Saturday, August 16, 2014

right up until the end

Christopher Hitchens was asked "How much longer are you going to do this?" He responded, "Until I drop."

He went on doing what he did best -- pointing out what he considered to be the foible of faith. His voice was needed in the conversation.

In 2011 he dropped. His voice is missed.

The "this" that Hitchens did was to annoy, consciously, the religious-minded.

I'm religious-minded. I'm glad he annoyed me.

Friday, August 15, 2014

laughing at nothing

Which way do you see it?
1. Death is nothing to laugh at.


2. Death
             is nothing --
                       to laugh at.

Thursday, August 14, 2014


We are poor passing facts,
warned by that to give
each figure in the photograph
his living name.

(--from poem Epilogue by Robert Lowell)

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Charlie, bemusing, said, “I like the word, I think I’ll use the word ‘repent’.”

Photos of militarized police pointing automatic rifles at unarmed men and women protesting the shooting of unarmed men in Missouri and Los Angeles is unnerving.

It is not a good time to be police. The helmets, the boots, the camouflage pants, the riot gear, the belief that anyone protesting mistreatment is candidate for being shot.

America is afraid of itself. It has become afraid of its citizenry. Congress is afraid of the black man elected twice president; so they play the white plantation owners’ game of disregard and disrespect.

Blowhards at Fox Spews rush to mock even the suicide for egoistic dollars. Keep the brown skins out, they bellow. This is a country for white men making greenbacks wet with surly arrogance.

I worry about the elasticity of apathy. The sleeping electorate has twisted its somnolence into a tight and thin tearing stretch of belief in corroded words such as “equality” “freedom” and “trust.”

The NSA luridly watches us into nakedness. The FBI becomes agent provocateurs inciting hapless anger into absurd plans to cause mischief -- then arrest the duped as terrorists. Throw them into cells.

The CIA foments unrest in foreign lands and spies on congress in its spare time. Assassinations are called like a bartender’s call for last round in barrooms throughout inebriated disheartened minds.

It is a dangerous time. In dangerous times the dangerous people with power and ammunition become more paranoid and dangerous -- making an unsafe situation even more unstable and unstoppable.

The church, having lost any moral cred, is a pantomime of an ancient play whose plot becomes a caricature of a once believable story now trivialized by kabuki ritual without real flesh and blood.

Is this our lament? That police, politician,  pundit, public plotter, pastor and priest have become shadowy relics of useless and cruel posturing? Mirrors become empty? Mouths say nothing worthy?

Surveillance -- first by an omnipotent and omnipresent God, now by an overreaching and oppressive state -- seems to be the one skill of those who would protect us from ourselves by executing us.

It seems a dark time lowers.
I fear something stupid looms.

But for this: Sylvia reads poem, John sings song.
Their paeans transcend pains that loom like gloom.

They finish learning how to work with the dying.
Their inspiring poem and song will serve what soon will die...well.

Is this where lament gives way to lamentation of Jeremiah all those vigilant monastic vigils?
“Jerusalem, Jerusalam, return to the Lord your God!" O People, People cease the fearful foolishness!  

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

brook stays, water goes on

Listening to water in brook on rainy morning is good enough for now.
When a shepherd sees that his sheep have scattered, he keeps one of them under his control and leads it to the pastures he chooses, and thus he draws the other sheep back to him by means of this one. And so it was when God the Word saw that the human race had gone astray: he took the form of a slave and united it to himself, and by means of it won over the whole race of men to him, enticing the sheep that were grazing in bad pastures and exposed to wolves, and leading them to the pastures of God. 
This was the purpose for which our Savior assumed our nature, this was why Christ the Lord accepted the sufferings that brought us salvation, was sent to his death and was committed to the tomb. He broke the grip of the age-old tyranny and promised incorruptibility to those who were prisoners of corruption. For when he rebuilt that temple which had been destroyed and raised it up again, he thereby gave trustworthy and firm promises to those who had died and were awaiting his resurrection. 
(--from Office of Readings, Second reading, Aug 12; From a treatise On the Incarnation of the Lord by Theodoret of Cyr, bishop)
I do not understand such a reading. Metaphor, allegory, history, homiletic, revisionary narrative, pious redaction, opaque prose?

I do not understand what or who "God" is, whether the stories of a Christ in the form of a slave are meaningful to contemporary audience, if belief in such things is a faded occupation.

(I've been spending time with two men in prison whose voices echo through the miles and their experience of bible along with anomalous followers of scripture they encounter from there to here. "Slave" and god allowing massive murdering does not resonate or endear for them.)

Water in brook runs down mountain outside yurt. Drops fall from overhanging tree onto vinyl roof making popping sound.

Faith without belief is a silent gaze into the appearing world. 

I have no doubt -- at least no crippling doubt -- that incapacitates gyroscopic balance.

Only wonder.


At bend in brook.

Monday, August 11, 2014

mesos; madya

Brandon in prison this morning said, “It’s not what I say, it’s what I mean.”

He captures the study of biblical literature.

It’s more than what the words say; it’s what they mean.

And for that, we have to go into the middle.

Between the words and our reflection emerges meaning. 

Clare; arriving at chapel/zendo

gratitude prayer, morning practice

thank you
bringing us

Sunday, August 10, 2014


e well