The Lovesong of Humanity

Throughout my life, I have been blessed with jobs that required a lot of travel. Soon after I graduated from the University of Utah, I was a b-list touring musician regularly working with “classics” groups like the Drifters/Coasters/Platters (always on the same bill), the Classics IV, the Marvelettes, and even Herman’s Hermits, once, in Hong Kong, entirely coincidentally (as things tend to happen in Hong Kong, for better or worse).

Now, you have to understand that at this time—somewhere in the 90s, I guess—there were no longer any original members in groups like the Coasters/Drifters/Platters. Sometimes, there was a loosely associated cousin or something singing tenor, but usually, the tribute acts were comprised of talented musicians who could faithfully recreate not just the songs, but the dance moves and the whole vibe of the acts they were memorializing. Watching them effortlessly interact with the audience was a master class in performance.

To maximize revenues, the agency that own…

The Lotus Blossom Revisited

Bhagavad Gita 5.10:
Those who dedicate their actions to God, abandoning all attachment, remain untouched by sin, just as a lotus leaf is untouched by water.

Psalm 131 (LEB)
My heart is not haughty nor my eyes arrogant,
and I do not concern myself
with things too great and difficult for me.
Rather, I have soothed and quieted my soul,
like a weaned child with its mother,
like the weaned child ismy soul with me.
O Israel, hope in Yahweh
from now until forever.

One day long ago, when life was less distracting, and we all spent more time outdoors, a little Hindu boy named Arujani was playing outside, seeing what he could see. He danced along the trails outside his village, which was nestled by a lake in the crook of the Himalayas.  He giddily stopped every now and then to poke a bug with a stick or watch it do its thing. He chased flying insects until they were just out of reach and finally, exhausted, he fell on his back into the wheat fields, surrounded by a colorful patchwork of blossoming, abundan…

Living Our Religion

I’ve been reading about the remarkable history of Islam in the book, Islam,by Karen Armstrong. It’s a terrific, concise narrative about the formation of a community based not on borders but beliefs. It is a story strikingly similar to that of early Judaism, with its revelation of divine law as a blueprint for the way we, made in God’s image, are to behave in this world.

Almost in passing, Armstrong remarks that while Christianity is based on dogmas, creeds, and things you must believe,both Judaism and Islam are ways of life.Judaism and Islam ask us to entirely submit ourselves—mind, body, and soul—to God. In so doing, we are naturally compelled to work for the good of the entire community.

On first reading, I agreed with Armstrong. Yes, Christianity does seem to be obsessed with Jesus as the repayment for the debt we could never repay. Yes, the majority of Christian denominations, both Catholic and Protestant, ask congregants to recite some sort of creed that testifies in some way to Je…

Entering the Kingdom of Heaven

Isaiah 43.18-19 (CEB)
Don’t remember the prior things; don’t ponder ancient history. 
Look! I’m doing a new thing; now it sprouts up; don’t you recognize it? 
I’m making a way in the desert, paths in the wilderness. 

Psalm 118.19-20
Open the gates of righteousness for me so I can come in and give thanks to the Lord!
This is the Lord’s gate; those who are righteous enter through it.

On Palm Sunday most Christian churches tell the story of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem for Passover. Usually, going to Jerusalem for this High Holy Day wouldn’t be significant. Jesus would have gone to Jerusalem for Passover many times, perhaps even every year of his 30 or so spent in this spacetime.

This year, however, Jesus is popular among the masses, and the Romans are already on edge because there have been sporadic Jewish rebellions all over the Judean territory. So, the Romans decide to put on a military parade, no different from those of contemporary despotic regimes but for advances in technology. These para…

By the pricking of my thumbs, something wonderful this way comes

Psalm 126 (CEB)
When the Lord changed Zion’s 
circumstances for the better, 
it was like we had been dreaming. 

Our mouths were suddenly filled with laughter; 
our tongues were filled with joyful shouts. 
It was even said, at that time, among the nations, 
“The Lord has done great things for them!” 

Yes, the Lord has done great things for us, and we are overjoyed. 

Lord, change our circumstances for the better, 
like dry streams in the desert waste! 
Let those who plant with tears reap the harvest with joyful shouts. 
Let those who go out, crying and carrying their seed, 
come home with joyful shouts, carrying bales of grain!

Isaiah 43.18-19 (CEB)
Don’t remember the prior things; don’t ponder ancient history. 
Look! I’m doing a new thing; now it sprouts up; don’t you recognize it? 
I’m making a way in the desert, paths in the wilderness. 

This is our last week in the desert, and for some reason, I’ve been thinking about Shakespeare’s Macbeth.Hey, after five weeks the mind starts to do funny things, oka…

How to Become Jesus

Like Jesus, we began our Lenten journey in the desert confronting ha-satan: the ideas, people, habits, influences, and uncharitable actions (to both others and ourselves) that falsely convince us we are not God’s beloved children.

Satan’s desert challenges force us to reconnect to God, if only in fleeting visions that leave our hairs on edge. The solitude of the desert reminds us that we are not alone. Every human is connected through universes of cells in the all-being of God. And we are amazed, and we are changed.

Awareness of God as the metaphysical fabric of everything is transformative. Remember, the term meta refers to a thing's underlying structure, not the supernatural. The desert and Satan’s temptations awaken us to the idea that God is perfectly natural! Don’t underestimate the power of recognizing God as natural instead of supernatural. St. Francis loved that idea.

Natural God is the total sensory beauty of changing seasons. Natural God is the gently wafting hint of salt i…

Escaping the Cocoon

1 Corinthians 13.12 (NRSV)
For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face.

2 Corinthians 3.18
And all of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformedinto the same image from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit. 

Last week, we talked about Jesus’ transfiguration into pure, loving God energy as an example of all humankind’s potential. In the revelation of his true nature, Jesus shows that we, too, are conduits for God’s unconditional love. We talked about reaching a new, transcendent human potential by following Jesus into utter submission to God. In the transfiguration we see anindividualawakening to God. Jesus understood that it would take a billion individual awakenings to change the world.

The idea of individualawakening isn’t discussed much in the Roman Christianity of Paul and Popes. Most Christians have been taught (or intimidated) focus on thankfulness to Jesus f…