( 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.
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!
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
here&now working poetry
February 15, 2021
photos by Herb Stone
‘Pure Ice with Snow to Come’
poem: Lenten preparation
bleak late winter day
The two quotes below are foundational to my understanding of God and Christ consciousness, by whatever names, and to the spiritual practice of my daily life. While the quotes are from the Judeo-Christian tradition perspective, my study of other traditions supports that these perspectives are represented in them as well thus they are universal in their applicability.
The first quote is from Marcus Borg, a New Testament theologian and author. And the second quote is from Walter Brueggemann, an Old Testament theologian and author. Both are highly respected scholars and teachers in their fields and have written prodigiously.
Both quotes below address the non-partisan aspect of the political nature of Jesus’ Way and ancient Israel’s resistance to the dominant imperial Empires. They are political because they affect the way in which we live together in community. Their practice in our personal and collective lives includes resistance to the imperial accounts of reality grounded in power, control, and violence and the advocacy of alternative realities grounded in radical grace and radical love of authentic communities of belonging.
“The way of Jesus was both personal and political. It was about personal transformation. And it was political, a path of [nonviolent] resistance to the domination system and advocacy of an alternative vision of life together under God.”
“….the tradition of emancipatory covenant making….affirms human agents who have the capacity and responsibility to act transformatively for the well-being of the human community and the ecology of creation. All of that pertains to the ancient context wherein the subversive narrative of Israel lived in ongoing tension with imperial accounts of reality, and amid that tension resisted imperial accounts while proposing alternatives.”
And so we see that our struggles today against the imperialistic Empire’s accounts of reality (i.e., our resistance to insurrectionists attacking our democracy) in their dominant power, control, and violence are age old in their tensions between violent domination vis-a-vis liberation and freedom to live together in alternative communities of the Truth of Self and the authenticity of belonging. Until all are free none are free. The suffering of the other is also my suffering. So we resist and dream our dreams and see our visions of a better way together for which we must never stop working.
Tat tvam asi. That I am.
Shanti, shalom, peace dear Beloveds.