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Posts Tagged ‘things I know to be true’

I Don’t Go in for Hierarchy

June 29, 2012 Leave a comment

I’ve been reading the first few chapters of Touching Heaven the last few days. There’s something in it that sticks in my craw.

In a word, it’s hierarchy.

So, first, some context: the book is about Orthodox Christianity, written by a guy who grew up Protestant and later (I assume) converted to Orthodoxy, spent some time with some Russian monks. A lot of what he says is good to my ear: the role of mystery, the way the liturgy makes faith tangible, the pitfalls of a faith that exists only in the vacuum of the mind or the pages of books, the startling experience of God in one’s practice. I like that he puts more importance on silently reciting the Jesus prayer while gardening than on the attempt to climb the rungs of church leadership.

The thing I get stuck on is Read more…

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So Say Yes

March 30, 2011 2 comments

I have found a key. Nothing is ever lost. You can never be lost. When the stomach flu racks your body or death disintegrates you or you’re born or born again or you fall in love or lose a leg, nothing is lost. When you fall, God catches you. You can never be lost.

You can be transformed. Sometimes forces beyond your control Read more…

My Faith Must Be of This Land

January 29, 2011 Leave a comment

I paused from my study to read back over these entries, trying to make sense of something that eludes me. It has to do with this subject of lineage and place and how they affect religion.

I think I understand how we got here: how the history of ancient Israel came to be so important to us contemporary American descendants of European pagans. It’s a strange story, but logical enough when you lay it out.

We Americans are just as strange, ourselves. We’re not Europeans (though we each have a nation or two across the Atlantic to claim for a heritage), and we’re not natives (though we were born here). We’re the starling among birds, the rock dove, the non-native blackberry that has become Read more…

Add and Drop

January 22, 2011 Leave a comment

“In the pursuit of knowledge,
every day something is added.
In the practice of the Tao,
every day something is dropped” (Tao Te Ching, no. 48).

I study The Oxford Study Bible to add to my knowledge. I return to the Tao Te Ching to drop the extraneous. Adding and dropping the right things, adding and dropping in the right ways; this is my balance; this is my practice. I thank the wind for speaking to me, and the light, and this world.

Said the Sluice Gate

January 21, 2011 Leave a comment

Ancient Israel was not ecumenical. Their whole mission was to keep from mixing with their surroundings, to preserve a distinct identity in the midst of shifting political currents, lodged as they were in a geographical corridor that lay between powers, a river of trade and influence whose forces threatened to wash them away.

I am ecumenical. This fundamental difference between me and the writers of my holy book seems just slightly problematic. Read more…