Sunday, November 29, 2009

Brian’s Reflection: Monday, November 30, 2009

Most sorts of diversion in men, children and
other animals, are in imitation of fighting.

- Jonathan Swift, author (“Gulliver’s Travels”),
Anglo-Irish Anglican priest, born on this date, 1667

This worries me. I have thought for a long time that the issue Swift raises is true. I am not intrinsically “against” sports. Except when – as I think is true in our American culture - they have stopped being “sports” and been absorbed into the “Do anything and take any drug you need to take to make a gazillion dollars” category. If we support “Sports” because it diverts human aggression from the battlefield, I guess I am in favor of it. Ritualized war is better than actual mass murder. After all, it seems a fact of Life that human beings have a destructive vicious aspect of their nature. It would seem good to deflect that.

Dare I say that it seems to me that “sport” (as the Brits say) is, in my opinion, a way of dealing with our inability to deal with the powerful driving dynamic of Sex and Aggression and Fear? Ponder this. Think about the supposition that one scientist postulates that even smiling is a way of disguising teeth-bared aggression.

I would have thought that humans would have gotten over this by now. Wouldn’t you, given our propensity for self-preservation? Especially given the fact that “religion” – even religions that are centered in Compassion and Forgiveness and Love – should have had more effect by now?

Here’s what I think. Let’s put it this way, metaphorically: “God” has been trying for a very long time to get us to “hear” the Message. Love One Another. Live together in Peace. Value Gentleness. Value self-giving. Etc. There is only ONE reason that this has not happened. Our human choice. No other reason. Period. We can’t blame this on anyone or anything else, most foolhardily on our claim to righteousness – though we constantly try to. What venial creatures we are! Or, if we want to shine a better light on it, What fools we are to continue to behave in ways which make us utterly miserable in mind, body and spirit? Only self-deluding fools would continue to inflict the kind of suffering on ourselves which we have done for millennia, in the face of the Mystery of Love, Grace, Compassion, Forgiveness and Unconditional Love. Only fools.

As a Christian, the season of Advent is upon me. Once again I am offered the opportunity to “repent” – to turn around. To change my life, my attitudes, my choices, my perceptions, my prejudices, my fears. To act upon the hopes and longings for Freedom and Peace that have been offered. Every authentic religion offers us this, over and over again.

I think, as so many great souls have said, that we humans tremble at assuming such responsibility for our behaviour. And yet, in the Bible, we are told unequivocally that we are heirs of the Christ, made in the “image of God”, equal in nature as a scion of the Great Deity.

Time for us to step up to the plate friends! “God” is waiting. The longer we hesitate, the more misery we choose, for ourselves and for all our fellow human brings.

We do not need another, a “Christ”, to do this for us.

We ARE Christ.


Saturday, November 28, 2009

Brian’s Reflection: The Weekend, Sat., Nov 29, 2009

And may the Lord make you increase
and abound in love for one another and
for all, just as we abound in love for you.

- 1 Thessalonians 3 (Epistle for Advent Sunday)

The awakened subject is not merely to perceive
transcendent life, but to participate therein; and
for this, a drastic and costly life-changing is required.”

-Evelyn Underhill, 1875-1941 Mysticism p.195

Don’t get seduced by “eschatological” (end-time), by “apocalyptic” (“hidden”) language, some of which is put in the mouth of Jesus in the Gospel reading for this Advent Sunday. It expresses itself in basic literal formulation. As with all “scripture”, the text points to more complex meaning.

My priest colleague Suzanne Guthrie expresses the “point” of the use of this language – as does Evelyn Underhill – beautifully and cogently: “The church year begins with the shock and disorientation of apocalypse, if only to help us topple down into living a transcendent life. Then, parallel to and integrated with the struggles of daily life, the soul begins the greatest adventure of the human person – the journey of the growth of consciousness, sanctity, compassion.”

This is what Jesus was ultimately concerned with: that we human beings should get on with the business of maturing in the journey of Life: “the growth of consciousness, sanctity, compassion”.

What a mess we have made of Jesus’ message – and the message of so many of the great spiritual leaders of human history. “We” (meaning essentially those who have appropriated to themselves to control the spiritual path by imposing a stultifying institution aimed basically at controlling human freedom and growth, either consciously or unconsciously) have laid a pall of death on the great life-giving proclamation.

But we must hear the Message that God desires we hear. We are called into “transcendent life” – by participating in it passionately. Yes, it will change our lives, as Underhill says. What our teachers must remind us is that this change is what will give us the Life which we most profoundly desire deep within!

Much more could be said, but this is all that needs to be said to set and keep us on the Path: “… abound in love for one another and for all”. Oh, I know that the web of love can be challenging and demanding. But its heart is simple, as Jesus said. “Love one another”.

Lets start there again, on this yet another Advent Sunday. As we always can.


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Brian’s Reflection: Friday, Nov 27, 2009

If a bullet should enter my brain, let
that bullet destroy every closet door.

- Harvey Milk , the first openly Gay
San Francisco City Supervisor, was
assassinated on this date, 1978

My prayer? May every religion, prejudice, cultural bias, or any attitude which refuses to recognize the intrinsic worth of every human being, and which chooses to dehumanize or “bear false witness” against any other person, be eliminated from the human mind and heart.

Only then will America and the World be truly great.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Brian’s Reflection: Thursday, Nov 26, 2009
[ American Thanksgiving Day ]

"If the only prayer you said in your whole
life was, "thank you," that would suffice."

- Meister Eckhart, Christian mystic

Eckhart says it all.

On this Thanksgiving Day, I wish you ultimately only one thing.

May saying “Thank You” as intensely as possible transform your whole Life. Thankfulness liberates. It catapults us out of our entrapments, those that stunt our growth.

Feast today on the bounty of the Earth. But more: feast on the honey that is the Compassion which defines Being.

You. Me. Us all.

May your day be flooded with Abundance.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Brian’s Reflection: Wednesday, Nov 25, 2009

I resolved to stop accumulating and begin the infinitely
more serious and difficult task of wise distribution.

- Andrew Carnegie, industrialist (ruthess) & philanthropist,
born on this date, 1835

In many ways, Carnegie redeemed himself (as I see it). Either he had a change of heart, or he “bought” his salvation. All those libraries – they exude civil responsibility and perhaps ….. caring.

I think I learned the lesson about stopping accumulation and wisely distributing a long time ago. Oh, not that I stopped accumulating! I am fatally attracted by beautiful things (Limoges china, etc) and by fetishes (bags of all sorts). Sigh. What can I do?! However, what I learned, by “studying Life” in the monastic life, is that accumulated beautiful things bring more pleasure when they are given away than when hoarded. Either things possess you or you possess them. Many of my friends have some of my “stuff”. I have always felt personally more blessed when giving someone something of mine (especially if they have admired it) than keeping it for myself. Besides the object, there is the joy of connection and love.

One of the great “spiritual tasks” - i.e., of maturing as a person, is, I think, to make a short as possible the time between accumulating and giving. This I believe: there is nothing more freeing and blessing that a parent can do than to teach their child (a) to understand how gloriously they are blessed, and (b) to long to lavish that abundance on others.

If I ran a Sunday School, here is where I would focus: I would work to teach the blessing of Abundance as soon as possible, and then teach the child the wonder and thrill and pleasure, by experience, of “wise distribution”.

Spiritually speaking, this is the critical lesson to learn if one is in search of freedom and happiness. And Peace.


Monday, November 23, 2009

Brian’s Reflection: Tuesday, November 24, 2009

It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelli-
gent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.

- Charles Darwin. His “Origin of Species” was published on this date, 1859

Jesus is a good example – of a being open to change. Specifically, a human being who understood that greatness was in “service to others in love”. It is one of the chief reasons that I can relate to Jesus. Tyrannical control simply does not make for great human beings. Vulnerability, I was almost stunned to understand, is the Path to Greatness. The early Christians edited a lot out of the story of Jesus of Nazareth – I’m glad this thread persisted! It sounds of truth to the listening ears of the Intuition, of the Heart.

A smile often comes to my face when I think of “the church”. Why has the church not learned the “important lesson”? The truth is that spiritual maturity eschews “worldly” power and embraces Gospel vulnerability. Is it because we are not able, or not taught, to bear the suffering that will inevitably come our way as we oppose the World’s System? But friends, rejecting the World’s power is what all the great religious teachers have taught! Are we not able to hoist this truth in because of our Greed, our Insecurity? I think of all those things Jesus is reported to have said, about “winning the World and losing our Soul”.

The “church” (be it Christian or Jewish or Islam or other) finds it very difficult to change. Look at the situation between “Rome” and “Anglicanism”. Rome has not forgotten the stinging rejection of the Reformation, nor has it gotten over the collapse of the Roman empire, choosing to live as a ghostly shadow of that earthly Kingdom. And Anglicanism has never transcended its sense of inferiority. Rome is now “getting back”, and Anglicanism is slowly choosing further to embrace a deep inner sense of inferiority, rejecting it’s gift from the Spirit of Change.

The spiritual lesson is clear: Change! Change is a given of Life – and we can either be a part of it or resist it. Yes, of course, we have work to do. We have to think and pray and meditate. We must accept the responsibility of being human. And we must make the decisions we are challenged to make. We must commit to discerning to what we think is Truth. And then Act.

It is true in the material world that only those who change survive. It is even truer of the Heart.


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Brian’s Reflection: Monday, Nov 23, 2009

The monster was the best friend I ever had.

- Boris Karloff, actor, born on this date, 1887

Spiritually, this is true. Unfortunately, general modern “religion” has taught us to reject or marginalize the “monster”. Bad advice. Jung never did that. Early Christianity never did that – but their problem was that they over-emphasized it, to the point that our innate human beauty was obliterated, leaving many of us unable to rise to the call to grow in Love.

The “monster” is a part of each of us – the “dark side”. (Can you hear the Jedi Obi talking to Luke Skywalker?) Ignoring the Dark Side is a big mistake – always. The choice to ignore the Dark Side means we are refusing to learn from our choices for un-love in all its dimensions. And that only leads to “death” on many levels of the meaning of that Myth. We stop growing, stop transforming into our destiny as a part of the Divine.

I have learned. Being with my partner has encouraged me to let go of all sorts of behaviour that breaks down Love. If only “marriage” would focus on this “discipline”!!

Embrace your “monster”. Each of us will more quickly understand our complex nature, be freed to let go of things that stunt us, and blossom!

What a nice thought!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Brian’s Reflection: The Weekend, Sat, Nov 21, 2009
[ In the Christian calendar: Feast of Christ the King ]

….. God, whose will it is to restore all things in your
well-beloved Son, the King of kings and Lord of lords ….

- from the Collect for the last Sunday before Advent, called
the feast of the “Reign of Christ”, or of “Christ the King”

Ambrose of Milan (c.337/40 – 397) is recorded as saying:

When we speak about wisdom, we are speaking of Christ.
When we speak about virtue, we are speaking of Christ.
When we speak about justice, we are speaking of Christ.
When we speak about peace, we are speaking of Christ.
When we speak about truth and life and redemption, we
are speaking of Christ.

This states it from the anthropomorphic, specifically Christian perspective. But that always points to the infinitely larger reality that is “God” – to that which is beyond the grasp both of the human intellect and of language. (see the Cappadocian Fathers)

In that case, when we ask: “What does it mean that God wishes to “restore all things in your well-beloved Son”? Does it mean that is this accomplished by all human beings becoming “Christian”, institutionally speaking? I do not think so. Best to turn Ambrose’s words around:

When we speak about Christ, we are speaking of wisdom.
When we speak about Christ, we are speaking of virtue.
When we speak about Christ, we are speaking of justice.
When we speak about Christ, we are speaking of peace.
When we speak about Christ, we are speaking truth and
life and redemption.

Ambrose might have gone on: Compassion, Kindness, Gentleness, Respect, Generosity, etc.

I personally do not think that “God” cares what religion anyone is (or not) part of. Including non-religion. What God cares about are Wisdom, Virtue, Justice, Peace, Life, Redemption, Compassion, Kindness, Gentleness, Respect, Generosity.

St. Patrick is reported to have said (and which I read after my earlier comments), “The Kingdom of God is so full of light, peace, charity, wisdom, glory, honesty, sweetness, loving-kindness and every unspeakable and unutterable good, that it can neither be described nor envisioned by the mind.”

Well, maybe that “Platonic form” Kingdom of God is somewhere – but not here yet! Religion is essentially about living the Journey and the Message. When we – anyone! - pursue and commit to these characteristics and live and seek them boldly in the World, then are all things being restored in God’s “well-beloved” Son.

We find these “children of the Kingdom” in every culture and faith. May such citizens increase!


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Brian’s Reflection: Friday, Nov 20, 2009

Equipped with his five senses, man explores the
universe around him and calls the adventure Science

- Edwin Powell Hubble, scientist, born on this date,
1889, after whom the Hubble telescope is named

Science is a glory of Humanity! Of the mind as part of being “made in the image of God”. I see Science as a “Handmaiden of God”. I am in good company. Many of the best of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim thinkers. Maimonides. Thomas Aquinas. Ibn Sina (Avicenna).

My feeling is that the more we understand “science”, the more we understand the “Mystery of God”. “God” is not a Meddler. “God” is the “Totally Beyond”. Beyond what we can understand rationally. But the important thing to remember is this, guided by the great practitioners of Mysticism: to “know” God, we must live the Message. To put it simply, we must Love if we want to understand “God”.

Religious Life is about “Practice”. And Practice is very simple. We Love. We help. We support. We pray. We bring food and drink and company. We advocate. We console. We encourage.

We are “in the Body”. We live by the Five Senses – and by Intuition. We are magnificently equipped for Compassion.

And there we find our fulfillment.

Brian’s Reflection: Thursday, Nov 19, 2009

There is no happiness for people
at the expense of other people.

- Anwar Sadat, President of Egypt,
became the first Arab leader to
visit Israel, on this date, 1977

If this be true, then we are I think a long long way from happiness.

As I cast my gaze in meditation around the World, what is see is people seeking power and dominance and the improvement of their lives (as they see it, usually wrongly) “at the expense of other people”. The epitome of this is what we call “ethnic cleansing” – an act of grasping for “happiness” in what is to my mind clearly the height of ignorance - thinking that security and ethnic contentment and a “good life” can be accomplished “at the expense of other people”. This is an hopeless persistent delusion amongst the human community. It may take hundreds of years, but eventually violating the integrity of “other people” wreaks its inevitable retribution.

I have seen a persistent theme enunciated in most religions, and I think it is a reverse corollary of the Golden Rule: That indeed there is no happiness for anyone when happiness is denied to or withheld from others. It just works that way – and that tells me that Karma and “What goes round comes round” and “What you do to others will be done to you” (paraphrasing the Golden Rule”).

It’s been 2000 years for Christians, over 3000 for Hindus, same for Buddhists, near 1500 for follower of the Qu’uran. In my humble way, may I suggest to my fellow Christians (and to us all in the human community: we need a transformative revolution, especially in “religion” and in cultural/ethnic awareness, or suffering will only engulf us.

Again I remind us of Gandhi’s words (and they apply to us all, including our understanding of “humanity”): “I think Christianity is a wonder religion. I hope someone tries it sometime.”


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Brian’s Reflection: Wednesday, Nov 18, 2009

Too many moralists begin with a dislike of reality.

- Clarence Day, writer, born on this date, 1874

Do you remember (if you are old enough) the TV program “Life with Father”? It ran from Nov 1953 to July 1955. It was based on a Broadway play written by Clarence Day about his father, Clarence Day Sr., and his family, first printed in the New Yorker magazine. Leon Ames played the Father (he was perfect!) and Lurene Tuttle played the Mother, Lavinia. It was a picture of upper middle class life in Manhattan in the 1880’s. “Father” Day was a total stuffed shirt. I loved it! The father’s “stuffed-shirtedness” was parodied – but the nice thing was that his family loved him in spite of it. And their love helped him to see his behaviour and – somewhat gruffly – to see his folly. (In 1955, I was 9 years old; I don’t remember if I saw the originals or reruns.)

Clarence Day Jr.’s quote is right on. People who get on their high moral horse, railing against whatever “vice” they disapprove of, very often “begin with a dislike of reality”. That dislike completely erases any sense of compassion and sympathy for their fellow human beings. Once compassion is gone, so is basic humanity. Morality degenerates into self-righteousness, which is always callous and un-self-aware – the basic ingredient in the inability to understand the Golden Rule.

Take anti-abortion supporters. In my view, they claim high moral religious ground. But they ignore, “dislike”, reality. They ignore the reasons why many women seek abortions. They ignore the continuing subjugation of women in patriarchal American culture, and the many ways in which women are denied equality. They ignore the woman as a person and the hardships many must suffer. No one, including myself, likes the fact that abortions happen. But harassing women who seek abortions and even murdering doctors who perform abortions without trying to understand why so many women feel they must have abortions will never resolve the issue. Only looking reality in the face – the continuing oppression and inferiority of women – will result in a resolution of the abortion issue.

Ignoring reality always leads to treating persons as abstract objects. It demands that we suppress our hearts. The inevitable result is the infliction of pain in the service of a desire to dominate and control masquerading as morality. You know the consequences. We live in a World suffering terribly because of the choices we have made to “dislike reality”.


Monday, November 16, 2009

Brian’s Reflection: Tuesday, Nov 17, 2009

There have been many rebels who have chosen to defy their gods.
Without this option, there can be no true devotion to a holy concept.
For devotion is only valuable when a conscious decision is made to Bold
follow that course, even in acknowledgment of the difficulties ahead.
Choosing to be a devout person is good. Choosing to defy the gods is
also good, for it reaffirms the basic ability of human beings to make
choices. We cannot support religions which say there are no choices.

- Taoist thought

“Gods” must always be “defied”. No religious institution which rejects this power should be given any allegiance. And you all know what those institutions are. They stand out like the proverbial sore thumb. They view their devotees as slaves, their desire is to control, and they range over every dimension of religion.

I feel that we must be able and free to choose our Deities, because yes, “devotion is only valuable when a conscious decision is made”. We must be free to affirm those qualities of Divinity that we know in our hearts to be consistent with Compassion and Truth – and to reject those that are denigrating of authentic Divinity. God is Love. Genuine Love is centered in deep desire that others lives be blessed.

Defy everything about yours or anyone else’s God that does call us to live in Divine Compassion. It’s simple.


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Brian’s Reflection: Friday, November 13, 2009

The word translated as “faith” in the New Testament is the Greek pistis …..
which means “trust loyalty, engagement, commitment.” Jesus was not
asking people to “believe” in his divinity, because he was making no such
claim. He was asking for commitment. He wanted disciples who would
engage with his mission, give all they had to the poor, feed the hungry,
refuse to be hampered by family ties, abandon their pride, lay aside their
self-importance and sense of entitlement, live like the birds of the air and
the lilies of the field, and trust in the God who was their Father. They must
…. live compassionate lives ….

- Karen Armstrong, “The Case for God”

You never know, do you? And it is amazing the things that don’t come to your attention until the time is “right”. Here I am, 63, and a priest for 36 years, and finally Karen Armstrong simply and clearly enunciates what I have always “known” was the truth.

The 3rd century church, and the emperor Constantine, decided to make Jesus “God”. But as Dr. Armstrong says, “he was making no such claim”. And my heart knows that Jesus wasn’t. Fr. Tom Harpur made the case for this so plainly in "The Pagan Christ" – using Augustine and Kuhn – but Armstrong crystallizes it perfectly and so sensibly.

I didn’t know, either, that Jerome used “credo” from the root “cor do” – to “give the heart”. “Belief” was a giving of the heart, as Jesus asked, not an intellectual assent to questionable theories – a 17th century change of definition. (“Belief” is related to the early German “belieb” – offering Love.)

Think about it! Now we are on a different path in thinking about Jesus. I urge you to read Armstrong’s book. It will give you endless reams of material for meditation and prayer and contemplation. Here is an opportunity to grow and deepen. (Yes: you can download it to your Kindle!)

Wishing you fruitful Journeying!


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Brian’s Reflection: Wednesday, Nov 11, 2009

Disapproval of homosexuality cannot justify invading the houses,
hearts and minds of citizens who choose to live their lives differently.

- Justice Harry Blackmun, born on this date, 1908

We Gayfolk chose – if we have not been tyrannized by religion or culture or family - to live our lives differently because we must. We must be authentic. We must “listen to God”. We must listen to our hearts and spirits. In the end, to deny our reality is to deny all that makes us authentically human. And, I might add, faithful to “God”.

America is a lie when it comes to (1) separation of church and state (2) equality under the law and (3) respecting the humanity of ever human being and (4) the Christian Gospel which many Americans claim as its moral foundation.

We confirmed that slavery was wrong; but we continue to organize society prejudicially. We confirmed that men and women were equal, at least under the law, though we continue to discriminate in society and business. Will we not learn? When will we eradicate judgmental prejudice against Gayfolk, when all experience belays its basis in fear and prejudice??

More and more, Gayfolk choose to live their Truth. God rejoices! We pay the price - more than the legal system is willing to admit.

Bless all of you who are willing to have your “homes” invaded.

It makes our society more loving, more caring, more just, nore compassionate.


Monday, November 9, 2009

Brian’s Reflection: Tuesday, Nov 10, 2009

Turn off the spell-check. It can't replace what you
learned in Woodland Public School.

- Allan Joseph McHugh, my estimable and only
brother, born on this date, 1947 (he is 62, I am 63;
we are now both “retired”.)

My brother is a good person. He is fair, just, thoughtful, kind, introspective, sensitive. We are, at least in my perspective, very “different”, as brothers often are. We ran in different “circles”. And, I left home, really, when I “went to college”. And then I left Canada to become a monk, age 21. I would guess that I have seen my brother in the last 43 years about 40 times, for very short periods. So, I can’t say that I know my brother very well. My estimation is based on what I have seen him “be” over the decades, from afar. What I can say is this: he exhibits qualities that I admire and value in a person. He’s a much more irenic person that I am. Not religious in the institutional sense. He’s the kind of person I think blesses the World.

Yes, we went to Woodland School. And he’s right. We sat in rows of 8, 40 to a classroom. And we learned solid, useful, valuable things about how to deal with Life. How to grow up. The most memorable moment for me was Grade 1. We were all ushered into the Library at a strange hour, and we got to watch the coronation of Her Britannic Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Wonderful – surrounded by glass cases of stuffed birds! Woodland School was organized, in the Quebec of the 50’s, around teaching good basic human qualities – for which I am grateful.

I’ve been an Episcopal priest for over 36 years – I think that my brother is the proverbial ”salt of the Earth” –the kind of person from which the Earth greatly benefits, far more than from me.

Happy birthday Al!


Sunday, November 8, 2009

Brian’s Reflection: Monday, Nov 9, 2009

God has a brown voice, as soft and full as beer.

- Anne Sexton, poet, born on this date, 1928

God how I love poets! How grateful I am for them! Especially when one speaks of “God”. I get SO sick of all the talk of “God” by theologians and clergy, and especially by the religious nuts of our weird land. The religious atmosphere of America is getting more and more toxic as the weeks go by. I literally wept when I heard that the House vote on Health Care required an agreement on an abortion clause which clearly relegates women, as far as the government is concerned, to the status of slavery to men and to less than second-class inferiority. It made me sick to my stomach. So much for Government constitutionally not partnering with any particular religious tradition.

This is shameful. Utterly shameful. That people in this land can only get the right of health care by agreeing to the subjugation and inequality of women and to the denial of their equal rights! My mind reels at what feels like the political and theological Fascism of this country. As much as I want health care justice, I hope that if this issue comes to the President with that abortion clause attached, he vetoes it. And I shall urge him to. He won’t, of course. I sense that even Barack Obama – whom I SO hoped was different - is willing to sell his soul “to gain the world” for corrupt political prestige. As the Biblical writer pointed out: “what shall it gain a man” – and it is always men and politically seduced wo-men like Kay Bailey Hutchison and Margaret Thatcher who choose the acquisition of corrupt power over Just Compassion.

Out of the mouth of Anne Sexton’s brown-voiced, soft, “full of beer God” revealed in Jesus the Christ, lies the revelation of True God, to my sense, as poet Anne sexton rightly has experienced “God”. This is the God who would never make such a bargain with the Devil.

May the God of the soft brown and beery voice prevail.


Saturday, November 7, 2009

Brian’s Reflection: The Weekend, Sat, Nov 7, 2009

Christ did not enter a sanctuary made by human hands,
a mere copy of the true one, but he entered into heaven
itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf.

- from the “Letter to the Hebrews”, chap 9, by an unknown author

What/Who is “Christ”? “Christ” is the outpouring of the energy of Life into each of us. “Christ” is the assurance, spoken into our longing hearts and minds, at the moment of our “awakening”, that we have been invited into a glorious, magical, ecstatic Journey.

What is the “sanctuary”? It is the sacred metaphor or symbol for that “place”, mystically speaking, where our flesh and our spiritual energy meet and live/join together. This “place” is a place of power, of wonder, of amazement, of “leaping forward”.

What is “on our behalf”? What is its meaning? It tells us that there is no negative energy which can rob us of Life. Nothing which can defeat our arriving at our fullest humanity. Christ is the Promise of Liberation, of Freedom, of Renewal, of the rising from “Death” to “Life”.

All that is required is for us to say ….. Yes. To embrace Death in order that we may Live. To embrace the Mystery.

I see all of us rejoicing at the loveliness of Life and singing to “God”.


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Brian’s Reflection: Thursday, Nov 5, 2009

We human beings are tuned such that we crave
great melody and great lyrics. And if somebody
writes a great song, it's timeless that we as humans
are going to feel something for that and there's
going to be a real appreciation.

-Art Garfunkel, musician, born on thus date, 1941

There is the theological problem! We human beings need/crave a “great melody and great lyrics” “God”. And we don’t have it. We rather have a “God” that is a puny, diminished, manipulated, co-opted version of “God”. A tyrannical God. A venial God. A God made in the image of basically grasping, selfish, loathsome levels of the human species. It really is appalling that such a version of “God” has been allowed to dominate Christianity and other faiths in the USA and other cultures. I ask myself every day: why are people who have such a tribal, limited view of “God” given the power to represent the Gospel in America?

Where are the people who sing “the great melodies and great lyrics” about “Divinity”??? Or do we just think that if we ignore the singers of a despotic, vindictive, exclusive, nasty God, they will just fade away?

I wonder every day, as I awake, “Why does America foster a “God” that creates such hate, such division, such social ugliness, such bitterness?” Why do the Majority – and I think there IS a majority who do not think this way – not rise up and counter this View of God?”

I know why. Persons of Compassion and Love have an intrinsic disposition not to believe that other human beings can possibly be so unloving. I only have to watch the TV to see every day the image of this selfish unlovingness: every Republican I see speaks against caring for people, against compassion, against justice, against generosity, against the kind of government which supports the basic needs of Americans as against the appalling graspingness of those who desire only to gather as much loot as possible, everyone else be damned.

Jesus wrote a “great song”. I call upon the Christian Church, the Islamic Ulema, the Jewish Covenant People, and all other people of Compassion, to confront the Perverted with Firm Love. Say NO. I call upon Americans to keep a “long distance” view. Do not vote by what you selfishly feel is promising a “quick fix” today, because you feel threatened at the moment. Keep your eye on the Image of the God of Love, on a community which reflects that Truth.


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Brian’s Reflection: Wednesday, Nov 4, 2009

American politician Nellie Tayloe Ross (1876-1977) gained fame in the 1920s
when she was elected governor of Wyoming, becoming the first woman in the
country to hold such a post. After leaving that office, she had an active career in
national Democratic politics and was named director of the U.S. Mint by Presi-
dent Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1930s, a position she held for nearly 20 years.

A good moment in USA history, as far as I am concerned! I raise a cheer at one of those moments that break down the male domination of culture.

But. I shall use this opportunity to segue to an important “spiritual” issue. Which is: I reject those religions which have excluded the Feminine from the so-called “godhead”. Including Judaism, Islam, and Christianity – which, since I have retired and begin to think about things – I reject completely! (Not that I didn’t preach this stuff when I was a parish priest.) I simply can’t and won’t live with that nonsense anymore. What male tyranny! And what a diminution of the glory of the Divine.

Let’s get a grip here people. We simply can’t go on allowing male power to reduce the nature of our conception of “God”. For Heaven’s sake, even the first of the Anglican Articles squashes that Lie! “God is a Spirit, without body, parts, or passions”. It is ridiculous to go on thinking of God as a “man” – and then blasphemously using God to justify all sorts of violence, hate, oppression, dominance, and exclusion of the Feminine from the full understanding of the nature of Life!

Unless we want to use “God” as a justification for denying the Gospel call to Love, respect for all human persons and for the Universe, compassion for all living things.

I don’t. Do you?


Sunday, November 1, 2009

Brian’s Reflection: Monday, Nov 2, 2009

“The fact is I am guilty of sexual immorality. And I take
responsibility for the entire problem,” Haggard wrote.
“I am a deceiver and a liar. There’s a part of my life
that is so repulsive and dark that I have been warring
against it for all of my adult life.”

- Former evangelical pastor Ted Haggart; on this day, 2006,
he resigned as the president of the National Association of
Evangelicals, after he was revealed as a man who had sex
with men.

It isn’t “dark and repulsive”. Except to him – at least in public statement. He was only a “deceiver and liar” essentially and most fundamentally to himself. And he was the “victim” of our culture and of American twisted evangelical and other manifestations of Christianity - so homophobic. But you know, “What goes around comes around”. It’s called karma. Or, the consequences of the Golden Rule. For me, like so many others, Haggart becomes a symbol of the balefulness of Lying about “God’s truth”. One’s sexuality is “God-given”, part of the mystery of being created in “God’s Image”. We could reject this in the past; not now.

Lying about the truth about oneself only inhibits the coming of the “Kingdom of God”, of the inner reality of human diversity. Think of how many mens’ and womens’ lives have been destroyed because we have allowed religious bigots to define the Gospel! Including their “own”. Ted Haggart. I can only suppose that he had some charism, to lead a congregation of 14,000 people, and the so-called “Evangelical” community.

But let’s be clear: Truth sets us free, Jesus says. Lying enslaves us and all society. Which only creates Hate and Sin and and Fear – all of which Jesus, according to “traditional” Christian theology, died to “save us from”.

Haggart says that the responsibility is his. But. He continues to lie. He continues to believe that with God’s help he can be heterosexual. That being Gay is a perversion. Well folks, if he persists in this denial of reality, he will arrive at the Pearly Gates only to find a saddened St. Peter (or whomever, depending on the religion) saddened by Haggart’s self-delusion and offering him the chance to embrace the Truth.

My advice Ted – and all you represent, on all so-called “moral” and “ethical” issues? Embrace the Truth. Only that will set you free. Meanwhile, you and your ilk continue to deny American culture its greatness, religiously, politically, morally, ethically, and socially.