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Saturday, October 29, 2022

A Nudge from Richard Rohr

Humans are fashioned to love people more than principles, and Jesus fully exemplified this pattern. But many seem to prefer loving principles --- as if you can really do such a thing. Like Moses, we each need to know God face to face. [Exodus 33:11, Numbers 12:8]  Note how Jesus said 'God is not a God of the dead but of the living (for to him all people are alive)  [Luke 20:38]  In my opinion, his aliveness made it so much easier for people to trust their own aliveness and thus relate to God, because like knows like.                                                                       --Richard Rohr The Universal Christ

I came across this quote this week, and it meant so much to me because I've been wrestling in my mind and heart with people who do put principles ahead of people. All things spiritual have been at the center of my life for as long as I can remember. I discovered that much of theology was made up by men who did not have the inspiration of Jesus or of any great avatar, so they made up rules that had to be followed or else... (what else depends on the times, could mean re-education camps, shunning or burning or gas chambering or burning in hell forever or...).

It also has led, and is leading, to splintering factions and fights between factions - one stands on this "principle" and another stands on a differing "principle." Most have little or nothing to do with the founder/namesake of the group/religion.

My current dilemma in understanding comes from the splits regarding people who are gay. As far as I know, Jesus never put an asterick on his statements. Love one another as I have loved you* (*except for some people. ) He never put an asterick on his definition of God, God is love* (*except towards some people).

I have often thought that if we go back to the original - in my case Jesus - we gain clarity. If we go to people over history who have mused over what Jesus really meant, we get a mixed bag, and we get distorted thinking. 

Even in science, which is pretty much a collection of principles, the scientist keeps on testing the principles and hypothesizing and testing new principles - in attempts to come to know what is true.

So what if we cut down on the emotions of protecting the "principles" we've become attached to, and just sought Truth, going to the source, listening with our hearts, living the most loving lives we can? What if we just considered the wild theologies of the ages as interesting history that may or may not contain useful clues, not rules from the hand of God? What if we went back to those who really did know God face to face? What if we were radical lovers of God and God's creation?

Monday, October 24, 2022

Pitfalls of Non-attachment

Spiritual avatars have spoken over the ages about non-attachment being a necessary part of the spiritual path. We must not be puffed up by our successes, our good deeds or our personal abilities, nor are we to be so horrified by our failures that we try to hide them or blame others. We are to simply live as the best people we can be, whether or not someone is looking. To God be the glory, to walk humbly and lovingly, to seek God every moment - these are our callings.

But, some use non-attachment in regards to evil and darkness. They wish to justify abhorrent behavior. In "The Divine Within" by Aldous Huxley, he addresses this quite clearly. Here is a small snipet of what he says.

Nonattachment cannot be practiced except in relation to intrinsically good or ethically neutral actions; the idea that it can be practiced in relation to bad actions is a delusion, springing from the wish of the ego to go on behaving badly, while justifying such behavior by means of a high and apparently spiritual philosophy.

It seems to me, we must guard against our egos using non-attachment as a cover for our failures and bad behaviors, but also as a culture we must not simply look at wrong behavior as neither here nor there. We must not condone the evils going on and just walk on by. 

People need to learn the basic ways that make life liveable. Bad behavior has to be reigned in and hopefully changed so the person can be restored. We cannot allow murderers, pedophiles, thieves, violent people, etc to roam the streets. We cannot continue to walk over passed out homeless people on the streets. That is not the place for non-attachment.

Thursday, October 20, 2022

Thy Kingdom Come?

Many people are familiar with the Lord's Prayer, at least at the word level. Many have said Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done... maybe hundreds or thousands of times.

But they live lives that say Thy Kingdom go, my own will be done instead.

They live anything but a life focused on the Divine. They get angry about this or that and dispose of family and friends who have a different opinion. They are promiscuous, or addicts of other things. They are seduced by the latest fad from wokeness to tennis shoes. They get angry and jealous and greedy. They fight and even promote the horrors of war. They let their lives and emotions be controlled from the outside via current opinion, advertising, social media, television talking heads, or politicians. Etc. Etc. Etc.

All of this and more shouts Thy Kingdom go!!!

There is, of course, no valid spiritual voice anywhere in history suggesting focusing one's life on Thy Kingdom go!!!  or that this would be a good idea.

With so much of the world in this moment of time doing just that, it does create a dilemma as to how to turn such a negative trajectory around.

Dear Good People of Earth, let us pray for guidance and for courage to face this time, to be part of those who truly with all heart and mind say and live Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done.

Monday, October 17, 2022

Time Trap

Movement in time is irreversibly in one direction. “We live forwards,” as Kierkegaard said, “but we can only understand backwards.”

Here on earth, we seem trapped in the corridor of time, which makes many of us obsess over all things trapped with us in time, thereby never getting out of our own way. All things in time die, disintegrate and eventually disappear. So, while we need certain things in order to stay on earth, our physical and in-time, life is not IT.

We can learn by looking backward, but we can't go back. We only have this moment. What are we to do in this moment? What calls us out of our obsession with what Jesus called Things that rust.

We are to still our minds, open our hearts, let go of egotism and allow the influx of Spirit. We are To seek the Kingdom of God, the very Ground of our being. We are to read and contemplate the words of the great spiritual teachers, the Ones who came to Know The Way.

Many are called but few are chosen. Who is chosen is up to each one of us. We choose to lay down the temporary and seek the Eternal, The Infinite - or not.

But thought’s the slave of life, and life’s time’s fool, And time that takes survey of all the world Must have a stop.

      ---- William Shakespeare 

Sunday, October 16, 2022

It Is Equal In Its Way

... the minute in itself is essentially neutral; that both the positive and the negative—both life and death—go on in it; that God sends his rain upon the just and unjust; that there is an essentially equal view of the world. --- "The Divine Within"

Huxley's next to the last book came to my attention again lately, and I downloaded it to my Kindle this week. I find it stunning every time I read it, and so you'll likely find me discussing various quotes that strike me, although there is very little that doesn't strike me in the book. I encourage you to read the book yourself.  

This particular section, and this little quote, seem to me to be so current to the odd messes going on. Let's consider some context, at least from what I have come to know from this long treck through this particular life.

  • Most of us come here as developing souls to learn the special lessons of earth, and some come as teachers.
  • We have freewill to choose how we respond. 
  • Looking across history, little has changed as to the lessons here.
  • We are accountable for our lives. When we leave here, we will be asked questions, including - Did you complete your purpose for this life? Did you learn how to love, unconditionally love?
Therefore, the current fad of blaming everyone and everything else is a deeply flawed strategy.

Life on earth has a spectrum of experiences that could be considered neutral, and upon them we heap our rage or our forgiveness or our learning or... It's up to us. It happens to us all, across all of known history. 

What we seek and how we respond to the raw material of life will lead us to The Divine or to a whimpering victim kind of life. It's up to us how we deal with this thing called life.


Thursday, October 13, 2022

For the Non-churched But Spiritual Folks

For those of us who are not congenitally the members of an organized church, who have found that humanism and nature-worship are not enough, who are not content to remain in the darkness of ignorance, the squalor of vice, or the other squalor of respectability, the minimum working hypothesis would seem to run to about this: That there is a Godhead, Ground, Brahman, Clear Light of the Void, which is the unmanifested principle of all manifestations. That the Ground is at once transcendent and immanent. That it is possible for human beings to love, know and, from virtually, to become actually identical with the divine Ground. That to achieve this unitive knowledge of the Godhead is the final end and purpose of human existence. That there is a Law or Dharma which must be obeyed, a Tao or Way which must be followed, if men are to achieve their final end. That the more there is of self, the less there is of the Godhead; and that the Tao is therefore a way of humility and love, the Dharma a living Law of mortification and self-transcending awareness.   ---The Divine Within, Aldous Huxley

This quote puts it so clearly I think. Most of us know, or at least suspect, there is more going on than a quick glance might suggest, and that Something More is The Divine Ground of all. Yes, I can verify from my life experience that It is knowable, and it is the yearning of our hearts. There is a Way (the first name of the followers of Jesus), there is a Tao, and we must follow it if we are to awaken this lifetime.

I recommend we read and reread the above quote and contemplate it. It is rich and dripping with profound truths. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Logic or A Different Kind of Logic - and How It Affects Our World

For days now logic keeps coming to mind, specifically logic types as learned in the University a very long time ago. In some ways, logic was one of the most long-term useful classes I took. I'm going to give you a super simple synopsis, and you can look into it further if you are interested.

The most ancient logic we studied was Aristotelian Logic. Aristotle's Logic ruled for many centuries, and I see it now, yes today, leading us down the primrose paths. He put forth a premise that he thought solid and reasoned from it. The premise did not have to be challenged, in some cases the premise was obvious, but the reasoning from it went astray. The primary example that I recall was this: men are bigger and stronger than women (premise that seems obvious for the most part), but here comes the astray part - therefore men have more teeth than women. But nobody bothered to count teeth. 

This "logic" is currently used daily on most newscasts, in the majority of lectures and sermons, in books and movies. I'll get back to that in a minute.

The second logic is Modern Logic. It aims at validity, provability and other things. It can be quite complex. The Encyclopedia Britannica online discusses this quite well.                                     

I would like to take a moment to explore the earlier logic with you and how it is used to distort and manipulate people. Let's take the border. The government spokespersons say it is closed and nothing needs to be done. Newscasters on most newscasts repeat this. They don't go to the border, they don't speak to people who live on the border. They ignore the pictures of people streaming across the border. They attack people who say the border is open, yet 4 million people without visas and from 190+ countries streamed in during the past 2 years. They fail to mention that the government has been flying and busing them all this time to various cities, not sanctuary cities. They attack governors who send small amounts of people to sanctuary cities to make a point. It is quite a mess, almost comical, except people are being hurt. Children are being trafficked. Drugs are pouring in and killing people in large numbers. And China, who makes the fentanyl, and who has declared they will dominate the world and bring down the West, plus the Mexican Cartels are the winners. 

We can see this kind of logic in many areas, from politics to potential World War 111 to Covid to the many variations of religion, and on and on.

This is primarily because of two things, it seems to me. Aristotelian Logic and Confirmation Bias. Instead of seeking out the truth and acting from the truth, our leaders state flawed premises and argue from them. And, they only say, and only want said, things they have stated as truth, whether or not they are truth. We are beginning to see evidence of Thought Police.

In these perilous times, do we dare to be seekers of Truth? I hope so.

Jesus told us, Seek and you shall find. Knock and the door will open. Let us seek and knock and dare to live in Truth, and in seeking Truth without hesitation. Let the lies fall away. Let the manipulations stop. Let us awaken.