Thursday, May 31, 2007

Discerning the Spirits

I can often see what website my visitors came from, and if they came through a search engine, what they searched for.

And many people come to my site looking to see if their dreams come from a holy, or evil source.

Not wanting anyone to go away empty handed who came seeking, let me share my thinking on this topic:

1) God is everywhere and in everything and everyone, and loves you, no matter who you are or what you have done. What does this have to do with dreams? Well, it is a fundamental premise, the foundation upon which the theology that energizes me rests, and it informs my understanding of dreams.

2) We are complex beings with many different, conflicting feelings and ways of thinking. Some of these we supress, ignore, set aside, or deny.

3) Our minds choose from our many life experiences and conditions to help us 'process' things which concern us both in our dreams, and in what we notice while awake.

4) Spiritual forces, internal or external, can and do influence us.


5) As God loves us, a message from God will never count us, or by extension, anyone as hopelessly corrupt. Messages that state or imply worthlessness and hopelessness are not from holy sources.

6) God is unlikely to order you to break the ten commandments, or harm others. (Turn to the Bible for guidance.)

7) More generally, messages from holy sources should eventually make sense in the light of faith, community and love.

8) Share your dreams, visions, signs and insights with your ministers and friends in the faith, and listen to their advice.

9) Write your experience down, and return to it later for fresh insight.

10) Watch for coincidences that seem to confirm or contradict your thoughts.

11) Your dreams, however dark, may reflect repressed anger and other emotions about past harms or slights, and even chemical imbalances or reactions. You should seek psychological or psychiatric help with your visions, signs, and dreams if they interfere with your life in a negative way.

12) Holy messages will be confirmed by prayer.

Peace to you, and may God's blessings surround you!

Monday, May 28, 2007

For Memorial Day:

Wisdom 3:1-9
But the souls of the righteous are in the hand of God, and no torment will ever touch them. In the eyes of the foolish they seemed to have died, and their departure was thought to be a disaster, and their going from us to be their destruction; but they are at peace. For though in the sight of others they were punished, their hope is full of immortality. Having been disciplined a little, they will receive great good, because God tested them and found them worthy of himself; like gold in the furnace he tried them, and like a sacrificial burnt-offering he accepted them. In the time of their visitation they will shine forth, and will run like sparks through the stubble. They will govern nations and rule over peoples, and the Lord will reign over them for ever. Those who trust in him will understand truth, and the faithful will abide with him in love, because grace and mercy are upon his holy ones, and he watches over his elect.


This Pentecost I was made humble
This Pentecost I was made small
This Pentecost I was shown foolish
Perhaps the most foolish of all

On Pentecost we spoke as our brothers
Not in words known just to the elite
We spoke in tongues that were humble
Like the savior who washes our feet

Fire fell on us from heaven
Fire not of anger but of love
Fire made us one with our brethren
Fire fell on us from above

So next time we feel we are better
Next time we judge our way best
Let's remember the fire from heaven
That marks us all equally blest

And laugh at me that I am foolish
And laugh that we are all so weak
And laugh with the joy of the spirit
Who stands with the humble and meek

Saturday, May 26, 2007

In the Land of Palaces

I have spent the last few days in the land of palaces, and the place is spectacular.

Brightly-colored palaces with tile roofs and bowed balconies jostle each other for space along canals and beaches. Fountains splash along cleverly bricked walks and streets, while gates and walls, (not all of them visible) enclose their manacured lawns and carefully planned plantings.
It is an amazing and startling land, a place where new palaces rise every day, and extravagence tops extravagence.

Certainly the owners of these stunningly perfect poems of architecture must be superior, happy and generous people, noble beyond common measure.

But walking among them, even where they are dining together on sumptuous feasts I see no joy, no happiness. Their palaces stand empty most of the year, unenjoyed by any, their yachts and watertoys hoisted and tarped over. They only visit for a few weeks out of the year and then they are off to the next house or palace, flitting from place to place in persuit of a happiness that eludes them as they spend on foods that cannot fill their emptiness and wine that cannot slake their thirst.

As I passed through this stunning land of palaces, only one smile of friendship greeted me, stranger though I was. Some prince, or merchant, or wealthy lawyer or trader?

No, an outcast, Hispanic and middle-aged but proud in his cowboy boots and straw hat, as he sat on his bicycle. I was greeted by one smile, while the palace-owners and their guests sourly dined and went about their leisure among their jewel-like palaces and shops, unable to find smiles even for each other.

The Hispanic on the bicycle was wealthier than all of these, and the center of their beautiful city.

I wish that they could see it.

Friday, May 25, 2007

God's Light in the Dark Places

Listen to the imagery in this post on John Jude Palencar from Lines and Colors:

In John Jude Palencar’s fantasy themed illustrations, light seeps in, like some kind of oily liquid making its way through forgotten cracks.

What wonderful imagery. (Follow the link to see the art- and if you click through to his personal web site.. ..I must warn you, some of his art is disturbing.)

I often think that God's love is a bit like the light described above; it oozes in where we think it is blocked out, through forgotten cracks; it finds ways where everything was dark and dead; it revitalizes the lost and abandoned, it illuminates everything. We may not want to see what is thus revealed about ourselves or our world, but we cannot respond appropriately to that which we cannot see.

May God leak into the dark places of your life, and bring illumination and new life to your world.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Living Fruitful Lives

The red-winged blackbirds perch on the cattails
Last year's cattails that are going to seed
Their brown firmness gone
They are transformed into down
Leaving stalks with strange, bleached tufts and wisps of fluff on them.

Some of the cattail fluff
Is carried off to pad nests
And comfort the little lives
That hatch and fledge there
Or becomes bedding for fieldmice,
Muskrats, and chipmunks.

Some is eaten by bugs
Or it rots on the stalk
Or in the mud of the marsh
Enriching the soil

And some of the tiny seeds that it carried
Burst open and grow anew.

May God grant us richly fruitful lives, and may many benefit thereof.

And may we also appreciate how very humble a fruitful life can be.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Voices of God

God speaks to us
And when we hear
We are joyful
We share the Word

But when we don't hear God
When it seems quiet
Then we must listen
For God speaking
Through each other

Friday, May 18, 2007

My Lover Speaks to Me

My lover speaks while asleep,
And what is said makes no sense.

Sometimes it is questions about myself, things I am thinking, things I will or should do.

And sometimes it is about what I have done.

And what is said makes no sense, because my lover, the one to whom I am so happily married, is asleep, and it is not a conscious mind that speaks to me.

So the things said and often the words mean nothing.

But what is said is said with great caring and love. I am clearly very important to the person who is speaking; -I am beloved.

May we, every one of us, also always be speaking love -even when we are not making sense.

Saturday, May 12, 2007


Sometimes I sit beneath the sky
On summer eves, and wonder why,
As stars and nebulae appear,
And swirl about -they look so near!

Comets, planets swimming by
Through interstellar soup they fly.
Their limpid light it twinkles so,
From far away and long ago.

And in this vastness, who am I?
On star-lit nights, I wonder, 'Why?'

The above post was featured on 'Best of the Jersey Blogs' this past Friday (Thanks Kelly from Jersey Blogs!) with the image of the above bit of marble carving, which I have happily appropriated for this entry. I wrote for info on the image, but have not recieved a response. Anyway, so with this additional bit of attention, I have bumped the post up. :)

Inspiring a similar sort of wonder:
Ancient Star Nearly as Old as the Universe
Top 10 Star Mysteries

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Restoration Prayer

Gracious God, Hear my Cry
To my aid I beg you fly
Restore my soul and make me strong
Help to keep me from all wrong
Break my chains and free my heart
Help me a renewed life to start
Forgive me for my sinful ways
And bless us all with joyful days

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

What's in a Name?

Ruth Gledhill names our little blog 'Odd' whilst calling us 'Signs And Wonders'. I am not sure I would choose to dispute either label. Something about that naming.. ...I can almost hear Paul Simon singing of the angels in the archetecture.

And I am sure that we DO live in an age of 'Signs and Wonders', from the metal beasts that carry us, quick as wind to whatever errand calls us, to the way we can save children with surgical techniques, while they are still in the womb.

We can do incredible things, things our predecessors named as being the provenance of God alone.

But having been granted the privelege of hearing the voices of the seraphim, shouldn't we also be hearing that voice whispering 'Who will go for us?' and 'Who shall we send?'

Having received such wealth, we will, I fear, be called to account for its use - and I am not sure we have invested our talents wisely.

Do we use our resources to help the weak, show love, ensure justice, and create opportunity? Build friendships and neighborhoods? Or is their use for profit and personal enjoyment?

May the Lord help us to use our gifts wisely.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Trainus regit me

Just for fun...

My train is a local, I shall be late.

It makes me to stop in small towns, and goes slowly beside still waters.

The gardens and trees I see revive my soul.

I am led slowly along the railways for New Jersey Transit's sake.

Even though the train runs through the darkness of the Hoboken tunnel, I shall fear no evil.

My Conductor and my trainmen, they comfort me.

They find a seat for me in the presence of those who trouble me

The train jostles, and my coffee cup tippeth over.

I annoint the heads of the other passengers with spillage.

Surely the annoyed and damp passengers will persue me from one end of the train to the other.

I feel like this train ride will last for ever.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

'Oo 'r de Aynjelz?

angelus est nomen officii

Every day we work with the matter of this world, hopefully doing so in a creative and blessed way, such that the world may be slightly better for our passing, or at least no worse.

And when we improve the world, help a child, lend a hand, give direction, take time to listen, get involved and the like, we are transmitting God's message of love to the world.

We are fulfilling the office of messenger of God. (Angel, you may have heard, means 'messenger.) So at our best, we are Angels, because 'Angel' is a Job. (The Latin at the beginning of the post is a quote from St Gregory meaning "Angel is the name of their office".)

How wonderful and encouraging! That you can serve God as an Angel, no matter how mean (or well financed) you are, no matter what you have done to date in your life, you can be the hand of God -in many ways. And no one has to lob a scimitar at you to get you started. You just turn, and walk into the light.

People speak of 'fallen angels' and watch for our public figures to fall from grace, but the everyday Angels go unnoticed, holding doors, packages, lending a hand, consoling, supporting, giving of time and money, labor and love. Yes some fall, but many more are rising up, and rising up in ways that are truly important and more valuable than mere celebrity.

May we strive every day to be worthy servants and effective messengers of God, and to be constantly encouraging those who serve with us here in the world.

This post has been edited since first posted, some capitalizations have been changed, and extra Monty Python and other explanatory text added.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Mending the God-road

Anger divides us from God

There is no question in my mind that anger, no matter how righteous, makes it harder to hear God.

Maybe anger is noisy, in a spiritual sense.

Maybe it is by its nature self-centered.

Maybe we tend to turn off our mind, and/or our judgment when we get angry, or feel like our anger justifies our not being in as much control.

What I do know is that no matter how justified my anger is, it tends to wall me off from my wells of inspiration, my unity with God, my one-ness with everything, and that is not good.

I suppose it may be I am not 'doing anger' well, and I don't want to say we shouldn't feel angry.

Perhaps the thing is to recognize and acknowledge the feeling, drill down into the 'why's of the feeling, vent to friends and safe sounding boards, but to move beyond anger as soon as we are ready.

But another element is focus. Life is busy for most of us. When my life is over busy, and I am being pushed from five directions (or pulled in them, if you prefer), I am also less connected. I try to bring God actively into what I do, to walk with God, but I don't remember as well in the business of life.

Sharing inspiration and love helps though. Telling someone the good news, that God loves them, helps. Writing a bit helps. Maybe that is sort of priming the pump of Faith... Share some of what faith you have stored away, and more and more comes out.

May you always find plenty of faith and love to share, and always be brave enough to share it.