July 27, 2021


The Falls at Dicey Pond 10/09/2009 Oil Paint Rendered — Baxter State Park, Millinocket, Maine
Something happens
and we decide what it means
and respond in some way
that we think is appropriate.

The fulcrum lies 
with our interpretation and response.
We control, 
or strongly influence,
how things play out
by what we do next.

We lever the future into being
with our response
to what just happened.

We must become aware of our interpretations
and the actions they generate,
and how that spills over
into the rest of our life.

The actions we are unaware of
create the circumstances
we call fate.

The things that keep happening
to us
are the things we set in motion
by the way we interpret
and respond to
what happens to us.

We shoot ourselves in the foot,
not knowing we are pulling the trigger.



Jasper Elk 05 09/25/2009 Oil Paint Rendered — Jasper National Park, Alberta
Where does the right way
of responding to our circumstances
come from?

How do we know it when we see it?

How do we know what is right
and what is wrong?

Where does knowing originate?

What is the source
of the way that is right for us,
and the way that is wrong for us?

Mystery is the ground of life and being.

It moves us toward this
and away from that.

It is the way of life
for all living things.

"Yes!" and "No!"
are all we have to work with,
and they come to us 
from we know not where.

To live without awe and wonder
is to be operationally dead.



Lake McDonald 09/21/2006 Oil Paint Rendered — Glacier National Park, East Glacier, Montana
Some things resonate with us,
some things repel us--
what is the mechanism at work
with either?

We know less than a millionth of one percent
of all there is to know.
But, we act like we know everything that matters.

Science is a necessary corrective
on our hubris and ignorant arrogance.

Science knows it doesn't know,
and is always looking to see better
what it thinks it sees,
and to see something
of what it doesn't see at all.

You can't say that about religion.
All religion everywhere
knows all it needs to know
about everything worth knowing.

Ask any adherent of any religion
what their deepest questions are,
and you will get something cute and shallow.

Questions are nowhere close to the heart
of religion.
Conviction taken on faith
reins supreme.
"Taken on faith" means
"Taking someone else's word for
whatever they take on faith."
And "knowing" all they want to know.

Mystery lies at the heart of life and being.
All of the questions beg even more questions,
and all of them together
constitute a universe of their own
infinitely larger than the physical universe
which gives rise to the questions.

We don't know.

We live to know more than we did
when we started.

Based on our experience 
with acting on the basis of what
we think we know
and what the outcome was,
allowing our outcomes to guide us
into the questions
that deepen/expand our experience,
and lead to greater knowing. 

Like a good scientist would do.

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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