December 31, 2021


Adams Mill Pond Panorama 09 11/10/2014 Oil Paint Rendered — Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina
Jesus never killed anyone,
and Jesus never said kill anyone.

The cross in Jesus' time 
meant only one thing: Death.

And when Jesus said,
"Whoever loses their life 
for my sake and the Gospel's
will find it," and,
"Those who intend to be my disciple
have to take up their cross daily
and follow me,"
he was saying clearly,
"My way is the way of death,
and if you come with me,
you have to be willing and able to die."

As though to add emphasis to his words,
Jesus died on a cross.
The implied message was, 
"This is what I mean!
This is the way to do it!
This is the way I want it done!
Do not be misled!"

Jesus died to show us he meant what he said.
Jesus died to show us he means business.
That to follow him is to die in the service
of the truth Jesus died to serve.

If you wonder what that is,
we have The Sermon on the Mount,
and the Parable of the Good Samaritan,
and the Parable of the Prodigal's Father,
and the bit in Matthew 25 about
"Inasmuch as you have done it or not done it
to one of the least and most insignificant
of my brothers and sisters,
you have done it or not done it unto me!"

The truth that Jesus died to serve
is to be found in these places.

To wear a cross without being willing 
to serve the truth Jesus served
is like standing for the flag 
without standing for what the flag stands for:
Justice! Equality! Truth! Freedom!

And the Freedom! part of these four pillars
of Democracy is the freedom Jesus displayed--
the freedom to sacrifice ourselves 
in the service of Justice! Equality! Truth!
for all of our brothers and sisters
of every skin color and disposition,
down to the very least and most insignificant
of them all.

If we aren't about to do that,
we have no business wearing a cross,
or having one on the rear windshield of our car,
or standing for the flag
and waving it about.

Think about what you are doing,
and doing not,
as we step into a new year
that needs desperately to be new-better,
in the way Jesus meant 
when he said, "Behold the New has come,
and the Old has passed away!"



A Far View 06/26/2012 Oil Paint Rendered — Blue Ridge Parkway, Boone, North Carolina
Squaring ourselves up
with ourselves 
and with our life
is the work of maturity and grace.

Letting things be as they are
just as they are,
and committing ourselves
to making the best of it
no matter what
is the first step
to the rest of the way.

Things as they are 
are what we have to work with.
What we do with it
is ours to do.

We need all the help we can get.

That gets us to
the right kind of emptiness,
the right kind of stillness
and the right kind of silence.

Thinking is the first thing to go.
Emptying ourselves of thinking
is the revolutionary act of freedom
that opens the door to possibilities
unthought and unimagined.

Thinking we know what's what.
Thinking we know what we are doing.
Thinking we know what our options are.
Thinking we know what to do and not to do...

Let it all go.
Be as empty as an egg
after the chick is hatched.

Feeling follows thinking.
Let it go.

All of it.

Sit without thinking,
without feeling,
without seeing,
without hearing,
without attachment,
without agenda,
without opinion...

Watching for what stirs to life
in the silence
as comforting presence,
as prevenient grace,
as evidence that you are not alone.

Be with that
"as the moved before the mover,"
and allow your original nature
to respond of itself to the mystery
at the heart of life and being.

See what happens
without making anything happen.

We owe fealty, 
and fidelity 
to the Source
of the Mystery beyond motive and desire.

This is the right order of things.

Our grounding foundation,
direction and guidance
is not what we want and how to get it,
but who we are and how to be it
within the environment
of our life in eternal, apparent, reality.

Stability, balance and harmony,
integrity and sincerity
lead the way
with action in The Field of Action
that is commensurate with our nature
and appropriate within our circumstances
to our surprise and wonder
in each situation as it arises.

We live from the Source
in conjunction with the times.

Anchored in Mystery,
we create magic,
just by being ourselves here and now.

And everything is transformed
like that.


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.

5 thoughts on “December 31, 2021

    1. And we can “die” in so many ways that have nothing to do with being actually dead. Jesus is talking about growing up and doing what needs to be done, what needs us to do it, that is “like dying,” but doesn’t prevent us from being 98.6 and breathing. This is the way Susan needed to “die” to her self-centered way of living and not to be actually dead (and it was easier for Susan to be actually dead, than to “die” the way she needed to “die”).


  1. | | | |

    | | | Dear Jim: Thank you for each thoughtful and beautiful daily post.  They’ve been helpful, especially in the time of COVID.   I just wanted you to know your words are appreciated and are always a great way to start my day. Best wishes for a healthy and happy 2022 for you and your family! Sincerely,Sandy


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    | | | | AT&T Yahoo Mail Stationery |



  2. Hi Sandy, Thanks for your note! May your New Year be a pleasant surprise in many ways, with hope, joy, and new adventures coming into your life as blessing and grace at just the right times, in just the right ways!


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