January 14, 2022

01

Venus, the Moon and Pamlico Sound 10/31/2008 Oil Paint Rendered — Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Ocracoke Island, North Carolina
What kind of democracy is it
that cannot pass a voting rights bill?

A paper democracy!
A democracy that doesn't 
have the heart to be a democracy!
A pretend/fake/ersatz democracy
that wants the world to think
it is a democracy
without having to go to the trouble
of actually being a democracy.

An empty-in the worst sense of the word-democracy.
A democracy that took itself for granted.
A democracy that did not understand
the basic, fundamental, principles
of being a democracy.
A democracy that failed to be true to itself.
A democracy that did not have what it takes
to be who it says it is.
A democracy that believed its own bluster,
and took it to be the truth.
A democracy that betrayed its own soul.
A democracy that was not a democracy at all.

Eisenhower saw it coming.
He was a Republican,
and knew it was over.
He knew we did not have what it takes even then
to be who we say we are,
to sustain the illusion over time.
Eisenhower saw the future
and realized it was a "military/industrial complex."
Not a democracy.

Capitalism bought democracy out.
With today's equivalent of thirty pieces of silver.
Politicians today want nothing more than being wealthy,
owning yachts and private jets,
and islands and throwing parties.
Everything is for sale.
Nothing is sacrosanct. 
You know what I mean.

The fall point of democracy
was taking itself seriously.
Was thinking that it was what it said it was.
Thinking that it was right when it said,
"We hold these truths to be self-evident,
that all men (people) are created equal,
that they are endowed, by their Creator, 
with certain unalienable Rights, 
that among these are Life, Liberty, 
and the pursuit of Happiness."

Was missing the deeper truth
that these truths are NOT self-evident.
Not to those with a fascist bent,
outlook, point of view, way of seeing.

The Founders of this Republic
were so enamored with their view of The Good,
that they could not entertain the idea
that there was a competing view of the Good,
which was/is evil to the core,
and did not take seriously all or the signs
that pointed to the contrary truth
at work within the democracy they created
from the beginning,
which was tucked away within themselves.

The Founders (or enough of them) owned slaves!
How democratic can a slave owner be?
How democratic can a fascist be?

We have come as a nation as far as we can come
without taking ourselves seriously,
looking into our own heart,
knowing who we are and what we are capable of,
and sacrificing our inner,
very much undemocratic tendencies,
like Jesus in Gethsemane,
over and over again,
throughout our individual life,
for the sake of the life of the nation--
which is more than we have any chance of being on our own,
but can be together
by maintaining an environment
that is everything the Founders envisioned,
a place of Liberty and Justice for ALL!

We have to believe in that vision, that dream,
that foundation,
more than we believe in our own, personal, right
to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

Just as we have to be the Christ Jesus was,
and not let ourselves get by with
believing he was the only Christ ever,
carrying the cross and dying on Golgotha
for us all.

We die to ourselves again and again
in living to serve the vision
of One Nation Under God Indivisible
With Liberty And Justice For All!

And if we will not do that,
we make a mockery of democracy,
and betray all that is good 
and decent
and loving,
and live a lie,
playing a game of pretending
we are not pretending.

–0–

02

Beech Woods 08 11/21/2021 Oil Paint Rendered — 22-acre Woods, Indian Land, South Carolina
People sometimes ask me if I am a Christian,
and, sometimes they ask me 
if I have accepted Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior.
Sometimes, I answer by saying,
"I am a Christian in the same way Jesus was a Christian."
And, sometimes I answer by 
holding up an index finger 
and saying, "Jesus and I are just like that!"

Anybody can believe in Jesus.
What it takes is being Jesus.

How many people do you know,
or, have ever known,
who make it a regular practice
to be Jesus
in each situation as it arises,
day-by-day?

That is how many Christians you have known.
The word "christian" means "little Christ."
The idea is to grow from being a "little Christ,"
into being the Full Monty.

If you think you are a Christian
and live in ways that would keep people 
from ever seeing the Christ in you,
you are on the wrong track.

Chuck all of your theology
and take up the work of being the Christ
by exhibiting the spirit of Christ
in all you do.

You don't have to be perfect,
just be making a sincere effort
in living to exemplify the parables of the Prodigal
and the Good Samaritan,
the Sermon on the Mount,
and Matthew 25--
knowing what you will do and won't do
in being true to yourself
as much as being true to Jesus
(Jesus was true to himself,
and not to Moses or Abraham).

It would be a good idea to chuck all your theology,
whether you take up the practice of being Jesus or not.

–0–

03

December Woods 12 12/02/2021 — 22-Acre Woods, Indian Land, South Carolina
I trust everyone,
up to a point.
I don't trust anyone
beyond that point.

This comes, I think,
from having had an abusive father,
and a childhood devoid
of a reliable source of stability
and dependability.

I had to find what I needed within.
It did not exist without.
I grew to depend on myself,
to trust my own take on things,
and my own ability to respond appropriately
to things,
even though I did not know what I was doing,
because I knew I could rebound quickly,
pick up the game in mid-course,
alter my response-ability accordingly,
make the necessary adjustments,
and come out okay in the end.

It is a human trait,
making things up as we go,
and finding what we need by not giving up,
but continuing to search for what it takes,
even if it means writing our father off
as someone who isn't going to be pleased
no matter what we do,
and go right on,
finding substitute fathers when we need one.

The point beyond which I do not trust anybody
is the point where comes to pass
the wisdom of the old spiritual,
"Nobody knows the trouble I've seen."
And nobody's going to know,
because nobody can be trusted 
to know what I know,
if you know what I mean.

I guard the inner core and keep it safe,
trusting it to see me through what will be
as it has with what has been.

–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.

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