POEM: I am

The other day I got kicked out
Of an ’s club
Told in no uncertain terms
There is
And no other!
And I am left
To wonder
Wow, where did that come from?!
I was raised
A Christian
A long story (some may say tall)
Which makes some short
Red chapters
Heavenly verse
To love
One, an other
To bless
Not curse
A Jew
Named
We could do much worse!
I once heard a Muslim
Of five pillars he spoke
Coming down to One
And as a Muslim
I woke
Then along came Buddha
Who said: “Don’t follow me,
Experience it first!”
Which made me want to follow
This unslakable thirst
To find and
A home
Here on this Earth
A little man
Named
To kingdoms united
He spoke
I am
A
A Christian
A Muslim
A Jew
And undoubtedly a he
So many will accuse
Well
Me too!

I have considered myself a theological mutt as long as I can remember.  While I have never found a home in atheism, I have a deep appreciation for those who have rejected theism when they experience theistic followers as extremely unwelcoming and exclusive.  Probably one of my most basic theological beliefs is that is love, and that ’s love is unconditional.  I find it difficult to imagine such a “condition” that is any more inclusive!  This wreaks havoc on virtually every conventional way of thinking.  This is one of the major reasons why I consider spirituality as countercultural.  A healthy spirituality is constantly turning up statist views of and human conditions.  I see spirituality as basically a struggle of over .  How does one enliven, incarnate, the inanimate matter that is the object of (there is no subject in !)?  I don’t see differences of opinion around spirituality primarily as theists versus , but rather as fundamentalists versus welcoming dynamicists.      In the myriad world of either/or propositions, the dynamicists welcome the answer of “YES!”, as opposed to “this, “that,” or “yes, but.”  Or, more simply put, does it enhance living?  Unfortunately, living in this both/and world can be quite disconcerting for those demanding hard endpoints or absolute certainty — which are dangerous to coming to healthy terms with the irreducible uncertainties of .  In theological terms, this would probably be called process theology, where: “it is an essential attribute of to be fully involved in and affected by temporal processes, an idea that conflicts with traditional forms of theism that hold to be in all respects non-temporal (eternal), unchanging (immutable), and unaffected by the world (impassible). Process theology does not deny that is in some respects eternal, immutable, and impassible, but it contradicts the classical view by insisting that is in some respects temporal, mutable, and passible.”  But enough theology, suffice it to say that I believe that is a knell for healthy spirituality and a living .  Perhaps ironically, I don’t see that atheism has done any better of a than theism of minimizing .  I don’t see much difference between atheists and fundamentalist religionists.

But, alas, such debate has being going on for millennia, and with much dissatisfaction; so I would propose that the dividing line can be summed up by the attitudes represented in one’s response to this statement by Albert : “There are only two ways to live your . One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”  Or, to frame it somewhat differently, when was asked what the most important question that a human being could ask is, he answered: “Is the friendly?”  I don’t know if this question is answerable in some ultimate, final sense, but I do know that I can vote for the being friendly, and make the a little more friendly, by practicing .  And the gratitude manifest by seeing everything as a miracle helps empower me to behave kindly.  But, you be the judge…or not.

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