Welcome

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



Monday, May 21, 2018

spiritual poverty


“When will our consciences grow so tender
that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it?”
                             Eleanor Roosevelt
_____________________________________

Are we so empty
So fearful

That we have lost our ability
To give
And to welcome?

In the mist of a rainy evening
I watch the horses play
Musical hay piles

Wandering distractedly
Sadie, the alpha
Aged and bony though she may be
Still queens over the pasture

Finally settling
And so to the others

And then, magically
From the darkness under the trees
Come the deer

Tentative
But eager

Finding their way to the piles of hay
And there they
Graze
The haves and the have nots

All stomachs being sated
Because of generosity and welcome

How it speaks of the poverty
Of those with obscene wealth
That they must grasp for more

Knowing that because they do
Someone goes hungry
Someone sleeps on the street
Someone has no health care
Someone lives in despair

How it speaks of the poverty
Of those with all the power
Who misuse that power
Who lie and cheat and steal

Gasping, consuming, gorging themselves

On what does not
Will not
Can not satisfy



Sunday, May 20, 2018

Trees of Heaven, Seeds of Hell


You can't plant the trees of Heaven, ...
with  the seeds of Hell. "

                             Ammar Al- Shukry
____________________________________

It doesn’t matter
It does
Not
Matter

Whether you are trying to Make America Great Again
Or
Establish the Kingdom of God

It does not matter how you define yourself
Or your spirituality

You cannot create good out of evil
You cannot build greatness out of greed
You cannot create justice if you lust for power
You cannot create hospitality with fear
You cannot generate compassion out of judgement

We cannot create world of peace and equity
A world of love and justice
By insisting on our own way

The way to what is good
Is not merely paved with good intentions
But with good actions
And good hearts

With compassion and generosity
Equity and equality
Acceptance and love

There is no other way to make American Great
There is no other way to usher in the Kingdom

It takes sacrifice
And giving
Sometimes it takes dying
Always it takes love

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Live in the questions


“Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart.
...live in the question.”
Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet
________________________________________________________

I have so many questions
The longer I live
The more I have

It seems as for every answer
There are 5 questions,
Waiting to ambush me

And so I walk each day
With so much unresolved
Living the questions

Knowing that perhaps there is no answer
to be found in this world
in this moment

only in the depth of eternity
and maybe not then

perhaps then it won’t matter anymore
as I find resolution
and return to the One from whom I came

Why do children get sick?
Whey do parents brutalize their children, mental, and physically?
Why are we so selfish?
Why do wicked people seem to prosper?
Why do we so easily believe liars?
Where am I going?
Has my life been worth anything?
Why am I so often lonely?
Why do I do so many stupid things?
How do we create change?
How do we defeat evil?

These things torment me, and go unresolved
Yet I will hold them patiently
And I will let them go
For they are of no earthly good
Of no heavenly good either

and the answers are sometimes worse
being not the answer
really

so

I will live in the questions...
And keep walking
Keep searching
Keep trying
Keep loving (as best I can)

peace

Friday, May 18, 2018

be kind


“Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.”
                              Henry James

 “Do your little bit of good where you are; it's those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”
                              Desmond Tutu
________________________________________________

Where did it go?
It must be hiding some place?

Perhaps it is under the desk in the White House
Or ensconced in some back row in Congress

Perhaps it is hiding behind the pulpit a church

Maybe, just maybe, there is a webpage someplace
Where it is to be abundantly found

But kindness seems to have left the building!

I find far too little of it left in my soul
Replaced instead by outrage
And a desire to attack and overwhelm
With the brilliance of my rhetoric, with the force of my anger

Where or where is love
Where is kindness
Where are those little bits of good, put together?

They are there, I believe
Those little acts of kindness

Kindness is in the hands of a older farm widow
Who knits shawls and blankets for people who are struggling
Kindness is in the help given, freely and without question, by an aging farmer
Who gives of his time and his skills to help in so many practical ways
It is in the gentle counsel of the woman everyone calls when life caves in
Counsel given in the context of great trial (cancer) within her own family
It is given through the hands of nurses
Through the listening ears of healers

Those “little bits of good” do litter the universe

And the tipping point is there
That place where those acts of kindness overwhelm the world

But it takes us all
All of our little acts
All of those brief moments

So today
Let us try to be kind

And no matter how today turns out
Remember there is always
tomorrow

Monday, May 14, 2018

Ennui


“Way far back in the beginning of the world was the whirlwind warning that we could all be blown away like chips and cry- Men with tired eyes realize it now, and wait to deform and decay- with maybe they have the power of love yet in their hearts just the same, I just don't know what that word means anymore- All I want is an ice cream cone”
                             Jack Kerouac
______________________________________

Slow the rain falls
More mist than shower

Grayness hovers just above the ground
A dour day
Grumpy from the moment it awoke

Gone is the whirlwind of youth
Dangerous and tantalizing
Full of vitality

All that remains is this strange soft stillness
Where one sits
Book in hand
Gazing at words that will not form

And feeling every second of all the years
Waiting for deformity and decay to
Finally shatter my illusion of vitality

As everything hurts
(and what doesn’t hurt doesn’t work)

It is hard, this vague day to stay awake
Physically my eyes would rather close that read

But it is in my soul that the real weariness lives
Ennui
Seems to be my reality
That strange stuckness that does not destroy
But does not nurture

One does not exactly frown
But neither does on exactly, smile

Not from the level of the soul
There is so little joy springing up from that place
Where joy should live

Somewhere deep inside of my, the truth echoes
“all you need is love”

Not “love”
But Love

That Love that is
That Love that created all of this
And me too

What I need is to feel that Love, accept that Love
Which transforms and renews
Which kills and births

So that I might know love
And knowing
Might give love
And giving might receive love

Might experience the universe in a smile
In the touch of a hand
In an embrace

But all that seems a step, or two, too far
At least today

And so I will stare into the mist
And write a blog few will read
And seek to muster energy in a cup
(just coffee)

And perhaps
Rest these tired eyes

Saturday, May 12, 2018

hungry souls


Remember: whatever is burrowed deep in one hungry soul
Is bound to be tethered to the hearts of many many more
Hannah Brencher
_________________________

Empty
Thirsty
Hungry

We know what it is
This place
Where our souls are longing
Aching
Seeking

Sometimes this poor soul
Is more a haunted mansion
Inhabited by hungry ghosts

Than a Sacred Temple
A dwelling place the Most High

In my aching, in my hunger
I am bound
To other hungry souls

My fear fellowships with their fear
My greed with their greed
My anger with theirs

And soon we are a ravenous pack of humanity
Heading down the wrong path
Predators

Grim it is!

But it is not inevitable
This journey into darkness
For I am tethered, bound
To that from whence I came

To all that is good, and compassionate
Generous and loving

This hungry soul can be fed
This emptiness filled
This thirst quenched

The more I embrace the Sacred
The more open to Sacred Presence
The more I am devoured by Love

The more content I am
The more at peace
The more grateful

And that peace is what I offer
To those with whom I am bound
That gratitude, that contentment
Is what I love

Is what passes from me
To those around me
Through my words, my attitudes,
My actions

whatever is burrowed deep in this hungry soul
Is bound to be tethered to the hearts of many many more

May it be love

Friday, May 11, 2018

lost is lost


Lost is lost

Some times I wander
Starstruck, moonstruck, sunstruck

Looking at this world created
Seeing only
With the eye secular

Seeing only the hate and greed
And fear
And knowing
Too keenly that I am lost
That we are all lost
Wandering around like hit and run drivers
Encapsulated, hard, defensive
Even, aggressive

No wonder there are so many wounded people
Littering our lives

Sometime I dive into the sacred
I become drowned
In the sea of eternity
Sunk into the depths of the sacred
Out of this world
lost in God

But lost is still lost

In a child
Sacred and secular are found
Bound inside the swaddling cloths
Bound inside a child

In a man, dirty feet and all
Shameful death and all
Common and divine are woven

In this one
Who draws together
Everything
All

Creation is invaded by the creator
Creator in the created is bound

And in that single one
In that union

I am found

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Both / And

We melt a little each day.
The candle burns down.
And it may wonder at times, it may wonder:
What will become of me?  What will happen to my precious flame?
                                                                                        Hafiz

Life is a paradox O God
I wish it were not so
For life in the eye of a paradox
is a tumultuous and puzzling thing

It is a life of tension
Law and freedom
Light and Dark
Giving and receiving
Good and Bad
New and Old

always that tension is there
lurking
that "both / and"
and rarely an "either / or"

And yet in that beautiful tension
is growth and life
for as we give we receive
and as we learn how to receive we find
paradoxically
a new ability to give

In sinning we learn about forgiveness
In our awareness of our weakness, we also learn of strength
In our failure we learn of hope
And the darkness only makes the light stronger

Life is a paradox oh God,
thank you that it is so!

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Run Children Run

P
" Forget every idea of right and wrong
Any classroom ever taught you

An empty heart, a tormented mind,
Unkindness, jealousy and fear ....
Are always the testimony
You have been completely fooled!

Turn the back on those
Who would imprision your wondrous spirit
With deceit and lies.

Come, .... join the honest company
Of Kings beggars ".....
- Hafiz
______________________________________

there are always those who would lie to us
manipulate us
use us

It's on The Internet, it must be true!

How do we sort through all of the messages
and influences that come our way?

how do we know what is real
and what must be discarded?

"An empty heart, a tormented mind,
Unkindness, jealousy and fear ...."
Are signs we are being led down the wrong path

Run Sacred children, run!

Not so much away from that you fear
As towards that which you love

Run, into the arms of Sacred love and truth
Where you will find a full heart
And compassion, contentment, generosity and peace

Fill your heart with what is good
Calm your mind
Breathe deep
Look to the hills
Feel the breeze
Hug a friend
Perform a random act of kindness

The Sacred is present
Around you
In you
run children run
Into its sheltering embrace

Tuesday, May 8, 2018


“Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.”
― W.B. Yeats, The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats
_______________

What is the latest on the news?
On Facebook?

Nazi symbols burned by white supremacists?
The latest lie
Or latest rabid tweet from our liar in chief?
Another shooting?
Another tax cut for the very rich?
A treaty violated
peace eroded

Excuse me for being a bit irate!

What is next?
More Christians justifying hate and greed?

Everything seems to be running down
Down
Down

Where are the good people?
Where are the faithful people?

Christ is not ambivalent
Love!
Give!
Be generous!

But the people who claim God
Seem to be the worst
Full of destructive intensity

Willing to destroy the earth
Erase protections for the poor
Exclude the strange
Oppress the vulnerable

Its enough to make God cry
It is enough to make me despair

What do we do
When the center cannot hold

O lord
Deliver us

Monday, May 7, 2018

earthbound


"Let the waters settle and you will see the moon
and the stars mirrored in your own being." ...
                                           Rumi (from Rumi, Saadi, Hafiz (Poems and Quotes) FB page)
_______________________________________

solitary it sits
perched loftily on
its Ponderosa throne

screeching
screeching

its defiance
into the cool air of morning

how I long to be up there
proud potentate of the sky

instead I plod
earthbound

and let the roiling storm within
cloud my vision
and give me feet of clay

ah
give me breath O Beloved
deep breath
that I may calm my soul

an see reflected
in the deep calm pool
of my soul

an eagle
wings spread
against the sky

Sunday, May 6, 2018

May our hearts be known


Calvin: Do you think morality is defined by our actions or what’s in our hearts
Hobbes: Our actions show what is in our hearts
(Silence)
Calvin: I resent that
_______________________________

We can close our eyes
We can push those thoughts away
That haunt us

But in the end when we look in the mirror we know
Everyone knows
If they are willing to see

What is in our hearts

It has been said
“you will know them by their fruits”
(some guy named Jesus)

And so it is

Sometimes the fruits are not just bad
They are toxic, devastating, deadly
We see the violence (as missiles land and children die)
We see the poor and the vulnerable abandoned
We see people who are black minimized, oppressed, even killed

In such actions hearts are revealed
And they are not in the “right place”
By their actions we know them
We know then that these are hearts set on hate
Hearts full of fear, greed,
and arrogance

But so is mine
In my fear
In my failure to care

The fruit of my life is often isolation
Distance, neglect

In my failure to connect well with others
My failure to listen, to act with compassion
My inability to embrace rather than exclude
The poverty of my own heart is revealed

Ah may the love flow

From wherever love comes
May it fill all our hearts
And in the filling
May it overflow

And through the overflow
Through the love
May our hearts be known

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Non-Violence


“There are many causes I would die for. There is not a single cause I would kill for.”
― Mahatma Gandhi
 “Nonviolence is a weapon of the strong.”
― Mahatma Gandhi,
“At the center of non-violence stands the principle of love”
― Martin Luther King Jr.
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
-- Jesus
_____________________________________________________

It was an interesting argument
But a one group was sure

So very sure

Jesus wants us to be armed and dangerous
Jesus wants us to have and use guns

After all, he told his disciples to buy a sword
And he overturned tables in the temple

Jesus has no problem with violence as a way of resolution

I get it!
I really do
Non violence is really hard
So hard that I am not sure I could embrace it
If a threat came my way

It seems so illogical
So weak

But there have been voices,
Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. and yes, Jesus
Who have suggested that violence is not the way

And honestly, history should teach us
Although it is likely true
That the only thing we learn from history is that we do not learn from history

It is true.  For centuries the followers of Yahweh had a vengeful God
A God who took sides, and got angry, and punished
That is the God they thought they knew
They had it all figured out

They had the system down
They had the rules, and the rules about the rules
And the rules about the rules about the rules
And the tried to walk the narrow line
And escape

The wrath of that angry God

They had no problem believing that if you were the “chose”
God was one your side.
And God would back you, as you used force against your enemies
Read the Psalms
Its all over the place, this lust for the destruction of the enemy

And I get it…

But then along came Jesus, and messed it all up

He said God is love (and showed it)
He said God works through the medium of grace not law (and showed it)
He suggested that everyone was welcome within God’s circle of love (and lived it)
He made it clear

That all our strategies
All those old strategies related to power
Were junk
Spiritual junk

That all our beliefs about what is good
And what works
Were ass backwards (think the Beatitudes)

Its hard stuff
And so the way is narrow

But the hardest part of all
Is Jesus insistence on non-violence as the ultimate solution

Oh yes, he did chase out those money changers
But they were the moneyed religious elite
The people who were messing up true worship, true faith

But when the ultimate test arrived
With the final answer had to be given
He died for the sheep

“He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
    yet he did not open his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
    and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
    so he did not open his mouth”

And thus the path to the Kingdom was opened
Thus the history of the world was bent toward peace, and love

It is a hard thing
Could I be non-violence in a time of great peril?
I don’t know
If my family or friends were threatened?
Most likely not.

Any yet, and yet
This is the way we change the world
This is how we beat hate and violence
This is how

God help us all be non-violent
In our thoughts
In our words
In our attitudes
In our actions

Non-violence is the weapon of the strong
God,
Help us be strong

Friday, May 4, 2018

Allargando of the soul


“Humankind has not woven the web of life.  We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.  All things are bound together.  All things connect.”  (Chief Seattle)

___________________

A wise teacher once told me
“you can never do just one thing”

Every action has consequences
Every life has consequences

Every life, with its actions
Good and bad
Is part of the fabric of life
(to mix metaphors, something my English teacher warned me against
              I’ll face the consequences)
A thread which can hold the fabric together,
And make it whole
A which can pull apart
And unravel and threaten the whole

“Me First”
“America First”
“Business First”

These are words which reminds us that all too often
We do not take seriously our connectedness
In our pursuit of power or wealth
Safety and security

We are willing to forget that we are part of a greater whole
The US is one nation among many
I am one person among many
I am one race among many
I am one gender among a variety of identities

I cannot, blindly
Insist on what benefits me,
Without first considering what benefits those around me
More
What benefits the entire fabric that is creation?

Not just my people, all people
Not just people, all creatures, insects, birds, snakes, mammals, fish, all
All trees, and grasses and flowers
The air, the water, the earth itself

All

Does what I want, does what I do
Help or hinder,
Heal or harm?

Perhaps we need a little allargando of the soul
A slowing, a broadening
A swelling of the spirit
That reminds us of that larger Truth,
That draws us into the song of Love

That we are called to sing
At the top of our lungs



Thursday, May 3, 2018

forgiveness


“An eye for an eye, and the whole world would be blind.”
― Kahlil Gibran

“Forgiveness means it finally becomes unimportant that you hit back.”
― Anne Lamott
________________________________________________________

In my dreams
I am standing again in a field in Kurdistan

The sound of military helicopters growing ever louder
As like vultures
Or is it angels of mercy

They drop from the sky
Disgorging their sad burden

Tattered  and wet
Fragile with hypothermia
Bent with the burden of the precious bundles they hold in their arms

Barely protected from the bitter weather
By the rags with which they are wrapped

We tried, Oh we tried
But they were too weak
Too far gone
And so, as we held them, they died

These little innocents
Their faces drawn and grey white

This was the fruit of war

I wake and remember
Other babies, starving to death in Africa
Shot in their classrooms in America
Poisoned in Syria
Shot and bombed in Gaza

So many children, destroyed
The fruit of prejudice, and anger, and hate
The fruit of violence
The fruit of our need for power
The fruit of our Greed

As I walk in the snow, in the silent peace
In the relative safety of rural Oregon
I wonder how we respond?


Is the answer missiles, bombs, drones
Is the answer violence?
Has that ever worked?  Really?
Even when it appears to have benefited the world,
Were not the seeds of hate sown?
Was not the groundwork laid for the next conflict?

There is no war to end all wars
There is only war after war

We must go a different way
We must walk a different path
And it will not be an easy path I fear
We must walk the path of love

And it takes more strength to love in the face of hate
Than it does to return hate
I am not sure I am strong enough to do that

Very few, in the history of the world have been

One was
That one who “humbled himself”
And refused to take on the way of power, although he could have
And walked in love all the way to the cross
to say in a way unmistakable

this is how it ends
the endless cycle of violence and retribution
this is how it ends

How do we approximate that way?
What does it look like, today?
God help me, I do not know

But I am fairly certain it does not look like missiles
Hurled into space
It does not look like dying babies
It does not look like chronic retribution

It looks as radical and costly as the cross

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Lessons everywhere


Anything that annoys you is teaching you patience.
Anyone who abandons you is teaching you how to stand up on your own two feet
Anything that angers you is teaching you forgiveness and compassion
Anything that has power over you is teaching you how to take your power back
Anything you hate is teaching you unconditional love
Anything you fear is teaching you courage to overcome your fear.
Anything you can’t control is teaching you how to let go
Unknown
_______________________________________________________________

there are, it seems,
lessons everywhere

the opportunities for our lives to be shaped
in ways deep,
come moment by moment,
from the very moment of waking
until we sleep again

but each lesson provides two options

a negative event, thought or feeling
can push us into greater darkness
entombing us, eventually, in hate and fear, anger and violence

or that same event can be that which we grasp
and use to pull ourselves out of the hungering dark
into the light

what makes the difference?
for me it is knowing
that I carry within me Sacred Presence
(you may call it what you will)

I have love itself, dwelling in my soul
I am not empty, a mere shell, which will collapse
at the lightest blow
for I am stuffed with the divine

and I can take whatever comes my way
and transform it

it doesn’t meant there won’t be scary times
or that I won’t get hurt
it does not mean that will not know failure
it simply means that I am not powerless
or alone

and
if I choose to go deeply into my soul
and rest there (at least from time to time)
I will be transformed the nature of what lives there
(love)
and live accordingly

and thus, “in a gentle way, shake the world” (Gandhi)