Friday, October 30, 2009

I AM LISTENING

I arrived home from work today and grabbed my camera before heading out into the garden for a walk-through in the light rain. The fall colors are still wonderful and I know I have missed many worthwhile shots simply due to the fact that there are too many for me to even be able to recognize them all.

Tranquility is the word that comes to mind when I think of my garden and some seasons of the year just ever so gently project that feeling more than others. Fall is one of them. Rainy days are another. Combine those two and the garden oozes with a sense of peace and calls to visitors to enter and to slow their pace. Well, at least to the visitors that are listening.

I am listening.








Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A LIFE TO RELAX INTO


Believe me when I say, grace doesn't let us of the hook....it just helps us own our own crap. In contrast to the law that just muddies the water by complicating things with all kinds of manipulative posturing and helps people stay in the scapegoat cycle.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

THE WORLD SYSTEM ON TRIAL

Read this in light of what our nation prides itself for. The rule of law and what we as humans determine to be just.

"Pilate represents Roman authority and applies Roman law. Now, I concede that no civilization ever created so well-developed a law or could give such decisions in trials, debates, and conflicts. I say this without irony. I taught Roman law for twenty years and discovered all the nuances and all the skill of jurists whose one aim was to say what was right. They defined law as the art of the good and the equitable, and I can guarantee that in hundreds of concrete cases they rendered decisions which showed that they were in effect dispensing justice. The Romans were not in the first instance ferocious fighters and conquerors, as they are often described. Their chief achievement was Roman law. A little problem which virtually no one considers is that their army, strictly speaking, was never large. At most it seems to have had 120 legions, and these were nearly all stationed on the frontiers of the empire. They came into the interior only when there was a rebellion. The order of the empire was not a military order. It was through administrative skill and through the equilibrium established by skillful and satisfying legal measures that the empire endured for five centuries. We have to bear this in mind in evaluating what the accounts of the trial tell us.



The law of which the Romans were so proud and which provided the justest solutions---what did it accomplish in this instance? It allowed a Roman procurator to yield to the mob and to condemn an innocent man to death for no valid reason (as Pilate himself recognized!) This, then, is what we can expect from an excellent legal system! The fact that Jesus submits to the trial is not in these circumstances a recognition of the legitimacy of the authority of government. On the contrary, it is an unveiling of the basic injustice of what purports to be justice. This is what is felt when it is said that in the trial of Jesus all those who were condemned to death and crucified by the Romans are cleared. We thus find here once again the conviction of the biblical writers that all authority is unjust. We catch an echo of the saying in Ecclesiastes 3:16 that "where the seat of justice is found, there is wickedness." Jaques Ellul Anarchy and Christianity

Saturday, October 24, 2009

WHAT FATHER ARE YOU TRYING TO GET BACK TO?


I keep thinking that all the talk about getting back to our founding fathers misses the point. The Father we need to get back to is the one who seems to be very fond of gardening...not making war in order to form a nation.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

GRACE....ONCE AGAIN

Three nights ago I was awakened out of a dream in the wee hours of the morning. I rarely remember dreams. As I laid there in bed thinking about all I had just seen it was like a web spreading throughout the world. I finally got up out of bed because I couldn't go back to sleep so I thought I would just sit down at the computer and attempt to write some of my thoughts down. And nothing cohesive that night or the following days ever came together that I could write about. I could have the conversation with you (which I have with a couple people since) but I couldn't write it down.

This morning my friend Wayne posted this (I already know some of you have seen it) and as I sat and read it my dream from Monday night came flooding back into my mind. Reconciliation was at the core of the dream along with the struggle we all find ourselves in. Ugly might seem like it's winning the day on a larger scale but it's not. Ugly has been losing ground ever since grace was revealed and began to change people. This article does not contain the exact same details of my dream (even though racial reconciliation was a part of mine) but it is about the same transforming power that will turn your life around...not by changing the ugly world around you so that life lines up to all the expectations you have placed on it...but it will do it by changing you. And as Flannery O’Connor says in the quote that begins the article the change is painful as it goes to work to seperate us from our old ways of living in this world.

Read the article here http://reconcilers.wordpress.com/2009/10/19/celebrating-“grace-day”-from-trying-harder-and-doing-more-to-a-culture-of-grace/

Monday, October 19, 2009

OFFERINGS FROM THE SPACE THAT SURROUNDS ME

These first three photos show off the collaborative efforts of a couple of my neighbors. A few times a day I walk past this as I'm out walking the dogs. I love the peaceful inviting space they have created





This is one of the Japanese Maples in my garden as it just begins to change into it's fall colors. This tree is one of the best for it's fall show.


This is a little miniture Japanese Maple I gave to my brother who lives right across the street from me.




UNFORCED


It just seems like an exhausting frustrating waste to me, all the time that is planned out in life that then just keeps us distracted from the things that are happening right now in front of us. Even if it's just being quiet and alone....yet never alone.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

A FROSTY MORNING

I love frosty Fall mornings. Frosty Spring mornings though are a different story if the plant world has already begun to awaken and are then hit with a damaging frost. The frost on the monkshood and the leaves of the geranium just seemed to add a bit of mystery this morning to the garden.

WE CAN STOP THE SCRAMBLING


We live in a world of uncertainty and most people seem to attempt to live in that world seeking to carve out space that will bring to their lives some level of certainty so as to find some peace and security. It's interesting though when you begin to understand this is a human activity grounded in the realm of fear and there is no peace or security to be found there.

All of the world's systems are geared towards playing on the fears that exist, while the unforced rhythms of grace speak to us of an internal life that is governed by love...which is the opposite of fear...and when set free will become the very thing we are in need of in order to live in peace and full of joy in this world of uncertainty.

Friday, October 16, 2009

THE RAVAGED PATH OF INDEPENDENCE

"Now Sarayu paused before answering. "You humans, so little in your own eyes. You are truly blind to your own place in Creation. Having chosen the ravaged path of independence, you don't even comprehend that you are dragging the entire Creation along with you." She shook her head and the wind sighed through the trees nearby. "So very sad, but it won't be this way forever." The Shack



"A created being can only take what already exists and from it fashion something different."

Every time I walk past certain plants like the purple Monkshood in this photo I think of the exchange between Mack and Sarayu from the garden chapter in The Shack. Monkshood happens to be one of the most healing plants on the planet and yet humans have used it to poison and kill other humans....it's one of the most toxic and deadly when in the hands of humans who are trapped and twisted by the ravaged path of independence.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

WITHOUT FAITH IT MIGHT SEEM LIKE STAND UP COMEDY

In a conversation yesterday with my brother we got to discussing how our culture (including the religious one) has left us so malformed when it comes to the things that matter...the things that I have come to believe have been placed in the inner most parts of every human being regardless of race...nationality or religion. The tension I live with, we all live with, that is created by this reality between beauty/ harmony/love/grace and the ugliness created by humans grabbing for themselves without any regard to their neighbor, can be and most often is taxing for us all. But there is also a peace that exists in the midst of the madness that is our hope, but this peace seems to be sold short at best, and at worst, sadly seems to be abandoned altogether by most. Hope deferred makes the heart sick and leads people to do crazy things to one another.

Either the Good News is real or it's not. You know it's a sad day when the heralds of the Good News don't even really themselves believe in the radical Good News. The sermon on the mount for me became not only a way forward but it became a truth/reality that helps me live with the tension and live in the peace that already resides inside me so that I might be able to live in peace with those around me...and Father, give me the strength to be able to do that even with those who seek to do me harm.

Listen to Stand Up Comedy HERE

Monday, October 05, 2009

Sunday, October 04, 2009

NOTHING IS INNOCENT NOW


Okay, I admit to a sad reality I couldn't avoid feeling while watching The National Parks film. But I was able to also see beyond the politics so as to see the beauty that awaits us humans. A beauty/harmony that to this day remains unrealized.

Everything has been politicized and the politicization in a sense, to some degree, destroys by it's very nature all that is valuable and keeps us from getting to the point. Our destructive ways seem to be unavoidable because humans don't know how to live together and care for that which God has created (that includes all that God has created) all people, all creatures, and the earth/cosmos. One response to the film I read had someone making his point against such communist propaganda because it always portrays humans (in his case, capitalists) as greedy exploiters.

For me the issue isn't about politicizing the destructive exploitative ways of any particular group over another...it's about facing reality. Humans for some reason are destructive and exploitative and until that is faced up to no one has a prayer at finding freedom from their own destructive exploitative ways. And until that happens I guess a case can be made for the existence of governments even though they all by nature are a part of the exploitation...they all at least are pushing against one another and in a
sense keep one group or another group from running over all others in perpetuity.

And so I wait, and while I wait my desire is to stay clear of the things that leave us confused about what this is all about.....learning to live loved so that loving the Creator and all that he has created becomes possible.

A song comes to mind

Saturday, October 03, 2009

THE HEALING POWER OF NATURE


I just finished watching Ken Burns film The National Parks...America's Best Idea and it has left me thinking about many things. Whether it be a National Park or maybe a National Scenic Area like the Columbia River Gorge with their natural beauty...or a national monument like the Lincoln Memorial that represent some of the worst moments in our history along with some of the much needed corrections to things that should have never happened...

these locations the people of this nation have agreed to protect are some of the best examples of the best use of government we have. I'm so ready for something to emerge that will bring the best out in us that will work to bring us together instead of what seems to be the kind of things that continue to divide us along ideological lines. Something that would help us see beyond our present situation so as to see all people as valuable and equal and that it would be in a way that finally makes those ideas reality.

If we have not eyes to see and ears to hear, we like many before us might just find ourselves on the wrong side of history...on the wrong side of justice and equality, and those who will follow us will be left wondering how we could have been so blind so as to be left defending and supporting the status quo of a system that still leaves many behind while others live with more than anyone would ever need.

The rally cry we need is not one that stirs our fears of an external or internal enemy that we need to ban together against, around the age old failed idea that through violence we can carve out for ourselves and our children and their children a peaceful world. What we are in need of is a people that understand grace like Richard Rohr describes in Hope Against Darkness....a radically different world. "Without radical and rule-breaking forgiveness-----received and given----there will be no reconstruction of anything. It alone breaks down our damnable world of trying to buy and sell grace. Grace is certainly the one gift that must always be free, perfectly free----to work. Without forgiveness there will be no future. We have hurt one another in too many historically documented and remembered ways. The only way out of the present justified hatreds of the world is grace."

While watching this film on the national parks and the struggles that often were a part of their establishment, a struggle between those who saw God's creation as providing something necessary and healing to the people, that would only be realized in the enjoyment of the natural beauty and tranquility of such places and those who saw these places and saw just more land to be exploited for personal gain in the form of wealth...I found myself always siding with the former group. I've come to realize that unless we can make the shift from the fear driven, self centered, profit-seeking over people-loving paradigm we will stay stuck in the long dark corridor that humanity has been stuck in now for a long time, nothing will change. But if we can somehow make that shift...who knows what might happen? We might just find ourselves one step closer to the realization of the Creator's dream for his created.