Author: Tisha Anderson

Food for Thought: Being in the Question, September 4, 2019

Food for Thought: Being in the Question, September 4, 2019

Our mid-week services are designed for open discussion among a group of people with diverse philosophies and beliefs. These are the notes from those meetings, and reflect the desire to explore thought within and outside the Christian tradition. They do not represent official doctrine, but a willingness to explore our shared humanity. As such, they are somewhat incomplete without the experience of actual discussions. We post them here for the sake of those who would like to have them but cannot always make it out to a mid-week service.

Being in the Question

 The Lamb, by William Blake

Little Lamb who made thee

Dost thou know who made thee

Gave thee life & bid thee feed.

By the stream & o’er the mead;

Gave thee clothing of delight,

Softest clothing wooly bright;

Gave thee such a tender voice,

Making all the vales rejoice!

 

Little Lamb who made thee

Dost thou know who made thee

 

Little Lamb I’ll tell thee,

Little Lamb I’ll tell thee!

 

He is called by thy name,

For he calls himself a Lamb:

He is meek & he is mild,

He became a little child:

I a child & thou a lamb,

We are called by his name.

 

Little Lamb God bless thee.

Little Lamb God bless thee.

 

 

TheTyger, by William Blake

Tyger Tyger, burning bright,

In the forests of the night;

What immortal hand or eye,

Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

 

In what distant deeps or skies.

Burnt the fire of thine eyes?

On what wings dare he aspire?

What the hand, dare seize the fire?

 

And what shoulder, & what art,

Could twist the sinews of thy heart?

And when thy heart began to beat,

What dread hand? & what dread feet?

 

What the hammer? what the chain,

In what furnace was thy brain?

What the anvil? what dread grasp,

Dare its deadly terrors clasp!

 

When the stars threw down their spears

And water’d heaven with their tears:

Did he smile his work to see?

Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

 

Tyger Tyger burning bright,

In the forests of the night:

What immortal hand or eye,

Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

 

Further ideas about Nonduality/Unitive Consciousness 

  • NOT saying that there is no difference, but holding both in a single source
  • The essence of life, which is unitive, creates both the lamb and the tiger
  • Everything belongs

 I have talked in the past about “both/and” instead of “either/or”—which we see in particle physics, for example, which insists that light is BOTH and wave AND a particle.

 

Blake explores but does not answer the question, “Did he who made the Lamb make thee?”

  • It is not about avoiding the reality of the differences, nor coming to a certainty about the underlying reality, but holding in the mind something perhaps “too wonderful” for comprehension, so to speak.

(A simple and emphatic “yes, he made both” just circumvents the depth of the pondering sometimes with an “I don’t want to think about it any further” decision.)

The question, “How did these two come from the same source?” doesn’t get quick satisfaction!

Another subject with questions that are “left open”—Death

Does he who makes alive also kill?

‘Now see that I, even I, am He,

And there is no God besides Me;

I kill and I make alive;

I wound and I heal;

Nor is there any who can deliver from My hand.

What happens when we die?

Why does the Bible say it is the “last enemy” to be defeated? Is it always an enemy in the Bible? In life? In Spiritual experience?

Does God need it for the time being for the plan to come to pass?

Why do good people often die early and wicked people live on and on?

 

Are questions without final answers part of spiritual growth and development?

Why is the poet OK with remaining in the question?

Does spiritual growth demand that we let go our need for control of the answers?

 

A Lamb who knows that somehow God is also responsible for the tiger

“The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb,

The leopard shall lie down with the young goat,

The calf and the young lion and the fatling together;

And a little child shall lead them.

 The cow and the bear shall graze;

Their young ones shall lie down together;

And the lion shall eat straw like the ox.

 The nursing child shall play by the cobra’s hole,

And the weaned child shall put his hand in the viper’s den.

 They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain,

For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord

As the waters cover the sea.

 

Despite the unanswered questions, the biblical vision is for the transformation of the tigers, while the little lambs remain the same. (speaking of humans here now)

Jesus the Lamb (also the Lion), calls “sheep among wolves”

A lamb who knows the one who also made the wolf—what a trip!

He who bears the sword is a minister of god.

                              The authorities that are set up are to be respected. (despite being under wicked influence)

But still aiming at their transformation and riddance of violence.

What difficulty! What unanswered questions!

Honorable Mentions: The Religion of Jesus: not the Kingdom of God, September 1, 2019

Honorable Mentions: The Religion of Jesus: not the Kingdom of God, September 1, 2019

What are Honorable Mentions?  They are the quotes, book references, videos, etc that may have been brought up during Sunday’s sermon and are posted here in case somebody would like to check them out.  Please remember that all references occurred within the context of the sermon.  Sermon delivered by Pastor Bryan Hackett. 

Bible References:  

Revelation 11:15; Matthew 4:9-11; I John 5:19; John 18:36; John 6:14-15; Isaiah 8:14; Matthew 16:23.

Books:

The Upside Down Kingdom, by Donald Kraybill (Amazon link to the book, the church does not profit if you choose to purchase, https://www.amazon.com/Upside-Down-Distinguished-Professor-Emeritus-Kraybill/dp/1513802496/ref=sr_1_2?crid=39XBMQN2GD75Y&keywords=the+upside+down+kingdom&qid=1567697460&s=gateway&sprefix=the+upside+down+kingd%2Caps%2C446&sr=8-2)

Readings:  

A few pages were read from the chapter “The Grand Inquisitor” from The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky.  Here is a link to a wikibooks page where you can find the entire chapter (scroll down and click on the appropriate link under texts.  There are also links for further information about the book, etc.)  https://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/The_Grand_Inquisitor

Poems by Hafiz:

A Hole in a Flute

 I am a hole in a flute

 That the Christ’s breath moves through

 Listen to this music.

 I am the concert from the mouth of every Creature

 Singing with the myriad chords.

Why Aren’t We Screaming Drunks?

            The sun once glimpsed God’s true nature

            And has never been the same. 

            Thus that radiant sphere

            Constantly pours its energy upon this earth

            As does He from behind the veil.

 

            With a wonderful God like that

            Why isn’t everyone a screaming drunk?

 

            Hafiz’s guess is this:

            Any thought that you are better or less

            Than another man

            Quickly breaks the wine glass

Honorable Mentions: The Religion of Jesus, August 25, 2019

Honorable Mentions: The Religion of Jesus, August 25, 2019

What are Honorable Mentions?  They are the quotes, book references, videos, etc that may have been brought up during Sunday’s sermon and are posted here in case somebody would like to check them out.  Please remember that all references occurred within the context of the sermon.  Sermon delivered by Pastor Bryan Hackett. 

Bible References:  Revelation 11:15; Matthew 4:17; Mark 4:31; Luke 13:21; Matthew 13:44-47; Matthew 18:3; Matthew 19:24; John 18: 33-38; and Matthew 4:1-11.

Honorable Mentions: If You Imagine, August 18, 2019

Honorable Mentions: If You Imagine, August 18, 2019

What are Honorable Mentions?  They are the quotes, book references, videos, etc that may have been brought up during Sunday’s sermon and are posted here in case somebody would like to check them out.  Please remember that all references occurred within the context of the sermon.  Sermon delivered by Pastor Bryan Hackett. 

Bible References:  1 Corinthians 2:9; Job 42:6; Psalm 8:3-4

Song Referenced:  “I Can Only Imagine,” by Mercy Me (Link to video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N_lrrq_opng

Quotes/Readings/Poems:

Here is a link to the Richard Rohr meditation that referenced Eknath Easwaran:  https://cac.org/an-uncreated-spark-2019-08-15/

Bill Bryson:

“If You Imagine,” from A Short History of Nearly Everything

 If you imagine the 4,500-billion-odd years of Earth’s history compressed into a normal earthly day, then life begins very early, about 4A.M., with the rise of the first simple, single-celled organisms, but then advances no further for the next sixteen hours. Not until almost 8:30 in the evening, with the day five-sixths over, has Earth anything to show the universe but a restless skin of microbes. Then, finally, the first sea plants appear, followed twenty minutes later by the first jellyfish and the enigmatic Ediacaran fauna first seen by Reginald Sprigg in Australia. At 9:04P.M. trilobites swim onto the scene, followed more or less immediately by the shapely creatures of the Burgess Shale. Just before 10P.M. plants begin to pop up on the land. Soon after, with less than two hours left in the day, the first land creatures follow.

 Thanks to ten minutes or so of balmy weather, by 10:24 the Earth is covered in the great carboniferous forests whose residues give us all our coal, and the first winged insects are evident. Dinosaurs plod onto the scene just before 11P.M. and hold sway for about three-quarters of an hour. At twenty-one minutes to midnight they vanish and the age of mammals begins. Humans emerge one minute and seventeen seconds before midnight. The whole of our recorded history, on this scale, would be no more than a few seconds, a single human lifetime barely an instant. Throughout this greatly speeded-up day continents slide about and bang together at a clip that seems positively reckless. Mountains rise and melt away, ocean basins come and go, ice sheets advance and withdraw. And throughout the whole, about three times every minute, somewhere on the planet there is a flashbulb pop of light marking the impact of a Manson-sized meteor or one even larger. It’s a wonder that anything at all can survive in such a pummeled and unsettled environment. In fact, not many things do for long.

 Perhaps an even more effective way of grasping our extreme recentness as a part of this 5 -billion-year-old picture is to stretch your arms to their fullest extent and imagine that width as the entire history of the Earth. On this scale, according to John McPhee in Basin and Range, the distance from the fingertips of one hand to the wrist of the other is Precambrian. All of complex life is in one hand, “and in a single stroke with a medium-grained nail file you could eradicate human history

C.S. Lewis:  

It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

Poems from Hafiz:

Spill the oil lamp!

Set this dry, boring place on fire!

 

If you have ever

Made wanton love with God,

 

Then you have ignited that brilliant Light inside

That every person needs. 

So—

Spill the oil!

You Better Start Kissing Me

Throw away

All your begging bowls at God’s door,

For I have heard the Beloved

Prefers sweet threatening shouts,

Something on the order of:

“Hey, Beloved,

My heart is a raging volcano

Of love for you!

You better start kissing me—

Or Else!”

 

Honorable Mentions: Christianity and Unknowing, August 11, 2019

Honorable Mentions: Christianity and Unknowing, August 11, 2019

This weekend Pastor Bryan was on vacation .  Numerous people within the body stepped up to help with the service and then we watched a video from Richard Rohr on Christianity and Unknowing.  I am including links here for those who would like to look at some of these things further.

George shared a poem from Dylan Thomas, “Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night.”  Here is a link to the poem read by the poet himself:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1mRec3VbH3w

Chris shared a bit from Richard Rohr’s April 24th daily meditation, titled Death Transformed before he sang.  Here is a link to that meditation for those who are interested in reading the whole thing:  https://cac.org/death-transformed-2019-04-26/.

Finally, here is a link to the video that we watched of Richard Rohr regarding Christianity and Unknowing:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MnTC4NNIACk

 

Food for Thought: Sheep and Goats, August 7, 2019

Food for Thought: Sheep and Goats, August 7, 2019

Our mid-week services are designed for open discussion among a group of people with diverse philosophies and beliefs. These are the notes from those meetings, and reflect the desire to explore thought within and outside the Christian tradition. They do not represent official doctrine, but a willingness to explore our shared humanity. As such, they are somewhat incomplete without the experience of actual discussions. We post them here for the sake of those who would like to have them but cannot always make it out to a mid-week service.

Sheep and Goats

But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. Before him all the nations will be gathered, and he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the King will tell those on his right hand, ‘Come, blessed of my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry, and you gave me food to eat. I was thirsty, and you gave me drink. I was a stranger, and you took me in. I was naked, and you clothed me. I was sick, and you visited me. I was in prison, and you came to me.’

“Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry, and feed you; or thirsty, and give you a drink? When did we see you as a stranger, and take you in; or naked, and clothe you? When did we see you sick, or in prison, and come to you?’ 

“The King will answer them, ‘Most certainly I tell you, because you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ Then he will say also to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire which is prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry, and you didn’t give me food to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me no drink; I was a stranger, and you didn’t take me in; naked, and you didn’t clothe me; sick, and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’ 

“Then they will also answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and didn’t help you?’ 

“Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Most certainly I tell you, because you didn’t do it to one of the least of these, you didn’t do it to me.’ These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

 Reasons I picked this story:

  1. It is practical.
  2. It is quite dualistic. Sort of a counterpoint.
  3. It emphasizes the core social justice element of the gospel.

Question to get us started:         What do you think of this story OR, as an alternative, how does this story make you feel? (There are no wrong answers)

Questions that might point to meaning:

Who is “gathered” at this throne (judgment seat) as the recipient of this judgment?

                What are the criteria for the judgment of the nations? Do you think it good criteria?

                Who does Jesus call “brothers (and sisters)” here? (trick question hint—it isn’t ‘Christians’)

Discussion prompters:

                 Literal reading of this passage is not without difficulty.  (how do you deal with that, if you do?)

                “God is biased up to his eyebrows in favor of the poor.” Desmond Tutu; what do you think?

“The degree of civilization in a society is revealed by entering its prisons.” Dostoyevsky  

Honorable Mentions: Christ in You, August 4, 2019

Honorable Mentions: Christ in You, August 4, 2019

What are Honorable Mentions?  They are the quotes, book references, videos, etc that may have been brought up during Sunday’s sermon and are posted here in case somebody would like to check them out.  Please remember that all references occurred within the context of the sermon.  Sermon delivered by Pastor Bryan Hackett. 

 

Bible References:  Colossians 1:24-29; Romans 8:18-19; John 10:31-34; Luke 3:34-38.

Person of Note:  Pierre Teilhard de Chardin – Here is the wikipedia link for more information on him https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierre_Teilhard_de_Chardin

Terms of note:  Noosphere – you can think of it as “Global consciousness”, which Chardin saw as being brought to life by the Christian ideal of love. (noogenesis)

Quotes:  

Alan Watts: (referencing John 10:34) “I am a son of God,” well there’s the whole thing in a nutshell. If you read the King James Bible… You will see in italics, in front of the words “son of God,” the “son of God.” Most people think the italics are for emphasis. They’re not. The italics indicate words interpolated by the translators. You will not find that in the Greek. In the Greek it says, a son of God. 

It seems to me here perfectly plain. That Jesus has got it in the back of his mind that this isn’t something peculiar to himself.

Food for Thought: Second Axial Bodies by The Rev. Matthew Wright, July 31, 2019

Food for Thought: Second Axial Bodies by The Rev. Matthew Wright, July 31, 2019

Our mid-week services are designed for open discussion among a group of people with diverse philosophies and beliefs. These are the notes from those meetings, and reflect the desire to explore thought within and outside the Christian tradition. They do not represent official doctrine, but a willingness to explore our shared humanity. As such, they are somewhat incomplete without the experience of actual discussions. We post them here for the sake of those who would like to have them but cannot always make it out to a mid-week service.

This week we watched a video that led to much discussion.  For anybody who missed the video or for those who would like to spend some more time thinking about it, here is a link:  https://www.scienceandnonduality.com/video/second-axial-bodies-rev-matthew-wright

Honorable Mentions: Reborn, July 21, 2019

Honorable Mentions: Reborn, July 21, 2019

What are Honorable Mentions?  They are the quotes, book references, videos, etc that may have been brought up during Sunday’s sermon and are posted here in case somebody would like to check them out.  Please remember that all references occurred within the context of the sermon.  Sermon delivered by Pastor Bryan Hackett. 

Bible References:  John 3:5-7; Job 42:5-6; Exodus 32:19-20

Quotes:  First the fall, and then the recovery from the fall.  And both are the mercy of God.Julian of Norwich

 

All in the world recognize the beautiful as beautiful

Herein lies ugliness

All recognize the good as good

Herein lies evil.

Therefore

Being and non-being produce each other.

Difficulty and ease bring about each other.

Long and short delimit each other.

High and low rest on each other.

Sound and voice harmonize each other.

Front and back follow each other.

Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

 

Honorable Mentions: Bigger Than Me, Higher than I, July 7, 2019

Honorable Mentions: Bigger Than Me, Higher than I, July 7, 2019

What are Honorable Mentions?  They are the quotes, book references, videos, etc that may have been brought up during Sunday’s sermon and are posted here in case somebody would like to check them out.  Please remember that all references occurred within the context of the sermon.  Sermon delivered by Pastor Bryan Hackett. 

 

Bible References:  Psalm 61:1-4; Job 36:13-15; James 1:2-8

Quotes:  First the fall, and then recovery from the fall—and both are the mercy of God–Julian of Norwich

Books:  Adam’s Return: The Five Promises of Male Initiation, by Richard Rohr https://www.amazon.com/Adams-Return-Five-Promises-Initiation/dp/082452280X/ref=sr_1_2?crid=CKB052IS74G3&keywords=adam%27s+return+the+five+promises+of+male+initiation&qid=1562858170&s=gateway&sprefix=Adam%27s+re%2Caps%2C166&sr=8-2

Story:  A Mother’s Advice

Jiun, a Shingon master, was a well-known Sanskrit scholar of the Tokugawa era. When he was young he used to deliver lectures to his brother students.

His mother heard about this and wrote him a letter:

“Son, I do not think you became a devotee of the Buddha because you desired to turn into a walking dictionary for others. There is no end to information and commentation, glory and honor. I wish you would stop this lecture business. Shut yourself up in a little temple in a remote part of the mountain. Devote your time to meditation and in this way attain true realization.”

Video:  Our Place in the Universe