Primitive religion is not believed, it is danced!

Arthur Darby Nock

Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
And only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.

Elizabeth Browning

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

let God

By love, God can be embraced and held, but not by thinking.

It doesn’t matter how much profound wisdom we possess about created spiritual beings; our understanding cannot help us gain knowledge about any uncreated spiritual being, who is God alone. But the failure of our understanding can help us. When we reach the end of what we know, that’s where we find God. That’s why St. Dionysius [5th/6th century] said that the best, most divine knowledge of God is that which is known by not-knowing.
                                                                                    Richard Rohr

Bless our little concrete minds

we are soooo uncomfortable with the unknown
with that which we cannot totally define
cannot totally explain

but how do our finite minds understand the infinite
how do we explain a feeling?
or the irrepressible surge of the Sacred
in our souls?

it scares us
this vastness
this mystery

And so we try to contain it!
anyone have box?
and some tape?

So we create ideology, philosophy
and worse yet, theology

but all we manage to do is
make God small
we squeeze the Sacred into our mold
we create God, as some have said, into our own image

and all of a sudden God is about rules, and dogma
and religion replaces relationship
and certitude replaces mystery

and faith becomes striving
and inclusion becomes inclusion
and acceptance becomes judgment

We take Jesus
Word become Flesh
The one who points us toward the mystery

And we try to tame him

Jesus was wild and weird
and said things we do not understand
and walked a path we cannot truly fathom or follow
but we want to distill him
to capture him, own him

we might as well try and catch the wind (or the Spirit)

The Sacred is indeed difficult to embrace and hold
sometimes we simply have to accept
that we don’t know
we don’t understand
that for all our striving to understand,
we may be wrong

and in that moment of uncertainty
we are forced to let go of all certainty
and let God be Love

Monday, October 15, 2018

In the morning when I rise

Grace isn't about God creating humans and flawed beings and then acting all hurt when we inevitably fail and then stepping in like the hero to grant us grace - like saying, "Oh, it's OK, I'll be the good guy and forgive you." It's God saying, "I love the world too much to let your sin define you and be the final word. I am a God who makes all things new.”
 Nadia Bolz-Weber, Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint

In the morning when I rise
In the morning when I rise
In the morning when I rise

give me Jesus   (African American Spiritual)

each morning when we rise
we have two choices
we can be defined by the world
or we can be defined by the Sacred

in the world we are defined by
money and power
possessions and influence

in the world we are defined
by labels and titles

with the Sacred we are defined by love
we are defined by One who makes all things news

Sometimes it doesn’t feel that way
for in our own weird way we have Secularized the Sacred
giving God attributes which are ungodly
making God a judging retributive being who counts our
ills, and holds them against us

who controls us, manipulates us with fear
and threats of eternal damnation

who demands performance, or else
turn or burn

but in reality God is love
God is a parent in whose eyes
We are wonderful and beautiful
Albeit a bit flawed, and perhaps a touch naughty and willful

But God persists in love
Persists in forgiveness and generosity

In the morning when I rise
I do not, therefore
Want to embrace the world
With its hate and greed
With its demands for performance

In the morning when I rise
I want Jesus
I want grace
I want love
I want it all

So that secure and loved
I can walk through my day
As a Sacred child

Open, vulnerable
Giving, forgiving
Caring and yes

It’s a much better way to live!

Sunday, October 14, 2018

the Great ones

" The great do not regard themselves;
look not for godliness
... in a self-conceited man.

Eminence does not consist in
... outward show and vaunting words, ...
nor dignity in hauteur and pretension. "
- Shaykh Sa'adi Shirazi

where do we find the great ones?
the ones who touch hearts and souls
and carry others through the terrors of this world?

look not to the corner office
nor the pulpit
look not to the capital building or the White House (especially not there)

look not to those who preen and boast
who stand in front of thousands
preaching or ranting
nor to the ones who wear the accessories of success
and gather all things to themselves

look instead to the half way house
the homeless shelter
look to the classroom
and that dank kitchen in the basement of an old church building

look at the bent body, in the veteran’s hat
at the grandmother shepherding her grandchildren

look in the places where the “least of these” are served
and look toward the quiet ones who humbly attend

with compassion and kindness
with acceptance and encouragement
with love

look for those, not with shiny gold veneers
but for those with deep souls
who reach out their hands to
the lost, the poor
the ill, the agitated
the dirty, the ragged
the addicted
the immigrant

look to those who reach out to the vulnerable ones of this world
and in doing so
touch God

for to such belong the Kingdom