Friday, May 31, 2013
It is cold. It snowed. It is summer, but God cannot be here. God is Wise. There is a whole book of Wisdom to say this. God would not spend summer where it is cold and snowing. Wait! I forgot. God does not avoid unpleasantness. Look at me. I am unpleasant at times. I don't act like I am supposed to. As summer can be cold and snowy, I can disappoint. Yet God dwells in me at all times and in all kinds of weather, moods, failures, and mistakes. So maybe God is here, wherever I am, no matter the weather around us.
Thursday, May 30, 2013
I ran my once a year, if that, 10K race today. I ran according to my strategy plan. All went as I wanted, except that I did not run as fast as I thought I would. In my mid 60s I could run this race about 6:30 faster. Now I am 70. I was ready to run. I had a clear path all the time. I did not have any nagging pain to hold me back. I just did not run the pace I thought I would run. I did not get tired late in the race and slow way down. I just never ran real fast in the first place. It felt fast. Feelings can fool you. The good news is that I don't feel miserable. I am not whining. I will run again next year. I glorified God by my effort. It was a very enjoyable day. I enjoyed the race, not withstanding the effort it took. I ran slow. Limitations? Aging? It is nice to know that I am OK with me. It makes running fun and not a dissapointment. Oh! It was really hot out there. Does that slow one down?
Wednesday, May 29, 2013
A group of high school girls in my town are going to go to school one day without wearing makeup. I did not even know they wore makeup to school. I am out of the loop. The reasons for makeup have to do with fear and self-esteem. A girl's achilles heel is her looks, appearance. You can do great damage to someone here. Girls think that the natural way they look, simply isn't good enough. Natural will be rejected or made fun of. There is apparently some ideal or some perfect that no one has by nature. God made us good, but not good enough for one another, is the thinking. Religion does this too. Instiutional religion does not want us to know its imperfections. Its trump card over against other religions is its being "more" perfect than anyone else. This is called "cover up." Would that religion had the courage of these local high school girls.
Tuesday, May 28, 2013
I was watching a professional basketball game recently. I watch when it is the playoffs. One of the players was being called a superman, the best, and so on. Sports thrives on super hero personalities. It is supposed to create fans. Near the end of the game, the superman makes two bad passes, as in mistakes, and his team loses. The media had a hard time with this. They could not quite bring the super hero back to mere mortality. It does not feed fan interest. Had it been a mere mortal, some other lesser player, the media might have said, "choked," or "what was he doing on the court anyway?" I see the same thing in organized religion. I guess we need our heroes. We don't like our leaders to mess up, or be imperfect. Why? Because many "religious" people are simply followers. They have to have someone better than them to follow, because what the leader often says, is something that is about as dumb as passing the basketball to the opposing team. Mistakes happen. The relationship in religion is with God, not the local official. There are no losers in God relationships, only in human institutions and teams.
Monday, May 27, 2013
In ancient Pagan Russia, a Virgin girl was sacrificed to the gods. Folks, probably men, killed her. If they could convince her that the next life was a better one, she might do some dancing first, kind of flirting with the gods, male gods, of course. Why the Virgin? Well, gods had no earthly bodies but being guy gods, and a bit primitive, think teenagers, they want sex with etherial virgins. No used good for the male god ego. So it went. Now along comes Adonai, The Lord, The God of the Hebrew tribes. No virgins need be sacrificed. What needed to be offered up was the ego, the selfish, self-centered kind of ego. You hold on to your selfishness. You get exiled into slavery, or dominated by a foreign power. Anyhow, along the way comes a girl named Mary. This Hebrew God does not want her dead. He wants her yes, so that Go can take on a human body. This event takes the old motif of Virgin, and shifts it. The girl need not die, but rather cooperate, using her free will. God will come into the world, not take us out of it in bloody sacrifice. The only one who will die is God! God will do this to emphasize humility, service, love, the goodness of creation, and the Way to transformation. Unfortunately, we decided to focus on "who is Jesus" and not on "how am I to change my life." Virgin then took on a different emphasis, to prove connection with Hebrew scripture and the Divinity/Humanity of Jesus. So today, we have lots of us who can recite our creed, but are not much better than the ancient pagan Russians.
Sunday, May 26, 2013
One of the mysteries of our faith is that God is One in Three. I recently read a commentary that said this mystery is beyond our comprehension. But we call it a fact. Isn't something beyond our comprehension a "Theory?" The Big Bang is a theory. Physicists might believe it but they would not call it a fact. Religion does not like to deal in theory. It threatens their sense of being correct. So, if you cannot figure out the Trinity don't get too bothered. You are in big company.
Saturday, May 25, 2013
How many children know that they are gay? They are still figuring it out. Sexual orientation had nothing to do with boy scouts when I went through. The issue that bothers me is about adult leaders. I sense the old prejudice about gays and sex. The fear is putting our children in the hands of leaders who are gay? Won't these leaders try "stuff" with our children? This prejudice can see gay people only in terms of physical sex and their being preoccupied with having sex. I know it sounds weird. But it is real. Being a leader of scouts has nothing to do with one's sexual orientation. I believe that one of my leaders on a jamboree was a drunk. Our safety was in the hands of some guy who was drinking in his tent. But he got a pass.
Friday, May 24, 2013
I believe it is Isaiah, chapter 33, that refers to "eternal fire." He does not mean hell. He is referring to God as the Eternal Fire! Maybe the institutional church got a bit carried away when it used this term to refer to a hell after death, flames and all, to punish us for not obeying the rules. With Isaiah, when we die, we all enter into the eternal fire of God, who is Love, I believe. I, who have messed up, will have this mess refined away, to become all that I could have been in this world, except without a body. The sadness of discovering what I could have been but was not in this life, will be the pain. But, this pain will be embraced by Love into a union with God that makes the pain more a memory, than a present hurt. Love can do this. Actually, if I would let God love me more now, I might not mess up so much. Maybe Satan, with that big ego, is the only kind of person who can resist Love. Hell is for them.
Thursday, May 23, 2013
I am getting to run a 10K race at altitude. A 10K can be dreadful, as in L-O_N-G! Now, if I run it for my ego, wanting to beat all my pals and anyone else my age, this is what happens. Some time during the race, I will hurt. My mind will then say that no one cares how I run. I am miserable. I will just slow down, and finish and never run this stupid race again. I will feel hateful toward all the young, fat people who are beating me to the finish. I will throw away anything I get in the mail that reminds me of my time or this race. Run with the ego and you run to unhappiness. On the other hand, if I run to the glory of God, then I do the best I can with my race strategy, accept the difficulties, inconveniences, surprises, knowing that God is being glorified by his creation,"me" running in this body, the one God gave me. Attitude and goal can carry one a long way, even through a 10K.
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Well, the Republicans are having a good time of it now with Obama's Administration snafus. This is why we have the two party system, to challenge one another. But neither side is all clean. I noticed that Rios Mott, the boss in Guatemala back in the Reagan administration, was just convicted for Genocide or mass murder, or something dreadful like that! Well, did we not fund the Mott administration? Reagan was a Republican, as I recall. History beats the two party system when we need to stay real.
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Well, a congressional committee says Apple avoided paying taxes by setting up subsidiaries in foreign countries that had no employees. Say it isn't so! Otherwise, how can we go on using their products without shame and guilt? We really are a world wide web of self-interests. It becomes harder to be good, to do the right thing. Of course, drop any sense of spirituality and you might get rid of shame and guilt. I doubt it. But the folks who say they are spiritual but not religious won't have a problem if this Apple thing proves true, so long as being spiritual is all about "me."
Monday, May 20, 2013
The Feast Day is coming up and parishes are gearing up to have a liturgy where everyone looks at a round white host, while ignoring one another. I have no problem with the host being God. It is the ignoring part that strikes me as odd. Wasn't the original Body of Christ the community of persons? Christ was in our bodies before we had tabernacle boxes and churches. Why not have the pastors go to the parish kitchens and cook up a big meal to serve to all the parishioners who come by? Maybe even serve anyone who comes by.
Sunday, May 19, 2013
Will Angelina Jolie get work now, as a love interest in a movie? Let's see. Hollywood moguls, men, are obsessed with breasts. Big and revealing is what they want on the screen. Many a guy going to the movies fantasizes about making love to the female lead characters, if they have big/revealing breasts. Guys don't go to the movies for real life. They can get that at home. They go to escape, to dream, to fantasize. In the darkness of the screen theatre a guy never has to grow up. You gals shake your heads? Deride guys? Well, you do marry them.
Saturday, May 18, 2013
When each person focuses on their personal rights as they see them, each person might miss a bigger picture. A group of African American Pastors are getting after the abortion business because the pastors see it as the mass killing of black babies. One of the arguments that the pro abortion people use, is that abortion helps the poor who cannot afford all these children if they were born. Well, these pastors seems to have another take on the issue.
Friday, May 17, 2013
So a drug addict comes to the office and wants to whine. I ask him when he went to his last meeting. This interrupts his whining. He had been clean for nine months, gone out a few days ago onto a drug, and announced that meetings were not working and he was miserable. I told him to cut the whining, go to a meeting now, raise his hand and say honestly that he did not believe in the meetings. Then shut up and let people help him. One day at a time, I said, and get a sponsor. He got up grumbling and walked out still talking. I did not back down. I came back into the office. Moments later, he returned. He did not whine or complain, but said he would go to a meeting and knew where it was. He now only wanted confession. I heard his confession. He left. Sometimes we postpone what we know we have to do, so long as we find someone to listen to our whining. I would be a mess today, if I had found that person in my past.
Thursday, May 16, 2013
When you try to feed a baby, you want their head to remain somewhat still so you don't miss getting the food into the baby's mouth. The more they are distracted and move their head about, the harder it is to feed them. It is like that in meditation. When we become distracted, our mind jumping around about this and that thought, it is hard for God to feed us with food for the interior spirit. Methods are to help us stay focused, or at least unfocued on our restless mind. Richard Rohr didn't give me this idea. It come to me all by myself. See, I ain't so dumb!
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Someone reminded me that guys tend to call other guys by their last names, but call women by their first names. Upon reflexion, I tend to agree. If a woman finds herself being called by her last name, she is probably in a male world, or male culture, such as the military. Why is all this? Maybe it comes from guys competing with one another, so they create some distance by using last names. They want to get "to" women, so they use first names, as an attempt to close whatever perceived gap guys see between the femal world and themselves. What is your take on this? In Chrsitian religion, when people are angry, they say "Christ." When they feel more intimate with God, they say "Jesus" which is the first name, so to speak. In recovery meeting, first names are always used. It is more than an anonimity thing.
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Listening to a person talking about our tax code and laws, he said that the "average person" would take thus and so many hours to fill out their forms. I got the sense that average means someone who is not rich. The rich have some one else do it, I guess. In sports, education, looks, there is the exceptionally gifted and then there is everyone else, the "average." Sad. What if the "average" is also a loving parent, a selfless and kind person, a community helper or even a prayerful person? These are not average people. The rich, the gifted athlete, the hollywood star, the genius educated, may also be mean, nasty, self-imploded, and uncaring people. When we label someone as average, we downgrade their gifts. No one is average for God.
Monday, May 13, 2013
Tesla electronic cars is working with Google to try and figure out how to have automatic driving. It would combine the benefits of public transportation and private auto. you could be working in your car while it takes you where you want to go. Good idea? Not if you dump public for your car, using more gas and clogging up the roads even more. But prayer has had auto-praying for centuries. It is the "Mantra" prayer. You keep saying the same word to yourself while you do other simple tasks that don't require a lot of concentration. In an auto driven car you can do mindless things too, such as using your cell phone to communicate things no one else is interested in.
Sunday, May 12, 2013
Did you know that if you turn an egg carton on its side for 24 hours before boiling the eggs, the yokes will be centered? Good to know if you are making deviled eggs, one of my favorites. I did not learn this in researching eggs, but came across it in an article about a completely different subject. Had I not been reading about my subject, I would not have come upon this useful information. It is that way with prayer. I may go into it with one focus or goal, but then something comes up that is most helpful but unexpected. The key is to pray. What follows is not in your control.
Saturday, May 11, 2013
Page 62 of the "Big Book" of AA says that when you try to fix yourself you are playing God. Fixing you is God's job. Now you say you don't believe in God. Fair enough. Now when you try to fix yourself, i.e. get rid of a bad habit, you are playing the part of someone you don't even think exists. How many bad habits have you dropped on your own efforts? So, at least we can agree that "Alone" does not work for improvement in this area. Try this. Think about jumping up. What happens? You come down to the same place where you started. You cannot stay up. It is called gravity, which we cannot see or touch, but we know that when we jump up, we come down in the same place. Now a rocket can change this. Get onto a rocket and up you go. The rocket beats gravity. Problem is, the rocket can do but one thing. It goes in one direction until it runs out of fuel or malfunctions. The rocket does not care that you are attached. It has no interest in you. When it stops going up, you are screwed. Yes, you have overcome gravity for a bit, and will come down, very fast and hard, to a new spot. Gravity wins again. Now God is a bit like the rocket. But God attaches to you, embraces you and loves you. God lifts you up and gently holds you. When you are let down, you are in a different spot. You did nothing but stay connected. Being moved to a different spot is like getting rid of a bad habit. Coming down to the same spot on your own efforts is like keeping a bad habit. Just sayin' I would rather believe in something that rids me of my mess, instead of disbelieving and remaining miserable. Faith is hard? Misery is worse.
Friday, May 10, 2013
The Savior language doesn't work like it used to. "Jesus came to save us from our sins." Well, what if you don't feel particularly sinful, nor have guilt over your decisions? Not much need for a savior here. I grew up with sin and guilt. It was never very far away. Remorse and new resolutions would give me some relief, very temporary. So it has taken me awhile to realize that people exist who can break one of the commandments, cheat, steal, lie, and selfishly use others, but feel no remorse or guilt. They might say I have a "hangup" about it. So I think that Incarnation is a better way to present my outlook on religion. The Power, Source of Creation, whatever, is not distant, and unconcerned, but in fact comes to live among us. The Holy is Immanent. It loves but does not coerce or try to frighten us. Now sometimes I feel more guilty! Why would I screw up with such nice God?
Thursday, May 9, 2013
Did you know that school girls in Saudi Arabia can now play sports? So whenever you think that things are not changing for the better, think of those girls playing sports. Albeit, not swimming, I suspect, and all dressed up like mummies, but it is a start. Other Muslim countries are far ahead of the Saudis, with women competing at the Olympic level. Change is slow at times. I know. I still mess up. Those Saudi school girls give me hope.
Wednesday, May 8, 2013
The pope came right out and said that business should not be focused on profit as its primary end/purpose. MBA programs, Western Capitalism, stock market investors, and rich conservative business people might be gagging on this. The Vatican usually goes wishy washes on this issue by saying that business should be concerned about the poor. This allows us to focus on profits no matter the human/environmental cost, and then throw some charity bones to the resulting problems. This pope is blunt. This could hurt me and maybe him, in Vatican fund raising from the rich. I invest in a stock. If the CEO of that company focuses on issues other than profits, the price of the stock might go down. The value of my investment will decrease. So I pay for whatever "good" the CEO tries to do. We are all in this together. I'd rather this than burn for being greedy. If the pope speaks for God, "Greed" is the new ticket to hell. It used to contraception.
Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Did you know that it was against the law for women to wear pants in San Francisco in 1919. See how times have changed? It was shocking when women first went public with pants. Men could wear pants but not women. Pants were only for men. Well, today many people believe that legal unions are only for heterosexuals. I suspect that long after many of us have passed on, people will look at this issue and wonder what was the big deal. Then again, some people still believe women should not wear pants.
Monday, May 6, 2013
Some people ridicule those who say they worship God. They see it as infantile, shallow or wishful thinking, old-fashioned, a waste of time, etc. But are we not all worshippers of something? Money, youthful looks, fashion in clothes, food, power/control, sports teams, entertainment stars, etc? As I age, the God idea is looking better and better. Myself, I am not looking so good anymore. Neither are the movie stars I used to worship.
Sunday, May 5, 2013
I see people who admit that there lives are not working out as they would like. They have emotional binges, miseries, feelings of being useless, lost, fearful and generally unhappy. But if I ask them to consider dropping their ideas about how to do life and look at the God idea, they reply, "Oh, I don't believe." Well, they do believe. They believe in their own thinking, though it is not working for them. Well, why not try a new idea? We are all believers in one thing or another. If you had a cell phone that was not working very well for you, would you not be open to trying something new? But when it comes to a life falling apart versus God, many seem to stay with that which keeps them in misery.
Saturday, May 4, 2013
The first Thursday of May is a "National Day of Prayer." Government declared it so. Did you know that? It has been this way for quite a few years, but I never hear the churches making any todo about it. Why not? We say that the government is way secular and lacks a sound spirituality. Here we get the same government giving us a day of prayer and we neither hold their foot to the fire, nor try to work with them to actually have a "DAY" of prayer for all. I think we are all too tribal. If our tribal group does not propose it, then we ignore it. Pity.
Friday, May 3, 2013
Thursday, May 2, 2013
A professional basketball player says publicly that he is gay. Does he get thrown out of his sport? Do his bosses tell him to go away and never come back again? No. He is accepted by players and management. Average age of men's professional players is 26. Pew study says this age group is accepting. Management is a lot older, but they seem accepting. Do you think the bishops would be the same way if one of their priests went public?