PRO GOD, PRO LIFE, PRO GUN.
Bernie and I saw the above on a bumper sticker driving home this morning from the mechanic’s shop.
I said, “What!!!???” I get the pro-life part. God, after all, is the source of life, all life. God loves all life, God’s own creation…all of it. But Pro Gun? Really? A person should be guaranteed his or her right to own a gun because God is standing behind them? Really? This same God who is in love with all life would approve of something that has the sole purpose of taking life away?
Now I have seen everything.
Following is a piece I wrote in my journal in 1990. It is a quote from Laurence Freeman’s book The Selfless Self.
“To be truly interior is complete opposite of being introverted. In the awareness of the indwelling presence our consciousness is turned around, converted, so that we no are longer, as we have habitually been doing, looking at ourselves, anticipating or remembering feelings, reactions, desires, ideas or day-dreamings…(the) challenge is to become other-centered. Becoming other-centered requires discipline (and) later becomes habit (and) authentic.
“Discipline (is) needed to turn our attention off ourselves. We tend to equate growth, fulfillment and development with self-analysis and conscious up-building of a positive self-image. But…we must leave ourselves behind to be whole. Then we find ourselves in everything around us, in every person, every situation, each successive moment.”
I recorded the above in my journal in 1990. I think the turn from self- consciousness to other-consciousness is as difficult as reversing of a large cruise ship to head in the opposite direction. We ford ahead in our habit of swirling around inside our head, looking at all that goes on as it impacts us. Freeman is suggesting a total reversal. I don’t know if I have ever met anyone who is so selfless.
I say “is selfless” as though it is a state of being, but I really know better. One is always becoming something, never arriving. I myself have been becoming more selfless each year of my life. I’d say that my family has required it of me. This may be what the Creator had in mind when he created families: to move us from focus on ourselves to focus on others. In doing so, we become his servants in the world.
Another Democratic presidential debate tonight! Thankfully, there are only six contestants. I remember the Republican debates in 2016. Yikes! So much nastiness! These debates are deteriorating to nastiness as well. People say that is good. It prepares them for the final debates with their Republican contender – implying that we should expect that to be nastiness extraordinaire. Also it helps to distinguish the candidates one from the other when the Democratic positions are pretty close between candidates. It makes me weary. I will watch tonight because I am a good citizen but I still have no clue where my vote will land.
Most Democrats hold positions similar to mine. For example, I am in favor of universal health care, making higher education accessible to all and immigration reform that has some semblance of compassion. Everyone qualifies, pretty much, except for the nitty-gritty details. I am not smart enough to know whose ideas will actually work. So all of this is not going go help me narrow down my choice.
As I was pondering this morning, I realized what I want most of all in a leader. I want a president that is a person of character: honesty, humility, compassion, and respect for others. I want to be able to trust him or her. I think back at the many presidents that have come and gone over my years as a voting citizen and the fact is, some of my favorites weren’t all that good as presidents. They made mistakes, sometimes with dire consequences. Some were Republicans, some Democrats. But I had a great deal of respect for them because they were good human beings.
I am not naive. I know the importance of experience, smart solutions and the ability to work with the other branches of government. But I sure hope for someone I can proud to represent the country.
I am pleased to have heard from several of my old blog subscribers that they received notification about my blog after my son fixed the problem. That inspires me to get back to work.
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This may not seem especially interesting but I discovered yesterday that a humble paper-back booklet given to me by my cousin a few years ago is very valueable. The booklet is Your Owner’s Manual, self-published by Burt Hotchkiss. When I say self-published, I mean it looks like he took copies of his manuscript to the local printer and had multiple copies made, folded and stapled. I love the little book.
Burt Hotchkiss and his wife were trained in the Course in Miracles. The little booklet is his sharing the message of the Course in a much more understandable way. He uses real-life examples including from his own life. This is how I like learning about spirituality and philosophy. I call it incarnation, ideas packaged in human reality. In fact, if a spiritual or philosophical idea can’t shown to be applicable, which means helping one to live their life in a more meaningful way, I have no time for it. Hot air. Pillow fluff.
The price printed on the little paper book is $4.95. I thought I’d get a few copies that I can share with friends I think would appreciate it. When I tried to get to the web page Hotchkiss had on the back cover, it took me to Amazon where the book is for sale, used only. The price variation was between $75 and $135. I thought “I don’t know if I have a friend I like that much.” I suppose I could loan the book to someone, but at that value, I don’t know if I trust them to return it. Maybe I should insure it.
I wonder if my book will ever explode in value like this one. If you have a copy of The Memorial of Jesus, hang onto it. You never know. If you don’t have one, better hurry up, there are only 300 copies left.
It is taking some time to get my blog up and running again. My manager/son made some changes in providers ( don’t even know if provider is the right word). Today we talked about guests being able to subscribe so that they will be notified every time I publish a new post. Magically, he was able bring that object back from oblivion. So notice on the left the opportunity to leave your e-mail. I asked him about the folks who used to subscribe that have been wondering where I have been for the past four months. He found the number of subscribers, 43, but couldn’t discern whether they are still getting notifications. So this is a test. Those of you who used to subscribe and see this blog posted in your e-mail, let me know so we know that the master has succeeded.
I am happy to be writing again. So much is going on in the world. I like to ponder these things with my readers. I continue to read for my own enrichment and do research so that when I do launch out to comment on the affairs of the world, my thoughts are informative and contribute to unity rather than divisiveness. As the title of my blog implies, I am a peacemaker. I am also a person of faith who believes in the Creator/Power of Love that desires that all human be happy.
So, join me by submitting your e-mail and you will be notified whenever I post. And please, if you have agreements, disagreements, added insights, your own stories or expertise, share these. I love interacting with my readers.
Again, this is a test…if you are a former member and you get a notice of this blog, let me know by commenting below. Then I know we are fully back and running.
In 1990, I was reflecting on words by Thomas Keating. I can’t tell in my journal whether I was quoting Keating directly or paraphrasing:
Contemplation is an exercise in being rather than doing. You will be able to accomplish what you have to do with much greater effectiveness and joy. Much of the time we run on cylinders that are out of oil or a bit rusty. Our power is pretty much used up by noon on most days. Contemplative prayer opens you to the power of the Spirit. Your capacity to keep giving all day long will increase. You will be able to adjust to difficult circumstances and even to live with impossible situations.
I was 46 years old when I recorded Keating’s words, the age close to where my children are at now. My life was full of the kinds of concerns they have now, struggling through the lives of teens, financial and career choices to make that effect self and family, and day-to-day inner frustrations and doubts that accompany a particular stage of development called mid-life. My 46 year old self found a great deal of comfort in the words “by noon on most days”.My energy depletion was normal.
It is the other piece of Keating’s message that touches the 75 year old me today. “Your capacity to keep giving all day will increase. You will be able to adjust to difficult circumstances and even live with impossible situations.” On the surface, one would assume Keating saying that prayer is like going to a filling station to get the gas needed to so go further. But I believe he was talking about something else. He says, “You will be open to the power of the Spirit.” Perhaps the idea of running on fumes paints a better picture. As I have grown spiritually, I find myself plodding through situations that used to unglue me. I am less apt to lose my temper when road blocks present themselves and I am more able to manage clear thinking even though it may take more time to put the facts together in my head. This seems to be the case even when I am operating on little sleep or I am suffering from exhaustion from an overloaded schedule. Fear and resentments rarely get hold of me and they certainly don’t control my actions as they once did. I don’t contribute this at all to a gust of physical energy. Rather, it is the power of the Spirit, as Keating says.
The power of spirit is not like body energy. Sometimes I get through a difficult situation maintaining a feeling of exhaustion all the way. But I know even in the midst of it, that I am doing all right. I am holding my own and when it is over, I have no regrets.
I am not always on top of things. But even when I fail, the Spirit lets me ride through the feeling of disappointment in myself gracefully. I am empowered to make amends as needed, to fix what I can and leave the rest without guilt.
This new place is the contemplation Keating is talking about. It is living in the center. Finding center takes time and work. It seems I have been at this work since my mid-years. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Posted today on Facebook is a JohnWesley’s Manifesto. Wesley was an 18th century religious leader, founder of the Methodist movement which grew into the Methodist Church. Take a look:
1. Reduce the gap between rich people and poor people.
2. Help everyone to have a job.
3. Help the poorest, including introducing a minimum wage.
4. Offer the best possible education.
5. Help everyone to feel they can make a difference.
6. Promote tolerance.
7. Promote equal treatment for women.
8. Create a society based on values and not on profit and consumerism.
9. End all forms of slavery.
10. Avoid getting into wars.
11. Share the love of God with others.
12. Care for the environment.
These words today would be considered a “liberal” point of view and rejected by those who consider the conservative view of a higher spiritual value. But Wesley was living in the 18th century under monarchical rule. If “conservative” tends to be back-looking, Wesley is pretty far back. From my perspective the above is not liberal or conservative but universal as a practical way of being a respecter of all as equal in the sight of God. Everyone….everyone…is my brother or sister. All the advantages I have I will work for them to have as well. Being a Christian, I see the above as a practical way of Jesus’ teachings being lived out in the world today.
So why are these ideas so adamantly rejected today by so many, even people of faith? I struggle.