Plain in the city

A plain Quaker folk singer with a Juris Doctorate in his back pocket, salt in his blood, and a set of currach oars in the closet, Ulleann Pipes under his arm, guitar on his back, Anglo Irish baggage, wandering through New York City ... in constant amaze. Statement of Faithfulness. As a member of the Quaker Bloggers Ad Hoc Committee I affirm that I will be faithful to the Book of Discipline of my Meeting 15th Street Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Florence Accetta

Dear Friends:

Richard Accetta Evans lost his mother in law today, his link is Brooklyn Quaker. Please hold him in the light and your prayers, this time has been so difficult for his family and for Richard.

Richard, we all love you so much.


Liberal v Orhodox and Quaker Process in Conflict...

Quacarol's comment to the post on Emotional Terrorsim, on the conflict in our meeting being a flaw in Liberal Friends meetings has me thinking deeply ( thank you Carol... good for me at this time... )

There are built in flaws in all human philosophies and underlying truth, transcendent truth in many. A dear and very very missed Friend once pointed out that the problem with nilism is that it is total in it's application and no one is really fully anything. So, though I am certainly a Hicksite... that is not a complete description of who I am, nor is any Wilberite or Gurneyite fully that ... and that is always the seeds of the potential for conflict among Orthodox Friends... splits happen in those areas of faith where each human is a little different.

So yes, Quaker process MAY be a lacking in Liberal meetings... per se, though I am not sure. More though, it seems to be an issue of loving trust. I have seen members who are Orthodox fall out on issues of fear to trust each other enough to come to loving resolutions of conflict as well, where anger becomes a part of the conversation and trust ends and Friends leave our society either hurt or angry.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Cold Peace

When the day is over... all is peace.
The empty peace of absence.
The sun is missed, the joy not enjoyed
all that which will never be again
all that is wasted has slipped too far astern
born on a current of unstoppable time.

All that we cast aside, was perhaps the best we should have known.
All that was forgotten was perhaps the greatest gifts presented us.
All that we overlooked was perhaps the point of it all.

Not justice.
Not understanding.
Not justification.
Not recognition.
Not accomplishment.
Not fulfillment.
Not thanks.
Not any "thing" at all...




When will we see God behind the eyes of each of us?
Instead we see Man, Woman, Catholic and Jew
We see Enemy and Friend...
All Left and Right
Them, Us
Me, You
I and I
I can't, I wont
I am afraid and I hurt
All this does not work for me...
I will turn away from you and all that God is in you

And in the end...
We are all alone.


Almost 11pm... the usual solitude closing in...
the ticking of clocks...
the worst sound of solicitude...
I should stop the clocks ticking... Not one of them tells the right time anyway.

30 years ago in Belfast

Dear British Soldier
How old was I, 19, 20?
How old were you? The same?
Your rifle was leveled at my chest...
I remember your stance, your form,
do I remember your face?
Or, am I filling in over the years...?
I well remember my fear,
the feeling that my legs evaporated...
the feeling of knowing how a small hole in my chest
would be nothing to the large hole in my back...
I remember being to frightened to do my job, to photograph you...
But, if you had but tightened your finger on the trigger...
and the lead traveled through me faster than sound...
faster than pain...
faster... as fast as shock...
would I have felt the fear drain away and be replaced by...
the sublime moment of fulfillment of all I meant?
Would I have known that all I expected I had lost...
was nothing... was waste of life... of pain of solitude?
To die young for a meaning rather than live longer than ?
Use? Love? Need?
Oh, dear soldier... I remember the opening at the end of your rifle...
I remember the cold wet air...
I remember and wonder why... if... and why not.

Anger as Emotional Terrorism in Quaker Meetings

I have seen any number of Friends over the years use anger and anger "justified" by fear in order to control others in Quaker meetings and even control the meeting itself. The response of the meeting, should, I would think, be to gently remind Friends that in order to build a community that does not use inner weapons against each other... that a safe environment to get over fears should be provided through Quaker process. But, more often than not, I have seen meetings simply accept the fears as the cornerstone for relationships between those Friends and the meeting community. Once someone plays the trump card of fear, sensible folks seem to cave and all hope of rational process seems to go out the window.

I dont think Friends who use fear in this way are always aware that they do this... they DO feel the fear, and alow themselves to feel it, because it has worked in the past to get people to do what the person wants them to do. Friends may concider helping each other to be self aware of the use of fear to control others. It is the same with people who have been beaten as children to the point that they are taught to use self destructive behavior to control others, to end controversy and pain, when such a person can't stop the other person from hurting them - they hurt themselves... it isn't the way to go. Friends in conflict should be open, present and above all talk, and if they can't the meeting should help them do that, so Friends don't feel they must be hurt again and again or leave a meeting.

We do not facilitate each other in drug or alcohol use, or in other addictions, we should not facilitate each other in manipulating by one's own fear. Courage feels much better, I should think, than irresolvable conflict that pulls others down deeper and deeper into darkness.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Small Miracle

Well maybe a big miracle...

Tonight the band Sorcha Dorcha rose from the ashes, at the Lower East Side Festival, prime time on the big stage... packed house...

Abel Aberan, never heard Irish music before, we have played all told, maybe six times... taught him my guitar tuning... and he was great, Israel to Ireland in six trys, Tel Aviv to Tralee...

Kelly Wallace Barnhill, had never seen a bodhran before a week or so ago, had maybe four lessons... never said a word of Gaelic before these six or seven sessions together... and there she was, a fellow from Cork could not believe she had been playing Irish music about a week... and there she was singing in Gaelic...

We had a great reception and listening to the tape... they really did me proud ... a real miracle.... thanks to all, even that fellow who I have been a little down on these days, who speaks to us in that still small voice. : )

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Jerry Ragni?

Jerry Ragni... I used to sit with him, have breakfast on west 4th street when I was in college, the second time, and I thought I was getting on in my 30s. He seemed a little forgotten by the world... he had written Hair... more he had written this really wonderful song, that haunts me these days...

How can people be so heartless, how can people be so cruel?
easy to be hard easy to be cold.
Especially people who care about strangers,
who say they care about social injustice...
do you only care about the bleeding crowd?
how about a needing friend... I need a friend.

Ah Jerry, I hope you are surrounded by friends out there... if anyone one is in touch with him tell him hi from me,


Thursday, May 26, 2005


I have struggled with the idea of unity in a world of polar opposites. The split between Sadducees and Pharisees, Hicksites and Orthodox... maybe there is another.

Perhaps people are divided into adversarial and adversary adverse and that these two have trouble or God forbid, can't reconcile this split.

I see people in the world who spend their lives building walls around themselves and defending these walls against all which approach in anyway. People who cannot seem to learn that everything from their past does not repeat in each new relation and event.

I could not work in American courts because I can't see life as defined by fortifications. Our adversarial courts set the conflict in stone, giving to one side this and to the other that and building a new wall. Native courts, I worked in, do the opposite, they heal, they are a product of a people who seek cooperation and healing... rather Quaker like.

But what is Quaker like? We can't seem to get the notion across to each other that our society is built on love and trust. We are not proactive is stopping adversary relations in our meetings and building a safe environment where Friends trust each other.

Maybe relationships in society are made to have built in processes of decay and death, like so much more in nature. Maybe there is something in human nature designed to bring an end to institutions, relationships, and finally humanity itself ... a built in self destruction so that some day all will be extinct. So these opposites are created by nature to destroy hope of growth, and all we are trying to do, to build a society of sustainable love - is just folly.

I just don't know anymore.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Sustainable Usage

In this disposable society so many containers are disposable, containers of laundry detergent, electronic toys... containers of feelings and emotions, those containers are the easiest to dispose of today, you need not take them out in the trash, just push them away, send them out of your life, they are disposed of and you never have to think of them again, they go off to the trash heap on their own. At the end of the day, extinction follows not only the pollution of throwing away the trash of our lives, but those little containers of God as well... if we are not for ourselves who will be for us, if we are only for ourselves, who are we? What is truth without empathy?


There are so many ways to facilitate addiction. People become addicted to their emotional responses. So, when we see Friends who are not in unity, we accept, often, the logic of their emotional responses and do not gently elder that they are causing conflict by those responses. I have seen anger break this meeting again and again. In each case, the person points to events in their past to justify their anger and mistrust, and in each case, the meeting as whole accepts that as being written in stone.

Anger is very like prejudice. It cuts the individual off from seeing the other persons point, it is a barrier, a wall against understanding built by fear. Anger is not a trait we encourage in each other. There is a good description in the Philadelphia Faith and Practice:

" In our individual lives, the peace testimony leads us to accept conflict as an opportunity for loving engagement with those with whom we disagree. That love can often be expressed in creative, nonviolent resolution of the disagreement."

When Friends use terms like "dysfunctional" to describe each other, and then that becomes the prescription for interaction that cannot lead to clearness and unity in the meeting. The fact is if Friends are not able to get along together, this break in the circle of the meeting causes rifts out from the center of the break. Traditionally Friends seek to heal that break, to heal the meeting. However, to assume that the behavior of one or the other "is" without a process of understanding, only solidifies that break, and the meeting either becomes camps backing one or the other, or individuals must leave the meeting.

We are not like the rest of the world in our intentions. Our intentions are to be an island of peace in a world of conflict. I don't see this happening much anymore.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Truth and Honesty

Honesty is the only truth we can know as individuals. It is the truth from our perspective. Some, I know, have held that as only God knows THE truth, all truth is relative, therefore there is no need to always speak the truth, the whole truth. I am rather sure that is not the case. Honesty is the truth you know, and the courage to stand by it, this makes the relative nature of this truth less meaningful. When truths are broadcast without honesty, well, look to Mr. Bush, for example, they are nothing but the basest lies. I often wonder about Mr. Bush. Does he believe any of this, does he think the "little folks" can't handle or understand the big truths he honestly believes and hides... so there we are. What is truth without honesty and the courage to live by and state openly all that you know to be true, and only say that which you believe honestly. Keeping half the honest truth hidden is not to be truthful at all.

Cowboys vs. Indians

I spent a lot of time among various original nations in North America. Get remote enough and you find nations that never had the "me" generation. Big difference. In those communities one gets centered personally and individually with creation in order to be part of a community which is centered. The faiths of the "me" generation get centered for their own soul's sake and to hell with the rest of the world around them - going through life leaving a path of ruin and destruction, but confident that the warm feeling of being right with God remains intact... No wonder the world is falling apart. So, the final question is, what is love without truth, and what is truth without honesty?


I really am in a state of disappointment. I have written about my disappointment in me, at length... so here is the other side of my disappointment...

My hope for our faith as a beacon of light has been shaken to its core by so many things, so many...

First, that two so well meaning Friends cannot come to clearness... if we cannot, what hope is there that those who lead nations into war, business into economic oppression and pillage, may be brought to understand and join in unity with those they destroy. If there is no way, no hope among Friends, what are we doing but pretending in the face of a doomed humanity. Are we living a lie in our faith when we speak of the paths of peace we follow? It is a desperate form of sadness to lose that earliest of my hopes and beliefs. To loose that hope and belief that sustained me as I witnessed so much pain from war and want.

I am disappointed in Friends who do not seem to understand the difference between name calling and laboring together for truth, and the difference between tale bearing and ministry to each other... We Friends do not use words like liar, derelict, thief, rather we know, firstly, that people are not what they do, or what is done to them. Further, we know that the evidence of our own eyes, is still only half the story. We don't believe what another has said, we have seen otherwise. Go see Rashamon. Perspective is everything. This is why Friends enter into clearness, and quickly, instead of allowing others to bear false impressions of events that they witness and believe they understand.

The painful process of tale bearing has driven me even deeper into isolation than I thought possible. Without clearness, the only answer is exile, as I am not going to do as others do, and answer tales with tales. Great harm is done to the truth by such behavior, and hope dies, and this light wanes in the souls of Friends. We loose the spirit of unity and inner, great inner violence is done to our journey together.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Truth, Honesty, Monsters and God

Saw Herzog's loch Ness last night... just the ticket. It is a film about searching for truth, but not honesty or honestly. Herzog says he wants to look at those who experienced not factual truth but rather ecstatic truth, the truth of one who has been kidnapped by aliens, for example. However, he does not do so honestly, he turns snickering from one witness he believes to be honest in his ecstatic belief... but is fooled because in his team there is a partner with even greater dishonesty, one who is manufacturing even the evidence of witnesses to ecstatic truth... then fact, not ecstatic fact peruses them, the Loch Ness beast, or God peruses them and ecstatic truth and factual truth combine and it is not a wonderful thing, truth is a destructive monster because the seekers did not seek honestly. To use an old Scottish word... Wow

I dreamed a small parable on Loch Ness...

I was walking on the banks of the Loch, and saw something seeming to travel what I took to be upstream, but I thought it may just be the wind on the ripples making it seem so... So, I called out to it to turn and go the other way, so I would know, and it did. So I called out again to turn the other way to tell me it was safe to enter the water and find out the true nature and it did. I entered the water and found a tree trunk that ensnared me in it's branches and drowned me, and all I knew as I drowned was that it was a tree and I learned nothing about the mystery of it's movement, was it human trickery, some natural occurrence, or God's plan for me... all I found was mystery and ending.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Why ... everything...

I don't understand and you presume my dysfunction

I don't understand and I presume your blindness

you don't understand and you presume your own wisdom

you don't understand and I presume your bitterness

I don't understand and you presume your boundaries ignored

I don't understand and I presume your attempts at control rather than unity

you don't understand and you presume betrayal

you don't understand and I presume unfairness

Others don't understand and believe they do...

and we are all completely wrong.

Our Religious Society endures as a community of friends who take thought for outward society by first taking care of one another. Friends are advised to maintain love and unity, to avoid tale-bearing and detraction, and to settle differences promptly and in a manner free from resentment and all forms of inward violence. Live affectionately as friends, entering with sympathy into the joys and sorrows of one another's daily lives. Visit one another. Be alert to give help and ready to receive it. Bear the burdens of one another's failings; share the buoyancy of one another's strengths.

Advice II Faith and Practice Philadelphia Yearly Meeting 1997 p. 83

Fairwell and remember me.

A post to Ruthie's site... and why I am going to be away from my meeting for awhile...

Without clearness in conflict, in the face of rumor that I cannot see in anyway as true, after speaking to my wife and a Friend close to the issue, but not the Friend in conflict, who flatly refuses the process of clearness committee, isolation is better than open conflict. There has been months of anger on one side and pain on the other, the Friend who is angry feels perfectly justified in anger, and I feel completely and physically in pain from that anger being directed at me in a way and at times, for which I cannot see the reason. Added to this conflict in my life at every turn, I find a situation I could never imagine before, the meeting in which I grew up, the haven of my soul brings me only pain. So, for a time, I am going to spend time away, not in anger, not to force anyone to come to clearness, not even to run from rumor, but to walk towards peace, where ever it is.

A little more on the Peace Testimony...
I am always uncomfortable to gloss over the issues of WWII when speaking about the Peace Testimony.
In reality, the evil of nazism was absolute in the expression of nazism in the death camps. But, the fact is the war aspect which fed that evil is common to all human conflict wither interpersonal or international... mass delusion (individual self delusion repeated in millions of lives ) and striking out, then resolution talking and peace.
We Quakers through clearness try to reverse the process, begin with talking then peace.
So, let's look at the occasion of war in terms of two people as well as two nations. The leaders of the nation have their goals, their world views and dreams... in the case of Germany it was a belief in some mythical golden age that could be restored to bring about a world without ambiguity. To achieve this there had to be a unifying myth... "look at the Jews, you can tell they are the evil rot in society because..." and things are pointed to out of context to "prove" the myth. The specific was made general, and prejudice resulted.
We are seeing this today in the war against... who knows what?... England and the United States are committing in the Middle East... "look to the event of the World Trade Center ( look to the Ruben James... look to the Gulf of Tonkin, look to the Maine... look to the gift of Tennis Balls given our English King by the French King for his coronation..." and on an on before us and behind us...) , ... taken out of context of history it proves... all we need to fight.
Two people, one points to an event, a perceived trait and says to friends... look at this, this is why I am in conflict with that person, it is obvious that... because of... and the support of others is employed to carry on conflict so that the result of the lack of clearness between two people becomes lack of clearness among others... divides the community and the result is like war, in our meeting we have not been able to choose a clerk for over a year, friends spread rumors to prove... XY&Z... other conflicts take on the same process... we go from being a Utopian community based on love to being a community at war, then Friends get tired of the pain caused, like the unacceptable death and destruction eventually arrived at in war, peace becomes the preferable to continued hurt to each other ... and clearness is attempted.
However, when clearness is attempted after all the pain, it is so much harder to achieve, there is so much more misunderstanding to overcome... so much more obvious to one and not the other on both sides.
So, we Friends encourage each other not to carry tales, to enter into clearness at the start of conflict. But, we are human and that often does not happen. It is the same with war. War seems inevitable because peoples, like people, do not enter the process of making peace before the conflict. Mass anger in injected into the process in the same way individual anger is injected into the process and the result is the same, a clouding of issues, the unbelievable becomes the commonly accepted, the best reputations become sullied and conflicts become set in stone, and Friends leave their meetings.
Talk. That is way the Peace Testimony becomes real... talk to each other dear Friends in conflict, talk in a loving way to the God in each other and if you can't, enlist the aid of Friends to keep that talk centered in God. The same is true with nations... talk, and make peace before the wars, during the wars, because after the war it is too late for so many.
Talk, lovingly and with and to God who dwells in all of us.

And a note to the Amazing Rutherford... I hope thee is no longer hungry, no anger here, all the forgiveness in the world, even if the fault is all mine, or not, fault has no place in clearness, forever best wishes no matter how far away I have to be... but... I am at a complete loss to understand.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Fear and Aquinas...

In our meeting, several people have justified the violence of turning away from each other by expressions of fear. Aquinas points out that fear removes voluntariness when that which is feared is an evil greater than that which is done... for example the crew of a vessel in a storm, who throw valuable cargo overboard to save the ship, have done what is right. However, the matter of degree is important. So those who hurt others, cause deep violent hurt, and do not mitigate that hurt out of their fear, may think to balance. Are you saving the ship, or protecting yourself from discomfort at the expense of seeing God in others? In that discomfort, might you find a closserness to God? By doing violence to others, may you be doing great violence to yourself as well?
Christ's forgiveness to each of you.


When each street holds memories of friends now gone away,
each second ticks by, in the interminable day
each moment is measured by condemnation and loss,
I know well the dark valley only the strongest may cross

Friends turn away and there seems no new start,
I know well that point at which hearts break apart,
And now as luck fails, and fate seems to conspire
Friends point to the saints and demand, "do not tire"
But dreams blasted away and comfort plowed under
There is a point a too common soul breaks asunder

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Forgivining a nazi...

What a lesson... I was watching a show about the holocaust... just right now...Oscar Grund... a nazi death camp officer, who I cursed tonight, when on TV, he said he told a relative who had brought up Auschwitz, never to dare bring up that word in front of him... even tonight after writing this, I cursed him... then at the end of the show... he spoke up against holocaust deniers, to say, "yes we did these things..." Anger... How I forgave him in the moment he said he faced his crimes to say, these things happened... we did these things and they were wrong and those who deny them, are taking from humanity the hope of healing... I weep for his humanity and the God within him... and forgive and hope for his salvation... and .... and ... and.

how can you know who do not have empty places at the table... how... and yet...


Discipline thyself against the childishness of anger, anger occasions conflict - occasions war blinds us all to God in each other.

I lost my temper this week, and am angry at a Friend who repeated gossip to me, this week, gossip about me and another Friend, gossip unsupported by fact, and I am looking for a way to say I am sorry for my anger.

I have admitted to the sin of pain, the sin of loss of joy in my life. But those sins don't occasion conflict. Anger is one of the greatest sins as it divides us from God in others, and blinds us to forgiveness and understanding and often to the truths we fear the most.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

The Idiot's guide to Christianity

OK, here it is, the cheat sheet, the idiot's guide to salvation in Christ... love, forgive, be honest and joyful... fail at one of these, and the whole thing goes pear shaped... I admit it, honestly, with forgiveness and love, I admit it, I am not joyful, this is not a life for which I can yet bring myself thank God ... and that is a sin, a grave sin for which I pray for grace... but I can't bear the weight, in our meeting I see Friends who can't forgive, I see those who can't be honest, I see others who can't love... it is a package... and many of us just can't do it... and the whole thing goes bockity.

Funny enough, I know a few, a damn few, who admit to their own damnation, and what a relief to find at least honesty. In such honesty, there is hope, I think, I hope, I pray....

Look, it all boils down to fear... as Hicks said, quoting a rather good book, that fear is the greatest barrier to perfect love, and after all, that perfect love IS God, and fear of honesty, fear of forgiveness, fear of love... oh well... what can I say.

Anger, fear, ... just come home... home to each other... smile, forgive, be nice... and me?

Damned if I know... the profound pain of living, is such a wieght, all I can say is I still have faith, and little else, pain and faith is all I know I really have been granted in this life.

Refugee not pilgrim

The road from refugee to pilgrim is for me still a dream. I thought I was a pilgrim for a long time... I thought that miracle was the coincidences that bring one closer to God... then I believed that God can teach through those around me, and was convinced of miracles... then I realized I don't have the wisdom to understand the meaning of those miracles, or the strength to accept the loss of that light when our errors are compounded by pain... and by hurt, and by others who see the pain and not the hurt and misunderstand, and judge and there is no way to explain, and now, all I can say is I don't know... and in this not knowing, all I do know is I am still a refugee and not a pilgrim.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Fearful Refugees

Here am I... musing on all I have seen from wonder to wantonness, all, from seals upon the wave, off the coast of Ireland to gentle Friends sitting in silence, to a trawler - engine hammering, leaving the shore on a gray silver morning never to be seen again.

Yesterday, on Ruthie's blog I wrote, We are all, all refugees from somewhere, some time, something, all on the road from pain towards hope...

and so we are... on this lonely road to nowhere at all from everywhere we have been. A road to bitter solitude, and sorrow.

There are moments, a few days ago, a meeting of Quakers at odds, where I proposed that a meeting for clearness happen before conflict, to find a road together, and a Friend said, "Clearness is what it is to be Quaker, in the process of clearness we come home..."

so I wrote, - Without talking, deep honest talking, we can't have clearness, without clearness, we can't have understanding, without understanding forgiveness, without forgiveness, we can't have peace.War is about believable assumptions carried to the extreme, in almost every case they turn out to be wrong in the end.

My dear late friend Sally wrote, just before she died, "Christian forgiveness is not saying a bad thing did not happen, or putting a good name on a bad thing, but not letting it get in the way of the relationship."

And yet, sometimes fear gets the better of Friends... and there is no peace. There is no peace in isolation... not even the peace of compromise...

just another league on the refugee's lonely road.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Dear Friends forgive me.

To write about the state of my soul, only when I am feeling in the light, would be rather hypocritical, so forgive me, Friends who worried... and be happy for me that I am beginning to see light at the end of this tunnel, which I assume is not a freight train.

I know I have said things which are likely said in great error here, in the ramblings in which we indulge in the blogosphere, for good or bad, and forgive me any who felt hurt by these ramblings, true in the sense of ultimate truth or not, I have tried to be perhaps too honest, and sometimes one is honest and in error... a dear friend pointed out many times that none of us can know the ultimate truth but God, and I pointed out we can only be directly honest.

It is better for Friends to speak directly to each other, and I think these blogs sometimes don't do that, we speak around each other...

Were am I at the end of the day... Hmmmm.... closer to joy? yes, saved... ? I may know more what it is to be saved, and more humbled to say, I don't know... yet.

My dear love to all of you... all of you each and together.

PS and a blessed graduation Ryan... dear dear fellow.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

This was the last night of the Youth Fellowship

This was the last night of the Midweek Youth Fellowship Meetings. We all promised once we would haunt the balcony of the meeting house were me met, on Wends. night. This night, there was only Ryan and me... the meeting house was dark, and the balcony was indeed haunted by all the others. Florence, Amanda, and Ruthie were all very much there and very much missed and not missed at all in their presence.

Some Joy From Ryan's Blog...

Well... some of you may have noticed I have been feeling a wee tad low....

So I thought I would send you some joyful posts from other blogs for awhile... this one is from the link, snorkling in the light... by Ryan Baum... who, funny enough called just as I was doing this... and thanks dear dear fellow... you're the best kind.
Sunday, March 06, 2005

The Gift of Christ
God is great!!!!I just finished reading the first essay in A Testament to Freedom, the collected works of Dietrich Bonhoeffer that I got for Christmas, and it has opened me up to an experince of God so full and real and rich such as I have not experienced in quite a long time.Says Dietrich:The Christian religion as religion is not of God. It is rather another example of a human way to God, like the Buddhist and others, too, though of course these are of a different nature. Christ is not the bringer of a new religion, but rather the one who brings God. Therefore, as an impossible way from the human to God, the Christian religion stands with other religions. Christians can never pride themselves on their Christianity, for it remains human, all too human. They live, however, by the grace of God, which comes to people and comes to every person who opens his or her heart to it and learns to understand it in the cross of Christ. And, therefore, the gift of Christ is not the Christian religion, but the grace and love of God which culminate in the cross.How amazing is that??? The beauty of Christ is not in religion, but rather in his demonstration that God loves you thiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiis much! Except way way more! No exceptions. No catch. Nothing you have to do or believe or understand. God loves you now and forever. And therefore, so do I!

Monday, May 09, 2005

These Damned Genes...

Tell me why, good Heav'n,
Thou mad'st me what I am, with all the Spirit,
Aspireing thoughts and Elegant desires
That fill the happiest Man? Ah! rather why
Didst thou not form me sordid as my Fate,
Base minded dull and fit to carry Burdens?
Why have I sence to know the Curse that's on me?
Is this just dealing, Nature?

(I, 308-314)
Venice Preserv'd
Thomas Otway