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The Eastern Way in the Western Mind

Bucky Fuller, one of the more innovative and colorful engineers of our 20th Century, saw early boats as the strong shape of a dome upside down.  Typical of his far-reaching sort of thinking, he once speculated that early boats either went with the wind or against it.  In the west, we admire the daring-do of earliest ship captains fighting the wind by using it, angling sail and rudder just so to travel zig-zag out of the Indian Ocean, around Africa, and up to Europe.  This…

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Earth’s One Day

We greet the sun in the morning We sigh good-bye at night But the sun is always with us Though to us, seems dark and bright.   It stands still, ‘tis we go spinning Whirl our earth-flung way Counting our days and our seasons Living our life’s time away.   Our perspectives on time and life are limited.  We fool ourselves by the immediate and the apparent, missing the interconnectedness of time and life.  But we reorient ourselves to our longer and larger reality by…

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The Answer to Our Humanistic Prayers

Humanists tend not to believe in prayer.  Humanists believe in human ability and choice in a natural universe.  Miracles are either impossible or explainable.  Working material and social reality by merely thinking something fervently just doesn’t happen.  Scientific evidence for the effect of prayer is scant.  But personal experience of many is profound.   Prayer may not be humanistic, but is human.  Many humans in all sorts of cultures pray.  They talk as with ancestors, saints, gods, or God.  Healing is an act of both…

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A Saint’s Call

I once got to meet The Blind Saint of Vrindivan, India.  He was the guru of my guru, Dr. Vasavada.  Dr. Vasavada, of Bombay, India, was fresh in Chicago from having been trained with Carl Jung as an analyst.  I was at the University of Chicago in seminary and took to helping Dr. Vasavada get around town while learning about Jungian psychology and eastern religion from him.  When the chance to meet his guru in India came up in the summer of 1972, I went. …

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The Mandate of Heaven

The eastern version of our western divine right of kings was the Chinese Mandate of Heaven.  Let us consider its framework and apply it to our current king of sorts, King George.  I do this, not in a partisan way, but towards loving our country, all humanity, and earth. The Chou, a somewhat crude but ambitious crew, defeated the Shang in 1115 B.C., beginning one of the longest dynasties in Chinese history (1115-221 B.C.)   In order to convince their subject peoples, especially the nobles, of…

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The Heart of Matter

What is the worth of matter and these bodies made from it?  Some religionists say matter provides a mere stage on which we act the drama of our lives, creating the conditions of our afterlives.  Some scientists say it and our world are just insignificant specks in the enormity of the universe.  Are we lost in a false dilemma?  Must we choose between irrelevant matter and senseless matter?   We should reject both irrelevancy and senselessness.   As I once wrote in a paper for the…

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Women, Wonder, and War

From Texas to Tehran, societies scurry to placate the power of those posing as pious – instead of affirming and advancing inherent intelligence and integrity.   Modernity fears its own success.  Instead of claiming and furthering the steady progress of science and the Enlightenment, it falls prey to those resentful of both.  Fundamentalist advices to “have faith” or to “submit” turn us from knowledge, freedom, and responsibility, towards gullibility and obeisance.  Decent souls, questing for what is good, flock to church and mosque only to be…

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The Problem of Religion and the Promise of Creation

Have you noticed that the three great monotheistic religions of the world are also the three great problem makers in the world? Is God the problem? Does God want these vast forces to wage war with the others? We’re told lately that society has gotten too secular, too wayward, and that we should return to our religions and have more faith. But should we? Haven’t religions often been the source of problems – from stifling knowledge to torturing non-believers? Haven’t religions insisted on preposterous claims…

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Labor and Mysticism

A personal message from founder, Brad Carrier, regarding labor: I’ve built dry-stack rock retaining walls for ten years and owned the business for eight. On one level, it’s just work for pay. I can work by the hour, or by the bid. But I’d rather work on creative projects that serve the general betterment of persons or society, taking whatever compensation it brings me. Like any job, it is work for money, but such labor is not my main calling – ministry (Unitarian Universalist and…

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The Purpose of Life is to Give Life Purpose

  When I met Shri Bhagwan Rajneesh in a posh hotel in Bombay I wanted to punch him in the nose.  I had gone to India sick of the west’s view of earth as merely a place for a divine drama that leads to an afterlife.  In India I found its counterpart: a yearning for an instead-of life.  Rajneesh sported a Rolex as he knocked the communists for wanting worldly improvements.  He assured us the body isn’t real and neither is this world; they’re merely…

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