June 30, 2022


Pioneer Christmas 02 Oil Paint Rendered — Through the Window Collection
Our view of God is not God.
Our idea of God is not God.

God is transcendent reality
beyond concepts or ideas,
words or images.

God is beyond theology and doctrine,
creeds and dogma.

Beyond explanation, description,
elucidation, illustration.

"Darkness within darkness--
the gateway to mystery."

The Tao Te Ching's description
of the Tao
applies to all gods there ever has been
or will be.

Heinrich Zimmer said,
"The best things cannot be said,
and the second best things create misunderstanding,
that leaves us with the third best things to talk about,
news, weather, sports, opinion and gossip."

If anybody wants to talk to you about God
ask them two questions:
"Who says so?"
"How do you know they are right?"

If say they "take it on faith,"
ask, "Why do you take that on faith
and not something else instead?"

And if they say,
"Because I know in my heart
it is so,"
tell them that is the same way horoscopes work,
and voo-doo,
and black magic,
and superstition,
and is the very thing con artists
make their living by."

"Who says so?"
and "How do you know they are right?"
Are the foundational questions.
Keep coming back to them
and you will keep the conversation honest
and grounded in the truth of "No one knows."



Silhouettes 02 12/13/2015 Oil Paint Rendered — Kings Mountain State Park — Blacksburg, South Carolina
We are here to help one another
find The Way through our life
by the way we live together
in the world.

There is not much of that going on.


Why are we all out for what we can get
at the expense of whomever is in our way,
which has as much to do with The Way
as a chicken has to do with
the dark side of the moon.

The right kind of emptiness,
the right kind of stillness,
the right kind of silence,
are harder to find
than the dark side of the moon!

It's like "There is nothing wrong
with my life
that having everyone else do what I want
wouldn't fix!"


We are stuck in The Terrible Two's
throwing our plates of ketchup and fries
against the wall
because they won't do it our way.



Marsh Sunrise 02 10/29/2011 Oil Paint Oil Paint Rendered — Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Ocracoke Island, North Carolina
We are born into a world-wide environment
that assumes God in some guise 
is the source of all that is,
with a well-organized system
of propaganda for perpetuating the idea.

It is impossible to come at the idea of God
from the outside,
as though for the first time.
The idea of God is a part of the fabric of life,
and our role is to keep God happy with us
until we die
so that we can go be with God in heaven forever.

God is an idea that has been passed along
from the beginning,
to the point where hardly anyone
thinks of God as an idea,
but as an actual, tangible, concrete spirit being.

The idea that a spiritual being could be concrete
should be a give-away that God is an idea,
in that "spiritual" is the polar opposite of concrete,
and that the concretization of God is also an idea.

And the absurdity of the entire play
comes into full, blinding, light
when we take into account that the people
who make such a furious protest over
the idea of God being an idea 
are the very ones who ignore God completely
in living exactly as they want to
with no concern at all about offending The Holy.

All of which comes down to 
After God, What?

The Taoists of 2,000 years BCE
suggest that we live aligned with the Tao
in serving our original nature
and the innate virtues that are ours from birth,
with spirit, energy and vitality
by doing the right thing
at the right time
in the right place
and the right way.

No theology.
No doctrine.
Just experience lived in light
of what needs to be done
in each situation as it arises,
enjoying each moment
and celebrating life.

We could do worse,
as contemporary events proclaim.


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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