Friday, December 28, 2007

another comment gone awry

merry belated christmas and a happy nearly new year to you all.

obviously there is a misunderstanding here. i was intentionally being vague in talking about who exactly it was that was offended because it wasn't really the focal point of what i was sharing. i was simply trying to say that the issue was there, it was affecting me, and i would like prayer about it. sharing is a necessary step so that my emotions don't back up on me. and i in turn do something outrageous. talking about it was the first step to try to deal with the complex emotions in a healthy manner, since the peace was not coming on its own after meditation like usual. it was not to gossip or drag anyone down. (btw, nate, god gets a good healthy dose of my rage at least once every 1-2 weeks. he can handle it, though. he's real good about it, actually.)

but since it seems to be the sticking point, i shall try to elaborate gently. the people in question are not my parents. my mother and father have been nothing but wonderful and supportive and shown nothing but nonjudgemental, unconditional love these past few years as i've gone through this. i honor my parents greatly not simply because it is demanded of me, but also because they deserve it as much as any set of parents this earth has seen. if they had a problem, they didn't say anything to anyone.

so this also means that those in question are not the "hosts" either. they are "guests" along with me.

the original story goes like this. when erin, the kids, and i visited duluth for the last time over the 4th of july, i brought my favorite shirt with me. we arrived the afternoon of the 3rd, spent the entire day on the 4th, and left after lunch on the 5th. i wore the shirt during lunch on the 5th.

skip to a couple of months later when 2 of our syblings were helping our parents to move into their new house. on the way back from that excursion, one sybling told our youngest sybling about the shirt and just how disrespectful it was to everyone there. of course, youngest let me know about it. and our elder sybling is right. the shirt was worn very deliberately.

it's just the motives that are being mistaken.

i had prayed about this alot beforehand, and i felt the clearance to bring my shirt with me. i did, however, out of respect feel that i should leave my other favorite shirts at home. these would include:

you see. now these, i feel, would have been completely crossing the line. the other one, well, it is as its name implies.

i felt in my spirit that it was time to start coming out of the closet to my family about who i really am. i thought one of the best and gentlest ways to do this was to simply wear my favorite shirt, which is cut from a very different cloth, and say nothing about it. simply let it be.

and i believe god felt the same way. at least, if she felt differently, she didn't let me know that. she did however say that it was only to be worn on the last day for the last meal, out of respect. so that's what i did. in fact, between the time i put it on and people were walking out the door to begin their respective treks home again, was less than 45 minutes.

and it's hard for me to see how 45 minutes is too much to ask of someone. to allow me to be fully comfortable for that small span of time while i have been holding back and censoring myself in many ways for 45 hours. i doubt that anyone or anything short of holy spirit intervention will help me to understand why it has to be all or nothing. why even the tininest bit of tolerance can't be dished out. i'm all for people being honest, in fact, if someone would have said something in the moment, we could have discussed it and perhaps even deepened our relationship through discussion about it.

but it wasn't like that.

as always, i have nuanced so much that i have run out of time. i do have follow up on this christmas and how things went, as well as addressing michelle's questions regarding job and finances. i have some for you as well, michelle, if you don't mind. be back in a couple of days...

Saturday, December 22, 2007

reflection, roadblocks, and rage

as we come to the end of another western calander year, i look back. where i am now is so different than where i was a year ago. which is so different from where i was 2 years ago. so, for anyone interested, here are a couple of december classics for your perusal.

last year.
two years ago.

what's next for us? only god knows. i have begun to share with people that i consider the gatherings in our home as being church. the thought seems to shock them initially, to be replaced by genuine smiles of joy as i explain why. although i am sure that it is only a surface understanding, i hope it will continue to grow as will the gatherings. they are only happening once a month right now, but that seems to work best for people at the moment. and the gatherings themselves aren't the main part as church is not simply a gathering but the lives we live in the world moment to moment. and that is the truly exciting part. bringing the party with you wherever you go and drawing people into it if only for a brief moment.

which makes an offer i received last week concerning. it has been put forth to me that i could receive a promotion. which, on the human-sense side seems to be a good thing. however, it has the great potential to consume my mind and life and priorities with worldly things, and i don't want to see that happen. the times i have tried to hold both in my hands has only torn me apart, and i don't want to go the wrong way again. needing your prayers for wisdom and guidance please.

and lastly, i am filled with much anger as i think about going to my parents' for christmas and seeing the family. not simply because of all the things that went down last year and this summer with my bulk email. there is a shirt... well, here. let me show you.

this is my favorite shirt in the world. i feel much better about myself when i wear it, and it is extremely comfortable, so it also makes it my favorite piece of lounge-wear as well. yet, the last time it was worn at a family get together this summer, apparently, there was talk of indignation and disrespect. i wouldn't really know because all of the talk was done behind my back. no one talked with me directly. so now i am faced with a dilemma which on the surface seems silly, but runs very deep for me. it would be easy for me to simply leave the shirt at home and avoid the whole issue, but i wouldn't be doing it because it is what i truly feel inside. i would be doing it to kowtow to other's wishes yet again, and playing this character of who "jon" is in their minds, rather than them accepting me for who i am. it is that very reason that i wanted to stop attending church. i was sick of having to pretend to be someone else in order to receive love and acceptance. and i don't want to go back there again. more prayers for more wisdom please. as well as peace. because the anger gets overwhelming the more i think about it.

have a great christmas and a good new year.

much love from the peres clan.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

a good example, continued

(i started this to simply sum up and tie ends together, but it ended up being something else entirely. so i decided to make it a post instead of just another comment. hopefully you'll take the time to read it. it stands as a response to the last 3 comments from the previous post. upon completion it made the title of "a good example" more relevant and nuanced than upon original intention. hmmmm.)

wendy - those who have tasted and fallen away, manipulative leaders, love of money and evil roots... things that have definitely taken over the mainstream of our global society. something i definitely want to investigate and discuss further, if any are willing, to take a good hard look at our world and what is happening in it all over. which is one reason i am thankful to have both hemispheres represented here. would be nice to get an asian or african perspective thrown in as well. anyone know anyone in those places who enjoys questioning and studying the scriptures in a most unorthodox way, who is not offended to hear viewpoints that differ from their own, and who has an internet connection?

tess - thank you for coming back and addressing my original question. we kind of spiraled off.

"I think the Pharisees were following laws for their own self advancement, not out of a love for the God who made the law."
not out of a true heart love, i would agree. but they were doing it out of a heart for obedience to god as well as self-advancement. which is where the wicket, for me, gets sticky. the topic of "the religion of the pharisees" and the many, many parallels to modern american evangelical christianity is a discussion all its own so i won't delve here. but i will ask, "isn't a heart set on being obedient to god, even for your own personal advancement in religion as well as resurrection, what these people were taught it meant to love god?" i believe it was the pharisees' heart desire to be obedient to god, protect his word, and persecute all those who taught anything different. which is what they were taught by the law. i believe their desire was to never be destroyed or exiled again and so they set out to make absolutely sure that it never happened again by paying extreme attention to the letter of the law.

which, yet again, is what god asked of them back in deuteronomy. in fact, in deuteronomy alone there are 5 separate admonitions to "obey all these laws" so that they may prosper. (personal advancement!) so it is my stance that obeying the law for personal advancement is what they were commanded to do, according to their limited understanding. we know now that this understanding was incorrect, but to be fair, and i think the very heart of my question here, "how were they to know any better?"

when such a priority was given to obeying and performing the rituals, how were they to break free from the pattern?

to paraphrase you, things got hairy because jesus was telling them that their rituals were not enough, and in many cases downright wrong. yet these rituals had been formed and handed down as a way of pleasing god and never breaking his law. which is something god commanded of them. so, in their minds, jesus was telling them to disobey god. and there's only one thing you do with a heretic who misleads so many people on a grand scale like that.

"The pharisees lacked the ability to love God more than they loved themselves."
precisely my point. they lacked the ability. they didn't have a conception of it. because, in my mind, it almost seems as if god shaped them to be that type of people, at that moment in history, in order to accomplish his work. which, in my mind again, seems as if he set them up. by emphasising over and over again that he wanted them to be a people who keep the entire law without fail, without prejudice, and without mercy. and that they should get rid of those who do not follow accordingly before they "lead you astray."

which makes it an amazing and quite well thought out plan, if it happened on purpose like that. you just don't think of god as being the type to set people up like that to be the scapegoats. that's the disturbing part for me. because i very much feel like i got set up. and that may be something no one else here can relate to. feeling like you got set up for a beat down by following god and doing what he asked of you. yet, scripture is littered with examples of people, in my mind, who got beat down by doing what they thought in their hearts was what god wanted them to do. jesus would be among this group.

(all i will say about A&S here is that many people since have sold property or any number of things and only given a portion of it to the church instead of the whole amount and yet they live. in fact, i'm sure it happens on almost a daily basis. weird.)

"Jesus never spoke a word against what was written in the law." i suppose that would all depend on what you would consider "against". in fact, on more than one occasion, jesus amends or downright corrects the law. for example, Matt.19:8-9. jesus says that moses permitted divorce. (something written in the law) he then says that it really isn't permissible unless adultery is involved. thereby nullifying, or correcting, or speaking "against" the law.
(as an interesting side note, jesus always attributes the law to moses and not god. on only one occasion does jesus attribute the law to god and that was in the case of one of the ten commandments.Matt.15:5-6, Mk.7:11-13.)

"However, if we still followed orthodox jewish costums i don't think Jesus would mind as long as we did it out of love for him."
i agree with this. yet, in my opinion, observing laws and traditions is a very slippery slope as the pharisees and evangelical christians have found out the hard way.

patti! thanks for finding your way over, and more than anything, thank you for sharing your thoughts. to commemorate the occasion i have prepared a bundt cake. my first try, but i think it turned out rather well. feel free to have some.

thank you so very much for listening and sharing. it is all too rare to find someone who will wait and listen for the spirit. or even knows how to do that. (which, yet again, is another discussion for another time) the words you shared are words of life. and they also hit on very important things for me as well.

"because I AM"- the only real answer moses and job received for having to endure, or preparing to endure, all manner of hardships for following god. and a strange answer it is at that. instead of trying to explain it to us, god simply says "you don't need to know."

that doesn't, however, stop me from wondering and asking. and in fact, i think is a very healthy process to first of all admit to myself that i have these questions, and then be willing and able to ask them and discuss them freely.

"He was saying if you know my Father, and that I am from Him (and I am Him) than you would know that I am good and trustworthy, and you would come to Me."
one of my great confusions. trying to understand the seeming discrepencies between the character that is clearly and consistantly displayed in jesus and the charachter that is displayed somewhat erratically in jehovah in the OT. trying to understand and come to terms with it.

because i am healing from some pretty serious wounds. in a way in which the only people i feel as though i've been able to relate to on this have been dead for thousands of years. i actually get isaiah, jeremiah, ezekiel, the apostles, and so on and so forth. i understand god asking you to do outlandish, even outrageous and seemingly blasphemous things that will most certainly catch the attention of those in your religious circle. but more than catch their attention, incite them towards a violent heart. all the while, onlookers think that you're absolutely out of your mind. but you follow nonetheless only to be beat down and left for dead on the outskirts of town. the reward of the faithful in this world. time and time again this scenario has been played out, and i feel as though i was caught up in one such scenario and know not why.

for me to be an example? an example of what? radical obedience? willingness to be lead anywhere, even to slaughter? to show the evils that have crept in to evangelicalized religion on the whole? to be an example of what will happen if you read the bible for yourself and then stand up for what you believe to be truth? to help show young people how the religion of the pharisees has become, in many very real ways, the religion of evangelical christianity and its leaders?

and if any of these are the case, did any of the witnesses even notice these things? how many of them were paying attention? how many of them can handle that the truth of the matter was swept under the rug and they were fed lies by the leaders they trust so much? and that they were fed these lies so that the leaders could appear righteous while, in their minds, "be obedient to god, protect his word, and persecute him who taught anything different." sound familiar?

was it all for nothing? right now, it seems so. except for the one fact that i am now free. i am free from traditional and doctrinal restraints that would seek to hold me back from going anywhere and everywhere with the good news of grace.

one reason i believe the lord silenced you on the point of "raw language". although it may not be a freedom you have, it is certainly well within the boundaries of conscience he has given me, as well as it being the simple and plain language of the world i find myself sent to. and to nitpick over something so trivial as groupings of consonants and vowels is so much less important, and would only cause division. rather than the course you have chosen. to be able to set aside such silly things and chat about the great and unsearchable things. i applaud and thank you for being obedient in this.

anyway, thanks again for stopping by. feel free to come around and join in anytime. i can use all of the advice, perspective, and tempering i can get.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

a good example

JOS 7:19-20 Then Joshua said to Achan, "My son, I implore you, give glory to the LORD, the God of Israel, and give praise to Him; and tell me now what you have done. Do not hide it from me." So Achan answered Joshua and said, "Truly, I have sinned against the LORD, the God of Israel..."
JOS 7:24-25 Then Joshua and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, the silver, the mantle, the bar of gold, HIS SONS, HIS DAUGHTERS, his oxen, his donkeys, his sheep, his tent and all that belonged to him; and they brought them up to the valley of Achor. Joshua said, “Why have you troubled us? The LORD will trouble you this day.” And all Israel stoned them with stones; and they burned them with fire after they had stoned them with stones.

John 8:3-11 The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery, and having set her in the center of the court, they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act. “Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?”... He straightened up, and said to them, “ He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her...” When they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones, and He was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the center of the court. Straightening up, Jesus said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “ I do not condemn you, either..."

LEV 20:10 If there is a man who commits adultery with another man’s wife, one who commits adultery with his friend’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.

i have been reading through the OT for about 3 years nowas i was largely ignorant of what was contained in it. not that the sunday school teachers and pastors didn't talk about it. they did. but it was the same few stories over and over again. there are no flannelgraphs for the levite and his concubine. (Judges 19) but that's another story.

as of late, as i said to my niece a couple of weeks ago, i can only read about one chapter a week because i am so disturbed by the things i am reading. and i believe i have finally been able to put my finger on the crux of the question. which is a very old question, but it remains all the same.

why is there such a difference between god and the way he deals with people in the OT and the NT. not saying there are no similarities at all, but sometimes there are differences so great, they don't make any sense to my mind. and here is one.

so often the story of jesus and the woman caught in adultery is lauded as a great example of the mercy of god shown to us through his son as an example for us to follow in the way we treat others. by treating them as we would have them treat us. with much mercy and grace and judgement-free forgiveness. jesus is seen as a great hero when he calls out the harshness of the pharisees and silently chides them for being so merciless showing them that they indeed are no better than this woman.

but here's the twofold problem for me...

1. - in stopping this proceeding, jesus is in direct opposition to the law which was given by god who commanded his people to follow it upon pain of death and curses for disobedience.

2. - jesus, who is supposedly god, is chiding men FOR DOING EXACTLY WHAT GOD INSTRUCTED THEM TO DO! god is the one who taught the jewish people to kill those who do "wrong" and pounded the point home time and again through exiles and destructions until the jews had decided they would follow the law to the letter and not stray again.

so if jesus is the exact representation of the father, why did he do this? why did the father command jews to stone people, only to rebuke them later for obeying his command? how can a god desire his people to stone a man and HIS ENTIRE FAMILY who did not participate in his "wrongdoing" and later find it strange that his people were hardened and merciless when he commanded them to be so?

this disturbs me. and pat answers about god "having his reasons" and "his ways being higher than our ways" ring very fucking hollow. because somewhere a little girl, through no fault of her own, had her head bashed in by big rocks. and it pleased the lord. what was it like to be part of that mob? did it strike any of them as fucked up? or were they so filled by the "fear of the lord" at this point (because of all the smitings and killings and pestilences and plagues for disobedience) that although they didn't want to kill innocent children, they wanted to preserve themselves and their own households? very understandable. but a real fucked up choice to have to make in the first place. i mean, achan even admitted his wrongdoing, apologized, and told them where to find the evidence!

if any human exhibited this type of terroristic control over a group of people, he would be labeled a psychopath and a terrifically evil man. yet once again, jesus, who is supposed to be this same god in the flesh, does not exhibit any of these corrupt and megalomanical tendancies.

very disturbing and confusing indeed.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

party on!

i am beginning to feel like my old self again. in large measure because of saturday night. we had a house load (8 people total) and had a wonderful time. joy and laughter were abundant. as well as sharing and love between people who did not know each other well before the beginning of the evening. it was a great thing to witness and be a part of.
erin made home-made buffalo chicken bites and chocolate chip cookie-ice cream sandwiches. we played games. we shared. we laughed. but mostly, we connected and deepened relationships and love. it was good to see how, at one point, the games (which i consider to merely be a vehicle for social interaction) fell into the background and we simply connected with one another for almost an hour without needing that vehicle! a major improvement, in my mind, from the days of the past. good to be a part of. it fills me once again with hope and possiblity. i did not find a time as i hoped where i felt lead to share that doing this was church for me. yet having this knowledge within me it was good to see that people were willing to engage in church of this nature for 6 hours! and at the end, people were energized, rejuvenated, and hungry for more. we'll see where this goes!

Friday, October 19, 2007

like sands through the hour glass...

i woke up again with more crushing despair. when i wake up like that lately, it is difficult. no. nearly impossible to change my frame of mind and outlook. the darkness just comes and comes and comes. and the only thing that relieves it even slightly is to talk about it and let it out rather than let it pile up inside. i was in the midst of listing in detail all of the things that weigh me down when erin said, "enough! i can't live like this any more."
the main source of my despair coming in the form of my latest job. foray number three into restaurant management. it had started off with promise but rapidly became a source of much stress and depression and destructor of harmony at home. some days weren't so bad. but most days were. a neverending shit storm that only left me weary, hopeless, tired, and frustrated. which in turn put me in a very foul mood at home. which in turn brings down the whole house. not a good way to live.

i said to her, "i'm just so worn out all the time. i have nothing left once i get home. nothing but the terrifying knowledge that i have to go back and do it again the next day. so i don't enjoy my time away. i'm so worn out that i feel like i could fall asleep right now." (i'd only been awake for 2 hours at this point)
through a little more conversation, a disingenuine offer to go back to bed was made and i took it anyway. a few minutes later, erin came back and began pouring herself out to me. about not wanting to live like this any more. about being tired of the current dynamic. about being sick of talking about it and it being time to DO something about it. during this whole experience i have felt very much trapped. having no ideas of where to go or what to do. and the only thing that finally came to me was to quit. because the only days at work that i really enjoy and come home with a smile on my face are days when i'm not in charge. so it seems ludicrous to realize this and stay in a position in which i am going to be miserable most of the time. erin gave me permission and i took charge of my situation. i called my old place of employment to get money quickly, and they said okay. i called my current employers to tell them i was enacting the "at-will" employment policy. (much to their chagrin) and i took erin out for a nice dinner that evening to apologize and for us to talk about our future together as a family.

i've felt very much like jonah through this. that i have taken a wrong turn. destruction and chaos have been following me around. and now i'm hoping that having been thrown overboard, things will smooth out for others as well as myself. because i'm finally serious about trying to find out what is next. and allowing it to be birthed into the world through me. it's been difficult because i don't want to feel alone. and more difficult to remember that even when i am alone, i'm not alone.

to remember a favorite saying of my dad's.

"one man, plus god, equals a majority."

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

beautiful and stunning

ever heard of an artist named alex grey? this is one of my favorites. he paints very interesting paintings depicting the human experience at all of its levels. through the rudimentary physical present with the pshyche, the spiritual, and the divine at once, his paintings are not only fascinating, they are, to me, revolutionary. helping to raise one's perspective to this common experience we all share right now. much more can be seen at his website...

so what do you think?

Friday, September 21, 2007

olden goldies

got a few big changes coming up here real soon, so i might not have anything inspiringly new to write for awhile. time to take some stock. if you would be so kind, just send some prayers for direction our way. that would be most wonderful.

several of you who are here now weren't around for these. so i've decided to dust off a few for you. more good stuff didn't make it, but i figured its enough anyway. god bless you if you make it through all of them. feel free to chat amongst yourselves. i may jump in if i feel lead.

two thoughts today
how did the chicken cross the red sea? he chartered a ferry.
characters vol. 1
characters vol. 3
enough! seemed relevant
the ones who didn't go
average jew. or... contemplations of the jewish proletariat
surprise party
when was the last time you played tic-tac-toe?
two thoughts on jesus
go and do the same.
...somewhere in the desert
is this the end, or just the beginning?
one side

lord, we are crying out for your guidance. in fact, several hearts here are screaming for it. we have followed you out here, lord. please, show us where to go next. lead us where you will. give us living water to drink for we are thirsty. give us healing, for we are hurting. give us hearts that do not shrink from fear, but that let go more and more of the things that tie us to this world. provide for us in our need. and bring the overwhelming majesty and beauty of your being into sharp focus for us. the true god. the subversive god. the shaker. the disquieter. the lover. the provider. the healer.

the one.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

am i missing something here?

"Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God."

"Whoever divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her; and if she herself divorces her husband and marries another man, she is committing adultery."

it just seems curious. i understand all of the reasons why it is said that homosexuality is "not compatable with a biblical worldview". that's not the point of this. what i find curious is how in the same place that paul says homosexuals will not inherit the kingdom, he also says the same of those who are "adulterers". and furthermore, jesus says that any who are divorced and remarried are adulterers. i'm not here condemning anyone, that's not my place. and this is not to say that i think people should be less tolerant of those who are remarried. what i am curious about is why homosexuals are not MORE welcomed in light of this evidence? if we welcome those who have been divorced and remarried and according to paul have NO INHERITANCE in the kingdom, why do we not welcome ALL peoples whom paul said the same about?

why is such a line drawn? what is the reasoning behind such an inconsistancy?

Saturday, September 15, 2007

strange what you find sometimes

last week as i was searching through an old beastie boys cd booklet, i came across these lyrics. i was surprised as it was not one of the songs i really listened to before. yet as i read these lyrics i was struck by how similar our belief structures are despite the differences in theology. growing up i was always taught to see differences as reasons for disbelief in others. somehow, this seems almost wrong in the face of lyrics like this. and makes me wonder at the hugeness of god and perhaps that he may choose to reveal himself to different peoples in different ways. yet with an undercurrent that is the same through the spirit.

"Bodhisattva Vow"

As I Develop The Awakening Mind I Praise The Buddha As They Shine
I Bow Before You As I Travel My Path
To Join Your Ranks I Make My Full Time Task
For The Sake Of All Beings I Seek
The Enlighted Mind That I Know I'll Reap
Respect To Shantideva And All The Others
Who Brought Down The Darma For Sisters And Brothers
I Give Thanks For This World As A Place To Learn
And For This Human Body That I Know I've Earned
And My Deepest Thanks To All Sentient Beings
For Without Them There Would Be No Place To Learn What I'm Seeing
There's Nothing Here That's Not Been Said Before
But I Put It Down Now So I'll Be Sure
To Solidify My Own Views And I'll Be Glad If It Helps Anyone Else Out Too

If Others Disrespect Me Or Give Me Flack
I'll Stop And Think Before I React
Knowing That They're Going Through Insecure Stages
I'll Take The Opportunity To Exercise Patience
I'll See It As A Chance To Help The Other Person
Nip It In The Bud Before It Can Worsen
A Change For Me To Be Strong And Sure
As I Think On The Buddhas Who Have Come Before
As I Praise And Respect The Good They've Done
Knowing Only Love Can Conquer In Every Situation
We Need Other People In Order To Create
The Circumstances For The Learning That We're Here To Generate
Situations That Bring Up Our Deepest Fears
So We Can Work To Release Them Until They're Cleared
Therefore, It Only Makes Sense To Thank Our Enemies Despite Their Intent

The Bodhisattva Path Is One Of Power And Strength
A Strength From Within To Go The Length
Seeing Others Are As Important As Myself
I Strive For A Happiness Of Mental Wealth
With The Interconnectedness That We Share As One
Every Action That We Take Affects Everyone
So In Deciding For What A Situation Calls
There Is A Path For The Good For All
I Try To Make My Every Action For That Highest Good
With The Altruistic Wish To Achive Buddhahood
So I Pledge Here Before Everyone Who's Listening
To Try To Make My Every Action For The Good Of All Beings
For The Rest Of My Lifetimes And Even Beyond
I Vow To Do My Best To Do No Harm
And In Times Of Doubt I Can Think On The Dharma
And The Enlightened Ones Who've Graduated Samsara

Sunday, September 02, 2007

the road to nowhere

the first time i saw an add for an iphone something stirred inside of me. a question.


seriously. i don't mean an iphone in specific. i talking about something deeper here. what's our aim? is there a point that we're going to invent something and we'll all say, "finally. this is what we've been working for. i'm satisfied now." if not, why are we doing this? why do we keep making these advances in technology? what's the point? all that most of these "advances" serve to do is make us more efficient workers to further these industries under the guise of getting the money we need from a job to buy all of these things that we produce. at the point in history i've been born into, i feel that things move way too fast. and all that is wanted is more. more time. more energy. more efficiency. more money. more advances. which leaves less for friends, family, and fun. it robs you of the ability to be able to just enjoy your life because of life.

why? are we honestly trying to get somewhere? and if not, can we stop going nowhere at 180 mph? even if any business achieves their goal, isn't there a point of maximum density? if everyone has your product, if everyone is a customer of yours, where do you go from there? how do you keep growing? and even if we did, why should we want to?

i'm not saying technology is bad. i'm not a ludite. i, in fact enjoy several different technologies myself and do not wish to see them go away if it can be helped. i'm just wondering if we can simply restructure our world a little bit to not only be a benefit to the smallest percentage of the population. (and i'm talking about the globe here.) is there a way we can figure out how to take these things with us out from under the system we are trapped inside? and if we can't, is it these things that tie us here instead of simply walking away from a sinking ship?

Monday, August 27, 2007

how do i pray?

i take these kinds of questions seriously and do my best to answer them honestly when asked. of course last time things kind of hit the fan. yet what a wonderful catalyst for change it was. hopefully this can be that again. ever since i was tapped for this synchroblog, i have been trying to put words to my experience. to try and explain how it is that i pray. i apologize if this goes astray or doesn't fully make sense, but i often have difficulty trying to put tangible and finite things like words together with intangible and infinite experiences. bear with me.

5 years ago my wife erin and i were blessed with our first child. a boy named zaavan (ZAY-ven). zaavan has tremendously severe cerebral palsey. he does not walk. he does not talk. he doesn't eat. he doesn't play like most children. in fact, he can't do make his body do much of anything intentional that he would like it to. sometimes, when the mood is right, it can break your heart watching him try, for the 1000th time in a day, to sit up. yet all to no avail...

however broken his physical mind and body, i have been acutely aware of the spirit within. and often i have wondered what it would be like to be a true prisoner inside of your own body with no way to do anything for yourself nor even have conventional means of communicating what your needs are to those assigned to your care at a moment's notice.

one day early on into his life, i noticed a strange bond forming between us that i had not experienced with anyone before. it comes not through any conventional means of communication that we normally use between persons. instead of coming through word or gesture, it came from within. from the most base and intangible part of my being. the "me" that is truly "me." the deep level where we do our thinking without words. the base place where you need only conceive and hold those conceptions together to have meaning. THAT place. most common communication takes place, in my opinion, "one level higher". in that place where we ascribe words to the concepts that form in the furnace of our true coneptual being.

but as i said, this is deeper than the place of words. i had noted this place in myself a few times before in exceptionally deep times of prayer where words became not enough. all it seemed i could do was groan or weep or send a great emotional burst outward to something beyond myself. it has always been those times when i felt "the presence" most.

suddenly, i found that i was meeting with my son in this place. i know this is so because i have experienced it daily since the connection formed. when it is just he and i, often there are no words, but there are emotional transactions. i have felt joy sweep through my being in this place only to see grand smiles and laughter burst out on my son's face. i have seen the clouds come down when things are murky in me. i can't fully describe it, but it is a constant connection that i can feel all the time.

one day, i found that the more i got to know my son in this place, the more control and familiarity i had in this place and the better i could navigate my way around myself and others. not long after the connection formed with my son, i found that this is the level where i find god to be at his most intimate and real. the level of pure being and conception that transcends and descends all conventional man made means of communication. this is the place where the divine speaks most clearly. the language of the heart. i believe it is the true language the divine speaks, but we have forgotten how to speak it.

for me, it is simply an openness and awareness of the pulsating divine at all times. words no longer become necessary. i don't need to have lists or "ask" for anything because my heart is already laid bare. i am fully honest with myself and the trancendant one about my hopes, dreams, fears, and desires, so that i need not get into specifics. i only draw near and swim. sometimes the nearness is overwhleming and i have to ask her to stop because i can't take it anymore. sometimes the overwhelming nearness surprises me in the most unlikely of places. usually under the biggest piles of what most in mainstream society would call garbage.

of course there are the times when i have a specific thing laid on my heart. a friend, family member, coworker, issue, concern, news story, etc. at these times, i simply acknowledge in the "lower level" that i have nothing of my own, and in the "higher level" i use a few words of petition, feeble as they are. i generally feel a burst of energy and power flow through me and out of me at this point, and i receive back an overwhelming sense of peace. then i simply slip back into the "neverending nearness" awaiting the next time my concious mind is called upon for another such petition.

(we have since been blessed with our second child, daughter rowyn. she is now three months. i know that children are very good at learning laguanges, and i also know that syblings usually have a very strong connection. enough so that many times one sybling will "interpret" for another whose communication skills aren't so hot yet. most often the older interpreting for the younger. in this case however, i am curious. when rowyn is at the monosyllabic stage that zaavan is stuck at, if she will be able to understand him and bring that understanding with her into the realm of the english speaking as she gets older... just a father's hopes...)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

year zero

on the surface, year zero is the newest album from one-man-artistic-and-musical-genius trent reznor under his nomenclature nine inch nails. what the album is is a collection of songs looking fifteen years into the future in which the religious right has completely taken over the united states of america and has the country on lockdown for security reasons to keep us all "safe". freedom of thought and speech and action are a thing of the past as technology has grown to the point of being able to have round the clock surveillence on each individual who now have computerized identification and location software inserted at birth. each song is from the perspective of a different person living in this era. the poilitical and social climate having changed so much to the point that the totalitarian government decides to start a new calander. but, for the sake of this post, all of that is neither here nor there.

often times what i get out of a piece of work and what the artist intends are often two completely different things. no disrespect to the artists, but hopefully they enjoy the fact that they changed my life. what appeals to me here is simply the phrase "year zero." the thought of a new beginning. a true new beginning. a complete severing of what has come before and not looking back. i think this is a concept that the original church had that has somehow become watered down and almost lost as far as the mainstream (society as well as church) has become concerned.

in my mind, to think in terms of "year zero" is to think, act, and live in completely subversive and couter-cultural ways. but to the extent that it is no longer a rebellion against the establishment because you no longer even recognize the establishment (be it religious, political, or economical) as having any genuine authority or bearing on yourself as an individual. rather you recognize your ability and responsibility as a free being to make your own decisions about morality and conduct and community. one of the reasons, i believe, that the early church was so persecuted by the roman state.

on the surface, they were "rebelling" against caeser by calling jesus their king. but underneath, in 'year zero' terms, i think the real problem was that these people no longer even recognized caeser or the roman government as being real things. they had already turned their backs on the goverment and now believed themselves to be TRUE citizens of another kingdom. and they acted in like manner. they acted as those who were no longer under any human authority. and when you refuse to give a human their authoritative due, they don't take too kindly to it.

enough people still believe in our human governments as to give them power to operate and convict you and destroy you if they so desire. yet, i think we need to know where that line is drawn for each one of us by god. some, i think, god would prefer to use wisdom and prudence in decisions and NOT rebel so openly against the authority for protection and perseverances sake. others, i believe are called to manifest "year zero" much more openly in the here and now. to live according to their convictions no matter the cost.

and i believe the call is the same today as it was then. the call to year zero. the call to start over again. the call to make the break in your mind and set yourself free from the chains of the past. to free yourself to dream up a new world and live in it now amidst the current world people are too afraid to let go.

if you want me to take a crap in a box and mark it guaranteed, i will...i've got spare time.

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Monday, August 06, 2007

the summer of love. one generation later. what the hell happened?

john lennon
sgt pepper's lonely hearts club band
jimi hendrix @ monteray
dr martin luther king jr
bob dylan
jim morrison
janis joplin
pink floyd
andy warhol
timothy leary
allen ginsberg @ the san francisco be-in

i don't know. maybe i'm crazy. maybe i'm romanticizing. but it seems to me as if there was some sort of a massive spiritual bubble of wonderful goodness that began to surface around this time exactly one biblical generation ago. (40 years) and i have to ask... what happened? could anyone who actually lived through the period or has read about it help me out? i'm just curious how we could have been on the cusp of such wonderful changes only to find them surrepetitiously snuffed out. a lack of planning? pipe dreams with no bearance in reality? is it so much to think that we could actually live together in peace? is it so much to think taht we could actually love each other and accept one another? is it so much to think that we could let kids be kids and artists be artists and so on and so forth? do we have to make everyone be just like us? or can we let everyone be who they are?

is it never for us here to know anything wonderful? does my one life here really have to be wasted doing THIS? this current modern life? can't we continue the uprising they started by learning from where they failed? or must we simply give in and accept this world as it is? is it really unrealistic to acknowledge that the world truly is filled with infinite possibilities and that the way of doing things we have known is not the ONLY way for things to be done? can we not still create new worlds better suited for the people of our era instead of continuintg to live out the ideals of people long dead hoping that they might give us a pat on the back some day when we die?

i mean, when studied, these people showed that when enough people of like mind ACT, things change. which is why they were beat down by the establishment. if only we could try again. but perhaps be better organized this time. i don't know. i'm just not a big fan of this beast that i live within. i'm not a big fan of knowing that this beast has life because i give it life by participating in it and enagaing with it every day. if possible, i would love to stick a sword right through it and watch it die. but i know i can't do it alone. i need other people who are willing to walk away from it. because without the people who actually give it life every day, the beast will have to die. yet, without the beast, we would not know how to survive right now. as chris rock said, "it's like that rich uncle who puts you through college...but molests you." what to do. what to do.

any and all thoughts are welcome.