Sunday, June 26, 2011

Our Infinite Auras

"There will be enmity between your seed and her seed." How well we humans are living up to this prediction, as is obvious in the state of family life, a microcosm of the community of all humans. Adam and Eve taught Cain and Able to be in competition for their god's favor, and every generation since then has been destroying each other in an effort to garner the most grace. How sad it is that we don't see we are all descendants of Divinity.

The way we choose our networks reminds me of a cruel game that was practiced on the playground of my parochial grade school. When the "in" crowd wanted to exclude someone that they didn't consider "cool," they would gather in a circle, entwine their arms and chant, "Criss-cross, apple sauce, nobody else can play with us." This seems to be the way of so many societies.

The majority builds their masses by creating contests to become part of the perceived privileged in receiving a stake in a limited amount of resources. Even the grace of their god is featured as finite. What hubris for any group to act like only they have seen the face of The Infinite!

I am encouraged by the Pentecostal movement, even if most of my exposure has been to the Christian version. It seems that we are slowly moving back into an era of understanding that the Spirit of Wholeness (Holiness) is infinite and universally available. What we each have to do is embrace Grace and allow others into our Infinite auras.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Painful Pasts

When our parents are too soon taken,
We're not able to walk away,
Deciding which of their values should go
And which values we wish would stay.

We forget what they were really like
In both their goodness and their bad.
We begin to imagine they had lives
That our parents never really had.

This process works well for some,
Until they encounter others
Who had their own experiences
With our fathers and our mothers.

Suddenly we are squarely faced
With feelings long thought dead.
Encounters with people we love,
We may then begin to dread.

How are we to mend the wounds
When they are carried on in family?
Will we ever, from our painful pasts,
Ever really be set free?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Sacred Sea and Sky

Earth and sky are one on the water, reflecting each other's glory;
Here, I can feel the fluidity of the eternal creation story.
Fish is food for families; sunlight turns water into rain;
All that is existing in one form waits to be created again.

People in times of old paused to appreciate creation,
But we have allowed greed to destroy the sacred in all nations.
Our places of worship are palaces honoring our possessions,
Rather than our fields and forests, where we harvest Nature's blessings.

What we are destroying in our hurry to, human control, obtain
Is not within our corporate power to restore to balance again.
We're creating our own Armageddon with our illusion of ownership,
Forgetting that our individual lives are, on the radar of eternity, a blip.

I remember, as a child, we would seek a spreading tree's shade,
For the cool comfort found in these leafy glades.
We are now so far removed from the feelings of nature
That we have lost our compassion for the lesser creatures.

Even our animals are tamed to the point of uselessness;
We've forgotten the purpose for which each being exists.
All is for our entertainment rather than for the circle of life;
We don't allow that growth and balance are obtained by strife.

We see, but we don't study, the creatures as we ride by
On every motorized vehicle beneath our polluted sky.
We enclose our waste in products that keep them from becoming
The fuel upon which Nature has kept all creation running.

We use our knowledge of Nature to pervert the natural laws,
Never acknowledging the destruction of balance that we cause.
We must slow down and stop the seeking of more and greater thrills
Stop pretending that we can make all of Nature bow to our human wills.

Take moments in our day to simply see and marvel
At the power and beauty with which our world is full.
Allow our minds to rest upon our many natural blessings,
And hear the great redemption stories that all creation sings.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Defining the Duties of the Day

What are a husband and wife's duties toward one another in a world where marriages may last over fifty years? What constitutes adultery; is stronger emotional or intellectual attachment, accompanied by time spent in communion, to someone other than one's spouse the same as physical attachment?

If marriage is a partnership, and families are communities, doesn't everything that affects one affect the whole family? When one community member is marginalized, doesn't that weaken the whole community? Where is one's fealty to one's family of origin superseded by one's responsibility to the family of one's making? Why don't we have sacred scriptures that address the issues of families in the modern age when we may live into our nineties and beyond?

How do we apply the Ten Commandments, written for a nomadic people fleeing persecution and a Bible that has very little to say about marriage, child rearing, and family life, to our long lives in the America of today?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Do I Dishonor My Mother?

When I turned from my mother, I meant no disrespect, though she read my actions as such. I turned away in terror for her and for her family that was being consumed by the manipulations of a woman with lust in her heart for our father.

My father had always been a favorite with women, even enticing our staid school principal, a nun, to dance with him at Knights of Columbus dances. We were used to him and his baby sister serenading each other with love songs duets like, "That Old Black Magic," much to the delight of their mother and their spouses. These flirtations with females carried on to his consistent compliments about the talents and beauty of his five daughters. When his girls began reaching puberty, Daddy sank into the dark night of his soul.

When Daddy rose from his bed after two years in his own valley of darkness of deep depression, there was a woman waiting to take him into her arms. She seduced him with words of wonder about his religion, pretending that she was seeking enlightenment from our family. She was a lounge singer who could help him escape into his world of romance where there were no noisy children, as she had given her small children away.

My mother was so anxious that she do nothing to keep a convert from entering the church that she turned a blind eye to what we could see was happening, but were powerless to stop.

As this woman drew our father further and further into her web, my brother and grandparents fell for her, too. My teen-aged brother welcomed the warm arms of a woman who would spend her unfulfilled lust for our father on him. My grandparents were so proud of their son's supposed spiritual conquest, that they became the woman's spiritual parents at baptism.

Our mother accepted all of this rather than fight for the faith of her family. We were her lambs, but she chose to embrace the wolf devouring us, rather than uphold the law of her religion. This was all done in the spirit of Christian kindness to those who are less than we are. What hubris this was on the parts of my parents and their parents! This woman had walked away from her own children, and now she was preying on us.

So began a parade through the family home of priestly and other perverts, drug dealers, prostitutes, and others who sought our souls. What could I do but walk away? Does this mean that I have dishonored my father and mother? How can one honor anyone who insists on dishonoring him or her self?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Adolescent Anarchy and Authority

We are all adolescents until we understand that our salvation is in being fully functioning humans, each with a Divine Spark. We set up situations in our lives to test the boundaries of those who say they care for us, attempting to have them reject us so that we can feel in control. We will often escalate our destructive and subversive behaviors in an effort to sever the loving relationship, rather than continue in the pain of our own vulnerability. The community turning away from our errant actions is not always the same as rejecting us as people. The person seeking others' answers is not the same as rejection of the community.

Sometimes, the only way to grow is to walk away. In healthy communities, this is seen as a way to obtain new strengths to bring back to the fold. In unhealthy communities, this is seen as a rejection of the whole, and the community will sever the relationship with us. Where there is mutual vulnerability, trust, and respect, there is hope for healing and wholeness.

Whether we like it or not, we are all dependent on others for different parts of ourselves to reach their fullness. In the old models of relationships, we were taught that the authority figures have no need for the strengths of those over whom they have authority. We were also taught that the oldest child is the heir to whom all the family strengths and responsibilities are passed, and that the job of the oldest is to equitably apportion the benefits of the family. This left all in the community emotionally and relationally crippled.

All real authority is actually derived from the willingness of the governed to accept leadership, and the leadership's willingness and ability to teach by example and support of the learning process. Anarchy ensues when authority is divided against itself, which causes collapse of community. The lack of growth when only one type of strength is honored causes stagnation, which is a form of slow death.

In all of creation, there is a strength that can only come from hybridization. The strength of the community is in the sum of its parts. In families, as in all communities, the strengths and weaknesses of all must be recognized and honored. Until we are all willing to be strong, vulnerable, and fair, alternating absolute authority and anarchy seems to be the scene that plays out since Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve walked away from a partnership with Divinity. Why are we still doing the same? What part of being made in the image and likeness of The Divine are we still not understanding?

How sad it is when absolute authority, destruction, and subversion are the only individual strengths a society is willing to recognize or exercise!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Relay Race of Life

I am in awe of The Almighty, but I don't feel afraid.
I know that there are others helping me handle
The path to Eternity that has been laid.

I'm only one runner in the relay race of life.
I can hand the baton over to another
When I've handled my share of strife.

There were many runners who came before me,
They ran a straighter and truer path,
And were faster than I could ever be.

It was my job to take the baton given
And run to the best of my ability
Whether or not I make it to Heaven.

But, I take comfort in firmly believing
We are all part of the same creation;
Some seeds of salvation are what I'm leaving.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Fathers and Faithfulness

I know it is Father's Day in America, so I sit contemplating my father and The Father of my father's faith. My husband spends the day emulating his father while I spend the day missing mine. I'd like to have had the chance to discuss faith and fathers with him.

We were taught that God is our Father and that we were to fear Our Father and our fathers. Who can blame our dads for their forms of discipline when they were led to believe that they were to strike fear in the hearts of their wives and children in order to more closely come to their God and lead their children to salvation. Those who quaked at the thought of Dad's wrath were considered saved, and were at least spared the rod. Those who refused to bow down to the behaviors of the master were severely punished, and often banished from our own "Garden of Eden."

Leading with love and self-discipline is not what the generations after Adam and Eve understood. They firmly believed that fear was sufficient to keep people in their folds. No matter how much example there has been to the contrary, we still seem to believe that varying degrees of punishment or permissiveness are the same as parenting.

How is it that, with all our advanced ability to think and make informed decisions, we seem to be less observant of our ways of procreation and parenting than the lowest animals. Like other animals, before we learn words, we observe and mimic behaviors. So many babies are exposed to their parents' wrath before they can even walk. Is it any wonder that we humans continue to act on fear, as animals that have only two modes of survival: fight and flight?

Maybe it's time that we revisit maternal love that conceives, gestates, and bonds in order to mold an image of what is experienced. In order to be faithful as a father, one must truly meld with the mother before producing progeny. And then they must lead with love and right living. Fear doesn't foster friendship; nor does it nourish family faith. Faithfulness fosters faith.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Higher Power and Peace

When we speak of a higher power, we must understand that The Higher Power is manifest in the whole of creation, and that we must find a way to function for the good of the whole in order to feel ourselves as part of this Eternal Entity. All entities that derive their power through instilling or encouraging fear, or promoting absolute authority of any one person, are not part of the network of Eternal Inclusion that is the path back to Perfection.

If we are indeed the branches on a Universal Vine, we must be fed by a strong, healthy root system in order to thrive and produce good fruit. Until we are willing to submit to something greater than ourselves, we are doomed to live destructive lives. For some, that greater something is their family; for others, it is their church; for still others, it is their AA group, or their military unit, or their neighbors, or their workplace.

The sacred scriptures and stories of all ages have attempted to produce a path back to Perfect Peace. The Eternal Force that embodies all of creation goes by many names. Some refer to this Spirit of Unity as The Great Spirit, some Yahweh, some God, some Jesus, some The Holy Spirit, some a Higher Power. We seem to all be seeking the same thing: a sense of belonging to a protective, peaceful Whole.

My children were my reason for attaching myself to something outside of myself. Now that they are grown, they and their families have attached themselves to networks of others that will help them in their journeys. Those who continue to run from sharing their trues selves with family and friends find themselves in their own dark dungeons in their souls. This is no way to bring up babies; nor is it a way to produce peace.

I believe that the sacred is still being spoken and written, and that we must open ourselves to sharing our own sacred stories.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Making Peace with Our Parents

It seems to be universal that children who have lost a parent, whether to death, divorce, or abandonment, forever feel that they themselves are deficient in some way. Maybe we can't fully become who we are meant to be without wrestling with our elders until we come to an equilibrium of abilities.

Having a steady light of home life is a safety net for spiritual seekers. The important thing seems to be that the elders stay steadfastly on their own paths, at the same time as they allow exploration and growth in their dependents. The keepers of the flame must allow the weary wanderers a place around the fire, but must keep them from infecting the innocent with anarchy.

At fourteen, I effectively lost my parents. My father had come out of a two-year-long depression as a man I no longer knew, acting the part of a naughty teenager when what our large family of soon-to-be teens needed was a patriarch. My mother refused to face that fact that Daddy and the leaders to whom she had entrusted her children were bringing all manner of sin to her home and her progeny.

This all happened at the same time as our country and our church were turning away from all our old rules in the 1960s. We had no more societal norms. Irresponsible sex, drugs, and anarchy became the new norm in our home, our church, and our country.

My mother and I began a very tumultuous relationship based on her belief that women were to be apparently submissive to men, at the same time as we were encouraged to be secretly subversive. I was never one to be secretly anything, so I often found myself feeling like the child announcing, "The emperor has no clothes!"

I seemed to see it as a way to affect change that I thought others would want, but this did not play out in my experience. How is one to know when others are whispering and pointing out the problem that they are all in on a secret that they pretend nobody else knows? I became the family outcast in my mother's eyes, while to my daddy, I became another of his flirtations with frivolous females.

I have since asked myself whether we are to go along with the community in an effort to keep peace, or is it our duty to walk our own path when the community seems to be blinded by their traditions and fear of truth and the accompanying change? At what point are we justified in saying that we see the same mistakes being repeated, no matter how uncomfortable this may make those around us?

Change made too rapidly, and without understanding and honoring the past, is doomed to create more harm than lasting good. Honoring does not mean repeating the past; it simply means studying it to obtain an understanding of what works and what doesn't work in the promotion of the eternal quest for a community of social justice. Social justice, it seems to me, depends on cooperation of all of creation, with an orderly way to affect and incorporate change.

Shortly before my mother died, she wrote to me that I had a "gift" for "challenging." I received her note after her death. Had we finally come to an acceptance of each other as we are? Was she granting me her permission to openly challenge that which she had been alternately submitting to and subverting? Can the fighting factions inside my soul finally make peace with each other?

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Discipline and Discipleship

Our father battered us
Our mother banished us;
These were the ways of their God.

Our religion, though called Christian,
Did not follow the example
Of their messiah who on this earth trod.

Discipline meant to do as they say.
There was no call for their children
To pay no attention to what they may do.

Leadership seemed to mean nothing
About showing one's own family the way,
And was bestowed only on the chosen few.

All authority was in the clergy.
Mere mortals could not be disciples
And have The Spirit simply enter their souls.

To keep all soldiers of the faith
Fighting for what the clergy deemed right
Seemed to be all of the religions' primary goals.

I have a brother-in-law who does a comedy routine about God being schizophrenic if we are to believe both the old and new testaments of the Bible. I have a soul sister who believes that God hasn't changed, but that our understanding of God evolves. Our only hope as a people seems to me to be an understanding that our story of faith did not stop evolving two thousand years ago, and that all of creation has the opportunity to experience the light of The Spirit of Wholeness (Holiness) in our individual souls.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Sinning and Secrets

The seminal stories of the Bible seem to be an allegory for the ongoing arrogance that destroys people, their progeny, and their progeny's progeny. When will we realize that we are all a community who have no permanent secrets? All action has an equal and opposite reaction, no matter how far back in time we have wished it to be different.

It seems to me that the greatest mistake we make is in trying to keep our sins secrets from those with whom we are most closely connected. Isn't that the message of the story of Adam and Eve? Wasn't the fatal problem that they attempted to hide their mistake from the provider of their paradise, rather than come clean and ask for a fresh start?

And what of Cain and Able? Wasn't the beginning of his alienation that Cain didn't ask for clarification of his own worth and that of his brother before killing his brother in a jealous rage? Instead of admitting his error, he further alienated himself from his family by denying his crime against his community. How would things have been different if Cain's elders were consulted in an atmosphere of humility, honesty, and openness to learning from those who have most investment in the community?

As a child, I tired of listening to my elders speak of the errors of others, but I rarely, if ever, heard them admit their own mistakes. The men seemed to brag about what they had done that was against the rules of our religion, while the women seemed too ashamed to talk about errors of their own pasts. Authority figures absolutely never said that they were sorry for anything they did or said, except in the privacy of the confessional.

My father would take a Saturday night bath and go to confession. He would come home beaming and announce, "Your old dad is clean inside and out." I never understood how this helped in healing the wounds he had inflicted on our family? I often hear Christians say that they have confessed their sins to their God, and that their souls are healed. How is this possible when they have wounded the community of fellow humans by their actions? Did not Jesus say that what is done to one of the parts of the his community, we also do to him, and by extension, The Almighty? Is not the overarching story of salvation, a coming back to perfect community with all of creation?

Only when we are willing to hear what has already been tried can we avoid eternal repetition of the errors of our elders. This presupposes that our elders are honest and humble enough to admit their errors and to seek to make their own amends. Only when we work for forgiveness from those we have harmed can new community commence. Only by heeding guidance from our elders who lead by their own examples can we keep community intact.

Friday, June 10, 2011

How I See Salvation

Once we take on responsibilities outside of ourselves, we must find others who help support those new ways. We must begin building a caring community. This often precludes any involvement with those who only share in our childish ways.

It can be very difficult to grow up at the same time as we accept the seemingly unconditional love of those who knew us "back when." As we evolve, we "put away the things of a child." This does not mean that we don't still enjoy embracing the pure abandon of our youth, but we must step back and analyze whether that wild abandon comes with too great a price to ourselves and those for whom we are responsible and the members of our community who are committed to sharing in our responsibility.

All communities establish boundaries in which each member must operate. When we break with these boundaries, we become outsiders and cannot expect that the privileges and resources of community will continue to be expended on our efforts. This is a hard lesson for us to learn.

In healthy family systems, these lessons are learned as we go through our toddler tantrums and our teenage terrors. In communities, there will always be those who seek to test the limits. A healthy community has the strength of their convictions to back up their boundaries. They will turn away from those who seek to control the community, but with love and openness to eventual reunion.

We are told that the first couple on earth wanted to assume all the authority for themselves, and that they were allowed to leave the Great Garden to test their own abilities. In this manner, they were given all the responsibility accompanying their desired authority. We are told that our human struggles all go back to the desire to control that over which we have no real power.

When we continue to allow any member of our community to usurp the authority of our community without assuming responsibility, we weaken every other member of the community. Anarchy eventually ensues.

When we allow any member of our community to pretend that he or she has more ability than they do, we break down the strength that comes from synergy of combined honest efforts. False idols are allowed to ascend to their own pride-produced thrones. Dictators and other despots thus begin their reigns of terror.

In a fair family and community, growth of an individual is encouraged through the nurturing of all gifts, and the back pressure of the other members to help in facing our fears. There are no autocrats, but there are elders who act as guides and guards for the safety and success of the whole. These teachers must have a proven record of living within the laws and must have the humility to ask for help from other elders on issues in which they have no experience. Only then will the circle of life be closed, go back to The Garden, and continue to bear fruit.

I see salvation as a great gathering in an endless Garden where we find that we are all one fair family.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Balance and Blessings

"Life isn't fair." This may be true for most, but I believe that family, fellowship, and friendship are dependent on fairness for the balance of positive power on earth.

We are all the products of the grace given to us by birth and the influences upon us as we go through this life. Arrogance is the belief that our knowledge, wisdom, and other gifts exist in a vacuum of outside influence. Humility is the ability to recognize and respect our own talents and weaknesses, and those of others. Stewardship is the fair and responsible use of our talents in better balancing the energy on earth.

It is sometimes hard to believe that there is any hope of balance in our existence. We can't understand why one is given so many talents and privileges while another seems to have few to none. This has led us to erroneously believe that there are classes of chosen people and classes of the deficient and damned.

In a world bent on balance, we see each of our gifts as an opening to service of those with other or less privileges than we were given. And, in those who are given different, sometimes seemingly few gifts, this is an invitation to find the best ways to maximize one's contribution to our earth.

It does none of us any good to write down to zero any talent in ourselves or in another while simultaneously raising others above the ranks of the merely mortal. As the most ancient myths point out, great gifts are very often accompanied by equally strong temptations toward our own destruction and that of our society.

The caste system and many other methods of protecting dynasties, be they of families, political parties, or religious factions, seeks to have a predictable and orderly process of passing strengths from one generation to another. This is not the way of nature. What we call natural selection in animals of a lower order is in humans actually an opportunity to always have a purpose for every person, even if that purpose is the sacrifice of oneself for a higher ideal than individual life on earth.

We will not achieve balance as long as we allow ourselves or those we love to be less than the blessings that they were meant to be.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Rituals and Righteousness

"It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin." Luke 17:2

Does one's own inability to follow a faithful path justify suicide as a protection against the corruption of the innocent? And what of war? Are we justified in the killing of those who seek to lead our children away from The Almighty?

Does not the commandment to honor one's father and mother presuppose that the parents are honoring The Almighty? At what age are we not only free, but duty bound, to seek our own paths, even if it means a break with the faith of our fathers and mothers?

But, can we ever completely break the bonds of the "sins of the father?" How far can we actually get from our birth and upbringing? It seems that in times of stress, the natural tendency is to revert back to that which comes naturally. Genetic predisposition, combined with our upbringing, is what is natural to us.

I know that the Judeo-Christian message is one of redemption and starting fresh by walking with others on the Path back to Paradise. But can this actually be achieved in our lifetimes, or are we destined to carry the remnants of our parents' mistakes into the third and fourth generations? And will we not then hand these same sins down to three and four more generations? How do we break the cycles that obviously have been handed down since the beginning of time without walking away from all that is natural and comfortable to us?

It seems to me that none of us is expected to walk alone on this earth. We are meant to have others to accompany us on our journey. Adam and Eve had each other and their children. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Moses had wives, children, and many friends in faith walking with them. From this long line of the faithful, a family came that was given charge of Jesus as he prepared to walk his difficult path. When it was time for him to break free of the strictures of the old law, he was given companions, male and female, old and young, for his life of publicly living his faith.

Many Christians are taught that infant baptism washes away the sins of past generations. Others believe that we must each reach an age of discernment in order to freely choose our own path. When we baptize each other, we should not only be washing away the sins of the generations preceding us, we should also be pledging ourselves to walk the new walk with each other, holding each other accountable for the continuation of the way back to Infinite Unity.

I have been privileged to witness some infant baptisms in which the congregation was exhorted to protect the child in the ways that he or she should go, according to the customs of the congregants. This presupposes that all the congregants in attendance are true to the tenets of the collective faith. Instead of the child being consecrated to the congregation, it seems right that the congregation should be consecrated into the sacred trust of collectively protecting this child.

This communal consecration should, in no way, free the parents from primary protection of the child's soul, which presupposes discernment and discretion. Discernment is often impeded by deceit. Only in a community of confession and re-commitment can a person continue to trust others who profess to walk in faith.

We often give each other no option for a sense of community other than lives of dishonesty, which leads to toxic shame. Those who are ashamed will always find the company of like-minded, falsely faithful friends, and seek to gather disciples from among the vulnerable. How have we become so afraid to confess to each other, make amends, and recommit to each other and The Path back to Paradise?

It is unfortunate that we so often value ritual over righteousness, so that even when we know our leaders are corrupt, we still allow them access to the souls of our young. How can we ever hope for redemption when we are held in bondage by the persecutors and pettiness of our parents?

Monday, June 6, 2011

A Faithful Family

I have been pondering the message we are to take away from the account of this observant Jewish family when their son, twelve-year-old Jesus, attempted to enter manhood prematurely.

His mother said to Him, "Son, why have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously." And He said to them, "Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father's business?" But they did not understand the statement which He spoke to them.

Then He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them, but His mother kept all these things in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men. Luke 2:48-52

I think it is important that we see that it was the mother of Jesus that reprimanded him, in solidarity with Jesus' father. Does Jesus' submission to her will not indicate that a young man is still to submit to the teaching of his mother? I can find no reference to Jesus indicating that women had no authority to teach men. I think it's also important to realize that Jesus' parents were submitting to the authority of their spiritual community, to which Jesus returned with his mother and father.

Even though Jesus was obviously a learned young man, we don't see him in a leadership role until he is in his thirties. Did Jesus spent the intervening years in scholarly study, along with his submission to the leadership of his parents? In faithful families, is this the model that is to be followed? Are our future leaders to submit to the authority of their spiritual parents while they are amassing the knowledge and wisdom that will, one day, become the authority to lead?

Are we, as parents, taking our roles as spiritual leaders seriously enough? Do we go after our children with a united front when they seek to join the ranks of the leaders before they are ready? Do we teach them by our examples how to live the lives that our faith demands of us? Or, do we tire of the rigors of our responsibility and leave them to the wiles of those who would allow them to prematurely carry an adult load?

How do we know when they are ready to be let go?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Dance of Divinity

The dance of Divinity seems to play out
In the duet of my daughter and me;
She still seems to want to come back
And see what it is that I see.

Our essence seems so different,
But our ties are still so strong,
That we can't for long bear the thought
That the other is entirely wrong.

Our faith must allow for the bonding
That shared responsibility engenders,
Not only the individual glory
That greed and competition renders.

So, why is it that the face of God
Is so often the face of a father?
Isn't it possible that Eternal Joy
Is also The Love of a mother?

Hoping for Harmony

The common mistake I think that we make in coming back to the path of Holiness is believing that we can push others off the path by our behavior and not have any responsibility to hold out a hand to help the harmed back onto the path. We do not exist in a vacuum; we are accountable to each other for our actions toward them. We are also accountable to Our Creator for the way we impact the earth. As creatures of a vast community, we must look past our own fear and greed to the rest of the earth's need.

My father had a violent temper, which gravely harmed many of his children. In his last years of life, I've heard that he attempted to make amends to many that he harmed. I don't know that they were completely healed, but at least I hope it gave them an opening to begin the process. My mother and I had a very distrustful relationship; just before her death, we made inroads into a form of communication that seemed to have promise for openness and honesty. This small step has helped me to get past many of my fears of becoming my mother so that I can embrace that which is good in me that comes from her. Maybe in their children and our children, my parents can finally have harmony.

Harmony does not require absolute agreement, but it does require respectful engagement. I have even been told by our professional singer friend Sweet Mary that dissonance is what makes for interest in orchestral performance pieces. What a wonderful world it would be if we could learn that we are all different and equally important parts of the same chorus, rather than trying to drown others out because we think our beat is best.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Truth, Justice, and the American Way

A good friend with whom I share many hours of philosophical discussion responded to my last entry. She diligently studies Biblical history, and gave me several insights. I believe that our values are the most important things that need defining, demonstration, and articulating to others, I so appreciate help in my continued quest to answer these moral issues that sometimes seem so contradictory.

She pointed out that the Israelites had no central earthly authority. I had never thought about that before. What faith that must take, to follow the commandments without a central body to enforce them on earth. Perhaps they were the first followers of democracy, which seems to be dependent on people accepting rules that promote the common good. (It is important to look at this in the context that the Chosen People were the least powerful in earthly terms, so their common laws are what bound them.)

My friend also pointed out that Jesus defended the weak against those who unjustly enforced the law, and that he was willing to be persecuted and even lose his life for his beliefs.

I seems important that Jesus upheld and defended the values of the Ultimate Authority with the strength of his personality and reputation as a person who himself followed the law, not with an army or any other form of brute force. This seems to be the way to lasting change. We may get the attention of the bullies with brute force, but we can only change hearts through honest and loving example. This is why it is so important that our troops show Americans to be compassionate and fair-minded people. It is also why the continued fight for social justice and individual accountability to the Higher Power and each other is so crucial.

We mistake unfettered capitalism for democracy at our own peril. We also accept the notion that all power comes from God at our peril because so many have accepted that "might makes right" based on this concept. To die defending one's principles and protecting the weak seems honorable to me. But, I believe that we are manipulated with the words of our deeply held beliefs by those who seek to protect their own property and power . Until we follow righteous people (in the words of King Arthur in Camelot, "Right makes might.") rather than politicians who are controlled by unregulated capitalists, justice will not prevail.