June 21, 2021


Chemung County Barn 03 09/23/2015 Oil Paint Rendered, New York
When have you heard anything
from the church--any church--
that you haven't heard before?

The old Taoists knew 4,000 years ago
that playing favorites
and holding grudges
is no way to be godly.

Why would anyone think it would be heavenly
to hang out with a god like that?

Why does God have to  be pleased?
Or else?

Every church's spiel 
is grounded upon the presumption
of Original Sin.
That happened in the Garden of Eden.
Which had no historical,
actual existence.
And has to be "taken on faith."
Because the Bible says so.
Because you will go to hell 
if you don't.
Because the Bible says so.

We have to believe the Bible is so
because the Bible says so,
and we will go to hell if we don't
because the Bible says so.

And the church has been getting 
away with this for two thousand years.

Because we are insecure
and afraid.
And don't want to take any chances
on what may happen when we die,
and what do we have to lose
if we do what the church--any church--
tells us to do?

The church--every church--exists
on the strength of its ability
to scare people
into doing/believing what it says to do/believe.

That alone invalidates the existence
of the church.

The church is a Ponzi scheme promising
an eternal payoff in heaven
for the price of a small investment,
say 10% of our income, here and now.

"Why take a chance?"
is all the church--any church--has to say.
"Why take a lie on faith?"
"Because it may be true."
Is all the church--every church--comes down to.

Playing on the fear and insecurity
of the people
by telling them they are sinners 
and will go to hell
if they don't come back next week
and hear they are sinners 
and will go to hell
if they don't come back...

Ponzi couldn't do it better than that.

And we could find better ways 
to spend our time
if we weren't afraid
of going to hell when we die.

The church--every church--depends
on our being afraid
of going to hell when we die.

It comes down to this:
Would we pay any price
to live the life that is ours to live
here and now?

Or would we give away our chance at life
before death
on the promise of a better life
after death?

Satan wants to know.



Buddha Fish Oil Paint Rendered — Pike Nursery, Charlotte, North Carolina
Integrity leads the way
to The Way.

We cannot find,
and live aligned with,
The Way
if we are unbalanced 
and out of harmonious accord
with ourselves and our life.

Balance and harmony are synonymous
with integrity--
and are the adamantine foundation
of life at one with The Way.

The Way is simply knowing what's what
and doing what needs to be done about it
in each situation as it arises.

What is it time for right here, right now?

Being right about that,
and doing what is called for in response to it
is living aligned with The Way.

We part from The Way
when we introduce self-interest
into the equation.
Then, our problem becomes,
"What is called for here and now,
and how can I play that to my advantage?"

Personal gain is incompatible with The Way.

We are here to serve The Way
in all times and places--
To serve, not to be served,
in a "Thy will, not mine, be done,"
kind of way.

How well we are able to do that
over the course of our life
tells the tale.

And what tale would that be?
The tale of integrity--
balance and harmony--
in the service of
spirit, energy and vitality
all our life long.

What would you put forth
as a better outcome
of our time on the earth?

What do you want
to have to show
for having lived?

I want to have experienced life
to the point of being able
to know what's what,
and what is called for in response,
being right about it,
and doing it--
like, say, a relief pitcher 
coming into the game in the ninth inning,
to get three outs
and go home.

I want to be able to step into 
each situation as it arises,
like a relief pitcher
coming into a game
with everything on the line,
even when it seems as though
nothing is on the line.

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.

3 thoughts on “June 21, 2021

  1. My husband and I are Unitarian-Universalists, and the one thing we never hear from the pulpit is threats. UU, as you probably already know, is not a Christian religion, but it is a justice and fairness based religion where everyone in this life-linked web of existence of ours is welcomed and treated as equals with dignity and respect. Your litany of fear based threats is the main reason I left Christian religion many years ago. That and always begging for money to build those monstrous churches.
    Thanks for your studied insight and wisdom.
    —Jim Fowler, Greenville, SC


  2. Hi Jim, Thanks for your note! I’m glad you two have found your way out of the wilderness into balance and harmony! The “church” as we know it is a bane on the culture and the world, preying on the insecurities of its clientele to prevent their development as persons capable off making the wold a better place for all people.

    May you both live long and be well!

    –Jim Dollar


  3. I thought of you last night, you and your family and wondered how you were doing. I love this post, actually I love everything I have read that you have written. When I was a child, I heard in church that God is love. That was the message I received. As a child, the teachings I learned from…. Taught me to be silent and Trust that all would work out. Without that instilled in me, I fear I would not have lived to this ripe old age of 56. Anyhoo, I am in Lubbock, Texas, married to the man of my dreams and love of my life. I am mother of 3 and grandmother to 6 ( or 9 counting the bonuses). I will not bother, just wanted you to know you made a difference in my life. faith.


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