Summer thoughts

Most of the folks who are virulently anti LGBTQ are unsure of their own sexuality. I’ve found gay people to be twice gifted with unique contributions to make. Indigenous people in the Americas referred to gay folks as the people of two spirits.

Taking away a woman’s right to choose is also profoundly wrong. Imposing your narrow religious beliefs on the rest of us is fucked up.

The real existential threat facing our world is climate change. If you aren’t concerned about that you ought to be. I’ll be long gone when the worst happens but our children and especially our grandchildren’s lives will be cut short by a mass extinction happening within the next 100 years.

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WTAF?

I just read that the governor of Ohio has signed a bill that allows teachers to carry guns in schools in that state with no more than twenty-four hours training. What could possibly go wrong. I wonder when the government of Ohio will allow citizens to get a drivers license with merely twenty-four hours of training. The God, guns and Jesus crowd are creaming their jeans I’m sure. What about the collateral damage in schools where such insanity prevails?

Previously Ohio teachers who wanted to carry guns in schools could do so with seven-hundred hours of training but now the requirement has been reduced to twenty-four hours. The governor is a Republican of course. The GOP might be on to something here. I wonder if the Army, Air Force and Marines will follow suit. We could save a lot of money if basic training were reduced to twenty-four hours instead of seven to ten weeks.

The backers of the measure say that the bill will make schools safer. Teachers unions have opposed arming teachers. I’m with the teachers who are opposed. I don’t see how any good can come from this obtuse response to keeping schools safer.

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The sacred feminine

“From of old I was poured forth, at the first, before the earth.
When there were no depths I was brought forth, when there were no fountains or springs of water;before the mountains were settled into place, before the hills, I was brought forth; while as yet the earth and fields were not made, or any of the dust of the earth”

Proverbs 8-22

Those were the words of the first reading at today’s celebration of Trinity Sunday. Fr. Dan Riley, OFM read some words prior to the beginning of Mass from Robert Lax’s “Circus of the Sun”. Lax’s poem prefaced the words from Proverbs. I was struck by the similarity of the words.

Lately I’ve been attending Quaker meetings on Zoom and as many of you know there’s a lot of silence in those services. Quaker liturgy is devoid of images and the absence of wrote prayers is refreshing too. The encounter with God is wordless and yet the presence is there. Silence has often been the voice of God in my life. When I visit monasteries I love the silence. When I walk along the creeks and among the trees in the wooded areas that surround our villlage I’m struck by the presence and power of creation but at the same time by its stillness.

I grew up surrounded by images of God, Jesus, and the saints. More often than not they looked white like me. Lately I’ve seen more depictions of Jesus, Mary and the disciples as darker which is what they probably looked like. What struck me about today’s reading is that it was a description of a force without form or shape. It was a presence but not a depiction. Everyday I’m surrounded by trees, grass, flowers and people yet I fail to reflect that all of these sentient beings are animated by a power and spirit that is without form. The presence of God is within and without all that I see whether Republican or Democrat, man or woman, woodchuck, squirrel, sparrow, rock, stream and sky. I’m surrounded by goodness and some badness too but it’s all permeated by this presence that’s described in Proverbs and other sacred writings from other traditions.

God always seemed forbidding and distant to me because I saw God as a angry man like my father. I couldn’t feel close to a force like that. In the past few years after a challenge from my wife I’ve been reconsidering my concepts and beliefs and it’s led me to a new conception of a supreme force for good in my life. More often than not that force has been feminine. EMDR therapy has helped me to discover the roots of that belief. It was my grandmother who was my early nurture and to whom I could always go for help. She had the time to spend with me that my mother could not because she was working with my father. That hurt my mother and I understand that now but it was Grandma who I felt close to.

Fr. Lou was sitting next to me at Mass this morning and he said “The Shack” had given him the perfect description of the trinity. That fit for me. Octavia Spencer portrayed God in that film. Sumire Matsubara played the holy spirit and Jesus was played by Aviv Alush. None of the characters were threatening. There’s a feminine spirit that’s missing in much of western Christianity that needs to be reclaimed. The world needs more of the feminine and less of toxic masculinity that pervades. We need more of the nurturer at least I have found it so in my life.

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A Quaker Response to Gun Violence – Friends Journal

The problem is that for some people in the United States, guns have replaced God as the source of their trust and as the authority they turn to in order to resolve conflicts.
— Read on www.friendsjournal.org/a-quaker-response-to-gun-violence/

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Thank you padre!

Saw this on Representative Mike Thompson’s Twitter feed this morning. Mike Thompson represents California’s 5th Congressional District. This letter from a Catholic Priest friend says it all about Arch Bishop Cordileone’s latest misguided decision:


“Bishops, priests, etc. are neither the hosts nor the bouncers nor the ones who wrote the guest list. The Eucharist is the resurrected body of Christ given for the life of the world…

Jesus Christ is the one who invites the guests (“all you who labor”); he is the host of those who come; he is the setter of the table; and he is the feast which is shared (“Take this, all of you. this is my body, this is my blood”)… 

We are guests at the meal, and sometimes (by his calling) servers. So stay in your lane, please. The wait staff doesn’t get to exclude those who want to come. If you don’t like the company Christ calls (and, admittedly, it is a rag tag bunch of sinners, one and all), it’s… you who need to leave the table, not them.”

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You can’t deny grace

This week a catholic cleric in the state of California has stated that Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi cannot receive holy communion because of her stance on abortion rights. Pope Francis openly suggested that American catholic clerics not politicize the abortion issue. The catholic church is the only entity in the western christian world that has had this stance. Not all catholics are anti-abortion. Many practice birth control and have for years. How does a celibate make policy for the rest of us including those Americans who are not catholic. None of these doctrines of birth control or abortion are included in any of the gospels. Neither is celibacy, nor the college of cardinals, the appointment of archbishops and the provision of ostentatious houses of worship and residence for these pretentious pricks. If you really believed the eucharist is the body of Christ and you thought Nancy Pelosi needed spiritual uplift then you’d insist she receive it more often.

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Mastodon for writers and readers

I’ve recently joined Mastodon and I am always looking for more good information about how to use it more effectively. I’m grateful that the author of this blog has shared his experience with us.

Robert Kingett

This post includes Fediverse accessibility resources as well.

I finally did it. I deleted Twitter off my phone and subsequent apps off my phone. I still kept my twitter account active because a bunch of IFTTT recipes still post to it and a bunch of places have linked to it in the past and I don’t want to give up my username to a bad actor or troll. I did, however, request my data, move completely to Mastodon on a writer focused instance, and checked to see who I follow is on the Fediverse at large. Shockingly, more than half my followers and almost all of my friends have made the switch.

I started using social media less a few years ago anyway, so this wasn’t a big change. In 2022, Elon Musk bought Twitter for a lump sum of money I will never have, which is why I’ve…

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Thoughts from Matthew Fox

I’m a regular reader of Fr. Matthew Fox’s Daily Meditations and todays was particularly insightful. You may enjoy it too.

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Reviewing the wisdom of Jesus

“How do we put on the mind of Christ? How do we see through his eyes? How do we feel through his heart? How do we learn to respond to the world with that same wholeness and healing love? That’s what Christian orthodoxy really is all about. It’s not about right belief; it’s about right practice.”

— The Wisdom Jesus: Transforming Heart and Mind–A New Perspective on Christ and His Message by Cynthia Bourgeault
https://a.co/5byDHSM

Cynthia Bourgeault’s last book “The Wisdom Way of Knowing: Reclaiming an Ancient Tradition to Awaken the Heart.”was so engaging that I was excited to read this one too. I’m not disappointed. I feel like the Samaritan woman at the well. Just last week in one of my posts I wrote about how knowing Jesus was a lot different than following him and doing what he did. I was ripe for this journey.

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Form without substance

I just watched a video from Quakerspeak which really touched me because I’ve been thinking about this particular topic for a while now. I regularly attend weekly Eucharist at a community where there is an intentional effort to connect form and substance. Then this week I had a chat with a relative who wondered if I believed in God or had similar understanding of salvation that she had. I’m glad we had the discussion because it sent me scurrying back to my roots of belief which are much different that hers.

I’m a contemplative and a mystic. I find God or if you will a higher power not in reading the Bible, nor singing in the choir, not in evangelizing others but simply abiding in silence. I frequently visit Abbey of the Genesee and other quiet places including walks in parks and woodlands. My sister has been trying to get me to watch “The Chosen” which is a series about the life of Jesus of Nazareth. I watched one episode and it really didn’t appeal to me. Some folks get a lot of intellectually knowing Jesus or knowing about him. I’m not one of them. My connection has always been mystical yet for most of my life and I had no way of knowing that or of expressing it. I try to live Matthew 25 and have for most of my life.

This winter and spring I’ve been reading and learning more about Quakers. I recently attended one of their meetings on Zoom. I enjoyed the silence. There were dozens of folks in that virtual meeting. This week’s news about a possible ban on abortions has left me feeling unsettled and betrayed by membership in a church that has a backward and overly simplistic view of the problem. They are the epitome form without substance. I try to love and respect all living beings. I try to avoid hitting animals when I’m driving. I don’t hunt. I believe in restorative justice. I believe in a woman’s right to chose but would pray that they choose life whenever possible. There must be a solution that respects not just the life of the fetus but the life of the mother and the ability of the society at large to take care of both mother and child.

Here is the video I liked.

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