Contemplative Meanderings 2: Beauty in being

Music Fields, yanadhyana | 2013

“His eyes are on their ways. They are exalted for a short time, but no longer. They are humbled then gathered in like everyone else; cut off like heads of grain.” – Job 24

One day this will be me too. The harvest come, the scythe swung, my bounty offered up. What will it look like, this life? What will I have to offer — what good toward the world which bore me and the people who bore me up?

A life of pleasure Read more “Contemplative Meanderings 2: Beauty in being”

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Sermon on the other side of the mount

The Lonely Mountain, KuroCyou | 2014

We have well traveled this path to the feet of the teacher. Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted — blessed are the merciful for they shall be shown mercy. The Sermon on the Mount. The longest text, the crux, of Jesus’ teaching in the New Testament.

But come with me, dear reader, down the other slope. Maybe the following isn’t completely true, for positive statements need not imply their negative corollaries. However, walk with me and note the tracks of other New Testament voices here and there.

 And he opened his mouth and taught them, [probably implying]: Read more “Sermon on the other side of the mount”

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Contemplative Meanderings 1: Knowledge like a river

“The River” Limontea | 2011

“Knowledge makes people arrogant, but love builds people up. If any think they know something, they don’t yet know as much as they should know. But if someone loves God, then they are known by God.”
– 1 Corinthians 8:1-3

To “know” will always involve something of a struggle in the life of faith, because knowing is a process, not a destination. The sin is certainty Read more “Contemplative Meanderings 1: Knowledge like a river”

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I tried to pray my sexuality away

File this one under TMI. It’s super intimate and not something I yell at strangers, but it’s just us here so I’ll let you in on a secret:

My faith gave me issues.

As a developing adolescent I routinely heard sexual expression outside of marriage was anathema. Masturbation was an affront to my Creator; only within marriage were my sexual feelings legitimate.

So I prayed. I asked the Source of all living things to kill this part of me, to castrate me in the pursuit of holiness. I created an internal liturgy and recited it for years: remove this from me. Temptation was strong, but I believed God was stronger and could bring me to marriage spotless, untouched. Then marriage would solve all of my problems and, more importantly, validate this deeply meaningful portion of my personhood. Read more “I tried to pray my sexuality away”

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I Tried Beard Oil

I’m not sure what led me to it – perhaps some combination of mustacheod woodworker commercial and that one conversation with the aspiring barber at the bar – but after a stellar career of 14 years, my beard met oil.

The beard oil came in a small bottle and complimentary dropper, which I used to deposit three mounds of liquid on the tips of the index, middle, and ring fingers of my left hand, palm facing ceiling in ritualistic praise. It smelled good. Really good.

First contact [cue Close Encounters theme] changed everything. Time melted and I was sitting on my high school gymnasium stage, responding to the cute JW twins, “ya, I use conditioner because my hair is so curly.” Read more “I Tried Beard Oil”

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Wealth Trumped Jesus in the American Pantheon

Ancient literature once chronicled the history of Mammon, a conniving god whose allure of wealth concentrates power and inspires devotion, but few speak of it as openly as Jesus or Milton[1] — at least in this area of the world since its invisible hand took hold of a fledgling nation.

The Worship of Mammon | Evelyn De Morgan 1909

This last election, however, was revealing. Wealth had several horses in the race, with one telling Wall Street bankers it’s important to be two-faced, yet none were as ardent or thoroughbred as Donald John Trump, the Trump brand being synonymous with immodesty.

That the “make a lot of money… don’t run for politics” president pays homage to Mammon above all else is hardly a secret; it’s the fervor with which his Evangelical base cast its lot for him, whose leaders continue their unpopular support for him, that truly surprises. Those who otherwise follow the “you can’t serve God and Wealth” Jesus backed Trump hoping he would be good for the economy and make America wealthy again. Not economically just, mind you, wealthy.

America is already a wealthy nation. The lie that the United States is poor Read more “Wealth Trumped Jesus in the American Pantheon”

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