Haiku for Uncertain Weather

2012.01.31

Slate-thin clouds cover
shoulders that lately knew sun.
Make up your mind, God.

Apprentice Question

2011.11.16

“WHAT CAN I DO, RIGHT now, to better myself?”

Spectrum

2011.11.09

AS SOUND IS SLOWLY-VIBRATING light, ambition is slowly-vibrating desperation.

Torah Study: Going, Going, Ain’t Gone Yet

2011.11.04

OUR TORAH PORTION THIS WEEK begins with God’s famous exhortation to Abram, “Lech Lecha — Go for yourself from your land … I will bless you and make your name great, and you will be a blessing.”

What does that mean, to be a blessing? Rashi says it’s an investment in Abraham of God’s power to bless, to pass along the Divine influence for growth and attainment. According to the Etz Chayim chumash, it means “to serve as the exemplar by which a blessing is invoked.” Rabbi Samson Hirsch, however, sees it as a commandment: to receive the divine rewards, one must live so as to be a blessing to the world.

Perhaps it also means to live in such a way as see the Divine in every moment — to bear witness, however unlikely it may seem, to the action of God as context for our lives (to paraphrase R’ Jack Gabriel). To be a blessing is to sanctify everything within reach — and to learn to extend that reach by joining hands with others. After all, we can’t do it alone!

Neal & Ann’s Torah Study
Saturday, Nov. 5, 2011: 10 am-noonish (RSVP)
Torah Portion: Lech Lecha (Genesis 12:1-17:27)
Haftarah: Isaiah 40:27-41:16

Windstorm Stylist

2011.11.03

Scary loud gusts brush
From the trees’ green-flowing hair
Stray twigs and branches.

First Graf: Silverlock

2011.11.01

TAKE PILGRIM’S PROGRESS, STAR A grumpy Chicagoan, people the landscape with characters and places from the world’s literature and you have Silverlock — a fable of the human spirit no less great or more complex a story than a man discovering the world of letters and how it changes him. I have read it twice now, once from the depths of a great spiritual crisis, and the effect is almost electric. Half the fun is spotting the references; another half is author John Myers Myers’ love of language; a third half is how it makes you feel. Silverlock may or may not change your life, but it will certainly change your view of storytelling — and isn’t that sometimes the same thing?

If I had cared to live, I would have died.
A storm had come up. While not sick, I found my bunk the most comfortable place, leaving it only to take my meals. Dozing after supper, I learned of disaster when a wave bashed in the door of my deck cabin. The backwash sluiced me out of it and stranded me by a stowage locker.

WHEN IN DOUBT, SHOOT FROM the heart.

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Litmus

2011.10.17

A SURE TEST OF ANY theology is to ask, “Does God exist before human beings?”

Among other things, the answer can shed light on one’s grasp of science. For if you allow for a God who watched over the dinosaurs, who saw the primordial soup trend toward consciousness on a billion planets, who was delighted by the Big Bang — in short, One who doesn’t need humans to survive and Whom humans can only love fiercely but dimly — you may well be on to something.

I can’t say what. But it’s Something.

Pithyism #65b

2011.10.13

MATURITY IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN we choose to be fascinated by something other than ourselves.

Today’s Question

2011.10.06

“WHAT PRESENT CAN I GIVE to the world?”

Reflecting Pool

2011.10.04

“WHEN THE CENTER IS MOVING, no quiet is.
When the center is still, no chaos.
Where is the chaos when there is no center?
Where is the center when there is no motion?”

– From the Red Papyrus in O-kaze Temple, an Egyptian Zen sect nestled in the deepest shadow of Mount Fuji. Follow the Serene Sphinx signs and tell ‘em “Bob” sent you.

Pithyism #30

2011.10.03

DOES THE PHRASE “OLD SOUL” apply to anyone past their early 20s?

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Thumbs Up

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