Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Brian’s Reflection: October 31, 2012 Samhain [Ancient Celtic: pronounced “Sha-ween”]; All Hallow’s Eve; Eve of All Saints]

Brian’s Reflection: October 31, 2012
Samhain [Ancient Celtic: pronounced “Sha-ween”]; 
All Hallow’s Eve;  Eve of All Saints]

“Throughout the centuries, pagan and Christian beliefs intertwine
in a gallimaufry of celebrations from Oct 31st through November 5th,
all of which appear both to challenge the ascendancy of the dark
and to revel in its mystery.”

This time, around the approaching Winter Solstice, has been an “holy” time for long centuries. It was often know as a “thin” time … when the “separation between the living and the dead was permeable … and human beings felt a palpable connection with those who gone before them in Life and passed on into the mystery of Death.

Remember folk:  this is a mystery engaged with by all cultures and religions. Christianity, alas, soon took the path of dominance and conquering … and so, as they did with Christmas and with the resurrection of the killed gods of the ancient World, they co-opted out a particular pagan feast to remember the saintly dead and the “normal” family dead who had gone on before … a remembrance of the Ancestors”.

I love this time of the year! I definitely feel connected with all here, with all who have “passed on”, and with all who will come behind us. Not just with “saints” … but with every single “normal” human being. Every single one of us is a gift to the World, regardless of our “goodness” or not. Every human being has contributed to the long path of human development … it is our job to choose wisely our “role models”, or “heroes”, and to commit our walk to their Path towards becoming a reflection of the vision we call Divine Love.

We are now in our metaphorical time of growing darkness, yet a time when we celebrate the rich harvest of the Earth that sustains our Life.

Oh yes:  the “dark” has mysteries which can teach us about Life. I look at the sky here in NM before I go to bed … and I see Orion and the Plough and the Pleiades, and I feel caught up in the eternal sweep of Being. The lovely verse of the All Saints Christian hymn comes to my heart: “We feebly struggle / They in glory shine / Yet all are one, in Thee / for all are Thine”.

We are one. Each of us unique … yet bound together. What each does affects the destiny of the Human Race. Only together can we bring about a human community I which together we create Peace and Joy and Justice.

Do I have a “political” statement? Yes. It isn’t the 99%. It’s the rest of us.


Sunday, October 14, 2012

Brian’s Reflection: Monday, October 15,2012

After coming into contact with a religious man
I always feel I must wash my hands.

Friedrich Nietzsche, philosopher, theologian;
He was born on this day, 1844, at Röcken, Saxony, Germany

Have you ever read anything by the Canadian writer Louise Penny? Do! I think most of you will love her writing. She writes “murder mysteries” … but that’s just the “pretext”. What she writes about is the complex business of human brings and our foibles and our avoidance of the truth and our inner confusions. I think you’d really get into her books. When I awake in the middle of the night, I know the goddess of murder mystery has awakened me to turn on my iPad and continue reading!

If you are a Christian, you might remember Pontius Pilate washing his hands before sentencing Jesus to death. Absolving himself of responsibility. Having to deal with the politics of his position. This points to the difference between faith/belief and the constructed systems in which we participate which guide us on the path of faith/belief. Christianity is about Love and about the divine nature in each of us. Judaism is about relationship with the God of Covenant, and about Justice. Buddhism is about Compassion. Taoism is about experienced Wisdom. Islam is about the revelation of the Prophet. But then there’s the Church, and the Synagogue, and the Sangha, and the Mosque, and the various cultural and political communities in which these faiths exist. And there’s the “problem”. Human Beings and human institutions.

Revolutions have erupted when the gap between faith and “religion” grows too great. Blessedly, we are at such a point right now … I hope.

“Religion” … those rules and regulations and rituals devised by religionists …  is a human creation. And the construction of religion is always subject to human fear, longing for power, sin (failure of love), greed, venality, pride, self-hatred, ignorance … out of which come exclusion, intolerance, arrogance, contempt. All of which lead to division and to a denial and abandonment of most of the core principles taught by the Founders.

Today, in the light of Neitzsche’s comment, I’m pondering whether I am a faithful servant of “God” … of the core sublime goal of being a human being, or of “religion” … of the temptations to make an idol of Religion. I’m driven even more into such a meditation by an ordained pastor who attends our church and who announced that, after reading Neitzsche, that he would no longer have anything to do with “organized religion”. I’ve walked that road the last few years. I’m sympathetic … especially in the light of the right-wing fundamentalist Christianity and other religion that is so prevalent in American society these days.

I feel like Neitzsche these days. Feeling soiled with so much of religion.

I think it’s a godly, sacred, life-giving thing to feel.


Saturday, October 13, 2012

Brian’s Reflection: Sunday, October 14, 2012

Teacher, I have kept all these since my youth."
Jesus, looking at [the rich young man],
loved him and said, " You lack one thing; go,
sell what you own, and give the money to the poor,
and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me." …
The young man went away grieving.

From the Gospel for Sunday, October 14, 2012 called Mark, chap 10; Proper 23B, RCL

[  The complete Readings for this Sunday can be found at  ]

Learning how to live one’s Life as a glorious “success in Life’s eyes” is not a matter of “arriving”. It is a matter of creating and shaping every moment and day of one’s Life. It is a Journey which has no end; it is part of Eternity. It defines one’s every moment. No judgment can be made of it except on the criterion of dogged faithfulness.

What had the “rich young ruler” not yet understood? He hadn’t yet understood that at some point on the Journey to claiming Life … and it can come to us early or late … one must make the choice about what is at the heart … about what lies at the core of becoming a genuine person.

For Christians … and for all of us in perhaps different terms … we must decide what it means to love, and open our Being to comprehend this great Mystery. Christians “gaze” at the cross  … and in so doing invite the “Spirit of God” to show us the heart of the Mystery.

What is Jesus’ Message? Simply this. First, understand that every human being is defined essentially by the fact that they are unconditionally Beloved. Second:  that the path to such birth, the Biblical “born again to fullness of Life”, begins when we choose radically to love every human being, seeing that this choice for Love defines out unique Self. The more we give away our essence, our Love, the more we enter into our unique personal reality.

Every day, Life says, as Jesus said, “Follow Me”. What a mess I’ve made of it over 50 years! But I’ve realized it’s ok (and natural) to make as mess … as long as one sees and acknowledges the mess as soon as possible. Freeing us to this process is the critical ministry of “church” … so church-goers beware! The jolly “banquet” is eaten by those who learn to give away the infinite love of Belovedness.

What do we need, essentially? We need to accept the Divine embrace. Once we let ourself be enfolded into Love, every second we live makes us like “God”.