Greener Pastures

DSCF8758 - Version 2

After some hard rains, I’m looking out over the pasturelands and the Bay beyond.  Last week the arches of color, the rainbows, appeared.  There’s now a small stream flowing through one pasture and quite a lake in another.  I observe the birds.  Flocks of fowl.  Many of them are residents of these hilly lands and open plains.  In a few minutes of observation I notice the diversity.  I see gulls and geese, crows and ducks, turkey vultures, egrets and a great blue (heron).  Hummingbirds rise and fall above small trees where their nests are deeply hidden.  Hawks circle high over the land (the other night on our walk we saw a white owl swooping between eucalyptus and pines.   Later we heard great horned owls hooting in the dark oak hills).

All live and move in this field and the field of view.  All rising to swoop and spy and play, I guess; all descending to eat while they chirp, squawk and chatter. . .or make music, as I hear it.  When they aren’t standing silent and still.

This is a wonderful scene with the watery green backdrop of late autumn.

And it leaves me wondering what we could learn from this Life in the Pastureland.  We are another species–earthbound without wings.  So we share the same pastureland, the greening earth, going about our days seeking food and safety and rest and other things we cannot name.  With birds as our teachers, our guides, how can we become their students?  Would we be better at being human?

I have no doubt of that.


Land of Freethinkers

Glen Coe

Glen Coe

Scotland. . .

Home of My Ancestors.

Forever the Land of Freethinkers.

Forever Beautiful.

Forever Independent!


BibleNation

This MAY concern you. . .maybe it OUGHT to!

A member of the House of Representatives, presumably “representing” constituents including people of all faiths and no faith, has sent a Bible to every member of Congress.

Here it is, on official Congressional letterhead:

Palazzo Bible Letter

How does it feel knowing a member of the United States Congress is spending time and money on this?

How does it feel knowing that an elected representative, sitting on powerful committees in Congress, feels that the Bible (“God’s Word”) is the “best advice” for governmental decision-making?

Makes me feel. . .

Makes me think. . .

We have a serious educational gap in this country.

And, yes, this kind of Faith-Proofing in Public makes me angry. . .and worried for the future of Good Decisions!


John Muir’s Heaven

Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe

My wife and I just returned from 5 days by (and IN) Lake Tahoe.

Walking, biking, swimming. . .but mostly just looking at the beauty.  You can’t help yourself.  The view, the colors, the sound on the shore and in the pines.  You sense you are a part of this great piece of liquid art (unless you’re jetskiing or powerboating or cranking up the boombox on the beach with your barking dog. . .but that’s the OTHER stuff we’ll leave aside for a while).

“The Big Blue” as I call it.  You never tire of gazing over this 22-mile lake and all that comes from your mouth, if you care or dare to speak, is, “Beautiful.”  Yes, full of water, full of light, full of mountain particles and full of pure beauty.  It’s like the sky has poured into a mammoth canyon of the highlands waiting to be discovered, seducing discoverers. . .like John Muir.

Muir called Lake Tahoe “the queen of lakes” and the “water heaven” where all lakes eventually go.

From the John Muir Exhibit (Sierra Club) website:

-Muir first visited Lake Tahoe in October-November of 1873, calling it the “queen of lakes” and writing his friend Jeanne Carr that he had “sauntered through the piney woods, pausing countless times to absorb the blue glimpses of the lake, all so heavenly clean, so terrestrial yet so openly spiritual.” He wrote further, “The soul of Indian summer is brooding this blue water, and it enters one’s being as nothing else does. Tahoe is surely not one but many. As I curve around its heads and bays and look far out on its level sky fairly tinted and fading in pensive air, I am reminded of all the mountain lakes I ever knew, as if this were a kind of water heaven to which they all had come.” [Source: Letters to a Friend, 1915]
-Muir returned to Tahoe several other times in his life, enjoying its “delightful” beauty.

My mind is still up there in the alpine country breathing the fresh pine air.  Even with the unclean air, noise and nuisance of city living, there’s something refreshing that stays with you when you’re that close, that immersed, in Beauty (what some would call God, the Sacred, or Heaven).

As I am fond of saying, Why wish for, why imagine another world, a “heaven above,” when it’s all right here, right there, if we simply go look and wade in.  We’re all in Heaven, and it’s so much better than anything we’ve ever been told.


Holy Hotels! Battleship Bibles (Full Sail for Salvation)

Just Like That, U.S. Navy Says Bibles Must Be Returned to Base Hotel Rooms

Are you pleased as a peacekeeper to be paying for this?

Onward Christian Soldiers. . .and Sailors!


The Exotic Dance of Faith

Topless Church!

Topless Church!

Titles I was going to use:  The Topless Church, or, Protest Unto Others as You Wish them to Protest Unto You.

“Exotic Dancers Protest Topless at Church” (in Ohio)

I recently wrote about the teaching power of “Do Unto Others.”  You “do” to another so they LEARN not to “do” the same.  A contemporary twist on an ancient principle.  I think it makes sense.

The folks at this Ohio church are disgusted that this strip club is in their town, so they go and protest on a regular basis.  That’s certainly their constitutional right.  But sometimes “rights” have a way of coming back to haunt you, since others may just bring their “rights” right back to your doorstep!

So. . .what do the evil naked ladies do?  They show up at the church to “do unto the churchfolk what they do unto them.”

That seems fair, and right, doesn’t it?

(note what the well-dressed church lady yells at the “lust” ladies who are protesting:  “you don’t know love.”  Now that’s so kind and “loving” isn’t it?  My questions to the church lady would be something like, Why are you dressed so Attractive to Go to Church?  What’s with that Hair?  We may not like what You’re Doing in the privacy of that church!  Are you ashamed of the Body, or Sex?  Didn’t your God make us naked and sexual?)

What do you think about this?  (please make sure you’re fully clothed before responding!)

 


Mind or Mindfulness?

I once took a walk with Zen master, Thich Nhat Hanh (of course, there were 2000 other people with us)

I once took a walk with Zen master, Thich Nhat Hanh (of course, there were 2000 other people with us)

I learned from Buddhists that “mindfulness” can be very good (ironically they encourage “mind-emptying” rather than filling).  I especially liked walking meditation.  Mostly simple awareness of breath and the immediate environment.  I learned to pay attention, to be “awake” and alert to the world near at hand.  I still value those basic insights and think we might all benefit from a “practice” of mindful awareness.

Yet, I appreciate the balance of this Guardian article that asks, Why are we trying to think Less when we need to think More?

It’s fairly clear to me that IF people were thinking (reasoning, questioning) more, especially about matters of faith, we might have a healthier world, don’t you. . .think?

Breathe.  Think.  Comment. . .


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