Friday, February 2, 2018
UNDER THE INFLUENCE
Hi There !
"Guess who's coming to town?
Well, I didn't have to. I already knew, and made good and sure
I got there, and early at that.
It all started when I was seven years old.
G. Mennen Williams was running for governor and was scheduled to make
a campaign appearance at a community picnic in town.
Arriving in his great big Chrysler, he was truly impressive,
starting with his signature polka dot bow tie -
pleasant, self assured, affable - a commanding presence.
I was quite taken with him and what he had to say.
I was influenced so strongly that I urged my parents
to vote for him!!
( Political at seven)
Guess who else "came to town."
When I was eleven, Eleanor Roosevelt spoke at our town forum.
I got there while they were still putting up the chairs
and I quickly secured one right up front and on the aisle.
My " Hello Mrs. Roosevelt" as she walked by was matched by
a smile and "Hello there, young man."
Yes, she was dressed like my grandmother ( who was a Republican ),
and yes, her voice oscillated over a range of octaves,
but what an impressive presence and message.
Early on as a boy I realized that there were people
of commanding stature and quality who were many cuts above,
and that it was worthwhile to be there when they "came to town,"
that they could have a good influence on me.
That readiness continued over the years right there in my hometown,
and then on to college, grad school, over the years and does so today.
There was Dorothy Day, Eric Sevareid, Daniel Berrigan, Gabriel Marcel,
Dom James Fox, Hans Kung, Bernard Lonergan,
Martin Marty, Gerald May, Richard Rohr..
When these people "came to town," I made sure to be there.
In their various ways each was head and shoulders
above most teachers, thinkers, leaders.
There was a commanding authority about them, one that had influence.
All this raises the question of what authority do we follow, under whose influence
do we live out our spiritual lives here on the street of everyday living?
The issue is perfectly framed, crystal clear,
right from the get go of Mark's Gospel.( Mark 1: 21-28 )
Jesus was "coming to town," to the town of Capernaum.
There he was in the synagogue
teaching away, and doing so "as one having authority," not like the locals.
Jesus knew what he was taking about, spoke with authority,
because he was completely, genuinely one with God and humanity,
being that union incarnate.
He had a totally clear channel to both.
When he spoke it was so real that people could identify.
They recognized that he knew what he was talking about, that in fact
what he was talking about.
God and humanity flowed freely and fully through him
and it was a commanding influence. In fact, he commanded an evil spirit
to get the hell out of a possessed man, and it went packing.
Realness replaced unrealness.
A clear river washes clean a dirty puddle.
So, how about us?
What "authority" has a commanding influence over who, how, what we are?
Who fills our heads?
Who floods our hearts?
Whose lead do we follow?
Our spiritual lives are greatly influenced by leaders -
political, religious, intellectual, artistic, economic.
Whose lead we follow determines where we end up and how we get there.
Our spiritual lives are greatly influenced by our life style.
What group, what "authority" dictates our life priorities, our schedule,
our occupation, income goals, savings, housing, leisure, recreation,
education, religion, family life, child rearing, social life.
What influence holds sway?
That's how we swing.
Our spiritual lives are greatly influenced by our direction and dedication.
Politically do we go green, right, left, "alt," or ...?
Whose environmental, social justice, religious influence serves as our GPS
for finding our way to creation and people care, to a "for real" spirituality?
A quick litmus test for who has authority over us, influences us in our spiritual lives:
Where do we get what we "know" and "feel"???? -
FOX, NBC, PBS, CNN, BREITBART, NPR?
What they say says a lot about us.
Recognized or not, we all follow authority and it influences what becomes of us and
how we impact planet and people.
A good Soul Search is:
"Whose coming to town" will I go for?
I'm under the influence of____________________?"
Last week's posting here was " Cor " (01-26-18).
It was about encouragement.
Over the past week there has been a major spike in the number of participants here
at "frankly speaking.".
A sincere thanks to all who recommended "frankly speaking" to friends and associates.
Your trust and backing is truly encouraging.
See you next week.
Holding one and all from Sheboygan to Seoul in
God's Dear Love.
at 4:18 AM