My Books Available Now on Amazon ebooks

Amazon Kindle books now have some of my books. Please keep checking for more titles as they become available. Thanks!

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Second Birth

The union of the soul with God is its second birth.

Spinoza, 1632-1677 CE, father of modern philosophy

At my meditation workshop Saturday, I gave the choice of several quotes and scriptures to learn and practice Lectio Divina, Divine Reading.

The focus of Lectio Divina is not a theological analysis of biblical passages but viewing them with Christ as the key to their meaning. For example, given Jesus' statement in John 14:27: "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give unto you", an analytical approach would focus on the reason for the statement during the Last Supper, the biblical context, etc. In Lectio Divina, however, the practitioner "enters" and shares the peace of Christ rather than "dissecting" it. In some Christian teachings, this form of meditative prayer is understood as leading to an increased knowledge of Christ.

I selected the above quote from Spinoza for me to contemplate that day. I want to share with you some of the thoughts that came to me while contemplating it.

In those moments of conscious union with God, I am made new, lifted, restored, yet I am me. I see a rose. It is a rose, but it is made new. It speaks to me of its beauty, and I know it in a new way.. I see a rock, it speaks to me of its strength and endurance, and the rock, being still a rock, makes itself known to me in a new way. My second birth changes me, yet I am who I have always been. I remember more of who I have always been, of who you have always been. The second birth opens new sight, new hearing, new understanding, new questions and on and on. It is a shift, a paradigm shift or two, and an epiphany and things beyond words. I cannot pour its full meaning into words. I can only hint and point. And by the way, it happens many times, each with its new gift of meaning and deepening and union.

Trust me, there is more than we have so far even imagined. May God stir that second birth in you.

Monday, September 18, 2023

What Do They Have to Do With One Another?

 Matthew 5:3

You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

 Philippians 2:3-4 (New International Version)

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

I was preparing my weekly Bible lesson for a homeless shelter. We're on the Sermon on the Mount, and the verse from Matthew above is one we will be discussing this week. Then the one in Philippians popped up for me in my reading. I saw them together.

Salt is what enhances other things. It's added in small amounts to most foods to enhance other flavors, in everything from soups to cakes. So Jesus is asking us to enhance whatever or whoever comes to us. Encourage, lift, comfort others and don't try to be the big deal, the main thing. Quietly, without ego, go about softly enhancing. Be like the salt.

Then Paul tells us something similar. Don't do anything from ego. Be humble. Don't put yourself above others. 

Let's consider the importance of being salt and discover the sweet ways we can enhance all those who come in our lives.

Tuesday, September 5, 2023

The Gospel of Phillip

The Gospel of Phillip is one of the Gospels found in the 1945 discovery at Nag Hammadi. The quote below was fascinating to me.

 Light and darkness, life and death, and right and left are siblings of one another, and inseparable. For this reason the good are not good, the bad are not bad, life is not life, death is not death. Each will dissolve into its original nature, but what is superior to the world cannot be dissolved, for it is eternal.

The first thing I thought of was the yin yang Yin and yang - Wikipediasymbol that was introduced to me by my sociology professor back in 1960. It was thought- provoking to me, a newbie at the time to such things. The idea that in all darkness is a little light and in all light there is some darkness sparked a cavalcade of thought.Nothing is purely anything. Life is not cut and dried, either this or that, but some of each. The goal, of course, is to keep as little darkness in one's light as possible and to shine as much light in the darkness as possible.

The writer of the Gospel of Phillip expressed that idea with the concept of siblings that are inseparable. The way he put it makes so much sense to me.  But there is that which is superior, that which is eternal, and It does not dissolve into Itself, for it is Divine. 

I hope you contemplate this little quote and allow your own cavalcade of though to flow.