Tag Archives: Christianity

A Creed For Disenfranchized Chiristians And Disillusioned Spiritual Seekers

3 Jan
Spiral Staircase

Spiral Staircase

 

“God is not a belief-system.
Jesus is not a religion.
The good news is not a ticket to Heaven.
Church is not an address.
The Bible is not a book of doctrines.
Transformation is not behavior modification.
Community is not a meeting.
Grace has no exceptions.
Ministry is not a program.
Art is not carnal.
Women are not inferior.
Our humanity is not the enemy.
Sinner is not our identity.
Love is not a theory.
Peace is not a circumstance.
Science is not secular.
Sex is not filthy.
The herelife is not a warm-up for the afterlife.
The world is not without hope.
There is no “us” and “them.”
Tattoos are not evil.
Loving the earth is not satanic.
Seeing the divine in all things is not heretical.
Self-actualization is not self-worship.
Feelings are not dangerous and unreliable.
The mind is not infallible.”

– Jim Palmer

Check out Jim Palmer’s WordPress blog at http://jimpalmerblog.com

“Peace on Earth” – Classic MGM Christmas Cartoon

23 Dec

Peace On Earth. Classic Christmas cartoon. MGM 1939. Anti-war.

Here is my early Christmas gift to all of my friends and visitors to this blog. I hope you take the 8 1/2 minutes to watch this extraordinary classic cartoon. It is distinguished as being the only cartoon to be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. I would describe this as a post-apocalyptic, dystopian-yet-utopian tale that presents the true meaning of the peace associated with the Christmas story in a manner that makes it still as relevant today as it was when it was first released, back in 1939. Think of it as an extended meditation on the twin themes of the “peaceable kingdom” and “turning swords into plowshares” that figure so prominently in the Book of Isaiah; two themes which serve as a backdrop to the story of the first Christmas found in the Gospels of Mathhew and Luke. What is ironic and sad is that this cartoon’s powerful anti-war message was largely forgotten or ignored just two years later when the USA entered the throes of WWII.

I post this now as we enter into this year’s Christmas season in hope that perhaps the message of this cartoon may engender in some people a reconsideration of the subversive but much needed message of Christmas: of the power of non-violent love that was incarnated in the coming of the Christ child some 2000 years ago. As we reflect on the sorrow, injustice and violence that plague our world right now, it should be clear that we need this cartoon’s simple message of peace and hope even more today.

I would love to have you post your reactions and thoughts here once you enjoy this heartwarming cartoon and ruminate over its message. And you are certainly encouraged to share or re-post this!

Merry Christmas and “Peace to All People of Good Will!!!”

Tom

A Meditation on Time, Eternity and God

12 Dec

A Facebook friend of mine was commenting on the following meme I had copied and shared from a blog run by the Passionists, a Roman Catholic religious order. The quote, which I find to be simple but profound encapsulation of one of the central truths taught by all the great religious traditions, was authored by Bil Keane, the cartoonist who created the much beloved comic strip “Family Circus.” Here it is:

My friend wrote the following comment in response:

I just read, recently in fact, that Einstein didn’t believe in “Now;” he didn’t believe there was a past, present, or future, that all time was “one.” I get dizzy trying to grasp that.

But then, do you know you can never really TOUCH anything? Has to do with those pesky electrons; since they repel one another they keep all your molecules from bumping into each other. What that has to do with “past, present, or future,” well, probably doesn’t. But I thought that was interesting, like Einstein’s disbelief in “Now.”

(I like the sentiment of that quote though.)

I, in turn, responded “…Bro…you are not far from the Kingdom of Heaven, or Enlightenment…Oh, and btw, the notion of the insubstantiality of everything is a fundamental tenet of Buddhism.” My retort was offered only partially in jest.

My friend inspired me to look up a long quote I copied in my journal (way back in June of 1989) from a philosopher and mathematician named Charles Muses during an interview of him I was watching on PBS. He, fact, wrote a book containing an extended meditation on Time. I never did read that book, but I will present here my personal thoughts as I recorded them in my journal, those being inspired directly by what Charles Muses said during the interview.

I wrote:

“Zero is beginning of the ruler. It is not to be equated with nothing. Zero is real, is something. (“Nothing” is just that: no-thing!)

We have been brainwashed by modern logic to equate the two (zero = nothing). Thus we cannot conceive or believe the notion of God existing beyond or at the edge of creation. To transcend creation is to find that the “edge of the ruler” is GOD!”

And finally, I concluded my little meditation with this little aphorism I wrote, again inspired by what Charles Muses had said:

“Be present to this moment in Time, for it cradles the entire universe.

As I look back, I can see that this processing of what I head heard in this interview represented for me a kind of epiphany, a watershed moment, one in which my attempt to finally free myself from the shackles of Western dualism was coming to full flower. I was on the verge then of forging a mature synthesis (or perhaps a better word would be reconciliation) of the western metaphysics that had grounded my Christian worldview and theology with that of the metaphysics of the Oriental mindset, especially as found within the Buddhist traditions. This attempt to reconcile the two was a philosophical and spiritual pursuit that occupied me greatly over the next two decades, and to some degree even up to the present.

If you have followed my blog for sometime, you may recognize many of these same themes — of Time, eternity, God, and being mindfully present to the moment — often emerge in many of the essays and poems I have posted here since I first began this blog a couple of years ago. And you can be assured that I will continue to flesh these thoughts out more in the future!

As always, your thoughts, questions and comments are welcome and encouraged.

New Series of Advent Video Reflections

5 Dec

I’d like to pass on this example from a new series of Advent video reflections that feature the beautiful artwork of Brother Mickey McGrath. The promise is that a new reflection will be posted each day throughout the Advent season. The focus of this particular video is his painting “The Annunciation.” Enjoy, be inspired, and you are certainly encouraged to share this!

Signs of Life Amidst the Trash: A Lenten Meditation

9 Mar

An entry from my journal (March 19, 2009):

It is curious to me how today

I am drawn to a solitary piece of trash

amongst all the beauty that surrounds me

in this tiny cove in which I find myself

on this late winter day.


Here I find myself staring at my feet

at the remnant of a dirty, white, plastic bag

wrapped around umber shoots

that spring from the ground.

The snow-laden landscape,

with its dry grasses, branches and barren trees,

are all painted in varying shades of sienna,

off-white, gray and black.

And yet, I find quiet beauty

in what otherwise utters the hushed, unspoken word

of “death.”

 

But there is that trash —

shivering sheepishly

in the chill of this late winter breeze

as it clings to and peers from behind

stalks of dried shoots,

as if playing hide-and-seek.

 

But as I look closer still, I notice,

almost as an afterthought,

or better, a surprise,

inconspicuous signs of life

as tiny patches of green grass

come peering through

amidst the barren rubble.

AH, RESURRECTION!


In this season of Lent,

as I seek to empty myself

of sin and self

through acts of love and prayer,

tiny signs of God’s grace

are sure to be revealed to me

here and there.

There is resurrection amongst sin and death.

ALLELUIA!

 

(c) Thomas C. Webber 3/19/2009

Psalm of Icy Awareness

12 Dec

A Psalm of Icy Awareness

The earth around my home
is now locked in a winter wrap
of bone-chilling snow and ice.

Water, once clear and liquid,
a joyous, flowing community,
is now frozen into crystals of ice.

Recently in humanity’s long history
there has arisen an isolation,
a separation of those who share
common human flesh and bone.

While once upon a time we gathered joyfully
in families, tribes and clans,
we now so often live divorced
from earth and from each other,
with loneliness as our only company.
All isolation is ice-olation,
frigid to human flesh,
cold and lifeless to the touch,
untrue to our most basic unity, community.

And whenever I act single-handedly,
apart from an awareness of my sisters and brothers,
I become a deformed, divine disciple.

And tribeless, O God, how can I tread the path
that you have designed as companion course?
Ah, the wisdom, so divine,
in your Genesis words,
spoken to perfectly made, fully automated Adam,
“It is not good for one to be alone.”

From Prayers for a Planetary Pilgrim by Ed Hays

Video Meditation for Advent: O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

9 Dec

Please take a moment to settle back and quiet yourself,

recalling God’s ever present love.

 

Set aside all of the cares and concerns of this day.

 

Be in touch with your deep desire for God;

your own deep need for Love, for Grace, for Peace, and for Hope.

 

Pray: “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” several times as you breath deeply.

 

Please watch now, with an open heart, a truly inspiring Advent meditation that I found to share with you this day.

 

 

Blessings,

Tom

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