Sunday, June 12, 2011

(47) Scripture

Awhile back I was e-talking with a friend about Scripture. Over
the millennia there have been all forms of human-generated
Scripture, eventually transformed by some as writ by God's own
hand. Hence we have "Holy Writ," if you will.

As for myself, even when a youngster, I had questions about
Biblical Scripture. I still remember people pointing fingers,
threatening, quoting Scripture in the most extreme ways. So--
since I had begun to read pretty good, I decided to pull out a
family Bible and started checking it out for myself.

Right off I began to see disparities, mistakes in the telling,
and this shook me at my young age. Later, after years of not
only self-study, but also professional study, I'm no longer
surprised or shook. The Bible is a library of books about a
myriad of topics, ranging from an usually heroic (if not precisely
a historically correct) account of Ancient Israel and its People.
Moving from the Old to the New Testament, one can detect
the effort of the various authors to carry forth a continuity of
those earlier writings that proclaimed the coming of a Messiah.

Hence writers in the New Testament proclaimed Jesus the
Messiah, the Son of God. And the Gospel writers also catered
to the particular faith group to which the belonged. Also, the
Gospels were written 70-to-90 years after the death of Jesus.
Just check any Bible and look at the special notes, and this
chronology is mentioned.

So it's difficult to think of these Gospel writers as those original
disciples, some likely near illiterate fishermen who spoke
colloquial Aramaic rather than the Greek which was the
original language employed when it came to these writings.
Studying further, I found out that biblical scholars believe that
the Gospel writers initially may have formed their stories around
an earlier account called the "Q" document, though no such
document has ever been discovered. However, surely there
must have been an oral tradition of sorts,

I discovered, too, that there probably was more than one author
of some of these Gospels. Computer technology has played a
part when it comes to this assumption. Goodness! Even recently
I came across a noted scholar talking about the "Deutero Paul."
That surprised me, especially since St. Paul's writing preceded
the Gospels.

Nonetheless, I do realize that there's some "historicity" in these
scriptural accounts. It's just not History as we have come to
understand such today, which is documented and presumed
factual. What scholars have been discovering is that these
Gospels were narratives, stories smack full of not only events
but symbolism. And they definitely tell one of the Greatest
Stories of all time!

Now does all this make the Scriptures untenable? For some,
maybe. For others, not at all. They are a record presented by
ancient voices, oft in a style familiar to the archaic societies in
which they lived. What has become important for me, as I have
continued to be fascinated by Scripture, is to study deeper into
these archaic societies to which the Gospel writers were addressing.

If we can better understand the thought patterns, the nuances of
these archaic societies, then Scripture might fall into place far
better when it comes to our understanding of such.

(46) Cosmic Vision

People through the ages have visions, some come through
meditation, some through dreams, but always unexpectedly.
My special vision came in a dream, a seriously profound dream!

Years back I spent a lot of time working into the Benedictine
Tradition, a monastic-oriented life. (See my "Monastic Muse"
journal, if interested.) Anyway--I was having concerns that
my Benedictine moorings were drifting away, hence I was
disturbed. Perhaps because of this disturbed state I had
this special dream or vision.

In the dream I was sitting in the abbey, listening to a conference
given by the abbot. During the course of his talk, I started noticing
him slipping farther and farther away. Suddenly I looked up and
saw the roof of the abbey had become a gigantic skylight. It
opened to the night sky, and a friend sitting next to me said "look."

Looking upward, I saw countless stars in the night sky--and directly
overhead was the Big Dipper, turned upside down. It was
pouring stars down onto my head. And out of the corner of my eye
I saw a great shining City of Light in the distance, out in Space.
Astounded, I realized that I had received a cosmic baptism!

Now there are different ways to interpret such a dream or vision.
One is to ignore it completely, but I couldn't. Another is to set it
within the context of my own small reality, and probably whittle it
away. But I couldn't. Somehow, down to my basic instinct, I felt
this dream or vision as seriously significant for me.

Years before, in New Mexico, I had discovered my "wotai stone,"
which I described in Item 21 of this essay site. I had worked into
the indigenous spirituality of Ed McGaa, a Sioux spiritual master,
and he talked about the Great Spirit, Wakan Tanka, and also about
the wotai stone, millions of years in the making, made just for you.
And, yes, I found mine!

Within this special stone one could see a rainbow-streaked eagle
looming over a globe, seemingly protecting it. The eagle is a spirit
bird, flying higher than all the other birds, reaching into the heavens.
It's symbolic of the Great Spirit. As for the globe, I interpreted this
symbol two ways: one as the planet Earth, the other as the universe.

Later I came upon a special ring, which I wear to this day. It drew
me towards it when I first saw it. Within the stone there's a massive
comet streaking across the starry sky. I see it as the Fire of the
Spirit traversing through the Cosmos.

So, with this special dream vision I finally realized that all my past
concentration into understanding the universe, trying to approach
the Contours of God through my efforts in Science and Spirituality,
my fascination with the Pantocrator, the Lord of the Universe,
Master of the Cosmic Realm, even my volunteer efforts as a
docent naturalist, concentrating on eco-literacy, focusing on the
natural systems of the planet, all were somehow *connected.*

Consequently, this special dream-vision of a cosmic baptism
seemed a verification for me that my long sojourn, into all its
paths, was right for me. I had over time received strong hints
all along the way that this special sojourn reflected the right
calling for me. And the dream-vision seemed the final stamp
of approval, if you will.

I accept such, and with this shall continue my efforts as long as
I have breath.

Friday, June 10, 2011

(45) Looking Back

It's like I am in an in-between time, neither this, neither that. I can't
say that I am comfortable in this state, but I do try to keep plugging
forward. Forward to what? It's like I am leaving something behind
and I have to go back and find it. So, before heading forward maybe
I need look back.

What might be back there to re-discover or maybe actually discover.
Events, experiences, happen in our life that sometimes just pass over
us, making hardly a ripple, barely noticeable, and later emerge into
significance. I seem to intuit that this might be the case for me.

On the other hand, I really do dislike looking back. I've never cared
to be Past oriented, if you will. But I seem to be getting an inner
message that now is the time to go against the grain and look back.

Whatever might I see or at least sense? I've walked down many
paths over my years, crossed bridges multiple times, keeping my
eyes fixed in the distance. So changing my gaze back, I need
look far in the distance the places I have traversed. What's there?

Maybe I have to employ my "feeling" more. I know what I miss, what
I sometimes long for. I miss those magical moments that I have
abandoned. My cool head, my scientific bent has held me in good
stead; however, so have my feelings. In the past they always worked
well together, but I have to wonder whether I have grown too one-
sided? Or too old?

I remember those magical moments in Nature, where I have walked
through glorious realms of mountains and canyons, looking out on
the distances of grasslands, cupping rainbows in my hands, watching
thunderous dark clouds closing overhead, watching wild animals
burrowing in the desert, transfixed by the Giant Sequoia, and simply
looking up at the clouds.

Too old for all this now? I hope not, but I feel more limited. Still I can
reach the ocean, sometimes go to the desert, and travel through the
mountains. I live in an area where all this is actually possible in a
day's time. So why not bring my Past back into my Present. It's just
a matter of intention--and a small amount of effort.

What else might I re-discover? It's the ever New that held me in
thrall when I first encountered the excitement of modern Science
Theories. I've let them become "hard work" now, and that's no
fun. I need regain my enthusiasm, that sense of *en theos* that
these new theoretics were unfolding for me.

Whew! This little exercise looking back actually energized me!
Perhaps such might help me get back on track. But it's all up to
me, bringing "back then" once again into my horizon as I move