Keeping current in wellness, in and out of the water
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A reformation of religion is happening before our very eyes. As the formal religions loose members and believers the souls are still out there wandering around seeking some meaning in life. This is an era of very lost souls grasping at self help, self hypnosis, and the usual self delusion. I am lucky my parents did not really introduce religion into my life. They attempted, obviously out of guilt, to send me to the Presbyterians when I was about 11, but they told me it was for punishment. Maybe they let it slip, but I had the big picture which was that I was bad and the people at the Presbyterian church could whip me into shape. That was my initiation into fake religion and it did have deep meaning in my formative years. I saw the lack of ethical standards, and besides, that church had a God awful choir. I had no positive reinforcement that would incline me to want to ever go to church. I felt perfectly righteous to rebel, and saw myself as something of a martyr whenever I had to go to any religious service. I have something like the opposite of Catholic guilt. However, I have studied religion and read more books on the subject that most people, I think.
Last night in Tempe at The Changing Hands Bookstore I heard Thomas Moore speak to a crowd about his new book, A Religion of One’s Own, which I read and think is a grand opus…not a long and dry one…a deeply profound work that will change minds and souls. Tom Moore is to religion what Andrew Weil is to medicine. He has the education and credentials that are needed to start a reformation. I was surprised to hear the word reformation in his speech last night, but he knows of what he speaks. He talked about changing the world in the same way Pope Francis does when he makes his own breakfast. Since he spent years as a monk his piety can’t be questioned. Since he has a doctorate in world religion his knowledge of scripture, doctrines, and history are impeccable. Perhaps most important in our current soul crisis is his experience as a Jungian therapist. His direct experience with the suffering of his patients has shown him the sad results of religion served up with a side of hypocrisy and shame.
He asks the readers not to take this book lightly. I can’t imagine the kind of person who would do that, but they surely exist. He is sharing insight and wisdom that can extricate tortured souls from their day to day pain. He suggests that laborare est orare applies to all of us. In other words, each moment on earth has big potential in a sacred context. Every act, chopping wood, carrying water, or washing dishes provides an opportunity to make life a joyous celebration. Bliss and mysticism are states to which we can aspire and attain. We are supposed to be happy, weird, and free. So…here we have it, permission to go be free, from a verified expert in academic knowledge. I hope we will all take him up on this offer, and predict the book will change the world in a very positive way. (Read it.)
Cousin, very well said. i wish i could write as well as you. you seem to do it effortlessly. have you heard about the book “The Prodigal God” (cannot seem to underline here?) by Timothy Keller? Learned about it last night. It apparently starts with an exploration of the story of the Prodigal Son, Jesus’ best-known parable. Our Minister (Priest-We are in the Episcopal Church) pointed out that Keller stresses that often we overlook the OLDER BROTHER. The Pharisees, among those who first heard Jesus tell this parable, should have reacted with joy at the return of the younger brother and his father’s warmth towards him. Yet we know from Scripture that they walked away in disgust and disbelief. Why? Because the parable pointed out that they correspond to the older brother, seeking God through a type of moral conformity. The tax collectors and sinners correspond to the younger brother—people seeking God through some kind of self-discovery. Then our Priest told us that the younger son needed to repent of his sin BUT THE OLDER BROTHER NEEDED TO REPENT OF HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS. Insightful and convicting!!! Our priest said I would have to read the book to find out why Keller calls God prodigal. I have ordered the book.
While reading another book by Thomas Moore I encountered a fabulous word..metanoia…it is literal Greek for repentance …..the big difference is that the word actually means enlightenment, or total change of heart. The need to turn that into penance for everyone is one reason repentance and forgiveness has become such a political mess. Thank you very much, my dear cousin, for the compliment. I am really happy that my writing has introduced me to you…and our very large common family.
I love Pope Francis and what I have heard from you about Thomas Moore is really fascinating. While I was raised in a rather strict religious background– I never could grasp the concept that God would be such a harsh “father” and yet we could count on him to love us if we followed his rules (as given to us in a formal manner by whatever religion you would choose) Pastors and church leaders are not guilt-free nor are they morally, ethically or spiritually perfect. They are just like everyone else– seeking for those answers that we are want to find .
I have my own religion where God is generous, kind and benevolent. Sounds odd after what I just said but I have felt his presence in some very serious situations that made it clear he was there .. along with many other religious icons.
(time for me to shut up)