December 28, 2021

01

Clapboard 04 10/13/2009 Oil Paint Rendered — Deer Isle, near Stonington, Maine
If we put all the gods that ever were
in a room,
there wouldn't be anyone in there
I would enjoy talking to.

There is nothing to like
about any god I've ever heard of.

Name one you would invite to go with you
for a walk in the woods,
or for a cup of coffee and conversation.

Gods don't have conversations.
They issue commandments,
and demand obedience. 
They are no fun to be around.

And everybody is clamoring to get to heaven!
Like heaven would be a very cool place to be.
It would be a jail without bars.
And probably without windows.

I really enjoy looking out windows.
The people I know of 
who make such a fuss over getting to heaven,
aren't the kind of people
who spend much time looking out windows.
They are too busy getting to heaven,
and getting everyone else there.

Why?

Because, as the story goes,
the only alternative is hell,
like heaven wouldn't be hell.

Who thought all of this up?
Some clergy type
who did not like looking out windows,
and needed a gimmick for creating an audience,
I would wager.

Greed and fear.
Works every time.

The church as we know it--
and religion as we know it through time--
are grounded in greed and fear,
wanting to earn merit and get to heaven,
or its equivalent,
and avoid hell, 
or its equivalent.

Just find things you are interested in, 
that you enjoy,
and care about,
and devote yourself to those things--
with liege loyalty and filial devotion,
and fealty unending forever.

It could be anything.
Maybe, looking out windows.

Leave heaven and hell
to those who have nothing better to do.
As for you,
find you thing(s) and do it (them).

–0–

02

Autumn Woods 10/16/2011 Oil Paint Rendered — Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg, Tennessee
What are we ignoring,
neglecting,
denying,
discounting,
dismissing,
disregarding...?

Look closer at those things!
Tend carefully those things!
Seek out those things!
There lies the treasure,
the Grail,
the Path!

"The stone the builders rejected
is the chief corner-stone."

What in your life is like that stone?

Like the girl/boy next door,
whom you joke and kid around with,
and would never think of 
as a romantic possibility,
until they are walking down some aisle
with someone other than you?

What are you missing?
Consider those things!
Notice what you are relegating
to the "Not no how, not no way" pile.

Be aware of the way you are evaluating everything.
Be slower to issue a final judgment on all things.

The road not taken deserves
a careful reading,
as do all the things
we walk by unseeing.

"Mind how you go!"

–0–

03

Country Cemetery 07 11/19/2021 Oil Paint Rendered — Lancaster County, South Carolina
Who are the Gatekeepers?
Who lets in what gets in
and keeps out what stays out?
Who says so?

What is censored?
By whom?
Who is restricting what we hear and see?
How we think?
What questions we can ask?

What is not permitted?
Disallowed?

By whose authority?

The climate deniers
do not want scientific,
factual, data to be a part 
of their presentations.

Conspiracy theorists don't want
historical truth to have any bearing
on what they are spinning.

Theologians don't want the things 
they take on faith,
and which then become absolute facts
because they say they are,
to be subjected to the same rigorous examination
other statements of truth have to meet.

The Gatekeepers keep out what they want out,
and let in what they want in.

Who are your Gatekeepers?
Why do you let them in,
and keep others,
with different points of view
and ways of evaluating and separating
facts from conjecture/inference/opinion, out?

Why do you listen to the people you listen to,
and dismiss and castigate those you don't listen to?

Who are your Gatekeepers?
What validates them to play that role? 

–0–

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.

2 thoughts on “December 28, 2021

  1. My dog looks out the window all day. She barks at every person walking and every squirrel chewing and I get up to see what’s happening. We make a pretty good team.

    Liked by 1 person

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