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

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

thoughts on power

Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power.
                                                                                      Abraham Lincoln

it appears that most of us can’t be trusted with power

people who end up with power
all too often abuse it

we call them tyrants, oppressors, persecutors

they can be men
or women

or ministers

their abuse can be overt
or subtle

power can be misused in an relationship, and
if you want to know how addictive power is
look at what people will do to get it

they will lie, cheat and steal
they will diminish others
they will do terrible things (such as oppress or neglect the vulnerable)

look at the efforts people go to in order to maintain the delusion
and illusion of power

the houses, and cars,
all of the trappings we accumulate to convince ourselves and others
of our supremacy

and if people do not feel powerful,
they will do strange and terrible things
to regain that feeling

carry a gun
act with violence toward a wife or husband
psychologically abuse one who is vulnerable

which is why Sacred power (as I understand it )
is so different

Jesus had power
He died on a cross

God has power
God chooses to express it as love

the Sacred version of power is

it is serving
becoming the least

power is love
do you want to be powerful?
take care of your self
take care of your loved one’s
serve your community
live deeply

Monday, May 30, 2016

Create Something

What the locust swarm has left the great locusts have eaten, what the great locusts have left, the young locusts have eaten:  What the young locusts have left the other locust have eaten.
                                                                                                                   The Bible, Joel 1

In a time of destruction, create something.
                                                                                                      Maxine Hong Kingston

it seems at times
as if the forces of destruction are everywhere

the modern prophets
cry out
“it is a time of devastation
  be afraid, be very afraid”

there are enemies everywhere
moral decline is rampant
the economy is collapsing

“they” (whomever they are ) are going to come
and kill you in your beds

this is a time of decline
all is failing, drying up
the enemy is at the gate


and we want to hide
or we want to hate

so we disappear
or we lash out in violence
dehumanizing others
marginalizing those weaker than our selves
stockpiling and carrying guns

we are on the edge

and the worst among us
the unprincipled and unscrupulous
feed on our fear for their own benefit
leading us like sheep into darker places

(see how easy it is to be a prophet of doom?)

and yet
this morning I look out into a world of beauty
a little buck, horns barely formed
his identity yet unclear, even to him
peeks out of tall grass, unconcerned, as I walk by

Iris glow neon yellow and deep purple
and birds, yellow, and red, vibrant and athletic
dart among the branches

the mountain still soars, snow capped into a sky
that is unbelievably blue

the sun shines
and there are things to do

a pile of bark dust awaits
needing to be spread among the herbs

a person sits, hurt and alone
wanting someone to talk to

there are many acts of healing
and kindness that can be done

there are pets to be petted
loved ones to be hugged
children to be loved and played with

there are songs to be written and sung
pictures to be painted
and photographs to be taken

there are poems to be written

in a time of darkness
we can be light

in a time of  destruction
there are acts of creation
that can be done

this day
at least this day
I will do something creative
and loving

The Extremism we can't seem to grasp

From the beginning men used God to justify the unjustifiable.”
― Salman Rushdie, The Satanic Verses

Extremes to the right and to the left of any political dispute are always wrong.”
― Dwight D. Eisenhower

I have been thinking today about extremism

In general I am against it

I am against food fanaticism (sorry)

In general I am for the middle way
which is an old an honored path

it is not that there is no place for extreme

Jesus was extreme
and called for an extreme way of life

death of ego
sacrificial giving
unconditional love

a difficult way for sure

and what have we done with his call to be
“ordinary radicals” (Shane Claiborne)?

we have moved to
extreme hate
extreme enmeshment with the cultural status quo

we have even decided that greed is OK

many of those who say they follow Jesus
are now willing to follow a person who is the antithesis of all Jesus stood for

Those who would be progressive followers of Jesus have now become
as pious and rigid as those they just

we do not handle extremism well, and
it appears that we are willing to adopt any form of extremism except one

extreme love

Oh beloved one
deliver us from ourselves