September 7, 2020

03

Moonrise 10/17/2013 01 — Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Outer Banks, Ocracoke Island, North Carolina
Religion died when it invented theology.
Theology is Substitute Religion.
It is somebody else's Religion.
Theology is Second-hand Religion.
Theology is equivalent to what the people did
when Moses came down from the mountain,
and his face shone so 
with the absorbed Glory of God
that the people couldn't look directly at him,
and draped him with a cloth
to conceal the reality of God.

Carl Jung said that theology was created
to save people from the experience of God.

Religion is the experience of God.
God experienced as Other and as I.
Religion is the knowledge of Thou Art That.
Moses was one with God
and the people couldn't handle it.

The Transcendent becomes Imminent 
in this here this now,
becomes one with us--
so that we become "Transparent to Transcendence"--
and it is terrifying
and transforming.

It messes terribly with our life.

To save ourselves the trouble of Religion,
we invented Theology,
and we talk about God.

Keeping God at a safe distance.

It is much safer to talk about God
than to be carriers of God,
to be the embodiment of God,
to be the incarnation of God.
Just ask Jesus what it is like
to be able to say, "The Father and I are one."

We talk about God.
We memorize the books of the Bible in order.
We have Sword Drills 
to see who can find a scripture passage the fastest.
We memorize catechisms
and talk at length about our favorite questions
in our favorite catechism.
And read books of doctrine,
putting them to music 
and calling them "Hymnbooks."

It is all very inspiring.

It is almost like being alive.

–0–

02

Lotus Flower and Koi Fish
If we work with our life,
our life works with us.
If we work against our life,
our life works against us.
We can gauge the degree to which
we need to adjust ourselves
in relation to our life
by the way things are going
with us and our life.

The old biblical adage applies:
"It hurts to kick against the goads!"

Our life will tell us 
when we are out of accord
with our life.
The trick to getting back in sync
with our life is simple:
Sincerity Not Contrivance!

If we are trying to do this
so that will happen,
we are gaming our life.
If we are frustrated
because our ideas for our life
are not being realized,
we are pushing our life
to be other than it is.

Our place is to listen to our life,
and to align ourselves with it.

Our life has a mind of its own.
It is like any living thing.
A flower turns toward the sun.
A tree leans toward the light.
Our life has a built in cant toward
its preferences
and away from its aversions.
Our place is to learn what our life likes
and do that.

What are we built for?
Do that.
Let everything fall into place
around that.

We are made for our life
the way a stream is made for the sea.
If we are working against our life,
it is as though the stream decides
on a destination different than the sea.

Guess how that would work out.

–0–

01

The Limb — Fire Tower Trail, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina
You have to know what I mean
before you can understand 
what I'm saying.
Which means, of course,
that my only role in your life
is to articulate what you already understand
to be so.
But.
I recognize that as a vital part
of your awakening to, well, you.

We all have exactly what we need
to find what we need
to do what needs to be done--
what needs us to do it--
in the time and place
(the here and now)
of our living.

And.
The most important thing
anyone can give us
is ourselves.
When we wake up,
we wake up to the infinite value
of us.

And.
Start paying attention to our dreams,
and being aware of our thoughts,
urges,
inclinations,
reactions,
and all of the things 
that make us us.

We devote time to nurturing
our relationship with ourselves,
and take ourselves out to lunch,
and listen intently to all we are saying--
cultivating,
nourishing,
nurturing,
our ability to know what we know,
see what we look at,
hear what we are saying
and what is being said to us,
asking the questions that beg to be asked
and saying the things that cry out to be said,
and knowing when we don't,
and wondering why we didn't...

The entire world and all of life
open themselves to our
unfolding,
unfurling,
deepening,
expanding,
unending
and infinite 
curiosity.

And.
We discover that knowing what we know
leads instantly and directly
to knowing what we don't know--
to knowing that we don't know--
and doing the work of finding out,
letting, in the way of the old alchemists,
"One book open another,"
and we are off,
lost in the allness and the wonder
of everything.

And.
If it takes forever for us to wake up,
well, that's what forever is for.

And.
Once we wake up,
we realize it will take forever
to get to the bottom of all of it,
and, that too, is what forever is for.

But.
Don't slack up,
knowing you have forever!
There is not a moment to lose!
Not a second to waste!
The game's afoot!
The chase is on!

And.
It all starts with knowing what you know.
And what you don't know.

That's all you need to know.

Published by jimwdollar

I'm retired, and still finding my way--but now, I don't have to pretend that I know what I'm doing. I retired after 40.5 years as a minister in the Presbyterian Church USA, serving churches in Louisiana, Mississippi and North Carolina. I graduated from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, in Austin, Texas, and Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana. My wife, Judy, and I have three daughters, three sons-in-law, and five granddaughters, and are enjoying our retirement as much as we have ever enjoyed anything.

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