Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Brian’s Reflection: Wednesday, December 1, 2010

I'm working my way toward divinity.

Bette Midler, fabulous woman and entertainer;
she was born on this date, 1945, in Honolulu

The Divine Miss M!! She is one of my absolute favourite persons. Of course I’ve never met her. So I have no idea what she is “really” like. But I have seen many of her shows, and absolutely love and admire and respect her. When she sings “That’s the story of, that’s the glory of Love”, in that slow slow ballad way, with it’s, I think, great and wise lyrics, I am transported into another World. Remember the song she wrote and sang for her infant son? Just brimming with love and pride! She’s a hard worker, and she has a big heart, and she has a terrific voice. She’s a thoughtful and perceptive actress. She’s six months older than I am, and I’ve kind of grown up with her. I’m grateful.

We are all working our way “toward divinity”. No, not to being God ….. but toward knowing and living the truth that we are all made from stardust. We share in the Mystery of the divine majesty of being part of the Life that burst forth from the Big Bang. Our human destiny is as big and bold as the Universe itself. So often the venality of being Human can discourage us; we are capable of such base things. And yet, 55 years ago today, Rosa Parks refused to move to the back of the bus ….. and there we see the great dignity and courage and “divinity” of a human being blazing forth.

We are walking together toward divinity. Let’s walk together in the Light. Be the wind beneath each others’ wings.


Monday, November 29, 2010

Brian’s Reflection: Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Deceiving others. That is what
the world calls a romance.

Oscar Wilde, author, poet; he
died on this day, 1900, age 46

It’s everywhere, this deceit. Everywhere. I see it a lot in my personal experience. In conversation or a relationship I don’t speak the truth. I decline to address the deceit, the pain, the delusion, the avoidance, the shallowness. Is this a “given” of social intercourse?? Is this why Prophets are so necessary and so valuable – because they fear not to speak truth to power or to falseness?

As Wilde implies, I have certainly seen it in developing relationships, personal or political. They are equally destructive. And I wonder: is this a necessary “survival mechanism” of the Human community?? And then I ask: Are we so fearful and vulnerable to the Truth?

Perhaps one of the most terrible place I have seen it is in the “search process” for a new priest. The parish lies about themselves. The candidates all lie in applying for the position. They both lie in the interview process. And often it ends in heartbreak and misery. Same with a marriage, as Wilde implies. And it says much about us that we think of this in terms of “romance”. How sad that we feel the need to posture so much. Do we not know, really, that honesty will always serve us best, as preserve us from a lot of suffering?

Love requires the constant determination to let go of all deception. About oneself. About the Other. A really life-giving relationship is one in which there is no need to deceive, to prevaricate, to hide, to pretend. I deeply hope that such relationships will grow, individually and nationally, religiously and intellectually and politically.

Romance. Flowers, charm, dinner, sweet-nothings. Ah yes. It’s fun for a bit. But the World does not need too much of Romance. This is a time to speak truth to each other, in Love and Respect.

We need to romance each other with true, not false, Love. That’s what Jesus did. We no longer have time for misleading in our torn World. Let’s reclaim the inner practice of humility, and the presenting of an honest Self to others.


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Brian’s Reflection: Monday, November 29, 2010

Humans are amphibians - half spirit and
half animal. As spirits they belong to the
eternal world, but as animals they inhabit time.

C.S. Lewis, writer, novelist, thinker; he was
born on this date, 1898, in Belfast.

Well. I must say the fact that I am quoting C. S. Lewis is a sign of my maturing maturity! Lewis said some very ignorant and vicious things about homosexuality in his book “The Four Loves” – whereupon I stopped reading him ….. except for the Chronicles of Narnia. But, I’m willing to let it go ….. on the assumption that we are all ignorant at times. I hope he got over it. Someone out there probably knows whether he did or not.

However: I disagree with him about the “half spirit and half animal” bit. We human beings are not half and half anything. As Mrs. (Betty) Slocombe used to say in “Are You Being Served”: I am unanimous in this!!

We human beings are like Jesus Christ as defined by the Council of Nicaea: fully Divine and fully Human. By which I mean, Jesus (according to the Church) can’t be fully Who He is said to be without being fully both – and nor can we be who we are without being both. I’m not going to quibble about the theological niceties involved. I just make the point that our Humanity inhabits both eternity and time as part of the Reality of who we are. If we inhabit Time as animals, we also inhabit the “eternal world” as animals.

I don’t think that it helps in any way to think of ourselves as somehow essentially divided. We are a unity. When we know this, that is when we can live fully and authentically.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Brian’s Reflection: Thursday, November 25, 2010
[ in the United States of America, Thanksgiving Day ]

Forever on Thanksgiving Day

The heart will find the pathway home.

~Wilbur D. Nesbit

I must have read 100 quotes about Thanksgiving. This one spoke to me.

“The heart will find it’s pathway home.”

I have spent my Life, since the age of 19, anchored in the Christian Eucharist. The “Holy Eucharist” is the central act of worship of the Christian Church. The Bible (at least John’s Gospel) records that Jesus called his disciples together on the night before He died, to celebrate the Passover together – that profound meal recalling the fleeing of Israel from slavery into Freedom. In a Mystery incomprehensible to human Reason, but not at all to human intuition, Jesus tells His followers that, if they “eat His Body and drink His Blood”, they will find “eternal Life”.

Look at it symbolically. Jesus was saying to them: “Share this symbolic meal, and in doing so, you will “find the pathway home”.

And what is that? What is that Pathway? Simply put, it is – according to the Gospel – the path of Love. That Path, once entered upon, becomes the Journey of a lifetime. It leads humanity – you and me - “Home”.

I have thought today about the Path to Home. About the path as Thanksgiving. And it make sense. I offer Thanks for Service, which my life as a priest has been, like it or not; my vocation has guided me away from myself and towards caring about others; it redeemed my selfish nature. I offer Thanks for all the searching human beings I have met; they have illuminated for me this shaky path we are all traveling – and reminded me how much we depend on each other. I offer Thanks for “spiritual” leaders, people of Simplicity and Peace and Laughter, who have reminded me to make Wonder the heart of Living. I offer Thanks for “those instances in which our assured judgment has been proved wrong”, as Fr. James Huntington OHC said; his words have taught me to let go of things that hinder me from forging ahead with Life. I offer Thanks to Jesus that He so brilliantly spoke those parables which revealed the heart of Life. And I offer Thanks for Friends – especially friends who became family; what a blessing a true friend is! I’m blessed to have many.

I am most thankful that I have been shown the “Pathway Home”. It is embracing the present moment, pouring into it everything one has, loving the World, rejoicing that I am a part of it, receiving every gift it offers in such profligacy, giving back when one can.

Today, a dear friend invited me to share in, to keep vigil at, the imminent death to this Life of his beloved mother. Of all the things I’ve most cherished as a priest, it has been the invitation to share in the moments of engaging with the Mystery of Life and Death.

No one who had anything to do with the instigation of Thanksgiving Day in American life could possibly have realized what they were setting in motion! We may think of Pilgrims and all that stuff. But all that has been transfigured into a celebration of Being Alive, and of all the things which make Life possible.

What greater blessing could we have as a human being than to help each other to Live?


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Brian’s Reflection: Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent
and omnipotent God would have designedly
created parasitic wasps with the express intention
of their feeding within the living bodies of Caterpillars.

Charles Darwin. On this date, 1859, “On the Origin
of Species” was published

I don’t have much to say. Darwin makes obvious sense, at least to me and my intuitive experience of God. No God Who is called Love would “organize” Nature in this way. I think of Evolution like any emanation of Life: it will develop as it is directed by the demands of Life ….. and never will Divine Love be absent from it, regardless of what happens. If there is any prime message in the Gospel, it is this: “God” does not manipulate; “God” always lifts up Life. There is no development of Life that can evade God’s Blessing and Presence.

This is the Eve of Thanksgiving. What, in the “old days” in the monastic life, we would have called (if there had been such a feast; and perhaps the Feast of Corpus Christi or perhaps even Maundy Thursday and the Feast of the Institution of the Holy Eucharist” would qualify) “First Vespers of the Solemnity of Thanksgiving”.

Life blossoms and changes as Life requires, as the human community opts for fullness and abundance in Charity and Love.

I have experienced it in my Life, as I hope you have.

Give Thanks!


p.s. Darwin also said:

At some future period, not very distant as
measured by centuries, the civilized races
of man will almost certainly exterminate,
and replace the savage races throughout the world.

I understand this to mean that, all human beings being capable of Evil, we will evolve. That we will learn to choose Good over Evil. May we be able to give Thanks for this in our own day!


Monday, November 22, 2010

Brian’s Reflection: Tuesday, November 23, 2010

To live is so startling it leaves
little time for anything else.

Emily Dickinson, poet

Read this and you will know without fail where the story in Genesis came from, about Adam and Eve being kicked out of the Garden and being condemned to work – horrors! – to keep body and soul together. It’s what is called an “etiological” story, that is, a story that has been concocted to explain some “mystery” of human life. Why must we work so hard to provide the wherewithal to live?? People have asked this question since the beginning of time.

Emily didn’t have to work to survive, as far as I know. Except perhaps for her artistic soul to survive. It recently appears that she might have suffered from a chronic illness, like epilepsy; so she could stay home ….. and write! And she did.

But in her writing, we see time and time again her passion for Life. We see her “startled-ness” at Life, at how amazing Life was. She had little time for anything else, so awing was Life.

I want to be like Emily! I want to develop even more than I have now a nature that is endlessly entranced and delighted and charmed by Life.

I’ve had my share of the drudgery of work. But I’ve been fortunate to have had a good deal of work that allowed me to experience the wonder that Life can reveal: delightful human beings and exquisite things and places and a huge amount of Beauty. And “retirement”, even with a small pension, has expanded it.

How I have been blessed! Particularly with an appreciation of Simplicity, and the ability to let go of things.

I wish it for you all. A Life that is startling.


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Brian’s Reflection: Monday, November 22, 2010

Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy, President of the United States;
he was assassinated on this date, in Dallas, 1963

John Kennedy was no goody-goody. He was not, in my view, a great statesman. But he is an icon of the 60’s. He was young, rich, charismatic, and a young president of the World’s (supposedly) most powerful nation. He was apparently, according to many contemporary and later commentators, an iconic image of the times. As a Canadian boy of 17, I stayed home from school (how I don’t know) and was glued to the TV through 3 days of the whole thing (all in black & white, on the CBC).

At the time, I think the thing that most stunned me was that such a thing could happen in America; it seemed so ….. uncivilized! And now, the thing that strikes me the most is how that moment transcended all politics – as sleazy then as now – and was such a personal human drama. John Kennedy was us all, struck down at the prime of Life ….. and I realize now how that can happen to any of us, no matter how “safe” or “protected”, even living in the richest country in the World. It makes me deeply aware that we Americans think we are so powerful ….. but we are so vulnerable on so many levels, despite our privileges. This is the “spiritual” affect of that day 47 years ago.

Kids all around the World today kill themselves because they are not approved of by their “peers”. Because they don’t meet the social standard. We’ve had a recent spate of Gay teens killing themselves. Straight bullied kids off themselves too. American society has little tolerance for “non-conformists”. American men run scared if they are not seen as gun-toting, sports-crazed, anti-queer “guys” who demean women. And God forbid if any of us seek a non-militarized society and don’t equate war-fever and World dominance with Patriotism.

John Kennedy’s words apply to our Western culture. But they also apply to the inner life. It is applicable to Religion today around the World. One must think with the majority, goose-step in line, or one is suspect, often persecuted. That’s what Jesus warned about when He said to his followers, “You will be persecuted for My sake”. Because Jesus did NOT conform; he WAS free; He GREW in Holiness and Humanity. And He threatened the Hell out of people.

But Kennedy is right. “Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy or Growth.” All society and all religion degenerates easily into a tool of the slavery and the stunting of the Soul.

“Those who have ears to hear, let them hear.”


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Brian’s Reflection: Thursday, November 18, 2010

At the end of the day, love and compassion will win.

Terry Waite, hostage envoy; he was freed on
this date in 1991, after 1763 days in captivity.

Life is strange, isn’t it? We just never know the truth about a lot if not most of things. Terry Waite went as an envoy of the Archbishop of Canterbury (Robert Runcie) several times, managing to save the lives of several Middle East hostages. In 1987, he was abducted by Islamist terrorists in Lebanon, and finally released almost five years later. “To some he remained a saintly and courageous figure ….. But to others, notably including journalists specializing in Middle East affairs, he was a muddle-headed meddler and publicity-seeker who allowed himself to be used by Oliver North and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Waite allegedly took credit for hostage releases that had almost everything to do with arms deals and little to do with his efforts. To those critics he was a man who defied his church's wishes for his own vainglory and who put his family on the rack to feed his own hunger for headlines.” [ Answer.com.] In his writings later, he was vague about his connections with the CIA.

I would like to believe that what Terry Waite said about the triumph of love and compassion is true. It would be comforting to believe this, wouldn’t it? I have to say that experience and history do not seem to prove him right. Such a belief has little to do, I think, with “the facts”, with Reality.

However, the belief that love and compassion ultimately will win out is a tool of a life of Hope. In the same category as things like “Justice will be done”, and “After death we will be in Heaven with God”. And dare I say, the Beatitudes. It doesn’t really matter whether these things ultimately come to pass. What matters is how they guide our Life ….. for the here and now.

I don’t really want a Reward “after” for being Compassionate or Loving or Just or “poor in spirit” or a Peacemaker or merciful or whatever.

I want them to make me a “friend of God” ….. and to make a difference right now, day by day, in a World that can be so harrowing. Nothing makes me shudder so much as our inhumanity.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Brian’s Reflection: Wednesday, November 17, 2010

It's odd that you can get so anesthetized by
your own pain or your own problem that you
don't quite fully share the hell of someone
close to you

Claudia Alta Taylor; on this date, 1934, she
married Lyndon B. Johnson; she was known
as “Lady Bird”.

I’m not sure what Lady Bird meant; or what in her experience prompted this comment. My personal experience has been that indeed we do get so anesthetized by our own pain that we don’t – and can’t – share the hell of someone close to us ….. or of the World, or of the Human Community. It makes perfect sense to me. Also, I think it’s the height of understatement to say “can’t quite”. When we get consumed by our own pain, we usually can’t relate to another’s at all!

I know that I go on about valuing ourselves, taking care of ourselves, rejecting abuse, loving ourselves. That’s hyperbole to make the point, which is that we are profoundly inhibited in loving, caring, being generous to others when we neglect ourselves.

I think that the whole human community is at a high level of pain these days – often physical, certainly emotional, psychological, “spiritual”. I hope it is to some good purpose, namely that we will be startled into an awareness of the other-inflicted and the self-inflicted pain on all levels and Wake Up. That we will realize how sick we are, and take the steps to stop and reverse it. That we will start valuing each other and caring about each other, start reducing the stress and the hate and begin to honour and respect each other – and put away the religious and ethnic and cultural biases which enslave us ….. is killing us.

Yes, it’s important, critical, to value ourselves. Because this frees us to SEE the pain of those around us. It screams at us out of all the media and the music and the art and the media violence.

Once we begin to see the immense pain we are all in, to see the isolation and the separation and the fear, perhaps we will be aroused, and begin to “share the hell”.

It will make a better and happier World.


Monday, November 15, 2010

Brian’s Reflection: Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Setting my mind on a musical instrument was like
falling in love. All the world seemed bright and changed.

W. C. Handy, African-American composer; known as the
“Father of the Blues”; son of emancipated slaves; he was
born on this date, 1873, in Alabama (died 1958, in Harlem)

The Central Coast has been at its best for the last several days – warm and sunny and clear. Dennis and I were driving north on 101 from Santa Barbara late this afternoon. About 5pm, we were skirting the Pacific, on that fabulous run by El Capitan, Refugio, and Gaviota Beach, headed for the tunnel. The sky was ….. well, sky-blue and utterly cloudless. A shining glittering golden path led from the beach out to the straight line of the horizon. Just above it hung Sol, our life-giving star, a huge, round perfect disk of gold. It took my breath away. My mind was held in awe by the taken-for granted fact that it was 93 million miles away and looked a mile; that from that immense distance it had the power to warm and light and give life to the Earth in its cold dark orbit where no other star shines.

“All the world seemed bright and changed”!

These days, I find myself discouraged by the state of the Earth, its hunger, war, greed, suffering. I try not to focus on it, but it seeps into me and takes me over unconsciously. But there this afternoon was a free gift from the Universe! Once again, I fell in love with Life and Being and exquisite Beauty and Mystery.

For W. C. Handy, it was setting his mind on a musical instrument that would lead him to his place as “Father of the Blues”. For me, long ago now, it was setting my heart on holiness. Its light has not dimmed, despite the only small steps of advance.

My soul is quiet and at peace tonight.

Brian’s Reflection: Monday, November 15, 2010

When some were speaking about the temple, how it was adorned
with beautiful stones and gifts dedicated to God, Jesus said, "As
for these things that you see, the days will come when not one stone
will be left upon another; all will be thrown down." ….. You will be
betrayed even by parents and brothers, by relatives and friends; and
they will put some of you to death. You will be hated by all because
of my name. But not a hair of your head will perish. By your endurance
you will gain your souls."

Luke 21 (the Gospel reading (RCL) for Sunday, November 14, 2010

I see this as a parable about searching for, finding, and claiming one’s “own Christ”. I see it as a wise perspective on the Journey that is Life, and on each of us taking and shaping and “surrendering” to that Journey. For those familiar with the Bible, you will recall that when Jesus spoke another time about “destroying the Temple” and that in three days He would rebuild it, the Evangelist adds a kind of post-resurrection hind-sight footnote, stating that Jesus was talking about His body.

One central aspect of the Christian Myth/Message is Incarnation: God becoming Human. This is true of many other faiths/religions as well: the Divine takes human form and “dwells among us”. The import of this is that human beings become fully human – from “mere dust” to a “living being” – when they become fully conscious of/to the indwelling Divine. It’s from this that I derive the mystical idea that Jesus is talking about our human Journey to fullness of Being.

The parable makes it clear, first, that our Full Humanity is a beautiful thing: “adorned with beautiful stones and gifts dedicated to God”; and second, that it is hard to stay focused on this transformation! It’s hard work! There are days when it all comes crashing down. There are days that can be or seem full of betrayal, sometimes by the actions of others, sometimes even by our own self-betrayal. It could be very discouraging!

But Jesus says that “God”, that that Great Mystery that is the source of all Being, is “on our side”! That Existence is tilted in our favour. That we are meant to be slowing but surely transfigured into Fullness. That we will get there: “By your endurance you will gain your souls.” And by “endurance”, I don’t think He means just “standing in place” – though that will certainly at times be part of it. He means doing our active best to know and seek our evolution into God.

I hope today and every day has some measure of this for each of us.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Brian’s Reflection: Friday, November 12, 2010

The sun, with all those planets revolving around it
and dependent on it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes
as if it had nothing else in the universe to do.

Galileo Galilei

Is it any wonder that “our” Sun, Old Sol, was for all the millennia of human existence regarded as a Deity?? And still is, by some cultures. The Sun is a vibrant metaphor for that great Mystery from which the great Mystery of Life blossoms. Strange thing is, I have moved away in the past few years from an anthropomorphic, “personal” image of God, finding a deep richness and depth in seeing God as the astonishing brilliant pulse of all Being. But ….. in this I have strangely found a deeper Intimacy.

I personally think that “God” is ultimately Life and Being and Existence and Unknowing. God is equally given to us all. Whoever we are, and however “unique”, we exist by the same Mystery.

Because this is true, each living thing is equal, and is drenched with whatever abundance of Being we need. It matters not if we are an amoeba or the biggest Sun in the Universe.

I love to rest quietly in connection with the Unknown Mystery of Being. But I also like to feel that warming Sun ripening the Me that is just one of the bunches of grapes, and knowing that I am as important and worthy of the ripening effort as anyone or anything else!

You are too!


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Brian’s Reflection: Thursday, November 11, 2010

If you dedicate yourself to service, the doors will open.

Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan
"Alchemical Wisdom"

The doors will open, to ………. what???

This “line” has been held up before the human race by religionists and philosophers for ages. It says, You will be happy if you don’t put yourself first, perhaps if you don’t think of yourself at all, if you just love other people and spend your Life helping others meet their needs, be “humble”. God will love you for behaving this way and will reward you in Heaven – not in this Earthly Life because the point of this Earthly Life is to humiliate the Self so it’s clear that you are clear that you can’t “deserve” the love of the Divine One.

I think this is utter masochistic spiritual crap.

I believe that we can never authentically begin to serve others until we have been awakened to Belovedness. Oh, many people “serve” others, for various reasons. Because we “must”. Because it’s taught us. Because we think that serving others means denying ourselves. We may all begin this way – though I have been blessed to know some Great Souls who transcended this at an early stage. Such “service” may assist others, but it is not true Service. It is condescension, and it dangerous to our souls.

Authentic service flowers when we know that the Other is Us; when we serve because what we offer enhances the humanity of our Self and the Other; it can’t be otherwise. Serving another out of a sense of serving oneself reveals that we have understood Compassion and the Unity of all things Holy.

Serve by all means. But remember it is an invitation to the transformation of yourself.


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Brian’s Reflection: Wednesday, November 10, 2010

In the name of the Bee--
And of the Butterfly—
And of the Breeze--Amen

Emily Dickinson

Lovely Emily. She was a great, seminal theologian! In my view anyway. We desperately need more of her kind.

OK. I’ll admit: the “Organization” we call the “Church” probably needs a few rules to be tidy. Frankly, I think we have far too many. And far too many of them are counter to what I think God wants from us. It’s a rather dubious assumption that She wanted us to organize an “Institution”. Now, here I suppose I could get in trouble ….. being an ordained priest in the Organization! However, I’m happy to agree that a LITTLE organization is probably useful so we can publically witness to the joy of the Gospel. But I’m not at all sure that organizing ourselves to look like a vestige of the Roman Empire – complete with rich Byzantine clothing, as MUCH as I love wearing them, what healthy Gay man wouldn’t! – is really likely to make us effective as agents in transforming the World into a Peaceable Kingdom. All that stuff HAS to be perifipheral.

Let’s face it: the Trinity is at best a charming icon of the busy activity of Love, as it generates, spreads, and expresses itself in the Human Community. At worst: it becomes a vicious instrument in separating human beings from each other in that Peaceable Kingdom. What a dilemma!

So, bless Saint Emily Dickinson! She reminds us, in her utterly charming Invocation, that the World is infused with the Divine Consciousness. Just pay attention to Life, she says. Cherish it; surrender to it. Remember you are a part of it. Live it, in abandonment, with whimsicality and with delight.

The World needs us to be such people.

Go to it Gang!


Monday, November 8, 2010

Brian’s Reflection: Monday, November 8, 2010

Religion isn’t about believing things.
It's ethical alchemy.
It’s about behaving in a way that changes you, that
gives you intimations of holiness and sacredness.

Karen Armstrong, “alchemist” extraordinaire


For a very long time now, I’ve said that “religion” is the Practice which binds us to our core commitments, our hopes, our fundamental Beliefs about Life. And I’m with Karen: our “beliefs” are the vision we have formed about Life, about how to live It. Our “beliefs” are not giving assent to theological statements dictated by religious institutions (like “creeds”) which make us “right” or “closer to God” than others.

We human beings, all of us, whether we like it or not, are all on a Journey. We are all seeking meaning for Life and for our own individual lives. Like any Journey, it has its dangers and its risks, with, of course, its Bliss. Like any Journey, it requires careful planning to be accomplished.

Like the great alchemists, we are attempting to make “gold out of base metal”. That is not to denigrate our human nature! Our Religion is that which we do, think, say which hold us to that Path which will faithfully guide us Home. That Practice gives us “intimations of holiness and sacredness”.

We must choose our “Religion” well, my friends. We are not seeking to be “right”. We are seeking to be transfigured as Love Incarnate.


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Brian’s Reflection: Friday, November 5, 2010

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 appreciatio

Art Garfunkel, Musician, and once half of Simon
& Garfunkel; born on this date, 1941; he’s 69!

I loved EVERYTHING they sang!

“Great melody and great lyrics”. I think I’m a stereotype! I absolutely do ….. on every level of Life, on every level for which “great melody and lyrics” is a metaphor. Ives, Schoenberg, Stravinsky (except the Firebird), Rauschenberg, and especially Glass (!), etc ….. they grate on my aesthetic nerves! Oh dear: I’m becoming an aesthetic troglodyte in my old age!

I could list metaphorical “great” throughout the ages – at least in my aesthetic: Lascaux; Chinese cranes; Peruvian gold; pyramids; Monteverdi; Gregorian chant (sung the way I like it sung!); Cellini; Bruch; Murillo; Strauss (The Four Last Songs); Goya; Canaletto; Monet; Rupert Brooke; John Keats; Gordon Lightfoot; Loreen McKenna. I could go on. All these make me feel One with the Beauty of Being ….. i.e., with the Mystery of “God” and Humanity.

I think that a worthy goal for each of us is to be a “great song”. A Old Crone friend of mine at whose ordination I preached and “crowned” her with the title of Crone said to me the other day, “I love getting your Reflections; they are so YOU!”.

Just be YOU. Just be You! It will bless and sweeten the World!


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Brian’s Reflection: Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A guy is a lump like a doughnut. So, first you
gotta get rid of all the stuff his mom did to him.
And then you gotta get rid of all that macho crap
that they pick up from beer commercials. And
then there's my personal favorite: the male ego.

Roseanne Barr, comedienne, writer, TV producer,
and director; she was born on this date, 1952, in
Salt Like City, to a working-class Jewish family.

Roseanne was pretty “rough-edged” when I first saw her on the TV. I didn’t think that she was a very good actress. But that didn’t matter. What I liked was what she was saying. To me, it had to do with Reality. That is: When are we ever going to see that so many of the problems of American society stem from the inferiorization of Women?? And I must point out again: we do this because of the peculiar twisted dynamics of American Christian religion.

What I want to comment on, from a “spiritual” point of view, is the infantilization of men ….. mostly of heterosexual men. Most Gay men I know have, I think, lost the gene that makes them the kind of men that Roseanne is talking about!. They became themselves because they learned to reject what their mother’s unconsciously tried to project upon them; they don’t “listen” to beer commercials even if they slug down beer; and their Ego is more biologically balanced. If this sounds a little self-serving, I’m vaguely sorry guys!

What Roseanne is saying is that heterosexual men are in desperate need of Liberation. She is right. Men have been emasculated in our culture. They think that to “be” men they have to be a version of Neanderthal killers. I suggest we remember all the great men of History. They may, because of their era, have had to be soldiers. But “soldiering” was a distraction. They were primarily poets, artists, philosophers, academics. This was their true masculine expression.

I say: let’s have more.


Monday, November 1, 2010

Brian’s Reflection: Tuesday, November 2, 2010
[ All Souls Day in the Christian Kalendar ]

Ananda, having arranged one set of the
golden robes on the body of the Lord,
observed that against the Lord’s body it
appeared dulled. And he said, “It is won-
derful, Lord, it is marvelous how clear
and bright the Lord’s skin appears! It looks
even brighter than the golden robes in which
it is clothed.”

Digha Nikaya 16.4.37

Behold the lilies of the fields – clothed more beautifully than great kings.

Nothing can enhance the intrinsic beauty of the human person fully transfigured. The Christ Himself, the Enlightened One the Buddha Himself – they are the reflection of the greatest beauty of you and of me. No exterior beautification can outshine a human being lit from within by the Light of the Universe, by Divine Compassion.

See your naked beauty. Be it.