After The Birth of Ishmael, The Story of Sodom

Lot In stories about identity, Lot’s wife was “one of them.” Note the movement in the story of bonds which came from compounded belief, of a real human death. When you were surrounded by people who shared your belief, but with all of the real human doubt between people and families, that doubt would continue to be a theme over a lifetime, in this evolutionary process toward forgiveness which begins with the remembrance of the relationships of the father of faith, with his God and his sons — with the suffering.

The strangeness of it all, after the Great Flood. Sacrifice. A bizarre idea, to sacrifice the future, a son. Imagine the reaction of Rebeccah when she heard the story, as an outsider, about Lot’s wife. Chosen, and learning each other’s strangeness. All these Latter Day Saints concerned about the private lives of this couple, as if it was anyone else’s concern – as if it was anyone else’s concern in the private lives of these men – whether a family would remain kosher. With the concern of all the latter day saints about the degree of how orthodox.

Yeah, like the shared doubt at this stage between Lot and Abraham, who are in the story, so all alone from the communities in which they lived, per the Book of Genesis. And over and over the theme of separation: “There was constant strife between the herdsmen of Abram and Lot, as the complaints reached Abram about the misbehavior of Lot’s herdsmen, about the arguements between their shepherds. Therefore the elder Abram said to Lot: ‘Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdsmen and thy herdsmen. For we are brethren. Is not the whole land before thee? Separate thyself, I pray thee, from me. If thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right, or if thou take the right hand, then I will go to the left.’”

Note the Garden of Eden in the story, in the separating, without hesitation, of Lot from Abram. Lot made the choice to journey eastward where he pitched his tent near Sodom, which was the same direction Adam and Eve had once headed after their banishment. Abram was left alone near Beth-El, receiving from his G-d another of His promises.

Sodom and Gomorrah were among five old cities east of the Tigris River, which for twelve years paid tribute to the conquering powerful King Chedarlaomer of Elam, until the five cities rebelled. After thirteen years of independence, the king of Elam with the help of three neighboring kings marched upon the valley of the Jordan and met the enemy near the bitumen pits in the valley of Siddim, trapping the kings of Sodom and Gemorrah. A battle was fought and among the captives of King Chedarlaomer was Abram’s nephew, who had remained in Sodom. A messenger who had escaped from battle carried the news to Abram that his nephew was enslaved. Abram gathered all 318 of his men and pursued Chedarlaomer, attacking by night, aided by many a divine miracle. His guys defeated the superior force, freeing the people – including Lot – recapturing all the loot, bringing back in a march of triumph the captives while singing praises to the G*d of Abram. Accompanied by Lot, Abram then met the king of Sodom along with the 465 years old King Malkitzedek of Salem (Melchizedek) who, if you believed what someone seems to have inserted into the story, was the acctual son of Noah, named Shem. In accordance with his priestly office, Malkitzedek gave to Abram bread and wine, adding to a typical offering his true and simple blessing: “Blessed be Abram of the Most High G-d, Who has delivered thy enemies into thy hand.” Abram then gave him a tenth of everything he had.

Standing on the height near Beth-El, long before this war of King Chedarlaomer, Abram and Lot had gazed over a wide fruitful valley of the Jordan, like the rich land of Egypt they had just left behind. But the people in the valley “were wicked and sinners before G-d exceedingly.” Although he lived in Sodom, it is said that Lot was the exception to the cruelty of the Sodomites to all strangers. In a story that repeats itself, as Sodom is totally annihilated just as the entire world seemed to be in the story of the Great Flood, Sodomites offered no hospitality to a passing stranger, no consideration for the poor. It is said that because one of Lot’s daughters once secretly had given food to a stranger near starvation, this daughter had been burned in public (see the story of Plitith). And so the pleading of Abram before God to save the cities for the sake of the righteous who might be living n Sodom, after G-d had informed Abram of His intention to destroy Sodom, where Lot (who he had saved once already) lived.

When words carry weight. As the words take root….. ‘Take this’ bond. Before comparing the God of Abraham to the God of Isaac, note another separation between Abram and Lot, in in the conflict over belonging? The very real relationship part of the story, when over time you had started to so privately reveal something about Yourself. From one generation to the next. So to be so personally given a choice. As God tried to assimilate with His people, in a seemingly populated world. Since mostly words connected to Spirit carry weight, if you did not undertand this story about the nameless wife of Lot, you would never understand what would happen on Mount Moriah between Abraham and Isaac.

The conflict over power in the story. When surrounded by so many of your kinsmen, the very same human condition, when the last person on earth — or the first — feeling so all alone? When, like any nomad, you wanted to go back to a place where you were once known – in the arranged marriage, for Lot’s wife.

In a variant of dealing with denial, the doubt. As the locals, attempting to show their dominion over the place, were having kids, to address all the doubts in times again and again of annihilation? The stories of the past — and also in the present — in this story about what it does mean to be CHOSEN. When over and over there were stories of indiscriminate human annihilation, and real people had to decide how to rebuild lives, in relationships. Maybe after losing one daughter who had already been burned alive in public.

The all-knowing story-teller, working for The Academy of Private Detection, before answering the question whether the God of Abraham would die when Abraham died, had some exploring to do? Chosen, like in a mate? Needing a marriage certificate, or a death certificate, or just a wife, if the the God of Abraham would survive for his son? With the involvement of political and Spiritual power.

From age to age, from east to west, WHERE you come to feel a Living God, it is story that shapes the way you think, as you come to know in the ritual of seasons, with at least this quasi-religious timetable, where to find a Living God. Through story, image is defined by others, especially in the way of Lot’s nameles wife. Compare how you prayed to others — not so much that you might pray better, but to find the Living God.

Comparing things was the definition of poetry. Compare the perspective in a story — from the perspective of Abraham — with the voice of the story-teller. In the case of Lot’s wife, how would you acquire a sense of belonging without learning about the spirits, in the relationship part of the story, when over time you had started to so privately reveal something about Yourself, from one generation to the next? Not so much the holy Spirit, as my holy Spirit that led to the First Commandment: “I am the Lord your God. Period. Paragraph.”

Note the reluctance of the narrator if not the Author of Life to state the self-evident about the inequality which threatened stability: The fear of the Sodomites of outsiders, as if there was not enough there in the way of riches if all of the world discovered the riches – and then one day no one would be rich, like Lot. Always note the outsider(s) in the story of the Book of Genesis. And so the conflict of the God of Abram with the god of Sodom found more in the land instead of the earth. Counting the cost of the earth of the irreversible environmental damage in the unsustainable world of straight growth, without death.

Starting over. To write it all down. Ever since memorizing the Abrahaam Lincoln line delivered about what was so self-evident, I have a reluctance to state the self-evident. Were all men really created equal? I feel safe to say that the Christian world has never given this story about Lot’s wife its due, if I could understand the comment that I heard ten days ago from a former priest: “It’s all fiction.” So in Catholic seminaries, young men are not taught to feel for the emotions that the characters in the stories had to live with – in this case Lot, trying to reach some understanding of what had happened. And what happens to someone who could not discover through stories real feeling — which came out of stories of betrayal — when you are surrounded by your kinsmen?

In the Judeo-Christian tradition, it is story that not only shapes the way you think, but the way that you pray. When doubt met belief. Aspiritual, not unlike being called asexual, from the reduced set of circumcisions like when you mother died …. or your father. To find the broken Spirit of God in ghosts, with the joy, the sorrow and the glory all eventually broken in a former priest, living with the reduced set of circumcisions in his inheritance, dealing with loss.

Note the unconditional in this story, for those willing to keep moving, to start over – not to be made into a statue. Obedience, to move forward with Lot’s fertility, and not the culture that you had grown up in. When Lot and his family were outsiders.

The place in the story was always important – like the PLACE of origin. Feel the desire of Lot’s nameless wife who was from Sodom or Gommorah (over issues of PLACE related to her fertility?) which becomes obsessive to her and is what ultimately leads to her demise. And what happens to those who obsess, who are not open to amending their lives?

Note the movement in the stories about identity, about fleeing, but marked as a pillar of salt, or marked to laugh about it, if you did not look for real human meaning in these stories?

Marked: The story of Lot’s wife and the evolutionary vow of obedience was connected to statues? I do not think what happened in Sodom was about the sexual practices. There. But I am in a minority. I think that the story in this relationship between Lot and his nameless wife was about what happens concerning the relationship AFTER the betrayal.

There was Abram’s concern over purity, after what he had done to Hagar per the just completed chapter, which one day would result in circumcisions. The suggestion passed along was if you were to dwell in Sodom, like Lot, couldn’t you engage in licentious behavior .. and outside of Sodom where you did not know anyone and had lost your betrothed and any hope in relationships, couldn’t you do anything, without the knowledge of anyone you knew. (And so the perspective of Lot’ daughters in the dénouement of the story, after their life in Sodom was destroyed.)

In the years that he had spent with Uncle Abraham, Lot had absorbed what he had witnesssed of Abraham’s great hospitality. So sitting at the gates of Sodom, Lot saw and greeted two strangers, inviting them to his tent. In doing so, he knew full well that he risked his life. Having learned of the presence of strangers, people of Sodom surrounded Lot’s house, demanding Lot give up the two visitors to be dealt with in the usual manner. In vain did Lot did try to quiet the people outside his home, persuading them to leave the strangers alone. The more Lot spoke, the more excited the crowd became until finally the crowd threatened to kill Lot … until the angels (the strangers) sent blindness on the Sodomites. And so the PLACE in the story, as dawn was breaking. Invited to spend the night at the home of Lot and his nameless wife, the visiting angels urged Lot to flee with his family to avoid being caught in the impending destruction coming to this PLACE of iniquity. And though it is never specifically said, many suspect it was the nameless wife of Lot, as a native of Sodom, who had told someone that strangers were at their home. So it was Lot’s wife who had collaborated with life-long friends and relatives? The command given LOT was “Flee for your life! Do not look behind you, nor stop anywhere in the Plain; flee to the hills, lest you be swept away.” With his own virgin daughters betrothed to men of Sodom, Lot did delay, the angels took hold of Lot’s hand, the hands of his nameless wife and two nameless daughters, and brought them out of the city of Sodom.

When words carry weight, or since mostly words connected to Spirit carry weight, compare the God of Abraham to Lot’s nameless wife, in the conflict over belonging to Sodom? Ever since the greatest commandment in the Garden had been to know God, who knew God best? As the nameless wife of Lot was given a chance to be saved, according to so many who embezzled the story for their own purposes. Had the nameless wife of Lot even recognized that these strangers were angels of God?

Did you grasp the resentment in the story? The real conflict in the story was not so much the people of Sodom and the punishment of Sodom, but what had come between Lot and the ideals of Lot’s nameless wife of who she was: over identity and belonging, and over who this God of Abraham and of Lot was. Was the nameless wife of Lot hostile that Lot had taken in strangers against the mores of the people of Sodom, of whom she was one? And there was now a threat to her own daughters that night, at the invitation of Lot. So that Lot might be saved? Outrageously, to save himself along with the angels of God, he had offered to sacrifice his own daughters to the crowd. And could you feel the later story to come when Abraham took Isaac to Mount Moriah? What kind of crazy theology was this?

It was a theme over a pillar of salt, like I envision in the ruins of Greek temples. And so the nameless wife of Lot, born into the nameless fears of Sodom, surrounded by the crowd of your kinsmen. As your loving wife, immersed into the culture of Sodom at her birth, had to decide, with or without unconditional love; in the arranged relationship, determined by family, with existing post traumatic stress on issues of trust. The theme, in the conflict of private and public lives, over who would be saved, and with the involvement – some kind of involvement – with the use of your fertility, in times of annihilation as you were so personally threatened, from having been immersed into a culture at birth, when sex became a form of punishment – or the thinking about the method of punishment which left most readers gasping; or later, out of the thinking of the nameless daughters of Lot as a kind of reward, in a later story of incest which might have come as a result of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in this incredible story.

Sodom and purity. To connect the dots about Sodom, about intimacy, in the placement of the story just after Ishmael had been born to Hagar. There is always the conflict over belonging to the God of Abraham, because Abraham himself was so divided in his love, over issues of purity? Did you note the constant strife between the herdsmen — the stories over and over about shepherds — of Lot an of Abraham which always exists in relationships? (Place. Bloodlines. Sarai.) When at this point in the Book of Genesis, Ishmael was the bastard son of Abraham.

To connect the dots concerning Sodom and purity. To give to someone, to pass on. Philanthropy, on issues of accommodation. The vehicle that carried the future. Language. Earth. Children. War and its never ending aftermath, when rape is about power and domination over your victim. To slowly invent words to pass on to your children, if not story. To communicate deep feeling while unknowingly dealing with a tragic hero — Lot. Concerning the resentment in this story, didn’t the nameless wife of Lot resent if not Abram, Lot? Because she had gone along once already with Lot, which had resulted in one daughter who had been burned in public, because the girl had been hospitable to one stranger. What was this selfish theology of Lot, demonstrated in how he was willing to sacrifice the purity of his betrothed daughters to save himslef and these strangers?

When there might not be enough to share, with strangers? And people, and I along with them, always thought the conflict in Lot’s home was somehow associated with the God of Abraham? If you ever later sensed the hostility of Rebeccah, living in the house around Abraham, to the male birthright to the eldest, did the nameless wife of Lot miss the uniqueness of Abraham in his day while living in a world of serial servitude and sex, for the nameless wives – over making a different kind of arrangement in his own life. (And hadn’t Abram heard the story of what happened first to the one daughter [was it their firstborn daughter?] of Lot before what happened to the entire city of Sodom.

What quietly is in this story again was 1) Separation, 2) Slavery, 3) Another nameless wife, 4) Fear, 5) Resentment, 6) PLACE, in the story of purity, and 7) SHARED dominion. The people of Sodom used the riches from their fertility to simply grow more riches for themselves. And when an individual supersedes the “group think,” there would be grave punishment; the punishment to invoke a lasting fear in the community, to be spoken of for ages, dealt with threats of sexual punishment, which was an aftermath of war at the time. Because the fear of the Sodomites of outsiders was that there was not “enough” there in the way of riches if all of the world discovered the riches – and then one day NO one would be rich as Lot. Or was their fear about famine, as the Sodomites made PLACE their god, in the Post Traumatic Stress which lingered since the time Lot had once been held captive? SO to keep the outsider out.

Did you feel the concern of Lot’s wife over what she was leaving behind, like a statue, as Lot’s nameless wife looked back? According to Midrash, Lot and his nameless wife had four daughters, two of whom were married. The two married daughters and their husbands, along with the two future bridegrooms, remained in Sodom and perished. Unable to move on from what she had born into, note the lack of obedience in Chosen People to the heard commands of the angels of the God of Abraham. When a self-esteem of the people of Sodom, including the nameless wife of Lot — in more than just another story of pride — is, along with their god all based upon PLACE, so in contrast to the God of Abraham. And thus the angels needed to grab the hands of Lot’s family.

A Promise Land. From a nomadic perpective of the infinity of God not connected to one PLACE, the God of Abraham is not connected to one place. Contrast the God of Abram to the thinking of his nephew, Lot, who had such a need to be lead by Abram. Note the importance of the PROPHET in his life: the definition of esteem was that which came out of not just the God of Abram but, in this evolutionary developing story, in the shared God of Abraham. The mystery in the promised vows, in the relationship from vows that led to the Great Covenant – the unconditional relationship – based upon love and forgiveness. A Chosen People to one day come out of their own PLACE, no better than any other people, if the Lord was really with you. And so much like Eve who felt that she could do anything because of the place she was born into.

So contrast the concept of punishment that the Sodomites, if not the nameless wife of Lot, surrounded by so many of her kinsmen, the very same human condition, when the last person on earth — or the first — feeling so all alone, as you lost your sense of place. The nameless wife of Lot looking back at horror to see what happened to her city of birth, with so many loved ones including the betrothed men of her two surviving daughters, like had once happened to one of her own daughters. So contrast that concept of punishment for the Sodomites…. with the concept of the punishment that came to Sodom that takes away a future, like the punishment bestowed upon what is now the nameless world that existed before the time of Noah, intended for the strangers, with the punishment that the Sodomites threatened just for Lot – the sexual punishment that always burdens the victim’s future.

Using the method of Spiritual Exercises from stories, when I was there in the story, as evangelization did not work for me, I had to read and reflect for myself what was going on in the story, not concentrating solely on the ending. Philanthropy—that you might have what I had, in what seemed a normal way of life. Scripture is nothing but the history of how people who went before us learned how to pray. Abraham. Isaac. Immersion. The arrangements when marrying an outsider, with some new need for evangelization, replacing the old ways of immersion? So I did believe in parochial education, along with what it was in the Picasso line, about creation: that every act of creation involves a form of destruction. And who better than a woman to appreciate the words, in the days when maternal life was threatened with each birth of a newborn? When you are putting it all on the line, for the first born and the next born: “This is MY BODY.”

The lesson that a life-long nomad named Abram seemed to come to one day out of PLACE was that of Chosen People, no better than any other people, if the Lord was really with you. Ignatius of Loyola described spiritual consolation as breaking down all barriers – the barriers between “us” and “them,” and in order to walk in the ways of God, ultimately between “us” and God. People who develop human Spirit into something divine had to have an awarness about ghosts. Like the ghost of Lot’s wife, with an importance of the binding in the relationships, in stories about unconditional love. When your relationships were so alive, did you feel a great desire for naming in all of the stories about native population, and the wandering Jew. Identity Stories about Native-born and the aliens, over who was better than who.

Could you find the unconditional in this story, for those willing to keep moving, to start over – not to be made into a statue? If the unconditional had ever been there? Or did you feel the anger of a woman after, over time, you had started to so privately reveal something about yourself, from one decade to the next? And Lot had tried to save only himself, because he had guessed it was his nameless wife who had informed on him?

As the nameless wife of Lot was given a chance to be saved, even after she had revealed the presence of the strangers in her home. What happened was that Lot’s wife choose not to listen to the angels of Lot’s God, questioning the truth about Lot’s God after Lot had tried to save only himself, because he knew God best? And so the real human resentment in the story, not unlike how the locals of Sodom attempted to show their dominion over PLACE.

When your prayers were so alive, and you wanted others to then have the same experience… passing on the Spirit in some kind of Abraham-like Crazy Glue, in a collective memory of forgiveness of others in the name of a forgiving God, on issues of inheritance and birth right. Did you recognize the shift by the end of the story that is now all about all of the daughters of Lot, if compounded belief is to stay with the descendants of Lot and his daughters? Like in a dénouement of the story, passing on the power in bonds between your own people, concerning Lot’s wife and daughters: all along the focus in the culture seemed to be allegedly on the male and his tribe, in Sodom. It was always hard in this impersonal world, on this earth, to so personally live with your God, with the God of Abraham who stirred and disrupted Chosen People when to be “chosen” is not something a person learns to be, but is an identity contested and fought over, between those who were not good enough with those who seemed to be too good, and always the tension in this indescribable pain which creates memory in a culture. “Mostly they are the same lives. The same stories, over and over,” wrote David Remnick, the editor of The New Yorker. When we endow our lives with stories.

Locate the innocent in each of the stories: in the story of Noah, the story of Abel, the story of Adam, and in all of the stories concerning Abraham. Locate his conflict with others, trying to use their power, unblessed. When you had different mothers, note the difference between the brothers, or their nephews – the one who played the system, and the one who did not. When one guy had the world by the tail, and the youngest had suffered as a result of the Great War. And note what happens as you are surrounded by your own kinsmen who all think in the same manner, about good and evil.

When surrounded by so many of your kinsmen, the very same human condition, needing a certificate, of birth, of marriage, of baptism, of death, or needing a wife, or just a son, if the God of Abraham would survive for the future, note the involvement of political and Spiritual powers? Through story, when surrounded by so many of your kinsmen, the very same human condition shared, image is defined by others. And when surrounded by people suffering Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, fertility was thought to be just another weapon of war? Against the mores of the people of Sodom, of whom she was one, Lot had taken in strangers, against the wishes of his nameless wife? So Lot thought he was better than the people of Sodom, as he, maybe like his God, tried to assimilate with His people, living with the reduced set of circumcisions post-war.

Note the underlying belief by all the member of Lot’s family that it was nonsense, maybe like your view of the story itself, concerning any need to be saved, for another day, in another place. SO was it nonsense that the fertility of the daughters of Lot had to be saved for the future, in any post-war world, from a cultural atmosphere, as people can then be triggered consciously or unconsciously. After the recovery of the next generation from Post Traumatic Stress Disordering which came from all war, note the recorded stories distinguishing good from evil. These stories were told about hope, for a better world, with the threat to institutions, needing to be saved like the euro? How much was Sodom like the present day part of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, surrounded by the crowd of your kinsmen just north of Riyadh, with the concerns about purity in the Wahhabi heartland? Or how much was Sodom just like Russia, wanting to keep the outside world away? With all the micro-managing bean-counters, in a world left to the bean counters who seemed to forget the goal was thought to be ensuring the sustainability of a nation through its fertility and its food. Like in Ukraine or Crimea, trying to use a power, unblessed? As few nations on earth had ever lost so many people like Russia or Ukraine in famine in the what the western world calls World War II. And in this great haunting, suffering was still so alive.

In the detachment which came from war, having grown up in the suburban world with a cultural atmosphere over the last 50 years of the suburban world, note a child or grandchild who did not share her father’s beliefs – about religion, about government, about the world, in times of revolution – after system collapse? And so the estrangement, in the detachment. In the detachment which came from war, even in suburban life, there is dysfunction out of leaving it all behind. There is the disordering which came from war, with varying degrees of compassion and cruelty, equanimity and fear, with the pathology which affected the expresssion of feeling as a result of conflict. And there is the mental illness as some kind of scarlet letter of our day, with the fear of mental illness which came out of the cultural atmosphere of war. And after we sent our sons to war, they came home, to settle in among us. Like in Sodom, locate the source of belief, held by all the member of Lot’s family, or like with the former priest born in 1930, that it was all just nonsense.

By the end of the story, there is a change in the PLACE in the story, where Lot will have to live with an aim of shared “dominion” — a word suggesting an absolute fierce exercise of mastery. In his new location, in order to live with himself, Lot would need to seek forgiveness concerning how his action led to the death of his nameless wife as neither he nor his nameless wife ever really believed in each other. In the end, Lot is in need of forgiveness — from the God of Abraham as well as from his daughters.

Like in Sodom, locate the innocence in the story, and what happens to the innocent “Where IS the lamb, after they are sent to war?”

Larry Gillick
Being secure in one’s ‘papers’ in a paperless world
Daily Reflection Creighton Online Ministries

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Rabbi Abraham Skorka


Hagar No one is a born story-teller. With words, in translations, there was such a long learning curve that cut into you. In words and borders and getting across time, with power and dominion and in BONDS which came from stories about ‘Forced labor’ like in the Soviet Bloc, little different than life in the nineteenth century. Bonded labor. Less a system today than in the past – but still serial servitude. Not just servitude but serial servitude. Passsed on, like a religion. Ever revolving. Ahead of the evolving human law that punishes. Or outlawed with tactics to make it harder to identify.

To be caught in life cycles of SLAVERY: In a world of BAD spirits, written about by a one-time slave in 1789. The suffering, generation after generation in bonded labor of agriculture. There is the degree of suffering even in the relationship of slavery into the modern day world.

Serfdom. Poverty is a factor in all slavery, with unscrupulous owners of business, on the legal edge of criminal slavery who focus on the price of a product like cotton, to be sold in another market. Not as well-known is the Asia-Pacific slave trade in South India, writes Siddharth Kara on chattel slavery in the modern context, with ‘Dead Bondage’ contract after a deed-of-sale had been outlawed in 1833. Generation after generation, the relationship carries on in the bonded labor of agriculture, into the modern world.

Note the irony of the history found in the Hebrew Bible with the goings-on after Joseph, knowing the story of the Egyptian handmaid which afflicts the world today. Note the connection of Passover to the story of slavery, since slavery “by the sweat of your brow” was the afflction since the times of Adam, in the beginning.

When slavery was always connected to the earth. When the earth is the vehicle that carries the future, as humankind is to have a shared dominon, with ‘forced labor,’ in a bonded kind of labor that never would end and which would involve your children’s children.

Hagar, without a husband, in human bondage trying to make a decision about the future with her very good master, Sarai. Here was another lamb story which was never heard until more thann 700 years after the common era began.

We all belong to an age, and it is not our fault. Looking for independence, women more and more are rejecting not just servitude but serial servitude in the institutions; in the crisis of modernity, maybe people were rejecting all of the work involved to care for just one child.

Having to start over, from human bondage, like Hagar. Did you feel the ‘independence’ in the stories of an independent people? The ghosts of fragmentation which came out of independence, in the conflict over belonging? To want to be ahead of where the world was moving, as the old world was dying, with all the fragmentation …. but The Spirit in the fragmentation. Ending up like Hagar, all alone?

Had there been a reluctance at Gettysburg in the line Abraham Lincoln delvered about what was so self-evident?

Creating a cycle of vulnerability. More nimble and transitory, in the modern world, the supply chain – the corrupted supply chain – comes from the human desire for a cheaper product, for greater ease. The greater unease created over the desire for ease. Everyday concern one day is transferred from the price of the products consumed to the cost to the victims in the economic systems. It is the awareness of the missing bond between the keeper of the flock, like the later missing bond between Isaac and Ishmael, between Jacob and Esau, the first recorded twins? And like Cain, speaking of inheritance, having to leave again … just like Hagar.

Living history. Whoever could believe how it all began? In the story about how it all happened, did your kids believe the chronology, before they arrived? Or was this just a secular chronoloy, denoting attitudes, activities, or other things which have no religious or spiritual basis? Did the kids even ask? In the beginning of – when the skies had been shapeless and formless, and darkness had been on the face of the deep. About our chronology? And their personal appearance on earth.

To be dumped. Onto earth. Not knowing. To go back to the beginning: Banished again, like Hagar and her genetically modified son. Hagar, without a husband. Living with her bastard son, Ishmael. In what all the ghosts of saints have learned over a lifetime, in the seeds of charity and forgiveness, here was another lamb story.

Firstborn sons. Birthright. Creating, then sustaining the illusion, in a parental kind of way about systems like slavery. Feel the presence of a spirit, that you might love like I loved, in a powerful kind of way. Feel the power, in relationship.

“From age to age, from east to west,” we all belong to an age, and it is not our fault. Does it matter so much WHEN you were born? When your membership in a tribe was everything, and the place in the story was always important – like the place of origin.

Feel the desire between two women over issues of fertility which becomes obsessive, which does happen to those who obsess — even over religion, over spouses, if not children? TO be moved like the clouds from stories about life and death to replicate. In what all the ghosts of saints have learned over a lifetime, in the seeds of charity and forgiveness, Hagar, living with her bastard son, Ishmael. In the story that surely marks the New Millennium like — at least, the Irish people in the Twentieth Century, forgot. In all of the stories, over and over, about deleting the First Creation, before somehow taking it back. How could I ignore all of the bad choices Hagar had made in collaboration with her master? That was the story of Ishmael which led into the story of Isaac.

The War on Terror. The times we are born into. To be caught in life cycles of SLAVERY and serial servitude, was there shame ever felt over the damage that you had done so far to this world? Was there need to set forth to start making amends over the conflict with the past, and all of our institutions. After the Space Age, where there is cyberspace, and there is no THERE there. No right or wrong? Just ask the National Security Agency about their interpretation about the meaning of human rights, if not torture, under the two past American presidents as concerns over security become so obsessive.

The weakly connected villains with the spiritual direction of a butterfly, denoting attitudes, activities, which have no religious or spiritual basis, the real New Millennnium generation born under these two presidents with the genetically modified idea about goodness and evil, if not constitutional rights.

“Mostly they are the same lives. The same stories, over and over,” wrote David Remnick, the editor of The New Yorker . When we endow our lives with stories, when your relationships were so alive but with the missing self-awareness in the story about allowing yourelf to be Chosen, legitimately. Look in all of these stories about the descendants of Abraham, at the manner of the arrangements in relationship, even like the woman named Sarai doing all of the arranging with Hagar. Look at the way Sarai used her human ownership-power, here. Sarai, doing the arranging – as opposed to what had happened to her with Abram – when she was chosen from Abram’s father’s household. When your prayers were so alive and you were barren, but you wanted others to then have the same experience, to avoid extinction. With or without God’s intervention in the relationship. Note the importance of the binding in the relationships, in mostly the same stories about unconditional love, generation after generation.

Or the disappearance. To go back to the beginning, what all these ghosts of saints since the time of Noah were contending with was displacement, with their children looking for a spiritual direction. A woman using only her power through serial servitude who was expected to somehow, in her very own way, to carry the God of Abraham further in the world, beyond the tribes and the homeland where she was born? When growth was so much the measure of success, but from serial servitude, no human could ever really grow.

From the visible and the invisilbe, in stories about birthright held back, contending with displacement, did you carry an unrealistic expectation that a woman is gonna know God like I know God. Or that you son might replicate God’s greatness as Sarai — a direct descendant of Noah’s nameless wife — dreamed to do. Have you ever, like I have, heard a story of how a woman went ahead with a wedding when she knew that she was doing something wrong? It was like forcing a shot in basketball, which was never there, when time was running out on the shot clock.

In the stories of the seen and the unseen, the relationship is never entered into on a consensual basis between an owner and a slave. The word used is “Mistress” if female, not “Master.” On matters of shared dominion, the mistress dominates and there is no true sharing. And when your son hears one day about the circumstances of his birth, how would a mother maintain parental control over their child when it came to the concept of the connection of sex to “relationship?”

Did you feel the human force in the story of Hagar and Sarai? So what is your perspective concerning this story with Abraham, in what would later happen? Why had Abram ever left home in the first place — had he been banished? What is your perspective of the man who imposed circumcision on all of his nameless slaves, as well as on Hagar’s son? And a thirteen-year old son like all those adult slaves, would never forget the pain that Abraham inflicted in the name of his God with their own circumcisions. So was Abraham, after the birth of Isaac, after the unreflected upon pain of over-powering sacrifice which seemed to cross the line, if not the road which perhaps Abraham had so quietly inherited from Noah’s wife, banishing Hagar from the Promise Land just as Adam andd Eve, as Cain had once been banished? Or was he setting the captives free?

In the stories of the seen and the unseen, in modern stories of displacemnt, after all the 20th Century Liberation Movements, with liberation theology and more emancipation proclamations, there currently are 28.4 million slaves in the world, or were at the end of 2006, per Siddharth Kara, of which 1.2 million were trafficked nameless sex slaves sold into another market. As Catholic Relief Services reports, “In every 800 trafficking cases worldwide, only one person is convicted.”


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Reacting to the shared unexpected, which will change the future of the world … as a student, Jorge Bergoglio came across an 18th-century painting, “Our Lady, Undoer of the Knots,” which showed the mother of Jesus persistently undoing the knots in a long rope, which resonated deeply for him. This “Undoer of the Knots” might involve the job description of the current pope with his struggle in our day with, however small Vatican CIty lookd to be on a map, what is the office of both a temporal and spiritual monarch, to meet and challenge the “doctrine” about God then and now which needs undoing?

To consider that in Ireland, probably no different than Argentina, per a 2012 commissioned survey by Amarach Research by Ireland’s priests’ association, showed that three out of four Irish Catholics find the church’s teaching on sexuality “irrelevant.” Did the priests wonder, if faith was about shared belief, what belief was shared any more? Were these questions about the truth about sex any different than with what Ishmael had to contend? When the people with power always wanted to just banish the enemy, perhaps because they had no sons of their own. But would their mothers set the captive free?

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IN OTHER NEWS ABOUT NOMADS, The White House said Thursday that in his sixty-second month as president, President Barack Obama had ordered a review of deportation practices, an announcement that comes amid pressure from Hispanic groups to scale back deportations of those who were considered illegals and not quite human, like a slave.

The Woman Who Never Returned: Wasn’t this above story about sexual abuse? Chosen people who felt that they could have sex inside the other tribe, with no idea of their traditions? Wasn’t that the story of “choice” in the world of democracy? Wasn’t this the goal of Bill Gates and Planned Parenthood, or of genetically modified seeds which Mr. Gates is promoting if not for his family, for the rest of the world? When God gets near in your suffering, as God gets near as you clear out room, when it might seem like a void inside but it was some kind of unknown process. Or one not understood. Wasn’t that the story of the United States — chosen people who felt that they could annihilate the other tribe — in the 21st Century? When you owned the world?

Note how no one ever asks how it was that Hagar had become a handmaid, or how this Egyptian had come into the house of Sarai. Had her arrival been a result of war? In all of human history, the harm from the culture of war was in reducing the other human being to an object. And when you own a body, you could do anything.

To confess my sins to my son through stories not so much Chosen as much as “Privileged”people? Isaac, more like his momma, never left home? Isaac and place, in the story of generational justice with the prophet leading you somewhere. To stir you up. When you sacrificed a son … on Good Friday. Or Hagar. To give up your son to your mistress? And Abraham, sacrificing his sons, for Hagar, for Sarai? To scream out in story, to object as you carried the future. As you father, juggling all of these thing local and the distant, in the inside and the outside world, was going to sacrifice you because when you own a body, you could do anything… for the ones you felt closest to? To make claim to your God, but to punish the son, in the name of uncondditional love?

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Earth Day

Earth Stories “In the beginning,” about, if not the inheritance, selling out for the inheritance, over a human ease, with “Original” sin. Marked, like Noah’s nameless wife to protect, like her ancestor Cain? Marked to protect, like the later descendants of Noah’s nameless wife in a later blood relative named Sarai as well as Abram, with all of the tension in these family stories of people, before a name change.

Proximity? Killed in the named of liberation theology, like Abel, over this proximity, note the irony of the the trickle down affect in Creation. What proximity to God’s hovering Spirit had Noah shared — on his own Dominion Day like they celebrate in Canada — to the sea or to God? Of course, when the floods came, the waters with the trickle down affect found Noah’s ark, and what had to have been a certain strangeness which Noah carried.

Transport, in the beginning. When the first people had no one to rely on except for God, note the difference in succeeding generations with a certain loss of feeling. There was this increased human brutality in the tribal affect, as the unconditional gave way to all the policy conditions, and there was less to risk to avoid extinction, when you had these safety nets? And doesn’t religion seem so often like the contractual language found in insurance coverage, with the exclusion for “water below the surface of the ground including that which exertss pressure on ….”

The ease and unease of people with or without proximity to God’s hovering Spirit? Feel the connection of self-esteem to work, or the lack thereof, or to slavery, in the new disordering in this second creation, in all the stories of displacement.

Was hell having to start over, on earth and in homelands, for another new generation? When the Book of Genesis in the Hebrew Bible is, over and over, about the destruction of of the First Creation. (See )

Birth right. Quiet and its affect only on one sense, before the connection of all the senses. Stories about “In the beginning” with Feel and Balance, connecting hunger and breathing to the present and the future, as people pray together, for a Messiah? Because you had become dependent, on the land. With the ease or unease over all these inventions, there was still the challenge of goodness. And there is growth in the inheritance from the God of Noah to the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.

Let there be light? How long in the the trickle down affect in Creation, does Spirit take? How long does Liberation take, for a displaced people who wanted to get away? When Noah’ wife and Noah’s family had come to know the animals, like God had come to know their family, like Adam once had? And the separation again, in the story?

Division or Separation? (See Light from light. How did you ever allow yourself to lose the excitement, if not the spectrum of light, when darkness had been on the face of the deep? SO to capture the construct of ghosts was to also to capture their holy Spirit … To capture the power in Spirit in yet another CREATION STORY … on the face of the water – God said, “Let there be light.”

With much Irish flummery: to be so lightly touched by a certain strangeness. The realistic Old World influence to bear on the New World continues to drive the narrative thread from book to book, in the homes of the brave, with the displaced ghosts. In the beginning, like just another speck of dust. You.

In Ghost stories, the hole left after a death. To discuss the placement of Spirit in the hole. The seen and the unseen. In the silence of Creation, the construct of ghosts is still dust. Forever buried dust. Remember, that thou art dust, visible and invisble. Long after you forget, one winter morn the quiet spirits of your ancestors show up again on your windshield after the morning frost melts ….and you notice that dust and it meaning, years later.

Time and distance can erode the deepness of feeling. Or fear can affect your balance on earth, when all the people you know, were born with, so gradually lost their ability to replicate. From the creation of each of the senses, wasn’t Adam afraid of Creation? More than simple awe, how did his Fear of the Lord fit into the story? Wasn’t Noah afraid of Cain’s descendant when he first met his nameless wife, like I was that night in Praha? (See
) About who she was…with so little undertanding of what was going on in the former Soviet Union? And what was it like to witness the new Creation, in the new ordering in this creation … startups of new love stories, after another system collapse?

It was how books as well as chapters begin. About belonging. That hole in the donut, over-turning privilege, rather than becoming what you never wanted to be: a bully, an abuser. (See .) When there is something in the hole, that now is missing. As inequality threatens stability, while dealing with birth right in the silence of Creation, the construct of ghosts is still dust — forever buried dust, with proximity to God’s hovering Spirit.

In the beginning, there was the land, carrying, like the school bus, the future of the world … just as the earth still carries the ghosts of the past.

In word and deed, deleting the First Creation. Before taking it back.

(See )

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Separate But Equal

True freedom develops out of disciple and a healthy respect for necessity, writes Kathleen Norris. So beware the enemies of freedom.

Unless a wrong is named and addressed, its harmful effects will be passed on to future generations. And that wrong will never be overcome.

So why a MISSION of freedom? Beware the counterforce, always moving, never reflecting. Look into your own counter forces which are always reviewing data and video, like an NHL assistant hockey coach. There is danger within. The reader knows that the movement, in the story of whatever inside or outside demons, involves attempts to steal the ability to take pleasure in oneself and the world. As this work becomes a real burden.

Looking for ease, to maintain the status quo. Hiring people to assist execution and enforcement.

The enforcers. Just as writers must nobly endure self-destruction compulsions, in your fugitive frenzy, you need a way to come down. Exercise works. To come back to earth with a disciplined regiment. Other means can be more tempting: tranquillizers, booze, marijuana. In the words of William Styron, alcohol can be ‘a magical conduit to fantasy… an enhancement to the imagination.’ In the words of Bertran Russell, drunkenness may be ‘a temporary suicide.’ Know that neither an artist or a spy can maintain such a high level of creative intensity. Beware self-destruction.

There are ups and downs of the creative process. And the burnout factor. Be self-aware. When you worked hard all week, when you did not desire to think too hard in your leisure. About what you believed in. When you did not want to think too hard about the state of your relationships. Watch your sex lives too, and all the things which try to steal your ability to take pleasure in yourself and the world.

When you want to do something once and for all and be through with it, the basic human desire is for peace and to be back at the start. In your homeland, where you belong.

Gone, like the wind, with its power and wealth. In Minnesota, the past is both an ally and the enemy. The prejudice, the burdens you carry from the past. Goodness, but not getting the support you needed, for your eggs. People left teaching, people left families all for the lack of support.

To stretch. To record it all. The morning yawn that stretches the inner world into the outer.

Communal goodness. The gentle force. Beware making this force brutal. The near impossible visualized. Invisible, impossible, incredible. Like the story of God. “The Lord is with you.”

As the system captured us, in the monk’s living quarters, beware self-destruction. Affirmative action. Bailouts for everyone … for bad priests, for bankers exploiting the system.

Vainglory. Beware its lust to draw others to ourselves, for selfish purpose, warns Kathleen Norris. If you had acedia as a monk, the last thing to do is to remain alone and barren, “having made no progress in my cell.”

The canons, the life cycles for the high priests of finance. Ah, the steps to counter inflows of speculative money.Caught up in a SPIRIT of globalization to move the dollar down, the need was based, according to the Congressional Budget Office, the cost of the unfunded $190 million a day war effort, its is running a large trade deficit in the United States, inflation has been 1.1 percent, compared with 2.7 percent when the year 2010 began. Although it had been written that the Fed’s QE move would indeed bring down the dollar, it did not always happen at the start. In the beginning. Since the QE announcement.

Beware the counterforces responding in the invisible world of liquidity management, where interest rates along with cash reserves control credit growth. Caught up in the SPIRIT of monetary war, Chinese central bank has “decided to fight forcefully” against the Fed’s easing, in the ongoing monetary war, fought with every bit the intensity as the war effort in Afghanistan. In 2010, the government of China ordered banks five times to set aside larger reserves, to maintain momentum. This was one step in response to quatitative easing involving liquidity management elsewhere. A trade surplus seemingly gave those Chinese policy makers a confidence to keep tightening, in 2010. Soon to become the world’s second largest economy, from its build-up of cash, three years later the economic forces seem to be back where they were as Europe announced their QE inititative. So why is the equity market at record highs?

Power. To be caught in life cycles of power, freedom, fertility. John F. Kennedy, in his January 20, 1961 inaugural address spoke about the MISSION of freedom, which is connected to your fertility and to your money, to the quiet hunger in the story, with slavery in the same historic stories. Over and over the recurring story of Egypt, the story of slaves. To be caught in life cycles of “Forced Labor.” And the way of life of slavery, where animal spirits soar, like the way of a life of crime.

Living here under the history of slavery. Like the forced labor” in the Soviet Bloc, little different than life in the nineteenth century. Bonded labor, less a system today than in the past – but still serial servitude though wtih tactics to make it harder to identify. To be caught in life cycles of SLAVERY: In a world of BAD spirits, written about by a one-time slave in 1789.

Generation after generation in bonded labor of agriculture, there is the relationship even into the modern world with suffering. When you came from this culture where through history people had been treated as things, and it took two generations to wash out the influence, in the story of Exodus.

For how many years did slavery and overcoming slavery – the economic system of slavery, then overcoming system collapse – become the focus of American history? And it really wasn’t over.

So in the pursuit not of life styles, if the MISSION is freedom, how much joy were you entitled to, with the threat of the content of my crop . . . to others. The threat in your field of bugs as you tried to reproduce something, to just survive, as the mission was love and fertility to overcome human hunger. And so the envy, the jealousy, as you tried to grow something while looking for ease, as the mission was love and fertility. But what happens when you excluded one or the other?

Freedom, academic freedom, is not for the weak-minded. And so the focus on Hagar’s son as the son of a servant. In the beginning, unless a wrong is named and addressed, its harmful effects will be passed on to future generations. And that wrong will never be overcome.

In the motives of love, when you have nothing, nomad-like, how honest do you have to be? Feel the distrust over other people’s motives, without an understanding of your own culture … when those other motives were simple lust, and avarice, and greed. The deadly sins all directed at power. When you have nothing, nomad-like, how faithful do you have to be to anyone? When all you had was life … and when that was at risk, all you had was God.

And so there was Abraham, in the new beginning. Is it the awareness of the missing bond between the keeper of the flock, like the later missing bond between Isaac and Ishmael, between Jacob and Esau, the first recorded twins? And Cain, speaking of inheritance, having to leave again, like his parents. And now, Hagar with Ishmael, and the missing bond between the father of faith and the servant girl. The forced bond. The impositions on the people you were close to.

To know, to love, to serve. When your first son is a slave.

And so the reader, and the writer developing an awareness of the missing bond. In all of these stories about leaving and coming back, there is the serial servitude. In a world filled with doubt, it always has been tough to be in such an alliance with the true believers. In a world filled with doubt, over the known and the unknown. Like over climate change, globalization, and all the episodes of helplessness. In a world filled with doubt, like how Abraham had felt about his first born son.

True freedom develops out of disciple and a healthy respect for necessity. And slaves and servants did seem necessary, if you grew up trying to maintain a large home. But hostility developed among people who never had what you had, and what it was exactly which you tried to pass on. In systems caught in life cycles, set up where the first born son was supposed to get everything. But the mother did so much of the passing.

If the Spirit of God has set us free, unless a wrong is named and addressed, its harmful effects will be passed on to future generations. And I hope those Coptic Christians are treated a bit better in 2014 while living under a dominant power.

And beware the enemies of freedom to freely worship my God.

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Noah’s Wife

Maybe you have been in the Paperlessworld before. Maybe you have read about the Akdedah. What has never been brought up until now is the connection of Noah to the story. Oh, there has been mention of who was Abraham, as well as who was Sarah.

“Welcome to the Dormady Academy of Detection. This semester we will be using as text The Lost by Daniel Mendelsohn. As your will read, Mendelsohn is fond of quoting a twelfth century rabbi, on the meaning of the Book of Genessis. ‘The key issue for Rashi is that the wrong reading suggests an incorrect chronology of Creation: That God created the heavens and then the earth, then light, and so forth.  But this is not how it happened, Rashi says. If you get the small details wrong, the big picture will be wrong too.’” 

Noah's wife It is Daniel Mendelsohn who oberves, “The story which began with Creation which is and was the story of the acts of distinguishing one thing from another, but ends by alluding to the… distinction between a man and a woman knowing God.” This is the most crucial distinction of all.

To unquestioningly buy it: war, slavery, religion, if not God. And so the Akedah in which the real main character is Isaac. The story begins with Creation which is the story of the acts of distinguishing. When we inherit and accept things, and eventually one day our sons and daughters quit the act of distinguishing.

And so the story of Abraham, when who is gonna remeember another death, like Isaac’s? And why would you make this stuff up? With God somehow sharing in Abraham’s suffering. When in the words of Gene Tiffany, discerning the dignity of suffering, as suffering delivers us to a new place, and suffering is never below a creature of God.

When suffering brought its own dignity, even to a nomad like me. Note all the things which allow a nomad to travel, not unlike the things which allow a man to retire: money, food, wheels, or some form of transport. And so Abraham, the descendant of Noah. So who was Noah? What do you know about Noah?

Daniel Mendelsohn adds much to the picture of Noah, by reviewing each and every word of the story.

Marked. Noah’s wife. Abraham. The connection of self-esteem to work,or the lack thereof. The connection to slavery. The sweat of the brow, and the suffering.

There was a recognized everyday need, when you were marked, by what others saw. With all the seem-to-be ends in the stories… of Cain. Or of Noah’s world. Not much different than the moments when the Akedah story seems about to present the end of Isaac, if not of God, as revealed to Abraham.

Was there not a missing interest, by the majority of other folk alive at the time, in the God of Abraham? And was this not a threat to the future, in the apathy in a world when everybody spanked their kids?

The seen and the unseen. Like a ghost stealing your consciousness, the clouds really did get in the way of a spiritual journalist.

Most surprises are negative. Creation and the always differences between what you set out to make and what you make. Ask a parent. It cannot be all in technique. You gotta try to say something.

Recognizing the theme in the first chapter of Genesis “to separate,” note from the stories how heroes attempt to separate “my creation” from the rest of creation? And thus the developing concept of “CHOSEN” from all the rest. If there had not been a need for a connection to Cain, was there a need in the stories for a connection to Noah’s wife who was the one descendant after the story of the second creation connected back to Cain? And did you ever wonder if Cain got spanked?

Note the marked fertility. Why had Abraham marked his slaves, Hagar’s son and Sarah’s son? Just like Cain had been marked. And just liked Noah’s wife had been marked on her forehead which was the first thing any stranger would remember about her. So had the real appeal of Noah, to God, been in his wife? Or had the over-powering appeal of Noah to God been, as the just man of his generation, connected to whom he had chosen as his wife? And at this point, there was not enough attention to the story, at least by Christians like me who had embezzled the story of Noah, but had never thought enough about the meaning in the story.

“Noah, if you want to do mankind a greater service, tell funnier jokes.” Because Noah sure comes across as rather bland.

Somehow that line is connected to Allen Konigsberg. But hadn’t it been Noah’s wife who first asked Noah why the chicken had crossed the road?

A nomad who had been born of Noah’s nameless wife, without laws and commandments, but only norms. The movement in the story of a man without borders, moving amid strangers with danger. The connection of blood to bonds. The sons of Noah’s wife all had names. And so much like her forefather, Cain, it is said that the wife of Noah had a large distinguishing mark on her forehead, since the time of birth. Like Gorbachov? But in times of greater illiteracy and belief in luck, did the neighbors believe this was some kind of mark of a witch?

And so the story of Noah’s wife, when who is gonna remember another birth, or the mother’s over-powering pain of childbirth, unknown, unreflected upon? The unreflected upon pain of over-powering sacrifice which seemed to cross the line, if not the road which perhaps Abraham had so quietly inherited?

The seen and the unseen. To be marked just a little more invisibly. And so the connection of the two – between a distinguishing past and a future of the WORLD – of Noah’s wife to Abraham.

Maybe if you had attended the Dormady Academy of Detection you would also have recognized the blood associated of Noah’s wife to Sarah, whose name after all meant laughing — or her son’s name did. With a great need maybe for funnier jokes.

Did you note Noah’s nameless wife, who had outlived the nasty neighbors, knew why the chickens were crossing the road. Because it was gonna rain like hell.

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Multiplication and Divisions

Boom! The Big Bang Theory. Creation.

To recognize My God. Abraham. When religion began dividing a people. A man in need of God. A man symbolic of the division between humans – with Hagar and Sarah. The rivalry. Having to decide about the power-base which has surrounded you, since your birth. About present valuations.

The movement in the story. Leaving, coming back, in an under-populated world. The repeated themes of fertility. Of exile and banishment. Of water, of floods. Of wells, of drought. Of enslavement. Of a way of life that could not be escaped from. The slow movement of nomads over time and space populated by mostly people living in denial, if not fear, of God. With themes of birthrights, of power and might, on life and death, so the comparative approach to the real God by fathers to sons, with that identity commandment.

Coming to know, to recognize God and His Image, concerning reproductions, prayer, intimacy, love. The relationship with a mission to love and to serve.

The movement in the story. Leaving, coming back. The females missing so much in the action of the story. In the stories of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The nomads all with barren wives. In clearly an under-populated world. The repeated themes of fertility, and the arrangements — with land. Exile and banishment, from land. The Promise Land, for its fertility. And a return to a place by the next generation with a greater degree of exercised freedom.

The relationship theme. The conflicts which moved a couple. Did you ever note how much the women taken as spouses were outsiders? Except for Sarah. Go back and see from where Sarah had come, in the story, in the arrangement, of Chosen People. With the relationship theme, within a keep-to-yourself culture. In a part of the world where a stranger had difficulty breaking into the mainstream. It is said that Minnesotans have this tendency to keep outsiders at a comfortable distant. Like the new people at work.

In a state, comparatively speaking, with a high percentage of homegrown residents. Specifically seventy percent of the people are native-born in Minnesota. “They’ve never been,” said Cathy Shaefer, in describing insular people not intentionally cliquish, “alone before.” People perhaps only too comfortable with their lives. This statistic of homegrown people, provided by the Department of the Interior, was so high thirty years ago that it was described as “overwhelming.”

Social life. And so the story of nomads, settling down. In this Minnesota culture that Garrison Keillor had made a living describing. In Seattle this same social malaise is known as the Seattle Chill. People of color might conclude that the missing genuine welcome is due to racism.

It was the difficulty of all transplants. The burning bush that Moses found is still in Egypt. When it was hard moving into a new environment to be ignited. Readers often overlook the importance of ‘place’ in a story that defines everything. Perhaps it is due to the old Scandanavian heritage of Minnesota, where people here are still described as so generous, yet so detached to the newcomer. And like a river or a mountain, the old Norwegians and Swedes have set the tone for the rest of us to follow.

When you are born into something: And much like the challenge faced by each generation, to make the God of my ancestors a Living God, so the communal challenges of a people set apart to live in community. With the movement in the story, as valuations changed. Finding the quiet humility in the search for a homeland with God.

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Art. To sell one book at a time. The magic. On issues of an established baseline of shared belief. When you see shared belief grow into the public sector. The developing bonds of trust.

In all the personal vanities of religion, God. Beyond the different divisions and conferences of Judaism, beyond the 20,000 fragmentations of Christianity. The vehicles of travel. The movement in the story. With Islam and Bhudha. With Taoism and Confuscious.

An arranged marriage. Looking for stability for your kids. When a love based upon romance goes bad. A marriage arranged for sex? When the charm eroded. When you lost your sex appeal. Letting someone place something inside of you. Like an idea about the future. It was probably the most feminine experience for a male. When the future was always left inside a woman.

To write about China. And to come from a culture, from a community that fostered concepts of one child per couple. Without protest, without voice, without memory, based upon oral tradition? Where the Gladys Kravitzes had united to formulate fertility policy. Politicians not so unlike the Russian Bolsheviks who broke away from socialism and like in the Youtube video called “I am God,” imposed their concepts of money and living on everyone. With new standards of living for health care and military service. And work. When one day the people pretended to work, behind the Iron Curtain. Like deep echos of both deep cannons and the neighborhood dog, the people there were still frightened by echoes in the dark of barking animals.

Private matters with such a public affect. When you see shared belief grow into institutions. Powerful institutions. Knowledge. Wealth. Fertility. Love. God. As the private and the public sectors intersect.

Art, as the measuring stick. What was the artist trying to say? In Art and language and culture? When the measuring stick of currency was oh so broken. When the language of art revealed your caste.

Denial. Acceptance. The movement. Of scatter-brained nomads, amidst so much stimuli, looking for God in all things.

Presumed dead. The anger. The fear. Following a war. Missing. Like Abel. At what point did the authorities allow a “missing person” report? The stories of identity. With poets and bards trying to capture in words the spirits within, into stories without. Into the terra firma world. (Looking for images and reflections of ourselves in other cultures.)

The attraction to Mystery. The magic in just the attempt to identify God. For someone else, through issues of an established baseline of shared belief. How much these stories – a primate trying to find the measured words – meant, to me. Looking for a vocabulary concerning spiritual matters. At some point to come to a story. And you are in the story. How much these stories mean, to me.

TO create humanity, with a desire for God. These eleven apostles. Waking up when their traveling companion was declared presumed dead. The thing buried by Fear? The story over and over: born into everything, and losing it. In the garden. And going in search once again. With this mutual desire. God and His people. And fertility. The shared choice to love, to reproduce. The things that stayed with you. Every day. The collegiality. The unchanging law. When you appeared to be losing everything at the end of the story. And always the fear. Of exile.

When you no longer were Chosen People? How things kept changing. Contemplating the change. And the emotions, the perspective which went with the change. In the outside world. Did you feel the inner tension of Cain, not satisfied to stay in one place –like the Garden — and not satisfied to till the soil. The inner tenion over accepting that he himself was from dust, and all the irony in the turmoil and the dust-up after killing his brother.

The buried anger. The buried pain. The exile. Until the day it came out in the wandering. With a deep sense of good and evil, about unrighteous affluence. Those who desired to hang onto what they had.

Power. The evolution. Of human power. The battle over acceptance of power with its institutions. Faith versus reason, in the aftermath of the Renaissance. What was the artist trying to say? In the art of the Renaissance? What was the artist trying to say in his/her Art and language and culture?

Quarterly reports of the prophets. Navigating closeness. To stay close to God. Life, like on a great river. Looking for mentors in life. People trying. People really caring to stay close to God. Like Adam had not. Motly because of Eve.

Adam lost his mentor about the time Eve came around. When he learned for the first time we were all gonna die. Somehow. With others. Or alone. When you were forced. Into relationships, with your co-workers. Or born into relationships. Like Cain. In family. Not unlike Eve. When you were born into something – the movement in the story – born to be this tiller of soil. The movement in the story, with your assigned place, or job description. And your jealous human perspective about it all. And anger.

Power. Force. Authority. To return to the world we had before a crime was committed. Talion law: An eye for an eye. The change from the Talion Law called Reconstruction. Converting mechanical energy of downward-flowing water into thermal and acoustical energy. In the age of terror. That replaced the age of consolidations. On matters of faith and morals, after the leveraged buyouts. Energy of Chosen People, given some direction in life. The Dissipation, with a concept of a wandering formalized. In the mainstream. With a certain idea of movement and birthrights and inheritance.

Run. Hide. Escape. Missing. Presumed dead. Following a war. The anger. The fear. Again.

The loss of an audience, without a story board. The power. Of Art. The need for the story board, for the artist. To figure out the puzzle. I happen to talk to my ophthalmologist twenty-four hours ago – my one time cross-country captain. And he mentioned the importance of a story board, beyond long distance running, that he heard a world famous author mention at a recent dinner at the high scchool we once had attended. So how can you either put together or try to read the Hebrew Bible without a story board? Where are you taking Me? How are you describing Me? The bulls in a china shop. What are you doing to the vehicle? How are you tending it?

And about the end of the story. In the mystery, where does the story line end? The loss of an author, without a story board. With themes of population. And growth, in fertility stories. In what had always been arranged marriages. After Abraham. Then the modern world, is God still in the arranged marriages?

To lead to an end. To tie it all together. What you needed to live. Beyond yourself. With a certain esteem, in this creation. With seeds and harvest. To try again, In another new spring.

The ultimate honor killing on Good Friday that so many Muslim women could identify with. In not another crime against humanity, but of divine sacrifice. For Resurrection.

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Union. Relationships. That you might have, should have, what Adam had, what Eve had. Information, knowledge, or a personal experience – a family experience – of God’s love. When there still was only the commandment about the apple, focused upon knowing God, supplemented with a command focused upon knowing Eve, ‘cleaving’ in either bond, or in a kind of separation.

Was it worth your time, creating a relationship? In developing a common point of view, about an overall aim of the relationship. In enhancing connectedness to this world. When there had been something missing in my life?

The anger of Cain. Yeah, kids often seem oddly numb. About the hard questions. About these unexpected living arrangements, unprepared for growth. Over why Adam and Eve had been kicked out of the garden. When your kids did not feel so bad about something that they had never done. Like eating fruit, from one long lost tree. When the world was so unfair.

To be so dependent on the Promise Land, despite all of this freedom. Was it about expectations – my expectations about the world? About where an independent nomad might go? Because greatness was so lonely by one’s self. Descendants of believers who did not ask, did not dare ask this generation whether the one true God would seem relevant to them now in such an overcrowded world. Did not dare even ask if God, amidst all of the personal pronouns used, had ever been relevant to the parents. These Tree of Life stories about Chosen People, when God always met a person one on one, as someone developed their own relationship to the Tree of Life narrative, set in a world with enough people.

About your greatness. Get organized. Prove it. In a relationship. And then in the world. In the united state. My first ideals or the past and of “saving” the past, was based upon the world that my ancestors had given me. I had inherited it all. Like Isaac would. Like Jacob stole. Some, through the people I was related to. Some, through material wealth. From their DNA. Earned or inherited.

Looking for acceptance. When in the under-populated world there had to be movement in the story, by Adam and Eve. After the denial, the fear, and the inner conflict of nomads who wanted to keep moving, to bring goodness into the world, with the expectation to put down roots.

Acceptance about the garden. About the Promise Land, when there was a planet to inhabit. Those living arrangements. When you were just for the most part unconscious, navigating closeness, with a degree of cognitive love, beyond the involuntary cognitive and emotional state of your family life – broken. Then the Lord called to the man and asked him, “Where are you?“ The winds of change. How fast things happen. After just one bite of the apple.

To slowly think and understand. Who was this God? Wanting your own kids or grandkids to think. About their past. And the custody rights. Before all the unraveling. Emigrants having to leave the Garden. Through no fault of their own. Recognizing the distance in the story. When both men were heroes in the story, as Eve, as Adam, had been heroes. Waiting, to know more about the custody rights to God. To the God of Adam and the God of Eve. But not understanding yet how to pray?

To slowly think and understand. After Adam, what was the point of view of the next generation, in the search for the divine? About fertility? The keeper of flocks. The tiller of soil. The first job descriptions. Cain and Able. When they both honored God from the work of human hands.

And then after Cain, what was the point of view of the next generation? Were we all really related to him? When he was born into his job description. With Cain’s hostility in his part in the food he was eating every day. When it was his brother who was the nomad. Who got to tend the animals. Long before the day when the Egyptians thought shepherds were the lowest form of existence.

“When you should have what we have.” Freedom. Human rights. Free will. And original sin. Even when you had lost everything – the garden – which had seemed to provide meaning, which connected you to God. The lost birthright, in Chapter One, to the garden. And then you were forced to one day leave it all behind.

The anger at the unfairness. Of systems of slavery, or new systems that replaced them, with the sweat of human brows. As the tiller of the soil, tied down to one place. Not all that dissimilar to the anger at having to bear children? The imbalance in “relationship work,” and a resulting anger? More conspicuous – but not to me – that these were my kids, inheriting my sins.

In the Promise Land. In America. Now the missing bonds. The anger at the unfairness of the world. Homeless sons and daughters of immigrants. The ones who left the Old World behind. And now years later these children mostly of divorced parents? And God, sensitive to the dominant culture. Sensitive to the gap in the living arrangement. And more attuned to all those gaps, and the inequality of the gaps in the living arrangement – than the insensitivities of an old world, with the ideals or the past and of “saving” the past, based upon the world that my ancestors had given me which I had inherited.

So this child left wondering, how could such great parents be kicked out of the garden? For just eating the apple? And why should they lose custody rights? To the garden. Over a simple apple. How can God not love my mother, or father? Even if, in an updated story, they had been divorced? And why lose custody rights to the garden. Over one simple apple. Simply for eating an apple. Who could believe?

The living arrangements. For refugees. For nomads. With a delicate balance between separate identity and a connectedness, was God homeless in His world? Did God identify with nomads and shepherds, created in His image, formed in His likeness? In a world that is rich with possibilities for connectedness and attachment, the heart and soul of intimacy, the lifelong challenge, begins with a home. And an identity which came from a home. And then it was gone.

To move populations through righteous anger. Because, as Chaim Potok writes, “Something that is yours forever is never precious.” So a promise land. With freedom and safety. With an overall aim of the relationship – in a marriage, in a home, in a homeland — developing a common point of view, about an overall aim of the relationship. But you had to work at it.

Was it worth your time? When marriage was really about about trying to find a moral consensus. F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote about themes of youth, beauty and riches. And that was the world of modern pop culture, of America today, ruled especially by beauty and wealth. All the things glamorized by the media, of modern America. Fitzgerald wrote with characters that keep trying but at the end of the story, never really found themselves, in this country formed by people who left the Old World behind.

And so in this land of immigrants, the ongoing struggle for an identity,when you moved away from your ethnic group.

Killing your own brother? When Cain was at the end of the story still my own son, in the eye of Eve and Adam. And all that they had left.

Banishment. Exile. Excommunication. ‘Who in the name of God do you think you are?’ Cain and Able. The intent to take a life. Ishmael and Isaac, with their father. Jacob, with his brother and his own father. Taking a life.
And the ongoing struggle with the refugee question, in this land of immigrants, dealing with nomads.

And so Cain, in his quest for mercy. And perhaps in his struggle, in his own “relationship work,” to learn how to pray. In a leadership role in his own heroic quest for salvation. When prayer always re-cast the human image of God. And Cain, so badly in need of God.


Giving Me Artistically the ‘Once Over’

The landscape of dating. Over the past 20 years or so, as town centers completely destroyed by bombs in World War II in Eastern Europe have been, over time, stone by stone, restored. In my lifetime, and in the lifetime like the contemporary artist I met, who was three years younger. Her family had left and had spent their time elsewhere during the Reconstruction.

In the sign of the times, the woman still looks like a a cheerful hippie, with a restlessness on display, over time perhaps becoming more visible. Getting perspective from an artist who liked to paint landscapes of the far off, and generally avoided the things up close. The divorced mother, now at war with her son, looking for a lasting relationship, talking with great honesty about her life on Yom Kippur. To me.

After being banished from the territories in the 1980s, with an art degree from the University of Illinois in Champagne, she had gone to San Francisco. She landed in Minnesota in 1982, where she remains. When she married in 1991, she said that she knew on her wedding day she had made the wrong decision. Her marriage lasted until 1997, with six years of marriage counseling. Her husband, she said, was shocked when she asked for a divorce. At the time she had two kids, the youngest having been born in 1994.

Unsettled. To tackle the deeper problems, with perspective, after a deep sleep, of the daughter of Ukrainian Jews who had never returned home to Chicago. The woman who seemed on Yom Kippur to want to come to grips with her sins. The main one concerning that she never really had loved the father of her kids. Perhaps not knowing about “the last clear chance doctrine” to be used in her own defense. On issues of contributory negligence, in her life.

People do not really say, to strangers, what is most true, like this. Living day to day, struggling economically ever since her divorce, making a living as a sign painter. Recognizing all of the restlessness, in her story of detachment. At a time when clearly, with perspective of time, she had not really known herself. THEN the remark of a stranger recognizing her for her modeling for his art class, naked. This was, most likely, no big deal for an art major, though the stranger hovered over our table way too long.

The landscape artist who bared her soul to me in an Irish bar, owned by a Brit, about what she hopes to be building upon. Six years ago she had become Christian, with no mention on how that affected her relationship with her kids. Having gone to Guatemala to build homes, the divorced mother with one daughter away at college, with her church group, in her restlessness. But now at war with her high school age son who lives with her – perhaps playing the game by something other than the official rules – but he would be ask to leave when he turns eighteen.

The divorced mother, hoping to build on a lasting relationship, talking with so much honesty about her life on Yom Kippur. Giving me the once over. Just once, in this Irish bar that was not really Irish, with bagpipe music airing. Despite her claim of being an artist, who now liked to take commercial jobs closer to home but with her free time she likes to paint landscapes of the far off, generally avoiding the things up close. Expecting pain in any relationship, expecting such little joy.

Life in Minnesota. People want to live here; they don’t want to leave. We don’t have high turnover.

After a provided quote from me by another landscape artist –“I have always worked and pulled my hair out simultaneously, but the higher motivation is the sheer pleasure and joy found in the depths of perceptual engagement.” — she then said she did not want to see me again. Perhaps coming to learn, in her continuing education, that that you could not love others, until you settled first upon really a known self, before moving on. After giving me the once over, moving to the the art of loving yourself.

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When Your God Came Credentialed By the Authorities

You had to wonder, when called to prayer five times per day, about the content of the prayer. When prayer is really something that is not said, but an awareness kept, like keeping company, in an encounter.

To pray five times a day is to be available. To the Truth. How to exalt God? To confer a spirit….the slow patience while creating something in God’s image. A child. A story. The TRUTH. In the circle of revolutions. When revolutions are a process and not individual events. I know not why life is astir…in Iran. In the the torment of their God, and His people.

You had to wonder about the framework, the purpose, of the prayers in Iran, when called to pray five times per day, of those in power. With their prayers. Whether anyone truly wants to meet God. In their prayer encounter with a living God. In Iran.

With 62 percent of the vote, holding a seat in the United Nations, you were allowed to torture and murder – torture in the name of God– as part of the “security apparatus.”

The Islamists who since 1979 in Iran had morphed into elected autocrats once in office, exporting their tactics once sharpened by the neighbor to the north – Russia – to Syria and Lebanon and beyond. In a country without basic human rights of freedom of religion, or freedom of the press — where the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei approves the Minister of Intelligence and the Minister of Defense – the Quds Force which reports directly to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and serves as the linchpin in Iran’s regional strategy, had been dispatched to Syria. To interfere with the airspace where satellite waves and prayer were transmitted.

Between November 1998 and February 1999, the brutal serial killings were carried out of leaders of the Iran Nation Party, including Mr. and Ms. Foruhar, brutally murdered in their house; the kidnapping and killing in December 1998 of Mohammad Ja’far Puyandeh, writer and translator of literature on women’s rights; and writer Mohammad Mokhtari. With the Grand Ayatollah attributed the murders to foreign powers, the state investigation and prosecution of the case of these four became known as the serial murders, and lasted several year before eighteen Ministry of Information employees were presented as scapegoats, admitting that suspects were under pressure to confess that they had links with foreign entities. Killed in Iran by “rogue elements” in the security services.

The National Union of Journalists had released the video, throwing light on a conspiracy of the Khatami government to conceal the truth. With ongoing variation on a theme over the ensuing twelve year. In 2009, there were, dressed in civilian clothing, the Basij — in the hands of those with Special Forces and a special force in an Islamist Republic — crushing the dissent over the reins of that power. When death sentences had lost meaning, to people without freedom.

Navi Pillay, the UN high commissioner for human rights, criticized this week the conduct of the Syrian government, while torture by the Iranian government had been long accepted as the status quo. The conduct of the Iranian government, blessed by, held above reproach.

UN High Commissioner Pillay said, “Resort to lethal or excessive force against peaceful demonstrators tends to not only breed a culture of violence, serves to exacerbate tensions, and violates fundamental rights, including the right to life.”

Meanwhile, when killings were approved at the highest level, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has called for unity among African nations, proclaiming “the UN decisions have always been against the interests of the African and Asian countries. Although the world’s independent countries comprise the majority of the United Nations member-states,” President Ahmadinejad in expressing his satisfaction with the formation of the African Union continued, “the UN has failed to defend the interests of independent states.”

Spinning the promotion of unity, with a people now repressed beyond a decade, you wondered if the locals ever interrogated their God. About power and might, and the use of earthly power. Over what was going on in their own world. And if this is how they treated their own, how did they treat their enemies?

Did the undefined interests of independent states include anything about independent belief, along with the freedom to freely pray? The spin on the Arab Spring from Iran is that these were not genuine popular movements in Syria but actually hostile outside intervention – perhaps too much like prayer – hostile to the Supreme Leader, directed at regime change. Called by Iran to be some kind of Western phenomenon.

Praying to the one True God, when killings were approved at the highest level. Connecting in praise and thanksgiving – in sacrifice – prayer is a process, an awarness kept, requiring tremendous freedom. No matter where you lived. When true revolutions are, not unlike prayer, processes, and not events. With God always at your side. When words do not truly articulate the truth. About the world. When silence – once used in the second half of prayer, to listen – had become, as in any dysfunctional relationship, the only weapon left. As leaders, while their Basij attack people and their Quds Force attack airspace, demonstrate exactly what it meant to take the name of the Lord Thy God in vain. And people kept praying five times per day.

When you lived in nations with illusion of power, even illusions about God-appointed leaders, to fight the counter-insurgencies of the soul sixty percent of Iranian homes and businesses, Reza Bagheri Asl, director of the telecommunication ministry’s research institute, told an Iranian news agency, would be soon on the new internal network.

When your God came credentialed by the authorities. The Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei ‘s intranet, for the emerging conflict called the “soft war,” allegedly directed against the West. Ali Aghamohammadi, Iran’s head of economic affairs, said: that Iran’s national intranet would be “a genuinely halal network, aimed at Muslims on an ethical and moral level.”

Reza Taghipour, Iran’s communication minister, made mention of the coming new computer operating system to replace Microsoft Windows. In the national interest. For a nation where murder and torture of your own was approved, by the Supreme Leader. When the sons of Hagar mostly always showed perfect obedience to Allah. And the women on a normal day always felt so all alone.

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Iran Helps Detain Another Journalist

Exile. Banishment. When journalist uncovered the truth, governments had a hard time distinguishing good from evil, in relation to their temporal powers. Amidst the chaos.

In a part of the world where torture was a way of life, one human rights group said Monday’s door-to-door cleanup operation in Syria was “to isolate anti-government sympathizers and render them incapable of organizing.” President Bashar al-Assad had blamed the uprising on foreign insurgents and “armed terrorist groups” operating in Homs, Banias and Dara’a, but while his security forces were using support from the Iranian Republican Guard.

Totalitarianism was back throughout the country of Syria, if it ever left. With phone and electricity lines cut in a number of cities, with the army going door to door, hundreds of Syrians were arrested in towns and cities and in the suburbs of Damascus. The military campaign to ferociously crush the seven-week uprising escalated in the city of Deir al-Zor and dozen cities on the Mediterranean coast and in the southern regions, as tanks occupied the cities of Tafas and strategically important Homs. There are more than 744 people dead, as women and children were arrested, in a campaign similar to that used to crush the “green revolution” in Iran in 2009. With mention in the Financial Times of one report that troops fired upon their own conscripts who would not fire upon protesters.

Syria, where precise details are hard to come by. About power and might. With half a million members of the Syrian army and other security forces attempting to quell the revolt. Everywhere but especially in the poor town of Dar’a, on the the border with Jordan.

Detailing the truth. Syrian’s state-run media almost daily reports on Islamists (Salafists) along with these foreign insurgents, without addressing why the growing hostility to Bashar al-Assad’s rule, as so many people were yet to be heard from – like Dorothy Parvaz.

As part of a “process of …media reforms,” President Bashar al-Assad had Al-Jazeera journalist Dorothy Parvaz detained on April 29th as she de-boarded from a Doha, Qatar flight at the airport in Damascus. Parvaz was leaving from the home base of the al-Jazeera English-language channel, with whom she worked with her United States, Iranian and Canadian citizenship. But her Canadian or U.S. passport alone would not work, going through Syrian customs.

And now as part of a “process of …media reforms,” precise details are hard to come by. Syria cunningly deported the Canadian journalist whose last Seattle newspaper employer had quit printing news and Al Jazeera was the only one hiring. Deported to Tehran, Al Jazeera reports, based upon that Iranian passport which Dorothy Parvaz had planned to use to enter Syria, since this manner of entry did not require a visa. Deported “perhaps,” only after Syria was able to get Iran’s assent. Which must not have taken long. To join the other 33 journalist in custody in Iran, which may or may not include Shane Bauer in that number, since he was on holiday when he was detained, with his two friends.

In a statement Al Jazeera was told Ms. Parvaz was “escorted by the Iranian consul to Caspian Airlines flight 7905, heading to Tehran.” The Syrian representative in Washington had told the network she had entered Syria on an expired Iranian visa, and was thus deported to Iran. An Iran where women did not move freely.

In April, White House officials asserted that Iran, a Shia-dominated ally, likely has been advising the government of Bashar al-Assad after its four decade rule from the Shia Muslim minority Alawite sect on how to crush dissent. Bashar al-Assad — nervous about appearing to crush protesters drawn from Syria’s 75% Sunni population, getting advice on intercepting or blocking internet, mobile phone and social media communications between the protesters and the outside world. White House official had pointed to a “significant” increase in the number of Iranian personnel in Syria — only a few hundred personnel — since mid-March.

With a lessening of world support, Turkey’s recent anger at Syria’s crackdown has fed feelings of betrayal in the Syrian government. In April White House officials suggested that Iran “has been worried about losing its most important ally (Syria) in the Arab world and important conduit for weapons to Hezbollah [in Lebanon],” a diplomat told The Guardian.

The anger over the unknown. When you had no reporters on the scene. To reports about the sound of torture. With Dorothy Parvaz perhaps in prison, in a nation where one person was killed every eight hours in Iran, with the start of the new year. Which had been BEFORE all these uprisings. In Iran where the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance is responsible for restricting access in the Islamic Republic of Iran to any media of which the Islamic Regime in Tehran does not approve.

When journalist searched, in the name of a free press, for the truth. During a time when too many read the news at no cost, with no personal investment. As most tortured women in the Middle East remained in their homes, while males took to the streets. And citizens had a hard time, as Iran and Syrian governments tried to hold on to their temporal powers, finding the truth. Without a free press. Since 1992, in the information age, 861 journalists have been killed for heroically doing their jobs, with 145 journalists imprisoned, worldwide. Make that 146. With no indication yet if Shane Bauer — in Iran — is included within that number.

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The Never Ending Shock and Awe

It was a symptom of Post Traumatic Stress. After a great shameful event, everyone agreed to not talk about it. Everywhere. In post World War II, when the veterans came home.

Vanquished. As two lands are laid waste. Ten Years After. Like some kind of lingering song of a rock ‘n roll group, about the climatic effects of nuclear winter. As a generation loses its fertility. Yeah, and bin Laden was dead.

In war. Who do you believe in a war? The Church? A president? When crimes became immeasurable? With all the authentic post traumatic stress syndrome, in the aftermath. The irony of human justice, in a world laid with some kind of post-Nazi foundation of moral relativism to believe that a sovereign country has no right to judge the criminal who hurt its citizens. In a world, with so many young people who now felt that they should not be judged. When people no longer could believe in authority. For a generation which believes in no authority, what was to fill the vacuum of power? As no one went into politics, who I knew, with a well-formed conscious.

Global warming. Who do you believe about climate change? What do you believe about global authority? Long after an atomic bomb was dropped in war, like some kind of lingering song of a rock ‘n roll group, when invisible crimes became more measurable, when a force hits an immovable object, as the land is laid waste, in a western world laid without much of a foundation, and no one addresses the issue. When science forgot about nuclear winter?

In the physics of memory, in a world with so many grandchildren who felt that they should not be judged, comes global warming. The irony of human justice, about the climatic effects of nuclear winter.

War. Anger meeting anger. The powerlessness, as the aftermath of anger. In an unforgiving world of pierced tongues. With the distortions of power, even in the free world. Especially in the free world, reconstructed, in the dog eat dog world of capitalism. So what was worse, child pornography or torture? What if done in the name of Homeland Security?

When memory becomes a political issue. When vanquished.

How to use power?

The vacuum of power. When crimes became immeasurable? After the land is laid waste, in the physics of power and the abuse of power, comes nuclear winter. And Reconstruction, with the pain pills. For all the motherless children left behind.

War. Who do you believe in a war? It was a sad state of the world, when Russia becomes the spokesman for atrocities. Just as Russian Foreign Minister Sergey V. Lavrov accused NATO of mounting an assassination attempt, illegal under international law, so had the Khaddafi government challenged the aims of the NATO mission, under international law. On the eve of bin Laden’s last day of life, the opponents of Colonel Khaddafi questioned whether Seif al-Arab al-Qaddafi, 29, and three unidentified grandchildren had actually been killed, or whether the announcement amounted to a ploy by Colonel Khaddafi to win sympathy and deflect blunt criticism of his own attacks on several rebel-held areas.

Issues not much different than the death of bin Laden.
In the aftermath, in the authentic post traumatic stress syndrome of war, who did you trust? When the American vision of justice, the irony of human justice, was one of vengeance and war. As the world lost its fertility. As a land is laid waste. Where once there seemed an universality in international law.

Sergey V. Lavrov said the NATO attack “arouses serious doubts about coalition members’ statement that the strikes in Libya do not have the goal of physically annihilating Mr. Khaddafi and members of his family.” Said the chairman of the international affairs committee in Russia’s lower house of parliament, Konstantin I. Kosachev, “I am very surprised by the total silence of the presidents of the U.S., France, and some other Western countries.” If reports of the deaths of Qaddafi family members are confirmed, it would drive home that the Western operation “is unacceptable to the same degree as the attacks by Qaddafi and his forces on civilians.”

Power as a force in life. How to use your mastery, to defend the land? After thousands upon thousands are dead, how to use power? When the land, when the ocean, is laid waste, beyond measure.

With all the authentic post traumatic stress syndrome, living in the aftermath. Coming home, to figure out how to use power, to defend women and children.

In a world laid out with inviolate human rights, in a vacuum of power when leaders still sought vengeance making all life meaningless, how to use power?

In the aftermath of war, the sense of belonging. The human attempt set in motion to pass on a culture communicated, not by bellicose conquest, not by allocation or purchase of fluorocarbons, but through fertility. Human fertility. When fertility was the only language which conveyed the sense of belonging. When the invisible became visible.

With all the distortions of reality, in reconstruction of the land. About questions of belief. Over the reality of post traumatic stress and climatic effects of nuclear winter, with the administration of pain pills. Pills for fertility, pills for the pain, paid by a national health insurance policy. For those who could not cope, in a series of chemical reactions set in motion which was breaking down the stratospheric ozone layer protecting Earth. With all the distortions of reality, in reconstruction of the land, it was about the new perspective in such a world with the changing light—and tattoos. Light pollution, as a consequence of nuclear winter, from nuclear weapons.

When invisible crimes became more measurable, over time. To see all of the injustice in the world. And to somehow respond — rather quickly. Before forgetfulness sent in. Above the troposphere.

Before the next meaningless war, a response. About what you believed to be most true.

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Inside Out

When you shared a heritage, or a culture. And then the attempt to pass on that culture. In the stories. The sense of belonging. The language which conveyed a sense of belonging. To a group of people. To pass on, in like the eggs.

The eggs had been forgotten at the Seder. I got a call from the hostess of the Seder dinner who mentioned one oversight last Tuesday. About the eggs.

The symbol of creation had been forgotten? Like a good teacher, she wanted me to know about the importance of the hard boiled eggs, at the Seder.

This week I had heard an author who was a winner of the 2009 National Book Award speak. The book was Claudette Colvin: Twice Towards Justice. I never got to ask why the title, Twice Towards Justice. Phillip Hoose reminded me of the retired sixth grade teacher that I curl with. There was a sensitivity present in a voice that Hoose was trying to communicate. The morning after, I found an old interview where he told Willie Perdomo his purpose in writing is to go in search of a voice to be heard, which never really had been listened to before. Claudette Colvin, as a teen-ager was thrust into the spotlight of the “separate but equal” world of the American South. In an old interview, Hoose told a National Book Award interviewer, Willie Perdomo, that he had once heard complaints of a young student who objected that in the study of history there were no people her age in the stories which made her feel so “invisible,” as though she did not, would not, qualify as a real person.

As he discussed Claudette Colvin: Twice Towards Justice, I recognized a Southern perspective from those times about just another carpetbagger, this one from Yale one hundred years later, telling a society about what was wrong with it, as he tried to profit as an author. What good was it for someone from New England to preach about racial intolerance in a part of the world that he was never a part of?

There was a sensitivity present in a voice, but it was more the perspective that interested me. The subject of the book had turned down his request four consecutive years to sit down and tell her tale. With a developed sensitivity to preserve habitats from his job on staff at The Nature Conservancy, Hoose said in a National Book Award interviewer that extinction often was on my mind, as he writes books. In the National Book Award interview, Hoose said that his motivation to write about Claudette Colvin, a complete stranger, involved a danger of her story being totally erased from history. Well, I was not so sure that there was a need for an eraser, since most of the people alive more than fifty years later never had heard the story which “often is told incompletely in unflattering comparison to Rosa Parks.” A more honest appraisal of his motivation seemed to be found in Hoose’s description of his youth in Indiana, a state where he said the Klu Klux Klan dominated the Republican Party. And life in Indiana, in his perspective, was never much different in those day from Alabama.

When you shared a heritage, or a culture: He wrote to inspire an audience to forestall species extinctions. The one with the echo of an inner hollowness of death. Or the aching involved to get out –of an egg. When your freedom was restricted. Or in the pain of childbirth. And then the pain of getting what was inside out for any child. And species extinction always involved fertility.

One of Hoose’s first books was about his cousin, Don Larsen, who had pitched a perfect game in the 1956 World Series for the New York Yankees. I was aware that Larsen had died in the past 12 to 24 months. I was about to read a few of Hoose’s books. To find more about his attempt to pass on that culture. In the stories allegedly about dealing with loss, to forestall species extinctions. The Claudette Colvin story was about an imperfect world, man-made, about a system set up to forestall the extinction of a way of life, in one part of the country. In his attempt to pass on a culture, in the stories which conveyed a sense of belonging –in the language which conveyed a sense of belonging — I am not so sure that the author yet understood how this opus fit into the shelf with his other books. Except about being invisible in a world, when the subject seemed to revere an invisibility with her move to New York City after living in the spotlight during her teen-age years. After having sacrificed her invisibility, over a way of life, which put her own life in jeopardy. Over a cause, until her own young pregnancy, to forestall species extinctions. Gravida One, as one response. One strong response, about the injustice in the world. When Rosa Parks had a “natural gravitas” and was an “inherently impressive person,” said David Garrow, the author of Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

About the eggs. Yeah, the eggs had been forgotten at the Seder. Maybe a bit like Claudette Colvin was forgotten. I am not sure the author grasped the whole story, with a bit of fear in his one quiet reference to her pregnancy, in the time after her arrest. About the subject not wanting this book written until after she had retired from her job at a Catholic hospital. The story which somehow involved the eggs. The woman who, nine months before Rosa Parks, had been the real incubator of the protest over segregation on the Montgomery bus system.
Copyright © 2011.


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The Seder

Tuesday this goy was invited to a Seder dinner. When a family tries to comprehend their own tradition and its meaning in their own lives. In the reality show called daily life. With the movement in the story. The movement in the story of Passover and Jews. What did it mean, this Jewish identity? With your DNA, within this creation, you were related to Him, in your image and likeness.

How can you know God, without understanding Judaism? Tuesday night I learned about the customs of a Seder dinner, removing all leaven from a home – and maybe all the other things which inflate the egos in the rest of the year – in preparation for this day. When the preparation had taken the host’s father seven days, in the old days, removing the leaven from his home. Recognizing an underlying spirituality, about the ego in the story, about being Chosen People — perhaps because of the issues of inflation and bubbles of our times. Recognizing an underlying spirituality, about Chosen People, taming their egos, sharing so much with the rest of the world. Hearing of an origin of Jewish women and people “like us,” not, as told in Greek myth or like the story of Romulus and Remus in Rome, as a people descended from on high. With this sprinkled blood on the doorstep, when you let your God into your home, when you married within the culture. With the tradition of blood in animal sacrifice.

With the always present issue of blood, when you marry someone within your tradition and passed a tradition on. In a living arrangement, when you realized the continued existence of the tradition, your tradition, was up to you. When you made the discovery that the institution was somehow you. When you had somehow become the school, the temple….chosen. When you discovered the social meaning, in the age of social networking, when the conflict in the story was over more than shared belief, but shared blood.

The conflict in the story. With all of the movement in the stories comes the fear. And the primary fear was over fertility. Every fear concerning the next generation. About survival. And maybe the survival of tradition. Like the Passover story. When you go in Exodus, a bit uncertain when it came to your direction, after four hundred and some years in Egypt, and trying to get traction in the sand. In a certain involuntary cognitive state, and with high emotions over the intense unfairness in a system. But commanded with your life to know your God. With all the unknowns about would happen to the tradition, being caught in the desert. And all the emotions over survival. In Exodus.

The emotions of life over survival. Over the Promise Land, and your loved ones. In the Age of Divorce. Surrounded by other clans, which had such difficulty with concepts of union, in the your present day lives. And the primary fear was over fertility. In the earlier chapter.

Sarai. The laughter of Sarai, who needed a new name after the circumcision of Abram, in a scene which only Bob Newhart could try to explain. Over the phone. So because I always wanted to be a comedy writer:

Abraham, coming home after a long day at work, explaining circumcision to Sarah, at the age of 99 or 100. Like a Bob Newhart script, as Abram undresses.

“Uh, Abram. What’s eating you? You are moving kinda slow.”

“Well, I had minor surgery for something that had been causing me some trouble. “

“What is this word ‘surgery?’

“Well, I went under the knife.’


“Just outside Hebron. Away from the crowd. In a need for privacy.”

“No…I mean WHERE. Oh my God…. who did this to you?”

“I… um…. got circumcised yesterday.”

“You did what?”

“I am calling it a circumcision.”

“Really? Are you crazy? And who exactly did this for you?”

“I did it myself.”

“You? You? You can’t even fix the latrine. Why, in God’s name, did you do that? You know, we are gonna need new names after this, Abram. Both of us. New names.”

There had to be a reason for Sarai’s infertilty…and Abram thought it was due to him? So with a certain pagan view of the world, he took extreme measures? Maybe to remove something that was coming between him and his wife. To live and communicate now unconditionally. When you knew something and wanted to leave to the world this knowledge. The knowledge that took a lifetime to acquire. When something had been missing. Maybe when you were fertile. Maybe missing in your own childhood, or in your own neighbors. When something had been missing, and the plan then was to try it over. This time with maybe some spiritual direction. And maybe change, Norman Borlaug-like, the world.

The developing bonds. The lifelong challenge in the bond of a relationship. With the anguish that came to those who spent time trying to know, taking it to the deepest level within. And then creating something out of that knowledge. Before you died. Stories about the different levels of comfort, in relationship. When you wake up one day and hear that your wife wanted more in the relationship? And you did not have a clue what the heck she meant.

The movement in the stories. About Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The stories about the different levels of comfort, in relationship. Emotional stories about life and death. Over the Promise Land, and your loved ones. Stories generation after generation about fertility, and death. Did you ever note the ages of Adam, Noah, or Seth? To recognize the anguish which came out of the search for God, and the attempt to get comfortable with each other. For eternity. When prophets climbed mountains, with all of the emotions in a relationship. Or in one dimensional relationships. Over the quality of union. Or not. When perhaps God was not ready quite yet to be around Adam, Noah, Seth, forever.

Union. Enhancing connectedness. To this world. Developing a common point of view. Union. When there had been something missing in the union, if not my life. About an overall aim of the relationship, with a delicate balance between separate identity and a connectedness– when the going gets rough, to stay together.

Fertility. The emotions. Fear. Death. God. Coming to an acceptance of God, like the acceptance level a couple reaches with each other. “Lord, let me get on with my business. Because I am not fertile.”

And so the fertility of Sarah, at the age of 99 or 100. “Laughing” was the meaning of the name of her first born son. Like Eve, nothing ever belonged to Sarah of this creation until she had kids. And so the battle within for any woman, over pride, when she was yet to have kids, with a man who wanted the the old world back, after the banishment.

Like a nomad, navigating closeness, with a degree of cognitive love, beyond the involuntary cognitive and emotional state of intense romantic desire, when you were just for the most part unconscious … or really just trying to figure it all out. With American men too often just numb. When those neurons just did not feel the things we were supposed to, about the hard questions, beyond the involuntary cognitive and emotional state of intense romantic desire. For men too often just numb, about the hard questions, like greed. All men had it … some women. People throughout the world wanted to live like I had lived, like they saw in the movies. Greed fueled by media, for money and modern conveniences. Where It seemed there was not enough to be fairly divided.

SO after the public spectacle, for Eve and the apple, there was need for a wider audience. For Eve and her wider perspective about creation? Was there a need all along she felt to get out of the Garden? When nothing ever belonged to you of this creation until you had you firstborn child?

Passover. The story really more about the descendants of Sarai. With all of the work that went into this commemoration. The pain in the story about fertility. With the developing concept of sacrifice, of the best animal of the flock. Concepts over shared blood. Maybe why the blood of animals had been used in worship. To hear the story in Exodus, one year later, where the lamb was sacrificed and the people were to eat, “in proportion to the number of persons who partake of it.”

Keeping kosher. The anguish of keeping kosher. To recall the time during those four hundred and some years when virtually every aspect of daily life was connected to your life being a slave. With the sprinkled blood on the doorstep, when you let your God into your home. When you tried to keep things somehow sacred. With the always present blood, and issues of orders, when you marry someone within your tradition. With an origin of Jewish people “like us,” not, as told in Greek myth or like the story of Romulus and Remus in Rome, as a people descended from on high. With the tradition of blood in animal sacrifice, the so very personal commemoration of Passover as a vehicle to celebrate the very nature of God, and His work in the world. Through fertility.

With all of the anguish. Maybe like childbirth. Or in the 613 orders related to keeping kosher. With all of the dishes and pots and pans. The sacrifice that comes trying to maintain a tradition. With a certain amount of pain. When you work all week and came home to prepare the Seder. The anguish in being Chosen People, generation after generation.

The work of deliverance of the next generation. Nietsche wrote that the meaning in life, the memory of loved ones, is conveyed only through real stories about palpable heart-beating pain. Stories of deep love, of deep hate, with layers of suffering that would lie in memory forever. Great literature of a civilization was based upon such stories carrying a people, somewhere.

The unstated part of Passover, in the setting, if you were lucky enough to have inherited a tradition.

The carrying, of a people, like the ones you were related to by blood. Measuring the progress, one generation to the next. Passover was the paramount generational thing, THE family thing, not just a family thing. In the beginning. The movement in the story. With all of the first born dead, and the blood on the doorstep saved you. On the original Passover. After Moses asked the the Pharaoh, at the Lord’s stated request. “Let my people go to worship me.” With all of the firstborn dead, concerned about the unraveling of the next generation – the one which seemed to be losing hope, or looking to the identity of the dominant culture, like in the Egyptian world.

For Chosen People, and the fertility part of the story. Generation after generation, in stories about this inheritance, carrying a family somewhere — with a way of life –not so much as protection from the plagues, but about the solemnity of worship. To be deeply moved by worship by this God to whom you somehow were related. When children ask questions, to get things moving. To try and do right, generation after generation. With a certain anguish over knowing God. And to then try and do right, in virtually every aspect of daily life. Somehow carrying a burden of God, in a living tradition, with food. With a degree of anguish in being Chosen People, in trying to remain kosher, in the ever changing world. Not a story of survival, Passover was the story of freedom and salvation: how a people, in a story of first-borns for a people whose identity was repeated in the story of the first born sons of Abraham, of Isaac, were saved for history.

Passover. “And you shall tell your child,” …..about Passover and then this issue of inheritance. The reason why this night is different. Looking for meaning in it all.

The underlying tempo of movement, in all of these sacred stories, of the movement toward a freedom potentially as vast as all the stars in the solar system, against a conspiracy of the systems of the world they were born into. Children gradually learning to recognize a shame in living unquestioning lives. With memory of Passover conveying only through the personal anguish, the reason your were different. At one home defining Passover, the significance of a visible God and the significance – in bloodlines- of a Chosen People, to their God. And in the sacrifices freely given to this God.
Copyright © 2011.

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Looking for Meaning in Art

Tying it all together. Art. The power of art. The stated beauty in art. Like in the Pieta. With an intent to pass something on. Without words. To somehow move humanity forward, without words.

When you lost a generation. The excitement in recognizing the conflict in the story. To recognize the anguish which came out of the search. Wrestling with identity. TO move humanity forward.

Using words to try and get your arms around something. With the power of art.

Books and language and the future. Trying to understand each other. Telling stories, with such great themes. Through books and language and spirit and wisdom. On Opening Day, I was standing in Barnes and Nobles, grasping at the combination of sounds, into sentences, into paragraphs. Surrounded by all these books, not unlike all the stars in the sky, in the promise made by God to Abraham. About his descendants, and the stories thereof. The stories about the children of prophets. Stories of fertility and infertility. The parents who always thought and worried over their children and the choices of their children. If they had been blessed with children. On issues of birth, death, and fertility by the descendants of nomads. Because those children would one day have to go in search themselves. The movement in each story. The effort and study habits. That conflict written about in Genesis, which started in Chapter 2. About knowing God. The new struggle to know God. Once Eve and Adam had bit the apple. The struggle to keep in touch with God. For each generation. To move humanity forward. When we all were essentially cave men and cave women, going though different stages of learning. With all the the different stages of eating devices, and fire, and language. While learning a common tongue, to pass on whatever mental sharpness we had come to recognize on earth.

Dealing with insignificance, in a world with 7 billion people and you did not really know anyone. Because of the language barrier. The world with seven billion people, with one billion ideas per person. And the language of sex. The imperialism of the English language, imposed on another culture. Like the Irish. Or like Russian had been imposed in Czechoslovakia. Stealing something along the way. About the uniqueness about this part of the globe. Through the rag-and-bone shop of the heart. The emotions. Tying it all together.

Information. In the age of information, you could not get directory assistance at many companies. So more and more are headed in the wrong direction. In a world of domination and power. It was as if those alive had survived, based upon only their acuity and sharpness. Because of the greatness, for some, of the knowledge of past ancestors.

Language. Fertility and the future. The language of sex. Trying to understand each other. Trying to understand fertility, amid a population bubble. In the struggle to know someone. And the conflict in the story with other people and their one billion ideas.

Having to work to keep what your always had had. The artist taking something from the world outside, taking it to the deepest level within, and creating something out of it. When formal education was over. When my activity now, in my leisure or in my work, was somehow about finding my own goodness? To move humanity forward.

Attempting to grasp meaning. Over birthright and inheritance. Having sex. Again and again. When you were lucky, if you still were in a relationship. In a struggle of communication, with an authentic lover, over the deepest part of your being. Through the universal language of sex.

The choices of Chosen People. The anguish that came to those who spent time trying to know, taking it to the deepest level within, God. And then creating something out of it. To recognize the anguish which came out of the search for God. When you began, after a while, to recognize...God, beyond the beginnings and the ends.

The conflict in the story which started in Chapter 2. The excitement recognizing the conflict in the story. Over knowing God. Eve. Adam. Cain and Able. The conflict over who knew God the best. In a relationship. And the witnessing the same struggle in your kids.

To know, love, and serve. With passion. Measuring it all. Recognizing it all. When you poured your heart into everything, at a price.

The power of art. With an awareness of. The stated beauty, taking it to the deepest level, in art. When I prove my holiness through a medium. Like you. The descendants of Noah, these pastoral semitic-people with their related languages, dealing with significance, living in community. With all the ideas about immigration and population control. And this
new kind of climate change. Church and state, in union with my neighbor – or not – trying to maintain authority to regulate goodness and evil, in which everyone had a stake.

“I will give you a new heart and place a new spirit within you.”


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In the Middle

Men who in the busy world did not understand women wanted company. Their company. There was a change in cognitive dissonance at my age. About feeling needed. After all of these years. And now a lot of young women were just as busy. And men and women understood each other less. If that was possible.

Primogenitor. In those romance novels, of princes and princesses. In a historical relationship like the House of Lords – that un-elected second chamber from the past. With the system in use at the time, from a time when the royal prerogative held rein, forever. Primogenitor. When only the first-born male was going to get the home loan. Historic primogenitor, to purchase a castle. Historic refers to what is important in history – what is interesting or famous because of its association in history with persons or events. Historical refers to anything concerned with whatever existed in the past or the study of the past, whether regarded as important or not. Such as historical novels, or the House of Lords.

Stories of power. As one man became a living being. Historical Power. Men who did not understand women wanted company. In a divine kind of way. Maybe as God did. In the power struggle of relationships. In a world where knowledge for many was turned into money. But at the end of life, as someone lost the breath of life, what happens to all the things that you have known? After all the things you spent time reading, the things you paid to be tutored in? When your mind dies, the patent was lost along with the chance to make profit. Unless you wrote it down. Unless you wrote it down, there was no guarantee you would be read by the next generation, if you made claim to the knowledge.

The journey from an existing present into a living past. Using words to try to move humanity forward. Using words to convey the most important parts about being alive. About the bonds which came out of stories. The bonds running through the story. About the breath of life and becoming a living being. The enthusiasm of youth, trying to figure out the meaning. For themselves. Being touched. Feeling touched.

And the relationship question: what are you doing to me? To allow uncondtional acceptance, in the creation process. Creating something out of deep feelings….images of passion. Likeness. Like in a romance novel, only with the couple having to work at remaining sweet.

In the middle…in the story about the apple….in the middle of the garden stood the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It was this tree which would decide the rest of the story. Once the LORD God formed man out of the clay of the ground and blew, into his nostrils, the breath of life. And so man became a living being, with nasal hair. And, soon, woman.

Bloodlines. Reproductive care. Creating something out of deep feelings. And heavy breathing. Passion. DNA. The blending of the DNA of two people. When other people make us. Confronting the other people who make us. Working in the field of interpretation, addressing the answer to the question: What is this bond of family? Translating feelings of a dance-like art?

Bodies. In the body business of dance. In the vehicle of life called “body.” Disposing of, transporting, the bodies. From one generation to the next. In the ordering of society. When bodies had to be certified in birth. In the first stage of identification. And one day to find a formal cause of death, to certify life and death.

Philanthropy—that you might have what I had. When a spark had been ignited. From a time so long ago. Before Eve presented the apple to Adam. “We need witnesses, to our fertility, to say we lived; the historians to record the deaths. The next generation to prove the difference fertility makes,” writes the poet Thomas Lynch.

And then the start of the relationship stories. Based upon tradition. Viewpoints, with all of the consciousness of transition, more from father to son. In a historical relationship like the House of Lord – that un-elected second chamber from the past. With the system in use at the time, from a time when the royal prerogative held reign: Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, Jacob, Leah and Rachel, et al. And then Joseph. With no mention about what ever happened to THE TREE back in the garden. After the flood. But conscious of transition in the movement over land, with all the human construct, in words, in systems of male domination, between good or of evil in the story. The spirituality in transition, between the dry and the wet, in the ongoing story of creation.

About that time before Eve presented the apple to Adam – the apple which represented the different viewpoint of a man, of a woman, about God. Was the story any different than being in art appreciation class, hearing about the perspective of light used by artists? So, what was one bite? And then the forced migration. The two sons, of good people. The anger of the two sons over what they could have had for themselves. Without any sweat. In a world of just baseball, apple pie, and Chevrolets. Without a need for a bailout for GM. And then the floods, as the entire world became corrupt, and God lost his cool. Not unlike a divorce, from the first wife at an early age – then the second beginning, based upon the future movement of nomads. Semites in the dessert, like nomads in Russia, or in China, per the history. The movement in the story away, and then back home. In my tradition. Into civilization. After all the movement in the story, had you gotten any closer to God?

Once you know someone, once you loved someone, you somehow had to figure out how to respond. In your fertility? Like Sarah? And then the wives of Isaac and Jacob. Fertility was an important theme in such an underpopulated world. The same theme over and over, creating conflict for the ancestors of Israel: About that future movement of a nomad. Looking for fertile land. Looking for power.

Fertility. In the ordering of society, then came woman. With allegedly a noble male. In a relationship that took your breath away. With the insecurity about letting a man inside you. The fear over the self-destruction….of nomads who could leave at anytime. And reproductive care, or what would one day be called in the field of medicine, the old-fashioned method of sperm extraction, hopefully with relationship in some form.

It was a different world, when the world was so under-populated. With a different consciousness, especially among the women. Of ideals, and ideas….and, what seemed to be, your search for God. Because of animal-like desire from a historic — or was it historical — relationship, like the un-elected House of Lords in that second chamber? And so the human constructs, with the divine right of kings. Like in romance novels. It must have been so much easier for Adam. Adam who got to spend the original time alone with God. And then with Eve, who took his breath away.

Ah, the consciousness of nomads, over time. When sex led to union, but it disrupted the consciousness –so much. What was this power within? In the story about the Fall, and our many reproductions and replications, generation after generation. Was I just a perpetrator in another failed love story. With so many insecure people, how was it that I was so secure? About trust? With all of the variety of complications. With distance always a factor in a relationship, along with time and space. A woman with a goal to control her own fertility. And her children. With all of the variety of complications. And the fear which a young man carried around with him his entire life. In a modern democratic republic which mostly existed, seemingly in the age of media, to avoid the difficult issues. And hence, the borrowing against the future.

Translating feelings. Into kids. When neither I nor most of the audience had a clue. How astonishing life is day by day. Working in the field of interpretation. When you were young, bound by the family rules. Rules that started to look, oh, too confining. About the ordering of society, where families had been identified within a community. With rules about power. When busy men and busy women did not understand power. The power of just keeping company. And in the middle of the garden stood the tree. Still.


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Philanthropy—that you might have what I have. When I was in the process of giving away a book. About what seemed a normal way of life . The movement in the story. From a time so long ago. Before the mysterious disappearance.

Tradition: You had to be looking at what it was which you were about to give away. To appreciate the movement in the story.

Having to resume a life, as if nothing had happened. All the ongoing movement in the story. Over the inheritance. The land was still here. The children grown. With a growing numbness. To the inheritance. And working for a losing cause. Cognitively impaired. With anger.

Philanthropy—that you might have what I had. What seemed a normal way of life. Like in the life of Cain and Able.

Having to resume a life, as if nothing had happened. After an injustice. Maybe after you have been forced to move. By the war. Or a sinking economy, with rising prices. Or by famine. Or just because your parents had shared one apple. And witnessing all of the truth which comes out of anger. With a demand for custody. Ask Eve. After she ate the apple. About the developing anger of her son, Cain. With his certain lack of self-worth which had developed. Working for a losing cause. A child of divorce asking about this all-loving God, with some doubts about the God of his father and of his mother. Over issues of fairness. And discrimination.

The Cain question: How can God not love my mother? Even if she had been, in an updated story, divorced? A child, wondering, how could such great parents be kicked out of the garden? For just eating the apple? And why should they lose custody rights? To the garden. Over a simple apple.

The Cain question: Waiting, to know more. About custody rights to God? On Ash Wednesday. Numb, at this point, about inheriting the earth. With an indifference in such a fast paced world. So, ‘Adios.’ To God. To the God of Adam and the God of Eve.

Wanting your own kids or grandkids to think. About their past. And the custody rights. To slowly think and understand. This creation. About all the problems in life. When both the giver and the recipient slowly thought about the great gifts.

Ashes. When you had to dispose of the ashes. What to do with the ashes? When one day you died. And the old-time costs of funerals were like the cost of health care. Just so prohibitive.

The old adage: Get lots when you are young. The anger over having been placed in a container of ashes, instead of in the ground. With all the expense of disposal.

The Nora Lynch story, by Thomas Lynch. To find me in his story. About ashes. What to do with our ashes. Mobile people wondering what to do with our ashes. In a society that spent so much to have mobility.

This western identity was so much about the mobility. Movement from one place. From home. With home security. With all the systems of home security and oil to keep warm. Oil to move around. Laws. Traffic regulations. Young people trafficked. Passports. Visas. Going to school. Junior year abroad. Going to work. Laws, to address the movement. The demand for mobility, and ‘destination’ weddings. With some sort of immigration policy. And caller ID.

Love. Coming home. Living with awareness. Nomads, with some degree of awareness, about all the movement. Awareness about how to position your feet. When you were not particularly aggressive about your personal life. But your wife was. About going places. About escapes.

The bonds which came out of stories. Using words to try to move humanity forward. Using words to convey the most important parts about being alive. Or, maybe Facebook. About true intimacy. Before people forgot.

Living with awareness. And how to position your feet. And learning how softly to hold the club. When a tradition was passed down to you, and it was your turn. But you messed up the mechanics, and due to a slice one day or a hook the other, you just were out of control of your intentions. And your short game. Oy-vey. Mobility. Distance. Speed. Maintenance. Having to be conscious about how close to keep the hands to the heart. The speed of understanding, when you were moving so fast, out of control. Compared to stationary people. The anger over having been placed in Group 2. As society distinguished the mobile from the immobile. Having been thought to be mobile, based upon your heritage. The anger at having been placed in Group 2, as immobile. With a dimming awareness —due to genetics, philosophy, or the environment. Which could not be my fault.

Escapism. Deep rooted self destructive behavior. The speed of anger. That never left. Below the surface. Lingering anger. The speed of understanding about the underlying anger. Over history. The self destruct in nature, that brings us to die each season. And then the ashes. With a slow speed in understanding. As your field lies fallow. Absorbing things, about the world. And the movement from one place. A lot like dust.

So, remember guys, that thou art dust.

The slow speed of understanding. About what to do with the ashes? Move to Phoenix? As a child of divorce. The anger over having been placed in this group. Separate. With pain. Because of some problems at home. With life. That had involved no choice by the kids.

Nomads. When you came from this tradition of nomads. Ah, with all the mysterious disappearance. Of nomads. With all the various degrees of understanding of God. But you should give thanks for all which you had. And for all the days of your life. And then start giving alms. To those who never had what you had. With various degrees of understanding, with the missing bonds, over the distance, which had never developed in relationship.

Love and mortality. Philanthropy. Passing it on, after your fertility was spent. Intimate sex and fertility, in such an unfair world. To somehow move a people in exile. Somewhere. The movement in the story. What had just happened here? Outside the garden. In this life? With all the need for numbers.

When you saw someone die. Or when you saw someone live. Demonstrating passion. To somehow demonstrate passion. Over the inheritance. The inconvenience in bad weather to demonstrate passion. Or in just bad times. Over a pregnancy. Or over the tradition. With the resources depleted. Money spent. And the growing pain. In a tradition.

Philanthropy—that you might have what I have. The slow speed of absorbing things, about the world as your field lies fallow. To drag a body out. To accept death. To start all over. In weakness to continue to accept yourself as you are. To finally feel moved. And to keep moving.

That you might have, that you could have, what I have. With the wise sincerity in content, Abraham and philanthropy. When on the surface Isaac seemed so undeserving. Like I was. Reading or hearing the stories. Of Abraham and philanthropy. That you might have what I have.

When you were moved by stories. Reading or hearing or witnessing one. About real life, freshly pressed. When I was in the process of giving one life away. A life that I never had been deserving of.

Sacrifice. For the slow. And all of this knowledge. And belief. And love. Based upon hereditary, or environment. The slow speed of trying to move humanity forward. In institutions. Or in other vehicles. Learning how softly to hold. When I was in the process of giving this gift away.

The slow speed of understanding. For nomads. When you were born into all of this. When you came from this tradition. Seeking, taking, sanctuary. With so many people indifferent, in good times. In such a mobile world. And seeing the passions become inflamed. Again. Over giving alms.

Remember man, that thou art dust.

So, with your slow speed of understanding, remember that thou art dust. Remember everyone, so that you might have what I have. And that you might keep moving. In alms-giving.

That you might have what I have. When you were moved to give alms. After reading or hearing the stories. About a real way of life. In real life. After reading or hearing the stories or witnessing one. When on the surface we were all so undeserving.

That you might have, that you could have, what I have. Life. From this God who was always involved in life issues. Giving life. Sustaining life. All the various varieties of life which, on the surface, seemed to be a losing cause.

And unto dust thou shall return.


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Free the Hikers

An International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran report published in mid-January 2011 said that Iran has hanged an average of one person every eight hours since the beginning of the new year. Amnesty International is very concerned that, after an unfair trial, Saeed Malekpour is facing a death sentence in Iran, with reports “he was tortured in order to confess to his crimes.” Last month Dutch-Iranian Zahra Bahrami was executed, having been convicted of drug smuggling.

So what is worse, pornography or torture? A web programmer who had written photo uploading software that was used in a porn website, Canadian resident Saeed Malekpour was arrested in October 2008 by plainclothes officers . Kept in the notorious Evin prison in Tehran for the past two years, Saeed Malekpour had been initially in solitary confinement for almost a year without access to legal representation. One year after his arrest, Saeed Malekpour was put on state television to confess to his crime of designing and moderating adult content websites, acting against the national security, insulting and desecrating the principles of Islam. “A large portion of my confession,” Saeed Malekpour wrote, “was extracted under pressure, physical and psychological torture, threats to myself and my family, and false promises of immediate release upon giving a false confession to whatever the interrogators dictated.”

According to the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran (ICHRI), 121 people have been hanged between 20 December 2010 and 31 January this year. Saeed Malekpour has now been sentenced to death for running “indecent” websites. If these were porn websites, his wife claims, they were without his knowledge. Informed of the verdict, the 35-year-old Iranian born web programmer is facing imminent execution and has been transferred to solitary confinement, until the supreme court sanctions the administration of his execution.

The principles of Islam. Or the administration of those principles. Or the view into the administration of principle, in view of human rights. The human rights to communicate something about living free. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad took office in 2005, as president, 26 years after the 1979 Islamic revolution. The Khomeini government then had placed the Ministry of Culture in charge of reviewing all books before publication. With the imposition of strict rules on book publishing, which now under the current president’s regime, seem to threaten the life of a writer. A literary spring during the era of Mohammad Khatami’s presidency beginning in 1997 had once opened up the cultural atmosphere of book publishing.

The principles of torture that seems to be woven into the Iranian Revolution in 1979, which comes with the human desire for power. The power of one human to say who is stronger. The power of one human to say that he/she knows God best. The power of one human to say that he/she knows the manner to know God better. It all was the same conflict that Eve had with Adam, as she offered him the bite of the apple. It was the same conflict that had Cain kill Able. It all revolved around the first commandment relating to knowing God. That commandment was why Adam, why Eve, were not to eat the apple.

The power. Governments wanting power, cloaking police and secret police in plainclothes. Looking for challenges to power. Using torture to keep human power. Just as had been done following September 11th by the American government, distorting the principles of the American constitutions, when American power was challenged. Just as in Cairo, as plainclothes police arrest hundreds of demonstrating opponents of President Hosni Mubarak, placing them in detention, subject to torture. Since President Ahmadinejad took office in 2005, he has his security services detaining, using various method of torture on people off the street. Like the CIA had kidnapped people and held them in detention. Not all that dissimilar to the three Americans arrested near the border of Iraq, while on holiday, when asked by Iranian authorities to come over. A man in authority, in the name of government, in uniform, with power. The two males were at least provided legal counsel, even if they did not get to talk to their attorney alone on the day of the trial, before or after the court proceeding, in their trial this week. Their attorney, Masoud Shafii has said that he had not seen his clients since Sarah Shourd was released, with requests to visit them repeatedly denied by Iranian authorities.

When the government of law seemed subservient to government of men. The Iranian press reported the number of trial sessions will depend on the presiding judge. Did this all seem like a “show” trial, in a country with a religious state where you had to try to show others you prayed. In a system sounding a lot like a Communist regime, where you first had to belong to the Party. Only Communists had not been allowed to believe in God, publicly.

When absolute power corrupts, and provides distortions in concepts of fairness. The distortion that led Cain to kill Able. The distortions which lead to capital punishment, in the name of justice. The distortions which led governments to want to manipulate the news of the world, or just control the release of the Truth.

It was a challenge to governments to try and cover the news, based in Damascus, Syria. Where then 17-year old Tal al-Molouhi, a high school student has been under arrest since 2009, on charges of revealing information to a foreign country. In her blog. There was not much left in the rights of journalists as newspapers collapsed in the past few years. There was little left of the Society of Professional Journalists. Was this the same motivation behind the detention of Shane Bauer that no one writes about. A professional journalist based in Syria, with the 45-year ban on public demonstrations, state-run television, and all of the “security” forces, where the government goes looking for 17-year old bloggers. And graduates in journalism from Berkley are allowed to write freely, but just not hike on weekends?

When armed groups” in Iraq “receive financial and logistical support from Syria,” according to Iraq General Raymond Odierno’s previous comments to Al Hayat. Yet traditional media never really reports on the financial foundation of all these “insurgents” in Iraq. When the money for weapons, a great deal of money, most come from somewhere. Iran presenting itself as the natural representative of the non-Sunnis and non-Arabs nations, opposing both Israel and the West in the region, allied with Syria in support of Palestinian “resistance” to the supposed ambitions of the West and Israel in the region.

POST SCRIPT: On Valentine’s Day, chained and blindfolded, Tal al-Molouhi was brought into court and sentenced to five years in jail. In Syria. Where 80-year old Haitham al-Maleh has been incarcerated since October 2009 with a three year prison sentence for spreading”false information. About Syria, the recipient of Iranian oil money to prop up the power of the family of a long-time dictator.

Egypt. There no longer was a Society of Professional Journalists left. Not when their papers were on their last ropes. There were no labor unions offering protection. As governments smirked about it all. The news last week was about journalists being beat up and released. People like Hilary Clinton, who hated the press. AND it had been Obama who had kicked 3 journalists off a plane during the last campaign, because their papers failed to endorse him. On February 14th, the U S State Department in the way of Hilary Clinton has clamored for the rights to an internet connection, in the Middle East. The communication systems that could be bugged, or turned off or turned on. The ones which had been developed by the U S Military but became prevalent under the presidency of Hilary Clinton’s husband. Technology in which the location of every cellphone user could be found. The Clinton administration, not exactly the stalwarts of freedom, having set up the Joint Task Force-Civil Support in October 1999 as a “homeland defense command.” In 2002 this evolved into the establishment by the Pentagon of the U.S. Northern Command, charged with carrying out military operations within the United States. Up until the Clinton Presidency, the U S armed forces under Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 had been barred from domestic operations, except in specific, limited circumstances. There was a hollow ring to the words of the Secretary of State today, by a government which issued National Security Authorization letters which no one was allowed to talk to anyone about –not even a lawyer –under the terms of the Patriot Act.

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Té Tremble

In modern times, one universal truth since the French Revolution has included the anger and the fear that the young always directed at institutions which sheltered a civilization. Not at all unlike the anger and the fear that came out of slavery. Like in Haiti about the time of the French Revolution. Before the Louisiana Purchase. The anger and the fear directed at royalty and the clergy. At the time of the French Revolution, the anger at all of the estates, including the journalists covering the story.

The anger over the powerlessness. The always and everywhere identity of being a slave. This powerful identity from the past in the New World based upon race that is not allowed in polite society to be discussed. Or about that anger from the past which had come of slavery.

I spent part of last weekend with the descendants of displaced slaves. I attended a program on Sunday about rebuilding Haiti. After waking earlier that day to “Speaking of Faith,” a National Public Radio program that morning which had discussed life in western Alabama where shelter had always been based upon a social order of the soul, with its burden of history. The houses of western Alabama always had had porches, in a day when air conditioning did not cut off a family from a neighbor, with a concern of long-term survival. Whereas part of the rebuilding process, part of the architecture included recycling building materials of the past, and an architectural teacher from the University of Auburn mentioned the slave houses in this part of the Alabama. As he was talking about the importance of an architecture that was committed and engaged, he asked who now could ever understand in this day and age slavery? “Either its social and/or cultural part at the time of slavery?” In western Alabama, where had been the descendants — with its displaced slaves and the slave masters still present. Architectural students from the University of Auburn had to find out about the truth in the collective memory of slavery, in the architectural systems being re-created.

The Saint Paul Public Library offered a panel discussion with sponsorship of the Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library with mostly Haitian people. Max Adrien is a Haitian-born Hamline University French professor with a Ph. D., from Tulane University in New Orleans where he helped establish a Haitian Creole program. In examining Haitian history, he told the story which began on December 5, 1492 in Haiti. Where Columbus sank the Santa Maria. Why Columbus came, with the late 15th century European God. Perhaps initially with a 16th century benevolence. To find a route to the east. To avoid the Ottoman Turks –those fierce Ottoman Turks. Adrian said he had a B.A. from Loyola University in Chicago, and knew well the theology of Columbus’s world. In a five minute history, he spoke of the arrival of the French who formally claimed control of the western portion of the island of Hispaniola. With the encouragement of Louis XIV, the French West Indian Company had begun to grow tobacco, cotton, indigo, and cacao under the labor of the enslaved Tainos who inhabited the island before Columbus’ gang arrived. With high Taíno mortality attributed to a missing immunity to Old World diseases, a French monsignor had suggested going to Africa to import replacement labor. And thus the history of African slaves from hundreds of different tribes, with hundreds of different languages. The estimated number was 790,000 African slaves in 1783-1791. And so the story of displaced slaves, from Africa.

Thirty years younger than the United States, Haiti was the first independent black nation in the Western Hemisphere. Adrien discussed Toussaint L’Ouverture’s revolution from France that caused enough fear to Napoleon for the United States to complete the Louisiana Purchase. Louisiana, with its sugar base economy. Louisiana, with its same French connection. Louisiana, caught in the same slave trade triangle as Haiti. He made mention of crippling reparations paid to France after the country’s revolution in order to lift an embargo. And its history has shown the ongoing dependence ever since, based on reparations for the freed slaves, and with the old paradigm of slavery. In the 18th century, Haiti was the richest island in the Caribbean, with its economy based upon sugar.

Barbara Pierre-Louis, a Ph.D. candidate, gave a personal account of her Haitian history, where reference was made to Paul Farmer’s powerful book, The Uses of Haiti. Both of these speakers had been in Minnesota on January 12, 2010 on the day of Té Tremble. Roulio Lundy was a young Haitian who had married a Minnesotan in March 2009 but was home on the island. One of 19 children, he gave a moving account of visiting a neighborhood where a woman his own age had prepared him lunch as he readied to journey 60 miles in his car to return to his mother’s home on that Tuesday. After turning down an invitation to eat food three times, he finally took the food and put it in his back seat and set off for home. Five minutes down the road, there was upheaval on the road he was driving on. The sky turned black. And the buildings along the side of the road collapsed. It seemed the end of the world had arrived. He spoke of picking up 3 young men in his car as he resumed his travel, witnessing horror after horror of adult men sawing off their arms, to escape from the rubble of their buildings. Offers of all worldly goods were made by those trapped if somehow they could be saved. The four men distributed the food and water in the car as they came across horrific scene after horrific scene. And he found that the woman who had prepared his food had died in the earthquake. He had a flat tire later that afternoon, and took a wheel off another care to continue on, at one point abandoning his car. It took him until midnight on Thursday to complete his journey on foot to his mother’s home. He found that all of his family member were alive.

There were questions. One question was from a woman who had sponsored a child through the NGO called World Vision. The Minneapolis wife of Roulio Lundy suggested that the people in the audience take a different approach. She told of the dislike of non-government organizations (NGOs), who have been helping in Haiti for 50 years, with more poverty today than 50 years ago, with a greater number existing on less than $2 per day than ever before. The view there that the people were poorer, and the NGOs richer. Causing in the view of many locals, more damage than good. The NGOs that seemed to want to do something. That was the environment in Haiti before the earthquake.

Yes, I had spent part of the weekend with the educated descendants of displaced slaves. Maria Roesler-Lundy had married a descendant. Her husband was the only member of the panel who did not carry a post graduate degree from an American university. And all of the Haitians had spoken of the prestigious schools in Haiti. The few prestigious schools. Education maybe not unlike the air conditioning which had cut off so many from their neighbors. And there was this undertow of class, even among the descendants of displaced slaves, some who had gotten the chance to attend the prestigious schools, to pursue passing on the academics to the next generation. With or without the anger at the concept of the 16th century God.

The institutional advancement of a nation. Maria Roesler-Lundy came over to give a more explicit answer dealing with World Vision. She said her answer had not been about just World Vision. Her answer dealt with not giving just money alone to Haitian causes, but the need to get actively involved with the people in the nation. And when her husband compared this crisis of rebuilding to being about more than sharing money but similar to preparing food and then eating it with the people, and suddenly I was overcome with the realization that the only reason he was standing in front of me was because he had not stayed to share the food prepared by his former next door neighbor. And I understood the reasons hat he had wept at the conclusion of his speech delivered in Creole.

His answer was about creating a relationship. “Don’t try to change the Haitian people,” someone had opined on “This American Life.” The moderator had wrapped up the program quoting an American physician who had gone to Haiti long before the earthquake. He had commented upon all the Fixit types who come to town and get right down to work. Never starting the morning, as the locals ask each day, “How are you? How did you sleep?” There were now a lot of foreigners who skip the morning greeting each day. The advice of anyone going to Haiti who would deal with Haitians was “Try to understand their point of view.” Because in Haiti, there were some grateful and some ungrateful.

Institutional advancement in Haiti was a slow and cumbersome process, Apricot Irving reported on “This American Life.” The pitfalls of the old model of the 19th century benevolence could be seen over and over. Many Haitians were experts at receiving aid, but not changing their own lives, maybe attributed to a built up immunity to Old World theology, as some kind of remnant of an slave culture. Foreigners always in charge, with hope that the Haitians would catch on. Immunity maybe to the 16th century God of Columbus, who somehow had allowed slavery. And then the 19th century benevolence. As the slaves over time had become dependent on their slave masters. And now this cowboy culture from the US, when the problems are there to fix. The Fixit American Men from Mars, and their women, giving out of what these people did not have. Of technology. Of water. It was the social order of slavery.

The doctor that Apricot Irving interviewed said, “Build a citadel and you build another benevolent dictatorship. The cowboy to fix the problem. For efficacy, service and security…why not become a benevolent dictator?” The choice was to either continue the dysfunction, or to create a new model. To replace the old model in this slave culture. Of Papa Doc. Or the NGOs. Or think about the hard work of community building. When along the way, services in 2010 will not be provided. And that admittedly was a terrible choice. Building true community takes time….with a perseverance in a relationship. Between people.

So the reconstruction of Haiti. And the choice between the old model and the new. The old model which creates a new slave plantation, dependent on the masters. With all of the fruits just like before. . . With the distance. And the consequence. The ensuing anger, the violence…the discontent. Or the choice which comes with authentic generous sharing. When people gave, out of what others did not have, with a true caring. A never ending caring, which was seldom recognized when any people were enslaved. So the reconstruction of all of the shelter, in the New World, which always has been based upon a social order of the soul.

And so the spiritual architects, finding out about the truth in the collective memory of slavery, in the architectural systems being re-created. In the new discoveries of 2010, in the reconstruction of Haiti.

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As Eve Asked Adam About That Lump in His Throat

Creation. The Tree of Life stories. After Adam met Eve.

The first Tree of Life story. Somehow, the Tree of Life was associated with the challenge to know God. At the end of the stone age. Before the nomads set forth. From the garden. “God looked at everything He had made, and He found it very good.”

The apple. Adam. Eve. Adam was there first. In the story. And he DID seem to care. About God. And then about Eve. And she had wanted the apple. And so the story. About breaking the relationship with God.

And so there was this relationship. Cave men. Or men from Mars. In a relationship. Adam first with God. And then Adam with Eve. As she entered the story, the one commandment had preceded Eve. Just one commandment. The first commandment. About the apple.

In the narrative, the one commandment had never been given to Eve. But Adam seems to have passed down, to have explained, the one rule. Clearly he has explained the one simple commandment. When all humans, if actually acted upon to eat the fruit from the Tree of Life, were doomed to die.

To know God. For cave men, it is not possible to like, to love anyone, unless you first know them. The greatest gift to be passed down was knowledge. So, did Eve know God? Directly? Before she ate the apple? I see no reference that they ever really met. Face to face. What happens in a relationship when only one party knows, works at knowing, God? What was this attraction, her attraction, to God?

And so the story. About God. About creation. Giving Adam and Eve everything. And about inheritance. Not so different than what I had given my own kids. Knowledge. Money. The ability to survive in the world. Beyond the lifestyle of just stone age men. And stone age women.

And so the story. Creation. The injustice of creation. From the perspective of a writer in the Land of 10,00 Lakes. In the location of the lake. When Adam, or someone, might end up living closer to the lake. Living in the age of hysteria, there was all the injustice of creation. Or since the injustice that Adam was closer to God? Eve and the perceived to be injustice. When Eve, who had never gotten to spend time alone with God, like Adam had. What was Eve’s perspective in all of this? Apparently, Eve did not really care too much about the one simple commandment. Clearly when it came to the one commandment, her actions bespoke her beliefs. Did Eve know God? About the one commandment, she more or less said, “I don’t care.” Maybe not much different than my kids, she was born into all of this, and never inquired as to from where everything had come. So what would be Eve’s motivation, concerning the one commandment? Born in His image. Formed in His likeness. In the perspective of a woman. In a world where Eve did not have a lot of choice. It was either Adam or no one? Or the apple? Was Eve silently unhappy with Adam? When two people always argued about the important choices. But born second. The second child. The unfairness of it all. In this arranged marriage. In a role of having to bear children. Of the timing. Of not really truly knowing –even in the garden – God. Not really seeing God directly, before she approached the Tree of Life. Maybe the original agnostic. Or not too unlike how an adopted child goes in search of the birth parent, in the search for the divine. “What’s He gonna do to me? Or what will your God possibly do to us, when I eat the apple? And you do likewise.”

And then seeing this tree. So was the demand for authority, establishing a degree of order, proof of love? “Don’t eat the apple.” Or was this just a sin of pride, similar to the stories about the serpent? In days when Adam and Eve had not figured out the equation. Of God. Of each other. Of conditional love versus unconditional love.

Somehow, this Tree of Life was associated with the challenge to know God. Was the tree about Spiritual knowledge? Or simply the Truth? Or maybe the Tree of Life story was all about what was missing for Eve, and she wanted some knowledge of God, or desired to be like God.

Love and desire. Establishing the proper degree of order. What happens in a relationship over issues of sharing love? Or was it over issues of sharing authority? She only had wanted the apple? Or it was more than just an apple? Now in her desire to share in a relationship, with Adam, and with Adam’s God, there was this communal need for greater union, starting in her relationship?

In the love triangle of a man, a woman, and God, there was Eve. The text clearly states it was Eve who picked the apple. And she ate the apple first. But he did know from where the apple came, since Adam was with her at the time. He was an accomplice to picking the apple. Yes, Adam knew from where the apple had come. Poor Adam, having to decide between God’s authority, and Eve’s. Having to decide about actions out of love. Or actions out of fear. The fear of the Lord.

Eve broke the relationship with God. With the inheritance, the dowry in the Garden of Eden, lost.

Trying to understand order. Law and order. Or God, trying to figure out Eve. She must have been a lot more complicated than Adam. And if Adam wanted to help populate the earth, in his relationship with Eve….well, God and His one commandment had to play second fiddle. What could you do about it? In the perspective of Adam? If you loved this woman? Adam had already figured out not so much her mystery, but he was letting Eve decide everything. In the days before any guy ever had married. But if he was smart, and wanted to try to be happy. Because maybe the fear of the Lord was not proportionate to the fear of Eve.

Now Adam seemed honest. Real honest. And he said that he ate the apple, because the woman that he shared a relationship with had first eaten it. He seemed to have wished to have shared in all of her mistakes. In her human nature.
Cave men. In the stone age. How hard cave men had worked. With their clubs. Lovable stone men. And their women. Like the one who had picked the apple? In power struggles of knowledge. About the Tree of Life. When Eve was essentially saying, “I don’t care.” About that one commandment. Had she failed at the Tree of Life, in the challenge to know God? Cave woman with their power struggles with men, and with God. Or just their insecurities, in the days before make-up. And before matchmakers.

How hard people searched to find God after Adam and Eve. Because Eve ate the damn apple. When at that point, God had seemed pretty satisfied about His relationship with Adam and even Eve, even if Eve was not satisfied.

Maybe it was a lot like last night. Speaking of clubs. In the discussion who the Appleton minor league baseball club had been affiliated with. For the past 50 years. In Wisconsin. Adam’s noble human nature seemed greater than mine. I just offered the right answer. Never was there an affiliation with the Minnesota professional baseball club. NEVER. While the three women in the room talked to each other. And arrived at the wrong answer.

Presenting the hard work of the past. By cave men. With cave women. How hard cave men worked. For water. For cave women. In those Byzantine relationships. Before marriage. Cave men who did not even seem human. Compared to me. They did not seem real lovable. Compared to me. Until forced to choose, like I was forced to choose. In looking for union, with a woman not unlike Eve.

Such was this, the start of unconditional love. When Adam was forced to choose. Between God and Eve. And he knew enough to tell Eve she was right. On behalf of procreation. And the future of the world.

It was in January that I visited that 3,000 year old fort in the Aran Island. Amidst all the rock. And no real tillable land. How hard in the culture it had been then for the Irish. And then over time. In their hard, hard lives. How hard their lives were, compared to mine. How hard people worked for their food. My ancestors. The tour guide that day talked about Oliver Cromwell. Was he in the Aran Islands, I asked? Noel the bus driver said he had been. Then 6 weeks later, on a public television show with Rick Steves, it was stated Cromwell never was there. Last weekend, my friend with all the family in Ireland said, speaking about dealing with authority, Cromwell was never there. But Adam and Eve might have been.

Yes, how hard people worked for water. And the hard work to find food. That present day nomads took so much for granted. When man and woman had failed in the instruction to cultivate and care for the earth. And now doomed to die. God who made the heavens and the earth, now had an additional purpose for His heaven?

Afterward, the punishment. For those cave women, with their calculating stone hearts, about dealing with authority. Women who, similarly, since Eve had to carry Adam’s children within. Only now God would be intensifying the pangs of child-bearing. And Eve had in every day life an affliction of desire to be with Adam, and he was to be her master. With no mention if Adam was allowed to remind Eve of this.

So the theme of pain, along with human nature. In the beginning. It seems apparent that even Adam could never boss around his wife. Like you ever could in a true relationship, boss someone around. And when God never had much luck with Eve, either. In this chapter.

And so the story about breaking the relationship with God. Presenting all of the hard work of the past, but with this need for healing. With a need for healing, for the present day nomad doomed now to die. Somehow, the Tree of Life was associated with death. And relationships. And how hard relationships were. Especially for cave women, with their cave men. And how hard people searched to find union again with God, ever since the beginning.

So what had been changed by Eve, after sharing an apple? With the ensuing theme of pain, when it came to the kids. Eve, soon to be taking care of someone else, in those ensuing relationship, with her own kids. With their same kind of doubts over obedience and authority.

The memory of it all. All the hard work required in relationship. Did Adam ever get to ask God if relationships were harder than creation? And then dealing with loss. The irony that soon Eve was to be dealing with her kids who often, too, said, “I don’t care.” So the ongoing pangs of bearing with your sons, the one who looked a lot like Adam, physically. As the need for more commandments multiplied, until there were state legislatures.

So what else had been changed by Eve, after sharing an apple? After eating the fruit from the Tree of Life, Eve had this longing every day to be with Adam, and he was to be her master. And THAT was Adam’s punishment in all of this.

And so the theme for everybody of pain, with fertility, which, for the most part, had felt so good. At least in the beginning. And the irony of all of this apple business, which had started over the relationship. But finally, for the present day nomad doomed now to die, there was at least God, and the memory of it all. When it seems apparent that, in Adam’s view anyway, if Eve had never came around, no one believed how great it had been here. Between Adam and God. But with no real reason to write it all down. Not until there was such conflict, such pain. And women, with their viewpoints about the various degree of pain. Theirs was the worst. And to write it all down, otherwise no on would believe it, until they found out all the hard work required in relationship. Based, in different proportion, on love and authority. And the irony of all of this. That Adam never had an apple juice again. In his life.

And so the story of creation, and procreation. Before the editors and proof-readers were hired.
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The Seder

Originally posted on Paperlessworld's Weblog:

Tuesday this goy was invited to a Seder dinner. When a family tries to comprehend their own tradition and its meaning in their own lives. In the reality show called daily life. With the movement in the story. The movement in the story of Passover and Jews. What did it mean, this Jewish identity? With your DNA, within this creation, you were related to Him, in your image and likeness.

How can you know God, without understanding Judaism? Tuesday night I learned about the customs of a Seder dinner, removing all leaven from a home – and maybe all the other things which inflate the egos in the rest of the year – in preparation for this day. When the preparation had taken the host’s father seven days, in the old days, removing the leaven from his home. Recognizing an underlying spirituality, about the ego in the story, about being…

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Fairies Alive in Ireland Still

Originally posted on Paperlessworld's Weblog:

God so made the world, visible and invisible. And landscapes do not talk to strangers.

In a world of stories not as often told, there is one old emerging story here to assist your consciousness, without recompense. There could be a threat in stories based upon pride, of being distinct from your neighbor, but your stories of a past should not fit comfortably, otherwise why would, why should, young people care?

God so made the world, and someone wrote the stories. So to capture the reader in story — to explain why to care — comes the mystery. In 

There is an old conviction in a land where they burn the peat that riches lay not on the land but beneath it. Little is what it seems in this landscape, in a land so poor in County Cork. And city people seldom pay attention to the clouds or the…

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Never Again

The First Creation: Who was the first guy is to remember the incredible amount of pain, in the beginning.

Darkness. Human consciousness. What is life but so much sleep? About needing a place to sleep. Home and homelands. Warmth. When you have been provided for.

Light from light. Peace. Unconscious dreams.

God and human disruption. Adults. Children.

Restlessness. Unrest. The movement in the story which disrupts the subconscious.

Ghost stories. To start with nothing. To continue with nothing of substance. To organize the ghosts stories. To proclaim what was once here. To wake up with a roar. About the do-overs. To remember chapter after chapter, as new people entered, where you were yesterday before you lost human consciousness.

The invisible story-teller who come and goes. Receive my holy begotten Ghost, and all of Its lightness.

Note the Fear of the Lord in these stories. Like my fear of the strangeness of other religions. The seen and the unseen.

Directed elsewhere by God – losing whatever it was I had been working on yesterday. Raising human consciousness by reading and writing stories. In the stories of the strangeness of God found from the recorded stories by wandering Jews.

The stranger. The tremendous human problem contending with strangeness … And if the fear was of the stranger, note that most of the stories of the Hebrew Bible in the Book of Genesis begins with what loved one did to each other.

Insiders. Outsiders. Private lives. Public life. Leaders in the tribe. And so the conflict of two brothers stationary with the land, when their parents had been in conflict with the land itself. Didn’t the conflict in the story of Cain and Abel involve an inherited curse? When you inherited a curse, to tend the cursed earth, which had happened over what Eve and Adam had somehow done.

The inheritance. The conflict in the story was between how each brother dealt with their inheritance, in a humility of being human. Born out of, created out of, humility, with goodnesss one day challenged. Born so perfectly andd fighting once again to create the perfection. The conflict between the brother stationary with the land (the one that Abraham and all his descendant would want of their own) and the brother who is free to roam the earth with the flocks. Like an animal.

To disrupt your peace. The alarm. The fear in a new day. Darkness. Blindness. Limits. Borders. The hurry. Before you forget these stories of disruption. Or hurry, before you die. The movement in the day.

The nightmare of being lost. The story of the wandering Jew, so much like Cain. Needing a home and homeland, like in the Second Creation.

Jacob. The stranger. The son of Isaac who left home. The spiritual direction in the lives of Isaac and Jacob and Begotten people affected by their fathers. The father of faith. Note the great restlessness blessed for Isaac’s return to the world, after a three day journey with the father. Compare Abraham’s return to his home after Mount Moriah to the return of Jesus, post-Resurrection. Feel the holy change in these stories, in the denounement. Taste the humility of Isaac – and me along with him. Note the unseen Fear of the Lord in these stories — like my fear of the strangeness of other religions. Note how even the leader has fear.

Light from light. Begotten people. There is a difference between people who came before Noah to those who came after him, in these ghost stories. In the First Creation there was the future without a future, and consequentially all of these sterile people.

Meet the people in the Second Creation who asked to have the earth blessed once again; people like Abel in the do-overs, with still the tension in these family stories of people who grew up close to one another, from a pride that came out of work along with the incredible amount of pain. The inheritance which came out of what loved ones did to each other. The conflict of goodness blessed, as well as the opposite, as some people in the stories seem too good, or knowing the muck from which they came, saw the necessity of somehow distinguishing.

Bonds. Tribal bonds. The fire that bonded us. The fire in word, in sacrifice, in relationship. The fire in our community, like the Spirit in a basketball team. “I had to replace that fire, through, with, in young people.”

There was tension in any relationship, in the manner of connecting, Overcoming the human condition of loneliness by tribal bonds There was the hostility always connected to religion, over who was better than whom. There is also the awkwardness when someone adores you, much less when the world does – ask an ‘only’ child. Having tears when these folks go in service.

Sacrifice. Feeling secure in a sacrifical bond. To break one bond and form another, as you no longer see each other, when you go away. To keep a connection, in your private life. Outsiders. Insiders. The tremendous human problem contending with strangeness.

Story-telling. Stories, like people, do one of two things: either uncover a truth or reveal something hidden about identities which came out of the banishment, the liberation, the exile, and the slavery, as told in the stories – to uncover what seems lost to history. What a literature of ghost stories does is invite others inside, where maybe they too could be held in the arm of ghosts.

What Picaso said about creation, that every act of creation involves a form of destruction. And so another CREATION STORY, when darkness had been on the face of the deep…on the face of the water – God said, “Let there be light.” When telling stories about people either reveal something hidden, or uncovers a truth.

Ghost stories, about holy ghosts. In the quest to KNOW, did you inherit a religion to be safe? Under constant fear of neighbors like in the Eastern Bloc of whispering compaigns, under surveillance. When your mother knew but never told you – that Abraham was your father, but you were asked to leave his tribal home, banished so much like in the story of Cain, who lived without commandments, like Adam and Eve. When you were born into ignorance, knowing nothing about the past, with centuries of silence, did you feel the QUIET CONVERSION OF FAMILY in these stories?

The story begins with Creation which, as we have seen, is the story of the acts of distinguishing one thing from another. It ends by alluding to the most crucial distinction of all, the distinction between Good and Bad, a distinction that becomes apprehensible to humans only by eating the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge, a tree about which the Torah tells us that it was (like light) “good”, that it was a delight in the eyes of Eve, and that it was desirable for comprehension,” and it was because of this goodness, this delightfulness, this desirability that Eve ate of it.
-from Daniel Mendelsohn’s The Lost

Who was better than whom? Why did Abraham go to Mount Moriah? In the ghosts of the distant ancestors, human betrayal of your first born son replaces the QUIET CONVERSION OF FAMILY, and the human consequences were loyalty oaths, as heresy became a crime and as one Abrahamaic religion tried to become the dominant power, for those living far from the old tribe.

Though every act of creation involves a form of destruction, the modern day pledge to Abraham should be that we will never kill any of our own – those who believe in Abraham’s God – again.

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East of Eden

 No one is a born story-teller. With words, in translations, there was such a long learning curve that cut into you. In words and borders and getting across time, with power and dominion and in BONDS which came from stories.
East of Eden

 To be moved. To be touched. The ease factor. The water in the faucet, or knowing the work involved once upon a time in simply getting water.

 Did you ever consider the ease factor and sex. For Abraham. With Hagar. Or the ease factor for Adam?

 Labor and delivery. The ease factor and the affect on women. Perhaps with an ease in birth control there was an appreciation for life lost. Born in the past fifty years when “the pill” was so readily available, was there a lost self-appreciation in birth control, as a result of the ease? Or a lost appreciation of women? When life is too easy, everyone loses an appreciation of the sacredness of life. Even men.

 The witness of cancer. When all good prayer is accompanied by fear which can add to your quite personal interior life. When you lived in a new century when “national security” – The National Security Agency – was the new god, with everything centered around “national security.” And so the Fear of the Lord in the story is replaced by the fear of the NSA.

 Wants and need. The inner feeling which can add to your quite personal interior life that you want something more? For Sarah. With Hagar, as desire becomes obsessive.

 In the name of “national security.” Cheating, in looking for an ease, no matter the foundation document of the U S Constitution. As everything centered around “national security.” After the fears of the Cold War were replaced by the fear of Muslims. And so the Fear of the Lord in the story about Muslims is replaced by the fear of the NSA.

 And so the story of Eve. The waiting in the story, for something to happen. When there was so little movement in the Garden. Until Eve arrived. With her restlessness. With her need to be moved, to be touched, as in all of these stories. So how had Eve been marked with a sign of unease?

 To be “better.” Cheating to be better, because the world revolved around you. Or cheating because of some innate fear – born into goodness, yet not feeling so good. Cheating, in looking for an ease, concerning this inner spirit to be “better” — perhaps like Adam, if not more God-like? Cheating to maintain goodness, or find goodness? Because without the inner restlessness of Eve, without the movement in the story, this would be either be the end of humankind, or a very boring story.

 “And maybe Adam will love me as much as he loves God,” said Eve to the serpent. About Apple, or the fruit.

 If it is true that sin has an allure which takes hold when desire becomes obsessive, which happen to those who obsess even over religion, over spouses, or if not over “faith”? Or those who obsess over “national security”. And the new forbidden? Don’t eat the apple.

 Noting the desire for an ease, and the ease factor, when desire becomes obsessive. Noting her desire to be touched, when Eve was not present in the story for the naming of the animals. What could you learn about Eve from the story of Noah?

 In stories about nothing but beginnings and endings, when it is the end for the rest of humankind, what did the marking — acts of distinguishing one thing from another — mean, when it is the end? Noah and his wife, enforcing abstinence among the animals, while keeping everyone separate. When the present becomes the past, that end was the threat to the present. (As marked by a circumcised male, or in the later new religion, a baptized one?) Noah, called to keep everyone separate, before the mix of this new Creation. The land in the story. When the land was the main character, with God hovering over the water? Time and place and land, but forgetting what happened in the formation of the land in the story? Before more of the fragmentations.

 Marked. To be separate. Marked by the cleaving commandment, as human. There was something exciting within when you came across a great epic. “In fashioning ‘woman,’ writes Larry Gillick, “God gave the man a closeness to himself, but just not quite, and this form of separation or distinctiveness would form the framework for the real meaning of human love; a revelation of God’s love, but not a substitute or replacement for that love.”

 Note a heaviness of a woman’s fertility, when compared to the lightness of a man’s, as the conflict in the story takes in the land, in the need to to belong. And soon the banishment, of no longer belonging here, with a new fear over being abandoned? By Adam, if not God?

 Writes Larry Gillick, “I pause to insert a quotation meant to stimulate, confuse, and accept. ‘There is not a woman in the world, the possession of whom, is as precious as that of the truths which she reveals to us by causing us to suffer.’”

 To be moved by unease, as something grips you. A restlessness. With the fragmentation in the carrying-on, after. Eve’s discovery was that not only she was somehow holy, but that her fertility was. From the ease of Adam mixed with the unease of Eve, the story continues with a second Creation which seemed to be based upon God’s unease with His own creation.

 With her restlessness. With her need to be moved, Eve and her descendants. What could you learn about Eve from the story of Cain? What was the carry-over? To be marked like Cain, or over time like Noah’s wife, who were both somehow holy, as people in need of forgiveness, in these stories about nothing but beginnings and endings. As a father, a mother tried to leave a mark of holiness on you — like in the story of Abraham and Isaac, much like the story in the Qoran of Ibraham and Ishmael.

 “Security,” for the insecure? Could you palpate the tension is in these stories, as God is perceived to be a threat, or the excitement when his God becomes MY God? Was Eve already feeling the inner fragmentation to come, like what Abraham had to contend with over his two sons, or Isaac with his two sons – or like what would one day soon come between Cain and Abel? The not so silent resentment, more like an inner hostility which came out of the pride” in somehow knowing God, which one day in the future led to conflict? There was the deep emotion in this story as the inside world threatened the culture of the outside world.

 Despite the new ease for every woman on earth who felt the pride in fertility, with all the different levels of the ease factor, from all the pain of childbirth comes the inner feeling which can add to your quite personal interior life, from the time in your life when you wanted something more. The pain so intense that you somehow never forget – that nothing ever comes easy? Except maybe for Adam.

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Rosh Hashanah 2013

Rosh Hashanah in 2013 is a celebration of that kind of deep inter-connectedness and inter-dependence which begins in New York City in about five minutes, and where I live in 60 minutes. In a modern story of conversion, Rosh Hashanah was a day of remembrance, much more important than the day coming up in seven days, about what happened in 2001. The themes of both dates seem to be the inter-connectedness of sacrifice to annihilation, involving the future and my personal fertility.

I think it fair to deduce that those brought up in a Universal church were supposed to believe in Universal law. For everyone. This was the theology of the Catholic church that many Catholics had a hard time swallowing — social justice for everyone. Who would be paying for it? There are various degrees in belief, like in Sharia law, if you believed in the eye-for-an-eye justice — who was paying for it — like for Syria, whether there should be punishment for everyone within their borders for having waged their own Civil War, between the Sunnis and the Shiites, now with chemical weapons; with germ warfare. Sacrificing more Syrians for the death of the innocent.

After the story begins with Creation which is the story of the acts of distinguishing one thing from another, here now is Abraham as THE heroic human figure in the Bible, after the Second Creation. It is of note that God uses story to communicate from age to age, from east to west. So on another Rosh Hashanah –the Jewish new Year — what exactly had Abraham ever really given up in the story of The Akedah? In his entire life, what had Abraham really ever given up? Here was a man so concerned with the purity of his lineage, before he ever had kids, who had gone looking within his father’s home for a bride. Why had he moved away from home in the first place? Clearly movement was part of his life – the prime part of his life. So at one point he wanted his own homeland? For what? For what reason?

To have to write it all down: the sequence, in a modern story of conversion, that your reach should exceed your grasp. Abraham and his lost control, like mine? Not unlike the spirituality of bees, there were homes and homelands as well as nomads like me who never wanted be weighed down. That was the inner struggle of a nomad — until you had a girl, who might have told you she was pregnant. There was the pain to be alone with your fertility. Is’t it funny how talkative women want to live with contemplative men?

“Why do you really care who my God is, Sarah?”

So by the end of this Akedah story, Isaac is saved. With how my contemplation has gone over the past four years, Rosh Hashanah asks the question once again, that Abraham always seemed to be asking his sons, WHAT are YOU doing with MY tradition? Are you saving it,or sharing it, or letting it die? As your interest in the past is supplanted by your fascination with the future — Abraham surgically removing foreskin on all his slaves as well as his sons — which you made claim to through fertility, which Abraham made claim to through his son, with both of his sons. Like God made claim to, if you were Christian, through His son. And the followers of Mohammud considered all of us infidels, unless you prayed like the descendants of Ishmael. So did you believe that morality was universal, or did you believe, like I believe, that morality was relative – maybe that salvation was mostly relative – passed down through generations, like in the stories of the Hebrew Bible (the Old Testament)? Here now is the father of faith, Abraham, as THE heroic human figure in the Bible. And I wonder what he thinks about how all of his sons got along in human history, distinguishing one son from another, in a modern story of conversion. Making people pay, as Isaac was gonna pay, maybe like for Obamacare, in a story concerning private belief and public policy.

You can look at how my contemplation has gone over the past four years, about how private deceit led to public shame when Abraham got home. And the story has been passed down ever since. To be born as a descendant of Noah and Noah’s wife, in a world in need of saving, was there a fair amount of shame to claim that his God had led him to Mount Moriah to sacrifice his son, in this story read on Rosh Hashanah — about one father, one son and one woman — a loving wife and mother:


In the need to get the message out, in the need for the story to be spread to people with more and more leisure time, food, travel, education, there was the packaging … conveniently instead of with suffering, in a story. Everything was more convenient than what a nomad had to live with. Maybe except for love, and its formation. Note the suffering between a husband and his wife that came out of a relationship with an Egyptian servant girl had grown into the suffering between a father and his son (Abraham-Isaac), or over his two sons. Until finally the suffering between a father and his family that came out of a relationship with a woman from another tribe had grown into the suffering between a father and his sons (Isaac-Jacob),or over his two sons. Until this suffering between a father and a son had grown into suffering between a father and his family, until finally the story grew into, has grown into suffering between a father and all people. Between Christians and Jews, between the Judeo-Christian world and the Muslim one.

And so the Atonement, for Abraham. Over your realization of how much Hagar and Ishmael hated you — or about Sarah, who you had almost an incestral relationship as your wife— passing on everything in an arrangement that she had planned about your family. Did you recognize God in all of the deep suffering, in these stories? Did you see the human deception in the arrangements, with a need to hold onto something. The things in a modern story of conversion which affect perspective: speed, the distance, and all the senses that perceive.

Did you recognize the deep anguish in the story? It used to be more evident in my life with the way the day Friday was distinguished from all the rest. It was due to more and more convenience that the world lost a connection to the deep anguish. The suffering between a father and a son (Abraham-Isaac) had grown into suffering between a father and son (Jacob and Joseph) over the loss of a mother/wife. Note the slight evolution in the perspective in the stories, between generations. In a story after story about ‘something’ missing between one father, one son and one loving wife and mother. So how would the descendants deal with missing rain, or missing food? And always the movement in the story of the descendants of nomads. The threat to all the tribe, if you learned how to diagram the sentences, seemed to be about a missing love.

Rosh Hashanah in 2013. To have to write it all down, in story of the celebration of a kind of old deep inter-connectedness and inter-dependence, but much more about a personal anguish. So hear once again this story and feel the deep anguish in the story, as the world tries to decide what to do about Syria, and a war that seemed to be starting in about five minutes in New York, or maybe in an hour where I live.

Copyright © 2013.

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