It all started 4 years ago

Four years ago when I was first diagnosed with A-fib and was told I would need a cardio ablation, I started this blog….. just in case I was in that 1% death category. Short story, if I died I wanted my kids to know, in writing, how much I love them.

So, this year started a bit crazy, I’m not talking Donald Trump, I am talking about my Mom and Dad’s medical issues. Especially my Mom, having  a relatively safe procedure, yet ending up being that small percentage, and now she is paralyzed. It has become ‘in your face’ that real people make up those small percentages.

I knew 4 years ago when I had my ablation that there was a chance I would need another down the road. My heart at that time was misfiring like crazy and that makes the likelihood even higher. Well, I made it almost 4 years. Shortly before my Mom’s procedure in January, I was beginning to notice my irregular heart beat again. I would have contacted my Arrythmia doctor sooner, but being in Michigan helping my Mom and Dad, I put it on the back burner. One night in March while in Grand Rapids at my Mom’s rehab center, my heart felt out of control. I debated walking across the street to the ER, but was afraid they would admit me and I didn’t want to be so far from home. Back home, in early April, I called my Arrythmia doctor to schedule an appointment. No appointments were immediately available and I was told if it was urgent I should just go to the ER. I waited another day, trying to talk myself out of going. Late afternoon the following day I called Sam at work to tell him I was going to the ER and he didn’t need to rush over because, well, you know how long you have to wait at times. Lucky me, since it was my heart, there was no wait at all.

Well, that ER visit resulted in a 4 day hospitalization, medication, and a followup with Dr. Wish, my Arrythmia guy. Since then, I’ve learned the meds are not doing the trick and a 2nd ablation is in order. If you are reading this the morning of October 18, I’m at Fairfax Hospital for the ablation, praying I’m not a small statistic. So, here I am again to let everyone know, in writing, how much I love them.

I love you all so much! I love you more than you love me and no matter how much you say you love me I still love you more!

You gotta plan for the worst while hoping (and praying) for the best.

Again, I know some of my friends are atheist, agnostic, etc. and many are beaten up by those in Christianity and the hypocrisy that is so pervasive in our faith, highlighted by this election season. Still, at some point consider forgetting everything you know and have experienced regarding the Christian faith and just ask God to reveal Himself to you. God IS love. It really is that simple. I know too often it doesn’t seem like it. God says if we seek Him with an open heart, we will find Him. {stepping off soapbox}

So, pray for me if you will, but most importantly pray for world peace and, do not vote for Trump. Carry on.

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Why I cannot vote for an alleged sexual predator–

unknownA friend the other day said, “I believe two of his abusers have been discredited.” Along with, “and the women are just now coming out against Trump?” This just gave me a terrible pit in my stomach. My first thought was, even IF some are discredited, some are not. What about those?? Just as with Bill Cosby, women were terrorized by a man in power, and lived with it for years. Yes, they are just coming out publicly now, yet many shared their experience within their inner circle at the time, just like I did.

When I was 12, that’s 44 years ago, someone I thought I could trust, tried to sexually assault me. I’m of the mind now that trying is the same as actually doing it. I remember staying overnight at their house, the next morning I was lying on my side on the rough carpeting in front of the television watching cartoons. He laid down behind me eventually putting his arm around me, I was already uncomfortable at that point, then he began to slide his hand down my stomach. I quickly stood up declaring I needed to go home. I remember those details like it was yesterday. I don’t remember what I did or said when I got home. I do remember that I was really ‘creeped out’ (7th grade vernacular). Thankfully I was raised in a home where I felt loved, and wanted, and I knew beyond a doubt what happened that morning was not okay. Since then I’ve learned there were other victims.

So, yeah, as I tell this story today, someone could try to discredit me in some way. My story  would still be true. And you better believe if that person was running for President today, and said he had never behaved in that manner, I would speak up and not let a lie like that go unchallenged. It sickens me how so many are making this a nonsuit.

So much about Trump is not okay. Should not be okay. Yet the machine is working overtime to rationalize and justify his words and behavior. It disgusts me.

As a mom who cares deeply about her daughters, and your daughters, and the sanctity of life, I cannot, and did not vote for Trump.

And there’s this (one more among many):

I’ve Met “Donald Trump” and I’m Sick of You Defending Him (Guest Post by Mandi Livingston)

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The New Jim Crow again 1

Many young teens are often shuttled from their decrepit, underfunded inner city schools to brand-new, high-tech prisons.  Their communities failed them. Now labelled criminals their job possibilities become very bleak. < See the irony? 

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Are we really colorblind?

unknownThe short answer is no. And Michelle Alexander, In The New Jim Crow, answers this in well documented detail. I am absolutely captivated. It’s a huge eye opener. Mind you, I haven’t lived in a bubble. I know that racial injustice is prevalent, yet… Every ‘white’ person needs to read this book. Regardless of education, economic status, or what you think you know. You just don’t know what you don’t know. I would imagine most, if not all African Americans already know much of what this book espouses with regard to racial injustice, instinctively and intimately via their life experience and/or that of loved ones or friends. The time line of Supreme Court rulings pertaining to racial injustice are especially eye opening. Current events make so much sense in light of Ms. Alexander’s book. It is clear well before chapter 4 that #BlackLivesMatter matters! We should all join them in this movement by supporting them in whatever way we can, if only by being able to say ‘black lives matter’, without any qualification.

I’m going to share some of my favourite passages and thoughts from the book. But read it. It is phenomenal. I received this book along with a note from my son that said, “I haven’t read this yet, I will soon. < (He’s in law school at the moment with so much to read already.) I heard it is challenging. I hope it challenges you like you’ve challenged me, to make me as good as I am today. I love you.” So Bubba, I love you too. And, it has challenged me deeply. It’s also a good reminder to never judge injustice by a single story.

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From The New Jim Crow:

“We have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it.”

“I came to see that mass incarceration in the United States had, in fact, emerged as a stunningly comprehensive and well-disguised system of racialized social control that functions in a manner strikingly similar to Jim Crow.”

(BTW, if you happen to be unfamiliar with Jim Crow, google it.)

(Also, the ‘War on Drugs’ is not all that. As she well documents.)

“In fact, the War on Drugs began at a time when illegal drug use was on the decline.”

Consequently, “In less than 30 years, the U.S. penal population exploded from 300,000 to more than 2,000,000…” (We now have the highest rate of incarceration in the world. Drug convictions account for most of that increase.)

“The U.S. imprisons a larger percentage of its black population… (even though) Studies show that people of all colors use and sell illegal drugs at remarkably similar rates.”

“It may be surprising to some that drug crime was declining, not rising, when a drug war was declared.”

(She defines ‘mass incarceration’ as not only referring to) “the criminal justice system but also the the larger web of laws, rules, policies, and customs that control those labeled criminals both in and out of prison.”… “They are members of America’s new undercaste.”

“racial caste systems do not require racial hostility or overt bigotry to thrive. They need only racial indifference.”

(That there is a disproportionate number of young black men in the criminal justice system), “is not–as many argue–just a symptom of poverty or poor choices, but rather evidence of a new racial caste system at work.” (She covers this in great detail, chapter by chapter.)

Chapter 1 “briefly reviews the history of racialized social control in the United States,”

Chapter 2 describes the structure of mass incarceration with a focus on the effects of the War on Drugs. <Started by Reagan, btw.

Chapter 3 weaves through many Supreme Court decisions that institutionalized a subliminal, coupled with overt racism.

Chapter 4 considers how “release from prison does not represent the beginning of freedom but instead a cruel new phase of stigmatization and control.”

“The many parallels between mass incarceration and Jim Crow are explored in chapter 5.” (The most obvious being legalized discrimination. Yes, it’s real. Again, well documented.)

I’m not at chapter 6 yet. She does say that “nothing short of a major social movement can successfully dismantle the new caste system.” … “It is not nearly enough to persuade mainstream voters that we have relied too heavily on incarceration or that drug abuse is a public health problem, not a crime.” < We need that major social movement.

Like I said, this is an eye opener. It’s one of those things that as the case is laid out before you, it becomes glaringly obvious.

Judgement call here: If you read this book and it doesn’t break your heart wide open, your heart is too hard.

I cannot recommend this book strenuously enough. Thanks again Bubba!

Now, I need to run to finish reading. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dance with Us

00000109Wise words from Richard Rohr. He’s is always so thought provoking and stretches me in my faith. #grateful

The Power of Love

I think it’s foolish to presume we can understand Jesus if we don’t first of all understand Trinity. We will continually misinterpret and misuse Jesus if we don’t first participate in the circle dance of mutuality and communion within which he participated. We instead make Jesus into “Christ the King,” a title he rejected in his lifetime (John 18:37), and we operate as if God’s interest in creation or humanity only began 2000 years ago. Did the first fourteen billion years mean nothing?
Humans are more comfortable with a divine monarch at the top of pyramidal reality. So we quickly made the one who described himself as “meek and humble of heart” (Matthew 11:29) into an imperial God, both in western Rome and eastern Constantinople. This isn’t the naked, self-emptying Jesus on the cross. This isn’t a vulnerable, relational one, who knows how to be a brother to all creation. The Greek Zeus became the Latin Deus; and we no longer knew Jesus in any meaningful sense that the soul could naturally relate to (which was the main point of the Incarnation!).
Circles are much more threatening than pyramids are, at least to empires, the wealthy, or any patriarchal system. What if we actually surrendered to the inner Trinitarian flow and let it be our primary teacher? Even our notion of society, politics, and authority—which is still top-down and outside-in—would utterly change. “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit” (2 Corinthians 13:13) should be our circular and all-inclusive ecology. From the very beginning of creation we see this pattern: God the Father, Christ the Word, and the Holy Spirit as a mighty wind (see Genesis 1:1-3).
It’s no surprise that the Western political notion of the divine right of kings held for so many centuries. We still see that most people are utterly fascinated by those they think are “important” or “powerful,” whether athletes, politicians, spiritual leaders, or celebrities. It’s as if they have a unique power or energy flowing from “out there” or “up there” instead of anything in here. I don’t think we would operate in this out-of-body way if we were in vital connection with the Trinity and the Indwelling Spirit.
Trinitarian theology says that spiritual power is more circular or spiral, and not so much hierarchical. It’s here; it’s within us. It’s shared and shareable; it’s already entirely for us and grounded within us. What hope this gives us! “[A]nd hope does not disappoint because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us” (Romans 5:5). God’s Spirit is planted within each of us and operating as each of us! Let’s not keep looking to the top of the pyramid. Let’s stop idolizing the so-called “One Percent.” There’s nothing worthwhile up there that is not also down here. Worst of all, it has given ninety-nine percent of the world an unnecessary and tragic inferiority complex.
Trinity shows that God’s power is not domination, threat, or coercion. If the Father does not dominate the Son, and the Son does not dominate the Holy Spirit, and the Spirit does not dominate the Father or the Son, then there’s no domination in God. All divine power is shared power and the letting go of autonomous power.
There’s no seeking of power over in the Trinity, but only power with—a giving away, a sharing, a letting go, and thus an infinity of trust and mutuality. This should have changed all Christian relationships: in marriage, in culture, and even in international relations. Isaiah tried to teach such servanthood to Israel in the classic four “servant songs.” [1] He was training them in being “light to all nations” (Isaiah 42:6; 49:6), but Hebrew history preceded what Christianity repeated: we both preferred kings, wars, and empires instead of suffering servanthood or leveling love.
We all already have all the power (dynamis) we need both within us and between us—in fact, Jesus assures us that we are already “clothed” in it “from on high” (see Luke 24:49)!
Gateway to Silence:
Dance with Us.

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#ImWithHer

13417605_1018289288287075_1212856876956686723_nI am with her. I am excited about her. A woman President, finally?! I am not a one issue voter. I will never be. To me this election is a no-brainer because any so called fringe threatening the Democratic Party seems far less menacing than the lunatic fringe that has taken over the GOP.

 

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One Tribe y’all

Gotta love the Black Eyed Peas. I sure wish this resonated with more people.

Whoa-oh-oh-oh-oh!
Whoa-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh!
Whoa-oh-oh-oh-oh!
Oh-whoa-oh!

One Tri,
One Tri,
One tribe, one time, one planet, one race
Its all one blood, don’t care about your face
The color of your eye
Or the tone of your skin
Don’t care where you are
Don’t care where you been
‘Cause where we gonna go
Is where we wanna be
The place where the little language is unity
And the continent is called Pangaea
And the main ideas are connected like a sphere
No propaganda, they tried to upper hand us
‘Cause man I’m loving this peace
Man, man, I’m loving this peace
Man, man, I’m loving this peace
I don’t need no leader
That’s gonna force feed a
Concept that make me think I need to
Fear my brother and fear my sister
And shoot my neighbor
With my big missile
If I had an enemy to (enemy)
If I had an enemy to (enemy)
If I had an enemy
Then my enemy is gonna try to come and kill me
‘Cause I’m his enemy
There’s one tribe y’all

One tribe y’all
One tribe y’all
One tribe y’all
We are one people
Let’s catch amnesia, forget about all that evil
Forget about all that evil, that evil that they feed ya
Let’s catch amnesia, forget about all that evil
That evil that they feed ya
Remember that we’re one people
We are one people
One, one (one people)
One, one (one people)
One, one (one people)

One tribe, one tribe
One tribe, one time, one planet, one (race)
Race, one love, one people, one (and)
Too many things that’s causing one (to)
Forget about the main cause
Connecting, uniting
But the evil is seen and alive in us
So our weapons are colliding
And our peace is sinking like Poseidon
But, we know that the one (one)
The evil one is threatened by the sum (sum)
So he’ll come and try and separate the sum
But he dumb, he didn’t know we had a way to overcome
Rejuvenated by the beating of the drum
Come together by the cycle of the hum
Freedom when all become one (one)
Forever

One tribe y’all
One tribe y’all
One tribe y’all
We are one people
Let’s catch amnesia
Forget about all that evil (evil)
Forget about all that evil (evil)
That evil that they feed ya
Let’s catch amnesia
Forget about all that evil (evil)
That evil, that they feed ya (feed ya)
Remember that we’re one people
We are one people
One, one (one people)
One, one (one people)
One, one (one people)

One love, one blood, one people
One heart, one beat, we equal
Connected like the internet
United that’s how we do
Lets break walls, so we see through
Let love and peace lead you
We could overcome the complication cause we need to
Help each other, make these changes
Brother, sister, rearrange this
The way I’m thinking that we can change this bad condition
Wait, use you mind and not your greed
Let’s connect and then proceed
This is something I believe
We are one, we’re all just people

One tribe y’all
One tribe y’all
One tribe y’all
We are one people
Let’s catch amnesia
Forget about all that evil
Forget about all that evil, that evil that they feed ya
Let’s catch amnesia
Let’s catch amnesia, forget about all that evil
That evil, that they feed ya
We’re one tribe y’all
We people, we people
One tribe y’all
One, one (one people)
One, one (one people)
One, one (one people)
One, one (one people)
One, one (one people)
One, one (one people)

Lets, lets catch amnesia
Lord help me out
Trying to figure out what its all about (what its all about)
‘Cause we’re one in the same (one in the same)
Same joy, same pain
And I hope that you’re there when I need ya
‘Cause maybe we need amnesia
And I don’t wanna sound like a preacher
But we need to be one

One world, one love, one passion
One tribe, one understanding
‘Cause you and me can become one.

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From Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditation

stone-cross-1497186-639x480It’s deep. He makes you think. I love that he brings in ancient and older Christian thought into his work. We’ve gotten too entrenched in American Christianity, which seems to get further and further from the life of Christ.

“every time God forgives us, God is saying that God’s own rules do not matter as much as the relationship that God wants to create with us.”
― Richard Rohr, Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life

Can’t wait to read Falling Upward, but for today….

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Daniel Walsh, who was Thomas Merton’s primary philosophy teacher, says he’s not sure if the human person can even legitimately be called a creation, because we are a continuance of, an emanation from, a “subsistent relation” with what we call Trinity. Wow! This is getting very wonderful and also very dangerous. [1] He taught that the human person must see itself in continuity with God, and not a fully separate creation. We are “chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world” (see Ephesians 1:4). How different Christian history would have been if we had believed and taught this to the ordinary beginner.
Mature Christianity is thus an invitation to share in the personal life of God, a dynamic of generated love forever continued in space and time through God’s creatures. Thus, God’s self-knowledge includes knowledge of us, and God’s self-love includes love of us. They are the same knowing, the same loving, and the same freedom.
Yes, in some sense we become an “other” that can be seen as a separate object from God, but from God’s side we are always known and loved subject to subject, just as the persons of the Trinity know and love one another. God and the human person must know (and can know) one another center to center, subject to subject; we will not and cannot know one another if we objectify one another.
This is perhaps the clearest way to describe God’s unconditional acceptance of us, forgiveness of our mistakes, and mercy toward us in all circumstances: We are never an object to God. God cannot not love God’s image in us. This is the eternal covenant.
So a fully Christian theology and philosophy of the human person must say that our personhood originates in the divine Logos, the eternal Christ, as imitations and reflections of God’s relationship to Godself. We are constituted by the same relationship that exists between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit!
“The end for which the human person is created is to manifest the Truth of Christ in the love God has for himself in his Divine Trinity,” Daniel Walsh says in his lectures to the monks. This is the theology of personhood upon which Thomas Merton builds his monumental worldview, and upon which we can, too.
Divine Personhood and human personhood are reciprocal, mutually-mirroring concepts. God’s nature as relationship creates ours; and our nature is constituted by this same bond, which is infinite openness and capacity to love. We must know that we are in fact objectively loveable to honestly be able to love ourselves. We cannot pretend. Our false self is never fully ready to trust in unconditional love. Maybe forgiveness and forbearance, but not unconditional love—at best a kind of highly conditional love, which is most practical Christianity when people do not go inside of the Living Mystery.
You cannot “get” to such a place; you can only rest and rejoice in such a place.
Gateway to Silence:
Love flows in and out, in and out.

References:
[1] Daniel Walsh, unpublished notes from his teaching at the Abbey of Gethsemani. Walsh taught regularly at the abbey from the late 1950s to the early 1960s.
Adapted from Richard Rohr with Mike Morrell, The Divine Dance: The Trinity and Your Transformation (Whitaker House: 2016), 78-79. This book is available for pre-order at thedivinedance.org.

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Happy 59th Anniversary Mom & Dad!

 

img_21462016_09_10_17_39_54What a year it’s been, yet your example of commitment, example of unconditional love, example of loving others as yourself, example of pushing through and not giving up. < Especially that!  And your example of loving God, has stood the test. 
Each of your families’ did not have a faith in God until later in life. They beat the odds. You each grew up in families that did not model Christianity until you were older, yet you embraced Christianity as your own. You beat the odds. You raised 5 kids who are now all working out their faith in their lives and their families’ lives. I’m proud to be part the 3rd generation raising the 4th generation with a strong belief in God and His graciousness to us.

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Happy 59th Anniversary! What a blessing. May God continue to keep you and cause His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you!

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when we say God is just ~

IMG_0815I’m reading Outlaw Christian by Jacqueline Bussie, and it is life-giving and authentic. Nothing sugar-coated or cliché. I love that, as so much of westernized Christianity is chock full of cliché, and small god mindedness.

Right now, during this political season, there is so much gloom and doom on billboard sized display by christians in America. That is so disconcerting in and of itself because Christianity should be anything but gloom and doom. What a terrible example to all of our ‘neighbors’ whom we are called to love.

Soren Kierkegaard, the Christian philosopher, defined hope as the passionate pursuit of the possible. Meaning, hope is more than believing, it’s doing. We can’t sit around bemoaning we need God back in our country, our schools, our government, etc. If that’s your mindset you need to get a grip, as God never left. Maybe you need to come to terms with the realization if you’re in ‘gloom and doom’ mode, it’s a you problem, not a God problem. As Jacqueline says, hope is a lifestyle of embracing and giving life in a world of death-dealing. Or as Isaiah dishes it, “Do good; seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.” (1:17) Or in today’s vernacular, what does it say to a someone in need when you tell him God loves him, yet deny him services to lift him up. Hope is more than believing, it’s doing. What does it say to a bank employee who loses their job and pension because of a sub-prime mortgage scandal right after the CEO receives millions in bonus’? No one will listen to us regarding hope if we do not speak and act authentically to despair and calamity.

“When we say God is just, we also need to confess that a U.S. CEO’s salary is 373 times the salary of his own average worker and 264 times as much as public school teachers; 1.2 billion people in the world are without access to sanitation; the world’s richest 500 individuals have a combines income of more than that of the poorest 416 million, and 1/5th of humanity spends $4 a day on a cappuccino while another one-fifth lives on less than $1 day. And if we say “God is love,” or “God is in control,” we need also to confess the 10.7 million children a year across the globe do not live to see their 5th birthday, more than 1 billion people live in abject poverty, and more than 1.5 million people in Haiti were left homeless by the 2010 earth quake. **Outlaw Christians lament aloud that the world’s heartache is exponential.

These facts depress us, I know. But the key to an authentic life and faith is not to hide from personal or global hope-corroding facts but instead to lament them, protest them, despise the crud out of them, talk to each other and God about them, and resist them DAILY in a hundred small ways through our vocations and our actions.” (Bussie)

Hope is hard, and it becomes a fallacy when the realities that make hope an utter necessity are ignored. Real hope requires we get down and dirty. Often, Christian talk of hope is so shallow and sugar-coated by ignoring the horror in the world. Hope without action is nothing. God wants us as his PR agent, as Jacqueline puts it. We need to enter into each others suffering and grief, and be witness to how they did not give up in despair on their journey. We can learn so much, from those who have gone through so much, by walking beside them, listening, and learning without resorting to old tired clichés.

Be the hope you wish to see in the world. In time, your hope will give birth to others.

“The message of the cross is that hope is incarnate — meaning right here and now, inside us and among us.” We don’t need a politician to usher it in. That said, no politician can usher it out either.

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