April 01, 2021


Rhododendron on Roan Mountain Oil Paint Rendered — Carver’s Gap, North Carolina
Sit quietly in the stillness
of eternal silence
and see what is central to you
and is the source of your life--
to the wonder and joy of being alive.

Seek the heart of you
and what you do with all your heart.

Separate your life
into what is central for you,
what is peripheral,
and what is Not You at all.

Spend some time with this
every time you sit in the silence,
walk through the silence,
enjoy the silence you carry with you
in the midst of "the noise of the world."

How much time,
in a week, say,
do you spend in each of these three areas?
The You,
the Not Really You,
and the Not You At All.

How can you change the ratios
and work You more fully 
into your life?

Live toward assisting your life
in flowing from and revolving around,
coalescing around,
what is authentically You. 

Begin now living toward
what is central to you,
and let nature take its course.



Crepe Myrtle 03 Oil Paint Rendered
Our primary allegiance--
our liege loyalty
and filial devotion--
is to our original nature
and its source.

Everything else is the canvass,
the milieu,
the Umwelt,
the Sitz im Leben,
upon which,
within which,
we bring forth who we are 
to the glory of life and being.

The life we live is a celebration
of our origin and our essence.

How joyfully and truthfully
do we celebrate ourselves?

How fully and completely
do we bring ourselves forth?

If we do not live in the service
of the truth of who we are,
what do we serve with our life
in the time we have for living?

We sacrifice ourselves,
and our life,
for what? 



Yellow-rumped Warbler 02 Oil Paint Rendered — Scenes From My Hammock, Indian Land, South Carolina
Generosity and kindness are not means to some end.
They are ends in themselves.
They exist for no reason beyond
being what they are.

All good things are that way.
They aren't good for anything.
They are good themselves.
And being good in themselves,
they are good for nothing 
beyond themselves.

In this way, the theologians
have robbed Jesus of his benevolent goodness,
and made him good for "the salvation of the world."
Jesus, like the Buddha before him,
and like thousands of others before, and after, them,
was "One Thus Come."

In other words, "he was just himself."
"He was just who he was."
He was good.
He wasn't good for anything.

"The salvation of the world"
needs unpacking and throwing away.
If you read the fine print,
you will find that Jesus can't save anyone
who doesn't believe in him and his death on a cross
as the propitiating sacrifice
that absolves them of their sin.
"Salvation," we read, "is by faith alone."

"The salvation of the world" 
is contingent on the world having faith.
Jesus can't save an unbelieving world.
The world saves itself by faith in Jesus.
"Faith alone" is the key to salvation.

So our place is give up the idea 
that "the salvation of the world"
is contingent on the faithfulness of a good man,
and start living as good women and men ourselves.

Living faithful to the expression of goodness,
of generosity and kindness,
of compassion and benevolence,
for no reason--
not to get anything thereby--
but to simply express who we are
in the day-to-day affairs of life.

As those "thus come."
Just being who we are,
faithful to ourselves
in doing justice,
loving kindness,
and being sources 
of gentleness and tender mercy
throughout our days upon the earth.

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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