Tuesday, March 21, 2017

America Needs You!


Oh beautiful for spacious skies, For amber waves of grain….Katharine Lee Bates – 1913.

 

A long, long time ago…I can still remember. How that music used to make me smile…American Pie…Don Mclean.

 

To borrow a phrase from Bruce Springsteen “The Boss” Who I think is otherwise overrated but that’s a classic rock discussion and this isn’t. …”I was born in the U.S.A.” I was taught that God was in his heaven and that the United States was a beacon of freedom and a haven from oppression. Thing is I always believed that. I’ll tell ya another thing I believed. Even after I became more of a democrat I still believed it. I honestly thought the republicans were the party of the grownups. 

I mean they respected the flag and Jesus and the fighting men and later fighting women of our armed forces. While I thought pot should (and still do) be legal and everybody should have a house and a turkey in every pot (different pot) the republicans were there to ask me “How ya gonna pay for that?” While I might have considered them a little harsh at times I had to admit they had a point. It was a good balance. The well meaning liberal bleeding heart and the more conservative but still well meaning authority asking for a plan or a roadmap to this liberal utopia.

But, somewhere it changed. Maybe it started when Reagan was able to equate the “L” word with godless, communist hippie. Maybe it started when Jerry Falwell cast his greedy “Gawds own party” prosperity gospel as the only true faith and the conservatives ate it up. I don’t know.

But, the nation seemed to be better under Reagan and there was an honest concern with the sanctity of life. But, somewhere, somehow the sanctity of life became the sanctity of being born. After that God help ya, you thugs. Still, there was an honest conversation to be had.

I remember a little about Watergate. I was a kid and I admit the most vivid memory for me was John Dean’s tall, blonde wife. John Dean was a part of the Nixon team and later turned on Nixon. Some call him patriot and some call him turncoat. Still, in the end the other thing besides my adolescent infatuation with tall blonde’s was the way the republicans were willing to bring their own to justice if it meant the greater good of the nation. See? Grownups.

I watched in horror as the democrats anointed the “chosen one” even though Bernie rightfully won the primary. Still, I thought even though Cruz is an idiot you still had Kasich who I would gladly have voted for and even Rubio seemed to be an intelligent person that maybe could reach across the aisle if needed. Trump? ROFLMAO! Yep, I was one of those that thought there was no way in hell that idiot was going to get elected.

Scuse me while I finish this last bite of crow. Gawd, that was awful.

I watched as a well meaning and earnest veteran gifted this pig of a man with his Medal of Honor. I thought “Well, a good man. A decent person is going to thank this man for his service and tell him he isn’t worthy to accept this from a veteran.” But, NO! this smirking chimp actually reaches for the medal. Looks at it like an appraiser looking at a piece of merchandise that is kinda neat but, not all that. Then puts it in his pocket. PUT’S IT IN HIS POCKET!

I waited. I waited for the patriotic roar from the good Christian conservatives that have always valued our military’s sacrifice. I had no doubt the party of the grown ups was about to put this charlatan in his place. Yep, here it comes. How Dare you take a medal that you didn’t earn. HOW DARE YOU! CRICKETS! Frickin CRICKETS!

Then there was the video of this cruel man mocking a disabled reporter. I waited. Surely, someone on the right. Someone who loved Jesus would say something. Anything? Somebody? CRICKETS!

Then of course there was the famous or infamous “Grab em by the Pussy” statements. I mean Obama was slandered because an old angry preacher ranted. So, surely the party of good clean family values  would…Oh, hell never mind. Frankie Graham called him a baby Christian. I threw up a little in my mouth at that one.

Still, on the day of the election I could at least understand the honest concerns the republicans had with a Hilary presidency. She was arrogant and loose on matters of security. People were tired of the media’s “Ain’t we all cool democrats now” routine from the past 8 years and now Hilary and her “cool hollywood connections” didn’t seem to be playing well. Still, the debates showed a pig of a man with an IQ that seemed to consist of being reduced to six word responses or less. Still, I also understood the Clinton fatique. I voted for her but I held my nose while I did.

But, now with Russian ties to the election. A patriot named John McCain seems to be the only republican with the balls to say  the emperor has no clothes. Yet, lesser men and women than him are  savaging him for it. Lesser! Yeah you conservative snowflake that never fired a gun at anything bigger than a fricken deer. I’m saying a POW is better qualified than you and more decent to speak on national issues.

So, where are the grownups right now? Where are the people who say they place the good of the nation over political party? I tell you this generation will answer one day to the republicans of the 60’s and 70’s who said NO, but Hell no we will not hide a crook and harm the nation for the good of the party.

America needs you Howard Baker, Archibald Cox, Elliot Richardson. Google is your friend for those who don’t know who these republicans are and were. God, does America need someone like these folks.

Truth is I don’t think America is kind anymore. I was in my late 50’s and out of work for a short time. It seemed like an eternity. I prayed in my own liberal, snowflake way and meditated and believed that my redeemer heard me even if it seemed like the world was falling. In the end I was able to get another job in my field even at my late age. But, let me tell you right before I got it some of the crap I heard.

Now, I was a person who had worked my whole adulthood for the most part. My child had Asthma and needed his inhaler and his doctor appointments. If it had not have been for All Kids which was part of the dreaded godless liberal agenda of Medicaid we would have been even more scared than we already were.

A good conservative Christian type said “We should shut down Medicaid” Now, I’m assuming he never lost a job or insurance. I’m assuming he didn’t have an elderly mother in a nursing home. I’m assuming if he had kids then they were all covered and good. I’m assuming he’s a @#$% Asshole.

So, anyway yeah I am concerned with the tone in my nation right now. You don’t have to agree with everything I say in order to be correct. I’m not much into political correctness myself. I have no white guilt or no blanket condemnation of law enforcement. I don’t think it’s harder to make it because of skin color and nothing else. I think money talks and poor white and poor Hispanic and poor blacks get it in the butt. Also, the struggling middle class. Because we are constantly one paycheck or one medical bill away from hurting badly.

Anyway, my point here is basically “Where are the grownups?” America needs you.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Reincarnation


Reincarnation:

I don’t know if it’s true or not. Science? Does everything we can ever know about ourselves and reality have to be proven by the scientific method? If it does then doesn’t that mean that what we call the scientific method might have to be updated and adjusted for new data? Otherwise it becomes a religion doesn’t it? Like the Christians who say God never changes and therefore this 2000 to 6000 year old dogma is still up to date for modern society. Anyway, before I get off course let me get back to reincarnation. I don’t intend to share this with anybody unless they come across it on my blog. I don’t intend to post it to facebook where all my Christian friends will try to pray the devil out of me at best and disavow my very right to exist at worse. Where my scientifically inclined friends (I think I have a couple) will think I’m nuts to even think I’m more than the chemical reaction of an organic collection of matter and neural firings totally dependent on the existence of my body to exist at all and there is no other existence possible. So, I might just keep this one between me and God. I keep most of the deeper parts of myself between me and God anyway. Even the parts that are culturally or sexually provocative are pretty much kept between my own sense of self and my own sense of a greater ground of being. (God) so, what do I think reincarnation means?

Well first of all I don’t equate it with religion any more than I equate the eternal sense of I Am with religion. I sometimes hear people debate the honest questions of none intentional evolution with the neo Darwinian view that it’s all just a happy little accident. They do fine in my opinion because regardless of the accusatory cry of “stupid creationist” on the Darwinian side there really is an honest question as to intent in the universe. But, then the one questioning the straight materialist will go “But Jesus” which takes it out of honest intellectual discussion and paints them into the religion corner. Sorry, the bible says it, I believe it, that settles it, doesn’t work for me. Doesn’t work for anybody who honestly wants to think and figure out what life is about for each individual. One size doesn’t fit all. So, my thoughts on reincarnation likewise have to be separate from Buddhist or Hindu or new age dogma.
When I was a child I had a memory that I couldn't really understand. I "saw" an old man walking in to a room. Perhaps down some stairs (50 year old memories are fragile things) I knew somehow that the old man was going to sit in the chair and die. I felt a connection. There was a ticking clock and he (me?) I honestly don't know. Did sit down in the chair and die. I remember telling my mother about the memory. She dismissed it because none of my family (southern born and Christian to the core) had any concept of reincarnation. I don't think I had any concept of it when I first told my mother but later I must have read something about it. Most likely Edgar Cayce who ironically spent some time in Gadsden, Alabama which is the town I was born in. (No, I don't think I'm Edgar Cayce reborn.) Anyway, I must have read something about it because I went to my mother as a young person and showed her the top of my right hand. I have a birthmark there that looks like an age spot. Now, that I'm sixty I have age spots anyway. But, not back then. Her response was pretty much "get out of here. that's crazy" So, I put it on the back burner and went on with life.  I have also always hated ticking clocks. I would get in trouble with my mother and my sister and other family members because if they had a ticking clock in a room I would do my best to remove the battery or silence it in any way that I could. I still don't really like to be in a silent room with a ticking clock. I understand there are people with absolutely no past life belief's or memories that don't like ticking clocks. I'm just saying.
When I was really young I would be in bed and think about being on a raft in a raging river. I was safe on the raft and I would sometimes put my food on the edge of the bed for a thrill. Like it was dangerous. Now, I knew I wasn't really on a raft but it was at once scary and fun for me to play like I was. Many years later I read an account where Edgar Cayce (No, I'm not saying I knew him in a past life but this did honestly make me think) gave an account of a past life where he was with a group of people on a raft in a swift river.
I have always felt connected to certain people in my life. Even people who I would not really have much of a present life connection with. I have some really strong feelings about that but I won't go into them. I did meet someone in recent years who I can't even remember their name. But, the recognition was instant. I don't know them in this life and the meeting was really casual and quick but I just felt a knowing. Hard to explain if you have never experienced it.
I really tried to connect reincarnation with my Christian faith and when I honestly didn't think I could I tried really hard to demonize it. I read Frank Perriti a Christian writer who wrote a very entertaining novel about the evils of a Christian believing in reincarnation. I read the apologetics and decided that I would just have to be careful not to expose myself to the evils of new age stuff (though I and the Christian apologist seemed really fascinated by it.)
As a young adult in the 1980's I went to Montgomery, Alabama to attend a seminar put on by A.R.E. which is the Edgar Cayce group based in Virginia Beach, Virginia. There was a lady there and this is how I remember it. I have already admitted that memory is an odd and at times unstable thing especially as years go by but this is how I remember it all these years later: A lady walks up to me. All 5 foot three of her. She has long brown hair and I have the thought "She was a man in a past life." "She was a warrior." Now, I don't know why and can't remember why. But, she comes up and says her husband is a professor at Auburn University and isn't really pleased with her attendance at this event. He would be ridiculed by his colleaque's at the university if they knew his wife was into this kind of woo woo stuff. But, she said "I was a man in a past life." "I was a warrior." She then went into some detail that I have forgotten over the years. Their were two memories from this event that I remember. One was the speaker who I have forgotten over the years. I should have been paying more attention but this was a lark on my part and so I was really more concerned with my old clunker car making the trip home than anything else being presented. Anyway, the speaker said although we would like to  think reincarnation is in the bible and was removed from it. The truth is we don't really have any hard evidence for that. I think her honesty was admirable. The final incident that I remember concerned an old man. He was close to the end of that lifetime and some people were around him praying. I  remember praying that if this really was "of the devil" that God would have mercy on him because they weren't Christian. (remember when I  tell you I was steeped in bible belt Christianity I'm not lying.)
Another thing that happened to me as a young adult. Again, I think it was the mid to late 80's or very early 90's. Most likely 80's. I had written the great researcher at the University of Virginia Doctor Ian Stevenson. I had read some of his work concerning reincarnation and I was asking him about intelligent people believing in God or any other so called supernatural reality. I was going through a very questioning time in my life where it seemed like only superstitious and unintelligent people could believe in spiritual matters. I really needed to hear a person of education tell me it wasn't completely idiotic to have hope beyond these few short years of this life. I really wish I had kept his letter. But, I didn't. So, all I have is a memory of it. It was short and to the point. Some very intelligent people including some scientist believe in God. Other's don't. It has nothing to do with being intelligent. Believe it or not this helped me immensely. It gave me permission to at least think about these things without having to leave my brain at the door.
I have no religion to sell to you. I have no burning desire to prove to you I'm right. For one thing I haven't proved it to myself. But, it works to an extent for me. It makes sense (to me) that the eternal essence of who I am isn't decided by the sperm lottery at birth. Still, there is much new agey baggage that comes with these thoughts. Much like religion it has stuff like "everything is planned before birth." I  find that extremely insulting and cruel. I can say that I don't believe the Jewish people planned being burned in ovens by Nazi's or that black people planned to be slaves or that children planned to be raped by adults. I could go on and on. But, that doesn't touch the core reality of the possibility of reincarnation any more than creationism or neo Darwinism touches the reality of evolution.
At the start of this blog I said I would not share it on facebook or any other place except my blog. But, now that I look at it I don't think it's all that scandalous. I didn't name names except for myself and public figures (which I'm surely not.) I don't think I've tried to beg for someone to agree with me nor have I disrespected anyone else. So, I think I will share this after all.

Finally, please understand I mean no disrespect to any of my friends or families faith. I understand how you feel. Please understand me. I have the t-shirt so don't try to convert me to save my soul back to a fundamentalist view of God or Christianity.

As my grandma Snead on my dad's side once told me. "Stevie if you belong to Christ nobody can undo that. So, don't tell me you or the bible feel I have fallen or backslidden." So, understand I have my own understanding of who I am. You don't get to judge and you don't get to pound me over the head with a 6000 year old collection of sacred writings that you don't understand completely yourself. Also, to my more science oriented friends. I have considered atheism. It doesn't work for me. You can put lipstick on a corpse but it's still a corpse. So, you don't get to pound me over the head with "It's Science" as if science were a single entity that answers to that name.

 I in return will not try to  tell anybody else that what I have written about is absolute or even correct. I reserve the right to be wrong. But, I don't  think I am wrong. After all it's my opinion at this part of my journey. In the end all we have is our own inner life that we can share with others who are graceful enough to want us to share. I believe in prayer. I believe in meditation. I believe there is more to us than brain farts or neural firings that somehow produce this entity I call myself. I also believe in medical science and biology and that quantum science is fascinating and that we need to watch our footprint that we are leaving on the earth.
Peace.
 
 
 
 
 
 

Monday, March 6, 2017

My Place


During my morning check in with The Ground of My Being/God/Source. I was thinking about what kind of being I am. Now, I have left much of my religious dogma behind. I just can’t pretend to believe in something that I no longer accept as true just to fit in or get a pat on the head from a church or a group of people. I haven’t become an atheist. I don’t believe that way has any hope and it’s like becoming a meatbot or a brain fart. It’s not something I would ever aspire to even if it were true. I wouldn’t be joyfully acting as if it were good news. You can put lipstick on a corpse but it’s still a corpse. However, I no longer believe in a superman in the sky with a big S under his cloak and a rule book in his hand just waiting for me to screw up. So, that’s the fast version of some of my morning thoughts.

I’m not mad at religion. I’m not mad at the church and I have no horror stories of hypocrites or pedophiles or false prophets that caused me to lose my faith. I didn’t lose my faith. My faith is in the ever present dialog that I’ve had ever since I can remember. I have a quick story that has been the one absolute of my whole life. It started as a child and it developed during all the stages of my life including the Christian as well as the so called secular stage. It’s still developing. But, here’s the short version.

1968- 69-70 or somewhere in there. I’m 11,12 or 13 years old. Time is funny once you get older. My favorite author Stephen King once said something to the effect of “Once you reach 60 the expiration date expires.” I’m getting there. Fast. Matter of fact I have around 41 days left to say I’m in my 50’s. Yikes!

Anyway, there I am a young kid and I hear a Sunday School sermon in my local Southern Baptist church about how God can forgive anything except blasphemy against the Holy Ghost. Well, being a very inquisitive child and a voracious reader with a very vivid imagination you can imagine (or if your lucky you can’t) the immediate thoughts and scenes and stuff I’d rather not even approach that went through my young mind. I was horrified. I was pretty sure I was about to be damned to eternal torment in flames of fire because of my thoughts. My “what if I thought or said this or that?” Ahh, intelligence. It can be a two edged sword to say the least.

So, as I’ve done my entire life I had to get away with my thoughts and be by myself. So, I go into the backyard and turn this situation over in my mind. I also begin talking to God as best I understood god to be back in those days.  But, here’s where it gets better. Right after it got worse. I’m praying and telling God that I really don’t want to be burned forever because of my thoughts and I really couldn’t help having thoughtsandohpleaseohpleaseohpleastdonthateme.

I get calm. I see a room and a couch. It’s my place. It’s his place. I’m safe. I hear a thought. It goes “I’m here and I know you.” “I’m not a fortune teller” “I’m not outside somewhere judging you as a person who doesn’t know you.” “Those thoughts you’re having are directed at me. So, you just sit here. See the door over there?” I thought yes. “Well, look outside the door. They’re beating on it.” “I’ll answer it.”

Instant Relief! The Holy Spirit, God will answer it.

So, from that moment on Everytime the intrusive and scary  thoughts came I would find my/our room. I would sit down and let him answer them.

So, yeah I believe in God. Now has my life been a barrel of roses? Of course not. I  don’t have an instant get out of jail free card. I don’t have absolute faith and I don’t have a box to put faith in. But, I have seen my room and my space and it’s wonderful. I’ve been attacked and abused and some have tried to throw me to the gutter. But, everytime I’ve been able to get to my space. My place, our place.

So, no I don’t believe because the bible says so or a preacher says so or I’m prone to accept fairy tales and wishful thinking more than the next guy. I believe because I have at a young age touched fear and came away with the hope of the infinite.

So, no I don’t need a preacher or a guru to teach me what I have already been given. I know I sound like a heretic to some and a space cadet to others. But, I have this place that I can be honest and whole and have a little touch of home while I’m still on the journey.

Peace.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Steve's Ramblings.


Who would you like to spend a day sitting and talking and hanging out with? I hear and read variations of this question often on the internet. “If you could spend one hour with anyone alive or dead who would it be? “ I don’t often answer it and honestly I give it little to no thought. But, once in a little while I think about it. I don’t know about an hour. We humans love to put limits on things. I read sometimes where people will look at the evidence for something that they are really skeptical about. For instance the reports of the Near Death Experience.

I will often see people say that it seems we continue to exist in “some form, for some period” after the brain stops. They (and I admit my self here also) have a real problem accepting that maybe we just are. We are still us when the brain stops. Conscious and unique.  But, no.  Folks have to have limits. Religion, Scientific exploration even with some people has limits. There is a theoretical Physicist named Michio Kaku who some have compared to Einstein who says something that I really like when he talks about scientific knowledge. He often says “This is what we know now.” In other words he doesn’t  put limits on exploration or possibility. I like that.

So, who would I like to talk with for as long as I wanted to talk and Listen? Well, I’m a pretty well educated (not high level but pretty well) American male. I’ve traveled the world and the seven seas. No, I  really haven’t but my little earworm started singing The Eurythmics song in my head. You’re welcome. Agggh! But, I digress. Again.

Anyway, I’ve traveled a little in the U.S. and I have questioned most of what I’ve seen and learned and heard along  the way.  I can’t call myself a “Evangelical Christian” or an Agnostic these days. I have seen too much to be either one. Sorry I don’t mean to sound arrogant. I’m just speaking for my own journey. Right now. In 20 years if God allows me to still be here I might say something different. I doubt it. But, I might. I’m sure my view on things will continue to evolve.  Anyway, I thought about the people I would talk with. Some close family that I miss who have traveled on. Some old friends and some classmates along the way  that I might not have even been close to in this lifetime. But, I have a few people that I would love to talk with.

1.       Jesus: (Bet ya saw that one coming since I am a product of the American South and the Bible Belt.) But, I really don’t mean the sanitized Sunday School version. I mean the actual man who walked and lived and died and was either the very incarnation of God (heretical thought here, I think we all are incarnations of source to some extent.) Or a wise teacher and Rabbi. I don’t know that I would ask many theological questions as far as churchy stuff. But, I would love to discuss the nature of reality and God and Spiritual views with him. Sometimes I meditate and picture myself coming into his presence and just listening. But, then again. I am a space cadet to some folks. My mother once said (while she was still fairly young and divorced and not adverse to going out on a Sattidy Nite.) Anyway, she once told some older loved ones who had questioned her “God already knows what I do. So why do you think I care what you think?” Well, sometimes I have to remind myself when I write something like this. I can just hear certain lifelong friends of mine saying “Steve, you need to get back to a biblical or church or more fundamental mindset of Christianity.” I always think “Ya know, God/Universe/Ground of all being already knows what I think. So, why should I pretend just to make someone else feel better about me theologically?

 

2.       Ms. Woods: Who is Ms. Woods? My sixth grade teacher at Walnut Park Elementary way back in the very late 60’s or maybe it was 1970? Years go by so fast. She was the first black person (no disrespect intended  but, Ms. Woods would not have called herself African American at that time. Black was not considered a slight and as a matter of fact people had just come into the realization that “Black is Beautiful” and not something to be ashamed of. So, I use it in that way. Ms. Woods was the first black person that I had really known that was in a position of authority in my life. You ever hear the expression that people don’t always remember what you say, but they will always remember how you made them feel? Well, that’s true here. I just remember this very warm and yet no nonsense teacher who instilled the importance of each and every child in that room. By doing that she also instilled her own importance. Later in life when growing up in the south there would be times when I would be in the middle of racial strife or at least watching or hearing it. Whenever, I would hear something disparaging about black folks or even if I got angry I would always see Ms. Woods face in my mind. It certainly put a new light on the subject. Yeah, I think it would be tremendous to be able to speak with her and hear more of her journey in the early 20th century in the American South. How did she do that and still not project any resentment at all to those little white faces in her classroom? Couldn’t have been easy. Yeah, we will talk one day. Once I cross that river.

 

3.       My maternal Granddaddy: My Granddaddy (that’s what I called him. Not grandfather or any other name) was a survivor of the great depression. His family was Black Dutch and Cherokee. If you google Black Dutch it means a Germanic people that were not pure blood and had married darker people along the way. He looked Cherokee. He wasn’t or at least not full blooded but he had the high cheekbones and was darker than my Irish Grandmother. She was grandmaw. Not grandmother but that’s another story. She was also a pillar of my life.  My Granddaddy was a coal miner and a hard drinker. He had a tough time and his health was bad due to lifestyle and hard work. But, he was kind and he loved his family. Especially his grandbabies. I was a moody and angry teenager and a lost and angry youth. But, I felt him on the day he passed. I’ll just say I look forward to seeing him without the bad health or the demons of addiction and the beating that life can give a person coming through here.

 

There are other people that I’m not going to list here. I really don’t look much for guru’s in this world. I don’t really think anybody else knows anymore than  I do (which means they don’t know much) about the mysteries of existence. I keep my dialog in my head and in my prayers and meditations. It’s taken me a long  time to be able to put away the bullshit and just be me. At 60 years old (next month) I no longer have to pretend to attract girls or be a part of the group or make the preacher and the church happy. I no longer have to worry if the boss likes me or if I am going to be able to get that promotion. I have financial and personal  and family obligations. But, I don’t have to be “on parade” and that’s a good feeling.  I really think it’s how we treat others and how we respect ourselves that counts. 

 

So, eat that desert but, walk a little afterwards. Pray that prayer but don’t think your version of reality is the only way to go. The history of that book you are thumping? Well, it’s not a novel or a science book or written by one guy or girl in one setting. But, I’m not going to argue with you about it. Don’t be afraid of truth. Respect the scientific method but remember there is no single entity that answers to the name Science. It’s a method, not absolute way of being or person. Be honest with yourself and take it one day at a time. One moment at a time if you have to.

 

If you disagree with me that’s fine. We can still be friends (at least on my end) there are things I don’t understand. I don’t know how anybody can look at Donald Trump and not realize he’s a lightweight thinker and was born halfway to home plate and thinks he hit a home run. But, I would never abandon my friendship or love for another person over him or any other political figure. I can’t get the image of that idiot making fun of that disabled reporter out of my head. But, on the other hand I hope he succeeds wildly or the country does under his watch. Because at the end of the day I want what most people want. A place to live and clothes to wear. Food to eat and a little left over for fun. 

J

Peace.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Yeats and Me.


 
William Butler Yeats:
When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;
 
1. This is my favorite poem. Which might not be saying much since my relationship to poetry is about the same relationship “Gone With the Wind” is to great literature. A little dramatic and a little exaggerated but not to be confused with real deep.  
 
How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
 
2. But, this one really does resonate with me for some reason. 
 
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;
 
3. I remember seeing people in later years that I had known in my youth. I remember family members as they aged and I even see it now in my own face. I think love is a word we pass around a lot. Honestly? If you really love somebody then you don’t stop because they vote for a different political party or find a different religion than you.
 
And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars. ...W.B. Yeats
 
I see a lot of religious post on my friend’s pages. I don’t always agree but, I don’t challenge their beliefs because I don’t know all the answers. Now, if we were talking over a  glass of wine or a cup of coffee or a beer then I would gladly discuss what I think and listen to what they think. But, a short facebook “gotcha” post just seems pointless to me.
Anyway, back to the poem. I once read someone say it was a sad poem at the end. But, I  don’t believe that. I think Yeats was optimistic at the end of the poem. Love (could be romantic and in this case is. But love none the less) is not dead or hopeless. But, waiting amid the infinity of the stars and the cosmos until it’s time to come back around. 
 
I think this poem captures me because of certain events in my own life. Because of certain memories that I had as a child that allows me to look forward to the coming around again.
 
A dream as the thunder wakes her
And her highwayman disappears
On a life already lived before
In eyes welled with tears…Stevie Nicks
 

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Speaking my mind.


I recently had a facebook “friend” tell me to post and not worry because real friends could handle it. Well, she later unfriended me because I posted what I felt and she thought I was to “fluffy” because I avoided hateful political and religious speech. She’s a tolerant liberal don’tcha know?  I’ve had facebook friends tell me that we shouldn’t abort babies because it’s unchristian. But, at the same time take kids off Medicaid and bomb kids in the Middle East because Christians shouldn’t interfere with the government don’tcha know?

I was raised as we say in the south “In the Church.” My grandmother who pretty much raised me was Church of God of Prophecy. My grandmother on my dad’s side was Southern Baptist. They agreed on what Christians call the absolutes of the faith. The virgin birth, born again and tithing. They disagreed on the gifts of the  spirit and the ability to “backslide” or once saved always saved. But, their faith was sweet. Their savior wasn’t a politician. The Jesus I grew up being taught about was a wounded and humble savior. He was with the downtrodden and the widow and the orphan. He was a friend to the poor and a stumbling block to the rich and powerful.

Back before it was politically correct and before and during a governor foolishly standing in a school house door I remember something from my childhood. Right there in the “deep south” of Gadsden, Alabama at the Church of God of Prophecy. So long ago that I barely have memory of it. A black choir came to visit that little white church. Did they rock? Lord yes. Did they worship? Lord yes. Did everybody shout with the Holy Ghost and did they have as we say in the south “dinner on the ground” together ? Good Father God YES! Did they all become more tolerant and become good liberals in the heart of Dixie? Hell to the NAH! But, they did come together and they did show a little Jesus that day.

So some of my more religious friends wonder why I don’t feel the way I used to feel about  the faith. Well, to be honest some of y’all act like a cult. You worry so much that you are going to insult an old man in the sky that you walk around with a stick up your butt all day and forget where ya came from and who you really are. You talk about a meglo maniac who wants to know if you have thought of sex or said a bad word that day so he can send you to burn forever. A place where you look down and see “sinners” in torment and shout praises to a very human ego maniac all day. Then you wonder why people don’t find it very attractive?  Your Jesus is used to justify a man who publically humiliated a disabled man and has cast widows and orphans into the street and you say he’s a “man of god” and will bring god back to America. Really? I don’t think the Jesus of the suffering and the one who said if he ask for your cloak hand him your coat too would be very welcome in Trumpland.

Saying what you really think can get you in trouble. I’ve seen tolerant liberals with their silly Obama worship want to cast me out of the club. I’ve seen big tough conservatives want to beat me up because I disagree with their religion and their politics.

I have Zero problem with fiscal conservatives who think we have too much government spending. I may or may not agree but I have zero problem with them. But, the ones who proclaim Christ. Those who would cut Medicaid and deny medical care to cancer patient’s and heart patients. Those who would call the fetus holy while denying basic care to the child once it’s  born. Those? Hell yeah I have a problem with them. Your God’s waaay to small for me to worship.

I’m not an atheist and I’m not an agnostic. I’ve been to far down the road and have actually had some things happen that I can’t deny and I hold them as precious. But, I’m not leaving my brain at the door. I’m not lockstepping with Franklin Graham and by the way it’s lovely how he just found the Lord in time to take over the mega organization of Billy Graham Ministries. Am I judging him? By their fruit you will know them. He’s in bed with the GOP and I hate to shake ya but GOP doesn’t stand for God’s Own Party. So, the hypocritical liberal lady that wanted me to be honest with my feelings? Well, I don’t argue on facebook. I don’t yell at my friends. But, this is my blog. I run my mouth about feelings and rock music and books and even religion. This is where I speak my mind. Nobody has to read it and it doesn’t come up in a rant in a newsfeed.

But, as always if you do read it I am honored. Agree or disagree I’m just honored that anyone would take the time to read a rant or an opinion that I post.

 

Peace.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

I"m just sittin here


Ever wonder what it would be like to just sit down and talk with Jesus? Now, maybe you don’t believe in Jesus as a historical reality. I do but you don’t have to for this to work. Maybe, you don’t believe there’s only one way to heaven, virgin births or dead bodies rising out of graves and just knitting back together via some kind of unknown spiritual alchemy. That’s okay too. I’m not a fundalmentalist these days either. As a matter of fact I keep a lot of what I think to myself when it comes to religion. I cringe equally at the pronouncements of zealous religious people and zealous atheists. Actually, I’ve come to the conclusion that reincarnation best fits the available information that I have. I have thought this and wrestled with this since the early 80’s while still maintaining my Christian identity. But, I’m not interested in convincing or putting my inner journey on trial for anyone else’s judgement, amusement or salvation. I’m not interested in proving anything.

I love meditation. I struggle with it often. It’s hard (even for me) J to let my mind go completely blank. Now my wife might disagree with that last part. But, when I meditate all of a sudden I have to pee. NEVER FAILS. My head itches, my arm is asleep, my leg feels heavy , every car that passes sounds like a jet taking off. But, every once in awhile I get still. I breathe. I just be. I think that if I can just get quiet enough. If I can just be still and listen. Look, right there where my third eye is supposed to be in the center of my forehead. I know you laugh but if I can just….

So, Steve how are you doing? It’s okay you are in a holy place. Only you and I have the right to be here. Sit down right there. It’s your spot. Now, it’s been what 60 years since you started out on this particular journey? Me: Well it’s actually over 59. No need to rush. J  

Oh, right. What’s time anyway? Now, I know it’s been a little hectic for you at times. I know you didn’t always get everything perfect and I know you haven’t always been treated perfectly. But, I do want you to know that the things you get right carry more weight on the scales of life than the things you get wrong.   Me: Whew, that helps. I can name several things I’ve gotten wrong since I got up this morning.

This social work thing still getting to you?  Me: Yeah, it is. I started out a little right wing and then after seeing so much oppression and sickness and poverty I started leaning pretty far left wing. But, lately seeing so much whining and blaming and not taking responsibility I’ve started to go back a little more center. Still there’s that time I passed the Mexican border for instance. It looked horribly poor over there. I couldn’t imagine blaming anyone for trying to get their family across the border. Also, since that time we almost lost our own home and I wasn’t sure how I was going to buy food and medicine and my child has asthma and I knew we were not lazy or sorry or leeches. But, we needed help. Hearing some of my right wing friends talk about Christ in one breath and letting children drop off Medicaid with the other was frustrating.  I’m to the point now where I just want to go out into the woods by the river and build a cabin and drink coffee in  the morning and tea in the afternoon and my inner 19 year old wants to smoke a doobie and just let the frickin world go by.

Yeah, it’s tough. Still, you enjoy that sunrise and I know you were awed by that moon the other night. I  also know your heart went out when you saw what happened to that child while working at DHR. You have a good heart and I know that could have made you more cynical.  Me: It’s just that I learned long ago that God isn’t a cosmic Santa Claus and there are times when crap happens. But, I get the feeling that right there in the midst of the pain and misery and evil that you are still there. I don’t see hopelessness. I see evil that is temporary. I see heart wrenching soul sucking hell that is still overshadowed by the hope that this is a pale shadow of a greater reality.

Yeah, nice words but it still hurts. People seem to forget the take up the cross part. No matter what you believe there aren’t any magic beans to save you from the world.

Me: Yeah, I sometimes think about how Christ showed (no matter your religion) that this world is so precious that the “Ground Of All Being” would take on flesh to participate in it. Yet, it so pales to the reality of who and what we really are that he would lay the flesh down in pain and move on to a better place in the eternal journey. It gives me hope even though I’m sure I’m a heretic to the fundamental Christian and a fool to the atheist.

Yeah, well have ya looked at what I was to the leaders of the temple? Don’t worry about it. You have to be honest with yourself. After all you can fool mankind but in your heart when you are alone at night you can’t escape what you really believe.

Me: You know there are times when I don’t really  buy into the personal daddy in the sky. But, there are other times when I really need to just sidle up beside you and rest.

It’s okay. You can relax here. You  can pull up beside me and just rest.

Me: I will. I really will.

I love you.

Me: I count on that. I count on that big time!