In the City of Gold, the Streets are Lined with Food Trucks

Yesterday, Jan & I went to our local art theater, the Art Theater in Retro Row on Fourth Street in Long Beach, and saw City of Gold.City of Gold is Laura Gabbart's documentary about the Pulitzer Prize-winning food critic Jonathan Gold.As it turns out the film is about a lot more than food. Not that food is ignored in the slightest. As Molly Eichel writes for the Philadelphia Inquirer, "It's a documentary that is ostensibly a profile of a man, but is really about the vibrant city he … [Read more...]

Three Pounds or so of Flesh

There is no “mere materialism” to declare. We need nothing extra. The universe is wondrous and alive. That is enough. It is a great dance. That is enough. All things creating all things. Intimate. Birthing. Living. Dying. Intimate. So sad, so lovely. Does it need to be known? I don’t think so. But. And. Gloriously. For no good reason it is known. By us… (And who knows who others in this vast universe…) For us The mystery of knowing this reality emerges from the human brain. … [Read more...]

MYSTERY PILED UPON MYSTERY A Zen Buddhist Meditation on Easter

MYSTERY PILED UPON MYSTERY A Zen Buddhist Meditation on EasterJames Ishmael Ford27 March 2016 Pacific Unitarian Church Rancho Palos Verdes, CaliforniaToday is Easter. Easter. That most holy of Christian holy days.The Gospel of Mark is generally considered the oldest of the canonical gospels, the time-hallowed stories of Jesus and his ministry. The sixteenth chapter of Mark tells the story of Easter in its most unelaborated version.And when the Sabbath was past, Mary … [Read more...]

Who is a Christian? A Holy Saturday Meditation

In response to something I wrote in my last post to this blog someone thinking the Book of Enoch was in the Catholic canon objected to it being cited as a source for something being "Christian." Setting aside that wasn't a position in my post, in fact Enoch is considered canonical only by the Ethiopian church, it raised a host of questions. I wasn't sure if the writer thought Catholics were not Christians, as in the old American Protestant canard, "Catholics and Christians," or, just that … [Read more...]

Gabriel, Go Blow Your Horn! A Small Zen Meditation for This Holy Saturday

This year in the Western Christian calendar today is Holy Saturday. A powerful moment in many ways. As a Zen Buddhist of a liberal sort, but raised and as it turns out inescapably culturally Christian, I find my mind goes to these big festivals of the church. And this week is filled with them.However, I also notice there is a strange confluence here on this particular day, where in the Eastern churches, who will not be observing Easter until the first of May, today is the Synaxis of the … [Read more...]

All In for Atheism

Today in the Christian calendar is Good Friday. That is the day God dies.How appropriate, as it happens it was on this day in 1811 that Percy Bysshe Shelley was expelled from Oxford for publishing, and at the same time sending copies to the heads of all the colleges, a brief tract, The Necessity of Atheism.In 1813 he published a somewhat revised and expanded version of his tract. For your entertainment as well as edification, the following is the original, briefer version.THE … [Read more...]

Reading Tolkien

I read the Hobbit when I was sixteen. The Trilogy followed quickly. That world has enshrined itself in my heart.As it happens in J. R. R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, it is this day that Baraddur and the Necromancer Sauron fall together, at least according to journalist Sean Kirst, who organized this day as Tolkein Reading Day.As he wrote, "My grandparents were fishing folk from Buckie in the north of Scotland, carriers of the old stories and legends, and the trilogy has filled a certain … [Read more...]

The Archbishop Was Shot While Raising the Chalice: A Small Meditation

In some corners of the Christian church today is marked as a feast in celebration of the life of Oscar Arnulfo Romero y Galdamez, usually more simply known as Oscar Romero.The onetime archbishop of the Roman Catholic church in El Salvador, Romero outraged many for speaking out on behalf of the poor, against poverty created by greed, as well as torture, and assassination as a political tool.It was on this day in 1980, while celebrating mass, he paused and delivered a sermon on basic human … [Read more...]

Up & Down & a Big Fat Thank You to Mr Otis

It is claimed that Archimedes, probably in the neighborhood of 236 before our common era, invented the first elevator. And ever since then people have been fooling around with ways to get people up and down without the often difficult and sometimes impossible task of self-power. But, the biggest problem was safety. If something went wrong there was a terrible danger of terrible falls.As it happens it wasn't until the middle of the nineteenth century in our common era that a system was … [Read more...]

The Emerald Buddha Comes Home

The good folk at Wikipedia tell us that it was on this day in 1784 that the famed Emerald Buddha was moved to its permanent (well as permanent as anything can be) location at the Wat Phra Kaew, in Bangkok.The Buddha image has blended religious symbolism with that of the state, and is considered a palladium, the sacred protective image of Thai society in a manner similar to Athena's relationship to ancient Athens, or the image of the Theotokos of Vladimir, now called Moscow to that city. … [Read more...]