only know itself
when scientifically explored
only complete itself
when religiously appreciated
claim its integrity
in exploring appreciation
dominate all else
given power’s partiality
remain virtually vital
playing a long-game
Who has authority to speak? For themself? For earth? For Who’s? For g*d?
Who has authority to speak while honoring the presence of another?
Speech often gets mixed up with dominion — an ability to have the last word.
Tricksters have the best opportunity to get away with speaking truth to power and avoid a standoff with authority. [Note: A current administration is tricky in getting its way but is not a trickster revealing a larger view.] Tricksters, like Coyote, are able to continue their work by periodically appearing with a teaching for folks open to it. Human tricksters such as Socrates and Jesus [Note: It is never warranted to name a contemporary.] seem to ply their trade for a while before unambiguously revealing their alternative truth to the old dictum that might-makes-right. Their usual modes of questions and riddles are but cover for a release from power claimed by a few, abetted by those fancying to take their place at the top of a pecking order based on imposing their will on others.
Tricksters poke at authority for a long while by using rhetorical ju-jitsu on rigidified custom. They walk a line that plays between outright challenge and irony as a tool of revolution.
Eventually, this pretense is put aside for all the skilled speech in the world does not substitute for the clarity of direct action.
It is only an authentic demonstration of in-born authority that reveals the choice set before the contemporary community. Free of a need to evade or dominate, a simple affirmation will do for the culture of the moment to settle the matter through a sentence of death upon the trickster.
Little is such a moment recognized in its time as the culmination of a long line of tests, a parade of set-ups, to pull a last reversal and birth of a new way. May you continue your work as a trickster until you can’t. Irony plays its part for a while and then steps aside for a simple declaration that now has space to echo.
We do like a good story
where the end is known
even amid new questions
last battles excite
as though they are last
every war intends
to be a last war
a war to end war
a war of victory
we do so want
to hear a first resolution
without a doubt
nor do we desire
of a last battle
in light of a first
won in a 40-day
of Living over Dead
no matter how debilitated
awaiting an acknowledgment
of how bad it has gotten
it’s never too late
to start a compost heap
of lost chances
that we might look
upon them warned
In reading about the role of plot in a Gospel of Mark, I felt my hackles rise when I read about the use of conflict to identify the energy of the story: “The driving goal in Mark’s narrative is for God to establish rulership over the world.”
I applaud the attempt to move away from “kingdom” language but the emphasis on dominion or rule leaves us in the same divided and dissected condition as brought us to each state-of-affairs that follows its predecessor.
Clothes were a first limit past which we were not able to return but only start a new line of fate. We are now expecting and put up with cycle-after-cycle of busted-born-busted~again. Somehow we can’t bridge the gap symbolized by unnecessary covering and return to some original partnership. Once an arbitrary test-line has been crossed, no amount of forgiveness or mercy seems to avail to re-establish a primary relationship. G*D goes back to being chief of the gods and humans return to creaturehood. Both have lost their ability to impact the other, to be partners.
A goal of returning to the impetus to relationship beyond the aloneness of ruling over all one can see and, through colonial surrogates, even that under another sun—seems much too small a goal.
The conflicts in Mark are not so much for overcoming as for resolving.
Here is another try that takes the open-ended conclusion of Mark into better account—the potential renewed relationships in the midst of ordinary life back home in Galilee. “The driving goal in Mark’s narrative is for human, non-humans, and meta-humans to re-establish a working relationship in the context of the whole of creation and any larger context it may have.”
The suzerainty of G*D is a very scratched lens through which to find the music of the spheres as expressed through “Coir an oir an oir an eer o” (https://youtu.be/0BOEE7-UhQM).
How does the world go on again, if not rolling toward morning? Try this song:
“First, do no harm.”
When that commandment proves false, does harm —in a world of consequences and interconnections, there is no unitive through a negative injunction, only failure through failing step number one — even its aspiration evaporates. Yet, maleficence reduction has value.
What about a less G*D-like order and more human-reachable goal of going for, “First, do the least harm?
Here, too, we run up against our nature. No, not original sin or baked-in evil, our ability to take sufficient data into account. What seems so common-sensical today is, in tomorrow’s frame, quite nonsensical. Even an agreement on a modicum of justice leaves far too many outside its protection. It leaves a store of virus a place of incubation from which to arise again (not unlike the Confederate “Lost Cause” Defense).
Is there any tool left if moderate progressive good work requires a field empty or depleted of harm before it can propagate?
There is much to be said for a professional ethic such as a Hippocratic Oath that recognizes its limits. Applying such to a community unable to agree upon limits is a setup for failure. For example, we don’t even understand parental responses to a firstborn, a middle child, a last-born, or any additional gradations between.
It may well be that attempts to corral harm must necessarily come no higher than second place, and may well lay much lower. If “harm” is what sets the stage, it implies something like original sin is the correct model that must be guarded. In which case, failure to contain harm is not only the expected result but will impinge upon any other goal.
I suspect that turning such a paradigm on its head, “First, do good,” will be as unachievable, and a moderate desire to bring “all the good one can” will be measured and found wanting. Since we prefer not to live with or without such doctrinal approaches to life, we are all the more reliant upon a living, flowing mercy beyond definition and codification. Blessings on sharing such.
six tons or sixteen
the result is the same
gussied up in their finery
another day deeper in
their very persistence
argues nothing changes
must not be challenged
kept its impudence inviolable
the company store
brooks no competitor
pervasive in granularity
restrictive of options
so generous it tab
putting all in its debt
three bags full
for one in return
live to fight another day
with diminished returns
only now seeing beyond
Prophecy is a critical function in a transition from a current stuck spot to a next best constellation of relationships—human-to-(non)human and human-to-human. A business consultant may speak of vision and mission statements or a life coach of expectations and manifestation. Beyond a societal or individual economy, there is that which moves back toward Indigenous stories of creation and proper respect or honor. Beyond, in another direction, is an interaction with Dreamtime and resolution.
Prophecy is a comprehensive action echoing past fulfillments of prior or implicit prophecy and a recognition of what is yet unfulfilled. It needs a gathering of courage to begin living as though it has been present for generations.
Prophecy is a bubbling, a fomenting and fermenting work of what is most life-giving, life-receiving, to trust. Some might traditionally think of this as faith. Unfortunately, faith is too static a word that also too fragile. Rather than use other synonyms that orient faith backward: Belief. Trust. It is a helpful exercise to begin using the process of prophecy to replace our reflexive use of “faith.”
Prophecy is more difficult in times of ease. Only the strongest and clearest prophet can speak during a “good” time. They are the only ones able to see the danger of being stuck in the most abundant and bountiful Eden. In difficult days, it is required to check what prophecy is given attention, for there are both harmful and healthful prophecies, and there will be plenty of same dressed in one conspiracy theory or another. A difference is whether they ask resignation through a return to a good-old day or engagement in moving from today’s difficulty toward a significantly varied future built on the investment of a life-unto-death in a tomorrow released from a reactive response to today.
For now, practice using “prophecy” instead of “faith,” “belief,” or “trust,” and prophesy what you need to hear and share.
but not deeply
after an afternoon of summer pruning
a grapefruit ale immediately refreshes
soon a relaxation edges on in
before knowing it repose arrives
as patterns near meaning
such responses elicit riddles
how is a summer’s day
when did you last hear a bell toll
roused again thoughts are trimmed
to keep quick from shading deep
“Leaders use their authority to accuse.” This general statement is a condensation of a sentence I read about particular leaders. At question is whether such a generalization can stand on its own, given our desire to have a hero tucked away in a leadership position who will, one day, take up our cause and shepherd it into being the cause for all.
There is a sense, here, of Leadership being a proactive state. Leaders gather information from experts and their gut. Such gathered data is enacted through public mechanisms of policy, treasure, and enforcement. If only my good heart had these resources! Could Heaven on Earth be far behind? Obviously, not.
Were we to tar all leaders with this brush, we would not be able to look back and be grateful that helpful decisions were sometimes made.
In stories like those about Jesus, we can see both religious and governmental leaders working in cahoots to accuse both one and many. Eventually, this led directly to the death of one and many. This is not what the storytellers desired to have been the outcome. They claim Jesus would have been a different leader than Herod or Pilate – both of whom are portrayed as sympathizing with Baptizer John or Prophet Jesus. In both cases, they put their leadership in the service of the loudest accusers. Their accumulated moral injury could do no other.
I tend to agree with the opening accusation of this jotting. Unfortunately, I also tend to agree with this reformulation – “Storytellers use their authority to accuse.”
We each carry an authority of some weight. Leaders, Storytellers, and each one of us needs the old button, “Question Authority.” Note: this button need not generically accuse all leaders and storytellers or leave everything at loose ends by calling everything into question, but asks if there is a better option than decision-making through accusation, counter-accusation, or acceding to accusation.
In days of heightened awareness of injury accumulate through generations of a false narrative to justify decisions based on “race,” I am still hearing the beneficiaries of cultural injustice asking those harmed by it, “What should I do to help?” Similarly, there are attempts to posit one overarching panacea or another that will resolve, at little cost, matters of relief, reparation, and recovery.
In days of long ago, we took tests to see what occupation we were suited for (Capitalism does need its laborers) and direct our educational arc accordingly. Such instruments required a specific outcome to justify their construction and application. While not remembering what course those tests laid out for me, I am confident that they didn’t even come close to what has occurred. As a category of a meaningful life and the measure of wealth, “occupation” does not rise more than knee-high for me.
Asking advice about which way to be helpful has a significant difficulty – it seldom accords with our energy, gifts, or values. We are far more likely to find a helpful response to an unsettling circumstance when it arises from within rather than directed from without.
Rather than put ourselves in a cog’s position on some universal machine or solution, we might reflect and engage with a statement followed by a question. “I am thinking (or feeling) that I can offer ______. Do you know a place or person where I can begin to practice and see where to grow from there?”
From a structural point of view, there will be no single “solution” to racism. Remember “Reconstruction” after the slave-based Civil War within the US. Even learning a lesson or two from that effort won’t materially enhance a variant today. There are too many aspects to the problems we have brought upon ourselves, individually and collectively, with concepts of “inherent superiority” and “race” for us to easily move to larger “self-evident truths.”
To grow in the image of one another invites variation and wholeness, not one path and the division it builds as we wonder and wander together. Removing one more layer of racism will require many different gifts that come together as a variant of getting to a proverbial moon – “We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.” (John F. Kennedy, Moon Speech, September 12, 1962)
This choice of addressing supremacy and racism will not be easy. A first step might be a variant on another Kennedy quote: Ask not what you can do for a cause, but volunteer the gifts you already have.
PS to Dave – this was written before our last thread.