Wednesday, March 6, 2013

God Does Not Kill!

Julia Sievers ca. 1870s
To the religious ideologues who insist they know what is right and wrong, to those who kill in the name of all that is sacred and true and to those who wonder why hatred appears to bloom in our world, a letter from my Great Great Grandmother written in her journal 1898.

"God does not kill! Neither by flashing lightning, the whirling wind, the roaring water.... God does not kill with poison, pestilence, plague, famine, or flame. God does not kill with disease or disorder, with heartache or headache... God does not kill anyone, anywhere, or at anytime!

The doctrine that God takes away a child to punish or afflict a parent; takes away a husband to humble the wife... that God comes into a family like a lesson of destruction, to kill afflict and sadden; that God bankrupts or burdens any one good or bad; the doctrine of providential affliction and distress and sorrow; This is (an) unloving, godless and pitiless doctrine, (it) has no place in the thought of today only because it has had the sanction of the hoary ages Not because it is true, or reasonable, or good, or acceptable, or helpful, or hopeful.
Julia Sievers ca. 1940

(It is) Not because the Bible, or philosophy, or history, or science would have us believe it. But simply because we have been taught it, and have not had the courage to deny it.

God pities and helps, and guides and leads, and teaches, and hopes for us, but does Not destroy us, or hurt us, or hinder us. The theologian may have to teach us apostate thought to harmonize us with his system of so-called truth, But We Know Better; and in all justice and fairness let us quit accusing providence of inspiring crime and promoting disease, and in encouraging death....1

"Think and speak love, joy, peace, truth, Mercy. The Good is here and it is ours, it is for  you and me and to you and me.

In exalting the faculty of the Soul, we annihilate in a great degree the delusion of the senses." 2

Written by Julia M Sievers, Dennison, Iowa 1898

I love you Great Great Grandmother. May your prayers of love and clear thinking bloom in our world.



1. Julia's hand written journal is full of quotes and prayers and thoughts, all in devotion to God as she understood him. I was only the second person to ever read this passage until today. She notes that she adapted this first section based on an editorial from the Fort Worth, (Tex) Register.

2. This last four lines has the name "Martin" inscribed underneath it.

Copyright Richard Sievers, March 2013, All Rights Reserved

Monday, March 4, 2013

Eternity of Moments

My Brother and I in August 1972, three months before he passed away. These are happy moments that still live in my body.

of silence like song.
My brother in Idaho 1972.
That's what I have,
moments in a circle
that once looked like
a straight line.   

 From my new book Simple Life

If you had just one moment to begin eternity in, if there was a moment from which you could launch into forever, what would it be?

Pause and sit with this.
Is it hard to choose just one moment from your life?
Or is it  hard to choose any moments?
What does the answer say about your life or your presence in your life?

Let's narrow down And expand the scope of the question.
Choose a person that you currently consider a close friend. What moment in your life with them would you choose to carry with you into eternity? Any? Many? Are there regrets that need to be released or healed?

And expand even more: 
Think of a past person, animal or place you've loved. Is there a moment you had with them that you would want to carry with you, or even live in? 

Now go deeper and refine the question again. 
What about experiences that were mixxy, perturbed and challenging.  Was there an instance of clarity or healing that you would choose to recall in eternity? What about someone who has vexed you. Did that person touch you and bring joy nonetheless?

Looking at the question in another way:
Today... What if this day were The Day you'd live forever? What if you could move through this very day without regard to linear reckoning? What would you choose to believe, to do or inhabit? Which senses, sights and bodily sensations would you want to foster?

If this very moment was the launching point for eternity what would you pray or think or do in your life right now?

This is my glimmering on life:

The Moment of Eternity IS NOW.

I wonder if our heavens and hells and purgatories are not out there somewhere, someday. I wonder if the supposed afterlife is more akin with how we choose to inhabit and really experience this life.

Lately I've felt this existential challenge about what is all this work and experience for? What's the point? Is this all there is? How much do I really inhabit my everyday experiences? And does it matter that I do? I've wonder if hell is really just a way of regret. Perhaps hell is when you realize that you've lived disconnected and separate throughout life. Like there was no real joy and now it's too late. Well it's never too late to re inhabit your life, or re-enliven memories of your particular experiences.

I have a theory that a life purpose is simply to share all my experiences with Creation, Creator and Community when it comes time for this particular body to dissolve. At that time no experience will be either good or bad. But I think that the quality of how we inhabited experiences, the Vital essence of our bodily life, will be like manna to our spirits.

So I ask the questions again. 
If this were the launching point of eternity how would I be present in my body and life, how would I connect with people and love them in a way beyond sentimentality and yearning? How can we really be with each other in this gift of life and living? As William Stafford said: "Someday is now."


PS. The series Two Weeks in an American Ashram, will continue later in March.

(c) Copyright Richard Sievers, March 2013, All Rights Reserved.