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Sunday, February 27, 2011

JEREMIAH THE FEARLESS

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From THE URANTIA BOOK 
Part III, 97, 6
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While several teachers continued to expound
the gospel of Isaiah, it remained for Jeremiah to
take the next bold step in the internationalization
of Yahweh, God of the Hebrews.
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Jeremiah fearlessly declared that Yahweh
was not on the side of the Hebrews in their military
struggles with other nations. He asserted that Yahweh
was God of all the earth, of all nations and of all peoples.
 Jeremiah’s teaching was the crescendo of the rising wave
 of the internationalization of the God of Israel;
 finally and forever did this intrepid preacher proclaim
 that Yahweh was God of all nations, and that there was no Osiris
 for the Egyptians, Bel for the Babylonians, Ashur for the Assyrians,
 or Dagon for the Philistines.
 And thus did the religion of the Hebrews share in that renaissance
 of monotheism throughout the world at about and following this time;
 at last the concept of Yahweh had ascended to a Deity level
 of planetary and even cosmic dignity.
But many of Jeremiah’s associates found it difficult
 to conceive of Yahweh apart from
 the Hebrew nation.
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Jeremiah also preached of the just and loving God
described by Isaiah, declaring:
 “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love;
 therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn you.”
 “For he does not afflict willingly the children of men.”
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Said this fearless prophet:
“Righteous is our Lord, great in counsel and mighty in work.
His eyes are open upon all the ways of all the sons of men,
 to give every one according to his ways and according to the fruit of his doings.”
 But it was considered blasphemous treason when,
 during the siege of Jerusalem, he said:
 “And now have I given these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar,
 the king of Babylon, my servant.”
 And when Jeremiah counseled the surrender of the city,
the priests and civil rulers cast him into
 the miry pit of a dismal dungeon.
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Saturday, February 26, 2011

HOPI KACHINAS

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We put in the video below not just because it
contains a number of works of art depicting kachinas,
but also because the music is a good audio background for
looking the post over.  There are a small number of photos
related to the Hopi Snake Dance here as well.  The Snake Dance
is not a kachina dance.  Kachinas have masks.
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Kachinas are supernatural beings,
who during periods when their dances are held,
are believed to visit the Hopi.
When this season is over,
they withdraw to their homes in the
San Francisco Mountains or elsewhere.
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They are represented in the dances
by men who are masked and painted to
correspond to the traditional conception of
the appearance of each Kachina.

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Small wooden images, carved, painted,
and decorated with feathers, are also used
to represent them.
After the ceremonial dances are held
these dolls are given to the children
to play with.
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From a Santa Fe Railway brochure, 1948
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From the Introduction to Masked Gods by
 Frank Waters
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They began dancing.
Shaking their rattles at the cringing children.
Glaring at the stolid missionary.
Crying at the pipe-chewing trader.
Dancing back and forth before the rapt boy
seeing them for the first time.
No longer man nor beast nor bird,
but embodied forces of earth and sky
swirling across the sea of snow from the
blue montains on the horizon,
shaking this remote and rocky island,
stiring awake the archaic wonder and
mystery and pristine purity of man's
apperception of his cosmic role.
Dancing as gods have always danced before
their people. Masked by the grotesque,
but commanding that comprehension of the heart
which alone recognizes the beauty within. .

Suddenly it was over.
"Humph!" muttered Bruce, the trader. "Let's go."
The boy silently followed him down the trail
to the wagon. The missionary mounted his grey nag.
They plodded homeward to the trading post
and Bruce put on a pot of coffee.
The missionary stood in front of a shelf
looking at a row of small figures carved out of
cottonwood and painted to resemble the dancers.
"Idols," he said disapprovingly, new to the country.
"Dolls!" muttered Bruce tersely
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The boy still held his tongue.
This was the first time he had
ever seen a kachina dance, and it still
held him in a strange spell he
could not shake off.
"You say these carved wooden idols
or dolls are called kachina,"
persisted the missionary.
"But you called those masked dancers kachinas too.
Now I can understand that all these images
represent a pagan anthropomorphic
god called Kachina.
But when an ethnologist tells me
the spirits of the dead, of mountains, clouds,
trees, and animals are all kachina,
I'm confused. I simply don't understand."
"Why the the hell should you?"
demanded Bruce, gruffly.
I don't know anything about Indians,
even after forty years."
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The remarks about the kachinas
were confusing to the boy.
It did not matter. For, as years of comprehension
slowly crept upon him, he began to understand.
Life is a mystery play. It's players are cosmic principles
wearing the mortal masks of mountain and man.
We have only to lift the masks which cloak us
to find at last the immortal gods who
walk in our image across the stage.
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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

THE FOOL'S PRAYER

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THE FOOL'S PRAYER
by Edward Rowland Sill (1841-1887)
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THE royal feast was done; the King
Sought some new sport to banish care,
And to his jester cried: "Sir Fool,
Kneel now, and make for us a prayer!"

The jester doffed his cap and bells,
And stood the mocking court before;
They could not see the bitter smile
Behind the painted grin he wore.

He bowed his head, and bent his knee
Upon the Monarch's silken stool;
His pleading voice arose: “O Lord,
Be merciful to me, a fool!

“No pity, Lord, could change the heart
From red with wrong to white as wool;
The rod must heal the sin: but Lord,
Be merciful to me, a fool!"
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 “’Tis not by guilt the onward sweep
Of truth and right, O Lord, we stay;
’Tis by our follies that so long
We hold the earth from heaven away.

“These clumsy feet, still in the mire,
Go crushing blossoms without end;
These hard, well-meaning hands we thrust
Among the heart-strings of a friend.

“The ill-timed truth we might have kept–
Who knows how sharp it pierced and stung?
The word we had not sense to say–
Who knows how grandly it had rung!

“Our faults no tenderness should ask.
The chastening stripes must cleanse them all;
But for our blunders – oh, in shame
Before the eyes of heaven we fall.

“Earth bears no balsam for mistakes;
Men crown the knave, and scourge the tool
That did his will; but Thou, O Lord,
Be merciful to me, a fool!”
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The room was hushed; in silence rose
The King, and sought his gardens cool,
And walked apart, and murmured low,
“Be merciful to me, a fool!”
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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

FAITH IS AN OASIS - KAHLIL GIBRAN

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Kahlil Gibran (1883-1931)
Lebanese-American Artist, Poet, and Writer
The third best-selling poet of all time,
behind Shakespeare and Lao-Tzu.
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"I love you when you bow in your mosque,
kneel in your temple, pray in your church.
For you and I are sons of one religion,
and it is the spirit."
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"Faith is an oasis in the heart
which can never be reached by
the caravan of thinking."
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  "Advance, and never halt, for advancing is perfection. Advance and do not fear the thorns in the path, for they draw only corrupt blood."
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  "Are you a politician asking what your country can do for you, or a zealous one asking what you can do for your country? If you are the first, then you are a parasite; if the second, then you are an oasis in the desert."
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 "Nor shall derision prove powerful against those  who listen to humanity or those who follow  in the footsteps of divinity,   for they shall live forever. Forever."
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Monday, February 21, 2011

PRAYER FOR PRISONERS OF CONSCIENCE

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From The Episcopal Book of Common Prayer
For those who suffer for the sake of Conscience
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O God our Father,
whose Son forgave his enemies
while he was suffering shame and death:
Strengthen those who suffer for the sake of conscience;
when they are accused,
save them from speaking in hate;
when they are rejected,
save them from bitterness;
when they are imprisoned,
save them from despair;
and to us your servants, give grace to respect
their witness and to discern the truth,
that our society may be cleansed and strengthened.
This we ask for the sake of Jesus Christ,
our merciful and righteous Judge.
Amen.
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Here's a link to Amnesty International:
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An individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for the law.

.Martin Luther King, Jr.
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