Thursday, July 30, 2009

He Ain't Heavy..He's My Brother....

I happened upon this video buried amongst the the 708 emails in my AOL inbox.  I am a member of several very prolific yahoo groups (in addition to Emerging Universalist) and they flood my inbox with messages I am loathe to delete unread. (although I have done just that when the number climbed closer to 900ish) I maintain this unrealistic hope that I will find the time...someday, go through them and glean the spiritual insights buried there.  But they just keep piling up. I do occasionally make a feeble attempt at "cleaning out my inbox."  And today, I just happened to randomly click on one.  It led to a You Tube video that really tugged at my heart.  One that I am really glad I didn't get rid of in a mass delete....

So for all the dog lovers out there I am posting this video.  (and isn't everyone really a dog lover at heart?)

Oh...and I have intention of getting back to the current "series" tomorrow.  Just another one of my little digressions into totally unrelated topics that happen to capture my attention :)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Do What You Can....

About a month ago, I happened onto Beliefnet's main page and found an announcement about a blogging contest being held throughout the month of July. After thinking about it for a day or two, I decided to join the fray. At this point, I think there are about 40 "contestants." Judging ends on the 31st. I've been "double posting" most and there...trying not to use the same posts at both places...just because. At some point, I will probably post what I've written on this blog.

I've read a few of the other blogs...but time...and distractions... have been an issue this month. There is another contestant who has posted several comments on my blog there which led me to his blog. I read a bit of his writings this morning. He goes by the name of Neomonist. One of his blog posts caught my eye....and I am using the quote he used because I like it a lot and I think it carries a great message. Do what you can...or as he entitled the post, Helping Can Be Small.

The quote follows...and do go check out his blog on beliefnet. He has a lot of good stuff to say....

A Zen monk was seen by his disciple by the sea, where the tide had washed ashore hundreds of starfish. It was clear that they would soon die from exposure. The monk was tossing the starfish, one at a time, back into the sea, in a slow and meditative manner.

"Why are you bothering?" The disciple asked the monk. The young disciple looked at the large number of starfish that were succumbing. "It won't make any difference"

The monk stopped for a moment, and looked down at the starfish in his hand. "It will to this one," he replied, as he tossed it into the sea.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

More From Frank Laubach

And today, while sitting in the Marketplace Cafe at Wegmans, waiting for my daughter, I read more from Letters By a Modern Day Mystic.  It is actually quite profound.  I find myself marking passage after passage.  Like what?  So glad you asked....

But this year I have started out trying to live all my waking moments in conscious listening to the inner voice, asking without ceasing, "What, Father, do you desire said? What, Father, do you desire done this minute?"

It is clear that this is exactly what Jesus was doing all day every day. But it is not what His followers have been doing in very large numbers.

Sadly, we have not....and aren't we much more likely to tell him what we want done rather than asking him what HE wants done....
And I am yawning like crazy so the peanut gallery's commentary will close for the day.  I am going to paste a few more quotes from Letters By a Modern and invite you to comment. 

And I know that He makes my thought--life beautiful when I am open all the day to Him. If I throw these mind--windows apart and say to God, "what shall we think of now?" he answers always in some graceful, tender dream. And I know that God is love hungry, for he is constantly pointing me to some dull, dead soul which he has never reached and wistfully urges me to help Him reach that stolid, tight shut mind. Oh God, how I long to help you with these Moros. And with these Americans! And with these Filipinos! All day I see souls dead to God look sadly Out of hungry eyes. I want them to know my discovery! That any minute can be paradise, that any place can be heaven! That any man can have God! That every man does have God the moment he speaks to God, or listens for him!


The moment I turn to Him it is like turning on an electric current which I feel through my whole being.


Ah, God, what a new nearness this brings for Thee and me, to realize that Thou alone canst understand me, for Thou alone knowest all! Thou art no longer a stranger, God! Thou art the only being in the universe who is not partly a stranger! I invite others inside but they cannot come all the way. Thou art all the way inside with me--here--and every time I forget and push Thee out, Thou art eager to return!

Monday, July 27, 2009

More From a Modern Day Mystic

I read through Frank Laubach The Game With Minutes at the gym yesterday.  At first glance, as I mentioned in my last post about seems hokey.  More of a Purpose Driven Life kind of thing but even hokier than that.  It was written before I was the early fifties.  It is from a totally different era.  No doubt, it was a different world then, a different culture.  It was probably a simpler time. 

I also read, about half way through, the excerpts  from Laubach's journal during one particular year of his many years as a missionary.  I think it was the year 1930.  (running time to check for sure...but around that time)  It was much deeper and more poetic than The Game With Minutes....and I am going to write one more post about this guy, focusing on what he has to say and what he learned during that year.  The excerpts, published with permission by his son, is called Letters of a Modern Day Mystic

So, the point of The Game With Minutes is to bring Christ into our have him dwell with us.  We know he does dwell with us, but how do we develop an awareness of his indwelling.  That is the tricky part.  And trickier still is how to keep this from being a "have to"...or a "try to" from self effort...and to be sure it is Christ...not a delusion that Christ is walking and talking with us. 

For me, when reading the simple suggestions, "I want that" kept running through my mind.  Situations, possibilities came up as I read. 

But for this post, I am copying a few more excerpts from "The Game" with a comment or two from the peanut gallery (yes, me)

We whisper ‘God’ or ‘Jesus’ or ‘Christ’ constantly as we glance at every person near us. We try to see double, as Christ does—we see the person as he is and the person Christ longs to make him.Remarkable things happen, until those in tune look around as though you spoke—especially children.The atmosphere of a room changes when a few people keep whispering to Him about all the rest.Perhaps there is no finer ministry than just to be in meetings or crowds, whispering ‘Jesus’ and then helping people whenever you see an opportunity. When Dr. Chalmers answers the telephone he whispers: ‘A child of God will now speak to me.’ We can do that when anybody speaks to us.

And is my day not ripe with this opportunity?  Some days I answer the phone hundreds of times a day.  Would my day take on a holier feel if, rather than sighing at the interruption when the phone rings, I would say to myself, "A child of God will now speak to me"

And when in a group, in a conversation, he offers several suggestions.  One is to silently hum a hymn (which today would be more likely to be a praise and worship song....or Christian rock) and while I do oftentimes hum to myself....the following two suggestions resonated more with me. 

 Silently pray for each person in the circle.

Keep whispering inside: ‘Lord, put Thy thoughts in my mind. Tell me what to say.’

He closes the article by saying....

We may have a glorious succession of heavenly minutes. How foolish people are to lose life’s most poignant joy, seeing it may be had while taking a walk alone! But the most wonderful discovery of all is, to use the words of St. Paul, ‘Christ liveth in me.’ He dwells in us, walks in our minds, reaches out through our hands, speaks with our voices, IF we obey His every whisper.

I am reminded of a verse from the Psalms.  A verse that has not fully actualized in my own life....but to which I aspire...and I am closer, much closer than I was just a few years ago.....

You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy; 
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Bible by John G...

I am digressing from the current "series." No big surprise there, huh?

I've mentioned John Gavazonni on this blog many times.  Ten or so years ago, in the early days of my Christian walk, I "happened upon" an article he had written that dissed the widely held view (penal substitution) of the atonement.  It offered a sensible, biblical alternative view.  I have since read quite a bit about the atonement...and may differ from his view somewhat (adding elements of Girard's theory of mimetic rivalry to the mix) but I will be forever grateful to the insights in The Great Misinterpretation. 

Today, I came upon another writing of his that I thought I might post snippets from here.  Oh, and probably add my two cents worth too. The article is called simply, "The Bible"

Oh boy, an article by that name could go in about a zillion different directions but he hones in on (somewhat) the Bible not as a law book, or a how to book but rather as a divinely inspired book of promises. 

Thou shalt not ________ (fill in the blank) becomes a promise.  A promise that when God is finished with his dealings with us we "shalt not" because we have been formed in the image of Christ and shalt not because we cannot....because we have no desire to.

Keith has told me this many it is not new revelation to me.  He has often said that if a man loves his brother as himself, would a command against stealing from him, killing him or lying to him be necessary?  It would not be in us to do those things.  I am paraphrasing his views.  He could likely say it better than I am. 

So while this revelation is not ground breaking for me, John G's writing was a nice reminder.  A few snippets from the article....

He compares the Bible to an "instrument" an archeologist unearths, uncertain of its original intent/purpose.

Though the use of an instrument is usually quite specific, sometimes with limited success, it can be used for purposes other than the original intention. A shoe, for instance, practically speaking, is meant to provide protection for one's foot, but lacking a hammer, it can be used as a pounding device. Remember Nikita Khrushchev pounding his shoe on the table at the United Nations?

Though knowing, in His omniscience, that the Bible would be used for purposes other than, or inferior to His ultimate intention---and making a place for such misuse or sub-use in His overall plan--- nevertheless, God has a purpose in mind for Holy Writ that, particularly in this age, I believe, only a relative few have and will come to understand, and with that understanding, skillfully use His literary implement.

Oh, yeah...I've seen people misuse the Bible in a way not unlike the example of the shoe above.  The Bible has been used many times over as an instrument with which to "pound" others. 

Are the words, "Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God and serve only Him" Matt 4:10 KJV and "Thou shalt have no other gods before me?" Ex 20:3 KJV words of legislation or prophetic promise? I read them as promises to my New Man, who by nature SHALL do what is written. They are most essentially, in terms of unveiling the heart of God to me, precious promises that I shall do rightly by my Father. All those things that I ought to do, or not to do are indicative of the manner of man that I am in Christ.


God promised that His people, by His causation, would have His laws written on fleshly tablets of the heart as features of their true nature. What I'm getting at, dear brethren, is that the Spirit teaches us to approach the written word much more carefully and respectfully than we have previously done. Beware when the Bible seems simply to be telling you what to do, and/or what to believe. Oh no! The Bible, once probed into its heart, is found to be the central and normative literary instrument toward the realization of Christ as its substance. However else you read it, you are only reading law, and you will find it, in that mode, to be the strength of sin. is a short article and if I don't stop now, I will have quoted the whole thing here in this post.  Do take the time to go read it.  I think it offers valuable insights about the (mistaken) view of the Bible as a "rule book for life."  He closes the article with the following thought....

.......for we are not called to learn about and do THINGS, we are called to learn and do CHRIST. We are not called to merely believe correct doctrines; we are called to participate in the faith of Christ, which is total dependence upon our Father. Only one life has that quality, and that is Christ.

Be careful also in your quest for factuality in your study of the Bible. Facts can be used of God to enlighten us, but facts can become an end in themselves and addict us to being right and knowing more, or more accurately, than the next guy. Wow, you have no idea how seductive biblical knowledge can be. Don't equate facts with truth. Christ is the truth, and there are a lot of dear brethren whose factual knowledge is minimal, but who know Christ intimately.

Thanks, John G for this timely (because of some situations I find myself involved in) article. 

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Modern Day Mystic....

Once again, I am going to write this on the fly. Not sure why other than the duties, chores and responsibilities of life seemed to get in the way yesterday and rather than spending hours "writing" as I planned....I spent hours running errands; picking up a prescription, messing around with a badly stained pool (all the more perplexing because we are not sure where the stain came from)....and just the chores that seem to multiply (like rabbits) during the day.

I did manage to do quite a bit of research last night on one of the other guys Boyd recommended.  I was up to page forty on the search results from google when I was just to sleepy to do anymore clicking.  I have often found the most delightful quotes, info, links when I persevere through page after page after page of results.  I love google....

But I digress....
The next author I checked out (per Boyd's recommendation) was Frank Laubach.  Very, very interesting guy.  He is known as the Apostle to the Illiterates.  He worked many years in order to end illiteracy in other countries.  He is well known for his Each One Teach One method. (and has a book with that title)  The tribes of the Belgian Congo called him Okombekombe, which means "mender of old baskets," because he taught adults to read and write. Much like mending an old leaky basket, he renewed old leaky minds by teaching them to read. 

But he was a mystic as well...a modern day mystic...and wrote several books about his pursuit of keeping his mind fixed on God throughout the day.  He claimed we could learn to think of two things at once (perhaps more) and that we needed to always have an awareness of Christ as we go about our daily business.  A quote from Mr Laubach:

We make Him our inseparable chum. We try to call Him to mind at least one second of each minute. We do not need to forget other things nor stop our work, but we invite Him to share everything we do or say or think. Hundreds of people have experimented until they
have found ways to let Him share every minute that they are awake. In fact, it is no harder to learn this new habit than to learn the touch system in typing, and in time one can win a high percentage of his minutes with as little effort as an expert needs to write a letter. While these two practices take all our time, yet they do not take it away from any good enterprise.

They take Christ into that enterprise and make more result full. They also keep a man’s religion steady. If
the temperature of a sick man rises and falls daily the doctor regards him as seriously ill. This is the case
with religion. Not spiritual chills and fevers, but an abiding faith which gently presses the will toward
Christ all day, is a sign of a healthy religion.

Now I know that sounds a bit hokey....but his short devotional (written in 1953) called the Game of Minutes offers practical solutions and suggestions about how to keep Christ in the forefront of our minds throughout the day.  Throughout our busy days...not just the ones where we kick back in the lounge chair gazing out at the pool, sipping a glass of ice tea (or a cold beer) 

I am going to write at least one more post about him.  I found some really good quotes as I googled last night.  Inspiring quotes from a guy whose life was full of more than airy fairy spiritual pursuits.  He (and Christ) made a real life difference in the world while he practiced what Paul directed us to do....pray without ceasing. 

More tomorrow....

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Brother Lawrence

One of the books mentioned in yesterday's post was the Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence.  I read the book at the about two sessions.  It is not a long book but it is written in a rather odd way.  It is not a first person account. This work was compiled after Brother Lawrence died by one of those whom he inspired, Father Joseph de Beaufort, later vicar general to the Archbishop of Paris. It is full of he said, he did, he reasoned, he related etc. etc. 

A few snippets about Brother Lawrence's life from the Practicing the Presence of God web site.

Brother Lawrence was born Nicholas Herman around 1610 in Herimenil, Lorraine, a Duchy of France. His birth records were destroyed in a fire at his parish church during the Thirty Years War, a war in which he fought as a young soldier. It was also the war in which he sustained a near fatal injury to his sciatic nerve. The injury left him quite crippled and in chronic pain for the rest of his life.

Ouch...ouch...ouch!!!!  I had a bit of trouble with my sciatic nerve when I was pregnant with my near term first born son, Matthew.  He was a big baby..and rested his head squarely on my sciatic nerve...and sent me to bed with a heating pad for several days.  I also came down with a good old fashioned case of emerods...but we won't go into that in this post. (However, if you want to read a hilarious rendition of the biblical affliction of emerods check out this link)

So pretty much, for sure, Brother Lawrence was in a lot of pain...and there were no extra strength Tylenol back then...or Aleve for 8 hours of relief.  No...he pretty much just had to endure it.  And from what I read, he hated to cook...but his duties were usually in the  In the words of Brother Lawrence:

We ought to give ourselves up to God, both in temporal and spiritual things, and seek our satisfaction only in fulfilling His will. Whether He leads us by suffering or consolation, all is the same to one truly resigned.


"The time of work," said he, "does not with me differ from the time of prayer. In the noise and clatter of my kitchen, while several persons are at the same time calling for different things, I possess God in as great a tranquility as if I were upon my knees at the Blessed Supper."

So neither his pain...nor his duties....dampened his enthusiasm for communing with God.  Nor did it make him bitter or resentful or grouchy.  His life was filled with the joy of the Lord.  He epitomized the verse in Psalms

Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. 16:11

Another bit of advice from Brother Lawrence?

We should, once and for all, heartily put our whole trust in God and make a total surrender of ourselves, secure that He will not deceive us.

At the Practicing the Presence of God web site, the book is available to print or read online.  There is also a page of devotionals based on the book and the Godly wisdom of Brother Lawrence. 

Monday, July 20, 2009


This will be an on the run post because (omg SURPRISE) I am running late again.  Somehow, even though I have been on the computer a lot of the weekend "researching," today's post is not ready to go....

So my special thanks to Greg Boyd...whose words make up a large portion of this post.  In the following snippets, he talks about three books/writings that he thinks help us dwell "in the now" but that do not veer into what he sees as grave errors and do not depart from what he considers to be sound biblical teachings.  I've read all or parts of the books he mentions and will provide links to what is available online...later....

So is Pastor Boyd...

Greg Boyd goes on to say that:

This fundamental difference is clearly manifested in the way Tolle teaches people to “stay awake” and “live in the now,” in contrast to the way Christians such as Brother Lawrence (The Practice of the Presence of God) and Frank Laubach have helped people “stay awake.” Tolle encourages people to cultivate an on-going awareness of their essential oneness with life. The goal is to transcend the ego and lose any distinct awareness of yourself. By contrast, Brother Lawrence and Frank Laubach encourage people to cultivate an on-going awareness of the presence of God and to surrender to this presence on a moment-by-moment basis. Tolle aims at experiencing one’s own divine “I AM” on a moment-by-moment basis. Brother Lawrence and Frank Laubach aim at experiencing a loving relationship with the I AM on a moment-by-moment basis.

Better yet, if you’re interesting in a Christ-centered way of learning how to live “in the present moment” — and we all should be — forget about Tolle and read Brother Lawrence and Frank Laubach’s Practicing His Presence and/or J. De Caussade’s The Sacrament of the Present Moment. Yes, live in the now! But do it in loving relationship with God rather than by believing you are God while trying to convince yourself you have transcended the confinement of beliefs in the process.

And remember....

God's name is I AM...not I Was or I'll See You Later. 

I will have to look up the source for that quote because I did not think of it myself :) 


Saturday, July 18, 2009

The you who isn't you...

So as I wrote in my last post, while Student 99 heartily recommends the book, Greg Boyd claims he is "deeply concerned"

For, while Tolle is a master at identifying the universal human problem, the solution he offers to address this problem is, from a Christian perspective, as misguided as any proposed solution could be. I’ll give  three examples.

First, Tolle espouses a rather typical eastern metaphysics in which the true “you” is not the “you” that is distinct from other people, but the (alleged) “you” that is one with the universe. To grasp this, imagine waves on an ocean. Your individual ego is one such wave, but the true “you” in the eastern religious worldview is the ocean itself – as it is for me and every other “wave.” The wave -”you” is limited and temporary, but the ocean-”you” is unlimited and eternal. According to Tolle and the eastern worldview in general, every problem we have, individually and as a collective whole, is the result our tendency to identify with, cling to and fight for the limited, transitory wave instead of with the unlimited, eternal ocean.

There it is again...the you who isn't you.  I vs. "i"....the wave or the ocean.

 What is ultimately real is our essence, which is the infinite ocean, the“Source” and (yes) “God” (see e.g. 26). If we can remain consciously aware of our essential oneness with all things on a moment-by-moment basis, we will find that the perpetual striving and anxiety that attaches to our individual ego disappears. We will thus be free, fulfilled, peaceful, etc… The three words that are “the secret of all success and happiness,” according to Tolle, are “One With Life” (115). Instead of living with an ego-centered awareness of how we (as individuals) are distinct from all other things, we must cultivate an ego-free awareness of how we are one with all things on a moment-by-moment basis. And when this happens, there is no longer an awareness of a “we” that is distinct from others at all.

And that's the rub for me.  I want to be aware, as in an individual Cindi...part of a corporate "we." If there is not an adversarial "us"/"them" mentality, is it really that bad to see individuals....separate and unique, like cells in the body...rather than this hard to grasp concept of (as so eloquently stated by the Beatles) I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together? I want to exist as something other than a freaking wave and I don't want to live the lyrics of an old Beatles tune. I am part of the whole, yet ever distinct.

God created a world filled with ultimately real individuals with the hope that they’d share in and reflect the joy and ecstasy of his eternal, perfect, and ultimately real love. The goal of life, therefore, is not to dissolve all individuality into oneness but to eternally affirm individuality in loving relationship with all other individuals and with God. The goal is not to realize you are God, but to be eternally related to God with a love that participates in the perfect love that God eternally is.

Or as Mother Angelica says (more on her to follow in upcoming posts)

He is not asking you to be a perfect people.  He is asking you to be you, choosing to be Him in the Present Moment. 

More to follow.......

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Is A New Earth Okay For Christians?

Last spring when Oprah hosted the ten weeks of webinars with Eckhart Tolle, many people the world over were blessed, crediting the message of living in the now with changing their lives.  However, Evangelic Christians showed up on the message boards at Oprah's website,  totally up in arms about the whole thing....many of them ready to wage an online jihad of words against the infidels.  Ironically, many (most) most of them had not even read the book!!! 

There were a few voices of reason from the Christian side of things....including a guy known as Student 99.  I am going to copy and paste one of his posts...the post Oprah read during one of the first few webinars entitled, Why A New Earth Is Okay For Conservative Christians

I have seen many, many posts by concerned Christians wondering whether this book is a threat to their faith. As a Christian, I don't think it is, and here is why.

Most Christians understand the concepts from the Bible of surrendering their lives to God, of living a loving life, and living in the peace that passes understanding. Christians can quote Jesus' sayings, such as "be perfect, as your father in heaven is perfect," or "judge (condemn) not, that you be not judged (condemned)," or "you must die to live," or "deny yourself, take up your cross and follow me."

Unfortunately, not all Christians have succeeded in following up the talk with the walk. This is because these quotes point to an internal transformation, which some Christians have not yet fully experienced.

That is why I strongly recommend this book. It provides very powerful tools for being able to successfully follow Jesus' teachings, rather than just quoting them. The book doesn't ask anyone to change their religion of choice, but it does help tremendously in successfully applying faith.

In a nutshell the book shows how to apply forgiveness to every person, and every situation. It shows how to shine the light of awareness on our unconscious hatred of this moment, and thereby "overcome the cares of this world." If you want to go deeper than knowing about God, at the level of thoughts, and experience God at the level of knowing, I welcome you to join us in reading A New Earth.

Blessings, Student 99

The above link takes you to Student 99's profile page on  There you will find with other posts he's written from an open minded  Christian viewpoint. 

But while Student 99 strongly recommends A New Earth, Greg Boyd has some rather strong cautions and takes issue with a lot of Eckhart's "theology". 

More tomorrow......

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Boyd/Tolle It Is....

The next (probably oft interrupted) series will be the one I mentioned in my last post...inspired by Greg Boyd's review of Eckhart Tolle's book, A New Earth.  Not new news by any means.  It was a year ago or more, that A New Earth was a hot topic. Oprah became the reigning antichrist by featuring the book and Eckhart in a series of 10 or so "webinars."  So even though it is not new, it is, I think, a good topic for a series of blog posts. Besides, I am keeping with my tradition of "day late/dollar short."  

In another recent series of posts, I pondered the question of who we really are....who we really are not...and if you take away what we are not...then exactly what/who is left?  When I somewhat reluctantly began reading Eckhart Tolle's, A New Earth, the teachings helped to provide more understanding.   He explained the "two natures beat within my breast" thing (you is cursed the other blessed.  One I love.  One I hate.  The one I feed will dominate) in a way that just clicked for me.  I think Eckhart's teachings are profound, but I don't think all the the answers can be found in his writings. 

For one thing, I think in Christ there is a pre-eminence, a significance, a level of awakening, Godlikeness that will forever make him "the head" of the body.  (Jesus = Head.  Cindi and everybody else, sooner or later = part of the body).  Some of the people I hang out with these days (cyberly speaking) seem to lean toward a belief that we are Christ...equal to, same as.  And in a way, we are.  Scripture tells us that we are, that he is the firstborn of many brethren....and greater things will we do than those things he friend Debra summed it up so well by saying that Jesus was divine in a way that she is not (nor are any of us)  Eckhart does not teach the divinity of Christ. 

Greg Boyd expresses what resonated with him in a (re?)post of his book review of A New Earth

He starts the post by crediting Tolle:

I found some aspects of Tolle’s book very helpful. For example, his analysis of the false and futile ways the ego tries to give itself worth is superb. His insights on judgment, the origins of violence and the causes of relational dysfunction were wonderful. His strong emphasis on “living in the present moment” is full of wisdom. And he is brilliant at helping readers identify ways in which they get stuck. In light of this, I can easily understand why many readers experience “aha” moments as they read this material. Tolle masterfully names issues all of us wrestle with, usually without knowing it. One can’t help but feel like Tolle is telling their own story.

And it is in revealing the issues "all of us wrestle with, usually without knowing it" that is such a valuable part of Tolle's teachings.

More on this tomorrow......

Monday, July 13, 2009

A Toss Up....

I've got ideas for several new series rattling around in my brain. Granted, I have more (half baked) ideas than I can keep track of whizzing around in there....but several that have congealed into a theme. I've come up with a mental outline of a succession of posts written around a somewhat vague central theme....intended to get a point across.

Okay...hold on...who am I kidding here? The "point" I am trying to get across is oft times a work in progress that kind of morphs as I write. But "it's all good" because I learn as I write...and hopefully those who graciously visit this blog learn something too.

So right now it's a toss up between a series on "mystic mimesis" about how mimesis does not always have to turn to rivalry. The trick is to take on the desires of our heavenly Father and imitate him...and not each other, which only leads to grief. I've come across several very thought provoking writings which birthed quite a few ideas for posts.

The other notion was born when I read a blog post by Greg Boyd reviewing Eckhart Tolle's book, A New Earth. (yes, I really like Greg Boyd and am ever so grateful to him for providing so many ideas for me to write about here on my blog) He had some positive things to say about the book...and some negative things to say.. Some of it I agreed with, other stuff I did not. He also expressed what he considered crucial, deal breaking differences in what Tolle teaches and the edicts of Christ.

Boyd suggested two Christian authors whose teachings are a "Christ-centered way of learning how to live "in the present moment".... Brother Lawrence and Frank Laubach’s Practicing His Presence and/or J. De Caussade’s The Sacrament of the Present Moment. I researched those two authors on google (and actually read Brother Lawrence) and came up with ideas within ideas...likeminded quotes and plenty of thoughts to morph into what is hopefully a "point" to get across.

It's after ten. I'm tired. I am going to post this and toddle off to bed. Perhaps tomorrow I will flip a coin to see which series to write about. If anyone has any thoughts on this, I would certainly welcome any and all.....g'night.....

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Held Prisoner By Your Skin....

The following poem was posted on a list I am a (lurking) member of. 

What's it like to be a human
the bird asked

I myself don't know
it's being held prisoner by your skin
while reaching infinity
being a captive of your scrap of time
while touching eternity
being hopelessly uncertain
and helplessly hopeful

The poem is by Anna Kamienska...and there is more....but these first few lines caught my attention.  It reminds me of what Paul bemoans in Romans about living in a body of death.....

O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 7:24)

Other versions render it "who will rescue me"....still the same idea.

We are held prisoner by our skins.  Interesting way of wording that don't you think?

And then the time part...a captive of your scrap of time...while touching eternity. 

Same thought...worded a bit differently....

Ecclesiastes 3:11

He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also put eternity in their hearts, but man cannot discover the work God has done from beginning to end. (Holman Christian Standard Bible)

Joel Goldsmith, a modern day Christian mystic wrote a book called A Parenthesis in Eternity. 

In his book, Real Magic, Wayne Dyer says this of the parenthesis. 

Try thinking of your life as a parenthesis in eternity.  The parenthesis opens at the moment of your conception and closes at the instant of your death.  The space within this parenthesis is your life, surrounded by something called eternity.  That something we label eternity is not experienced physically, yet it exists in some mysterious way within the mind.  There is something that is very much a part of us that is invisible.

The invisible self, the part that is not your physical sensory self, is the part that can contemplate eternity. 

Deepak Chopra says:

“We have stopped for a moment to encounter each other, to meet, to love, to share. This is a precious moment, but it is transient. It is a little parenthesis in eternity. If we share with caring, lightheartedness, and love, we will create abundance and joy for each other. And then this moment will have been worthwhile.”

And Sir Thomas Browne

The created world is but a small parenthesis in eternity.

And while we are in Ecclesiastes, how about this verse that sends the egoic mind into a tizzy trying to figure it out....

Ecclesiastes 3:15 (Darby Translation)

That which is was long ago, and that which is to be hath already been; and God bringeth back again that which is past.

Ecclesiastes seems to be a book of the Bible written specifically to/about the futility of the egoic self.  That might make a really good series of blog posts.  Perhaps more on that to come?

Friday, July 10, 2009

Interesting Website....Arise Ministries

Arise Ministries is a "kingdom" ministry.  Meaning they believe in UR but the articles you will find...and the links they include....are all from a very Christian viewpoint/belief.  You will find writings from Ray Prinzing, Preston Eby, Bob Torango...and others.  There are links to audio messages. If I had more time this morning, and didn't have to head into work in about an hour, I would poke around there a bit more.  Perhaps you have some time to spare this Friday.  (Can you believe it is the TENTH of July already??)  Have a great day one and all.....

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Okay…last one…Wrapping up the Patriots Bible Series

In my earlier post about the Apollo 8 mission, I mentioned the section about Judeo-Christian ethics located in the beginning of this Bible.  How hypocritical is this little ditty....

Principle #1 - The Dignity of Human Life

Exodus 20:13 (You shall not murder)

Matthew 22:39 (You shall love your neighbor as yourself)

The Scriptures emphatically teach the great importance of the respect and preservation of human life.  In the Declaration of Independence, our nation's Founding Fathers wrote that everyone has "unalienable rights" and that among those rights are "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." We Americans not only believe this for our land, but also we send our brave military men and women around the world to defend the rights of those who are threatened.

If people and nations do not grant ultimate respect and protection to both the born and the unborn, all other professed morals and values are meaningless.  The dignity of human life is not just a principle of the Bible, it is the first principle of any civilized society. 

How can they say this with a straight face?  I picked up a couple of books at a yard sale a couple of weeks ago (also for a quarter a piece.  That must be the going price for yard sale books these days) One is called Secret Native American Pathways.  In it there is a section that talks about Trail of Tears….

….and in 1838, the removal called the “Trail of Tears” took place.  Sixteen thousand Cherokees were brutally rounded up by US Military forces and marched in midwinter to Indian Territory, which today is known as the state of Oklahoma.  Of this group, four thousand would perish in holding pens or along the way.  The entire episode stands as one of the darkest and most shameful events in United States history. 



The Trail of Tears, was painted by Robert Lindneux in 1942. It commemorates the suffering of the Cherokee people under forced removal.


I’m thinking perhaps neither of these images made it into the glossed over view of American history depicted in the American Patriots Bible.  To repeat the closing sentence in the first principle of Judeo-Christian ethics….. 

The dignity of human life is not just a principle of the Bible, it is the first principle of any civilized society. 

Hmmmmmmmm……say that again??

Monday, July 6, 2009

Wrapping up the Patriots Bible Series..

Time to wrap up the American Patriots Bible "expose."  I can probably accomplish that in two posts...

I wrote the following a week or so Border's....taking advantage of their " free" reading program….sitting at the one table near an electrical outlet.  The extended life battery was not available on this mini netbook when I purchased it a couple of months ago..and the battery only lasts about two and half hours.  I know where all the plugs are in most of the places I frequent.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand….

On page 65, there is a full page devoted to George Washington, The American Moses.  Hmmmmmm.  Something about that reference just does not seem right. They use Exodus 3:10 as the launching point

Come now, thereefore, and I will sned you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people the children of Israel, out of Egypt.

And so George Washington is compared to Moses.  Freeing the people. That is really great…freedom and all.  But what about the people who inhabited this great land before we did....before the Patriots this Bible honors stole it from them? Greg Boyd, in his series of reviews on this Bible, sums it up thusly....

A reference to Joseph being sold as a slave to the Ishmaelites (Gen. 37:28) elicits a tender quote from Dick Cheney regarding how easy it is to “take liberty for granted, when you have never had it taken from you.”

And on the topic of liberty being taken from people, why does the version of American history in this Bible gloss over the long and bloody history of how white Americans took away the freedom of millions of Africans and Native Americans? Honestly. Christopher Columbus is made out to be a hero – even fulfilling Zechariah 9:10 which says “He shall speak peace to the nations…” — and no mention is made of how he and his fellow Conquistadors cheated, enslaved, raped, mutilated and executed members of the indigenous population.

Why, for example, don’t we find a commentary on how President Andrew Jackson signed the “Indian Removal Act” in 1830, robbing Cherokees, Choctaw and other Indian tribes of millions of acres of land once promised them because white settlers now wanted it. (Among other things, it was discovered the land had a lot of gold.) Jackson eventually ordered them to march to a little reservation in Oklahoma, and multitudes died in the process.


Why, indeed?  That is a really good question.  More tomorrow….

Sunday, July 5, 2009

More about waking up….

I found a treasure…an absolute treasure…on my way to the gym yesterday.  The cost of this treasure…my yard sale find?  A quarter.  It is a book from 1998 entitled Spiritual Notes to Myself by Hugh Prather.  On the back cover it is described as a modern day book of Proverbs.

I leafed through it yesterday at the gym while getting my heart rate up to the recommended beats per minute (cardiovascularly speaking) There is a lot of good stuff in this book!! A lot like Eckhart Tolle but in shorter snippets.  More succinct.  More word pictures.  I plan to post quite a few of the quotes I marked with a shaky asterisk and barely legible notes. (it is, after all, hard to write and walk at the same time)

I thought the following two quotes went well with this wake up, wake up you sleepy head theme of the past few posts…..

If I had Bullwhacker Hot Sauce for dinner, no matter how I try to change the dream I’m having six hours later, it’s just going to go bad again.  It’s the hot sauce.  A disturbed dream is the product of a disturbed dreamer.  And everyone who isn’t fully awake is more or less disturbed.  That’s why the answer to all my questions is, “Wake up.”

 If a child is having a nightmare, you don’t try to perfect the nightmare.  If in her sleep she mutters, “Mommy, I’m a baby bird and the cat’s about to get me,” you don’t say “try hiding under a bush.”  That would just keep her dreaming.  You kiss her on top of the head, sing her a song of comfort, and gently rock her awake.  God is no less loving a parent than you. 

More to come….

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Wake up!!!

Genesis 2:21

So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man....

And nowhere does is say he ever woke the man up. That is what we are in the process of today...awakening.  Awakening to our true nature.  Awakening and realizing... as Eckhart says that we are not (just) the voice in our head that never shuts up. We are not just these earthen vessels.  There is divinity at our core...albeit immature and dormant in many (most) but it is there.

The tendency, as we begin to awaken, is to pull the covers back up over our shoulders, nestle back into our beds and go back to nappyland..  I found the following poem on the blog I featured in yesterday's post. It is by Rumi.  I think I have posted bits and pieces of his poems here before.  If not here, then on EU. 

The first few lines of this poems especially speaks to me.  The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you...don't go back to sleep.  I am a very early riser.  Sometimes as early as 4 am...yes...sometimes even on the weekends.  Sitting here at the same end of the sofa..watching the dawn break....with a breeze actually blowing in through the patio doors. 

I love morning.  The day is fresh and new.  Filled with promise and potential.  A new day!!! Spiritually, I think we are entering a new day.  Time to wake up!!!

Don't go back to sleep

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don't go back to sleep.

You must ask for what you really want.
Don't go back to sleep.

People are going back and forth across the doorsill
where the two worlds touch.

The door is round and open.
Don't go back to sleep.
- Rumi

In scripture speak....

Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light" (Eph. 5:14).

And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. Romans 13:11

Don't go back to sleep....

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Willing To Be Willing...

The other day...Sunday, I do believe, I posted about the Do No Harm site.  From there, I ended up at blog called Becoming Awakened.   One of the recent posts captured my attention.  It was called  Willingness To Evolve Spiritually

A snippet from the post:

When you have that compulsion to find something bigger, deeper, higher, and infinitely more real than anything you have ever known, nothing will hinder your search. We are pulled by an invisible web - a web connecting the universe, and we are grasping to become that something which is at the deepest level of our being. We feel choicelessly compelled to reach for it, not knowing what that "it" is.

Again...verses come to mind (from the "noggin's" dusty archives) that pretty much say the same thing....

Philippians  12:13 ...for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. NIV

And from the Amplified:

[Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight.

And what is his good pleasure and delight?  What is his good purpose?  That we all come into the realization of "the Christ in you, the hope of glory" and learn to live out of that nature. Have this mind in you that was also in Christ Jesus.  Tap into the Stillness, the Presence, the I AM...the Christ....the light that lights every man that comes into the world.....

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

This Little Light of Mine....

This morning I left the house singing This Little Light of Mine...a song from my Bible School days....

And the song stuck with me a lot of the of those ear worm things..

So for no specific reason, I decided to post it here on my blog...sung by none other than Bruce Springsteen. We sure didn't sing it like this in Bible School :-)


He is the light that lights every man that comes into the world. 

Let is shine...let it shine...let it shine....

Liking the thing we have to do....

I cleaned out some of my office drawers make room for some new highlighters and paper clips and other assorted office supplies.  To tell the truth, the drawers were very messy and disorganized.  In fact, I found a bunch of stuff I didn't even know I had.  Among those things -- a planner that my boss gave me back in December.  Just a freebie passed out to the managers by the health system that employs us. So yesterday before I pitched it(along with a lot of other stuff like bent paperclips, scraps of paper, emery boards with no "emery" left etc. etc.)  I leafed through the planner. There was a quote for every week of the year.  It contained several interesting ones. 

One spoke of blessings--and went something like...

For once I'd like to get a blessing not disguised as something else. 

I wrote that quote work...which is where it remains so I cannot give credit where credit is due...but it definitely has that ring of truth to it.  So many of our blessings do not show up in a "this is great" costume...and it takes a while to realize that the dreaded, "oh no, not that" circumstance is actually a blessing hiding behind the illusion of adversity. But let's not go there.  Exploring that concept is worthy of a post all of its own.  

So anyway...I came upon another quote in the little planner and emailed it to myself here at home. This is it...word for word... 

It is not doing the thing we like to do but liking the thing we have to do that makes life blessed. Goethe.

For one who was totally ignorant about scripture for most of my life, it is odd that I so often think biblically.  As in...when I hear a quote or a snippet from a movie...a post on someone's blog or even some phrase or parable in a sacred writing that is not (gasp) Christian, Bible verses come to mind.  How weird is that?

I think there are several people/situations I can attribute that too.  annie is one.  She fills her writings with scripture...but not just proof texts...scripture in context with the situation she is writing about.  Another is Keith, who has quoted much scripture to me over the years we have been together...and often what he has lifted from the pages of the Bible comes to mind in the context of old man/new man, Christ nature/ adamic nature (or in Tolle speak egoic mind/Presence).  And of course, God is kind enough to dig these scripture snippets out of the archives in my head and "bring them to my remembrance."  And then there is google to help me find exactly where the verse is...and Studylight....Bible Gateway and the Blueletter Bible where I can read the verse in many different translations and find the definition of certain words in the original language.  God is good.   

So..all that to say that when I read those two quotes, the following verses came to mind.  They arrived here on my blog in their entirety (with chapter and verse included) via the process described in the paragraph above. 

Colossians 3:23 Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men.

Ephesians 6:7 With good will render service, as to the Lord, and not to men.

For those of us with jobs we are not really enamored with, would it help to look at our work as service rendered unto the Lord?  Is that the path to liking the thing we have to do?  It hasn't worked yet for me :)

A while back I wrote a post based about a snippet from a Max Lucado book about a guy with the world's worst job....yet he found joy in it.  Maybe I can too?