May 24, 2021


Orange Flame Azalea 04/16/2006 Oil Paint Rendered — Blue Ridge Parkway, Floyd, Virginia
When Jesus said, "Don't throw your pearls
before swine,"
and, "Leave the dead to bury the dead,"
he was saying, "Many people are too far gone
to help. Pass them by.
And seek out those who can receive
what you have to offer."

Passing them by seems harsh.
Perhaps, if we threaten them
with everlasting hell
we can wake them up.
Which misses what Jesus was really saying:
"First, make sure
you have something to offer."

Jesus did not ever say,
"Be sure to tell them they have to believe in me,
that I have come to save them from their sins
by dying in their place on the cross,
and rising from the dead."

He said, "Love your neighbor
by being everyone's neighbor,
love your enemies,
love one another,
love yourself,
by living in loving ways
with all people
and with yourself."

When we transform our relationship
with ourselves,
we transform our relationships
with all people,
with life,
and with the world.

That is the "pearl" we have to offer.
Our work is to create that pearl within,
and then offer ourselves
in loving relationships
with the people who receive us well,
and let that be that.

How to live in ways that are loving
with ourselves
and the people who are capable
of being loved
is the work that is ours to do.

Anything else is a waste of time.
Particularly so is talking about theology.

Live lovingly and truthfully.
Theology misses the point,
and has nothing to do with the truth,
or with love.



Fall Woods 10/27/2006 Oil Paint Rendered — Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Townsend, Tennessee
Start with you—
your interests, 
your loves, 
your shtick, 
your qualities,
your virtues,
your specialties,
your knacks,
your thing—
develop those, 
serve those, 
devote yourself to those,
and follow that path
wherever it may take you,
doing what it requires you to do. 

Believe in that, 
and trust that it will teach you 
what you need to know 
to do what needs to be done
in each situation as it arises
all your life long,
and make all of the adjustments
and compromises necessary
to accommodate yourself 
to the conditions and circumstances
of your life all the way.

Anything else I have to say 
in the matter
is going to be an elaboration
of this core concept.

You are the center of your life.
Live out of you,
in right relationship with yourself,
the silence
and other people,
and everything will fall into place
around that.



Family Outing 02 Oil Paint Rendered — The Bog Garden, Greensboro, North Carolina
and revenge
are all stirred together
in the same pot.

Silence helps to moderate
their influence
on our behavior,
and keeps our balance and harmony
within a normal distribution curve.

If we aren't being quiet
in a regular way,
we aren't doing ourselves 
any favors.

How long has it been 
since you sat still and quiet,
doing nothing?

How long can you sit still and quiet,
doing nothing?

What causes you to end the session
and do something?

What is it about being quiet
that you can't bear?

Jon Kabat-Zinn's YouTube videos
are excellent entrees into the silence
(the shortest ones first).

No one ever goes anywhere worth going
without going quietly. 



Highway 145 05/14/2014 Oil Paint Rendered — Through Carolina Sandhills National Wildlife Refuge near McBee, SC, May 14, 2014
The work of the spiritual/hero's journey
is that of transforming our relationship
with ourselves--
and that is a matter of
putting first things first.

We are not first.
We are second.
Getting over this
is the heroic part 
of the hero's journey,
and it is the hell part
of the trip to the farther shore.

The sin of Adam and Eve
was putting themselves first.
The way of redemption
is the path Jesus marked
with his,
"Thy will, not mine, be done,"
with the "Thy" being the Self
directing Jesus' way.

We are not here to serve our idea
of our way,
to get what we want
and stroll through the land of milk and honey,
or the Elysian Fields forever.

We are the servant, 
not the master.
We are here to do the work
that we are directed to do-
whether want to or not,
whether we feel like it or not,
whether we are in the mood for it or not,
whether it makes any sense or not,
because that is our place.

Our dharma/duty is not to serve,
but to be served,
and to spend our life
setting others free,
to spend their life
setting others free,
to spend their life...
Get it?

Go do it!

Sin quietly in the silence
open to the other within
who meets us there,
to guide and direct.

Listen to your body,
listen to your heart,
listen to your nighttime dreams
and to your daytime fantasies.

Notice what catches your eye.
Pay attention to what resonates with you.
When you get "That feeling,"
get up and do the thing you know
needs to be done,
the way it needs to be done,
when it needs to be done,
moment by moment 
in each situation as it arises,
and don't allow anything to distract you
or stop you,
or even slow you down
in your work to be who you are,
no matter what.

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.

One thought on “May 24, 2021

  1. Right on, right on & peace… hard to fully love others when we don’t have self love. Hope you are settling back into the silence after ‘the big trip’! Keep calm & see you Saturday, Lord willing and the creek doesn’t rise! e$

    Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android


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