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

Friday, February 28, 2014

We are what we seek

“If it is bread that you seek, you will have bread.
If it is the soul you seek, you will find the soul.
If you understand this secret, you know you are that which you seek.”
― Rumi


We all seek
perhaps it is in our blood
in our very design
to be creatures who stalk in the night

seeking something more
something different
something to satisfy a longing
that seems to permeate our souls

what is it we seek, my beloved

why do seek that which causes us to trample the weak
and grasp and horde?

why do we seek that
which turns us cruel
or cold?

may we seek love
and joy
peace and hope

and seek them
not in the chaos of the world
but in the tangled depths of our souls

for we become what we seek

Thursday, February 27, 2014

The basic

“the fact is that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins. The cost of not accepting him as your savior is the eternal damnation of your soul.”
                                                                Street evangelist in Portland

God cares about the little details of our lives. We looked for hours trying to find our IPAD for the last few days. Prayed about it today and boom looked up and there it was on top of our refrigerator upside down on top of our phone book blending right in!
                                                                Quote on facebook

I am going to put it right up front
Our views of God are confusing

The Bible may be, depending on how you approach it
confusing and contradictory

I had to admit, when I read or hear statements such as either of the above
I struggle.

Does it not bother people to say, with great fervor
“God is love”
And then to turn around and suggest that a great portion of human
women and children included, will be sent to burn in hell for all eternity because
they did not somehow get “connected with Jesus?”

We present God as love
and then present God as judgmental, harsh, rigid, and cruel
in facts both sides of the story are right there in that book
the Bible

Ok now that I am started

We have this big, really really big God
creator of the universe
does this creator in fact care about the little details of our lives?
does he help us find out iPad?
are all of those little things that go right throughout our day “a blessing” directly implemented by God?
is our financial success, if we have such success,
a direct consequence of God's blessing us?

but if God is that involved in the lives of those he loves, what about the saintly person
I can think of one right now
who gets a horrible form of cancer?
what about my father, who was a good man, a compassionate physician who died way too young
or my mother, a true servant of the community who also died of an ugly disease?
or my wonderful brother-in-law,
a man who loved God if anyone did, who died of ALS?

who is God really (I do prefer to think of God as “who”)?
what is this reality like?
how does this God act in the world, in our lives?

those are profound
and perhaps unanswerable questions
we have clues
we have experiences of grace
and love

but we must be careful
I am reminded of the story of the blind children who meet an elephant
And after touching the animal for a while describe it
One describes a huge leathery wall
Another snake like creature
Another a trunk like being

All of them had part of the picture
All of them had to go back again and again and broaden their “touch”
in order to begin to understand the reality that was that elephant

I think god is much like that
God is far too big for us to wrap our heads, our hearts, our souls around
we will never get the whole picture

when we only grab God as judge, we end up hateful
when we only grab hold of God as the one who “blesses”
god becomes a “maid” or a divine ‘house boy”, at our beck and call

often we will grab on to ideas, look at them, and say, these don’t go to together
such as “God is Love” 
“God is going to send over 60% of the world to burn in hell forever”?

its clear we don't have the whole picture
not surprising
all I can say is this
there is a power for love and good that exists, I call that power God
that power was fully present in one who was fully human as well, he was named Jesus
that power is present in me “the secret is this, Christ in me”  (or the sacred, or the divine, of the Spirit), call it what you will

and through that presence I experience love
and I gain the capacity to be present with, and for others
and I gain the capacity to love
for me that is enough
that is all I can say

and I will try to live that love
share that love
reveal that love
 this day

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Losing our Voice

“Pardon all runners,
All speechless, alien winds,
All mad waters.

Pardon their impulses,
Their wild attitudes,
Their young flights, their reticence.

When a message has no clothes on
How can it be spoken.”
― Thomas Merton

life is full of wild winds
that roar and howl
through our lives

bending and twisting
cutting through our defenses
and leaving us cold
and naked

there  things
we cannot fully see
or understand
which we cannot grasp and control
torment us
and freeze our hearts

and in our frozen
misunderstanding we would howl back
answering the violence

spitting into the wind

and in the violent gusts
of hate and prejudice
our message of love
is stripped
and naked

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The End of the World will be Legal

“The end of the world will be legal.”
― Thomas Merton

this morning I peeled myself out of bed
not because I slept so deeply
but because I wanted to
and wanted to still

body tired from travel
from illness
fuzzy and unwilling I look vaguely at the clock
and with fuzzy head
try to remember who I am
why I am here
and just what it is I have to do

Ah, yes!

a day ahead
full of choices
the breadcrumbs of God

and so I put my feet on the ground
and like a wobbly baby
learning first steps I make my way to the desk
where my computer sits

first wrong choice
the news, the articles on Facebook assail me
and my soul is wounded
by so much that just
sense (at least to me)

I don’t get what we are doing
What is happening is state after state as laws are written
in the name of good, in the name of freedom, in the name of God
that are not good, and are not freeing, and violate God

laws that promote oppression

laws that beat down people who happened to be women

laws made by men ( mostly) and women
who are not hunger, or poor
who wear their wealth
and drip power and righteousness

in this moment
as I sit
more than a bit frayed
ragged around the edges

I realize
our capacity to fail to follow the way of the Sacred
our capacity to act in ways
that will, one step at a time,
one hateful law at a time
destroy others
and ultimately ourselves

they say the world will end with a bang not a whimper
perhaps the world will end with a whimper not a

and will be sealed with a vote
making it legal

Oh Lord deliver us from those
who legislate hate and oppression
and do it in your name

O Lord deliver us from ourselves
when we, in fear,
accept those laws, silently

O lord, deliver us!