Tag Archives: spirituality

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’.

 

 

Thomas Merton

Thoughts in Solitude

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain
Where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that
I think I am following Your will does not mean that I am
Actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please You
Does in fact please You. And I hope I have that desire in all that
I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that
Desire. And I know, if I do this, You will lead me by the
Right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I
Will trust You always though I may seem to be lost and in the
Shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and
You will never leave me to face my perils alone.

Thomas Merton
Thoughts in Solitude

This is one of my favorite prayers.  It has always brought me comfort in times of need.

Maybe we were all born for one moment.

Richard Zimmer   “The Seventh Gate”

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.