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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Water; Am I - Aqua Poetica - Part VI

Water

Healthy when balanced
When well measured it flows
It defines the extent of me, of us
The limits of the flesh, yes
And of where the flesh may go
I cannot live far from it
No human can, neither grass
Nor tree
Not a flower
Or fungus either

Water


p.06 – Aqua Poetica

Monday, May 30, 2016

Memorial Day

Memorial Day is a day set aside; and meant for us to honor our fallen dead.
The meaning of this day has changed much since its inception. Originally, it was meant to honor our African American soldiers; both free and former slaves who gave their lives, both men and women, both mothers and fathers, sons and daughters both, to keep the union whole.
They died for an America they only dreamed existed. They died for these United States; for this reality, which is still in a state of becoming. They died for us; for good or ill, they died for us.
We honor our dead; our soldiers and sailors and airmen, our police and firefighters; we honor them. We honor all of our citizens who spent their lives, who spend their lives in public service; we honor our doctors and nurses and teachers, the good works of our ordinary citizens, of our friends and neighbors, we honor everyone’s sacrifices; known and unknown, and yet to come.
On this day of all days, do not make the mistake of thinking that it is our service women and men who keep us free. It has been at least sixty years since America faced an “existential” threat from a foreign power.
The real threat we face is from ourselves. It is only we; who can protect us from ourselves.
Our own apathy, our prejudice, and our ignorance; these are more dangerous to us, to our freedom, than any power in the world. To honor our fallen dead; you must do your part to keep us free. You must participate in our democracy.
Vote, stay informed, organize.
Our collective failure has allowed the Supreme Court to name corporations as people, and money as free speech, while those same justices have told ordinary American’s that the right to free speech does not include the right to be heard, and that the right to vote does not include the guarantee that your vote will be counted.
That rank cynicism is more dangerous to our freedom than any rag tag group of militants half way around the world, more dangerous than immigrants looking to us for a better way of life, as my forebears did when they came here.
Honor our fallen dead. Not with cards and flowers and barbeques (but do those things because they are good), honor them by standing up to racism, bigotry, religious zealotry, corporate greed, scientific ignorance, xenophobia, and corruption in public officials; honor them by participating.
Rebuild America, reform our institutions, for the sake of Americans and our future generations. Take responsibility for your own freedom. Honor the fallen.
Jay P. Botten, Veteran, U.S.N., Hospital Corps, 1990 – 1994
Given 1st 2015.05.25

Revised 2016.05.31

Sunday, May 29, 2016

A Homily – The Gospel of Juke 7:1-10 ©

The Gospel of the Day – 2016.05.29

Faith and Confusion

When Jesus had come to the end of all he wanted the people to hear, he went into Capernaum. A centurion there had a servant, a favourite of his, who was sick and near death. Having heard about Jesus he sent some Jewish elders to him to ask him to come and heal his servant. When they came to Jesus they pleaded earnestly with him. ‘He deserves this of you’ they said ‘because he is friendly towards our people; in fact, he is the one who built the synagogue.’ So Jesus went with them, and was not very far from the house when the centurion sent word to him by some friends: ‘Sir,’ he said ‘do not put yourself to trouble; because I am not worthy to have you under my roof; and for this same reason I did not presume to come to you myself; but give the word and let my servant be cured. For I am under authority myself, and have soldiers under me; and I say to one man: Go, and he goes; to another: Come here, and he comes; to my servant: Do this, and he does it.’ When Jesus heard these words he was astonished at him and, turning round, said to the crowd following him, ‘I tell you, not even in Israel have I found faith like this.’ And when the messengers got back to the house they found the servant in perfect health.

(NJB)

A Miracle – A Meme of Healing

There is a message in this periscope. It is intended for the communities of believers founded by Saint Luke and Saint Paul; Paul who never met Jesus, and Luke the physician who followed him, who also never met Jesus, but who authored the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts regardless.

These apostles lived and worked well beyond the borders of Palestine. They shared their faith with Jews of the diaspora, Gentiles alike.

Through their work, the Way of Jesus became an international movement. As such the narratives they promoted required international characters; Jews to be sure, but Ethiopians, Greeks, and Romans to. And so they narrated the story of the Roman Centurion, a Roman who admired the faith and moral probity of the Jewish people (which was not entirely uncommon in the time of Jesus), a godfearer as the Jews called them.

The Gospel tell us that the Centurion understands who Jesus is, and acknowledges his authority, as a result the Centurion is rewarded with a gift of healing for his servant; the servant who remains anonymous and of whom we are never given any indication about whether he knows Jesus, understands his mission, or has faith sufficient to merit healing.

This narrative was meant to prepare the hearts and minds of Jewish-Christians for the acceptance of Gentiles into their midst; not just Gentiles, but even Romans, and Romans of every class, including military commanders.

It was also meant to convey the message to gentiles that the Way of Jesus was open to everyone.
That is the basic story.

It also contains a deeper narrative; one about the transactional nature of faith, this narrative is a lie.
It tells us in a not so subtle way the gifts of faith, like the miracle of healing, can be purchased through correct belief.

Jesus heals the Centurion’s servant because the Centurion expresses the correct belief about God, with the appropriate degree of commitment.

The way that the narrative plays itself out, the reader can presume that the servant would not have been healed if the Centurion had any doubt about who Jesus was. Not only did he have no doubt, but his faith surpassed that of the entire population of Israel, and with that coin he purchased for another the gift of healing.

This tells us that the miracle of healing can be purchased through right belief, right ideology, right doctrine; that if your knowledge of who Jesus is, is correct, and your commitment to that knowledge is pure, you are eligible to receive the gifts of faith and even pass them on to others.
This thought structure is essentially Gnostic, and belongs to a heresy that was condemned by the church in subsequent centuries.

Gnosticism was condemned because it circumscribed the faithful, and limited the church to insular groups of believers who put more stock in their secrets and mystical traditions than in the charitable Jesus commissioned the church to engage in.

The more significant error is not the gnostic error, however; the more significant error is the error that the gifts of faith are transactional, when Jesus intended for the loving works of Christians to be free, and freely distributed to any who ask, regardless of who they are or how they come.


8th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Saturday, May 28, 2016

How to Handle T-Rump - Editorial, The Week in Review – Analysis, Commentary, Opinion

05.28.2016

How to Handle T-Rump

Secretary Clinton is the presumptive nominee for President; of the Democratic Party. She is going to face Donald Trump in the contest for President of the United States.

The primary race among the Republicans has been a demoralizing, and depressing experience for almost everyone I know; watching Trump run away with it, using tactics like: fear mongering, xenophobia, class war fare, race baiting, intimidation, violence, name calling, and lies.

T-Rump, has run through the field of his republican opponents like a dinosaur run amuck.

They did not know how to deal with him. They were afraid of offending the crowds of people who came out to support him. Afraid of challenging the fringe groups who had taken control of the party apparatus, the teabaggers, the white nationalists, the poorly educated; whom T-Rump says he loves.

There were too many of them on the stage when the primary process started, they split the votes of traditional republicans among themselves, leaving the larger body of Christian-Constitutional hypocrites to T-Rump. There were more of them than anyone believed existed, but they should have known.

The number of self-professed evangelical Christians, who were willing to overlook their typical pious self-righteousness in order to justify a vote for T-Rump was wildly surprising to people like Ted Cruz, who lost those votes to T-Rump. It was mildly amusing to me; to watch the costumes come off, and reveal all of that cynical non-sense.

Those Christians who criticize Jimmy Carter, and Barrack Obama; while adoring the misogynistic, infidelitous, lying, thieving, abusing Donald Trump, who in acts of naked pandering held up a Bible and claimed it was his favorite book in the world, next to his own Art of the Deal.

And they bought it. And they bought the notion that T-Rump is a so called constitutional conservative (never mind the fact that there is no such thing), like them, that he shares their twisted republican concerns for issues of; private property, free speech, the right to bear arms, etc…even though in his private business practices he violates all of those tenets regularly.

T-Rumps republican opponents utterly failed to deal with a guy, who gets up on the stage and lies through his teeth, while successfully branding others as liars; who panders and promises, flip flops faster those covering him can track.

Last week, in the space of one breath T-Rump said; I don’t want more guns in classrooms, I mean I do think teachers should be armed, but I not saying we should have more guns in classrooms. Some people say teachers should be trained and armed in the classroom. There are horrible things going on in our schools.

There is not a single policy issue which T-Rump has addressed that his has not handled with this same level of exactitude. This might be funny if it was a joke, but it is not, and so it is terrifying.
Secretary Clinton, as the presumptive nominee of the Democratic Party for president; she has different options when it comes to dealing with T-Rump. What is imperative is that she is consistent, and careful.

Secretary Clinton, and former President Clinton (her husband), they should never even speak his name. He himself is not worthy of mention, because his candidacy is just a big sad joke. It is a horrible farce being played out on the national stage.

She should challenge his policies with her own. but never him directly. Leave the work of challenging T-Rump to her surrogates and supporters. They should make light of him, make fun of him, mock him, treat him as the ridiculous buffoon he is; because that is what he is.

Do not challenge T-Rump on the things he promises to do; building the border wall, deporting immigrants, banning Muslims. Do not challenge him on those things because he has no actual plan to do them, he cannot do them, and in fact he will not even try.

Challenge him on concrete things; his dismal business record, his bankruptcies, the lawsuits that are pending against him, his lies about his financial status, the cheap quality of his brand, his performance on his reality show, his face in the cleavage of Rudy Giuliani in drag, his cheating on his wives, the sexualization of his daughter. Those records are real, there is audio, there is video, there are court transcripts, and depositions, there are numerous records of his fraud, dig for them plaster him with them.

Tell jokes about him, make him into the joke that he is.

There is no other way to deal with T-Rump, and it is the same strategy you always pursue against your political foe, no matter who they are. Brand with the truth about their character, confirm what people already know.

He is a charlatan.

He is weak.

He has no character.


His brand is gaudy, and cheap.  

Friday, May 27, 2016

Emergence: Section Three, Earth; Part Twenty, Collective, Collected Chapters



Collective; Part Twenty,
Chapter One: Family  
Pt. 20, Ch. 01
The care of a loving family is like the wet, clinging mesh of a spiderweb. Familial obligations are invisible bonds.
#Emergence

Collective; Part Twenty,
Chapter Two: Kin
Pt. 20, Ch. 02
Family becomes a clan. Loyalties are set in the body, by chemicals, enzymes, and proteins; bonds we do not question.
#Emergence

Collective; Part Twenty,
Chapter Three: Village
Pt. 20, Ch. 03
Hierarchies emerge in village life; at the well, the markets, places of worship, judgment. The center is everything.
#Emergence

Collective; Part Twenty,
Chapter Four: Tribe  
Pt. 20, Ch. 04
There was safety and competition, there were shared customs, stories, and rituals in the tribe. There was otherness.
#Emergence

Collective; Part Twenty,
Chapter Five: City
Pt. 20, Ch. 05
People flowed into the urban centers to trade, and work. Families dispersed, becoming less important than neighbors.
#Emergence

Collective; Part Twenty,
Chapter Six: State    
Pt. 20, Pt. 06
Cities gathered villages to themselves, as families did kin, in ancient bonds of vassalage; bond of the imagination.
#Emergence

Collective; Part Twenty,
Chapter Seven: Nation

Pt. 20, Ch. 07
Common language, and custom formed nations out of states, for security, prosperity; old allegiances shifting outward.
#Emergence

Emergence:
Section Three, Earth
Part Twenty, Collective
Collected Chapters
Section 03, Earth
Part 20, Collective
Chapters
01 Family
02 Kin
03 Village
04 Tribe
05 City
06 State
07 Nation
#Emergence
#SuperShortFiction
#365SciFi
@jaybotten

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Aqua Poetica Parts I - V (Water; Am I)

I
Water

It is a sentence all by itself
Subject, verb and predicate
Water is the stuff of life
Water, Am I

Water

II
Water

Held together in a fragile web
Of membranes, of cell walls
Permeable tissues, some hard
As dense as bone, others soft
As malleable as the wetted
Tongue
Water is me

Water
III
Water

Two gasses; oxygen,
Hydrogen, elements
Bonded in the valence
The weak electro-link
A current, the energy
Forming the template
Of life’s first moment

Water

IV

Water

The crèche within which
Our carbon atoms nest
Metamorphosis…they respire
Become bacteria, and breathe
In water, amoeba, and later
Much later…become we
Creatures, all animated
Appetites, and moving desires

Water

V

Water

Without which I am nothing
It defines the extent of me
The parameters of my being
I mean this literally, technically
I take up more and less space
Physically, in direct proportion to
How much water I carry inside of me
My body’s water tells the tale
I plump up as I retain it, and
I wither when it evaporates


Water

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Water, Am I - Aqua Poetica - Part V

Water

Without which I am nothing
It defines the extent of me
The parameters of my being
I mean this literally, technically
I take up more and less space
Physically, in direct proportion to
How much water I carry inside of me
My body’s water tells the tale
I plump up as I retain it, and
I wither when it evaporates

Water


p.05 – Aqua Poetica

Sunday, May 22, 2016

A Homily – The Gospel of John 16:12-15 ©

The Gospel of the Day – 2016.05.22

The Spirit of Truth

Jesus said:

‘I still have many things to say to you
but they would be too much for you now.
But when the Spirit of truth comes
he will lead you to the complete truth,
since he will not be speaking as from himself
but will say only what he has learnt;
and he will tell you of the things to come.
He will glorify me,
since all he tells you
will be taken from what is mine.
Everything the Father has is mine;
that is why I said:
All he tells you
will be taken from what is mine.’

(NJB)

A Witness to God

This Gospel reading comes to us on a day known as The feast of the Most Holy Trinity.
What can be said about it.

Christianity has, for 1,700 years, professed a belief in God, the creator of the universe, that is “Trinitarian.”

Christianity asserts on the one hand, that there is but one God, one creator, one center of all reality; on the other hand that God is three distinct person.

Christians have always pointed to such passages as this in John to justify this claim, and yet there is no logic in this claim. The arguments for a Trinitarian God are absurd on their face.
The notion that there is a rationale for such a faith claim in this passage of John is also a claim without basis.

To the first part:

The Trinitarian God has three persons; the father, the son, and the spirit. They are all three, uncreated and co-eternal, omnipresent and omniscient, and omnipotent. There are co-extensive in all of their attributes, where any part of the Godhead exists (which is in all times, and all places) the fullness of God exists. Finally, while Christian doctrine asserts faith in a Trinitarian God, it will not admit that in the Godhead there is any division, distinction, or differentiation. Christians have always acknowledged the logical fallacy of such a position, but have sidestepped the implication by asserting that it is a mystery, and that the believer must trust that it is so. Furthermore, Christians formed a creed around this belief, which is in effect a litmus test for all of those who wish to enter the church, and, or be in sacramental union with it.

Balderdash.

To the second part:

Far from pointing to the unity of three persons in the Godhead; the narrative in john speaks to the distinctions and differences in the figures of the father, and the son, and the spirit. It speaks of the son as an agent of the father, and the spirit of truth as a figure commissioned by the son to continue the education of the believing community.

It is all very arcane, and it does little to illuminate the central message of Jesus’ teaching; to love one another, as God has loved us.

Our faith in God, the loving God who created and sustains all that is, and our faith in the son-ship of Jesus, cannot be forced to be dependent on our acceptance of these absurdities.

God is one, God is one in Christ, and God is one in all of us.


Feast of the Most Holy Trinity

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Chasing the Dragon - Editorial, The Week in Review – Analysis, Commentary, Opinion

05.21.2016

Chasing the Dragon

Have you ever heard an addict talk about their addiction; heard them talk about “chasing the dragon,” talk about the way in which they got hooked on whatever it is that they got hooked on: whisky, cocaine, heroin…the adulation of a crowd, or a feeling of righteousness, how they got hooked because they kept looking for the experience that was as the blissful, as fulsome, as perfect as the first time they ever used.

They were chasing the dragon.

The expression comes from Arthurian legend. Old King Pelinore, was most famously on this quest. He was a king in his own right, and a knight of the Round Table. He was the father of Elaine; wife of Sir Lancelot, mother of Sir Galahad. He was something of a laughing stock; because he was always leaving court to go on the quest for what most of his peers believed was an imaginary beast.
He was chasing the dragon.

Pelinore was pure of heart. Lancelot beheld the Holy Grail while he was staying at his castle, where sanity returned to him and he wedded Elaine, and conceived their child Galahad, who fulfilled the quest for the grail together with Sir Percival, and Sir Bores.

The other knights would often tease Pelinore, and making up stories about having seen the beast. He would immediately get up and go to find it. Some, like Percival, and Sir Palomides (The Saracen), joined him on the quest. Like Pelinore, they were believers, and it did not matter to them what they risked, what they gave up; in terms of prestige, reputation, standing, and wealth. What mattered to them was the quest itself, it was the proper role for the knight, when he was not serving his king at war, to be on the quest for justice, and peace, for truth, and goodness, for beauty’s sake, for love.

They were chasing the dragon, the questing beast.

Senator Sanders is chasing the dragon now. Is he a goodly knight; like Pelinore, Percival, and Palomides? Or is Bernie Sanders a junkie, just looking for his next fix?

Does he actually want to advance the progressive agenda, or does he want one more big rally to take him to the edge?

I do not know the answer to this question.

I suspect that BS does not know the answer to this question either. I do wish that everyone who is following him, ardently supporting his candidacy; I do wish they would answer this question for themselves.

All of the quest knights shared certain qualities in common; humility, grace, and peace they also possessed a strength in direct proportion to their faith, and purity. When they were true they could not be defeated, and of that there was no doubt.

One thing I know from my experience with addicts, is that when they do not get what they want, they become angry, bitter, resentful. They begin to blame everyone and everything around them for their failures. They risk more and more, until they lose everything, destroy their relationships and are left bereft.

BS is chasing the dragon, and he seems increasingly delusional. He risks squandering all of the good will he has amassed from his colleagues; for being on his quest and fighting the good fight. He has succeeded in moving the focus of the democratic primary significantly toward the issues that he is most passionate about. I believe that the democratic party is grateful for this, and grateful for the energy he has brought to his campaign. Even though it was not enough to give him a victory, and even though his prospects were always statistically improbable.


Is he the same progressive idealist today that he was a year ago when he started his campaign? Is he a Pelinore or a Percival motivated by purity of heart, or has he lost his mind like Lancelot, junked out for something he could never have?

Friday, May 20, 2016

Emergence: Section Three, Earth; Part Nineteen, Consciousness, Collected Chapters



Consciousness; Part Nineteen,
Chapter One: Self  
Pt. 19, Ch. 01
A birth is a coalescence of matter organizing into form; supporting a consciousness, emerging independent and alone.
#Emergence

Consciousness; Part Nineteen,
Chapter Two: Other
Pt. 19, Ch. 02
The animal brain; its glands pumping chemicals into a liquid consciousness; fearful, regarding all others as threat.
#Emergence

Consciousness; Part Nineteen,
Chapter Three: Mother
Pt. 19, Ch. 03
There is a time for every mammal, in the warmth, and dark of the womb, when they are truly one with another; mother.
#Emergence

Consciousness; Part Nineteen,
Chapter Four: Father  
Pt. 19, Ch. 04
Stranger, protector, arbiter; a father is the first person the child seeks to bond with, to contend with, to please.
#Emergence

Consciousness; Part Nineteen,
Chapter Five: Siblings
Pt. 19, Ch. 05
The first with whom you share a common bond, and to compete; you identify with them, learn betrayal, and to forgive.
#Emergence

Consciousness; Part Nineteen,
Chapter Six: Family    
Pt. 19, Pt. 06
We protect those closest to us with ferocity equal to our own drive for self protection; blood, family, it binds us.
#Emergence

Consciousness; Part Nineteen,
Chapter Seven: Other Self

Pt. 19, Ch. 07
We become self-aware fearing any; accept kin, who shared our interests, learning to see strangers as other selves.
#Emergence

Emergence:
Section Three, Earth
Part Nineteen, Consciousness
Collected Chapters
Section 03, Earth
Part 19, Consciousness
Chapters
01 Self
02 Other
03 Mother
04 Father
05 Siblings
06 Family
07 Other Self
#Emergence
#SuperShortFiction
#365SciFi
@jaybotten

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Aqua Poetica – Parts I - IV (Water; Am I)



I
Water

It is a sentence all by itself
Subject, verb and predicate
Water is the stuff of life
Water, Am I

Water

II
Water

Held together in a fragile web
Of membranes, of cell walls
Permeable tissues, some hard
As dense as bone, others soft
As malleable as the wetted
Tongue
Water is me

Water
III
Water

Two gasses; oxygen,
Hydrogen, elements
Bonded in the valence
The weak electro-link
A current, the energy
Forming the template
Of life’s first moment

Water

IV

Water

The crèche within which
Our carbon atoms nest
Metamorphosis…they respire
Become bacteria, and breathe
In water, amoeba, and later
Much later…become we
Creatures, all animated
Appetites, and moving desires


Water

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Water, Am I - Aqua Poetica - Part IV

Water, Am I
(Aqua Poetica)

Water

The crèche within which
Our carbon atoms nest
Metamorphosis…they respire
Become bacteria, and breathe
In water, amoeba, and later
Much later…become we
Creatures, all animated
Appetites, and moving desires

Water

p.04 – Aqua Poetica


Sunday, May 15, 2016

A Homily – The Gospel of John 20:19-23 ©

The Gospel of the Day – 2016.05.15


Receive the Holy Spirit

In the evening of the first day of the week, the doors were closed in the room where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews. Jesus came and stood among them. He said to them, ‘Peace be with you’, and showed them his hands and his side. The disciples were filled with joy when they saw the Lord, and he said to them again, ‘Peace be with you.

‘As the Father sent me,

so am I sending you.’

After saying this he breathed on them and said:

‘Receive the Holy Spirit.

For those whose sins you forgive,

they are forgiven;

for those whose sins you retain,

they are retained.’

 (NJB)

The New Creation

It is the feast of Pentecost.

It is a day that Christians throughout the world celebrate.

It is the commemoration of the gift of the Holy Spirit, given by Jesus, to the church that was founded in his name.

For the Church, this moment marks the beginning of a new era. Jesus is gone, and the community of believers is now in the hands of his disciples; primarily, and others who have heard the call, like Saint Paul, who never met him (in the flesh).

The final departure of Jesus, and the bequeathment of the Holy Spirit, is the beginning of the age of prophecy, it is a time of discernment; it is the Apostolic age. In it the Church evolves, it becomes a new creation. It is no longer merely a sect of Judaism, but it becomes an international movement, it spreads throughout the Roman Empire, and the new way is preached in new languages, in new tongues, in new stories; such that Jesus himself had never imagined.

Jesus preached the way of love, of service, of caring, of justice, of mercy; the way of Jesus can be lived in silence, it does not require words.

The myth of Pentecost, as related here in the Gospel of Saint John, narrates some of the struggles of the early Church. It was written more than one hundred years after the death of Jesus, and decades after the Romans destroyed the Temple in Jerusalem. It was written for the Church; in the era, when the differentiation among Christians and Jews was concrete, and when the leaders in the new movement were trying to establish their bona fides, as the heirs to Jesus’ ministry.

The gift of the Holy Spirit, released in a breath of ritual remembering; not the reception of something new, for the Spirit of God animates all living beings, but the acknowledgement of that reality in the passing on of Jesus’ mission.

The mission, to love, and care for, to serve those in the greatest need, to love justice, and be merciful in the face of the world’s horrors.

The passage from John would have been a fine place to end the gospels; except for the final words given to cement the authority of the church of the lives of the followers. The naked grab for power, that marks the new creation as one firmly rooted in the sinful world, and that is the way of things.


Pentecost