NBC in the crosshairs

CANDLE

Those of you who have been following QUEST for any length of time also know that my ramblings swing from the sweetness of sober-living and spirituality to the nasty scenario of politics and politicians.  I would much prefer to stay within the serenity of sobriety and ignore all the other noise, but, that apparently is not what my Higher Power wants.  “Lord”, I say, “I’m weary of the things of this world which sap my strength and peace.  I don’t want to write about the ugliness that is festering in our country and the world.”

“Son,” he replies, (yes we have an ongoing conversation) “you also were ugly and festering until I came into your life and cleaned you up.  Don’t argue with me, it’s my calling for you.”

“If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” John 8:36

I have heard many times in patriotic dialog that ‘freedom is not free’  when referring to a country which values the Creator-granted freedoms we all are given.  Wars are justified with this exhortation and despotic governments are challenged.  Freedom has a price.

And so it is with the freedom of the indwelling soul.  God has set me free but God also expects to be repaid.  It is not enough to sit back and enjoy as a hermit or an ascetic or a spectator the splendor which is mine.  I must carry that banner of egalitarianism, I must wear it as a patch on my sleeve, and I must never shutter out the ugliness and festering which continues in this world.

Years ago, as a young boy in a Protestant environment, “Onward Christian Soldiers” was a popular church hymn.  It has fallen into disuse with the advent of peace movements and increasing anti-war sentiment.  Probably that is a good thing because for many congregants this song advocated a war-like mindset in interacting with the world of non-Christians.  But there are numerous definitions of “soldier” in the Merriam Webster.  One is “adventurer”.  How sweet is that?   I am on an adventure for God.  I am adventuring in my life’s QUEST carrying truth and compassion for a hurting, ugly, festering world.

On this adventure there are obstacles.  There is an antagonistic presence which would deprive my co-sojourners and me of the freedoms we value.  Some of those obstacles are institutions, some are governments, some are politicians, some are the world’s oligarchs. Many are nameless and without description.

We cannot ignore these forces.  Although they will never alter the mission of a Higher Power, they can deter the efforts of like-minded men and women who see a greater reason for existence on earth than a mere accumulation of wealth and influence.  I have been commissioned, you have been commissioned to bring an enlightenment to humanity never before attained .  It is our work as designated from the beginnings of time.  Some call it evolution, I call it my purpose for living.

AMENDMENT 1

Ratified to our Constitution on December 15, 1791

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people to peaceably assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievance.

Out of the White House today comes rhetoric which is directly opposed to freedom of the press, a tweet which threatens a major news service, NBC,  calling it fake.  The talking heads say the President’s threat is unenforceable.  But, we must remember that Germany also stood at this threshold in the 1930s.  Millions of our brotherhood were murdered as a result of good citizens allowing a freedom to be stolen by the forces of authoritarian despotism.   FREEDOM IS NOT FREE.  I am designed to live in the fullness of peace by an authority which is higher than any earthly voice or institution.  But, I must be willing to die for that freedom.

I love this quote from Patrick Henry

“Give me liberty or give me death.”

NBC

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LENT

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The clean air, the smell of pine straw, the miracle of butterflies and bees give our brains a necessary airing-out from the challenges of our day.  We accomplish great things and solve many of the world’s problems as we stroll, march, or jog around the trails which meander aimlessly through our woodlands.  It’s as if this is exactly how God intended our lives to be before we stepped up to the plate and took over.  Thanks God, but I’ll handle this myself.  Those of us in recovery are especially proficient in running our lives our own way.  And we paid heavy tolls along the ego highway.  “Self will run riot.”

Those of us who profess Christianity are now observing the season of Lent leading up to Holy Week.  In my younger days Lent was a dreaded time of year because it meant sacrificing something which was dear to me.  Favorite foods, movies, sex, alcohol, and sweets were among the suggested targets of abstinence.  Needless to say, with the ensuing alcoholism of early manhood, I chose to abstain from Lent.

In my personal quest for truth, celebration, and relevance in faith, Lent now has become a particularly solemn occasion.  It is a soulful journey with Jesus to my personal cross.  I stumble, I endure temptation, I become fearful, and I question God’s will just as Jesus did.  I feel the humiliation, the stripes, the blood running down my body just as Jesus did.  I feel the nails in my wrists and feet, the sword in my side, the unquenchable thirst just as Jesus did.  Two thousand years ago Jesus and I were one essence, just as we are today, and I was there with the historical Jesus of Nazareth when he was crucified.

In 2017 Lent will culminate with the  crucifixion of ‘self will run riot’ and will celebrate the resurrection to a spirit filled life with whatever name we ascribe to that Higher Power which now directs our lives.  Our journey is a soulful expression of meditation and dedication.  It is a time of refreshing renewal.  It is a time of discovery and rebuilding. We don’t need to call it Lent, Holy Week, Good Friday, or Easter and we can practice it throughout the year.

In a nutshell isn’t this what our recovery programs are all about?  Bill W. and Dr. Bob demystified religion, revealed God as an inclusive and loving essence, and built the program of Alcoholics Anonymous on ancient spiritual principles. It works because those of us who were losers, misfits, and runaways now have a spiritual home with a loving Higher Power.

“If the Son therefore shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.”  JOHN 8:36