Archive for the ‘God’ Category

A Return to Rosa Parks? Women in Israel must also fight for their place on the bus

Monday, December 19th, 2011

A Return to Rosa Parks? Women in Israel must also fight for their place on the bus.
 
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently commented that the status of Israel as a democracy is in danger, due mostly to its increasingly worrisome treatment of women. (more…)

Awakening

Monday, September 20th, 2010

Awakening,

the hours have lost their sense. (more…)

Life Created By The Hands of Man vs. GOD. Is there a difference?

Friday, January 23rd, 2009

I have been giving this question some thought ever since my daughter shared with me an article describing the work of researchers at the Scripps Research Institute who created molecules that self-replicate, evolve and compete to win or loose.” (more…)

Sharing of Blessings

Friday, March 21st, 2008

So, guess what?

I have been blessed.

I am (in part) a litigation attorney.

Today, I need to work, despite my preference to go out and place bread and apples among the trees, my offering to nature on Good Friday.

So be it, I will find time later.

In the midst of working, I need a favor, some documents e-mailed. The other attorney has her assistant respond. She responds professionally and quickly on this day that many offices and the Courts are closed.

She signed her e-mail, the salutation, “Peace & Blessings”.

Oh yes, God spoke to me today.

How exciting to see such a sign off in the litigation world.

I responded of course: Namaste.

I have been blessed today and I offer it up to all of you, we can crawl from beneath the rocks and send peace and blessings in our everyday and our otherwise work/professional communities.

I said to my husband the above.

He said, and what would you have done if she said: Praise be to Allah?

I said: God has many names.

He reminded me of a conversation he had with a taxi driver, sometime ago, when he was discussing faith and religion and said:

“God is good in every language”.

Now you must know, this morning in my head, in between the spaces of law, I have been writing a piece (in my head) on the Divine and foreign languages.

Synchronicity?

Blessings in Abundance!

God responds to Senator Chambers’ suit

Friday, September 21st, 2007

Well, it does appear a response has been filed to Senator Chambers’ lawsuit as against God.  As you read the article below, pay attention to the photograph and ask whether the fan featured behind Senator Chambers’ head is in fact a halo….

CNN reports:

“‘God’ responds to legislator’s lawsuit

LINCOLN, Nebraska (AP) — A legislator who filed a lawsuit against God has gotten something he might not have expected: a response.

art.chambers.ap.jpg

State Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha said he sued God last week to make a point about frivolous lawsuits.

One of two court filings from “God” came Wednesday under otherworldly circumstances, according to John Friend, clerk of the Douglas County District Court in Omaha.

“This one miraculously appeared on the counter. It just all of a sudden was here — poof!” Friend said.

State Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha sued God last week, seeking a permanent injunction against the Almighty for making terroristic threats, inspiring fear and causing “widespread death, destruction and terrorization of millions upon millions of the Earth’s inhabitants.”

Chambers, a self-proclaimed agnostic who often criticizes Christians, said his filing was triggered by a federal lawsuit he considers frivolous. He said he’s trying to make the point that anybody can sue anybody.

Not so, says “God.” His response argues that the defendant is immune from some earthly laws and the court lacks jurisdiction.

It adds that blaming God for human oppression and suffering misses an important point.

“I created man and woman with free will and next to the promise of immortal life, free will is my greatest gift to you,” according to the response, as read by Friend.

There was no contact information on the filing, although St. Michael the Archangel is listed as a witness, Friend said.

A second response from “God” disputing Chambers’ allegations lists a phone number for a Corpus Christi law office. A message left for that office was not immediately returned Thursday.

Attempts to reach Chambers by phone and at his Capitol office Thursday were unsuccessful.

Exuberance

Wednesday, September 19th, 2007

Exuberance.

How many times in our life are we within these moments?

Sheer joy?

Glee?

Unfounded, unlimited happiness? Moments within which we feel neither the finality of morality, nor the limit of our beginnings?

I read today, or was it yesterday, on The Naked Soul: To Whose Beat Are You Marching To…, about stripping ourselves bare of the expectations of others that we carry, the expectations that have become our own.

I see a lost girl in a train station, too many bags too carry alone, no idea as to what is packed within them, but all stamped “necessary”.

Now I wish I could give you the visual of this, that I had the acumen of some of my fellow bloggers to insert the proper pictures within the proper space of the words, and someday I will, but for now, believe, that there is a space between the words where only visuals can be captured and then there is yet a larger space, although often undetectable, where only the emotion without words or pictures exists. In that space, only faith of heart exists.

surfaceearth-128.jpgfirst-female-india-president.jpgsecnn.jpgSkyline 2007p1010053.jpg

State Senator Ernie Chambers Sues God

Tuesday, September 18th, 2007

KETV.com (Channel 7, Omaha, Nebraska) reports:  “State Senator Ernie Chambers Sues God“.

The article, in part, reports the following:

Chambers lawsuit, which was filed on Friday in Douglas County Court, seeks a permanent injunction ordering God to cease certain harmful activities and the making of terroristic threats.

The lawsuit admits God goes by all sorts of alias, names, titles and designations and it also recognizes the fact that the defendant is ‘Omnipresent’. In the lawsuit Chambers says he’s tried to contact God numerous times, ‘Plaintiff, despite reasonable efforts to effectuate personal service upon Defendant (“Come out, come out, wherever you are”) has been unable to do so.'”

Plaintiff Chambers seeks to permanently enjoin God from creating disasters here on Earth.

This is definitely a case worth following.

 

To write or not to write

Sunday, September 16th, 2007

Don’t we ask ourselves this?

Even those of us that embrace stream of consciousness writing?

Yes, stream of consciousness writing can mean different things to many people, but I’m not sure I ever knew that until this moment.

I never took the time to think that stream of consciousness, as pure as I believed it to be, save correcting typographical errors, was in fact subject to many filters.

You may have filters that I don’t that edit less or more.

Does that make your writing any less pure?

I have spent much time the last few months, but more so, the last few days, enveloped in silence within sound.

Silence within sound? What kind of message is that?

Silence within sound, in this moment, to me, means, not feeling the need to infuse the moment with words.

I became lost within a group of people these last few days.

Simple communication gone awry, left on a corner in a remote town, I began to walk. But you see, I was not “left” by these people around me, we just used our words differently, yes, the same string of words. They watched me walk to a store, and when asking if I wanted a ride, I said, no, I like to walk. So when I came out and could not see them, I walked, assuming they thought my words, I like to walk, meant I would walk…and walk…all the way back to the hotel.

So I did, I walked.

They found me, a block from the hotel, flabbergasted and worried, thinking they had lost me.

I reflect now on that walk, how some blocks looked longer than others, but how as I walked, there was nothing pressing on me, you see, my Blackberry had an unfortunate encounter with a toddler and a garden hose weeks ago, and I still have not replaced it. Unheard of in my day to day profession, but, I wanted it to happen, I think now, I willed that garden hose to to hit my Blackberry.

I am now listening to Pandora, having searched for Diana Krall, and I did indeed get one selection, but what came next?

“Somewhere Over the Rainbow”.

I am still the child that walks alone, singing to the clouds and clicking my heels, as I told RubyShooz moments ago….serendipity? or mere chance?

Somewhere over the rainbow, way up high,

there’s a land that I heard of….

Well, on this walk, the walk of the lost, I heard this song, and I heard God, and I said, ok, so this is what it is to be connected to the eternal, to be without worry, this is it, isn’t it?

Now any one else seeing it, may have seen a mad woman dressed in black with bottles of wine in brown bags wondering what had gone wrong in the world.

Yet, the crazy thing is…everything had gone right.

I was where I was.

And that was ok.

I also provided endless laughs for the crowd over the next several days…the best version, how does a woman get lost in a liquor store within only three aisles?

I smile.

I have not stopped.

At the same time, I hear a litany playing in the back of my mind, another childhood memory:

“Lamb of God,

You take away the sins of the world,

Have mercy on us.”

Over and over.

I veered today out of the way of a shadow on the road, but it was the shadow of a chipmunk, do you know how small the shadow of a chipmunk is on a country road where you are permitted to go fifty miles an hour?

But I saw it, and no, I didn’t hit the chipmunk. Thank God.

So, why do we write or not write here?

I have no clue.

All I know, is I did it my way this time.

The Almighty a/k/a The One True God

Thursday, September 6th, 2007

Looks like God stopped in for a visit today. It looks like All that is One is having a little problem with this thinking out loud thing we do here on Surface Earth. I wish I knew who posted this comment on our Open Letter to God, I’m going to share it with you here:

  • “The Almighty // Sep 6th 2007 at 8:05 pm (edit)

    Dear writers of Surface Earth,

    You guys really are [%$#^] up. If you honestly think I’m so inconsistent, emotional, and ridiculous as the authors of the Old Testament, Tripitaka, Qu’ran, and “The Secret” make me out to be I really overestimated you. This is the one time I’m going to tell you: yes, I might’ve created the universe (you can never know for sure: believe me), but I’m strictly non-interventionalist. I swear I haven’t done a single thing besides speed up the invention of roller blades and pong. All the silliness you attribute to me is nothing less than some group think, gullibility, and self-hypnotism. Yeah, I guess at the end of the day it’s my fault that I gave you instincts suitable only for perpetuating your existences without much foresight into what you might develop into in the future (the whole sweet tooth thing… the impressionability of children… etc.) but I also gave you logic and reason. I suggest you use them more effectively.

    Faithfully yours,
    The One True God™

    P.S. – The whole faith thing was a joke, seriously stop it.”

    (offensive/foul language removed by S.E. Editor)

How ironic, we were thinking of doing a t-shirt give-away for something that made us laugh the most, yes, this same inspired thought the same day God stopped in to speak directly to us….funny world this.

Separate is not Equal

Sunday, August 12th, 2007

My mind or would it be my heart got a jump start this morning thanks to Grace.

First, she grabbed my attention by posting a letter entitled “Dear Jesus” and then asking Him if it was still ok to call Him Lord, when asking if it was ok to pray for duplicity to be revealed, when people are treating others unfairly.

When dealing with fellow humans, I wonder, how can we ever seriously make classifications between ourselves? You’re ok in the eyes of God? You, over there, with the purple hair, you’re not….and so on.

The thing is in my mind, separate is never equal. The very definition of the word separate, to set apart, tells us it is DIFFERENT.

How can we keep a straight face, no pun intended, in 2007 when our fellow humans advocate separate as equal?

I can’t even mull this over or hang my head and race through its labyrinth looking for the cause, the why, the how: the answer is just too simple:

SEPARATE IS NEVER EQUAL.

It’s ok to ask and ask again…

Sunday, July 29th, 2007

This is what I saw today, in a Catholic message, it’s ok to ask and ask again.

You don’t have to say, no, it’s not my time, millions have it worse than me, you don’t have to say, oh, hi God, I’m just stopping in to see how you are, because really, You and I know I really shouldn’t be asking for anything.

Rather, I saw what I wanted to see today, and perhaps that’s the only way I’ll ever be able to see, my way.

Taken from: Medjugorje.org

The Catholic Calendar for Sunday, July 29, 2007
Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Scripture from today’s Liturgy of the Word:
Genesis 18:20-32
Psalm 138:1-2, 2-3, 6-7, 7-8
Colossians 2:12-14
Luke 11:1-13

A reflection on today’s Sacred Scripture:

I
remember a student from Italy who attended Wadhams Hall Seminary in Ogdensburg, NY, many years ago. He was quite unaccustomed to the ways of Americans. When he tried to bargain over the price of a comb at the local pharmacy, the manager almost threw him out! Americans aren’t as used to bargaining over small purchases as Europeans are.

God seems to encourage bargaining in today’s First Reading. Abraham is disturbed when he learns that the Lord plans to destroy the evil city of Sodom. After all, he knows that his nephew Lot and his wife have not given in to the sinful deeds of their neighbors. He succeeds in getting God to spare the city “for the sake of ten just men!”

Jesus not only allows us to bargain with God, He actively encourages us to do so. After teaching His apostles how to pray in the beautiful words we know as the Lord’s Prayer, He urges His followers not to give up if at first the Father doesn’t seem to be listening. To paraphrase, He says, “Don’t give up, keep knocking! Do you think my Father would refuse anything to His children?

It’s an important lesson that we often forget!

– Msgr. Paul Whitmore — email: pwhitmore29(at)yahoo(dot)com”

I added the emphasis, the underline above, to share with you where my thought came from…I look forward to hearing where it leads you to…………

________________________

Where is God? Plane crashes in Brasil…

Tuesday, July 17th, 2007

Tonight, I surfed the news, coming across a story on CNN regarding a “news break”, a new Brasilian plane, some reports say carrying at least 150, another saying 170, that went off the proscribed runways, across a highway in South America’s allegedly biggest city, and slammed into a gas station.

Do you know how dense Sao Paulo, Brasil is?

What is would mean to see and know a plane had gone out of control, out of its boundaries, into your safe haven?

I know there are countless stories I can turn to right now, to ask, Where is God?

But, this is the one I have chosen.

CNN reports

Firethegrid? Prayers for the universal good? Sure, I’m in with it…I want it to work though, I want our prayers to work instantaneously.

The Beauty of God’s Plan, it includes you…

Friday, July 13th, 2007

I was gratified to come across a lovely post on Sibbia’s blog this evening.

My posts have been simple this week, rather quiet, reflecting the depth of silence in me and what I wait for it to tell me.

Sibbia said in such a moving way, how we can easily allow in a better part of ourselves, for those readers that believe in God, she has written concisely and simply of the easy steps to allow God in to lead you closer to yourself. At least that is what I have come away with….simple, refreshing, pleasing, just right. Indulge youself, take a peek, I doubt you will be sorry you spent a moment in such a lovely flow of thought.

God & Monogamy

Saturday, July 7th, 2007

I’m wondering if God has a monogamous relationship with each and every one of us.

I don’t care much for religious thought, Biblical teachings, it’s not done much for humanity all of these years to enlighten us to prevent crimes against humanity or the lack of daily kindness.

I care instead about what I believe is the one and only true religion, the religion of the heart:  open, loving kindess.

Is it possible for God indeed to have a monogamous relationship with each of us?

I read the news and hear the news and I shake my head.  How is it possible?  Prayers of thanks are given by those physically saved in the midst of numbers mounting day after day of those that are unable to thank God for saving them, either because they are no longer on planet Earth or because they have suffered such circumstances that thanks are no longer in their vocabularly.

If it is true that God only responds to some prayers, some religions, some chosen people, then obviously God is not having a monogamous loving relationship with each and every one of us and is favoring some over others.

See, I can’t believe that, I truly cannot get that notion through my thick head.

The only other alternative for me then is:  God gave us the tools we need and some of us fail to use them….That’s what I want to believe, because then there means there is hope and something to look forward to, a greater, better human race that wants to improve.

Faith can move mountains

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2007

We are almost all certainly aware, paraphrased, that faith can move mountains.

It occurs to me that perhaps the greatest mountain is the one within ourselves. If we can live and embody faith, and no, I don’t care what you call that faith, let it flood us, it could change everything. First, it could change our own internal topography and then, what lies beyond us.

I walked by our garden, I saw a long stemmed original daisy. You know the kind, long, straight, proud, daring, stark white petals against the sky, you love me, you love me not.

Yellow center.

I stopped. Momentarily amazed that any flowers grew in the fluctuating temperatures, but that this one stood alone.

I looked closer. It stood tall and proud, yet slightly withered against the sky. I understood, it had been left to stand alone. The stems surrounding it had been chewed. Was it the mother, the deer, I whispered to, telling her, it’s ok, you are safe here? Your babies are safe here? We’ll even go back inside when we see you so they don’t become too afraid too soon.

The deer left this moment for me.

Letter to God, continued, part two

Thursday, June 28th, 2007

Open Letter to God (original)

Hi God.

It’s me, again.

I know that you hear me everyday, chatting, begging, pleading, reasoning-asking for faith. You would think the mere fact I turn to you is faith itself, wouldn’t You?

But I know me, and You know me, and I am wrestling with my ego, unwilling to give it up, unwilling, because I think I will lose me, and my faith in You in the process.

Is that what they call, a paradox?

My “second” letter to You I started in a small, discounted, bound leather brown book, gold edged pages, a piece of fabric to mark where I left off. Small enough to go with me wherever I choose, anywhere but in my pocket. I will get back to that, that the book I choose to speak to You within could not fit within the smallest spaces. But not yet God, not yet.

I started my book, the first page, like this:

“To any who may enter here, turning the pages – remember – this is my journey – my perception of the world. Without collective consciousness, you may find yourself lost and without understanding as to my wording, my intent, my context and that will be as it is.

Namaste.”

But I continued God, I turned the page.

Another day I said to You:

I am unsure whether it is truly a grand awakening or as we stumble step by step, we find ourselves in a new place of thought.

I desire in these pages to embrace my voice, my connection with God, to truly hear the voice of God and live with that knowledge.

We know so little, barely skimming the surface of this Earth. What can I say as to how much I know of ultimate Truth or knowledge?

I long to amass, piece by piece, a web, a ladder, a matrix of higher learning. Why is there so much unknown? It came to me that with a shift in the energy fields, a rebalancing, we could accomplish anything. We could form energy barriers to prevent destruction of humanity along shorelines. Energy bumper fields to prevent cars, trains and planes form impact and consequent calamity.

On some level, answers are known. At the point it becomes realized, we will have most likely also have abolished the need for mechanical transport.

The hardest part is breaking out of the self created barriers. The nine to five of the imposed Society.

I no longer have any aspiration to remain a lawyer. None. I find it distasteful and I resent people’s refusal to move toward resolution.

I want to cry. Big, tearing gulping sobs. It is my own own inaction that keeps me stuck in place.

Hi God. Yup, me.

Here I sit. In a “County”, a seat of justice. I drove down the highway, a torrential rain pour. I was lucky I even brought myself to drive 50 mph and the other people, flying by, driving so fast, do they wonder what would happen if they hydroplaned?

Same day, later than who I was this morning. So much later that I must try three times to flip the pages of this journal, so thick the leaf edge, I don’t dare believe I bought this for myself to speak to God. I throw down my old glasses, they fall from my nose anyway, so stretched the arms have become. I don’t need them to read these pages.

So, anything new?

There is so very much I write in my head, between the moments – now and before – it never gets on the page. For now, I will put aside this journal, this memorable me, put it aside and read the book I bought on Gandi. I so passionately want to continue reading and I will slip inside the realm of semi-consciousness sleep state, when I dream in guarded dreams of tomorrow.

*If they ever obliterate tactile writing and reading, I will elect to ascend, immediately.

Siting outside today, another day without a blackberry. How much more peaceful. Sitting outside, a small diner, with tables set out on brick pavers. Small sign says: ‘sorry, we do not accept credit cards’.

Quickly I ask, how much for a cup of coffee and a toasted english muffin? $2.25, plus tax. I check. I have a five and some change, fair enough for a decent tip, I order.

I sit across from the courthouse, another case where settlement negotiations will change and the mood of the equity judge, King of all Kings, or as Alice said, the King of nothing, all at once, is less predictable than a storm at Sea.

I had a dream last night, I’m sure of not many things, but this I recall…a bird coming to land on my shoulder, momentarily frightened as I am not sure if it will claw me; then my fear becomes less and I began to worry of the bird relieving itself on my back. It begins to sing with me. I ran around to show people the miracle, but another bird, a small sparrow, flew into my mouth.

I’m tired now God. I will go, there is never a moment You don’t hear me anyway.

***Hey God, as an afterthought, I sound like I’m just stamping my feet.

***Upon further thought God, I need to say, although You know this already, I was in fact stamping my feet.  I complain about the justice system, about being a lawyer, and the simple fact is, I simply wish we lived in a world where we needed neither a justice system nor lawyers.  My acts of complaining about it, poking at different sectors of the system, does nothing to change the whole and only adds negativity.  So thanks for listening.


Symphony of trees

Tuesday, June 19th, 2007

I am not a sophisticated listener of music, I only know what calls to me, and it is such a wide variety.

I sat this early evening outside, surrounded by trees which must be hundreds of years old, and I watched them watching me.

Did you know the movement of the trees, if watched with an open mind and without hurry, do not follow the patterns of proscribed wind?

The leaves move in different patterns, fluttering even within the stronger gusts, they are dancing and shaping themselves against the sky for us to read, if we could only but remember.

There are things calling me to go inside, the day to day events, chores, what you might call, existence, but I am enraptured by what I am witnessing, the leaves and the branches, the very limbs are acting against the wind and dancing.

The first symphony I ever have understood.

Collision of Truth

Monday, June 18th, 2007

Suppose, you recognized that in the moments when you first awake from sleep, you have no name?

Suppose you recognized that in those few spare moments in the day there was no list, no bills, no anger, no complaints, no one outside of the limitless mind that you awoke to?

Limitless of course implying that you woke to some collective whole. As if whole could be separated from collective.

Switch………….

I recently read something…what a laugh as I am always reading…but I read something, I believe it was on The Spiritual Oracle…and I was questioning something, suprise, repeating number sightings I think, and someone replied that they had learned to accept what is and was…hmmm.

I think I get it now.

I have this odd occurrence daily, birds sweep and hover in front of my car, my windshield, it used to freak me out and I would duck…recently I shrug it off, knowing it means something, but also knowing I do not know the language of birds and I just better let it go. Now I am talking as if I have really mastered sitting back and nothing could be further from the truth, but I swear, I haven’t ducked so much in the last few days.

What helped me was thinking of children. Children don’t to our knowledge recognize the written language and it takes most years of integration to get them to conform and see it “our” way. Yet, a part of them recognizes the power of the written word, the mystical aspect, the magic, and will hold a book, a piece of paper, a dollar bill…and “pretend” to read. I recently saw this and thought: that is me on a spiritual search, I pretend to know the language.

Religion has lost its sense of humor

Sunday, June 10th, 2007

Ok.

I pretend for a moment that religion in its genesis had a sense of humor…I may be horribly wrong.

I don’t seek to offend those that have severe religious affiliations, but I have to say, what is the cost of religion in a world where we count how many die of poverty moment by moment?

Can religion possibly be of much greater import than death and hunger?

Mind you, at essence, I do believe we are spiritual beings here for an earthly experience, but while here for our “earthly experience”, I also believe our sight is so limited that we can only, most of the time, see ourselves as earthlings. Consequently, I find we must turn our sight inward, within the dimensions of Earth, and see what it is we allow, day after day.

The most simple example is hunger. We allow, yes, I do use the word allow, allow, children to die of hunger around the world, day after day.

We allow religion to condemn rather than raise up humanity.

We allow, we allow, we allow, myself included………….

I wonder, if religion had not lost its sense of humor, pretending for a moment that religion and its disciples ever had a sense of humor to begin with….where would we be today?

We know at least as of this moment, there is a basic way in and out of this world, yet, we forget it with every breath we draw…..

There is a Creation Museum, which we touched upon, every so briefly, in our piece: Bible, the Museum and the Shark.

To be frank, we may have poked fun at it, simply because we have not and cannot ever understand an all powerful God that can believe a woman is inferior only because she is female. We cited to female sharks that evidently (testing still to be performed) that can bring new sharks into the world without the necessity of male sharks. Our dimwitted conclusion was if God intended to make women a lesser human, why would sharks be able to procreate without the assistance of males?

Anyway, we notice today a New York Times headline: Cool Reception for Bible Park in Bible Belt and I wasn’t sure what to think. Ok, if people want to spend their time in a fake recreation of what might be the truth, so what? Don’t push it on me. That’s my only rule. Next Saturday I will attend a party where a pig, a whole pig, will be roasted. Now, family has tried to convince me as to why that is ok, I don’t need to be convinced, it is simply not true for me. I was raised on Charlotte’s Web and happen to believe pigs are intrinsically intelligent and I prefer not to see evolved humans sitting around with flags surrounding the entire body, including the head/brain of a pig. Ok, so I won’t boycott the party, but to be sure, I’m not eating it, I’m not going near it and if I see it, I will throw up without apology.

So, I ask, what do I care if people want to recreate what they believe to be the story of the world, of humans, evolution? I don’t.

I just don’t want them forcing their beliefs on me.

Adam and Eve? Maybe they existed, maybe they didn’t. I really don’t care. I find the view of them too very limited to give it serious thought.

See, I don’t believe in a God that would sacrifice its children so readily because I am a parent and it would take….it would take….it would take….well….something I can’t even comprehend to make me sacrifice and damn my children the way some religions say God has damned us.

I simply can’t sign up. I can’t believe.

I continued reading the New York Times, A week in review, “The Guidebook for Taking a Life“.

Whose God I ask you?

Groucho Marx: “I don’t care to belong to a club that accepts people like me as members.”

Enough said?

Maybe not:

As Groucho Marx reportedly stated: “Outside of a dog, a man’s best friend is a book. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.”

Well, that sums up religion to me.

Spiritual Certainy: The search continues

Friday, May 18th, 2007

Maybe some days I am searching to have a firm footing in spirituality.

I used to believe I would find it within the fit of the right religion.

I think I have given up the thought, but you never know.

What I am searching for is the unshakeable foundation of faith, but I am sometimes challenged on a daily basis to hold onto that faith, as many of my prior posts may show. I see horrible news and I waver in my faith. And yes, good news abounds, but somehow even 1,000 good stories don’t knock the story of tragedy from my mind. This is my shortcoming.

I would like to be as an innocent, well loved child again, pure in my beliefs, without doubt.

I search to find a way to trigger the collective consciousness so tragedy and disparity is history for everyone in this world.

I search in favor of miracles and am sometimes drawn in by the anti-miracle stories, the non-existence, the lack of proof, etc. I wonder if I am motivated to disbelieve.

I found a link to the “Miracle Detective” on the American Magazine Org/National Catholic Weekly.

(See also: Catholic Forums, Silence of the Birds: back and forth as to approval/disapproval/etc. of the books below)

It seems it is the story of yet another spiritual seeker……………….

Sightings, Signs and Wonders

The Miracle Detective shopping cart for online Catholic bookstore for Catholic books
An Investigation of Holy Visions
By Randall Sullivan
Atlantic Monthly Press. 442p $25
Click here for price at amazon.com

Apparitions, Healings and Weeping Madonnas shopping cart for online Catholic bookstore for Catholic books
Christianity and the Paranormal
By Lisa J. Schwebel
Paulist Press. 209p $16.95
Click here for price at amazon.com

It is difficult to imagine two books about the same subject more dissimilar than these. Randall Sullivan’s The Miracle Detective is a drawn-out tour de force rivaling The Da Vinci Code in length, digressions and clues that ultimately don’t go anywhere. Lisa Schwebel’s Apparitions, Healings, and Weeping Madonnas is a terse, quasi-scholarly book that examines evidence and draws some strong conclusions that are bound to stir discussion. I think Sullivan might have been spared a lot of angst if he had engaged in a long conversation with Schwebel before he got deep into his research.

Yet it is far more likely that The Miracle Detective will have the larger readership, because of its appeal to devotees of Marian apparitions who may be eager to accompany Sullivan on his painful, personal odyssey. He is a former Los Angeles police detective and author of several investigative books, including one on the murders of the hip-hop icons Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G. Although he is not a Catholic and seems to have no background in any faith, he becomes intrigued by a reported appearance of Mary in Oregon, and immerses himself in the phenomenon of visions. Very quickly he is in over his head.

After reading accounts of various visions and visiting Rome to converse with priests who study reported miracles as part of canonization processes, he comes to believe that religious visionaries may be fakes or they may be hysterics or they just might be telling the truth. He is soon off to Medjugorje, but he does not arrive for another 50 pages as he narrates the history of the claims, along with observations about Bosnia and Herzegovina and musings on Manichaeism and other Gnostic heresies once prevalent in the region.

Equipped on his arrival with nothing more authoritative than credentials from Rolling Stone magazine, Sullivan is nevertheless accorded generous hospitality, is invited to stay at the home of Mirjana, one of the visionaries, and is granted relatively free access to the others. The more he learns, the more he is inclined to accept their stories as factual; that is, the visions seem to him to be genuine interventions from the supernatural world. Then comes his own, first-ever spiritual experience as he climbs the mountain where the sightings of the Virgin were first reported. He observes a “sudden massing of clouds” over the peak of the mountain. “My knees buckled when a bolt of lightning fell out of the sky straight toward me…. The clouds burst in an instant and rain fell in sheets. I was soaked within seconds but trembled more from fear than from cold. Never had I believed more in a God of wrath than I did at that moment.”

Suddenly out of the darkness, a lone, “dark-haired and dimpled” young woman appears and gives the thoroughly soaked investigator a cap and a towel. When he reaches the mountaintop, his mood changes 180 degrees; he is overcome with euphoria and a profound feeling of liberation that stays with him. He never sees the woman again, and the reader must wait 300 pages to discover who Sullivan believes the woman might have been. This late revelation, perhaps calculated to send shivers down the spine of the reader, does not work because by then, the detective’s quest had turned into such an obsession that the reader is more concerned about Sullivan’s sanity than about the authenticity of apparitions.

He discusses at length Marian appearances at Garabandal, Lourdes, Fatima and elsewhere, reads more books, asks more questions, visits more miracle sites, goes back to Rome and Medjugorje, becomes more consumed. At times Sullivan provides day-by-day, sometimes minute-by-minute accounts of his travels and conversations. Everywhere he is impressed with the composure and integrity of visionaries and their supporters, yet he is never sure what to make of all this—or what it is supposed to mean for him.

Eventually, Sullivan is crippled by his doubts, depressions and a fever, whose symptoms he relates in dramatic detail. “I was woozy, my knees nearly buckled several times as I walked through the crushed white rock and cactus plants that filled Carol’s front yard and climbed back into the oven of my rental car…. Back at the resort I filled the bathtub with cold water and buckets of ice, then sat in it for the next hour drinking rum and Cokes.” Is this the dark night of the soul, he wonders, or is it insanity? Or maybe it’s diabolic possession. Still he goes on and on.

At last a sort of resolution comes, when the author has a long interview with Benedict Groeschel of the Franciscans of the Reform, widely known for his appearances on Mother Angelica’s television network. Sullivan pours out his story of search and torment, and Groeschel patiently listens. Then he explains that some seemingly miraculous manifestations may have a “paranormal” explanation. Sullivan seems not to have heard that word before, but appears greatly relieved to learn that certain natural experiences, which science is as yet unable to explain, may indeed be also the work of God operating through a person’s spiritual nature; so it’s not necessary to make rigid distinctions between supernatural events that come from God and natural events that don’t. In other words, God is capable of multitasking. At this point Sullivan abruptly concludes that all he has to do is love God. That brings him peace—at least for the time being.

Lisa Schwebel, a theologian who teaches at Hunter College in New York City, takes up where Sullivan leaves off. The paranormal is her bread and butter. She does not seem to have visited any miracle sites or interviewed any visionaries. But she has read widely reports of mystical phenomena, studied practically everything written about parapsychology and consulted what theologians like Karl Rahner, S.J., have had to say about miraculous occurrences.

Her approach is analytic, her conclusions stark. She introduces concepts like precognition, telepathy, psychometry, divination, clairvoyance and bilocation as understood by scientific researchers and examines how they might be relevant for understanding apparitions and other reported wonders. “As long as an experience can be explained according to a reasonably probable, even hypothetical theory of parapsychological phenomena, its divine origin is not established,” she writes. Long ago Rahner said the same thing. The existence of paranormal powers means that “we must disregard many phenomena formerly accepted as decisive proofs of the supernatural origin of visions.”

Schwebel explains that confirmed laboratory experiments using thousands of subjects demonstrate what parapsychologists call the “ordinariness” of extrasensory perception and psychokinesis (the ability of mind to influence matter from a distance). These abilities, she says, “exist across the general population regardless of religious affiliation or belief, and this means the mere presence of parapsychological powers in visionary experiences does not guarantee its religious character.” Telepathy, psychometry and psychokinesis may be factors in the major events at Garabandal, Schwebel says, while divination and cryptomensia have some relevance for the events at Lourdes and other sites.

Fatima, considered by many the gold standard of modern Marian apparitions, gets especially detailed scrutiny in light of the church’s established criteria for genuine visions, such as the plausibility of the message and the piety and integrity of the visionaries. The three prophecies revealed to the children under orders to keep them secret for years raise serious doubts, she says, citing Rahner: “How is it comprehensible that God should reveal certain matters concerning the whole world to a person, in order that this person should keep them secret until after their fulfillment?”

The nature of the Virgin’s messages that were immediately made public are also disconcerting, says Schwebel: “When asked by her parish priest…what the figure had said, Lucia replied that the apparition wanted people to say the rosary, be good and not insult God. Put in the best possible light, this is more in the nature of a Sunday school sermon than a blistering moral insight of prophetic analysis.”

Then there is the fact that the recipients of the Fatima messages, like those at the other seven most popular sightings of the last two centuries, were children whose average age was 9 when the visions began. What, Schwebel asks, was the divine purpose in transmitting vital information for the world to children who, generally speaking, are not considered reliable reporters and are often given to imaginary embellishments? Also raising questions for Schwebel was the famous “dance of the sun” before an estimated 70,000 onlookers at Fatima. Considerable inconsistency and even contradictions, she reports, were present in the eyewitness accounts, no authentic photographs of the event were ever produced, and similar phenomena have occurred elsewhere during high-pitched religious gatherings. The dance, she speculates, could be explained as an optical illusion induced by prolonged staring at the sun or as a collective hallucination or some other less known paranormal manifestation.

Despite her heavy tone of skepticism, Schwebel insists there is no reason to deny the spiritual validity in apparitions and other wonders. “Within the created order, human beings are not ‘merely biological,’ nor is nature ‘merely natural.’ Matter and spirit are open to one another: This is the real miracle. The experience of God reverberates through the whole person, transforming the physical as well as the spiritual.”

Christians, she says, should understand wondrous events “within the context of God’s original, all-encompassing self-communication in grace.” They need to emphasize “questions of meaning, not questions of demonstration. We must ask not how did it happen, but rather what is the significance of the event within the total life of faith.”

The final result is a brief, yet coherent and respectful application of modern scientific analysis to religious phenomena that are important to millions of believers. Robert McClory

Robert McClory is professor emeritus at the Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University, and the author of Faithful Dissenters (Orbis, 2000). Click here for a sample of author’s writings in America and for books by author at amazon.com. Link to “sample writings” is slow; link to amazon may list books by authors with similar names.”

Humanity’s Team: Take Action Now!

Wednesday, April 25th, 2007

Helping to heal, a global humble effort to bring all of us together, some call it the sixth dimension, some collective consciousness, others, simple human kindness.

Humanity’s Team is scheduled for a U.S. event. In light of the unspeakable tragedy in Virginia, Anne Alba and other volunteers, have committed to offering students free housing and admission to this weekend’s Humanity’s Team “We are all One”, with Neale Donald Walsh in attendance.

Obviously, this leap of faith to make this gesture for the students can only come from one place, contributions from those that care and want to see this Society advance.

Any interested: go to Humanity’s Team helping the students in Virginia

Bless you all.

American Idol & Global Kids: Children need us

Tuesday, April 24th, 2007

Updated: April 25th

Are you kidding me?

Go give a dollar. I dare you to click below.

Say what you want.

Politics.

Media.

Tonight watch it for one reason.

For the children of the world.

They are all ours.

We owe it to them to make this world better.

Please:

For the Children

Get Out of the Box!

Monday, April 23rd, 2007

Our Get out of the Box page, as well as Humanitarian Efforts and poetry and writing page are periodically updated. The Open Letter to God page, is a static page, remaining that way to allow for and welcome new comments. It is anticipated that we will update as time goes on to provide more letters to God.
Last night, we received a comment on our most recent post on Get Out of the Box, which we wanted to highlight and share with you today.

We look forward to more comments!

 

 

 

 

In the book `Conversations with God’ the author asks why God allows such things as these to occur. God replies by saying, `Why don’t you?’ ( A collective ‘you’ as well as individual). In the course of reading from Mr. Walsch’s and God’s Conversations I begin to see that, while God could do anything, what ‘She’ will do is another thing. We can’t condition The Unconditioned by saying ‘It’ will or won’t do such and such, but it is clear enough, that while we are here, God would like to see US, WE, proceed to do the kinds of things you are aspiring to. WE, with God, can do anything, but it’s like we are be asked to make up our minds about what is important to us, and to behave accordingly. Our eternal lives do not begin at death. If they did, they would not have been Eternal! We are now, even with bodies, amidst our eternal lives- all
of us!

A program called Humanities Team is very much involved in helping the planet awaken. It declares `We are One’. You + I + God = ONE. It also declares” Ours is not a better way. Ours it but another way.”

( This name and address ‘cell’ is getting in the way of writing!)

Best to you, me,
Dave”

 

dave
April 23rd, 2007

 

We normally ask for others to share thoughts and ideas existing where people are trying to join together. This week Dave has highlighted a collective consciousness program which declares “We are One”.

 

For further information, go to the following websites:

 

Neal Donald Walsch, author of Conversation with God Series or go directly to Humanity’s Team Website.

Good evening God

Wednesday, April 18th, 2007

I tried to write this post twice before, but started off with “hey”.

Not your choice of greetings?

God, I have to be honest, because whether I am or not, I have a feeling you will know.

I went into spiritual depletion.

I toured and trolled this virtual earth for the right answer to you.

I checked out raw diets and it was only days later, I noted there was little reference to you. Don’t eat sugars because they rot your teeth.

Ok. I’m old enough now to see the wisdom in that.

Yet, you intended for us to have this free food, no?

I don’t eat meat God. Just can’t get the hang of it. Don’t know how to divorce the picture of an animal that has family tendencies from what lands on the plate. Yet I will cook it, for anyone that visits, that needs meat.

I eat seafood. And yes, I stuggle, because there is a huge contradiction in what I believe and what I do. But I have to admit, there were moments in my life where I stuggled eating vegetables because I thought I heard them scream.

I read in one of Sylvia Brown’s books that we don’t have to eat when we pass on, and I resisted that. Now, I’m not so sure why I did as I was afraid that eating vegetables I could hear them while I chewed.

Mark it down to mental deficiency.

Fine by me.

God, I spiraled.

So convinced I was anti-religion that I began to actually seek comfort in what I grew with, Catholic doctrine.

I did something new this week though. I spiraled and crashed and then gave it to you.

I lost a case in Court and I was baffled that no one in the room cared that what occurred was improper and I got in my car, developed a migraine and then stopped…..I had promised to give it to you, no matter what, to guide me. Once I realized that and handed it over again, I smiled and I remembered to thank you for my smile.

So God, I don’t know what to follow. I’m not even good at being faithful to my belief in you. But I’m telling you what you already know, aren’t I?

I need you.

I know that much.

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