Posts

Showing posts from April, 2009

God as Mother

I was raised in a home with my mother and my sister. My parents divorced when I was around 5 or 6 and it really did not bother me when it happened. My parents remained friends and they still are to this day. My mother was strong but loving. My sister and I fought as siblings were prone to do but get along famously today.

The past few years I have been fascinated with God as Mother. I would say it first was a spark from my love of Mary. She in a very real sense was a feminine face of God. She was loving and compassionate. But I also began to look at scripture for images of God as Mother. I found her as a mother bear willing to protect her young at any price. I found her as a mother bird and hen wanting to gather her chicks. I found her in the word compassion in Hebrew is the same as the word womb. That gives a whole new meaning of the Spirit hovering over the waters in whom we live and move and have our being. I found her in the Jewish tradition of the Shekinah...the glory of God on ear…

Images of God

Part of my studies right now with the Order is to examine our images of God and to press into what types we see God as and then to press them to expand. I have no problem seeing God as having ebony skin. I have no problem seeing God as a black mother who loves her children and directs them in the way they should go. I really have no problem seeing God as any race and have several pictures of multiracial Christs on my screen saver. The same goes with seeing God as female, gay and or straight. God has been my lover...it is a part of me.

I had a spiritual teacher about 5 years ago who really pressed me to get beyond my stereotypes of God and the ways I limit God. It was torture at the time, but now it comes with such ease it seems comical the way I struggled.

Tired of Talk

When you are tired of talk and debates-
Come.
When you are tired of your endless ramblings of theology-
Come.
When you have gluttoned yourself on your thoughts-
It is time to come.
Come! Come the Beloved calls out!
He longs for you...with panting breaths of desire he cries out your name.
Longing for union he calls out.
Come....set aside your worries...and be with Me.
All the books on love in the world
are nothing compared to the experience of Love.
Come!

To know God

I took a walk through a nature reserve today. It was very hot out, and I headed back after seeing a snake. I am a rainy day kinda guy.

Today is Earth Day. For Gnostics, we take an unusual approach to the earth. On one hand it is filled with God, the pleroma, the kingdom. The Gospel of Thomas (Logion 77) says it quite eloquently: "Jesus said, "I am the light that is over all things. I am all: from me all came forth, and to me all attained. Split a piece of wood; I am there. Lift up the stone, and you will find me there."

The divine spark is in everything. But that does not make everything helpful to us. A tornado, earthquake or rattlesnake bite does not feel good. In a sense it is not helpful at all. Tragedy is like that. Gnostics look upon such events as the activity of the archons...the powers that want to keep us locked in this world. Whether literal or figurative, they are the things that can often cause us to lose our spiritual center. But in those mome…

Jesus as Wisdom Teacher

I follow the way of Jesus. In a sense I am hesitant to use the name Christian simply because of all the baggage that comes with it in this day and age. Images of fundamentalists condemning or evangelizing can turn many people off to Jesus. Sadly, looking at the scriptures, one gets a different picture of who Jesus was than what many churches require belief in. In the gospels, both the canonical and non-canonical-we see the viewpoints of the author. They are writing with an agenda of a Jesus that fits their belief system. That said, one thing stands out in all of them. That is Jesus as a wisdom teacher. In many ways he operated somewhat like a Sufi sheik or a Indian Spiritual Teacher. He takes students, and invites some to a deeper level of relationship with him. He speaks in parables and often in ways to jar the common understandings of the time. Perhaps in that way he is akin to a Zen Master as well. He is one who has attained Gnosis, Enlightenment-however you describe this union wit…

"A Good Day" With Brother David Steindl-Rast

Loving God

At the edges of the pleroma

Final Vows

Today Sr. Betty and I took our final vows in the presence of a few Sikh friends. We chose a lake nearby and it turned out to be a chilly, windy day. But the Spirit of God did move across the face of the waters and heard our vows to the Lord. We were blessed by a few more guests...a couple of geese with its beautiful babies.

Only Breath

The Order of Peace

Tomorrow is the big day. I will take my final vows as a friar. I have been working with two friends in a nearby town in the formation of a religious order called The Brothers and Sisters of the Order of Peace. The Order of Peace is unique in a couple of respects. One is that the OP is an interfaith order. I have to say that this was a challenge to us as we were working on the Rule of Life and the Constitutions. We wanted to honor other faiths without blending them into some crazy mix that watered them down. Three of us will be taking our vows. The other brother is a Christian with a strong Hindu philosophy take to Christianity. A Christian-Hindu, I guess you could say. The sister that will be taking vows is a Hindu. All of us have been friends on the spiritual journey for years. What have attended each others worship gatherings, sat together in silent contemplation, and studied and debated sacred texts together each relating them to his or her own tradition. So we finally…

Taking a Step

Come with me my friend,
Ours is not the path of scholars,
Nor is it the path of the righteous.
Ours is the path of lovers.

Peeking

Oh Beloved,
I walk by the trees, through the grass, on the rocks.
I see you peeking behind them. I feel you so near.
The pleroma has been covered, but it is leaking through-awakening my desire for you.
Don't be so shy. Come sit with me.

You and the Other (with a capital O)

Crumbs

O Divine Beloved,
I seek you day by day
Will you come out of your house and spend a little time with me?
If you will not, then perhaps you will allow me to even rest at your feet
I shall even be happy with crumbs from under your table.
Even your chastisement is bliss to me
as long as you have spared some attention on me.

Dreaming

Once upon a time the Beloved decided to allow part of himself to dream so that He may know himself in a new way. In this dream, this part of God was you. But this "you" forgot who you really were and got lost in the dream. This spark of God forgot its Source. But the Beloved sent messengers across this forgetful spark's path to shine the light of truth so that the spark would remember that it was one with the Beloved. How does the story end? I do not know...you tell me.

The World and The Demiurge

I feel like I am finally coming to a place where I am really taking Gnosticism as my own. What I mean by that is that I have spent the past couple of years learning about Gnosticism laying a foundation of historical Gnosticism and adopting its theology as my own. Now I am at a place where I feel that Gnosticism is my religion and I can actively engage it and even reinterpret it in a modern context while at the same time honor where it came from. I realize that even the term Gnosticism in a historical context is not helpful as there were several early groups that are categorized under Gnosticism that are different from each other. Each of these factions did not agree and some were not even that friendly to each other.
In modern Gnosticism we tend to lump all the Nag Hammadi scriptures together to form our local groups. Though without a good foundation into the thoughts of the individual groups and which writings go where, a person can wind up very confused.
The historical Gnostics…

A Song to Sophia?

Sting-Desert Rose
I dream of rain
I dream of gardens in the desert sand
I wake in vain
I dream of love as time runs through my hand

I dream of fire
Those dreams are tied to a horse that will never tire
And in the flames
Her shadows play in the shape of a man's desire

This desert rose
Each of her veils, a secret promise
This desert flower
No sweet perfume ever tortured me more than this

And as she turns
This way she moves in the logic of all my dreams
This fire burns
I realize that nothing's as it seems

I dream of rain
I dream of gardens in the desert sand
I wake in vain
I dream of love as time runs through my hand

I dream of rain
I lift my gaze to empty skies above
I close my eyes
This rare perfume is the sweet intoxication of her love

I dream of rain
I dream of gardens in the desert sand
I wake in vain
I dream of love as time runs through my hand

Sweet desert rose
Each of her veils, a secret promise
This desert flower
No sweet perfume ever tortured me more than this

Sweet desert rose
This memory of Eden haunt…

God in the Silence

One thing I notice is that when I sit with God in the silence daily, I am aware that I am naked before him. No not literally. Rather, I rest in the precence of the Beloved separated from my beliefs, religion, age, race, sex etc. I sit as a soul apart from all my labels and beliefs. I sit in the presence of Divine Mystery. Is this what a Buddhist or Hindu feels when they sit in silence?

God in the Silence

One thing I notice is that when I sit with God in the silence daily, I am aware that I am naked before him. No not literally. Rather, I rest in the precence of the Beloved separated from my beliefs, religion, age, race, sex etc. I sit as a soul apart from all my labels and beliefs. I sit in the presence of Divine Mystery. Is this what a Buddhist or Hindu feels when they sit in silence? Are all contemplatives really brothers and sisters?

Easter

Jesus is risen. What does that mean? It means that the powers that seek to oppress, destroy, and kill may be able to harm the body but are unable to harm the spirit. Jesus in his appearance risen from the dead, showed that what he taught was not in word, but in reality. The powers of this world are defeated and powerless to those who are awake. The call is to new life....awake O' sleepers and Christ will give you light. We are now called to shine this light though works of compassion towards those who have been beaten down by this world. We are called to help those still imprisoned. Love the hurting, the lonely, the sick, care for the prisoner, the widows and orphans. If you have received gnosis, allow it to take further hold in you through bringing new life to those still asleep. Christ is risen...we too are risen with him!

The Apostle Paul: A Gnostic?

I was praying the daily office this evening. I read this piece of scripture and was how Gnostic it was. It pits the flesh versus the spirit, recognizing the uselessness of the flesh and the glory of the spirit. This really is at odds with those who see the flesh as basically good. Well worth reading again.

Rom. 8:1-11 (NRSV)
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. 3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and to deal with sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 so that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6 To …

Mary's Kenosis

She weeps. The one who freed her from her demons, the one who saw something in her...who saw her as a person of dignity and taught her of the Father. He was dead. Her dreams were collapsing. It was not supposed to happen like this. She loved him. If she never admitted it before, she loved him and would shout it from the rooftops if it would help. But not now. He is dead. The stone has been moved. Someone has taken his body, so she is not even able to do what needs to be done to her beloved's body. Like Eve facing the darkness in the original garden-she falls to the ground wanting to hide in grief. After a few moments of intense weeping, she is aware that someone else is there. It is the gardener. She has given up everything for him. She has emptied herself of all but love for him. She asks the gardener if he has taken the body and if so where is it. He says one word. "Mary." Her heart feels like it is going to burst! This is no gardener. This is her…

Reflections on the Good Friday Service

Entering the Good Friday service, I was struck by my own monkey-mind as it came raging up during the mass. Memories popped up. I was shocked by the emptiness of the church. Everything that could be a distraction-was. I closed my eyes and began a bit of centering prayer. Eventually those distractions passed and I was able to release the raging of the ego. The crucifixion tells us that God is with us in our suffering and the world and its "powers" are powerless. God is present in us-even with our monkey mind. Even during the Good Friday Liturgy.

Good Friday

The Logos/Christos entered the World of Forms. This hidden invasion included many trials. How challenging it must have been to try and convey the truths of the fullness of the Pleroma/kingdom of God to the disciples with their limited understanding. How confusing it must have been to be a disciple as Jesus tries to lead you into the powerful experience of gnosis. Jesus rejected the archonic powers of the temple leaders (liturgical leader), the scribes (the scholars), and the pharisees (the pious). He showed an indifferent mind to the "powers" of Rome. As we all know the powerful need subjects to stay in power. That is why Jesus is such a thorn in their side. So the powers seek to kill him. Yet in their torture and murder of Jesus, they drive his point home-religiosity for sake of the ego and political prowess are spiritually bankrupt. He gave up his life willingly, revealing the powers for the archons they are. He also showed that the flesh is not all there is. They destroye…

Thou art That

What a powerful thing, that I am a spark of the Divine. I am of God. Thinking back to the letter in the Hymn of the Pearl, I am reminded that I am called to wake up and remember who I am. I am of God...I am of the same nature as that of my Father! This world with its ups and downs is not my home. May I come to realize this truth more each day. May I recieve the graces needed for this to happen.

The Eucharist

Today, is the day called Maundy Thursday. It is the day honoring the night Jesus' celebrated the first Eucharist and washed the feet of the disciples. Looking at this from a perspective of Jesus as the Christos, he creates a rift in the World of Forms and allows the Pleroma enter, just as the Fullness break through in his body...so to does he identify the bread and wine with his body....he unites, redeems or somehow changes the bread and wine into the body and blood..he brings the fulness into us. What a radical act. The Kingdom of Heaven is breaking through the world of forms. The archons territory has been invaded and exposed. Jesus asks us to follow him, not because he is some self-inflated guru wanting adulation and worship at the expense of his followers. No. He calls us to become his twin. We are called to be the Christos. We are called to awaken and revitalize that divine spark within us. We are challenged to unite the soul to the spirit and control the body. How do we do t…

Take, Eat

Today is Maundy Thursday. Today is the day we celebrate Christ offering the Eucharist and washing the feet of the disciples. Jesus gives us himself in the Eucharist. The inbreaking of the pleroma in nature...in the bread and wine. The poured out life of God is given us in the Eucharist...Like the seed inside his lover. God gives us all of himself. This is the path of Gnosticism. The path of kenosis-self emptying. We too are called to imitate Christ and empty ourselves of ourselves. We are called to pour out our lives and offer our body and blood for God and others in service. As the Divine is given in the Eucharist, we are called to be a Eucharist to the world. We are called to live poured out lives.

Thomas Gospel Dervishes, sung by Catherine Braslavsky

Catherine Braslavsky group in concert at the Satellit' Café, broadcast on French TV 3/08. Music by Joseph Rowe, words of Yeshua from the Gospel of Thomas:
"Split the wood, I am there; turn over a stone, and you will find me."

You and the Other (with a capital O)

Amen!

The Beloved

I was lost and walking in a strange city.
I wore the clothes of a stranger.
Until You came.
My Beloved.
You washed me and called me to remember.
To remember the life I had before.
To remember who I was.
You clothed me with clothes that were my own.
You fed me with food that brought fullness.
I remembered in flashes of insight.
My Beloved walks with me home.

Palm Sunday

Yesterday was Palm/Passion Sunday. The crowds shouted praises as Jesus entered Jerusalem, only to change their tune to cries for death before the week is up. They ways of the world should not surprise us. All things change. People achieve fame, popularity only to fade back into obscurity. People who love you one minute will rejoice in your fall the next. We should not cling to the opinions of the world, but rather continue to seek living knowledge of the Father. It is only in finding ourselves as the Father sees us that we can be truly free of the opinions of the world. When we take time to regularly look within, we can receive glimpses of our divine spark. Having experienced that spark we can then work to conform our soul into the image of the spirit within. That is what the saints did. They used Jesus as a reference and guide to release their attachment to error through repentance (turning around-changing directions)and became transformed. They lived as citizens of the k…

The lost Gospel of Thomas

What are we? What are we meant to be?