Building a Pier

Samain and the waning crescent of the Moon of Radical Change

Saturday gratefuls: Romertopf clay cookers. The chicken who gave its life for our meal. The root vegetables in it, too: potatoes, carrots, leeks, garlic. The snow, may it keep coming.  Kate in a better day so far today. Caring Bridge and those who reply on it. Biden. The POTUS: Pouter of the United States. Kamala Harris. Joe on Oahu. Seoah. Mary. Margus. Diane. Feeling good about cooking.


What a bare and sad existence the New Atheists must have. The vast poetry and insight of the world’s religions cast away by a reductive “philosophical” argument. A shame they couldn’t just be atheists-like so many of us-and not make the mistake of intellectual ignorance and arrogance. Let’s say there was a God, of some kind. Would a true God waste any time on people who insisted She didn’t exist? Of course not. Oh, She might throw the small doubt in there occasionally, She might do a miracle or two, you know, just to piss them off; but, otherwise so what? Why waste energy on folks whose mean existence requires tearing down the beliefs and hopes of others.

Oh, I have had my new atheist moments, yes. They’re easy to come by when white evangelicals link arms with white racists and the Pouter POTUS. Or, when shouts of allahu akbar ring out before an explosion in a crowded spot. Or, when each new revelation of child rape by a Roman Catholic priest surfaces. But in fact all of these use their belief as an excuse. The behavior they exhibit is anathema and blasphemy even within their own faiths.

Me, I’m taking guidance wherever I can find it. My friend Paul Strickland mentioned in a conversation a while back that I seem to take things from many religions. That’s true, but I’m no syncretist. I’m not searching for the underlying unity of the world’s faiths. And, btw, they are NOT all teaching love. I also take guidance from art, other cultures, especially Japan and China, and folks I meet.

Paul’s comment got me thinking about what does constitute religious/spiritual guidance in my life. Here’s a list. I’m not going to expound on them now, and it’s a partial list anyhow, by definition. I wanted to get a start on thinking about the melange I’ve put together.

Ideas, concepts, practices that inform my worldview and my sense of how I as an individual fit into the world/cosmos.

Ayn Sof – Kabbalah

Becoming Native to This Place – Wes Jackson

Ikigai – Japan

Ichi-go ichi-e – Japan

Wabi-sabi – Japan

Wu wei – Taoism

The Tao – Taoism

The Great Wheel – Celts

Bear the burden of the other – Judaism

Chesed (loving kindness) – Judaism

Tikkun Olam – Judaism

Golden rule – Christianity and Judaism

No fear of death – Yamantaka, Tibetan Buddhism, Christianity

The Great Work – Thomas Berry

Vitalist, not a mechanist – mainly Alfred North Whitehead, but also in the Grammar of Animacy from Braiding Sweetgrass

Always learning – Goya

The quest – Tarot, Homer, Joseph Campbell

Dasein – Heidegger

Justice – Christianity and Judaism and the UAW and the civil rights movement

Emergence – Complexity institute

I’m sure I’ll think of more, but right now these are the ones that come to mind. You can think of these as individual pilings in the pier I’m slowly building into the vastness of All.

This entry was posted in Art and Culture, Asia, Commentary on Religion, Feelings, Great Wheel, Great Work, Judaism, Letters, Literature, Myth and Story, Original Relation, Reimagine. Reconstruct. Reenchant., US History, Writing. Bookmark the permalink.

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