September 18, 2021


Drying Out Oil Paint Rendered 04/18/2011 — Green Heron at the Bog Garden, Greensboro, North Carolina
The most important Commandment in the Old Testament
didn't make it into the Top Ten.
It was too controversial.

"Thou Shalt Not Remove Thy Neighbor's Landmark!"

Take the Big Ten to the burning barrel. 
All we need is the one left behind.

Understanding "landmark" on all of its
metaphorical levels
puts everything in its place
and leaves nothing to be said.

And, applying it to each other
across the board,
around the table
throughout the world,
gives us peace on earth
and goodwill among all its peoples
to the end of time.

And if you forgot,
you would forget how to breathe
until you remembered.

We wouldn't need Hell for all eternity 
to keep people straight.
A breathless minute would do nicely.

If I were in charge of things
they would be real different
real quick.



The Bench by the Woods 11/05/2008 Oil Paint Rendered — Guilford Courthouse National Military Park, Greensboro, North Carolina
Republicans serve unworthy ends.
White supremacy,
Castes and Social Divisions
between the Deserving
and the Undeserving,
who only want 
to put everyone in their place,
and keep them there.

Republicans represent
the end of Democracy,
and have to come to the realization
that their place
is in solidarity with everyone else.

How to see and live beyond divisions
is the lesson these times
are asking us all to learn.
No rich and poor,
no white and non-white,
no male and female,
no gay and straight,
no In and Out...

The Great Society is fluid,
and accommodating,
with noble hearts
and goodwill,
and good faith
for one another
and all others,
with "one for all
and all for one"
experienced and exhibited
on all sides
at all times.

And it requires a maturity
and a self-awareness
beyond what a large number
of people seem to be capable of.

And that's a problem.

Growing up is an individual obligation.
And when people as a culture/society
refuse to have anything to do 
with bearing the pain of maturation,
and live only in the service
of My Way NOW!!!
it all goes to hell in a hurry. 

When each person in a culture/society
has to do the work
of reconciling themselves
to their own shortcomings and deficiencies,
everything hinges on individuals doing
what individuals are wont to do.

And the chances of that happening
are "fat and slim."

And here we are.

Try forcing maturation on those
who will not grow up!
Let me know how it goes.



Sunflower on Black 02 Oil Paint Rendered
Jesus clearly saw
the way, 
the truth,
the light
and the life,
and did his best to exhibit
and express it
in his way with life.

His parables of The Prodigal
and The Good Samaritan,
and what he had to say about
"Inasmuch as you have done it--
and not done it--
to one of the least of humankind,
you have done it--
and not done it--
unto me,"
quite plainly put what is important
before the people,
and the people weren't interested then
or now, 
or at any time in between.

The Church that rose up
out of Jesus' teachings
about "love your enemy,"
"love your neighbor,"
and "do unto others 
as you would have them do unto you,"
by killing "heretics"
and massacring "blasphemers," 
represents the complete
repudiation of what Jesus stood for
and was about.

Apostasy and abnegation
are the churches' response
to the one they call Lord.

And that leaves us with individuals
having to find their way
on their own
to the way Jesus found on his own,
and continuing the work
of living truthfully in the service
of the good that is Good
even so,
as best we can
for as long as life is possible--
in the spirit of Lao Tzu
who said,
"Do your work and step back.
And let nature take its course."

Just like Jesus did.



Shady View 06/20/2012 Oil Paint Rendered — Doughton Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina
Stephen Mitchell interprets Verse 72
of the Tao te Ching as saying,
"When they lose their sense of awe,
people turn to religion.
When they no longer trust themselves,
they begin to depend upon authority."

Is that not how it is, though?

Where do we go to get our sense of awe back?

How do we revive our essential trust in ourselves?

If we are not capable of doing--
or willing to do--
this work for ourselves,
who will do it for us?

Where does this leave us?

Here we are!
Now what???


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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