Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Open your eyes

Some of the most important religious and philosophical visions tell us that our eyes are closed, that we're sleeping, missing out or ignoring the most important elements of reality. What does it take to see what's really happening in our world? To break free, Moses-like, from accepting the enslavement of others? To see, Buddha-like, the interconnected energies of choice, action, and emotion that shape, and are, our world? To see, with a pure heart, the blessedness of God?

Church of the...

You perhaps have heard of the Church of the Assumption. There are a lot of them. They may--you can decide it--be outnumbered by the Church of the Presumption.

Church of the Assumption, Merkine, Lithuania
Image credit: Phillip Capper from Wellington, New Zealand [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Monday, October 25, 2010

God's address

God may have created the world (starry heavens, etc),
but s/he lives in the city.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Humbug Variations

“My right to swing my fist ends where your nose begins,” said (methinks) Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes. Leave aside that I have often cited John Locke as the author of this witticism; I am more interested in humbug variations. To wit:

As recently announced on Facebook, and this in response to my needing-a-diaper-change two year-old: your right to stink your stink ends where my nose begins.

Speaking of stinkers: your right to a perfect world ends where my imperfection begins.

And thus also: your right to a perfect world ends where your imperfection begins.

Your identification of a perfect religion ends well before it begins to convince many others

And thus also: your right to persuade others of the perfect religion ends where their resistance begins.

Your right to hand out pamphlets, knock on doors, and offer unrequested prayers is matched by others’ right to say ‘get lost,’ ‘the baby’s sleeping,’ and ‘tell-da big guy I say yo.’ Your right to persist ends when they say it ends.

Your right to be wrong (by denying evolution, for example) ends where the education of my child begins; your right to be right (by proclaiming your revealed truth, say) ends there also. So let’s offer a curriculum that gives students skills, knowledge, and power.

Your right to deny global warming ends when my morning cereal boils before it enters the microwave.

Your right to be mean-spirited begins with your acceptance of isolation and your inability to believe, and ends when your isolation and loss of faith confine others and construe them falsely.

So this is not 30 variations. Your right to write variations, so long as they do no harm, never ends. Add some in the comments….

Monday, October 18, 2010

With nod to Letterman: 10 reasons why Intelligent Design makes no sense

1. Dragon Flies, esp. @ picnics
2. Mosquitoes, anywhere
3. Cancer, anywhere
4. The epiglottis: yikes, switch for air, now for food...
5. Predators: All we are saying is 'give peace a chance'
6. Sociopaths (human predators)
7. Drives: e're noticed that your life doesn't necessarily follow its direction book?
8. "My ways are not your ways..."
9. Leno
10. Flatus

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Excess and Kingdoms

Setting: restaurant, with family
Actions: eating, amusements, laughter
Qualifiers: too much, excess, boisterously, annoying those sitting nearby
Outcomes: bloated, loved, connected more

The kingdom of God is like this.
Priceless. For everything else, there's MasterCard.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Thirty Three Resurrections

All 33 miners rescued in Chile. If you're like me, you find the notion of resurrection a bit difficult to accept. A body, held by the earth, raised to new life? Unlikely you say? Yes, unlikely. Thirty three in one day? That's the news from Chile. The joy of the family members, however one might characterize it, is a joy of resurrection, of life renewed in spite of death's power.

Sunday, October 3, 2010


In the beauty of a New England fall, two lovers marry. Their love represents the glory of creation, and the blessings pronounced in the ceremony call this glory to awareness. This glory lingers in the mind, and then all at once the fullness of everything is clearer and more luminous than normal. In each moment, new glories abound, and the world--as a creation--shines forth with inexhaustible meanings.

We express these meanings in word, music, and dance. But each expression also creates new meanings, and most of what we should see, understand, and express is hidden from view, not understood, and not said.

God is that which gives and knows all meanings and expresses them in ever new glories. If this is not so--admittedly this is quite possible--some meanings are lost permanently. The hopes entailed in meaningful union rest in divine embrace.

Saturday, October 2, 2010


The most significant religions find us to be in a state of intellectual, moral, or spiritual error. Kierkegaard made much of the distinction between Greek error and Christian sin, but if error is viewed as a malady in various types, there's no reason to insist on K's distinctions. Greek, Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, Islamic, Hebrew, Freudian, Marxist...on these accounts, we're getting the most important stuff profoundly wrong.

Far from being pessimistic accounts, these diagnoses are various forms of optimism. Each says, however off the track you are, here's a way to get back on the straight path. Wake up and see for the first time, they say in various ways.

It's far more desperate when individuals and collective entities insist on their purity. That entails an at-some-level-deliberate truncation of reality and consciousness. But this is not to say we should rush headlong into deliberate--but acknowledged--error.

The least likely course is honest self-appraisal, but our ability to do that is ensnared by the errors we do not perceive or do not have the courage to admit.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Endings, grace and death

When our strivings have trapped us, when our doings have failed us, when our fusions have frayed us...our endings can lead us to grace that is unexpectedly buoyant and life-giving, or they can lead us to the abyss from which no one returns. 'God' is fierce and incomprehensible; life closely mirrors 'him.'


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