No Road Signs

As I look back,
 I see how all the dots in my life 
are connected, 
how one decision led me to another, 
how one twist of fate, 
good or bad, 
brought me to a door 
that later took me to another door, 
which aided by several detours,
 long hallways and unforeseen stairwells, 
eventually put me in the place I am now. 

Every choice I made 
laid down a trail of bread crumbs, 
so that when I look at my past,
there appears to be a very clear path 
that points straight to the place 
where I now stand. 

But when I look ahead 
there isn’t a bread crumb in sight,
there are just some birds and rabbits,
a beautiful lake,
a bunch of cacti,
 and an ever-changing sky.

I glance from left to right 
and find no indication of which way I'm supposed to go. 

And so I stand here, 
sniffing at the wind, 
looking for directional clues 
and I think, 
What now?

Can embracing uncertainty be a positive force in my life?

Sometimes not having any idea 
where I'm going 
works out better than I could possibly have imagined.

Connected bread crumbs
exist,
but only in the past;
It was I
who connected them.

Seeking Light

They convinced me
they were the source
of Light
and that I should not
Venture
(out of the bushel)
into
Darkness.

Despite their dire warnings,
I heeded the call of the Spirit
and
Ventured Out
only to discover 
it was darker
IN the bushel
than Out.

The True Source
cannot be confined
to any bushel.

Impermanence

Seldom
do we use another’s death
as recognition of
the impermanence
of all things.

Yet,
the acknowledgement of impermanence
holds within it
the key to life.

In confronting my death,
I can tap into
and trust
my sense of endlessness
within.

Suffering at one’s death
is often caused by
holding on to
how things might have been,
should have been,
could have been.

Few participate in Life
so fully
that death is not a threat,
but I’m trying.

Those suffer death less
who live life
in a wholeness
that includes death.

Death
can be experienced
as an opportunity
to let go of the illusions of life,
opening in Love to all.

Living life in our minds
keeps us separate;
Living my life in my heart
keeps me in a place of Unity,
Communion.

Dying
can be the ultimate act
of Letting Go
of face,
of body,
of reputation,
of confusion,
of doubt,
entering into
the Sacred Heart of the moment
in which all healing is found.




Wreckless

I have become reckless when it comes to affairs of the heart.

What I really mean is that
I have become more passionate, 
falling madly in love with life,
passionate about life with love
 taking risks on its behalf, 
no matter how vulnerable it makes me. 

No one ever died saying,
I’m sure glad for 
the self-centered, 
self-serving 
and self-protective life I have lived.

I now offer myself to any,
 my energies, my gifts, my visions, 
my heart
 with open-hearted generosity. 

Living this way 
I learn how little I know 
and how easy it is to fail.

To grow in Love, 
I value my ignorance as much as my knowledge 
and my failures as much as any success.

If I clung to what I already knew and did well 
I would be on course to an unlived life. 

Cultivating a beginner’s mind, 
I walk straight into my unknowing, 
Accepting the risk of failing 
and falling again and again.

But I get up again and again 
trying to walk a path 
in a life lived large, 
in the service of Life
 with 
Love.


Orenda

The Iroquois


Many centuries ago,
six nations
(Mohawk, Oneida, Onandaga, Cayuga, Seneca, and Tuscarora)
established
The Great Peace
based on the teachings of Skennenrahowi
A Peacemaker
and his disciple Aiionwatha.

An integral part of Iroquois life is Music
often obtained through Dreams and Visions.
The Iroquois songs
celebrate the moon and the sun,
imitate the birds and other animals,
and very often
celebrate the Dignity of Iroquois Women.

Music is used to
introduce a child into the Community
or to mourn a friend or family member
passing into the Spirit World.

Music is used to Heal,
restore Good Health,
and bring Peace of Mind and Heart.

The Iroquois used voices,
often in group harmony,
and drums and rattles
as well as flutes.

Two types of Music are used,
Social Songs for enjoyment,
usually named after animals,
such as robin, duck or rabbit
or named to accentuate dancers’ skills.





Dances are used
to honor Women,
through whom Iroquois ancestry passed,
to celebrate a successful hunt,
and often
to demonstrate gratitude
for the many beautiful things of creation.

Ceremonial Songs
restore balance between
the physical world
and the Spiritual.

Thanksgiving Songs
have been handed down through the centuries.

Our journey in this life
is short.
Every Spirit born into this world
has been given a purpose
and reason for being here.

We have been given senses
to learn about ourselves
and the Gift of Creation.

Music helps bring Peace
and
Enlightenment.

Love,
John, Gentle Thunder, Chuchman

Casper Milktoast

So refreshing,
so human,
so real, 
a feisty, earthy, gutsy, 
passionate man,
this guy, Jesus.

He used spit and dirt to heal,
weeps openly,
raises havoc,
and makes merry.

He tells the Truth
when it is risky,
complains when friends disappoint,
leaves when people harass him,
and
loves it when a woman fusses over him.

He expresses anger,
calls people names,
silences them with witty retorts,
even uses physical force
to clean the temple.

Nice, accommodating,
always smoothing things over?
Not this guy.

He defied authorities,
broke rules,
addressed women in public,
teaching them, mingling with them,
even depending on them.

Is it any wonder
they killed him;
What if everyone started behaving
like Jesus!

And he never asked to be worshipped,
only emulated.

Is it any wonder
today’s Hierarchs
cannot handle us
behaving like Jesus.




Keeping the Bible in perspective

For me,
the odd, disjointed compilation 
of ancient Hebrew texts and later Greek texts 
called the Bible
has lost its claims to historical truth, 
or to supernatural revelation.

As history and revelation,
Bible stories have long ago fallen away; 
almost nothing that happens in it 
actually happened; 
its miracles, large and small, 
are of the same kind and credibility 
as all the other miracles 
that crowd the world’s great granary of superstition. 

Only a handful of fundamentalists read it literally,
despite debunking by experts 
and critical reason.

If I read the books and verses of the Bible 
it is because they tell beautiful stories, 
stirring and seductive. 

I explore the stories in the Bible
 because they are transfixing stories, 
dense and compelling. 

The beauty of the Song of Songs
or the poetic hum of the Psalms
 are beautiful as poetry alone can be. 

They were best translated into our own language 
in the highest period of English prose and verse, 
in Shakespeare’s rhythms and vocabulary 
making them more seductive.

These are good tales and great poetry, 
and I do not worry about their sources. 
I read them as fiction
 as I read all good stories,
for their perplexities 
as much as for their obvious points.




I can be stirred by the Bible 
as enduring moral inquiry,
working to translate the knots of the Bible stories 
into acceptable, contemporary, and even universal ethical truths. 

I think that
enduring moral teaching can be found
in the Bible's stories.

I read Bible stories with intellectual detachment, 
and a sense that the Bible is 
an extraordinary compilation about human nature and 
imagination.

In reading Bible stories 
I also learn that I need more.
I am fed up with 
the stolid apparent meanings of its verse, 
 searching for deeper meanings that enrich me.

In defying logic
Bible stories invite imagination, 
and as a fictional creation, 
its ideas about Deity remain compelling, 
 in their plurality. 

I neither believe nor doubt 
as I read Bible stories,
but remain suspended in Wonder
where good reading really takes place anyway.










Role of Pastors

Interesting
how the role of pastors
has been altered
from early Church.

The principal role
of pastors
in the early Church
was the formation of
Community.
(Note resemblance to the word Communion.)

These days,
the principal role of pastors
seems to be
presiding over liturgies
often for a number of
parishes.
(Many are so stretched
doing liturgies,
they have little time, energy, skill, or interest
in building Community,
apart from consecrating
Bread and Wine.)

Liturgy 
was not the prime focus
of Ministerial Leaders
in the early Church,
handled
by the host of the local house Church,
usually a woman.

Communion
was the
Gathering
(the real definition of ekklesia)