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.

Shrew U: Local Economy and Balancing Faith with Commerce

The fact that so many faiths can co-exist in U.S. Culture today speaks volumes for our progress as a nation.

In my last blog I stated that balance is a welcome state of being for humanity and very important for all facets of our lives. Because I am finding that certain elements in this country are ginning up much hostility toward capitalism, in this blog I would like to reflect on how we balance faith with commerce.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Once upon a time in order for a new community to be established in the North American territories it needed a church and a pastor.  Faith was central to existence because life presented a multitude of hardships (One could argue that we still have many hardships, but that is a topic for a future Shrew blog).  Many of these communities still exist today with a First Parish Church in its midst.  Of course today most of these communities also have several other churches along with perhaps a Temple and even a Mosque.  Faith in God or a Higher Power can be a grounding influence for many people, and I believe that religious practice in communities is a key ingredient for goodwill among humanity.  The fact that so many faiths can co-exist in U.S. Culture today speaks volumes for our progress as a nation.

So which came first, faith practice or commerce?  I think this question is comparable to the chicken and egg hypothesis.  We know that Britain colonized America in 1607 at which point the North American resources became valuable to many markets (Again, exploitation of these resources is another great topic for a future Shrew blog).  In the very early days the settlers bartered their goods and services, no money was needed to support their basic lifestyles.  Indentured slaves and negro slaves were in full use by 1640 thanks in part to the Dutch who brought the first negro slaves…Britain benefited the most from this practice because new markets for cotton and tobacco amoung other things were expanding at great rates and new immigrants to America were smart enough to know that this work on southern plantations was less than desirable.  Moving ahead 50 years, the first paper money wasn’t issued until February 3, 1690 to pay for military action during the King Philip’s War (military personnel required payment to make their fight worthwhile).  By 1776 the British pushed American “free spirits” to their limit.  Because religious freedom was central to the impending free nation, British rule equated to Anglican hierarchical practices.  I find it interesting that it took 170 years for these European free spirited transplants to break away from Imperial bonds, but honestly that is what tyrannical control can do to people…dependence on the “Mother Land” is like clinging to your mother’s warm bosom.  It took tremendous personally inspired faith to fight for independence.

And so, the land of opportunity was born…Each man and woman sovereign to him/herself with inalienable rights and property protections.  Property of course also includes your business and ability to make money which involves a tremendous amount of creativity.  God created the Universe and we, as part of this creation, are inspired to also create .

I believe the best economies are local.  They reflect the community of people united with threads of purpose.  And many times they use the bounty of resources located in their region.  These communities educate their young, learn from their past, celebrate their better days, reflect on their challenges, honor Mother Nature and love life through a respectful relationship with their Creator.  A nation that respects a community’s innovation to thrive will reap the rewards.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Which came first, faith practice or commerce?  One definitely defines the other and in my dictionary faith defines commerce…Just look on the back of our currency! In God We Trust 🙂

I’m Shrewd: Somebody Has A Plan For You

Now more than ever we need the Female Principle identified and honored for what it is, a balancing affect on the “Resistance Movement”.

Balance is implicit in the experience of wholeness for humans. There can be no doubt that male and female are identifiable characteristics for the basis of scientific theory in much of nature. However, science does also identify crucial differences in the natural order of procreation and therefor must consider these differences when recording data for more theoretical analysis. For instance it is a fact that approximately one out of every 2000 human babies are born with ambiguous genitalia. This ambiguity has many variations (visit childrenshospital.org for more information), and I would imagine that each of these babies have incredible challenges ahead in a society.

Beyond science, we humans need a connection to concepts of the human spiritual plain in order to inform us about our deepest desires and higher aspirations…These desires and aspirations are not found in science and therefor we humans must relay them and relate to them through a more metaphysical means. I think a good statement to reflect this is, “Somebody has a plan for you.” I would like to show how  this statement can be applied to the 3 core realms of consciousness:

  1. State
  2. Self
  3. Creation

1. State: The United States is currently experiencing a shift in cultural belief systems. No where is this more obvious than with the almost weekly coalition of demonstrators. We might notice that these demonstrations accrue as we get closer to elections. For the most part these demonstrations claim to be representative of a majority of “the people”, however I would classify them simply as public lobbyists – influencers who appeal to the media for attention rather than serve as individuals among a diverse group of thinkers perhaps on a civic board or commission. Personally, I serve on two boards and one commission and I find it to be very rewarding volunteer service in my community.

Singularly focused social action demonstrations are driven by outside agitators who envision a Utopia…”Somebody has a plan for you” in this sense means that the State (or governing authority) should be in charge of organizing all aspects of your life so that you will never want for anything. Balance is not achievable because it is slanted only toward State action.

2. Self: This word is very tricky to understand because what we are really involved with here is the ego. Ego pays little attention to community or spirit. “Somebody has a plan for you” becomes “You have a plan for you” and the ego is driven toward that end. Confusion and indecision of your plan can cause tremendous anxiety and/or anguish. Living your personal “truth” is wrapped up with your desires and you believe that no one else in your life can ever know what you are going through. Balance is not achievable because it is focused only toward the one individual.

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3. Creation: This is the Devine nature of being. It has no ego and cannot be forced into anything except it’s authentic self. I can experience this authenticity when I paint a picture or design and sew a wedding dress.

Most religions exist because they attempt to piece together an experience to help the human translate what or who the Creator is. In this “piecing together experience” a doctrine is formed in order to allow the ego a way to transform into its authenticity and reach a spiritual plain. The “Somebody has a plan for you” becomes “God has a plan for you” in which God is understood as the Devine or the Creator. In the United States the government has no influence on a religion except where secular laws may be concerned, and a religion has no influence on the government except for how an individual applies a faith based or goodwill approach to government policy and law. Balance is achieved because our Constitution’s Framers were mindful of this necessary inclination toward the Devine.

The Shrew Blog tries to maintain a perspective of balance as it considers the finer implications of social, cultural and theological influences in the U.S. Balance cannot exist without considering the polar opposite acceptance of the Male Principle (Order) since The Shrew admittedly understands more precisely the Female Principle (Chaos). It is my belief that the “Resistance Movement” is based on the Male Principle only because it chooses to use the State as a tyrannical keeper of order (in other words Socialism). The feminist “mask” is pushing for this order too because at its foundation is their equality with men which is far from being a balanced approach. To further complicate matters, the “Resistance Movement” has played on fears of racism, sexism and bias which are connected to the ego of individuals…Just witness how expertly maneuvered the resistance equation is: Complain, impose, blame => Socialist dominance by the few. And what is being resisted? Constitutional Liberty for the whole.

Now more than ever we need the Female Principle identified and honored for what it is, a balancing affect on the “Resistance Movement”.

Next up: Why the local economy matters…

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.

The Shrew View: On Strengthening Awareness

Is it time for all of us to strengthen our awareness muscle?

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Living in the United States is like a double edged sword.  The freedoms we cherish are at times unwittingly used against us.  Consider this passage from Hebrews 4:12:

For the word of God is alive and active.  Sharper than any double edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow, it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

What I mean by this is that our Creator has brought forth in this country a time of peace that could hardly be imagined 100 years ago. This has not happened by chance or by accident. Much of this peaceful coexistence has developed through increasing our understanding of an individual’s God given rights that are tangable (like property rights) as well as intellectual (like free speech) and of our physical personhood (our bodies and identities). We put a high value on these rights because if not then tyranny would be allowed to reign free.  Yet we know that the duality of good and evil exists as fact.

Not even God can stop an act of violence. God does however judge the perpetrator and his or her actions. Humankind can put in place methods to alleviate violet acts, but humankind cannot necessarily stop the thoughts and attitudes of someone’s heart.

In separate instances I have been forcibly kissed, robbed, mugged, and molested. I choose not to be a victim because to do so I give over my soul and spirit to the perpetrator who takes great pleasure in their offense. This is the double edged sword. My creator has given me the personal power of awareness which I can use to mitigate the severity of most circumstances. Awareness allows me to think and live more strategically, and one way that I have actualized this is through the principles of karate.

Here are a few things that I would typically teach at my self defense classes for women and girls:

  • Walk with purpose (Have your keys ready to use for your car or home.)
  • Be in tune with your surroundings (For instance, don’t take your eyes off the stranger asking you a question…They want your guard down.)
  • Know your exits.
  • Listen to your intuition.
  • Say no and mean it.
  • Don’t feel rude by being loud or yelling to draw attention to a difficult situation.
  • Vary your routines when driving to regular destinations, choosing a parking spot, walking or running for exercise.

There is more good in this world than there is evil.  That is why it is so easy to live our lives without much thought to personal protection.  Awareness is the answer, not just for some but for everyone.