Friday, April 12, 2019
This week controversy erupted, again, between Democrats and Republicans on questions of the meaning of sexuality and marriage. Let's short-step back from the political fracas and reflect on sexuality-marriage itself.
The meaning of human sexuality is deep, transcendent, complicated and controversial. Then there is the related question of marriage or not. It appears that no one can get away from the intense subject.
A few quotes to show the inexplicable contrariness and contradictory outlook of various human beings toward this incessantly fascinating topic of sexuality and marriage:
In some early Buddhism, such as the Theradvada writings, it was not possible for a woman to become a bodhisativa; a human is born a woman because of bad karma!
And most Buddhists chose celibacy.
Then there is the infamous verse by Paul in the New Testament:
“It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.”
1 Corinthians 7:1
And Orthodox Judaism' men's prayer thanking God for not making them a woman or a slave. And how women are unclean and have to take ritual baths.
On the other hand, some religious texts seem to glory in sexuality:
"Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth! For your love is better than wine:"
-Song of Songs, Chapter 1:2, Jewish Bible
"And God created the human in his image,
in the image of God...male and female...
And God blessed them, and God said to them,
Be fruitful and multiply
...and, look, it was very good."
"The [marriage] vows should be written like a dog's license that has to be renewed every year...I think vows should be changed because they've been in existence for 600 years when people used to live until they were only 35. So they only had to be with each other for 12 years, then they would die anyway. But now it's a big commitment because you're going to be with someone for 50 years. It's impossible...It's such a rarity for people to stay together that 68% of marriages fail. I don't want to urinate on the party, but one must consider that before getting married.
His rock anthem to romantic commitment:
"You're in my heart, you're in my soul
You'll be my breath should I grow old
You are my lover, you're my best friend
You're in my soul
My love for you is immeasurable
My respect for you immense
You're ageless, timeless, lace and fineness
You're beauty and elegance
You're a rhapsody, a comedy
You're a symphony and a play
You're every love song ever written...
You are my lover, you're my best friend
You're in my soul"
--Rock Musician Rod Stewart
“Sex is like pissing. People take it much too seriously."
--Famous Muralist and Painter Diego Rivera
“If I ever loved a woman, the more I loved her, the more I wanted to hurt her. Frida was only the most obvious victim of this disgusting trait.”
“Haven’t you read that at the beginning the Creator made them male and female and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’?”
Yeshua, Jewish prophet
“Chastity: The most unnatural of the sexual perversions."
"I think I could fall madly in bed with you."
“Vanity, revenge, loneliness, boredom, all apply: lust is one of the least of the reasons for promiscuity."
"How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.
I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right...
I love thee with the passion...I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life..."
-Elizabeth Barrett Browning
“To me heaven would be...two lovely houses in the town; one where I would have my wife and children and be monogamous and love them truly and well and the other where I would have my nine beautiful mistresses on nine different floors.”
“The sweetest joy, the wildest woe is love.”
-Philip James Bailey
“Now concerning the things about which you wrote, it is good for a man not to touch a woman.”
I Corinthians 7:1, New Testament
"Love is the word used to label the sexual excitement of the young, the habituation of the middle-aged, and the mutual dependence of the old."
"My own sexual mores...I do not believe that I should be passionately in love with my partner...and still less, married.
For there is a special and humanizing delight in erotic friendships with no strings attached..."
"My life would be much, much poorer were it not for certain
particular women with whom I have most happily and congenially committed adultery...”
-Philosopher Alan Watts
"I never knew how to worship until I knew how to love."
-Henry Ward Beecher
Roman and Grace are a married Spokane Indian couple. He is standing close to her with his basketball between them, as if the ball represents the expectant infant they will soon create…
“Michael Jordan is coming back again,” he said.
“You can’t fool me,” said Grace. “I heard it. That was just a replay.”
“Yeah, but I wish he was coming back again. He should always come back.”
“Don’t let it give you any crazy ideas.”
Roman pulled the basketball away and leaned even closer to Grace. He loved her, of course, but better than that, he chose her, day after day. Choice: that was the thing. Other people claimed that you can't choose who you love—it just happens!—but Grace and Roman knew that was a bunch of happy horseshit. Of course you chose who you loved...Damn, marriage was hard work, was manual labor, and unpaid manual labor at that. Yet, year after year, Grace and Roman had pressed their shoulders against the stone and rolled it up the hill together.
In their marriage bed, Roman chose Grace once more and brushed his lips against her ear.
Monogamous love and marriage
-From “Saint Junior” by Sherman Alexie
"In all, 10 women spoke to NPR about Alexie, who is a married man...but a clear pattern emerged: The women reported behavior ranging from inappropriate comments...unwanted sexual advances and consensual sexual relations that ended abruptly. The women said Alexie had traded on his literary celebrity to lure them into uncomfortable sexual situations.
WHY DO SO MANY HUMANS, ESPECIALLY LEADERS, (EVEN THOSE WHO AFFIRM MARRIAGE AND "LOVE") LEAD IMMORAL, HARMFUL LIVES?
Since sex only has 3 letters, how did it become a 4-letter word (to "plow" or "care" or "love")?
How does an instinctive procreative act characteristic of all humans
(and most forms of life down to fish and below) come to mean everything
from the degrading and sadistically obscene to the uplifting and creatively intimate?
From the violently aggressive to the joyfully receptive?
From one-sided selfishness to intimate communion of two lives?
Regardless of one’s worldview, most humans think humankind has reached a state in evolution
wherein individuals of our species can creatively use human innate characteristics,
adapting them for many different purposes and in very different ways.
This “plasticity” of human abilities enable billions of individuals to use their physical and brain skills, not only for time-immemorial practical acts such as plowing a field or constructing a building,
for transcendent goals or self-focused wants.
Humans can use their brains' consciousness and muscles to do acts that have no practicality at all such as play suspenseful sports in the Olympics or dance in complex moves across theater stages or construct beautiful poetic songs.
This “plasticity”—for good or ill--is, especially, true for human sexuality as shown by the wide variety of statements about sex by famous individuals as already shared.
Most of us aren’t too surprised by the sludge coming out in the media or by so-called red-necked vulgarity.
The guttural view of sex has probably been around since cavemen first spoke;-), but when brilliant well-educated humans glorify promiscuous sex, it is troubling and tragic.
So often in the news now, human sexuality
is very ambiguous with many strange variations,
and many of them destructive,
and so contrary to the Truth,
and the Beautiful.
We’re all sexual, and in different ways, but, hopefully, we don't major in being unfaithful, disloyal, and promiscuous and, even worse, declare our harmful dysfunctional behavior with pride to the world.
The Vietnamese Buddhist nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize, Thich Nhat Hanh, emphasized that humans seeking to become enlightened live their sexuality in enhancing ethical ways.
Yes, sexuality is a very powerful force/drive within humanity which has been shaped like soft plastic into countlessly different configurations by humans and their worldviews.
The earlier modern quote about the basketball player and his wife catches the true spirit of human sexuality, as God intends sexuality to be—a joyous monogamous life-long daily choice by two equals.
Let's say it again, sexuality is a whole life response by a couple committed to a life-long relationship, neither temporary glandular instinct nor a restricted negative necessity.
Here’s another fine explanation: “...Your understanding of love will change as you get older...I remember my second date...I totally lost my cool and told her I loved her. On our SECOND date!!"
"You know what? I recently told that very same girl how much I love her, and how glad I am that I married her...But what I meant when I really meant it 23 years ago is a lot different from what I mean when I really mean it today!"
"In 23 years, I’ve learned to put aside my selfishness more often, and I’ve learned more ways to love and cherish her...the heart of genuine love [in human sexuality] is an immovable decision to put your lover’s joy and welfare ahead of your own."
"Usually, you don’t fall into that kind of love; you climb into it. It’s not just something you feel [nor an instinctive urge]. It’s a decision you make.”
Duffy in Breakaway
Sexual love is a monogamous life-long commitment, a unique “ultimate” relationship—where two individuals give themselves to each other emotionally, mentally, and physically.
That’s true love.
True love (in the marriage sense) is unlike any other human relationship, except in some sacred writing where God is often spoken of as every individual human’s lover.
Indeed, romantic sexual imagery is often used in literature to describe the ecstasy of “knowing” God intimately. Makes sense doesn’t it?
YET now--in the midst of all of the sexual harassment, "Me, Too" bad news, there is the controversy of moral leader Peter Buttigieg versus moral leader Mile Pence, both even of the same religion, Christianity, who, while agreeing that sexual relations ought to be part of a monogamous, loving commitment for life,
YET they completely disagree about the nature of marriage!
Is marriage to only happen between a man and a woman (as held by traditional Christianity, Islam, and Judaism claims)
is marriage also right for a same sexual couple?
What do you think?
Please share your perspective.
To Be Continued:
In the Light,
Sunday, April 7, 2019
Tuesday, April 2, 2019
FROM Amnesty International:
"...recent reports of torture and ill-treatment of Jehovah’s Witnesses while in custody of [Russian]law enforcement officials. At least 40 people, including minors, were arrested during raids of Jehovah’s Witnesses’ homes in Surgut on 15 February."
"Amnesty International has examined evidence and carried out interviews with several persons who claim they were subjected to torture and other ill-treatment while in custody to extract “confessions” of participation in an “extremist organization”. Some victims reported threats of rape."
"Jehovah’s Witnesses Sergei Loginov, Artur Severinchik and Yevgeniy Fedin remain remanded in custody and are at serious risk of further torture and other ill-treatment. They are prisoners of conscience, detained solely for peacefully exercising their right to freedom of religion."
"Write a letter in your own words...to a Russian Government official.
You can also email, fax, call or Tweet them.
Yuriy Yakovlevich Chaika
Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation
Prosecutor General’s Office
ul. B. Dmitrovka, d.15a
125993 Moscow GSP- 3
Fax: +7 495 987 58 41; +7 495 692 17 25
Electronic form in Russian: https://bit.ly/2HxUenq
Twitter: @GenprocAmbassador Anatoly Antonov
Embassy of the Russian Federation
2650 Wisconsin Ave. NW, Washington DC 20007
Phone: 1 202 298 5700 I Fax: 1 202 298 5735
EXAMPLE OF EMAIL OR LETTER:
"Salutation: Dear Ambassador
"Dear Chairman of the Investigative Committee,
I am writing to express my utmost concern following recent reports of torture and ill-treatment of Jehovah’s Witnesses while in custody of law enforcement officials. At least 40 people, including minors, were arrested during raids of Jehovah’s Witnesses’ homes in Surgut on 15 February.
Amnesty International has examined evidence and carried out interviews with several persons who claim they were subjected to torture and other ill-treatment while in custody to extract “confessions” of participation in an “extremist organization”. Some victims reported threats of rape.
Jehovah’s Witnesses Sergei Loginov, Artur Severinchik and Yevgeniy Fedin remain remanded in custody and are at serious risk of further torture and other ill-treatment. They are prisoners of conscience, detained solely for peacefully exercising their right to freedom of religion.
I therefore urge you to immediately and unconditionally release Sergei Loginov, Artur Severinchik and Yevgeniy Fedin; and ensure that they are protected from torture and other ill-treatment, that allegations of torture and other ill-treatment against Sergei Loginov, Artur Severinchik and Yevgeniy Fedin, and other Jehovah’s Witnesses, are promptly, effectively and impartially investigated, and all responsible brought to justice.
READ THE FULL URGENT ACTION: Word or PDF
GET INSPIRED: Read about the people you have helped
READ TIPS for writing effective letters and emails
CONTACT US: email@example.com
See more at https://www.amnestyusa.org/take-action/urgent-action-network/
Stand up for the oppressed, imprisoned,abused, and impoverished,
Monday, April 1, 2019
Roger Williams ‘Rhode to Island and DIGG’D GEORGE FOX OUT OF HIS BURROUGH, OR SPIRIT OF HAT, QUAKERS' NECK BROKEN...
Yes, if you guessed, that is a twist of Roger Williams’ book against George Fox with the usual sort of 17th century jabberwock'd, long-winded odd title with alternative title, the usual 'tittle and jot' of unfriendly, theologically controversial religious argumentative pamphlets.
I do this in honour of the first day of April, to jog modern minds, and be excused for quackery punctionariness, today and not one jot or 'title' more.
But let me not jattle or jabber on (or slobber)...
So burrowing into the past...
Who was Burrough and why did Williams state he was going to get the first Quaker, George Fox foundering?
BURROUGH, EDWARD (1634–1663), Burrough, among the earliest Friends, wrote and street-spoke against notions of false Christian denominations. "...as a lad he was dissatisfied with the religious teaching of the Anglican church, and restlessly tried all the various forms...He decided to become a Friend, and, although only seventeen, offered himself as a minister, and was accepted. On account of this step he was disowned by his family, who declined his offer to remain with them as a hired servant. Burrough at once began to travel as a quaker minister...In 1653 he was imprisoned..."
Let's Lighten up...
On to that fox hunt...
Why did Roger Williams claim that he was going to dig Fox out of his Burrough?
Because, contrary to Quaker witness, Williams said that in Quakerism there is darkness, no inner light.
Why did George Fox marry Margret?
Margaret Fell for him.
Did you see the dog kennel in Quakertown, Pennsylvania?
The large sign outside proclaims, “There is that of dog in everyone.”
Hear of the Quaker store manager who refused to sell liquor, at least he said, not until he was in the spirits.
Instead, he sold tea—and sold so much of that he loved, totaling up his earnings!
Because you see, he was a ‘tea-totaler.’
Why do Friends still focus on over 365 years ago?
Because they are still sitting waiting for spiritual agreement!
And they keep splitting 'heirs' over various points
Like in the cases of Northwest, Indiana, North Carolina Yearly Meeting breakdowns
which cause them to do the splits and perform twisting 'gymnastical' unfriendly actions.
Why did Friends insist on wearing their hats?
They had a hatful attitude toward false, hypocritical religious and social customs.
Why are Friends like earth disasters?
Because they quake when found to be at fault by bad judges.
Why were Quakers considered strong?
Because on their Nantucket Island ships there were plenty of mussels.
Why do American Friends quake in embarrassment?
Because their most famous Quaker was Richard Nixon.
and other oldies...
"If you don't listen to or play gangsta rap or hip hop, what music do you Friends listen to, then?' asked a teen, tapping time to his I-Pod."
A humorous student from Friends School in North Carolina said, “Oh, Quake and Roll, Quaky Tonk, Quakeabilly, Quakem and Blues,
"Stupid! But I get yer lame jokes, even 'rapt' for 'rap,' except what does group'rapt' have to do with Quakers?"
"You need to visit Quaker meeting, and read The Journal of George Fox or John Woolman and listen to the spiritual songs of Jon Watts! We're talking spiritual rapture, man."
"Like the dictionary says, 'transported by spiritual feeling'."
Did you hear the one about the Quaker who raised ducks but didn’t like how they kept saying “Quack, quack.”
So he gave them crackers each time he got them to stop saying “quack, quack.” But then they started padding about his yard squawking, “Quacker, Quacker!”
Finally, he switched to feeding them with oats but wouldn't you know it, they squawked, “Quacker Oats!”
Heard about the Oregonian Quaker who didn't go to meeting for worship after all, but instead--hurrying through heavy fog--prayed before he walked into a bar on the way home?
He hadn't even had any spirits yet, but sure got a headache from that bar.
A man asked, "Why don't Friends take communion?"
The young adult Friend doing the welcoming, responded, "Well, see, since our coming into existence during the religious English Civil War in about 1646, we've felt it best to stay away from all theological 'feud.'"
A little confused, the middle-aged visitor stared blankly until his wife poked him and he, suddenly, got the double meaning and grinned.
Continuing, the Quaker said, "Just kidding. George Fox, when he had his mystical vision...came to realize holy communion is a group inward spiritual experience, not an outward supernatural ritual. God is within us, not in bread and wine."
"Hmm..." the visitor responded, "no vestments, no priest, no Eucharist? As an economist by career, I would say that's putting a lot of 'investment' into a bunch of people sitting silently, waiting for spiritual insight.
What 'prophet' is there in that? Are you sure this George Fox knew what he was talking about? Rejecting 1,500 years of church doctrine?"
The Quaker answered, "We Friends hope so. Many rituals have 'mass' appeal, but that doesn't mean they are good food or spirits."
A Quaker business leader and his wife were visiting old Friends meeting houses in North Carolina. They were from the largest Friends Church in the West, Newport Beach, California Yearly Meeting, an Evangelical branch of the Friends.
He stopped his new BMW on the edge of an old cemetery and a stone Quaker meeting house near the tiny rural settlement of Elias, North Carolina. Then stared with disappointment at the old plain building.
"Look, Margaret, it doesn't even have a cross on top. What a 'hick' site!
It shows what happens when some country Friends adopted liberalism."
An 'Aesop' Quaker
When Margaret heaved
That large rock sideways off
of 10,000 lakes,
All those 50ish sky blue-bear-dancing waters,
(Not in Fox's Lake District of England)
Where her paddling retriever
Not by that rock...
Bellowing and shouting,
her father pulled her out from
where Margaret fell
(not Adam's or Eve's because that
is Augustinian jottle)
She got lectured as she shivered
There on the lake pier--
(Her pooch commiserating),
A sopping imbalance
Thursday, March 28, 2019
From Network movie on media: “I don't know what to do about…the Russians and [Syria, Afghanistan, illegal aliens, etc.]
“All I know is that first you've got to get mad. [shouting] You've got to say: 'I'm a human being…
But first, get up out of your chairs,
open the window,
stick your head out,
AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE
For the last few years, especially in politics and religion, life has become so troubling, with even more wrong and unethical speeches, actions, and behavior by conservatives and liberals.
I’ve alternated between a sense of hopelessness and my commitment to the Good no matter what, but this last few weeks,
with the reality show of the American government getting much worse, even its defending freedom-denying Saudi Arabia's persecutions, ruthless murder and bombings, all the constant uncivilly by Republicans and Democrats, the endless falsehoods....
I feel like—without the name-calling, demeaning, bullying and lying—going to my window here on the central coast of California and YELLING, "I'm as mad as hell...
HOWEVER, while that scream might relieve some of my angst, anger against injustice and selfishness of Americans, and anger against horrific religious and non-religious beliefs, etc., it wouldn't solve any of the seemingly endless wrongs being committed.
What solutions do you have to overcome this many headed-hydra debacle of the 21st century?
HERE'S MY PLAN OF ACTION (after I rant and rave against all the WRONGS, ALL THE INJUSTICE, ALL THE ARROGANCE, SELFISHNESS...)
1. Write another email for Amnesty International for a prisoner of conscience.
2. Vote for CIVIL political leaders to replace the mess.
3. Offer LIFE-STANCE alternatives to the horrors of creedal Christianity, Islam, etc.
4. Continue to support outreach organizations such as World Vision, MCC, Habitat for Humanity, etc.
which make practical real-life differences to individual humans suffering from impoverishment, injustice,
inequality, lack of clean water, and so forth.
5. Urge more people to read Enlightenment Now by psychologist Steven Pinker, and other books supporting reason, compassion moral realism, altruism, equality, human rights, and justice.
6. Write more articles, poems, and fiction for Goodness' sake.
7. Continue to search for a local group which works for human flourishing and the wonder of God.
8. Seek new ways to live a true life.
9. Keep in mind the wise words of Howard Zinn (and others) when we continue to face immorality and injustice year after year:
"TO BE HOPEFUL in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness.
"What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives…If we remember those times and places…where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction.
"And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.
"I refuse to accept despair as the final response to the ambiguities of history. I refuse to accept the idea that the "isness" of man's present nature makes him morally incapable of reaching up for the eternal "oughtness" that forever confronts him.
--Martin Luther King Jr.
"True religion consisted in an inward life, wherein the heart does love and reverence God the Creator, and learns to exercise true justice and goodness...I found no narrowness respecting sects and opinions, but believed that sincere, upright-hearted people, in every society, who truly love God, were accepted of him.
In the Light of Truth, Goodness, and Civility,
Sunday, March 24, 2019
Reading is "our consciousness in someone else's mind,"* whether in the literary sense of being within a fictional character or an actual biographical individual, or in the seemingly unending raveling mind of a book's writer.
-verbal image by journalist and novelist Anna Quindlen
“Books are love letters (or apologies) passed between us, adding a layer of conversation beyond our spoken words.”
-Donalyn Miller, The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader...
"In books, I have traveled not only to other worlds, but into my own. I learned who I was and who I wanted to be, what I might aspire to...the difference between good and evil, right and wrong."
“Part of the great wonder of reading is that it has the ability to make human beings feel more connected to one another, which is a great good...”
-Anna Quindlen, How Reading Changed My Life
Of course, it can have the opposite effect, depending upon who is doing the reading. Some of the most evil-acting humans in history have been avid readers. Napoleon was a voracious reader, as was Ioseb Besarionis dze Jughashvili (birth name of the Georgian leader who adopted the noms de guerre of Stalin)
The latter amassed a library of 25,000 books! And he was a poet.
(Side Note: And that's another humanistic fallacy--that poets are somehow more sensitive and more humane than the average human, than business leaders and engineers, and other non-literary types. Yet not only was Soso a published poet, so was the murderous Ho Chi Minh, etc.)
Since, I mentioned Stalin and Napoleon, maybe that is a strong place to start listing powerful books which have dynamically affected me:
NAPOLEON by Alan Schom
YOUNG STALIN by Simon Sebag Montefiore
LOST PROPHET: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF BAYARD RUSTIN by John D'Emilio
THE OUTPOST: JOHN MCLOUGHLIN AND THE FAR NORTHWEST by Dorothy Nafus Morrison
STEPHEN F. AUSTIN by Gregg Cantrell
THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS by Rebecca Skloot
THE PASSION OF AYN RAND by Barbara Branden
WADE HAMILTON by Rod Andrew Jr.
FOUNDING BROTHERS by Joseph J. Ellis
FOOLS GOLD: CAPTAIN JOHN SUTTER by Richard Dillion
THOMAS PAINE: APOSTLE OF FREEDOM by Jack Fruchtman
CITIZEN THOMAS PAINE by Howard Fast
NO ONE GETS OUTSIDE by Jerry Hopkins and Danny Sugerman
STEVEN JOBS AND EINSTEIN by Walter Isaacson
THOMAS JEFFERSON by Fawn Brodie
THE FIRST MUSLIM by Lesley Hazelton
MACHIAVELLI by Ross King
ONCE UPON A COUNTRY by Sari Nusseibeh
FREEDOM AT MIDNIGHT by Larry and Dominique Lapierre
FRANCO by Paul Preston
CARL SAGAN: A LIFE IN THE COSMOS by William Poundstone
SUBTERRANEAN KEROUAC by Ellis Amburn
ERASMUS OF CHRISTENDOM by Roland Bainton
MICHAEL COLLINS by James Mackay
THE BONESETTER'S DAUGHTER by Amy Tan
ALASKA by James Michener
11/22/63 by Stephen King
DARK MATTER by Blake Crouch
SPEAKER FOR THE DEAD by Orson Scott Card
THE FOUNTAINHEAD by Ayn Rand
OPEN SEASON by C.J. Box
THE COLONIALISTS: HISTORICAL NOVEL OF AUSTRALIA by William Stuart Long
ST-NG: GHOST SHIP by Diane Carey
THE CHILDREN OF HAMLIN by Carmen Carter
THE ALTAR OF EDEN by James Rollins
FACE TO FACE by Karleen Koen
THE ORIGIN by Irving Stone
BLUEHEART by Alison Sinclair
WEST OF EDEN by Harry Harrison
FAILURE TO APPEAR by J.A. Jance
BIRTHRIGHT by Nora Roberts
ILL WIND by Nevada Barr
MIST by Miguel de Unamuno
GONE WITH THE WIND by Margaret Mitchell
FLOWERS FOR ALGERNON by Daniel Keyes
FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS by Ernest Hemingway
LISTENING WOMAN by Tony Hillerman
HYPERION by Dan Simmons
MIDNIGHT by Dean Koontz
ALBION'S SEED by David Hackett Fischer
BEAR FLAG RISING by Dale L. Walker
GOD'S ALMOST CHOSEN PEOPLES by George C. Rable
THE PRINCE OF THE MARSHES by Rory Stewart
JESUS WARS by Philip Jenkins
TEXAS AND TEXANS IN THE CIVIL WAR by Ralph A. Wooster
AMERICAN NATIONS by Colin Woodward
A HISTORY OF KANE COUNTY by Martha Sonntag Bradley
POLK by Walter R. Borneman
ZEPHANIAH KINGSLEY JR. AND THE ATLANTIC WORLD by Daniel L. Schafer
A GLORIOUS DEFEAT: MEXICO IN AND ITS WAR WITH THE U.S. by Timothy J. Henderson
RINGSIDE SEAT TO A REVOLUTION by David Dorado Romo
TO END ALL WARS by Adam Hochschild
THE FIRST WORLD WAR by John Keating
LONDON: A HISTORY by A.N. Wilson
TEAM OF RIVALS by Doris Kearns Goodwin
THE ISLAND AT THE CENTER OF THE WORLD by Russell Shorto
MAYFLOWER by Nathaniel Philbrick
THE LIVES OF THE KINGS AND QUEENS OF ENGLAND by Antonia Frazer
HEAVENLY SERBIA: FROM MYTH TO GENOCIDE by Branimir Anzulovic
PHILOSOPHY, RELIGION and ETHICS:
AMONG THE DEAD CITIES by A.C. Grayling
GOD AND THE REACH OF REASON by Erik J. Wielenberg
INVENTING HUMAN RIGHTS by Lynn Hunt
50 VOICES OF DISBELIEF Edited by Blackford and Schuklenk
HOW JESUS BECAME GOD by Bart Ehrman
UNDERSTANDING THE APOCALYPSE by Wilfrid J. Harrington
A SHORT HISTORY OF MYTH by Karen Armstrong
WHEN GOD TALKS BACK by T.M. Luhrmann
ADAM, EVE, AND THE SERPENT by Elaine Pagels
FEELING GOOD by David Burns
SCALING THE SECULAR CITY by J.P. Moreland
A REFUTATION OF MORAL RELATIVISM by Peter Kreeft
SOPHIE'S WORLD by Justein Gaarder
WHAT THE BUDDHA TAUGHT ME by Walpola Rahula
THE MIND'S I by Douglas Hofstadter and Daniel C. Dennett
WHY PEOPLE BELIEVE WEIRD THINGS by Michael Shermer
LEAVING THE FOLD by Edward Babinski
THE TRUE BELIEVER by Eric Hoffer
PROTESTANT CHRISTIANITY by John Dillenberger and Claude Welch
THE HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE PEOPLE by Stephen R. Covey
DYNAMICS OF FAITH by Paul Tillich
HOW IT BEGAN and HOW IT ENDS by Chris Impey
THE ANCESTOR'S TALE by Richard Dawkins
FAITH VERSUS FACT by Jerry A. Coyne
WHY EVOLUTION IS TRUE by Jerry A. Coyne
FINDING DARWIN'S GOD by Kenneth R. Miller
THE BIG QUESTIONS IN SCIENCE AND RELIGION by Keith Ward
THE ROCKS DON'T LIE by David R. Montgomery
DARWIN'S DANGEROUS IDEA by Daniel C. Dennett
In the Light,
Tuesday, March 12, 2019
I age into olding years, and my mind forgets what I did yesterday or--smoke!
--already forgot I turned on the broiler 10 minutes ago.
Even the name of my favorite poet won’t show up in my mind, and I have to go over
to one of our many bookshelves and run my fingers down until a biography of her shows up.
Yet in the middle of the many a sleepless night, my brain harps on mistakes, also-ran diligent efforts, regrets, tragedies of 30, 40, 50 years ago...
So it was serendipitous that recently I came across an old Walt Whitman poem—“O Living always...”
O LIVING always—Always dying!
O the burials of me past and present,
O me while I stride ahead, material, visible, imperious as ever;
O me, what I was for years, now dead, (I lament not, I am
O to disengage myself from those corpses of me, which I turn
and look at where I cast them,
To pass on, (O living! always living!) and leave the corpses
I’m not imperious, and am confused why Whitman would still be wielding such a corpse-creating wrong.
BUT I do find myself dragging untold numbers of heavy former corpses—chained to me now, dragging me down and backward—
as I struggle up life’s sisyphusian mountain crag.
And dragging dead 'me’s' is far more difficult than rolling a large rock like the Greek did.
So, in this new year of 2019, every day, I resolved and am working each day to cut loose more past 'me’s'
the dead ashed lapses of the past,
and cast them backward into
the before n’ gone chasm.
Rejoicing in growing Redwood sprouts I planted in the past, here and now, I am--
LIVING THE A’S
To become new in the present moment, not be a corpse’d has been—regressing, regretting, reverting…
As the wise teacher Thich Nhat Hanh wrote:
In the Light,