One Could Say Today is the Day the Devil Took Over Christianity

The good folk at Wikipedia set today in 312 in the evening ahead of the Battle of the Milvian Bridge as the moment when Constantine, later called the Great, purported to have a vision of a cross in the sky and heard the words “With this sign, conquer.”The details of what followed are confused. Lactanitus wrote it was a modified Latin cross, while Eusebius said it was the Chi-rho cross.I like how some have tried to find natural phenomena as the source of this miracle. Me, I have to bring … [Read more...]

The Death Penalty on Trial: a Meditation

In just shy of two weeks Americans will be going to the polls. What is at the front of everyone's mind is the presidential election. Totally reasonable. But, there are other issues going to be decided. Among them in California there are two propositions being put to the electorate, one to streamline the process toward execution of someone convicted of a capital crime. And the other to ban the death penalty and to replace it with imprisonment for life without the possibility of parole.This is … [Read more...]

A Brief Meditation on that Photograph of Susan B Anthony’s Gravestone

Over the past couple of election cycles I've noticed the ubiquity of photographs of Susan B Anthony's gravesite adorned with "I voted" stickers. One or two appear to be photoshopped, but the majority are pretty obviously real and usually posted in real time. I've found myself viscerally moved and have joined with those who've made them memes.Now some with a keen historical sense note the various shortcomings of using Ms Anthony as the placeholder for this momentous shift in our times, where … [Read more...]

Denial: A Talky Movie About Important Things: I loved It

Yesterday Jan and I went to see Denial.The story follows the real life events of British writer and independent scholar David Irving's suit for libel in the mid 1990s against the American academic Deborah Lipstadt's characterization of him as a Holocaust denier. It is largely a courtroom drama, where most of the action turns on the fact that the burden of proof in English libel law rests with the defense.The script is by the playwright David Hare working from Professor Lipstadt's memoir … [Read more...]

Mysterious Reality: A Naturalistic Buddhist Meditation

A friend, someone I like and admire, recently posted one of those motivational quotes asserting all one needs to succeed is hard work, and, maybe loving what you do. I couldn’t help but comment on it, saying yes, all of that. And, also, one needs a large dose of luck. Which I further modified by saying, “luck” can often be defined by the circumstances of your birth.This set off a cascade of mind bubbles about success and failure, fate and free will, and finally, meaning and meaninglessness. … [Read more...]

Enter Weird Al

Alfred Matthew Yankovic was born on this day in 1959.We usually call him Weird Al.He has been a fixture of popular culture since 1976, according to the Wikipedia article, as of 2007 he has sold over twelve million albums, no doubt a boatload more since. Among many awards and acknowledgments Weird Al has won four Grammy awards.Sometimes you just have to smile. And, it can be a hoot to take a little walk on the mild side with him... … [Read more...]

Wishing the World a Happy Six Thousand & Twentieth Birthday! Along with a tip of the Hat to Not Knowing

As pretty much everyone knows, the world was created in the late afternoon, okay, maybe early evening, on this day in the 4004th year before the birth of Jesus.James Ussher, the Anglican archbishop of Armagh, and Primate of all Ireland, figured it out in the 17th century. Actually he was following in the footsteps of many before him attempting to use the scriptures as a guide to their calculations. He did it with a bit more rigor than the others, marshaling an impressive intellect and … [Read more...]

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan, a Stately pleasure-dome decree…

Samuel Taylor Coleridge was born on this day in 1772. Poet member of the Lake Poets, and a founder of the English Romantic Movement, he is often credited for introducing German Idealism to the English speaking world. Obviously an overstatement, but he is very important. Also, he directly influenced Ralph Waldo Emerson and other Transcendentalists.His poetry is less read today, but pretty much everyone still recognizes lines from Kubla Khan and the Rime of the Ancient Mariner.And, maybe … [Read more...]

Telling Religious Stories: Fingers Pointing to the Moon

I've been thinking about stories, and particularly religion or spirituality as story.I believe we in fact live and breathe and have our being within stories. And nothing quite like those "big" stories, the stories religions tell like the birth of Jesus, Mohammed's night journey, Arjuna's encounter with his charioteer, or the Buddha's great awakening, for pointing to deeper places of our human hearts.I’ve come to be a strong believer in the assertion we humans are the metaphor bearing a … [Read more...]

The Great Suzuki

Teitaro Suzuki was born on this day in 1870. He was born into a Samurai family, his father a physician. His father's death plunged the family into penury. The questions that rise out of seeing the vagaries of life drove him into a deep spiritual quest.He entered the University of Tokyo studying classical Buddhist languages while at the same time beginning to sit at Engakuji Rinzai Zen temple. He became the student of the master there, Imakita Kosen, under whom he had his first experiences of … [Read more...]