April 24-B, 2023

Moonset 02 11/19/2019 Oil Paint Rendered — Edisto Beach State Park, Edisto Island, South Carolina
Transcendentalism appeared in New England
in the 1830's--
with Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau
serving as its most recognizable proponents.

It did not last as a movement,
because it wasn't interested in lasting,
as in making disciples,
telling people why they ought to belong,
and competing for market share
via oratory and theology wars.

Their basic stance was to hold up a flower,
as the Buddha once did,
and say, "You can look at this flower
and see it,
or not see it.
That is up to you."

For them, transparency to transcendence
was everywhere
all the time.
It was only a matter of seeing or not seeing
what is "right there."
And doing or not doing
what needs to be done about it.

They realized that no one can be
talked into seeing,
or told how to see--
and certainly that no one can be told
what is to be seen,
or how it got there,
or what it means.

We "let the mystery be" (Iris Dement),
and do what we think needs 
to be done about it,
knowing that thinking 
we can say anything about it
is completely absurd,
because it is transcendent,
don't you see?

The transcendent is like the Tao,
about which Lao Tzu said,
"The Tao that can be said/told/explained/talked about
is not the eternal Tao."
Or, as Martin Palmer said,
"The path that can be discerned as a path
is not a reliable path."

That's Transcendentalism for you.
We see it or see it not.
And that's all we can say about it.



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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