The Soul I Understand

NOTHING'S A GIFTNothing's a gift, it's all on loan.I'm drowning in debts up to my ears.I'll have to pay for myselfwith my self,give up my life for my life.Here's how it's arranged:The heart can be repossessed,the liver, too,and each single finger and toe.Too late to tear up the terms,my debts will be repaid,and I'll be fleeced,or, more precisely, flayed.I move about the planetin a crush of other debtors.some are saddled with the burdenof paying off their wings.Others must, willy-nilly,account … [Read more...]

Politics, Religion and this Blogger

According to some one's calculation today forty-six years prior to the common era, Julius Caesar dedicated a temple to his putative ancestor Venus Genetrix. This had something to do with a vow he'd made in the heat of the battle of Pharsalus. (And yes, I know the picture is of his nephew, but the great Augustus appears here in his capacity as Pontifex Maximus, and so...)Caesar also made sure the public knew of his piety.It wasn't new when he did it.It is no surprise today.Now in our republic, … [Read more...]

Don’t Just Do Something, Sit There

Over at the Forbidden Gospels Blog, Professor April DeConick just posted one of my favorite logia from the Gospel of Thomas.Jesus said, "There was a wealthy man who had many assets. He said, 'I will use my assets to sow, harvest, plant and fill my granaries with produce, so that I will not need anything.' These were the things he was thinking in his heart. But that very night, he died."Of course it has corollaries in the canonical sayings attributed to Jesus, as well.But I find something … [Read more...]

Shel Silverstein

Shel Silverstein(September 25, 1930 - May 10, 1999)Happy Birthday, Shel.And thanks... … [Read more...]

Thinking of Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary

Some years ago, while I was finishing up my undergraduate degree in order to get into graduate school, and then for a while in graduate school, as well; my absolutely necessary down time mostly consisted of reading Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe novels. The advantages were few but obvious. Stout could string sentences together nicely. His characters were charming. And Stout's forty-eight forays into Nero Wolfe's life and adventures were rarely complicated with new plots. Perfect for my purposes...One … [Read more...]

A couple of words against souls

I've been thinking a bit about life after death, of late. Based mainly on conversations with a couple of people who've come into my life.Due to circumstances, here's what I've not felt I could say at the time...I just don't believe there is some aspect to us (read you and me) that is not subject to change and ultimately to dissolution. I've spent a lifetime in spiritual introspection and I find nothing within that hasn't changed. Except an abiding sense of "I," which itself, however, as I look … [Read more...]

Winchester Profession

On September 22nd, 1803, the Universalist Church of America adopted an "avowal," or creedal statement, one which would remain the standard for the church until 1897, when it was superseded by the "Chicago Declaration."While itself built upon earlier documents, this would become the standard for generations and be the document people embraced or rejected as North American Universalists.The text is perhaps as remarkable for its brevity as for its revolutionary character.We believe that the Holy … [Read more...]

WE ARE WHAT WE DO: And Other Conundrums of the Spiritual Life

We Are What We Do And Other Conundrums of the Spiritual LifeA Sermon byJames Ishmael Ford21 September 2008First Unitarian ChurchProvidence, Rhode IslandText(T)here are some things within our social order to which I am proud to be maladjusted and to which I call upon you to be maladjusted. I never intend to adjust myself to segregation and discrimination. I never intend to adjust myself to mob rule. I never intend to adjust myself to the tragic effects of the methods of physical violence and to t … [Read more...]

Zen Master Samu Sunim

Sadly my book Zen Master Who? has numerous errors of fact. Most are pretty small potatoes. But I have recently learned of one significant enough that I am seeking various venues to publicly correct it. There will be an errata page for the book placed at my publisher's website, and should there be a subsequent edition it will be corrected. I have corrected Samu Sunim's biographical sketch at Wikipedia which was based in part upon my work. And I also want to post this here at my personal blog.I … [Read more...]

Some Good Advice From My Old Zen Teacher

So we have to be patient with ourselves. Over and over again we think we need to be somewhere else, and we must find the truth right here, right now; we must find our joy here, now. How seductive it is, the thought of tomorrow. We must find our understanding here. We must find it here; it is always here; this is where the grass is green.John Tarrant(Another thank you to Whiskey River...) … [Read more...]