May 16, 2021

01

Vineyards 26 09/10/2012 Oil Paint Rendered — Chateau Morrisette Winery, Floyd, Virginia
Whatever the question,
the answer is always,
"Back to the silence!"

The silence knows the answer
to everything.
The silence knows all.

Everything that has been added 
to the world over time--
the things that were not original
with the beginning--
emerged from the silence.

The silence is the origin 
of everything.
The duality of yin/yang,
contradiction,
complexity,
conflict,
opposition,
dichotomy
and contrary
comes straight from 
the heart of the silence.

We are divided at the core.

On the one hand this,
on the other hand that.
This is the way things are,
and this is the way things also are.

We all are always
Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden,
and Jesus of Nazareth
in the Garden of Gethsemane,
deciding what is to be done
in response to what is before us
here and now.

The choices of Eden and Gethsemane
are the same choices.
In every moment
of each situation as it arises.
We live in light of what?
We decide in life of what?
What is being asked of us 
here and now?

Sit still.
Be quiet.
Wait.
Watch.
For the mud to settle
and the water to clear,
and the way to arise,
emerge,
appear,
occur to us,
reveal itself to us,
call to us,
urge/compel us to action
out of the silence.

After all these years,
we can't improve on the silence
as a reliable guide,
even though we are the one
who must wrestle with 
the conflict of interests and values
complicating matters
and making things interesting
at the heart of life and being.

What to do is the mystery
upon which everything depends,
and its up to us.

Our part in the play
is to decide what to do
here and now
in each situation as it arises.

That's where we come in.

He said,
laughing.

–0–

02

Field Road 01 11/04/2014 Oil Paint Rendered — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Fort Mill, South Carolina
The themes of our existence
have been identified over time,
and pertain to us as individuals
and as a species.

Bondage and Freedom,
Guilt and Redemption,
Death and Resurrection,
Lost and Found,
Blindness and Vision,
Darkness and Light,
Greed and Generosity,
Ruthlessness and Compassion,
Selfishness and Altruism,
Evil and Good...

The extremes of human nature
are encountered and worked out
in our lifetime
and in the collective experience
of humanity as a whole.

Our original nature tilts us
toward one end of the scale or the other,
and by our choices,
we build momentum toward the extremes,
or a harmonious balance between them
over time.

"Live toward the center"
is the best advice one generation
can offer another.
"Integrate the opposites!"
"Maintain the tension!"
"Bear the pain!"
"Avoid the extremes!"
"Hold everything in your awareness!"
"Do not take anything
with more seriousness than it deserves!"
"Make your peace with the way things are
and also are!"
"Do what you can to make things
as good as they can be
for all concerned!"
"Strive to do no harm!"

And let that be that.

–0–

03

Caladium 01 — Nursery Photos, Charlotte North Carolina
The problem with God
is that God is not free
to be who God is
because God is bound to
the image formed by the
Judeo-Christian Tradition.

God is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob,
the Father of the Only Begotten Son of God
Our Lord Jesus Christ,
and there can be no other God
but the God the Jews and Christians
call God.

God is who the Jews and Christians
say God is.

God is not free to be different
from the God the Jews and Christians
declare to be God.

A God who is bound to the doctrines
and dogmas of organized religion
is not free to be God
as only God can be God.

Thus, the need of a new name for God--
a new name that is not in any way
tied to
and bound up in
the concepts,
ideas,
beliefs
and opinions
of the Judeo-Christian Tradition.

The new name has to be free of all associations,
and free for unlimited and unrestricted
possibilities of development in the way of
creative understanding and interpretation.

Starting with this:
"The God who is God
is beyond all concepts of God,
and nothing can be said of God
beyond saying nothing can be said."

That name could be "The Unknown and Unknowable,"
"The Source and Goal,"
"The Silence,"
"The Stillness,"
"The Presence,"
etc.

With the only stipulation being
No Theology is to be developed
around the new name of God.
A God who is theology-free
is the only God who is free to be God.
And a God who is not free to be God
is not worthy of the name of God,
no matter what it might be.


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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