Lectiodivina, 2006

My friend Darrell Grizzle has created a Yahoo! Group which will be reading the entire Bible through in 2006, including the Deuterocanonical/Apocryphal books. The group is Lectiodivina and you can join just by clicking the link and following the instructions. After you do, you might want to send a short introduction post to let the others know something about you. The “Files” link has the OT and NT reading schedule for the first 3 months.

Yours truly is a member, and I’ll be reading the NT with the group, although not the OT. What seems most valuable to me in the Old Testament are the Wisdom books: Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, The Song of Songs, Sirach (Ecclesiasticus), and Wisdom (of Solomon). In addition, I’ll also be reading the major Upanishads, the Tao Te Ching, the Dhammapada, the Bhagavad Gita and Ashtavakra Gita, and the Gospel of Thomas.

The schedule I created for this is deliberately light to allow plenty of time for reflection: no more than two chapters a day, of any book (sometimes just one), with the exception of Thomas, where I’ll generally just read three short logions a day. I’m greatly looking forward to reading the NT, Wisdom books, and these Eastern scriptures again, in a slow, more thoughtful way, since some of them I really ripped through when I read them the first time!

Sound interesting? Join us. (P.S. I don’t want to steal from the group’s thunder, but if you’re interested in reading Biblical and Eastern wisdom books in place of the OT, email me and I’ll send a copy of my reading schedule.)

Two Great Broadcasts

Today and yesterday, I listened “This American Life” on NPR. Both shows were so good, I had to check them out again.

You can listen to these in Real Audio format:
On the “Holiday Spectacular” (#305) there is a standout, “My So-Called Jesus,” (starts at about 22:45 into the broadcast) a short story by Heather O’Neill that imagines Jesus in junior high. It’s more entertaining and insightful than Anne Rice’s pious Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt.

Today, I heard episode #304, “Heretics” which is a wonderful report/interview with Carlton Pearson, the pastor of Higher Dimensions church in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Rev. Pearson began as a Pentecostal minister with a typically staunch belief in hell, and studied at Oral Roberts University where he developed a close friendship with Oral Roberts. From there he built a successful mega-church. Then one night, God spoke to him and showed him that He truly is love, shattering his belief in hell.

He was compelled to preach “the Gospel of Inclusion,” and soon lost his congregation and most of his friends, but gained much more. Listening to his story brought back many memories for me about my journey from Fundamentalism to universalism several years ago. Listening to his story is a great way to spend an hour!

More on Faith vs. Belief

I’ve written about the issue of confusing faith with belief before, as well as on my It’s not about belief article, but I haven’t been able to put it as clearly as this:

On Interlog, a Buddhist-Christian weblog, there’s a wonderfully detailed post on the four meanings of faith, as explained by Marcus Borg. This is a superb post. Borg teaches on assensus “belief,” fidelitas “faithfulness”, fiducia “trust”, and visio, the “vision” of one with faith, in a way that reminds me of Lewis’ teachings on the four loves.

Quick Thought on Gifts

When I was a kid, I remember asking my Mom why we give gifts at Christmas. She told me it was because the wise men gave gifts to the baby Jesus. Of course, that was enough for me at the time (as long as I got my presents).

Now I see that Christ is in everyone, and we still give gifts to Jesus.

Headlessness

whom am I pointing at?Douglas Harding is an enlightenment teacher who attained freedom in the Himalayas when he realized he had “no head.” As he famously puts it, “I lost a head and gained the universe.”

Headlessness is simply the childlike, experiential fact that we can’t see where This awareness is coming from. We’ve been conditioned to think it comes from our heads, but we’ve never seen this alleged “head” we’re supposed to have. We see heads on others, heads in mirrors, but strip away the assumptions, and all there is is a space on top of our bodies that experiences everything. There’s much more on the subject at: Harding’s website. Especially valuable is the collection of short movies which demostrate the headless insight and suggest some great practices for awareness.

“Self” and “Others”

The Bible says, “Lean not on your own understanding.” I agree. Use a cane, it’s much more substantial!

Seriously, I just came home from a few hours at my teacher’s weekly satsang. It’s hard to describe it, but… stuff came together. I laughed, I cried, I even clapped with my feet!

Something that had impressed me the last few days was Jesus’ teaching on forgiveness. Not once does Jesus ever say specifically, “I forgive you.” Rather, he proclaims forgiveness as a fait accompli; “Your sins are forgiven.” And in teaching us to forgive, he says “forgive each other’s sins, so that *you* may be forgiven.” This can be seen as a principle, that the open-heartedness of extending forgiveness allows forgiveness itself to be experienced, but I think there’s something else going on.

Rather, it’s that feelings and thoughts are simply illusory phenomena, including the thought of the seperate self, and feelings like guilt, depression, loneliness, whatever. Forgiveness is already the reality, or more realistically, in This divine presence, there is no separation from God, no guilt, no “right” or “wrong” as we think of them, any more than there is the separated self. If I feel something else, I’m simply experiencing a human feeling, but not my reality, since that reality is eternal, luminous, divine. So how to heal it? Go to someone else who is experiencing it and forgive them. Loneliness? Go to someone who is also lonely and be with them. The illusory feeling is shattered by embracing one who is distressed by the feeling. Anyone with a smidgen of awareness of the illusion, can help dispel these false emotions from themselves by setting others free.

The death of “self” that Jesus, Paul, and other enlightenment teachers speak of is so profound, but I saw such a simple and plain aspect of it tonight… If I realize that I’m not really “here”… if I know that this isn’t my world, that somehow I’ve never left God, then I’m “dead” to the world in a significant way. I can then recognize the needs that I perceive I have are really reflections in the world, and can minister to myself, by putting others first.

And if I’m “dead,” then there’s no fear of death. It’s like if I’ve got a week to live, I’m not going to be afraid of going skydiving! Or speaking up to a dictator. Or anything. There’s nothing to lose because I am nothing! And yet, still I am.

No, I didn’t suddenly become enlightened tonight. But some things… just came together.

More Music Videos

I’ve added links to several more funny videos on my Bad Music Videos page. Now you can see Napoleon Dynamite dancing to “Maya Hee,” the classic “Manamanah” from The Muppet Show, or find out what really happens at an Internet Help Desk, thanks to Three Dead Trolls in a Baggie.

Ryan and Narnia

Two nights ago, I had the wonderful opportunity to talk with Ryan Sharp, whose blog I’ve been reading for about a year. Ryan has a fierce dedication to living out gospel, which he and his wife Holly do in a most creative and unusual way, traveling around the country while simultaneously operating their graphic design company and performing concerts, and manifesting the light of Christ. If you haven’t read Ryan’s blog yet, check it out. (BTW, remember the amazing photo illustrations in A Generous Orthodoxy? That’s a sample of their work.)

Last night, I saw The Chronicles of Narnia:The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. I’m working on my review now.

It’s that time again!

MaryBuddha footprint
Happy Buddha Day!
Blessed Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary!

Last year, this was also the first day of Hannukah. This year, Hannukah will start at sundown on ChristMass Day, and coincides pretty closely to Kwanzaa. Is that frimmin’ or what?

May the wisdom of the Enlightened One, and the willingness of Mary to bring the Light into the world, inspire us as we rest in the same work.

Feeling better

I wanted to let you know that the news I got back from the doctor wasn’t as bad as I had feared. But now, losing weight and lowering my cholesterol has become a priority.