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Saturday, July 21, 2018

Smooth Path Not Guaranteed

I wish it weren't true. I wish all I had to do was tweak this and that and all would forever be smooth sailing. Sadly, smooth sailing constantly is not what happens here on earth. I'm giving my part 2 sermon on Paul tomorrow. He noted that his path had horrendous obstacles, but one has to hang in there and go for the long race

Once upon a time, I was involved in the metaphysics that simplified things down to some  basic premises such as - change your thinking, change your life. What I have come to know is that this is accurate, not about surface things, but about our inner responses. When I can stay calm in the midst of the storm, the storm does not go away. My fear, my anger go away so that I am peaceful and therefore more agile in my response. I come to the rough spots from a different place. I don't stop the rough spots.

I do believe I can reduce the rough spots by my choices, but there still are rough patches in life.

My inner response is directed often by my faith and knowing that God is with me, whispering guidance, and in no way working against me. I know God is with us and on our side.

I  have been navigating a rough spot for some time now. This week had a day that was horrendous, shocking, beyond belief. At first, being in shock, a tear came to my eyes and confusion danced around me. But a peace did descend, I became more of an observer. I looked for patterns. I pondered the event during the rest of the day, and discovered it moved me to make a different decision than I had thought. I realized that that event was a split in the path, and my life was set on a different side than I had expected. I had thought something was settled, decided --but it was not- another door beckoned.

Let us trust in God and learn to listen even in moments of tumult. We don't have to stay in the rough spot as we walk The Way, for we are led onward and upward.

Thank You, God, for leading me every moment - in the glorious times, in the quiet times and in the tumultuous times. Help me make more and more of my choices in concert with You. Help me reduce the horrendous days and increase the days I am aware and awake in You.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Life's Little Traumas Linger

We were sitting at Costco having a snack (nonfat yogurt sundae). At the table across from us was a young family - parents and 3 small children. Their oldest was a boy, maybe 6 years old. He was sitting there calmly, I don't know what he said quietly or did that was not obvious to an onlooker. Suddenly his mother shouted in a profoundly negative voice, "What's the matter with YOU?" I saw the little chest cave in, shoulders drop and face fall into sadness and fear. His mother just glared at him and his father acted like he didn't hear or understand. Perhaps she said it so often that he no longer took notice, maybe even to him.

Immediately I saw that this child would wrestle with this indictment the rest of his life, or at least until he worked out it. He was now cursed with the "knowledge" that something was significantly wrong with him. He would carry that into all places and relationships until he would finally realize that he was actually okay and God loves him no matter what his earthly mother thinks.

I have had the privilege to work with many people over the years and lead them to find the moment when something negative had begun and had run under the surface of their lives, running them into dark and unhappy places.

It seems to me, we all have chards of broken memories that could use some polishing up, updating and healing. Any negative "tape" we run in our heads leads back to some moment when we believed a lie about ourselves. We then perpetuate that lie, by telling it over and over to ourselves. We alter our behavior, our choices, our hope by the lie.

What broken piece runs under your surface? Something Is wrong with me! I always mess up! I'm stupid! I'm not wanted! I'm not wanted here! What I want doesn't matter! Who am I to want such a wonderful ____! etc etc etc

Let us speak truth to lies.

O glorious God, I need help in order to remember You are always with me, always Love me, and made me in Your Image. I need help to remember that I am unique, one of a kind, made with purpose and care. I need to remember I have a purpose here on earth. Lead me Lord.

Saturday, July 14, 2018


This morning I celebrate the kind and wonderful friends and family that love and support us when those valleys come with their challenges. We all must walk valleys - so far I've not met or read about even one person who had a charmed and perfectly positive life. It seems to be part of the earth experience, perhaps nudging us to grow more deeply and profoundly than we might otherwise.

No matter our financial situation, there is a great richness given to us by such friends and family who stand with us, love us, encourage us, and don't run away when times get tough. God bless you all.

At another level, God is always with us, never turns away. We walk our lives in the Presence of God. We may not always take the time to stop and listen to the Guidance coming to us moment by moment, but it is there waiting for us to hear. We have gigantic richness by virtue of this Truth.!

I think that at some level we are aware that we are offered Guidance -- how many times have we said, "I knew I shouldn't have done ___________!" How did we know? Why did we ignore that knowing is an interesting question. Each of us can explore our own thinking and find our answers to that question. It seems to me that we would serve ourselves well to explore and find our answer -- and then, of course, stop doing whatever we do to ignore Guidance and find strategies to hear and follow.

I know God loves us and is with us, always. The Spirit of God enfolds us. Let us welcome that knowing and embrace it back. Let us be walkers of The Way.

Thank You, Divine Presence, for being with me each and every moment. Teach me to hear You more fully and follow You more constantly.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Kindness To All

One of the solutions to many of our problems, personally and culturally, is to decide simply to be kind - no excuses, no loopholes, flat out kind to oneself and to everyone and everything.

In support of this decision we need to carefully monitor what we allow into our subconscious minds. Our subconscious reasons deductively - e.g. it works with whatever is within it without searching for other things. This is unlike our conscious mind which can reason inductively - e.g. it can look for missing pieces outside, such as "This doesn't make sense. What am I missing?"

So, if we spend hours a day engaged in violent games, violent films, violent music, and/or violent books, our subconscious begins to normalize violence. It does not question it. It does not search out other ways. It only works with what is in it.

To actually pledge to kindness, then, we need to feed our subconscious kind examples and thoughts. We need to engage in positive activities.

We can nurture the kindness life by visualizing kindness, imagining it brilliantly colored, imagine it filling us with a warm and sweet energy. We can seek opportunities to be kind to others. We can be aware of ourselves, pulling in away from violence and going forth into kindness.

What sort of a difference do we really want to make with our lives? How do we want to be remembered? How do we want to be standing before God? Will we be calm and loving, kind and good? Far too many people are going the opposite way right now. Let's turn that around, back in the direction of kindness.

God be with you.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

4th of July

It's the 4th of July, Independence Day, commemorating this day in 1776 when our ancestors won freedom from Great Britain and we became independent and different from any other nation in history. We had/have a Constitution that guarantees our rights and freedoms. Here a person can rise as far in life as their ability and hard work allow - not by caste or class, but by merit.

There are forces today that want to end this great way of life. It hurts my deepest being. I love our freedoms. I love this nation.

There are people today who are held captive by group think, people whose critical thinking skills are not developed. They are not free in the way they can be. There are groups within this group whose group think involves everything from sanctioned rudeness to sanctioned violence. There are groups within this group who think everyone must think alike, like them, or they are evil. They are held captive by irrational emotion, by the lower brain, by being part of this group and so they think they belong  to something greater. They do not think out the consequences of what would happen if their screams were implemented. For me, it is bizarre to watch, but more so it is frightening.

In my estimation, we must be careful or we could lose our precious freedoms - freedoms thought to be God given by our founders. If the unthinking, wild and violent, mean and rude take the day, it will be the demise of something wonderful, remarkable, unique and magnificent.

Let us pray for a great awakening across this land. There is a solution for every problem. Let us open ourselves to find the solution/s and save our freedoms.

Lord of all, guide us through these perilous times. Inspire us with ideas that can protect our freedoms and also heal the crazed mobs. We know there is a way. Show us The Way.

Monday, July 2, 2018

The Problem with History

How do we ever know what really happened? If we flip around channels listening to "news," we can quickly see that even what happened this morning cannot be agreed upon. So what about hundreds or thousands of years ago?

My particular interest has been focused primarily on the 1st century CE. Most written documents of the day have not been found up until now. Paul's letters,written around 51 to 60 CE, are much later copies. Scholars are able to identify that some elements of Paul's letters are insertions from some later scribe, but it is assumed that for the most part his 7 letters that have been authenticated are what he really wrote.

A careful reader of the Gospels will note that there are significant differences in details and often also in theology. Who was at the tomb first? Did the risen Jesus tell them to meet in Jerusalem or return to Galilee? When did Jesus become the son of God? At his baptism or at his birth or from the beginning of time? Was he the adopted son?

The people of the early church had heated debates over these and other things pertinent to the development of the faith.

What bothers me, as a person who wants to know, is there are no definitive  answers. There were no recordings, no cameras, practically no literate people. And from the git go, there were wildly divergent ideas flying around. And there still are.

There are hundreds of different versions of Christianity this very minute. Each of them is sure their version is THE right one.

It takes a lot of study, contemplation, prayer, and common sense to wind our way through this maze of thought and opinion. I am fascinated by the journey.