Saturday, August 23, 2014

“And hence in art, every space or touch in which we can see everything, or in which we can see nothing, is false. Nothing can be true which is either complete or vacant; every touch is false which does not suggest more than it represents, and every space is false which represents nothing.”
In this art instruction given by John Ruskin, I couldn't help but draw the comparison with people; in every person in which we can see nothing or think we can see everything, it is false. In every person there is more than represented by casual acquaintance.
Painting by Daniel Gerhartz.  

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

“Crying is one of the highest devotional songs. One who knows crying, knows spiritual practice. If you can cry with a pure heart, nothing else compares to such a prayer.” ― Kripalvanandji

Monday, August 04, 2014

  "Have you grown weary of looking for any signs of promise in this dull mass of fellow-men and withdrawn yourself into some luxury of self-culture, feeling as if what you had and were was too good to be wasted upon such creatures as these sick and poor and ignorant? You must be rescued from this proud conceit, not simply by counting yourself lower, but by valuing more highly the spiritual natures of these fellow-men. You must value them as He valued them, who gave his life for them, before you can be as humble in their presence as He was; and that can come only by making yourself their servant. Only he who puts on the garment of humility finds how worthily it clothes his life. Only he who dedicates himself to the spiritual service of his brethren, simply because his Master tells him that they are worth it, comes to know how rich those natures of his brethren are, how richly they are worth the total giving of himself to them."  Phillips Brooks, photo from the Internet. 

And know that pride
Howe’er disguised in its own majesty,
Is littleness; that he who feels contempt for any thing,
Hath faculties which he never used; that thought with in him
Is in its infancy.
The man whose eye
Is ever on himself doth look on one,
The least of Nature’s works, one who might move the wise man to scorn
Which wisdom holds unlawful, ever.
Oh, be wiser, thou! Instructed that true knowledge leads to love. 


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

  Last Sunday our church had a picnic after service and we had a local band play a mix of sacred and secular songs, lots of good fellowship and fun and games for the kids. A parent or two were dancing with their children to the music when one of the brothers whose daughter Gracie suffers from something like extreme Autism or some similar affliction. The malady won’t allow her to engage or focus on anything or anyone, and although she is fully mobile, but for a large locket around her neck, nothing else arrests her attention. This brother inspired by the music and love for his darling daughter swept her up into his arms and began to dance with her. As soon as he lifted her she became stiff and unresponsive, and she is about eleven so it was awkward trying to hold her, so he gently set her back down. He was unable to embrace the moment of affection with her he wanted, and all of us watching wanted, but his love is used to the limits she has and undaunted he lovingly attended to her every moment.

Later in the day as I was contemplating that event, I couldn’t help make the comparison between Gracie and her father and the children of God and their Father.  
Picture is my son and granddaughter dancing. 

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

“More than anything else one suspects that this is at the root of irreligion. It is not skepticism, but preoccupation, which generally makes the innermost relationships of a man’s soul with God of no account. The highest is in us all. At times it flames up and we know that we are not dust but spirit, and that in fellowship with the Spiritual Life, from whom we came, is our power and our peace. But many a man who has known the meaning and the might of this relationship has largely lost it, not because theoretically he has disbelieved, but because practically he has crowded it out.
“Sometime,” the man says, “I will attend to these deepest and finest relationships.”
Meanwhile he picks up his life as a football runner does the ball and speeds across the field. He does not notice the ground across which he runs; his eyes are set upon the goal. He has no present; he has only a future. The most enriching relationships of life, from family love and friendship to religious faith, offer their best to him, but he runs by. “Sometime,” he says.
That time never comes; it never will come. What he needs most to learn is that the days are not a football field to be run over, but gardens to be tilled, and that, if tilled well, they can grow now the things of which heaven is made.”

Author unknown, pic from the internet.  

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

  In the following piece, Martin Tupper eloquently describes the intricate process of how nature rebuilds itself, and in analogy, how our minds grow, mature and expand.

“Man is proud of his mind, boasting that it gives him divinity,
Yet with all its powers it can originate nothing;
For the great God has poured into all his works richly;
Except for one special property, the grand prerogative --- Creation.
To improve and expand is ours, as well as to limit and defeat;
But to create a thought or a thing is hopeless and impossible.
The following illustration about a large reef that was broken off, swept to shore, there to die and lay barren and its subsequent re-birth, will help us understand.

The Barren Reef

Behold the barren reef, which an earthquake has just left dry;
It has no beauty to boast of, no harvest of fair fruits:
But soon the lichen fixes there, and dying, digs its own grave,
And softening suns and splitting frosts crumble the reluctant surface;
And cormorants roost there, and the snail adds its slime,
And newts, with muddy feet, bring their welcome tribute;
And the sea casts out her dead, wrapped in a shroud of weeds;
And orderly nature arranges again the disunited atoms;
And in a short time, the cold smooth stone is warm with feathery grass,
And the light spores of the fern are dropt by the passing wind,
The wood-pigeon, on swift wing, leaves its crop-full of grain,
The squirrel’s jealous care plants the fir-cone and the filbert:
Years pass, and the sterile rock is rank with tangled herbage;
The wild-vine clings to the brier, and the ivy runs green among the corn,
 And the tall pine and hazel-thicket shade the rambling hunter.

With all this outside influence shall the rock boast of its fertility? Shall it lift the head in pride?
So in like manner, shall the mind of man be vain of the harvest of its thoughts?
The soil may be rich, and the mind may be active, but neither yield unsown;
The Bible proclaims, “There is nothing new under the sun:
We only arrange and combine the ancient elements of all things;
For man, it is his lot to find out things that are,
Not to create the non-existent.
The globe knows not increase, either of matter or spirit;
Atoms and thoughts are used again, mixing in varied combinations;
And though, by molding them anew, you make them your own,
Yet have they served thousands before you, and all their merit is of God.

I like this so much because it helps me understand the importance of lifting our heads to the world around us, and drawing in the good from everywhere we can. Let our mind be ever so fertile, if we don’t sow seeds of truth, virtue, and goodness in our minds, we will be dwarfed.