Burned

I stood on the edge of a great mountain
I bathed in streams of snowmelt, cold and clear
My lungs like a bellows, pumping my heart
I lived in a world of little oxygen
I contemplated deep philosophies
There were no mysteries to challenge me
I spoke to God, and god spoke back to me
The divine word, resounding in the light
I looked down on the people with despair
I despised them, the unworthy masses

I cut my leg on a sharp stone, and fell
A pathogen set in, and I grew ill
My wound became discolored, infected
It crawled up my veins in jagged red streaks
I needed antibiotics. doctors
Despite my constitution, I would die
I was afraid for my life, mortified
By the ease with which I was struck down
I lost the mastery of my ego
My self-satisfaction turned to loathing

I was afraid, now, of death and darkness
Fever and pneumonia nearly took me
My powerful lungs, turned to feeble sacks
My muscles became flaccid, I was lost
I lived in a wheelchair, I could not work
I had no skills, I became dependent
I stewed in contempt, bewailing my fate
My lost holiness, my former station
I waited for the god I once walked with
To lift me from this world, to transform me

I became obsequious and grateful
For the few coins that were dropped in my cup
For the small sum of funds given to me
Deposited each month in my mailbox
I discovered the vice of alcohol
I measured a new form of endurance
How many days and nights could I stay drunk
I lost the bet, and died in an alley
I fell from my wheelchair with the garbage
Face down in my filth and my excrement

My spirit rose, lifting from the valley
I saw my mountain tall and forbidding
I cringed as I ascended, fearing God
Soiled as I was, and miserable
Broken as I was, unwashed, unshriven
I rose past the cold peak of my mountain
Rising higher than I had ever dreamed
The bright sun touched me with its tongues of fire
I was burned…burned alive, I was burned clean
By the brilliance of the spirit, love

Progress, Time and Place

Memory, what is it?

We have located the physical structure of memories in the proteins that form the engrams, that make-up the spindle fibers in the brain.

The tiniest sequences of amino acids form the web of neurons that house our consciousness.

But what is memory?

Are our memories only of the past, or are they also of the future…becoming now?

All that we are, everything we will ever be, all of it is right-before us, just beyond the reach of our finger tips, our potential-becoming-actual and concretizing in the past, like the rolling crest of a wave, churning in continuous motion.

Can you see it?

When the end that you have seen, the future you have anticipated, is realized in the present, what has occurred?

What has transpired when that moment slips into the past?

We are, each of us, fragments of a greater whole; we are splinters, specks of dust, we are the tiniest of seeds.

We are the infinite in germ, containing the whole in the part, like the DNA locked in our cells, the whole of who we are tangled in its double helix, awaiting the divine spark for it to unfold.

We are emotional beings, our memories of our experiences include the reality of how we felt, both in the moment of their instantiation, and later in the moments that we reflect on them.

There is the empirical reality of what is, or was, and there is the empirical reality of how we experienced it, felt it, internalized it, a process is always ongoing.

The past gets rewritten through the stories we tell, narration filters and therefore altars reality, not by changing he past, but by changing how the past is carried forward in the present and thereby projected into the future, conditioning us toward the end that we are seeking, the final cause that is the cause of all causes.

We are intellectual beings, thinking and perceiving, our memories of our experiences include the reality of how we narrate them, both in the moment of their instantiation, and later, in how we reflect on them.

The things we say about the events we participate in matter, both what we say aloud, and what we say to ourselves through the silent voice inside our head.

What we think and feel matters, our thoughts and feelings are real events, each and every one them. They happen, not in a private world unique to our individual experience, the occur in our experience, an experiential reality we share with the rest of creation, whether we chose to reveal those private moments or not.

Each in their own way has the potential to open our memories to us, our understanding of who we are, of what is, or bar us from the same.

The way is not a straight path, it is a winding road that navigates between the two, between the emotion and the intellect, pulling them together to form our understanding of the now, of what was, of who we are, and what will be.

The mystery of life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to experience, a wise man said.

We must pass over the threshold of our own experience, move through the transom clear headed and ready to record what we encounter, both within and without, making ourselves into a the blank slate, our spirit into the tabula rasa, a perfect mirror capturing the light of our experience.

The journey we take through our memories, those trips are not a reliving of the past, they are creative moments in the here and now, co-creative events taking place in the present, while re-creating the past.

To speculate about the future is like chasing after ghosts, such visions are as elusive as the memories we have about events that have already transpired.

What is real is what is happening now, but do not fool yourself, because it is almost certain that you do not know exactly what is taking place around you.

Every moment we experience is directed by two things; a set of historical antecedents that push events forward, and a set of motivations concerning the future, which direct them toward a desired end.

Every event we experience has a multiplicity of such things; antecedents and motivations, that are too many to count, encompass, or comprehend.

We never really know anything.

Our potentials are always changing, both our powers and our liabilities shift at any given moment.

Rise with your potential, float on the tide, welcome the weather that follows.

We labor in the now, and every moment is a new referent guiding us toward our dreams.

Nothing is static.

Everything is mutable, in flux, even the past. Such is the nature of time, and our memory of it.

This makes us co-creators in the universe, partners with the divine in the eternal moment.

We are, each of us, the center of the universe, the fulcrum of all progress, in our time and place, on the razor’s edge, spinning with the world, turning on the lathe of heaven.

A Homily – The Gospel of Luke 2: 41 – 52

The Gospel of the Day – 2015.12.27 (Sunday)

 

Propaganda

 

Every year the parents of Jesus used to go to Jerusalem for the feast of the Passover. When he was twelve years old, they went up for the feast as usual. When they were on their way home after the feast, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem without his parents knowing it. They assumed he was with the caravan, and it was only after a day’s journey that they went to look for him among their relations and acquaintances. When they failed to find him they went back to Jerusalem looking for him everywhere.

 

  Three days later, they found him in the Temple, sitting among the doctors, listening to them, and asking them questions; and all those who heard him were astounded at his intelligence and his replies. They were overcome when they saw him, and his mother said to him, ‘My child, why have, you done this to us? See how worried your father and I have been, looking for you.’ ‘Why were you looking for me?’ he replied ‘Did you not know that I must be busy with my Father’s affairs?’ But they did not understand what he meant.

 

  He then went down with them and came to Nazareth and lived under their authority. His mother stored up all these things in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom, in stature, and in favour with God and men.

 

(NJB)

 

Dangerous Myths

 

This narrative is a myth. It does give us any reliable information about who Jesus was, nor about his relationship with his parents; even though it purports to do so.

This is unfortunate.

It does tell us something about what the author of Luke wanted us to believe about Jesus. That his parents were faithful and observant Jews. They obediently went to Jerusalem for the Passover as required of them by the law. There they were counted and made their offerings to the temple.

The authors of Luke were also trying to tell us that Jesus was wise beyond his years, that he was capable of self-direction, that he had a sense of mission and purpose for his life. The authors of Luke also want us to believe that Jesus understood at this early age, long before his adult ministry began, that he was, in a unique way, a child of God. Finally, Luke wants us to understand that his submission to the authority of his parents was voluntary.

What is unfortunate about this narrative is this; instead of informing us about who Jesus is, it muddies our understanding by mythologizing him, and instead only tells us what the authors of Luke wanted us to believe about him, what their followers hoped was true.

Though the authors of Luke could not foresee this, these writings would come divide the Christian community from itself and precipitate centuries of bloody conflict over the question of Jesus’ divinity, his humanity and so forth.

I contend that the man who was Jesus of Nazareth, Joshua son of Joseph, would have been aghast at those developments. Jesus, the man spent his life and went to his death as a champion of justice, an advocate for mercy, as healer, as an advocate for the poor, the hungry, the homeless, the sick, the widow and the orphan.

Luke’s narrative is therefore a cautionary tale, reminding us of the necessity to cleave to the truth at all times, to separate our hopes, our desires, and most importantly our fears, from values we wish to convey.

The First Sunday of Christmas

Feast of the Holy Family