Our eternal strength

Reading about Samson, the Nazirite with long curls, I got to thinking he wasn’t very smart. He kept hanging with people who wanted to find his weakness. Samson point blank finally revealed that if his long curly hair was cut, he’d be weak.

As read about in Judges 16, Samson’s hair was secretly cut and his enemies then bound him after jabbing out his eyes.

Once his hair grew back, Samson did turn to God for strength and killed a lot of Philistines.

This hints that although hair wasn’t really his strength, he didn’t have to get rid of it. It’s like know money isn’t our strength, or possessions aren’t are strength, or job position isn’t our strength, and keeping God important in our life.

Moreover, we know that it’s the thinking that we’re dealing with.

Bounding or killing off people has never killed off hate, fear, and even disease.

Because those negatives make life miserable, it’s natural for humanity to strive to break the negative thinking apart and turn to infinite Mind. God is infinite Mind and our source of strength.

From 21st Century Science and Health:

“Fear, sin, and our neglect of spirituality is what brings on and feeds all sickness. Disease is always induced by a false sense mentally entertained, not destroyed. Disease is an image of thought externalized. The mental state is called a physical state. Whatever is cherished in human mind as the physical condition is imaged forth on the body.

“Omnipotent and infinite Mind made all and includes all. This Mind does not make mistakes and subsequently correct them. God does not cause us to sin, to be sick, or to die.

“Infinite Mind is the creator, and creation is the infinite image or idea emanating from this Mind. If Mind is within and without all things, then all is Mind, and this definition is demonstrable.

“Through spiritual perception we can discern the heart of divinity and thereby begin to understand the generic term person. Our spirituality is not absorbed in God. We do not become isolated or trapped in a vacuum. Our individuality goes on and on reflecting Life eternal. We each represent the totality of infinite Mind’s substance.”

 

 

 

March for good in human nature

I vote, but I don’t vote a party line and I always try to support whoever makes it to office with the intent to support our ongoing struggle to fight for justice and equality. I rankle when public servants impose their personal agendas on us.

Because this nation’s last presidential election was so, well, bazaar, I decided to make my way to the Women’s March, to unite for the sake of uniting.

While traveling to Washington D.C. on Friday, I sat in a truck stop diner eating lunch and watched and listened to the inauguration over the television. President Trump spoke pointedly against government status-quo.

But, my take-away on the inauguration was President Obama’s display of decency. A decency I hope never to forget and always to respect.

Come Saturday morning, I was on The Mall at 7 a.m. Words that come to mind to describe my observations until 6 p.m. are: impressive, well-organized, peaceful, offensive, and massive.

I chatted with Lisa Christopher. She told me, “I’ve lived in Washington D.C. for thirty years. I walk this street to work every day. This is big. I haven’t seen close to this big of a crowd since President Obama’s first inauguration. This is big. I was here yesterday during President Trump’s inauguration and it was nothing like this. I had to come see it for myself.”

Apparently, arrests were made on the day of the president’s inauguration. I was aware of no arrests on January 21.

The Women’s March pulled in an estimated 500,000 people.

Activist, Gloria Steinem, told us, “You look great. I wish you could see yourselves. It’s like an ocean.”

Steinem thanked the “hardworking visionaries. The women who led this inclusive march, one of which gave birth when organizing.”

Mayor of Washington D.C., the Honorable Muriel Bowser, talked about female empowerment and D.C. statehood. She told the crowd that women officials are more wrongly criticized than men, and when women are more harshly criticized for speaking up for equality, both women and men need to speak up for women.

The list of speakers goes on. Much of the language mirrored the condemnatory, self-serving agenda rhetoric touted by President Trump. But the majority demonstrated and gave voice and presence to integrity. I hope the same for new administration.

I personally knew someone at the March who voted for Trump. The voter wasn’t angry, but he listened to the marchers. I listened. We went to learn.

When the over-extended, fatigued human emotions were filtered out, a strain of awareness was apparent.

It was a show of we the people. Waking up maybe.

Singer, Alicia Keys, recited Maya Angelou’s poem, “I Rise,” before telling the crowd to respect mother energy.

Filmmaker, Michael Moore, encouraged us to join organizations, talk to our representatives, and run for office. He said, “Petition to run for any public office, whether for congress or the school board, be active.”

A few favorite signs I saw bobbing up and down in the crowd read: Trump, start leading, stop tweeting. All elections matter, local, state, national. I’m with her (next to a picture of the Statue of Liberty).

Once the speakers ceased, the mass of human bodies began walking to the White House.

The march was orderly, respectful, and powerful. We made way for wheelchairs and strollers without hesitation. There were some crude signs and language, but it didn’t barb the true purpose to unite and fight as we the people for the higher good.

During the hours required for the gathering to move, they chanted or rather yelled. The chant I remember: What does democracy look like? This is what democracy looks like.

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Light never goes down

The outdoor Christmas lights came down last weekend. We kept the lights up past the holidays because our winters are so long here in upstate New York.

I found other forms of light to enjoy: The brightness of justice as commemorated on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The sparkle of ice on the ground. The enlightened sermon given at the local Catholic church about how we can be ordinary with God and feel extraordinary. And, our neighbor’s cheerfulness as she invited us to dinner tonight.

Quoting from science & religion to God, “Through inspiration and understanding, God reveals the spiritual knowledge that unlocks the resources of truth. Spirituality allows us to read the human situation correctly, with healing intent and power. The light of spiritual truth exposes and displaces erroneous human thoughts, and demonstrates healing.”deer-tracks-in-snow

Women’s March in nation’s capital

A Women’s March is scheduled for January 21 at Washington D.C. One day after the presidential inauguration.

It all started when a grandmother in Hawaii created a Facebook page on last November’s presidential election night. In other words, it got started by a regular person, not some famous activist or organization.

However, activists and organizations are jumping on board to either meet in D.C. or host a local event. More than 100 events are being staged around the nation.

The media predicts everything from solidarity to failure as a result of the march.

But, as with any thought or event, it will evolve or devolve and I’m chipping in for the event to evolve with integrity, honesty, and justice.

It’s happened before, it can happen again.

Women, and others who join them, can be aware, be empathic, wise, and productive.

We can laugh, cry, support one another, and keep warm together as we unite for the sake of uniting. As we evolve in goodness.

 

 

Walking the loop

Today is especially warm. So, I walked the loop, a 4-mile jaunt that starts at our house and ends at our house. I cover a gravel road. The few passer-byers slow down and wave. They slow down because they want to make sure I’m really on a walk, and not needing to be picked up and taken home.

Until today’s warmer weather, the roads have been treacherously dangerous. Solid ice. We had rain and water, then cold air moved in and froze the water solid.

It was nice to walk without pending peril. I thought about the times when my mind gets caught up in gossip about our country. It feels perilous, until I settle my mind down and reflect on a loving, peaceful, in control God.

 

 

New Book

Thought provoking book for those interested: Click for link to Amazon

pondering-cover

A sermon I gave at UUSO

Let’s talk about warmth and sincerity. Where they come from and how they bring us along to where they are going.

I believe warmth and sincerity come from a unified force. And they have an unstoppable momentum that brings us to its greater self-expansion. They bring us along, because they are inescapable.

We can’t escape warmth and sincerity.

Yes, I will admit, as soon as I walk out that door back there, all my surreal c onvictions here will appear contradicted. The holiday frenzies and dreadful circumstances will contradict my fancy inner thoughts.

But I’ve learned, whereas I can’t escape warmth and sincerity, I can escape their contradictions.

The first memorable contradiction I escaped, was that warmth and sincerity come from things or stuff.

When I was probably in the fourth grade. It was Christmas time and I was excited. The whole family was. Mom and Dad had built an addition onto our house and its size went from puny to not so puny.

Instead of us five kids sharing a bedroom, we now had a boy’s room and a girl’s room. The middle sister and I each had our own bed.

Near the Christmas tree, my sister and I unwrapped identical looking gifts. We unwrapped bedspreads.

Now, try to picture this: 2 bright, deep purple bedspreads with long shag textile.

I know. It’s hard to picture. I bet you never heard of such a thing, because I’ve never seen shag bedspreads on the market since 1970. These bedspreads were crazy. Shag this long. Longer than the 1970s shag carpet on our floors, but the exact same idea.

All we could think to say, was, “Thanks Mom and Dad.”

But I could see that stuff didn’t give, or take away, warmth and sincerity. I could feel a presence of warmth and sincerity. I grew up in a good family and was a happy child.

What’s more noteworthy is that about ten years later, that warmth and sincerity were given motion.

I’ll tell you how.

When in my twenties, I’d become a full-fledged holiday fan. I made lists. I went to different shopping malls. I compared and contrasted gift ideas. I cooked, I baked. I was busy.

But after a few years, I noticed that it was becoming more difficult to feel warm and sincere.

To remedy this, as is my habit, I prayed. I gave myself what I call, a mental treatment. I didn’t treat myself with disdain for falling prey to the stress that came with all the hustle and bustle.

I treated myself with warmth and sincerity.

Then I noticed something.

That hustle and bustle taught me about motion.

At the time, I’d gotten caught up in the momentum of commercialism, so to speak. The commercialism wasn’t the point, it was the movement that had my attention.

So, I experimented in my mind.

I detached the momentum from commercialism, threw out the commercialism, and attached the momentum to warmth and sincerity.

“You can’t do that,” I heard in my mind.

But I could. I could acknowledge warmth and sincerity in motion.

This new consciousness was interesting. It confirmed that I didn’t create warmth and sincerity. I didn’t turn them on in my brain. I didn’t run alongside and jump on board with warmth and sincerity. They were already moving and bringing me along.

After that, my holidays have been touched with more inclusive warmth and sincerity.

But what about those times when the momentum of contradictions is out of control? We can’t seem to stop the contradictions, let alone detach movement from them and attach the momentum to goodness?

This is where we connect dots between definite experiences of warmth and sincerity. We take it a step at a time. Every single step with warmth and sincerity.

I want to tell you about my cousin, Darry. He is an artist and lives further upstate.

Darry and his wife recently returned home after living in Israel for four years.

The country Israel is an ancient enclave for not only cultural and religious diversity, but also for conflict and harshness.

Even interfaith relationships are like fresh eggs in a basket, high in nutrients, yet fragile and easily broken.

Darry told me that Israel “Does feel like a different world in some ways. The Israelites are dealing with centuries of distrust, and generation after generation of retaliations.”

Darry is a Christian. When in Israel, he worked a few days at a local school, with a Jewish lady and an Arab woman.

I know, this sounds like a bad joke in the making, but it’s not. This group became friends, or as Darry said, “We were friendly toward one another. But we subconsciously played down the friendliness, and hoped nothing would ruin it.”

You see, the Jewish woman’s nephew had been killed in a hostility against Muslims. Trying to escape that which contradicts friendliness, the Jewish and Arab women came together in a conversation with the idea of having Darry draw a portrait of the nephew.

Due to language barriers, this conversation required translation.

The Arab woman spoke enough English to explain to Darry, that the two women had pooled together 400 shekels to pay him to draw the portrait.

Darry would never have taken money from the women for such a project, but in all sincerity, he explained that his style of art would not be appropriate for a portrait.

Just as human beings have differing lifestyles and religions, we also have differing styles of art.

But, styles aren’t the issue. They don’t influence warmth and sincerity. It’s the other way around.

Warmth and sincerity influence our styles and traditions. They influence our actions and communications, which it what happened in my cousin’s situation.

The Arab translated tactfully to the Jewish woman what Darry had said. Warmth and sincerity prevailed all around. But even better, a respect grew, between them.

They began eating lunch together, asking one another questions, getting to know one another and themselves better. Darry said it all reminded him of what he heard his mom say; there is no separation in divine Mind.

Divine Mind is another word for the unified force, or God.

I’ll read from my latest book, from science and religion to God, a briefer narrative of Mary Baker Eddy’s Science and Health. “Connectivity exists in divine Mind.”

Mary Baker Eddy wrote about this idea of the connectivity of goodness, between warmth, sincerity, and us, in her Science and Health, back in the 19th century.

I’ll read the sentence again.

“Connectivity exists in divine Mind.”

This idea guides me to look past the separable things, past the legends, past the divisible human minds and bodies, to the one divine Mind where warmth and sincerity are bringing us along.

There’s a Bible story that shows this in action. In the Book, Ruth.

The storyline starts with a Judahite family that emigrates from Bethlehem to Moab. Back then, the Judahites and Moabites, didn’t necessarily get along. But the Judahite parents raised their two sons and they grew up to marry Moabite women, Orpah and Ruth.

The story took a turn for the worse and all three men died. I’m sure this wasn’t an easy time for the women, but efforts were made to move with ongoing warmth and sincerity.

The mother, Naomi, decided to return to Bethlehem. Orpah stayed in Moab, but Ruth wanted to go with Naomi. Ruth told Naomi, I like your God.

So, Naomi and Ruth move back. Now in Bethlehem, Ruth is the foreigner, generally looked down upon. But they needed to eat so Ruth went to work in a wheat field. The land owner was Boaz and he was able to look past ethnicity, look past her losses, and see, Ruth manifest goodness. Boaz married Ruth and she became the great-grandmother of King David, an iconic figure in the history of Christianity.

Not everyone is as quick as Boaz, to accept the silent heart that unites us. But enough of us are and we can keep strong in the reality of warmth and sincerity in motion bringing us along, even when we don’t feel it right away, because there are definite intersections in life where the movement is confirmed.

A Pew Research Study, titled 5 facts about Christmas in America, discusses different data related to Christmas.

One fact recorded that: “Among Americans overall, about half (51%) say they celebrate Christmas as more of a religious holiday, while roughly a third (32%) say it is more of a cultural holiday to them personally.”

That’s 83% celebrating Christmas. Even though they may not agree why, they still unite at the level of a holiday. Most of us like a holiday.

But (and this is important), we don’t want to overlook the other 17%. They confirm that the holidays aren’t what keep warmth and sincerity alive.

This lesson has expanded for me.

I’ve learned, what seems like the hard way, that human relationships also aren’t what keep warmth and sincerity alive and moving.

My oldest brother and I, grew up very close. We were like this. We talked all the time, about everything. We thought alike. We acted alike. We worked together. We trusted one another.

Until ten years ago, when I modernized and published Mary Baker Eddy’s Science and Health. (Snap) Like that, I was shunned by my brother and the church members who believe they have to read Mary Baker Eddy’s words. Only her words are acceptable. Period.

My feeling of being rejected and demoted in the eyes of people who I trusted and loved, was excruciatingly painful. It was a sore contradiction to warmth and sincerity. Very difficult to escape.

Thankfully, I didn’t say anything horrible to my brother, even though I sometimes wanted to.

I think he was protecting his church job. It was his income. His way of making a living and providing for his family, which he did with warmth and sincerity.

For these ten years, I tromped on. And to my confidence, I’ve never regretted my decision. The revision work has been an amazing journey.

Well…a few months ago, my brother’s daughter got married. Last August. We were invited to the wedding. That wedding served as an intersection of warmth and sincerity. It was a dot connected, you could say.

I went to the wedding out of love for my niece. When my brother noticed me in the room, he walked straight to me and directly told me, that he retired from his church position.

He talked to me without the suspicion and censuring I’d previously felt. I talked to him with cautious hope.

It was a definite experience…  it was as if time stood still…no hurt, no past, no future. There was only the reality of ongoing warmth and sincerity bringing us along to greater expression.

Have a great season everyone.

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