Saturday, September 04, 2021

not facemasks

 If you follow me

You will see nothing seen be-

fore, yourself unmasked

the intuition of imagination and creative regard.

 Commenting on Trump’s strategy regarding COVID-19, the author writes:

 Oscar Wilde reportedly said the following about religion, “Religion is like a blind man looking in a black room for a black cat that isn't there -- and finding it.” 

(—Excerpt from: "Only I Can Fix It" by Wendell Blue. Scribd)

I'm afraid circumstances are such that neither Trump nor republican followers nor democrats of any stripe have the savvy, will-power, or moral energy to dissuade a re-continuance of his presidential ambitions in next election.

The quotient of emotional or intellectual intelligence required to slow the descent of the United States into degraded status in world stature and corresponding decline in quality of life or soul among its population is lowering and glowering across the nation.

This is not about God. This is about what is not. It’s not that God is not great, rather, it is about the unimaginative and intemperate people who wish that man and the know-nothing subservience surrounding him to be the face and misfortune of America.

I’ll be dead. Nor do I suspect there’s more than a dark room with soundproof non-resonance to follow. (Gott sei dank!) But some will still be here. And it will not be pretty.

About religion, my only belief is becoming what in essence and existence we already are. It is faith in what is here and now our true nature arcing toward wholeness and kindness of the good. Toward that direction I am a follower of clear inner light, the intuition of imagination and creative regard.

There is where I greet you.

There is where I watch with apprehension the foolish degeneration of responsible acts and effort.

There is where, if prayer has any efficacy or innate purpose or benefit, I pray for each being passing in front of me.

Friday, September 03, 2021

like trees

 This from Sojourners:  

Verse of the day 

Love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. 

- Romans 12:10


Voice of the day 

If we surrendered / to earth’s intelligence / we could rise up rooted, like trees.   

- Rainer Maria Rilke, “How Surely Gravity's Law” 


Prayer of the day 


Look with compassion on the whole human family; take away the arrogance and hatred which infect our hearts. 

- The Book of Common Prayer

a dazzling sacred ecology

 The author writes (if I recall hearing correctly): 

God, the one who dwells in the midst of it all here on earth.  (--Diane Butler Bass, in Grounded: Finding God in the World - A Spiritual revolution)

There is something attractive about calling God "the one."

"One" at the center of it all. It echos comfortably inside the question I hold for every description/depiction of God, namely, "Do you believe in or behold God?"

I resonate with "the one." This suggests there is no two, or that the two we manufacture is not the truest reality. There might be differences within the one. There might be others within the one. But no one is excluded from the one. No division made by rational thinking can escape the wholeness of being enwrapping everything.

Elsewhere Bass writes:

Where is God? Not up "there" in heaven. Rather, God is here. With us.

Often unnoticed or misunderstood by commentators and even some religious leaders, a theological shift is happening around us, a revolution of divine nearness. People use a new spiritual vocabulary to describe it - God is in the sunset, at the seashore, in the gardens we plant, at home, in the work we do, in the games we watch and play, in the stories that entertain us, in good food and good company, when we eat, drink, and make love. In the midst of the problems and challenges we face, the distant God is being replaced by a more intimate presence. Millions of people are experiencing God as more personal and accessible than ever before. This is not a romanticized greeting card divinity, but it is a God who is robustly present in the chaos, suffering, and confusion surrounding us, the Spirit who invites us to save the planet and make peace with the whole human family, and who is a companion and partner in creating a hope-filled future. This is the God that many are reaching toward, realizing that a far-off God will not do. A God who is not with us cannot be for us. The only God that makes sense is a God of compassion and empathy who shares the life of the world.

This is the grounded God, the presence at the center of a spiritual revolution growing from the ground up, an earthy faith that insists on the importance of the planet and its people. Instead of living in a disconnected three-tiered universe, we are discovering that we inhabit a dazzling sacred ecology where God dwells with us. God is in nature and with our neighbor, whose "face" can be seen in both creation and human community.  (--Diana Butler Bass: Where Is God?  Thursday October 15, 2015) 

Everything has a center.

What that center is called has various names. Still, it is the center. Despite arguments as to whether your depiction of center is better than your neighbor's depiction of center; whether your description of 'one' is better that your neighbor's description of one -- center is center, one is one.

Can we face such inquiry?

Will we face one another in this investigation.

The zen proverb still reverberates wisdom:

Better to see the face

than to hear the name

I keep watch. 

Thursday, September 02, 2021

texas 2021

 If I understand the Texas legislature and governor, they have decided the following: 

A fetus will have a gun inserted into its mother’s vagina so that it could shoot through uterus to kill host body so that said fetus, when it becomes a human being, gun in hand, can vote for limiting the ability of poor and persons of color to exercise any right to vote, and to preserve the gun-toting state-given right to become a bounty hunter against any woman and anyone else assisting women in the eventuality of having had an abortion, collecting ten thousand dollar bounty for each rat-out and catch.

Do I have this, right, Texas?

but nothing much happens

When I first read Miller's play it was as though I was a character, I was Bert. Miller wrote about my experiences following an unconscious first semester in collage, dropping out, and working in a mailroom of an insurance company.

Even now the haunting recollection of each character in his play mirrors the characters in my daily workplace. Nothing in any classroom could have provided me with the anthropology of personalities moving past bins and tables, conversations and kibbitzing, flirtations and gross innuendo as those seasoned and randy few did their work and skirted supervisor's hearing. They were retirees and city fellas, hard experienced with closely kept autobiographies whose resumees and sidetalk were strewn with outlandish tales and subdued revelation.

I was, then as now, an oblivious adjunct to the main course of working cant and jowl unregulated chatter in backroom slipped manners. It was my curricula of universalized studies. I majored in being a tolerable listener and a better third baseman on the company softball team.   

 Patricia enters and crosses past Bert, looking out through the windows. Tom gets up and bumbles through a pile of goods on the table, checking against an order in his hand. It is as though Bert wished it could stop for a moment, and as each person enters he looks expectantly, but nothing much happens. And so he gradually moves -- almost is moved toward an exit, and with his book in his hand he leaves. 
(--Just before curtain, final narration of Arthur Miller's A Memory of Two Mondays, A Play in One Act, c.1955)

 It stays with me. Each of them. Sixty years later. 

I never made it into mainstream. Periphery, adjunct, alternate, walk-on, outsider.

Still, I remember each teacher. I learned from them. A lingering affection. A nodding gratitude. Like Bert, I wished it could stop for a moment. It didn't. Nor has it ever.

It just goes on and goes sideways and goes into a side pocket bank shot, whether called or not.

cashing out

 Every religion

Thinks God is theirs — ownership —

The flaw of each faith

schooling the uneducable

What we learn from war. 

 There is one winner, only one winner, in war. The winner is war itself. Not truth, not justice, not liberty, not morality. These are the vanquished.” (--Thomas Merton)

 War is an arrogant and merciless teacher.

Wednesday, September 01, 2021

invisibilia theologia

 God is nobody

If you have a body then

You are one of us

walk on by

 Pay no attention

To anybody for whom 

Fame is drug and dough

on not buying hunting knife

 Lawn mower stops starts

Birch tree topples from back hill —

prayer, is spare, change

loneliness of long distance view

 Watching Christopher

Hitchens, over the years, his

Acerbic insights

something’s lost something’s gained

 September first, New

Years Day, calendar pivots —

Try to remember 

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

now I lay me down

 It seems like a good

time to disappear, to say

thanks for everything

not is, but, will be

 Peace is a choice, each

time, each comment, each action —

Our own creation 

une seule rose

 Your birth August’s new

year’s eve, Laddie, a good day

L'chaim, — good life to you

Monday, August 30, 2021


What’s up? 


Waddya doing?


Watcha thinking?


“Religion is what man does with his solitariness”
.(Alfred North Whitehead)

call your first witness

 line up excuses

prepare notes for interviews —

war — again on trial

* جنازې

It’s over, they say, 

gone, wheels up, ta ta, see ya—

now then, what’s next, eh?

….  …   …

* (Pashto for ‘funerals’)

a true name embodies the one whose name it is

 Call me this:

I am passing through.

Yes, yes, yes —

Say no more or less

Sunday, August 29, 2021

that slow sinking

Even on smaller treks in familiar locales, I have known this: 

    Somewhere between Onioshidashi-en and the hostel, you take a wrong turn, or several. It would not be hard to do—few of the road names are posted, and the arrows on the signs point in directions that make no sense to you, even if you could read them. You stumble on for an hour for two, for four. 


    Now dark is falling, and you are nowhere near anything you recognize. At times you catch glimpses of Mt. Asama through the trees, each time in an unexpected direction. You grow frustrated, you curse the hand-drawn map you made this morning. Anger drops you into sadness, and sadness into that slow sinking that you have never learned to pull yourself out of. 


(--Craig Arnold, Journal) 


And still do. 

he visited volcanos, and disappeared

 Meditation on a Grapefruit  

             POEM BY CRAIG ARNOLD 

To wake when all is possible

before the agitations of the day

have gripped you

                    To come to the kitchen

and peel a little basketball

for breakfast

              To tear the husk

like cotton padding        a cloud of oil

misting out of its pinprick pores

clean and sharp as pepper

                             To ease

each pale pink section out of its case

so carefully       without breaking

a single pearly cell

                    To slide each piece

into a cold blue china bowl

the juice pooling       until the whole

fruit is divided from its skin

and only then to eat

                  so sweet

                            a discipline

precisely pointless       a devout

involvement of the hands and senses

a pause     a little emptiness

each year harder to live within

each year harder to live without

Source: Poetry (October 2009) 

...   ...   ... 


Although humans from all cultures or ages share hopes and struggles, worldly aspirations pale when put into context of topic cycles of destruction and creation. These cataclysmic occurrences became a fascination for Craig, and “the volcano became an emblem of geology’s indifference toward humanity.” The title of the proposed work itself, An Exchange for Fire, comes from the Greek philosopher Heraclites, “whose mystic notions of change and impermanence comes closest perhaps, to the insights of Zen Buddhism, blurring our conceptions of what constitutes Western, what Eastern thought.”

(--from,  An Exchange for Fire—The Final Pilgrimage of Poet Craig Arnold, Excerpted from My Postwar Life—New Writings from Japan and Okinawa Chicago Quarterly Review Books, 2011, By Christopher Blasdel)