Holy Days and Holidaze

It’ s almost bewildering to me that we’ve made our “sacred” holidays into such secular rushes of madness. The three saints days which have penetrated our cultural calendar–those of Sts. Valentine, Patrick, and Nicholas, have almost lost all memory of these living lights, as has All Saints Eve. And the celebration of Christ’s birth barely survives the whirling madness of the modern American Christmas.

I try fighting it in small ways, but I’m fretting about how to wake up at 3:30 tomorrow morning to board a flight , and making plans to cut my hair, wash my clothes, and board my cat. Most of my shopping is done–not all–and it’s not that I have that much–I’m just a really bad shopper! Once again, Trev’s posts here and here say it better than I can.

I’m looking forward to seeing my parents whom I haven’t seen for quite some time, spending quality time with them, and lending a hand. I’m looking forward to the Christmas Eve Mass I’ll go to with my folks. As I take care of the necessary details, I need to remember this. That this is the Christ-Mass–not just in church, but our whole lives are the burning candle of the Christ light. Sometimes this week, I haven’t been burning very brightly. I need to quiet down, focus, meditate, and remember this light of the world–in a manger in Bethlehem, and in myself.

>You are the light of the world…
>Let your light shine before others.
>Jesus, Matthew 5:14-16

3 Book Titles that Made Me Laugh

* How to be Like Rich DeVos
* A Course in Miracles in 5 Minutes
* Jesus: the Last of the Pharoahs

I kid you not, I saw all of these tonight at B&N and Borders!

In other news, last night I saw my teacher at our weekly Zen satsang. He helped me a lot with understanding the nature of conflict and spiritual warfare, within the universal Oneness of God. I checked out Trev’s blog when I got home, and found that someone else had been having similar questions, so I posted a comment, which Trev made into an entire entry. I might expand it into a static page later on.

Eight Haiku for the Nativity

Thought I might put this on the front page as a post before I restore it into the Poetry section.

**Eight Haiku for the Nativity**

Igniter of Stars!
lies naked, bawling on rough straw
God in the manger.

Scandal of Ages!
The King of Infinity
in this time, this place!

"What?" "Why?" Resounding cry
across the galaxies–wings
and heads bow in awe.

Joy! This Special birth!
And more! Beyond all reason
The Giver is given!

Quiet night explodes!
Angelsong, ten billion strong–
Glory to the King!

Pungent barnyard smells
mix with the aroma of
His wonder, His love.

In orbits ordained
before Time, planets align–
form the Star, the Sign!

She names Him "Jesus."
Yet more strangers will arrive–
they will name Him "King."

—-

jon zuck
Chesapeake,
December 25, 1995

Thanks for Sharing!

Thanks to all of you for sharing so openly and supportively!

Darrell–for reminding me that the Creed, as well as all worhip, is poetry.

Gnostic Tom–for your extensive work on the Buddha and the Christ.

Ann–I definitely feel you. I know about the “rewriting” thing!

Meredith–for focusing on the common core of sacredness in all things.

Trevor–Man, you hit the nail on the head. I had been thinking the day before you posted, the only problem is “only!”

Laura–Yep, it’s all about That One beyond all discussion, about whom we should all just fall dumb. But we keep blathering anyway, because Isness seems to like it!

Larry–Thanks for the encouragement and support!

Polyreligious? Your Turn

Foxes have holes, birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.
Jesus

My spiritual life has seen a lot of changes. After my Baptist childhood, I had a “born-again” experience in my early teens, and began to see my life with God as a spiritual adventure, which I lived in a wide variety of Christian environments, from Methodism, Messianic Judaism, and the Charismatic movement, to the Disciples of Christ, Lutheranism, and Catholicism.

In addition, ever since my college years, I’ve been learning as well from other religions, and in the last several years, it’s become much more than academic. I study with a Zen master, and sometimes pray in temples as well as my own church. I read the *Upanishads*, *Tao Te Ching*, and *Dhammapada* in the same light which I read the Gospels.

I sometimes don’t know whether to think I’m a part of all religions or apart from all religions. All I can say is I hear the voice of God in a lot of places, and I want to see and know everything as part of God’s self. (I like your self-description of “freelance panentheist,” Darrell!)

But it isn’t easy for me. Being both introverted and single, I find it a lonely path. I’m often misunderstood, and sometimes I can’t effectively reach out to others because they find me too “far out,” or heretical, to hear me. I’ve had the experience of sometimes feeling like an outsider in my church. If I’m paying attention, the Creed can be difficult. I stand silently during it, or recite it with my own wider-than-usual interpretations in mind!

So I’m wondering what it’s like for you… Do any of you have similar problems, or is that all far behind you? Do you sometimes feel torn? Misunderstood? Even guilty for going farther than what your friends or family consider to be “within bounds?” Have you had to make a “clean break” with some of your past religious environments? What do you do to integrate the different traditions and experiences you learn from within your life?

Double Triple Celebration!

Today is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception for Catholics, the first day of Hanukkah for Jews, and *Rohatsu* (Buddha’s Enlightenment) for Buddhists (at least in Japan). I’ll probably go to Mass tonight. Wish my Zendo had a service right after that I could go to also!

Joy to the world, the Lord is come! May the Light shine in the darkness!

Double Triple Celebration!

Today is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception for Catholics, the first day of Hanukkah for Jews, and *Rohatsu* (Buddha’s Enlightenment) for Buddhists (at least in Japan). I’ll probably go to Mass tonight. Wish my Zendo had a service right after that I could go to also!

Joy to the world, the Lord is come! May the Light shine in the darkness!

Double Triple Celebration!

Today is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception for Catholics, the first day of Hanukkah for Jews, and *Rohatsu* (Buddha’s Enlightenment) for Buddhists (at least in Japan). I’ll probably go to Mass tonight. Wish my Zendo had a service right after that I could go to also!

Joy to the world, the Lord is come! May the Light shine in the darkness!

Changing Life, Changing Site

I just rewrote and restored three old pages to the site. Buddha, by Karen Armstrong, also her wonderful and brilliant A History of God, and, now, back by popular demand, my old page The Lotus and the Cross: Common Threads in Buddhist and Christian Spirituality.

See, the old pages **are** being restored! It just takes time; my perspective has changed so much in the last couple of years that almost every page of my site has to be rewritten to some degree. For instance, I’ve been studying Zen now for a year, and that makes a big difference. It may not sound like much if I say that the main change is that I’m shedding conceptual beliefs, but if you’re as wrapped up in them as I was, it’s pretty significant.

As I was developing this site from 1996 until around 2000, I still had the very mistaken notion that mysticism would give “the Answer,” that replacing some beliefs with better beliefs would bring me to God’s truth. That’s like saying the number ten is closer to infinity than the number nine!

Over the last few years, I began to realize that God’s reality is inexpressible, but I couldn’t find the right way to convey the change in my perspective on my site, which had over 140 pages by early 2003. Finally, I took down almost everything, started blogging my current thoughts, and restoring old pages, slowly, in their own time. More are coming, but this is all for today.

That’s Jedi life in the real world.

Let’s get small

I remember when Steve Martin released a comedy album titled “Let’s Get Small.” It’s really just the advice I need. Too often I tend to get caught up in “bigness.” My mind fixes on “the big picture,” and likes to get drunk on “big ideas.” While I think there are a heck of a lot of people who would do well to think outside their little boxes, with me, it’s a bit different.

After I had the letdown from my cosmic inspiration a few days ago, I remembered stuff which I really knew full well. Don’t seek “enlightenment.” Instead practice the presence of God in everything, every moment. That divine awareness is enlightenment. Last month, for a while, I actually had experienced some freedom from the wanting engine. How easily it comes back!

But there’s help all around. A friend emailed me with the helpful advice to not focus on the grand finale, but appreciate all the little experiences.

Rumi wrote:
> The mystery does not get clearer by repeating the question,
nor is it bought with going to amazing places.

> Until you’ve kept you eyes
and your wanting still for fifty years,
> you don’t begin to cross over from confusion.

In the *Gospel of Thomas,* Jesus says,
>Come to know what is in front of you,
and that which is hidden from you will become clear to you.
>For there is nothing hidden
that will not become manifest.

And Mother Teresa:
>We can do no great deeds.
>We can only do small things with great love.