Breathing in, I know that this is only an emotion.  It’s not the whole of me.  I am more than any emotions.

Thich Nhat Hanh

+ + +

This is the post for May 22, 2015.  I am traveling today.

It is not unusual for some to avoid emotions.  To do so is to deny oneself, for we are emotional beings.  We do feel and experience life at a “feeling” level.

I suppose some avoid emotions because they are somewhat afraid of them.  They require one to think of a bad experience, and the bad feeling it brought on.

Ironically, avoidance does not extinguish the emotions or an event but rather just buries each within.  They still exist, we just “ignore” them in a conscious sense. And ignore them at a great cost.

Thich Nhat Hanh makes a very good and useful point.  Your emotions are not the sum of who you are.

For the Christian it is more accurate to say: I am not my emotions, but rather one within whom Christ dwells.

Think about it: Christ is your rock.

Rocks and emotions go nicely together.

What do I mean?

Think about what is said above and envision yourself as a rock; and, think of the stability that is in your divine identity.  Rock does not dissolve easily, nor does anything dissolve you or the Christ within you.

Emotions surely cannot dissolve rock, or Christ, or you with Christ within.

In Christ you are as a rock.

Each of us really understands in others only those feelings he (or she) is capable of producing himself.

Andre Gide

‘Tis better to acknowledge your emotional content.  Remember: Christ.  Rock.  You.

Shalom.

Please continue to share this with others.  God bless.

Learn to be silent.  Let your quiet mind listen and absorb.

Pythagoras

+ + +

Quiet can teach, if we are willing to let it.  So, too, can stillness – our own stillness.

Have you ever looked at trees?  Really looked that them?  Sat and looked at them?

But for the wind in their leaves – they are silent, and they are still.  But they are growing and contributing to our fresh air and shading us from sun and high winds.

We are not much like trees, at least in our habits.  We move around a lot, are endlessly in motion – running from one task to another in a non-stop and exhausting frenzy.  We cannot imagine being without doing, and confuse the two – thinking being is doing.  Motion is an addiction for us.  Exhaustion follows, stress too – and agitation and unhappiness – then the drink, or the pill, or the destructive diversion – an affair, perpetual unhappiness and the like.

Not too smart, is it.

The more we do, the less good we do.

The quality or identity of being is not in the doing, but in the being.

A tree is a tree.  Is a being a being?

Like a tree, our contribution to the world is our being.  Alas, busy as we are – we withhold our being from others and from our self.

In being we have a presence.  In doing we have a passing.

From the ancient wisdom of China we hear this:

We learn … First by reflection, which is the noblest; Second by imitation, which is the easiest; and, Third by experience, which is the bitterest.

Learn from the tree.  Is it any wonder that a tree gives itself to us as a page, a book?

Learn from the tree.

Shalom.

Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing, nor do you consider that it is better for you that one man should die instead of the people, so that the whole nation not perish.”

Jn 11: 49-50

+ + +

I am often astonished that people sit silently and accept what others say to them without objection.  How easily people defer to others without reservation, let alone opposition.

The above words are those of Caiaphas, the high priest, a highly educated man (not that formal education tells us more than that a person is easily filled with words from others) who proposes that Jesus be killed to avoid the wrath of the brutal Roman occupiers being aimed at the Jewish population.

Notice that Caiaphas speaks without any recorded public dissent.  

In reading this I am reminded of a section in Chapter Two of Robert H. Bork’s excellent book Slouching Towards Gomorrah: Modern Liberalism and American Decline.  

In the section, entitled “The Sacking of the Universities,” Judge Bork, a former U.S. Marine and outstanding scholar and Yale law professor, describes Yale and Cornell in the late 1960’s when each (along with other universities) were confronted by a collection of disgruntled Leftist students with any number of “grievances” and how the administration, faculty and Presidents of these universities did nothing but capitulate to the complainers who subsequently returned the “favor” by further belittling those who surrendered to their “demands.”

It is interesting that “distinguished” men and women of “letters” cannot recall, less so employ, the wisdom of Aristotle who tells us that “Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality which generates the others.”

In failing us, the “distinguished intellects” destroy what is good and necessary.

You see, it is an axiom that life expands in direct proportion to one’s courage and it declines in direct proportion to its absence. 

Make no mistake, in public life we willingly listen to the self-assertive even though they have shown themselves to be wanton, demonstratively unable to sustain a healthy life or marriage, let alone govern.

Imagine our stupidity and temerity in being willing to follow established failures, re-treads.

Better yet, imagine if just one person in the crowd stood and said to Caiaphas,

“You are a fool.  This man is the Son of God.  You, Caiaphas, are a faithless nitwit.  What you say is destructive.  You’d best sit down and shut up.”

Courage: the first of human qualities.  It expands life.  Its absence reduces life – and civilization.

Where are you today on courage?  Are you expanding life and civilization?  Or diminishing each?  Have you surveyed the public frontier and turned from those who do not deserve your ear?

Shalom.

Be a discrete listener.  Show wisdom and courage.  Act as if your life depends on it.  It does.  Share this with others.

People are like stained-glass windows.  They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

+ + +

Light is the key to the beauty of stained glass windows, and to people.

Those with Light within shine in all circumstances.

Think about it.  Have you known those who maintain their cheerfulness, and kindness, consideration of others in the midst of very difficult situations?

I have. They lived far beyond the troubles they faced.  They had that inner Light. That Light was their beacon, their guide – a constant in times of trail, suffering, pain, loneliness, rejection, illness.

You have the Light within.

What do you do to cultivate that?  Have you sought to know yourself in the deepest sense?  Have you thought about the patterns of your life?  Your reactions to things?  Your preferences?  What riles you?  And why?  What pleases you?  And why?

Have you examined your biography?  The role family and family members played or play in your life?

Have you searched the memories of your life?  Why have you taken note of one and not another?  Why did that small moment matter?  Move you?  Stay with you?  And what does it say to you that it mattered so?

Notice I go further than simply saying: What are your like and dislikes?  Or saying, What are your skills?

Life consists of knowing how you have been made, constituted to serve here as a human being, to exist and flourish in your full human status – flaws and all, imperfections, failures, mistakes, and hurts inflicted by life and others in this life.

Make yourself the object of intense study and you will discover God.

Egyptian Proverb

Shalom.

If you please, share this with others.  Peace be with you.

Take care … that none of you may have an evil and unfaithful heart, so as to forsake the living God.  Encourage yourselves daily … so that none may grow hardened by the deceit of sin.  We have become partners of Christ if only we hold the beginning of reality firm until the end for it is said:

“Oh, that today you would hear his voice; Harden not your hearts …”

Heb 3: 12, 13, 14-15

+ + +

Yesterday on the Sabbath there was a violent motorcycle gang fight in and outside a restaurant in Waco, Texas. Nine were killed, police were shot at, and over 100 people were arrested.  Just another in the daily signs that secularism (life without faith) leads to violence, death and disorder.

What are we to do?

Adhere to the lesson of Skellig Michael.

Shellig Michael was monastery established around the 6th century on a small island in the North Atlantic, 11 miles of the coast of Island.  It was an outpost of Light for Christians in Europe’s dark period.

It sustained until the 12th century and is credited with being a source in preserving and sustaining Christianity.

The monks in this and other Irish monasteries transcribed religious and classic texts and in doing so offered access to critical knowledge when Europe could once again ready to seek a civilized and faithful existence.

So what is the lesson?

Small groups.  We sustain our faith in small groups where faith is freely shared and where faith governs our dialogue, our ways of thinking, being, and experiencing human existence.

We need each other when the dark descends, when culture turns against us.  We need each other now.

Did not the disciples and believers assemble in the upper room?  Were those days not full of uncertainty and darkness?  Had not the world seemed to have turned against Christ?

… they went to the upper room … All devoted themselves with one accord to prayer …

Acts 1:13, 14

Be as the Irish monks of Skellig Michael.  Gather together in small groups.  Keep friendships with those who believe. Support one another.  Teach one another. Pray.  Worship together.  Witness.

Shalom.

Thank you for reading this blog.  Draw close to one another in faith.  Share your faith.  Peace be with you.

To be on the alert is to live; to be lulled into security is to die.

Oscar Wilde

+ + +

America is being attacked within and without and we muster no defense.  One wonders why?

How can we be inert?

Fear, born of insecurity, is at the root of this.  Not a fear possessed by all, but by a vocal and prominent set of Americans.

Who are they?  They are our neighbors on Left: liberals, Democrats, intellectuals and the culture “elite” – in entertainment, media, and the news business.

“Well,” you say, “I don’t believe it.”  Really.  Think about it.

Since the New Deal the American Left has been on a quest for security, individual security (here in this life) in all its permutations.  It began benignly with economic security but has accelerated in the late 1960’s to all manner of individual claim – for abortion, same-sex-“marriage,” gender-race-income equality – as to outcome, not opportunity.

In race, for example, equality progressed from non-discrimination, to equal opportunity, to affirmative advantage, to quotas, to equality of outcome – all of which institutionalized race which is now imbedded in the culture so as to separate us.

Our neighbors on the Left are an insecure and anxious bunch.  Security is their religion.  Politics is the Church.  Power their sacrament.  Their faith is expressed as radical, idiosyncratic and socially destructive claims that are destroying America, its ethos, heritage, character, exceptionalism, and its leadership in the West,and in the world.

Their fear is not a majority disposition.  You see this by their language and their tactics to effect “security.”

As to language, it is always the “sing-song” theme of “change” and expressed hostility to competition, free markets, business and corporations, private property, hierarchies built on achievement (the “you didn’t build that” nonsense), and to Christianity which offers the exact opposite message of personal dignity and responsibility – being secure in God.

As to tactics, they control electorally only pockets of densely populated states, the cities in those states which they have managed to the edge of, and into, bankruptcy – so they rely on the judiciary and bureaucracy’s rules and regulations to force their will on others, destructive effects notwithstanding.  They are, unfortunately, a rather an undemocratic, and anti-democratic bunch.

If you fear living you do not defend.  If you perceive that the land you live in is the enemy of your desire for security because it challenges you to live fully, as its religious tradition of Christianity and Judaism does – you will not defend, but rather attack, your homeland as it has been.  So much for “homeland security.”

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of sound mind.

2 Tim 1:7

Shalom.

Do you see more so each day how vital religion is to freedom and achievement, the growth into fullness?  Share this with others.  Peace be with you.

God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Jn 3:16

+ + +

Oft repeated.  Perhaps not sufficiently considered.

What might this mean for us in this world, in the West – in secularized cultures which are defaulted to the primacy of politics and power, and the dubious “genius” of political man?

Yes, John 3:16 is a basic tenet of Christian belief.  But what does it say?  And what are its implications?

It says: God came to us, mortal beings, who were in our earthly existence estranged from our full humanity, our Source, our meaning in being, and the end to which we are destined.

It says had we been well and full, God would not have sent his Son for so explicit a lesson of how it is that we can live in fullness and contentment. It says that without the Divine we cannot find fullness here, and not through our own efforts.

It says implicitly that exclusionary secularism cannot provide for our fullness – indeed, it says that such efforts have and will, in all instances, fail us.

Further, God’s extraordinary commitment to the human being says each person is exalted and glorified; that is, possesses the dignity of being God’s beloved and as the beloved we are transfigured – mortal beings made immortal.

But make no mistake – we think here of the each individual human person, but not of society; for in being the beloved we are in this mortal world and its historic moments but also beyond it at any and every one of its moments.

We are, simply stated, an eschatological people – those who live beyond the mundane, beyond today with all its tasks, and conflicts, problems, worries and ways.  We live today and for what is beyond, for the God in this day and the God for all that precedes this life and awaits us beyond this life.

As believers we live prophetically.

We live with certainty that cannot to found in politics, policy, power or the things of this world.

Rather, our meaning is in an individual being transformed by God through Christ; hence, to God and Christ is the primacy – not to politics or policy or power.  Our task in culture is the witness of the heart.

We are, in Christ, raised above history while remaining in history – leaving us, by this one circumstance, to live in a prophetic disposition as individual believers called to witness a Loving God above all else.

 Do not conform yourself to this age but be transformed … that you may discern what is the will of God …

1 Cor 12:2

Shalom.

Thank you for reading this post and sharing your faith with others.  God bless.

… who cannot learn/anything from suffering,/suffer, are tortured, die in incomprehension./

This human being, each night nevertheless summoning – with a breath at a flame,/or hand’s touch/on a lamp-switch – darkness/silently utters,/impelled as if by a need to cup the palms/and drink from a river;/words, ‘Thanks./Thanks for this day, a day of my life.’/And wonders.

Denise Levertov

+ + +

Wonders.  Do they not exceed suffering?  Are they not brighter, more luminous? Recurrent?  Ever-lasting?  Signs of heaven?  Beyond?

What makes life buoyant?  And who creates wonders?  It is not I.  It is not you. At best, we are the conveyance.  The small wooden cart of the Russian Jewish peasant, a cargo carrier of precious wonder – in tiny things and more.

Wonder.  A baby born.  A mother’s love.  The unconquerable will that rises above poverty and homelessness.  The fidelity of love.  Brotherhood. Bravery. Sacrifice. The sweetness of Yo Yo Ma’s cello.  The painter.  The words of the poet.  The gift of an actor who suspends self so to show us another and in that show us who we are.  The author who awakens the soul we carry and makes of it fertile ground to feed the world.  Christ.

To miss wonder is to “die in incomprehension.”  To suffer.  Learn not – such a needless daily price to pay when wonder is the yield.

Wonder.  Christ.

Without a wound that opens the body, could the Light exit?  Appear to others?

one soldier thrust his lance into his side, and immediately blood and water flowed out.

Jn 19:34

In darkness do you silently utter, cup the palm, drink from the river?

Shalom.

Note: Denise Levertov’s father came from a Hasidic Jewish family, converted to Christianity and became an Anglican priest.  Wonders.  Yes, wonders.

Thank you for sharing what has been written here, and its ideas.  We are of a Living God.  Your witness matters.  Place these words in your peasant’s cart and carry them to another.

We must change points of reference so we might speak and live in wonder. Peace be with you. 

… Nicodemus … came to Jesus … said to him, “How can a person once grown old be born again?” … Jesus answered, “Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit.  What is born of flesh is flesh and what is born of spirit is spirit.”

Jn 3:1, 2, 3, 4, 5-6

+ + +

If you were going to read but one Gospel passage as a guide to a healthy and happy life, it might be useful to read the exchange between Nicodemus, “a ruler of the Jews, and Jesus. (Jn 3:1-21)

Why do I say this?

Central to believing as a Christian, the Christian experience – living life as a Christian is this: a Christian lives a renewed life, a new life – life in Christ, the fulfillment of what it is to be fully human.

The point of Christian life is not to gain life in another world – exclusive of daily existence, but rather to live fully in this human and earthly existence in each day. Is this not why God comes to us as our Brother?

We are not “playing the game” for the hereafter, but for now – so that we might live as Christ in love, unbounded by the limits of this world – to live in the Spirit today, on earth – here and now.

In short, we surmount this world and the mundane, we die to our old ways so to live today, now, in the grace of Christ while on earth.

Renewal.  This is the point.  A transformation of one’s old self, in favor of self in Christ – life as a Christian.

Make no mistake, this renewal is not secured by ritual, by formality, by rote recitation, exterior acts.  Nor does it stop at an emotional “rush” that would have us feel an “inner liberation.”

Rather, in Christ there is self-transcendence, a transcendence of the norms, attitudes, proscriptions of one’s culture.

Freedom, you see, to the Christian is this: he or she attains a radical liberty through life in the Spirit and this, always and everywhere, makes the Christian and the Church the inevitable target of the state unless religious belief is valued and protected by civil authorities.

In Christian belief, it is the human community, not the state or the bureaucracy, which attends to the good of all people; for, only by love does a man or woman and a community care for the full development of all others, all of Creation.

Today, of course, in our land we have a very vocal minority of “statists” who believe otherwise and for them: religion and believers, and Christ indeed is unnecessary or the enemy – something to be excluded, exiled, bound by the dictates of godless thinking.

Socialism and communism are the natural adversaries of Christian existence for they see themselves, their ideology – not God, as that which articulates and realizes the oneness of all – all humans, all creation.

Presently, some advance the state over God despite the evidence that the state without God divides and fragments the whole – the person and the community. Are Baltimore and “the War on Poverty” not sufficient evidence that this is so?

“If I tell you about earthy things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you about heavenly things?”

Jn 3:12

Are you thinking like Nicodemus?  Living like Nicodemus?  Acting like Nicodemus?

Shalom.

Thank you for your support and for sharing faith with others.  God bless.

   

If the last word is lost, if the spent word is spent/If the unheard, unspoken/Word is unspoken, unheard;/Still is the unspoken word, the Word unheard,/The Word without a word, the Word within/The world and for the world;/And the light shone in darkness and/Against the Word the unstilled world still whirled/About the centre of the silent Word.

O my people. what have I done unto thee.

T.S. Eliot, Ash-Wednesday, V

Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? (O)r who shall stand in his holy place?  There is no one but us.

Annie Dillard, Holy the Firm

+ + +

T.S. Eliot meets Annie Dillard, and you and me as well.

What are we to do if the last word is lost to us?  And who will ascend the hill of the Lord?  No one but us.

Why do we wait?  Are distractions more important than life?  Do we forget recurrent evil?  The communist gulags and gas chambers?  Lynchings?  Poison gas?  Starvation forced by the terror states?  Re-education camps?  Reigns of human terror? Speech silenced and churches closed – turned to stables, storehouses for guns and ammunition to kill man and voice, freedom itself?

Why do we wait?  For the latest fashion?  ‘Til the kids are in school?  Because the beach house must be bought?  For the next man to speak?  To ascend for us? As if there is time?  Because I am “busy?”  Late? Already scheduled? Important? Because faith is not fashionable, and hence, not practiced by the celebrity, those we admire?  Because the government provides all and our grandchildren and their children can pay the bill and live enslaved?  Because it all works out magically, and without me?  Without my attention?  After all, what does sacrifice mean in an affluent society?  Or brotherhood?

Do we forget?  Do we really forget?   Or do we fear?  Hide?  Hide in our “hurry” – our self-importance, and selfishness? Our comfort?  Our affluence? Resentment? Ideology?  In small lies that feed evil and anesthetize us?

And who will let in the children at the gate?  (Those not aborted, discarded, unwanted, treated and traded as sex objects, raised by godless culture to a broken and distorted end?)

There is no one but us.  Why do you wait?

You do not forget; this I know, for the Word is within.

There is no one but us.

Shalom.

We are in a serious way.  There is no one but you.  Please share this blog or its thoughts with others, sit with them in silence and think deep in your heart.  Face yourself.  We are in a serious way.  May God bless us all – may we act as we must.

Welcome Message

Categories

Log In

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 409 other followers

%d bloggers like this: