A Religion for Our Time

Religion is a practice.  Belief in core Priciples along with rituals of song, prayer and symbolism help to engage an individual in spiritual growth.  The world’s major religions are practiced by many people, however there are just as many people for whom these religions do not resonate.  This does not mean that non-religious people do not desire a spiritual anchor.  Many find great meaning in nature, music, movement, and volunteerism.  Given today’s active lifestyles there should be a religious practice that would work for most anyone who wishes to engage meaningfully with Devine inspiration, spiritual healing and God.  If there was such a practice, how would it be taught?   And, would it be necessary to commune with others in a physical church to make it truly a religion?

Polarizing political climates are a symptom of needed spiritual intervention.  The focus of each individual must be diverted from physical needs and wants and placed squarely in  the hands of a higher power.  In my past writings I have pointed out that our mainstream dialogue is trending toward more order which is why more social justice initiatives and socialist programs are being pushed as necessary for equity in our U.S. Culture.  The political emphasis on centralizing government rather than respecting individual liberty has huge implications on the human soul.  This is patriarchy or what I call the Male Principle in action.  It amazes me that women who call themselves “Feminists” are buying into this patriarchal system.  The alternative, having a matriarchal system is no better.   The “male” symbolizes  confidence, protection and humor.  The “female” symbolizes passion, modesty, and creativity.  In this instance male/female does not connotate sex or gender, instead their meaning is purely related to human nature as order/chaos.  The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines human nature as the fundamental dispositions and traits of humans.  Taken together the male and female traits are present within all humans to various degrees, and our cultures are manifestations of these traits.  Witness now the physical focus on trans men and women, race, gender inequality (AKA intersectionality)…Why the need to physically transform oneself into a “category of traits”?  Why not instead accept your natural physical presence and utilize your fundamental human traits to transform your spirit and hence your life with all of humanity?  I believe the Bible is a guide for this transformation, however its religious message can be incredibly difficult for the average person to understand.  You cannot find yourself by expressing feelings through physicality.

Devine transformation occurs somewhere between the human traits of confidence/passion, protection/modesty, and humor/creativity.  The Genesis is hidden from the eye, but felt with the heart.  The transformation is fully physical in the form of good works not your identity of sex or race or even your material acquisitions.  The goal is love, of yourself and others.  And if God is Love, then our good works in our homes and communities make us into the image of our Creator.


Now for the teaching…Imagine the egg as a symbol of this transformation.   The yolk feeds the embryo (germinal disc) and is attached to the shell internally by a membranous strip (chalaza).  The egg white (albumen) cushions the yolk and supplies water to the growing embryo.   There is an air chamber that holds oxygen.  Inner and outer membranes form the protective layers between the eggwhite and the shell.  We know all this exists inside the shell and yet we are unable to actually view it unless of course we dissect the egg. Consider that your soul is the embryo and your human nature is the yolk.  The chalaza anchors your soul and human nature to a membrane that protects your emotional maturity.  The egg whites cradle your emerging soul and ensure that the oxygen remains removed from you until you are ready for the physical transformation to do good works in the physical world.  But the symbolism does not stop here.

Now consider the Easter Egg.  Let’s decorate the shell with symbols of the human capacity for love.  The diagram below shows the outer shell of the egg with a blue heart near the top, a red heart toward the middle and a purple heart near the base. Out from either side of the red heart internally are two more hearts, one orange and one green. Attached to the inside and opposite to the red heart is a large yellow heart, and the large yellow heart is connected to the blue and purple hearts almost directly like the chalaza of an egg.   Everything happening within the shell is not able to be seen, but if you can imagine the internal dimension then you can quite possibly connect to it’s deeper meaning.  This rainbow of hearts manifests Devine inspiration and offers a guide for spiritual healing and growth:


God (yellow), man (blue) and woman (red) are primary colors.  Chaos (orange) and order (green) are a blend of God with woman and man respectively.  Community is a blend of man and woman (as the color purple).  This image is very similar to a previous image I created from a previous blog. Order and Chaos balance with Transformational Suffering from which Good Works and Meaning emminate and ultimately connect to God or Christ…This is Devine transformation and can be achieved by anyone willing to believe in the process.


Both women and men must nurture new life and teach good works, doing this with guidance from their Creator.   Women and men carry on the traditions of Devine inspiration for their homes and communities to bring meaning.   The Judeo-Christian teachings are the basis of these traditions.   No matter what gender or race you are, it is human nature that drives your soul and God’s presence is the mystery  working in your soul.  You are in charge of doing the good in the world on God’s behalf.  Understand that each individual shares the same journey  of our human race….This is our church,  and at its core it is religious.

Hold and egg in the palm of your hand.   Sense the frailty of its mystery.  Consume the meaning of its message and put it to work in your life.

Shrewd Awakenings: Let’s March for Some Common Sense!

   The third annual Women’s March is scheduled to happen on Saturday January 19, 2019. This March has had its share of controversy over the past year, from the cochairs and their association with antisemitism to locally organized women’s marches that shun inclusivity of perspective. Just what is the aim of this March and what does it really do for me that I cannot accomplish for myself? Originally organized in 2017 to protest the inauguration of President Trump, this March from the outset was begun to raise awareness of the possible backward legislation that could develop from the new administration. Speakers decried setbacks to women’s issues like abortion, but mostly they were upset that a “womanizer-in-chief” was elected over a female presidential hopeful. To be clear, I didn’t vote for either of these candidates. I thought that both were too polarizing to allow constructive work to be done for the people. But I would ask, what is this work and more importantly how does it effect people, especially women? Also, would women’s marches really influence federal policy? Women want constructive work to happen on policies that affect them and their families. Access to affordable and private health care, family friendly work environments, manageable costs of living, excellence in education and safe communities are top priorities for most women. But these priorities are not what I see being the focus in our government system (I include Unions as part of this system too). Two party control is in actuality one party obstruction and the people they represent are not being served and therefore the people they serve do not progress on the above mentioned policy priorities. All women are uniquely qualified to stand up for exceptionalism. The United States is an example (or should be an example) of exceptionalism. Because of her authentic capacity for emotional maturity, openness, fortitude and humility a woman has the ability to directly influence her family and social circles toward changes that impact lives daily. The power is all hers if she should choose to apply it. Transformation is then realized on a personal level rather than nationally, and the innovation, once perfected, is emulated from there throughout the culture because it is authentic and heartfelt. This is the March of a woman!

Shrewd Awakenings: How Are You Using Centering Energy?

Female energy at it’s core is Chaos.  Male energy at its core is Order.  These are opposing emotional energies, and no matter where you are on the LGBTQ or cis-gender spectrum, you can exhibit these energies in a variety of unhealthy ways.

What humanity needs is a balance which can only be found through centering energy…Christ knew this, Ghandi knew this and MLK knew this as have many others who understood the human need for freedom.

Government is not our friend in the quest for freedom because government is control inspired by men and women who are imperfect.  To expect that a government authority could administer an efficient program for all with equal results is impossible.  This is why government must be limited in its scope and why the individual must have maximum freedom to explore their unique potential.

The Enlightment ideas based on reason, individualism and skepticism did not occur overnight.  Influenced by 17th century philosophers such as Descartes, Locke, and Newton with prominent promoters like Goethe, Voltaire and Adam Smith, the further development of these ideas formed the basis of our U.S. Constitution.  We could conclude that the Enlightment is the centering energy  for our government.

Are our law makers on Capitol Hill using centering energy?  I think many are not!  They take an oath to uphold the Constitution and yet all I see are the energies of order and chaos at work:

Chaos demonstrated by:

  • Identity groups causing disruptions
  • Women literally crying as a force to be reckoned with
  • A porous southern boarder
  • Out of control deficits and spending

Order demonstrated by:

  • Emigration that helps parties and not people
  • Equality of outcomes as a means to an end
  • People forming separate group identities
  • Media platforms pushing compliance of liberal platitudes

We must be very careful not to live enmeshed in these opposing energies.  Our binary form of government leadership only adds to this push-pull hysteria.  To balance these energies leadership must become more “enlightened” and model best practices of reason through understanding, skepticism within context and legislation honoring our inalienable rights.  And we the people must become more “enlightened” and model good works while loving our neighbor as we love ourselves.

Shrewd Awakenings: On Representative Government

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In a Representative Democracy the people elect officials to represent them when creating laws and policies.  It burns me when I hear people leave out the “representative” part of our type of Federal Governance system.  It makes a very big difference in our core principle of government by, of and for the people.  Our Founders knew that if the Federal Government became a monolith then it had to be a system of many voices.  One person, one vote is not enough to counter tyrannical behavior from a perceived majority.  States, counties, towns, neighborhoods, on down to the individual…All have special needs and wants and all must have a way to ensure happiness at home where the responsible individual is productive in his or her own right.

I served a two year term as a City Councilor representing one of seven wards in a nonpartisan capacity.  Several things motivated me to run for this seat:

  1. The property tax rate in my city rose 18% in one year.  I witnessed the complete awe in my neighbor’s faces and we all wondered how such an oversight could have happened.
  2. I became involved in a bipartisan civic group that challenged this increase and we learned quite a bit about the proper functions as well as the dysfunctions of our city government.
  3. Having served as president of other organizational boards as well as chaired numerous church and civic committees, I was very familiar with democratic processes, never missing an opportunity to also participate in strategic planning workshops and community forums.
  4. With my children grown and my business running smoothly I had the flexibility to contribute my time to City Council demands.
  5. I wanted to be part of the solution instead of whining about the problem.  As they say, whiners never prosper.  Life long learners need apply!

As a councilor I then became more aware of how dysfunction at the governance level had occurred:

  1. Previous councilors who had my seat were not proactive about getting to know their ward constituents and businesses.  Communication was not a priority and therefor transparency was lacking.  It was no wonder that citizen apathy had set in.
  2. The long standing councilors had not read their governing manual which I discovered was outdated and in need of many revisions.  Had the Council been more educated about their powers, perhaps the City Administrator would not have been allowed to cross certain ethical boundaries (which he had done many times in my presence).  Council duty #1…Administrations always need to be held accountable!
  3. The “conservative” councilors who continually voted no to any type of spending also had no ideas about how to control spending, creatively raise revenue or educate themselves on our many cash reserves and how they could be used, nor did they ever probe the City Administrator about his ideas for raising revenues beyond direct taxation.  Our commercial base had become so small that the tax burden was placed significantly on home owners.
  4. All previous Councils blindly left their faith in city operations to a City Administrator who did not have an annual review process by the Mayor and Council.  This was another aspect of how the Council did not understand their power…Perhaps this was intended by the Administrator?
  5. Because of #4, this left a power vacuum.  The Mayor’s role became more controlling which set the Ward representatives up for political gamesmanship and subsequent dysfunction.  Please tell me how this works for constituents?

How many other cities are run like this and is it no wonder that Washington DC is in a similar mess?  Representative government only works when those who are elected know their functions within the governmental system.  This education begins at home as well as in our schools.  Communication and transparency are critical to having an engaged public.  When we elect representatives we must be confident that they understand their roles and responsibilities otherwise we can wind up with a vacuum of leadership ripe for dysfunction and control.  Is the United States headed in this direction?  Here are some of my observations:

  1. Congress seems oblivious to their responsibilities.  They are allowing the State’s to slowly undo federal laws and the Administrative branch to spy on its citizens.  Where is their oversight?
  2. Presidents can be too loyal to special interests.  Whether because of donor cash or partisan concerns, Constitutional protections for the nation as a whole are ignored by a passive Congress. 
  3. The press is complicit in political gamesmanship.  Reporting has become less factual and more based on hearsay and emotions which tend to keep the more astute public frustrated and disengaged…A sure way to continue apathy amoung certain voters.
  4. Civil protections are being reframed as special protections.  A public that is divided into categories conveniently focuses attention away from core values that unite people.  These core values are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.  Forgetting this principle allows the Constitution to be rendered ineffective and useless thereby creating a vacuum for tyrannical control.

In conclusion, I recommend that we must start to reframe “special protections” in a way that connotes faithful service to others.  Government cannot solve social issues.  Faith and service based organizations must do this work along side of their communities.  This is the real meaning of church and state separation.  How can we strengthen this very important message?  I will explore this in my next blog…

 

Shrewd Awakenings: Pay Attention to Your Being

Is modern feminism the woman’s declaration of “Pay Attention To Your Being”?

In my quest for a greater understanding of spiritual truths I do much reading and occasionally explore other blogs that might offer some potential wisdom concerning topics of spirituality and religion.  As a third generation Unitarian (currently known as Unitarian Universalism) my religion calls me to explore all religious truths in a responsible manner to guide me toward an authentic spiritual journey that brings my life meaning and informs my actions to do good works.  As Jordan B. Peterson relates in his new book 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos:

Meaning signifies that you are in the right place, at the right time, properly balanced between order and chaos, where everything lines up as best it can at that moment…the place you live when you are guided by Love and speaking Truth and when nothing you want or could possibly want takes any precedence over precisely that.

One blog that I have been visiting for spiritual insight seems to be heavily focused on the man’s perspective of feminism as it relates to U.S. culture and the Christian religion.  The blogger pulls passages from news articles and Christian writers to critique them for feminist bias.  As one can imagine, these critiques when set against the highly antagonistic idea of “modern feminism” makes for a great number of comments from men in general and Christian men specifically.  The blogger does state on his home page that comments are to be made by men only so as not to derail the male perspective.  Comments from women are acceptable once the conversation thread has run on for a time.  The comments can range from hitting hard against the author of the article or book being critiqued to getting down right nasty about the women who are in these articles or books as examples of an experience.

I chose to comment on one blog post by relating my own experience in relation to the current Christian authored article that the blogger was critiquing.  My comment brought a flurry of new comments by men as being a woman with no authority to give a spiritual opinion on matters strictly left up to men only.  I did not mind this “bashing” because it only stirred my need to understand their resistance.  I was subsequently “put in my place” with quotes from Bible scripture.  Ah Ha!!  I can now apply my own insight on my blog about where I believe Christian men go wrong when they take a literal hard line on what a woman’s place aught to be in orthodox Christian teachings…Perhaps “feminism” is a symptom to their issues?

To give you some context, I am a wife, mother, sister, daughter and I currently work as a self employed seamstress helping women with their bridal gowns.  I have a lot of confidence in my work and this helps the 120+ anxious brides that I see each year as they attempt to put on a ceremony and celebration of one of the most import days of their life.  I would have to say that at least 80% of these ceremonies are performed with a Christian perspective even though churches are being used less often as the ceremonial venue.  The dress and the vows hold a very significant place of importance with all of these women.  I find that the modern bride is less concerned with the traditions of this celebration and more concerned with how marriage will transform her in the process.  Many times I will see the bride a few years later (sometimes with a baby in tow) needing help with her bridesmaid gown for a friend’s wedding.  They seem more beautiful to me than when I first meet them…Their sense of self and the transition to motherhood seem to have cast a special glow around them!

I believe that most husbands see this glow in their wives.  I would venture to say that this may have a humbling effect on the man, after all he can never honestly know the pain and sacrifice of his wife.

Back to the blog posts that I mentioned earlier…”My comment brought a flurry of new comments by men as being a woman with no authority to give a spiritual opinion on matters strictly left up to men only.”   A commenter named Luke who, I assume, is a devote Christian gave me several verses from scripture to substantiate his premises about women in relation to Christian teaching:

1 Timothy 2:11 – 12  I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over man; rather, she is to remain quiet.

Here is my response…Woman was first to bite the apple from the tree of knowledge which allowed her to become like God, knowledgeable about good and evil.  Man took the bite next (also allowing him this knowledge) which left him vulnerable and in the position to forever make up for  this transgression to God because man was made first.  From this point forward women would forever bear the pain to bring forth life and both men and women would suffer through life until death (giving up immortality).  For a woman to be quiet means that she, as a woman, has the deeper understanding of life’s meaning because of her physical pain and her ability to bear children.  Her authority is to teach this understanding to her children.  She should not be a “mother” to the man in his adulthood.  This is very important!

1 Corinthians 14:34 – 35 …the woman should keep silent in the churches.  For they are not  permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says.  If there is any desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home.  For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church.

Here is my response…Submission in this context places the burden upon the man to get closer to Christ, atoning the man’s sin for trying to be as God because man was not given pain of childbirth which clearly has made women more submissive in its own right (Law of nature).  Submission is not to the husband, rather submission is to the husband’s burden of his spiritual domain.  She was given time to teach her children, but to teach a man in church or otherwise is to thwart the man’s responsibility to himself and to God.  At “home” gives the couple the privacy for her to confront the man’s perceived inability to be a “man” in the eyes of God.

1 Corinthians 11:1 – 34  Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ…maintain the traditions…the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.

My response…These passages refer to a linear system.  Consider my following graphic:

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Notice that the woman is at the center.  She is “Transformational Suffering” which is her life cycle; birth, child, child bearer, nurturer, crone, death.  Her life is dedicated to life itself.  From her come the children who test authority and require guidance from a physical presence.  Their concept of God is inadequate until maturation.  The boy and the girl are the metaphysical order and chaos as noted in Peterson’s quote.

The man is closer to the Church (the physical good) and to Christ (the metaphysical good).  Man is “Physical Good Works” which is his dedication to the “Church” because his life cycle is less transformative; birth, child, laborer, death.  Through his good works with the “Church” he submits to Christ and becomes closer to God.  He is a role model to his family.

Both man and woman submit to Christ (the metaphysical good).  Neither speaks for the other.  Both maintain traditions for their family, however these traditions are in reality values of good works that the community also must emulate.  With shared values comes meaning for living.  And therefore this meaning is ultimately inspired by Christ (metaphysical good).

1 Peter 3:1  Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives.

My response…This passage affirms that wives should not act as a mother to their husbands.  A woman’s understanding of spirituality (the word) is always much deeper than a man’s because her suffering is greater.  This suffering begets nurturing.  Hense the next piece of scripture that Luke identified:

1 Ephesians 5:22 – 33  For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior.  Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…

My response…This linear progression is clear.  A man must understand his spiritual burden before he considers taking a wife.  A woman must understand the importance of her transformative Nature and its strength as nurturer before she becomes a wife and mother.  The husband’s role as father and spiritual Being brings meaning to the family unit and strengthens the community.  I will add another piece of scripture:  John 14:6  I am the way, and the truth and the life.

Our Judeo-Christen founding as a nation is central to our strength as a people (the “way”).  If we see that our U.S. culture is breaking down around us, we need only look at the push to secularize our Being.  Women are not doing this on their own.  So many men have given up on their role as laborer and maintainer of spiritual good works in the community.  When women become the laborer as well as the nurturer they tip the balance of spiritual strength in their favor and take the “moral” lead.  The classroom is then the nurturer, but without the spiritual “lingo”.  And meaning is a concept remaining out of a child’s grasp unless he or she is fortunate enough to have spiritual guidance at home.  I believe that modern feminism is simply the woman’s declaration to men and women of “Pay attention to your Being”.  This is also the call of the women’s marches and the “Me Too” movement.

How are you paying attention to your Being?  Read my past blogs about “Archetypes of the Human Spirit” for some possible insight.

Shrewd Awakenings: River of Choice

Is it really about guns?

I am deeply saddened by the tragic events at the Parkland, Florida high school on Wednesday.  My heart goes out to all the families that are affected by this violent act.  I know that the whole country is mourning the loss of these innocent victims.  Sudden death at the hands of a human being is mind boggling.  How can a human being be capable of such a crime?

In my previous blog, The Archetypes of the Human Spirit (a series of 12 posts beginning on November 15th ) I relate about choice and the consuming nature of loss and/or failure…

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I think archetypes like the all-consuming Monster Fish in the River of choice can offer a glimpse into the subconscious and why horrific acts by humans will and do play out in real time. Psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Carl Jung understood that the human subconscious grapples with the dilemmas that are experienced on a daily basis.  In most cases a person can deal with loss and/or failure by knowing that supportive and life affirming family or spiritual support structures are present for him or her.  Bad and irregular thoughts or dreams occur but are usually placed aside because reality is a manageable experience in this case.

But what if a person is out of touch with their “spiritual self” and reality becomes a series of experiences or choices that negatively affect them to the point where it becomes all consuming?  As if being eaten by a monster fish, the resulting by-product is either becoming the monster itself or being the excrement that flows into the ocean of despair.  The “monster” in reality feels the need to play out its revenge.  By the same token, the “excrement” can seem to be lost forever, recycling from river to ocean to rain and back to the river.  In order for tragedy to not befall the victim or victims, awareness about these subconscious conditions must be present.  I believe that this awareness can only be imparted by an “interceptor” such as the archetypal Guide.

One must have faith that this guide represents a forward path to hope.  This is why spiritual connectedness to our Devine nature is so relevant.  We all bear the responsibility of empowering each other with the knowledge of this connection.  To not have any idea about your Devine nature and subsequent Devine purpose within humanity’s context is another tragedy altogether…

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