The Winding Path – 078

For the context of the following comments please click on the hyperlinks above them.

2014-07-07 10:19

(Resonding to an article countering the recent Presbyterian Church’s divestment from Israeli settlements in the West Bank.)

Everyone should hold the Israelis accountable for their thuggishness. Which, it seems to me, stems from an abundance of ethnocentric narcissism and neurosis.

Just as we should, of course, hold ourselves accountable for current manifestations of irrational anti semitism.

But, postponing moral action in the here and now, until we also hold ourselves accountable for 2000 years of ancestor stupidity, does not strike me as helpful.

Consider that the disinvestment is a form of atonement. I assume these were lucrative holdings.

Understand that I am not letting the Palestinians off the hook. They have their own version of pathetic to deal with.

But, someone needs to stand up for the simple people who just want to live in peace and prosperity.

No one should be encouraged to profit from, or revel in the suffering of others.

To the degree that we do, we should stop it.

2014-07-07 10:49

Yonah – “A just response would be that Hamas bow out, and let Israel and Fatah do the deal that they are quite able and willing to do. Both those parties want to negotiate a resolution. Both of their constituencies want it. It’s almost happened a couple times.”

Hamas is a convenient excuse. What do you suppose the real agenda is?

Which constituents are your referring to?

2014-07-07 11:11

Guest responding to Jim – “You should try reading the Bible sometime.   Israel is not going anywhere, ever.”

Yes, leave it to Abrahamic tradition to earnestly spin the wheel of Samsara.

But forever is a big word.

2014-07-07 15:03

Yonah – “Most Israelis and Jews generally were shocked when Gaza elected Hamas. Since then, they’ve not been able to arrive at your desired point of just accepting that they should self-destruct.

As to constituencies, constructive ones are the centrists ready, willing, and able to make a deal. All political groups have their Tea Parties to control. Extremists have every economic incentive to knock centrists off the peace process.

Now. As to you addressing a Jew with a direction that he out his people’s supposed hidden agenda at whatever neo-blood libel has highest current market value…well, you can just put that on the same plate with a double-bacon cheeseburger taken to the interfaith pot luck and eat it yourself.”

I liked the first two paragraphs. Last one illustrates a large component of the problem.

My hope is that I don’t have much of a tribe other than people who want to see clearly through the fog.

It’s hard to trust anyone who identifies strongly at the expense of another.

Understanding that we create and maintain our enemies until we don’t.

“Neo Libel”, “interfaith pot luck”? Oh, well.

2014-07-08 08:33

Yonah – “Yes. Jews have always been a ‘problem‘ in the West.”

West of what?

2014-07-08 09:18

Yonah responding to Joe Catron – “Now. I have to go to my grandaughter’s T-Ball game in Cardington, Ohio….although I know you wish we were in that village across the border.

So. When you ever leave Gaza…would you come to Ohio and maybe kill some Jewish kids in ‘response‘? What’s the big diff?”

If someone laid this kind of deflective nonsense on you, what conclusions would you draw about their grasp of truth and justice?

Oh, right; I must hate Jews for even asking.

2014-07-08 09:46

Yonah responding to Joe Catron – “..and then for you to throw you moral hands up in the air…wash your hands of the blood by fleeing to the imported karmic religions as an insulation from moral accountability FOR YOUR OWN PERSONAL MORAL EFFECT ON GAZAN YOUTH…Really?”

Not sure if you are getting your own religion right, but I would say, that it is the highest “morality” to recognize wisdom, and choose to serve it.

An “Eye for an Eye” leaves the entire world blind.

A Buddhist understands this. The lesson has been learned.

I would like to think that at least some Rabbi’s get it as well. But, tradition and ethnocentric “self righteousness” has a very strong center of gravity. Who would listen to them?

2014-07-08 16:14

Well Yonah, I will not go down that blind alley with you. Wasting words back and forth. I have said what I have to say and said it with what skill I have.

If you find it useless tripe, just say that. Why let yourself go off the rails like this. Annotating a phantom conversation with a imagined adversary.

I have read your conversation with Joe Catron and don’t need to repeat it.

My points are still standing unaddressed. We can leave it that way and let others make of it what they will. As you suggest.

2014-07-09 10:22

It takes a lot of time to write less. Filling the page with words provides too much opportunity to be an asshole.

and…, gives certain readers more minutia to quibble about.

For lack of an adequate term I used “ethnocentric”. The meaning should still be apparent from the context.

Anyway, I’m talking about Israelis. Particularly the West Bank Settlement “nuts”. And hard line Zionists.

It’s not just soldiers who have “bled and died” for their “religious extremism”. We all have to put our hopes and dreams for a sane world on hold, while those folks and their shadow demons, feed the flames of holocaust.

I include the sociopathic elements of Islam in this as well. You seem to have “overlooked” that reference, along with everything else I’ve said. So please knock off the dishonesty.

Yonah – “Who in Gaza’s Palestinian community will say to Hamas leadership ‘We bled and died for your religious extremism?‘ 

Apparently, it won’t be anyone you support.”

I don’t need to write more to make myself understood. You seem so eager to illuminate the problem for me.

Here is the original comment for those who prefer not to plow back through the mountain of verbiage above.

Posted in logs | Tagged , , ,

The Winding Path – 077

For the context of the following comments please click on the hyperlinks above them.

2014-07-02 11:32

brmckay – “If you wish to identify with the relative and perishable self, ignoring the eternal, it is ok. But not necessary. Much of our lives are lived on autopilot. But that doesn’t sum things up.”

Maine_Skeptic  - “You’re responding to something different than what I said. My point is that we should NOT let living our lives on autopilot sum things up. If someone is ‘steering the ship,’ there should be evidence of that. Instead, the evidence suggests collective sleepwalking, and we as individuals have to wake up from the illusion that making our societies work is “somebody else’s problem.”

Thanks, sorry. I always sound like I’m arguing.

I’m just emphasizing the potential of that awakening. Evolution makes no sense without the impulse to do so.

However, the nature of the awakened one, is not summed up by the relative powers of the individual.

I used the phrase; “That nature, non-different from absolute infinitude.”

This, instead of the word God. But that is just for your sake.

The collective is connected through the stillpoint of singularity.

What evidence is required?

If “moths and rust” have incapacitated “Christianity“, then by all means abandon it.

The Truth is Eternal. Our comings and goings, a dance upon it’s surface.

2014-07-02 14:39

 brmckay - “I always sound like I’m arguing.”

Maine_Skeptic – “Not arguing, exactly, though I’m not sure what it sounds like you ARE doing. A mix of prophesying and poetry, maybe? :^)

Given that communication doesn’t usually go well when people are speaking different languages, I’m curious about your approach. It almost seems like you’ve got a Hare Krishna sensibility, as if saying the words will have an impact on the listener, even though they don’t know what the words mean.”

You are right. The older I get the more faith, and therefor effort, I put into the art. It’s as much for me as for anybody else.

Talking to/from the Right Hemisphere. Usually after labyrinthine mazes on the Left are navigated first.

Perhaps I’ll call it prayer. At least in private.

Thanks for the Hare Krishna reference. Though my main influence is Patanjali, and they wouldn’t necessarily cut me any slack for that. Good food though.

2014-07-05 11:45

Mike Barnhart responding to allegro63 – “But progressives do throw out the parts they dislike, yes? Not an attacking or baiting question, but an honest one.”

allegro63 – “So do traditionalists. EVERYONE picks and chooses which parts of the Bible they are going to adhere to, which they feel apply to someone other than themselves, which no longer applies to anyone, and which part they are going to carefully ‘forget‘ to read. To deny that they do, means a bit of dishonesty is going on.”

Reading scripture with the intention of cultivating inspiration is an art.

Through inspiration we gain an increasingly accurate perception of the Divine Oneness that is God.

We pick and choose differently each time we sit down to contemplate. The art of it, is in our openness to being guided by innate Truth. The hidden hand of God.

Rule mongers like Mike Barnhart are speed bumps on the way to heaven. We will just have to sail over them on the wings of Grace.

Perhaps in our passing by, they may be dislodged, at least briefly, from their entrenchment
Possibly even getting over the foolish rule, that God cannot be known.

2014-07-05 12:01

(Pinging Mike Barnhart by responding to his reply to allego63)

Mike, I don’t know if you are still allowed to comment, but perhaps you will receive a notice of this reply.

I have annotated allegro63′s comment and have chosen to use your name to represent a class of religionist thinker that in my opinion, impedes the process of enlightenment. Both for the individual, and for community.

Just thought you should be aware of what was said.

2014-07-05 12:28

(Responding to John Shore’s article chastising Progressive Christian Pastors who don’t let their congregations know.)

People who aren’t deranged, but live in fear of those who are, cause untold suffering. Just look at the Islamic world for an example, of what not standing up leads to.

To all those who know better, but only teach the watered down version, shame on you. Time is short and the journey is long.

2014-07-05 13:12

Bones responding to Mike Barnhart – “I KNOW that Christians are more hung up on what a sin is than God is.”

Not really “what a sin is“, but what behavior is on THE LIST.

Some remedial education on what “sin” is, would be a good thing.

Starting with, what makes any attitude or action problematic?

As you infer; “problematic” is not God’s problem. But rather, what makes it difficult for Me, to understand, the one thing that needs understanding?

I and the Father are One.

This replaces THE LIST, with a simple formula. Carried in the HEART.

Posted in logs | Tagged , , ,

The Winding Path – 076

For the context of the following comments please click on the hyperlinks above them.

(Addressing various comments found on the The Clergy Project blog at Patheos.)

2014-07-01 10:17

(Resonding to a comment by Preston.)

The problem of course was taking metaphor literally and not knowing that you were doing so.

Your interest in God was something entirely different than what would yield results.


Carrying the same tendencies forward into a reason bound life will just repeat the exercise.

The pendulum swings past the center. But wait! What can the center teach that we have so far ignored?

Each iteration improves the possibilities but only if we stay alert with hopeful hearts.

Teaching Godlessness is not helpful if the people you are teaching just parrot what they think you have said.

Same as before.

2014-07-01 10:34

(Resonding to a comment by Preston.)

You touch the Truth, and know it, because of the freedom you experience. But be careful. Building new walls of dogma around that freedom will kill it.

Perhaps replacing Godless with dietyless would open up even wider horizons.

The great question “Who am I?” is deceptively simple. Who owns this new freedom?

If you say, and actually believe, “I do” then you are no less a “myth” than your previous christian self.

2014-07-01 10:57

Dan Barker - “Yes, I think we all find different metaphors and analogies useful in describing our dynamic experiences of growth. Douglas Hofstadter thinks ALL thought is metaphor, since all we do is build models in our brains (minds). I don’t know about that, but it certainly seems natural to use words like “enlightenment” when it comes to growing up and discarding pretense. A lot of the former ministers in the Clergy Project talk like that.”

Enlightenment is the process whereby the relative and finite awareness reconciles with absolute and infinite primordial Awareness.

Self without Other.

Stopping the process short, just means you want to rest on the journey home. Explore a bit, take in the sights. Pleasant and unpleasant.

I’m using analogies, but reality remains untouched.

Human beings are still half baked. This is a helpful metaphor.

2014-07-01 11:13

(jim thomas responding to Kent Truesdale)

“Kent, in one sense I agree with you — there are so many flavors of Christianity, with a wide spread at that, it is dangerous to generalize about all Christians.

All the same, anyone who believes that God created 100 billion galaxies, each with 100 billion stars and personally cares about you and listens (and even sometimes answers) your prayers … well … I’d say that is pretty damn presumptuous and self centered.”

I will suggest that you rework your understanding about just how these 100 billion galaxies exist.

The nature of existence and the potential to exist.

Dismissing God because of a stunted conceptualization of “Creation”, is indeed presumptuous.

As for “prayer”, what is the source of the one who prays?

When I intend to move from point A to point B. How does this happen?

2014-07-01 11:35

(Responding to a comment by Maine_Skeptic)

“No one steering the ship.” But evolution proceeding in a stew of relative and complementary polarities. Obeying nature.

That nature, non-different from absolute infinitude.

The law of Self discovery. Everything purposeful to the extent that the point may seem mute.

If you wish to identify with the relative and perishable self, ignoring the eternal, it is ok. But not necessary. Much of our lives are lived on autopilot. But that doesn’t sum things up.

Posted in logs | Tagged , , ,

The Winding Path – 075

For the context of the following comments please click on the hyperlinks above them.

2014-06-26 09:24

troymo – “.. and surely the best way to eliminate our need for oil is to use the cheapest most efficient energies available; in order to maintain the strongest, most functional, economy possible; thereby allowing us to care for and educate as many as possible; allowing us to produce and innovate to the best of our ability.

Keep energy cheap, keep the economy strong, tax subsidies for those companies investing in innovation of clean renewables.”

But…how is keeping the status quo healthy, going to generate moral, sane and holistic motivation?

To me, the revelations provided by this video sting, indicates how deeply, self serving predation runs.

Unconscious foundation of Lizard brains.

Echos of “Mutually Assured Destruction”.

2014-06-27 10:06

No, I wasn’t suggesting that you thought the status quo was best. I understand what you are saying but, as always, am plagued by the awareness of “something missing” in the dominant worldview.

We are stuck with fossil fuels because of the inertia of past choices. We are also stuck with certain characteristic limitations of our species to go along with our special talents.

Without an overriding conscious decision to change directions, and do things “right”, we will reach only stalemate as vested interests compete for control of the market. That being the root paradigm. And, like the villains in the video, subversion of integrity is not off the table, as long as it leverages things their way.

Leaving it to market forces, without the application of a guiding wisdom, will reproduce the same old same old.

My reference to “Mutually Assured Destruction” still seems to be an adequate analogy.

Like nuclear weaponry. Fracking just seems morally wrong to some of us. If only because the water used by the process, is being “permanently’ isolated from the eco system and exchanged for previously sequestered carbon.

Human beings need to get a grip on their ambitions and appetites, until they understand the bigger picture.

2014-06-28 09:17

troymo – “Yes you make great points …. unfortunately, I’m not sure ‘human nature‘ allows for the ‘controlled appetites‘ you speak of. Certainly our economies do not – markets being a measure of human behavior.

We depend on markets same as markets depend on us. And so, as they go we go… a conundrum for sure.”

Best we can do I suppose, is to help cultivate an appetite for understanding. Trusting to the power of truth to override the baser influences.

Thanks for your and your readers’ parts in that.

2014-06-29 09:41

(Note: This blog is part of the Clergy Project and was about a Humanist Community formed to give disaffected Christians a place to go on Sundays.)

Maine_Skeptic – “The ‘tribalism‘ accusation seems to be popping up a lot lately, and it’s irritatingly simplistic. It’s one thing to be more loyal to a gang or tribe than one’s principles, but the idea that gathering together equates to tribalism is ridiculous. Human beings are collaborative by nature.”

It becomes tribalism when the group identity relies on periodic sessions of ridicule. If a scapegoat is required; i.e. believers in fairy tales, unicorns, gods or God, then there is nothing of value in the collaboration.

Nothing new to learn. Just more of “us and them”.

If, on the other hand, people are getting together to examine reality from an unencumbered and dogma free vantage point, I’d say it could be helpful.

Posted in logs | Tagged , , ,

The Winding Path – 074

For the context of the following comments please click on the hyperlinks above them.

2014-06-23 10:15


This is a very satisfying blog. I will study how you get such open mindedness from the participating Atheists.

You have said that admission of “relative” viewpoint on your part is the secret. Possibly. But the budding of what approaches real contemplation, is a thing of beauty to witness.

My “paradigm” begins with infinity. But the infinity of singularity, not that of self regulating sets. Those are second stage phenomena. Not really infinite. In fact, the essence of the finite. The emergent characteristic of Singularity.

The Entirety. God.

Following from this, is us. Related to it and not different from it. Knowing as self the one Self. Because it is.


portion of response from troymo – “I would say that (my) ‘relative perspective’ is the only place to start when having a conversation with atheists, and so the best way to invite them (into) having a discussion about (their) relative perspective. I find I am often disappointed (with) how deeply lost people can become within their ‘relative paradigm.’ This article therefore is an attempt to promote (such) awareness of just what ‘this’ means, and how easily we are lost to it (myself included).”

2014-06-24 11:10

(After following a video link provided by troymo in his blog posting.)

Thanks. I think that this is my first encounter with David Berlinski. I’m pleased that my blind fumblings have brought me into his company.

With confirmation of such caliber I can let the reins out a little; Confidence strengthened. An evolutionary process.

Intuition and reason; The intention to pay attention.

In early stages of the enquiry, a watchful self doubt is a helpful thing. Looking for overplayed and foolish certainties.

However, at some point, the great leap requires a final smashing of the mirror.

2014-06-25 10:13

(And, in a delightfully timely fashion, there is an opportunity to practice troymo’s technique.)

brmckay - “Time to let go of the Bible then. Contemplation of God does not require such a flimsy interface. Whoever the carpenter was, it would be my guess that he didn’t thumb through the pages of a book for confirmation.”

Caroline Fairless – “Here’s my question. Does the understanding of the universe as sacred require divine agency at all? In other words, no carpenter.”

Interesting words “sacred” and “divine”. They indicate an attitude, not just of the mind, but of the heart.

For me, cultivation of a sense of the sacred is much more imperative than cultivating say money for instance. But for others, of course, that isn’t always the case.

That was not your question though. It was about understanding the universe as sacred without including contemplation of divine agency.

Sure. Why not? However, understanding the universe requires the same all encompassing grasp of infinitude as is required for understanding God.

It also has to encompass the nature of existence, self and consciousness.

If the universe is sacred, and there is a conscious agent living within it, even if it is only you, then that agent would be divine.

Whether you are a carpenter by trade or not.

I’ll backup a bit though. I have to ask. What is awareness? What is self? What is infinitude? What is finitude? We know the experience of these phenomena from a very narrow and subjective vantage point. What is the real picture? Are you not in awe?

I have my ways of thinking about this, but what are yours?

Posted in logs | Tagged , , ,

The Winding Path – 073

For the context of the following comments please click on the hyperlinks above them.

(Note:  The following took place on the “Clergy Project” blog. )

2014-05-22 11:21

(Responding to an Essay by John Lombard.  An ex fundamentalist missionary turned Atheist.)

I never understand ( or, if I do, it seems incredulous) why losing faith in the Christian storyline, means that the only option is atheism.

It often seems that the more fundamentalist the individual’s tendencies, the more this is true.

I have struggled for forty years towards a clear understanding of God. This has, from the beginning, required that I not become confused or waylaid by their proselytization.

Applying instead, my intuition and reason to study what God, Christ and Man really is.

Sometimes I switch to Sanskrit.

Sometimes to Chinese or Japanese and sometimes to plain old English.

And now Quantum Physics confirms the wisdom of the elders.

It boils down to giving credit where credit is due. Despite transitory and myopic inattention to the evidence.

To me, not contemplating God, means I would be failing to serve my humanity.

If you need evidence, just open your eyes, mind and heart without grasping at certainties.

Call it atheism if you have to. But why burden the children with even more baggage to work through?

(Note: His reply is relatively long and skewed in it’s interpretation of what I said.  But quite interesting and informative.  You can read it here.)


I know you spent a lot of time on this reply, but could you re-read what I said and try again.

Perhaps an invocation of “Beginners Mind” will help.

John Lombard - “I’m sorry…but when you’re invoking nonsense like “quantum physics confirms the wisdom of the elders” or that relying on certainties is somehow inferior to relying on…what (you never actually say)…”

2014-06-14 17:36

All right then, I will have to do it for you. If I don’t, you’ll use up another hour railing against your projections.

What conclusions of mine have you rejected, if I haven’t mentioned any? Other than inferences about a 21st century refresh of the God concept.

I choose to advocate for a personal engagement with the Singularity. Finding that Human beings are well suited for this quest. (Gosh! It’s almost like we were made for it. – Yes I’m baiting you. Let’s substitute; made from it. This should spare you the need to say “balderdash” again.)

The “certainties” that I suggested you avoid grasping at, are merely atomized assemblages based on the perceivers vantage point. True understanding of course, does not reside there, since as you well know, reality is analog. Or is it?

If not the Entirety? What?

You rail on about “gods”. Sorry, not my bag. Why wasn’t that apparent to you in my first comment?

If your period of “contemplation” bore no fruit, I suggested that you were “grasping at certainties” where the opposite is required.

Consider the practise of “Neti Neti” as a remedy. The Elders have left you footholds and tools. Use them.

2014-06-14 18:10

Kevin Osborne responding to John Lombard - ‘any religion or belief system will appear “true” if one is isolated from everything that contradicts that belief.’

“If free enough to know *everything* then one may appraise the all with accuracy. Otherwise be thrown into the wash like the rest of us, to gurgitate and find truth where we may.
I suspect the latter.”

(Responding to Kevin Osborne.)

Yes! gurgitation. The missing Word.

2014-06-16 09:06

 Mr. Two - “Among the worldly foolishness contained therein is the idea that there is such a thing as divine wisdom.”

First problem is holding some things up as divine and others up as worldly.

That paradigm should be old school by now.

When contemplating God, it makes no sense to think in terms of gods, or god and man, or heaven and hell. Even me and you.

The Entirety that is the expression of infinitude, manifesting as Here and Now should be a sufficient starting point. The field of enquiry can only be Awareness. That awareness is Self.

2014-06-16 09:42

John Lombard - “There’s a huge logical difference between debate over ‘does god exist’ and ‘what kind of god exists’.”

In light of our previous conversation, I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts on my comment above. Even if  it is a rebuttal, well rehearsed or otherwise.

If you notice, I seem to be advocating a form of attention rather than a belief system.

As regards the above quote, how does it parse. Is this of sufficient interest or, something already dismissed as irrelevant?

2014-06-16 12:52

brmckay - “If you notice, I seem to be advocating a form of attention rather than a belief system.”

Mr. Two – “Yes, I noticed. I don’t know exactly what you’re getting at, but if I’m not buying ancient thoughts about god, here in an age when we understand so much more than those people did, I’m not going to trade Jehovah in on a “The Secret” or an idea that all of nature and the universe is metaphysically connected. It’s simply another form of woo that seems to be inspired by people’s imaginations.”

You have a very strong aversion reaction to something you refer to as, “an idea that all of nature and the universe is metaphysically connected.”

Remove the word “metaphysically” please. I haven’t got a clue what that means.

We have different understanding than past generations, but that is all surface. Nothing has changed about reality.

I used the word “attention.” What problem could you possibly have with that? I’m sure that we can both nit pick at each others attitudes and conjectures, but what’s that got to do with the nature of existence?

2014-06-17 09:18

Mr. Two – “I think you need to start your own blog and spell out what you’re talking about, rather than try to give little hints on someone else’s blog and hope people will suddenly have a Eureka moment where what you’re hinting at suddenly becomes clear.

–EDIT– Sorry, I see that you do have a blog. I shall go have a look.”

I have to go where the work is.

It’s a simple thing actually. Not a “Secret”. Quite a common theme throughout history.

Different people have found ways to help me over the years. I try to continue the process. Both in myself and in others. It is nature at work. Like gravity. Like evolution.

Since you have trouble with my style and shortcomings, perhaps Kevin Osbourne’s blog will get you closer.

Posted in logs | Tagged , , ,

The Winding Path – 072

For the context of the following comments please click on the hyperlinks above them.

(Note: The context of the following is an essay by Benjamin L. Corey, an Anabaptist, addressing the idolatry of guns amongst some Christians. )

2014-06-12 15:21

Remember, he is blindly rationalizing his idolatry. Using Old Testament narrative to that end.

I would also suggest that those inclined to doing so, have made a golden calf out of the Bible and a deity out of Jesus.

No actual interest in God realization.

2014-06-11 15:21

If only Jesus had been packing his Glock. The message would have been so much easier to interpret. Right?

Spared us from the ambiguity of Easter Bunnies as well.

2014-06-12 15:36

F. Everett – ” It is an absolute travesty that someone would take the Holy Word of God and twist it to push the 2nd amendment agenda of Obama and the political left.”

The travesty is deifying politics. Best not speak for Jesus until that is clear.

2014-06-12 15:52

If the redeeming aspect of the sacrifice is completely misinterpreted, where does the fault lie?

What attachment blinds the eye?

Where is the evidence of redemption?

Is death real that you should fear it? All the time clinging to your “stuff”?

2014-06-12 16:02

Give unto Caesar what is Caesar’s

Politics is a seductive distraction from the awareness of Singularity.

Why isn’t that clear to more people?

2014-06-12 16:45

We’re studying a very visceral attachment here. I believe that gimpi1 had it quite correct when she linked it to libido.

Mindfulness requires commitment and lots of practice.

I’ll take a moment to praise the Mennonites for their creed of “non-violence”. They worked hard to keep us out of Iraq, but the tide of blood lust was too strong. That and a cartel of bent “Christians” in league with the “Military Industrial Complex”.

2014-06-12 17:32

Let’s extend “guns” to “nuclear arsenal”. What could be the reason for it’s existence other than fear? A fear that overrides any concern for the utter sin of it’s existence or, “God forbid”, its deployment.

Let’s extend “gun control activists” to “anti nuclear activists”. What could be their reason for trying to wake us up?

Yes, fear is pervasive on both sides of the argument. What do you suppose the solution is? Who are we afraid of?

Other people!

What do you suppose Jesus would have to say about that?

2014-06-12 17:52

I don’t get the atonement thing at all. What I understand from the cross, is that he showed us death is not real. God is Eternal and we are not separate from God.


If we ignore that, then of course we live the way we continue to live. Running away from a phantom. Grasping at shiny things.

Posted in logs | Tagged , , ,

The Winding Path – 071

For the context of the following comments please click on the hyperlinks above them.

(From a blog talking about talking in tongues)

2014-06-07 11:07

allegro63 - “That has been my experience as well. If one person uses particular phrases, everyone will, and it becomes a cacophony of phrases in group settings.”

BarbaraR responding to allegro63 - “Why would that happen? I mean, my initial thought is “mass hysteria” but I’m trying to leave that out of the equation and see if there’s legitimacy here.”

A communal experience of an altered state is a very common and helpful initiation. Sets us on the path. Confirms and validates what was once faith.


Getting attached to any aspect will inhibit it’s evolution. Adding layers of interpretation, ritually re-enacting. The Great Mystery will remain unknown. Only hinted at.

(Responding to the original blog essay.)

2014-06-07 11:32

Some reading into the phenomena of Savant Syndrome will surely open our eyes to the possibility. But, like rose colored glasses, our habits and expectations will color the experience.

For me, God is a given. I want to know what that means. Getting stuck in opinions will only prevent it.

2014-06-07 11:53

aspekx - “whether it’s because of god is an entirely different question.”

There is only God. But, people want a storyline. Millennia pass as we creep towards understanding the utter simplicity of it.

2014-06-10 09:37

(Responding to a blog essay on “Secular Christianity” at a site dedicated to Christian clergy who have become Atheists.  In re-reading this I’m inclined to feel it is probably overly blunt to the point of being mean.)

Fascinating and frustrating reading through all this.

One of the few moments of real insight was the quote from Einstein in Melissa Mills’ comment below.

Actually, her whole comment was what I call the “good stuff”. The kind of thing people should go to clergy for. Wisdom

But instead we get big buildings, funny hats, crusades and painfully crippling politics.

And now…

The same people who have made their livings bolstering primitive and simple minded caricatures of God, have doubts? Halleluyah!

But the conclusion is godlessness?

“Secular Christian” is no more or less coherent than “Christian”. Why continue beating the poor horse?

Let us clear our minds and stop grasping at certainties. The infinite, miraculous Here and Now is what it’s about. The Truth resonates as Eternity in the most mundane moments of it.

The Carpenter surely knew this.

2014-06-12 12:05

Kevin Osborne – “While I do not believe in food, I value the ceremonial side of the supper table. Service utensils intended, not for the fabrication of eating, but to be waved about over empty dinner plates, fruit saucers, cups, bowls, serving trays, rice pots and other paraphernalia related to the mythology of consumption, can be important for purposes of nostalgic remembrance.”

Beautiful funny! But possible troll. Mustn’t feed.

(Note: There is a backstory to this.  I “know” Kevin and really just wanted to acknowledge how succinct, brilliant and worthy his comment is.  It has been hard to draw people into discussion lately.)

Posted in logs | Tagged , , ,

The Winding Path – 070

For the context of the following comments please click on the hyperlinks above them.

2014-05-25 09:53

Gideon - “… or maybe I read it somewhere, that in retrospect the absence of a Higher Power is a compliment. It means that humans were responsible all along—both the individual and their supporters.”

What is served by obfuscation?  That is, after all, what unmitigated humans specialize in.

Why shouldn’t we call the ineffable hand of the teacher “Higher Power”, Guru, God, Buddha nature, or Allah?

Learning discernment; Learning what helps and what hinders. This is possible but not guaranteed. What guides the process? What gets ignored or distorted when it runs off the rails?

Alignment with redemptive Truth can be our intention, or a mere side effect. Is it really nothing special?

We choose. Since we are the source, the dilemma and the result.

2014-05-31 08:19

Guest – “Liberal Christians are 90% of the atheist ideal (basically all the actions, some of the thoughts), and yet still the constant drum beat of ‘delusional’ this and ‘crutch’ that. It’s exhausting for everybody.”

(Note: The following response has been edited to address atheists in a more general sense than originally.   The author of the comment that prompted the response, let me know that I had misunderstood it’s emphasis.  The original communication can still be found at the link above.  And is continued here.)

What are they assuming to be delusional?

Creative engagement with metaphor quickens and illuminates the full range of experience.

The universe having manifested human beings looks upon it’s own self through our eyes. Our imaginings, opening door upon door.

It is only attachment and fear that puts twists and tangles in the journey.

2014-06-01 09:45

(Note: The  blog that this, and some of the following comments are drawn from, is dedicated to Christian ministers who have become atheists.)

Mr. Two - “But I only briefly considered liberal Christianity, because I couldn’t justify belief in any of the Bible knowing that the first part was clearly mythology. After all, how was I to know at what point it became real?


But consider that all phenomena is symbolic. That is reality.

Understanding is what matters. That is a lifetime’s work. Getting the hang of not judging, trusting, letting go, never assuming that the question has been answered. Always new.

Genesis is as relevant as the cross. But the conclusions drawn, create entanglements. The degree anybody, clergy or congregation, clings to the rightness of ideas, is the degree of sorrow and pain.

The whole world works this way. But there is plenty for the shepherd to do. The wisdom of enlightenment still calls to the lambs.

2014-06-04 19:45

 brmckay - “Genesis is as relevant as the cross.”

Mr. Two – “Exactly. This is what made me realize that none of it is real, none of it worth pursuing. Morality must be sought through understanding, through thought, and through wisdom acquired through years of consideration of humanity and our place on this planet. If there is any relevancy in the Bible, it is in the knowledge that those people were trying to figure it out, but that they were way off the mark.”

Is “Morality” the goal, or is it a side effect of authenticity?

Or, perhaps the means. Clearing the path. But towards what?

Is there intuition of enlightenment?

Is there curiosity?

2014-06-01 09:55

skeptimal – “…it was Bible study that unraveled Christianity for me. Doctrinal conflicts, I could have probably chalked up to nuances and cultural differences, but the factual self-contradictions were too significant to gloss over.”

Time to let go of the Bible then. Contemplation of God does not require such a flimsy interface. Whoever the carpenter was, it would be my guess that he didn’t thumb through the pages of a book for confirmation.


Posted in logs | Tagged , , ,

The Winding Path – 069

For the context of the following comments please click on the hyperlinks above them.

2014-05-19 14:17

Charles Henry – “If we are to deal with language, then we deal in things that have definition and meaning and all the connections those entail. No word can be defined without association with other concepts or constraints. If we are to talk about God in any meaningful sense, we must use words so we cannot avoid expectations and limits. If we avoid expectations and limits about the meaning of words, then we cannot even begin to have a conversation. Hopefully a conversation will change and expand how we understand certain things – it may modify our beliefs about the meaning of certain words or the reality referred to by those words – but we remain within the unavoidable realm of rationality.”

You have said this well.

But you must realize (or perhaps not), that language and thought are always left behind when full understanding ripens.

Language sets the stage. That is all it can do. This is why poetry is often employed. Or koans.

The full capacity of human beings is not bounded by rationality.

2014-05-20 09:47

paulvanderklay responding to a post by Preston – “This piece, and many like it work an implicit metaphor that ‘leaving’ is like leaving a building. You are somehow ‘free’  from the influences that corrupted reason or objectivity.

I’d assert that it is more like changing rooms. The myth of modernity says -”there is an ‘outside’ where the air is free and the red wallpaper doesn’t inhibit your ability to think clearly.”-

I’d say every room has its own wallpaper. Every door leads to another room with its own set of influences. We’re swapping ideas rather than being ‘freed’ from them.”

Becoming aware of the constricting effect of ideas, is a classic first step out of it.

Non-attachment, even to ideas of self, sets the stage for liberation. Give it a try.

Some rooms may be more conducive to this than others, but even they can be left behind. In their time. As you wish it.

Cultivating an appetite for authenticity, honesty, truth, beauty, freedom, love, courage. Speeds the process.

None of this is new. It is the way of a life well spent in the service of the Real. No problems – No harm.

2014-05-20 10:11

Otis Idli responding to  2harborview - “You’re using language in idiosyncratic and opaque ways that are irrelevant to others. The point about ‘working suppositions’ is completely vacuous.

No, he is manifesting wisdom.

You are engaged in politics.

2014-05-20 10:33

2harborview – “You haven’t lost your faith, which is a permanent part of you. Your faith has recognized and discarded its false objects, leaving you with a clear view. The search for ‘truth and meaning’ as the Unitarians would put it, is ongoing and lifelong. Every time I recognize another distracting falsehood and eliminate it, my understanding increases and so does my courage in the quest. No, you have not lost your faith. You have discovered wisdom, and are advancing along that path. Meanwhile, it can be useful to keep in mind that ‘The Holy Spirit’ has always been associated with wisdom, as well as with ‘love’ in the sense of the unity of all things, and you can communicate with your relatives and your neighbors using Holy Spirit language to their satisfaction without feeling like you are perjuring yourself. Just don’t let them pull you into their obsession with hellfire and sin and redemption and obedience and all the rest of it. They ARE misled, you know, and they might even benefit from your example.”

Very well said. Thank you. I just wanted you to know that your language is not “idiosyncratic, opaque or irrelevant to others”.

Rather, it is an example of skillful means. A benefit to all, when ears are ready to hear it.

2014-05-20 11:06

prinefan responding to Preston – “Religion is responsible for what u experienced. Humanity and our world suffers the same kind of damage. Yet people ask me, ‘why r u so angry at religion, why do U hate it so much?’  My response, ‘U have to ask, isn’t it obvious?’  It deserves to be hated and despised.”

Generalizing to such extremes makes you pretty much the same as those you revile.

It weakens that which is actually of value in your views.

If you can’t replace references to “religion” with “bad religion”, then you don’t have much to offer those of us who actually seek understanding.

Religion is something that Humans do. There is plenty of evidence that it can be quite helpful. The best examples adhering closely to the same principles as science.

2014-05-20 13:11

Jason Eden - “We may well be guided by some external supernatural force we can’t comprehend. And the moment we have any evidence to support it, I’m on board with believing in it, or at least the possibility.”

What is the evolutionary impulse reaching for? Please don’t just regurgitate “survival” or “nothing, it’s just random”. These are assumptions, theories, hypothesis. What are the possibilities?

Where is instinct and species memory stored on the DNA molecule? What are the possibilities?

Does the bacteria share our sense of self awareness? Is it different, similar, the same or identical? What are the possibilities?

Why do people across the room often look up and make eye contact when they are being looked at? What are the possibilities?

“Spooky action at a distance?” What are the possibilities? What does it mean?

2014-05-21 10:00

John Lombard in a blog post about clergy who are closet atheists - “Almost all their relationships are with Christians, who are hardly motivated to give them money to reject their faith and pursue an atheist life; and they generally have very few non-religious friends to help them out.”

So the Clergy Project is only for clergy that become atheist? Not those that have outgrown the dogma that their congregation expects them to preach?

Consider how even more constrained their choices of right livelihood will be.

“Peddling water by the River.” Is always questionable anyway, but living in an increasingly secular and materialistic society, leaves fewer viable choices for those intent on enlightenment.

Maintaining integrity is the hard teacher of all who value it.

2014-05-21 10:30

John Lombard - “1) ‘Rational belief’ pretty much by definition cannot be based on ‘faith’. ‘Rational belief’ is based on evidence; ‘Faith’ is belief in the absence of evidence. I won’t debate whether your beliefs are true or not; but it’s a fundamental contradiction to refer to ‘rational belief’ and then follow that up immediately by telling people to ‘pray for the gift of faith’.”

One might counter this by suggesting that faith, based on reasonable assessment of the existing evidence, is sufficient for an intuitive leap.

And thus, “praying”, or let’s say articulating intention/desire, for a guiding paradigm/faith, is a reasonable way to lead ones life.

No evidence is ever set in stone. And time has a habit of flying.

2014-05-21 11:04

Kyuna Juna - “How does one even begin to rebuild a sense of identity after losing one that for over 50 years has been the foundation of life? I think all de-converted people, especially former/current clergypersons, can very well relate to Kermit’s song ‘It’s not easy being green.’ At least, for me it isn’t…”

Sounds a little like being “born again”. A refreshing opportunity.

It seems though, that some will habitually build the same boxes and walls. Especially the more politically inclined.

What I like about this bunch, is that many were attracted to the sacred, like musicians to music.

It is only the dangers of latent conditioning that threatens their new imaginings.

Kevin Osborne – “Not identifying is freedom.”

2014-05-22 11:21

(Responding to blog post by John Lombard)

I never understand ( or, if I do, it seems incredulous) why losing faith in the Christian storyline, means that the only option is atheism.

It often seems that the more fundamentalist the individual’s tendencies, the more this is true.

I have struggled for forty years towards a clear understanding of God. This has, from the beginning, required that I not become confused or waylaid by their proselytization.

Applying instead, my intuition and reason to study what God, Christ and Man really is.

Sometimes I switch to Sanskrit.

Sometimes to Chinese or Japanese and sometimes to plain old English.

And now Quantum Physics confirms the wisdom of the elders.

It boils down to giving credit where credit is due. Despite transitory and myopic inattention to the evidence.

To me, not contemplating God, means I would be failing to serve my humanity.

If you need evidence, just open your eyes, mind and heart without grasping at certainties.

Call it atheism if you have to. But why burden the children with even more baggage to work through?

2014-05-22 15:44

Mark Rutledge - “The word god is a verbal rorshach.”

Fingers pointing at the moon.

Not the Moon.

As for “supernatural”. How can there be anything outside of nature anyway? But we certainly have not mapped this place to perfection.

Coming into awareness of God does not rely on parlor tricks. It is the fulfillment of Nature. Found in infinitude. The singularity of Here and Now.

I and the Father are One.

Tat Tvam Asi.

2014-05-23 10:13

(Responding to Daniel C. Dennett post on Clergy Project blog about emphasising Church as Theater.)

What? Like a fake shaman organizing re-enactments of dreams?

Best regain the Mystery first. What we need is real Shamans not puppeteers.

(Reply to self)

This highlights the problem of organized religion.

It is a ponderous mimicry of what is most Rare and Beautiful and right in front of our noses.

Posted in logs | Tagged , , ,