Wednesday, August 29, 2018
I know a lot of people who don't have a religious life. They don't see a need for one. Why waste all that time in church?
I'm fine with that. I'm mostly fine with whatever people choose to believe or not believe about church and God and Jesus and Tao and barbecue sauce. And I can understand why someone would opt out of the whole religion thing. One of my closest friends opted out decades ago, and another never opted in in the first place. Same with my wife.
And yet, I still go. I get up on Sunday mornings and go to church. I'm usually there on Wednesday nights, too. In fact, I spend a lot of time at my little Presbyterian church. I love the people there. I love the conversations we have. I love the Sunday morning services. I love that it's a little church with a big, fat social justice heart. I love that it tries to do right by people.
At the same time, there's a big part of me that thinks I don't really belong there. I feel like an interloper because I see a different Jesus and Bible and God than most Christians see. The good news for me is that even though I'm more open about what I do believe these days, they still seem willing to let me stick around.
As I've written elsewhere, I've come to see Jesus the way a Buddhist sees the Buddha. I don't need Jesus to be a uniquely Divine Being in a human body come to save my sorry ass and return me to God. I see Jesus as a finger pointing at the moon.
I guess you could say I'm a Jesusist more than I am a Christian. But then, why should my religious perspectives really matter to anyone beyond my own skin anyway? We can have community without that.
If we want it.
Sunday, August 26, 2018
Where there is no disinterested love (or, more briefly, no charity), there is only biased self-love, and consequently only a partial and distorted knowledge both of the self and of the world of things, lives, minds, and spirit outside the self.
-- Aldous Huxley
Tuesday, August 21, 2018
Sunday, August 19, 2018
Thursday, August 16, 2018
Gratitude seems like such an odd little animal to me sometimes.
A hurricane swamps a woman's business in so much saltwater that it'll never dry out, and she's thankful nobody got hurt. A tornado grinds a man's house down to the concrete slab, and he's thankful nobody died. A sink hole opens its big fat mouth and swallows a woman's parents, their house, and both cars, and she's thankful it didn't happen the day before on Christmas when the whole family was there.
This is what gratitude does. It changes the way we see the shit in our lives. It focuses our eyes not on what went wrong but on what went right -- what could've gone wrong but didn't. It also reminds us that even the shit in our lives is temporary.
As for me, gratitude has also shown me there's value in pain. In fact, there are certain things -- valuable things -- that can only come to me through pain, but I have to watch for them or I'll miss them. When I see them, I say thank you.
Pain. A carrier of blessings.
Gratitude. A gift we give ourselves.
Sunday, August 12, 2018
Sunday, August 5, 2018
The best thing I can give to others is to liberate myself from the common delusions and be, for myself and for them, free. Then grace can work in and through me for everyone.
-- Thomas Merton