Sinned?

I’m doing hard work. I want to give myself credit for that.

  • Seeing myself as less than who I believed myself to be.
  • Working not to let the pain get in the way, too much. Working to breathe into my “new reality,” to accept it with as much grace as possible.
  • Working to find language, consistent with my upbringing,
    to understand what is happening,
    and to understand how I knew something was true even before I guessed the power of that truth.

Writing here helps with the last point. As I orient toward you, dear reader, helpful words and concepts assemble themselves in anticipation of expression.

(I read Paul Bishop’s JUNG’S ANSWER TO JOB: A COMMENTARY. Stunning, for me. It’s too soon to try to talk about it.)
Now I’m reading Carl Jung’s MEMORIES, DREAMS, REFLECTIONS. I’m excerpting here two stories, relevant to my thinking.
Jung, a young psychiatrist in the early 1900s, encountered two women , at different times, who told him about how they had killed people.
I am not, nor was Jung, focusing on the shocking fact of the murders. Our focus is on the effect of these killings on the unconscious inner life.

A lady came to my office. She refused to give her name, said it did not matter, since she wished to have only one consultation. It was apparent that she belonged to the upper levels of society. She had been a doctor, she said. What she had to communicate to me was a confession; some twenty years ago she had committed a murder out of jealousy. She had poisoned her best friend because she wanted to marry the friend’s husband. She had thought that if the murder was not discovered, it would not disturb her. She wanted to marry the husband, and the simplest way was to eliminate her friend. Moral considerations were of no importance to her, she thought.

The consequences? She had in fact married the man, but he died soon afterward, relatively young. During the following years a number of strange things happened. The daughter of this marriage endeavored to get away from her as soon as she was grown up. She married young and vanished from view, drew farther and farther away, and ultimately the mother lost all contact with her.

This lady was a passionate horsewoman and owned several riding horses of which she was extremely fond. One day she discovered that the horses were beginning to grow nervous under her. Even her favorite shied and threw her. Finally she had to give up riding. Thereafter she clung to her dogs. She owned an unusually beautiful wolfhound to which she was greatly attached. As chance would have it, this very dog was stricken with paralysis. With that her cup was full; she felt that she was morally done for. She had to confess, and for this purpose she came to me.

p. 122 & 123, Vintage paperback edition

I take this very seriously. When we perform what we unconsciously understand as act against the greater good, it lives in us, contaminates us, breaks up our harmonious relationship with the larger world –Gaia– and can be sensed, especially by our animal friends.

I believe this is a Truth. A truth about the interconnectedness of all beings and all acts of those beings. In earlier Judeo-Christian times these reverses in this woman’s life would be described as “God’s punishment.” I am not comfortable with this way of understanding the situation: God, external to us, watching, and punishing bad behavior. But I think the culture that evolved this “God-will-punish-story” to explain observed events was observing real events.

In my own life, I am struggling with a similar sense that things are out of joint. Not that I have committed a murder. I affirm no awareness that I have been involved in such a thing, but none-the-less I feel contaminated, blocked in my hopes for my life. I’m guessing I’m blocked by something I do recognize –“oh that,”– but have not been willing to accept as having the gravity it deserves (in my inner life).

I affirm, that this
‘sense-of-out-of-joint’
is a gift from a higher order of reality. George Fox talked about it in his letter to Lady Claypool.

The other “murder” was by a young woman, married in error, not to her lover, who allowed her children of that marriage to drink water she knew was not safe. One died.  No one, including the patient, understood the connection between the daughter’s death and this woman’s institutionalization with a diagnosis of

…schizophrenia, or ‘dementia praecox,’ in the phrase of those days. The prognosis: poor.

After outlining the situation as he had come to understand it, Jung continues:

I told her everything I had discovered… To accuse a person point-blank of murder is no small matter. And it was tragic for the patient to have to listen to it and accept it. But the result was that in two weeks it proved possible to discharge her, and she was never again institutionalized.

p. 116

Why are these stories important to me at this time in my life? I see in them something I know I need to learn, to re-cognize, that I cannot yet bear to accept.

OK, so here’s a third story from Jung (who was a Christian, although far from orthodox).

A young woman appeared. She was Jewish, daughter of a wealthy banker, pretty, chic, and highly intelligent.

The girl had been suffering for years from a severe anxiety neurosis

I asked her…about her grandfather. For a brief moment she closed her eyes, and I realized at once that here lay the heart of the problem. … He had been a rabbi and had belonged to a Jewish sect. … I pursued my questioning. “If he was a rabbi, was he by any chance a zaddik?” [A saintly leader of a Hasidic community.] “Yes,” she replied, “it is said that he was a kind of saint and also possessed second sight. But that is all nonsense. There is no such thing!”


I explained to her “Now I am going to tell you something that you may not be able to accept. Your grandfather was a zaddik. Your father became an apostate to the Jewish faith. He betrayed the secret and turned his back on God. And you have your neurosis because the fear of God has got into you.” That struck her like a bolt of lightning.

[That night Jung had the second of two dreams about her.]

I told this dream to her, and in a week the neurosis had vanished. The dream had showed me that she was not just a superficial little girl, but that beneath the surface were the makings of a saint. She had no mythological ideas, and therefore the most essential feature of her nature could find no way to express itself. All her conscious activity was directed toward flirtation, clothes, and sex, because she knew of nothing else. She knew only the intellect and lived a meaningless life. In reality she was a child of God whose destiny was to fulfill His secret will. I had to awaken mythological and religious ideas in her, for she belonged to that class of human beings of whom spiritual activity is demanded. Thus her life took on a meaning, and no trace of the neurosis was left.

pp. 138-140

I am afraid of what lies ahead of me. I have some reason to hope that it will be an opening into a larger spiritual life, but my emotional experience is of dread and avoidance.

Writing here helps me stay true to the path I am on. My community provides me with both a context and a “reason” for continuing the work.

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Eye, I, Aye

Eye

I

Aye aye,

My Christ

It hasn’t been easy.

I’ve made mistakes, sinned.

This is too volatile to be shared much here

Or any where.

But this much I can say, at this point.

Eye

I

Aye, aye,

mychrist

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Another Loop in the Spiral

Setting out again, on a new level.

I have agreed to be Clerk of the Twin Cities Friends Meeting (TCFM) for the next year and a half, supported by Anne Supplee as Assistant Clerk.

I agreed to do this as a way of
enacting,
of better understanding,
mychrist.

Something happened last fall.

I am still finding my way, learning how to talk about it.
I won’t pretend I understand it. I believe it is a seductive error to claim–or even to believe–we “understand” the action of the divine within us.

However, the other side of that paradox is that we can share,
or at least indicate,
something of the reality
that moves among us,
that transcends us
that we sense is acting through us.

I have not written here
I have practiced waiting.
For a certain inner motion.

I have not wanted to say, “Wow, look what I did.”
I think it is important not to say that.

I did write a review of the book, Jesus for the Non-Religious, by John Shelby Spong.

This book was the pivot point for the “something” that happened last fall.

Over the last months I have tried to write more directly about what has happened to me, how it feels my heart is opening. The words are inadequate.

As I pondered the ineffability of my experience,
I was asked to be Clerk of TCFM.
I agreed, believing, now, that what I wish to “tell,”
What I wish to show forth
Cannot be expressed in words
Except tangentially.

I am called to “live,”
To “live into”
Mychrist.

My intuition now
is that mychrist is social
like Love.
Not something I can do by myself.
Or even enunciate,
Solo.

And this feels very much like the next phase in my life as a Gaia Troubadour. I have been crying out to my Quaker Meeting: “The Earth is as a living organism.”

As Clerk of Meeting, I am in a position to say, “look, the Meeting is a living organism! There! And over there! Don’t you see how we ‘individuals’ are connected within this body!?”

I hope to do this, in real time, during Meeting for Worship with attention to Business (MWB) itself. I also hope to present my understanding of the aliveness of our beloved community on my Clerk’s Blog, on the TCFM website.

Wish me luck!

Love,
Richard

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This Is What God Wants?

This Is What God Wants?
.: With an exclamation point, the above title would be unacceptable. Even with a question mark it is on thin ice.
.: Or more pointedly, its author is on thin ice: in danger of plunging into freezing waters, with considerable risk to earthly life.
.: Please note; I did not use an exclamation point.
.: Why must you go poking into these dangerous areas, even if you manage not to overstep?
.: I am drawn to talk of “God’s will” because I believe liberal society has ignored a hugely important area of reality. By “liberal society” I mean those of us who have had a “liberal education,” an education in the “liberal arts.”

.: “God wants” is a manner of speaking, and it has proven to be a hugely dangerous one. I would never assert that I know what “God” wants, for anyone but myself. Still this dangerous manner of speaking is a reference to something critically important that we have been neglecting. I feel this stage of my life’s work is to try and find a different manner of speaking in this important area.

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A Word-wright, in Search of the Right

Looking back, I would say I have not written here in over a month because I was spent.
I use “spent” because “exhausted” has some negative connotations that are not right. I could have said “happily exhausted,” but “spent” also has connotations of having a resource and having it depleted, which fit well here.

.: I have wanted to write before now (says one faction of my inner committee).
.:I have started writing several times in the last month
.: But it never “went anywhere.” It never felt “right.”
Which is what I want to try and talk about today; a sense of “rightness.”

So, for a year now, I’ve been talking about Gaia on this website and I’ve been saying this is more than an abstract notion; Gaia is “speaking” to us, offering us valuable information about how to weave the fabric of our lives.
And when we do that, when we are in “sync” with our biosphere
and with Gaia’s “intent,”
when our individual acts are resonant with the larger whole,
we can shine with Gaia’s light.
Our lives can shine forth that Light,
that rightness,
that expression of good connection to wholeness.
Our lives can be like beams,
revealing Gaia,
Real-izing Gaia
In our living.
As I write (wright1) this, I hear, in my words, resonances with the language of Christian thought,
as in, “the light of Christ shone through her.”
I am not surprised. As I have been saying for a year: “what I am saying is nothing new. I am re-expressing truths found in all the world’s religions.”
So if I use sentences and thought-forms that sound “Christian,” it’s hardly a surprise.
I hope they sound Taoist, too, and Native American.

I felt led to start this website, and then,
to the dismay of some members of my inner committee,
I felt led to talk about some compulsive aspects of my life, aspects of my appetites, my “needy greedy.”
Why?
The truest answer is not a “reason” in a rational sense;
it felt like the right thing to do.
It had a sense of rightness.
I was led or guided to do it, despite reluctance and despite the violation of social norms.
And my sense of being led has continued over this last year, a sense that I am being led to demonstrate, with my life, what no words can convincingly say.
I believe I am being led to live my truth,
to live into my guidance,
and to show forth the result of a growing resonance with the Whole.
Dear friends, I am led to offer my life as an example of what can happen
when we set ego aside,
as best we can,
and try to live the truth we find within us, to shine with it.
To shine forth something larger than our individual selves,
to live by “our christ,”
to real-ize,
to craft,
to wright1,
to manifest
“Gaia’s intent.”

I don’t know what I’m saying here, and I ask you, my friends, my community, to work with me.
You have been watching what is happening to me, or you can look back and see how this has unfolded over time. You have heard me say
“I accept a calling as a Gaia Troubadour,”
and you know I want my life to speak the same message as my words do.
I ask you to consider in your hearts, not necessarily for publication,
or even sharing
“what is happening to Richard?
“What words and thought forms would I use to describe what Richard thinks is happening to him?”
I ask you to do this because I believe we are in this together.
I believe I am a single strand in our fabric,
a single element within a compound eye/I.
I need more than I have to offer on my own.
I need community
to understand
as well as I can
the throbbing wholeness
of which we humans are a part,
and with which we grapple.

Love,
Richard

To those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, I wish holiday greetings.
The gathering darkness will soon begin to abate.
Let those of us concerned with the Light
join with all faith traditions
in celebration.


1 Wright \Wright\, n. [OE. wrighte, writhe, AS. wyrtha, fr. wyrcean to work. [root]145. See Work.]
One who is engaged in a mechanical or manufacturing business; an artificer; a workman; a manufacturer; a mechanic; esp., a worker in wood; — now chiefly used in compounds, as in millwright, wheelwright, etc.

He was a well good wright, a carpenter. –Chaucer.

Source: Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)

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An Awakening Calm

Calm has entered my life. Not that my life is completely calm but, sometime in the last few days, a tightly-stretched band of anxiety let go. Thinking of it as I write this, I breathe a sigh of relief. While I don’t think I’ll ever know exactly what happened, I want to sketch some of the contributing circumstances. You will recognize a continuity with what has gone before.

Afraid to “submit” / Relaxing into a Benign, Supportive Universe
An important part of my softening came reading a comment from my old Movement for a New Society friend, David Finke. We had been out of touch and David was excited to rediscover me through this website. David, you wrote: …

But even beyond that, my testimony to you… is that it is not WE who do the finding. Rather, we ARE FOUND – by the Good Shepherd who has never let us wander fatally off the cliff. That, I think, is the heart of Luther’s discovery that “By Grace are we saved, through faith… not by works, lest any man should boast.” The initiative is from The Divine, our cosmic Lover.

David, you go on to say…

Anglican bishop Leslie Newbiggin. … said, more or less, aphoristically:
“Religion is about man seeking God. The Gospel is about God reaching out to mankind.”

David, you write,

“That made my mind do one of those 180-degree flips, and largely put behind me all the demands, the rigor, the anxiety, about whether we were “doing it right” – either in terms of behavior or belief. From that point on, I’ve been open to – and largely experiencing – the marvel and miracle and Grace of God reaching and finding me, affirming and restoring me (through all my many failures and weaknesses) to that Imageo Dei of which you eloquently speak. I continue to be amazed by this Bounty …

You say you and I have

…been confined by that phrase … “that of God in everyone” [as] a statement about ourselves, rather than about God’s transformative Power…
…the most frequent Foxian testimony was, “The Power of the Lord was over all.” Looking to the Source, not to our navels.

David, all this had a very good effect on me. You continued

…both George and Helene are saying that we’re going a mistaken direction in looking at ourselves (including our consuming pathologies) rather than to the Light which both reveals our “transgressions, confusion and distractions” AND empowers us to gain victory over them – a first step on the way to Peace.

You directed my attention to George Fox’s “Letter to Lady Claypool” in which I found the phrases:

… what the light doth make manifest and discover, temptations, confusions, distractions, distempers; do not look at the temptations, confusions, corruptions, but at the light that discovers them, that makes them manifest; and with the same light you will feel over them, to receive power to stand against them. … the same light that lets you see sin and transgression will let you see the covenant of God, which blots out your sin and transgression, which gives victory and dominion over it, and brings into covenant with God. For looking down at sin, and corruption, and distraction, you are swallowed up in it; but looking at the light that discovers them, you will see over them.

These words were balm to my soul.

Fear of the “Christ” word
My book group has been reading (retired Episcopal bishop) John Selby Spong’s new book, JESUS FOR THE NON RELIGIOUS. As he has in earlier books, Spong writes out of the historical understanding of Jesus developed by the Jesus Seminar, but where many Jesus Seminar members are content to say, “this is what we know, historically,” Spong looks at most of the biblical renderings of Jesus’ life and says, “As history they are WRONG, WRONG, WRONG!”
I was shocked by Spong’s negativity as I read, but I now recognize these demystifications were important for me to hear. Spong does not negate the bible stories themselves. He says Jesus’ followers were rightly dazzled by Jesus’ God-filled presence, and wrote the gospels with magical and theatrical and liturgical overtones as their best attempt to convey the power of the “Jesus experience.” What Spong says is “WRONG” is the understanding that these stories are history, that they “happened” in space-time.

So what does it matter whether a bible story is “history” or an inspired tale, one which struggles to represent contact with a spirit-filled (but fully human) Jesus? It matters because for centuries Christianity has been a powerful engine of social control. The Roman Emperor Constantine merged Christianity with the Roman state. Over the centuries Christianity has brought the legitimated power of the army, the police and the thought police to bear on much of Western Civilization. If you can’t, or won’t, say the formula in the proper way, you could be dead, or at least excluded beyond the pale. Not to say that Christianity has not made beautiful contributions to the human experience, but the “historical” formula of the Resurrection has been used to “prove” God was active in Christianity in ways he was NOT PRESENT elsewhere.

This thing about formulas is fascinating.
Last weekend my Meeting had a panel on “Quakers and Jesus.” The next day, in a group conversation, a friend expressed shock and fear at what she had heard. She comes from a much more traditional Christian background than I do, has endured years of formulaic worship and attempts at social control based on it. I tried to tell her that, in the context of TCFM, her reaction was “phobic.” While devout talk of Jesus may well have been linked with threatening situations in her past, when members of our meeting talk like that, it does not mean we are about to lord it over her, regarding how she should think and act. I’m not sure she benefited from my observation about “phobic,” but it was very valuable to me to be see such a vivid demonstration of the lasting power and pain of the old formulas. Our conversation group recalled there had been similar strong reactions to a children’s Christmas pageant at Meeting, a few years before.

One way I have found to use some standard phrases like “Christmas,” in a way that demonstrates I am not trying to invoke their formulaic power is to offer alternative phrasings. I’ve noticed that for years, in Quaker Community Forest publicity, when I talk about our Early Winter Harvest, I’ll refer to cutting “Xmas trees” in one sentence and “Yule decorations” the next. It takes the edge of things, for me at least. I think one interesting indication that a formula is being invoked is capitalization. I do feel I have finally opened myself to the activity of the divine within me in a new way. If I end up talking about it in terms of “Christ,” I’ll use “my christ,” lower case.

Afraid of becoming a partisan
Another aspect of the knot of fear I think has relaxed in me is the fear of being seen to take sides in a theism / non-theism struggle. I have been greatly helped by John C’s class “Taking Jesus Seriously.” John points to the world that Jesus saw, with the kingdom of heaven in plain sight, all around us, or within us. John says that this kingdom is the same world that the Buddha saw. Both Jesus and Buddha indicated that it took some doing to achieve this form of “seeing” the world, but that achieving that “sight” allows us to live fully in the world and to be at peace with it, whatever it may bring, even if that is persecution and death.
While Buddha and Jesus saw the same world, when they turned to their followers they naturally used the language of their culture to explain what they saw. Hence, says John, we get two different stories explaining the same thing. (In his course John uses Buddha’s method, as understood by vipassana meditation, to help us see the world as Jesus saw it.)

One vision of the world, two cultural expressions of it, one theistic, one non-theistic!

Whew! What a relief!

Maybe I can relax.

Spong’s message is consistent with this point of view. He devotes a significant part of his book to showing how Jesus’ followers used “Jewish” explanations. If you have had a transcending experience of humanity and you are groping for words to express it, where do you turn? Well, if you are a first-century Jew, and you are saying “it’s like… it’s like…” you naturally turn to the stories of Moses, the stories of Elijah and Elisha.

John Shelby Spong’s own upbringing was very “biblical.” In the course of his life, he says, his Christianity has been transformed, and clearly the power of Jesus in his life remains strong. My single most powerful moment last week came with the reading of Spong’s epilogue, “Christpower.” Here’s the poem expressing his core religious belief:

As George Fox said:

For looking down at sin, and corruption, and distraction, you are swallowed up in it;

[one aspect of Buddha’s “suffering”?]

but looking at the light that discovers them, you will see over them.

Thank you, dear friends.
Blessed be.

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Summary, Mid July through September, `07

Well!

I DO know how to keep my life interesting!
(.: Do you really think it is “I” that is doing this?!)

I would say the history I am about to review was triggered in part by my experience of Abounding Love at the FGC Gathering in early July.
(I have heard of several others who have also experienced FGC-related life-changes.)

My personal experience of Love was not all simple and beautiful; some of it morphed into troublesome feelings of lust. As I struggled with these in prayer, I got the message,

Here you are, struggling with another aspect of your ‘needy-greedy,’ your appetites. Stop addressing these one by one. If you open yourself to the christ within, all these contending aspects of yourself can be brought into a harmonious relationship, filled with, & expressing, the Divine.

.: Yikes!
.: OK… … … …

Before long, I knew I had to report on this to you, my readers, scary as it was (is).

I managed four installments in the month between mid-August and mid September, trying to come to terms with my experience and its implications. In Talking About Christ I offer a grand theory, partly to reassure myself my brain had not turned to pudding, partly to stall for time.
In About Christ, Part 2, I get more personal, sharing my discovery that I have the double assignment of doing the inner work of “let go, let God,” and also finding names for it, that are acceptable to myself and my community.
By the time I got to My Search, My Quest, I felt strong enough to claim that I am doing significant cultural work, at the same time I am doing painful personal work. Is this narcissism? Opinions vary. I did get a wonderfully-supportive comment.
I persevere in believing I am doing my work as a Gaia Troubadour.
Also, I am Drawing the Curtain, on the public display of some of the most personal aspects of my inner struggles.
After all, this is not going to be quick. And there’s lots of other important stuff to talk about, like Atoms are not little things.
It was reassuring, having chosen this direction, to have another Gaia poem flow out of me, Gaia, Great Mother, has many hidden treasures,
and then, to return to the “language-of-christ issue” in Theism & Non-theism, which generated two valuable comments.

Thanks again, for being there. Whether you read this or not, I know you are interested in my life and that, when the time is right, we will re-connect.

Let me say, it feels in this moment, like I am in exactly the right place.

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Theism & Non-Theism

I’ve had two strong conversations about theology and its place in our midst in the last two days. We have touched on topics of “Gospel Ministry” and “Gospel Order” but what has been stirred in me are thoughts about naming “my christ.”
I Name my cars and my computers. It works for me. Not sure why. If pressed, I’d say it’s easier for me to see them in their systemic wholeness, easier for me to attune to their patterns of quirks. If I name them, as Adam and Eve are said to have attached names to the different parts of their ecosystem, it allows me to relate to them better, I more easily recognize a certain slowness under some circumstances, and a bit of odd noise under other circumstances. With a name it is easier for me to re-cognize the information I am getting from them.

I have friends who think it’s odd to name non-living things. For myself they are animate objects.
I am an animist. I experience a sense of presence — a sense of entity, of place– as I enter the valley of the Glacial River Warren. I know many feel that way about the Grand Canyon.
So it is with “my christ.” I am a speck in the vat of life. To me, everything looks connected. I see patterns everywhere, “meaningful” patterns,
whatever that means.
I experience the world to be filled with divine energy. To me, it’s not just a clock that got wound up by God (or the Big Bang) and is slowly, mechanically, running down.
I sense a kind of divine aliveness, a “specialness” in the entity of the Grand Canyon… And in a similar, if smaller, degree, in my computer.

So it is in my nature to personify.
I consider that to be an individual trait rather than a personal virtue. I have not named Betsy’s computer and I have not suggested that she should name it. (Personally, I think when she gets frustrated with it, that it would help her if it had a name, but I call this my personal prejudice, rather than a great truth.)
Likewise with my inner life. I see patterns, a certain slowness under some circumstances, etc. I find meaning in my life at almost every turn. It seems to me that I have “been somewhere” and that I am “going somewhere.”
And that where I am “going” unfolds out of where I have “been” in ways astonishing, ways that at times fill me with awe.
My adventure of the fall of 2007 is:

What if I personalize this?
What if I allow myself to see the trend-lines of my life’s unfolding as a response to a ‘call’?
A call coming from an entity beyond my full comprehension?

(Whew!)

And if I do?
And if I did?

If I came to have a sense of an entity and a name,
drawing me toward my “meant to be”
future…?
And if I called this guiding entity “my christ,” would that make me better than someone who didn’t name her computers?
Does saying “my christ” or “gospel order” give me a higher status among Friends, compared with Friends who don’t personalize? Friends who make choices, just as I do, but don’t experience it as “responding to a call from god?”
NO!

I think I have found the root of a great danger here, and I am going to do my best to expose it, in hopes that Friends will see it for what it is, and we will work together to root it out.
I’m talking theism and non-theism here.
In Western Civilization, rising out of a Judeo-Christian-Islamic theology, the divine is often personalized (despite a strong current of doubt, over the centuries.) In many Eastern philosophies the sense of the transcendent is not personalized. I do not believe there is a “right” and a “wrong” here. And I think there is a great danger lurking in the natural human tendency to believe “the way I do it is better.”

Likewise, in our Friends Meeting, dear friends, if I open myself to experiencing the movement of the divine within me as “my christ,” does that make me better, “closer to God,” than my non-theist family members who make choices –prayerful choices– without calling it “guidance?”
I think not.
This is where Ralph is such a treasure, to my mind. He talks about “what Jesus said” as a clear guideline for his own actions without “lording it over” the rest of us, who do not use that language, who do not have the same relationship to the Christian scriptures he does.
We are talking POWER here, social power, not divine power.
If I start using “christ” in my vocabulary, or “gospel order” is this a power grab?
Do I think that, if I can talk like that, I am better than a non-theist?
A better Quaker?

Dear Friends, some of the non-theists among us are worried, and rightly so.

The track record of those who go around proclaiming “the gospel” is filled with tales of arrogance, intolerance and legitimized murder. If I start letting the power of an animating “my christ” into my life, some of my friends will naturally be worried.
I must be very cautious here.

We all must be cautious.

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Gaia, Great Mother, has many hidden treasures

Gaia, Great Mother, has many hidden treasures
To delight us, and nourish us, her human children.
Metals, hidden in the ground.
So far we have found
Copper,
Gold
Tin
____.

We have found coal!
Oil!
Of course, it’s not a “treasure” until it’s recognized as such.
The air!
There are many more, recognized and unrecognized.
Bio-diversity.

And the one I keep talking about,
A huge library of guidance about how to live together in this biosphere.
Like oil seeping out onto the ground and ruining the cropland in the 1700s,
We do not yet recognize this as a treasure.
Like groundwater, producing our wells,
We rely on this dynamic store, not recognizing its vastness,
And its vulnerability.

“Peak oil!?”
“Running out of oil?!!”
Yes, life will change.
It will be a big adjustment.
AND,
Gaia, Great Mother, has many hidden treasures,
“New” to us, because we have not yet noticed them.
Necessity will lead us back to our Mother,
For new treasures.
Currently undreamed of.
Waiting.
Hidden in plain sight.

The average lifespan of a mammalian species
Is a million years.
At under 200,000,
We’re just getting started!
If the human race were a child who could hope to live to 70,
We’d be approaching our 14th birthday.
(Not an “easy” age for humans.)

May we have the humility
The patience,
The courage,
To learn
To see
Our wealth.

Posted in Mammalian, Transition | 1 Comment

Drawing the Curtain

I think it’s time to draw the bedside curtain around the drama of my suffering. “Life is suffering,” and like the drama of a child trapped in a well, it can be mesmerizing, but beyond a certain small circle of those involved, it’s really a distraction. At some point I just need to do the work of opening myself to self-transformation, rather than talking about it. I think I have sketched out my assignment pretty well, to myself and my friends.
And I have a good framework in which to work: I’ll be taking John’s meditation class “Taking Jesus Seriously,” starting September 24th, and running into December. I’ll be taking Tom’s workshop, “Spiritual Practice with John Woolman,” for the five Tuesdays in October, and my (mostly-non-Quaker) book group will be reading John Shelby Spong’s “Jesus for the Non-Religious.”

So, turning my attention to other matters, the book that my book group is currently reading brings quantum physics and psychology together, in an attempt to extricate us from the mental trap of our own making. The author, Amit Gotswami, starts with one of the most basic challenges to our current assumptions: “Atoms are not little things.”

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