Saturday, December 22, 2018

The Incarnation... Addressing the Frailties of Our Shared Humanity

Figs In Season Winter 2016 Divinity and Humanity... intersects in the middle.JPGFrazzled. Worn out. De-energized. Messed up. Discombobulated. Broken. Recognize any of these states of being in your own experience? You are not alone.

We live in a world where the experience of being overwhelmed with a sense of our vulnerability is shared. Winter, with its orientation of frigid discontentedness, brings home a very real sense of the shared frailties of our humanity. With the impact of these facts weighing on our consciousness, there is the fortuitous counterbalance that this is that season when multitudes around the world celebrate the Incarnation.

The beginning of Winter is when many around the world celebrate the coming of the Divine into the human experience in a way that is life-affirming and restorative. God, it is believed, becomes Man… and dwells in and among us. The Man-God comes to heal the breach initiated in Eden, and exacerbated in Cain’s murder of his brother Abel. The Savior comes to “rescue the perishing, and care for the dying”. He becomes “manna to the hungry soul… and to the weary, rest”.

There comes that moment in our experience when it is futile to deny the need for restoration and reconciliation. The many challenges that we face will eventually force us to pause, take a step back, sit down, and think about what we need to do in order to emerge from our frazzled-ness. By so doing, we give ourselves a needed reprieve from the discombobulation that is evident in our stumbling from one unfortunate circumstance to the other. If we are wise we voluntarily admit to the reality of the finiteness of our flesh. Wisdom makes us reflect on what it will take to move meaningfully forward, to regain our strength, and to correct our perspectives.

Much of what goes wrong within us, has to do with what is going wrong between us. The dysfunctions in us find expression in our various relationships. These relationships will include those that for one reason or other we have sought to ignore and to forget. Despite our best efforts to ignore them, they haunt us; they live daily in our conscious and subconscious behaviors. They thrive in the underworld created of and by our fears. This being the case, an examination of ourselves and the quality of our many relationships - present and past - is a good place to begin in our quest for a more fulfilling, more dynamic life experience. 

The re-filling that we need must begin within our own souls, and it must then necessarily find expression in the relationships that we engage in going forward. Let us make ourselves available to that which is Divine in and among us.

Wake Up!

Your life is yours. It is yours to lose. It is yours to save. It is yours to do something or nothing with. 

Ultimately no one else can occupy that space in eternity that you now inhabit. Accept that… know that this is true. Wake up from the slumber of unconsciousness that befalls so many. Open your eyes and train your senses for the challenges you must face as you become more and more aware of the circumstances that you now call your life. Is it what you want it to be? If not, why not? Be honest.

What are the aspirations that once energized you that have over time gone dormant? Where is the fire in your gut that once danced as a sparkle in your eyes? Like so many before you and around you, that fire may have been doused by the too many swallowed tears of mounting disappointments. Your primordial blaze may have succumbed to the many buckets of cold water poured on by those who seek to thrive by suppressing the aspirations of others. You may have gotten stuck in the mud of a sense of worthlessness cultivated by an overindulgence of your failings. You do not have to continue to wallow in that precarious existential state.

Your Moment Of Awakening comes, and when it does do not slight it as one more occasion of pipe-dreaming. Do not ignore your Epiphany by deferring the need to get up out of the bed of despair. Instead, adjust your position… determine to take up your bed and walk. 

Wake up, and set your face against the place that locks you up and shuts you down. Make up your mind to leave behind you every influence that binds you to a future of hopelessness.

Thursday, December 20, 2018


Around this time of year we celebrate a season of “goodwill toward men”. The general idea here is that we engage with those around us in a way that says we care about all those aspects of our lives together that make us better. It is a time when we pause to celebrate the better angels of our nature. We want to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, and uplift the spirits of our friends and neighbors through gift-giving.

This is a season when we pause to reflect on the foundational ideals of our civil society. The loud voices of religious conservatism among us call us to faith in their version of the Judeo-Christian value system. They call us to put and keep Christ in Christmas; even as they demonstrate either an ignorance of, or a total denial of the prophetic demands that have given life to this tradition throughout its history.

Inextricably bound with the coming of our Savior are the proclamations of the prophets who understood the undeniable relationship between God’s saving grace and the establishment of Justice in our midst. Can we meaningfully talk about Christ and Christmas in the absence of a real commitment to the proclamations of Amos or Isaiah, or any of the prophets for that matter? Have we not heard the admonition of the prophets echoing in Amos’ appeal to “let justice go rolling on like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream…”?

I speak with the prophets when I declare that we must not have our voices co-opted in what has become an orgy of commercial excess this time of year, while we ignore the political and economic culture that furthers the oppression and marginalization of the disadvantaged among us. Businesses and their political benefactors that deny a livable wage to workers can’t cleanse their consciences by the giving of gift baskets at Thanksgiving and Christmas.
In light of the fundamentalism which insists that we must give prominence to the Biblical foundations of our nation’s origins, it becomes imperative that we raise some fundamental questions about those foundations. What, we must ask, are the social ramifications of a belief system that assumes the “fatherhood” of “a common Creator”? Am I my brother’s keeper? Do I have the right to demand that I be treated as a “fellow person”?  

In the tradition of Martin Buber, a prominent twentieth century philosopher, religious thinker, political activist and educator; shall we cultivate amongst ourselves “I-thou” rather than “I-it” relationships? Do we truly believe that all persons are created equal; and are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights? Is the pursuit of happiness a birthright of all persons regardless of race, gender, or nationality?

This Season Of Goodwill is a time when we should take every opportunity to get better … If we are not sure how, we should take every opportunity to find out.

Like Lilies In Spring

There is a bulb buried deep inside us all that longs for the end of the season of dormancy. It contains, and is the symbol of all our ...