Sunday, August 02, 2015

"[I]f I’ve learned anything in this job for the last seven years, working in the interfaith center of a university with 40,000 students from around the planet, it’s this: the more you know about the religions of the world, the more keenly aware you are of your ignorance about them." -- Jim Burklo, What Muslims Do When They Lose Their Keys

Saturday, August 01, 2015

By far the most pernicious piece of baggage collected from my decades as a religious fundamentalist was a form of cynicism that saw everything in exclusionary terms. Anything new or unfamiliar was to be distrusted. A continuous subconscious evaluation took place of what fell inside the perimeter of orthodoxy and what belonged outside in the fallen and doomed world, which would burn soon enough. It made for a stifling and insular and monochromatic life of binaries, preoccupied with sin management and purity maintenance and fear of divine retribution. This bleak worldview was instilled and reinforced via sermon and song and study and social pressure until it permeated my being; like a fish who can't see the water because it is immersed in the water. Ironically, the toxins were delivered in the name of the one who said "I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly." 

The healing and deprogramming from that way of being was slow and gradual, but steady once I removed myself from environments which reinforced it. Still, the ghosts reappear every now and then, momentarily obscuring my vision with their dingy translucence and familiar calls. But I see through them now and it takes less than a moment to consider how much happier and at peace I am--with myself, with God, with all the other beloved occupants in this big and beautiful and blessed and borderless world.


Friday, July 31, 2015

Sunday, July 26, 2015

“It is precisely through the onset of old age, through loss or personal tragedy, that the spiritual dimension would traditionally come into people’s lives. This is to say, their inner purpose would emerge only as their outer purpose collapsed and the shell of the ego would begin to crack open. The emphasis shifts from doing to Being, and our civilization, which is lost in doing, knows nothing of Being. It asks: being? What do you do with it?” 

-- Eckhart Tolle

Name unnamed, hidden and shown, 
knowing and known, Gloria!

Beautifully moving, ceaselessly forming,
growing, emerging with awesome delight,
Maker of Rainbows, glowing with color,
arching in wonder,
energy flowing in darkness and light:

Name unnamed, hidden and shown, 

knowing and known, Gloria!

Spinner of chaos, pulling and twisting,
freeing the fibers of pattern and form,
Weaver of Stories, famed or unspoken,
tangled or broken,
shaping a tapestry vivid and warm:

Name unnamed, hidden and shown, 

knowing and known, Gloria!

Nudging Discomfort, prodding and shaking,
waking our lives to creative unease,
Straight-talking Lover,
checking and humbling jargon and grumbling,
speaking the truth that refreshes and frees:

Name unnamed, hidden and shown, 

knowing and known, Gloria!

Midwife of Changes, skillfully guiding,
drawing us out through the shock of the new,
Woman of Wisdom, deeply perceiving,
never deceiving,
freeing and leading in all that we do:

Name unnamed, hidden and shown, 

knowing and known, Gloria!

Daredevil Gambler, risking and loving,
giving us freedom to shatter your dreams,
Life-giving Loser, wounded and weeping,
dancing and leaping,
sharing the caring that heals and redeems.

Name unnamed, hidden and shown, 

knowing and known, Gloria!

Brian Wren, 1936-, Copyright 1989 Hope Publishing Co.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

There is something I've been thinking for a few years but have never openly expressed until now.  I say this as someone who is nearing completion of a Master's degree in theology from a Quaker seminary, with an emphasis on Quaker studies:  Most of what is called "Quaker" or "Friends" (as in Religious Society of Friends) nowadays could more accurately be called "Quaker-influenced."  Quakerism--in the original form and ethos practiced by the likes of George Fox, Margaret Fell, Richard Hubberthorne, Edward Burrough, Robert Barclay, Hugh Barbour, Isaac Penington, Mary Fisher, et al--has evolved out of existence.  What we have now are various and diverse "Quaker-influenced" groups. - DC

"He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant--not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life." 

-- Paul, 2 Corinthians 3

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

It is a most astonishing thing to see certain conservative Christians speak of openly defying the government--despite what Romans 13 says--so that they can claim to be obeying what Romans 1 says.
- DC

Monday, July 20, 2015