Roe v. Wade…

Over two decades ago on May 4th, I was in labor for the first time. At that time, I still held to the programs indoctrinating me from the age of 4. Such indoctrination included what was then, and is today, known as “pro-life” or anti-abortion. With Roe v. Wade awaiting what appears to be its demise, I feel the significance of May 4th deeply.

It would be an understatement to say that I have changed on many levels. Having left the moral incoherence that was my evangelical childhood, I look back on the woman in labor. She did not realize it, but the birth of her first child would usher in a revolution, a Psalm 23 manifestation via the divine feminine, a restoration of her soul. As she pushed, and waited, pushed, and waited, the birth of her own true self became inevitable. A truth and beauty bundle, looking at the world through one eye while squinting the other in the harsh hospital light, my firstborn would begin the process of innocently and easily shattering everything I had constructed as “me”.

I look at what fundamentalism requires of a person and the toll it exacts and I can sum it up in one word: madness. But it’s a madness that creeps. Its insidious effects multiply silently over the years until the capacity to discern disintegrates. It begins with a sense of being right and of seemingly knowing what is right and righteous, but is warped as it passes through the lens of human dysfunction, misogyny and bias. You’re so right about how important life is that you have no qualms with jailing life, or condemning a pregnant woman to die for her fetus. The likelihood you’ll ever see this sick distortion is slim since challenging it would result in a domino effect of many other challenges to a whole system of identity you’ve erected a life around. And you’ve probably been accused of having a demon, directly or indirectly, if you’re habitually assertive as a woman or vocal about situations you think need to change.

My good fortune, the work of dismantling toxic programs created by fundamentalism, was made possible by the presence of my daughter, and then the relentlessness of that work continued with each of my children’s emergence. Humanity unfolded itself in front of me in ways I had never been allowed to fathom before. I couldn’t understand the attitude of suspicion and mistrust towards children for simply being children. From there, I could see myself as a child in the past, made to feel literally demonic for being human. Alongside these revelations ran the personal story of abuse one of my sisters was living in her marriage. So, I became the wicked witch advocating with/for her in our tribe. The collision of these factors broke me open. The friction with leadership in my life, the hypocrisy revealed how a woman was seen as controlling for asserting herself or not being agreeable and how this might translate to her guilt instead of the actual guilt of her abusive spouse. These layers simultaneously transported me to the epicenter of my own humanity, my early childhood and the question of authentic choice.

And eventually, though early on in my daughter’s life, I realized everything that had been communicated about God (by actions of parents presuming to embody divine right and by the group of Christians with whom they shared community), about the love of God, revealed a God who loved less than I did. But even in that, I recognized the possibility that the God I “knew” was not the God that is. So, instead of demolishing my idea of my creator, the revelation revolutionized my relationship with the divine. The only way out was through.

Fundamentalism at its core divorces the human from her humanity. And with that divorce, all types of devastation and loss become possible. She can wish to jail everyone who has an abortion, everyone who performs and assists in abortions. She can do this because she has no idea how precious her own life is and it is only when that preciousness gestates and is born within her that she can recognize the lie in the pro-life movement. Ironically, that recognition stands more in agreement with seemingly divine patterns and the value of life itself than any notion of pro-life could do.

One of the aspects of fundamentalism that keeps it perpetuating is the annihilation of choice. Choice and agency are often sacrificed when a believer gradually and consistently immerses herself in fundamentalism. Or even just in the sort of blind faith so many fundamentalists require of each other. And yet choice is what God has presumably given us. New believers are confronted with the Garden of Eden where Adam and Eve were presented with a choice. It is that story that, obviously or otherwise, ushers in the work of Christ, the one who repairs the damage wrought by…Eve. It is that moment pivotal when God says “do not”, but Eve goes ahead and does. Her “disobedience” is the main focus. And yet, what was it with this God who knows all and is in control and yet still presents a risk and a choice? We could call such a God sadistic or we could call such a God cautiously optimistic. Except he presumably knew everything. But I digress. The very act of commanding away from one thing is the presentation of choice. And ideally, choice, among other factors, is what leads us to seek a walk with the divine. Agency enables our faith that it might have muscle and movement. Acts, not merely words.

But in fundamentalism one of the strongest forces at work asks that we not think too much, that we offer up our will to God, that we trust blindly. As mentioned earlier, blind trust is so prevalent it is often the definition given of faith in God. You do not question. So, God commanded thou shall not kill. And all of this is Eve’s fault. Her guilt is the background drumbeat of everything that happened that required Jesus die for all of us. That drumbeat defines a Christian however much she may or may not realize. That drumbeat becomes the rhythm of war, war against women, war against being human. Misogyny reigns supreme in fundamentalism. It eats away at the heart of every woman inhabiting such a program. And every woman ensnared thus seeks desperately to find her value.

For the pro-life fundamentalist Christian woman, there is no cause like pro-life since it immediately condemns the other woman, ignores the ambivalent if not malignant apathy of the man, and worships conception above the actual value of one human being. How else can we explain the ease with which these same fervent believers ignore child welfare? The pro-life movement makes for the perfect vehicle by which a woman can arrive at her own perceived superiority, her own seeming redemption, her own heroic grandiose notion of herself. People who need grandiose notions of self feel deeply inadequate. I would know, unfortunately. So, in one fell swoop, a woman can decide another woman or a group of women is to blame and simultaneously become an “agent” of needful salvation through condemning any who might thwart the prolonged gestation and resulting birth of a child. She can see herself as superior to “those women”. And even better if she, too, births her own. Women, within fundamentalist Christianity, are at once the damnation and salvation of the world by sheer “virtue” of the presence of a womb. On the one hand, the womb-bearing Eve damned us all, and on the other, the womb-bearing Mary saved us. That fundamentalists mostly take the Bible literally, the moral confusion required to live within such a construct is breathtaking in its devastation.

Eating away at the heart of the fundamentalist Christian woman is this determination not to think or even question the inner tyrant/God. And when you’re encouraged not to think, you’re catapulted on a path of insanity, particularly moral insanity. Intellectualism is scorned, and by that fact, critical thinking is also lost. Besides, it is the thinking that got Eve in trouble. She entertained questions about God’s command. Hath God said? There’s no blind faith (hence no “authentic” faith) in asking questions of the great commander.

The program underpinning fundamentalism is the ancient equivalent of what any domestic violence shelter would identify on the power and control wheel. You will submit. You won’t question. You dare not even think there might be a question and you only do what the masculine deity deems doable. Also, have babies. Also, you owe God who delivered you from hell and damnation. But hey, freely you have received, freely give. Gaslighting 101.

While it’s not the cure for all fundies, having a daughter wrested me from the power and control wheel that had run me over all of my life. She was, and is, sheer delight dancing, asking, insisting, disrupting, being human. Certainly, for a season, she reinforced my pro-life vigor. But not for long. There is nothing like motherhood to strip you of any fantasy that you are superior, or immune to failing and there’s nothing like feeling compassion for your children to awaken you to your own need to show compassion to yourself, and from there, to the world. I became obsessed with choice in general, with what makes a choice and resulting life paths and circumstances authentic versus choices made under a situation of duress. It struck me that inhabiting a situation free of a measure of duress was nearly impossible, but it also struck me that authentic choice might be the holy grail for healing my wounds. Having watched my daughter dance around freely in the love of her parents, I recognized I’d never known such freedom and so my choices had rarely been authentic. From there, it became obvious I had work to do to birth myself.

Where philosophies of choice and freedom are concerned, I’m a work in progress. But I’m clear on one thing: the right to choose is what births authentic living and makes love possible. If my daughter wanted or needed, and I make the distinction intentionally, an abortion, I would volunteer to drive her, be there, whatever is needed. I am changed. There’s no part of me torn on that. Do I have preferences? Do I wish we lived in a world where abortion wasn’t even necessary? Hell, yes. But we don’t live in such a world. Abortion is an honorable, legitimate human need. But Roe v. Wade stands today threatened by forces political and religious, forces feeding off the inadequacy and erosive moral insanity spreading like poison in the hearts of confused, lost people. People who call themselves found by Christ and saved. The irony reeks. That I rage within myself at once condemns me, since I know the enemy well, and reminds me of how complicated we all are.

What makes a pro-lifer tick? The ones that vote for the political contortionists pretending faith who would sooner keep women in the kitchen barefoot and pregnant and people of color in chains, what makes them tick? A million little pivotal happenings and woundings and poisonous winnings make them. I can look back on many such goings on in my upbringing.

I’m reminded of moments when I mentioned psychology to my parents. They would invariably dismiss me in disgust, using some retort that included the smear “it’s so humanistic.” As far as I could tell, to be humanistic equated to evil, to all that is not Godly. It baffled me every time. The only conclusion I could draw was the only one provided me and that was that just being human was wicked and that is what we were perpetually being saved from every single second of every day we believed in Christ. If within that atmosphere you are parented by even just one parent who feels it their duty to smash you in the name of Godly parenting, you are going to end up a hot mess raging at the one issue that somehow dovetails with your desperate need to be seen and known as legitimate.

Fundamentalists, those in the trenches living their lives in delusion and hate all while believing quite the opposite, are also capable of love, even of critical thinking. However, at any point where their thinking might collide with their faith, all cognitive capacity is subsumed in the perceived superiority of *the truth*. And *the truth* is the sum total of a hatred of being human, a hatred so insidious it would convince a woman to wish imprisonment on women who’ve had abortions. The men in these issues are so easily understood, it’s not worth dedicating a whole post to their motives. Thus far we have not managed to market or sell birth control pills for men though they have been created and ditched due to the side effects they would cause. All the while, women pop birth control pills whose side effects are the equivalent and even worse. All the while, many men, I realize not all, loathe condoms. All the while, many men distinguish themselves in their obviousness.

One phrase in particular became one of the many crowbars wresting me from the confines of my oppressed upbringing and all the programs that upbringing asked that I carry into adulthood. That phrase: “God saw that it was good.” Saw that it was good and the evening and the morning were the 6th day. Over and over, the creator saw that it was good, that what was created was good. My brain then said, oh, so, my brain is good. My having critical thoughts, seeking to discern when choice is authentic is good. My questioning who translated and chose the texts that would comprise the New Testament is good. My weighing what motives influenced the compilation of scripture was good. And not only that, but if love bears all things, then God can bear my questions. And if God knows all and I hide my questions in fear of being seen, then I have less integrity than if I presented them with a bellowing, angry cry.

I nearly lost myself in the years and years of bellowing angry cries, parenting three complicated humans. And while this post might be construed as propaganda for women having children so they, too, might be born and wrested from their fundamentalist confusion, it is not. I am one person, former fundie. By no means do I make the argument for anything except this: fundamentalists are a terribly wounded, confused slice of the population who should not influence the outcome of Roe v. Wade, and if we’re to avoid this in the future, we may need to consider our attitudes towards them as human beings. Demonizing them will only feed their delusions of grandeur.

The problem with fighting for Roe v. Wade and choice is wrapped up in the fact that those who most oppose it do not even value choice in their own lives and most especially in their faith. Certainly, any state or federally declared mandate is something that will get their hackles up about their freedoms and choices because they can see it as an attack, ultimately, on their faith as it is an attack on their person and the two are one and the same. An example … mask mandates. That they can say, “my body, my choice” in that instance is proof of their insanity while simultaneously proof that they have been taught that their only allowed use of the right to choose is in protest of anything that might threaten their religion. For diehard fundamentalist Christians, agency and choice are only valid so long as they are utilized in defense of or perpetuation of their faith. The basic human need for autonomy is consigned to any possible crusade in defense of their beliefs. The amassed frustration crouches, awaiting any opportunity for expression.

So, when we scream in contempt, when we mock, when we hate their hatred, we feed their sense of righteous persecution. We throw fuel on the fire. There’s not one single word of contempt that drew me out of fundamentalism. Kindness birthed my true self and continues to this day. Critical thinking, as a gift from my creator, liberated my mind.

I’m not proposing that we not scream and fight against the lies bombarding our liberties in this time. We just need to look on our work to protect basic freedom as a work that includes a slice of humanity enchained in lies. It’s important to recognize that generational fundamentalist nonsense requires epic soul-level disruptions and awakenings to be ousted. Most of these disruptions ideally come through love’s work. I find myself at a loss as to how I might voice my valid rage over the onslaught against women’s rights without fueling the enemy who is my fellow human.

I don’t know the answer for how to avoid fueling the insanity fire except that I might avoid contemptuous, hateful, insulting expression hurled in their direction. I confess there are times it is impossible to be anything but those three destructive things. In fact, today I retweeted something about this very issue and referred to the lawmakers in Louisiana as demonic, life-hating, murderous jackals. There are times when the truth, when hurled in the direction of those who are fundie who have wounded you, will be brutal. That truth is made brutal by the fact of the offenses against you, not by your calling it out for the brutality it is. The line between truth that is brutal by default and truth that is contemptuously destructive is a fine one. I would know. I have crossed it repeatedly in my rage and in my experimenting with what advocacy does and does not look like. The good news? Love has found me on either side of that line and I’ve been able to grow.

The challenge is to not confuse contempt and hate for advocacy, the real sort of advocacy that facilitates liberty and hopefully captures eternal truth, truth like the fact that we are all of us, each one, immeasurably precious, complicated humans. No one, Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu, atheist, Wiccan, or otherwise is immune from fundamentalism’s poison. And my hope is that we will become more and more creative in our efforts to further champion a truly humanistic work. As far as I can tell, humanistic work best defines itself when that work encompasses a love whose natural by-product is the gradual dissolution of the ever-encroaching threat that is fundamentalism.

Cuppa Life…

When snow falls even just a wee bit, softness following
on the howling slams of wind and thunder slapping awake
a peaceful slumber, you sit quietly in the half light
sighing hours later, gulping in the stillness
as it falls outside the window of your reverie.


The words above reflect on the night before last when winds and thunder snarled my sleeping in a surreal rush of clamoring. The noise was akin to dreams and transformations, the kind that sweep you up out of nowhere in a whirlwind of change and awareness. Surreal. Magical. Frightening and exhilarating at the same time. The storm windows on my bedroom windows clanged loudly, evoking visions of trees uprooted, hurling themselves at the night.

So, awakening to snowfall, the gentle quiet of it all was a wonderful contrast and I felt deserved reflection.

Not that it’s about the new year, but I’ve resolved to more posting here in order to participate more in my power to create, however small. One of the challenges of disability, and particularly of the MECFS variety, is that of escaping the sense of feeling imprisoned, held captive by the power of the illness itself and this is especially true as it has real power to do that very thing, to imprison. And so, we veterans of such imprisonment get to learn the sort of freedom that defies chains and bars. It’s not a lesson I’d wish on most folks. But it is what life has dished out to some of us and my past attempts to pretend it might all go away have faded into an awareness that the only way out is through and that sort of pretending becomes a self rejection. I refuse such.

So, here’s to deeper acceptance and finding ways to own and participate in one’s power, bit by bit.

In A Warming Sun…

I look out the window as it whispers quiet melodies of all the goings on going on without me. And yet I wonder whether goings on go on without me or if maybe we’re all connected. And if we’re all connected, are not the goings on of others also my own? If only I could know the quickened pulse of one dancing fit and free and not the rapid race of a heart working overtime for a body whose health declines more than sometimes, sometimes often without provocation.

In my own way, I do feel connected despite the isolation MECFS insists. I hear the city sounds outside my door, and sense a world full of doing. My heart tells me we are one, and in this moment I feel full. And while I feel full, I also feel the many things beyond my reach. Were I to grasp them, therein would a fullness peak, eventually waning. But I would remain.

photo by j. ruth kelly, all rights reserved

What I come to in my non-goings on of a life is that we all must land in the same place. We all face the inner world, an immovable yet flowing eternity. And that same world goes with us whether we are fit or frail and that same world remains when the noise and clamor fades.

I long for more doing and going and yet the fullness of the moment rewards me just the same. I am grateful to be here witnessing the play and tussle suggesting endless horizons. I look out the window knowing their promise.

They only guarantee experience.

Horizons don’t make us more free or more present. They simply pose a chance for more ways to grow and love in a world aching for peace.

But I look out the window and accept my rootedness for now. And I remember when I last chatted with my maple friends forever rooted in my front yard. They whispered a contented grace. They daily taste the world as whole and one, gathering life’s echoes as feast in a warming sun.

Where Evil Thrives…

“The surest defense against evil is extreme individualism, originality of thinking, whimsicality, even eccentricity. Evil is a sucker for solidarity. It always goes for big numbers, for confident granite, for ideological purity, for drilled armies and balance sheets.” Joseph Brodsky

I kick these words around in my mind. They invariably land on the evangelical past life from which I continue to heal, to deprogram and recover. I recall, but not accurately enough to locate it, a passage of scripture that spoke of an evil posing in the midst of those finding themselves to be so assuredly “saved”, most blessed by the divine. When I found it, decades ago, it made me shudder. I felt an already pervasive awareness of that same darkness in our culture. The conundrum of escaping its grasp kept my mind, at that time anyway, from facing the implications, the commentary on all I had been taught was true. But I did, one day, and another day by degrees, face the implications and so many things. I blame my daughter and her siblings. Happily, proudly. Their DNA coursed through my veins for years a revolution. When she was born, and then her brother, and then her sibling, so was I, each time by degrees beautifully irreversible, refusing programs, granite-like confidence and ideological righteousness.

There is nothing like the inherent innocence of precious vulnerable human lives to birth a person, to shake the notions of what evil is and is not. It is not a child.

And so, I type these words and imagine my father sneering at them. I suppose such hauntings of his barely repressed fear and hatred will inform me of how close I am to a more certain faith, one free of “the only way”ism and fear. But as children, we were treated as if the devil himself had attached to our beings and needed to be trampled any time we exhibited something soul, something will, something individual. And I now know the evil was not in the nature they sought to obliterate, but in their fear, their hatred.

And for whatever reason, today of all days I am able to write, to venture a post here and to say hello to what is no doubt a symphony of absence and crickets. But life’s brutalities and beauties call and my answer echoes back a hope, a faith, a joy washed by self-love and compassion and a keen awareness of where, yes, of all things, evil thrives. And it is not where the allegedly Christian numbers declare it or where the not so supreme court decrees. It is as Brodsky says. Evil thrives where drilled armies rule and where those gunshots echo down corridors and hallways meant to school the vulnerable. It thrives in assurances of total rightness cloaked in dependence on a savior whose presence is a projection and not a truth.

So, we can say I emerged from the place where evil thrives because I crawled out of an evangelical, cultic shit show. Every step away, every venture beyond proves to be a work of ousting that which might welcome a new version or rendition of the same old show. And so, my posts have stalled as my focus shifted on growth in the moment, life pummels, birthings and reversals all a womb, yet another womb. And here I am, grateful for salvation from the damnation posing rightness and acutely aware the work is never ever done. For the place where evil thrives is in the seeming assurance of its absence by virtue of virtue itself.

Here’s to the whimsy and eccentricity that restores the soul, that leads beside the still waters and that sets our feet to dancing.

The Worst Thing…

“The worst thing we ever did
was put God in the sky
out of reach
pulling the divinity
from the leaf,
sifting out the holy from our bones,
insisting God isn’t bursting dazzlement
through everything we’ve made
a hard commitment to see as ordinary,
stripping the sacred from everywhere
to put in a cloud man elsewhere,
prying closeness from your heart.
The worst thing we ever did
was take the dance and the song
out of prayer
made it sit up straight
and cross its legs
removed it of rejoicing
wiped clean its hip sway,
its questions,
its ecstatic yowl,
its tears.
The worst thing we ever did is pretend
God isn’t the easiest thing
in this Universe
available to every soul
in every breath”
Chelan Harkin
From her poetry book ‘Susceptible to Light’

photo by S. Isaac Kellogg, 2020, all rights reserved

Blessed are…

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called…” the masculine children of divinity, depending on which version of the Bible you may read. And yet many are those of varying gender identifications who make peace by the way they live their lives. Some stay real with themselves about their growth processes, seeking out accountability and listening to those who can constructively school them on their need for change, their toxic exceptionalism and passive/aggressive denial of systemic oppression. Some simply live it out, opening their hearts and minds to the viewpoints and lives of those who will expand their minds to move beyond the status quo, the status quo that lulls us all to sleep when our wakefulness is most needed. We are a many-varied and colorful tribe of humans hoping towards fulfillment on different levels as we struggle to recover from the oppressive backlash of centuries of authoritarianism and the resulting mindset. Some of us seek our recovery by means conducive to capturing truth, fostering freedom and encouraging growth and prosperity for everyone as we confront our demons, the darkness we all wrestle when egos clash and righteous rage collides with denial and judgement. And we wonder, “is it righteous, really?”. Apparently, according to the wise ones, we are all acting out in the wake of trauma. Some of us embody the traumatizers, and some of us war against them, but we all began in the oppressive authoritarianism that ultimately seeks to destroy soul. No one with even just a modicum of awareness will deny that abusers have been abused and neither will they deny that some who’ve been abused manage to avoid the abuser’s program through hard, painfully aware work.

The problem I have with identifying us all as victims of trauma is that such an identification could be seen as a uniting truth when there are those of the grand us who are not wanting actual unity or truth. (Truth like, love is what we do and not simply what we feel. And truth like, we’re all valuable, precious human beings. Not “truth” like, there is one God and one way and those who don’t believe will burn. Not “truth” like, we say so and so it is so.) So, sure, we’re all victims of trauma, participants in reactions against the power-over model of authority. But we’re not all growing and we’re not all seeking accountability, and on the other side of it all, we’re not all perpetuating violent and destructive acts that divide us. These distinctions deserve regard because they distinguish between those who seek to empower others and those who seek power over others, even if only vicariously.

While it’s likely true that those who are openly seeking dominion over others are victims of trauma, my experience in moving from a place of forgiveness and understanding with this slice of the population has only netted me betrayal, slander, loss, isolation and more trauma. I literally unknowingly signed up, in the name of forgiveness, unity and hope, for another round of soul-bruising loss. I thought my faith in love would prevail. It did not. I’ve learned that you can’t afford to smile and approach abused abusers with the assumption they want to actually be anything other than what they are. You can’t project your own hope for a truly noble, truly valuable, truly life-affirming legacy onto those who are “in the same boat” with you. It’s just not that simple. It’s like inviting Leviathan to tea and hoping the beast won’t be a beast. Sure, we all came from the same sea but some of us are walking on two legs and hoping to not regress to more beastly behavior while others of us are glorifying the beast by way of denial-based, narrative-skewing belief systems. The perversion of truth and rationality is unprecedented. Shift blame, redirect focus and make the victim pay. But hey, we’re all in this together? As much as we may technically be in this together, trauma bonds as they are, we are at least as much not in this together in unity, and we are not going to experience true unity with each other when anyone in the boat is eagerly perpetuating the power-over authoritarian model of “community”. The best we can do is sit on the other side of the boat and pray that our work to end generational carnage actually takes while hoping those on the other side finally wake up and join us in the work for emancipation from oppression.

And writers and historians like Rebecca Solnit help me solidify and give voice to what I see and feel during this epic time of both loss and hopeful growth here in the US. Solnit’s following expression fills up the gaps made real by a confusion of intentions on a boat adrift in the wild sea of meaning.

“The middle ground is not halfway between Nazis and antiracists. The reasonable position is not a compromise between rapists and feminists, slaveowners and abolitionists, Natives and General Crook. The truth is not midway between the liar and the truthteller. That has to be a factor in all those calls for reaching out and unity. The murderer and his intended victim don’t have to agree on what’s right. The people who were harmed don’t have to reach out to those who did the harming. The people who told the truth don’t need to make liars feel better about themselves or what they said. Those who were targeted by this war don’t have to do all the peacemaking. If reaching out and finding unity is good, the haters and liars can go find some olive branches and apologies and do the work to leave their will to destroy the rest of us behind. Then it begins. The party of hate never had a mandate; they lost the popular vote last time and this time; they may think of themselves as the real American and the gatekeepers but we don’t have to, and we don’t have to enter their gates or play by their rules. We don’t have to hate them either, but we don’t have to protect them from the consequences of their choices or sell out our principles for their comfort. When you stand on the ground of truth and justice, let others find their way to you. If you stand firm, many will in the end. Not everyone will; that does not change what truth and justice are.” Rebecca Solnit

When loving…

When loving is denounced as liberal radicalism and the streets are smeared with pepper spray as children and parents retreat to their homes after being assaulted by authorities hellbent on smashing support for long-overdue change, then we’ve arrived at a time of gross darkness. When those who hold their Bibles with fervent reverence sneer at “libtards” who are guilty of wanting to feed the hungry, then we’ve come to that moment of masks falling away and the love of idol and icon embraced in the name of One who would weep at the carnage posing Christlike behavior. So much for the loaves and the fishes, the loving thy neighbor, no. See, that’s too liberal for the Jesus folk. If thy neighbor is not exactly right next door and not the exactly right American gun-toting Christian, then the greatest commandment doesn’t apply and you can vote for the man who mocks the disabled, openly disrespects, disdains and tramples actual value while you tell yourself you’re fightin’ fer the kingdumb. If you can sit with rapists, worship a criminal posing president, but sneer at those who want to protect value, then you are on the top of a dung heap whilst claiming great righteous real estate in the One Way. Oh the fantasies so many abide as they ignore the stench of their foundations, as the whole world watches their dumbing down any notion of faith. So, since all I can do is wonder and weep as the people I used to break bread with claim their false truth, the one exceptionalist “truth” we all must embrace or be stalked by Trump trains and MAGA refrains ’cause well, Jesus, since it’s more than I can face without going mute, I’m going to turn this post over to a quote from a woman who has a more measured command of the state of things than I do in this hour and who states critical aspirations and affirmations essential to furthering the actual works of love without stringing too many words together in one sentence after another long wordy sentence.

“Let us denounce authoritarianism, racism, sexism and disregard for science and our common health and safety. Let us defend this beautiful planet. Let us voice that tearing nursing children from the arms of their mothers at the border is not an American value. Let us affirm that caring for one another, feeding the hungry, caring for the sick and elderly is not socialism, it is a deeply honorable community and spiritual practice. Let us speak up and affirm that we would not put up with bullying, name calling and abusive behavior in our work or lives or homes—and so we should not allow it such traits and actions to go unchecked in the highest office in our land. Let us be centered in love, but be firm and clear and brave. This is the most important election of my lifetime. This is one of those moments when silence would equal implied agreement and consent—and I do not consent.” Carrie Newcomer

sandshine

oh, transport my soul
to semi-round smoothness rest,
ocean’s nest of gems.

oh, come the tides to
these shores within; downward seep
flood the ancient keep.

oh, rest me wet, sunned
against earth mother steady
where wholeness resides.

oh, bring balm sandshine,
stunning grandeur blasting stoles.
waves baptizing, sublime.

photo by j. ruth kelly, all rights reserved

Refuge

“This magnificent refuge is inside you.
Enter. Shatter the darkness that shrouds the doorway.
Be bold. Be humble.
Put away the incense and forget
the incantations they taught you.
Ask no permission from the authorities.
Close your eyes and follow your breath
to the still place that leads to the
invisible path that leads you home.”
St. Theresa of Avila

Photo by Jay Manti