“VIRTUAL (adjective) almost or nearly as described, but not completely or according to strict definition.” Words are my thing. This came about because of my need to describe things that defy description. Without a command of words, such a description is literally impossible. Once gained to some degree, mastery of words allows my task to be only ‘virtually’ impossible. I am flummoxed (there’s a word!) these days, by the continued attempt to do the literally impossible, as I watch people attempt to substitute virtual reality in cases where no substitutes exist. It’s as delusional as substituting photographs of food for actual food, and placing them in front of hungry people with the statement, “Well, it’s better than no food at all.” Sorry, but it’s not! Some things can be substituted for others of like kind, but unliving, electronic images cannot even come close to substituting for living human beings. They are dead effigies, and they stink of warm plastic, dust, and ozon

My Dog Tully

  My dog was not a “fur-baby,” and I was never her “Mama”. My dog was not a human being; she belonged to another species called Canis Lupus Familiaris. She came from an ancient lineage of pack hunters that somehow managed to domesticate human beings and teach them how to cooperate and co-exist with an alien species. My dog had a name that I gave her— “Tully”— and she recognized it, but she didn’t give a shit about names. She didn’t have ambition, or play politics; she never felt any need to impress anyone. She barely even cared when the weather was bad, charging out the dog door into rain and snow and galloping down the stairs to bark at imaginary cats in the apple tree.   She did love to lie in the sun, though. I am glad my dog was not a human being, because she helped me forget about all the awful things that human beings do to each other. She never gave a single thought to global warming, immigrants, real-estate prices, LGBTQ rights, poverty, or anti-vaccers. To her ‘socia

Jesus Loved the Wind

  What is it about the wind, anyway? It comes and goes like the things you missed out of the corner of your eye— The things you wish you hadn’t forgotten: Things that weren’t there when you woke up in the night, but you so wished they had been; Things that once turned your heart upside down, making you stop in your tracks for just one second. Things that you laid to rest and walked away, when it didn’t matter whether you looked back or not.   What is it about the wind anyway? It cuts through the buttons on your coat, leaving the smell of wind in your clothes— So that when you pass by, people pause for a moment without knowing why. It bends things that have no choice but to bend, or else they’ll break. It breathes over the hill and down, bringing a faint, thrilling breeze to where you sit, waiting. It goes where you’ve never been, and where you’ll never go again, blowing past all your regrets.   What is it about the wind anyway? It brings the most momentous

Inside-out Advent

  I keep seeing posts and blogs that are trying to bring comfort, hope, reassurance, and encouragement; full of suggestions that we look at things from a different perspective. The thing is, most of them aren’t very comforting, not really. Advent is traditionally a penitential season, and yet no-one seems to want to go there. The feeling seems to be that hard times are supposed to have a shelf-life, and we are getting impatient for the current hard times to be over and done with. Hmm. I just read a blog post that a friend shared on Facebook which talks about the longing of Advent— “for things to be made right.” It talked about Christ as the Overcomer— “who would take all shame, hurt, and pain on a cross and put it to rest to set things right.” It talked about a whole host of angels calling to the shepherds, and the author described those shepherds of Christ’s time as being equivalent to those of us today who are “forgotten, marginalized, unseen.” People like health-care workers,

This Story

  This morning, watching Brad Warner on a YouTube video, talking about “ Making Use of Your Talents ,” I got sidetracked by a glorious ‘Aha!’ moment. He was referring to another author who had recommended reading the Bhagavad-Gita from the point of view of Krishna, rather than that of Arjuna. Brad said that he had some success with doing that, and was rewarded with some new and interesting insights. Brad also talked about God in the same sentence as he mentioned Buddha, and he emphasized particularly that arguments about whether Buddha really lived, or whether God exists, are sort of beside the point. It doesn’t really matter, does it, if what is really important is to live worthily, using all our talents and abilities to their best effect? Our imaginations can’t possibly have any effect on God. If we’ve let ourselves be distracted into thinking that Divine favor towards us depends on the manner in which we imagine God, then we’ve stopped thinking about the Source of All Things, a

Carrying Water

  Luke 22:1-13 (CJB) 8 Yeshua sent Kefa and Yochanan, instructing them, “Go and prepare our Seder, so we can eat.” 9 They asked him, “Where do you want us to prepare it?” 10 He told them, “As you’re going into the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him into the house he enters, 11 and say to its owner, ‘The Rabbi says to you, “Where is the guest room, where I am to eat the Pesach meal with my talmidim?” ’ 12 He will show you a large room upstairs already furnished; make the preparations there.” 13 They went and found things just as Yeshua had told them they would be, and they prepared for the Seder. Exodus 2:15b-20 15b But Moshe fled from Pharaoh to live in the land of Midyan. One day, as he was sitting by a well, 16 the seven daughters of the priest of Midyan came to draw water. They had filled the troughs to water their father’s sheep, 17 when the shepherds came and tried to drive them away. But Moshe got up and defended them; then he watered their sheep. 18 Wh

Just Wait

  I have a ‘thing’ about the omitted material in the Daily Office Readings. I have occasionally gone on rants about it, but I’m finding that I can’t sustain the energy to object any longer. (Nevertheless, I still feel that it’s a mistake to ignore portions of Scripture right out of existence, especially without giving any explanation or justification for such censorship. I was never able to find any rationale for it, or even any admission of who made the editorial decisions, and why, even after some fairly intense research.) It’s Advent now, which is generally considered a season of waiting, a ‘penitential’ season to be marked by reflection and quietude; a season of allowing hidden things to emerge out of silence.   So, I thought it might be apt to take the time to peer between the lines, and allow the hidden verses to emerge out of their inexplicable silence. Today’s reading (DOR; Monday, 2 Advent, Year One— Isaiah 5:8-12, 18-23) omits verses 13-17: ( 11 Woe to those who get u