A noble crusade can keep you from your real needs and tasks — indefinitely.
One’s ulterior motives can be wholly different from anything one would expect, and can make one do funny things — that one likewise would never expect. At least, things that have nothing to do with one’s real needs.
Decades ago, my brother Francis, the dentist, knowing that my prescription medicines include SSRIs, asked whether I grit my teeth at night; for it’s common for such patients to do that.
I don’t grit my teeth, but I do take special joy in crunchy foods. This has been on my mind, as this hankering has been prominent in recent months. On occasions when I got turned away from the shelter, I would buy lots and lots of potato chips to include in supper, since they’re crunchy. Also, potatoes are high in tryptophan, a precursor of serotonin; so that potatoes are, in fact, a mood-enhancing food. Continue reading Ulterior motives are funny.
In recent weeks, I have become strongly motivated to become upwardly mobile. This raises theological issues.
Phil Zuckerman is a non-believer. He has no accountability to Jesus or the Scriptures. He doesn’t have to walk the Christian walk or talk the Christian talk. He doesn’t face the challenges, or have to do the work, I do as a follower of Jesus. Yet he wants to prescribe what Christianity must be.
He ascribes a certain Christianity to those who surround Donald Trump, and finds fault with it. I have no need to adopt or reject that Christianity. I have my own to practice. But it is not what Zuckerman wants to prescribe to me.
What’s wrong with Trump’s cronies? Apparently, as Zuckerman sees it, what’s wrong with them is that they’re prosperous. The love of God, as he portrays it, does not apply to prosperous people, but instead the poor. Only the poor.
So, according to the Christianity Zuckerman would prescribe for me, if I become prosperous, God won’t love me any more.
If anyone finds that he says differently from that, please advise. I welcome correction.
To walk the path to which I feel I’m called, I may need to focus on a Jesus saying Zuckerman does not cite. In fact, I have never heard any liberal cite it. Nor has it ever been cited in the chapel services at the homeless shelter where I stay; where they seem to think that all that matters is what one believes, and never what one does.
In Matthew 5:14-16, Jesus said, “You are the light of the world. … So let your light shine before others, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.”
In other words, do praiseworthy things.
Praiseworthy actions glorify God.
If I were to become self-supporting, would that be praiseworthy?
Might my example encourage or inspire others?
Might I even teach, by example, the ways whereby one may become self-supporting?
Would that serve God?
As to the whole thrust of liberal ideology, it appears that, if I strive to do what I feel called by God to do, I’m swimming against the tide.
I keep telling them not to let guys sit on the bench in the shower buck naked.
They don’t listen.
So again, Friday night 08/30/13, when I went to put my stuff on the bench, here was this heavy brown smudge. I carefully avoided it, but I told the peacekeeper, Philip, since he has access to gloves, rags and bleach, and I don’t. He was texting.
When I came out of the shower to dry off and dress, the smudge was still there. Philip was still texting.
This is a perfect example of why I think the New Age is just so much hooey. There is work to do here and now. That it may not all be pleasant doesn’t change the fact: there is work to do here and now.
HOW IT HAPPENS
The ecliptic is a great circle in the sky along which the Sun, moon and planets all move. All eclipses occur along this line; thus the name. The constellations of the Zodiac are lined up along this circle as well.
Although the Sun is on the ecliptic at all times, every day it moves a bit westward along the ecliptic, almost but not quite completing a full circle once every year. The degree as a unit of measure for angles, came to be as ancient astronomers sought to plot this motion — 360 degrees makes a full circle, just as 365¼ days make a full year. The Sun moves about one degree westward along the ecliptic each day.
The Sun’s position on the first day of spring is called the “equinoctial point.” Because the Sun does not quite complete a full circle along the ecliptic in a year, the equinoctial point moves very gradually eastward along the ecliptic, completing a full circle every 25,800 years. The equinoctial point passes through each constellation of the Zodiac in an average of 2,150 years.
Right now, the equinoctial point, where the Sun is on the first day of spring, is in Aquarius. Thus we are said to currently be in “the Age of Aquarius.” Since this began only a few years ago, it is being called the “New Age.” Immediately previous to this was the Age of Pisces (the Fishes), which began circa 30 CE; previous to that was the Age of Aries (the Ram), which began circa 1400 BCE. It is notable that at the dawn of the Age of Pisces, the New Testament focused on twelve fishermen (Matthew 14:19); and that at the dawn of the Age of Aries, the Bible focused on twelve shepherds (Genesis 46:32).
The most familiar expression of the promises that have been made concerning this “New Age,” is in the lyrics of the opening song of the 1967 musical Hair:
When the moon is in the Seventh House
And Jupiter aligns with Mars
Then peace will guide the planets
And love will steer the stars
This is the dawning of the age of Aquarius …
Harmony and understanding
Sympathy and trust abounding
No more falsehoods or derisions
Golden living dreams of visions
Mystic crystal revelation
And the mind’s true liberation
I have what I feel are good reasons to believe in something like astrology. But as to all this “New Age” stuff, I have my doubts.
On the one hand, I see no evidence that it’s going to happen.
The Age of Aquarius so far seems to me no different from the Age of Pisces before it, nor from the Age of Aries before that. Human behavior hasn’t changed in the last 10 years, or 50, or 100, or 500, nor 1000.
From the Bible: ca. 1000 BCE, David “defeated the Moabites and, making them lie down on the ground, measured them off with a cord; he measured two lengths of cord for those who were to be put to death, and one length for those who were to be spared. *** [H]e killed eighteen thousand Edomites in the Valley of Salt.” (2 Samuel 8:2,13)
Was that age more brutal than our own?
On the other hand, to lose oneself in dreams of an inevitable wonderful future is the antithesis of presence. It does not empower one to do the work that must be done here and now; not to deal with an abusive boss, a cold spouse, a rebellious child, a terminal illness. It will not lift me out of homelessness or joblessness.
The task I face most consistently right now is to see God’s image in my neighbor, who in my current context is disproportionately likely to be ugly, filthy, addicted, deranged, dependent or criminal. I cannot wait for a time when my neighbors will all be beautiful; I must do it now. This is my task, without any reference to any New Age.
Don’t get me wrong. The future has my permission to be just as glorious as it may choose. Right now, however, someone needs to clean the shower bench.
on air talent, talk show host, talk radio, the homeless blogger
One can want the best for another person, but
only that person can define what “the best” means.
On the walk from the shelter to church Wednesday morning, I was in great turmoil. I may or may not manage to recall all the questions now. Pastor is focused on the need to change systems (people’s circumstances) in order to alleviate poverty, and seems unwilling or unable to consider how people act; my orientation is the exact opposite, wanting people to change their ways in order to alleviate poverty. Pastor says he doesn’t like it when I talk about squalor; but doesn’t squalor need to be talked about, given that it’s why “haves” won’t invest where the “have-nots” live?
I am torn between the way I want to live, and the way I have to live in the situation I’m in.
Reasons to seek prosperity
At any given moment, it may help me to have an actual reason to seek prosperity. As my moods and POV change from day to day, however, a reason that I may have believed in one day, may not be credible the next: “I’m not feelin’ it.” So I may do well to have several reasons, different ones of which may be credible on different days. Continue reading Reasons to seek prosperity
Transcribed from my diary for Sunday 2017-03-12, for now I am intentionally leaving this unfinished.
Rough day at BK. I may not have the guts to recall and tell it all. But behind it I feel certain of (1) what Jesus did among the poor, and (2) what my task is at the shelter, and what it takes for me to leave. (3) I have suspected for some time that the real means of wealth creation, of upward mobility, is different from anything we have ever imagined. I have a notion of what it may be, and enough confidence in it to act on it, but it’s still very hard to believe.
The question is whether these certainties are enough to overcome my fear of uncertainty, my fear of the unknown.
My prayer for myself today was that I “come into a world where my diligence will be rewarded.” A related new concept, as far as the blog is concerned: efficacy — the feeling or sense that one can accomplish something. In question is whether I perceive my world that way now.
It is notable that a background of chaos militates against efficacy, and normally teaches that diligence will not be rewarded, except as it’s expressed in opportunism and predation (See “Can’t resist temptation? …” below.) A background of, or perceptions of, order, in contrast, teach the exact opposites.
Related previous post:
– Chaos overwhelms the poor
– Can’t resist temptation? That may not be a bad thing
(Originally published 07/01/13 at Trojan Horse Productions. Republished here 10/30/13.)
One of my buds came into McDonald’s this morning looking for me. I’d not seen him in about a week. He’s in really good shape today, but it turns out that, as I’d supposed, he’d been on a bender.
We went out front to smoke and talk, and the time came for him to get on his way. I expected him to turn to go back upstairs to get his stuff. He did not. “Where’s your stuff?” I asked.
He’d lost it. Again. Everything. Kept only his I.D. and Independence card. Somewhere, sometime, while blacked out, he’d got up and left wherever he’d been, leaving behind all his belongings in a forgotten place.
In my immediately last prior post, “Me, me, me,” I said:
It’s not that I despised material possessions; I did not value them nearly as much as I (overwhelmingly) valued relationships. What I did despise was the desire for material possessions. As a result, now I have none.
Relationships are what I do have. They are my treasures in heaven.
on air talent, talk show host, radio talk show, the homeless blogger