February 2020 Archives


Clay

Clay

When I was a little girl, my best friend was Hal, a neighbor boy that lived in a house directly behind mine. Our backyards bordered one another. We played together so frequently that my father placed a piece of insulated padding over the top of the chain-link fence and arranged a piece of railroad tie at the base as a step to make it easier for us to climb over.

In Hal’s yard near our fence-hopping spot was a tree and underneath that tree the earth was barren, with little grass. The soil there, when mixed with water, made excellent mud pies. If Hal was not around, his younger brother Eric and I would often play in the “dirt” making sludgy desserts.

These were the memories that crossed my mind as I attended a pottery class for the first time.

Our instructor whizzed through the directions and demonstration in what seemed like five minutes. So quickly, in fact, that my first question was, “OK, what am I supposed to do?”

When asked what was the most difficult part of the process, my answer was “all of it.”

The first step is “wedging” the clay to remove any air bubbles. Our instructor, when performing this, slapped and pounded her piece of clay quite forcefully.

The next step is centering—getting the clay on the wheel correctly, solidly in the middle, so it does not wobble or slide around. This action requires quite a bit of pressure as well.

This is followed by “opening the dome” where you insert your thumb in the center just beyond the knuckle. After checking the depth, you gently pull the clay towards you until the piece is the size you want it to be. Using both hands, one on the inside and one on the outside, you “raise the walls.” Both of these undertakings require different amounts of steady force.

In the meantime, adding water as needed and maintaining an accurate speed for the spinning pottery wheel.

All sorts of hilariously frustrating results occur when any one of these undertakings is slightly off.

Of my three attempts, two looked like toilet bowls and one looked like a cross between a flower vase and a flower pot. I scratched the commodes and kept the vase-pot.

Afterwards the following verse came to mind.

But now, ADONAI, you are our father; we are the clay, you are our potter; and we are all the work of your hands. Isaiah 64:8

Taken at face value, this verse could imply that God is like a master puppeteer pulling our strings so we can do His bidding.

However, after further meditation on my pottery experience, I think it is more like when I surrender myself to God, She takes all my “sins”—my mistakes, my missing-the-marks—and, in an ongoing process, with varying amounts of pressure, molds me into a breathtakingly beautiful vessel.

The writer of the book of Romans says it this way:

Furthermore, we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called in accordance with his purpose . . . 8:28

The song “Something Beautiful” by Bill Gaither fits nicely too.

Something beautiful, something good
All my confusion He understood
All I had to offer Him was brokenness and strife
But he made something beautiful of my life

If there ever were dreams
That were lofty and noble
They were my dreams at the start
And hope for life’s best were the hopes
That I harbor down deep in my heart
But my dreams turned to ashes
And my castles all crumbled, my fortune turned to loss
So I wrapped it all in the rags of life
And laid it at the cross.

Surrender . . . listen . . . you’re beautiful.

Patriarchy

Patriarchy

“Women need the boundaries of the Patriarchy and a mission in life which is usually a husband, children and home. Absent such structure they malfunction and destroy civilizations.” Noah Revoy

“This is just a joke, right?”

     “This guy doesn’t really believe this, does he?”

          “What the F***?”

               “What rock did this guy crawl out from under?”

These were just a few of the responses I pondered when reading this meme on Facebook.

Even now a few days later, after checking out this person’s FB page, I am still shaking my head.

Is he even slightly aware of all that this statement insinuates; not the least of which is the implication all wars and destruction from the beginning of time are the fault of women because we have somehow malfunctioned?

Malfunction? Really? Machinery malfunctions. Hardware malfunctions. ROBOTS malfunction. Body systems can malfunction. But a living, breathing, spirit-filled human being? This whole statement is insanely obtuse when used to describe what happens to any beloved facing problems or challenges; let alone saying as such about half the human race.

Framing a woman’s “mission in life” within the “boundaries of Patriarchy” is demeaning and confining. Husband, children and home can be hugely spacious mission fields when lived outside of conditioned, patriarchal beliefs. I dare say women like Harriet Tubman, Eleanor Roosevelt, Sally Ride, and others would take issue with this limited and narrow vision of women’s fields of influence.

The conditioned beliefs of a patriarchal culture have led and continue to lead women to be objectified, abused, belittled and all manner of obscene and perverted acts of asinine thinking. We are seeing the effects of this politically, economically and ecologically on a worldwide level. Our home—Mother Earth as some would call her—cannot continue to absorb the exploitation of what is mostly a male driven society without disastrous results.

In other words, a woman’s heart can only take so much misuse before she closes the door to those who are not trustworthy enough to honor her grace.

Quite frankly, his quote sounds like it could have come straight from “The Stepford Wives” and it is the antithesis of the following enlightened passage.

“Our women have been chosen by the Creator to be the portal between the spiritual realm and this physical realm. The only force on earth powerful enough to navigate unborn spirits onto this planet.” Unknown

I do not wish to continue raking this gentleman over the coals of his own insanity because I do not know the context of his life that led him to draw this conclusion. Neither do I wish him harm. Quite the opposite, I hope his soul finds healing, health and happiness.

However, the contrast between the two quotes raises concern. Broadly speaking, why do women have to resort to manipulation and adaptation in order to be seen and heard? On a personal level, how does one live with a man when he truly will not listen to her?

I am NOT anti-man. I am anti-ego. And yet I am aware this infers men have more difficulties reining in their egos than women.

“Everything of which the Holy Spirit reminds you is in direct opposition to the ego’s notions . . . The Holy Spirit has the task of undoing what the ego has made.” 5:III:5: 4-5 A Course in Miracles

One of the problems is the misinterpretation of Bible verses like the following:

“ADONAI, God, said, “It isn’t good that the person should be alone. I will make for him a companion suitable for helping him.” Genesis 2:18

Other translations use the word helper or partner for the word companion in this verse; none of which truly draw out the spirit of this verse.

Chaim Bentorah states the following:

“The word good is tov which means to be in harmony with God. A more correct rendering would be “man is not in harmony with God (when) he is alone.”. . .

I like the KJV rendering help meet, suggesting God created someone who would help Adam meet God. Take a close look at the literal rendering of this phrase help meet, which in the Hebrew is: ‘ezeg kenegedou’. The word ‘ezeg’ is really a reference to someone who will help you obtain something. The word ‘kenegedou’ comes from the root word ‘neged’ which means to stand in front, to lead, to announce, to clear the way, to blaze the trail, or make something clear . . .

When God said He would make a help meet he was saying “I will make a helper to stand in front of him, to lead him, guide him and clear the way to my presence.” The sages often picture a neged as a gateway or doorway. Some of the sages, however, see a deeper picture. A picture of someone taking man by the hand and leading him to God.

This makes more sense especially in light of the fact that the Aramaic word for Holy Spirit is feminine.

The Holy Feminine . . . that which leads us to the heart of God.

Paradoxically for me, it was in raising my three sons that the Holy Feminine was most apparent. The more I discerned the Spirit, the more intentional I became in my parenting, which led to a deeper spiritual awareness and more enlightened intentionality. The fruit of which I now enjoy as I watch my sons parent their own children with grace-filled purpose—coincidentally they each have a daughter, and so the cycle continues.

Absent the “boundaries of patriarchy,” the Divine Feminal blossoms and blooms ever outward bringing healing and wholeness to all of Her Creation . . . it must NOT be stifled by ignorant thinking and beliefs.

Please visit the following links for further meaningful insights:

www.chaimbentorah.com/2013/09/word-study-meet-ezeg-kenegedou/

www.cartercenter.org/news/editorials_speeches/observer_071209.html

A Gentle Voice

A Gentle Voice

“How can you wake children in a more kindly way than by a gentle Voice that will not frighten them, but will merely remind them that the night is over and the light has come?  You do not inform them that the nightmares that frightened them so badly are not real, because children believe in magic.  You merely reassure them that they are safe now.  Then you train them to recognize the difference between sleeping and waking, so they will understand they need not be afraid of dreams.  And so when bad dreams come, they will themselves call on the light to dispel them.”  The Course in Miracles 6:V:2

Treasures

Treasures

I recently relocated for the second time in two years. The home into which I moved was mostly furnished and that meant paring down belongings once again. Even so, it still took four to five truckloads and a couple of car loads to transfer everything to the new home.

This was on my mind as I watched a former student—homeless—place all her worldly possessions into a small locker at Jefferson County Community Ministries.

I could not put all my pairs of shoes into one of those compact lockers, much less everything I own!

Jesus said, “Do not store up for yourselves wealth here on earth, where moths and rust destroy, and burglars break in and steal. Instead, store up for yourselves wealth in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and burglars do not break in or steal. For where your wealth is, there you heart will also be.” Matthew 6: 19-21

Living in a motel, a young man—maybe mid-twenties—with a 17-month-old son, came to the food pantry seeking supplies for two days. The phrase–sometimes translated as  “treasures in heaven” –reverberated through my spirit as I prepared his order keeping in mind the transient nature of his current situation. With a peaceful countenance, the father gratefully accepted his provisions and I could not help but wonder if he had a better grasp of the meaning of this expression than me.

Certainly, acts of kindness and compassion would qualify for storing up wealth in heaven, literally interpreted, but that runs the risk of believing one can earn his or her way into the hereafter.

Drilling a little deeper, morally, acknowledging our relationship with our stuff and conceding that none of it really belongs to us in the first place seems appropriate. To the point, at least one Native American tribe did not have a word in their language for “give,” there was no “mine” or “yours.” This may be difficult for us to understand in our culture where our personal space and riches seems to be a fundamental right.

Allegorically, the wealth could foreshadow a life where “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will no longer be any death; and there will no longer be any mourning, crying or pain; because the old order has passed away.” Revelation 21:4

All of these explanations and understandings are beautiful yet considering Jesus’s emphasis on the condition of our hearts, I still wondered if there wasn’t something more.

Then I came across a passage from A Course in Miracles:

“Any split in mind must involve a rejection of part of it, and this is the belief in separation. The Wholeness of God, which is His peace, cannot be appreciated except by a whole mind that recognizes the Wholeness of God’s creation.” 6:II:1

And this in John 12:25—

“The person who loves his life and pampers himself will miss true life. But the one who detaches his life from this world and abandons himself to me, will find true life and enjoy it forever.”

There it is . . . do not believe the lie of separation where there is no peace. Relinquish reliance in the illusion and embrace the eternal Light and Love.

This truth is what I sensed in the young man and his child at the food pantry.

“Treasures in heaven” . . .

. . . trusting and knowing Whose we are and to Whom we belong . . .

. . . ever and always abandoning ourselves to the Wholeness of God.

More at www.chaimbentorah.com/2014/hebrew-word-study-cant/

A Gentle Voice

All is Well

“Everything is fine.”  Josephine Fridinger

This quote does not offer much insight, but the way it came to me 19 years after it was written from my mother is. I had been feeling her absence a little more acutely and wishing for some encouragement from her. As I was reading, the postcard–that I use for a bookmark–on which the above is written, fell out of the book and the words sprang off the paper in a mystic greeting. Elatedly, I began to cry. Thanks, Mom, everything is fine!