Reflection: The inside out and upside down ministry of Jesus, the Universal Cosmic Christ (by whatever name) and my prayer to be with those on the margins as God calls me

Reflection: The inside out and upside down ministry of Jesus, the Universal Cosmic Christ (by whatever name) and my prayer to be with those on the margins as God calls me

( I originally wrote the reflection below several years ago as I underwent a particularly challenging realization with the institutional church of which I was a congregant eventually resulting in my departing the church for what for me is a much more meaningful spiritual life centered in celebrating the gifts of all spiritual traditions and being grounded in the evolution of True Self (discipleship) and belonging together in authentic communities (the kingdom or kin-dom). My relationship with the Divine Cosmic Will (God by whatever name) has never been stronger.)

My increasing awareness, especially now in my life, is that Jesus is always with the outsider and outcast who suffers and hurts for the world and shares the pain of others.

Jesus leaves the institutional worship place, sometimes in anger, as we see in the Temple story of the ‘den of robbers,’ to be with those who are on the outside and who just can’t cut it in those places anymore. I think of this as the spirituality of imperfection. Certainly we all are united in our imperfections.

In Jesus going out to these outsiders, he, of course, takes leave of those who are arrogant and prideful and all knowing and thusly, the insiders of the worship place’s, with their dominant cultural traditions and hierarchical hegemony. These insiders are, of course, generally those leaders in power and control, officially or otherwise.

Other good and innocent souls linger there as well perhaps holding onto the law and its rules of right and wrong not having yet experienced the truth, beauty, and goodness of our shared suffering and wounds and imperfections.

God send me into the messiness of this world with the imperfect souls such as myself so that we might commune together in the dark shadows and light spirits as your Beloved children through grace, love, mercy, justice, peace, and hope!

Amen and Amen

poem: limping to the narrow gate of Eternal Life

poem: limping to the narrow gate
of Eternal Life

this morning, awakening
under a blanket of ice,
more sub-freezing and ice
coming, and then the big snow

covid continues nipping our heels
in a world of political turmoil
and nations divided with
endemic injustice holding steady

in this deep freeze season,
society fragile under cultural dominance
in an era far from the divine consciousness
besieged from all sides

limping into forty days of Lent,
smack in the face of our hubris, conceit,
and sentimentality, reflecting and praying
the plank be removed from our eyes

Herb Stone
here&now working poetry
February 15, 2021

photos by Herb Stone
‘Pure Ice with Snow to Come’

 

 

 

poem: one can not serve two masters

poem: one can not serve two masters

to what dominant influence
are you captive
to what master has your life
become like chattel

is your master
fear, greed, envy,
pride, desire, wrath,
power, control, domination

or is your master
grace, love, Self truth,
wholeness, mutuality, healing,
belonging, Cosmic consciousness

who are we,
what is our purpose,
what is our life’s meaning,
what is it we intend to create here

mind your surroundings,
what are you receiving
with open hands and
on what do you stand

truth, beauty, and goodness
or falsity, repulsiveness, and depravity,
what is it you intend to create
on this Earth with this one, wild life

that which is not transformative
for the personal and collective good
is transmitted as suffering from
person to person and generation to generation

choose to be the change
the world needs and
apply yourself through
disciplined practice benefiting all beings

dedicate yourself to
creative expression which
sets all free, liberates, and
connects all in kinship and belonging

Herb Stone
here&now working poetry
February 4, 2021

Art images:

1) Harry Sternberg, ‘Fascism’

2) Kate Deciccio, ‘Amanda Gorman, American Poet’

(reader’s note: gratitude to those who have
influenced me and whose influence is
flowing through this poem: Jesus, the Christ,
from his sermon on the mound found in the Gospel
of Mark, Gary Zukav, Mary Oliver, Richard Rohr,
Maya Angelo, and Mark Nepo)

Reflection: The role of the contemporary white institutional church in the rise of alt-right politics in our nation

Reflection: The role of the contemporary white institutional church in the rise of alt-right politics in our nation

The alt-right political movement, emboldened by ex-president X over the past six years, found a safe haven, and in many cases support, in the contemporary white churches of the U.S. With their cheap grace, free of repentance and confession, and their ‘country club’ mentality of catering to members for a membership fee, .i.e, tithing, these churches and their members invoke the name of Jesus in heretical blasphemy.

It is, of course, ironic that the contemporary church offers sanctuary and support to the modern empire and its oppressive regimes. As far back as the medieval church, the doors of churches were painted red to signify they were places of refuge and sanctuary for those needing to escape oppression, particularly the oppression of the Empires, who were all powerful and whose citizens had no rights. And today, it is just the opposite, with the church providing sanctuary to the oppressor Empire.

And so, tragically, we find the contemporary white institutional church simply to compromised and complicit with the dominant culture of power, control, and violence to do anything about this subversion of its’ true mission which is to act according to the Gospels and its’ kerygmatic vision of God’s kingdom, i.e., the alternative community of true belonging of all through radical grace and radical love as proclaimed by Jesus, the Christ.

This interjection of the dominant culture into the churches true mission is called ‘Christendom,’ and more contemporarily ‘Christofascism,’ and has been around in the history of the church since the Edict of Milan signed with Emperor Constantine of the Roman Empire in 313 which established the Emperor’s protection for the then persecuted Christians. ‘Christofascism’ is reflected in the Nazi’s political efforts to subvert and control the Christian church in Germany in its’ efforts of ethnic cleansing, mass genocide, and world domination.

And so what does the future hold for these failing churches? The theologian and author, John Douglas Hall, asks in his 2010 article in The Christian Century, ‘ “What then is the mission of a church that can no longer count on its favored status in Western civilization to ensure its meaning and its continued existence?” Hall’s answer is that the church must recognize its failure to act according to the Gospel and begin to witness and serve outside or on the edge of the dominant culture. For the church to survive and be faithful to its message, it must change, or ultimately die, according to Hall.’ (note: the Hall quote is from an article in ‘Sightings’ by Charles Maynard, a professor at the University of Washington).

The role of the white Christian church in the rise of the alt-right political movement can not be over-emphasized, and its’ untenable consequences for our democratic nation and all its citizens must be recognized. Those white churches so complicit and supportive must be resisted at every turn by people of good conscience, and its influence eliminated by those of the true faith knowing truth will overcome the lies of the alt-right.

Book suggestions for further reading regarding Christianity’s complicity with the dominant culture and its’ failing churches: 1) ‘The Silent Cry: Mysticism and Resistance’ by Dorothee Soelle, and 2) “What Christianity is Not” by John Douglas Hall.

poem: ex-president X sounds pleasant in our mouth and in our ear

poem: ex-president X sounds
pleasant in our mouth and in

our ear

the new moniker for the man
whose name is never said
referring not just to one
small man’s official title but also
to their enormous responsibilities

ex-president X was thrust shocked
into our brain resulting
in trauma and toxic shock syndrome
sickening the minds of millions
and radicalizing millions more

like the X factor
ex-president X was
inexplicable and unknowable
bombastic evil personified
and a shadow upon the land

there must never be
another such assault
in our system politic
posing such a threat to
our sanity and way of life

less stalwart souls
and discerning minds
are lost and flummoxed
and the most fragile perish
from the incompetence

now ex-president X is removed
from the world stage
a bad actor and two bit con
flubbing his lines
bombing another gig

may he live out his life
in ignominy and loneliness
far from the world stage
a history lesson learned
never to be repeated

ex-president X rolls
off the tongue, is pleasant
in our ears, and timely
so that the grieving, lamenting,
accountability, and healing begin

Herb Stone
here&now working poetry
January 22, 2021

photo by The Columbia Dispatch
‘The Maddened Crowd’