April 08, 2021

01

Zen Sun 01 Oil Paint Rendered
The fascist dream is a nightmare--
for everyone,
including fascists!

If we rid the world of everyone
not like we are,
we are left with ourselves,
and the realization
that who we hate is us!

Fascists hate themselves
and blame everyone not like them
for it:

"It's people like you
who make people like me
hate people like you
for carrying the projections
of people like me!"

That is the first part of the paradox.
The second is this:

To want to rid the world of fascists
is fascist.

And that leaves us with this:
Do not kill anyone ever
actually, literally, physically, really--
just work to change their mind
about what is important!

Here is what is essentially important:

It is all useless, hopeless, pointless,
meaningless and absurd,
and coming to a very bad end:
We all die--
and how we live in the meantime
makes all the difference!

If you are ever going to take anything on faith,
let it be this:
It matters how we live our life!
It matters that we live our life like this:
Doing what needs to be done,
where it needs to be done,
when it needs to be done,
how it needs to be done,
because it needs to be done,
moment by moment
in each situation as it arises!

That is all there is to it.

We don't have to want to.
We don't have to fee like it.
We don't have to be in the mood for it.
We only have to stand up and do it--
moment by moment
in each situation as it arises
all our life long!

Everything depends on it,
and flows from it.
And we must do it
just like our heart is completely in it.
Everything depends on it!
Everything!

Believe that with all your heart
and mind
and soul
and strength--
and DO IT!

And the world will be a better place to be
overnight!

–0–

02

Beidler Forest 11/22/2019 07 Oil Paint Rendered — Audubon’s Beidler Forest and Four Hole Swamp Wildlife Preserve, Harleyville, South Carolina
All religions agree on the important points:
Do what is right
and treat each other well.

And the heart of them all is
confession,
repentance, 
atonement,
redemption.

They disagree about the fluff.

The fluff is where
the theology,
the doctrines,
the dogma,
the ways to tell who is in
and who is out,
who is us and who is them,
come in.

Religion without the fluff
is what religion is all about.

Doing what is right--
what needs to be done--
where it needs to be done,
when it needs to be done,
how it needs to be done
because it needs to be done
is all the religion we need.

Believing it matters how we live
and doing our best
to be who we need to be
moment by moment
in each situation as it arises
is all the religion we need.

Living like this will include
confession,
repentance, 
atonement,
redemption.

Because that's how things are,
and it takes grace and compassion
to hold things together
and keep things going.

–0–

03

Chester 11/25/2019 02 Oil Paint Rendered — Chester State Park, Chester County, South Carolina
Once you know what you will go to hell for,
you are free to do what needs to be done
moment by moment
in each situation as it arises,
and no one can knock you off of that.

This is who you are
and this is what is yours to do
here and now,
and that's that.

There is nothing to match clarity
for peace, balance and harmony.

With clarity,
we are able to sit tight,
stand firm,
walk tall,
ride it out,
and do what is called for
without dropping a stitch
or losing our focus.

One aspect of clarity
is knowing what the destabilizing 
forces are
and preparing ourselves
to recognize and deal with them.

How we deal with them
is an aspect of knowing
what needs to be done,
and we do that best
by seeking out the silence
and watching for what emerges,
arises, occurs to us
and trusting ourselves to it,
and knowing how to respond
when we find ourselves responding.

Sincerity is spontaneous
in its response to its circumstances.
There is no plan or agenda
for being sincere.
There is only responding as necessary
to the situation as it develops. 

The way tennis players respond 
to what is happening during a point,
or the way football players
respond to what is happening during a play.

We dance with the moment
as only we can
and let that be that--
knowing that we will get better at it
over time.

–0–

04

Carolina Wren 06 Oil Paint Rendered — Scenes From My Hammock, Indian Land, South Carolina
The on-going, unending, task of life
is making our peace with life,
coming to terms with life,
letting life be because it is.

Always the discrepancy, 
the discordance,
between how things are
and how we want things to be.

Always the need,
the requirement,
of growing up some more again,
and letting this be how it is,
because it is,
and nothing will change it,
and there is only picking ourselves up
and getting back in the game--
living as though 
how we live makes all the difference,
because it does--
in ways we cannot begin to know
or understand.

Believing in doing what needs to be done
the way it needs to be done
when and where it needs to be done
because it needs to be done
is the essential act of faith.

Everything flows from,
revolves around,
depends upon, 
that core belief.

If you are going to
take anything on faith,
let it be this!
And live as though it is so!
Because it is!

–0–

05

Fir Forest 01 06/20/2013 Oil Paint Rendered — Roan Mountain National Forest, Carver’s Gap, North Carolina
Taking the Parable of the Prodigal Son
as our starting point,
questions that beg to be asked are:
What kind of God can be pissed off?
What kind of God can be pissed off
to the point of sending people to hell?
What kind of parent could get to the point
of being so enraged at their children
they they would send them to hell?

Theology has to go.
Sin is not a problem.
Jesus didn't need to die
in order to change God's mind
about us.
We don't become all pure, pristine
and ready for heaven
because we "believe in Jesus."

Jesus is one of us.
Is us.
We are Jesus.
On our best days,
we are as Jesus was
on his best days.
"Dying" is simply handing over
how we want things to be,
and doing what needs to be done,
anyway, nevertheless, even so.

It is what any parent worthy of the position
does in relation to their children,
and what any child worthy of the position
does in relation to their parents.

We all grow-up,
adapt,
adjust,
acquiesce
and do what needs us to do it
because that is what we are here for,
and the way we do it
makes all the difference.

No heaven, no hell,
just us living to make all the difference,
because that is who we are,
and everything depends on it.

Anybody can make things worse
by the way they respond to their life.
And anybody can make things better
by the way they respond to their life.

Why would we want to make things worse?

–0–

06

First of Fall 03 09/29/2020 Oil Paint Rendered — 22-Acre Woods, Indian Land, South Carolina
The silence is the interface
between two worlds,
the visible world and the invisible world,
the world of conscious, concrete,
actual, tangible,
apparent reality,
and the world of psychic contents
and processes.

We walk two paths at the same time,
and need to become aware of our place
in integrating,
balancing and harmonizing
the two worlds
in the way we live our life,
and to become the steward
of life that we are capable of being
on all levels of living.

The invisible world is talking to us
all of the time,
around the clock,
throughout our life.

We aren't interested,
and pay no attention.

If we cannot exploit it,
use it to our advantage,
benefit from it materially
we don't have time for it,
no matter what "it" is.

Conscious awareness
is the invention of the unconscious--
a hoped-for advance
that would bring the unconscious
to life in the life of individuals,
enabling an exploration
of the physical cosmos
in sync with the interests
of the unconscious.
Wholeness coming to life
throughout time and space--
dancing the dance of the ages,
at one with the music of the spheres.

The wonder of wonders,
side-tracked by the idea
of what's in it for us.

–0–

07

Goodale 10/25/2019 11 Oil Paint Rendered — Adams Mill Pond, Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina
Sit tight,
stand pat,
is the best advice
you can get 
when it comes to 
seeking clarity
and finding our way to
the path through the
heaving waves of the wine-dark sea.

"Wait for the mud to settle
and the water to clear."

Stirring up more mud
in searching for the way
is not the way.
Waiting,
with the faith
that everything becomes clear
with time,
is the preferred solution
to not knowing what to do.

Know that you don't know
and wait to see what you do.
You will likely either find yourself
doing something that is a better fit
than anything you could have thought up.

Or, a shift will happen,
and a door will open. 
Walk through!
Poof! Like that goes the problem.

In the meantime,
sit tight,
stand pat.

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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