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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Embrace the Mundane

It's just another day
Slipping into stockings, stepping into shoes
Dipping in the pocket of her raincoat
It's just another day   ~ Paul McCartney, "Another Day"

If you're holding heaven, then spread it around
There's hungry hands reaching up here from the ground
Move over and share the high ground where you stood
So heavenly minded, you're no earthly good    ~ Johnny Cash, "No Earthly Good"

Earlier this week I heard a podcast interview (The Right Kind Of Crazy) with Adam Steltzner a NASA engineer who helped develop and land the Mars Rover.  One of the things Stelzner shared was the importance of embracing the mundane of one's work and life.  Even landing a rover on Mars is not all adrenalin and cheers.  Actually the process took (and continues to take) years of day to day tedious work by many people.  

Our culture of got-to-have-it-now information and entertainment creates the illusion that we should be doing or being something exciting and extraordinary all the time.  The Internet even allows us to enter this illusion by allowing us to continuously share our "exciting" lives with others via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.

The truth is the majority of our lives are mundane.  However I want to suggest that instead of mundane being ho-hum and boring, we recapture the word's original sense, meaning "of this world, earthly," as opposed to other-worldly and heavenly.   Actually by embracing the mundane and becoming aware of each and every moment of our lives is an amazing thing.  Just "being here" and being aware of being here is truly wonder-filled and miraculous.

So, the next time you think your life is ho-hum or boring, think of it as mundane - grounded in an amazing process of existence and awareness that is extraordinarily ordinary.  Maybe this is what the Psalmist says with, "This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it." 

Have a mundane day! 




Wednesday, January 20, 2016

We Know What We Know

"The truth you believe in and cling to makes you unavailable to hear
anything new."   ~ Pema Chodron

Within recent days three celebrity performing artists have died.  It has been interesting to read, watch, and hear on social and traditional media the many different tributes to David Bowie, Alan Rickman, and Glen Frey. There have been memories of first albums, concerts and movies. People have shared stories of how one of these people influenced, and in some cases changed, their lives.

What I find curious about this is not that these people's lives have had profound influence others, but not necessarily on me.  I'm familiar with David Bowie's major hits, but never intentionally listened to his music.  I've seen a number of films Alan Rickman was in and enjoyed his acting abilities.  I'm much more familiar with the music of The Eagles, but could not have told you the name of any individual member of the band, until Glen Frey's death.

All of this leads me to reflect on just how limited each of our perspectives of life are, how the sphere of our knowledge, experiences, interests, and influence is much smaller than we imagine, Perhaps living  in an age of instant connectivity and information has created an illusion that we are more informed, connected, and involved in the world than we really are, even with and perhaps especially those closest to us.

One of my seminary professors use to say, "We know more than we know we know,"  However, the opposite is probably truer, "We don't know nearly as much as we think we know."

Paul Simon put it this way in his song "The Boxer,"  "A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest."

For now, I think I'll stop my rambling and go listen to some David Bowie music and see what all the fuss is about.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Right Now

Right now,
In the morning dark lights of cars and trucks flicker for a second as they pass the tiny portion of highway visible in the distance, red lights south, white lights north.
My love sits across the room.
The dog sleeps on the sofa.
Coffee aroma fills the air.
A manatee lumbers somewhere in the dark waters outside the window.
Someone is sleeping.
Someone is awaking.
The sun shines brightly on the other side of the earth.
A sunset inspires wonder.
A sunrise brings anticipation.
Millions upon millions make daily journeys into and out of cities.
Lovers embrace.
Lovers quarrel.
The refrigerator motor runs.
Darkness has turned to soft morning light.
Dusk has faded to black.
The air is filled with travelers, reading, drinking, eating, chatting.
Astronauts circle the globe.
The earth hurls through space.
You read these random words.
Red and white lights arrive at their destinations.
Right now becomes "then."
"When" becomes right now
flickering by,
filled with everything, everywhere.
Right now is "all" we have.
Savor it.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016


I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one. As you, God, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.  ~ Jesus, John 17:20-23

Today is the Feast Day of Epiphany in the Christian tradition, especially the Eastern Christian tradition.  It is the day marked by the story of the Magi seeing and following a bright star to the Christ Child, Jesus.

Here is how Merriam Webster defines epiphany:

  1. 1capitalized :  January 6 observed as a church festival in commemoration of the coming of the Magi as the first manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles or in the Eastern Church in commemoration of the baptism of Christ
  2. 2:  an appearance or manifestation especially of a divine being
  3. 3a (1) :  a usually sudden manifestation or perception of the essential nature or meaning of something (2) :  an intuitive grasp of reality through something (as an event) usually simple and striking (3) :  an illuminating discovery, realization, or disclosureb :  a revealing scene or moment
How appropriate it is that on the Day of Epiphany I have had something of an epiphany concerning the scripture passage quoted above.  For quite a while now I have struggled for a phrase or word to describe how I have come to experience God, the Divine Presence.  The title of this blog, "One Eternal Presence," is one of the phrases I use, reflecting an awareness of Divinity that infuses all of creation. Some might call this pantheism or panenthesim, however even these beliefs and words contain a form of "theos" the Greek word for God that is contained in just about every word or phrase used to describe belief or disbelief (atheism) about God. It also connotes a God over and apart from creation and humanity.

Toward the end of Jesus' final discourse with his disciples in the Gospel of John (chapters 13-17), Jesus prays for his disciples and in that prayer includes "those who will believe in me through their word."  In other words, "you and me." Then, he says the amazing words above.

The epiphany for me in this passage is "that they may become completely one" - with God!  "The Greek phrase is "teleioo eis heis," with the key word being "teleioo" which means to make perfect or complete.

So, all of this is to say I may have found my phrase or word! (at least for now) Instead of a monotheist, or pantheist, or atheist, or any other kind of "theist," I've discovered I'm a "teleiooist," a "perfectionist" not in the sense of "rightness" but of "completeness."  God is perfect, complete, and we are part of that perfection and completeness!

The exciting thing about such an epiphany, as with all epiphanies, is that this is not the final word on God, but rather a threshold into a whole new way of perceiving, thinking about, experiencing, and exploring the Divine that is and always will be One Eternal (Perfect) Presence.

Have a great Day of Epiphany!