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Monday, October 31, 2016

Halloween

I am getting old.
When I was young I imagined that Halloween was for children. It was costumes and candy and imaginary play. Halloween was an escape from reality, or it was a glance into another world.
We use to go block to block in our costumes, we called it Trick or Treating, we carried pillow cases with us, taking candies at nearly every door.
We scoffed at the people who lived in the houses where they handed out little bibles, or toothpaste, or home made goods.
I remember the drill of searching through our candy, looking for suspicious things, open packages. We heard that some people hated children and would slip needles, or razor blades into the candies.
Halloween was not all fun and games, it was not just for children either.
Halloween was a deeper holiday than we thought of as children, it was not just about ghosts and goblins and friendly witches. In the celebration of Halloween there was an ages old conflict, between the Christian Church, and the “Old Time Religion;” the customs of the pagans hiding just beneath the surface.
On the Christian Calendar; Halloween was known as the All Hallows Eve. It was a celebration of the honored dead, of all the saints who had passed before.
For the old pagans; whose traditions walk hand in hand with the church, it was a celebration of the dead. Plain and simple, Halloween was an acknowledgment of all the dead, whose spirits live among us still; good and bad, honored or not, and more often than not it celebrated the dangerous, the macabre, the frightening, and the weird.
I was fourteen the last year I went Trick or Treating, and really; I was only chaperoning my younger brother. I took some candy nevertheless.
In that same year I remember the Pastor at my church lamenting the popularity of the pagan festival. Believing that the Christian feast should be honored instead. There was no fun in that.      
In the that have followed, the number of children who go out in costumes seeking candy has declined by 25%. It is no longer considered safe or wholesome.
At forty-seven I watch my pears obsess over this day still. A few of them earn an income through it, I understand that. Other have children, and for them it is a carrying forward of a tradition. Most look to Halloween or the weekend preceding it, as a cause to be drunken, to crawl through bars in costumes, to cling to their childhood and the freedom of they had as children, which they remember, or imagine.
For me it is just another day, Halloween, I do not believe that the dead walk with us. I have never seen a ghost, or found evidence of magic.

Given 1st - 2016.10.31

Sunday, October 30, 2016

A Homily – The Gospel of Luke 19.1 - 10 ©

The Gospel of the Day – 2016.10.30


The Beloved

Jesus entered Jericho and was going through the town when a man whose name was Zacchaeus made his appearance: he was one of the senior tax collectors and a wealthy man. He was anxious to see what kind of man Jesus was, but he was too short and could not see him for the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to catch a glimpse of Jesus who was to pass that way. When Jesus reached the spot he looked up and spoke to him: ‘Zacchaeus, come down. Hurry, because I must stay at your house today.’ And he hurried down and welcomed him joyfully. They all complained when they saw what was happening. ‘He has gone to stay at a sinner’s house’ they said. But Zacchaeus stood his ground and said to the Lord, ‘Look, sir, I am going to give half my property to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody I will pay him back four times the amount.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Today salvation has come to this house, because this man too is a son of Abraham; for the Son of Man has come to seek out and save what was lost.’


The Judgement of God

Be mindful.

Do not judge. Make no assumptions about the piety of others.

Everyone is a sinner, and everyone is good;

Everyone loves, and is worthy of love.

That is the whole of the gospel.



31st Sunday in Ordinary Time

Saturday, October 29, 2016

May You Live in Interesting Times ~ Ancient Curse (Part Ten)

Editorial, The Week in Review – Analysis, Commentary, Opinion
10.29.2016

May You Live in Interesting Times ~ Ancient Curse

Part Ten

There has been a lot of talk throughout the month of October, about the so-called October surprise; the piece of breaking news that will slip into the consciousness of the electorate and throw the election one way or another.

For Donald Trump, the Republican Party’s nominee for President, there were no surprises, there was just a steady stream of revelations regarding his character, and conduct toward women; revelations that were not surprising at all, because they were consistent with a decades long history of public statements he has made, and actions he has taken that show him in the light of a serial abuser of women, some in his employ, some merely seeking work, other merely sitting next to him at a nightclub, or on an airplane.

T-Rump strikes again, and again in a long stand pattern, or habit of sexual assault.

For the Democratic Party’s nominee for President, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the surprise came in the form of a statement from the director of the FBI; James Comey. A man whose office was charged with investigating thousands of e-mails; either sent to, or sent by Hillary Clinton, through a private server at her estate in New York.

Throughout the political season, until July of 2016, Hillary Clinton’s campaign had been operating under a cloud of suspicion, the suspicion that she may have broken the law, by revealing or sharing classified intelligence materials through her private system. Other prominent public officials had recently been charged with crimes, found guilty, faced imprisonment, and heavy fines for such violations.

However, in July, after an intensive investigation, and after hours of testimony given by Hillary, to the FBI, and to Congressional committees; it was the judgement of the investigators that no crimes had been committed by Hillary. She had, perhaps been careless, but no there was no evidence of a crime they felt they could prosecute, or prove beyond a reasonable doubt.

Comey, the FBI director; he has been serving the Obama administration throughout Obama’s two terms. He was appointed to the ten-year post by President George W. Bush. He is a republican, and he had previously held partisan political posts, nevertheless he is the director of the FBI.
When he issued the statement in July, that Hillary would not be prosecuted for any crimes related to her e-mails, he did so in such a way as to level serious criticism against her. He accused her of incompetence, carelessness, and malfeasance to a level just shy of being criminal.

His political friends cried foul, while at the same time making as much hay out of his statement as they possibly could. His political friends wanted Hillary prosecutes, regardless of the fact that there was no evidence of any crime.

Now, two and half months later, with just eleven days to go before the election; Comey announces that he has reopened the investigation into Hillary’s e-mails, based on some evidence they found in an unrelated case.

He gave no other information, except to say that the new evidence may not be significant at all; the FBI was merely investigating it, and Hillary’s critics pounced.


The FBI director did this; contrary to a long standing protocol of the justice department, to not issues statements about investigations or any political matter within sixty days of an election. He violated justice department protocols in order to aid his republican allies in the current election cycle.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Emergence: Section Six, The Empire; Part Forty-one, Tradition, Collected Chapters



Tradition; Part Forty-one,
Chapter One: Story
Pt. 41, Ch. 01
His life symbolized the faith of every citizen in the Empire. A million worlds followed him; put their hopes in him.
#Emergence

Tradition; Part Forty-one,
Chapter Two: Pietas
Pt. 41, Ch. 02
The perception of holiness mattered more than its reality. Image is everything, rhetoric was the measure of the day.
#Emergence

Tradition; Part Forty-one,
Chapter Three: Custom
Pt. 41, Ch. 03
For the rituals of the priesthood; every gesture was important, rippling through the lives of the faithful in rings.
#Emergence

Tradition; Part Forty-one,
Chapter Four: Classism  
Pt. 41, Ch. 04
The imperial system was held together by class, rank, ancestry and heredity. Everybody longed for a release from it.
#Emergence

Tradition; Part Forty-one,
Chapter Five: Socialism
Pt. 41, Ch. 05
Autonomy was an illusion; private property, self-direction. In truth, everything and everyone is owned by the state.
#Emergence

Tradition; Part Forty-one,
Chapter Six: Globalism   
Pt. 41, Pt. 06
To be at peace in the Empire a person had to accept the view that their happiness was an integral part of the whole.
#Emergence

Tradition; Part Forty-one,
Chapter Seven: Universalism

Pt. 41, Ch. 07
Individual fulfillment came only through the chain of being; in which each person experienced life at every station.
#Emergence

Emergence:
Section Six, The Empire
Tradition; Part Forty-one
Collected Chapters
Section 06, The Empire
Part 41, Tradition
Chapters
01 Story
02 Pietas
03 Custom
04 Classism
05 Socialism
06 Globalism
07 Universalism
#Emergence
#SuperShortFiction
#365SciFi
@jaybotten

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Darkness

A cloud of unknowing, the divine ascent

Following the way of Jacob, Israel

Rung by rung, his handprints and mine

Mindful in the morning light

Mindless in the deepening night, and mad

I find a self I never knew

In darkness…in the deep of night

In silence, but for Ruha whispering

A forgotten name whistling in the ear

Gentle, ephemeral brushing through my hair

The wind had the number every strand

Darkness…I remember you

Descending like the shroud

Grieving in the cold, and lonely places

In the secret chamber of my heart

Covered and clouded, and washed in the rain

Buried and reborn

Darkness…I was a fool, I never knew you

Fragile…I could not bear you

Restless…I would not endure you.

There is a ladder; on a tower, atop its parapet

In a city, by a vineyard where old drunkards sleep

Lying naked beneath the sun

There is a vine, upon a trellis

Roots stretched far into the earth

In the dark cool soil that is life

There is fruit upon the vine

The apex of ascent, pluck it


Be plucked, taste of it, and change

Sunday, October 23, 2016

A Homily – The Gospel of Luke 18:9 - 14 ©

A Homily – The Gospel of Luke 18:9 - 14 ©

The Gospel of the Day – 2016.10.23

On Pride and Humility

Jesus spoke the following parable to some people who prided themselves on being virtuous and despised everyone else: ‘Two men went up to the Temple to pray, one a Pharisee, the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood there and said this prayer to himself, “I thank you, God, that I am not grasping, unjust, adulterous like the rest of mankind, and particularly that I am not like this tax collector here. I fast twice a week; I pay tithes on all I get.” The tax collector stood some distance away, not daring even to raise his eyes to heaven; but he beat his breast and said, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner.” This man, I tell you, went home again at rights with God; the other did not. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the man who humbles himself will be exalted.’

Understanding

Do not be mistaken; both of these people are beloved by God.

God, the creator of the universe; God loves all people, without qualification. God gives to all people without preference.

In the person of the Pharisee, and in the person of the tax collector; there is good and there is evil; both. This is true of everyone. God loves us despite our faults and failings.

The Pharisee was born into the life of a Pharisee, was given the means to live the life he lived. He had some say in how he would handle his inheritance; as we all do, whatever that inheritance might be.

We are each of free to be prideful, or humble regardless of what we do or do not have.

A person who manifests an ugly sense of pride in relation to one aspect of their life, may be loving and humble in another. Do not believe that because you see one side of a person, you have seen everything about them.

The tax collector also inherited his circumstances; perhaps making choices along the way to establish himself in the role he occupied, nevertheless, like all people, his role in his community was partly determined by free will and partly determined by the exigencies of his community life.

A person may have an occupation where they know they are doing harm to others, but cannot walk away from it, because of unseen obligations; to family, to friends, to community. The fact that they are engaged in a sinful occupation does not tell us the whole story of who they are. They may be fierce and aggressive in the pursuit of their duties, and yet come to their prayers with humility and contrition.

Be welcoming to all who come to you. Do not judge them based on the outward expression of their piety, their occupation, their place in society.

We are all of us a mix of good and bad intentions.


30th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Saturday, October 22, 2016

May You Live in Interesting Times ~ Ancient Curse (Part Nine)

Editorial, The Week in Review – Analysis, Commentary, Opinion
10.21.2016

We are in the last three weeks of the campaign for President of the United States.

Last week marked the end of the presidential debates between the Democratic Party’s nominee, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; and the Republican Party’s nominee, television personality Donald Trump, the T-Rump. The two of them wrapped up the third and final debate, in what was the most substantive of their contests, in which both candidates performed better than they had in the previous two debates, even though T-Rump continued to talk fact-free, to fidget, to sniffle, to cast insults, call names, and at the end suggested that he would not concede the race if he lost.

This would be a first in American politics, it is a threat to cyclical, peaceful transfer of power from one administration to the next that has been the hallmark of our Republic.

This is not new for T-Rump. During the primaries, while he eventually promised to support the Republican nominee, if it should turn out to not be him; after that promise was extracted from him, he began to cast doubt on it by suggesting that he would not support the nominee if he lost in a contest that he deemed to be unfair.

T-Rump knows he losing, but he cannot entertain the thought, his mental illness is such that he can only admit to losing if the conditions were not fair; in which case he did not lose at all, but he was cheated.

His rhetoric three weeks before the election has encouraged people in the crowds at his rallies to suggest that if T-Rump loses there will be an armed revolution, that Hillary should be forcibly removed from office, and the government should be overthrown.

T-Rump has not called for the violent overthrow of the government. But he has not condemned the people in his crowds who are speaking this way. And he has told Hillary that if by some miracle he should win, he would lock her up, put her in jail; despite the fact that she has never been charged with a crime.

I believe that Donald Trump is a threat to our Democracy. While he promotes himself as a defender of the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution; an appeal to his armed and radical followers, whom he has asked to provide “2nd Amendment remedies” on his behalf should he lose; at the same time he threatens to lock up journalists, deny the freedom of the press, approve standards of religious persecution, commit torture, deny people due process and etc…


Vote…Bury Donald Trump in a landslide! 

Attached to a Phone Cord

It was an image out of time

A man walking with telephone in hand

The long handset at his right ear

The bulky base hanging from his fingers

At his waist, the curling cord

Like a bandolier across his chest

A long cable trailing along the floor

A slender, flat worm, fixed to the wall

Shifting as he paced around the room

Watch, as from time to time he switches

The parts of the phone form hand to hand

Pausing for a moment to cradle the handset

Between his shoulder and his ear

The phone base swings from left to right

The handset mid-sentence, from right to left

An archaic dance, a vision from childhood

When we were tethered by the cable

To the phone, by the cord

Within which electrons flow

As now they pass right through us

Ten thousand conversations at a time

Binary signals in the ether, invisible fingers

Digital ones, and zeros, drawing pictures

Touching nerves


Inside us


Given on the open mic at:

The New Shit Show, Minneapolis
The Fox Egg Gallery
2016.10.21

Friday, October 21, 2016

Emergence: Section Six, The Empire; Part Forty, Faith, Collected Chapters



Faith; Part Forty,
Chapter One: Indoctrination
Pt. 40, Ch. 01
Born a pleb; he fought the empire. It made him a star. He entered service; as a bureaucrat, and soldier, and priest.
#Emergence

Faith; Part Forty,
Chapter Two: Dogma
Pt. 40, Ch. 02
He made his vow, took holy orders, immersed himself in the priesthood; feelings stirring inside. Truth set him free.
#Emergence

Faith; Part Forty,
Chapter Three: Rites
Pt. 40, Ch. 03
He took the ritual seriously, as he did everything during his career. He knew they were empty, meaningless gestures.
#Emergence

Faith; Part Forty,
Chapter Four: Mystery  
Pt. 40, Ch. 04
He was indoctrinated into the deepest mysteries; of salvation, and eternal life. He learned nothing, they were lies.
#Emergence

Faith; Part Forty,
Chapter Five: Belief
Pt. 40, Ch. 05
He promoted the beliefs of the Empire; articulating the complex narratives that glued the imperial society together.
#Emergence

Faith; Part Forty,
Chapter Six: Orthodoxy   
Pt. 40, Pt. 06
He learned the difference between belief and conviction; what you hold in your heart is not what you speak out loud.
#Emergence

Faith; Part Forty,
Chapter Seven: Unknowing

Pt. 40, Ch. 07
There are no words available to articulate universal truth; every attempt to do so was both manipulative, and false.
#Emergence

Emergence:
Section Six, The Empire
Faith; Part Forty
Collected Chapters
Section 06, The Empire
Part 40, Faith
Chapters
01 Indoctrination
02 Dogma
03 Rites
04 Mystery
05 Belief
06 Orthodoxy
07 Unkowing
#Emergence
#SuperShortFiction
#365SciFi
@jaybotten

Sunday, October 16, 2016

A Homily – The Gospel of Luke 18:1 - 8 ©

The Gospel of the Day – 2016.10.16

On Justice


Jesus told his disciples a parable about the need to pray continually and never lose heart. ‘There was a judge in a certain town’ he said ‘who had neither fear of God nor respect for man. In the same town there was a widow who kept on coming to him and saying, “I want justice from you against my enemy!” For a long time he refused, but at last he said to himself, “Maybe I have neither fear of God nor respect for man, but since she keeps pestering me I must give this widow her just rights, or she will persist in coming and worry me to death.”’

  And the Lord said ‘You notice what the unjust judge has to say? Now will not God see justice done to his chosen who cry to him day and night even when he delays to help them? I promise you, he will see justice done to them, and done speedily. But when the Son of Man comes, will he find any faith on earth?’


Patience


Endeavor to persevere.

Do not lose heart, or hope, trust in the goodness of your actions, even if they do not bear fruit; the good is never wasted.

Justice may come from people who have no interest in it. Nevertheless, a just result is a just result.

Do not wait for justice but strive for it. Persistence is its own reward.

Do not wait for God to deliver you from your troubles here on earth, be patient, and in keeping with the way of Jesus; seek justice through mercy, and love, and kindness.

This may not change your circumstances, but it will change you, that is where you find salvation.



29th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Saturday, October 15, 2016

May You Live in Interesting Times ~ Ancient Curse (Part Eight)

Editorial, The Week in Review – Analysis, Commentary, Opinion

10.15.2016

Donald Trump is the nominee of the Republican Party for President of the United States.

T-Rump wants to be President, he has never held public office.

T-Rump asserts that he is qualified on the basis of his business acumen. He has bankrupted several companies, claimed hundreds of millions of dollars in tax write offs due to losses (perhaps billions). He has been sued hundreds of times by contractors for failing to meet his agreements. He is hundreds of millions of dollars in debt to foreign banks (perhaps billions).

He has no business acumen.

T-Rump claims that he alone can fix the economy and bring jobs back to America.

We have the strongest economy in the industrialized world, and T-Rump manufactures all of the products bearing his name in foreign countries. He uses foreign steal to build his buildings.

T-Rump has been caught on video describing his habitual sexual assault of women; his fondness for it. He denied this during the second presidential debate. Numerous women have come out to accuse him of doing the things he has said he likes to do. He is calling them all liars.

T-Rump is a liar, and a sex-offender.

T-Rump is openly calling for the arrest and imprisonment of his Opponent; former Secretary of State, Former Senator from New York, Former First Lady of the United States, Hillary Clinton.

He claims that the election is rigged, the American people are being cheated, and that civilization itself is stake. The Democrats, and a powerful cabal of international bankers, and international media elite are the enemy that must be stopped. He is calling for violence, and he has stated that his campaign is a path to Heaven.

Many so-called evangelical Christians support him nonetheless.


T-Rump is a danger to the United States, our Constitution, and the people of the world.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Emergence: Section Six, The Empire; Part Thirty-nine, Priest, Collected Chapters



Priest; Part Thirty-nine,
Chapter One: Oblate
Pt. 39, Ch. 01
They raised him to the priesthood. Once again, he started on the lowest rung. He was tonsured; marked with humility.
#Emergence

Priest; Part Thirty-nine,
Chapter Two: Novice
Pt. 39, Ch. 02
He took vows; of poverty, of obedience. He entered the sacred order; was initiated in the mysteries. He was servant.
#Emergence

Priest; Part Thirty-nine,
Chapter Three: Brother
Pt. 39, Ch. 03
There was the priesthood, and the holy orders, he always went deep. He followed the paths of mystery, and austerity.
#Emergence

Priest; Part Thirty-nine,
Chapter Four: Sister  
Pt. 39, Ch. 04
Since his days as a rebel, he was obedient, a follower, unquestioning, and then he met a woman, and he fell in love.
#Emergence

Priest; Part Thirty-nine,
Chapter Five: Ordained
Pt. 39, Ch. 05
He was initiated into the mysteries, and ordained into the order of the priesthood; an officiant of the sacred rite.
#Emergence

Priest; Part Thirty-nine,
Chapter Six: Abba   
Pt. 39, Pt. 06
His affair with the nun was illicit. It captivated his audience. They ensured it would continue. They made him Abba.
#Emergence

Priest; Part Thirty-nine,
Chapter Seven: Overseer

Pt. 39, Ch. 07
He advanced despite his carnal crimes. The Continuum loved the intrigues of his cover-ups. They made him a Cardinal.
#Emergence

Emergence:
Section Six, The Empire
Priest; Part Thirty-nine
Collected Chapters
Section 06, The Empire
Part 39, Priest
Chapters
01 Oblate
02 Novice
03 Brother
04 Sister
05 Ordained
06 Abba
07 Overseer
#Emergence
#SuperShortFiction
#365SciFi
@jaybotten

Sunday, October 9, 2016

A Homily – The Gospel of Luke 17:11 - 19 ©

A Homily – The Gospel of Luke 17:11 - 19 ©

The Gospel of the Day – 2016.10.09

Saved by Faith

On the way to Jerusalem Jesus travelled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he entered one of the villages, ten lepers came to meet him. They stood some way off and called to him, ‘Jesus! Master! Take pity on us.’ When he saw them he said, ‘Go and show yourselves to the priests.’ Now as they were going away they were cleansed. Finding himself cured, one of them turned back praising God at the top of his voice and threw himself at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. The man was a Samaritan. This made Jesus say, ‘Were not all ten made clean? The other nine, where are they? It seems that no one has come back to give praise to God, except this foreigner.’ And he said to the man, ‘Stand up and go on your way. Your faith has saved you.’

The Way, Faith is Trust

God; the creator of the universe, God loves all people. God loves the clean and the unclean, the leper and the person in full health. God loves them both alike. God’s mercy is the inheritance of both.

All of the lepers were healed of their disease, one came back and gave praise to God; gave thanks.

The one who returned and gave thanks was healed according to his faith and trust in God.

The others were saved according to God’s grace and mercy.

The important thing to understand is that all were healed.


28th Sunday in Ordinary Time