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

Thursday, May 28, 2020

crisis is revelatory

When faced with a radical crisis, when the old way of being in the world, of interacting with each other and with the realm of nature doesn't work anymore, when survival is threatened by seemingly insurmountable problems, an individual life-form -- or a species -- will either die or become extinct or rise above the limitations of its condition through an evolutionary leap.”
                                         Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose

“Crisis is what suppressed pain looks like; it always comes to the surface.
                                         Bryant McGill

there is one thing we can insist on

a crisis is revelatory

there are many ways of thinking about crisis
John F Kennedy
Grabbing hold of somewhat a creative interpretation
of the Chinese word for crisis

an interpretation probably first found
in a journal for missionaries in China in the 1930s,

framed crisis as opportunity plus threat

the actual meaning of the word is
“danger at the point where things meet”

perhaps we could better say, danger at the point where things collide

we are at a moment where “things” are meeting
where they collide

the past and the future
old ways and new

but more profoundly
at the point where Covid 19 collides with our lives
we are finding other powerful collisions!
between individual rights and freedoms and the common good
between selfishness and selflessness
between compassionate concern for all and a focus on one’s own individual want and needs, with a disregard for others mixed in

and it is at this point that things get revealed

it seems to me that in a crisis, what is at a person’s core
what is in a person’s heart
the health of a person’s soul
the depth of a person’s spiritual
comes to the surface

for good or for ill

we are seeing people make amazing sacrifices for others
being amazingly generous

we see people putting their lives on the line for others
their businesses on the line

we see people accepting, finding peace
and living lives of compassion and calm

and we see people
in whom hate an anger have bubbled to the surface

we see the faces of hate screaming into the faces of the police
and into the faces of masked healthcare workers

we see people waving the flags of racism and hate
and carrying instruments of death

it’s a hot mess

what makes the difference?

I think it is what is in the heart
Whatever is in the heart gets released
As crisis breaks the heart open

If a person has compassion and love at their core
If they have allowed the God who is love

Then what comes for in this time
Is compassion and love
A concern for others

If not
If what is at the core is fear
Or hate
Or racism
Or anger

Then what comes to the surface
Is angry tweets
And destructive behaviors
and pain and violence
and intimidation

we important lessons in such times
about ourselves
and about God

One thing I have learned during this time is why Jesus so frequently
told people they had to die to the self
and become people willing to be radically

I know, for myself,
that it is when I can let go of “me”
however imperfectly,
things change

it is when I let go of me
and cling to the Sacred
(as a child clings to a parent during a thunder storm)

That I find peace
That I find calm

and it is then that good things surface it my life
and kindness
and a willingness
to work for the common good

so my hope
in this time crisis
is simply this

that what will be revealed in me
is a little sacred presence
and a lot of love

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Liminal Times

5 y/o grandson:  I can’t wait for tomorrow!
Mom (my daughter):  What’s tomorrow?
5 y/o grandson:  Saturday! No School!
Mom: Do you have any idea what day it is?
5 y/o grandson:  Of course I don’t

“In the universe, there are things that are known, and things that are unknown, and in between them, there are doors.”
                                                   William Blake

When we find ourselves in liminal space, does it matter whether we are pushed or whether we jump? Either way, we are not where or what we were before, nor do we know how or where we will land in our new reality. We are, as the anthropologist Victor Turner (1920–1983) wrote, betwixt and between. In that space—which is mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual—we are destabilized, disoriented. The old touchstones, habits, and comforts are now past, the future unknown. We only wish such a time to be over. We may be impatient to pass through it quickly, with as little distress as possible, even though that is not likely. . . .
                                                   Sheryl Fullerton (quoted by Rohr, 4/29/20)

Life is vague
Time is blurred

And we are in that liminal space
Between old normal and new normal

For something to change
For resolution

We’d be happy if it felt like there were progress

Instead we are just in liminal space
Stuck in between

And it sucks
It does

So we are angry
And scared
And impatient

We want to go to sleep until it’s all over
We want to push our way through
Rush our way through

Mostly we want to “get back” to normal

Which is really sad
Because normal was not all that great
Full of poverty
And racism
And injustice
And inequity

The reality is liminal space is sacred
for in this time
much can happen

this uncomfortable time can be
(with the help of the Spirit)

A time of creativity,
of construction
of deconstruction,
of transformation

so what will we do
with this unwanted gift?

perhaps all we can do
is what the people of Israel did
in that liminal space called the wilderness

follow the Sacred
one day
one step at a time

moving us away from what was
to what will be

to God’s new thing

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Love is the constant

I am old enough to remember
And Detective Sargent Joe Friday

And his famous phrase
“Just the facts, ma’am”

Which factually he never said
Only getting as close as

“All we want are the facts, Ma’am”

And now we live in what many call a “post factual” world
Where those entrusted with the truth


And with no apparent compunction

I ran across a poem the other day titled simply
“The Facts of Life”

It was penned by the Irish poet Paidraig O’ Tuama

The facts of life
“that you were born
and you will die

that you will sometimes love enough
and sometimes not

that you will lie
if only to yourself

that you will tire

that you will learn most from the situations
you did not choose…”

the truth is
life is confusing and inconvenient
and life is great

we are messes
and we are beautiful

and if we would embrace the full truth
and live truthfully

we have to be willing to live in a world
where almost everything is

rather than either/or

and we have to recognize that those
pulling us to extreme positions
the extremists
the ideological and moral terrorists

will usually blur the truth rather than expose it

because when it comes to politics
and people

absolutes are usually false

Trump is not, as he insists, blameless and infallible
Neither is he, as some would insist
Always wrong

Right to lifer advocates with their blind extremism
are often false (life deniers)
but they are not totally wrong
we have to take seriously that part of what they believe
that we can embrace

truth is messy
it is contrary to our belief
not back and white

and thus it is challenging
and really hard to find

The truth is I am not good or bad
I am good and bad

I am not right or wrong
I am right and wrong

I am not smart or stupid
I am smart and (at times) incredibly stupid

We have to learn to live in the ambiguity of most truth

There is only one thing that is always
In its own unique way

Only one thing that is unambiguous
And that is Sacred Love
That is God
That is God with us

The one thing we can embrace
Is love

It is the constant
That continues to be truth
In the midst of all the other messy truths

God is not love or hate
God is not love and hate
God is love

And that is a fact