Intersect 11-30-15

Making Room
Advent is a season of celebratory expectation. It’s full of symbolism that I believe is intended to remind us that God is both already present and constantly coming into our world. I can think of few other stories that convey this idea more powerfully than the birth of Jesus, cialis who would come to be known as the Christ. The nativity of Jesus is about every birth as God’s way of renewing hope and love to bring about peace and joy on Earth.

Most of us know the story of Joseph and Mary. We probably envision them walking from inn to inn, only to have every door slammed in their faces. However, this idea seems to be a result of modern thinking. In Luke, there is only one line about Joseph and Mary looking for a place for her to give birth: “She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger because there was no guest room available for them.” Matthew doesn’t mention inns—full or otherwise, at all.

There are several reasons Luke has Joseph and Mary traveling to Bethlehem, but I think we too often gloss over the fact that, in his story there was no room at the inn. More importantly, us modern folk have made the story all about Joseph and Mary getting doors slammed in their faces. As usual, I think we’ve missed the point and are focusing on the wrong aspect of this scripture. I think Luke creates “no vacancy” signs throughout Bethlehem because he wants us to realize, despite the outer appearance and all the signs, there is room at the inn.

Ultimately, one innkeeper says, “I’m so sorry. Like the others in town, my rooms are all booked. However, there is space in my stable if you’d like to rest there. We’ll make you as comfortable as possible. I’ll find room for you.” Perhaps Luke’s point was not for us to focus on the idea there wasn’t any room. Rather, there’s always room if we’re looking for it. And this is important concerning Jesus’ birth because Jesus, and all he represents—hope, peace, joy, love, and ultimate human/God connection—is there for us if we make room for it.

So this Advent season our theme at The Current is There’s Room. There’s Room for hope, peace, love, joy and Christ. Throughout the season, we’ll sing songs, read scripture, and think about what it means for each of us as the keepers of our own inns to make room for Jesus, and all he has to offer us. For it is only in making room for the spiritual that we can grow spiritually. It is only in understanding the importance of opening our doors that our own doors are also opened. Let’s prepare and make room.

Meditation: Help me find the room to say yes when God is knocking at my door and asking to come inside.

Intersect 11-19-15

Trying On a New Pair of Glasses
Humans tend to look at the world through fear-colored lenses. For a species that has thrived by adapting to constant change, try we’re surprisingly afraid of anything new or anyone different. People lamented the transition from telegraph to telephone, here from horse-drawn carriage to automobile. Even though we began as a single group of people on the African continent, as we spread across the globe we claimed land for ourselves, drew artificial borders, and then killed the very people we once claimed as family if they attempted to enter “our” territory. In truth, there is not a single human being on the planet that is not in one way or another an immigrant. In fact, most of us are citizens of countries that our forebears took illegally from indigenous people. Here we are, 250,000 years into human evolution, so afraid of each other that our “leaders” are talking about building walls, or worse, urging us to kill innocent men, women, and children. Either way, our behavior is the result of fear-colored glasses. And it’s reprehensible.

We’ve had the wall discussion in the United States before, of course. As the U.S. pondered entering World War II, Charles Lindbergh, the famous pilot, isolationist, and anti-Semite, rallied a large and rancorous group of proto-Tea Partiers around the idea that the U.S. needed to stay out of the war and build a wall around the entire nation. While that never happened, fear drove us to an even more heinous act: We built walls around Japanese-Americans. We interred them in concentration camps for the duration of the war and took away their personal property, including their homes and businesses. Never mind that most of them had been born in the United States. They looked like the enemy. Therefore, they must be the enemy. As I said, reprehensible.

Fear is the antithesis of love. Fear creates enemies out of relatives—and every human on the planet is our relative. Fear perpetuates environments of hatred. Fear enslaves minds and bodies, drives entire civilizations to war, and eventually destroys everything it touches. What will it take for us to try on a new pair of glasses?

The ancient Hebrew people who created and eventually wrote down the stories in the Hebrew Bible, what modern people call the First Testament (or, incorrectly, the “old” testament), had a unique understanding of their place in the world. They believed—correctly—that everything humans could see, touch, taste, hear, or smell belonged to God. They saw themselves as stewards of God’s property—including each other. They took care of the land and shared what it produced with the entire community. They took care of each other’s families, and yes while they may have taken that idea to the extreme in some ways, the underlying sentiment was that they owed it to each other and God to care for one another as a single people of God.

Now, whether or not that society ever truly existed is a matter of debate. Archeologists, historians, and anthropologists continue to discuss whether or not this idyllic vision of the past was real for any period, or simply a utopian motivational story. For me, like so many stories in the Bible, it doesn’t matter whether it’s historically true or not. Because, this idea that we are one people, that all of us are God’s beloved, that we are to care for, not be afraid of each other—it represents a completely different way of looking at the world through not fear-colored glasses, but instead, through God-colored glasses. And I think it’s well past time for us to change our glasses.

Meditation: Change my glasses, God of eternal, unconditional love.

Intersect 11-16-15

Monday Meditation
Glorious God of all creation, medicine
we humbly offer
our hearts, minds, and bodies
as your tools
in the creation of
a more peaceful
and understanding world.

We give thanks beyond measure
for your gracious gift
of eternal, unequivocal love
and promise to use
your love for us,
as an example of
how we are to love
each other—
even those who claim
to be our enemies.

[pause and leave silent space for God here]

You clearly light the pathway
to love, compassion, and unity
with all creation.
We passionately acclaim
the gifts you give us:
Those moments of clarity,
when we see the world
through your eyes;
those awesome experiences
of your complete, unconditional love;
those too few quiet moments
when we are consciously
ONE with your presence,
when your being
becomes our being.

[pause and leave silent space for God here]

However, we confess that
we lead human lives
preoccupied with the “stuff” of this world,
stuff that often separates us
from the knowledge
and acknowledgement
of your constant presence
vibrating wildly within us.

Many of us are suffering—
the world is engulfed in conflict.
It can be easy to forget you are with us
when the events around the world
make it so easy to believe otherwise.

It seems that often,
in the midst of tragedy,
we become focused on the self,
and forget that it is in
these most disastrous moments
when we truly need to
faithfully reach out to you,
the Healer of all wounds.

Forgive us when we forget
to stop and be with you.
Help us find you when we most need you.
We need you now, most Holy Presence.
The people of Paris need you now.
The people of Syria need you now.
The people of Myanmar need you now.
The people of Iran and Iraq,
the people of the United States and Mexico,
the people in every country
experiencing the painful changes
that come from
a world waking up to a more graceful,
gracious, spirit-filled, love-filled life
—we all need you now.

[pause and leave silent space for God here]

We understand the world is changing,
God of constant change.
We know and give thanks for
the intense spiritual, physical, and emotional growth
that is happening now in our world,
in our own lives,
in our church,
and in institutions
both secular and religious
all around the world.

Help us recognize that
even through the turmoil,
there is a more enlightened state of being
just beginning to burst through into this reality,
like a caterpillar crushing its chrysalis
as a butterfly—at once the same
and completely new,
is born.

Like this beautiful,
resurrected butterfly,
our world and our institutions
are now being resurrected and recreated
ever more in your loving image.

New things are being birthed
throughout the world.
New love is bursting forth,
and though the process of
achieving that love
often looks like Armageddon,
we understand that
new birth is sometimes, unfortunately, a messy process.

Give us the vision to see
beyond the current turmoil.
Give us the fortitude to withstand
the slings and arrows
of outrageous, unholy claims
made in your Holy name.
Give us internal peace
even while externally,
the world writhes
in pain and anger,
trying to resist
a love that is ultimately
much too strong to resist.

[pause and leave silent space for God here]

For the example of Jesus,
for your love of all creation,
and for the grace
you freely give to everyone,
we offer hearts and souls
full of gratitude.
Thank You
all that iswas, or ever shall be,
for constantly showing us
the signs we need to find you,
even though
we keep making wrong turns.
Thank You
for your unwavering
patience and understanding.
For every spectacular and miraculous
moment of our lives,
we offer thanks to you,
our awesome and inspiring God.


[pause and leave silent space for God here]

Intersect 11-9-15

Monday Meditation
God of endless wonder, medical we marvel at the awe-inspiring beauty and infinite diversity of your eternal universe.

I awoke this morning to the sounds of life: A dog barking in the distance. Birds outside my window singing 1000 melodies, on tree branches filled with multi-colored leaves and flowers filling the air with the sweet scent of your sustaining love.

My eyes opened as if for the first time, the colors of existence melting together like prismatic candy stirred in a vat of boiling water. Is this the same reality in which I fell asleep yesterday? Or, in my slumber, have I jumped across the very fuzzy line of the metaphysical into some new awareness? And is awareness of a new reality indeed a new reality, or simply a deeper appreciation (recognition?) of the place I have always been, yet too blind the beauty to see?

Asleep, the world is dark and dangerous. Despair and small-mindedness fill my televised, unenlightened life. But awakened by your gentle touch, I am alive! I see hope! I am hope! The artifice of the shattered, broken, hollow existence perpetrated by The System of Perpetual Darkness begins to evaporate into the emptiness it actually is.

Seeing the truth requires seeing beyond the veil, and you have opened my eyes to the light beyond–a light so bright it blinds, yet in that blindness I somehow find a new vision, new sight, new wonder, and new inspiration. Blinded by the light I now see more clearly.

Today is a blessed day, indeed! Awakened and energized anew, I eagerly prepare to do battle with The System of Perpetual Darkness. I combat the noise of their continuous advertised fear with the deafening silence of your gracious and unconditional love. I meet the swing of their mighty broadswords of systemic evil with a plasmatic blast of hope and joy, which I create to envelop everyone around me. I teach others how to project the loving energy within them, too, as we fight to wrap the entire world in a blinding love that prevents the System of Perpetual Darkness from broadcasting their message of fear, uncertainty, and doubt. The System must be fought—not with weapons, we realize, but with love—unconditional and unfettered by preconception.

I am the energy of love. I am the energy of hope. I am the energy of new sight and a new mind, the harbinger of a new reality, unpoliticized, unexpurgated, unequivocally filled with unconditional love. I am designed to obliterate the fuzzy lines between realities until there is only one awareness of the one true reality: We are Infinite Oneness.

Intersect 11-5-15

Spread Hummus Not Hate
Today is “Spread Hummus Not Hate” day, order as 15 Muslim and Jewish activists share communion and travel through Maryland, order Washington, D.C., and Virginia spreading a message of hope and reconciliation. The tour encourages people to take a pledge created by Dr. Ali Chaudry, President of the Islamic Society of Basking Ridge, New Jersey: “While interacting with members of my own faith or ethnic community, or with others, if I hear hateful comments from anyone about members of any other community, I pledge to stand up for the other and challenge bigotry in any form.”

This sort of movement is exactly what I was talking about yesterday—people getting together and saying, “Enough is enough.” If even a handful of us starts setting an example for others, the world will change. It’s not going to be overnight, and it’s easy to give up in despair. But our task as people who see a different vision of the world is to remain steadfast in our faith—whatever we call that faith, and work together for the benefit of all humankind.

There is tremendously inspirational and wonderful work being done in the world. From energy healers to political and social activists, a new day—a new kin-dom of God’s beautiful people, is truly dawning. It’s difficult for us to see because the good and hard work being done by so many isn’t reported in newspapers or on the radio and TV. We are blinded to the light work being done in the world by mass media who only show darkness and despair.

We must keep the faith because all of us are part of the massive changes taking place here and now. The kin-dom of God is eternally breaking into human consciousness, and we are fortunate to live at a time when more and more of us are waking up to that reality. And once awakened, we become part of movements like “Spread Hummus Not Hate,” and others all over the world working to promote peace, love, reconciliation, and unity.

The truth is we are all light-workers, destined to bring peace, joy, and harmony to a planet screaming for healing. Keep the faith and share some hummus with a person of a different faith from yours today.

More on this story can be found at this Huffington Post link, and on the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding’s website.

Meditation: Fill me with healing energy, God who is all healing energy.

Intersect 11-4-15

Learning To Say “No”
What is it about this world that so readily tethers us to the idea that we are incapable of changing it? Why do we accept the status quo, even though the status quo is designed to beat us into submission? Why do we continue to read about school shootings, corporations cheating and lying to us (I’m talking to you, VW, and Wal-Mart, and probably the rest of you, too), and a political field filled with do-nothing candidates who combined have the intelligence of a rutabaga (and that’s probably generous)? Why do we do the zombie-shuffle to our jobs, where whatever life is left in us is sucked out by a fluorescent corporate machine ready to throw the empty husks of our humanity on the burning altar of unfettered Capitalism?

Is anybody awake out there? Or have our mass mediums of propaganda and destitution finally defeated our souls? I suppose it’s easier to sleepwalk through life than it is to mount the difficult (but not impossible) struggle of resistance this world so desperately needs right now. The real challenge, as I see it, is convincing people that our task is not to take up arms—it’s not to give people more guns or to create more violence. No, our task, as simply decent human beings, is to convince people to stop. Just. Stop. Stop using weapons. Stop participating in the corporate meat grinder. Stop joining militias. Stop. Stop participating in the entire system. Bring it screeching to a halt. Bring the corporations and governments to their knees by simply refusing to participate.

“NO!” is the most powerful word in every language. But does anybody say “no” when Apple opens another manufacturing plant in China, or moves their corporate headquarters to another country to avoid paying U.S. taxes? Does anybody say “no” when H&M manufactures their $10 dresses in the living room of an Indonesian family they are paying ten cents a day? Does anybody say “no” to politicians who want to grant tax breaks to billionaires and destroy the middle class? Who says “no” to boards and councils and steering groups who insist our teachers use tests that have no bearing on the type of students they are teaching; who insist students of all levels and capabilities (or lack thereof) be massed together in a single classroom, where none of them can receive the attention they deserve? Who says “no” when our institutions insist on treating our children like cattle, instead of training them to be critical thinkers and humans who feel a sense of self-worth?

I don’t see anybody saying “no” to anything. Maybe we’re all just worn out from decades of abuse at the hands of a power structure that’s intentionally taken away our civil liberties. Perhaps the education system has been intentionally redesigned, so our children feel worthless and are uneducated because an uneducated population is a docile population. An overreaction on my part? Think about it. Just. Think. Perhaps it’s time to start saying “no” to all of this. No to an unbalanced and unfair socio-economic system. No to war. No to poor education and unfunded social systems, while our military machine receives trillions and trillions of dollars to waste on equipment that doesn’t work anyway.

I often play a game called “Civilization” in which the citizens will simply say “you cannot do that” when I try to do something stupid–like invading a country simply because I want to pass through their territorial waters. It’s a pity the citizens in my game do a better job of getting together and telling their government “no” than we do here in the real world.

Maybe we need some guidance. Maybe we don’t say “no” because we feel powerless. So let me remind everyone that we the people have the power, and not using it by banding together in a resistance movement is nothing short of a travesty and a shirking of our responsibility to each other as human beings.

The easiest way I have found to say “no” to the corruption of the world is to say “yes” to something higher. We might call this power God, or The Universe, or Universal Mind, or Christ Consciousness or Enlightenment, or even Secular Humanism. In the long run, it doesn’t matter what we call it, because a “yes” to any of those ideals unites us as people with the strength, courage, and love necessary to say “no” to the evils in this world attempting to destroy us all.

Meditation: Enlighten me with a love powerful enough to change the world.

Intersect 11-2-15

Monday Meditation
Holy and Loving God, buy viagra
we are humbled and awed
by the company of saints
whom we join
on our journeys of faith.

Thank you for
your gracious love
that invites us all
into your compassionate embrace.

Thank you for
the uncountable saints
who through the years
have been a light in our lives, viagra
influencing us to act for justice;
modeling for us how
to walk faithfully with you.

God of History and Hope, ed
in every time and place,
you have inspired people
whose devotion and integrity
inspired others
to find Oneness with you.
Make us people
Whose devotion and integrity
are also an inspiration
to everyone we encounter.

Continue to bless
all the people of light and love
who call themselves by many names;
who practice their faith
with unique and inspired variety;
who lead their children,
their neighbors,
and their friends
toward a more intimate
and complete relationship with you.

Make your Spirit pour out
in power and wisdom
upon the collection of saints
reading this today—
as well as all those
we hold dear,
both near and far,
living and deceased.

May we may continue
to hold high
the torch of faith
that has been passed to us,
so we too might pass
the torch of faith
to our children,
our disciples,
our hurting world.

We pray in the name of the one
Who is the consciousness
and light
of every torchbearer,
Jesus the Christ,
in whose loving, peaceful image
we strive to conform ourselves.