March 17, 2022


Beulah Land 18 Oil Paint Rendered
Take God out of the equation
and how do we make sense of things?
Without theology, what do we do?
What orders life then?
What structures existence?
What is the ground of morality and ethics?
The purpose and goal of what we do?
The reason for life?

God is a safety net,
catching us when we fall,
upholding us when we fail,
reassuring us that everything is alright,
no matter what.

If God didn't exist,
we would have to make God up
to be the center and ground of our world,
and serve us as "an ever-present help
in time of trouble."

Wouldn't we?



399 01 06/24/2011 Oil Paint Rendered — Grand Teton National Park, Jackson Wyoming
We make it all up as we go. 
All of it.
It means just what we say it means.
Reality isn't what it's cracked up to be.
Illusion is more to the point.
We say what is so and not so.
And we change our mind all the time.
Or never.
However it seems to fit.

We say money matters most of all.
And everything revolves around money.
So, where does boredom come from?
We live in the pursuit of money
and if we slow down for a second,
or godforbid stop,
we are bored,
just like that.

We are bored because we are 
making it all up
and nothing matters more than money.

And what is money good for?
Paying the bills.
And what are the bills worth paying?
We have no idea.
We are just making it up here,
and we do not know what really matters.

Everything is BOORRRIINNNGGG!!!
After a while.
Billionaires are the most bored,
and boring,
people in the world.

They buy governments just to toy around
with them.
They are just manipulating peoples' lives.
For the hell of it.
Because they can.
They don't care.
They are bored.

Because they don't care.

What's worth caring about?
They don't know.
We don't know.

All we can think of to buy with money
are distractions.
To take our mind off being bored.

We don't know what would make 
life worth living.
What we would love 
to spend all of our time doing.

What would we love
to spend all of our time doing?
What would we live to do?
Why don't we know?
Why aren't we doing it?
We would die to know.
We die not knowing.

Because we cannot make up 
something worth dying for.
Something worth living for.
We can only imagine the boring stuff.
The real stuff is painful.
Like dying.
We don't have anything to do with that.

How much silence can you take?

Being still.
How still can you be for how long?

We live our life 
trying not to be empty.

Nothing is more real 
than silence, stillness and emptiness.
We can't stand any of that.

Yet, they are the doorway,
or better, the Gateless Gate.
To enlightenment.
Knowing what's what,
and what is called for,
and what needs us to do it,
in each situation as it arises.

And we don't make any of that up.
It is just there.
Calling our name.
Asking us to die to ourselves
that we might live to ourselves.
And be who we are.
Serving our original nature
and the virtues that are ours
to share with the world.

What are we going to do?


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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