Tuesday, December 19, 2017



Are there any of us who don't want Happiness, or to live in Joy? I hope not. In the Christmas season we are told 'great joy' is offered to us by God. The traditional 'church' slant on this was that in Jesus, we were finally freed from the power of sin that had condemned all of humanity since Adam and Eve. I don't know about you, but that's hardly a inspiring or hopeful message. Any God that has that kind of vindictive streak hardly inspires joy.
I know many people who have left any faith in God because, as they reason, there can't be a God worth their belief, when there's so much suffering and imperfection in the world. They assume that God has to be an all-powerful 'fixer and doer', making sure that all is perfect and in the proper and holy order. Example: “How could God have allowed that drunk to run his car up on the sidewalk and kill my sister?” Each of us can change that question in our experience and find good reason to quit the whole concept of hope in any idea of God.
Many of us cling to an assumption that God will make everything alright 'in the end'. It's like the lies we hear from the Self Improvement folks, that if we just stick with things, they'll eventually work out. NOT. We all can't be best-seller authors, billionaires or rock stars. Not that we should give up on our dreams, but it doesn't take many smarts to see that 'joy' of any kind is not a matter of just trying harder or longer. Things keep changing, but they surely don't always 'work out in the end', either by God's or our doing. But do we just give up on the whole concept of Joy? Maybe the birth narratives will give us a clue.
Maybe Joy comes in searching for God (Love) in the small and ordinary, even in the birth of a baby. Maybe Joy is always surrounding us, singing to us from the hills and stars, even amidst the suffering. Maybe Joy can be found with great searchings, as is shown by the 'Wise Men'. Or perhaps is finds us when we're just doing our jobs, as did the shepherds. The birth narratives don't ignore the fact of evil: the Roman Empire has the power to move us around and bring death to the innocent. But even the most poor and 'unclean' (the shepherds) can hear and see the power of the message of joy. The story doesn't say that everything worked out fine for them, only that they knew that Joy had come, and was a gift from God. But they were still shepherds.
If we're expecting life to be more easy and free of pain and grief, don't look to God to change it. Life on this planet is a matter of luck, as well as hard work. But it is a lot easier and worthwhile if we are open to Joy. This is the gift we can search for, find, and share. But it usually isn't in the places we search. Not in riches or power. It's in the smallest and even most familiar. Even a new birth.
Instead of setting ourselves up for failure by expecting Joy to knock us over with huge events and winnings, let's begin to be more open in the joys we can find and share in the common, understanding that all around is infused with the holy. If the shepherds and wandering strangers can hear, see and find Joy, so can we all.

In this season for searching, and Joy,


Friday, December 8, 2017



Here we are, well into the Christmas/Holiday Season. In the 'old' days, a couple of generations ago and beyond, 'Christmas' came on December 25, and was prepared for mainly in the previous week. Most Christians in that culture, and society in general, at least gave lip-service to the traditional season of Advent, the four weeks before Christmas. The idea of Advent was two-fold. Firstly, it was seen by the Church as a time of preparation for the coming (again) of the Christ Child, a time to give thanks that once more we could give thanks to the loving God that we wouldn't have to burn in hell because God was going to send us His Son to die for us.
The second aspect of Advent was that it provided a time to expect the unexpected, to search for and be open to the 'Holy' being experienced in yet unknown ways. While this hope was talked about, in reality it was directly opposite to the first. In all truth, it is impossible to be open to anything new if one's attention is consumed by what is assumed and known. But the idea of a time given for questioning and openness is one that needs consideration.
With the commercialization of Christmas and the watering-down of Christianity in general, Advent is gone. But just think, even for a few minutes of the idea, that the 'Holy', however dreamed or believed, is here for us, waiting to be found, experienced and shared, not only in the unusual, but in the ordinary and every-day. Even in a birth of yet another poor and illegitimate child in a conquered and poverty stricken people.
In this culture it is most uncommon and even threatening for people to share their deeper understandings and questions. Even in church we leave this to the professionals. So again, year after year, we become more isolated and ill-at-heart. Just imagine that once a year, for a few weeks, we gave each other the permission, and even the hope, of not only searching for the 'holy', but to share this with each other. Whether Christian, Jew, of Islam or Buddha, Agnostic or Atheist, to look for what is beyond, to be able to ponder and share.
Just to have a time in which we contemplate the possibility that there is more to life than the size of our bank accounts or home, THIS in itself would be a real change.
As it is, as we all know, this time of year has no time for anything more than just making it through. It's more than filled with family and traditions, good stuff all, but no time for More, for any real searching and newness. Such a shame. So stupid on our parts.
Sadly, I don't see any place on the calender for such a happening. And who sees the need for anything like this, anyway? And it is sad, for only a true Advent People, people who can search and share together, can start to make changes that will lead to life and break the spiral of fear and greed on which we're spinning.
For the few traditionalists, and futurists, where ever you are, Here's to a new Advent! May we start to gather in our searchings and sharings! Here's to the journey, and may we not let 'Christmas' stop us!


Friday, December 1, 2017



I'm my own worst enemy. And need to increasingly learn and take time to laugh at myself and the rest of the world. I know this but usually put it off and dwell on the 'deep and meaningful' things of this life. This was brought again, thankfully, to my attention last week when I chanced to turn on Turner Classic Movies and caught the end of a delightful old flick, Sullivan's Journey, staring Jimmy Stewart, one of my favourites. He played the part of an activist who's goal it was to right all wrongs, involved with many causes, always on the side of the poor and oppressed. Right on!
The focus of the plot was when he was in the wrong place at the wrong time and was unjustly convicted of a crime and spent several years doing hard time in a hard place. There, he learned the power of laughter, even admist the misery.
Eventually his innocence was proved and he was released, upon which, he devoted his life to comedy, realizing that maybe in doing that, he was more able to help people.
This speaks to me in that I'm called in my soul to do and proclaim 'Love', however understood. And this, most often, gets in the way of my being a fun person to be around. I take things way too seriously. Judy often urges me to have another drink, or a 'brownie'. During this time of year, Advent in the old church calender, when traditional Christianity is supposed to be urging people to be open to newness and life, humour is needed the most. For churches of all sorts are the most closed to anything new. Tradition reigns. In most ways, this is the time of year most closed to anything different. And hence, of course, we miss anything of the Holy, again.
Yet, I need to be able to laugh. If I didn't, I would sink to despair. And those who despair are no good to anyone or any cause.
So, help me to laugh, especially in this season. Friends and enemies alike, offer me another drink. If I'm sitting in a corner, you have my permission to invite me over. Indeed, please prod me into a conversation. In the doing, in the sharing, even in casual converstation, lies seeds of sharing and the 'holy'. I know this, but I resist. Shared laughter is a gift from God, however understood. In this season, let us all know this and share it, helping each other to set aside the bigger pictures that, however good, often keep us from living and sharing our lives to the fullest. We need to tend the trees, even while we have the whole forest in our thoughts.
To all, however you see and name this time before Christmas, please try to share in laughter and joy. And, if possible, include me. I need it.


Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The Danger of Only Half Remembering


Remembrance Day was over a week ago. Time to reflect and ponder on that event; the people, words and actions that symbolize such an important part of us as a people.
Should I worry if only a small piece of reality was presented? Is it my problem only? Or is there a real danger of partial truths leading to more harm and being even counter to the hopes we wish for?
The names of the dead were shared, along with the names of the wars in which they died. Good. But why did they die? It was clearly said that they died because they were brave, and because our freedom was threatened. They were all heroes, by definition. All who die in uniform, in our popular opinion, are heroes. No other view is allowed.
But our main assumptions just aren't true. Only in one of 'our' wars, WWII, were we attacked, at least our allies were attacked. (This is apart from the many times we were attacked by the United States. In their point of view, they were trying to liberate us, to bring us true freedom. But that's another story.)
In the two Boor Wars we were on the side of the British Empire, fighting against freedom, the freedom of the Dutch settlers of South Africa who only wanted to be left alone, cursed as they were, by occupying space that was coveted for it's wealth. So gleefully went off, for God, King and country, ready and eager to kill, because the very idea of any who didn't want to be like us, was threatening.
WWI had no cause other than the empires of Europe all wanted to become even richer. So we fought, of course, on the side of the British Empire. Brave? The boys were told they'd be home by Christmas. Those Huns didn't have a chance! It would have been a stalemate if the US hadn't joined in the fun. And the terrible terms of the 'peace' only assured the necessity of WWII.
And the wars since? Have our invasions since brought about peace? How's Afghanistan doing? When will we learn that very rarely do people want to be invaded, no matter their motives. (Remember those Yanks?)
I'm not against our gatherings at the cenotaph. But let's try to do the whole thing. When do school children learn of the big picture? When do we get a chance to truly weep about how, time and time again, we believe lies told to us by the rich and powerful, so that we'll give our lives for their 'national good'? There have been many times when the truly brave were those who stayed at home, choosing to live with the insults and stigma of peace. When do we hear of this? Why are the only things remembered are the dead, and not what killed them, nor what will bring new life? Why is the only poem remembered is one that urges us to keep on killing, especially from a war that was wrong and stupid?
I'll keep going to gatherings that remember. But also, I'll continue to urge us all to remember everything. 'The whole truth' is better for us all, I assume.


Wednesday, November 8, 2017



Another mass shooting in The States. This time in a small-town Texas church. The shooter? Thankfully, a white American-born veteran. The answer to the problem, according to those local people who were interviewed? More God and more guns.
I'm an optimist. Usually. But above all, I try to follow the Ways and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. I'm not a Christian, having to believe that believing that Jesus was God saves us from 'hell', a fate we deserve because our ancestors ate a forbidden apple. I believe what I have experienced, that love really IS the Way of God, Who-ever/What-ever God is, and that Jesus, as well as others, teach us in that understanding. And I know that the understanding that supports the whole gun-thing in the US is in total opposition to that rule of love.
I have talked to many of that other way. I don't know how to deal with them. There is no common ground from which to step toward each other. All I can do is to DO what I know, to grow in love myself and share my life with others. I simply have to admit that I can't affect what happens in Texas, other than acting in my knowing that all of creation is somehow connected, and growing and loving here can and will affect all,now and even forever.
But are there others who agree with me? I doubt there are many in churches, for they seem so very satisfied in doing little, not sharing or going beyond the 'usual', especially in the Christmas season. When people of so-called belief are content with bazaars and songs, even amidst the hatred and fears that grow around us, when all of creation yearns and is literally dying for love, how can I not become angry, especially at churches?
Is there hope for real change from the 'spiritual but not religious' majority? When the very word religion has come to be anathema to many, and the sharing of anythings spiritual and personal is taboo and suspect, it would be surprising to say the least. But that's what miracles are all about.
Yet, the ancient season of Advent is near, the time of hope and expectation of new life, the awareness of Emmanuel, God among us. I can't allow my anger to cloud my vision nor slow my steps.
So, I enter this holiday season, trying to prepare for something new and hopeful, trying to give churches yet another chance to become real to their task, but expecting yet again to be frustrated and disappointed by shallowness, conformity and tradition, although the one in who's name they gather, was a rebel, a reformer and a free thinker.
I will try to channel my anger into creative sadness, once again. But don't be surprised, friends, when anger raises it's head. The 'more guns and more God' group plus the 'belief is all that counts' bunch, plus the 'being nice is what counts' folks, all put together, often is just too much for me to handle without getting mad.

Thanks for hearing.

Monday, September 11, 2017


Hurricane Irma and My Friends

    I'm blessed with many friends. Some are millionaires. Many are very poor. Most are in-between. All seem to want more money and more stuff. I often feel much more at home among those who have the less. Hurricane Irma has brought this to my mind.
   We have maintained contact with folks in the Bahamas, relationships developed over the five years we spent there while living on our boat. Even the more 'advantaged' among them would not be deemed as 'privilaged' in this society. And here in Canada, of course, where a large water-front home commands such a crazy price, we have friends that cover the spectrum of wealth. What does this have to do with Irma?
    In the past few days we've been barraged by news of the damage done by that storm. There's a very real difference in the tone we hear from two groups of friends. From the Bahamas we hear of how people are dealing with the damage of their (uninsured) two-roomed homes, of how the three or five people are coping through co-operating and sharing with others. They will survive and make do. They've done it before and it will happen again. It's a VERY big deal. But they're not complaining, but just sharing their lives. It's a real blessing that I'm on their list of people that count. I'll certainly help them if I'm able.
    Then there's another group of friends. They've got property of some kind down in Florida. For some of them it's their third homes, even after a boat. I'm not sure if they're complaining or bragging when they share with me how they're worried about the damage to their (insured) house or condo. I really don't know what to say. Are they expecting me to be sorry for their insured loss (what-ever that is) for something that they obviously don't need?
    These folks are great, but they are so spiritually shallow in comparison to the first group. But they are those that are around me here, among others. As I am searching for The Kingdom of God, I find it such a challenge to resist just going to a place (here or there) where people have less STUFF that keeps them from a greater reality. The main topic of conversation here is how to get MORE or to loose LESS. I spend a lot of time just listening, with nothing much to say.
    I hope that the luck, good and bad, that hurricanes bring, might teach us something real. It's good to remind ourselves that the Jews, who wrote the 'Adam and Eve' creation story, saw the expulsion from the Garden of Eden  as a blessing, knowing that only in an imperfect and uncontrolled world, would humans have a chance to grow and understand love. It takes the power and arbitrariness of a hurricane to force us see the bigger picture and to re-order our priorities.
    I continue to hope so.
    But in the meantime, if you're second or third house gets damaged, don't expect me to cry any tears with you. I've a limited amount of them and they're saved for those who really know what suffering is about.

Friday, September 8, 2017


Choosing Between Heaven and Hell

   We've probably all heard of the ancient North American native saying about there being two wolves in each of us, one of love/ sharing and one of fear/hatred, and the one who grows to dominate is the one we choose to feed. In the Christian context, it is the message that we each (and collectively) chose between 'heaven' and 'hell'.  If we look at today's news of the world, we can see many examples of this, especially in the context of the natural disasters. But even many of these 'natural' disasters are caused by the feeding of one of the 'wolves', doesn't it?
  It is so easy for us to find blame with the evil shown in other societies, and feel so very superior when we see hatred and bigotry among others. (Why can't they be more like us?)  If you live on a rather beautiful, prosperous and out-of-the-way island such as I do, this is even a more seductive trap. How can other people hate just because of race, religion or background? How can they not share, especially in times of  crisis? Don't we often think this?
   But look at us. Our island has been divided by the issue of wind turbines being installed on many properties. Some of the land-owners (the older families) have signed on to host them, while many of the 'newbies'  have tried their best to stop the project, for years - and have failed. The battle is now over. They are being built this winter.
   Tragically, it seems, the 'wolf' of hatred has been fed in many islanders, even to the point of ruling over love and sharing, and for the common good. Some of the 'anti' people will no longer associate with and even provide food in community events, because some of the people in attendance are hosting wind turbines. The annual 'Seniors' Dinner' is in question. Some of the seniors support wind turbines. Many of those who have sponsored the dinner are 'anti', and will not participate.
   This is the most sad thing I have experienced in a long time.
   Each of us has the power to choose to grow (or not) in love. This doesn't depend upon our 'religion', in fact, often our 'religion' is merely molded to suite our needs anyway. All involved are supposedly 'Christian' in one way or another. Or maybe not. I doubt very much if our local churches will touch this reality, for one of the main rules in the congregations is to never talk about anything that matters. Hence, nothing much is talked about.
   What we have here is a chance to see clearly the two 'wolves' in our midst and to observe and participate in choosing which to feed. As we do so, let us be less smug in our sense of superiority when we see the forces of evil in the world around us. Let us know that the choices of good and evil are with us, each and all, every day. We're just blind to them and usually can chose to not open our eyes to the realities.
   As for Amherst Island, the only reason we can't grow in love and understanding is that the 'wolves' won't be recognized and confronted and the wolf of evil/hatred will be fed even more. That need not happen. It will be up to people to choose, and feed the 'wolf' of love/acceptance and sharing. Like usual, it's up to us.  

Thursday, August 17, 2017



     DRUGS  is a bad word. Usually. Although it's hard to find any of us in this culture who is not on drugs of some kind. We like to think of a druggy as someone who is useless, 'on the street' and beyond any hope. Yet, it's hard to find many of us who don't use any 'help' for something or another.
    And why not? Be it for our heart condition, arthritis, head aches, depression or just to make us feel better, why not 'get a little help from our friends'? On a 'recreational' level, what is wrong with altering our reality? Just what 'reality' do we live in? Our world is controlled by those who covet control. Those who are the most wealthy are not contend, but only want more. Hatred and fear seem to be gaining inroads into even the educated and 'advanced' of the world. Although most of us know that we're wrecking the world for our descendants, we're doing nothing about it. Why not escape a little, or at least, accept some 'help' in seeing a different reality, even for a few hours, in which we might gather another perspective?
   I was raised by loving parents who taught us to never lose control. Drugs of all kinds (except 'medicine') were bad, because you 'lost control' when 'under their influence'. As I write this, after a week of the continuing crisis of North Korea and the whole Trump/Racist thing, all caused by crazy people who insist on 'being in control' of others, what's wrong with us being willing to share control? I doubt very much if things would be worse if Putin, Trump,  the North Korean guy and the head of China all got together with some good weed. If for three days the whole world got decently high on anything, I bet we'd sober up with more hope and good will.
   In the 'old days' the mystics/shamans/priests all had their drugs. Ways to get beyond the usual and mundane were respected and valued. The powers of greed and control, control us so much today that we can't be surprised if we're increasingly in need of help to regain our spirituality. It's such a shame that most current religions have been so against any 'help', other than their trained and 'professional' helpers. Just imagine how great it would be to go into any place of worship and to be offered a large glass of wine, a toke or brownie! Just imagine the singing and sharing. Or just great silence.
   Most of us could do with some help. Most of us would be much better off with not being 'in control' of ourselves. It would help us to become much more human and accept each other. Whether leaders of nations or neighbours, I don't see how it could get us in more trouble than we're already in.
   It's just a thought, but I'm sure enjoying my 'special coffee'.

Thursday, August 3, 2017



    I was (surprisingly) asked to preach at a Kingston church last Sunday. Being a 'one-off', I talked, of course, on the one thing Jesus talked about, the Kingdom of God. This is usually a hard sell for churches to hear because what Jesus talked about, did and lived, was precisely that. His 'good news' was that the Kingdom of God was here, at hand, available and livable. Not some vague, nebulous and dreamy state in the future or after death, NOT as seen in churches. 
   How was this WAY recognized? By the fact that people were SHARING. Whether in Acts, the writings of Paul or the Gospels, the fact of SHARING is always present in the groups formed by Jesus and in the century later. It was a different WAY of life, beyond mere giving and formalities.
   We don't want to hear that. Living in perhaps the lease sharing culture the world has known, this idea is very hard to swallow. We get really defensive. We're OK with some giving (of what we don't need anyway), but to SHARE? That's a sign of weakness, and only what the poor might do, those that don't really have much to share in the first place.
   We can easily agree that we'd all like to grow in love. But we close our eyes, minds and hearts to the reality that we can't grow in love if we insist on keeping control of everything, that our whole purpose in life, in this culture, is enlarging of our control. Since real love is the giving away of control, we're in a real bind. 
   In sharing we give away control. This is the only way we can grow in love. And the more control (money, stuff, power, influence) we have, the less likely it is that we will see the truth and act on it. 
  We're still children of God, and well loved, but without sharing, we're going to live half-lives and be far from what is there for us. It's not a matter of 'going to hell'. Remember that Jesus never condemned those that didn't follow him. He was just sad.
   He must be very sad about churches. We rarely put before people the choice of really following Jesus, but substitute some  kind of 'belief'' for the real thing. Where are people really sharing? Very rarely in the name of Jesus of Nazareth. The truth is, many less are coming to church. Most can clearly see that we aren't searching for God. We merely believe that we are able to, if we want. But we don't. So they don't. Around us we can see many examples of people learning to share. But we're not among them. This is such a shame, for the world is in continuing crisis now because of people not sharing. How can we learn to share the world if we can't even do it as people? 
   How many of us have empty rooms? Can't we share cars? Do we really need control of all the space and stuff we've accumulated? Does it all make us more happy and loving? 
  It only takes a few to become 'salt' or 'leaven' as Jesus said. This is not a 'majority' calling. But a few are needed. We in churches have the words. We might 'become flesh' and follow, but I doubt it. We're just too rich, and you know what Jesus said about the probability of 'the rich' entering the Kingdom, that it's about as likely as a camel getting through the eye of a needle. 

Wednesday, June 21, 2017


      If the weather permits, Judy and I have a habit of drinking a coffee (mine being 'special') while sitting on our porch, looking south over the treed lawn, across our country road and into the fields and woods beyond. It's always a movable feast for the eyes. But not only. Our ears are saturated with the sounds of birds near and far. And the various insects, of course.
     Those precious minutes, while reminding me of the beauty that surrounds us, also brings to mind the fact that we in our culture are so small in our understanding of reality. Today is Aboriginal Day here in Canada, the first day of summer. If I had been born here three hundred years ago I would have been raised as a hunter, but not one who searches, 'hunts' as we do, what with our scopes and long-reaching rifles, but one who sits and waist, observing, hearing and smelling, until the opportunity comes within reach of an arrow. How wonderful must be the knowledge that only comes from waiting and being truly part of our surroundings.
     How utterly foreign that concept is to those of our culture. To WAIT? Do it or buy it NOW! To observe, really listen and take it all it before we act? If we can't do something now, and quickly, we don't bother.
     On one hand, in our minds, we really know that we're a part of the 'whole' of things, that we don't and can't exist apart from 'nature' and all that that entails, but our actions and lives deny that whole reality, giving it such a small part of our experience. And we don't show any signs of getting 'smarter'. The truth that most of us know, is that unless we begin to see, hear, smell, act and live again with our world, and hold each other as true brothers and sisters in this world, we are enacting death. Few of us really understand this, yet alone, are trying to live in this reality.
     I know this is hard, maybe impossible for us to do. For me, I know that I need those twenty minutes or so, sitting out there with my sweety, sipping on my coffee, not saying much, just listening, seeing, smelling, soaking up the world and recognizing my very small place in it.

Friday, April 14, 2017


No 'Good Friday', please.

     For me, it's a real perversion to call today 'Good Friday'. We remember Jesus of Nazareth getting excecuted by the Romans, for being very guilty of the charges against him: advising people to not pay the Roman tax, for starting a riot, and for claiming to be king, the Messiah. All were crimes against Caesar.
   These actions were taken because Jesus was following the law of Love, of Shalom, the basis of Jewish understanding. Although he had not claimed the throne, his followers had. He was guilty. He was killed for his convictions. Where's the GOODNESS in that? As of this day, he was a failure on all counts. The lessons learned: LOVE has a very high price indeed; You can't fight the system; Might is right; and so on.
    Please don't try to change this lesson by the old Pauline and  Augustinian claim that Jesus died for our sins. It doesn't 'wash' anymore. That might have made sense to first century Greeks who believed in sacrifice and unloving gods, but for me that old doctrine, however orthodox, just doesn't help at all. This doctrine makes a monster out of God. We shouldn't wonder why most 'Christians' stay home from worship today. Any kind of 'loving' God will forgive their 'children' without having to kill off the best of them as some example. And besides, I'm still far from perfect. Just ask Judy, or any of my friends. Or am I supposedly only now 'forgiven' from the that old sin of 'The Apple'? Who knows?
   So, today we have a very bad Friday. Let's learn from it. Love and Justice are costly. Following Jesus in any way does and will have a price. As he urged many times, even as he was asking others to follow, before we chose, look closely at the cost and weigh carefully what you value most in life. If you want to be popular and 'successful', don't even think of trying to follow. Stick with going to church and feeling good. Or keep on by yourselves.  It's much easier and hasn't the perils of following Jesus.

Friday, April 7, 2017



    Most churches are dying, along with classical Christianity. Being more truthful might make a difference. A good example of this is what will be heard from most pulpits this coming week, on Palm Sunday. What you won't hear is the reality of how Jesus had been asked, time and time again, to lead the people in revolt against Rome, to be their Messiah Of how even the mention of 'messiah' was a crime against Rome. Of how many of his disciples and followers were supporters of the Zealots, the movement that was dedicated to revolt and the killing of not only the Romans, but all who were profiting from their occupation of God's Kingdom.
   Jesus had finally said YES. He entered the city through the main gates, going right past the Fortress Antonia which housed the Roman Legion. Pontius Pilate was probably there as well, as his palace wasn't nearly as secure and easily defended against the expected attack. At church we sing of Jesus being followed by bands of children, a family occasion with smiles all around, hardly offensive or a threat in any way. Garbage! There would have been a short sword or dagger under every third cloak. If not, if the Romans hadn't known this, they would have arrested or killed Jesus and his followers right then. Long before he had urged the people to not pay the Roman tax. Now he was causing a revolt and claiming the throne as the Messiah. It was no secret. He was been expected.
   So Jesus entered the city which was, for the most part, in his control. He even closed down the Temple, calling the High Priest and others 'Thieves.' But he didn't order an assault on the Romans or the wealthy. He shared the Seder Meal with his inner group that evening - and then he left the city to return to his unprotected camp in the nearby hills.
   Why? Because he knew that violence was not the Way of Abba, the God that he knew. Only in the giving away of his power might the people begin to understand this concept. Up to that point he had not been able to make them understand; all they wanted was a messiah to solve their problems.
   The truth of what we call 'Palm Sunday' is so much more interesting and valuable than the usual fare. It's something to inspire, challenge and teach us. Why don't we hear of it? Why are churches so afraid of the truth? I can't understand it. Why do they insist on  boring us to death when there's so much life and excitement to share?
  I'll probably stay  home and read, or, if it's not raining, go for a walk on Sand Beach.
    (If you'd like to read more on this, try my Simeon's Gospel, book on Amazon)

Friday, March 31, 2017


Choosing Between Freedom or Slavery

    Being Human is not easy. On one hand, we're basically lazing, yet on the other  hand we're always striving for more. We often chose to evade responsibility and yet bridle and complain when we don't get our own way.
    The myths of the ancients, those old stories that tell of universal truths, remind us of these conflicting forces that are within us. The biblical stories tell of this struggle. At first, the ancient Hebrews (Jews) had no king (unlike all other peoples around them), only Yahweh. They were free to figure out things for themselves. They couldn't pass on responsibility to any other. But, eventually, they chose to choose a king. From then on, they could blame all their problems on that figure.
    Jesus plainly thought of himself as a child of God, a teacher, not an authority figure in any way, not one who longed for or sought power or control. Many around him were searching and longing for a messiah, a king to  lead them in a revolution against Roman occupation. He declined, time and time again. He couldn't have been more plain and direct.
    Yet, even in his death, he was re-created as a risen Messiah, and came to be thought of as being even as part of God by later Greek-thinking followers The churches still proclaim him as such. The only responsibility Christians have is to 'believe'. All else is the Will of God. We PRAY. God DOES.  Such a shame. And completely against all that Jesus said, lived and died for. (You can see why Good Friday is not my favourite time.)
    Each of us lives in this dilemma. We want to be free, whatever that means to us. And yet we'd much rather leave the 'heavy lifting' in most areas to others. When these two forces meet within us, we feel much discomfort. We are well aware of the great powers that influence our lives, powers that we can do little about. Yet we usually do little in those areas we CAN affect. Few of us are active in any real political way but we rarely hesitate to complain about those exact same areas. Many of us are still 'going to church', listening to 'priests' of one stripe or another who 'tell us like it is' from an official point of view, but we rarely share spiritually with each other or take the risk of questioning, learning and growing like Jesus of Nazareth urged us. Leave the 'spirit stuff' to the paid/trained staff.
    In other words, we're just human. That's both a hope and a curse. It's up to each of us, and us together, to chose which force will be given the most power. If we believe in the kind of God that Jesus knew, we'll know that we've got to do it ourselves. LOVE shares that responsibility. The slavery and powerlessness that we might feel is self imposed, although traditional. It is still chosen. Let's not waste our time, but choose for freedom. It might be costly (the Cross demonstrates that fact), but it's worth it.
    Again, thank you for your time and thoughts.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

What To Do With Another Year



       Sorry, friends. I just don't buy it. I know that 'God' is Love. I believe the concept of God being 'forever' and hence, 'Love' must be forever and therefore. But does that men love must win in the end, if we just wait long enough? Using the same argument, death always wins, because we all die in the end. So nothing we do in live makes any difference.
       I'm having a running conversation on Facebook regarding this, a no-win situation, but one where both of us really have a great deal of hope and faith. We're coming from two very different positions. She believes in the absolute power of LOVE, of God being both eternal and all-powerful, and therefore, where all we have to do is have faith and believe, because in the end, LOVE will prevail.
     I hope she's right. She's spending her time and life doing nothing but just living and enjoying her situation (a rather good one). I envy her in many ways. What a comfortable and worry-free existence. To her, everything in the world, her country, her city and neighbourhood is unfolding as it is preordained to do. It is all beyond her influence. Even more: if she interferes, she is disrupting God's plan, hindering the Way of Love that will all become plain to us, in the end.
    What does she think of the innumerable examples of hatred throughout the eons? She doesn't thing,  really, saying only that "They all ended, didn't they?", thus proving, in her mind, that evil doesn't last and that love always wins.
    As I see it, and I have to think that God's Creation gave me a brain with which to think, that the power of hatred is getting even stronger with time. Ten-thousand years ago hatred might have killed a dozen or so persons, or at the most, a neighbouring tribe of a few dozen. Then we became 'civilized' and hatred could kill many thousands. In the 1940's hatred killed fifty million. Now, one person has 'the button' and can kill the world. How can anybody really believe that the power of hatred/evil is not growing? As our technology has grown, the power of one hate-filled person has grown exponentially. I know without a doubt, that if I wanted to, it would be so very easy to kill many hundreds of people. I only have to look on the  Internet to find many ways.
    But yet, I believe in LOVE and the God of love. I also know that true LOVE has no CONTROL, as all parents eventually discover. By the time their children reach the age of  sixteen (give or take), a loving parent has long given up any idea of control. All they have left is LOVE. The child has by then the choice to accept that love or not, to live in ways of love or to chose others for themselves.
    In this age, I know that love CAN win. The facts, however, tell us that only where many join together in LOVE, do they have a chance at combating hatred. Our books are filled with quotations of people from the past and present who exhort us with warnings of 'good people' doing nothing, of how good wishes, thoughts and prayers allow evil to grow, flourish and spawn. Churches and many 'feel-good' organizations abound, patting themselves on the back in the firm knowledge that because they are loving and helping people, all is well in the world and God is in His place. And hatred grows. If there is a Devil, he must be ecstatic with this self deception and ignorance.
     I am as appalled as any with the rise of Trump and his kind but I am so pleased with the thousands of 'nice' people who are being prodded into action. Hatred can be defeated, time and time again, but only by much, much work and love. Hatred is alive and well all around us, and even within us. This is reality. This is who and what we are. Only if "two or more of us are gathered" in love, can we grow and work for life and against the force of hatred and death. Please, people of good will, however you name yourselves, do not stay alone. If you remain so, you are wasting your lives, allowing hatred to grow in this time of change and crisis. Now is the time to grow yourselves, to reach out and find your life, no matter your age or background.
     Churches, before you die out completely, re-discover your roots of loving action. Lay aside your mere 'beliefs' and need to control. Learn to live in love, to share. We all need your ancient heritage that rebelled against hatred so long ago.
     Yes, dear friend, LOVE can win. Just don't count on it. Count only on people who will empower LOVE. There is always a chance and a hope. I'm trying.
     Continuing to live in hope,

Friday, February 24, 2017



       There are some things that all of humanity shares. Dreaming is one of them. I don't mean the wide-awake yearning/hoping/scheming that we do: dreaming of a new job, more money, getting rid of aches and pains, of being young again. I mean the real dreams we have when we're deep asleep, the images and feelings that connect us with our sub-conscience and the basic earth and meanings of our being. These are the dreams that are remarkably similar throughout the ages and cultures of humanity.
      But we try to forget them. We degrade them: They're only dreams! Not real. Make no sense. Ultimately private.
     In our cultural ignorance and to our loss, we waste them. Like most other things of value, we don't share them. We are trained from infancy to keep private anything of importance. (Is it any wonder that we're as spiritually deprived and confused as we are?)  Literally every ancient culture valued dreams. They were shared, discussed, remembered, sometimes dismissed, often treasured.
    Our modern mental health was based on teachings of doctors who greatly valued dreams. Yet we don't.  Why not, I wonder. Is it just too much for any of us to share on that deep level? I guess that's really the case. Not many of us can afford a psychiatrist's time and goodness knows, we certainly aren't going to share anything of importance or of a personal nature in church, school, or on the ferry!
    This world and  time in which we live is entering a crisis which is beyond anything we have yet seen. Only if we chose to use all the tools that nature/God has given us, will we have a chance to come through it. Only if we chose to start sharing in all ways will we have the knowledge, strength and  wisdom that is needed today and in the future.  To me, how we treat dreams, a universal gift given to all, is a test that shows our potential for survival. If we can't share in this, when it costs us nothing, what chance do we have in other aspects?
     So, anybody out there who wants to share dreams? It's better with three or four of us.
     Thanks for your time and thoughts,
     Anthony Gifford

Wednesday, January 11, 2017


      This whole 'gift' of being/becoming self aware is highly overrated. On one hand, one reality for me, is just how small and insignificant I am in the whole scheme of things. I'm an atom in a speck of dust, lying on a hair, growing from a pimple, on a wart, on a scar, on the back of some part of something, doing something, or just nothing, somewhere in some place in some time or another. Who knows anything about anything?
       On the other hand, I know, deep within myself (what-ever that is), that I am connected and part of a whole, even though I know that I will only, at best, have an inkling of a glimps of what the 'whole' is. In that connection, which makes me part of that 'whole', I am of ultimate importance and value. Do you connect in any of this?
        From the first perspective, I might as well not do anything, for what I do simply cannot be of any importance. What should I therefore do? Live and let live - enjoy the moment and don't rock any boat because it doesn't matter anyway. Anything we might do or think won't change the universe.
        But, even if we look at the modern science of it, aside from any 'spiritual', anything, any action or thought, DOES change the whole, We're more like the BORG in Star Trek, part of something where any thought or action really does change and inform the whole.
        So, here I am, at the beginning of another trip around the awesome sun, choosing how to spend the precious time and space (both are questionable concepts) that are somehow mine. How do I live them? The thoughts, 'knowledge' and love that I have to share can so easily be put aside as I decide to read yet another good book or learn a new song. And I do this so much. Yet, I know, that these kind of activities are only good in that they give me the strength and time to share with others that which is of greater importance. Or maybe, just a different importance. What do I know?
       Here I am, like all the rest of human kind, trying to do what our lives call us to do. As I struggle with my awareness, you are doing also with yours. I urge you all to share these struggles with each other. It's in the sharing that we most can help, not only each other, but ourselves. Let's try to make this new year one of growth and understanding. That means that it has to be, firstly, one of questions and sharing. Like it or not, this is the only way to renewed live, no matter  our age or circumstance.
       As Red Green tells us every week, I'm pulling for you. We're all in this together. And keep your stick on the ice.
      Loving the new year.