Search This Blog

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Reformed and Always Being Reformed

I'm thinking about Martin Luther this morning and wondering how he may have felt five hundred years ago when he nailed his grievances against the empire on a church door. As he looked around his world,

  • Did he see power and wealth in a few people who used their privileged positions to manipulate and control the masses? 
  • Did he see persecution of people as a way of dividing, conquering, and turning fear into loyalty? 
  • Did he see truths of faith being twisted in order to portray God as the source and authority for the absurdities surrounding him? 
  • Did he have any idea what he was starting and how his courage was part of an unleashing of freedom that would change the world?
  • Did he have any idea that five hundred years later there would be the need for another list on another door, another unleashing of freedom?

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

How Much Is Enough?

What does is profit a person to gain the whole world but lose their soul? ~ Jesus

When speaking of someone considered to be rich and exactly how rich they may be, I often quip, "Let's just say they don't have to worry about paying the light bill."

Last night somebody in South Carolina won the largest single jackpot in lottery history, 1.6 billion dollars. Yes, that's "billion!" They definitely won't have to worry about paying their light bill. However, they are probably in line for many other worries never dreamt or imagined.

All of this begs a question - what is my/your benchmark for being "rich?"  If it really is "not worrying about paying the light bill" then a whole lot of people are rich, even those who don't have a light bill to pay. Some people will immediately go to a broader definition of "rich" and talk about the riches of family, friends, community, etc. Others may consider safety, freedom, or security as riches. But whatever our commodity, we all have, or need to have, a standard for how much is enough. Finding this standard is not so easy in a culture of production and consumption that survives and thrives on creating scarcity in order to convince us that we never have enough of anything.

Once we can come to our own personal place of enough, anything over and above is superfluous and available to help others reach their place of enough. And there really is enough of everything for everyone to have enough.

Enough, whatever the commodity,  really is the place where we begin to find our soul.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Tea Time

“A young seeker, keen to become the student of a certain master, is invited to an interview at the master’s house. The student rambles on about all his spiritual experiences, his past teachers, his insights and skills, and his pet philosophies. The master listens silently and begins to pour a cup of tea. He pours and pours, and when the cup is overflowing he keeps right on pouring. Eventually the student notices what’s going on and interrupts his monologue to say, ‘Stop pouring! The cup is full.’ The teacher says, ‘Yes, and so are you. How can I possibly teach you?’”
~ A Zen story conveyed by Cynthia Bourgeault in The Wisdom Jesus

The story above arrived in my email box today by way of Inward, Outward, Together.  It speaks to me in a way that illuminates the darkened times in which we seem to be living. Some may even ask, "What dark times?" Aren't the markets at all time highs? It's reported that world-wide poverty is at an all time low. My life is better than ever. And perhaps they are correct.

However, many people feel as if the world has become un-moored and is flailing about in a sea of unprecedented deceit, cruelty, and violence, driven by insatiable appetites for wealth and power. All of this is fed by floods of unexamined information that is calculated to confuse and distort reality. Our lives, like the young seeker's life and the master's teacup, are overflowing.

Perhaps it's time for someone, anyone, you and me to place our hand over our own cup and say "Stop pouring." Then and only then can we begin to clean up the mess and begin to enjoy the cup of tea.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

The Journey Continues

Seven years ago this week I started writing this weekly blog. I had just come off of a three month sabbatical much of which was spent participating in and exploring several spiritual communities where people intentionally seek the Presence of God. 

I experienced silent solitude in the natural mystery of Ghost Ranch, New Mexico, where I also encountered a regional gathering of Quaker Friends who introduced me to the wonder of communal silence. A week with Zen Buddhist monks at Tasajara in the mountain wilderness of California, showed me how intention, ritual, and contemplation, both individual and communal, transcend time and space to reveal an eternal now. The isle of Iona in Scotland offered the experience of "thin places" where heaven and earth, divine and human, touch one another. Time with my family on the ocean cliffs and deep forests of Costa Rica provided exposure to exotic plants, animals, and tropical rains revealing the breathless diversity of creation. 

These experiences led me to re-examine other experiences in my life, opening my mind and heart to truly know that IT is all connected and interconnected as One Eternal Presence in which we live. On a weekly basis I've tried to share some inspiration, imagination, and insight with you.

Seven years later, I continue the journey. Sometimes, especially the fractured times, I struggle to see and know the Presence that holds us all together. It's not easy to seek and see the Presence in greed, anger, deceit, hatred, violence, and suffering. There are times when only a past Presence offers comfort in a present Presence, and hope of a future Presence. In one word, Eternal.

Thank you to the faithful few who continue on this blogging journey with me. As we begin another year may you continue to seek, find and rest in the One Eternal Presence in our lives.