Tag Archives: religion

Free Will

God granted us the Right of Free Will when Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of Knowledge. Yet, these days I find myself in a quagmire of thoughts about that act. Knowledge has led us far. We are not the Innocents we would have been without it. And yes, I am also a firm believer in Evolution. Justifying the two is an interesting balancing act on the scales, particularly the Scale of Justice.

When I pray these days, many times it is that God intervene and fill the hearts and souls of all aggressors with Loving Kindness so they could never imagine conducting acts of aggression again, and that those who have been persecuted not rise up in retribution should that happen.

But then I circle back to Free Will. Frankly, I think it has not helped us in many cases. We have only to look as far as ISIS and the treatment of Refugees. Of the girls raped and children turned into child soldiers. Or child brides. Or the Racism that pervades our society and the acts it generates. Of terrorism in all its facets. Or torture. The list goes on . . .

And then I look at the ramifications of not having Free Will. Would research for advances in science and medicine continue? What about the right of abortion and birth control? How would population control be handled? What about all the cultural distinctions of tribes, religions, and countries all over the world? Would the intricacies of our personalities cease to exist? What would happen to uniqueness? Would mental illness be eliminated? Would we all be committed to cherishing and protecting the environment and all beings – flora and fauna? Would Religions in all their varieties still exist or would there be a uniform one or none? Would atheists still believe as they do?

What would God’s will look like? And ultimately, would God choose to have both Good and Evil after all?

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 . . .

Unanswered prayers

So often God,

I begged, pleaded, cried,-
for men, money, success, fame
wanting so desperately
to know my purpose here
why I had to live through pain
ongoing medical and emotional
traumas – I prayed.

Time’s passed.
Dreams of long ago
are shadow figures now
and though my days are long
and my nights are shared
not with a man I prayed for
but a cat’s purr
I live with irony and resolve.

Younger years were the prevail
of two men who tore me,
split me into pieces and spit me out
bruised, battered, alone.
There were others for a time, but
all showed the true measure
of their worth far too soon.

It’s taken this long for me
to come to terms with my
inadequacies and limitations
who I am, what this skin
and my sin
have designed for me
there was no room for
more distractions

So when crisis or change winds blow
I pray for his wishes
Oh, I let Him know how I feel,
what I think and want
but I shut up and listen
and even if I don’t hear
I par for his will to come to pass
and know I don’t know the answers
or what’s best for me
or why I have spent so
many years alone –

Muttered Musings

Another day
God, help me make it through
have no one hit me today
let there be a cease fire between
relatives, families, friends,
countries . . .
I can’t keep living with
this hole in my heart.

Let this day be about blessings
make the whole world stop
and pray an hour, a day, for
refugees, Aleppo, child brides ,
untouchables.
the battered and beaten,
defeated and aching
sick -mentally, physically,
emotionally, especially spiritually.

In the busyness of the day
let all peoples remember
this is not just about them
there is something greater –
feel awe, revel in gloriousness,

Not gonna happen anyway
World’s too crazy for Peace
Too many BAD people –
in homes, communities,
We deserve better
Tired of waking with chest pains
second guessing God
being scared . . .
why are so many people
so Stupid!!
My prayers go unanswered,
God looking down and shaking her head

 

 

 

Mindfulness in the Holidays

The holidays are here . . . there is hope, my friends, hope to enjoy the memories being created, hope to share in joy and thanksgiving, hope to walk away with a smile instead of trying to shake off negative thoughts and feelings. For many of us, the holidays bring stress, anxiety, perhaps anger.  But, in times like those, it is good to remember . . .

The tingling of a stream running through a forest                 A cozy fire to warm up our increasingly older bones                 A blanket which feels cozy and secure                 The passion in the eyes of a lover, even if it was many years ago                 How the Grinch stole Christmas and Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer Those are just a few things to reflect on when life seems interminable, frustrating, depressing.  There are people who can offer comfort. Or, wait for it . . . you can give comfort to others and to yourself.  There is positivity to offer renewal – of our associations with others and our relationship with ourselves.  This is especially true for those of us with thought disturbances and/or mental and emotional ones.  When you are sitting at a table with more than 5 people, just remember you aren’t the only one – 1 in 5 people have some sort of mental/addiction/biochemical challenge – you are likely not as alone as you may think.

When you yearn to change your thoughts, move a muscle:

Volunteer or share the meal at a Shelter or Food Kitchen Exercise – max out those endorphins Watch some of the old charmers – Bells of Saint Mary, Christmas Carol, Christmas in CT . . . Call someone who understands and remember crisis centers if need be Calmly but clearly express your feelings, share those feelings where it matters Go to the Religious organization of your choosing and practice the traditions you grew up with

Don’t be afraid to leave the holiday gathering – go in another room to compose yourself, go for a walk, smile (just using those muscles changes your mood, even just a little). Feel the love you have for your friends and family, even when they disappoint you, you’re not the only person who can benefit from a hug.

Most of all, remember the meaning of the holidays . . . religious/spiritual, loving, sharing, giving of oneself to others.  Remember . . . whatever your circumstances, you are Blessed.

Slave

A single word which evokes so many feelings, thoughts and actions – horror, despair, pain, dismay, “holier than thou”, profane.  On the flip side, being those who have or want or are crass and debased enough to have slaves – egoism, acceptance, deserving, powerful, rightness.  And those of the slaves themselves?: – fear, rage, manipulation for survival, complacent, worn out.

I think of the typical American viewpoint, there always seems to be a great deal of finger pointing rather than looking within themselves at hidden, locked tight feelings they may have themselves.  If they look within our national borders, they may think of criminals who bring sex slaves from other countries here for profit. Finger pointing. But there are others – wealthy people who “adopt” children only for us to find out, if we are lucky, those children are really slaves, sexual or as housekeepers. And there are men who use children for porn or sex – those children are slaves.  Even those who have no passport ot Visa laboring in sweat shops and fields for little pay, certainly not enough to sustain a productive, safe and healthy life.  And what about the millions of us who read or watch TV or go online to witness slavery in other countries, saying “what a shame.  Someone needs to stop that.”

Our souls can never be clean until every bit of slavery and genocide is iradicated within our borders and we are striving to make an active difference in those countries where slavery is a way of life.  Our God demands it and I have to believe the core of other religions demand it as well.

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.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Target . . . Me

I was reading a new blog, Awkword and what Michelle has asked us to do in choosing a target audience and I realized not only do I not have one I am aware of, but I don’t know who the target me is.  I have lived alone for 20 years. No dating, not a really active social life, and though there are some reasons why, I also find myself saying, once in a while, why not?

My writing can tend to be somewhat, or very, on the dark side.  I have a low to mid grade bipolar condition.  It keeps me more on the depressed or withdrawn section of life.  I also have a boat-load of physical issues and have for all those years and before. So I suppose I might draw people who have similar issues.  These can range from the conditions: once I was on O2 for 2 12 years and have had asthma, chronic eosinophilic pneumonia, and emphysema in greater or lesser strengths for all my adult life.  Fibromyalgia dogs me. I lost more than 3/4 of my intestines and gall bladder when I went septic and my systems shut down and was in a coma 3 weeks.  When I woke it was to complete loss of muscle memory.  This past year I had back surgery which didn’t help. I’ve had a migraine most of the last three months.  See what I mean?  There is more but that alone can make for a target audience.

I have Traumatic Brian Injury – caused during the coma, but which creates its own set of problems.  My memory is not always reliable. I suppose it is an understatement.  My sister calls it CRAFT – can’t remember a fucking thing.

Because of these factors, I am legally disabled. Work is hard. Complex assignments are too hard to process. Simple assignments bore the crap out of me.  I can’t work too much because Medicaid and my body won’t let me.  So I have been a caregiver for numerous years. I started off as a Business Management Consultant with clients all over the country.  Quite the let-down.

I am a mother of two twenty somethings 3,000 miles away from me and happy that way. They are living their lives well and that is the most any mother could ask.  But I live near my sisters and my 8 year old nieces are my delight.

Oh yes,  I am a recovering drug and alcohol addict – and food.  I have been sober from alcohol for more than 35 years with a 5 year break for a 5 year addiction to prescription pain killers which ended 11 years ago and had a horrible effect of my kids, especially my daughter. So there’s guilt and shame I can’t seem to let go of.

AND – I’ve wanted to be a writer  and missionary all my life.  I’ve been published a few times and I have an opportunity to go on a mission in 2017.  Until then I do what I can here.  I write a lot of poetry, some memoir pieces, and non-fiction articles  about women who have achieved greatness through tremendous adversity.  I write about what I know and want to know; what is inspirational to me and religion and spirituality.

So if you can find a target audience in all that, except that I probably sound very self-involved . . . playing with my navel and all that; let me know. And I still have to figure out pages, widgets, you name it.  Learning to be a good blogger is taking a long time . . . did I tell you about my TBI?

I welcome tips and comments.  I truly want to grow. So give me a hand why dontcha’.

 

 

My Christian Journey (so far)

It took a while but I finally understand hiding from the opinions of experts about my religion, or at least those who have something to say that differs from the path I am trying to walk, is the height of spiritual weakness. God can handle my questions. He is stronger than the swirling chaos of dissention in the masses. And he can certainly stand up to the fragility of my journey. It is me I most fear. . . I don’t want to give up before growing comfortable with my path.

I’ve always been a spiritual dabbler. My father was a Methodist minister and a gentle soul, beloved by his congregation and others who knew him. His sermons were sensitive and always under five minutes, the longest length of time the typical congregation member could handle and maintain interest. Growing up I wanted to be a minister like him. When I became a middle-school student I thought it might be better to be a missionary. Come my teenage years, boys and booze I gave it all up, thinking it was far more sophisticated to be an atheist. Many years passed before I could see was that I didn’t want to be a minister so much as I wanted to be like my father.

 For the next couple of decades I bounced from one religion to another. My ex-husband was Christian Orthodox – going to mass with him was a time of the Spirit as the service was often in another language. I bathed in the power of the Spirit without having to worry about the verbiage. Exploring the New Age feminine mystic became an art form all its own. It evolved into a kind of Wicca thrust followed by American Indian studies. Buddhism gave me comfort until I dug deeper into it and saw it didn’t match my world view. Then I moved back to New England where it’s hard to be anything else but Christian or another conventional, traditional path.

 I began going to the church my family went to. My sister’s family, my cousin and her twin babies, my mother and aunt and I squeezed into one long pew . . . my nephew and me teasing each other like incorrigible brats. Going to church was first an obligatory exercise fulfilled to quiet my mother’s incessant pressure. I listened to the sermons and took pleasure in the messages they imparted.I attended a program called Alpha designed to address the questions of new or returning Christians. The church tried hard to address the needs of its flock. There were programs during the week for everything from financial management, wellness, women’s issues, and a variety of Bible and church related needs. On weekends there were three services you could choose from and groups for diverse needs – parents of different aged children, married couples and singles. In services, we actually explored the Bible and what Jesus said. It finally occurred to me I would not be a Christian unless I understood the Bible and what it meant to believe in Jesus. I can’t say I agree with everything but it’s making a dent in my resistance.

It took visiting my children’s services in California to see where my religious education was missing. Methodist’s don’t talk much about the Bible. All those questions lurking inside were banging at my walls. The whole Jesus issue defeated me and the Trinity – forget about it. Their churches actively explored the Bible during worship services. And the music was uplifting, modern, more designed for this present life. Suddenly I had a hunger for a Church very different than the one I grew up with. Those questions I had could no longer be ignored. Although there were people I was comfortable with, it seemed I came to church alone, while there I usually felt alone, and I left alone. My needs as a single, middle-aged Christian woman were ignored despite my frequent queries to the minister. It was clear I needed to find a church which addressed my needs. So it came as a surprise when the church that met those needs was Baptist. I always heard they were Bible thumpers, highly restrictive in nature. In the end, that is where I needed to be.

In moving back to California, I found a church far different from what I had ever known. One Wednesday night I was driving past the church and there were people walking into the church smiling. I stopped and asked what they were doing. They just smiled and said they were going to Bible study and I could come if I wanted. I didn’t that night, but I thought long and hard about a church where people smiled before what had to be the tediousness of such study. But one Sunday I decided to give it a try. It was contemporary, fundamentalist. Bands played the music. Singers were uplifting, energized. Instead of hymnals, words were graphically displayed on a screen in front. People raised their arms and swayed back and forth. An occasional person would go up to the front, bow to the ground, and prayed for his needs. There was a separate room in the back for mothers with crying babies. (Oh, that I thought was a wonderful idea) There were about 2,000 people in the service I regularly attended – more than 4,000 overall. Mission work was highly emphasized, both in the community and worldwide. There were separate programs for women and men during the week. On Sundays, the congregation sang for a half hour then the minister spent the rest of the service in Biblical instruction and sermon.

There were some things that I heartily disagreed with – political discourses, when I had always believed in the division of church and state, an emphasis on money I wasn’t used to. Sometimes ministers seemed more like performers than priestly servants.  One church I visited had strobe lights and a minister that acted more like a comedian, like it was all an act. But even though I got a lot out of it, it didn’t meet all my needs. I still felt alone even though I made a few friends, one especially whose husband and she answered many of my questions and weren’t afraid to show their humanness. In fact, after I moved away, they went on a mission to Thailand.

 After three years, I moved back to Connecticut and found myself attending the church my Father was the Minister for when I was in the 5th, 6th, and 7th grades. It is the anti-thesis of California’s brand of worship. Now I’m on the Board of Trustees. We are working hard to determine the ongoing needs of the church. Many parishioners have been members for 40 or more years but even though they give everything they have to the church now, they may not be able to work toward growing the church as we need to. But the funniest thing about it is, I’m where I belong, exactly where I thought I’d never be. I love our minister. I love the community this church has. I want to see it grow in whatever form God directs us. And I want to be a part of it. I don’t feel alone.