Category Archives: spirituality

When life makes us raw…

It’s so easy to ask the questions of why good things come to those who do evil or why bad things happen when I work so hard to do what is right. We want answers, don’t we? “God, can’t I get a break once in while? Why is this so hard? Dammit… I thought we were past this…”

It is so important for me, personally, to remember that God does not play the tit-for-tat game of allowing evil when we do wrong and rewarding us when we do right. It is so comforting to see the times when Jesus affirms this. “Teacher, what has this man or his parents done that he should be blind all his life?” He refuses to play this game, which is very much a lower-consciousness human tendency. “He was born blind so that God’s work might be done in him…” Isn’t this the case for all of us?

The beauty of the God I serve is that he has shown me that his love is constant… even when I am bound to ask, in the wake of tragedy and hardship (and especially ANYTHING that causes stress), “Why, why… WHY?!?” Life keeps us so raw in the storms and deserts and challenges. I am living it so deeply, these days. Changing, changing, everything is changing… some things slip away, some new stresses added… all of it coming with drama. And in the midst of it, I want a damn reason. We humans have always wanted a reason.

And here we have a God who doesn’t always give us a reason. This is the wonder of the divine mystery. This is what makes truth… a being in the midst of paradox and tension. To relax into this is to embrace our divine sonship and daughtership. It is to live awake to our own union with God and the love he/she always has for us. The rain and the sun fall on the good and the bad, making thorns and flowers grow. It’s not an easy truth.

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Rohr – Christians have a phd in “either/or”

Thank you for your words, once again, Richard. Here, he talks about the all-too-common dualism in Christianity (about the 7:00 mark). From the Evolutionary Christianity website.

Richard Rohr on Evolutionary Christianity

Other highlights…

  • how did we go from the inclusive son of God, who spends time with tax collectors, sinners, and prostitutes into an exclusive religion in his honor? (44:00)
  • all creation is incarnation, not just in us, or in Jesus, but all the way back t0 15 billion years ago.
  • If it’s compassion, it’s universal compassion.
  • If only we can stop seeing ourselves merely as a religion in competition with, and see ourselves as a gift, as all religions are a gift to us. If we can just be Jesus to the world and let the cards fall where they may (as Mother theresa said). If Christians could just be Jesus, rather than making him into a product or an opponent, always one who builds boundaries instead of bridges… that would be the evolution of Christianity and a much more gracious world. (54:00)

“Serious” Spirituality

Two young seekers reflect together on the paradox and dynamic of being young men dedicated to the spiritual path.

One says, “I have found that if I am going to surround myself with people dedicated to serious spirituality, I am usually going to be one of the youngest in the room.”

“Serious” spirituality, eh? I didn’t know that spirituality was such a serious thing! I am struck most often with the lack of seriousness in the most influential spiritual teachers… why do you think that is? I suppose because they recognize that most things don’t really matter that much after all.

When I look at Jesus, I don’t see him as a deeply serious man. Not trite or jovial, necessarily… but not too serious. He talked about banquets where all were invited and no one came… he talked about paying people equal wages no matter what work they had done… he talked about life in the kingdom, life of love, forgiveness, no worries. I see him saying these things with a wink and a smile. Because he knew, he understood, he saw behind and around the seriousness.

The Golden Egg

A STORY as told by Fr. Anthony de Mello:

A reading from the scriptures:

This is what the Lord says: There was once a goose that laid a golden egg each day. And the farmer’s wife, who owned the goose, delighted in the riches that those eggs brought her. She was an avaricious woman, however, and could not wait patiently from day to day for her daily egg. She decided to kill the goose and get the eggs all at once.

Thus far the word of God!

An atheist heard that text from the scriptures and scoffed: You call that the word of God! A goose that lays golden eggs! It just goes to show the absurdity of your scriptures.

When a religious scholar read that text, he reacted thus: The Lord clearly tells us that there was a goose that laid golden eggs. If the Lord says this, then it must be true, no matter how absurd it appears to our poor human minds.

Now you will ask, as well you may, how an egg, while not ceasing to be an egg, can, at the same time, be golden. Different schools of religious thought attempt to explain it differently. But what is called for here is an act of faith in this mystery that baffles human understanding.

There was even a preacher who, inspired by that text, traveled through towns and villages zealously urging people to accept the fact that God had created golden eggs at some point in history.

It is better to teach people the evils of avarice than to promote belief in golden eggs.

The Zen Master and the Christian

A Christian once visited a Zen master and said, “Allow me to read you some sentences from the Sermon on the Mount.”

“I shall listen to them with pleasure,” said the master.

The Christian read a few sentences and looked up. The master smiled and said, “Whoever said those words was truly enlightened.”

This pleased the Christian. He read on. The master interrupted and said, “Those words com from a savior of mankind.”

The Christian was thrilled. He continued to read to the end. The master then said, “That sermon was pronounced by someone who was radiant with divinity.”

The Christian’s joy knew no bounds. He left, determined to return and persuade the master to become a Christian.

On the way back home he found Jesus standing by the roadside. “Lord,” he said enthusiastically, “I got that man to confess that you are the divine!”

Jesus smiled and said, “And what good did it do you except to inflate your Christian ego?” – de Mello