Friday, March 2, 2018
Hi There !
So how do we keep our balance
when so many and so much
are flipping out all around us:
- 25 school shootings since Columbine
(Shepard Smith, Fox News, 02-15-18 )
- 64,000 drug death in 2016
(The latest yearly total now available -
National Institute on
Drug Abuse and the CDC) -
more deaths in that one year from drugs than
all the deaths of American military during
the entire Vietnam War of 58,220
(National Archive, Military Records)
The entire current issue of Time magazine
(March 5, 2018) is a report on
this worst addiction crisis in US history
- a stock market that threatens to
(pick your economist)
- unthinking extremism left and right
- "America's boys are broken. And it's killing us"
(see "The Boys Are Not Alright ",
Michael Ian Black, The New York Times,
02-21-18) on our lost generation of boys
- hate and fake news outlets
- expanding fascism and neo-nazism,
nationally and internationally
- sinful lying and histrionics across social media
- international cooperation unraveling -
a cold war heating up -
check Putin's new nuclear rattling
- way too many politicians, media and
financial moguls, lacking
clarity, character, moral courage
- artificial intelligence close to directing
much of our living
- family life fraying
- a social media that has yet to grow up
- nuclear threats and brinkmanship
(make that "brinkboyship")
- hacking that steals our privacy and imperils
our democratic election process
- education that doesn't -
teaching to the test that gets an "F."
It goes on and on.
It's pretty chaotic, quite frightening,
terribly difficult to keep our balance
out here on the street of everyday living.
How many will be left standing,
and how long?
Most of us are middle and
upper middle class people,
and we are having
the patina of order and safety
ripped off our way of life.
It exposes terrifying flaws and fissures
in our situation, as well as
a questionable future.
We now know and feel that
we are endangered,
and that on many fronts,
as indeed the poor and marginalized
among us, and most of the world,
have been for every so painfully long.
A metaphor for our moment
might be that we are like a couple
that worked hard,
mortgaged themselves to the hilt,
and finally got their own pricey house
in a pricey place only to find
it sits on a toxic dump.
A poignant, telling icon of our plight was
a father sharing
with his pastor friend over lunch
that he dreaded putting his son
on the school bus each morning
and wondering if he would ever see him again
(Sermon of Rev. Rob Myallis, St. Paul's Church,
Lititz, PA, 02-25-18 ).
So, yes, how do we live out our spiritual life,
keep our balance,
in this fearsome time out here on the street
of everyday living?
What do we say
to that fearful father, and to all of us
who have had our middle class patina
of order and safety so perilously pealed away?
The troubles aren't going away nor can we.
The only way ahead is through and that's
going to be a rougher and rougher road.
So, how do we go ahead and get through
on that rough road ahead?
Buddha and Jesus have been down that road.
They got through and can guide us through.
The Buddha had the patina of privilege ripped off
his plush, princely life as he encountered
the harshness of illness, old age and death.
He walked away from the illusions
of comfort and indulgence - literally.
He set out to find enlightenment.
It was a long, painful journey,
but it brought him to a life of compassion:
- "A generous heart, kind speech and a life
of service and compassion are
the things which renew humanity."
- "Our sorrows and wounds are healed
only when we touch them
Jesus, the poor man of Nazareth, rich in love,
spent it all in a life of compassion:
- "Jesus went through all the towns and villages,
teaching in their synagogues,
proclaiming the good news of the kingdom
and healing every disease and sickness.
When he saw the crowds,
he had compassion on them,
because they were harassed and helpless,
like sheep without a shepherd."
"Harassed and helpless,
like sheep without a shepherd."
Try that shoe on the foot of today's walking
out here on the street of everyday living.
Jesus' way ahead was through disorder and pain
and that meant active embrace and support
as he taught, encouraged, helped and healed
the hurt and needful.
That kind of active compassion
for the the masses brought him
into the crosshairs of the power elite
and they went gunning for him.
Eventually they nailed him - literally.
It broke him, broke him wide open
and let flow a current of reality and power
that lifts from deadly entombment,
that soars beyond the shy,
uniting all in the pulsating realness
of love and life without limit.
What a "Springing" is Resurrection.
Compassion and community.
The Latin root of the word compassion
tell the tale.
"Compati" means "to suffer/feel with."
A life of compassion gets us right and tight
with our true selves,
with every being in creation as it evolves,
with every frightened parent,
with war ravaged Syrians,
with every molecule of every tree,
with every hurt,
with every beauty,
with every potentiality,
with every enemy,
whether they realize it or not,
so much so that we are one with them.
Yes, that's such a "lift"
it sure does mean resurrection.
That's what compassion does.
The "lift" of compassion elevates us into unity,
into community with All.
Again, the Latin roots help.
"Cum" meaning "with" and
"Unio" meaning "one" -
Community - one with.
"Other is me otherwise,"
us united and me wise enough
to embrace and be embraced
by every other form of
who we are - Love.
A spirituality of compassion and community
means things like:
- caring about every other driver
on the road during rush,
and rushed, hour
- clearing space for a life of
lived and actual community
with our nuclear and extended families,
and with our neighbors
- caring and sharing in
our religious or ethical circles,
really mixing it up into a vibrant
community of compassion - truly a
- in that community, a welcome nurture
for the left outs of our sphere:
- lonely old people
- overwhelmed single parents
and their children
- querkie oddballs
- the unemployed
- the homeless
- gay children and teens
- inner city, suburban, rural poor
one way or fifty to get in close and tight,
to touch, to more and more find ways
as a compassionate community
to throw block buster parties of
care, support and unity
- for fathers to learn how to raise a son
- for men to mentor boys adrift in their
fog of nowhere, walking with them
into a healthy manhood.
- to refocus, reconfigure our life styles
to be Gospel compatible -
chemicals aren't the only addiction
drugging us into soul stupor.
For those of us in the
Christian Tradition and Life,
Jesus is the way, the truth and the life.
We delight to accept him loving us to life,
a life of compassion in community,
one that makes that life and love of Jesus
present and personal for others through us.
We model ourselves and our living on him.
Of all our current difficulties, this one
is perhaps the most frightening as many of us
in the middle/upper middle classes
have quiet some miles to go
from comfortable religion
to catching up with the real Jesus
- to eschew every vestige of violence,
violence of thought, attitude, word,
action, reaction,e.g. a bumper sticker:
"Get behind our troops,
or get in front of them."
- as we would never allow liars, predators,
perverts, the im or amoral,
the characterless, valueless deal makers
to influence our children,
to do the same for ourselves
as we carefully discern
the media we select
the groups we join
the leaders we follow in
These are days for some really deep meditation
and prayer.Without them we will loose balance,
fall and fail, careen into ever more chaos.
With them we will be clarified and strengthened
to go "through" the perils and pains
of our vulnerable now and the nows ahead,
and that by The Source and Center of All.
That will lead us to compassion and community.
They will give balance.
A few Mediation Markers follow this.
Please use them and the considerations
offered in above in this posting,
or anything else/other that helps you
over the course of the next lenten week.
Inertia and inaction will take us down
when so many and much are flipping out
all around us.
Please know this posting has been difficult
to compose and fashion.
What is offered here is not pleasant or easy,
and let's be honest:
We want pleasant and easy.
It's not going to be pleasant or easy ahead.
Too much unrealness for too many years
in too many ways has brought us to the edge.
That unrealness has corrupted into the breakdowns
all around and underneath.
Our social structures will continue to cave.
Some will stay on top of the pile for a while,
have "nice' a bit longer,
and that may seduce too many into
more comlpacency and slide.
The hard fact is that
a lot is falling apart, and more will.
Sit still and we will fall through.
Let The Source draw us into intimacy
through prayer and meditation.
With the clarity and strength that comes
from that embrace, community and compassion
will germinate and flower.
In small groups of
genuine community and compassion
we will balance out and help
our society regain its balance.
I am an old man who loves you
and all of God's Creation rather passionately!!.
Thank you for allowing me to share with you.
Looking forward to seeing you all next week.
Committing all to All,
holding you and all in
God's Dear Love,
As we pray and ponder over the above and the following,
let's be sure to ask what does that look like
in the practically of our right now, right here?
- "In compassion lies the world's true strength."
-"Therefore, as God's chosen people,
holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves
with compassion, kindness, humility,
gentleness and patience."
- " They will neither hunger nor thirst,
nor will the desert heat or the sun
beat down on them.
He who has compassion on them
will guide them and lead them
springs of water."
- "Conquer anger wit non-anger.
Conquer badness with goodness.
Conquer meanness with generosity.
Conquer dishonesty with truth."
- "As you know, we count as blessed
those who have persevered.
You have heard of Job's perseverance
and have seen what the Lord
finally brought about.
The Lord is full of compassion and mercy."
"In the beginning compassion is like the seed
without which we cannot have any fruits;
in the middle compassion is like water
to nourish the seed you have planted.
In the end compassion is like the warmth
the sun that brings the fruit to ripening.
- " This we know, all things are connected.
Like the blood which unites one family,
all things are connected.
Our God is the same God,
whose compassion is the same to all."
- "What sort of religion can it be
You need to show compassion to all living beings.
Compassion is the root of all religious faith."
Basavanna, Vachana 247
- "In everything, do to others as you would have them
do to you; for this is the law and the prophets.:
- "In this earth,
in this immaculate field,
we shall not plant any seeds
except for compassion,
except for love."
- "Radiate boundless love towards the entire world -
above , below, and across - unhindered,
without ill will, without enmity."
- " Praise be to the God and Father
of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the Father of compassion
and God of all comfort,
who comforts us in all our troubles,
so that we can comfort those
in any trouble with the comfort
we ourselves receive from God."
2 Corinthians 1:3-4
at 2:54 AM