August 21, 2021

01

Where the Crows Fly 01 07/31/2013 Oil Paint Rendered — The Bog Garden, Greensboro, North Carolina
We can determine the degree
of our knowledge of God
by the quality of our balance and harmony,
sincerity and integrity,
spirit, energy and vitality.

These are the Seven Markers of Godliness.
The higher their quality within us,
the deeper our knowledge of, affinity for, God--
and the lower their quality within us,
the shallower and more deficient
our knowledge of and affinity for God is.

We improve our knowledge of and affinity for God
by improving our capacity for, 
and expression of,
balance and harmony,
sincerity and integrity.
spirit, energy and vitality.

These seven areas are where
God comes to life in our life,
and are where we experience and express
oneness with God.

If you don't have any idea regarding
the quality of these areas in your life,
ask those who know you best what they think,
and ask those who know you least what they think.
Then decide what you think
about what they think.

–0–

02

Moonrise 01 10/17/2013 Oil Paint Rendered — Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Ocracoke Island, North Carolina
We have to know what our business is
and tend it.
And know what our business is not
and walk on by.

This is a twist on the old AA slogan,
"Take what you need and leave the rest behind."

"Do what is yours to do and leave the rest behind."

Knowing what is, and is not, ours to do
is knowing where to draw the line. 

Frasier Snowden said, 
"The only true philosophical question
is 'Where do you draw the line?'"

Knowing where we draw it is essential knowing.
Drawing it is essential doing.

We are the sole authority governing 
how we live our life.
And, of course, we have to be right about it,
about where we draw lines 
and all the rest
(But all the rest is really about drawing lines,
when and where and how.
That's all there is).

And this is not a problem, being right about it all,
that is.

It is only a matter of time.

We draw a line,
or see what needs to be done and do it,
and if we are wrong,
we draw another line,
and see what needs doing next time and do it.
And if we are wrong,
we just keep drawing and doing,
and over time,
we get better at it.

So start exercising your authority
over your own life.
Draw lines where you think
lines need to be drawn.
Do what you think needs to be done.
And make adjustments as necessary
for as long as adjustments are necessary.

"Nothing to it,
but to do it"
(Maya Angelou).

–0–

03

Bringar Cabin 06/23/2012 OilPaint Rendered — Blue Ridge Parkway, Doughton Park, North Carolina
Jesus' core message was
"You Can't Kill The Truth!"

That is what he meant when he said,
"You shall know the truth,
and the truth shall set you free."

"Because truth cannot die!"

Servants die in the service of truth
knowing truth cannot die.
And they pass it on,
knowing it lives on
through those who do so.

We are here to pass it on,
knowing that in so doing,
we are participating in 
the sacred act of transmission--
taking our place in the company
of all of those who have 
taken up the cause of truth
and been strong in its service
through the eons and ages
of its unfolding and coming forth.

And this is the weak link in the chain.

Truth dies when we turn away.
Are bought off,
are afraid of what will happen to us,
and live contriving a life
as though life is what matters.

Truth is what matters.

Living truthfully is the only thing.

Truth lives on in those who live truthfully.

If we do not live as though it is so,
truth dies in our hands
and blows away 
like dust in the wind.

We are living in windy times.

How we live in here, now,
makes all the difference.

Truth lives on
through those who die
in the service of truth.

In the service of the truth
of what matters most.

Do we know what that is?
Are we right about it?
Will we die for it?

What matters most?

–0–

04

Bud Ogle Cabin 03 11/05/2015 Oil Paint Rendered — Roaring Fork Auto Tour, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg, Tennessee
Surround yourself with people
who are doing it the way
it needs to be done.

Hang out with the right kind of people.
The kind of people who see for themselves
what's what,
and what's to be done about it,
and do it,
on their own authority,
no matter what everybody else
is seeing and doing.

How many people do you know
who are like that?
Buddy-up to them.
If they will have you around.

You might have to practice being
one of those people 
in order to be recognized as one,
and allowed into their company.

You could do worse.

A lot worse.

–0–

05

Buttermilk Falls 03 10/01/2014 Oil Paint Rendered — Ithaca, New York
The foundation of existence is "as if/as though."

The ground beneath us is not solid/sure/certain.
We are in free-fall pretending to be 
on solid rock.

We live as if/as though it all makes sense.

Life eats life!
How much sense does that make?
It doesn't matter if it makes sense or not.
We have to do what we have to do--
if that means a burger and fries,
then a burger and fries it is.

While we talk about the meaning of life,
which requires the death of something
in order to continue living.
And nobody says, "Huh?"
Everybody keeps chewing.

"Just keep chewing!" is the order of the day.
It all hangs on our not-saying,
not-asking,
not-knowing the obvious.
This. Does. Not. Make. Any. Sense. What. So. Ever.

The economy runs the show.
We have doctors and dentists and the entire health industry
working to keep people living longer
so the economy will be sound,
but they don't want us being so healthy
that we quit drinking, smoking, doing drugs,
and start eating wisely and being healthy.

Healthy lifestyles are bad for the economy.
It would be better to die early
than to live long and healthily. 

"Just keep chewing!"

Religion falls into the 
Makes No Sense category as well,
but it makes no sense to go there.
Yet, while we are here, 
I will mention just one tiny "Huh?"
in passing:

You've heard of unconditional love,
I'm sure. 
God loves us unconditionally. Got it?
And just in case that doesn't to it
and turn everyone to God in prayer
of joy and thanksgiving,
God has Hell waiting in the wings.
How unconditionally loving is that?

"Just keep chewing!"

Just live "as if/as though" it makes
all the sense in the world.

"As if/as though" is the wind beneath our wings.

And that is good 
in that it frees us
to live with abandon,
and allows us to experiment
with our life,
doing what we think needs to be done
in each situation as it arises,
without having to check the rules
to see if it is allowed.

There. Are. No. Rules.
Other than the provisional ones
we make up among ourselves
to smooth the way of social discourse
and ease our way in the world.

So, we do what we think is right
and see what happens,
and if the outcome calls for
adjustment and alteration,
we make the adjustments and alterations
that seem good to us,
and see what happens,
and so on
throughout our time upon the earth,
figuring things out as we go,
and making what sense of things we can,
all the way.

It is a great way to live,
"as if/as though."
It is like learning to fly,
with "as if/as though"
as the wind beneath our wings!

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 “August 21, 2021

  1. As usual, your post relates to some of the issues in my life where I’ve begun drawing the line. Case in point, I have collected kitchen equipment hoping to spur me into cooking nutrient dense recipes. I am 74 years old. Recently, I just gave up on trying to do what is impossible for me. I am giving the equipment I no longer use (too heavy to lift) or equipment I’ve never used, to my landlady and she is going to give them to family or take to Goodwill.

    Next step is to see what solutions God has for me now that I’ve given up on the impossible.

    Thanks for your beautiful painted photogaphs that uplift my spirits and your words that give me hope.

    Liked by 1 person

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