Wednesday, October 14, 2020

In this time of Simplistic Extremisms, Consider, instead, the PARADOX OF TRUTH

Religous thought often seems dysfunctionally extreme, so very false. On one side are the exclusivists, the theological determinists (who I have already dealt with in past blogs), ones who claim God only wills to save a limited number of humans, and the rest of us are preordained to Hell for his pleasure and glory. Pray tell me where the Good News is in that hopeless despair.

On the other side, are the inclusivists, the universalists who emphasize that all humans will be saved, that Hell will eventually be emptied. This sounds so good and has found strong support among great moral leaders of the past from Origen in the 4th century to the 20th century Greek scholar William Barclay. The position has recently been championed by Quaker writers Phillip Gulley and James Mulholland. But there is a huge problem here as well. See below.

In the New Testament, Jesus, instead, speaks in paradoxes. Consider this statement: Matthew 7:14 NASB "For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it."

Why does Jesus talk so exclusively at this point when elsewhere in the biblical text, he is the ultimate inclusivist/universalist? He emphasizes how God is not willing for anyone to perish in his or her wrong ways, that God is like a father who longs for the return of his wayward sons and daughters, like a woman who rejoices when her precious possession that was lost is found.

Here’s the key: As appealing as the universalism of the Good News is of what use is it to tell everyone that all people are loved, are of inherent worth, if we don’t help each individual change, overcoming his wrong actions?

For in fact, at this very moment multi-millions of particular individual humans are living in minor or major hells on earth or ‘living like hell’ hurting others.

Of what use are liberal religious platitudes, no matter how wonderful they sound theoretically, if in fact we aren’t seeking to help ourselves and others to change toward the Good, the Just and the Compassionate right now?

Of what use is theology claiming truth when at present Christians and Muslims are killing each other allegedly for God? Of what use is universalism when at present multi-millions of individuals are suffering loss, being selfish, living immorally, being discriminated against, drinking to excess, abusing others or being abused, making war, living in pride, greed, lust, envy...?

The Truth, the Good News, is only universal in the here and now when it is accepted, when we turn from our wrong thoughts, deceitful choices, egocentric ways, bad actions.

The True, Good, and Compassionate is constantly real, but when we as humans refuse to respond to the Truth, the Good, and the Loving in actual living situations, those moral truths are again crucified within us, and others suffer because of our wrong choices.

This is Jesus’ point! For example, Jesus loves the rich young man, but he can’t help him when the young man refuses to give up his hoarding, his greed and personally accept the truth and change, becoming generous and sharing.

The way to Truth is narrow though the Truth of the way is as wide as infinity:-)

In the Light of Truth, Justice, Equality, and Compassion,

Dan Wilcox

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Stepping Through the Door in a Crisis

Most humans spend their time looking through windows…but others take a big step to meet a new challenge or to explore a different world than their past settled ways. They step through the door, cross the threshold and change their future. --Anon

How might you step through the door to meet a new challenge or to explore a different world than your past settled ways?

How have you in the past made a major decision to cross a threshold?

What was the result of your decision?

At present we are facing a number of crises in 2020. Many are looking through windows, trying to keep what is or return to the past.

Write about how you might step through the door to explore a different world than your past.

Monday, September 14, 2020

Heroic: A Passing Teenager Saved a Mother and Children from Their Burning Car


"A teen rescued a mother and three children, including a 1-year-old in a car seat, from a burning car in Waterbury on Wednesday and police have honored him for his bravery.

The parking lot at 24 Swift Place in Waterbury still has charred remains of an SUV, which was fully engulfed in flames when first responders arrived Wednesday afternoon. The scene could’ve been one of a terrible tragedy if not for the courageous act of an 18-year old.

Trapped inside the SUV, just before it burst into flames, were a mother and three small children.
“I felt helpless,” said Latrisha Chambers of Waterbury. “All I could do is pray. I was screaming for help.”

Jaylah, Ellie and Isaiah, ages 9, 4 and 1, were inside with their mother before Justin Gavin ran to their aid.

Gavin, the passing teenager said, “As I saw the car coming, I saw the little kids in the back, I kept yelling, the car’s on fire. The car’s on fire,” said Gavin, who was just getting off a bus in the area when he witnessed what was happening.
"...said he saw the flames flickering beneath the car, beginning to build when he started to help the children from the burning vehicle.
“I told the little girl to unbuckle her seatbelt as fast as she can so when I threw open the door, I could just pull them out,” said Gavin.

Chambers said she was in shock during the frightening moments while Gavin was assisting.

“He’s like get out, get out,” said Chambers. “Everybody’s like you got to get out, it’s on fire and I didn’t know it was on fire.”

Gavin said he doesn’t scare easily but in this case was nervous. “I was kind of scared because I’ve never seen a burning car before.”

To recognize the heroic effort, Waterbury Police honored Gavin Wednesday, giving him something normally reserved for officers themselves, the chief’s commemorative coin.

Meanwhile Chambers has a message for Gavin, the person she refers to as her angel. “There’s nothing I could do to show you or ever repay what you did for me and my children, ever,” she said.

The event may have had an altering effect on Gavin’s life too. Before this he had dropped out of school. Now he is not only considering returning but is thinking about a career as a first responder.

“I probably most likely will join the police force or become a firefighter,” he said. “Because after yesterday I feel like there’s more people that can be helped.”

You can watch the video of police honoring Gavin..."

Friday, September 4, 2020

"Half of U.S. Christians say casual sex between consenting adults is sometimes or always acceptable"--So contrary to what is true; contrary to moral realism

Wow! These PEW statistics show most Americans reject what is a central moral truth--that sexual relations ought to be lived in a life-long committed relationship of a loving couple. That sexual promiscuity is ALWAYS morally wrong.

So bizarre that even half of U.S. Christians say "casual sometimes or always acceptable."

What I am convinced of, however, is that moral realism is true--that fidelity and commitment are true for all humans.

But according to PEW not any longer.

FROM PEW: "Half of Christians say casual sex – defined in the survey as sex between consenting adults who are not in a committed romantic relationship – is sometimes or always acceptable. Six-in-ten Catholics (62%) take this view, as do 56% of Protestants in the historically Black tradition, 54% of mainline Protestants and 36% of evangelical Protestants."

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Memories: a time for in the fall...

A time for...

In the fall a time for springing

festivals of Monet-splashed leaves
that my sister and I raked and piled high
in the deep ditch in front
and jumped down into,

and our large garden behind the parsonage
with pumpkins, melons, and withered corn rows...

and lightning bugs on the wane,
flashing on and off

full of fall...

--Dan Wilcox

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Words of Hope and Moral Choice even in the worst evil

In Every Crisis
when flailed, blind-sided,
going down fast in
a basket abyss shrivel of worth-loss
and hope fails all drowned,
do we launch deeper into the deep?

do we weep,
do we shrive?

for in every crisis

*From crawler to butterfly--chrysalis
Even in the worst, most evil events, each of us still has the difficult possibility of heeding Viktor Frankl’s shocking words about their horrific experiences in Auschwitz Concentration Camp:

“Between stimulus [even trying to survive at Auschwitz!] and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response.
In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
“As we see it, an analogous relationship between the realm of human freedom and a realm superior to man is quite imaginable,
so that man is endowed with free will...”
Viktor E. Frankl, survivor of Auschwitz Concentration Camp. However, his wife died in Bergen Belsen.

“(26 March 1905 – 2 September 1997 was an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist, and a Holocaust survivor, of Theresienstadt, Auschwitz, Kaufering and T├╝rkheim. Frankl was the founder of logotherapy (literally "healing through meaning") a meaning-centered school of psychotherapy…part of existential and humanistic psychology theories. He is the author of over 39 books; he is most noted for his best-selling book Man's Search for Meaning based on his experiences in various Nazi concentration camps...
"In 1941 he married his first wife Tilly Grosser, who was a station nurse at the Rothschild hospital. Soon after they were married, she became pregnant but they were forced to abort the child. Tilly died in the Bergen Belsen concentration camp. His father Gabriel died in the Terezin concentration camp (Theresienstadt) in 1942. His mother and brother, Walter, were both killed in Auschwitz."
from Wikipedia

In the Light of Moral Realism,

Dan Wilcox

Saturday, August 15, 2020

pebbled poems strewn along the shore of this life

First pub. in The Houston Review

utah bolder

eye widening rock
pastels bold in harvest's sun--
basalt garden wonder


dying leaves fluttering
oaks and aspen into glory


at the park's bat box

my grandson scooping up handfuls
of dust
and swinging it loose--
fogged clouds
lighted by sunshine
that disperse
back to cleated ground


gull wings
lightly spraying over gray clod fields

6-year drought--
so 'irrigating'!




date palms swaying up
in crimson's sky
feather dusting


Lapping Ideas

Backstroking across the ceiling
white gulls of light arcing
wing refraction

from the high intensity bulbs above
that shekel-flash on the blue body waves of the pool
bright incandescent—dare we say transcendent—lights

swimming in this liquid marble
strikes of lightening broken
and broken on the waves
like archetypes that shimmer in this cavern
and electrify under water across the blue cement,
chimeras of our mental synapses;

After the swim, stepping out the glass door
into the brilliant sunlight--

Shades of Plato.


shadowed mail box
overwhelmed by green, purple
bloom jungled wonder



a trail of dashes
translucent on our red brick--
night's telltale caller


lines, no white clothes but
birds black in a row clothes-pinned
to telephone wires



starbacked night, coffee-drunk sky:
rows of cars metal
at the red orb,

a lone skateboarder foot-struts,
waiting for the flash of sage green
his board-wheeler a bill of adding
getting a toehold
from the faceless

hidden in their dark auto glass

when all dreams night
into marred perception


Fog rising in the west
Watercolor washed
Horizon faded jean
Sky filled east
By the blazing sun
Central Valley


falling like cold ash--prayer in our last hour


dusked stars, galactic stream--shimmering in twilight


snow falls to crystal
path deep white over my knees--
light inside my head


ice melts
clear splashes on the teak matt
our heat,
'tinder' intense caresses
and our slushious kiss


warped fence boards in sand
lean askew toward green windbreak--
old gnarled cypress


horse trailer rattles
by curved eucalyptus leaves
that skit to gutter


yellow-beaked birds perch
in the wind-shifted branches
clamorous squawking


Cambria fire

green vines wind up fences
bursting with succulent grapes--
but dusted in ash


crinkly gray strands caught
in my black brush of bristles
approaching heir time


Up Early

In the gray-hazed dawn
Pale light blossoms
Softly explode from a violet tree
Rising by a jade-green hedge
Birdsong morning


Night Watch Psalm

Walled granite
One mile
Below the rocked rim
In the rusted Canyon
Rushing Colorado
River russet copper;
Nearby in the evened dusk
I lay ‘stilled,’ a silent psalm
In the shine
Of that lighted granite
Eyes wide in the dawn
Of that Night



Seek the moral compass
Round the world ringed
Don't pass by on the other side;
Be passionate
And encompass
Love's Sphere


when one doesn't
see the dark


Some poems first pub. in The Green Silk Journal, Stylus Poetry Journal, Idlewheel, ink sweat and tears, 4 and 20 poetry, Full of Crow, The Cherry Blossom Review, etc.

In poetry's lightness,

Dan Wilcox