Thursday, October 25, 2012

Quotes to Ponder

This quote was on my page-a-day calendar recently:

"As long as you derive inner help and comfort from anything...keep it." --Mahatma Ghandhi

That quote best describes the reason I chose the title "Patchwork Quilt Spirituality."
Sometimes our spirituality comes down to what helps us make it through the day.

But what worked yesterday, sometimes does not work for today.

Then I found the following quote in an e-newsletter a few days ago:

"When we consider yesterday's answers more important than today's questions,
we fail both the past and the future."  --Sister Joan Chittister

When Jesus told Nicodemus, "You must be born again!" I believe he meant daily.

As I have moved through life's joys and sorrows, I have often found yesterday's spirituality insufficient for today's struggles. So I "patch" yesterday's weak spot and try to move "faith" evolving as I go.

To quote the Apostle Paul:

"When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child:
but when I became a man, I put away childish I know in part" -- I Corinthians 13

Rape and God's Will

     "Rape and the Will of God" was the title of yesterday's (10/24/12) blog by my favorite blogger, Rami Shapiro ( as he commented on  Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock's statement that if a rape victim became pregnant, "it is something that God intended."

     Despite the outcry from all sides over Mourdock's remarks, Rami points our that if you believe (as many Americans do) that God "runs the universe," this is the logical conclusion: if God intended the pregnancy, then God intended the rape.

     When I was in seminary, this kind of discussion fell under the rubric of "Theodicy"--the theological enterprise that seeks to address the "Problem of Evil." Simply stated, how can an all-powerful and all-loving God allow evil to exist? Either God has the power to to eliminate evil and chooses not to do so (where is the love?) or God does not have the power to eradicate evil.

     During my pastoral days, the best discussion I came across was found in a little book by the great pastor/theologian Leslie Weatherhead entitled The Will of God.  He sees God's will in 3 phases: from the beginning, God had an Intentional Will; but because Humans had free will and 'sinned', God developed a
Circumstantial Will; yet God would prevail in the end with God's Ultimate Will.  This model was helpful in showing the complexity in the use of the term "God's Will," but it does not solve the problem of evil.

     More recently, the esteemed New Testament scholar, Bart Erhman, and professor of religion at the University of North Carolina, published a book entitled God's Problem.  I have not yet read the book, which discusses the problem why an all-powerful God allows human suffering. It is my understanding that after dealing with the contradictory biblical explanations, he arrives at atheism, which is, as Rami points out, one possible logical conclusion to the problem of evil.

     In 1949, my sister Betsy was born with cystic fibrosis, and died in 1951 when I was 4 years old, The 'theology' of my parents' fundamentalist Baptist church, simply labelled her life and death as "God's will," and I was "comforted" with the pronouncement that she was "too good for this world!" and that Jesus took her to be in heaven. Years later, I realized that even at age 4, I was able to question this (to myself) and come to the conclusion that I was bad enough to stay around. I guess this was my introduction to what psychologists call cognitive dissonance.  I want to believe that there is a cosmic life force and energy that is Light and Love, and that the "Holy Mystery" is stronger than evil. But so often it seems that evil is winning.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Searching for Community: "Cheers"

A few years back, I identified myself in a letter to the editor of a state Baptist journal as:
"a liberal ex-Baptist contrarian heretic."

Actually, I despise labels.
As the great Syracuse University educator Sol Gordon said:
"To label is to disable."

But I probably fall somewhere on the broad spectrum of "Christian" ('fall' being the operative word.)

That being said, I realize that my spirituality is not simply a solitary matter.
No one is responsible for my spirituality but me; but I need the support of others on this journey.
I have that support in Janice, my life's partner...and she in me.
But we both need more.

Over my lifetime, I've been a member of 8 different Baptist  churches,  two Congregational churches, and  one Unitarian Universalist fellowship. Of those, I've served on the staff of 6.
But the spiritual community I seek I have only found sporadically in small groups...and the old denominational labels were irrelevant. What was relevant was mutual acceptance and support.

So, for better or worse, the best picture of the community that I seek can best be described by the theme song for ...

wait for it...

the classic tv sit-com about a bar in Boston titled "Cheers:"

Making your way in the world today
takes everything you've got.

Taking a break from all your worries
sure would help a lot.

Wouldn't you like to get away?

Sometimes you want to go

Where everybody knows your name.
And they're always glad you came.

You wanna be where you can see
our troubles are all the same.

You wanna be where everybody knows your name.

Friday, October 5, 2012

"Holy Mystery"

While visiting a new church, I was struck by the congregation singing the repetitious refrain:
"We praise your name!"

I wondered to myself: What name is that?

Later in the day, I realized how much that 'praise song' irritated me.

Even if you believe Moses was given  the Ten Commandments "carved in stone," you must admit that he was not given the name to his query of the divine, but only an enigma: "I am that I am" (as rendered in the King James Bible.) So what does it mean to sing the phrase "We praise your name!" over and over?

In recent days, continuing on with The Daily Message~Through the Bible in One Year, I have been plowing through the book of Jeremiah, where Peterson uses his wording, "God-of-the-Angel-Armies" -- which disturbs me each time I see it. Try singing that: "We praise your name, God-of-the-Angel-Armies!" Yuck!!

This issue of the name came back to me as I read Sister Joan Chitttister's e-newsletter for October. A letter from a reader used the term "Holy Mystery" which seems far more honest. I, for one, do not want to praise a "God-of-the-Angel-Armies." But I can relate to an effort to embrace the "Holy Mystery."

The reader's letter ended with this benediction to Joan:

May the Holy Mystery
continue to bother,
bless, and bolster you.

Amen and Amen.

Sunday, September 16, 2012


The question "Where do you see yourself in 5 years?" has hit my radar several times recently.

It is a good, thought provoking question. But at this point in my life, I find it both amusing and annoying.

Back when I served at the community service agency, I had to develop 5-year plans. These were somewhat helpful, but more often futile depending on the way the political winds were blowing. Case in point, our state funding agency sponsored a workshop entitled, "Organizational Decline and Cut-back management."

Janice and I were married in 1972 and after 2 years, we 'decided' to start a family, and my plans to be like the Waltons on TV. In 1975, instead of pregnancy, Janice was given the diagnosis that she had myasthenia gravis, a neuro-muscular disorder. She was also told by an ob-gyn specialist that it was doubtful she could ever become pregnant.

In 1993, I scheduled my pastoral study leave to attend a summer class at Andover Newton Theological School, in hopes of later enrolling in their Doctor of Ministry program. However, on my way to Boston I received news that the steeple had fallen into our church.

In 1994, 20 years after or initial plans to start a family, Janice received the news that she was pregnant.
The call from the doctor's office came on April 1st...April Fools' Day!! Quincy was born on November 3, 1994--the joy of our lives, and our only child.

Fast forward to today: I am now 65 with a 17 year-old teenager who was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome 3 years ago, and now seems to have a more severe, undiagnosed personality disorder. When an explosive crisis occurs, I'm not sure what will happen over the next 5 minutes! Somehow, we've all been able to survive, and I find myself grateful to have simply made it through the day.

Awhile ago, someone gave me a refrigerator magnet that says:


A big patch in my spirituality is covered with the word MYSTERY!?!

Friday, September 14, 2012


     "Human life is a struggle, isn't it?"

So begins the 7th chapter of the book of Job, as rendered by Eugene Peterson in The Message. This verse caught my attention as I peaked ahead at tomorrow's reading for September 15 in The Daily Message  (his "Through the Bible in One Year" edition that I have somehow been able to keep up with.)

     It seems to me that the psychiatrist Scott Peck stated this truth from Job more softly when he began his best seller, The Road Less Travelled with the statement:
"Life is difficult."

     Perhaps the best way to make the point is to quote from the theme song for TV's "CHEERS":

"Making your way in the world today takes everything you got!"

     For me, this is where the rubber hits the road for spirituality. What helps someone when they are running on 'empty'? Actually, I think spirituality begins with the realization that life is not all "wine and roses." Indeed, historian Thomas Cahill observes that "the history of the world is written in blood."  So when the dark side of reality turns your world upside down, what gives you the strength to go on? 

     It is helpful to think about this definition from for the word "spirit":

"the vital principle or animating force within living beings"

     What cultivates that animating force in you? Your spirituality. And that's why I chose the title "Patchwork Quilt Spirituality."  Like a quilt that helps us make it through the night, if your spirituality is not comforting  in the face of life's struggles, it is of no practical use unless it works for you. And your spirituality doesn't have to be pretty or "systematic" -- a simple "patchwork" is good enough if it helps you survive life's alligators.

NOTE:  When I served as the Executive Director of a 7-county community services agency and worked in a 'political swamp', I had a poster that cheered me;

It's hard to remember that your original goal was to drain the swamp...
when you're up to your ass in alligators. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Which Scriptures?

[NOTE: The following is from a letter I wrote to the editor of the Religious Herald, which was subsequently published in the October 16, 2008 edition. I was responding to a previous article (in the Oct.2 edition) that stated "The Scriptures are authoritative and do not change."]

     "The Scriptures are authoritative" begs the question, "Which Scriptures?" Aside from questions regarding the Scriptures of other religions, there are questions regarding the use of the Hebrew  or Christian Scriptures, as well as  the  "Scriptures" used  by the early church, which did not make it into the canon several centuries later. The fact that the canon was closed by a convention of church politicians probably deserves no more allegiance than I gave a resolution of the Southern Baptist Convention (which are necessarily non-binding) calling for a boycott of Disney.

     As for "The not change," I was raised in a church that advocated verbal plenary inspiration in their constitution, with the claim that the Scriptures were infallible "in the autographs." How nice, since no one has any knowledge of what became of these "autographs." And even if they do exist somewhere, since the meaning of words change over time, the reality is that the "Scriptures" change as well.

     "The Bible says!" is only useful to those wishing to impose uniformity and control.

     In my experience, most Baptists are good Baptists: they reserve the right to interpret their own conscience under God, which undergirds the forgotten principle that no Baptist can speak for another Baptist. For me, the ultimate reality is that a person of conscience can make no appeal to any outside source--not an infallible Pope in Rome nor an infallible paper pope bound by leather--but only to that inner voice of conviction: "Here I stand!"

[NOTE: Bold print added ti the original for emphasis in this blog.]

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Why "Patchwork Quilt" Spirituality

I want to share why I use the term "patchwork quilt" to describe my spirituality.

First of all, I am a 'recovering' fundamentalist.
I was enrolled in the 'Cradle Roll' of my childhood Baptist church when I was 2 months old.
I grew up in Sunday School, Bible Club after school, and Vacation Bible School.
We were taught that the Bible was God's Word, and sang:
     "The B-I-B-L-E, yes that's the book for me.
      I stand alone on the Word of God, the B-I-B-L-E."
I was told that to question anything in the Bible was the work of the devil.
In later years, I was taught the theory of 'verbal plenary inspiration,' i.e. the Bible is without error, infallible.

The positive side of that indoctrination was that I grew up with a sense of connection to the Creator who loved me, watched over me, and protected me...who comforted me like a warm, cozy quilt in winter.

However, by my second year in college, I could no longer ignore the Bible's factual errors (the earth is not flat) nor deny my questions, so I went through an atheistic period. Eventually I came to see that the Bible could be inspirational without being perfect. However, my loss of innocence created some holes in my spiritual quilt, and I still have times when I miss the assurance of those who believe the Bible "from cover to cover!" So, I am 'recovering' and putting patches on my spiritual quilt as I go.

Secondly, the 'theology' behind my spirituality has been inconsistent and continues to evolve.
By the time I graduated from seminary in 1971, I had studied 'systematic theology' enough to come to realize that "I did not understand all that I knew" (a phrase I later picked up from my mother-in law.)
Four decades later, I do not want to even try to sort out how many twists and turns my 'theology' has taken.
I like the statement that one should always do theology with a loose-leaf notebook, as my experience with life has taken many pages out.

In the third place, I accept that my spirituality has weak spots and broken places.
I have had dreams broken and beliefs shattered. Sometimes my spirituality has been so weak that I was fortunate to be able to grab onto anything that helped me make it through the day...and night. So my spirituality is like a patchwork quilt, with pieces that are loose or missing...and that is good enough!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Called to Question

I just finished reading Sister Joan Chittister's book Called to Question: a spiritual memoir.
I highly recommend it to anyone who is seeking to develop their spirituality.

She states very clearly one of the assumptions of this blog:

"the God who can be thought of cannot possibly be God." 

Perhaps what I need is to stop trying to think so much about "God."
Rather, what I probably need is to be more open to experiencing the Mystery of the cosmos.

I do believe that what I think in my head is not nearly as important as what I hold in my heart.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Again, What is God?

"There are over six billion people in this  world and each person has his or her own thoughts about God."    --Madeline L'Engle

Try asking five friends "What is God?"

Odds are you will get at least five or more different responses.

The book God Without Religion: Questioning Centuries of Accepted Truths by Sankara Saranam (which I have not yet read--"so many books, so little time") has an interesting Foreword by Arun Gandhi:

     The central question within this book, and in life itself, is "What is God?" This question has bafled humankind for eons, and it will continue to defy logical understanding...Perhaps, instead of espousing exclusively rational images of God, we would best serve God and one another more faithfully by remaining open to the mystery that transcends our understanding.
     When asked what he thought of the meaning of God, grandfather [Mohandas Gandhi]said:"There is an undefinable mysterious Power that pervades everything. I feel it, though I do not see it. It is this unseen Power which makes itself felt and yet defies all proof, because it is so beyond all that we perceive through our physical senses. While we certainly do experience God's existence, our attempts to reason it out intellectually will always prove to be a humbling and limited exercize.

     Grandfather wrote, "I do dimly perceive that whilst everything around me is ever-changing, ever-dying, there is underlying all that change a Living Power that is changeless, that holds all together, that creates, dissolves and re-creates. That informing Power or Spirit is God....For I can see that in the midst of death life persists; in the midst of untruth truth persists; in the midst of darkness light persists. Hence I gather that God is Life, Truth, and Light. God is Love. God is the Supreme Good.


     More to contemplate from Madeline L'Engle:

"If I could comprehend God completely, God wouldn't be worth bothering about.
I'm finite, God is  infinite; the finite cannot comprehend the infinite.
But we get enough glimpses."

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Religion versus Spirituality

The other night at dinner with good friends, the subject of religion versus spirituality came up.

In recent years, I have filled a file with notes and papers on this subject; but I have only just recently identified what I judge the clearest and best description of the difference between them.

It is found in Chapter Two of Joan Chittister's book,  Called to Question (p.19): 

     Religion is about what we believe and why we believe it. It is about the tradition, the institution, the system. Constructed over centuries--more than five thousand years ago for Hinduism, the first formal religion--religion draws for the world a portrait of creation and relationships. It gives us creeds and dogmas and definitions of God. It gathers us in worship and reminds us of a world to come.

     Spirituality is about the hunger in the human heart. It seeks not only a way to exist, but a reason to exist that is beyond the biological or the institutional or even the traditional. It lifts religion up from the level of the theoretical or the mechanical to the personal. It seeks to make real the things of the spirit. It transcends rules and rituals to a concentration on meaning. It pursues in depth the mystical dimensions of life that religion purports to promote.

Sister Joan then ends the chapter on page 24 with this:

Religion, the finger pointing at the moon, is not the moon. Simply keeping the rules, accepting the conventions, and loving the pomp that comes with religion will not get us there. For that we need a spirituality of search.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Definitions of Spirituality

Spirituality means different things to different people.

Here are some descriptions that I find meaningful:

"...spirituality is not a separate part of life but rather the deepest dimension and ground of all life."
                                                          [from the Institute of Spiritual Companionship]

"Spirituality has many definitions but at its core spirituality helps to give our life context. It's not necessarily connected to a specific belief system or even religious worship. Instead, it arises from your connection with yourself and with others, the development of your personal value system, and your search for meaning in life...Spirituality is different for everyone."
                             [from Mayo Clinic's website on "Stress Management"]

"The essence of the spiritual life is to stay connected to the sacred place within that holds the memory of wholeness, peace and balance for us, no matter how far our hearts or minds may be pulled."                             
                                                [Jonathan H. Ellerby]

To me, my spirituality is what motivates me, deep down, to get out of bed in the morning and face the adventure of a new day; and then my spirituality helps me cope with whatever joys and sorrows may come.                                                                        

Monday, August 6, 2012


My fundamentalist Baptist childhood indoctrinated me with the notion that it was wrong to ask questions.

As I recall, we were taught to question anything in the Bible was the work of "Satan."

Perhaps it is a sign that I am 'full of the devil', but I have never been free of questions.
Case in point--one of my earliest sermons (late'60's) was entitled:


This morning Janice (my spiritual coach, and wife) shared a wonderful paragraph from the book entitled Called to Question by Sister Joan Chittister:

IF THERE IS ONE THING THAT WE HAVE ALL BEEN TAUGHT to fear, it is surely questions.
There are some things, we learn early, that are never to be challenged. They simply are. They are absolute. They come out of a fountain of eternal truth. And they are true because someone else said they are true. So we live with someone else's answers for a long time. Until the answers run dry. I know that because I myself have been caught in the desert of doubt and found the answers to be worse than the questions could ever be. [p. 2]

I have been intrigued with the current supporters of the Chick-fil-A opposition to gay marriage, based on their belief that the Bible (and God) decrees that marriage is between one man and one woman.

I am currently reading The Daily Message / Through the Bible in One Year by Eugene H. Peterson.
Now over half-way through, I have refreshed my memory of enough of the Old Testament to question whether the Bible has any coherent and consistent view of marriage. As Rabbi Rami Shapiro recently pointed out in his blog, Beyond Religion with Rabbi Rami (see "Chick-Lit" posted 8/01/12), marriage in the OT included polygamy. [Quiz: Name the one wife of Jacob? Was it Rachel or Leah? Can you say both! Check out King David and Solomon!] And my current daily readings in I Corinthians make it clear that St. Paul had a very dim view of marriage, i.e. "stay single!"

My mother in law had a friend who stated her understanding of the Biblical view of marriage:
"Once you're married you're stuck!"

Unfortunately, the fact is that many of the marriage ceremonies I have performed (my first was in 1972)  later ended in divorce. I don't have the answer to what makes one marriage last and another fail, but I'm very grateful that Janice has chosen to stay with me for 40 years come the 20th of this month!

Friday, June 1, 2012

The Blind Men and the Elephant

Can you describe a sunset?

Neither can I, as words fail.

The same is true for the divine, yet we try to describe God, or at least our experience of what we take to be the divine.

Indeed, you may feel that you have experienced God, and I may feel likewise...but the description of my experience does not invalidate your description, or vice versa. Both or neither may be accurate, but we are simply trying to describe a subjective why argue or debate? We do so when we try to make the subjective into the objective, and turn spirituality into religion (the inward into the outward.)

Consider "The Parable of the Blind Men and the Elephant" by John Godfrey Saxe (1816-1887):

It was six men of Indostan
    to learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant
    (Though all of them were blind),
That each by observation
    Might satisfy his mind.

The first approached the Elephant,
    And happened to fall
Against his broad and sturdy side,
    At once began to bawl:
God bless me! but the Elephant
Is very like a wall!"

The second, feeling of the tusk
    Cried: "Ho what have we here
So very round and smooth and sharp?
    To me 'tis very clear
This wonder of and Elephant
    Is very like a spear!"

The Third approached the animal
    And happening to take
The squirming trunk within his hands
    Thus boldly up he spake.
"I see." quoth he, "the Elephant
    Is very like a snake!"

The Fourth reached out an eager hand
    And felt about the knee.
"What most this wonderful beast is like
    Is very plain." quoth he;
" 'Tis clear enough the Elephant
    Is very like a tree!"

The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear,
    Said, "E'en the blindest man
Can tell what this resembles most;
    Deny the fact who can
This marvel of an Elephant
    Is very like a fan!"

The sixth no sooner had begun
    About the beast to grope
Than, seizing on the swinging tail
    That fell within his scope.
"I see," quoth he, "the Elephant
    Is very like a rope!"

And so these men of Indostan
    Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
    Exceeding still and strong,
Though each was part;y in the right,
    They all were in the wrong!

So oft in theologic wars
    The disputants, I ween
Rail on in utter ignorance
    Of what each other mean
And prat about an Elephant
    Not one of them has seen!

Thursday, March 22, 2012


I find asking the question, "What is God?", is my attempt to contain make the Mystery more manageable.

And my answers to the question are best revealed by the followiing story I once used in a sermon:

It was 6-year old Billy's first visit to the ocean, and he had planned his mission for 'Show and Tell' before he got there.

Wading out into the surf, he carried an empty mayonaise jar which he dipped into the water.
The jar was filled almost instantaneously and he quickly put the lid on the jar.

When he went back to school, he carried his jar with him.
When it was his turn for 'Show and Tell', he proudly held up his jar and announced:


Billy's enthusiasm and innocence is sweet...but his jar no more contained the ocean than we can contain G-D.

It seems clear to me that the word "God" means different things to different people.
So do any of us have the right to tell others that we are right and they are wrong?
How do we know?  And to quote the Bible or any religious scripture is to beg the question.

Many consider Hinduism to promote polytheism because Hindus worship hundreds of gods.
But the deeper Hindu understanding according to Swami Satchidananda is that each god represents an aspect of the human experience of the divine.

Actually, we all see and experience the Mystery differently...and some not at all.

Sensory psychologists inform us that we all tend to see what we are trained or choose to look at.
We "see" from different perspectives and seldom, if ever, see the whole picture.
The Apostle Paul recognized this when he said "Now I see through a glass darkly." (I Cor. 13:12)

The Bible itself points to the impenetrable mystery of the divine.
The Psalmist has God saying "My thoughts are above your thoughts..." and Moses asks God:

"What is your name?" and is given the inscrutable Zen-type answer:

Most religions seek to answer the question "What is God?" by promoting a particular belief system based on certain experiences. But this is where the analogy of fleas arguing about who owns the dog applies, for each flea has an "experience" when they take a bite of the dog. But that bite hardly provides an experience or knowledge of the whole dog, much less ownership.

So I am not trying to pursue a religion, but simply trying to understand and develop my own feelings and experiences of G-D... my own  PATCHWORK QUILT SPIRITUALITY.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

What is God?

What is God?  Ask 10 people and get 10 different answers. In fact, if you go to the evangelical website you will see the following statement:

"There are over six billion people in this world and each person has his or her own thoughts about God."

Many will say that they believe in God...but actually, the word "God" means different things to different people. That's why philospher/theologian Sam Keen proposed a moratorium on the use of the word a few years ago...and suggested some possible new names:

The Quantum Leaper...The Beyond Within...The Cosmic DNA...The Creating...The Original One...The Alpha and Omega Helix...The Ground and Void of Being...Etc., etc., etc. without End.

The old preacher in the "Kudzu" cartoon series of Doug Marlette (now deceased) offers some friendly advice. Rev. Will B. Dunn is working on his "Tell It to the Preacher" advice column for the newspaper and is reading the following letter:

Dear Preacher,

Do you address the Supreme Being as the "Eternal Thou" like Buber...or do you prefer Tillich's "Ground of Being" or his "Ultimate Concern?"
...or do you use Hegel's "Absolute Spirit" or Rudolph Otto's "Mysterium Tremendum?"

(Sincerely ) Seeker

Then Rev. Will B. Dunn (smiling) types his answer:

Dear Seeker,

You say it Yahweh and I'll say it mine.


Saturday, March 3, 2012

God Talk

"Once upon a time, God lived at the North Pole."

So wrote theologian Robert McAfee Brown in his book, The Gospel According to St. Hereticus.

As a Baby Boomer growing up in the '50's, my image of God as an old, white-haired man sitting on a throne was not unlike the Santa Claus that I loved to visit at the Fowler's Department Store in Binghamton, New York. (I have a wonderful old photo, but I don't know how to upload it!)

Years later, I was still grappling with that image when I entered the seminary in the late 60's and heard the following joke:

"Have you heard about GOD?...She's Black!"

When it comes to human attempts to define or characterize God, we do well to confess that all our efforts are inadequate. Indeed, even that statement "I believe in God" means different things to different people. I recall a story about a college chaplain who was confronted by an angry student, protesting that he did not believe in God. The chaplain simply responded: "Tell me about this God that you do not believe in--maybe I don't believe in that God either."

An old Calvin and Hobbes cartoon makes a similar point. They are sitting on a hill, and Hobbes asks,
"Do  you think there is a God?"
Calvin pauses, and then answers:
"I do believe there is Someone who is out to get me."

If we are honest, we must admit that even the Holy Bible leaves us with questions. One of my favorite cartoons puts it simply, as one angel in heaven asks another angel:

"Is he the God of the Old or the New Testament this morning?" 

Maybe "She" is both and neither!?!


Thursday, February 23, 2012


I am beginning this blog to share some of the questions (many), issues, and insights (a few) that have accompanied me in my spiritual journey.

Semi-full disclosure: Ordained as a Southern Baptist minister in 1971 after receiving the Master of Divinity degree; most recent church membership was Unitarian Universalist; currently unaffiliated, though I still hold to the once essential principle of Baptists that everyone is enitled to interpret their own conscience 'under God.'

Initial considerations:

[from an old Peanuts cartoon:]

1. "JESUS IS THE ANSWER!" (on a poster carried by Linus.)
(then on a poster carried by Snoopy:)  "WHAT IS THE QUESTION?"

2. [from former North Carolina State basketball coach Jim Valvano:]

"I don't have the answers--I'm still working on the questions."

3. My view of religious doctrine and much theology [from the movie 'Crocodile Dundee':]

"They're like fleas arguing over who owns the dog."

That's enough for now--Ty