December 26, 2020


Colt Creek Cascades 02 04/14/2014 Oil Paint Rendering — Pierson’s Glen, Saluda, North Carolina
Our life is uniquely equipped 
to lead us to the heart 
of what matters most.

The problem is 
that we have our own ideas
about what that is.

And our life has to get us
to abandon our idea
of what matters most
and to embrace our life's idea
of what matters most,
and live in the service of that
with all our heart.

This is the story of Adam and Eve
in the Garden of Eden,
and the story of Jesus of Nazareth
in the Garden of Gethsemane.

This is the story of humankind.
We live to know what is important
and live in light of it,
serving it with our life.

And we interfere with that process,
with the process of life,
by forcing our idea of what is important
on our life.

Ideally, we live to comprehend--
and pledge our liege loyalty to--
the meaning of:
"Thy will, not mine, be done!"
with "Thy" understood as
"The flow of life and being,"
or "The Mystery of Life and Being,"
or "What needs us to do 
what needs to be done
here and now."

It would help to have this 
explained to us at the start,
and to be reminded of it often.

Our life is not ours
to do with as we will!
We belong to our life
to do what it needs us to do!

This is the call of Destiny
to acquiesce to it's demands.

Everything rides on our response.



The Bench 09/05/2017 B&W — Charlotte, North Carolina
Consequences are the only teacher.
Experience is the experience of consequences.
Reflection on experience
leads to new realizations.
Realization takes the past
and constructs the future.
Yesterday's wrong
is tomorrow's right.
It takes getting it wrong
to get it right.
Doing it wrong
to do it right.

We learn to make really good
chicken noodle soup
by making a lot of very bad
chicken noodle soup
with our eyes open,
seeing what we look at,
reflecting on our errors
to the point of new realizations
and informed hypotheses
and additional experimentation
all the way to perfection.

We live boldly,
toward doing it better,
toward getting it right.
Right Soup,
according to our taste,
exists "out there."
We only have to find our way to it,
and trust ourselves
to know it when we get there.

It is the same 
with every aspect of our life.

We are making soup constantly.
The idea is to make really good soup,
to live a really good life,
one mistake at a time.

We get it right
by getting it wrong
with our eyes open,
seeing what we look at,
reflecting on what our experience
is telling us,
to the point of new realizations
leading to different ways of doing things,
all the way to perfection.

Throw away all of the rule books,
all of the doctrines,
and live with your eyes open
to what is happening
and what the consequences
have to tell you
about what you need to do differently
in light of what needs to be done
to make things as good as they can be
as assessed by the majority of people
evaluating your life over time.



Adams Millpond Mirror Panorama 11/10/2014 Oil Paint Rendering –Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina
Fraser Snowden said,
"The only true philosophical question is
'Where do you draw the line?'"

Where do you draw it?

Only you can draw the line
where you draw it.
Where do you think it goes?
Only you know that.

What keeps you from drawing the line
where you think it goes?
Get to the bottom of that question.

Who draws your lines for you?

When we stop drawing our own lines,
it is all over for us.

Joseph Campbell said it all comes down to
drawing our own lines.
To having the courage
to draw our own lines.

His exact words are:
"The aim of individuation requires
that one should find
and then learn to live out of
one's own center,
in control of one's own
for and against."

In control of where one 
draws the line.

That is what makes us human.
Drawing the line where we determine
it needs to be drawn!

Oh, and we have to be right about it!

That's the catch with being human.
We have to say so,
and not so,
and be right about it.

Being right about it 
is where philosophy comes in.
Who is to say
what is right and what is not?
We are, of course.
We have to be right about it.

This being right
is completely of the moment.
It is ephemeral,
and gone like that (snaps fingers).

Jesus said "The Spirit 
is like the wind that blows where it will."
Which means not even the Spirit
knows what it will do next.
Which means nothing can be 
written down,
set in stone,
declared to be so for all ages to come.

There are no laws.
No laws of nature.
This is what science has discovered.
There are only hypotheses. 
Only best guesses.
Of the moment.
To be verified or refuted
in the next moment,
or one of the ones after that.

There is right.
And there is wrong.
Which can be determined
only later.
In the meantime,
we are left with drawing our lines
for the time being,
and redrawing them again,
and again,
in light of future revelations,
when we are better able
to know what we are doing,
knowing that we will never know
all we need to know
to know what we are doing.

"Sin boldly!"
Said Martin Luther.
"And believe more boldly
in the marvelous grace of God!"

We have to live boldly,
from our own center,
from our own for and against,
from our own yes and no--
and be right about it.
Which means knowing when we 
are wrong,
or have been wrong,
and making adjustments,
and re-drawing our lines
in light of the best information
currently available.

Believing in--
counting on--
grace all the way
to the end of the line,
knowing there is no end of the line,
as far as we can tell,
given the information 
currently available to us.



Mesquite Dunes 04/06/2006 — Death Valley National Park, California
They want impunity and immunity.
They want a law that puts them forever
beyond the law.
A law that says they aren't liable,
which means they aren't responsible,
which means they can do whatever they like.

The top 1% I'm talking about.
Maybe the top 0.5%.
And also those aspiring to be
among the top 0.5%.

They want the Prince MBS Rule,
which says, "Anything Goes,"
applied to them.

And they will do anything
for the privilege
of being able to do anything.

They all aspire 
to being who Donald Trump is.
Who aspires to be who MBS is.

Donald Trump will do anything
to remain in power.
Power is everything to Donald Trump
and to all of the people
who want to be just like him.

And power means making everyone
afraid to oppose you.
That is Donald Trump,
and MBS,
and all their doting legions.

Don't forget Mitch McConnell.
The Enabler in Chief.
When he says, "No Democrat bill
will ever pass!"
he is exercising the power
he envies and envisions for himself.

Total power.
Absolute power.
The power of God.

Republicans and their keeper/donors
want the power of God.
They want to be God.
They want God to be their toady. 

And they will do anything
to have what they want.

If we are going to stop them
it is going to be now.
Every eligible voter in Georgia
has to vote for the Democrats.
If they don't win,
it's over.

Why is this so hard to see? 

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 and five granddaughters within about twenty minutes from where we live--and are enjoying our retirement as much as we have ever enjoyed anything.

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