September 05, 2021


Two Trees 06/26/2012 Oil Paint Rendered — Doughton Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina
There is only returning
to return again and again.

Because we live in a world
of noise,
and 10,000 things,
and it is an easy thing
to lose The Way,
follow our desires,
run from our fears,
labor under our duties
and obligations,
wander from the path,
and have nothing to do 
with the Flow of Life and Being.

We return to the silence.
We return to emptiness.
We return to our original nature.
We return to the work
of balance and harmony,
sincerity and integrity,
spirit, energy and vitality.
We return to listening and looking,
seeing and hearing,
knowing and understanding.
We return to reflection and realization.
We return to doing what needs to be done,
moment by moment,
in each situation as it arises--
without regard to the outcome
or to what is in it for us.

We return to returning
here and now,



Congaree 03 08/31/2017 Oil Paint Rendering — Congree National Park, Columbia, South Carolina
"The path that can be discerned 
as a path
is not a reliable path."

Which is to say,
there is no path--
other than the one we make.
We do not find the way.
We make the way.

By being attuned to 
the here and now,
seeing what is called for
and doing it
when it needs to be done,
the way it needs to be done,
because it needs to be done
moment by moment
in each situation as it arises.

And because what needs to be done
might be anything,
depending on the time and place
and the circumstances
of its arising,
there can be no path
that is imposed on each situation
but the way is organic
and of the moment--
like the wind that blows 
where it will--
from moment to moment,
to be discerned in the moment
by those with eyes to see
and ears to hear
here and now,
moment to moment.



Approaching Red Rock Canyon 03/28/2007 Oil Paint Rendered — Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, Las Vegas, Nevada
Scrapping the Doctrine of the Atonement
(along with all the other doctrines),
would put Jesus' death on the cross
in a new light--
and be the call for all of us to die,
literally or metaphorically,
in doing what needs to be done
in each situation as it arises,
which was the attitude that characterized
Jesus' life,
and the one he continually called 
his followers to display.

"Why don't you decide for yourselves what is right?"
he would ask,
in saying "Stop looking to the religious authorities
to tell you what to do!"

"The spirit is like the wind 
that blows where it will,"
he said, in saying that each situation
as it arises 
is a new situation,
and may well call us to do
what has never been done before,
and may never be done again.

In calling us to the Christ as only we can be the Christ,
Jesus was telling us to become as he was,
open to the moment,
and willing to live there
in ways that called into question 
all of the sacred assumptions of the day,
in doing what needed to be done,
when it needed to be done,
the way it needed to be done,
because it needed to be done,
and then on to the next moment,
and the one after that,
all our life long.

But, there is no profit to be made
in a religion like that.
So, Christianity became 
what it has become
to pay for the organization
that guarantees heaven for those who believe
what they are told to believe,
and hell for those who do not--
and to divert the people
from the Way of being who Jesus was.


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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