Tag Archives: religion

God was with them with no fires with the fireworks

It is the 4th of July…another day to celebrate our independence. Our freedom. Our desire to do as we please and let everyone else be damned. A day to assert once again that we know what we are doing and we’ll do it regardless of the consequences…so help us God!

Our village has a parade every year. It only lasts about ten minutes but it’s good clean fun. The boy scouts lead with the American flag. The fire trucks roll, the mayor sits in the back of a convertible wearing an oversized Uncle Sam hat. The citizens on patrol volunteers wear their uniforms and drive by in cars with the magnetic COP signs attached to their doors. Then there is an assortment of kids on bikes, kids in wagons, senior citizens on bikes, and, if we are lucky, the county sheriff’s mounted patrol…this is Texas after all. This is the first year where somebody actually thought about the gifts that horses often bring and decided to make the patrol the last entry in the parade instead of the first. It saves those that follow from breaking ranks and weaving around the piles looking like they started the celebrating a little early.

This day is the one day there is a possibility to actually talk to some of the neighbors. We all gather on the street to watch the parade go by. I wish I hadn’t had that opportunity today. It makes it a challenge for me to befriend this one family.

I asked the mother if they were going to watch the fireworks tonight. “Oh, we already had our fireworks. We have friends down in Joshua who have a house out in the country. We always go down there and set off a whole bunch for our kids.”

If you live outside the city limits in unincorporated areas there is no one to stop you. Now before you think what’s wrong with that…almost the entire state of Texas is under a burn ban. Except for a handful of East Texas counties, the whole of Texas is one big haystack waiting for that one match to set off unstoppable conflagration. We’ve already proved that to the west of us around Possum Kingdom.

She went on to explain that they had garden hoses to put out any fires and said the boys stomped out several of them before she even realized there were any lit. She sounded so proud that her boys knew how to handle fires.

What makes me upset is that the father of this crew is a very rigid Literalist Religion professor. He has home schooled his children and made certain they live to follow the rules of God more often found in the Old Testament with its rules and regulations with sinners and hell than in the New Testament love one another variety. He honestly believes that the world would be a much better place if everyone believed and acted just the way he does.

So what does he do? He defies the burn ban and actually teaches his children by example that following the letter of the law in the Bible does not include using common sense and following the laws of man.

Had the wind been blowing one or two miles per hour heavier last night, or had one of the rockets landed just outside the radius of the garden hoses there would have been much different results.

But then they knew God would take care of them. He always does. Namaste. Attic Annie

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I am not a Christian

I am going to have my roof replaced starting Wednesday due to hail damage. For whatever reason, I have found talking with the sales rep for the roofing company to be a very enjoyable experience. How I ever thought I could or even should start talking to him about my religious beliefs totally astounds me. He was a complete stranger until last week and I have only seen him a total of three or four times. But I have been close to his last call of the day and he is beginning to unwind so he takes a little more time just to chat.

A couple of days ago he was here to measure my roof line. When he finished that, I just started chatting with him on non-business related topics like we had briefly done a couple of other times. Part of me says he’s just being a good salesman but another part says he just likes to talk. He and his wife parted ways in December and I think he gets a little lonely.

Anyway, how it came about I’ll never know but I started talking with him about my church and my beliefs. I don’t usually even share those topics with life long friends.  It was crazy! I told him about growing up in a very conservative Lutheran church. When I was old enough, I learned I was a LUTHERAN. I referred to myself as a Lutheran and connected all of my religious beliefs with that name. We did not refer to ourselves as Christians. My close friend was CATHOLIC but my father didn’t forbid me totally from associating with her. It just wasn’t encouraged. She wasn’t referred to as a Christian either.

When I began dating my first fiance, I went with him to his church and became a Disciple of Christ. I married in that church. (Not to him) I was a Disciple. We moved to Connecticut for one year and back to Illinois for the next year and we were Congregationalists. After trying to find a fit in Texas, we settled in to attending the Cumberland-Presbyterian church. After the divorce I no longer felt welcome in the couples oriented small CP church so I tried the Methodists. The large church downtown had a huge singles group so I tried that. I immediately sensed I was in a meat market. There were too many women dominating the activities who were prime rib or T bone for me to be comfortable. I have felt my entire life that I’m more the equivalent of hamburger…still hot and juicy but not prime category.

I decided to go to the Methodist church close to my home. I attended church there but was not involved in any activities. After almost two years, I decided to join the Bible study group before church. I was at the same time dating a guy named Jim. The class was made up of people my age and I was welcomed since I brought Jim with me to the activities. It only took a little while for me to realize this was a COUPLES Bible study. When Jim and I broke up, I sensed from the other women that I was no longer as welcomed, especially if I chatted with any of the other men, the HUSBANDS. I was there long enough for my son to be confirmed. Other political things were happening in the church with which I couldn’t agree, and, at the same time, I was getting more and more unwell so I soon stopped going to church altogether. I was no longer a Methodist.

I became unchurched for twenty years. It was during that time that I realized there was a definite change in the climate and many more people were calling themselves Christians as opposed to the names of the founders of the churches they attended.  There were now Christians everywhere. As I said earlier, when I talked about religion with people I would say I believed I was now very spiritual but did not consider myself religious.

Back to the present and my chat. This guy opened up about this theologian who lives not too far away who professes to anyone who will listen that he is a Christian and a SOUTHERN BAPTIST. I happen to know this gentleman although our paths have crossed only a few times. The roofer was sharing that this man USED him to meet with the insurance adjustor and for all the preliminary paper work and then the following day there was the sign of another roofer in his yard. That reminded me of the Christian contractor who did a miserable construction job in two of my rooms. I had hired him at that time because he was a Christian and I trusted him. I paid him before I discovered all the half-a&^ errors he made. He never did come back to correct the work.

It was then that I blurted out that I did not consider myself a Christian. He got a very startled look on his face. “I wouldn’t be able to say THAT,” he said. I explained that the older I got, the more dismayed I was with the people attending the churches I did and the protestors of several different causes who hold rallies in the name of Jesus to spew their hatred and condemnation. All of these people wear Tee shirts and wave banners, and bracelets and crosses and rings professing what good Christians they are.

My faith in the ONE GOD is as strong as it will ever be.That does not mean I do not believe in Christ. My faith in him has matured and gotten stronger in the past six years than at any other time in my life. I totally believe in following his teachings, but I have found myself feeling uncomfortable around the loudly proclaiming Christians whose actions I observe speak to me in volumes much louder than their words. I guess it would be the Christian thing to do to accept them and love them completely anyway. I’m still working on that.

My cousin was a devoted Joyce Meyer fan. I like to listen to Joyce occasionally as well. She really resonated with me when she said the following:

Sitting in church every Sunday does not make you a Christian any more than sitting in a garage makes you a car

I really am a Christian. I am just not religious.  I just can’t call myself that if it means being like so many of the others who have come crawling out of the woodwork.  Namaste. Attic Annie

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Should We Be Rejoicing the Death of Bin Laden?

There is no shortage of blogs, newspaper articles, radio or television programming about Osama Bin Laden today. I am certain my one little blog will be totally ignored but I feel compelled to write about him anyway.

I was slightly turned off with all the shouts of joy, the dancing, and the flag wearing of people all over the United States and probably much of the world. People gathered and showed their ecstasy at the news that Bin Ladin was dead.

It bothered me that I could not muster the same joyful response as so many people were showing. It reminded me of the frenzy which occurs with the playing of the Super Bowl. I was troubled by thinking maybe there is something wrong with me when his death has made so many people happy. Why can’t I feel happy too?

Before leaving my house this morning, I checked the messages on Facebook and discovered ONE message from a former student of mine who echoed my sentiments. I really felt a connection to her.

This is what she posted this morning:

The only death in this world I am comfortable celebrating is the death of Jesus; while I support my country &, especially our troops, it’s still tragic that it ever had to come to the point that Americans would so gleefully celebrate the death of another human being.

Upon reading that, I responded, “Well put. I do not sense any joy in my heart over this. I fear Bin Ladin’s work is not over. Revenge and vengeance are double edged swords”.

When I got home and logged on, she had added a Bible verse. Maybe I’m not so wrong in not feeling any sense of jubilation.

Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when he stumbles, do not let your heart rejoice” Proverbs 24:17

She is quite the Biblical scholar. I would never have been able to find a quote from the Bible but she had memorized much more than I will ever take the time to do.

One song in the Wizard of Oz that has troubled me since I first saw the movie on TV many years ago was the one sung by the Munchkins, “Ding dong the witch is dead.” Is the celebrating of the death of someone what we should be teaching our children? Even though the story is fiction, the lesson that children learn from that is not one I would prefer they learn.

However, in doing some research before I started to write this, I discovered that our pleasure at seeing someone else punished may be hard wired into our brains. I had difficulty in believing what I was reading in the article called “Revenge is Sweet.” There is a German word, “schadenfreude” which is the pleasure felt over someone else’s misfortune. This is the second time this month I have run into that word. I do not understand how people can find it pleasurable or funny seeing someone else get hurt. (America’s Funniest Home Videos comes to mind.) The article actually states that “Fehr and his colleagues suggest that the feeling of satisfaction people get from meting out altruistic punishment may be the glue that keeps societies together”. I guess that means the more we find pleasure in punishment, the tighter our society will be.  I cannot wrap my mind around the phrase “altruistic” punishment, since altruistic means unselfish concern for the welfare of others; selflessness.

There is also the English proverb quote ,“Vengeance is a dish best eaten cold” According to a Wikipedia article, the proverb suggests that revenge is more satisfying as a considered response enacted when unexpected, or long feared, inverting the more traditional revulsion toward ‘cold-blooded’ violence. In early literature it is used, usually, to persuade another to forestall vengeance until wisdom can reassert itself. This sense is lost in recent presentations.

I was always brought up thinking it was not right to seek revenge. Vengeance was not supposed to be taken in our own hands. Some people interviewed today expressed concern that Bin Ladin’s followers will try to seek revenge for his death. To revenge the revenge that we felt. Enter karma and the never ending cycle of retaliation. That was my first thought also, a feeling of “Uh oh. Here we go.”

Because I always seem to have to know the verses which come before and after those that are quoted, I googled Proverbs 24:18. or the LORD will see and disapprove and turn his wrath away from him.  The parallel commentary then added, “The meaning is “Thy joy will be suicidal, the wrath of the righteous Judge will be turned upon thee, as the greater offender, and thou wilt have to bear a worse evil than that which thou exultest in.”

I fear we may be entering into the second phase of the conflict with Bin Ladin and his followers. I never fully understood the motive of Bin Ladin when he attacked. It seems it was because the USA and Israel are allies.

 In 1998 Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, (a leader of Egyptian Islamic Jihad), co-signed a fatwa (binding religious edict) in the name of the World Islamic Front for Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders, declaring:

[t]he ruling to kill the Americans and their allies civilians and military – is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country in which it is possible to do it, in order to liberate the al-Aqsa Mosque (in Jerusalem) and the holy mosque (in Makka) from their grip, and in order for their armies to move out of all the lands of Islam, defeated and unable to threaten any Muslim. This is in accordance with the words of Almighty Allah, ‘and fight the pagans all together as they fight you all together,’ and ‘fight them until there is no more tumult or oppression, and there prevail justice and faith in Allah’.[37][38] 

It also seems to be because Manhattan has a very large Jewish population and is also our nation’s financial center. He wanted to hurt the USA as much as possible because he hated this country.

As a result, today he is dead. But is it over? I honestly don’t believe so. The Golden Rule is nowhere in this picture. I am uneasy about the future. I pray my thoughts are without merit and this will be the end.

Namaste. Attic Annie

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Pregnancy and Cancer…Impossible choices my mother made

I can only imagine the thoughts my mother had while she was pregnant with me. My family was very close mouthed about her even with me, and I was only able to glean bits and pieces of history about her or her life. We are talking about the late 40s when, if you talked at all about cancer it was in a whisper “Shhhh don’t tell anyone, she has cancer!”

From the way the story goes, she, for whatever reason after my sister was born, was told she would probably never have any more children. My sister was an only child from 1940 to 1945. At that time my mother realized that once again she was pregnant. I was on the way. She was 39. Two months after my birth, she was 40.

There was a problem. Somewhere along the line, she discovered a lump in her breast. She was pregnant. She had a lump. This was 1946. According to today’s rates, a woman in her 30’s has a 1 in 229 chance of developing breast cancer during the next ten years. Have the rates increased in sixty years? That’s a 0.4% chance if my figures are right. It happened to her.

There was very little she could do.  Maybe she could have a  radical mastectomy using ether as an anesthetic. I have been unable to find information on the effects of ether on a pregnant woman or her baby, but the effects on any patient were sometimes not good either. I don’t know what the medical establishment would have done for her then. Would they have refused until I was delivered? Would they have taken the chance?  Could she have had an abortion to save her own life? I don’t know. Abortion was illegal. I don’t know if there were exceptions to the law in 1946 or not.

I wish there were a way to go back in time to be there when she was going through all this. There isn’t.

She delivered me and had her operation. From what I understand, I was kept by my mother’s sister next door while she recovered. Some time during that first year I returned to my mother’s care. She was well enough to ride in the car with me, my sister, my cousin, two aunts, and my father all the way to California and back when my aunt returned home after nursing her through the operation and recovery.

Some time before I was two,  I have been told that she bent over to pick me up and had a horrific pain in her back. The cancer had spread to her bones. She lived another two years or so, dying in April two months before my fourth birthday. She was forty two.

To discover that one is pregnant is, in general, a very happy experience for many married women or unmarried women who intentionally get pregnant. I like to think that my mother very much wanted me to exist once she found out I was on the way. It is very difficult for me to comprehend her decisions sixty years ago. When she discovered the lump, from what I understand, she put off going to the doctor. When she did finally go, the doctor assured her that there was nothing to worry about. Did she agree with him? I’ll never know. Did she want to know anything different? I’ll never know. I do know that the same aunt came back once again to Illinois and took care of her those last two years.

I only had one opportunity to ask my aunt questions sometime in my early 30s. When she talked about Dr. Malcom, who was my mother’s doctor, she still blamed him for her beloved sister’s death. She said very little, but even after thirty years, I still remember the hate of that man in her voice and the pain she was feeling even talking about my mother. She never realized, and I didn’t say, that I was interpreting her reaction as having preferred my mother to live rather than me.

Being pregnant and having cancer at the same time must be a special kind of hell on earth. The questions that a woman has to face are monumental. Should I continue with the pregnancy? Should I have an abortion? Should I have chemo while I’m pregnant? Should I wait? Is it known yet what future effects the chemo might have on my child or on me? Will I live long enough for this chid to remember me as her mother? Will my husband love this child or will he resent it for all her life for his losing his wife? What effect will losing me have on my baby?

I have a cousin who survived breast cancer about four years ago. I’m not sure exactly what year it was since I deliberately avoid thinking of the year when I hear news like that. I never say anything like, “Oh, it’s 2007. My cousin was diagnosed with cancer this year.” I think when I was in her home last year she said something about having survived three years with no sign of its return. She was looking forward to the fifth year. I think if a woman survives that long, the likelihood of the cancer returning is very small.

Her breast cancer still has not returned. Instead, she now has an aggressive form of leukemia. In some women, the chemo and radiation received to stop the breast cancer are responsible. She had the option of checking herself into the hospital and undergoing very aggressive chemo. It’s spring. She was told she would not be able to eat fresh fruits and vegetables. She would not be able to be around any living plants. She would be in isolation.

She checked herself back out of the hospital the next day. She said no. She wanted to finish the rest of her life surrounded by her family. It’s springtime. She wants to be around the flowers she loves and to watch all the birds in her back yard. She didn’t like the odds of a successful survival being only 40 % or the possibility of the leukemia not returning of only 15%.

It is not for anyone else to question any mother who is pregnant and has cancer. The current legislature is trying to pass laws prohibiting abortion once again even if it means the life of the mother. It is impossible to choose. No other human being should criticize any woman’s choice in a matter such as this. No other human being has the right to tell the woman what to do. She can only listen to her inner voice and make the best choice she thinks is available. Namaste. Attic Annie

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If you are a “C E C er”, I hope you were welcomed

Today was a day for “C E C ers”. I first heard that phrase the year we lived one year in northern Illinois. That was a time when my ex was still going to church with me. It was Easter Sunday.

The church we had elected to attend held a pancake breakfast after the early service. We sat there with our six month old baby. We had only been attending the church since we had moved to town, two weeks before our son was born. An elder came to our table and sat down. He had been busy setting up folding chairs in preparation for the second service. He was tired…and grouchy.

He started complaining about the C E C ers and the extra work they caused. I stared blankly at my husband. I was wondering what in the world he could have been meaning.

Finally, curiosity got the best of me and I couldn’t resist asking this stranger what he meant. He kind of growled “Christmas and Easter Christians”. I giggled a little to myself and then became very puzzled. He certainly had a disdain for these people who show up twice a year and provide extra work for him and the other elders setting about to accommodate them.

I thought about the C E C ers when I attended the church service today. It was the third service of the day and the sanctuary was packed. I don’t know how many attended the 7:00 and 9:30 service. I’m sure for the day the total attendance at least doubled if not close to tripled. There are Sundays when I’ve sat in the sanctuary and the number of empty spaces has been far larger than the number of occupants.

Fortunately our sanctuary is larger than our congregation. With three services, the house may have been crowded, but there was no reason to set up additional chairs.

I attend church fairly regularly now, but I know there are people who consider themselves members who very seldom ever darken the door of the sanctuary. I am also certain that churches all over the world have the same situation. Many people are satisfied with showing up twice a year. Some do it out of a sense of obligation and guilt. Others do it because they figure there’s a good chance to catch up with old friends.

The attitude of that elder in Illinois continues to puzzle me. Even if members only show up twice a year, shouldn’t they be welcomed with the same friendship that we, the ones who are there most of the time, extend to each other on a weekly basis? Why, as “Christians” , grumble that they are there? Why should we feel burdened by extra work?

There was a period of twenty years of my life that I declared myself unchurched. I didn’t even show up twice a year. It was a time when I didn’t feel I’d find the answers to questions I’ve had most of my life. It was a time when I felt hypocrisy from others in the church much more strongly than acceptance.

Now that I have been back for five years, there are still Sunday mornings when I feel a struggle over whether I really wish to go or not. Some days church wins, sometimes the Sunday newspaper and bed wins.

I’m finally getting more answers to my life long quest for understanding, but it has not been easy. I feel the need to go more strongly most the time than I feel to stay home. I identify with the C E C ers, however. It’s not easy to be committed to going to church on a regular basis. There are weeks now when I often ask myself how committed I actually am. Some people only feel the pull twice a year.

But that doesn’t give the leaders of the church the right to grumble. These people should be welcomed and invited in. One does not make friends with thorns. It is much better to offer a rose. If congregations truly wish to offer Christian love, they should do it every week to everyone. So if you are a C E C er, I hope you felt welcome today and did not happen to meet the grinch who steals Christmas…or Easter. Namaste. Attic Annie

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Beware the man with only one book

I finally visted the blog site of one of my occasional commenters Tuesday. It’s an unusual site. He calls his site The Other Gardener but then writes as The Underground Lady. He is currently on page 40. I don’t have a clue as to how to get back to page 1. His thoughts are short paragraphs and eclectic. His background is black and his writing is white making it a little difficult for me to read. It is soon obvious that he is highly intellectual and well-eduated.

The reason I am mentioning this is that he has the following phrase at the top of his page. Cave ab homine unius libri. It is Latin meaning beware of the man with only one book. I had to google it to get the full meaning. My high school Latin failed me. I couldn’t put it all together. I got man one book.

My thoughts immediately turned to those of religious extremism who believe only one book has all the answers. As far back as I can remember, as a very young child, I was haunted with questions about why only Christians could get into heaven. I wondered about all those in the world who had never heard of Jesus the Christ. I wondered about all the babies who never had a chance to learn.

Instead of being comforted by the thought that as a Christian I didn’t have to worry about where I would end up for eternity, I was discomforted about the thoughts of the trillions of other souls who wouldn’t be up there. My religious upbringing caused me to have more questions than perceived answers.

My religious life was one of traveling from one Christian church to another and another during my 20s and 30s. None of them gave me satisfactory answers. For about twenty-four years I became unchurched. Since I live at ground zero within the Southern Baptist world, I’m certain many of my co-workers and neighbors considered me close to being a heathen. It was not that I was a non-believer, it’s just that I could not begin to find any answers among those who considered themselves religious.

I became exceptionally leery of those who deemed themselves ministers, who held the Holy Bible in one hand and thumped the air or the pulpit with the other proclaiming that this (referring to the book being held) was the ONLY answer. Believe in this [the book] or find yourself in hell. Now that was comforting.

Devout extremist Jews believe that of the Torah, Muslims, of the Qur`an. I am not familiar with extreme Buddhists or Hindus, but perhaps theirs is the same story.

I have come to a belief that has been forming most of my life, that there is more than one path to God. I have found a like-minded community in which to pursue that belief. My belief in God is stronger than it has ever been in my life. What has been so enlightening to me and  a puzzlement as to why it hasn’t been to others, is many of the great spiritual teachings have so many core thoughts that are exactly the same. In many ways, they mirror each other.

I cannot understand why those with extreme views cannot or will not sit down with those of other faiths and explore their commonalities and form bridges with those ideas rather than to exclaim their differences and build even wider moats to surround their own island worlds of the ONLY answer.

The lives of Jesus and Buddha who preceded Jesus by 500 years, are remarkably similiar. The things they  both said are almost identical.

http://www.heartlandsangha.org/parallel-sayings.html

http://tomstine.com/jesus-and-buddha-parallel-sayings/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parallels_between_Buddha_and_Jesus

http://www.eclectica.org/v2n3/gaborro.html

http://www.eclectica.org/v2n3/gaborro.html

These sites are only those on the first page when I googled Jesus and Buddha.

Many such comparisions can be made of the thoughts of the Holy Bible and the Qur’an. They both share, along with the Torah, the same stories of father Abraham, Adam and Eve, etc. The Qu’ran mentions Jesus in several places.

With so much being similiar, when or even will the human beings who populate this earth begin to realize we have so much in common? Are we doomed to use religion and our religious books to bang each over the head for eternity, each screaming louder than the other that “Our way is the ONLY way?”

One of the most difficult passages for me to understand as a teenager at Bible camp was 1 Corinthians 13:12 KJV. That was the only version we were supposed to read.

“For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” I couldn’t get my thoughts wrapped around seeing through a glass darkly. The minister conducting the Bible study was not much help when I questioned him. I soon got the idea I was just supposed to saw off the top of my head and let him pour the lesson in then close my mind again. In this verse,  Paul tries to express the imperfection of mortal understanding. Perhaps we don’t understand because we have only parts and not the whole. Isn’t it time to start putting everything together? To see into [not through] the mirror [glass] fully and completely our reflection in the way that we reflect God? To stop seeing dimly [darkly] but in the bright light of clear day?

Terrorists and extemists are the same regardless of which religion they proclaim. I firmly believe that you cannot “save” someone by beating him or her over the head. You take the child’s hand, and gently lead by example the way that should be gone, and you can take any or all paths to get there, wherever that path may lead. But beware of the man with only one book. Following in those footsteps is like watching a movie with one eye covered and only a slit in the cover of the other eye. It is impossible to see the whole grand picture. Perhaps each different religion has only one chapter. I believe it is time to combine all those chapters into one big book, editing it out so each story is only repeated one time. Perhaps then when we read it without blinders and eye patches, we will be able to at last see the big picture.

Namaste. Attic Annie

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A call to action from Andrew Harvey

I guess I am getting a little lax about posting on time. I try to write my blogs the day before so they will be posted at 6 am central USA time. I’m starting to slip a little.

Once again for the second Sunday in a row I have actually contemplated staying in bed and not going to church. Once again, I got up, showered, and dressed and made it only a few minutes late. I was not the last one to class.

We are discussing a book published in 1998 by Joseph Jaworksi called Synchronicity The Inner Path of Leadership. When we started reading it, I judged it prematurely as not having much meat in it. However, it seems the thoughts in it are bringing up all kinds of comments from the class members. The chapters are very short and written in a much more conversational than textbook form. We seem to be taking only one chapter at a time due to all the sharing.

The chapter we discussed today was 8. The Dream.  Something in the first paragraph caught my attention. The author was talking about having “experiences involving the loss of boundaries where my sense of identity expanded to include God and the entire universe.”

I identified with that. As a child, I always felt so many boundaries and walls keeping me away, especially from God. God was some old man UP in heaven while I was a little child DOWN here on earth with a boundary between that could never be breached. Since I have begun questioning my beliefs and expanding my ideas of ONE God within us, The boundaries are disappearing. I am still taking baby steps in that regard but I am still going forward. This idea of loss of boundaries “is central to every major religion, including Judaism, Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Taoism.”

Having come from a background of a much more restricted thinking, at first this idea was very difficult to comprehend. Although there were several ideas discussed in this chapter the one that resonated the most with me was “the physical survival of the human race depends on a radical change of the human heart. This is a call to service that will take great courage–to leave what we have and move out, not without fear, but without succumbing to that fear. It is a call to redefine what is possible, to see a vision of a new world and to be willing to undertake, step-by-step, what is necessary in concrete terms to achieve that vision.

It was my Sunday to usher so, in spite of a headache, I headed for the sanctuary. I think my head must have been twisted in my sleep last night so my neck was stiff. I was soon to be blessed to hear an truly amazing person. Our church brings in about four speakers a year. Today it was Andrew Harvey.  I had never heard of him, but that was not unusual. There are more people “out there” whom I have not encountered than that I have. He spoke on the topic “Passion in Action, Sacred Practices for a Dangerous World”. He is the founder of the Institute for Sacred Activism operating out of Chicago. However, if you look at this man’s schedule, he is traveling all over the world with his message of the urgency to become active in changing the world.

What he said sounded very familiar. I have spoken about some of the issues in my blogs myself. He said the US is in a protective dome. The citizens are only receiving the media messages that the big corporations wish us to learn about. He claims we are really quite ignorant about what is going on in the rest of the world. Please do visit his website and learn more about him. He is really quite impressive as far as the people he has met and learned from, and the extent to which he is willing to travel to get his word out. He was extremely passionate in his presentation. The attention of every person in the sanctuary was riveted upon him for the entire talk.According to our church bulletin, “Andrew  Harvey believes that everyone has a direct connection to the divine and that finding this direct connection is the clue to the kind of radical self empowerment that can help you become a passionate, peaceful and brave sacred activist.

He certainly got my attention today and reinforced my strength of resolution to do the volunteer work that I envision. What better way is there to change the world than to help young, terrified, lonely women to give birth with peace and joy in their hearts instead. Just think of the difference in hormones that would be reaching those newborn babies and their calm, accepting mothers. Namaste. Attic Annie

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