September 09, 2021


Snake River Reflection 06/15/2005 Detail Oil Paint Rendered — Grand Teton National Park, Jackson, Wyoming
Adam's and Eve's sin
was not some 
"want of conformity unto,
or transgression of,
a law of God,"...

And we will pause here
to allow me a side soliloquy
on this phrase, "want of conformity into,
or transgression of,
a law of God,"
saying that it came to my attention
as the prescribed answer 
to the Westminster Shorter Catechism's
question, "What is sin?"

I memorized the words at my Aunt Lois'
without having a clue as to what 
these words meant.
A condition I shared with every 
5 or 6 year old child in the country,
politely doing what some adult considered
to be good for their soul
and their eternal well-being.

It was apostasy.
Committed by the well-intended
at the direction of the misled
because no one called attention 
to the absurdity of a God 
who can't create any better
than the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob,
having any right to blame anyone
for his (as the story goes) own shortsightedness.

I could go on, but I will return
to the thesis that got us to this point:

...but their betrayal of themselves
and their own original nature
in pursuit of what they took to be
their true joy and delight
in their knowledge of profit and gain
in the world that was theirs to fill 
and subdue.

Betraying ourselves and our original nature
is the secondary sin.
The profit motive is the primary sin.
We will sell anything 
for thirty pieces of silver,
or it's modern-day equivalent,
in our pursuit of Profit At Any Price.

And whether God takes offense or not,
we do it to ourselves
and have only ourselves to blame.

The way back to Eden
always wound through the Garden of Gethsemane
and across the face of Golgotha
well before Jesus came along.

We have always had to die to our own idea
of the life that is ours to live,
and submit to our life's idea for itself,
in order to be alive in the fullest sense
of the term
in the time left for living.

That's the rule from the start.
We had to die to get back to Eden.
There are thousands of ways to die
and still be 98.6 and breathing.
And it isn't a literal death that is required,
but a metaphorical dying,
a handing over of the life we have in mind
in favor of the life our life has in mind.

That what it has always taken.
That is all it ever takes.

The catechisms and the doctrines
miss all of this in a very big way.

And by the time we figure it all out
for ourselves, we need a Mulligan,
and a do over
to make a real game of it.

We waste a lot of time,
getting started.



Boone Fork Cascade 01 08/08/2009 Oil Paint Rendered — Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina
Allow me the honor
of telling you what you 
are looking for,
and how to know it when you see it.

The words all mean the same thing: IT!
You are looking for IT!
And you have to weed out a lot
to find IT!

The words I'm talking about are
on the order of "radiance,"
"resonance," "magnetism," "pull,"
"flow," "light," "attraction,"
"in love," etc.

We know IT! when we see IT!
And, too often, we dismiss IT!
because IT! doesn't meet 
our qualifications
or expectations.

And we then spend our life trying 
to get back to IT!
While 10,000 other IT!'s
in various disguises wink at us
unnoticed in our infatuation
with the first IT! 
that got our attention
in the beginning.

IT!'s like this:
You walk into a bookstore--
no, wait, some of you
would never walk into a bookstore.
That's a clue for you.
But then, you probably
would not be reading this
if you would never walk into a bookstore,
so never mind...

You walk into a bookstore,
or a library,
and go to some sections,
and stay strictly away
from others.
What are they?

Or you stand before a magazine rack,
and peruse some types,
and avoid some other types.
What are they.

We are constitutionally
attracted to some things in our life
and repulsed or "turned off"
by others.

What are they?
They are clues to your journey
back to IT!
Spend your time with the things
that resonate with you,
and give no time at all 
to the things that repel you.

In so doing,
you are bringing YOU to life.

Explore this experience.

Carl Jung said,
"We are who we always have been,
and who we will be."

Who/how have you always been?
What has always been true about you?
What do people say about you
that holds up over time?
What would other people say
that your specialty is?
What would you say that 
your specialty is?

Deepen your association with it,
and begin your association with IT!
in the process.

For what?
For the LIFE of IT!
For the JOY of IT!

And allow IT! to bring you forth
into your life in amazing
and surprising ways!



Castle Mountain Crossing 09/28/2009 Oil Paint Rendered — Banff National Park, Alberta
Celebrating the wonder of existence,
through all of the levels
and experiences of existence,
is the whole, entire, absolute 
point of existence.

What more could there be than that?

To be there is to be at the very heart
of Tao--
is to be Tao--
life relishing life
in all of its myriad aspects!
Through all of its dualities,
opposites and contradictions!

Saying "YES!" to it all,
just as it is,
with no alterations and improvements
that aren't a part of the entire

The experience of the experience
is more than words can say!
"Darkness within Darkness,
the gateway to Mystery!"
"Light within Light,
the gateway to Wonder and Delight!"



Dugger’s Creek Falls 02 05/11/2012 Oil Paint Rendered — Blue Ridge Parkway, Linville Falls visitor center, North Carolins
Here's how it works:

See what you look at
in each situation as it arises,
and look at everything.

Hear what you listen to
in each situation as it arises,
and listen to everything--
including listening to yourself.

Ask all of the questions
that beg to be asked--
and all of the questions
the questions that beg to be asked
beg to be asked.

Hold everything in your awareness
and wait "for the mud to settle,
and the water to clear."

That's it.

With clarity comes direction,
with direction comes action,
with action comes a new situation
which you approach in the same way
throughout what remains
of the life left for living.

If they had only told us this
in the fourth grade!



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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