Monday, March 28, 2011

Our Country, Compassion and Christ

In observing the way our country behaves after we win a foreign war, I am proud. It is true that sometimes we have to push back against evil, but we seek to repair the wounds of our wars in other countries. Why are we still so unwilling to do the same on our own soil?

Can't we see that we can't go back to the days before our enlightenment regarding other races, creeds, religions, and gender differences? Those who attempt to bring us back to a rule of fear must be ignored as we stand together in a circle of Light and Love and look always toward creating justice.

The collective resistance in the countries with the most despotic leaders gives me a new sense of hope for eventual peace on earth to those of good will. If there is any lesson that we most desperately need to learn from Biblical religion, it's that marching together against something is not the same as standing together for something. Standing for their values and their people was the way of Moses and Jesus. It was also the real power behind women's suffrage, civil rights, the right to choose how to profess one's patriotism, and the renewal of the individual's path to the Spirit of The Divine.

I grew up with a punishing God who seemed to most closely resemble the earthly kings who used fear to keep their subjects in line. Fear as a method of controlling people extended to all relationships; the biggest bullies would always win. Little-by-little, since my adolescence, we seem to be moving toward a gentler view of The Almighty. Unfortunately, we now seem to be frozen in place as to how to behave toward one another.

In seeking peace, love, and brotherhood, we may have stopped passing such quick judgments on each other, but we seem to have lost all judgment in general (that which used to be called "common sense"). It seems to me that there is ample scripture in all religions that give guidance for how to live in harmony with our earth and fellow humans, but we like to pretend that we can each do as we please and there will be no consequence outside of our own life and time. Even in love, there are still immutable laws.

What I reap, either I, or the generations that follow me, will surely sow. This is simply the way the circle of life works. When will we learn that there is enough to go around only if we each exercise our talents and the human ability to say no to ourselves in order to keep life in balance for all?

Protest, prayer, and love, only bear fruit when put into action. There is no earthly power that can prevail when those who see The Light put circles of Light and Love around the vulnerable instead of allowing the despots to continue punishing those who still haven't found their footing in the post-patriarchal world. When will we realize that unless I'm willing to stand with you as we together address the issues of injustice, there is no benefit to me pointing out the error of your ways, or the ways of the rest of the world.

Moses and Jesus taught by words and deeds while tending to the very human needs of their followers. Jesus was a man who followed the laws of his forefathers while promoting compassion and justice for even the least law abiding among men and women. He also made it clear that we were to make amends to those we harmed. I am encouraged when I see those who call themselves followers of Christ stop finding fault and form protective circles shining with the Light of Love that they follow. The only evangelism that is honest is that which comes with compassionate action, and it is the only way to cure hatred and fear.

We are One in The Spirit

copyright 1966 Peter Scholte, F.E.L. (licensed)
(Italics mine)

We are One in The Spirit,
We are One in The Lord.
We are One in The Spirit,
We are One in The Lord.
And we pray that all unity may one day be restored.

And they'll know we are Christians by our Love,
By our Love,
Yes they'll know we are Christians by our Love.

We will work with each other,
We will work side by side.
We will work with each other,
We will work side by side.
And we'll guard each person's dignity
And save each person's pride.

And they'll know we are Christians by our Love,
By our Love,
Yes they'll know we are Christians by our Love.

We will walk with each other,
We will walk hand in hand.
We will walk with each other,
We will walk hand in hand.
And together we'll spread the News
that The Holy Spirit's in our land.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Center of Salvation

We may all belong to an endless loop made of Love and Light,
With all of nature that exists as gifts for our delight.
But there are those who worship the gods of jealousy and greed,
Using fear to create, in creation, a false sense of need.

They produce a world of too much, too fast, too concentrated
They convince so many to, with this system, be elated:
Having such benevolent overseers watching out for them,
Anticipating our wants and fulfilling our every whim.

We step out of the protective circle of The Infinite Calm,
Substituting pleasure for The Almighty's healing balm.
The Love is then crowded out and we receive no Light
Until all creation seeks The Center, there seems no hope in sight.

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Psyche and the Soul

Is the psyche the same as the soul, or is the soul something else all together? That little spark of "something special" that makes us human...where in us does it live? It cannot be in the heart, as my Richard's love for me changed not one whit when he had a heart transplant.

We used to believe that all sin was caused by wickedness passed down from parents to progeny, but we now look for causes that can be cured. The terrible temper that I feared in my father is part of my parenting pattern. I try mightily to overcome it, and often have to simply go to sleep or walk away. Now, I find that perhaps my moods are correctable parts of my consciousness. So, if this consciousness is in my brain, is my brain the seat of my soul?

There are events and people who infect the soul, leaving it with pits of pain. A core of calm is where Love lives, and the only thing that will protect us from plummeting into the pits of our pain. It is also the only place where we will be sure to have people patiently waiting to pull us out of the pit. With enough peace, will our psyches (souls?) eventually heal?

And how do we keep ourselves from being re-infected while we are loving our enemies?

(Jill Jackson / Mark Miller) - circa 1955

Let there be peace on earth
And let it begin with me.
Let there be peace on earth
The peace that was meant to be.
With Love as our Creator
Siblings all are we.
Let me walk with my all others
In perfect harmony.

Let peace begin with me
Let this be the moment now.
With every step I take
Let this be my solemn vow.
To take each moment
And live each moment
With peace eternally.
Let there be peace on earth,
And let it begin with me.

Let there be peace on earth
And let it begin with me.
Let there be peace on earth
The peace that was meant to be.
With Love as our Creator
Siblings all are we.
Let me walk with all others
In perfect harmony.

Let peace begin with me
Let this be the moment now.
With every step I take
Let this be my solemn vow.
To take each moment
And live each moment
In peace eternally.
Let there be peace on earth
And let it begin with me.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Jesus Was a Joyful Jew

Jesus followed the law, and was a joyful Jew.
He walked this walk because he knew
That these laws weren't meant for just the chosen few.

He was privy to the knowledge of the ages;
He had probably studied with many great sages,
And of the world's scriptures, he knew all the pages.

He knew that we were meant to live in peace,
Every part of creation, rock, man, and beast
And that the image of The Almighty is clearest in the least.

Every bit of creation holds a bit of The Light.
That fills all the universe with pure delight
Until others convince us that their might makes them right.

Instead of celebrating pure joy, we pursue pleasure and pain;
Fearfully, we wait for The Light to come again.
But our connection to The Almighty already is like the rain.

The Light permeates our souls, our bodies, and our minds.
Those who turn away, choose to be left behind
Because they prefer earthly pleasures to The Joy of The Divine.

The path of The Light is an unbroken loop.
By the blessings of Love we are given the fruit
Of Wisdom which makes names for The Almighty moot.

We are not The Light, but The Light is in us;
The Light does not suffer from jealousy and lust;
We reclaim The Joy as we reclaim our childlike trust.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Awakening to Awe

I wish that I could understand
Every language of every nation.
Maybe then I would have
The complete story of creation.

We have sought the sacred
Since creation had the gift of thought
We have always been in abject awe
Of all that has been wrought.

We tend to get confused by
Awe, and turn it to fear,
Fracturing the bonds that
We should hold most dear.

Awe opens our hearts and souls;
Fear shuts our spirits down.
Let us reawaken ourselves to
Embracing the profound.

Light, Love, and Life

I see the soul as a glimmer of The Light that begins as soon as the new life is loved. I believe that all love is a part of The Almighty, and that we are all linked to The Light as long as we are loved. I believe that our challenge is to make sure that all humans receive love (which entails earthly responsibility) so that their Soul-Lights will grow and be able to multiply and connect with the other love energy in creation.

I believe that wherever there is love, there is The Light still connected to The Source of All Life and Love. Love connects us eternally to each other and to The Light. By giving of ourselves in love, we can create an aura of peace on earth as it was in the beginning, and it is in the hereafter.

Unless there is love-in-action, there is no life worth living. Many who conceive don't feel the presence of a love community in their lives. Many are conceived where there is no love even in the act of procreation. From where will the everyday acts of love come without a caring community?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Pleasure, Pain, and Peace

How are we to know when we are saints and when we are sinners in the lives of others? Is there any way other than to take the "temperature" of our interactions and ascertain whether our presence brings pain or peace?

I used to think that I was put on earth to bring people pleasure. I worked very hard at this, even becoming a caterer; thereby turning my natural tendency into a way to support my family. Then I became a publicist, raising funds for non-profit organizations by combining glowing words with party planning to promote various charitable causes.

I used these same devices to develop relationships, always attempting to soothe savage souls by conquering them with kindness and catering to their desires. I have come to realize that sometimes pleasure is the antithesis of peace. I have been an enabler, and I now have to deal with the monsters of my own making.

When we take off our old skins, we must accept that many will attempt to lay them back on our shoulders. Because they had learned to live with us in our old selves, our new skins cause many to itch. The pain of purging our souls can be scary, so we need hands to hold and people to protect us while we grow out of our old skins and into the new. How tightly we have to hold onto the new skins, and to those who support our growth, until the new become permanent parts of us!

When we are so busy filling ourselves and each other with pleasure and avoidance of pain, there's no room for The Light to grow. I cling to the belief that even the darkest night of the soul contains at least a flicker of The Light. When we open enough space in our souls, this Light will grow to fill the empty spaces. But how do we deal with the demons that dive into the void? We can't help fight each others personal demons unless we are invited in.

Sometimes it seems that the only way to honor a person or a relationship is to walk away and wait. If my very presence is a cause of anger and agitation to someone's soul, is it not better that I take my leave rather than to continue bringing about discord? Or, is the discord necessary to get to a better place, a place that may have less pleasure, but more peace?

Monday, March 21, 2011

The All Enveloping Light

Throughout my life, I've been told that there are certain people who have been declared to be saints. We really can't know what secret sins were in the hearts and lives of even the seemingly most holy people. Nor can we know what small sparks of goodness may have been left smoldering in the souls of those touched by those we consider to be most wicked.

We tend to want to put people in one or the other category, saint or sinner. I believe that we can't know what way the scales of life balance after we have died. A person who may have been a drain on the spirit of one person may have brought light into the soul of another.

Even saints are not gods; they too brought both pain and peace to those they left behind, and these influences may go on for generations to come. I cannot judge the goodness or badness of a person by what they do to or around me, but I can decide whether their presence in my life is a source of light or a source of sin to me. I believe that we are absolved of the shame of wrongs we inflicted in our lack of The Light, but that we are also admonished to help make right what we have set wrong.

Did Paul fully make amends to the families that followed his days of persecuting the Christians, or did the seeds of his destruction carry on for many generations, even until today? Are we fully at peace with all of creation simply because we have turned our new lives over to The Light? I don't think we can know.

We are the hands, hearts, and voices of The Holy Spirit on this earth. We must live to spread light into even the darkest places. For this, we must seek to infuse our lives with The Light so that it envelops all we encounter.

Spirit of Light,
Spirit so bright,
Holy Spirit,
On me alight.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Faith in the Face of Pharisees

I knew a woman once who was considered immoral by many in our neighborhood. She seemed to fly high as the sky one day, and the next she'd take to her bed and refuse to even feed her children. She was magical to me. When she was flying high, she was more fun than any adult woman I'd ever known and more glamorous than any movie star, all on a thrift store budget.

Men were allowed to be, do, and say anything they wanted because, "That's how men are." They were almost never declared insane or defective. They were just men being men. A woman was always held to a higher standard, especially if she was a mom. Any weakness in women was a moral failing. Weakness in males was to be expected, and they were still allowed to have all the moral authority. No wonder women rebelled.

I heard men expound on the nature of God as they themselves abused their authority. But one of the greatest spiritual lessons that I ever learned was from this supposedly fallen woman when she brought over to our house one of her favorite records to share with our rule-bound mother.

"I Believe"
Words and music by Erwin Drake, Irvin Graham, Jimmy Shirl, Al Stillman

I believe for every drop of rain that falls
A flower grows
I believe that somewhere in the darkest night
A candle glows
I believe for everyone who goes astray, someone will come
To show the way
I believe, I believe

I believe above a storm the smallest prayer
Can still be heard
I believe that someone in the great somewhere
Hears every word

Every time I hear a new born baby cry,
Or touch a leaf or see the sky
Then I know why, I believe

I still marvel at her faith in the face of so many Pharisees.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Greed and Grief

Everybody has an agenda,
Whether we know it or not.
All of us want to protect our turf,
So unwelcome change, we stop.

It takes time to listen to others,
And it takes much energy
To ask myself what is better,
The ways of you or the ways of me.

It takes a lot of wisdom
To sort these questions out,
But few of us have the patience,
And the wisdom of others, we doubt.

Fairness is the basis of wisdom,
And few believe in this truth.
This seems to be why our earth
Is caught in an endless loop

Of jealousy, greed, and hatred
From the time of Adam and Eve
Because we feel ourselves powerless,
We continue to grieve.

A question isn't always accusation;
Silence may, or may not be, consent.
Perhaps we'd have more peace
If we asked others what they meant.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Healing Hearts and Heads

I believe that our inherited weaknesses are often what lead us to sin. If I can face my individual weakness and address it, I may be able to avoid turning the this weakness into sin. Sometimes the weakness presents in the form of sickness before it manifests itself as sin. There are many psychiatric illnesses that I think we use as excuses for sin, rather than as warning signs of weaknesses that need to be addressed before we turn to sin to make us "feel better".

The New Covenant made it impossible for us to blame our sins on the weaknesses of our parents. We are taught that salvation is not inherited; neither is sin. We can choose The Way or not. We also must choose a support group for The Way. Sadly, many who call themselves Christian, including many parents, are following paths that don't seem to be consistent with The Way of Christ.

As children, we are unable to follow any path but that set out for us by those who control our very survival. The way I was brought up, this authority over my life was transferred from my father, through my mother, to my pastor, to my husband. It wasn't until recently that I became aware that this was a great stumbling block to my being able to hear the voice of The Spirit inside my own soul.

I read scripture and often "hear" a different interpretation than what has been taught to me throughout my life. There are also many writings that I feel are sacred which are not contained in what we consider the totality of sacred scripture for now and for the future.

The Almighty's voice has always been available to anyone who seeks The Spirit of Holiness (Wholeness). We must stop believing that only the anointed few are privy to The Voice.

Holy Spirit Heal our hearts;
Holy Spirit heal our heads;
Holy Spirit take our tongues,
And have us speak Your words instead.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Sickness of the Soul

Sickness of the soul has long been called sin, but how often is it really sadness for the sin inflicted on our souls. So much is done to our spirits even before we're given birth, and when we're pre-verbal. How can we know when the seeds of the abscesses were planted? How can we name what was done to us before we had words?

We call so many afflictions genetic simply because they appear before birth. These are the same weaknesses that we used to blame on the sins of the fathers and/or demonic possession. At least we seem to be getting closer to discontinuation of blaming the afflicted for their own afflictions.

There are still those who practice spells and incantations over sick people, attempting to exorcise the demons. We are still afraid to hold those who are writhing in the greatest pain, afraid that what they have may be contagious. It is contagious. Psychologists say that one way to tell if a person is depressed is that the psychologist feels somewhat depressed after the patient leaves.

To love is to absorb some of the pain of the loved. We are told that Jesus felt "the energy go out" of him when he was touched by someone in need of healing. Even as grounded in goodness as was Jesus, he needed to retreat to the desert to exorcise the negative energy he had collected before he could enter the most challenging part of his ministry. What hubris to think that we can appoint confessors who absorb all the evil without falling ill themselves.

Sickness of the soul can only be healed with loving kindness in word and deed. Unfortunately, we often can't get at the root of the problem because we don't know the source of the "infection". How can we begin to peel the layers of dead "tissue" off the wounds if we don't know the history of the afflicted?

Perhaps this is where we can use the admonition that the weaknesses of the fathers are passed down to the children. If we assume this to be true, we can, hopefully, put ourselves in place of the parents and help to heal what we can't see. Laying of hands is not the same as holding.

Pills and incantations may open the wounds, but the only thing that will heal them is a new skin of love. We must keep ourselves strong so that we are able to absorb some of the pain without ourselves becoming infected. The only way to keep the healing going is to build a network of like-minded lovers to support one another in their ministries. We are all called to minister to one another; it's not a job. It's a vocation.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Couples, Kids, and Community

One of the hardest things in life is to figure out where we fit into the wholeness of creation. Do we have an internal sense of what is life-affirming and what is taking some of the growth energy away from the rest of what is created? Are some of us incapable of feeling empathy even at birth? When we think about the "sins" of the father being passed down to future generations, are we really talking about the chemical imbalances that are either part of our genetic code or part of what chemicals wash over our brains both before and after we are born? After all, the womb is the environment of the fetus, and all environmental influences affect our brain chemistry. This, in turn, affects our emotional responses and behaviors.

In animal husbandry, it used to be accepted that contented mothers produced healthier offspring. We have now industrialized all of the process of creation, down to creating humans in sterile environments, outside of the bonds of relationship even to the two people contributing their genetic material. We certainly don't give due consideration to the need for a nurturing network to help the mother and baby through the vulnerable times of maternity and child rearing.

Not everyone lives next door to the elders in their birth family. I thought that churches were places where we would be accountable to others of our faith network, but this has not been my experience with most church groups. I find that in churches there is more competition for who is holiest than there is a baring of souls to create cooperation.Why is it that there are more people all over America at Bible studies, marching at morality rallies, and sitting at Divine adoration than there are sitting in living rooms counseling couples and cuddling crying babies?

We leave each family unit to fend for themselves, without assistance from the elders who have time, experience, and wisdom to contribute. We seem to have less sense about these things than other mammals. Even wolves and elephants know that it takes more than two to keep a mother and her young from predators.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Stolen Souls

My soul was stolen from me;
I'm working to set it free.
When I was a child the good
Was replaced by religion's shoulds.

A newborn child is without sin;
It is worldliness that lets evil in,
When we punish instead of teach
Rather than practice, we preach.

Survival is the reason we cry;
Without compassion we would die.
But there are those in power who see
Pain as an evil from which to be free.

This may be because they don't know
That pain is the way that we grow.
It is not to be inflicted by others,
But absorbed by our sisters and brothers.

This pain, turned to passion, can find
The Spirit that transcends the mind,
And lights the path to world peace
For the most and for the very least.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Singing for the Spirit

The Church long stopped speaking to the sacred in me;
More than anything, I've long for them to set my soul free.
I have finally realized that this dream is not to be.

I've missed and mourned the rituals of my youth,
But I fell that they stood in the way of the truth,
And to find it, I have to set my soul loose.

It is time to stop waiting for The Church to make amends,
As I begin to gather with my faithful friends,
And share what has been, to our spirits' sails, the winds.

There have been many manifestations of the sacred in my life,
And so many shared their holiness in my worst times of strife;
To none of their beliefs, am I ready to take the knife.

Every bit of creation has a part - every breath, every seed,
But humans have designed ways to pervert this with our greed.
Do we really think there's not enough to fill all our need?

I want to hear the tales of how individual souls sing,
And these varied voices, to Sacred Scripture bring;
Only then will the bells of The Holiest Spirit ring.

All the universe, we are taught, has one beginning,
And the world of matter has no actual ending;
All energy will ultimately receive a final blending.

So, back to The Genesis all Creation will go.
How it will all be made right, is not ours to know,
Until, back to the Alpha and Omega, all of us go.

Let's put our bonds of individualism onto the pyre.
It is only with many varied voices in the choir
That we get the Celestial Sounds that we so admire.

We were meant to be part of a Universal Plan,
But we limit our dreams by the limits of man.
This has kept us from peace since human life began.

Most of us follow the loud and the strong,
Never imagining that they could be wrong.
It is not too late to heed different songs.

So sing out every child, every woman, man, and beast;
It is time to hear from the ones we've heard least.
Surely, their small voices will not hatred increase.

The strongest of minerals have been tempered by flame,
And by other stressors that go by many names.
Perhaps, out of this too, The Spirit's strength, we'll reclaim.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Managing the Mundane

Some days we may find we can't control much,
But we can manage the mundane, like laundry and such.
This is the joy of channeling emotion into tasks:
In accomplishment of little things, we can then bask.

When the anxiety threatens to take the helm,
Automatic actions take us to a different realm.
This is the joy of having competency
In some things that have become parts of you and me.

Some, jog, some garden, some clean, some cook,
Some lose themselves in the pages of a book.
Or we can sit down, and write a story
Of everyday examples of strife and glory.

Our Holy Spirits are always in flight,
Looking for a peaceful place on which to light.
As from fear, we set our minds and souls free,
The better parts of ourselves, we'll be able to see.

Powerful Passions

We are given powerful passions for a reason. I like to believe it's a mark of a good dose of the Holy Spirit, but we are often not taught how to channel these passions in a productive manner, or we are told to push down our feelings. This passion may then turn outward as rage, or inward as depression or anxiety, or any manner of other destructive counterfeits.

I'm from a family of screaming meanies. When we're not being loud, we're otherwise obnoxious with sarcasm, eye rolling, and other forms of bullying behavior. The only alternative to joining in the madness that I have found, is to escape. This can be done by simply avoiding groups of angry people, drinking myself into a stupor, or drugging myself or others around me. As a mother and wife, it was very important that I adopt other ways of addressing my discomfort with the behaviors of others.

It's very difficult not to fall back into the familiar behavior that was part of my formation as a person. As an adult, I like to believe that I can choose which behaviors I incorporate into my actions. This is easier said than done, especially when I'm with people from my past.

Rage, like any other addiction is difficult to overcome. It is also difficult to avoid at my family functions. It seems that the only way to stop the flaming arrows from flying is to scream the loudest or the longest, or to destroy with ridicule the person who has the floor. Is sarcasm aimed at those who seek to destroy the spirits of the humble or the innocent a sin?

Don't get me wrong, I don't enjoy the endless "Pollyannas in Paradise" approach. Where there are problems, we need to channel our passions into possible solutions. Any baby can scream about what hurts, but we adult humans should be able to be a bit more reasonable and proactive than that.

I have found that so much of today's society is acting enraged about almost everything; that it's becoming increasingly difficult to stay away from rage. Our society has been drinking and drugging ourselves, but this seems to only put off the inevitable. Or we pretend that we are powerless to do anything significant to affect change. We hide behind the bullies, and nothing really changes.

For many years I've said this prayer every day that I can remember "Holy Spirit, take my tongue". It seems to help me to think before I speak, and often no words I can say will be heard. Unfortunately, remaining silent can really raise my blood pressure. I guess I'll have to pray harder, or scream louder.