photos and videos by Herb Stone
Reflection: Richard Rohr on our apocalyptic times and our need for a stabilizing spiritual practice over the next four months (and always)
(with thanks and respect to my patron saint, Gertrud Nelson for sharing Richard’s words with me)
“We are without doubt in an apocalyptic time (the Latin word apocalypsis refers to an urgent unveiling of an ultimate state of affairs). Yeats’ oft-quoted poem “The Second Coming” then feels like a direct prophecy. See if you do not agree:
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Stand as a sentry at the door of your senses for these coming months, so “the blood-dimmed tide” cannot make its way into your soul.
If you allow it for too long, it will become who you are, and you will no longer have natural access to the “really deep well” that Etty Hillesum (Dutch author of the Nazi persecution of Jews in Amsterdam and who was killed in Auschwitz) returned to so often and that held so much vitality and freedom for her.
If you will allow, I recommend for your spiritual practice for the next four months that you impose a moratorium on exactly how much news you are subject to—hopefully not more than an hour a day of television, social media, internet news, magazine and newspaper commentary, and/or political discussions. It will only tear you apart and pull you into the dualistic world of opinion and counter-opinion, not Divine Truth, which is always found in a bigger place.
Instead, I suggest that you use this time for some form of public service, volunteerism, mystical reading from the masters, prayer—or, preferably, all of the above.
You have much to gain now and nothing to lose. Nothing at all.
And the world—with you as a stable center—has nothing to lose.”
photos: Gertrud Nelson, my patron saint
Richard Rohr (who I read widely) with my dear, late friend and spiritual teacher Jeff Blake
Thank you God for friends and teachers like these💓
Reflection: A rally call for all to join together and seek the higher Way of Life for all beings
There is no ‘good’ or ‘better’ Empire (note: see my definition of Empire below.)
Using the Empire’s power and control, which always ends in violence, to create a better Empire, is a liar’s and a fool’s mission ending in loss of liberty and oppression and death. (note: the current president’s ‘make america great again’ MAGA cry is a prime example of the presiding idea in that he proposes we build a ‘better Empire’.)
The Empire must be dismantled, abandoned, and ultimately given up on the altar of Life. In it’s place, there is the alternative, narrow, hard, seldom taken path of Life! The authentic community, neighborly community, kin-dom (which disciples of the Universal Cosmic Christ call the ‘kingdom of God’, but has many names) is our one true hope in the face of the Empire’s darkness and death machine.
Jesus, the son of man, in his Good News (gospels), described this path to Life very well. It is grounded in radical grace, radical love, humility, mercy, distributive justice, faith, peace, and hope! For those not religious or spiritual, these values have expression in secular life as well.
Those of us not ‘liars and fools’ and who value Life and liberty equally for all, over oppression and death, must respectfully put aside our perceived differences in culture, tribe, cause, etc. and come together collectively as one peoples whose purpose is to resist the Empire and dismantle it and to be the architects of the alternative, Life-and-liberty-giving, authentic community!
Beloveds, joining together here and now, dedicated to the true Way of Life, persisting in our cause and actions, we shall overcome the Empire’s darkness and death in these challenging times!!
Shalom, Shanti, Salaam, Peace
(I use the reality of ‘Empire’ a lot in my writing. Here is what that represents to me: the Empire is a way of ‘life’ and death that relies on it’s raw power and and its’ methods of controlling others to remain in power and control, and the Empire is always ready to institute violence and death to accomplish that’ sole mission. The means (power and control) justifies the ends (power, control, and violence). Examples of Empire in history are The Roman Empire (which murdered Jesus, Christians, and countless others in its’ reign) and the Nazi Empire (which murdered Jews and countless others in its’ reign). Today we see our own nation in the Empire building business of the current president and his administration and base, exercising its’ raw power and control to justify its’ continuance in power and control and its’ use of violence to further those ends in its’ violence towards and murder of our siblings of color and others. The Empire threatens Life and liberty, and it must be dismantled.)