Category Archives: Religion and Spirituality

What’s the Answer?

I’m a Christian, no doubt about it.
Or, shall I say I believe in the Trinity
well . . . the Jesus rising to Heaven
sometimes rocks my boat.
He was definitely God inspired
although I wonder, as a child,
with brothers to contend with
how could he pass through this life
without Sin?

I can’t get through a day it seems
without a damaging thought flitting
through my mind . . .
As someone with Bipolar disease,
Depression and a life of poverty,
it’s hard to rise myself to the standards
set by God Almighty.

And I wonder, was the same God
who was so angry at the Jews
when they swerved from the path,
the same God of the New Testament
who says all I need to do is repent?

So many people in the World
have never heard of God as Christians
claim God – how can they be not saved?
Those who worship loving Gods
and live in kind and compassionate ways –
how can they not be saved?

How can all the people who are traumatized
by life – who are victims in war,
who suffer in all manner of pain,
who love their children and family
and respect with kindness their elders
and those who cross their paths
not be saved?

I am so very tired of the struggle
of men who rage against other religions.
Of those who act in violence and cruelty
against others who live by different principles.
We have been doing so since time immemorial
in the name of our religions and governments.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if God –
for I have to believe that God sent many
messengers to nations around the World –
filled the Hearts of everyone,
particularly those who carry on Wars,
with Loving Kindness,
filled to the brim, bursting out their
arms and legs and minds . . .
so they could never again imagine
raising a weapon or hand against another?

Yes, Yes, free choice needs to be considered.
But I’d love to see what such a World
would look like, would have the chance to be.
Where saving the World and each other
became the most important principle
by which to live?
I wonder . . .

Choices

Meal time on Memory
distant faces staring into
nothingness . . .
The feeders patiently shoveling
pureed fish or green beans
whatever the chef sees fit to send.

I look about me  and wonder
where these souls are
and where they are going.
Sometimes you see glimpses
of who they were
when choices could be made
and the treatment of life
was theirs to own.

And then I wonder –
are they going to heaven
or hell?

Where have all the Prophets gone?

As the world becomes more radical on one hand and more oblivious on the other, I look for prophets to guide us. The muslims seem to have a great deal more than the Christians. The need of prophets in our world, or what they address, may be changing.

Certainly Martin Luther King Jr. was a prophet. Ghandi, in our celebration of the 50 year anniversary of his death, was a prophet. Mother Theresa was that I consider a prophet. Each of them, in their own ways, devoted themselves through the course of their lives to God and doing for his people.

Matthew Sweet wrote “Prophets of the 21st century” on 12/2/96. In it he listed 40 people he considered Prophets. These included people from Quite a few fields. Under religion he only listed two men. David (Paul) Yongi Cho, a pastor with a flock of 700,000 who uses faith healing and prophecy to stir his audience. I’d find it hard to believe all those members are devout. Yet his writing is scooped up by other Evangelists hoping to grow their own churches and are read by millions. He says only members of his church will be those who go to Heaven during the Rapture. The other person he notes is Matthew Fox – called the Nostradamus of the Digital Age. Neither of these would make my definition of a prophet.

My pastor recommended Rev. King, William Coffin, and, in some ways, Billy Graham. William Coffin’s career was an odd mix, a CIA agent turned Evangelist and Chaplain at Yale Seminary and member of Skull and Bones, the highly elitist group our Presidents and other leaders coming from Yale were part of. William was a very active proponent of peace talks during the Vietnam War and was an advocate of gay rights. He led a war-torn country to a place where peace was given a chance to grow.

Billy Graham was founder of BGEA – an evangelism group with the mission of spreading the word of God to as many people as possible. He used global media to spread his word, with four huge meetings per year and internet programs. He knew how to spread the word. Many who read or heard or saw him may have been influenced to believe in God due to the mass scale of his organization’s dissemination of God’s word.

There are others – ones who I haven’t heard of myself. And some I am suspicious of. Marianne Williamson has written a Course in Miracles which she says was channeled by God and was very popular for a few years. I’m not sure she was prophetic or not. I didn’t get feedback from God on it.

When the Bible spoke about prophets like Issiah, it was about a smaller world, fewer people. In our time, we need more evangelists and prophets to bless this world with their understandings. This is a crowded, angry, hungry and frustrated world. We need those who can lead us.

We need all the help to find ourselves on the path to God’s Way, to Peace and understanding of the other humans in our world. To be protectors of the environment for wildlife and for future generations. To be messengers our-selves. Not necessarily prophets but pointers to the Way. May your life and all others be blessed.

Velveteen Rabbit feelings

Sometimes your soul cries out
into the wilderness
dust swirls surrounding you
tumbleweeds brushing legs
yet hear nothing
not even the sound of the wind
only the mistakes,
the ruination of your life
the sometimes slow,
often blindingly fast
trickle of events.

Your throat stretches aching
tearful, encased within
flesh, blood, sinews
not able to erupt –
mourning,
with blankness of spirit
and a mind not able
to find answers to release and renew.

Even so, more than anything,
you want release,
to be a real person
fully functional
with gifts you can offer
and people who accept you
for who you are
and what you’re all about.

Like the Velveteen Rabbit,
you become worn,
and the soul searches relief
not believing you got that way
by being loved, cherished
but by being encumbered.
Day turns to night, night to day,
and the soul searches relief
again and again.

Slowly, by ever slowly,
you begin to understand,
to connect synapses long shredded,
remember long held verses,
and look to the Master
the one who was stroking
your fur all that time
you felt so alone
He being the one
who made you shabby and worn,
yet filled with the knowledge of life,
that you were always protected,
guarded, given necessary lessons,
and loved, oh so very loved.

If Only I Had My Dream Job

First, and this has nothing to do with the prompt, every time I sit down with my laptop, my cat, Spike, jumps up on my chest, sticks his face two inches from mine, then settles in.  As he is 26 pounds, it is a little hard to see around him and continue to work.  He can ignore me all day but the laptop is Pavlov’s dog to my one and only.

Now for the prompt:

Since I was thirteen, I wanted to be a missionary.  Even when I was exploring other religions, I wanted to be … only I called it a humanitarian.  I envy those who have the money and health to pursue this need.  I am working on the health (although it often works on me) but money is still a major factor.

My minister’s husband has gone on an annual mission for the past 17 years.  He is taking this year off but as he is the minister of a wealthy church, he is taking me on his next trip.  I am thrilled!  My daughter went on a two year mission to Malawi and I envied her so much.  I lived, as much as she would let me and telecommunications would allow, live vicariously through her experiences.

Now it’s going to be my turn!  I’m not sure where we are going – it doesn’t matter.  I just want to be of service.  I am also developing programs (if the Church Council and Board of Trustees give me the go ahead) to do this year and longer as interest allows.  I also want to re-establish a Women’s Club with the intent of drawing in the few middle-aged women we have. (But at 60, can I really call myself middle-aged?  I’m entering the next phase already) So much of my church is elderly.

I have done acts of service all my life, but on a one-on-one level primarily.  This is my heart . . . and I so want it to be so. So pray for me, all you so inclined, that these mission and service works take wings and fly!

Oh, and the second part of this is for an article on each of these be published and paid for so I can keep paying it forward.  Getting better skilled and getting paid for what I love to do anyway would be the icing on the cake or should I say nourishing food for hungry stomachs.

 

 

 

The Lord’s Guidance

Lord, I ask you to guide me.
I am lost . . .
I have squandered the life you gave me
by being afraid to live.
Fear has dogged my every step.

Dreams I’ve turned to nightmares.
People see me as fragile,
how self-created is that?

Lord, help me out of the quicksand
I am sinking in before it goes
above my nose.

Help me have the strength
to free myself
from my self-created prison.

Inside is a published author of books,
a healthy person –
someone to give to those in need.

A woman who has the right
to find love and a lover.
Someone who wants me.

There are many facets of my being
and I only show the worst
the helplessness, the sorrow . . .

Release me from the burden of myself.
Show me what it is like to be free,
confident, inspired –

for I can not find my way out alone –
not without you.

 

 

 

 

 

David: Chronic Doubter, Constant Believer

This is a post that resonated with me tonight by J.S. Park.  Struggling with this blog has been a 6-7 month challenge and I do believe I am supposed to be doing it for a reason beyond my humble aspirations. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

 

David: Chronic Doubter, Constant Believer

Originally posted on J.S. Park: One of the most remarkable things about David was his doubt. All through the Psalms, we see David contending with his doubts about God. Whenever there’s a stanza of praise, it follows just…

David: Chronic Doubter, Constant Believer

Originally posted on J.S. Park: One of the most remarkable things about David was his doubt. All through the Psalms, we see David contending with his doubts about God. Whenever there’s a stanza of praise, it follows just…

David: Chronic Doubter, Constant Believer

Originally posted on J.S. Park: One of the most remarkable things about David was his doubt. All through the Psalms, we see David contending with his doubts about God. Whenever there’s a stanza of praise, it follows just…

J.S. Park: Hospital Chaplain, Skeptical Christian

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One of the most remarkable things about David was his doubt.

All through the Psalms, we see David contending with his doubts about God. Whenever there’s a stanza of praise, it follows just as quickly with despair and confusion.

There are so many Psalms where David is singing in a flowery refrain of awe, but out of nowhere, he’ll say, “Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD, and abhor those who rise up against you? I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies.”   It’s all going so well, until you turn the page. These are like cysts that swell over the canvas, so jarring and troubling that you won’t see them on coffee cups and Twitter.

David was really all over the place in his faith.

But just as much as David interrupts his own Psalms with rage and grief, these are…

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What Is The Church?

Within the building a musty odor clings to the air,
There are cracks on the ceiling,
The nave has been closed for years
because so much of it is unsafe.
Every penny we have goes to the roof
and all other repairs.

But I remember running through the balconies,
Sunday school lessons with many children
My father’s rich voice from the altar –
and others before and since,
the beautiful organ with all those pipes
and the music it stirred within the soul.

Couples have married here, babes baptized,
countless communions, church dinners,
fairs, thrift shops, and food pantry days.

Now the congregation as dwindled
so many being in their elder years
members for thirty or more years
wanting to die here as they lived here but
the organ is silenced – no money for repairs

What is a church really?
A place of worship
or a place to be worshipped?
A place for the few
or a place where the few
give to many – spreading the faith
that has brought them such comfort.

We may be the few now –
but God and his grand plan
are calling us – asking us to listen
to the depths of our hearts.

To know that just as Jesus died on the cross,
disciples were executed and exiled,
and even today, some Christians have to hide
in the woods, basements, away from prying eyes,
to practice the religion- without books or other paraphernalia
– we have been privileged to have this building.

A church need not be a fortress
holding people in, keeping people out.
Imposing, Magnificent, Intimidating.

Jesus authorized his disciples to go forth
with just the clothes on their backs,
taking nothing with them as they
proclaimed his message to the world.

But we would not get far
with these boards and mortar on our backs
our voices would be crushed by the stones.
Jesus said take nothing.

But a church is not a building, it is the people
and what those people are doing
to strengthen their faith
and to make the hard decisions.

What would Christ have us do?
That is where Christianity lies.

Passover Week – Who would I be?

When he rode the donkey into Jerusalem that fateful week,
would I have been one of the palm wavers,
dancing before him, singing psalms of his glory,

Or would I have been the cynical one,
or one too reserved to let loose my inner craving for him
and to bless him for all he had done.

Would I be a pot stirrer, easily swayed by Pilate’s men
to decry him, to rabble the crowds against him.
to cheer as he was whipped and beaten.

Was it foretold I would be Judas, his betrayer?
Would I run and hide as Peter, denying my intimacy to him?
Or refuse to watch as he was tried for crimes unknown.

Would I have been Simon the Cyrene, the man who picked up his cross,
shouldering a burden he was too weak to do all by himself.
Or perhaps faithful Mary Magdalene,  following his footsteps to Golgotha

After the betraying, violence, cruelty I participated in,
would I then grow quiet and cry watching him move in such pain.
Or have cheered for Barabbas, the murderer, to be released rather than the King?

I want to say “Of course I would be faithful!
But as human nature would have it,  I could have been the good Jew
that jeered and plotted and planned, scared of new thoughts and feelings.

Could I have opened my mind enough to accept the New Path,
and act against traditions millennia old, that my ancestors revered?
Could I have the strength of purpose to preach, to spread this new religion?

Or would I have done nothing, nothing at all . . .