Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Prayer for a New Year

-
May the power above
Grant you a new year
a new start if needed
filled with many blessings.

Days come and go.
Blessings come and go.
Both can be sorely missed
When unnoticed or gone.

Keep in mind perspectives.
The need to live, work, play,
Reflect, construct, learn-
Take some time to pray.

We are not alone.
And yet we can be lonely.
Patience, courage, love,
Are virtues needed these days.

Touch nature and its beauties.
Bring the richness of creation
Into your daily living and drink
Freely of the waters of life.

Always remember,
Never forget,
Count your blessings
All of the time.

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Prize is the Journey

Caroline Kennedy recently said that an event like 911 made her want to get more involved and have a more active part in the whole fabric of American life. Good for her.

Myself, looking back, I see how 911 poked a hole in my political view of the world. I also had to stand back and decide what I believed in terms of religion. The other side was using, misusing religion as an arm of some political agenda.

This blog, with its readers, has been an education. In terms of my spiritual progress, I have figured out at where I might be at this present time on the road of life.

Perhaps I am more a nineteenth century Unitarian in my private belief systems on more things than anything else. I elect to change my opinions and beliefs as I go along if I so choose. Nothing, like beliefs, in this modern age should be set in stone.

Heaven and hell are here upon this earth. Some of us are lucky enough or blessed to have a choice to seek the former.

I am not a religionist. I do not addicted to religion. I do recognize that religion has been part of the social glue for thousands of years. Secular functions have replaced many previous sacred functions in society. Where religion stands in the rest of the world is entirely different than the way it is going along in the United States.

I am a secularist. I believe in the separation of church and state. I am saddened that so few in America have a rich appreciation or knowledge of true or good religion practice. While I know the average evangelical is probably a good intentioned Christian, I also know that the road to an imagined hell is often paved with good intentions.

That to burn books, symbolically, or in reality, of science is the worst kind of fascism. That this wanting to return to an early nineteenth century mentality whereby the only book in town is a bible is a path that leads to the disasters and misused emotions that turn to anger, hate and days like 911.

I recently got some feedback that said that religion is very, very dead in Europe or at least the organized Christian form is quite dead. We in America do not know or taste and feel our European brothers’ and sisters’ culture unless we travel and experience from those travels. I have to travel more.

That the only energy in religion in Europe these days may ironically be Islam and of the faith of so many immigrants to that social political economic state.

Where religion goes I do not know. I am an anti-religionist. I have my private beliefs but think that in out global mindset, which is the future, the secular side of the equation blots out any or all religious calculations.

Luckily. I have enriched myself and I hope you too the reader by what I have said in writing this year. It has been an interesting year.

The journey is the prize. The prize is the journey. For those of you lucky enough to enjoy thinking, march on.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Age of a Coming Rainbow


For forty years
I repeated the tape
I sat and saw TV -
shadows -
the human struggle
its rise and fall, on
black and white and
then color TV.
The rainbow was gray
on the little b & w TV
in the high school
music room (1968),
no music that day.
Only the echo of
thunder.
Those who would, could
move us - lead us
to a better place
their voices were stilled
- silent.
And the music teacher
procalimed "Gentlemen,
we are living in very
sick - sick country".
Rainbows of the human spirit
fled - ran - hid away
that day, not to be
seen since.
Oh color survived
but the techno rainbow
is not a child of nature.
Forty years of color TV.
Forty years of b & w
memories.
Gray silence gave way,
witness in fact, to a
rage of a man
not a sage of a man
with new (low) standards

of leadership met, set for
decades to come.
Rage on tapes,
still spewing hate,
rave on beady eyed man -
leader - the world survived
without you - Thank God!
But it was still
an age without rainbows until
the drought of the human heart
persuaded a cleansing rain
to descend here below.
And to some it might
seem a flood -
the people's age
to replace the corrupt
Age of the CEO.
Obama -
stands to be sworn in (2009).
Blessings upon us all
(we deserve them, earned them).
Forty years of no rainbows.
(Era sin arcos iris)
Gives way to great floods
("Et Grands Deluges"...)
of the human spirit.
Life giving water descend.
Purify a bygone age.
Arrive to announce
not a golden age
but a rainbow multi-colored
age of mankind. (dawning)
-

(My thanks for inspiration to Michel de N. Century One, Quatrains 17, 76)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Sede Vacante Temporis

I thought I was finished with this blog but something kept nagging at me. It was the concept of the Latin Mass in the R.C. church and Vatican II.

I thought that maybe if John XXIII was Pope and official head of the R.C. church (CEO) that he could have merely stated that a vernacular language Mass could have been used in any parish that asked permission of the local bishop to do so. The Pope of tradition is supposed to have power to do something like that. Ecumenical sentiments could have grown from local vines and worked its way up to major importance.

To most Protestants the Papacy ended in 1517 with Martin Luther and his 95 Theses. Not so. The priest Luther was petitioning, going through channels, with grievances against spiritual abuse. Rome was so corrupt that it went into bunker mode and has been in such ever since.

Luther was no saint and his Augsburg Confession is still half valid truth and in perspective it is half doubtful propaganda with time.

There is a movement in modern times that states that no Pope has in fact been a valid head of the church since 1958 and the death of Pius XII.

The Chair – the seat of Peter - is vacant to some.

A Latin term used by Catholics who think that the R.C. is in heretical freefall since the election of John XXIII and the calling for a church council Vatican II is sedevacantism – boy, what a mouth full.

This group of Catholics think that Vatican II was nothing more than a modernist Public Relations display and an invalid crutch to John XXIII to permit the vernacular language Mass or Common Service to flourish where it was wanted within the sacred body of Christ and or the church.

I do not think that on this point. I think that John XXIII was asking for an open council in which Protestant observers were invited to witness an opening of windows on faith to all Christians. He was asking for consensus from all his bishops.

John XXIII died at age 81 and the bureaucrats took over. Some think that this succeeding clique interpreted Vatican II and resulted in a cabalistic like bubble version of spirituality.

Alas, I am no longer in the R.C. Church but I think I am in grace to Christ and his message. I feel I can make these observations from a slight distance to the matter.

Sede Vancante Temporis.

The Chair is temporarily vacant.

I personally after much thought - think about the long drawn out death of John Paul II. I thought it vain and out of date. The man in ill health should have been able to retire to a cloistered environment and finish his days in privacy and with dignity. Instead he put his death and importance on display like a Rock Star/Modernist cultist personality.

What I say and I do not wish to sound fanatical is that if the R.C. Church elects bishops/cardinals past the age of 65, they are in fact admitting that this election is an honorary thing for some R.C. bureaucrats with good crony connections.

That if you use the modern realistic age bracket of 65 – 70 as an understood retirement age for most human beings – at 65, there has been 7 years of valid working aged years input to the bureaucratic job of pope since 1958.

That if you push the envelope of retirement age to the age of 70 – then in the fifty years since the death of Pope Pius XII, only sixteen odd years of able bodied adherence to a job description has been accomplished in the job description of Pope – Bishop of Rome.

Sede Vacante Temporis

The chair is a part time position for some (other than the totally honorary title guys).

The chair seems more like a honorary title and in a real sense – functioning like the out of touch, performing for the public, obsolete British Crown.

Once Vatican II came along and the Pope as a photograph came down off the wall or the Pope in your hand as a holy card disappeared - the whole office and concept of the centuries old function of the job changed forever. The office of pope no longer exists or functions in line with any true historic sense - it is now like a TV style illusion. It is a now primarily a modernist entity and function.

Interesting idea and or schism. Where does the R.C. church go from here on that one?

Sunday, November 30, 2008

New Jerusalem – the new Global Capital


The recent attack on the global city of Mumbai (Bombay) in India illustrates how as the world’s population expands, the land does not match the needs of a growing population. You can talk about finances and universities and commerce – the free market system can accommodate some of this global flow but it cannot accommodate fanatical religious beliefs that mask political agendas.

While you can expand enterprise in a global sense, you cannot perpetuate that old timed bubble to protect your old time religion in a shrinking land bubble.

I can presume that the recent bloodshed is over the decades old disputed territory of Kashmir and the dividing line in politics which happens also to be a dividing line in religion.

In the decades to come as we adapt to the new needs of a global population in a global economy, we can expect more bloodshed sad to say.

Land was the basis of the recent worldwide fraud of American securities packaged and sold as valid with a MBA Imprimatur. In the end, the land with improvements was not as valuable as the inflated promise of return. Land is not the answer to much of the future’s problems so much as cooperation of all peoples globally.

You reap what you sow. If your government and your religion and or your government/religion cannot promote tolerance and win-win negotiation, the global equation is not doomed. Innocent bystanders will be collateral damage of imperfect human thinking – intolerance - clinging to outdated ideas from the past. These are unbending ideas that refuse to be groomed in the possibilities of a new global way to look at all things in a new way - and deal with them accordingly.

The heart of most religions preach and practice the tolerance necessary to arrive at a new global future. It is the fringe edge of reality that clings to a local view in a local bubble going up against global reality and with violence. There is a place for both local and global ideas in the future.

Like the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, if they don’t want a Third Temple, fine, build it elsewhere. Ideas are more important than armies or mere square footage of land.

The New Jerusalem, the new Global Capital of Earth will be built one day. It will not be built on land. It will be built on faith, hope, love and the good will of all men and all women on this one planet.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Third Temple

As I have said elsewhere here, God works in his own time and in his own way.

I have spent many hours reading and researching the concept of the Third Temple.

The first Temple was built by Solomon. It was rebuilt or restored after the Babylonian captivity.

Then you have the aftermath of Alexander’s world empire collapsing on itself and the Jews in Judea being in the middle of politics and religious persecution at the hands of Hellenistic rulers which results in more revolt and lack of peace in the Middle East and this happening a hundred and fifty years before the time of Jesus.

The rebellions against the Greek rule resulted in a short peace and headed by a family dynasty called the Hasmonean Dynasty that lasted until the so called Herod the Great. Herod of course is mentioned in the Gospels and he was as nasty as King Henry VII of England who married an heir to the throne and then killed off all rivals or pretenders to the throne (his throne).

This favored son of Rome was able to seize power and crown himself as the King of Judea with his Roman puppet master’s approval.

Herod the great took the Hellenistic Alexander the Great view of the world and started to build and rebuild on a scale only rivaled in the city of Rome itself. No amount of taxes or slaves’ sweat or blood would keep Herod from trying to outshine the not forgotten with the people Hasmonean Dynasty. It had been they that recaptured Jerusalem and the defiled Temple and the story of Hanukah comes from this period and the miracle of oil in the Menorah, the ultimate symbol of Judaism, which burned for eight days.

In the end Herod’s cutting edge technology port part of the city of Caesarea fell back into the sea. The rebuilt expanded second Temple disappeared in several waves of recycling and eradication. His Xanadu, his Masada Palace, is remembered not for its builder but for the courage of the last vestiges of the Revolt of 66-73 C.E.

I have no doubt that Herod the Great ordered the death of many innocents in many places including Bethlehem in his syphilis crazed paranoid rule of Judea that was signed off on by the elites of Rome.

Fast forward on the timeline and in the Six Day War the Israeli Army takes all of Jerusalem but not Temple Mount. The Islamists have a thirteen hundred year real estate claim. In real time and real money and real estate, their claim is legitimate.

The Temple Mount remains a sore thumb in any perception of or resolution of present political tensions between Israel and Palestine.

Putting aside the political issue, nobody is quite certain where the second temple was located and of course saying that the Dome of the Rock mosque is the exact place puts a lot of stress into any formula for archeological research or digging. The Islamists will never concede any territory atop the Temple Mount. Barring a massive earthquake or an act of God, the Temple Mount is likely to stay the same for decades or centuries to come.

This brings me to an idea. Why does the Third Temple, as many Jews want to build, have to be built on the present Temple Mount in Jerusalem? Build it nearby. Extend Temple Mount and build. There is no eminent domain in the state of Israel to build next door??? If the Third Temple is inches or mere feet from the original Second Temple, what really matters ? - location, location, location or the heart and desire to build and to please the Lord.

Of course if they actually were able to build a third Temple anywhere in the vicinity of the present Temple Mount I think that looking back is a bad idea. I for one would have to side with animal rights advocates on the number and frequency of the slaughter of animals as sacrifice to God. I believe that the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross was the whole idea of Christianity moving forward out of a primitive pagan like era of blood sacrifice.

Another suggestion - Why not just build a replica of the second Temple on a mountain top in a desert somewhere and treat it with respect and a place to acknowledge the idea of a sacred place dedicated to the one God?

And if politics and bureaucratic inertia stops the rebuilding of the Temple in the middle east why not build it elsewhere on God's planet?

There are many mountain tops in the desert southwest United States and northwest Mexico that could accommodate a second Temple replica to become a place of pilgrimage both as a museum and a functioning place of worship. I think of the suggestion of the late Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and his idea to build a Mosque, a Synagogue and a Church together on the top of Mount Sinai. That idea died with the man and got entangled in politics. And these days, the meal ticket academics would dispute where the real Mount Sinai is located, it being the place where God handed down his laws to Moses.

Don’t make it a tourist trap, make it a place of pilgrimage, walk up a mountain and limit parking at the base and put the food court at the base with the parking. Imagine it, a second temple replica and a simple basilica like church and a mosque. It would be unique and more importantly than that it would be a universally recognized sacred place.

There are so few sacred things truly left in this growing secular global world. Why not create a new one?

Just a thought.
-

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thanksgiving USA

It is Thanksgiving this week in the United States. It is without a doubt a totally secular holiday centered on the family. Very little direct commercialism is connected with this holiday other than the infamous turkey dish and as the gateway date to the very commercial Christmas season.

The roots of the holiday go back to the harvest festival brought over by the Europeans almost four hundred years ago.

Putting food aside, both Washington and Lincoln asked for days of prayer and thanksgiving during the War of Independence and the very bloody Civil War.

Lincoln had fixed the last Thursday of November as the official time of prayer and thanks to the Creator for the bounty and blessings of the nation. Lincoln’s call for a thanksgiving day in 1863 was set one week after his Gettysburg Address, at the dedication of a military cemetery at the battlefield as tribute to so many who gave so much at a critical turning point of the Civil War.

FDR named the fourth Thursday in November in 1939 to be Thanksgiving, pushing the date up slightly in order to promote Christmas sales during the depression. The fourth Thursday in November has more or less stuck these last three quarters of a century.

No need to mention that when you get relatives and friends together to gather and pray, you are likely to have a community meal thrown into the equation.

On a scale of one to ten with 1-4 as secular, 5-6 overlapping with the secular and 7-10 as sacred – Thanksgiving is a 6.

I have a mixed bag of memories of family Thanksgiving gatherings - meals, people, and friends – one day for many when the crazy American quilt work of people, cultures, religions come together in a seemingly singular ritual.

Traditional prayers of thanks on this day are Psalms 100, 111, the Our Father or any others you may feel to be appropriate.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Green Apocalypse

I speak perhaps of a personal epiphany and it has to do with the Book of Revelation/Apocalypse. If you have read this blog in bits and pieces you will no doubt know how I do not like or understand why the Book of Revelation got tacked onto the Greek Testament. It seems more like hateful propaganda than anything that would have come out of the mouth of Jesus.

There is an entertainment show on Cable TV called the “Naked Archeologist” hosted by one Simca Jacobovicki who is not an archeologist. Mr. Jacobovicki is no doubt well read and self taught which I hold in higher esteem than all the diplomas that rich people can afford to buy their children these days.

A quote from the show’s website:

“My goal,” says Jacobovici, “is to demystify the Bible in general, and archaeology in particular, to brush away the cobwebs and burst academic bubbles.”

I have disagreed with many of his quaint and or crackpot theories. One is that the Jewish Exodus coincided with the volcanic destruction of Thera/Santorini about 3500 BPT (before present time). Thera is or was a good candidate for the basis of the Plato fable about a place called Atlantis.

Never the less, looking at something from a fresh or unprejudiced and not prejudiced academic point of view is something I look for in this present stifling infant global world with its lack of creativity and growing non-open economic, religious and cultural points of view.

My personal epiphany came last night on a show about the Jewish community in ancient Rome. Simca is standing in a Jewish catacomb and sees what he thinks is a Christian symbol amidst the seemingly exclusive Jewish burial place. His guide and professional academic refuses to acknowledge the possibility of the symbol being Christian. Simca has to make a living and is looking for sellable tangents to add to and in accordance with the flavor of his show.

I know that feeling. You don’t have a Doctor of Divinity from Yale or Harvard. What makes unimportant you think you have any interesting theological question to ask me on my divine academic pedestal?

Enough with background and with some thanks to Simca helping me break through a wall regarding the book of Revelation and my opinion that it is originally a Jewish document or fragments of many Jewish end of the world themed documents not unlike the bulk of documents found and labeled as the Dead Sea Scrolls.

The Book of Revelation, as Protestants call it, or the Book of the Apocalypse as the R.C. and Orthodox Christians label it, seems to me to be a green or recycled text co-opted for Constantine’s official Christian Church. That maybe the true break between Christian and Jew was not a religious break among brothers. Maybe the split between Christian and Jew was an official political decision for the greater glory of the Roman General/Emperor Constantine.

Not being a professional academic, I base my logic more on timelines and critical symbols in the book of so called revelation.

The biggest symbol in the book is the “666” figure of the anti-Christ with most scholars these days agreeing that the numerology is about Nero.

You have this story that the Christians tell about how an incredibly small unknown cult of Jews called Christians got singled out as the scapegoat for the fire in Rome 64 C.E.. The Christians are so important in Roman propaganda and in a state that eventually elevates the Christian Messiah to the level of a Roman god under Constantine.

Before Simca, I had already thought that maybe it was the Jews, with a few Christians mixed in, that Nero went after in 64 C.E. That maybe those tensions and aftermath and backlash worked its way back to the holy land and was the basis of the start of the great Jewish Revolt starting in 66 C.E.. That revolt led to the destruction of Jerusalem and the second Temple in 70 C.E.. Look at the timelines.

I think that until the time of Constantine, Jews and Christians are inseparable in terms of shared traditions and living in the same part of town, towns.

There is a great deal of recycled Old Testament prophetic symbolism in the Book of Revelation and the thought occurs to me that when there is a warning to seven churches in Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, Laodicea, that before it was a warning to Christian basilicas, maybe it was first a warning to the Jewish communities in these cities just as or right after the destruction of Jerusalem occurs. Like there were no Jews in the biggest cities of Asia Minor – yeah right – and that only the Christian communities existed there alone - sure.

And of course the end of the book has the supreme Jewish symbol of a New Jerusalem topped off with the second coming of Christ as Messiah at the end of this very long, tedious, nasty, symbolic pile of possibly green recycled words currently known as the Book of Revelation.

Oh well. Just a thought. Thank you Simca for part of the inspiration.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

King David's Fall from Grace


There is an artist, who is a bit off the wall from what I hear, but I am absolutely moved by the artist Rufus Wainwright and the song he sings “Hallelujah”.

The background to the song is David and his seduction of Bathsheba and the Watergate like cover up of King David’s sins of covetness, adultery and possibly murder. It is he, as king, who comes to terms with the consequences of his own actions. The people and his court officials were no doubt whispering the truth long before the king understood the magnitude of his going off course in his life. They say he wrote Psalm 51 as a result of his fall from grace - asking God’s forgiveness.

The song in modern secular terms is Art Imitating Life and reflecting man’s capability, capacity to do the wrong thing at the wrong time and to hurt the ones you love including yourself.

The Psalms are songs that David supposedly wrote and sang to the music of a lyre. Was David an artist and a singer? I cannot say for certain.

I can say that the Hebrew Testament is filled at times with a lustiness and brutal reality not similarly displayed in the Greek Testament.

Wainright’s song also has an allusion to Samson and Delilah with the cutting of hair lyrics. It is a bit like an historical movie with a lot of good bits mixed together to make a better story.

Sometimes good comes out of evil. Perhaps the megalomaniac of David slowed downed, consolidated his base and made it possible for his son Solomon to eventually build the first great Temple. In reality, I think David did not want to give up the military budget to build a temple but that is just my opinion.

The rest is history and the timeline that comes straight down to us to this day.


“ I've heard there was a secret chord
That David played, and it pleased the Lord
But you don't really care for music, do you?
It goes like this
The fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
The baffled king composing Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty
in the moonlight
overthrew you
She tied you
To a kitchen chair
She broke your throne,
she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah”


Live and Learn. Live and Learn.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Face of God

What does God look like? Does he have to look like anything? Does man’s visual ability apply passed death when the spiirit separates from the body?

There are a thousand different questions about the basics of religious and or spiritual beliefs. If you sat down and had the average Christian, asked them to fill out a questionnaire, you would likely get many different answers to the same question.

While I know what traditional Jesus looks like with his Nordic ashen blonde hair, blue eyes and perfectly chiseled face, it might not be the person I get to meet in the afterlife. What if I walk up to the gates of heaven and see a long line and sit down on a cloud and then start shooting the breeze with a stranger taking a smoke (smoking is forbidden in Heaven – don’t you know that?), then the stranger walks back inside the employee’s gate without having to slide his ID card through the gate-key and then I find out that that was Jesus (for Christ’s sake!). And then I have to go through St. Peter’s gate and metal detector. What if Jesus talks about my contempt for organized religion? What if my name magically appears on a “do not admit” list? All this because I did not know what J.C. looked like?

Of course anybody might get the boss’s son wrong in a line up but what if I encountered God up there or even down here.

There is this concept of a “personal God” I have heard about for many years and I never looked up the definition because I thought I knew what it meant. The definition is something like giving human attributes to a non-human entity. It is not unlike making cartoon characters and giving them animation and voices and well you can fathom what I am talking about.

I always thought that a personal God was the person, God, I was talking to inside of me when debating the direction of my moral compass. Heresy you say. Well let me say this. There is an awful lot of money and power out there in the name of the creator of the universe. There is not a lot of heart among the bureaucrats feeding off the good life in God’s name. I think I can at least trust the good inside of me and not the wolves in sheep’s clothing out there.

Going back to something I have probably said before, faith in somebody else’s faith is extraordinary faith indeed. I may be standing alone on a street corner so to speak in my quest for spirituality in a very non-spiritual materialistic world. The organized meal-ticket christians may sneer at me but do you know what?

The divine spark within me is lot more comfortable and real than the whole cacophony of religions today. I may only have my own faith in what I perceive to be the divine things of this world. I am not worshipping the personal Gods and obsolete insights of long dead prophets, biblical kings and saints.

I know what God looks like. He, or she if you prefer, looks a little like every one of us.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

What If Simple Prayer Departs? (with the Death of the Whales)

-
What if simple prayer departs?
(with the death of the whales)

What if -
the largest creatures left
in the sea, in the sea
disappear for the sake
of imagined enemies?
Sonar, Sonar,
Ping, Ping,
Bang?
-
What if -
the sound of the large creatures
makes a heavenly noise
that only God hears first
coming from the planet?
Prayer to you. Prayer to you.
Thou whom are greater
than me.
-
What if -
the survivor of the Age of Saurs
the little mammal rodent
and now a monkey king
forgets or does not know
a similar sweet sound
to offer the great figure
in the sky?
-
What if -
monkey prayers are mixed
with the mighty whales'
and when the whale departs
forever - sounds to heaven
will be drowned out as
in silence and heard
no more above?
-
What if -
the great fathers of justice
slam the door on the whales
and the upward spiral
of thought, prayer, being -
slam the door shut on
the beauty of possibilities?
Slam!
-
What if -
the whales appeal
and the monkey fathers
shout "Get over it!"
your day has passed
is not important
in the present monkey
scheme of things?
-
What if -
one last whisper goes up
and is not heard.
But God to his assistant says.
"Funny I thought I heard
what once sounded like Saurs
at play and in prayer
to me?"
-
What if -
yesterday - 65 million years
turns full circle?
What is left to master?
And perhaps the monkeys
will finally learn to sing,
to swim - in the sea -
again?
-
(This in order to re-establish a balance
- and to be truly heard above again?)

Monday, November 10, 2008

American Fear, Hate and Jesus' Love


There is an awful lot of friction in California and Utah over Proposition 8 which was a referendum on the concept of Gay Marriage.

I personally do not see the need for marriage for gay people but if two consenting adults want to be bound in the traditional marriage contract, well, it is uncomfortable to me at first and over time I guess I will get over it. The future has arrived. Hey, was getting over slavery a hundred years ago anything like this?

The Mormons and their giant Joseph Smith cult that hid out in the wilderness until civilization reached them in that wilderness; it saw Jesus in it's own particular light and interpretation. They were pretty much your average fanatical fringe christian religious group that also practiced polygamy.

The polygamy started in time of war when troop numbers were down so why not get more bang and soldier for the buck. Same thing happened in Islam in the beginning. The temporary need to produce safety in numbers never quite got wiped off the books.

The Mormons of course had to officially renounce polygamy to get U.S. Statehood in the 1890’s but it still is practiced by many to this day off the books so to speak. I don’t see any referendums on getting rid of the last vestiges of the medieval concept of polygamy. Which leads to the cliche about people in glass houses throwing bricks at their neighbors.

Well the Mormons have got a holier than thou bug up their ass and who have this peculiar thing about sex and marriage and whatever - spent $18,000,000, 4 out of every 5 dollars spend on promoting or opposing this California Gay Marriage thing.

The Gays are protesting all around California and in Salt Lake City. Now I see from today's news that Gay Protestors have also picketed the mini-pope Rick Warren’s mega church and their opposition to this minority seeking basic civil and human rights.

Jesus did not hate the people and the amazing thing about the four Gospels with all the hands and committees that touched the official propaganda story of Jesus - Jesus the man, Jesus the mensch never condemned homosexuality.

Enough said.

Jesus loves!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

All Beliefs are Local


I go back to a discussion I had some years ago about Christianity in it’s alphabet soup days and the sacred text “Acts of the Apostles” with a friend – not a scholar – he had mentioned how Christianity has splintered from the beginning and going all the way to the present.

I suddenly see his point as I look at least at the American point of view. Many splinter groups call themselves “Christian” – cling to obscure passages and interpretations of sacred text and well – Alphabet Soup Christianity is the best you get some days – most places - these days. The only glue holding the old Chi-Ro thing together is perhaps the ancient Constantine creeds.

If I had to categorize Christianity today, perhaps it could be as a multicolored beach ball bouncing around here and there. It is a franchise product so to speak and marketed differently from country to country and within countries as well. When I hear the term Christian I have to be wary and recognize that a one size fits all bill on the protestant side of the equation is not much different than the catholic equation fitting into every culture as best it can and absorbing local pagan customs and turning local deities into born again saints.

I choose to paraphrase the late Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Thomas “Tip” O’Neill. His assertion was that “All politics is local”. So too I see that all beliefs systems are local as well. You believe what you feel comfortable with to yourself, with your family and within your community, culture, region, country. “Paris is worth a Mass” Henry IV said when he renounced his protestant beliefs in order to ascend the catholic throne of France.

In that light, many variations of Christianity exist all over this planet. Whether the message of Jesus in the Gospels is taught correctly, or is PC or relevant to social norms is another matter entirely. That the American Catholic Church in perhaps too much zeal, to make brownie points, to conform to Vatican policies in the sixties turned off a whole generation of church goers with iron fist tactics. The response in Italy or France to the ideas of birth control were no doubt dealt with and received differently by the local community.

In any case, the secular world is of primary purpose and dominant to many westerners today more so than any ancient sacred concepts of world order.

The multi colored beach ball is as good as any metaphor beyond the traditional cross to describe the ever rich but still alphabet soup of Christian beliefs and scholarship.
Maybe this is a good thing.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Man Jesus

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I think that a certain theme has developed in this blog as time goes on, as I examine or question all the many aspects of the Christian faith in a lifetime that has seen many changes and great upheavals.

I do go back to the basic Jesus, the community organizer. That title “community organizer” was a term sneered at by “me christians” at the Republican Convention in ironically the city of Saint Paul in Minnesota in early September.

What I have learned over the years and or felt important is the concept of empathy in the gospels telling the story of Jesus and his ministry. I think that the true christianity of this or any age should be that of “we christians”. Empathy is not specifically mentioned in the gospels but implied with the concept of love thy neighbor or going the extra mile so to speak.

There is a whole bunch of cultists out there that believe in some “kool-aid christianity” and believe in some rapture and escape from reality at the end of a world that they do not like or cannot handle living in on a day to day basis.

The real christians, the real people of God, who believe in one God and try to live a decent life within the context of a greater community are down here on the ground and not up in the air with any fantasy Jesus or strange prophesies in the questionable last book of General Constantine’s approved testament.

Getting back to community and community organizing is the hint in the gospels that Jesus was more feared not as the son of God but as being capable to overthrowing the dictatorship of pagan Rome by inspiring and inciting the masses to secular justice. Jesus had a divine mission and God was, is, the author of that mission on Earth.

In that context, Jesus, the man who would be messiah or savior or deliverer of an oppressed people, he started the spark of present Western Civilization whereby the individual, with a soul and worthy of dignity, is the most important part of any political, religious, economic or moral equations.

Of course, Greece had its democracy of elites. Jesus was, is and will always be the basis of hope and human dignity, the spokesman and soul for all people and all times. He is truly the alpha and omega, first and last and one of the people always.

Get out today and vote with your conscience.

God bless our democracy!
- -


Monday, November 3, 2008

In Search of Jesus


In one of those rare moments of coincidence, I ran into an old copy of U.S. News and World Report April 1996 in the laundry room of my apartment complex about a month ago. The title of the magazine was In search of Jesus.

A great deal of the article had to do with the Jesus Seminar, a group of christian scholars who with their various historic research and linguistics decided by committee vote what parts of the New Testament seem more valid than others.

If you in fact get some new bible and words in red denote the words of Jesus you probably have this professional elitist meal ticket christian enterprise to thank.

It is quite easy to dissect the faith. I have done it here and as a hobby for many years. I want to know the basic Jesus. I try to live the simple Christian message.

What irks me most about finding this magazine is how it got published and how only a few elite made a significant mark on modern cultural society and then blended back into the academic woodwork. That I on my own personal journey was perhaps mirroring some clues spewing out of the Jung’s cosmic unconsciousness related to the same subject.

What irks me is that as an elder in a Lutheran church, over a decade ago, I mentioned to the Pastor how I had read something in the past about this red balling and black balling of the so called words of Jesus. He did not throw any crumbs back to this dog in any part of the dialogue as if he was ignorant of the Jesus Seminar. He was not. I did not have a collar and was not part of the comfy smug club member’s only section of elites in the Christian church.

Well so much for elitism. I believe there is a job application out there on the Internet if you want to join the Jesus Seminar to add prestige to your scholarship and resume. First question is how many PhDs you have and in what areas are they in. That leaves me out in the cold for that job. Of course it may not pay anything to speak of. It is the prestige.

Why if you can chop the Lord’s prayer into three or four iffy segments of who was likely to have said this or said that – isn’t the Jesus Seminar more an autopsy of the Constantine Christian church and if so – why are some of you elitist ministers attached to this project – why haven’t you taken your collars off if all that is left of Christianity is you and your sterile academic input? Salaries and pensions would seem more valuable than the simple words, message and heart of Jesus’ ministry of so long ago.

Where is your faith?
-




Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Unity of Diversity


The unity of all things diverse

( in the universe

of things too great to count )

is God





Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Secular Holiday (Halloween)

Halloween is a secular holiday – corruption of original language Hallowed Eve of a holy day - All Saints day - November 1. I see that that the Swedes do the weekend thing making all saint’s day on the first Saturday of November, a secular manipulation of a once sacred day in the past.

The Church in the past has merged local customs and let the pagan festival stuff outside the church building proper. In many ways the church did not convert totally so much as it coexisted on certain levels with local customs and local religions.

Halloween came to the United States via the Irish immigration in the mid nineteenth century as a part secular and part sacred tradition. The costumes children might wear on all hallowed eve would be of angels and saints and the like. Kids like dress up and an excuse to stay up late and whatever.

The custom in the USA grew with marketing from regional custom to national custom via the old 5 and 10 cent stores and Woolworth’s selling cheap costumes – anybody remember that defunct chain of stores?

For some reason, the Brits or the Brit kids got a hold of Halloween – kids, trick of treat – candy – the American culture is addictive in many ways wherever it spreads. I’ve have heard some Brits complain about how their traditional Autumn festival Guy Fawkes Day, November 5, is watered down with a merging in time, close dates with Halloween. I guess British children cannot get too much of good things.

In many ways, the problems the USA has in its foreign policy has to due with secular culture, marketing and such interfering with the sacred and in many cultures where sacred is indistinguishable from the secular. These other cultures might call themselves theocracies but in the bottom line of any government is power, taxes and crowd control. They have their own secular festivals and any thing foreign might be misunderstood or considered taboo.

Growing up in Philly, Halloween was no problem to the religious community. It was a local and a kid’s thing. I have seen in the past decades how some mentally ill fundies want to turn Halloween into some sort of Satanic thing. No doubt, the child in many fundies is an eternal prisoner of fear. This end of the world stuff and wanting the power and money of medieval popes is what I think is behind the drive, attempt, at banning a secular kid’s custom such as Halloween.

Great thing about Halloween, is that it spreads year to year, century to century and country to country. It must be a good and a human enterprise. Joy and fun should not be only in the realm of children. Or celebrated only one night a year.

Happy Halloween.

-

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Inspirational Drawing #9


"Aura of Four Trees and other Life in a Garden" - an inspirational drawing (#9)

Perhaps you can print it out and use it as a focus point in meditation as I do.

-

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Obama and Nostradamus

I am of course fascinated by the prophets of the Old, New and Arabic Testaments. They tend to deal almost exclusively in the realm of the Sacred.

On the Secular side you have many carnie trained wannabe prophets like Edgar Cayce and some aging TV evangelists - but I won't go there.

And then there is Nostradamus.

For your reading pleasure/displeasure. Take of it what you will.

I ran into some incredible bullshit on the Internet with fake so-called bible codes about Obama (masked rascism and hatred) – from the fringe element of the human condition.

Then I ran into this quatrain from Nostradamus in his first century grouping that might fit the bill of present world history.

Century 1 : quatrain 76

"D'vn nom farouche tel proferé ƒera,
Que les trois ƒœurs auront fato le nom :
Puis grand peuple par langue & fai¢t dira,
Plus que nul autre aura bruit & renom."

"The man will be called by a barbaric name
that three sisters will receive from destiny.
He will speak then to a great people in words and deeds,
more than any other man will have fame and renown."

I researched a bit and found this synopsis segment of a published book.

http://www.authorsden.com/visit/viewArticle.asp?id=35978

"Obama went to Kenya hoping to learn more about his dead father. His half sister Auma and his aunt Zeitumi met him and took him to meet Aunt Jane and other African family members"

The “three sisters” I look at are African sisters. One half sister and two aunts, sisters of his father Obama Sr.. Oh well it was a very rainy day yesterday. Too much time on my hands so to speak. I put both the French and English versions down for you French scholars. “Barbaric name”, I define in its most generic definition as a name of foreign or alien origin.

Prophecy is something that the modern age has not applied too much scientific analysis to. Prophecy belongs in a nineteenth century parlor game category to many. Who is to say if some of us do or do not have gifts to see beyond the day to day struggle of human living.

Belief systems are varied and of all colors of the spectrum. In most cases, we all believe want we want to believe and sometimes find so-called "proof" from ancient texts or medieval almanacs.

Whether the above is an accurate prophecy from the past- Whether it is about present events- It has been a very long vetting process for the Americans to choose their father/leader.

The future is what you make of it- Just like the present. If you are searching, you may:

"Seek and you shall (might)find".

Bless us all.


Monday, October 27, 2008

OMG Are you a Wal-Mart Christian?

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OMG Are you a Christian? What kind of a Christian? How about a Wal-Mart Christian?

I mentioned earlier in one of my articles about how Christianity is assembling in a number of abandoned department store buildings in malls or in obsolete sports stadiums. Something about bigness in the American way of thinking that spells success. I don’t know how fundamentalism is spread around in other countries but I cannot but feel that the secular nature of American culture presently dictates some of its spiritual culture.

Looking at a TV evangelist in an auditorium of 15,000 souls, I am struck by the fact that Jesus in his entire lifetime probably did not preach to 15,000 souls. That Size and Success are the basic factors in the new Evangelism. Not enough to be a big church but we must build a medical center or a university in the name of our success. I mean in the name of Jesus and God. Whatever.

I listen to the telly and wait to hear the preacher’s words of wisdom since he has an audience the size of Jesus and his first century marketing capacity. I listen and all I hear is Pop Psychology. I don’t think psychology comes out of the spiritual side of any equation as much as it comes out of the secular side.

You are successful because you are successful and God would not dare to keep you from more success. Come again? Where are the thee-s and the thou-s and the Jesus part and the soul and the reward in heaven thingy?

Like I said, what passes for spirituality these days is a Sunday morning at Big-Mart, a cathedral of materialism and commerce. The old church buildings of the nineteenth century are being converting into condos and fitness spas and mini grocery marts. In the comfort of seclusion and the bubble of my home and armed with a channel changer as my only defense against evil, I listen and must turn off the preacher in wolf’s clothing.

Jesus’ message is simple and understandable and not something automatically discounted hour per hour. The secular nature of America is closer to the myth of Satan these days with it’s greed, envy, covet ness, and empty material non-spiritual success.

I sound a bit pompous but forgive me. I grew up in another age and have my own set feelings about God and spirituality. New is not better. Repackaged is not better. Big is definitely not necessarily a better thing.

Where ever two or more are gathered in my name, there I am also.
-




Monday, October 13, 2008

Our Lady of Tucson


A rather unknown form of folk art from primarily Mexico is the Retablo.

Originally, this art form was a primitive, religious icon painted onto wood. These items became more commonplace in the nineteenth century when most icons or sacred images were painted onto small squares of tin. These images adorned many a house with a small votive light in front of the image.

The image above is reminiscent of the standard Christian icon image of Mary. I label the image both in the English and Espanol – Our Lady of Tucson, Nuestra Senora de Tucson.

Having lived in the southwest for a number of years, one gets used to the standard pastel colors and desert themes of cactus and coyotes and Kokopelli petroglyph style images. In a way the sacred petroglyphs of some ancient unknown but native American culture such as Kokopelli have been reduced to the present secular culture that inhabits the same land as the ancient and greatly unknown and greatly undocumented culture that has come before.

The above image was suggested to me by a connect the dot sort of thing I saw on the side of a mountain. Only a Christian might see the image of Mary, not a vision, in a french fry or on dirty window panes or the shadows on the side of the mountain as I once witnessed for a moment. People from other cultures do not see through the same lense of interpretation. Standard iconic images suggest divinity but are only really a reflection of it. We see, feel, out from our soul and in a Christian iconic prism to interpret the universe.

Every culture in every time and place sees and hears the universal message of God but such images, if allowed, or such words, if interpreted correctly and in a cultural context manner only reinforce the local culture’s view of the world and beyond the world.

Every culture in every time and place has a valid but small and seperate focused interpretation of the eternal.

As the global culture expands, the things of similarity with the universal common message or program will reveal a new window, image, interpretation of us and the meaning of us against the current backdrop of the universe.






Thursday, October 9, 2008

Mary - Mother Earth


In the back stair unofficial R.C. story telling culture of nuns in my youth, the story of Our Lady of Guadalupe was one of those strange but miraculous stories that sticks with you the rest of your life. Stories, myths, legends come and go and bind cultures. Mary fills a lot of niches in our global diversity.

Through my casual studies of esoterics and myths over the decades, I keep coming back to Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Wikipedia makes mention of the concept that Mexicans have faith in only two things, the National Lottery and the Virgin of Guadalupe.

Of course eggheads and historians will tell you that the Marian apparition of Mary on a hill just outside Mexico City is in fact an overlay of the Mexican goddess Tonantzin, or Mother Earth. Etc. One has to wonder sometimes why one image, one icon sticks out and stays with the human spirit and culture.

As being pretty much a Cultural Christian from the Protestant side of the spectrum, Mary, the mother of Jesus has been relegated very little space, comment, devotion since Martin Luther’s reformation.

In my Catholic youth, the Mary Icon, (not an idol) was a major part of all R.C. church architecture and devotion.

I do not venerate saints. I pray directly to God.

Some years ago, I thought that from a cultural or an artistic point of view, the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe would be a great idea if you scraped away a lot of the added on silver paint and cherubs which were added after the appearance of the original image.

A streamlined Virgin of Guadalupe I thought would be a good cultural christian icon. It would be something to match so much of the pagan add-ons since the early church and the basic Jesus – to be a useful secular, cultural, not sacred image.

The above image would fit into that agenda image concept of mine.

Of course I do not feel comfortable with Marian apparitions especially when people see Mary in a french fry or on calcium stained windows on an office building of I think in Florida.

Icons in Christianity are part of the mysticism of getting into a spiritual mood or feeling. This is not unlike breathing exercises in yoga or Buddhism. What ever works in a spiritual sense changes from geography to geography and culture to culture.

In any case, I show great respect to the beliefs of other people, cultures and religions. I expect the same measure of respect in return.

Have a thoughtful day.



Sunday, October 5, 2008

Prayer of Francis of Assisi

Lord,
make me an instrument of Thy peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Lord,
grant that I may not so much seek

to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.

Amen.
-




Friday, October 3, 2008

Cornerstone of the New Global Village

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Jesus said, “Show me the stone that the builders rejected. That is the cornerstone.”

Gospel of Thomas 66, Psalm 118:22-24, Matthew 21:42, Mark 12:10-11, Acts 4:11-12, 1st Peter 2:6-8

We travel further away, some of us, the older of us, from the village of our youth.

Some of us carry that image in our minds and our hearts till we die.

There will always be generational gaps as there are now between the manual past and the new improved and current virtual world of today. It is hard for someone such as me to recognize and try to travel between the different worlds and cultures and the times we encounter in a lifetime.

Most people do not seem to make any effort. They seem to just blend into the times.

I believe that Jesus as a native of Nazareth or as the Son of the Most High had a strange to us but normal to him view of the village of his origin.

As we get more complex in our interface with so many ideas, concepts, feelings, and results of an increasingly complex existence, we should take time out to think and wonder as to what we are in the midst of it all.

At the center of Jesus and his simple message, is the message of the village, planting and harvesting and the everyday joy of living. Sometimes I think that Jesus was more French in his outlook on life than we Americans. (That is a bit of Jesus related irony or humor – I am trying to see Jesus as a man of many dimensions and humor - is something that does not translate from age to age and especially from millennium to millennium – over all human nature has not changed – so humor is valid - is good. )

The modern western world seems at times to be out of sync with the new sterile global village already built but not easily lived in.

The past half century of extended family has in many ways replaced the nuclear family, a concept coined in the nuclear age, to denote the old fashioned concept of parents and children and to be in contrast to current realities. The new extended family of the west, rising like a Phoenix out of the ashes of traditional family concepts, came about because of divorce and step parents, step siblings, and weekend visitation rights. Our present culture, if you look hard at it, isn't the same fabric of Norman Rockwell paintings and idealized bygone eras.

Looking all about at the cultural flux, the collapse and building of many carnival like structures, economic and social, of post WWII America, and the new global culture, one has to wonder if Jesus in his primitive age could understand all the economic or moral challenges of this brave new world.

This new age is built on the concepts of the brain. The mind can calculate money, figures, enterprises, legal compromises with traditional morality.

The heart more than likely touches the soul. Jesus in my view would seem to be more of heart kind of guy than a braniac.

The point is that no matter where you live in time or space, in a village or a city, in a moral or amoral society, the individual must and usually does carry the village of one’s beginning in one’s mind and in one’s heart. So much else does not matter in the scheme of things.

My choice, my heart tells me what is fair or right or wrong or moral.

The individual, as opposed to the traditional group, is the building stone the builders of the past rejected.

The individual is the cornerstone of the new global village.

Today, the decisions of mere individuals affect not millions but billions of others in our new global reality – the New Jerusalem – of Heaven present here upon this earth.

Be mindful and of heart in the everyday decisions that affect both ourselves and our neighbors.
- -




Saturday, September 27, 2008

Goodbye to the Age of Chronic Luxury

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I have, in my mind and in some other spots, framed this naught decade and the decade before as an age of chronic luxury.

Goodbye age of chronic luxury.

It was too much to ask for shelter or our daily bread.

A house in the slums grew to great value when the street signs also had an add-on saying “historic district”.

There is more than enough guilt or culpability for the fantasy world of finance and wealth and well I never did quite buy into it all. Maybe I was born too late or something inside me, as a student of history, knew that the bubble would pop any day now.

Mea Culpa. Mea Culpa. Mea Maxima Culpa.

The bubble in America and perhaps the planet is going to do some adjusting to a lesser standard of things now.

Perhaps shelter and one’s daily bread will gain in virtue, retrieved and or recycled from the dumpster of this recent past.

One thing missing in the virtual world of the new and now amended economics has been brotherhood and a sense of who one’s neighbor really is.

My bubble world wraps around my heart and simple things.

The basic Jesus message of loving oneself and one’s neighbor may go out of fashion from time to time.

The classic message will always remain.


Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Imagine



Of some of the direct comments I get as e-mail from an occasional reader – some are not quite sure what I am trying to say. I do try to say things in a manner that does not offend any occasional reader. I try to communicate as clearly as possible.

What I also hear is that we are all “looking for something” or that (we) “think we all essentially want the same thing in life”. Many of us see the world differently but perhaps we are listening to some same “collective unconsciousness” that Jung tried to describe.

Nobody seems to have many answers to the many questions regarding life.

I ran into the following some time back.

“It seems to me that the only true Christians were (are?) the Gnostics, who believe in self knowledge, i.e. becoming Christ themselves, reaching the Christ within, the light is the truth. Turn on the light. All the better to see you with, my dear.” John Lennon – Skywriting by Word of Mouth

Of course the so called Gnostic gospels were discovered in a clay jar near the Egyptian town of Nag Hammadi in 1945. The Nag Hammadi library is the Christian era equivalent of the Dead Seas scrolls found two years later in 1947 in caves near the Dead Sea.

I find the coincidence extraordinary that these two lost repositories came to light in an age when they would be treasured and not ignored or destroyed by sheer ignorance.

I will not comment on the Dead Sea Scrolls but rather on the Gnostic gospels which represent more a philosophical and cult approach to the ministry of Jesus. As an amateur reader of the NT, I did not feel comfortable the first time I tried to read translations of these lost texts. The ministry of Jesus is far clearer in the Constantine Bible (NT).

There is one Gnostic gospel, the Gospel of Thomas that I think more readable than the rest but it is short and only a listing of 114 sayings attributed to Jesus. Some of the sayings you recognize as being in the synoptic gospels of the NT. One saying in particular stands out for me.

That is:

His followers said to him, "When will the kingdom come?"
"It will not come by watching for it. It will not be said, 'Look, here
it is,' or 'Look, there it is.' Rather, the father's kingdom is spread
out upon the earth, and people do not see it." - Gospel of Thomas 113

Of course many would debate if Jesus truly said this.

Getting back to John Lennon’s quote about being Christ-like and being responsible to what one sees or feels like the divine spark within, I am reminded of a word from the Buddhists – Bodhisattva.

A Bodhisattva is supposed to be an enlightened person on one well along the road to Enlightment. This individual takes the time and energy to share wisdom and help others on the road to enlightenment.

Perhaps somewhere on the road to the future of Christianity is a mix of Sacred and Secular, of Jesus, John Lennon and Jung, and the spirit of Bodhisattvas everywhere.
- -


Saturday, August 30, 2008

To Serve Man

There is a thing called karma in eastern philosophy and religion. It speaks of your energy being sent out into the universe and following a law of physics, that energy and or your actions eventually come back to you.

In other words, if you send out a negative energy, that same negative energy will come back to you, in some way and in some time. So too if you send positive energy out there, then that is what comes back to you.

Of course this karma thing is attached to a concept called reincarnation whereby your soul makes many journeys through many lives and bodies on this prison-like planet. I do not believe in reincarnation. It is not nor has it been taught as part of the basic Christian religion package.

I also do not want to come back if that is the deal. Once is enough. For me. Why must we constantly be tested as to our loyalty? If we must, then God seems quite imperfect and insecure.

What is God's plan for the universe? I do not know. But I confess that sometimes I think I feel I know what that plan is and it is a simple plan to just live a simple life and enjoy the simple pleasures of living. Sounds like the French who got so fed up with religion and exploitation over the centuries, they just ground an irritant into the dirt.

There is a book out there called “The Secret”. It talks about the energy thing and about success. Like all you have to do is find the right words and make the right wish and zingo – Magic happens. This book is secular. No where is there a mention of God or other basics. Is the book godless? Secular is not necessarily godless. I pass regarding judement on the matter.

This blog has in many ways enlightened me and it has also presented me with challenges. Looking at the American culture, this subculture of religion has become some sort of code word or code project to test the sheep and see what sheep are worthy “To Serve Man” – a recipe book of sorts or just another rule book.

That what you believe is somehow a DNA test of sorts if you are the right sort and have the right stuff to be about this land. It is a lingering eternal delusional cabin fever hangover thing from the crazies that came off the Mayflower and started to chomp through forest after forest until they got to nowhere which is the Pacific Ocean. The drive is still there but there are no more virgin forests to rape and plunder.

I have not addressed the concepts of atheism and agnosticism in this blog and I am not ready for it. I have over time shied away from atheists because most of those whom I have met or see on telelvision all seem to be seething with anger against religion. The whole God debate is a laborious thing with them and I for one do not want to waste my time here on earth on riddles, ideas and unsolvable matters. For me, my faith in God is inate. Also, there seem to be few atheists in America comfortable in their own skin. Little wonder with quasi witch hunts that the loonies can’t give up on to kill time or fill their purpose driven lives.

I do believe that in this secular society, you are allowed to believe anything. Considering the mental dearth of the Jesus freak crowd, less is far better than more.

What do I tell my children? I believe that they, if they are near college age, have already formed their own opinions. It is their life to examine and explore.

How you view religion, God, yourself seems to differ greatly depending on what side of the east-west dividing line you happen to be on of this planet’s geography.

Getting back to the karma thing. If it truly exists, then I believe that you get feedback in this one life from the deeds and energy you manufacture. I also give myself a discount and karma debts not paid in this life just don’t get paid – period. Enough is enough.



-

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Thoughts on the Bible from a homeless guy

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I ran into this on the Internet. It speaks volumes to me about my search to say or find what I think are both the stumbling blocks and possible foundation stones of the future of a Christianity that travels along the road of life into the 21st century and beyond.

The words out of context hit me between the eyes and I have to consider them as something to think about on my travels on that road of life.

I also have to consider them as from a “homeless guy”, not unlike Jesus or the Apostles – and on that homeless man’s blog.

The line that struck me most and as a Cultural Christian that I took greatly to heart was about the Fundamentalist Christian messsage:

“...Instead of having a relationship with God, they have a relationship with the Bible...”

That is something worth repeating in any conversation these days about the road that Christianity travels into the future or into oblivion.

More from the article and the article itself for your reading:

“The Bible is not perfect, and there is plenty of reasonable proof of its imperfection. But, really, does the Bible have to be perfect? I don’t think so. God is still God, with, or without it. For some, though, their faith is founded on the Bible... Instead of having a relationship with God, they have a relationship with the Bible. And instead of developing a life in relationship with God, they spend all their time trying to defend the Bible, defend their faith, defend “Christianity,” etc., etc. But, God needs no defenders. God is perfectly capable of defending himself, and desires for us to instead spend our lives doing His will. A real Christian is not one who makes signs to the world that they are Christian, but is one who feeds the hungry, shelter the cold, provides for the needy, etc. A person who spends all their time trying to convert the already converted, and ignores or neglects their needs, is nursing a dead faith.”

- Kevin Barbieux

http://thehomelessguy.wordpress.com/2008/02/09/thoughts-on-the-bible/
-


Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Awakened


How joyful to look upon the awakened
And to keep company with the wise.

Follow then the shining ones,
The wise, the awakened, the loving,
For they know how to work and forbear.

But if you cannot find
Friend or master to go with you,
Travel on alone –
Like a king who has given away his kingdom,
Like an elephant in the forest.

If the traveler can find
A virtuous and wise companion
Let him go with him joyfully
And overcome the dangers of the way.
Follow them
As the moon follows the path of the stars.


-from the Dhammapada
translated by Thomad Byrom,
Teachings of the Buddha
edited by Jack Kornfield
- -




Thursday, August 21, 2008

Opening The Heart

When the eyes of the heart open, we can see the inner realities, hidden behind the outer forms of this world. When the ears of the heart open, we can hear what is hidden behind words; we can hear truth.

Opening the heart means coming closer to God. God said through Muhammad, ‘I who cannot be fit into universes upon universes, fit into the heart of the sincere believer.’ The heart is a temple that can house God. All hearts are temples, and to open our hearts is to allow in the divine presence.

The heart of hearts in each of us houses a spark of the Divine. This is the meaning of the biblical (and also Koranic) quote, ‘And God breathed the breath (ruach) into Adam.'

The primary meaning for the Hebrew word ruach is ‘spirit,’ so this sentence might be more accurately translated ‘And God breathed divine spirit into Adam.’ As our hearts open, we come more in touch with the wisdom, love, joy, and inspiration from the divine spark within.

All wisdom is already within us; all love is already within us, all joy. Yet they are hidden within us until the heart opens.“


- Essential Sufism,
by James Fadiman, Robert Frager
HarperSanFrancisco, 1997
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Sunday, August 17, 2008

He walks with me - He talks with me -

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I have not necessarily felt good in the things I wrote about the R.C. church in the preceding articles. I do not, should not judge anybody specifically. “Judge not lest ye be judged”. (Matt 7:1)

I do not put myself up on a pedestal. I feel for people, small people, old people, who will be lost in the chaos of some economic downturn that takes a lifelong place of worship and it gets tossed into a trash bin. An economic decision, a mere pencil mark on a spreadsheet moves with the force of an earthquake for some. The sacred can turn into the secular in a quick and ugly way.

What would Jesus do with spreadsheets? He would tear them up and find a human solution to deal with any problem. Human is not divine but in many ways we can achieve God’s work on earth if we try together. Together as male and female, young and old, sacred and secular we can be an instrument of God’s plan for this planet. In any age it is difficult to define that plan. Most definitely, God's universe has a plan and function.

A tree has many parts: roots, base, trunk, branches, leaves. The tree of life is life. We are life. How a tree grows depends both on nature and how we treat the environment in which that tree grows.

There is no hiding from the global culture anymore for anybody. It is best to deal with it from a local point of view, make up local rules and a local mission statement and push back. This corner of the world is not so easily, no longer, available to your global exploitation.

Age old institutions should recognize where they are, where they stand, what they represent in this modern world. If you stand on a thousand year old mission statement and cannot see the new, the vitality, the change, maybe it is best to fade into the dust and history and be forgotten.

If you and or your institution cannot help to integrate the human element into an interdependent world, or help move humanity to it greatest potential as an element of God’s creation, then godless is the right word and let the godless fall and be forgotten.

I, in an allegorical and or metaphoric sense, am putting my feet in the shoes of prophets past without claiming divine sanctions. I claim as my right as a believer in the one true God and in his special Messenger Jesus, the right to knock on the Temple doors and yell “foul” whenever I see foul things about in a world sacred or secular run amuck.

You all in your own way, in the fight, must push back godless globalism. You must take a stand and defend yourself and others not as strong as yourself. It is the Christian way.

Those prophets, those critics of old were immensely unpopular with the wrongdoers and those in power of their day. They were also immensely popular with the little people before the printing press, freedom of the press etc. and in the confining realm of living in dictatorships and fascist states ruled over by cronies and kings.

In a modern age there is no need to sit back and take it especially when all this blog stuff is there to let off steam, express opinions and in a unique sense gauge the pulse of the population. We all have our rights and responsibilities. Let us exercise these elements wisely.
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Saturday, August 16, 2008

No shortage of priests - just penises

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One of the first lines of the standard boiler plate news releases in these R.C. dioceses that are closing churches is that there is a “shortage of priests”.

There are appeals for priests to be allowed to marry as an incentive to recruit a few more good men into the priesthood. Yeah right. Good luck on that point.

There is no shortage of priests, there only is a shortage of penises. There are more than enough women who want to be priests. The only problem is that these women do not have a penis. There are some programs on BBC America following transsexuals and or transgender human beings around and apparently with plastic surgery they can sculpt one of those pingo things onto a female body.

Can you hear the little Deustche boy in the Vatican saying that a phony pingo is not good enough, you have to born that way? Honestly you can’t please some of these bureaucrats.

Before you think that my ranting and raving is the sign of a bona fide lunatic (and it might be), I would like to interject some historical thought about where we are today and where we were one hundred and forty years ago.

The longest serving pope, Pius IX, hung on, I don’t know if served is an appropriate word, from 1846 t0 1878. Before I get to my timeline, this pope invented infallibility and no meat on Friday at the Vatican I council that started in 1868 and broke up because of invading armies into Rome.

(Invading armies – the Italians taking back their homeland, their property, from the papacy.)

That Mess of a Council was never formally closed until the beginning of Vatican II in 1960 – a second disaster to follow the first.

I look at this historic timeline thingy and think about where the United States was one hundred and forty years ago in 1868. The USA was picking itself out of a ditch and recovering from a really big Civil War that was fought to free black men and women. You glide to the present. One of the likely candidates of one of the two political parties in the presidential election is black, African-American, or whatever term is PC these days.

Same timeline, Pius IX is staying up nights dreaming of ways to prove that he is the greatest thing since sliced bread at Vatican I. (Sorry, sliced bread came later.)

Well anyway in 1868 is about the time that Pius IX sends personal autographed photos to two civil war vets Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee.

Pope Pius IX was disappointed that his side, the Confederate States of America, lost their bid to break away from the American union and perpetuate slavery forever. Pius IX was the only crowned head of Europe to politically recognize the Confederacy.

America has come from civil war to civil rights and may even have an African-American president in the near future.

The Vatican still clings to infallibility, the papal states, and bitter disappointment that slavery could not be perpetuated to protect its investment in cotton in the southern American states.

Things change. The world changes. But the misogyny, hatred of women, practiced by the V.C.S., goes on and on and on. And worse than that, the sheep keep taking the incredible mismanagement of church property and spiritual property by these bum bishops in America. Bureaucrats!

Of course, the Vatican these days does not openly admit anything that is not PC except that women don’t have what it takes to become a priest (and that is a penis).

Sorry girls. You know I have read the first five books of the Greek Testament, The Christain Torah, the four Gospels and Acts of the Apostles. I do not see anywhere in print that specifically says that “women cannot be priests” but then again I don’t think the term or the function of priesthood had got officially invented yet. That had to wait for General Constantine and his church as opposed to the Christian Church founded by Jesus of Nazareth, Holy land, not Nazareth, Pa...

So when I read about massive church closings in the Allentown diocese and Schenectady and elsewhere I have only two things to say to the R.C. bureaucrats.

One is that there is no shortage of creatures with souls, women, willing to become priests.

Two, in case you are hiding any assets, and money laundering, which is illegal, if you send ten million to the Vatican in cash, make sure that the bearer bonds that come back to you are not marked “Confederate States of America”.
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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Christ - the homeless man.

“...
Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn’t speak up because I was Protestant.

Then they came for me,
and by that time no one was left to speak up
.”
- Martin Niemoeller

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/all-churchclosingphotos-0713,0,6083684.photogallery

The Christian Church was founded by Jesus of Nazareth, a homeless man:

Matthew 8:20

“And Jesus said unto him, a scribe, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.”

It is kind of fitting to talk about Jesus as being homeless as the R.C. Church is having a going out of business fire sale with the closings of so many churches, schools, hospitals nationwide. Of course we know about the altar boy fund to pay for expensive lawsuits and clergy misconduct. But that more or less has reached a zenith and leveled off or has it?

It seems to me that this fire sale and liquidation of assets is a ploy to hide assets, to launder the money through the Vatican or elsewhere, but definietely not park it here in the USA where it was created by the sweat of the brow of laborers and immigrants. Day laborers. Jesus knew about day labor.

With this epidemic of church closings and the R.C. Church getting out of the religion business, where do you park your assets? I don't know. Tell me. There are good rates of return on capital in the new godless global market place and no accountability to anybody, not even to God –

- that is if you still believe in Him or the Son of man, Jesus, who sits at his right hand in the heavens above and over all of the universe.

This is the cynic in me speaking. You hide your assets because you, with all your dark secrets, know what’s coming down the pike? What is it? What spikes on what graphs and spreadsheets predict more unthinkable horrors in the male only R.C. Church hierarchy club?

The R.C. church is like big business. Incompetent cronies covering up the incompetence, corruption and kinky habits of fellow male club members. I've seen it all my working life. So it goes and then the cash flow stops. The party ends.

I think of all the big monster corporations I have seen wither and die on the vine, past, present and ongoing into the future.

Why not put a hockey rink in Saint Peter’s Basilica? That’s the modern business sense of things – everything and everybody must constantly provide more income.

More income! More capital! More profits! More change! More global misery!

Where is man or God in any of these new global economic equations?

The homeless man’s equation - his words - will never die.

- even with the skirts in the Vatican continuing and scurrying around the money changing floors and global exchanges via the Internet.

Jesus wrote something once in the sand to deliver a sinner from her fate. I know what he wrote. He wrote his favorite word. “Hypocrites!”

Take your money you money changers. Take your churches. The first Christians celebrated the early church in private homes. They prayed, they broke bread, they felt the spirit of God within and surrounding them.

The church, the People of God, will not only survive this disgraceful epic in the history of God’s church. The People of God will endure and prosper in the faith and grace and love of God here and forever.

God forgive you - you bureaucrats - and your abominations that have caused this desolation - by your total lack of simple humanity or common horse sense!
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Saturday, August 9, 2008

Rekindling the Hearth

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I envy Rosie O’Donnell. She has the money and the panache to say anything that strikes her fancy. She is not discombobulated or out of joint. She is in many ways fighting for a comfort niche in our bewildering new global culture.

Her communication style is sometimes out of context or that is how she is often quoted. She in a fact a symbol of much of what has been happening to the American woman on the periphery of and in the center of the changing twentieth and twenty-first century role for American womenhood.

First the vote. Then the pill. The right to try and or choose an alternate lifestyle? To marry or not to marry? To have a career? - Then Vatican II drops the ball. Tries to put the genie of hope and possible freedom back in the bottle.

The biggest radical change for women at V-II was taking the kerchief off the head and labeling that protestant saint, St. Paul, as anti-female in his writing. Then they turn around and want to impose the ancient, obsolete (promiscuous male) Saint Augustine view of sexuality on the modern womb with no regard to advances in chemistry and science.

The radical turn about on abortion and to stop all birth control by Paul VI, the pope with the mail order seminary degree, wanted to put theoretical sexuality back into its medieval scheme of things. Theoretical to him, but real to the rest of us.

You do not or should not get driving lessons or articles of faith from someone who has never driven a car or received his priest’s diploma in the mail. Translate that into some pious sounding Latin and there you have the epitaph of the pope who mopped up after John XXIII and Vatican II and thought that life would go on the same as before. Forgive me Jesus for being so blunt. Thank you Rosie for inspiring me to say what I think.

There is a religious quote by this famous American original:

“Radical Christianity is just as threatening as radical Islam in a country like the United States.”

Many times this quote has been repeated in a propaganda and political context on I.H.A.T.E.U. radio by U-no-who.

I fear radical American Christianity and it's potential to take away my freedoms for the sake of some of new twisted fascist Jesus hybrid religion thing. Not every evangelical is to be feared - its the politco-s, phony neocons and former used car salesmen in sheep's clothing that you have got to keep an eye on.

Her strong reaction and perhaps fear to the potential of religious abuse by the far right is not without merit. Her words have a lot of push in them. Her small sound bite covers a lot of territory. I think she may not cover or consider other aspects of American Christianity when she formulates a publicly expressed opinion.

American Christianity is at the mall these days or within driving distance of the new American Town Square. Mega Churches fill defunct anchor Department Stores in nearly defunct malls or use obsolete sport stadiums to sell their new, mall-like, air-conditioned, feel-good, sometimes archaic Jesus brand of sales and marketing of the product. It is all about money - and - in many ways – it’s the parking stupid.

When was the last time you saw a new mall with a chapel? You occasionally find one in an airport and only in a Christian hospital. A time to pray or to reflect is a good thing and in the middle of what now serves as the town square would be even better.

American Catholicism is entrenched in the nineteenth and early twentieth century real estate linked on the east coast and to an immigrant past – and did I mention – no parking. White flight to the suburbs is an American phenomenon that the clerics in the Vatican could not quite understand, that and privacy and human sexuality.

Radical Islam is about trying to equalize the playing field in the Islamic world with a twist that it first must attack the west rather than look inward and clean its own house first. Radical Islam reminds me of a dysfunctional family. Dysfunctional families have another quote by Rosie.

O'Donnell recently commented about her role on the TV chick talk show The View and how working there "was like one big dysfunctional Irish Catholic family. Do anything except tell the truth. That doesn't fly for me."

Rosie says a lot of things with ideas too dense to be conveyed in a five or ten second sound bite. But even if she polished her communication skills she would still be a Lesbian, a loose cannon who believes and expresses her view of conspiracies at the World Trade Center etc.

There are all kinds of negative tags on this woman, but I love her. She reminds me of all the strong Irish Catholic women in my youth who had kept the hearth fire of the home going through the thick and thin of economic and personal times.

Those strong women are gone and so too is that past American family in many ways. Family and the hearth has been the foundation of man and woman kind for literally a million years. No virtual imitation of reality can replace that which is perfect or gone. New forms of the family are merging and evolving into a hopefully better future global reality.

It was this dousing of the hearth by Vatican II that has changed the R.C. church forever. You can’t have seminarians and priests handing out instruction manuals about the home and birth control and ignore advice and or gossip from the local housewives. These housewives used to congregate before and after Sunday mass in the old town square of my youth. Where have they gone? Many have gone to better places I dare say than the kitchen and the seeming drudgery of the slave-like trap of housewife-ism.

Women in the R.C. church have put up with a lot of bullcrap since Constantine disenfranchised them in the church thingy. Women have been the backbone of the civilization forever. Forget that and you lose your battle little vatican boys with your fingers stuck in the holes of the levee dikes and trying to hold back the sea of change in the 20th and 21st centuries.

In the early Christian Church, if I was a tiny frail little yeshiva overachiever like Saint Paul and I wanted and needed protection when I stood up and pronounced the radical ideas of Jesus, I would have liked to had a local woman like Rosie to take me out of the fight that was beating me up and taking me home to the hearth to heal. Putting aside private life style preferences of Saint Paul and or Rosie, the early church was ideas from Saint Paul and brawn and protection provided by the local matriarchs.

Rosie O’Donnell is as American as Apple Pie. Her sometimes angry, bellicose approach to the bull---- of the non-verbal Irish Catholic culture in which she was raised and the present nonsense, dysfunctional-ism, and dishonesty masquerading as American culture and journalism makes her a precious and rare commodity, like it or not.

In the present state of local and world affairs, all of us in our own secular and or sacred ways must keep the fire of the faith and family hearth burning in real time, in memory, in our hearts.

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