How Much We Must Unknow to Understand

green and yellow fish on water
https://unsplash.com/photos/SPTh4rzR6xQ

By Jane Tawel

September 6, 2021

*

To allude to a fact, is to release it to deeper understanding.

To allude to the past, is to increase its future expanding.

To cling to knowledge is a losing game,

as shallow as a puddle, as fleeting as fame.

Oh, to have faith in what is not known,

is the key to a wisdom that is not blown

by the winds of the time or the waves of the tides,

of humans’ small knowledge and man’s foolish pride.

*

If there is a God, then She must have a splendor

that surpasses religion or nation or gender.

Yes, there is a God, and He rises above,

even our greatest poets’ small odes to great love.

Yes, there is a Being, beyond all our facts,

known not through our creeds, but just by the acts

of the people who yearn for a soul free from self,

and the people who learn less from books on a shelf,

than by doing and proving that the self has to die,

for the Soul of Eternity to be truly alive.

*

How much, how much we must lose to gain.

What fields of faith, in one buried grain.

Embrace the story and the mysteries.

Let the present flow into past histories.

Release the need to understand,

and wholeness and holiness will expand.

Don’t limit today by confines of the mind,

and as all seekers, you may find,

that God is present and God is close,

and God is faith, and love, and hope.

*

How much there is we must un-know,

for the faith of Eternity to be planted, and grow.

For faith is the action that shores-up our belief,

and rescues our odysseys from the sirens’ reefs,

of limited knowledge, which ours always must be,

in a world in which there is just one guarantee –

that as small as I am in life misunderstood—

God is here. God is love. God is peace. God is Good.

**

© Jane Tawel September 6, 2021

Today begins Rosh Hashanah, and this poem was inspired albeit poorly done, in reverence and appreciation for the profound teachings of Abraham Joshua Heschel. Though he would point out that I have read merely his books, Rabbi Heschel, a man of faith for all religions, nations, and peoples, through his books of  profound thoughts and faith has taught me more than I can begin to express in my own small words of gratitude. Shalom to you and yours — Jane

Hidden God Hiding Love

Hide and Seek Game - Ultimate Guide to the Best Game EVER!
bighappybackyard

*

Hidden God Hiding Love

By Jane Tawel

August 29, 2021

*

God hides.

All truth speakers know this.

All truth seekers show this,

in The Way they treat others.

We don’t know why God hides,

but it must have something to do,

with us, not God.

After all, a God who hides must love us very much.

For who can see God and live?

*

Love is not particularly our human forté.

And the kind of loves we mistake for Love,

perhaps the one that hovers and smothers,

in a needy insecure desire;

or love in a parent’s or lover’s missional bait and switch;

or love that demands returns on love’s investments

until a better investment comes around;

or love that claims to sacrifice,

while in reality,

it only takes and takes love unto one’s self,

 in the name of charity for others;

these things we all accept as if we know their meaning.

But the still small voice within us, always cries: “Lack! Lack!”

These false loves we accept and make stories about,

and award and honor those we think did it selflessly,

and so, we spin and protect the tall tales of selfless Eros;

and miss the truth myths of Agape love.

And we die false sacrifices in the name of love,

never having lived in the sacrifice of God’s Love.

Or we love others, with only their false names on our lips

because for most of us we think that kind of love is the best we can do,

and because the names we have given them are the only names we know.

We have not yet repented of our love,

and confessed that our hearts are still mostly made of stone.

We have not stopped to listen to the hidden song within,

the others or ourselves,

and stopped-up the noise of love-songs,

and stripped away the names of our families or feudal tribes.

We fear without our names,

the only names we know,

we will not know who we are.

But that is only because we have not yet received our white stones.

But we put far too much faith in knowing who we are;

“Be still. Stop your stories. And Know God, I Am. you are.”

*

Oh, put aside your childish things, and fairy tales.

There is no white knight riding forth to save you.

You have salvation within yourself.

Arise from your deathbed and live.

*

Selfless love is a cancerous myth,

full of false gods and false loves,

spreading through our lives like locusts in fields of grain.

Make your story about loving yourself.

God loves Himself;

and love is of God and everyone who truly loves,

is born out of God.

Make your story about loving everyone.

God loves everyone;

and this hard love, like a hidden diamond,

 is hidden even from God Himself,

so that all may be loved.

*

God’s Love is hidden,

Like all treasure chests are.

God’s love lies hidden within my very chest walls.

And if I can not sense its Presence

in myself, I will never sense it

in my brother, mother, sister, friend, child and

Yes, even hidden, like a lost coin, in my enemy.

If my Truth is not seeking

The Hidden God in me, and

God’s Love hidden in you,

then all truth is a lie

and all loves are hates.

*

Just because the God in me

lies buried

under the eons of fallen, rotten fruit

from Eden’s deserted crop,

the pearl of great price is also buried there;

gifted, not earned; found, not banked on;

apart from all I have nurtured or harvested;

a part and piece of all that is

my solitary humanness, my island, myself,

 alive and a-love within the Divine Whole.

*

And just because the God in

you, or me, or them, or us

may be hidden under layers,

and layers of the dusts-bowls of fruitlessness,

of the arid wastelands of anger and fear,

of the decimating wars without and within

or the shackles placed on us by the concepts of slavery or sin;

just because we feel alone

or alone,

or sometimes we are so very all alone;

just because we can’t see clearly,

and all is muddled in minds gone rancid from the infections of information,

and our hearts hurt so bad from longing for love,

and our eyes sting from trying to see through,

the crusted over with dirty things

cracked mirrors of our souls;

and the world has been unformed and fomented

by our own lusts and dirtied hands;

none of that means anything

 if The God Who formed the Universe,

who formed us each in the World’s Womb,

is still playing peek-a-boo,

with us Her children,

and when we are afraid in this world of hide-and-seek,

that we will never find God,

She is reaching out Her Hands,

and God suddenly appears

to hold us in Her Love.

*

In the world of false loves,

We grope blindly and fall, and fall, and fall.

But that doesn’t mean that now and then,

if we keep our eyes open,

and keep stepping out with faith,

and keep our lamps filled with oil,

every now and then, and eventually with practice,

and giving up, and with, (I am afraid to say it) a lot of dying to that which is dead;

every now and then,

the Living Hidden will peek-out and peer

 through the most unremarkable people,

unremarkable people like myself;

and beauty will appear in the most undesirable things and places;

and Love will be like nothing we could ever imagine happening in ourselves.

And by finding the hidden and divine Love within ourselves,

we will find God.

*

This Way is the only Way.

And This Story is the only Story.

And This Love is the only True Love.

When I love only and completely

the God in you,

and when I love the God in me,

then we who still seek,

will see God.

And we will live.

© Jane Tawel,  August 2021

When I Killed God

by Jane Tawel

https://unsplash.com/photos/iSDr-pNsINk

When I Killed God

By Jane Tawel

April 24, 2021

While it’s true that as a child,

there were incidents, bad things that happened against my will,

(because of course, a child is born with a soul, but not a will);

and while my exposure to events I accidently lived,

were pale in comparison to those children over there,

that child that lives in a different yard than I did;

it was still a thing that happened to me early on,

that some adults who thought they loved me,

killed God.

In fact, like you maybe,

I still have nightmares about that one person,

who abused the God in me.

And even the ones who thought they loved me best

by force-feeding me the formula of God-in-a-baby-bottle,

even those dear ones gave me some allergies,

and I have yet to heal from them.

*

But I can’t complain if I compare.

I lucked out that the pendulum swung,

mostly towards grown-ups who loved a God Who Was.

And that was enough,

For many years,

Until I found that a God-Who-Was,

didn’t make up for a God-Who-Isn’t.

*

At first it was simply a matter of making God too small.

I found Him and kept finding Him

for long years, hidden well among the wood pulp.

He had been manufactured and

stuck between the pages.

God looked good in black and white,

and we feasted on some words,

until our stomachs ached, and our minds grew dark

with the drink of self-righteousness.

Oh, yes, the words we chose were quite select;

while other Words were thrown out like

unrecyclable trash.

Our elders picked and chose

the parts of God to eat and then — 

to use as fodder.

*

Oh, I was one of the lucky ones,

to have such a glut of God-food

to grow older, fatter and more secure.

But have you found, as I have,

that the more secure you are in what is on your outside,

the less secure you become about what might Be — 

 — inside of you?

Haven’t you found, that the more God you hoard,

the less God you have?

Maybe as I did, you stopped imbibing God,

and started instructing Him instead?

*

When I became smart, I became so afraid.

That’s when prayer became my tyranny of a God

that I could use for my benefit and mine own,

mine own, my own true loves,

(which by the way, God didn’t number among;

Well, maybe He did in word, but not in deed).

*

Yes, words in a book are easily idolized.

Words are so still and compliant.

Words can be raped and their unholy union made to be born.

*

Words can be quieted.

Like the children of famous men,

words are meant to be seen and not heard;

meant to be worshipped,

but not brought to life again in someone else.

*

The idea of actually living the words

is akin to plagiarism.

See, but don’t touch.

Read, but don’t do.

Admire and profit by, but don’t suffer and live.

*

Oh, please don’t get me wrong,

I love words and The Word.

Words can be made to look so pretty,

like lipstick on a pig,

like make-up on a corpse.

Unlike A LIVING GOD SPEAKS!, — 

and we quickly shush Him;

a book can be so comforting,

so easily managed;

its little broken-up word-limbs lying there on pages,

scattered but contained in their little covered box;

or cremated and remembered as dust,

not “This is my Body, given for you. Take. Become.”

*

And God’s Word, what a life it once had!

Our eulogies are endless

as we look at God-Words that Were.

We stand around bereaved, but anxious to get back to work.

Our attention for mourning a Dead Word can only last so long,

maybe a few hours a week, tops.

Oh, thank goodness the Word of God

Passed away peacefully in Its sleep.

We sit in our pews and then file by its handsome carcass,

a relic so safely buried, at peace, not bringing a sword now, thank God!

In its final resting place. Amen.

God-Word doesn’t look much like a human,

lying there, with its heart no longer beating,

a God-heart that once belonged to someone else,

who left it there for all to find,

words once living in a person, now entombed.

God-soul up there, far away in what I like to think of as Heaven.

Doesn’t need a heart, or hands or body, right?

Let’s just remember Her in Spirit, not in Truth, okay?

It’s so much less painful, that way.

*

Stories about God are enough,

and God-heart, hearts-like-God, are allegories,

as useful as a history-lesson.

Unless, of course, we relearn, re-hope, re-shape our own stories,

and take the heart of words as mere clouded mirrors,

Dim reflections of a Cosmos-Heart-of God,

Alive and well in all,

Alive in every molecule of Planet Earth.

The Word of God,

once alive in the God-people, still lives.

God-people then and now,

have died to donate their words

to give the World a heart transplant.

Words still beating with Life, yearn to Be,

implanted and given new life in me,

Sutured by the Great Physician.

*

The Words we give our religions copyrights to

Desire anonymously, to Be;

Edited by The Writer of the World,

Given the Kiss of Life by The Living Word,

God-Alive.

*

But it’s safer and calmer and I am much more popular here

in my own little boxes that I store my thoughts and achievements in.

Such a lot of stuff I give a dead god credit for.

The few times I caught a glimpse of God still alive in the wild,

It scared me so much, I turned tail and ran back to what I called home.

Funny, how we humans change definitions to suit our fears.

I wonder what the word “home” really means, don’t you?

Well, I wonder what the word “God” really means, too.

I do have a rather useful library of books written to define God.

Sometimes, I get a feeling God looks at all those books on Her,

And laughs and cries, and laughs and cries,

For lack of Her True Self in the world, in us,

in me.

*

But Oh! how energizing it has been to use dead men’s words at will!

And prayer is such a convenient tool

to wedge a piece of God out.

Stagnant things are things, after all, and we can control things.

Ta da! Oh, to never be wrong, in a world of otherness!

What a kick to have a handle on how best to use a God!

But how does a human control a God?

Why, by making Her something to own and use, of course.

God makes a lovely product.

The God-salesmen cry out:

“Step right up, no matter your age or socio-economic status!

You can own your very own God, suitable for all your needs,

practical for every purpose!

And when your God of childhood wears out,

Come on back and get a grown-up God to use instead.”

*

Indeed, as I grew

I knew God was a worthy weapon for war.

And so, I locked and loaded,

and let my God-out-there

hurt the God-in-here,

the God-in-me, the God-in-you.

But really, the God-weapon can be a very nice way to feel in control;

Even though the dark insecurity of the embers of knowing-ness,

and the shrapnel that The Physician was never allowed to remove,

always hurt, and also always beckon.

To come to terms with just how out of control the world in me was,

which threatened to overtake the God-in-me,

I shriveled and grew colder;

Wait, I meant to say, grew older.

*

I keep reading up on Eagles,

but I am like a fledgling, fallen from its nest,

never knowing it wasn’t born to read up on “How To”,

but simply born to leap out of the nest

and to fly.

*

You see, when I let the God-in-me die,

I killed God.

Hanging Him on a cross,

burning Her at the stake,

electrocuting Them in a chair,

were all far too easy after that.

*

And then, today, I went to the empty tomb as usual,

looked in the mirror, and brushed my teeth;

embalmed my face as I thought

was the right rite to do.

But …….suddenly…….

the sun came-up again.

And I heard a rumor that tomorrow, we might all get rain to end the drought.

And I couldn’t help myself — 

Someone in me arose.

*

In the time it takes to say a single word — Bam!

I realized, the tomb I had put God in, was empty!

And in that moment, I wanted my tomb to be empty, too.

I wanted God to rise from the grave of self-important ego,

I had buried Him in.

I wanted God to Be not just be “in” me, but all-around me.

Everywhere-God. Everyone-God.

I wanted to be the God who wanted to Be me;

Not just with words, but with hands, and feet,

and beating, hurting, healing heart.

*

And as I stepped in terror to the precipice,

uncertain if I would fly or fall,

live or die,

I found I still had one unbroken, unbent wing,

and I could hear the eternal beating of God-Word

Pounding in my pulse.

And I leapt out into Living-Arms,

*

Even as the God-in-All,

Oh, YES! — the Living God in All of Us,

Just as He rose from the grave we stuck Him in,

I, too, may rise and fly today.

For yesterday, I learned,

as long as God’s alive in you,

as long as God’s alive in me,

He will never be as small as a book,

As small as my thoughts,

As small as a word,

Or as small as I am.

GOD-ALIVE are as big as we can imagine,

As wide and deep and true as the whole world.

SHE is as able and embracing as a loving Mother,

Cradling the entire fledgling universe in her sheltering Arms.

HE is as mighty as the Wheel of Fire,

that rolls toward Justice, making in its wake,

in His mercy,

a path in The Way for ALL who seek and suffer to rise.

THEY are as playful and vulnerable

and loving as Children, who never grow old

and never grow weary in their delight,

in Each Other, and in us, Their Creations.

*

Resurrection means that

I can not really kill God

I can only kill the God Who wants to live in me.

And so, today,

I will throw-out another of my self-made weapons

into the hell of no longer useful or needed.

And I will find some more words

to childishly shape into The Living Word,

Spoken in the here and now through me.

And I will chip away at the tomb of fear that leads me to control.

And I shall ascend.

Ascend!

in the Glorious Now of God-Alive.

*

© Jane Tawel 2021

https://unsplash.com/photos/QWNy8Yoe9V4

Listen With Your Heart — a poem

by Jane Tawel

https://unsplash.com/photos/7LsuYqkvIUM

Listen With Your Heart — a poem

By Jane Tawel

April 12, 2021

*

I don’t know why the birds keep singing, but they do.

When every thing is horrible. It’s true.

My mind is on the negative, transfixed.

The world is broken and our minds up-mixed.

*

I wake up every day and burn the wick down,

Before my feet have even touched the hard ground.

But little bird is on a branch a-sway,

With ne’er a worry of the coming day.

*

If God is in the Heavens, He’s in birds, too.

And that would mean, that God’s in me and you.

*

Oh, listen to what can be heard, unseen.

And lessons from the birds and creatures, glean.

There is a cosmic beauty, love, and grace,

In every feather, furry paw, and face.

*

We soldier on, when we should really dance.

And let the glory of the world entrance.

Today I will from mindful prison part,

And listen to the whole world, with my heart.

©Jane Tawel 2021

God, Racism, and America

By Jane Tawel

March 26, 2021

man in black suit holding white printer paper
https://unsplash.com/photos/72gPbaJt-_k

My friend got me thinking today about racist policies and systemic racism in this country. Well, how are not we thinking about that — we should not “move on” from incident to incident like lemmings. So I thought I would share some meditations on that here as well (does Jane never get tired of putting targets on her metaphorical back, you ask? No, heaven forbid when so many people of color have not just metaphorical but literal targets on their backs.)

Thank you, Kathleen — Tough conversations on racism in our policies and systems sounds like a good conversation. Especially religious people (and unbelievably sadly those who claim the religion of The Christ) people in this country seem to have totally lost any comprehension that evil, injustice, prejudice, selfishness, lies, false pride, yes, racism, misogyny, ignorance, hate, foolishness — all are not just part of the individual’s human condition, but also part of human created and run systems. How could it not be otherwise and yet we cling to an ignorant understanding that it is only about the morality and ethics of individuals and not communities, businesses, and nations.

By denying systemic racism, or any other ill, we can hide in our closets of self-protected self-denial — the “I’m not racist” argument. Which for Bible readers should make us tremble since it sounds much like the defensive arguments of the goats on Christ’s judgment day. America’s worship of individualism and what makes someone a success is in complete contradiction to the principles of any religion’s idea of God’s mandates, but it is a complete travesty of what Jesus taught and lived. Mea culpa!

Racist policies and a racist history that continues to be a racist present, when not seen as one of America’s great ongoing sins can never be fixed and healed if we don’t even acknowledge our mutual acceptance of “the ways things are”. By continuing to point fingers, we neglect the four pointing back at us. By focusing only on “me”, and whether I think I am racist, I will never see that just because I myself, am not drowning, does not mean I am not flailing about in the same sea of systemic racism. We need to pull everyone up on the raft, and then fix the ship, folks.

Any one who reads the Bible should know better, and yet…. In America, we keep looking at the individual and trying to assess with our excruciatingly self-centered thinking: “is he/ she racist or not?” But that is like looking at a whole forest and picking out one diseased tree that is racist in a forest of disease and racism. We must look to the forest’s diseases as well and join hands and hearts to root out the bad and heal and nurture the good. I must help to make the hard and good and Godly choices for all if I want to be better and good and Godly myself.

God, help me today to do something for someone else and help me to find whatever I can do to use my own little hand, joined with others’, to fight the breakage in the dam continuing to break with the weight of racism in this nation, in our world.

Gasping at Glimmers 

by Jane Tawel

https://unsplash.com/photos/__pzUnC_OWA

Gasping at Glimmers

By Jane Tawel

March 24, 2021

*

God-intentioned,

The world breathes, in and out

in and out; and good things come to rest.

When any little thing expires,

another respires in its place.

We settle for moving forward, and not the best

found in realities outside the bounds

of acceptable behavior.

The world is pale with shadows,

and Sudden! Awesome Moment Is — 

overcome by the ennui of bully time.

I am left gasping at glimmers.

*

Oh, to see The Face,

of Whom my meaning mirrors!

There is a holiness in all;

With backs turned

to mankind’s wall,

All faces turn towards God.**

*

I am poor intentioned,

but meager scattered salt;

surviving the winter roads

and adding value by grace alone — 

perhaps others may slip less than I.

Summer is more treacherous

than any icy wind-torn day.

We lie face-down,

and burn our backs once, twice.

The sun blinds to Sun’s Truth

and gorging on purloined picnics

and lulled by warmth, or bit by rabid heat,

we stop extending a hand

to lift another to glory.

Our minds and hearts

bury our souls,

in the sands of time;

or build castles without royalty,

soon swept out on the waves of insignificance.

*

There is a holiness that hovers,

just beyond my holy fingertip.

The subjects of the Ineffable,

like mockingbirds, soar, swoop and dive.

Fleeting, hidden, but not foolish — 

Imago Dei in All of Life!

Our minds may mock

and fear tick-tock,

and yet… and yet… and yet…

There is a trued Eternity,

Perfection — 

just beyond us glistening…

And for each soul that’s carefully listening,

the sound of sanctity will rise,

Creation will unlock blind eyes;

And All Things Good and Beautiful,

of heart and endless soul,

will reach behind the veil,

will see beyond the pale,

and holiness will be our home.

© Jane Tawel 2021

** The idea of holiness explored in this poem I owe to my reading of Man is Not Alone by Abraham Joshua Heschel

Ash Wednesday Meditation

by Jane Tawel

February 17, 2021

After Ash Wednesday Morning Service 2020

February 17, 2021

This will be the first Ash Wednesday in years that I won’t go to a church to begin the season of Lent. Last year when this picture was taken, we still didn’t realize at this time what a year of a sort of “enforced” Lent lay before us. For those of us who try to see the spiritual as alive in the world around us, and who desire to continually learn the necessary requirements of the struggling, emerging wholesome soul, the past year of spiritual disciplines for the care of others, the care of the world that God made, and the care of the self, has been nothing compared to what we claim The Jewish Messiah, The Christ lived out and died for. I will not have ashes on my forehead today but I will contemplate what is said each year when we celebrate the beginning of the wilderness journey into Lent: “Remember that you are but dust, and to dust you will return. Repent!”

Ah — but believe also that –There is Good News (Gospel). Today I may recognize my worthlessness and fragility, my need to express sorrow and my ongoing imprisonment of pain, but it is merely meant as healing exercise in order to recognize true worth in others, true worth in all that is on the earth that God made, true worth even in my own known self. I am paradoxically but dust, but I am also a beloved child of God. And so is my neighbor beloved of God, and so is my enemy beloved of God. And in all of that comes the freedom of believing that hope and faith and love are eternally thriving and whatever we have of those three things will never return to dust, but always remain.

The time for Rejoicing will come to all those who wait and try to do Good. Today has always been one of my favorite holy-days because, strange person that I am, I love realizing how very, very human and frail and fragile and temporary our lives are and yet how the divinity of our souls strives on for glory. I love being reminded that I am broken and battered, sinful and wrong, in need of humbling; and yet, with practice and discipline, I am assured that I can be better tomorrow than I was today. I am grateful to believe in a God who reminds me that no matter what is happening in the world or in my very being, Love wins every time –even over ashes and dust.

“To grant to those who mourn in the world— to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.” (Isaiah 61:3)

Step Away from the Worldview!

https://unsplash.com/photos/odxB5oIG_iA

Step Away from the Worldview!

By Jane Tawel

February 5, 2021

I got in trouble once teaching at a “Christian” school (my family reading this is thinking right about now, “only once?!?”). Well, I did have issues with a few of the places I worked at (yes, plural). I had a hard time shutting up about the fact that so many people at these “Christian” schools thought by sticking a label on ourselves and calling ourselves “Christian” or “evangelical” was enough. (You will get tired of my constantly putting quotation marks around the word Christian, but if you know anything about the differences between Christians and “Christians” or the differences between The Christ and “Christianity”, you will possibly understand why.) So, yeah, I didn’t mean to stir the waters, but I did mean to stick my oar in. I just couldn’t get around the fact that so many people wanted to label themselves “Christian” but at the same time felt that the label in no way should be allowed to effect their behavior or address the inconsistencies in their proclaimed and overriding worldview.

Don’t get me wrong, labeling one’s institution by a religious nomer is quite helpful. After all, how else do we get out of paying taxes on a business venture but still make sure it doesn’t matter if what we do or say is inconsistent with the worldview of that religion? But in terms of calling something “Christian” and actually letting it effect our relationships, our community, our ethics, our behavior, our systems, or our worldview, well, that all depends on whether you toe the company line and support the right team. It often depends entirely on whether you give a lot of money to said “Christian” institution or whether you are picking up on the current political trends. And sometimes, “Christianity” is reduced to the lowest common denominator of whether you are posting the currently accepted FB meme du jour.

However, it usually seems to me far too consistently, I am sad to say, that the most vocal and accepted formation of the religion of Christianity, at least here in America, has very little to do with the worldview as presented in the Bible and even less to do with the life of the guy we all claim to have gotten our name and lifestyle and beliefs from — The Christ. At any rate, actually living the life or comprehending the consequences of saying we want to follow Jesus, doesn’t seem to be part of the current trend in “Christianity” ala American worldview. Fun fact about this idea of “worldview”. I was told at one Christian college I was teaching at, that I shouldn’t use the word, “worldview” any more as young people no longer understood what that term meant. Call me flabbergasted, because I actually thought one reason I and others are hired to teach, is to well…. teach. And I actually had the nerve to think that when one is hired at a “Christian” school one is expected to have an understanding of what different worldviews are and what we are agreeing upon together are basic tenets of our own unique worldview.

So, yeah, I guess I got in trouble a few times or more for thinking out-loud. I have a problem. My mouth or the words I type on the computer just fall headlong into truth-telling. I just so darned often seem to have no control over the truth being blurted out. I have been told that speaking the truth is rude, judgmental, “unchristian”, and not nice. And when someone calls me one of those things I know I must be finally doing something right, because the guy I’m supposed to be following, The Christ, was rude, judgmental, definitely not Christian, and very often not at all nice. So anyway, about that one time…

I was an English teacher who also happened to be teaching a Bible class and I mentioned that one of the major themes in both Literature and the Bible is that of the conflict of Good versus Evil. And you know what? I got called into the administration and was sat down before the Sanhedrin, I mean, before the “evangelical” men and one token woman leading the school and they, with all the saccharine sweetness that unthreatened powerful people can always muster told me that I really shouldn’t use the term “evil”.

After I cleared the flies out of my dropped open mouth, I did let what I thought was an obvious truth pop out: “Isn’t the reality of Evil versus Good sort of the point of the Biblical worldview?” I didn’t actually understand their response through their hems and haws, so I can’t tell you what their counter argument was, but it didn’t matter for long; my days as a “Christian” there were numbered.

I was eventually let go from this school and one other I was actually an adjunct professor of at the time for allowing students to discuss the incompatibility of their Christian beliefs with newly elected Donald Trump (Who knew “Christians” had to believe in Republicanism no matter who the Golden Calf at the helm was?!?!). The other school couldn’t come right out and tell me why they let me go, but I was told by one of my few friends there, that the straw that broke their camels’ backs was that I had allowed my class to make a statement about gun violence in America by joining in the nation-wide School Walkout and Moment of Silence after the Parkland shooting (who knew that “Christians” had to be NRA-worshipping, do or die (literally) gun rights supporters?!). Well, Duh! Obs, not I!

I was clueless, and still am, because I honestly can not get my mind around the fact that helping each other see where we might have gone wrong is not kosher in today’s “Christian” circles (oh, that was fun to combine a Jewish term with the word Christian). Speaking truth or disagreeing with the in-crowd of “Christianity” in America today, is considered judging. That is you are judgingif the person you are trying to speak truth to labels himself a Republican Evangelical Christian and you are not one of those things. Or if you refuse to turn the Bible or Christian creeds into a referendum on American nationalism. And believe me, there is nothing worse, other than supporting a woman’s choice, than a woman who knows something about the Bible and Jesus and thinks it ought to effect how she lives.

But be of good cheer! You too can make judgement calls if you have correctly labeled yourself. It is NOT considered judging if a Republican is judging a Democrat or a person who was raised “Christian” is judging a person who was not raised Christian. It not considered judging if you are comfortable and you are judging someone who is struggling to make ends meet on minimum wage. Neither are you considered judgmental if you are a white person judging a person of color. None of those things is judging. And that is just the plain, real facts, folks, not the double-dirty-down claims presented by the fake media.

I guess a lot of what I keep hearing real “American Christians” believe and preach is not part of what I keep understanding the worldview as presented by the Bible and Jesus are. I guess that would make those things I keep thinking are the fundamental truths of a Christian worldview, actually in fact, just the claims of the fake Jesus, right? I mean, you couldn’t honestly be expected to believe in the actual words spoken by the actual Jesus or even attempt to follow the actual life lived by this actual person called Jesus, The Christ. I mean, c’mon? How would a real American Christian even begin to take seriously the radical Jew named Yeshua without a check account to his name, with a following of people who didn’t carry guns and wouldn’t know a smorgasbord from a water-boarding, and who began life from the wrong side of the border and ended it as justly executed common criminal? #notourAmericanJesus!

I honestly don’t recognize the “Christianity” of America today. I certainly don’t remember it being anything like this when I was first learning about it in the Sunday Schools of the Midwestern plains, in little churches where everyone knew everyone else and didn’t just see each other on Sundays but all week long too. Today, even the people I know who personally grew up right along side me in those same churches, are angry and entitled, afraid of some unknown changes they can’t control; they are prejudiced but unable to admit it, and they are convinced that America, not God is the foundation of their belief system. I understand all of that, and of course everyone, including I, have every single one of those issues. But what I can not understand is how they can keep using the Bible and person of Jesus to defend those attitudes when the Bible and Jesus are meant to change those attitudes in us. Jesus taught us that we should only let ourselves stay angry about injustice. He taught that if He, the Son of God was not allowed to be entitled, none of His followers were either. Jesus believed that every single human being was worthy of being called a child of God, that the true way of living in God’s Kingdom kind of Life was much more available for the sinner, the broken, the weak, and the minorities.

Jesus was quite clear right before he was put to death by Rome and the Moral Majority of his time, that there is no nation that belongs to God; there is no nation, state, or congregation that is “of this world” that is his kingdom. No, the Kingdom of Jesus and his followers is “not of this world” because those who want to live in The Way of God do not use fear, or anger, or entitlement, or prejudice as the means to bring about their ends or justify their beliefs. Jesus taught us to start living right now in a different kind of kingdom, a different kind of nation, a different kind of synagogue or church, a different kind of community. He taught us to be a very different kind of friend, neighbor, and enemy. And I just am gob smacked to know so many people who seem to have forgotten that; or who have decided they would rather have something else, some Golden Calf to comfort, some idol who has flesh and blood to follow, and tragically, some enemy they can hate and try to over-power. And often that enemy is merely a neighbor with a different label than they have given themselves. But they still think they are following Jesus. So the real question is, as Jesus asked his own disciples, “Who exactly do we think this Jesus person is?”

I mean, at some point way back probably about the time of the Crusades or the Inquisition or maybe as recently as the formation of the Moral Majority, most people just accepted that they didn’t have to actually follow the teachings of that wild-eyed, crazy Jewish Rabbi / Guru (who can’t have really been Jewish because he was “Christian”, right?). It must continually be such a relief to those in the current religious majority who want to label themselves, “little-Christs”, that the operative word is “little”. Just a little dab of Jesus will do ya’, as the old Brill Creme commercials used to assure us. People must just thank the God of the Hebrews (that old Jewish God that they no longer need since Jesus came along) that though basically Jesus came to show humans how to live, he never really expected us to do it. Just like that old God never expected Adam and Eve not to eat from the tree, or expected that the Hebrews would actually live-out the ideas for the perfect earthly community He gave them the instruction manual on.

Jesus very kindly got himself killed so we wouldn’t have to accept any responsibility for our actions as long as we said we believed he was God and that he rose again so we can go to heaven. If we said a little prayer and go to the right church and think it’s okay to kill adults and children but not fetuses, why, we are all set for a Christian America and a future Heaven some where far away from the planet we are destroying. And unless you are a big mouthed non-labeling person like I am, then it seems you don’t need to worry about any future or current judgment of your actions. I can’t quite figure out though, how today in America it seems that you can’t be judged if and only if, you vote Republican and attend church on Sundays even during a deadly pandemic. And I have noticed that as long as we keep paying salaries to the professional teachers and preachers who run the company businesses of Christianity and toe the trending company line no matter what those famous important rich “Christian” leaders do or say, then we’ll be okay; I mean after all, those top dogs do so much for America, they are national treasures. I mean, it is almost as if they are the Pharisees and Sadducees of Jesus time come back to life to guide us.

Thankfully, it doesn’t matter at all if any of this, or any of our current beliefs are completely incompatible with what Jesus or the Bible from the beginning in the book of Genesis to the end in the book of Revelation says is the real truth. We have gotten just too smart to buy into what the Bible and the Life of Christ reveals about human nature and the world of the Divine. We certainly are not meant to give up any national or individual or denominational power we have worked so hard to achieve. There is no way we are expected to be both American and humble servants of all. (Jesus was only one of those things, by the way.) No, we are not expected to change or be changed. That is a worldview, and we don’t believe in worldviews any more.

I recently splurged and bought myself “The Complete Jewish Bible”, a version by David H. Stern, who calls himself a Messianic Jew. That amazing and beautiful version of Tanakh and New Testimony is a great discussion for people much more knowledgeable than I. But each morning as I read it, I find myself tearing up as the names for God and God’s people, including Yeshua, The Jewish Messiah appear in my meditation. I have written before about the dangers of people who worship a book instead of a living God who changes with our understanding and Who is always Mysterious Being, not pocket-sized easy to please and control genie nor raging, abusive male household-leader nor national god who works through the powerful and mighty so that they may be treated like gods themselves. But the Bible is an ever surprising, shocking, glorious minefield of Vision. It is replete with spiritual guidance and dire warnings. It has story after story of human beings who tried to be good and failed, and those who were quite bad and failed at staying bad after God got a-hold of their hearts and souls. It has poetry and imagery that never fail to inspire and delight, sober-up and amaze. And it has the story about the strangest human who ever lived who believed that every human being would be happier, more fulfilled, safer, richer, and better if they lived just as strange a life as he did and his name was Yeshua, Jesus, Jewish Messiah, Westernized as The Christ.

The book that Jews and Christians alike read as religious requirement and personal counsel and enlightenment uses many different genres to achieve one singular end — to shape the reader’s worldview. That Judeo-Christian worldview, even before it was all written down and put into a book has been affecting and infecting the world since the beginning of Time. It is the only worldview that matters no matter what one calls one’s religion or lack thereof. Most people don’t follow it, many people don’t know they follow it; many people know nothing about the religion or book that best describes it; and every human alive except for Jesus fails at living it. I fail at understanding it, having faith in it, believing in the best of it, and definitely daily fail at doing it. But good golly Miss Molly! I still believe I should try. And when I fail, I believe people who care about me should judge me so I can learn what to do better. Because that is the expectation — that God sees we are imperfect but believes that tomorrow, we can do better.

https://unsplash.com/photos/-TQUERQGUZ8

My many ex-students were “forced” to learn a term from me and most of them giggle now whenever I remind them of it. The term is “Judeo-Christianity” and it is my “worldview”. Many years ago, I began to realize that I wasn’t reading like other people seem to be doing, the book that Jews and Christians call their “Holy Scriptures”. And then once I realized that, I of course, realized well, yes there are many people of many different faiths and some of no religious leanings at all who read the things collected in Tanakh and Testament in the ways I was trying to read them. Years ago, long before the recent morass of confused morality, I secretly stopped calling myself by the same label that others did when they called themselves “Christians”. It had become offensive, through no fault of its own; and it wasn’t offensive in the ways that Jesus was offensive. The Christ, who said things like “hate your parents compared to how much you love me”, meant it to be offensive. He got that from His Heavenly Father, who is so offensive in His insistence to let the sun shine and rain rain on both the good and the evil. Jesus didn’t accidentally offend either, He made sure people knew they were being offended. He did it however, without abusing one ounce of his divine and magnificent power. Jesus did not make personal affronts in the way a bully means to be offensive. He was trying to break up the team-mentality that had caused people to stop caring for others. He was trying to get people who had so much entitled wealth at the hands of Rome and Religion to be humbled and revealed for the “death maws and empty caskets” that he called them. He was trying to help all the people who didn’t have power or money or the right job or the right color or even the right religion know wherein the truth and the reality of God and the world really lay.

Today we seem in so many ways to be back in the times of Rome and the religious power structures of Jesus’ time. Just as then, it had become about a team, not a God, about a memory, not a present reality; about winning a ticket to heaven, not making a heaven on earth; so too today in the country and churches of our time and place. The Chosen People of Jesus were warned they would be judged for what they did to the prophets, with Christ foremost among them. We who read the Bible or look around at the way the planet, nation, world, and our communities are going have been warned as well. And a person just can’t claim to follow Jesus and not believe that we too will be judged; and as Jesus says, we will be judged most of all if we come claiming we did things in his name. So, I seek daily a way to go “further up and further in”, as C.S. Lewis would say; but I will not let myself think it is enough to go alone. So in every flawed, big-mouthed, offensive way I can, I will have to try to drag my brother or sister into The Way, the worldview walk on the narrow path that Jesus showed us how to take and promises to help us complete. Neither will I restrict access to The Way, however someone may find his or her spiritual path towards it. I am incredibly humbled by my own selfish, greedy, sinful life to not accept my part in presenting a false view of the God of Love and the Jesus who came to change not my little heart alone, but the whole wide world. I accept my responsibility to those who will never be able to hear the life-giving words of The Christ over the din of those who choose to cheer only their own team from the sidelines or refuse to march into the lion’s den for Truth or heal the sick and broken-hearted if the needy have the wrong color or label.

We do not know the Truth or Love of God; that is a mystery like a vast ocean, that we can only appreciate from this far shore. God has the Eagles’ view; we, only that of the sparrows, who peck along the ground and squabble with each other over fallen seeds. We keep forgetting that “if God sees and cares for even this little brown and grey bird, how much more does The Mysterious One care for this little brown child, or this little grey-haired lady, or this little pecking and scrabbling human being”?

We may not have an eagle’s view of the world, or even a clear view of reality, but we all do very much in fact have a worldview. As the truism goes, we all believe in something, we just don’t always realize what we truly believe in. It is quite obvious to others what your view of the world is from how you live your life. The old adage that actions speak louder than words is never more true than when we slip-up and our real worldview is revealed. And one of the most helpful things, I have found, from the worldview that all the people and the God written about in the Bible believed in is this:

There is Good. And there is Evil. And both of those things are making a constant play for power over my mind, heart, words, and deeds. They are making a constant bid to be the controlling factor in every government, every system, every company, every town, every church, every synagogue and mosque, every family, and every individual. They are part of every thing that is a human system or human being, and they are in constant flux trying to gain power over each human being alive today. The question is, not if they exist, but whether or not I can recognize which of them is trying to influence me. The question is not if everywhere Good and Evil vie for the controlling shares of power, but whether I recognize which one is winning now.

If I cannot recognize the good and evil that vies for power over my own daily life and recognize it is up to me to be in control of which one takes the lead, how can I be expected to recognize it in the many systems humans create and that I have such little control over? But the paradox that Jesus taught is this, the less I think of me, about me, the greater chance true Goodness, True God, has to be within me, of me, flowing from me, upholding me, and fighting against the powers of Evil that love to lull us into thinking they aren’t real. The more I turn my eyes away from myself and towards The Way of Jesus, the more power I will have over what evils try to keep me from The Good Life.

I am moored in my worldview when I realize that Jesus believed in Evil. In Christ’s worldview, Evil was both an unearthly, un-human power called Satan and a human predicament that comes from our fallen natures. Evil is both an outside force like Good is, in fact a Satanic power like Good is a Godly Power. Evil is also the slippery slope of ethical relativism and self-centered pride that we all keep falling down and trying to climb back up out of. Satan or just human evil desires both consistently tempted Jesus to adapt to a false worldview of what is real and true and important and good and spiritual and divine. But The Messiah, the Godly-Man was also tempted to give credence to the Evil that comes from human beings creating systems of power and mighty institutions of ownership of material goods. Jesus was tempted in all things as we are. But Christ didn’t slide down that slippery slope or put his faith in the systems of this world — not even once. Jesus remained true to His Word. “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)

A rather famous follower of Jesus who tried to convince non-Jews to follow the Judaism of Jesus and tried to help his fellow Jews get back to the real spiritual foundations of something they had warped into a misunderstanding of what religion is supposed to do; and tried to help everyone, even the pagans and the Romans, understand what the real God might actually be like, left us all this wise meditation on worldview: “For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known”. (I Corinthians 13:12) The disciple of Jesus named Ya’akov has this to add:

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” (James 1:22–27)

The operative words in Paul’s metaphor of “the mystery in the mirror” that reveal the truth about our own ignorance (even about the very things we think we know about in this world), and the imago-Dei infused desires of every human heart to seek a spiritual reality here in our lives and in the systems of this world, are Paul’s words: “now” and “then”. We cannot help ourselves for Now to be overwhelmed by the setting in which we live our lives — the here of place and the treadmill of our days and the fears of our needs being unmet. The Now greatly effects how we see the world, how we see ourselves, how we see others, and how we see or rather don’t see God. But the “Then Worldview” that God provides and Jesus lived out, teaches us that we need to have faith that the Now- Worldview is incomplete, incomprehensible, and inconclusive. We can know this if we look in our mirrors and look at our neighbors and enemies and see in every face, the reflection of the divinity that is in us all. And while the reflection of the Divinity on the other side of the glass is foggy at best, broken for the weakest, and fallible and fallen for each of us, we are all created and instructed to gaze and gaze and gaze until our eyes hurt, seeking the glimmers of the Other Side until we get that glorious glimpse of the Goodness that Love creates. Then we are meant to keep trying to live into the Then as Now of Heaven on Earth.

Just because the Now clouds and mars the Then, doesn’t mean we aren’t supposed to keep trying to see through it all to what we are meant to be, what God has waiting for us if we truly love God, love ourselves, and love others. Good defeats Evil with the delight of a child who plays a game she knows she will win; and Love conquers fear with the hope of perpetual spring-like, springing-forth Eternally-secured Life.

The Hebrews were constantly instructed to “remember the God who saves”. And we who claim to believe that the ultimate revelation of Who that God is was met in the life, death and eternal glory of a human being named Yeshua, are also instructed to remember. “Whenever you eat or drink, whenever you worship or celebrate, whenever you are together talking, arguing, discussing, planning, laughing, singing, posting on Facebook, or driving your car; whenever your country is at war or at peace, whether you have lots of money or none, whether working, playing, or resting, whether despairing or worrying, whether alone or in a crowd — Remember Me.” (Jesus, at his final dinner with his followers, at least for a while; as recorded in the Gospels.)

We are meant to always remember and to never forget that there was once a human being who lived in time and space, and never forgot that though human beings had broken the mirror of our own worldview, if we followed in his way, The Christ Way, we would catch just enough glimmer up head to keep journeying away from evil and darkness and toward Goodness and Light. That is the Judeo-Christian worldview, whether we recognize it or not.

One day over a decade ago by now, I had to leave a place that I really loved. I didn’t want to leave but I had tried my best to be a Judeo-Christian there and they just weren’t having it. Go figure. I don’t mean to set myself up on a pedestal or imply that I am not fully aware of the tree trunks in my own eyes before I try to help a sister with the bit of dust that blew into her own. But I am finally coming around to learn somethings (I love that expression “coming around to learning” because the very best lives are lived in circles, circling around and around the Center of Truth). So, a few things I am circling around that I would relate to my insistence on clinging to this idea of having a Worldview that learns a thing or two from Judeo-Christian thought.

First, always speak the truth even if it falls in a forest and you think no one hears it. Secondly, if the person you are truth-splanning too (why yes, I do believe I just made up that word. Cool, eh?) — if the person is unwilling to even think about what you are saying or think about what they are saying or doing in any kind of way that most worldviews at least used to call “rational”, then walk away. This is what Jesus meant when he told us not to throw pearls before pigs — it’s not because we see others as “pigs” and hate them, but because we see others as struggling with what it means to be fully human and we love them and there isn’t a blasted thing that a pig can do with a pearl, not eat it, not wear it, not even see it for the value it has. This is just the way some people are with truth, especially God’s truth. I know because I have been a pig looking at pearls a lot of times in my life and it took me a long, long time to recognize certain pearls of wisdom that I just didn’t want to believe were true, for what they were and are.

Secondly, go in to any situation and any conversation — actually go into each day — as a disciple of Jesus’ Worldview would do — with high hopes and love as your motivation. BUT, always keep in mind the very good advice that Jesus gave his own disciples in Matthew 10:14: “If anyone does not receive you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet as you leave that house or that town.” Back to ten years ago and the place I loved but had to leave — -When I left the place that I loved but that had stopped loving me, I stood teary-eyed in the parking lot and then I picked up one sneakered foot and I leaned down and brushed the dust off. And then I picked up the other foot, and I wobbled a little bit and then flicked the dust off that shoe. Then I got in my Prius and drove away from Then and toward Now.

Finally, I am at last coming around to understanding that it is not enough to walk away from a negative, untruthful, unloving, unbalanced, irrational, or un-good situation or person (or group or church or political party or business or friend). It is not enough to shake the dust off my feet, if I don’t continue to shake the dust off my thoughts and memories. That is one of the worst and sneakily real evils that attract our souls and our waking and sleeping moments. That remembrance of a wrong, whether done to me or by me, is very often the motivating force behind the little devilish attitudes and actions we are victims of or perpetrators of.

And if you are still claiming this has nothing to do with the existence of evil, let me present to you this idea. Far too often the evil that festers and grows and seems to defeat the good in the world and in us, lies not so much in our not seeing the truth — we usually see it if we want to or eventually do; evil doesn’t exist just because we don’t believe in or truly know a loving, gracious God as revealed in Scriptures or Nature; evil doesn’t thrive because we judge others or judge ourselves, whether legitimately or not. True Evil gains power when we choose to nurture it and save it to justify how we feel and act today. Real Evil purrs inside us like a half-asleep but watchful hyena, waiting to pounce on the corpses of our sins and errors, fears and pride. Evil rejoices in its continued half-life that comes from our inability to let it go, to walk away, to lay down the gauntlet of truth about our need to resurrect the dead zombies of our yesterdays. Evil delights in preventing us from doing the very most loving Good-thing we can do for ourselves and others — forget about it, forgive it, and choose love.

I have wasted so much of my life, my time, my mindfulness, my wholeness and my joy, by going back to the parking lots of my memories and picking up more dust to put back on the soles of my shoes. I just keep picking away at these past problems, slights, sorrows, fears, worries, angers, irritations, etc. etc. — picking at negative thoughts like scabs on soft skin. And the dust? — the bloody scabs? — Oh, those are what evil loves. Evil can’t stand a clean slate of forgiveness and a pure moment of release. Evil can’t stand a healed wound. Evil loves to throw the dust back on the soles of my “soul” and make me believe that if I let a scab heal over, I’m not dealing with reality, I’m letting someone or myself “off the hook”, or maybe I am just not smart enough to figure out a problem. And so evil becomes a reality most often, because I want it to be.

The problem is, when evil becomes reality, Goodness and God seem unreal, unattainable, and unknowable. And while Goodness and God may be mysterious, they are more real than any negative feeling or idea that has ever existed in the world and in the human heart or psyche. It is evil that we truly only see as if through a foggy, dim glass or broken mirror. Evil is the dust that will one day return to being but dust — shaken off and left behind. When God’s Kingdom Life is lived by human beings on earth as Jesus did, and lived in heaven as God does, then Evil won’t be real at all any more. But Goodness, Faith, Love, Light, and Truth — those things will remain and be more real than any reality we ever knew, more real than our deepest longings and our wildest imaginations.

Good Things are what Life is really made of. Goodness is what you and I are really made of. And the ultimate Good, which is Love, is what our God-image is made of, because God’s reality is only Love and that kind of Love is Pure Light and Joyful Truth. And that is the only worldview that has ever truly existed; on our planet, in all religions, all kingdoms and nations, all communities and families. It is not just label, it is reality. That is the Judeo-Christian worldview. And I don’t want to step away from it or leave it in the dust.

Questions:

  • What do you need to shake the dust off of Today, Now; so your feet are free and your soul is free to move forward on the path of Tomorrow, Then, in truth, righteousness, freedom, and joy?
  • Who do you need to stop treating like a pig who can’t eat a pearl and instead, treat them as a fellow human being who is in need of a little more time to find the narrow path and The Way of Christ today? I try to remember as instructed to do, that tomorrow, I might need someone else’s help to see pearls of wisdom for the gifts they are. I remind myself of all the times I used wisdom and truth as weapons and all the times I felt someone was hurling little stones at me, because I couldn’t yet make out that they were throwing me pearls, full of worth and beauty.
  • Where do you need to walk away from today? How do you need to journey away from the Past, and toward a Now that believes the Then has much to teach us; a glimmer of a reality we can have in part Today?
  • What scabs do you need to let heal over? What fear is keeping you from letting past hurts be buried? Who do you need to forgive so you can move forward? Is it really so hard to forgive another person for what they did so you can find goodness within your soul today? Of course, it may be that the hardest person to forgive is yourself, and if that is true, then I have found that Jesus can come in quite handy.
  •  And finally, how can you more fully embrace the reality and follow the truths of your own Best, Good -defeating -Evil Loving Worldview? You may only see it dimly now — as in a fun-house mirror or a scratched up darkened window pane, but believe me — it is real and at the very minimum, you owe it at least a chance to affect the world and infect your soul with Goodness and Love and Life.

A final teaching from Jesus about how to see through the fog to the reality of a consistent, motivating and healing Worldview. This is a story about a Good Man facing the Temptations of Evil.

When Jesus was tempted in the desert, he was tempted to deny the realities of this world (turn these stones into bread and no one will ever go hungry again). Then he was tempted to worship the reality of what power can accomplish when wielded over the reality of what love is meant to accomplish. (Satan assured him that the end always justifies the means). Finally, Christ was tempted to believe that as long as he had the right labels, God would protect him from the reality of the material world and twist the reality of the spiritual world to suit Jesus’ desires. (Jump from this high tower and angels will appear to save you.) Jesus was tempted with the idea that Good was relative and that morals could be used for political ends. Satan responded to Jesus with his own carefully chosen verses from the Bible, wielded as personal defenses against doing God’s Good Will, and some cleverly warped manufactured interpretations of Scripture. Jesus was starving and alone but he knew Satan’s worldview for what it was — evil masquerading as a means to justify a good end.

Jesus was tempted by The Evil One to abuse his divine power over the very qualities that all humans share and that God in infinite wisdom gifted to the World of human beings. We are all connected and gifted by God with these three things: our needs, our abilities, and our dreams. But we are also each and every one of us tempted to abuse our humanness by corrupting our divine natures. We do this by corrupting our own understanding of what we need with what we merely desire. We misuse our abilities when we use them only for our own personal gain or glory and not for the good of our fellow humans or the solvency of the Earth or the worship of our God. And we confuse our dreams for our rights, when we put lies to truth, or choose greed over love. We struggle in our confusion between our present reality in this needy, broken world and our longings and search for that perfect future World that we want to be a present and perfect Now.

Jesus was tempted to choose Evil means to achieve Good ends. He would later achieve both ends and means through pure love and perfect goodness. Jesus would choose miraculously good means to achieve eternally fulfilling life-giving ends.

Satan created evil temptations, out of the qualities and guidance given to all human beings, those that connected Jesus to all of us then and now. He was tempted through his needs (Jesus was hungry); his abilities (Jesus was powerful and smart); and his dreams (Jesus could have ruled the world). And do you know how he resisted? By being very, very sure of His Worldview.

I am not all that sure that what I think or do today will survive the future blindingly bright Light of Truth or that I will pass tomorrow’s Test of Being Good. I am not sure of myself at all in terms of my feelings; my feelings, maybe like yours, are a continually bubbling oxymoron made of the gossamer and steel of my broken needs, my eternal desires, and my personal life’s events. And I am not always too sure about God. (Remember that poem I wrote that one time entitled, “Maybe You Have Left Us?” Yeah. That.) It is probably why I love the Psalms as contained in the Tanakh; poems full of all our questions about God’s presence and humanity’s condition. No, it is very hard most days to be sure about the Mystery and Otherness of God. But I am sure of one thing and that is this — 

There is a way to view the world that is right and good and true. There is a way to see through the mists and the charades, just slightly, just temporarily, just humbly. There is A Way, and the dust and the scars can be left behind; and we can understand that there is absolutely both evil and good; but we can also have just enough small little bits of faith, that in the end, Good is always, always going to win over Evil.

Jesus shows me, that there is a way to love others as I want to be loved and that there is a way to love a Mysterious Being just as much as I want to have Someone love the mystery at the center of who I am meant to be. And because I am completely sure that those are realities that I have been circling around for all of my life, I will call it what it is — Our Judeo-Christian Worldview.

I don’t plan on stepping away from my search for the Worldview of the Judeo-Christians who infected the world with truth, justice, freedom, life, light, and love. I don’t plan on giving it up, any time soon, but I do hope to keep seeing how it changes and how it changes people. I hope it keeps changing me, radically, rationally, and realistically. I hope to keep believing that no matter what people call what they believe, all people who are trying to be better humans today than they were yesterday are God’s Chosen People. I hope I find that someday I no longer feel a need to either defend my strange, radical Judeo-Christian worldview, or even completely understand my worldview anymore. I hope someday that just like God intended, just as Scriptures teach us, just as Jesus lived it, I too will simply live my worldview and never look back.

©Jane Tawel2021

https://unsplash.com/photos/JZaYfGOPcbA

A Prayer of Sorts

A Prayer of Sorts

By Jane Tawel

October 25, 2020

Blown on a Breeze up the Sky............ Explored 26 July
“Blown on a Breeze up the Sky………… Explored 26 July” by -Reji is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Divine Power,

Choosing Divine Love instead,

You sort Yourself into the camp of

Gods Who Care.

*

Parent Progenitor,

Creating not fighting,

Wholeness, not chaos;

You sort your children out

 not with punishment but with the reward

of shalom eternal, fullness in peace, purpose as one with Yours.

*

Good and Holy,

Teacher and Magistrate,

Just and Truthful

Lover and Sage,

Wise and Gracious,

Cosmos and Heart-beat,

You Alone, You Within All.

*

You Are.

And when we ask, “Why You do not do?”

You ask, “Why do not you?”

When we cry, “Who are You?”

Your whispered caress is, “Who are you?”

When we plead, “Where are You?”

There is silence,

Because we have hidden too long and too well.

We are the hiders,

You are the Seeker.

To know where You are,

We only need to come out from our hiding places.

*

There is a sort of Spirit

That sorts the wheat from the chaff;

And all I must do

daily

 is decide

If I’ll allow

The Kind of God

 I think You are,

To sort my soul.

*

Oh, Great Conditioner,

This is a prayer of sorts.

Arrange the dust-motes

Of my soul

To be joined in Love

 with You

And All.

*

YHWH, I AM,

The door is open,

The path, narrow,

You ask us to Be as You Are,

And offer to Be With and In us.

*

That is all.

That is everything.

You Are.

Amen.

A Psalm in The Time of Pestilence

DNA Sculpture

(“DNA Sculpture” by ἀλέξ is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 )

 

 

A Psalm in The Time of Pestilence

By Jane Tawel

July 28, 2020

 

*

Oh, Great Epidemiologist,

Knower of each cell,

From Eden’s first

dusty particles of Atoms,

You created All.

*

You Who exist as Spirit Eternal,

And Parent-Progenitor, YOU

Understand all mysteries,

Even the greatest mystery of all—

The workings of the human

mind and body, will and heart.

*

Create in me, Oh, Heart of my heart,

a new auto-immune system,

a system of my own

made in the image of

Your perfect Noncoding DNA.

*

Create in me the antibodies needed

To be born anew; and

Reshape my very cellular make-up

To love recklessly

To live wisely,

To speak truthfully,

And to honor all that is Good;

For every Good comes from You.

*

Let me take the hard medicine

Of admitting my faults and wrongs,

To strengthen my will,

And heal my broken heart.

Deliver unto us weak mortals

The super-powers of Your Holy Health,

So that we may serve Your World

 and stand with those in need.

*

We pray not for our own sake,

But for the sake of our Charge,

This Aging Grandmother Earth,

 and all her children.

*

Forgive our abuse of all

You have so lovingly created,

Including our enemies.

Forgive our wandering and wanting–

Wandering away from The Way,

Wanting more than we need.

Forgive us, Beloved Nurturer.

*

Enable the young to envision

An Eden restored;

Strengthen the old to dream of

Heaven come down.

Reconstruct our very structure,

for You are the One,

who Imagines

grand planets and awesome stars,

and tiny, little cells.

You Alone are the Gardener of Universes,

And the Nursing Mother

Of our souls.

*

Create in all who would claim You as Doctor,

The willingness to fight the evils within

and to withstand the evils without.

*

Be merciful to us in all;

And in this Time of Peril.

Oh, Great Physician,

Healer of our souls,

Hear our prayer.

Amen.

© Jane Tawel 2020

Image for post

(Image from Manifest Miracles  and Love Motives Meditation)