The Need to Keep Movin' On

In moving on
out from under the bushel of
Institutional Religion/Church,
we are at risk for stopping there,
 and just replacing an institutional religion with a personal one 
(and seeking others who validate it), 
defined by the same values in different clothing.  

It feels better for a while, 
but doesn’t result in the shift that is ultimately driving us,
the (often hidden) desire to give our highest value 
to deepening our relationship with each other
and God
by Being in Love
and thus becoming
One with God,
BEING-in-Love.

One to Emulate

Jesus
was a man
of extraordinary independence,
immense courage,
and unparalleled authenticity,
a man defying explanation.

But to deny Him of His Humanity
is to deprive Him of His Greatness.

Jesus differed radically
from everyone else of His time
when group conformity
was the only measure of truth and virtue.

The hierarchy of His time
did not impress Jesus;
differing from them
without hesitation
even though they were far more knowledgeable
about the law.

For Jesus,
no tradition was too sacred to be questioned,
no authority too great to be contradicted,
no assumption too fundamental to be changed.

Jesus rebelled
because of the courage of His convictions,
independent of others
because of His Positive Insight
which made dependency superfluous.

Jesus did not fear scandal,
mixing socially with sinners,
enjoying their company,
disregarding the seriousness of sins.

Jesus did NOTHING
for the sake of even a modicum
of prestige,
seeking no one’s approval.
 
His friendship with Women,
even prostitutes
would have ruined whatever reputation
any other might seek.

Even His enemies
labeled Him
Honest and Fearless.

And Jesus called Himself
Son of Man,
not as any kind of special title,
simply underlying His Humanity.



Revolt, but against Whom

The Revolution sought by Jesus
was far more radical
than anything envisioned by the Zealots
or anyone else of the time.

Every sphere of life,
political, economic, social, and religious
was radically questioned by Jesus,
turned upside down.

Ideas about what were right and just
were shown to be loveless
and thus, per Jesus,
contrary to God's will.

Jesus did not criticize the Zealots
for being too political;
He criticized them
and the Pharisees and the Essenes
for being too religious.

One of the basic causes of 
oppression, discrimination, and suffering
in society
was religion,
the loveless religion of 
the Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes, and Zealots,
the religion of MEN.

Nothing is more impervious to change
than religious zeal.

The men in power
saw Jesus as
a blasphemously irreligious man
undermining all the values
upon which religion was based,
a subversive revolutionary.

Jesus challenged the religious,
not because they collaborated with the Romans,
but because they exploited people.

Not much has changed
in over 2000 years.

Enlightenment

In many of my workshops
I have shared my experience of
Enlightenment,
Not being one of 
some Heavenly Light
shining down upon me,
but
simply
my being willing to
expose to the Light
that which is deep
and Dark
within me,
being willing to
expose to myself
and any others
my dark side.

Remaining Hidden,
I would have never addressed
my dark side,
never experienced
Transformation,
Metanoia,
Enlightenment.

But in twentyfive plus years
of Grief work,
I found another place/way that
Light
enters us.
(And all along,
it was pictured in my ministry's logo,
a broken heart
with Light shinning through the break.)

Life's losses,
Life's sufferings,
Life's disappointments
are indeed
Life's Windows of Opportunity
through which
we can experience
the Divine Light,
not so much of knowledge,
but indeed of
Wisdom,
Enabling us to be
transformed
and truly
Enlightened.



Odd Couple

Sharing Tears, 
there is a depth of Communion
that tops words. 

Sharing Laughter, 
there is a depth of Communion
that tops solemnity. 

Seeking personal and communal wholeness,
a wholeness that embraces the tragic and the comic, 
the darkness and the light,
the odd couple of Tears and Laughter
help take me there.

Whither Church?

Many people today,
especially those born after Vatican II,
not programmed as a youngster
(like I was)
simply do not believe
the core doctrines and dogmas
on which Catholicism is based,
and, frankly, neither do I.

They don't care about issues
like the virgin birth, immaculate conception, original sin,
consubtantiation, and bodily resurrection.
.
They just do not buy into
the whole concept of Atonement (Redemption) Theology
and do not believe Jesus died because of their sins.
Their God
did not require the death of Jesus
to Love humanity again,
and is not some white-haired old gent
sitting in judgment.

They don't busy themselves thinking about,
or going off to study such concepts
and the literal interpretations placed on them
by fundamentalist preaching.
They have lost respect for the authorities
who try to perpetuate or promote
medieval, simplistic and literal interpretations
of such beliefs and concepts.

The disillusionment
is fed by the Catholic Church misunderstanding
of human sexuality,
affirmed by Humanae Vitae
 and, specifically, the matter of artificial contraception.

When Church leaders are so obviously way off base on birth control,
one wonders how many other subjects of their supposed authority
are beyond their comprehension?

But the issues go a long, long way further
 into the institutional core creeds and beliefs,
 beyond questions about sexual plumbing
 and who can do what with whom.

Unfortunately,
Francis seems unwilling to take
any of the fundamental dogmas and beliefs of Catholicism
back to the drawing board.
His audience is basically
the poor people of Third World countries.
He doesn't seem to understand
those of us in the affluent, educated, first world
leaving antiquated institutional religion behind.

His strategy of showing the mercy and compassion of Jesus and God
 to the poor of the world
who are often living in situations
 that simply ignore many of the dogmatic norms
 that Church hierarchy sees
as absolute and unchangeable
may well give Catholicism a fresh breath of life
in the Developing World.

But Francis may not have the slightest impact
 on what has been happening with allegiances
 to Institutional Church
 by ordinary educated people
 in the Developed World
who have left
and are moving on.

Generosity

Whenever the Buddha was teaching,
he would always begin with thoughts on Generosity
because it can bring so much joy and self-respect.

This is a good platform
 from which to look at all of life’s experiences,
including very painful ones,
and not feel overwhelmed by them.

We all have something to give.
It might not be material.
It might be paying attention to someone.
It might be listening fully.
It might be smiling at someone,
or thanking them.
These are all displaying
Generosity of Spirit.

Generosity is the bread and butter
of feeling connected in my life
 to myself, to others,
and to life itself.

To start,
I take a deep breath,
relax my grip,
and take a chance
on
Generosity.

It usually pays happiness dividends
for others
and for me.

Dead in Dogma

Suspicious

of religious doctrines, dogmas, rites, and rituals
am I.

They tend to
diminish and even undermine
the elegance of life’s mystery.

I choose
an experiential grounding where
I can engage directly and creatively
with the Sacred
resident in the fabric of Creation itself,
not in someone’s interpretation and dogmatization
of it.

I try to live within the mystery of life,
holy and profound,
encapsulating all of my life’s experiences.

Religious dogma and doctrine
are incapable of apprehending
this mystery
in a direct and proactive way,
exploiting and desecrating
Creation.

My Growth
is not about
the right doctrine (orthodoxy)
but about Living the mystery (orthopraxy).

Yours?