May 16, 2005

Moses heard a shepherd on the road praying,
"God,
Where are you? I want to help you, to fix your shoes
and comb your hair. I want to wash your clothes
and pick the lice off. I want to bring you milk
to kiss your little hands and feet when it's time
for you to go to bed. I want to sweep your room
and keep it neat. God, my sheep and goats
are yours. All I can say, remembering you,
is ayyyy and ahhhhhhhh."

Moses could stand it no longer.
"Who are you talking to?"

"The one who made us,
and made the earth and made the sky."

"Don't talk about shoes
and socks with God! And what's this with your little hands
and feet?
Such blasphemous familiarity sounds like
you're chatting with your uncles.
Only something that grows
needs milk. Only someone with feet needs shoes. Not God!
Even if you meant God's human representatives,
as when God said, 'I was sick and you did not visit me,'
even then this tone would be foolish and irreverent.

Use appropriate terms. Fatima is a fine name
for a woman, but if you call a man Fatima,
it's an insult. Body-and-birth language
are right for us on this side of the river,
but not for addressing the origin,
not for Allah."

The shepherd repented and tore his clothes and sighed
and wandered into the desert.

A sudden revelation
came then to Moses. God's voice:

You have separated
me from one of my own. Did you come as a Prophet to unite,
or to sever?

I have given each being a separate and unique way
of seeing and knowing and saying that knowledge.

What seems wrong for you is right for him.
What is poisonous to one is honey to someone else.

Purity and impurity, sloth and diligence in worship,
these mean nothing to me.
I am apart from all that.
Ways of worshipping are not to be ranked as better
or worse than one another.

Hindus do Hindu things.
the Dravidian Muslims in India do what they do.
It's all praise, and it's all right.

It's not me that's glorified in acts of worship.
It's the worshipers! I don't hear the words
they say. I look inside at the humility.

That broken-open lowliness is the reality,
not the language! Forget phraseology.
I want burning,
burning.
Be friends
with your burning. Burn up your thinking
and your forms of expression!

Moses,
those who pay attention to ways of behaving
and speaking are one sort.
Lovers who burn
are another.

Don't impose a property tax
on a burned-out village. Don't scold the Lover.
The "wrong" way he talks is better than a hundred
"right" ways of others.

Inside the Kaaba
it doesn't matter which direction you point
your prayer rug!

The ocean diver doesn't need snowshoes!
The love-religion has not code or doctrine.

Only God.

So the ruby has nothing engraved on it!
It doesn't need markings.

God began speaking
deeper mysteries to Moses. Vision and words,
which cannot be recorded here, poured into
and through him. He left himself and came back.
He went to eternity and came back here.
Many times this happened.

It's foolish of me
to try and say this. If I did say it,
it would uproot human intelligences.
It would shatter all writing pens.

Moses ran after the shepherd.
He followed the bewildered footprints,
in one place moving straight like a castle
across a chessboard. In another, sideways,
like a bishop.

Now surging like a wave cresting,
now sliding down like a fish,
with always his feet
making geomancy symbols in the sand,
recording
his wandering state.

Moses finally caught up
with him.
"I was wrong. God has revealed to me
that there are no rules for worship.
Say whatever
and however your loving tells you to. Your sweet blasphemy
is the truest devotion. Through you a whole world
is freed.
Loosen your tongue and don't worry what comes out,
It's all the light of the spirit."

The shepherd replied,
"Moses, Moses,
I've gone beyond even that.
You applied the whip and my horse shied and jumped
on itself. The divine nature of my human nature
came together.
Bless your scolding hand and your arm.
I can't say what has happened.
What I'm saying now
is not my real condition. It can't be said."

The shepherd grew quiet.

When you look in a mirror,
you see yourself, not the state of the mirror.
The flute player puts breath into the flute,
and who makes the music? Not the flute,
The flute player!

Whenever you speak praise
or thanksgiving to God, it's always like
this dear shepherd's simplicity.

When you eventually see
through the veils to how things really are,
you will keep saying again
and again,

"This is certanly not like
we thought it was!"

-Rumi

April 05, 2005

Ohio pulls away the welcome mat

March 27, 2005

Lest any of ye think that I have forgotten about God, I have not forgotten about God.  I am still looking, but the nature of my search has shifted and become less frantic. 

I often stumble upon the thought that spirituality is largely based on a fear of the unknown, and of a need for comfort in a largely comfortless world. 

Then I stumble upon the thought that the world works too perfectly for there not to be a God, that it is impossible not to see God in everything around us.

Then I stumble upon a rock, and I curse the God that put it in my way.

February 27, 2005

Our Godless Constitution

February 15, 2005

The mystery does not get any clearer by repeating the question,
nor is it bought with going to amazing places.

Until you've kept your eyes
and your wanting still for fifty years,
you don't begin to cross over from confusion.

-Rumi

February 13, 2005

I'm not sure what to write in here anymore. 

I've spent a year wondering about God, I've read the Bible from cover to cover, I've had discussions & arguments with those both spiritual and non...  and here I am:  I believe that there is a God--a higher power that we don't understand--but I really don't know what the nature of that God is, what this God demands of us (if it demands anything of us), if this God actually interferes in our lives or just watches us flail about.

These are all things I have written here before, in one form or another, but perhaps worth repeating.

I was an agnostic bordering on atheism a year and a half ago--I didn't "hate God" (as someone was known to insist at the time), I just didn't consider God.  Now that I consider God, I don't know what to do with him/her/it.

Perhaps I should read the Koran now, and then...what?  The Mormon Bible?  So many religious texts, so little time.  This brings me back to my struggle accepting Christianity: to follow the Christian path is to render all other paths wrong, and I really don't think that God would want it that way.  So much of the spiritual path we choose (Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, etc.) seems based on where we were born, how we were raised, that for God to essentially punish those who choose wrong seems essentially unfair.  I think God, if anything, is fair. 

Does that make sense to anyone?

February 04, 2005

Dear Jef, bad news I am afraid. The sales team have said no to the cross image on the cover. They say in their markets it will be read as Klu Klux Klan and it will have a negative effect on sales. I have to find a new image. This has occurred after the editor and team gave it the thumbs up but if Sales feel strongly about a cover we have to listen to what they say.

Whilst I cannot now pay a reproduction fee we should pay something for your time and trouble. I will therefore get our Accounts department to pay £50 into your account.

My sincere apologies.

I really needed this money, but I realize that these things happen.  If anything, I'm trying to understand why this happened.  If everything happens for a reason, then why this?  If there is a God, and if he does more than just watch us flail, why would he do this?

Did I do something wrong? 

January 29, 2005

I needed money, and money came with a seeming note from God. 

There are many pictures on my other website, but the one that they wanted was of a neon cross.  A neon cross for the cover of a to-be-published book called “A Brief History of Christianity.”  Perfect for the cover, they wrote, and here is $400.00.  I’ve taken better pictures, but ok. 

I can’t help but look at this in terms of God providing for me, or some such sentiment.  Is it true though, or is this just a coincidence?  Is the concept of coincidence just a mask for the mostly-unrecognized work of a higher power?  When we say “what a coincidence!” are we really denying God’s work in lieu of the simpler randomness of life explanation?

I don’t know.  I still don’t know.  But this year I pause, last year I wouldn’t have.

January 09, 2005

The Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience

January 07, 2005

"I cannot imagine a God who rewards and punishes the objects of his creation, whose purposes are modeled after our own - a God, in short, who is but a reflection of human frailty. It is enough for me to contemplate the mystery of conscious life perpetuating itself through all eternity, to reflect upon the marvelous structure of the universe which we can dimly perceive and to try humbly to comprehend even an infinitesimal part of the intelligence manifested in Nature."

-Albert Einstein

December 05, 2004

I was at a Dave & Buster's with a good friend of mine, we were drinking and playing video games, as you do at Dave & Buster's.  We sat down at a tank battle game, and I noticed  that someone had left their wallet next to my seat.  I picked up the wallet and proceeded to look through it, take the money that was inside it, and then put it back where I found it.  I don't remember thinking that it was a bad thing to do at the time, I just remember being relatively broke and happy to have found some money.  My friend, I remember, seemed a bit off-put by what I'd done, but he didn't say anything in condemnation or judgment.  It wasn't his way then, and it isn't now.

I've been thinking about that incident quite a bit lately, trying to understand exactly who I was back then.  It was wrong, what I did, it is now unavoidably wrong.  I don't remember thinking that it was wrong back then, only that it was easy.

We can't take back these things we've done, all we can do is come to some sort of terms with them.  Is it enough to realize the wrongs I've committed in the past, or must I stretch myself beyond simple goodness in order to regain my balance?  Should I give away twenty-seven dollars as a sort of penance?  Does a confession on here make any difference?  Does God read this website?

I'm a better person now, and I'm not sure if I attribute this to spirituality or the clarity that comes with getting older.  Being good, being very good, is a worthwhile pain in the ass.  It's easy not to steal money from found wallets, it's very hard to turn the right cheek when someone has repeatedly smacked the left.

November 10, 2004

clarification

November 07, 2004

If there is indeed a God, I am certain that he would not want us to treat homosexuals the way America is treating them.  The Gay Marriage amendment that passed in eleven states is not protecting anything, is not making our country better, is not doing anything but legislating hatred. 

If there is indeed a God, I am certain that he would not be happy about the way George Bush used him as a campaign platform, is still using him to justify the killing of tens of thousands of innocent people, and is invoking his name to mask what would otherwise be called hatred.

Everything that I find ugly and misguided about American Christianity has revealed itself in this last election.  I don't want to be a member of that club.

Whatever happened to: "love your neighbor as yourself?" (Matthew 22:39)

Or what about: "Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you?" (Luke 6:27-28)

Was there a "but" or an "except" left out of my copy of the Bible?

November 04, 2004

those gays

October 25, 2004

George, God here...

October 23, 2004

A blogger named Maggi Dawn recently posted a link to one of my posts, and I've gotten several (dare I say) heartwarming comments from people who have found me through her site.

No, the blogger doesn't mind being linked, and the comments made the blogger very happy and thinky.

October 22, 2004

"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God." --Matthew 5:9

October 05, 2004

Maybe a little bit. A little bit more, lately.

I missed her last week, and so I told Him, and suddenly there she was as typed words on a small screen. I don't know what it all means, I've come to believe that I probably never will to my satisfaction, only that it seemed like an answer of sorts. An unavoidably clear answer looking at me, and afterwards there is just me and more questions.

And I haven't written in here in a spell, but not because of anything. There's only so much one can write about a spiritual search, and I was beginning to repeat myself.

September 13, 2004

If There Is No God

If there is no God,
Not everything is permitted to man.
He is still his brother's keeper
And he is not permitted to sadden his brother,
By saying that there is no God.

-Czeslaw Milosz (1911-2004)

September 02, 2004

I finally finished the Bible today -- I read both the Peters, all three Johns, Jude, and Revelation over a tall coffee at Starbucks this afternoon. Cover to cover, it took me almost eight months to read, from January tenth to September second. As books go, it was pretty good -- it was a bit repetitive in many places, rather wordy in others, and usually quite hard to decipher. It's easy to understand how people interpret it in so many different ways, but not so hard to see the essential truth being conveyed:

"God is love." (1 John 4:16)

I think that this perfect and simple truth should, but too often doesn't, supercede many of the unfortunate interpretations being made of the Bible. It's pretty clear by the end of the book that this is the main idea, how is it that so many people seem to be missing this? I should amend this by saying that I realize that many people do understand and live by this idea, but the problem to me is the many people who don't.

I digress...

The obvious question at this point goes something like "did reading the book bring you closer to God?" When I started reading the Bible I didn't believe that there was a God, now I am pretty sure there is. I pray on most nights, but I don't address my prayers to any specific God -- just "God." The real question is whether the Bible brought me closer to Jesus Christ, and to this question I still have no answer. I'm willing to accept the existence of a divine presence/power, but I'm still on the fence as to whether that divine whathaveyou and the one I just spent eight months reading about are the same.

I keep looking, I keep posting, you keep reading.

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