Being Here Now. Hill Country News February 22, 2018

By Chuck Robison

In the Fall of 1971 I found my copy of Be Here Now, Baba Ram Dass’ classic introduction to Eastern Thought. I read it, and put it in a prominent and safe place in my library. From time to time, as powerful lessons arrived in my life, I would pull it out and discover that Ram Dass had added deeper understanding in my life with this magic book.

Here’s what I have learned so far.

Now was a big lesson. As a history major, I was and still am a person of deep nostalgia and reverence for the past. I can go there at the drop of a hat. I’ve spent my life taking notes and pictures and keeping memories….some pleasant and some not so.

I am also an early member of the World Futurist Society. I spend a lot of time in the future. Looking at trends, speculating about where we are going and sometimes discovering that I see a future that others do not see which reveals itself in time. I have trained myself to see as far into the future as I can possibly see. My concern for the place America finds itself in today is grounded in the fact that I can see a road we are taking developing into a major tragedy for America and the world.

It has taken me a long, long time to drag myself into being Present. But what a change it has brought in my life. The Past and the Future do not exist. Frequently the past turns out to be about guilt and the future about fear. In any case, you cannot be in either.

Living in the present allows me to see and feel and observe and participate in an authentic and complete fashion. In the present, I need hold nothing back. It is the only place where I can live life at 100 percent and at the speed of light.

Over the past two years I have begun to understand Being. Early on I received a heavy dose of needing to achieve. And I’ve done ok. But being driven to achieve all the time brings with it a belief that if I am not making and doing, then I am of no worth. So that leads to a life of constant striving, missing the mark, being disappointed and feeling the need to constantly strive for more.

But now, after only forty more years, I am beginning to understand that my willingness to just be, to just be present, reveals a huge secret. The Universe has a plan for me and has prepared me to accomplish that plan, and will provide all I need to complete the plan.

It’s the opposite of striving. As I become willing to just be, I find that my future and my role and my accomplishments find me, rather than my striving for them. They come as wonder-full surprises.

All of a sudden life has become almost childlike. Now I live spontaneously and even fearlessly. I am constantly reminded of the 1988 movie “The Incredible Lightness of Being.”

Being is an altered state, a higher dimension, a blessed discovery. And I am grateful God has allowed me to live long enough to learn this.

Onward Christian Soldiers. Hill Country News. November 30, 2017

Onward Christian Soldiers

    By Chuck Robison

False Prophets are very good at hiding their falseness.  Recently, Jim Baker, the religious swindler and convicted felon, stated that if Trump is impeached “The Christians will finally come out of the shadows.” He went on to state ”Such an impeachment will result in another American Civil War. It will be called for and managed by the Christians.”

In a recent Baptist News Global article, Miguel De La Torre states: “Evangelicalism has ceased to be a faith perspective rooted in Jesus the Christ and has become a political movement whose beliefs repudiate all Jesus advocated.

The beauty of the gospel message — of love, of peace and of fraternity — has been murdered by the ambitions of Trumpish flimflammers who have sold their souls for expediency. No greater proof is needed of the death of Christianity than the rush to defend a child molester in order to maintain a majority in the U.S. Senate.

Evangelicalism’s embrace of a new age of ignorance, blames homosexuality for Harvey’s rage rather than considering the scientific consequences climate change has on the number of increasing storms of greater and greater ferocity.

You might wonder if my condemnation is too harsh. It is not, for the Spirit of the Lord has convicted me to shout from the mountaintop how God’s precious children are being devoured by the hatred and bigotry of those who have positioned themselves as the voice of God in America.”

On November 20th, The Boston Declaration, condemning the abuse of the Christian faith by many conservatives today, was written, signed and released by over 300 hundred Christian theologians attending the American Academy of Religion and the Society of Biblical Literature, an annual meeting of nearly 10,000 professionals in religion.

In a dramatic press conference at Boston’s famous Old South Church, where many dressed in sackcloth and ashes to call for repentance and change in Christianity in the United States, the presenters were clear that white American Evangelicalism is in a crisis, a crisis of its own making. It has abandoned the Gospel of Jesus the Christ.

They said: “We are here because Jesus taught us to “love our neighbor as ourselves. We are here because we take the parable of the Good Samaritan to heart. We are here because we refuse to allow Christianity to be co-opted by the likes of people who support abuse of women, the closing of our nation to the immigrant in need and the normalizing of lie after lie after lie.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German Christian pastor who was arrested and ultimately executed by the Nazis for his opposition to Hitler, contrasted what he called cheap grace” with the costly grace of the Gospel. “Cheap grace means grace sold on the market like cheapjacks wares. The sacraments, the forgiveness of sin, and the consolations of religion are thrown away at cut prices. Grace is represented as the Church’s inexhaustible treasury, from which she showers blessings with generous hands, without asking questions or fixing limits.

The Christianity Bonhoeffer denounced is the Christianity we denounce today. It is a Christianity that literally enables hate, hate for people of color, for immigrants, for those of other religions, for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender human beings, for women and girls, for the poor and the most vulnerable among us.”

We have now reached that moment when Christian preachers of every kind must stand up and demand that those who claim to follow The Christ actually follow The Christ.  We cannot allow another American Civil War to commence being led by faux Christian leaders who preach hatred, exclusivity and war itself as a solution to anything.

You, the reader of this article and all the other publicity in this crisis, must take this seriously.  Six weeks before the firing on Fort Sumter, no one had seriously thought that a real war would occur.  And then without warning, America caught on fire.

As the convicted felon Jim Baker says, we are very close to a civil war.  Our whole country is armed and dangerous.  One match, one bullet, one mistake,  even one impeachment trial, and we are done.  If we really claim to be Christians, then we must follow The Christ.  At the very least we must seek peace with our American Brothers and Sisters.  And we must act now.

If we allow this war to start, we will have to learn, again, the hard way, the sad truth of every war.  At the end of every war we must answer the very same question that we failed to answer as the war began: How can we live with our brothers and sisters?

Following The Christ, seeking peace and charity towards all and compassion for each, we can grow to the America we were educated to believe we lived in.  We are fast leaving that America under a false flag of Making America Great Again.

The Christ, as promised, will be with each of us until the end of time, but none of us will live to see a great America ever again.

Pray for peace, pray for forgiveness, pray for each other.

HCN Faith Article for November 15, 2017

 

Polaris

 

By Chuck Robison

 

“Two things fill the mind with ever-increasing wonder and awe, the more often and the more intensely the mind of thought is drawn to them: the starry heavens above me and the moral law within me.”

                                                          — Immanuel Kant

One of the most important discoveries in our long history concerns the Pole Star.

Many thousands of years ago, after perhaps hundreds of years of observation and analysis, a small group of men in a field somewhere concluded that there was one star that never moved.  They knew this to be correct for they had kept an oral record of all the observations for all that time.  They knew two things to be true.

First, there was one star that was always in the same place, while the other stars rotated around this one star.  Second, this star could always be found by locating its neighboring stars, usually thought of as the Big Dipper.  This star was the northern most point of all the stars that rotated around it.

The predictability of this star’s location and the sameness of its light resulted in it being known as the light that never fails.

The Universe had provided us with a natural and universal compass in the heavens.  All sorts of adventurers and explorers have used it to find their way over land or sea and they still do.

That, by itself, qualifies this as being one of the great discoveries of all mankind.

However, just as above, so below.  We have also found that each of us carries our own moral pole star in our hearts.  It is there to keep us from becoming lost in life’s journey.

It is that still small voice that quietly seeks to guide us back on the path of peace and love, which is what we are in our most basic and also most sacred sense.

We experience this power sometimes more than others.  Right now, our world is going through a moment of Global Confusion and a kind of species-wide nervous breakdown.  We see it everywhere.  In America, we are being forced to confront the reality that a minority within our country has set in place a process that is destroying our country as we have known it.

Currently there seems to be no will to change this dangerous course, nor any vision to replace it.  So, we will have to ride it out.  It may take a long, long time to bring America to a level of greatness we all took for granted just twelve months ago.  Or we may never again experience our once highly regarded place in the world.  And it does not matter that our mortal enemy of the past 75 years, The Russian Communists, have helped corrupt us into this downward spiral.

The problems that our moral compass now addresses have always been with us and are more urgent now than ever.  We are being divided by forces that want us to be against our neighbors and our fellow citizens of this land and of this world.

In this storm of Global Confusion, the temptation is to go off-course and take sides against each other and then attack each other.  When we use force against each other, we deny the fact that there is only One Power in the Universe.  And it is this Power, which is God in us, that will ultimately resolve this situation.

Here is the message of our inner moral compass:  That compass, like the one in the sky, is there to show us the way to a safe journey.  It is there to help us rise above the rough seas and treacherous trails that one encounters when we forget who we are.  We are all One.  One species, One creation, One Universe, One Power and One God over all.

Pay attention: In the times ahead, each of us will need our moral compass to survive.  Take this seriously.

Chuck’s article for the September 27 issue of Hill Country News

Faith Article for September 27, 2017

Here’s what you get to take with you

 

By Chuck Robison

I stood at the foot of my father’s bed in Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas on October 9, 1975.  My mother was standing beside my dad and we had arrived at the moment we all knew was coming and dreaded to experience.  The night before I had fed my dad his last meal.  He said to me then: “I never dreamed it would be this hard to die.”  The pain was unbearable.  The cancer had gone throughout his whole body and his bones were no longer able to support any part of his body.

As I watched him tell my mother he loved her for the last time and then close his eyes, I saw his soul leave his body.  As it did, there was a strong wind that moved counter clockwise around the room and it rattled the venetian blinds that covered the three windows facing Walnut Hill Lane and then it passed through my body and I knew at that moment that my life was about to change completely and in the most dramatic ways.  The wind went on around the room and left my mother with a look of total abandonment.  And then it was over and my Dad was gone forever.

And then the big question hit me:  What was he taking with him?  Certainly not his ruined body, none of his stuff, no money or tools to use in the afterlife, as has been the custom all over the world since time began.  No pictures or good luck charms.  Nothing one could see at all.

But it became clear to me that he was taking the same things with him that I would take with me, and you will take with you when it is time to leave:  His feelings and his memories.  That’s it.

We are told that upon arrival on the other side of the veil, we will be met by the souls who have travelled together with us for countless lifetimes and we will realize that each of these souls have been our dearest teachers and most important relationships.  Even those we think are our earthly enemies will be revealed to us as the closest of spiritual friends.  And we will discover that in making them enemies, we forgot not only who they were, but who we are as well.

We all fear the unknown of death.  We fear being judged.  But, the truth is that on the other side of the veil, we will see ourselves as God sees us:  powerful spiritual beings who are forgiven, loved and eternal.  And we will see that all those things that we did here that brought ourselves and others pain, were nothing more than the parts of the drama we came here to use as a means to make our souls grow.

But they have resulted in bad memories and ruined experiences.  And it is sad that many of us will not even have a glimpse of who we are until we walk through the veil.

But that can change….instantly.  Jesus used the words sin, sinner, sinning and sins no more than twenty-two times in all of his teachings.  But love and forgiveness were words he used constantly.  And he urged us to love each other, even the people we hate because they have hurt us.  He even asked us to pray for them.  Now why would he do that?  Perhaps he wanted us to get used to the truth that things are not what they seem, and today’s earthly enemy is heaven’s most powerful teacher.

What if we could take only happy memories and loving feelings with us when we go?  Pie in the sky?  I think not.  If you knew that each person in your life, regardless of what he did to you, he actually did for you, for you to grow. If we knew that, then anger, revenge, judgement and condemnation would be of no use.  We could forgive anything.

It’s possible.  And as each of us learns to forgive, even when it seems to make no sense at all, we will begin building up a storehouse of good memories and loving feelings, which we will understand only when we see each other on the other side.

HCN Roundtable Article: Should the Churches be Taxed?

 

 

By Chuck Robison

 

Should the churches be taxed just like regular organizations?

Well, in the olden days, it was understood there was an agreed upon barrier between the church and the state. The Constitution forbids the Government from proscribing any religious anything. Hands off, and for the longest time it was understood that was a two-way street.

But since 1980 and the Religious Right’s total takeover of the Republican party, there is a serious blurring of the lines between church and state. Actually, (and I do not consider this an exaggeration) if you are a Christian today in Texas you are also most likely a Republican. Test it out.

In the olden days, when clergy started to lead social justice solutions, we were told we had gone from “Preachin’ to Meddlin’!”, meaning we had no business trying to have an influence outside the church.

Yet today, you cannot get elected to political office nationally and in many states without the Evangelical Vote leading your support.

And, oh the Rascal Masters who lead the church into politics! You may remember The Reverend Franklin Graham speaking publically on September 12, 2001 and admonishing the Bush Administration to go immediately to Atomic War with the whole Middle East. Then, of course, President Bush called his milder response a Crusade, mirroring a time when the churches’ actually did hold power over the Kings themselves.

But on August 8th, 2017 according to Huffington Post, a Republican right-wing pastor who serves on Donald Trump’s evangelical advisory board claims God has given The President “full power” to launch an attack on North Korea anytime he wants, any way he wants.

Robert Jefferies, head of the Dallas First Baptist mega church, told CBN that a biblical passage in Romans allows rulers to use “whatever means necessary ― including war ― to stop evil.” The good and famous Dallas Reverend shows he knows nothing of how the Constitution works. But his ignorance does not preclude him from assuming that his role gives him unique power in this government of the people, by the people and for the people.

So the church cheers on a war when its own ruler commands His followers to love their enemies, pray for them, and care for them. The churches’ real job is not to stop evil, but to overcome evil with love and light. To demonstrate love rather than promote fear and death.

The politically active Evangelical Right wants a war more than it wants to feed hungry Americans, clothe Americans and heal them with the right of free medical care.

Now, with that thought in mind, ask yourself if there really should be a separation of Church and State. If so, then we need to reel in the church leaders who are calling for nuclear war and giving their opinions as if God Himself were speaking.

But, since the churches’ command more than a trillion dollar’s worth of real estate, alone, we are not likely to ever see them allow the government to tax them for anything. Sad.

 

Divine Order. Hill Country News on June 14, 2017

By Chuck Robison

We moved to Austin in 2006 and 11 years later, I can assure you, Austin is nothing like it used to be. As you know, driving in the new Austin is much like being in the finishing lap of the Indy 500. The rush that most people display on the highway is almost painful. Something is pushing us to our limits every day.

Many of you have heard the idea that all is in Divine Order. This is an injunction to accept things just as they are, to go with the flow and to be present regardless of the circumstances. On the other hand, we have grown up with the notion that this is a “make and do world” and if we are not striving, we are slacking and not measuring up. The apparent message is that something is constantly demanding that we do-do-do and rush-rush-rush. And for what?

Deepak Chopra says: “I have all the time in the world. I am in touch with the timeless. I am surrounded by infinity. When I think like that, it doesn’t mean I’m going to miss my train, it just means that I’m not thinking about it right now because I’m speaking to you.” 

Karen and I have our offices at home and we do not need to be out of the office on a regular basis. When we do leave our offices, we discover that we enjoy one of the greatest luxuries available to modern Austenite’s. For the most part, we allow ourselves to stay relaxed and unhurried.

None of us can revisit yesterday any more than we can explore tomorrow. The desire to go back to the past is motivated by guilt. The need to participate in the future is generated by fear. And we can do neither, despite the fact that our culture uses both directions to distract us from the present. It is as if there is something wrong in both directions and in the present as well.

But people of faith, which we Christians profess to be, know somewhere deep inside that there is a Divine Order to life and it can only be experienced as a result of trust in what God is doing right now, right in front of our faces, regardless of what is happening.

There is a work-around to our problem with the Present. The situation in which we have chosen to live demands that we be always doing something, going someplace, seeking something. The truth is the more we release all of that and just be, just be present, the more relaxed we feel and the more we discover that in a Divinely Ordered Universe, exactly what we need and exactly what is ours is already present right in front of us…..no striving necessary.

God, in His infinite wisdom did not give us the ability to read His Mind. But by observing the lives of those who have tried to live in The Present, we see that what was needed was directly and easily available.

Faith says to each of us, regardless of situation, station or heritage, that God will not abandon the souls He has created. We are here to out-live our earthly experience and to continue to live for eternity. Once we get that insight, the past and the future are meaningless.

We live in the endless beginning and the endless end and all is in Divine Order.

Faith Roundtable Article January 22, 2017

          By Chuck Robison 

 The Question: Should strong relationships be formed with those who have different religious views?

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 January 11, 2016: “A new video has just been released in which Pope Francis very clearly expresses his belief that all of the major religions are different paths to the same God.  He says that while people from various global faiths may be “seeking God or meeting God in different ways” that it is important to keep in mind that “we are all children of God”.

The two moral leaders of our time, Pope Francis and The Dali Lama affirm that all paths lead to God.  This echoes what Albert Einstein said seventy-five years ago: “Science and religion both lead to the same truth.”

If you have already made the transition to a One Uni-verse View, that all things are connected and work together according to God’s direction, then this Roundtable Discussion is a slam dunk.  YES! Strong relationships should be formed with those who have different religious views. In fact, if you are open to forming strong spiritual relationships with everyone who comes across your path without regard to faith, gender, nationality or color, you will see your soul growing by leaps and bounds.

In my ten years as a Chaplain at the United Nations, this one issue was the central thing I took away when I left New York. While there, I got to meet, know and work with leaders from all the world’s religions.  That ten-year period in my life was like a Post Graduate Degree in World Religions, and I am truly grateful that I have that experience to inform my understanding of how things are meant to work.

Today there are 4200 religions in the world and each one has a different name for God, just as many of the readers of this column have different nick-names when they are in different social groups.  The names change, but the person is the same.  As below, so above.

God does not separate us; we separate ourselves.  The truth is that even the most difficult of religious zealots has a heart and a mother and a dream for the future.  When we are willing to relate to each other on that level, we can see God through our eyes, our friend’s eyes and God’s eye’s as well and all at once.

Here is something both common and special at the same time.  When you drop your defenses, and are willing to not have to be right all the time, and show just a little bit of open curiosity about another’s truth, you will find that people are always willing to explain their religious beliefs to you as well as how their religions work.  It makes them feel valued and shows you are valuable too.

Then, something close to magic happens.  When this moment of unity occurs with another, our hearts come into coherence and beat in rhythm and we find friendship and the discovery that we are one with another person whose belief experience is totally different than our own.  This is called Oneness and it is how you feel every time you hear that old Coca-Cola commercial about how “I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony!”

Somewhere in each of our hearts we know that special song, which all of us knew when we were four years old.  The grownups told us that was just childish and we forgot that song, for the most part.

But as you read this very sentence, your heart longs to experience, once again, that child in you and his song.  He still remembers we are all one, and he knows to hold hands with each other, because it is safer that way.

 

 

 

Making a Silk Purse from a Sow’s Ear – 2017-01-10 Faith Article

By Chuck Robison

This week we will inaugurate the 45th President of the United States. According to Pew Research more than 60 percent of all white Christians are registered as and vote for Republicans. If this metric describes you, this may be a time of buyer’s remorse. We have all been so busy with so much work and activity that we did not have time to pay much critical attention to the news before the election. Now that Christmas is over and the pace has slowed down a little, we can reflect on what the election has created.

For our next President, we Christians wanted someone different than a young 50% white Hawaiian with a two-degree Ivy League education who wanted to include all Americans in the actions of government. We voted for a 100% white male from Queens, New York to lead us for the next four years. He’s rich, Republican, old, fat and unafraid to state whatever comes into his mind. And he has virtually no experience in leading a government of any size. But his governmental experience in dealing, under the table, with governments all over the globe better qualifies him than any customary experience. He knows how to cheat, hide, steal, manipulate and lie better than any other President we have ever had. This new President can be a player at the poker table of world government and attempt to win with the best of them.

But our buyer’s remorse gives us pause to consider that a government of white male billionaires working for us may not act in our best interests. And the fact that the very first act of the new Congress was to secretly vote out the Ethics organization purposed to keep them honest is sobering.

We are now on a course which will force all of us to get involved in creating a new form of government radically different from the ineffectiveness of the current government. Surely, the first thing will be closing the Electoral College which prevents us from having a one person, one vote democracy while assuring that the billionaires can get whomever they want into any position they wish.

Taking such a dramatic step toward a new government will re-activate all the power tools used in the election process to divide us. Not that we are all that hard to divide. Just dog whistle some of our more popular prejudices and we will turn against anyone.

The 1810’s expression “Silk Purse from a Sow’s Ear” implies that if something is not very good to begin with, you cannot do much of value with it. But that is where we are and what we must deal with moving forward. We are going to take what we have and create something remarkable from it.

Above and superseding all the rules of the World’s religions, there are eternal universal spiritual laws. These laws have more power and are more dangerous in their severe punishments for transgressors than any material or religious laws. We do ourselves well to know and obey these laws.

Chief among these laws is the one that states: WE ARE ALL ONE. Separation, divisions and taking sides against a part of God’s creation is doomed to long term failure. All 8 billion of us are in this together and to promote separating ourselves from each other is to deny the truth and to incur the penalties for breaking this primary Universal law.

No better example exists than the American Civil War. Brother against brother brought almost a million deaths and in the end, we still had to learn to live with our brothers and sisters, and we are still learning.

We are all closely connected and our technology mirrors that truth to us every day. We can connect with any person in the world from the palm of our hand with little or no effort. Moreover, the connections we can make with our souls far exceed our technological achievements.

As you consider how to deal with the coming effects of our decision to elect this new President and his new billionaire-led government, start right now to resist anyone who attempts to manipulate you by dividing you from any others. We are all in this together and fortunately, as we begin to act that way, we will discover the truth that we have more in common with all 8 billion of us than we have separating any of us.

The power of the long arm of the Universal laws will guide us to real success.

Faith Roundtable on Christmas Hill Country News on 2016-12-06

 

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By Chuck Robison 

 

The Question: “With all of the Christmas commercialization, how do you (the church) balance the true message and importance of Christmas with the enjoyment of all the commercial part that sweeps most of us up?” 

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I saw a bumper sticker on the back of a car this morning that said, “Christmas is for Christ.”  Right next to it were four other bumper stickers: “Native Texan”, “I love Beef”, “In God We Trust” and “I am a Christian and I Vote”.

Texans love being patriotic and we love George Bush, either one of them, and we take our Christmas’s very seriously.

Two days after 911, while we were still in shock, George Bush directed us to go out and go shopping.  That would be the most patriotic thing we could do.  It still is.

Putting the Cash back into Christmas is not only patriotic, but the traditional, old fashioned Texas way to celebrate our best American Holiday.  Go out and spend it all, load up your credit cards and set a good example for all real patriotic Americans.

As Christmas approaches you may also wish to give some thought to your eternal soul and its’ growth.  This quote from Rumi puts that issue into perspective, as a way to focus on Christmas and the homeless couple looking for a place to stay:

“This being human is a guest house.

Every morning a new arrival.

A Joy, a depression, a meanness,

some momentary awareness

comes as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!

Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,

who violently sweep your house

empty of its furniture,

still, treat each guest honourably.

He may be clearing you out for some new delight.

The dark thought, the sham, the malice

meet them at the door laughing,

and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,

Because each has been sent

as a guide from beyond.”

– Rum

The Sun of God, Hill Country News. 2016-11-30

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By Chuck Robison 

Ancient mythology used the Winged Sun as the symbol for the light shining in us which is God present in all our lives. Much of our mythology is based on the Sun’s movements from Solstice to Solstice and Equinox to Equinox.  The Sun is in fact The Light of The World. Jesus may have referred to himself as the Sun of God when he also called himself the Light of the World.

When I was a little boy thinking about Christmas, I thought about quiet candle-lit nights and people traveling in darkness to reach a small town before tax time.  Into this darkness came a bright shining light, first as a star and then as the bright eyes of a new-born child. Although I felt the conflict with light and darkness then, it was not until I became an adult that I understood more of the conflict.

T.S. Eliot said it so beautifully:

“We are light, we are attracted to light and yet we also want darkness.

In our rhythm of earthly life we tire of light. We are glad when the day ends, when the play ends; and ecstasy is too much pain. 

We are children quickly tired: children who are up in the night and fall asleep as the rocket is fired; and the day is long for work or play. 

We tire of distraction or concentration, we sleep and are glad to sleep, 

Controlled by the rhythm of blood and the day and the night and the seasons. 

And we must extinguish the candle, put out the light and relight it; Forever must quench, forever relight the flame. 

Therefore we thank Thee for our little light, that is dappled with shadow. 

We thank Thee who hast moved us to building, to finding, to forming at the ends of our fingers and beams of our eyes.”

When light arrives to dispel the darkness it can create fear.  The angels counseled those present, “Be Not Afraid”. We are experiencing that fear right now.  Those of us who have experienced a new awakening, a new view of the world, a new sense of oneness with all humankind and all of creation rejoice at what we see and experience.  It feels like God’s Light shining right out of our hearts.

But for others, a new light, a new way of seeing the world, a new paradigm can be frightening and we cast about for a way to defend ourselves against the fear caused by new ways that disturb our tribal values.

Jon Stewart recently said that the secret of America is that we are trying to bring members of tribes from all over the world to live in a new kind of global harmony.  It is a difficult situation and we see in our recent election that this fear has created even more fear and a leader who is a master at playing us with our fears.

When Jesus brought the Light into the world, the Bible records that the darkness was threatened.  As the old world dies it will always take steps to preserve itself and the old powers will rise-up to extinguish the light. Moses was pursued by the Pharaoh; Jesus was hunted down by Herod’s troopers.  And yet the world changed.

America is now at one of those light extinguishing moments.  We now have a choice.  We can follow leaders who seek to divide us and turn us against each other, or we can stand our ground and stay firmly in the light of God’s oneness.  The choice belongs to every one of us and it is ongoing.

But the sun will rise, light will shine down upon us and from within us and the new world will arrive.  And God, not hate-filled leaders, will prevail.