Perspective from a Talus Cave

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Good Evening, God!

Dear friends are off to camp at Pinnacles National Park and I had never heard of the place — so, of course, I Googled it! This is a photo of a ranger standing in one of the talus caves. Talus? I had always thought of talus as rocks deposited by glaciers when they retreat. But, this cave was created by Rock Fall. Big BIG rocks falling into narrow valleys.

I thought, God, that I had seen BIG rocks. But not like these. And when I saw this photo I felt as if — THAT’S ME!  Me, standing under the BOULDERS of Global Warming, Nuclear Saber Rattling, Groups promulgating Hate, Millions of Refuges, Accelerating Technological Change and Lonely Islands of Economic Stagnation.

Of course, God, that isn’t just me . . . it is US . . . all of us dear humans . . . who could be working together. I WANT to work together . . . I want us to make our way through this “Talus Cave” of troubles. I hear You saying — I am with you.  And that gives me hope. Hope to keep on hoping . . . to keep on TRYING!

And thinking of things to try — June, my spiritual director, has recommended Karen Armstrong’s book — Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life. I have bought it. I have given it away. Next is to READ IT . . . and DO IT.

Imagine! More compassion for others . . . more compassion for myself.  (I’d better see self-compassion.org.) Enough compassion to extend it to folks with different perspectives or to those labeled as enemies.

But, God, You know I am eager to start but I often wander off . . . and I don’t carry through. That’s why I want to study the book as part of a group. I will exert myself for others . . . not so much for myself.

Hmm. I really better check out the self compassion site!

 

 

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Posted in being together in a compassionate presence, Compassion, compassion to care for myself, connecting, self care as self compassion and humility, Troubles

Reposting Father Rohr’s 7/25/17 blog

Good Morning, God,

Today I am reposting a blog from Father Richard Rohr that touched my heart deeply. . . especially the part about our human hubris.

 Incarnation Instead of Atonement
Tuesday, July 25, 2017
 Franciscans never believed that “blood atonement” was required for God to love us. We believed that Christ was Plan A from the very beginning (Colossians 1:15-20, Ephesians 1:3-14, John 1:1-18). Christ wasn’t a Plan B after the first humans sinned, which is the way most people seem to understand the significance of the death and resurrection of Jesus. The Great Mystery of Incarnation could not be a mere mop-up exercise, a problem-solving technique, or dependent on human beings messing up.  The Incarnation was not motivated by a problem but by love.

Did God intend no meaning or purpose for creation during the first 13.8 billion years? Did the sun, moon, and galaxies have no divine significance? The fish, the birds, the animals were just waiting for humans to appear? Was there no Divine Blueprint (“Logos”) from the beginning? This thinking reveals the hubris of the human species and our tendency to anthropomorphize the whole story around ourselves.

The Franciscan view grounds Christianity in love and freedom from the very beginning. It creates a coherent and positive spirituality, which draws us toward lives of inner depth, prayer, reconciliation, healing, and universal at-one-ment, instead of any notion of sacrifice, which implies God needs to be bought off. Nothing changed on Calvary, but everything was revealedas God’s suffering loveso that we could change!

Jesus was precisely the “once and for all” (Hebrews 7:27) sacrifice given to reveal the lie and absurdity of all “sacrificial” religion. But we perpetuated such regressive and sacrificial patterns by making God the Father into the Chief Sacrificer, and Jesus into the necessary victim. Is that really the only reason to love Jesus? Is there no wondrous life to imitate?

This “being saved by his death” language allowed us to ignore Jesus’ way of life and preaching, because all we really needed Jesus for was the last three days or three hours of his life. This is no exaggeration. The irony is that Jesus undoes, undercuts, and defeats the sacrificial game. Stop counting, measuring, earning, judging, and punishing—ways many Christians are very well trained in—because they believe that is the way God operates too. This makes the abundant world of grace largely inaccessible—which is, of course, the whole point.

It is and has always been about love from the very beginning.

*****
I hope Fr. Rohr doesn’t mind my posting his blog . . . I am feeling that You are pleased, God.

Posted in humility, LOVE, Meaning, web of life

Flourishing

Inside Koko CraterGood Day, God!

This photo was taken inside Koko Crater — it is dry inside. The plants are managing . . . but perhaps not flourishing. Flourishing takes water, nutrients, and attention. It is much the same for people as for plants.

Indeed, God, people who grow up without enough care and attention are often as prickly as these barrel cacti.  Our 22 year old grandson Mark, who is visiting, said he had thought it was “normal” for everyone to grow up in a loving family. Now he knows that all too often that is not the case.

The other day I read that the Greek word that Aristotle used for the purpose of humans has been translated as To Be Happy — when he probably meant To Flourish. This has led a lot of folks astray.

It seems to me that we are living in a society in which we try to find happiness by reaching for what we want. And what we want is pretty much what children want — immediate gratification.  Sugar is an example  . . . of something that  what gives us pleasure NOW . . . but isn’t good for us in the long run . . . or even in the short run.

I think it was Viktor Frankl who said that man was created with a desire for meaning. If men and women cannot satisfy that desire, they will turn toward pleasure or toward power. I like his quotes.

But — back to thinking about meaning: how good it would be if we would actively help one another to flourish.  Simple things, God, like learning and calling folks by their names. And then not such simple things like looking for the good in people and refraining from judging. Blessing instead of cursing.

Doing those things wouldn’t just help others — it would help all of us who do them — it would help all of us to flourish.

 

Posted in Caring, connecting, Flourishing, Judgmental, LOVE, loving myself, Meaning, respect, Self Care, self care as self compassion and humility, Self-Respect, The Flow of God's Love, water and love

Being Kind . . . Being Respectful

stairway of hibiscusGood Day, God!

I’ve been pondering — and actually working on doing — what You command. Love your enemies — pray for those who persecute you. Now, thanks be, no one is persecuting me. But, they seem to be willing to let millions of folks die without much access to insurance for western medicine.  So, I feel like they are persecuting poor people. These are very ones that Jesus had in mind when he said, “As you have done it unto the least of these, you have done it unto me.”

As I was praying for one key senator a thought came to me — What if he thinks that our country cannot afford to provide health care to so many people. He must believe that it is a choice between our country’s demise or the somewhat earlier death of millions of people.  Oh! Wow!

I don’t agree. But, all of a sudden I could understand HOW he might have come to make such an apparently inhumane choice. Ah . . .

There is not enough understanding nowadays, God.

This morning I read a quote from Lady Gaga: “I wish all people on the internet would be positive and loving and a part of creating an online community that is kind and empowering, not hateful and mean.” 

Hmm. Well, yes. That sounds like such a good way to live — online and in real life.  Being kind . . . being positive . . . actually wanting to understand WHY folks disagree with me.

Actually, God, maybe we could begin by being less invested in Being Right . . . or Left. Maybe we could explore areas where we agree . . . where we want the same things? And yes, I hear You saying that BLESSING folks is a great way to begin.

 

 

Posted in Being a Blessing, Blessing, connecting, kindness, listening, LOVE, opposable virtues, praying, Praying for our enemies, respect

Being Aware . . .Being Willing to Know

41xIceiURcLGood Day, God!

Just yesterday the BBC World News had an interview with an “expert” on how to protect yourself during disasters. And the advice was basically what it was in this book: The Unthinkable; Who Survives When Disaster Strikes and Why. Be aware. Be aware — not in the sense of being in a state of fear — but aware of where the exits are. Aware of those around you. Aware that situations change and change rapidly.

The most memorable fact that I took away from the book was the underside of the “Please put the oxygen mask on yourself before helping another.” The reason for that seemingly selfish reminder is because — if a plane experiences a sudden descent — you may have only 10 seconds before you black out. Oh! That got my attention!

Another dark theme was how — in the London fire (just the week before) and in 9/11 — people were told “STAY PUT”. But, in the London fire the experts didn’t know the building’s cladding was flammable. And in 9/11 the experts hadn’t factored in jet fuel. LOTS of jet fuel. So? How to get out — is something to be aware of.

But, the biggest problem in disasters is DENIAL. We do not want to know. We resist knowing. In one famous case of a fire it was a bus boy who marched to the stage and took the mike and told the audience: There is a fire. There are the exits. Leave immediately. His clear direction saved many lives. But, still some stayed and died . . .waiting . . . for a more official word?

So, God. Today I am going to be working on being aware. Being of aware on a personal level and perhaps on a community level and maybe even a planetary level.

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Posted in awareness, Books, connecting, Planning, the cold snow of reality

Recharging

chargingGood Morning, God!

I looked at my calendar and there isn’t much on it — for this week and the next. And my heart leapt with JOY! I am FINALLY doing much LESS and experiencing true rest . . . which feels appallingly unfamiliar. My inner being is on such deep rest that it actually feels sort of like being on STOP.

Somehow, I expected it would only take a week or two to get back to normal. Hmm. Well, it hasn’t even been a whole week since the last round of fun activities, centering on our 58th wedding anniversary. So, no. I’m not all charged up and ready to go.

But, I did hear myself tell a friend at church JUST this morning — I wonder what kind of trouble we can get into during the second half of the year? Hearing myself say that was a rare moment of “Self Awareness.”  Last week during a walk, a dear friend laughed at my remarking that finally I was taking things easy. “You have said that before,” she said. She might even have added . . . many times. . . but I am choosing not to remember that.

I hesitate to say that I didn’t believe her. I did BELIEVE her. I just didn’t remember going through those cycles. But she remembered. She was just pointing out that it was my nature to add things and then I would be busy again.

So, God, I am standing here — realizing that it IS my nature to say YES! In fact, I don’t even wait to be asked. And while I do believe this capacity for enjoyment is a gift, it is a gift that needs to be used judiciously.

Surely, God, You can awaken in me — or bestow upon me — a Judicious Part?

Posted in accepting my authority to set limits, accepting my need for help, asking for help for myself, busy, Commitments, connecting, Enjoyment, JOY, recharging my battery, rest

Being Human and Human Rights?

_96466546_976ximg_7966-copyGood Day, God!

Here is Dr. Odontuya Davaasuren — in the center with two nurses — she is my nominee for the title of Hero. For years she was helpless as patients in her native Mongolia died in pain. It wasn’t until she went to Sweden to attend a European Palliative Care Association conference that she realized that dying in horrible pain need not happen.

At first the Health Ministry rejected her vision — saying we don’t have enough money to care for living patients! So she visited the dying and videoed their cries for help. The officials listened and now there is a national palliative care program in Mongolia.

A good death… and a good life before death — these are human rights, Davaasuren says.

As I read that, I thought about what being human means. What we can expect as a “right” and what we can’t. Many folks believe that the government has no business providing anything other than police, fire and national security protection. Everything else, they argue, ought to be the business of the individual or associations or businesses.

They rejected President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s call to have all the people of the world entitled to four freedoms:  the freedom of speech and expression, the freedom to worship God in one’s own way, freedom from want and freedom from fear.

Those are challenging goals, God. Yet, it looks to me as if the Scandinavian countries have come fairly close. And I am sitting here pondering what YOU might want us to have as goals?

My hope is very basic. I want there to be discussions — respectful discussions — on what we humans might work toward as worthwhile goals. Just conversations, God. Just conversations over breakfast tables . . . over conference tables . . .conversations with the homeless and with the .001 percenters.

Maybe, I could start a conversation?

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Posted in a hand up, connecting, Conversations, respect

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