Sunday, November 20, 2011


Salvation is a path, not a one time event. It is a path of enlightenment. It is a transformation of our soul to focus on goodness, truth and beauty. It is not an external happening. The responsibility is ours and it is an on going process.
During the course of our lives we develop corrupt habits following those around us. We learn to blame our situations on others and lack understanding of the connectedness of all things, including how our own actions cause calamity in our lives. Focusing on these negative things around us - allowing negative people in our lives - screws our focus away from goodness, truth and beauty. We attract more of the things we focus on - the things we think about - the things we do - both good and bad.
Salvation is the focus on goodness, truth and beauty. It the practice of goodness, truth and beauty in our lives - A practice of service, honesty and revelation of creation.
Most religions and spiritual practices have these elements as part of their teaching. However, many splinter off into additional conditions of faithfulness. And so we war with one another. We separate each other and fear each other. If only all of humankind would accept this path of salvation - humankind would truly be saved.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Utopia??? Just askin'....

One of my favorite books is "Herland", a utopian novel written in the early 1900's by Charlotte Perkins. It's a short, fun story that turns some of our common assumptions on their head and offers a glimpse into what true communal living could be.
Two male explorers hear about an isolated land believed to be inhabited only by women. This most amazing tale captivates them and they plan a risky airplane exploration to this place to learn for themselves. They find the land and discover the tales are true. And they become stranded, taken in by these women in a very foreign country.
They learn that 1000 years before, the men of the country had all gone off to war. Some sort of disaster had cut off natural access to their land and the men never returned. Suspend disbelief a moment. Apparently there were no boys left. Quite amusing is how the society thrived, without men, for 1000 years. Procreation???? Well, it happened miraculously. Suddenly one special woman became pregnant - with a girl, of course. And her offspring were able to spontaneously procreate.
Through the eyes of one of the explorers, we learn about their entire society. They carefully groomed the land and planned for future generations. They worked together to solve all sorts of problems and shared many duties. They cared for children in a communal life. The explorer described a utopian society without greed, without need, free of violence and full of great joy.
Of course, the explorers, once they learned the language, shared information about the society from which they came. When the explorers explained Christianity, the women were quite confused. The thing that confused them most was the idea that in several thousand years, nothing had been added to the book of understanding about Christianity. This one important guidebook stood still and could not be added to or revised or better explained. Their book of understanding had been added to, edited and revised continuously throughout the years as they learned better ways. If this was the most important book of their society, how could it be that no more was learned in 2000 years?
Of course, much has been written in many of our religious communities around the world. Teaching in all religions has continued and been revised in many ways. But the questions Herland raised in my mind are: Why don't we have a better understanding of the human condition? Why have we not been able to follow a guidebook that actually works to create a better society?
Just askin'.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Ticket to Heaven

I ask a lot questions in my head and hesitate to ask them out loud.
Things like - If Jesus died for our sins, then what is our responsibility?
It seems like a rather mixed up thing to me. No matter what you have done in your life, if you "pray that little prayer" letting Jesus take responsibility, you have the ticket to heaven. And once you have prayed that prayer, the ticket holds. It's like a "get out of jail free" or get out of Hell free card. From that point on, claim the "sinner" role and that Jesus saved you and the responsibility is not really yours. It's all the pre-birth condition.
On the other hand, no matter how you live your life or what you believe, if you have not said that little prayer, Hell is it for you. If you take full responsibility for your life and your actions, NO ticket. That thinking says someone like Ghandi is not in heaven. And many like him who served to better the world around them, in the manner Jesus taught, cannot go to heaven if the salvation teachings is correct. But someone doing great harm in the world who, at some time in their life, prayed the right prayer, is going to heaven.
How is that different from our young people thinking they don't have to pay their bills - their parents should? Or I just show up for work and my employer needs to pay me no matter what I actually contribute?
I believe Jesus' life was more about showing us how to live and that was the salvation. This is the salvation of mankind: Heal the sick. Feed the poor. Love one another. Shed your need for material wealth. I believe Jesus was saying "walk like me" - "this is your salvation" - "no other path will work".
As humans, we are always looking for that quick fix - the easy pill - the solution that requires the least effort. Let someone else pay our bill. I really doubt that is a new human condition. My guess is that people have been looking for shortcuts for a very long time. And, I'm sorry, but the whole "salvation" focus feels like a shortcut to me.
I believe "Heaven" is where people treat one another right - a place of pure joy. I need to learn that before I can be in heaven. I have no idea what happens between here and there. No one from heaven has spoken to me to tell me how they got there. And there isn't any documentation I have seen of anyone who was actually in heaven to give a first hand account of how they got there.
I truly believe there is something more - a heaven - but the path to get there must include some sort of accountability - some sort of growth - some sort of careful filtering.
Or maybe if you pray the right prayer, you get into the Heaven training program. Maybe the whole salvation thing is about buying a ticket there. I really don't know.
All I know is that salvation or no salvation, I want to be trying to do the best I can right now. I am much more interested in how Jesus lived and what he taught than any thing else. I'm much more interested in how people like Jesus lived and what they taught. What can we be doing today? What is our responsibility to humankind today? There are no shortcuts here or to get to heaven. Our ticket is learning to live the heavenly way today.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Planting Seeds.

Seeds can grow. Of course, they don't always grow. And they will sometimes grow in the most unlikely places. If you have spent any time in the woods, you surely have marveled at the tree growing from what appears to be pure rock. But, a thousand seeds bounced off that rock and didn't grow. At the end of that Rock tree's life, what will remain. Most likely nothing.
If we want to really plant seeds that grow, we go to fertile ground not among Rocks.
It's not about one harvest or one tree making it - it's about generations of harvest - generations of seeds growing and re-plenishing. At the end of my season, I want to have hope that the seeds I planted create multiple harvests. I'm looking for fertile ground to plant those seeds.
Throw thousands of seeds in the Rocks - maybe - maybe - one grows. When it is done - it is done. It will have split the very foundation on which it grew. The only thing it has to show for its life is destruction.
Plant those same seeds in fertile ground and hundreds of seeds grow. And those hundred seeds grow a hundred more. That is where my energy is going - I'm seeking fertile ground! It's not about me - it's about how far and how long the seeds continue to grow.