I Am Your Voice. I Alone Can Fix This. Sure Looks Like Someone is Running for Dictator

I understand Mr Trump's acceptance speech was well received, at least according to the over night polls.I had a different experience.The text of Mr Trump's speech is resplendent with references to how he will fix things. He, Donald Trump, personally. He's John Wayne. He's Jim Stewart. He's the man on the white horse. He's not running to be president. He's running to be our dictator.He promises, give him the job, and he will do the job. That job is murky, mud dark. It has something … [Read more...]

A Feast for Carlos: Recalling Independent Catholic Archbishop Carlos Duarte Costa

Normally in Christian denominations, a significant figure is recalled on the anniversary of their death. Here, is an exception.Carlos Duarte Costa was born on this day in 1888. He was a prominent Brazilian Roman Catholic clergyman, eventually Bishop of Botucatu. He crossed those higher in the ranks challenging clerical corruption and clerical celibacy. And, was eventually excommunicated by Pope Pius XII. (Himself controversial for his dealings with the Nazi regime during the second world … [Read more...]

And the Freeway Comes to California

As it happens it was on this day in 1940 that the Pasadena Freeway opened for traffic. A stretch of historic route 66, it ran between Los Angeles and Pasadena. It is in fact the first stretch of route 66, the great mother road of the country, to become a modern limited access highway.The Pasadena Freeway is generally considered the first freeway to come to the West and specifically to California. Now, technically, some would point out it is in fact a transitional construction between the … [Read more...]

Not One. Not Two. The Zen of Sister Elaine

I once had the honor of blurbing one of Sister Elaine's books, The Flowing Bridge: Guidance on Beginning Zen Koans. I wrote,“Who would have thought one of the most formidable Zen masters in the West would be a retired Roman Catholic nun living in Toronto?”Born in 1924 and a Juliard-trained violinist, Elaine joined the Canadian Catholic religious congregation Our Lady’s Missionaries in 1953. Sent to Japan in 1961 she received permission to enter a Rinzai Zen monastery where she studied f … [Read more...]

Contrary to What You May Have Heard, the New Ghostbusters is No Bust: Great Summer Entertainment

Yesterday, Jan & I went to see Ghostbusters.Bottom line, we left the theatre smiling.Ghostbusters is what Hollywood does best.Of course I was well aware of the controversies surrounding the reboot of the 1984 classic comedy. But, I noticed that much of the hubbub had nothing to do with whether the movie was good or fun or whatever. It was about how girls were taking over boy’s territory. I missed the worst of it, I gather. I don't wander too much into those corners of the interwebs. … [Read more...]

The Vermillion Thread, Through a Glass Darkly, & Amazing Grace: A Small Pointer on Zen Practice

Yesterday Jiryu Mark Rutschman-Byler, who with his brother Hondo Dave Rutschman, maintains the wonderful blog No Zen in the West posted a reflection on bias that I commend to anyone interested in the questions associated with the spiritual life, meaning, purpose, direction. That stuff.Jiryu takes a head on run at a pretty common Zen trope “seeing things as they are.” It is a rare Zen teacher who avoids it. Certainly it is part of my bag of tricks. Jiryu makes a flat out statement, no, no. No … [Read more...]

Mr Emerson Starts a Revolution

For most of America, Transcendentalism was a literary movement. However, in fact it was a theological and spiritual revolution within American Unitarianism and only incidentally a literary phenomenon. AS it is with movements of various sorts there are any number of moments that could be named the “beginning” of Transcendentalism. The 1836 publication of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay Nature is probably the most common.However, I would suggest as Transcendentalism was never really about one perso … [Read more...]

Some Prophets Sing

It's good to recall that even in the worst of times, maybe actually it is always in the worst of times, that the mystery raises up a prophet to preach against greed and hatred, and to call us all to our better angels.One such, Woody Guthrie was born one hundred and four years ago.Happy birthday, Woody!We sure could use you about now... … [Read more...]

It’s Looking More and More Like God’s Away on Business

Of course the 14th of July is mostly known as Bastille Day, marking the storming of that fort, armory, and prison, and the beginning of the French Revolution in 1789. On the same day a couple of years later in 1791, and not insignificantly connected, the so-called Priestley Riots in Birmingham England began. For three days a mob ran supreme in the city, attacking religious dissenters who had expressed among other challenges to the status quo, actual sympathy with the revolution. Their principal … [Read more...]

Margaret Murray, the Mother of Modern Wicca

Margaret Alice Murray was born on this day 1863 in Calcutta, a second generation Anglo Indian. As a child she didn't receive a formal education but her natural curiosity and love of learning were indulged by her wealthy parents. Following her interests, she qualified both as a nurse and a social worker.Soon, however, she turned to Egyptology, enrolling at the University College of London. It was the first time she walked into a classroom. And she found her true calling within the academy. … [Read more...]