the Highest and Best, all that we can be. The ancient seal of faith seals this prayer, Amen, Amen and Amen