About Me

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Did Socrates say "Know Thyself", or was he misunderstood, as all are. Show Thyself is all we can do. The knowing is unknowable.  

I am filled with joy.  It can't be helped.  

Became a Farmer, Builder, Musician, Tank Commander, Librarian, Lawyer and Minister. I have failed at many things. And now retired.  Filled, just filled, with Joy. 

Saturday, June 04, 2016

Your Calling is calling. Sound the (pssst) Trumpets!

At this point in your existential journey, have you been "called"?  
What summoned you? 

What vision do you have of a purpose or mission in the world?  
Are you envisioning?     

Statement of Calling

The Journey.

As child of missionaries who traveled the globe, grew up with mixed Christian and non-Christian challenges.  Saw suffering, fear, rape[TK1] , murder, hunger, and many forms of “thirst[TK2] ”.  In our village, and on a global scale.

Faith:  Never asked, as in Book of Job: “Why God permits Righteous Ones to suffer?”  Never want to increase the suffering; not able to stop it.  Never feel lost—never feel at home, except everywhere, in the Journey.   Never feel Tempted. Not even Tempted to Exist[TK3]  -- leave that up to God to work out.  Never doubt God; many doubts of Men.[TK4] 

Asked my Father and Mother many questions. They did their best, and apologized for preparing me so little for this world. And now, they are passed from it.  Midway, look back, see patterns. Shades of gray outcomes, shape a life.

Career dipped in farming, academia, music, soldiering, and law. 

Many successes and failures – colorful challenging life.  In 2011, my head, handed to me, on platter.  Experience “spirit breakdown[TK5] ”-- euphemism for becoming Eucharist.  [TK6] Had to withdraw.  

Now seeking to rejoin the World in another role. Called not to attend, but to “attend”.  Get tune in right key.  Be good counsel.  Not be voice that “darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge[TK7] ”. Going for Light, staying for company.  Can help. Rebuild Temple.

Cultivating all and the nine fruits of the Spirit.  Clinging particularly to Kindness. (In Nahuatl, no direct word for Kindness which does not connote idiocy or gullibility. Even so, raised by kind people in village). Emulating. Beyond words is words.[TK8]   This won’t be easy. 

The Calling:

In being called, I call.   So much more needed, for counseling, spiritual guidance, and strengthening Churches.  Being called to the Collar is not something one does without building muscles and armamentarium. Need tools for tasks.  Need healthier, better, sharper, gentler perspective.  Kindness.

God’s Mission Statement

After the Fall,
It’s either God’s Call,
or it’s not a Call. 

Disputation abounds.
It is manifestly certain little is certain.
Must build Church. 

All is vanity, and ends.
Not a moment to lose:
Must begin.


Holy Cross is mirror: 

Look in, Son of Man looks back.
Rising vector, plunges down; arms swing open, also hold. 
Just when think  magnetism pulls, repels. 
Alone, looking inside outside, see seeing seer. 
Past and Future join black hole Now. 
Eternity spins, from dreidel[TK10]  to grave.
Hologram[TK11]  inside Holy Ghost.








 [TK1] Rape.  In fact, this exercise/indulgence explores the patter of issues I have had with “authority”, and whether “connected”. Always a surprise to me. But then again, don’t want to frighten them.


 [TK2] “Thirst” is less abstract than “Desire”.


 [TK3] Sidereal reference to Emil Cioran’s work.


 [TK4]  Unknowable – The answer for what you don’t know is God. Great Unknown.

Life everlasting. The Story of God. Simply the story of existence -- In the beginning...
"Life is self-sustaining." --Morgan Freeman

Regardless of what they believe, people are more or less the same, and different.



 [TK5] Not “spiritual”; nothing spiritual about it. Spirit broke, spat on and stomped. But other than that, just fine.


 [TK6] Eucharist – a thanksgiving meal;  cap to convey idea of Sacrificial Body/Blood of a lamb.


 [TK7] Job 38:3, repeated 42:1, twice.


 [TK8] Beyond IS beyond.


 [TK9] Maimonides Guide to the Perplexed, studied by Leo Straus, Persecution and the Style of Writing. For reflection, we have scriptures and symbols, usually with hidden meanings. Why?


 [TK10]Each side of the dreidel bears a letter of the Hebrew alphabet: נ (Nun), ג (Gimel), ה (He), ש (Shin), which together form the acronym for "נס גדול היה שם" (Nes Gadol Hayah Sham – "a great miracle happened there"). The reference is to Existence, which happened here.


 [TK11] Hologram - The intermediate photograph (or photographic record) that contains information for reproducing a three-dimensional image by holography.

Does anyone study "theology" anymore? Has the "miraculousness" of existence finally risen to Scientific standards? Finally!

Why are you interested in studying "Theology"?     

PURPOSE: To study the miraculous: Everything. Existence and Non-existence.

 Midway upon Journey. 

“Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita mi ritrovai per una selva oscura che la diritta via era smarrita.”  Now in a dark forest of mid-life, I find the pathway lost. Turning to Theology as a resource for exploring the next part of the Journey.

It is my intention to live my purpose as a “shining star”.  Philippians 2:15.  Of the nine legendary fruits of the Spirit, I choose kindness to specifically embody.  I was raped at the beginning of my life.  I advanced through a series of remarkably similar incidents which clearly look like a “pattern” of consequences.  I was unaware of the pattern.  The unawareness, in spite of being completely conscious, clouded my choices and judgment. 

Only in maturity, only by the gift of hindsight, was I able to see patterns.
 I was not able to gauge at the time.  Not all Crosses are visible. Without being aware of it, bear its weight. Becoming aware of it, bear its fruit.

  
4    Without an Absolute, the Particulars are Meaningless - Plato

Not sure. Hope to find out and focus soon.  Am fairly certain “particulars” are not as important as Absolutes, but what is that in relationships?  The goals of studying are neither necessary nor an excuse.   Life is a long-delayed fulfillment of the opportunities and obligations laid before me.  Journey gives and takes.

Feel free to post your "Religious Autobiography" in the Comments

 Religious Autobiography.  
[Reflect on your past religious experience, including the most significant spiritual event/influence in your life, the role of a redeemer/Christ in your religious experience, your involvement in service, and your reason(s) for attending your church/temple/mosque/forest/desert. (minimum 250 words; maximum 500 words]

Religious Autobiography

Christian Experience

Born again.  In beginning was Word.  And translation issues.  Not born with language.  Baby picks up used tongue and puts in mouth[TK2] . Was third child of missionaries living in Aztec village about 60 miles and 400 years outside Mexico City.  Spoke Spanish, Nahuatl, and English, and none of them.  Father said learn to speak by Grace.  Mother said learn to read by Bible.  Experience constant miracles.

Moved to Bolivia, grew up in tropical jungle of Amazon delta. Visits to  Andes, Pampas, and flights to Mexico City, Guatemala, United States.  Intermittent attendance in public schools of Michigan, Oklahoma, Texas and California.  Sunday schools in synod–approved Presbyterian Bible Schools. Eagle Scout. Music for worship in over 100 Churches. Music creates ecumenical outlook. 

Spiritual experience

Every thought. Thoughts are God to a child always in His Hand.  Could not separate from His Presence, and never so inclined. Listening to others.  Began to understand Power of Prayer.
Learned of Ancient Egyptian civilization.  Now-lost lineages of Pharaoh took up Trinitarian God. Sons of women claimed to be Sons of God, prepared for Eternal Life.  Pharaohs believed Thoughts constituted evidence of divinity: “I think, therefore I am”.

When 17 years old in 1968, traveled  States, living off kindness of strangers and playing music.  Found little “chaos” and rebellion often described now of then.  Found constant generosity and kindness.  Huddled against cold nights, experienced ecstasies and out-of-body visions. (Recently, during hospitalization, saw “Heaven” clearly).  Hard-wired.

Drafted in last month of Vietnam era Draft. (Mexico and US universal Draft). Found, repeatedly, importance of Chapel to Soldiers.  So often facing displacement, boredom and death.

Role of Christ

Limned clearly in earliest Joban literature, great crying need for Redeemer, leitmotif of Whole Story. Christ, exemplar and Numen. Transgression against Name of Iesus Christo brings tear to eye. Message of love, is clear. Why rejected?

Involvement in Christian Service

Led Bible Studies in Claremont College. Before graduating from University of San Diego, began to build Church. Struggled for decades in Ramona.  Supported by farming, soldiering (300th Armor, National Guard), music, and construction. Passed Bar Exam, became Director of law firm with 29 employees.  Service-connected injury lit up deterioration and partial disability.  Led counseling programs for Veterans and their families. Lobbied in Washington DC.

With wife, tried to adopt orphans.  When political economy collapsed in Summer of 2008, clients gone. And Church still not built.  Lost health, peers, property, pride and hopes for family.
Failed so many ways, feels like success. Failure made us free.  Wife close, still have garden home with library. Continuing quietly “in service”.

Reason(s) for attending your Church

This Light beams me toward Unitarian Universalism:  Its creed adopts Christic exemplar.









 [TK2]OR We must pick up a tongue before we crawl.  

Sea Words

Every word is a question

In the beginning was the Question
From the first word spoke,
And that Question is the wall
Around which we poke.

Sea Walls hold back our Words
As we float upon the Sea,
Picking vocabularies from Seaweeds
Often snared, stuck in the Nets of our hearing. 

And our speeches are little spittle seeds

Sown upon the waves.

Bubbles of hello goodbye yes no hello
Where can we grow?

Why are so many "Christians" so unclear on the teachings and the concepts of Christianity? Hopkins "got it".

As Kingfishers Catch Fire 


As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame;
       As tumbled over rim in roundy wells
       Stones ring; like each tucked string tells, each hung bell’s
Bow swung finds tongue to fling out broad its name;
Each mortal thing does one thing and the same:
       Deals out that being indoors each one dwells;
       Selves—goes itself; myself it speaks and spells,
Crying What I do is me: for that I came.
I say more: the just man justices;
       Keeps grace: that keeps all his goings graces;
Acts in God’s eye what in God’s eye he is—
       Christ. For Christ plays in ten thousand places,
Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his
       To the Father through the features of men’s faces.
"As Kingfishers Catch Fire" by Gerard Manley Hopkins. Public Domain.


Gerard clearly saying that in God's eye, each of us Christ.

It's not that There is no God; it's that all are.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Reverend Father Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J*. was an English poet, Roman Catholic convert, and a Jesuit priest, whose posthumous fame established him among the leading Victorian poets. Wikipedia
DiedJune 8, 1889

  • Society of Jesus (formal name for Jesuits, Roman Catholic Order of men)

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Progressive thoughtful observers have known this

George Perkins Marsh delivered an address before the Agricultural Society of Rutland County, Vermont, on this date in 1847. Marsh had worn many hats over his lifetime: lawyer, journalist, sheep farmer, mill owner, linguistics scholar, and diplomat. He designed the Washington Monument and co-founded the Smithsonian Institution. But it was in his role as United States senator that he addressed the Agricultural Society. He was the first person to publicly raise the issue of manmade climate change, and his speech helped spark the conservation movement.

In his speech, Marsh said: "Man cannot at his pleasure command the rain and the sunshine, the wind and frost and snow, yet it is certain that climate itself has in many instances been gradually changed and ameliorated or deteriorated by human action. The draining of swamps and the clearing of forests perceptibly effect the evaporation from the earth [...] The same causes modify the electrical condition of the atmosphere and the power of the surface to reflect, absorb and radiate the rays of the sun, and consequently influence the distribution of light and heat, and the force and direction of the winds. Within narrow limits too, domestic fires and artificial structures create and diffuse increased warmth, to an extent that may effect vegetation." He was talking about concepts familiar to us now as the urban heat island effect and the greenhouse effect.

As a result of his speech, Marsh went on to publish a book titled Man and Nature: or, Physical Geography as Modified by Human Action (1864). "[M]an is everywhere a disturbing agent," Marsh wrote. "Wherever he plants his foot, the harmonies of nature are turned to discords. The proportions and accommodations which insured the stability of existing arrangements are overthrown. Indigenous vegetable and animal species are extirpated, and supplanted by others of foreign origin, spontaneous production is forbidden or restricted, and the face of the earth is either laid bare or covered with a new and reluctant growth of vegetable forms, and with alien tribes of animal life."

--From The Writers' Almanac, September 30, 2015.  caption

The Author of the Psalms, sings praises to an unknown Lord.

Psalm 24 
by King David (if he ever lived and was ever a King)

1 The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.
2 For he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods.
3 Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place?
4 He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.
5 He shall receive the blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.
6 This is the generation of them that seek him, that seek thy face, O Jacob. Selah.
7 Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.
8 Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle.
9 Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.
10 Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory. Selah.
"Psalm 24," public domain.


COMMENTARY

  1. He owns us; we are slaves.
  2. Sea. It, the Earth, is established on the waters, a tidal flood, with no real place. The Author may be a Cretan or Phoenician. Probably not Sumerian/Ur or Egyptian descendant. They had very different relationship to Diety. 
  3. Who is who?  He can come close to the Lord?
  4. "He" a male. 
He with "clean hands".  Has not done the dirty. 
He with a "pure heart". Not self-serving, vain, nor a liar.

  1. "He" a male, gets the blessing.  And is made righteous by salvation. Diety is a Savior. Like Astarte, Isis, Dionysius, Orpheus, and Ieus Christo, aka Ieusus Christo.
  2. Who are we?  "the generation" that seeks the face of the Lord.  And in the millennia, no one. Religion is the search for the face of the Lord. Not the finding.
  3. Gates.  The gates with heads, the doors with everlastingness. A "King of Glory" awaits to enter. This is always a reference to death. Which is a reference to eternity.
  4. Yet, asking "Who is this King?"  The author really does not know for certain, but answers only with the tautology: "The Lord…is the King".

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

In spite of Faux News, billion-dollar campaigns, and the anger of the Electorate....

In a world inhabited by roughly 40% conservatives, 40% liberals, and 20% seasonally-adjusted clueless or transitioning larvae, it is always a bracing challenge to peer into the election process.

In the period of American politics since Nixon, neither the DNC nor the GOP has won a national election without a seriously-split opposition Party.

The only way the GOP managed to "win" in the recent past, is by dividing the DNC and the Progressives.  Similarly, the only way the DNC wins is if the GOP is fractured.

The loss can happen even when a Party has excellent candidates.  Sometimes the best will divide the Party.

In 1968 we got Nixon, after Humphrey was weakened by all the excitement generated in the Left by Eugene McCarthy. 

In 1981 Reagan defeated a sitting President Carter when Kennedy joined those who thought he was a "weak" President. 

In 1989 Bush I defeated Dukakis/Bentson after Lee Atwater spread so many lies about Democrats that it fractured the whole country.  Lee personally apologized -- "I ruined our country".

In 1993, Bill Clinton defeated a sitting President Bush when Ross Perot created a third party which got 19% of the vote, most of which may have gone to the GOP but for the Ross campaign.  

In 2001, Bush II defeated Gore because of Ralph Nader. Nader told us if the DNC was not able to defeat Bush, then the DNC did not "deserve" to win.  Gore won the plebiscite but lost the Electoral when Florida went to Bush by less than 300 votes in a State with 16 million people.

In 2009, Obama won the largest plebiscite in history with the largest number of voters participating in the election.  And the GOP will never forgive him. The DNC abandoned this mandate in every election since.

Obama's total vote amount of 69.5 million votes is the highest amount ever won by a presidential candidate. The total of 131 million votes cast in the election represents over 43% of the total U.S. population, the highest share of any presidential election in U.S. history.

In 2016, the DNC is splitting over Bernie and Hillary. The GOP is splitting between a dozen billionaires who can afford to buy or be their own candidate.

Bottom Line:  Who will unite us?  Who is a leader, not just a critic?  Who can listen?  

I like Hillary.  There is no other candidate with the resume, energy, and integrity to lead the nation.  She is the only one, the ONLY ONE, who listens.  The others are not even pretending to listen.  The other candidates think Americans need to be bullied by angry men.  

Right now we are being divided.  We face panoplies of real dangers that must be addressed with intelligence and resources. 

Can't wait to hear your thoughts.

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

An Idea Worth Spreading (Thank you TED Talks)

An idea worth spreading

We invented a "supreme being" but we did not invent Religion. That was developed in Caves (Chauvet, Lescaux) 30,000 years ago. Our desires created hopes, and our fears created gods. Now we pray to hierarchies that in 10,000 years have never come to the aid of those who kneel. Humankind now covers the globe, and we did it standing tall. We should be celebrating the sheer accomplishment of demographics.

Of course, I am on my knees in the Garden, weeping and laughing.

My TED story

30,000 years of Religion in Ten Minutes with Cave Paintings.
(The History of Women has not been written or fully conceived. Yet is all around us, a dramatic and surprising success story.)

Monday, August 17, 2015

ElectoralVote

Excellent comparison chart of positions taken by Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump.  While at first they may appear "opposite" --one is a billionaire who hates socialism, the other is a socialist who hates billionaires -- their positions are remarkably similar.





ElectoralVote




Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Biblical Universalism - explained by the Tentmakers, the Amiralts.

Refutation, Rebuttal, Exposition and Explanation of Universalism

"Scripture" - Holy Grail on a Unicorn: My commentary on the Tentmakers' answer to Best Translation of the Bible.

One revealing question that is asked of Believers among themselves is "what is the best translation of the Bible?"  A wonderful answer was written by the Tentmakers:  The Best Bible Translation.  The essay is insightful, inspired, and filled with keen accuracies.  And I cannot recommend it unless you enjoy sifting through ideas that no longer connect to the real world.  The Tentmakers are putting a leg brace on the ghost limb attached to the limping Unicorn of Sanctity.  The following is my own nod to the broader question of Scripture, and relying upon The Word.

God-followers over the centuries have understood that apparently God can write in stone, but humans cannot preserve the stone to save their lives.  All the writings claimed for "Scripture" across this vale of tears compete with "versions".

And then there is the "translation" problem.  No divine authority has ever "spoken in tongues". Apparently Rah spoke Egyptian, Jehovah spoke ancient Hebrew, Allah spoke classical Arabic, and Quetzalcoatl spoke Aztec. And few of us today speak any of these languages.  Not one cohort of Believers claims that their divinity addressed their Scripture to all of us.

Let's look at one relatively recent example of the "translation" problem:   The Mormon Prophet, Joseph Smith, relied upon two Seer Stones to translate two Golden Tablets he dug up.  The trumpeter angel, Gabriel aka Moroni, put down his trumpet and helped Smith translate the ancient text of an unknown language from those Tablets not seen since.  Smith's wives wrote down his dictation, and we now have the Mormon Bible, as sacred text.  And we also have the "translation" problems in a nutshell:
God speaks through a Prophet who engraves it on Tablets he buries in the ground of up-State New York where they lay for over a milenium.  Dug up, the Tablets have to be translated and written anew.  Smith is able to read the Tablets with the help of an angel and two Seer Stones, and he dictates to his wife and a friend.  They then publish the Book of Mormon so that humans can interpret it with the help of their angels.  And although this single Scripture, with its quintuple-hearsay, was dictated in fairly-recent times, it has provided the foundation for not less than fifty different congregations who construe it in as many different ways. 
The Mormon example highlights the precautions suffered by all pretensions to Scripture.  All Scriptures are cobbled together from a mystic time, and none reflect a comprehensive, global, supra-human "View".  Once you start tracing the text back to its Source, there is no "there" there.  We have an Egyptian Book of the Dead which really spells out to the Pharoahs how important their Priests are. We have Sumerian texts filled with fire, flood, plagues, smiting, and redemption through Redeemers born of Virgins. Many prophets claim "God spake" unto them, and remnant revenant tribes of Israel (or Judah, or Samaria).  We are given the exact words to use in praying, ostensibly to "God", although we have no evidence that any god has been paying attention. All Scriptures -- the Gospels, the Quran, the Popovul


The world's oldest Temple stands in today's Turkey -- and is protected from scholarship by Islam's
Oldest Temple

The stone temples pre-date any Scripture, but arguably contain pre-literate forms of "scripture".
 The history of the major religions is inextricably mixed with the history of Anatolia. Early Paganistic rituals slowly gave way to fairly well-developed deities coming out of Egypt, and these combined with tribal Sumerian and Semitic pantheons .  Christianity seems to have led a "globalization" of religion and the monotheistic Unitarian "Goths" conquered Rome and Byzantium.  Turkey itself fell to the Islamic faith of the invading Selcuks.
the


Smith was born in Sharon, Vermont, but by 1817, he had moved with his family to the burned-over district of western New York, a site of intense religious revivalism during the Second Great Awakening. According to Smith, he experienced a series of visions, including one in which he saw "two personages" (presumably God the Father and Jesus Christ) and others in which an angel named Moroni directed him to a buried book of golden plates inscribed with a Judeo-Christian history of an ancient American civilization. In 1830, Smith published what he said was an English translation of these plates, the Book of Mormon. The same year he organized the Church of Christ, calling it a restoration of the early Christian church. Members of the church were later called "Latter Day Saints", or "Mormons". Smith was born in Sharon, Vermont, but by 1817, he had moved with his family to the burned-over district of western New York, a site of intense religious revivalism during the Second Great Awakening. According to Smith, he experienced a series of visions, including one in which he saw "two personages" (presumably God the Father and Jesus Christ) and others in which an angel named Moroni directed him to a buried book of golden plates inscribed with a Judeo-Christian history of an ancient American civilization. In 1830, Smith published what he said was an English translation of these plates, the Book of Mormon. The same year he organized the Church of Christ, calling it a restoration of the early Christian church. Members of the church were later called "Latter Day Saints", or "Mormons".According to Smith, he experienced a series of visions, including one in which he saw "two personages" (presumably God the Father and Jesus Christ) and others in which an angel named Moroni directed him to a buried book of golden plates inscribed with a Judeo-Christian history of an ancient American civilization. In 1830, Smith published what he said was an English translation of these plates, the Book of Mormon. The same year he organized the Church of Christ, calling it a restoration of the early Christian church. According to Smith, he experienced a series of visions, including one in which he saw "two personages" (presumably God the Father and Jesus Christ) and others in which an angel named Moroni directed him to a buried book of golden plates inscribed with a Judeo-Christian history of an ancient American civilization. In 1830, Smith published what he said was an English translation of these plates, the Book of Mormon. The same year he organized the Church of Christ, calling it a restoration of the early Christian church. angel named Moroni directed him to a buried book of golden plates inscribed with a Judeo-Christian history of an ancient American civilization.Smith was born in Sharon, Vermont, but by 1817, he had moved with his family to the burned-over district of western New York, a site of intense religious revivalism during the Second Great Awakening. According to Smith, he experienced a series of visions, including one in which he saw "two personages" (presumably God the Father and Jesus Christ) and others in which an angel named Moroni directed him to a buried book of golden plates inscribed with a Judeo-Christian history of an ancient American civilization. In 1830, Smith published what he said was an English translation of these plates, the Book of Mormon. The same year he organized the Church of Christ, calling it a restoration of the early Christian church. Members of the church were later called "Latter Day Saints", or "Mormons".
Smith was born in Sharon, Vermont, but by 1817, he had moved with his family to the burned-over district of western New York, a site of intense religious revivalism during the Second Great Awakening. According to Smith, he experienced a series of visions, including one in which he saw "two personages" (presumably God the Father and Jesus Christ) and others in which an angel named Moroni directed him to a buried book of golden plates inscribed with a Judeo-Christian history of an ancient American civilization. In 1830, Smith published what he said was an English translation of these plates, the Book of Mormon. The same year he organized the Church of Christ, calling it a restoration of the early Christian church. Members of the church were later called "Latter Day Saints", or "Mormons".