The Earth belongs to God

The earth belongs to God. When did humankind ever get the idea that it is otherwise? Nations/property ownership is simply one way we organize ourselves.”Here, you take care of that piece of God’s land and I (we) will take care of this piece.”

When the president moved our embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, he took a stand on behalf of the American people. He put his stamp of approval on one people’s right to call a land their own over another’s. The Palestinians have been put behind a wall. We did it here on this land to the original inhabitants and called these places reservations. I am ashamed of what we did to the people of this land and now I am ashamed that my country, under the leadership of this president, condones Israel doing the same.

I am pro-life. I believe that no piece of land is worth death. I would be proud of a leader who would be a true peace-maker. I am not sure where in the world we have true peacemakers today, at least not among its leaders.

A sad day for America.

Posted in Politics, Spirituality | 2 Comments

Reading in the Wee Hours

Next to where I sit in my living room in the wee hours of the morning, there is a pad of paper. Sometimes, I write little notes to remind myself to do things later in the day. Putting them in writing assures that they will be attended to and I don’t have to worry that I will later forget (unless, of course, I forget to check my notes). Then I can get my mind back to my reading.

On the pad, I also will make notes about possible blog topics. These ideas usually spring up from what I am reading. If you follow my blog, you will note how often I share ideas and quotes from these books. I choose my books very carefully. I will always have one book of a spiritual or religious nature. Right now I am reading Christianity After Religion, by Diana Butler Bass, which I quoted yesterday. I wish I had read it sooner before I finished my book. Her quote would have been perfect for my introduction.

Another book I wish I had read sooner is What Every Christian Needs to Know About The Jewishness of Jesus, by Rabbi Evan Moffic. Earlier in my journey, I wanted to find a Jewish scholar willing to read my manuscript because I didn’t want to write anything offensive to my Jewish brothers and sisters. There are some facts in his book about Judaism in the time of Jesus that I wish I’d known. This same rabbi, who happens to be from my hometown Chicago, wrote another book I can’t wait to read: What Every Christian Needs to Know About Passover. Ours is a Christian family that has been celebrating the Passover for 40 years. I had the same concern when I wrote the script for the seder meal. I hope I have been respectful in both The Memorial of Jesus and our family’s seder script.

I also like to be reading books that help me to understand my world. Since the first of the year, I read a book on the Lewis and Clark expedition and another on the history of the presidency. I sometimes read books on themes like war and violence or making peace. Occasionally I will choose something that leads me to search my own inner territory, like the one I just completed, The Immortal Diamond by Richard Rohr.

I seldom revisit books though I will reread the Bible every few years. I have read Peace Pilgrim half a dozen times because it keeps reminding me that peace is possible if I just live peace every day.

I do enjoy fiction, but I reserve this for my night time reading. I am reading Minnesota authors currently, figuring that in the months ahead I may come across some of these. We have some great writers in Minnesota.

This isn’t exactly what I set out to write this morning. I wanted to tackle the first and very controversial idea I had listed at the top of my pad of paper. Instead, I got myself engaged in this conversation with ya’ll. For those of you who love to read as I do, I have a really good book to recommend…………………..

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Loving Jesus

I want to share this with my blog visitors because it speaks to what you can expect from my soon-to-be-published book, The Memorial of Jesus. In her book Christianity After Religion, Diana Butler Bass, writes:

“Christians are used to reading the Gospels as focusing in Jesus, mostly because our parents and churches have taught us that the purpose of the four books is to tell who Jesus is, so that we might believe in him. This Christ-centered focus is not necessarily wrong, but it does limit our imaginations if we only understand the Gospels as theological puzzles for which we only have to skip to the end to find the correct answers. If we shift the focus, the stories open up in new directions – what if the most important question is not Jesus’s identity per se? What if the most important question is the identity of the other people in the story? How do Jesus’s friends and acquaintances change or gain new insights when they find themselves in Jesus’s company? Who are the disciples, the followers, the crowds, the nameless peasants, the children, the sick, the oppressed, the angry, and the anxious when they discover they are in God?…

“Almost everyone leaves Jesus’s company saying: He made me whole!” “I have been healed!” “I’m not a prostitute, a sinner, an outcast, or a leper. I now know who I really am!” “I may be a Samaritan, but I can still know God.” “I am loved!” “I am accepted as I am! “…in his presence or conversation with him pushes the other person beyond social roles and masks to deeper awareness of “Who am I?”

I am reminded of a radio guy in Chicago years ago that would play romantic music in the evenings. His lead in was this brief poetic phrase: “I love you, not only for who you, are but for who I am when I am with you.” This is what Jesus’ disciples came to realize in their loving him. I invite you to read their stories.

 

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My New Friends

My intentions were good. I had set my alarm to get up for sunrise, but when it went off,  my husband turned it off. “I thought, why would she want to get up at 6 am?” Having been awake during the night, I had to admit that I appreciated the extra hour sleep.

When I went out past the grove of trees, I looked to my right and was startled to see in the top branches of the tallest tree, three large birds. One would think they could fracture the branches. While I gazed, another came and sat among them. I walked slowly toward them. They were eyeing me and I was trying to see their details for later identification. They were black and their faces were red with a light colored beak. The size of turkeys, though their necks were not elongated like the turkeys that visit our yard. A fourth came to perch. I wondered if the others were saying, “Hey, brother, come and see the creature eyeing us from below.”

As I neared, I guess their curiosity about me waned and the birds decided to leave. Their wing spans were wide and even flapping them slowly, they lifted into the sky. When they did, at least 5 more that had been perching in the trees followed them.

I quickly returned to the house to look up the bird in my phone app.. It was an easy identification, these were turkey vultures. I had never seen them in my yard before.

The last time I was visited by such a gathering of birds was about 7 years ago when crows decided to have a convention in my yard. Such noise, like at a political convention. At that time, I was truck by the crow’s message to speak your truth. I needed to hear it at the time as I was just beginning my blog and was in the early stages of my book.

The message of the turkey vulture? I am not sure, but one idea I found in Animal-Speak by Ted Andrews is that the fascinating bird speaks of a coming time when  one will be noticed more for what you do than for how you appear. I know there is more to learn. I look forward to getting to know this new friend.

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My Old Friend

Sometimes when one feels stuck, it is a good thing to consider old rituals. This morning I set the timer on my phone to go off when the sunrise was to happen in Royalton. 6 am. I closed the book I was reading, slipped on a jacket, and with my coffee cup in hand, I walked out. Where I live, I have to walk to the east side of the grove of trees in front of our house. It is a short walk and along the path I often see rabbits that have been known to stop and watch me pass.

It felt good to breath in the cool morning air. If one meditates by paying attention to one’s breath, doing it outside is an amazing blessing. It feels like one is breathing in the spirit of God and exhaling one’s own spirit to be graciously received by the trees.

I had stopped my ritual a while back when I was struck with knee and back problems. That, plus a level of laziness. I just was too comfortable sitting in my rocker, wrapped in a cozy blanket, to face a cold morning. This morning it wasn’t cold. A good day to revisit an old ritual.

The beautiful thing is that, while I had lapsed, the sun hadn’t. She is the faithful one in this relationship. My old friend.

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A Patriot Stands Against War.

There was a post on Facebook, a quote from Bernie Sanders about doing away with war and all that a country could do if they only had the money spent on weapons was used to care for its citizens. Dream on, Bernie.

With Mother’s Day approaching, I am reminded that it’s original intent was to stand against war. Mothers, as Julia Ward Howe believed, have a special stake in war as they watch their sons lose lives or their futures because of war. Some would suggest that it is unpatriotic be be anti-war. This upsets me because it supports the idea that making war somehow encapsulates the character of America. If I fail to forward posts supporting our veterans, I am called unpatriotic. I love our veterans, but I am ashamed of the fact that we send them to war in the first place. I seldom forward these messages because I feel I am simultaneously supporting a war itself.

When the pledge of allegience is recited at events, I sometimes resist speaking its words. I shouldn’t. There is nothing in the pledge that says I agree with what my country does. I am struck by the fact that today we include the words “under God”. For me, this means that I when God’s plan for us and the nation’s plans conflict, I choose God’s. God does not approve of humans killing one another. War, even when we win the battles, is a sign of human failure. Call me unpatriotic, but this is where I stand.

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Hopeful Words from Peace Pilgrim

When I feel myself being dragged down by the news, I turn to Peace Pilgrim to refresh my attitude. Peace, who walked across the country with her message for peace in the world is my hero and the inspiration for this blog. I will share a few of quotes here and hope my readers will ponder how they might be inspired  within themselves and perhaps look at the country and the world in a diferent way.

“This is the way of peace-overcome evil with good, and falsehood with truth, and hatred with love.”

“The ideal society has yet to be built-one which balances nicely collective well-being and individual well-being.”

“It concerns me when I see a small child watching the hero shoot the villian in television. It is teaching the small child to  believe that shooting people is heroic. The hero just did it and it was effective. It was acceptable and the hero was well thought of afterward.”

“The number  one world problem is  immaturity. We choose to live at a small fraction of our real potential. In our immaturity we are greedy; some grab more than their share so  that others starve. In our immaturity we are fearful: we build armaments against one another, resulting in war. If we work on world problems, we usually work at the level of symptom. I have chosen to work primarily at the level of removing cause.”

“At a simple level, good is that which helps people; evil is that which hurts people.”

“I am a conservative in wanting to preserve the good things-I am a liberal in wanting to change things that need to be changed.”

“Peace is more than the temporary absence  of war; it is the absence of the causes of war.

PEACE!

 

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