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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Here, I Made This

At the beginning of this month I attended a small gathering of 17 people who were willing to share an idea, dream, or project.  The meeting was one of many held that same day in numerous places around the world.  These meetings, called Icarus Sessions, were the idea and dream of online innovator, entrepreneur, author, and speaker, Seth Godin.  The project is designed to allow people with ideas, dreams or projects an opportunity to stand up and say to other people, "Here, I made this."  What I shared that night, I'm about to share with you.  

I write and speak a lot about taking risks, stepping through thresholds, trusting the abundance of Creation and having faith in our God-given imaginations and abilities.  Well, today I'm practicing what I preach.

I've created an interactive website in order to share ideas, struggles and musings from my life in hopes of hearing from other people their thoughts and stories on religion, faith, and spirituality.   In order to create a conversation, I basically ask the question:  What does your spirituality (and/or faith) feel like, sound like, and look like outside the confines of your respective religion?

I won't say any more about it now, other than, "Here, I made this." -  Anonymous Religion.

One more thing, if you know of someone who may be interested in the site please share it with them.   Thanks.


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Lip Syncing Life

Some of us remember when the music media of the day was a cassette tape.  In those days there was a television commercial that asked the question, "Is it real or is it Memorex?"

Well, we're asking the question again.  Of all the truly important things said and done during the President's  Inauguration this week, the big question is: Did Beyonce lip sync or not?  My latest understanding of the situation, which could change at any moment, is that she did both.  It appears that she actually sang along with a recording of her voice and the Marine Band accompaniment made for the occasion.

All of this has me thinking - how much of our lives is lip-synced and played out according to a script or sound tract to which we are merely mouthing and going along?  And, if we are lip-syncing life, whose recording are we using?

In many ways we live the life we imagine.  Our thoughts create feelings and actions which in turn shape the world in which we live.  It might even be said that we pre-record our lives by the thoughts we choose to keep in our minds.  Whatever we are thinking, feeling, and acting on today becomes the sound tract for tomorrow.  Could we be continually pre-recording our own sound tracts?

After all, whether it was "real or Memorex" it was still Beyonce and the Marine Band we heard - and it was wonderful.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

"Let it be done.."

Last week my wife, Peg, and I had the privilege and pleasure of spending a few days in Key West, Florida (which is one reason I didn't blog last week). One of the things visitors to Key West are encouraged to do is visit the historic Key West Cemetery that sits at the center of the island.  One of the most popular and frequently visited crypts in the cemetery is that of B.P. "Pearl" Roberts whose crypt stone reads:  "I TOLD YOU I WAS SICK."  A note in the self-guided tour brochure says Ms. Roberts was a "Local hypochondriac who had the last word with her marker."

Once one gets past the humor of this epitaph and notices that Ms. Roberts died at age 50, a profound sadness and truth sets in that more than likely she not only had the "last word" but also fulfilled her own expectations of life.

In several incidents in the Gospel of Matthew when people approach Jesus asking for some form of healing he responds with, "Let it be done to you as you - wish, believe, or have faith."  In other words our deep beliefs and expectations determine outcomes in our lives.  We get out of life what we expect.

Of course, this is not a magic formula of direct ratio.  Nor is it wishful thinking or hard nosed determinism.  What Jesus, and so many other spiritual masters through the ages, teaches is that our fundamental perspective on life, our world view shapes, molds and filters how we see, experience, and react to the people and events of our lives.

If we see creation as basically flawed and humans as inherently sinful, then this is the way we will experience them.  If we understand creation as God-proclaimed-good and humans as reflections of that goodness, then our experience of life becomes quite different.

Is this perspective of life a denial of pain, suffering and death?  Absolutely not.  In fact, the stories of people approaching Jesus are exactly that--stories of people in the middle of pain, suffering and death to whom Jesus offers the way to comfort, healing, and life.  And that "way" lies within the suffering person themselves.  "Let it be done unto you as you..."

What do we expect from life?   Chances are, whatever it is, this is what we will have.  

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Time and Wonder

I was awakened this morning by an alarm, a soft musical sound but just the same an alarm.   The holidays are over and it's back into the world of clocks and calendars.  And this has me thinking about time and how we perceive it, order it, and experience it.  I nearly used the word "spend" instead of experience but resisted the urge to see time as a commodity that is bought, sold and spent.

I'm wondering this morning how to bring some of the timeless rhythm of holidays into work days, how every night can be New Year's Eve, every morning New Year's Day, every day a Christmas birthday of God in our lives, and every moment an experience of One Eternal Presence of life.  Then again, just to wonder it may be enough.