poem: limping to the narrow gate of Eternal Life

poem: limping to the narrow gate
of Eternal Life

this morning, awakening
under a blanket of ice,
more sub-freezing and ice
coming, and then the big snow

covid continues nipping our heels
in a world of political turmoil
and nations divided with
endemic injustice holding steady

in this deep freeze season,
society fragile under cultural dominance
in an era far from the divine consciousness
besieged from all sides

limping into forty days of Lent,
smack in the face of our hubris, conceit,
and sentimentality, reflecting and praying
the plank be removed from our eyes

Herb Stone
here&now working poetry
February 15, 2021

photos by Herb Stone
‘Pure Ice with Snow to Come’

 

 

 

Reflection: The foundation of my Spiritual being

Reflection: The foundation of my Spiritual being

The two quotes below are foundational to my understanding of God and Christ consciousness, by whatever names, and to the spiritual practice of my daily life. While the quotes are from the Judeo-Christian tradition perspective, my study of other traditions supports that these perspectives are represented in them as well thus they are universal in their applicability.

The first quote is from Marcus Borg, a New Testament theologian and author. And the second quote is from Walter Brueggemann, an Old Testament theologian and author. Both are highly respected scholars and teachers in their fields and have written prodigiously.

Both quotes below address the non-partisan aspect of the political nature of Jesus’ Way and ancient Israel’s resistance to the dominant imperial Empires. They are political because they affect the way in which we live together in community. Their practice in our personal and collective lives includes resistance to the imperial accounts of reality grounded in power, control, and violence and the advocacy of alternative realities grounded in radical grace and radical love of authentic communities of belonging.

“The way of Jesus was both personal and political. It was about personal transformation. And it was political, a path of [nonviolent] resistance to the domination system and advocacy of an alternative vision of life together under God.”

—Marcus Borg

“….the tradition of emancipatory covenant making….affirms human agents who have the capacity and responsibility to act transformatively for the well-being of the human community and the ecology of creation. All of that pertains to the ancient context wherein the subversive narrative of Israel lived in ongoing tension with imperial accounts of reality, and amid that tension resisted imperial accounts while proposing alternatives.”

-Walter Brueggemann- “God, Neighbor, Empire”

And so we see that our struggles today against the imperialistic Empire’s accounts of reality (i.e., our resistance to insurrectionists attacking our democracy) in their dominant power, control, and violence are age old in their tensions between violent domination vis-a-vis liberation and freedom to live together in alternative communities of the Truth of Self and the authenticity of belonging. Until all are free none are free. The suffering of the other is also my suffering. So we resist and dream our dreams and see our visions of a better way together for which we must never stop working.

Tat tvam asi. That I am.

Shanti, shalom, peace dear Beloveds.

poem: citizens of the kin-dom

poem: citizens of the kin-dom

to whom or what are we loyal?

our ego (self),
Caesar (the empire),
dominant ideology,
the church,
politics,

your tribe

to whom or what do we surrender?

capitalism,
consumerism,
the powerful and controlling,
violence,
our mind,

nothing

until one is ready

to surrender their partial views
for the Big Picture,
one’s limited awareness
for the One Universal
Cosmic Consciousness,

we live incompletely

from our atomistic state

of partiality, one must
fully turn around and open
to Life Fulfilled Wholly
whereby the Consciousness
of the Universal Cosmic Christ

infills our self-emptying

the Great Cosmic Life Force

of the Universe, says Yes
to humanity and radical grace
and radical love for All, comes down
to us healing our wounds and offering
authenticity of diverse alternative

communities of belonging together

Herb Stone
here&now working poetry
January 3, 2021

image unattributed

Reflection: the (w)holly name of the Beloved

Reflection: the (w)holly name of the Beloved

Christmastide 2020

When we personally face the Universal Cosmic Christ

at the nativity and at the foot of the cross, we are faced with two authentic choices: surrender or resist.

Are we seeing the embodiment of Supreme Love or a threat to our worldly way of life?

To whom or what are we loyal?

To whom or what do we surrender?

The powerful and the rich are filled with fear and trembling at the nativity and the cross, and the least of us sing Hallelujah!

There is no serving two masters, a life is either all spiritual or not spiritual at all. Our life is shaped by the end for which we live.

Note: The Universal Cosmic Christ, by whatever name and tradition, is the embodiment of radical grace and radical love among us and to which we are born, long for, suffer, are resurrected, and live everlasting. Although I use Christian symbolism here, many religious, spiritual, and native traditions embody these truths. And in the mystical traditions, this relationship between the lover and their Beloved is often portrayed as the passionate love between two lovers. The attached music video ‘Surrender’ by Natalie Taylor is a lovely example of this mystical lover/Beloved passion and surrender.
My reflection above reflects the teachings and writings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Thomas Merton, and Richard Rohr who have heavily influenced my spiritual journey as mentor’s.
Love, Grace, Surrender,
Love, Grace, Surrender,

Love, Grace, Surrender….

click on music video link below

poem: blue Christmas tears

💓 For you Beloveds this Christmas Eve with All Our Love 💓

poem: blue Christmas tears

Christmas is not a one size fits all
it is multicultural and reflects many traditions
it is not all Merry Christmas
and ‘hail fellow well met’
we are not mid-nineteenth century Victorians

or all fans of secular Santa

nor do we all cherish the ‘true meaning’
of tenderness for the baby Jesus
and sentimentality for the manger scene
in the children’s play,
charities for the poor,
and candle light and caroling services

on these longest nights of winter
there are those for who ‘Merry Christmas’ is frivolity
and who no matter how gay or true the festivities,
they will experience grief, suffering, brokenness, loneliness,
these blue feelings and pains only finding some relief

in a return to ordinary time

Beloveds, let us see and hear one another
keeping one another in our hearts and prayers
bearing one another up always through grace and love
sharing our deepest truth together, wiping tears,
walking each other home with hope and peace,
certainly the most true meaning of all

Herb Stone
here&now working poetry
Christmas Eve 2020

photo by Herb Stone
Blue Winter Night in Snow

(reader’s note: I searched for a poem, a quote, a song
about blue Christmas and found nothing satisfactory,
so I wrote this poem in an effort to express some
conversations I have had with Beloveds
over the last few days concerning their struggles
at this time of the year. And especially this year
which has left us scarred and seperated from political
division, injustice, and the pandemic. Many can not be
with family due to estrangement, or covid restrictions,
or separation, religious services are canceled, many
without jobs and income. Yet we always have each other
in our shared suffering and deepest needs. Let us always
see one another, hear one another, reach out to one another
in mutual grace and love which is after all the highest
meaning of all in the sharing of Universal Cosmic Christ
Consciousness by whatever name we know it.)

poem: winter equinox 4:01 a.m. northern hemisphere

poem: winter equinox 4:01 a.m.
northern hemisphere

shortest day
longest night
first winter’s day
arriving
at our door
patiently

pre-dawn
cold, wet fog
obliterating
settling
blanketing all
silently

nothing astir
all in its burrow
save the winter hare
and snowy owl
in stillness
anticipatingly

season’s visions
stars in the east
the light of the world
the fire of the spirit
Universal Cosmic Christ
Emmanuel

Herb Stone
here&now working poetry
December 21, 2020

image courtesy of Lowell Observatory

(reader’s note: Jupiter and Saturn
will form rare “Christmas Star” on
winter solstice. On December 21, 2020,
Jupiter and Saturn will appear closer
in Earth’s night sky than they have
since 1226 A.D.)

Advent Reflections: Baby Jesus, Mature Jesus, Crucified Jesus, Cosmic Christ

Advent Reflections: Baby Jesus, Mature Jesus, Crucified Jesus, Cosmic Christ

It is relatively easy for most of us to believe in Jesus as a sweet babe in the manger and to dwell on this peaceful image. However, Jesus matures and later resists the Empire’s Kings and Caesars and their oppression and social injustices. This mature rebel Jesus can be much more difficult for many to accept.

Jesus’ entire birth, life, death, and resurrection were in resistance to the ways of this worldly Imperialistic Empire, and its systems of power, control, domination, and violence.
Jesus, and his family, were under the Empire’s suffocating control from the moment of his birth on the dirt floor of that animal stall with only some straw as a blanket. They had traveled to Bethlehem for the King’s census so the King could know all that he possessed, controlled, and dominated in his Empire. Then they had to suddenly flee to Egypt to escape the King’s infanticide which was an effort to kill the baby Jesus to eliminate his threat to the Empire.

Jesus’ entire adult ministry was in resistance to the contemporary religious and political powers of that time that imposed the letter of the law and not it’s spirit thereby oppressing and marginalizing all the common people of that time and place in often the most cruel ways.

Jesus’ radical resistance was his Good News of the kingdom of God, and its’ alternative community, grounded in grace, love, mercy, distributive justice, peace, and hope! At this time, oppressed people were clamoring for a Messiah who would be their King and vanquish the worldly Empire of the Kings and Emperors. The authorities were afraid that Jesus might be this ‘King of the people’ that they were waiting for and thus saw him as a threat leading to his being constantly under the suspicion and surveillance of the authorities and ultimately resulting in his cruel crucifixion on the cross.

At the time of his coming before the authorities and being crucified, because Jesus had not violently destroyed the kings and their Empires but rather demonstrated peaceful resistance, he was mocked, spat on, scourged, whipped, stripped, denied, abandoned, and killed in the most cruel way possible by the Empire, its religious collaborators, and those same people who called him Messiah.

Because the Cosmic Christ, the savior and hope of the world, never stops resisting the evil Empires of this world and never stops calling for the peaceful, diverse, inclusive neighborly community of God’s kin-dom, we must never stop witnessing and resisting the contemporary Empire of today’s world where we now live and are all still pawns in the oppressor’s control and domination.

This Advent, be a witness and resist the ways of this world, its’ Empires, and their systems of domination which separate us from God! It is the Christ-like thing to do all year long.

Herb Stone, here&now working poetry

photo ‘Snow in the Little Wood’ by Herb Stone