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Sunday, December 10, 2017

A Homily – Mark 1:1 - 8 ©

The Gospel According to Mark – 2017.12.10


Prophetic Movements

If there ever was a prophet named Isaiah, he did not predict the coming of John and Jesus.

We know that this is true, because we believe that God, the creator of the universe, created it in freedom, and nothing is determined.

There was not a prophet named Isaiah, there was a movement that took place over the course of decade, that bore witness to the collapse of David’s kingdom, and the scattering of the Israel, into the remote reaches of the Assyrian and Babylonian Empires.

If there ever was a man named John who offered baptism as penance to the common folk of Judea, he did not predict the coming of Jesus, another man who may or may not have existed.

If they existed at all, what John understood was this:

His people were in much the same place as they had been six hundred years earlier.

They had rebuilt their cities, re-dug their wells, and constructed a new temple in the land of their forebears, but they were still divided among themselves, factionalized and politically weak.

They were still subject to foreign powers, and still subject to the capriciousness of kings.

John knew that the world he lived in was still in need of a prophetic critique, and knowing this he knew that someone one would come after him, to carry on his work and preach to the people.

Did he know this was Jesus? That could only be true if Jesus actually lived.

What we can say is this; someone did carry on the work, someone, or some group. They kept up the critique and they made it strong.

But John was not the forerunner of a nascent Christian movement, and this passage in Mark is naked politics, an attempt by the earlier church to make John’s follower’s their own.


The Messenger, in the Wilderness

The beginning of the Good News about Jesus Christ, the Son of God. It is written in the book of the prophet Isaiah:

“Look, I am going to send my messenger before you; he will prepare your way.
A voice cries in the wilderness:

Prepare a way for the Lord, make his paths straight.”

And so it was that John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. All Judaea and all the people of Jerusalem made their way to him, and as they were baptised by him in the river Jordan they confessed their sins. John wore a garment of camel-skin, and he lived on locusts and wild honey. In the course of his preaching he said, ‘Someone is following me, someone who is more powerful than I am, and I am not fit to kneel down and undo the strap of his sandals. I have baptised you with water, but he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit.’


2nd Sunday of Advent

Emergence, In Fifty-five Words - Section Seven, War; Part Forty-seven, Tactics, Collected Chapters



Emergence 2.0
A Novel – In 55 Words a Day
Day 337, December 3rd, 2017

Chapter One: Ground

In war, the ground you occupy, the ground you move into, that ground determines everything.

In space, ground is a euphemism for the matrix of complex actions occurring in multiple vectors.

In space combat everything is in motion, and the ground itself is always changing. The combat commander must be able to calculate every variable.

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Emergence 2.0
A Novel – In 55 Words a Day
Day 338, December 4th, 2017

Chapter Two: Time

In the theatre of space combat, on the ZeroG battlefield, unified action was everything. It was a dance of the greatest complexity.

Keeping your forces arrayed together required more than the physical controls; to move, change vectors, to defend, attack. It required communication.

When it was over, those remaining were unsure of the next move.

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Emergence 2.0
A Novel – In 55 Words a Day
Day 339, December 5th, 2017

Chapter Three: Light

During the battle, in the space around the Central Planet, the brilliant display of energies was followed by the absence of any light at all.

The onslaught lit the structure of HomeWorld, revealing to human eyes for the first time the expanse of the artificial world.

It was more massive than the mind could imagine.

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Emergence 2.0
A Novel – In 55 Words a Day
Day 340, December 6th, 2017

Chapter Four: Space

In the theatre of ZeroG combat, there was no such thing as ZeroG, the label was a misnomer.

The forces of Gravity were absolutely crucial.

Combat took place in the vacuum of space, but gravity wells, singularities, artificial mass, the deployment of these devices, and the navigation of them, they were the keys to victory.

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Emergence 2.0
A Novel – In 55 Words a Day
Day 341, December 7th, 2017

Chapter Five: Movement

ZeroG tactics must be developed according to the following understanding:

In the vacuum of space, when you are maneuvering and not subject to gravity, where there is no resistance, everything is in motion.

There is no straight line between you and your objective.

There is no clear path.

Every object in the vicinity is tracked.

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Emergence 2.0
A Novel – In 55 Words a Day
Day 342, December 8th, 2017

Chapter Six: Supply

The majority of the High Command anticipated a prolonged engagement.

The entire fleet did not launch, only expeditionary forces.

The most seasoned and combat ready commanders took the lead.

During the insurrection, this mistake became obvious.

The failure to launch left the majority of the Imperial forces vulnerable, subject to attack.

The rebels took advantage.

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Emergence 2.0
A Novel – In 55 Words a Day
Day 343, December 9th, 2017

Chapter Seven: Range

In the ever changing dynamics of ZeroG combat the range between opponents was in constant flux.

Every victory created new obstacles, sudden changes in the vectors of pilotless craft, the creation of debris fields, scattering in the void.

Every object had to be scanned and tracked, every possible danger had to be analyzed for threats.

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Emergence: 2.0
Section Seven, War

Part Forty-seven, Tactics

Collected Chapters
01 Ground
02 Time
03 Light
04 Space
05 Movement
06 Supply
07 Range

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Saturday, December 9, 2017

Contra Dissonanta

There is one reality, its nature is singular.


We are one creation, the living universe.

The uni-verse is.

It is, we are, one word, one story, one saga, one song, one epic poem; all of time and space is one.

It is a story filled with tragedies, but it has a comic end.


We are a singularity.


The rhythm of the universe encompasses all things, all beings.

Its music fills every space.

There is no place where it cannot be heard, felt, calling us to the event horizon, to awareness and transcendence.


The collected voice of humanity, the choir Earth, our movement, is merely a tiny part in the great work that is the opera of creation.


Planet Earth bright and blue, soaring through the Milky Way, is but a dust-mote in the eye of the infinite.

We are small players in the cosmic symphony, and yet, and yet, it would not be the same without us.
           

If we do not understand who we are, do not understand what role we play, our part in the greater whole, when we raise our voices in song, the music we contribute will be dissonant, arrhythmic, it will be fatal; like a heart attack.

If our perspective is askew, if we cannot hear the true note, if we are self-absorbed and tone deaf, we will not hear the celestial music playing in our heart, we will not raise the harmonious cord.

We will not be able to live in peace, with ourselves or with any other.


Small as we are, our voices have power, we speak with the power of creation. Each and every moment of our lives contributes to the reality of the whole, imbued with the power to re-shape it.


There is no conflict between good and evil, not from the perspective of the good, the infinite and the eternal. There is only movement, from ignorance to understanding, from sorrow to joy, from alienation to acceptance, from fear to faith.


Dissonance, discord and dysrhythmia, these will always be with us. They are in the human heart, written there, in scripts that are both small and large.


How do we stand against it?

How do we resist? The answer is this…we do not.


We do not crush dissonance, we resolve it.

We cannot drown-out a noisome discord by generating a greater noise, like armies clashing on the battlefield.

That is cacophonic.

We must score another movement all around it, incorporating its rhythm into the greater whole.


We are called to forgive and move on.

As the Rabbi said:

Do not resist the evil doer
Pray for those who persecute you
Turn the other cheek
Walk the extra mile

Walk in the way of the wise, beating the drum, and strumming the harp, dancing as you go.


Contra Dissonata.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Propitiation

Mother, ancient-one
Mother, goddess of the field
We plead for mercy

Mother, ancient-one
We need you, spare your children
Misery and doom

My prayer is a plea
How much blood do you require?
Flesh, the human feast

Mother forgive us
Virgin Mother, goddess, light
Winged crone, darkest night

Faith, I pray to you
Fidelity, I offer
Giving you my life

Flesh to bless my flesh
Spare us from the darkest death

Wash the earth in blood

Sunday, December 3, 2017

A Homily – Mark 13:33 - 37 ©

The Gospel According to Mark – 2017.12.03


Mindfulness, and the Way

He calls us to diligence and mindfulness, to perpetual and continuous watchfulness.

That is what it means to be in the way.

The way of loving service is never ending, so long as we are engaged in it, we are living in the garden.

Love is love, hope is hope, and trust is trust…to live out the faith means being faithful, to actively trust in the goodness, the mercy and the justice of God, the creator of the universe.

To live in a state of hope, requires only that would hope, that we extend the hope we have for ourselves, for our friends, for our families, so that the same hope covers the stranger in your midst, the person who owes you money, the person to whom you are indebted, even your enemies.

To be in love, you must be loving.

Stay awake, be mindful, keep the lamp lit.

The way is like a great river; it is flowing, flowing all the time.


Stay Awake

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Be on your guard, stay awake, because you never know when the time will come. It is like a man travelling abroad: he has gone from home, and left his servants in charge, each with his own task; and he has told the doorkeeper to stay awake. So stay awake, because you do not know when the master of the house is coming, evening, midnight, cockcrow, dawn; if he comes unexpectedly, he must not find you asleep. And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake!’



1st Sunday of Advent

Emergence, In Fifty-five Words - Section Seven, War; Part Forty-six, Conflict, Collected Chapters



Emergence 2.0
A Novel – In 55 Words a Day
Day 330, November 26th, 2017

Chapter One: Threat

There were millions of Observers living on every one of the million worlds in the Empire, occupying every class, and every station.

The Observers were the first to sense the impending collapse of the continuum.

When they realized something significant was happening, they opened their lines of communication, and reacted with the powers they had.

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Emergence 2.0
A Novel – In 55 Words a Day
Day 331, November 27th, 2017

Chapter Two: Protection

The majority of Observers made the choice to return to HomeWorld.

They went to their stations, activated the worm-holes that would take them home, but the apparatus did not function, and they were lost.

Those observers who held positions of rank and power marshalled their forces to protect the Central Planet, the Collective and Continuum.

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Emergence 2.0
A Novel – In 55 Words a Day
Day 332, November 28th, 2017

Chapter Three: Aggression

As the imperial fleet dropped into the central system there was chaos.

In the first moment, even as the fleet was in the process of calibrating their relative positions to one another, an entire combat wing rebelled, fixed arms on the commodore, and opened fire.

It was abrupt, it was a slaughter, it was devastating.

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Emergence 2.0
A Novel – In 55 Words a Day
Day 333, November 29th, 2017

Chapter Four: Defense

The mayhem that ensued was unprecedented.

The greatest part of the armada turned toward the attackers and joined battle, and they were beset by confusion.

None of the commanders had been experienced at taking heavy losses in combat, the forces of the Empire were just too overwhelming.

They lost vital seconds while processing the implications.

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Emergence 2.0
A Novel – In 55 Words a Day
Day 334, November 30th, 2017

Chapter Five: Confusion

Millions died in the assault.

Tens of thousands of starships burst into flame, and were suddenly extinguished in the vacuum of space.

It was done.

What remained of the fleet had no intention of preserving the old ways of the Empire.

They were ready to bring the Gods down, to force answers from the Continuum.

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Emergence 2.0
A Novel – In 55 Words a Day
Day 335, December 1st, 2017

Chapter Six: Reaction

The news was devastating.

The Imperial news casters could not keep a lid on it.

On every world the priesthood struggled to make sense of things, but they could not, and they could not appease the masses.

The plebs wanted revolution, they wanted freedom.

Those who could not see the change coming, met with violence.

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Emergence 2.0
A Novel – In 55 Words a Day
Day 336, December 2nd, 2017

Chapter Seven: Purpose

On a million worlds there was conflict.

The battles devastated the aristocracies on each of them; the survivors pressed their victory against any who represented the Collective.

Those observers in the vanguard knew that they had this one chance to press their advantage. If they failed, their bid to reorganize the Empire would be disaster.

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Emergence 2.0
Section Seven, War

Part Forty-six, Conflict

Collected Chapters
01 Threat
02 Protection
03 Aggression
04 Defense
05 Confusion
06 Reaction
07 Purpose

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Saturday, December 2, 2017

Observation, December 2nd, 2017, Saturday

It is noisy at the airport at 6:00 am
The plane to New York promises to be full
The smell of perfume is think in the waiting area
I am sitting next to a Buddhist, wearing the saffron and ochre robes
Of Gottama, of the philosopher, of St. Katherine
The crowd in the terminal are speaking in tongues
In the tongues of humankind, though undoubtedly
There are angels among us, a one-armed man walks past me
There is a ball of fire climbing over the horizon
Casting light on the moon in its fullness
There is a buzz of activity beyond the window
Flickering orange and red, and green

I am waiting patiently to take flight

Discipline and Strategy

The greater part of our daily lives can be summarized under the heading of goal fulfilment.

We are constantly in the process of fulfilling goals.

It does not matter if we ourselves actively think of our lives this way or not; it is an appropriate characterization nonetheless.

Even the act of getting out of bed, or going to it, is the fulfillment of a goal; making the bed, preparing breakfast or acquiring it somewhere along the way of travel to work, to school, to wherever we are called to be, those are all goals. They are goals that we do not think about (much), because for most of us they have become routinized, habitual, and unconscious behaviors.

Ordinary functions like our morning regimen, may be so habitual that we do not even think about them.

We may find that we have performed some of our daily tasks, without even realizing that we have done them; like driving to work, taking the left turn at the corner, merging onto the highway, suddenly we are parking the car, and all the while, during the entire commute we have been thinking about other things.

Nevertheless, we were driving with a goal in mind: to get to work, and we completed numerous, tiny, nearly invisible goals all the way in.

In sum: goal fulfillment is life, and life is goal fulfillment.

Goals may be small, near term and able to be accomplished with virtually unconscious effort.

Goals may be large, long term, far ranging and difficult.

In both cases, the active principle in goal fulfillment is discipline.

Discipline is the sustained marshalling of effort, the focus of the will toward a particular end.

Discipline has a frequency; its lowest spectrum is represented by normalized, routinized, habitual activities; its highest spectrum is related to the long-term ambitions that define our lives.

The space and distance between our present circumstances and our long-term goals must be closed by strategic thinking.

Strategy has three keys:

One:    Understanding yourself in the present.

Two:   Understanding the place you would like to be.

Three: Understanding the relationship between the two, knowing that the space and distance between the present and the future is a field of constant change, continuous flux, and mutability.

Understanding the present requires an understanding of its antecedents, the choices that were made that brought you to this place, and the random factors that crept up in your life that either advanced or set you back in your goals, where they came from and how your reactions hindered or helped you.

For most of us, the question of how we live our daily lives comes down to the question of how we navigate the tension between, and make adjustments to, our range of near term, medium and long-range goals.

How the interplay between our modes of living, the choices and behaviors that are unconscious, habitual and routine, relate to the modes of living that are necessary for the fulfillment of longer range goals, is what defines us at any given moment in our lives.
           
Most of us have long and medium range goals. However, for many of us our long-term goals may only be desires, or hopes, wishes we have for ourselves that we have no real intention of acting on.

What differentiates a goal from a desire or a hope is the degree to which we believe we can actually achieve it, and the degree to which we actively shape our present lives toward the fulfillment of it.

And so, we return to discipline.

Discipline is nothing more than the act of keeping the commitments you have made to yourself.

With daily and constant discipline; a person is able to follow the map they have drawn for their personal progress, to steadily advance toward the fruits of those endeavors.

We may become whoever we wish to be through discipline, the servant of strategy.

Foresight is the companion to strategy, it begins with self-awareness, knowledge, and understanding.

A person must know who and why they are, take full responsibility for the actualities of their existence, even those traits and attributes they possess, which they did not seek, choose for themselves, and do not desire: our genetic endowment, our cultural heritage,
our relative position on the scale of poverty and wealth.


Whoever we are, whatever we have been given, that constitutes the platform from which we launch all our dreams and ambitions, and by discipline, achieve them. 

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Nightmare

The boy dreams, quiet
Legs crossed, sitting on the curb
Awake, head in hands

Eyes open, searching
Looks beyond the passing cars
Past the rumbling noise

Through the darkened shroud
Into a different world
Cloistered and alone

Reason and terror
War machines scream through the night
The echoes of crows

Enveloped by fear
Nightmare of blood, black as oil
Rains on broken flesh

Visions of horror
The boy recoils, he struggles

With the turning world