Tag Archive: Christ


It seems like forever since I’ve written. In theory, one might say I’ve busy. Some time ago, my eighty-year-old parents collided head on with an SUV trying to cut across several lanes. Or, another friend might blame it on the fact I’ve now moved to a wheelchair. As a result, there’s less stress on my heart.

In truth, I haven’t written due to time and having a lack of anything to say.

I thought of letting my blog just reside there, allowing those who wander across my words to read, partake and ponder. And while visitors still read my posts, the exchange of ideas probably occurs offline. In truth, there is no one ‘right’ way to exchange my thoughts. Enjoy them as needed. Find strength in them as required. My words are not my words, but rather that eternal inspiration that guides all living creatures.

Today’s message is one many have pondered. After having cared for my parents post-wreck, I read of Dale Earnhardt Jr. account where he believed a supernatural being pulled him from a fiery wreck. I wouldn’t have thought much of the account if it had not been for my father. A few days ago, my father stated that during the head on collision, he saw four angels or spirits. He remains unaware of their purpose, except many medical professionals, after reviewing accident pictures, pondered how either of the vehicle occupants remained alive.

The desert southwest, where my parents live, is full of wonder and movement – a geological marvel where spiritual and physical life resides and interact. However, this interaction is not exclusive to only the desert southwest. I believe the spiritual and physical lives and breathes around us each day.

We just need to look and experience. We need to reach beyond our own limitations and believe

On many occasions, I encounter those who make their daily obsession with legalism above real love. As such, they are unable to see beyond their own “shadows of bigotry” and refuse to allow all to experience God as commanded by Christ. To highlight, I offer two contrasting stories: the first from twenty-two years ago and the second from today.

In the fall of 1996, I attended a weekend retreat at a northern California Monastery. During a Saturday night Eucharist, the Benedictine monk explained mass is a privileged time when we offer ourselves wholeheartedly to the Lord along with the gifts of bread and wine, and, by receiving him in Holy Communion, allow him to transform us too into the Body of Christ, just as surely as the gifts are transformed.

One-by-one, each retreatant moved from the congregational seats and proceeded to receive the Eucharist. Just before ending, the monk noticed a lone woman remained three rows deep. With offering in hand, the monk stood to the woman’s side as tears flowed from her eyes.

“Please?” the monk gestured.

“No, I cannot” the woman responded.

“Why not?”

“Father, I have immigrated from Iran. I have not Catholic and am forbidden to receive the Holy Communion.”

“My dear child,” the monk whispered. “I am most certain Christ will not mind.” The monk outstretched his arm, placed the communion in his fingers, “The Body of Christ.”

“Amen,” said the Iranian woman as a river of tears flowed from her heart.

Contrast the story above against that which was witnessed today.

An Asian woman was the Taiwanese daughter of a Protestant Pastor. Having spent all her life giving to Christ and to the mission of God, she immigrated and found a home in an eastern Missouri city.

After years of dedication and service, she received her PhD in counseling and Christian theology. As a result, she was highly coveted speaker in the Christian arena and was actively recruited by a local Catholic seminary to teach seminary students, priests and nuns counseling and Christian faith.

As she often does, she attends mass almost daily and receives communion regularly.

Just like all other days, she proceeded to receive communion, but today was unlike all other days. The Jesuit Priest knew she was not Catholic and when her turn for communion came, the priest publicly refused her Communion.

This servant of God was publicly called out, not for her love, dedication and communion with Christ, but simply because she was not Catholic. As a river of tears flowed from her heart none of her peers challenged the priest.

Verily I say, those who pretend to be above it all are the ones to worry about. These are the ones who destroy the relationships of Christ. Be careful, for Christ calls them “blind guides.”

In both stories, Christ witnessed a river of tears. Yet, which servant will Christ honor?

I looked at the yin-yang symbol for nearly a decade and always thought I understood the hidden dynamic. Rooted in Chinese philosophy, are often thought to be opposing forces versus complimentary forces.

Others propose a more defined view, that everything has both yin, the darker, more passive force, and yang, a more active positive force. The message insinuates that yin cannot exist without yang. Vice versus, yang cannot exist without yin. Lastly, some taught that neither yin nor yang could exist without the other.

I refined my personal perspective after watching the film Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Star Wars: The Last Jedi. In Rogue One, we learn that the same material used by the Death Star to destroy planets also powered the Jedi’s light saber. In The Last Jedi, Rey learned the Jedi hold no exclusivity rights to the Force, for the Force is in everything and everyone has equal access. Thus, as Christ would say, each one of us has the ability to accomplish what Christ did and more.

Moving forward, I ask the following question: “What if there is neither a yin nor yang?” What if the world’s yin and yang happen to be derived from the same one life force? What if our own personal yin and yang are derived from the very same force? If true, what becomes of yin and yang?

I propose both yin and yang are breathed to life via personal choice. All of us, will at times, choose yin. Likewise, all of us, at times choose yang. Christ talked of such a view in Matthew 15:19,”For out of the heart come evil thoughts – murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.” The challenge lay in choice.

In Rogue One, the blind spiritual master Chirrut Imwe, was in constant dialogue with “the force” as he chanted “I am one with the force, the force is with me.” We must be in constant dialogue with the Father if we want to know what he wants us to do and where to go.

I conclude from the story of a Cherokee grandfather teaching his grandson about life.

A fight is going on inside me,” the elder said. ”It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil–he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.”

He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you–and inside every other person, too.

The grandson thought about it for a minute and asked his grandfather: “Which wolf will win?

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one I feed.

So, which will you feed? The yin? Or the Yang?

On the eve of his Thanksgiving holiday departure, President Trump gave an accused pedophile in the Alabama Senatorial Candidate some huge support. And, in the early morning hours, on the anniversary of President Kennedy’s assassination, with all that’s wrong in the world, Trump found time to disgrace the NFL, LaVar Ball, and retweeted a post from a London-based radio host “… If Hillary got my kid out of prison, as much as I hate the woman, I’d thank her corrupt ass.

No America, this is not your parent’s Grand Ol’ Party.  As CNN’s Chris Cillizza noted, the message from many establishment Republicans used to be that it wasn’t worth sacrificing moral principles solely to hold control of a single Senate seat. Today, the GOP nickname might become Grand Ol’ Pedophile’s.

So what happened? Where did moral integrity flee?

Rev. Ed Litton, senior pastor of the Redemption Church said “We can’t say, well, that doesn’t matter because some people in the other party do the same thing. These are serious allegations. And our faith, our worldview, demands that we take seriously the victimization of people.” However, all we’ve heard from many candidates and pundits is repeated vitriol toward anyone who professes serious conflict of interest against their candidate.

Trump’s business executive councils imploded because corporate CEOs realized it was ethically untenable to be associated with the president. However, we “the people” remain willing to accept the cup of bitterness offered by a demagogue.

I wonder if there are any “normal” Republicans anymore. If there are, they have a couple problems. First, they can’t displace Trump because they don’t have an alternative to Trump’s white grievance as a core message. Second, their stuck arguing against Obama policies, because arguing against the white grievance message would expose the failure to develop any meaningful policies to help anyone. Third, Obama is gone. So it’s easier to blame everything on Obama.

In June 2017, author MJ Lee wrote, “In recent history, presidents have turned to their faith in moments of crisis. Bill Clinton, a Baptist, called on the Rev. Jesse Jackson, the famed civil rights leader, to counsel his family in the fallout of his affair with Monica Lewinsky. The night before he announced his resignation, Richard Nixon, a Quaker, is said to have gotten down on his knees to pray in the Lincoln Sitting Room of the White House, weeping.”

Unfortunately, faith seems to only play a role when speaking at evangelic conferences, breakfasts or dinners. As such, moral faith of current Congressional leadership seems awash in the same faith of those that killed Christ. Just as in days of old, our nation’s leadership has been tested daily and we’ve watch personal moral flee.

One time or another, all of us flees from moral integrity. Republicans, Democrats, Buddhists, Christians and atheists alike. However, if you’re called to be a leader, you are called to a level of moral integrity that prevents candidates like Roy Moore.

The Devil You Get

Some thirty years ago, coworkers complained, whined and suggested they required new management to solve office malaise and downtrodden funk. Without batting an eye, a middle level manager piped up, “Be careful, the devil you get may be worse than the devil you got.”

It’s in that context that I look upon Mark Lee, a recently interviewed Trump supporter who offered that if Jesus Christ told him Trump colluded with Russia, he’d still defer to the president on whether or not it was true. Of course, he’s one guy who’s hopefully exaggerating for effect, but then again, thirty-years ago, nearly half of Louisiana voted for a Klansman. And we (the John Q. Public struggled to explain why.

Accordingly, America was so eager to rid the world of Obama and Clinton era’s, they voted Trump. And now they’ve to a new Devil.

The problem Mr. Lee and other Trump have supporters is that they bought into the candidate’s vision of himself as a savior of the working class. In a lot of ways, Trump mirrored campaign pages of the Klansman. Trump abhors welfare, foreign aid, affirmative action and outsourcing. He attacked Washington’s political-action committees, big money and the subversion of the common man. He even tried to appeal to black voters.

So, who’s the model? Klansman David Duke.

Writer Adam Serwer accurately denotes America’s current paradigm. “These supporters (Trump) will not change their minds, because this is what they always wanted: a president who embodies the rage they feel toward those they hate and fear, while reassuring them that that rage is nothing to be ashamed of.

As a Buddhist, when someone states they are the one true information source for followers, competing ideas and facts are not just wrong; they are demonic. As such, anyone not with you becomes “liars” and “sick people” “trying to take away your history and your heritage.” Pat Robertson said those who oppose Trump are “revolting against what God’s plan for America is.” Paula White, Pastor of New Destiny Christian Center in Florida and a Trump spiritual adviser, told her congregation that resisting Trump is tantamount to “fighting against the hand of God.”

It is important to remember that diversity is a strength. And if God actually said something important, leave the President out of it. Why? Because the President just supported Roy Moore’s senatorial candidacy. Like Alabama State Auditor Jim Zeigler, a Moore backer, said in support of Moore:

“… take Joseph and Mary. Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter. They became parents of Jesus.”

And Trump, in supporting Moore:

I can tell you one thing for sure: We don’t need a liberal person in there, a Democrat.

So, we’ll accept a potential child predator.

Sigh … the devil’s we openly accept.

Screen Shot 2015-11-04 at 9.48.32 AMIn my post about Mississippi: Faith Without Works, I noted, “If we are pro-life, then we must be pro-quality of life. If we do one without the other, our works is inconsistent with our faith.” I wrote that in July 2012. And some three years later, that post lived a quiet, subdued life, archived to distant memory, maybe wasted space or rolling of the eyes.

Then came Governor Christie’s recent comments about addiction. I can’t say the following text is 100% accurate. It’s close. I tried transcribing Christie’s comments correctly:

“My mother was a smoker. She smoked her whole life. She was addicted to nicotine. She started when she was sixteen (16), which was 1948. 1964 came, the Surgeon General’s report came out and she was in her mid thirties. She knew smoking was bad for her. And I’ll tell you, watching her as a kid growing up; she tried everything she could to quit. She had the gum, the patches, and hypnosis. She tried everything. She couldn’t quit.

Now, when she turned 71, a little after that, she was diagnosed with lung cancer. No one came to me and said, “Don’t treat her, for she got what she deserved.” We know the lung cancer was caused by the smoking. We know it was. But no one came to me and said, “Your mother was dumb. She started smoking when she was sixteen. Then after we told her it was bad for her, she kept doing it. So we’re not going to give her chemotherapy. We’re not going to give her radiation treatment. We’re not going to give her any of that stuff. You know what, she’s getting what she deserves.”

No one said that. No one said that about anyone having cancer.

Yet somehow, if it’s heroine or cocaine or alcohol, we say, “We decided they are getting what they deserved.”

I am pro-life. And I think if you’re pro-life, that means you have to be pro-life for the whole life, not just the nine months in the womb. Alright? It’s easy … It’s easy to be pro-life for the nine months in the womb, for they haven’t done anything to disappoint us yet. They’re perfect in there. But when they get out, that’s when it gets tough.

The sixteen year old teenage girl, on the floor of the county lockup, addicted to heroine … I am pro-life for her too. She has just as much a precious gift from God as the one in the womb. And we need to start thinking that way as a party and as a people and the President needs to say those things.”

Like MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, “I’m still kind of blown away by Christie’s comments.”

Whether you agree or disagree with Christie’s overall political views, his comments of being pro-life for life were genuinely real. They were the perfect “in the moment, from the heart” stuff. I wish all politicians spoke accordingly.

Christie’s comments were very Buddhist, very Christian. How beautiful! Imagine living in such a world … Pro-Life for Life?

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See Christie’s complete video by clicking his picture.

Turing“Do you know, this morning I was on a train that went through a city that wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for you. I bought a ticket from a man who would likely be dead if it wasn’t for you. I read up, on my work, a whole field of scientific inquiry that only exists because of you. Now, if you wish you could have been normal … I can promise you I do not. The world is an infinitely better place precisely because you weren’t.”

~ Character Joan Clarke, The Imitation Game ~

I am haunted by the character’s words.

Why?

Well, there’s a ballot initiative that rivals ISIS atrocities, calling for the execution of gays and lesbians. It’s called the Sodomite Suppression Act.

According to the attorney pushing the ballot initiative, the only way to save righteous Californians lives is enacting a “kill the gays measure” found in the Old Testament. The author’s fanatical reasoning is to prevent “all of us from being killed by god’s just wrath against us for the folly of tolerating wickedness in our midst, any person who willingly touches another person of the same gender for purposes of sexual gratification shall be put to death by bullets to the head or any other convenient method; this by wise command of the good people of California.

This is not the first time for such stupidity.

In 1982, Congress held its first hearing AIDS. Only one reporter showed. Some Republicans and Reagan administration members cast AIDS as a “gay disease.” One Republican, Rep. Bill Dannemeyer of California, delivered a speech on the House floor titled “What Homosexuals Do” and read graphic descriptions of sexual acts into the Congressional Record. He also pushed to create a government register of AIDS patients, corralling those who were HIV positive into internment and deportation.

Still, our current war against LGBT rights progresses onward. Governor Bobby Jindal supports a Constitutional Marriage Amendment, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and former Arkansas Govenor Mike Huckabee purport anti-LGBT theology and retired neurosurgeon and possible GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson believes jail turns people gay.

Why must there be war on the LGBT? Why do we need a “Religious Freedom Act?” Does California really need a Sodomite Suppression Act?

Diversity is America’s strength. We aren’t better by being one and the same. If we were the same, all clouds would be the same. Every tree would be the same. Every child would be the same and individuality would disappear and indifference would rise.

If we shot members of the LGBT community, Elton John would be dead and the world doesn’t get Queens, “We Are The Champions.” The Sistine Chapel ceiling, painted by a gay Michelangelo, would have to be destroyed. Great works of art by Leonardo da Vinci shouldn’t exist; that includes the Mona Lisa and Last Supper. Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker or Swan Lake ceases to exist. There would be no theatrical plays from Tennessee Williams or Stephen Sondheim. Andy Warhol’s groundbreaking Campbell’s Soup Cans painting would be a dream and Independence Day would not have been filmed.

Would we shoot Leonard Matlovich, an openly gay technical sergeant and Vietnam War veteran who received the Purple Heart, before or after he served? Are we willing to forgo Alan Turing’s team cracking Germany’s Enigma code during World War II, shortening the war by two to four years and saving an estimated 14 million to 21 million lives? Last but not least, can any of us condemn the hundreds of thousands gay men and women walking and working in everyday life, performing random miracles love, often unnoticed?

Shooting, killing, intimidating, expropriating the LGBT community’s ability to perform or exchange business services and property is no better than Hitler. All we’d have done is change the decade of occurrence.

Graham Moore stunned and inspired the audience at the 87th Academy Awards with his deeply honest acceptance speech for Best Adapted Screenplay for The Imitation Game.

When I was 16-years-old I tried to kill myself,” revealed Graham. “Because I felt weird and I felt different and I felt like I did not belong. And now I’m standing here and so I would like for this moment to be for that kid out there who feels like she’s weird or she’s different or she doesn’t fit in anywhere. Yes you do. I promise you do. You do. Stay weird, stay different.

America! Stay different.

Easter Freedom

EasterDuring childhood, when Easter rolled around, my mother thought of spring-cleaning, she literally meant “cleaning house” of all things. Likewise, in our personal world, we should clean ourselves of guilt, shame, anger and resentment yearly.

Jean Valjean, the fictional character in Les Misérables noted:

I have done wrong, and cannot escape it. I want to do good, forever, for everyone. Even if I became as wealthy as a King, I honestly don’t think I would spend it on myself – I’d use it to help other people.

I can forgive myself, and I can forgive others – but I will not excuse myself or resent the law or accusers when I am in the wrong. When I am wrong, I deserve the punishment.

Another person should never have to suffer in my place.

If I could possibly share anything, it’s that honesty, purity, unselfishness and love are essential absolute truths. Many Christians believe these four qualities perfectly express the life of Jesus. Thus, they represent an ideal for human conduct.

Throughout my life I suffered from my own mistakes, being selfish, dishonest, self-seeking and frightened. Thus, rather than inventory those whom I thought had mistreated me, a central question now is “Where I to blame?” In every instance I ask, “What is my part in it?

These days, I tend to distance family that only looks upon me as a burden. I acknowledge their pain is real, but they know nothing of my complexity and capacity to feel love and change this world into a place where I can thrive, where being naked and vulnerable is safe and encouraged.

It’s within this world we can reach outside ourselves and find true purpose of our existence. To survive my own addiction, I have to acknowledge there’s always been something within me that’s never seen the light of day.

Les Misérables’ Jean Valjean worked his whole life to love other people, to fulfill his promises, his duties. In the end, he found that “To love another person is to see the face of God.

I got into a deep hole by trying to survive alone in a fearful world. I now know I am not alone; and there is much love, both within me. When another human being accepts you no matter how bad the things you’ve done, it’ll be much easier to accept yourself.

We’re only as sick as our secrets. This Easter, release them and be free.

101103_mike_pence_wave_ap_328Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) defended the religious freedom bill he signed last week, saying the growing outrage over the legislation stems from “… a tremendous amount of misinformation and misunderstanding.”

George Stephanopoulos, host of “This Week,” ended an interview with the governor by asking for a yes-or-no answer on whether it should be legal to discriminate against gays and lesbians.

You’re following the mantra of the last week online, and you’re trying to make this issue about something else,” Pence said. “What I am for is protecting … the religious liberty of Hoosiers.” Pence described the media coverage and opposition to the law as “shameless rhetoric,” saying it strengthens the foundation of First Amendment rights rather than discriminates.

Believe it or not, a federal version of the religious freedom law was enacted in 1993. However, dozens of states have passed their own versions, including one passed unanimously in Illinois when President Barack Obama was a state senator.

Supporters claim that for the florist who refuses to sell flowers for a gay wedding or a baker who won’t make a lesbian couple’s wedding cake, this law fends off lawsuits each business might face. Whereas civil liberties groups assert the law could be used by businesses to deny service to people based upon sexual orientation and religious belief.

The problem lay in the suggestion that both sides have valid arguments. They don’t. One side fights for equality and civil rights while the other creates pseudo bigotry to prevent the other from becoming reality. There really aren’t two acceptable stances on these issues for millions recognize what mainstream conservatism doesn’t – that God loves all.

The argument over what Pence signed is destined to become visceral, vitriolic, and ugly. Both sides dig in, because each thinks the other is flatly wrong — both in heart and fact. As the debate rages on, this will spiral to a place so far away from the law itself.

As a Buddhist, in general, Buddhism does not make a distinction between same-sex and opposite-sex relationships. Instead, the expectation is not to harm, exploit or manipulate others, which would directly violate the third precept, sexual misconduct. For instance, Zen Buddhists often refer to hedonism, ascetic masochism and prostitution as practices violating the “Middle Way.”

On another note, I didn’t know we needed to strengthen America’s First Amendment rights, for they seem pretty strong. But strange how some believe one amendment requires strengthening, while others, per se, such as gun control, gains nary a review.

Balti_childrenI intended to write something different, but couldn’t muster the words. Listening to the British Broadcasting Company report upon the deaths of so many children in Peshawar, Pakistan and watch the video, I can honestly report, the scene was horrifying. Gunmen shoot children as they cowered.

There’s no insight into what to do in these situations. So I come back here to write. A few who know that I’m the Unknown Buddhist asked, “What are you going to write? What are you going to say?

What this whole thing is really about is the difference between ignorance and hope. Having traveled though so many countries, I’ve never taken my life in the United States for granted. Still, we who inhabit this island earth continue to judge one another by the content of character. We ignorantly stand before the masses and proclaim, “… my way or the highway.” I know there are wonderfully beautiful Islamic men and women. But tonight … for this moment … The Taliban and your version of Islamic faith is utterly repugnant.

Your version of Islamic faith lives in turmoil. And it’s unsustainable.

To terrorists who killed so many, tonight I celebrate real faith, real love and real dignity. I find a tremendous depth of inspiration from Karen, whom I’ve loved deeply, and briefly, shared my life. She’s out there everyday, trying to save children. This type of love comes believing in something better of humanity than most dare. Her spirit is one breath, in unison with faith, and she crushes anything an Islamic could offer tonight.

True love exceeds anything offered a million times over. Agape love continues for years and remains undiminished. Just as Karen would die for a child, I’d sacrifice my life for her. I chose not to destroy, but submit to another in love professes my soul in faith to Christ, to Buddha and enhances life.

Real love dazzles. Your’s doesn’t. The sweet taste of love is beautiful and appreciative. I bathe in the love that surrounds me. You swim in hatred. You feel superior. True love is superior to all.  You abhor. I admire! You’re ignorant. I’m not.

It’s our children that illuminates, warms, and revives.

Islam is not a monopoly of truth. There is neither a race nor a people, who have not been blessed with the bounty of divine guidance, and there is neither a region of earth nor people who have not received prophets and Messengers of God. We do not verify the truth of religious revelations through violence or death.

True love fulfills all human needs. And no other teaching is required.

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