Forty What?

“It is all about numbers. It is all about sequence. It’s the mathematical logic of being alive. If everything kept to its normal progression, we would live with the sadness–cry and then walk–but what really breaks us cleanest are the losses that happen out of order.” –Aimee Bender, American author

There are many theories circulating about the meaning of Covid19, including Biblical prophecy. Whether Christian or not, you must admit that the spiritual alignment with the number 40 is interesting. The passage below has been circulating on Facebook and caught my attention. I do not know the source, but I invite you to ponder it as food for thought. The number 40. Hmmm…..

The official lock down started March 23 and will likely end May 1st. That is EXACTLY 40 days. The Latin root of the word “quarantine” is “forty”.

So what does the Bible say about 40?

  • The flood lasted 40 days.
  • 40 years Moses fled Egypt.
  • 40 days Moses stayed on Mount Sinai to receive the Commandments.
  • Exodus lasted 40 years.
  • Jesus fasted for 40 days.
  • 40 days for a woman to rest after giving birth.
  • Optimum number of weeks for human gestation is 40.
  • A group of theologians thinks the number 40 represents “change.” It is the time of preparing a person, or people, to make a fundamental change.
  • Something will happen after these 40 days. Just believe and pray.
  • Remember, whenever the number 40 appears in the Bible, there is a “change.”
  • Please know that during this “quarantine” rivers are cleaning up, vegetation is growing, the air is becoming cleaner because of less pollution, there is less theft and murder, healing is happening, and most importantly, people are turning to Christ.
  • The Earth is at rest for the first time in many years and hearts are truly transforming.
  • Remember we are in the year 2020, and 20 + 20 = 40.
  • Also, 2020 is the year of the United States Census. Jesus Christ, the savior of the world, was born during a census.
  • Lastly, 2020 is perfect vision.

May our sight focus on the Lord and living according to His perfect vision for us knowing He holds us in the palm of His hand.

May these days of “quarantine” bring spiritual liberation to our souls, our nation, and our world.

Could We Talk?

April 6, 2020

“Sometimes questions are more important than answers.” Nancy Willard, author (1936-2017)

Easter 1962 I stood before the congregation at the First Christian Church in Ames, Iowa and declared my faith. Following my family’s tradition, and months of study, I was baptized by immersion. I loved the ritual of it, especially wearing a white robe. Before the dunking, the minister stood before our group of 13-year olds and asked: “Do you accept Jesus Christ as your Savior?” One by one everyone said yes. I recall feeling antsy because the question didn’t make sense to me. Exactly what did Jesus save me from? My mom used to tell me that I was my own worst enemy. “Stop asking questions, Kathi.” Would Jesus stop me from being me, the bad and good parts of me? Gosh, I thought, wouldn’t that be a neat and tidy way to live. When the minister stood in front of me and asked the question, I couldn’t bring myself to say yes. Instead I nodded in agreement. But what I really wanted to say was “Could we talk?”

Fast forward twenty-five years. After my dad died I started attending the First Christian Church in downtown Portland. It had a beautiful sanctuary with circular seating, symbolizing unity in community. The minister walked among us. The choir was called Joyful Noise. The feeling was wonderful, but still I longed for a meaningful dialogue about my faith. The opportunity arrived when the minister phoned me and suggested a get acquainted meeting.

He was a lovely man, truly interested in who I was as a person. For the first time I asked what I wanted to ask way back at my baptism. “If I have God, why do I need Jesus? I mean, isn’t Jesus kind of a middle man?” The minister paused, leaned back in his chair and clasped his hands on the top of his head. “That’s an interesting question. No one has ever asked me that before. Let’s talk about it.”

He explained to me that most people can’t comprehend the enormity and vastness of God. That God is creation itself. All knowing, all seeing, everywhere present. Therefore, we need to bring God into human form in order to relate. This is the role that Jesus played and still plays today.

I continued my line of questioning. “If God is the Almighty, then why would we pray to Jesus and not to God? Wouldn’t it be more efficient to bring our prayers to the source?” He chuckled at that while inviting me the next Sunday to listen closely to the prayers. “We pray in the name of Jesus, not to Jesus.” That statement allowed me to think of Jesus as a human expression of God.

I continued attending Sunday services at First Christian Church, and, at the time, I wasn’t sure why. Sanctuaries often feel like home to me. Safe and sacred space. That’s what I felt throughout the year of going to church. Then, one Sunday, something profound happened.

Sitting next to me on the pew was a young family; dad, mom and a few little kids. The dad kept looking at me in a quizzical way. While he was looking at me, I was looking at the stained-glass window of Jesus holding a lantern and saying, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock.” (Revelation 3:20) I would do this Sunday after Sunday. Just stare at it while thinking, “Please knock on my door. Please don’t knock on my door.”

On this particular Sunday, with the family nearby, I silently prayed to God for a sign. Is this church right for me? Is any church right for me? When service was over the man came over to me and asked, “Do you belong here?” After a long pause, I smiled broadly and replied, “No, I don’t belong here. Thank you!” He chuckled and said he was asking if I was a member of the church. “No, I’m not. But, again. Thank you. Your question was answered prayer.” With that I quickly departed. I wonder what the man thought after that?

The next week I attended a wedding of a long-ago friend at the Portland Church of Religious Science. The next day I attended a service at the bride and groom’s church. I wept the whole time as I finally felt at home. I learned that, like Jesus, I too am a child of God. And, as Jesus said, I would too would do his works and greater.

This Easter, now 58 years after my baptism, I have come full circle as a proud member of an open, welcoming and progressive Christian Church. There, I found, Life Itself continually knocking on my door. Life invites me to enter into the Highest Expression of My Good/God Self. Easter is a great time to renew my own personal resurrection. May you find peace in your heart this Easter and beyond.

What does Easter mean?

“The origin of the word easter isn’t certain. The Venerable Bede, an eighth-century monk, and scholar, suggested that the word may have come from the Anglo-Saxon Eeostre or Eastre – a Teutonic goddess of spring and fertility.  Another possibility is the Norse eostur, astur, or ostara, which meant “the season of the growing sun” or “the season of new birth.” The word east comes from the same roots. In this case, easter would be linked to the changing of the season.”

Additionally: Easter falls on the first Sunday, after the first Full Moon, after the Spring Equinox. The hare was the spring goddess’s totem animal. Eggs were painted and placed in fields as fertility symbols for the beginning of the growing season. What will you do with your painted eggs this year?

Fun with Easter Bonnets!

What If?

“You’re worried about what-ifs. Well, what if you stopped worrying?” ― Shannon Celebi, author of Driving Off Bridges

Push finally came to shove. I had to cancel both my Ireland and Scotland tours scheduled for this month. For several days, before self-isolation, I walked around with “what if” perched on my shoulder. WHAT IF we go? WHAT IF someone on the airplane carries the virus? WHAT IF we get there and someone gets sick? WHAT IF we have to hunker down there for 14 days? WHAT IF we can’t return home? WHAT IF we don’t go? WHAT IF we all lose money? I was driving myself into a frenzy with so many What If’s. It was time to make a decision.

Last Saturday I phoned all of my travelers to make sure they were in agreement. Everyone was disappointed and supportive. We simply could not and would not go. That’s when I had an uplifting What If. “WHAT IF we move the tours to September?” Most travelers were on board with it. So, I started moving ahead with re-booking everything. Soon I discovered that the many sites and hotels in both Ireland and Scotland are closed. How could I possibly re-book? Then the What If’s returned.

WHAT IF I move the tours to September and the virus does not wane in the summer as graphs are predicting. WHAT IF we still can’t go then? That’s when I realized I was drowning in another sea of What Ifs. My own personal ones, and then the huge one that is close to sinking all of us. Then the tears started to flow. Finally, I allowed myself to feel the fear that I’ve been trying to avoid.

I realized that the What If mindset was controlling my thoughts. A perfect way to avoid feelings. Reminds me of a quote I heard years ago, something like, “It’s hard to fight an enemy with outposts in your head.” My sanity has been restored. The enemy was not the tours or the virus. The enemy was of my own making. Enough! There will be no tours in 2020. I’ve made peace with that, although I get teary when I think I should be walking on Ireland’s green grass. Then I remember how blessed I am to live outside of town with my own lush green fields, with two doggies always up for a walk.

For your viewing pleasure, here are a fun links to funny things being created around the pandemic. Some people on Facebook are taking offense by such nonsense. I disagree. Humor heals. Enjoy!

Do Re Mi – Covid 19 version

Social Distancing During Corona Pandemic Funny Video

Toilet Tissue from The Carol Burnett Show (full sketch)

Triple Spiral

March 23, 2020

“A sacred Sabian Symbol for the degree of the new moon is A triangle with wings.” Mark Dodich, astrologer

A triangle with wings? Thanks, Mark, for a great visual during this time of self-isolation!

Today is the New Moon. It’s a time of cleansing, preparing the womb for the new seed. We get to decide what to plant. Fear or Faith? Or, just maybe, a third option? That’s when I turn to the Triple Spiral for wisdom, comfort and inspiration.

Visit our website to learn more about the Triple Spiral.

If you scroll down to the bottom of the Labyrinth page, you’ll see this. Download the triple spiral labyrinth! Click on “download” and print a few copies of the Triple Spiral. Get a pen or marker. Set an intention. What is this New Moon about for me? Enter the labyrinth at the bottom with the heart facing you. With your pen, travel it slowly and mindfully. At the center of each spiral, pause for a few moments. Anything come to you? Then move on until you reach the very center. Then start making notes on the periphery. What comes to mind? Maybe a word, a color, a song? A message from The Universe? Mix it up and have fun. Kids love to do this as well. Print and share with family and friends.

Continue the fun by posting your triple spirals on ACC’s Facebook page: Anam Cara Connections. Let’s stay connected!!!

Christian? by Rev. Casey Moffett-Chaney

March 8, 2020

“I’m always amazed when people walk up to me and say, ‘I’m a Christian.’ I always think, ‘Already? You’ve already got it?’ I’m working at it. And at my age, I’ll still be working at it at 96.” – Maya Angelou, American poet (1928-2014)

Introduction from Kathleen

Has anyone ever asked you, “Are you a Christian?” That question recently came up when I was in conversation with a few other independently trained and licensed ministers. Because we do get asked that! If pressed, my best response has been, “I’m outside the box of church, yet inside the circle of God.” One of the ministers had a response that had never occurred to me.

Let me introduce you to a colleague, Rev. Casey Moffett-Chaney. She is the retired minister of Portland Center for Spiritual Growth. Enjoy!

When pondering the question, “Are you a Christian?” I suddenly revisited the origins of my spiritual path. I was a music education major in college. I didn’t understand what was happening to me at the time. Why were we music majors headed in one direction for our classes, all the religion majors headed in the opposite direction. I felt a huge tug on my heart during those times, as if I was supposed to be going with the religion majors. This always struck me as strange, because I was not raised religiously. In fact, I was raised Jewish, but at that, not in the least bit orthodox.

Suffice it to say, I graduated and taught public school music for 10 years. Then I was introduced to New Thought by means of a 12-Step Program. All of that old heart tugging became foremost in my consciousness, and I realized that I wanted to be a rabbi. The main problem with this, was that I had no desire to move to Ohio or New York to study for several years. Even if I did, it would’ve been impossible, because at that time, being female, meant that I would not be accepted in the program anyway.

Enter New Thought, and in particular, the New Thought church down the road from where I lived. I enrolled in the ministry program, graduated in three years, became licensed as a minister, and ultimately, ordained. my Jewish roots played a huge part in this ministry, but I was not a Jew for Jesus. That would have implied that I believed in Jesus as my Lord and Savior, having died for my sins. This was simply not the case. During my studies, I had grown to love the Sermon on the Mount from the book of Matthew In the New Testament of the Bible.

The Sermon on the Mount was as close to a classroom setting as any other story from the entire Bible. In short, it says that Jesus went up onto a hill of sorts, and a whole bunch of people followed him. As soon as all those students we’re sitting and listening, Jesus began to teach. “Blessed are the meek…” I found an awesome book by Emmett Fox, called, The Sermon on the Mount, and proceeded to devour it. From this book and Emmett Fox’s teaching, I came to realize that the entire Sermon on the Mount was the essence of Jewish Law.

For the next 24 years, I was the senior minister for the Portland Center for Spiritual Growth. During that time, I was asked to define the spirituality called New Thought. Most often I was asked if it was Christian? I responded by saying…

New Thought is the Judaism that Jesus taught.

Then I would refer them to the Sermon on the Mount. If directly asked if I was Christian, I responded with…

Jesus is my teacher.

Now, this did not always make the asker happy, but, oh well, it was and is my truth. I have been known to suggest that the asker feel free to take their concerns to Jesus directly. And by all means, feel free to pray for my soul. I can use all the help I can get!

Curious about Jews for Jesus? Here’s one website that might answer your questions:

What to know more about New thought?

More on the Sermon on the Mount – The Sermon on the Mount, chapters 5-7 in the gospel according to Matthew, contains the most important teachings of Jesus. The Sermon begins with the Beatitudes, and their call to humility, peacemaking, purity, and righteousness, and continues on to sharp condemnations of anger, lust, revenge, and hypocrisy, and then to the beautiful exemplar of the Lord’s Prayer. This is followed by strong admonitions against materialism, worry, and judging others. But it’s not all “thou shalt not,” for the Sermon on the Mount ends with Jesus’ encouragement for his followers to pray frequently and fervently, to live by the Golden Rule, to bear good fruit, and to build on the rock.


February 23, 2020

“Peace is not the absence of conflict but the presence of creative alternatives for responding to conflict… ― Dorothy Thompson (1893-1961) American journalist

“Oh, how I hate conflict,” I once complained to my husband. His reply, “Are you kidding me? You thrive on conflict.” We were both sort of right and both sort of wrong. What I hate is the physical discomfort that usually accompanies conflict. What I love is the possibilities that can surface during times of conflict. The key is to move beyond right and wrong, with resolution as the goal and the desired outcome for the highest good of all. Here’s an example.

Many years ago I was a member of a women’s gym where I worked out and took classes. The monthly dues of $25 were automatically paid through my credit card. I needed an extended leave for travel and physical ailments, so my credit card was not billed for three months.

Three months went by and I forgot about it. For whatever reason, my husband paid my credit card bill for a few months. When my credit card statement was back in my in-box to pay, I noticed I had been charged the monthly fee at the gym, and had been while he was paying my bill. I was out a total of $100. That seemed outrageous to me. So, with a calm and hopeful attitude, I phoned the gym. My hope was that they would apologize and reimburse me since I no longer wished to be at that gym. That’s not what happened.

The staff member at the gym was adamant that I indeed owed that $100, per the agreement that I would let them know after the three-month respite if I wished to continue or not. “I forgot” got me nowhere, as did saying someone else paid my credit part bill for a few months after the hold. I could feel the heat rising in my body. I could hear the irritation in her voice. We were both hell bent on being right.

Before everything blew up, I felt a sudden calmness come over me. I remembered the words from a workshop I had taken years earlier: Am I committed to being right, or am I committed to resolution? Some how I managed to say, “I’m wondering how we might resolve this in a way that we’ll both feel good about it when we hang up.” In that moment I had the gym woman in the palm of my hand, because my hand is connected to my arms and my heart. My mind wanted a fight. My heart wanted peace. My body wanted the discomfort to pass.

“How about this,” she said. “We’ll reimburse you half and call it even.” That sounded to me like a great resolution. “Thank you,” I said. “Now let’s both get on with having a great day.” She agreed.
I think about the conflict in our country and wonder if we can apply the same reasoning. Am I committed to being right, or am I committed to resolution? When I’m confronted by someone with politics different from mine, and if I choose to engage with them, am I doing so to prove me right and make them wrong, or am I committed to resolution. Here’s an example.

During the presidential debates the summer of 2016, I had a conversation with a relative who sees himself as a patriot—in what I would call the extreme. He could not talk about President Obama without fuming. The hate was palpable. In the past I would have argued until we were both blue in the face. But this time was different. I really wanted to hear what he had to say about Obama.

“He was not born in the U.S., he wants Islamic Sharia Law, and he just fired 60 cabinet members and generals and replaced them with Muslims.” He spewed this out in one long breath. After a brief pause, I looked at him with a soft expression on my face, and said, “I don’t believe that.”

The difference? In the past I would have said “I don’t believe YOU.” Those are fighting words for us! This time I took it out of the personal and replied impersonally. He suggested I look it up, which I did when I got home. He was totally wrong. (I won’t even address the birther and sharia law stuff.) What I learned was, that Obama only replaced one cabinet member with a Muslim. It was tempting to phone family member and do what we did as kids when one was right and the other wrong. “Nee ner, nee ner, neeee ner.”

So, I ask you, my anam cara, when in conflict, are you committed to being right, or committed to resolution?

Great Indoors

February 8, 2020

“Sometimes, the most productive thing that you can do is to step outside and do nothing…relax and enjoy nature.”
― Melanie Charlene, author

She loved the great indoors. That’s what a friend’s mother said she wanted in her obituary. We were seated with Leslie and her family, ten years ago or so, at a wedding reception in a local park. Someone shared in great detail why they loved being outdoors in nature. We all cracked up when Leslie piped in with, “When I die, please start my obituary with She Loved the Great Indoors.” As we chuckled, she assured us that she meant it. It was ten years later before I really understood what that might mean, besides the humor of it.

Fast forward a few years to when my friend called to say her mother had died. We shared many tears over the next few days, sprinkled with laughter. You see, Leslie was one of the funniest people I’ve ever known. I suddenly remembered what she had said at that wedding reception a few years prior. To my friend I said, “Remember, your mom said to include in her obit that she loved the great indoors.” Her daughter howled with laughter. Yep, it was in her mom’s obituary and again shared at her memorial gathering. Funny, yes, but in truth it was a stab at all of the people who, in their obits, professed to loving the great outdoors. I can relate.

Don’t get me wrong. I love where we live at Dream Acres because of the beauty of the land and landscapes. As much as I love being on the land, I also love the freedom to observe nature from the vantage point of our many windows. Do I have be to in the great outdoors in order to experience the brilliance, beauty and healing that Nature provides?

When I’m outdoors in Ireland and Scotland, I feel a renewed sense of aliveness. (A sense of “place” is a tenet of Celtic Spirituality.) I tell my tour groups, “Experience this site first, then take your photos later. Follow your inner guidance to a spot in nature that is calling to you. Be in that place as if you were gazing through the eyes of your heart. Go inward in order to experience was is outward.” Is this what Leslie subconsciously meant about loving the great indoors? Did she know that the secret to appreciating the outer world is to first be in touch with your inner world?

That new thought only occurred to me this morning as I sat gazing out of my office window. I’m enthralled by what I see. The landscape at Hidden Hills, in Oregon’s lush Yamhill Valley, begs me to notice, to watch, to reflect. How does the outer landscape mirror my own inner landscape? I am many layers. I am many colors and textures. I am the run-off stream from the recent heavy rains. I am the blue skies, the soft clouds, the whisper of the winds, the chirping birds. I am alive. I am awake. I am in the Great Indoors and, thanks to the Great Outdoors, I am restored to wholeness.


January 25, 2020

“Complaining is truly my strongest weakness.”
― Evinda Lepins, American writer

Years ago, I attended a prosperity seminar given by Edwene Gaines, author of The Four Spiritual Laws of Prosperity. There we sat; a few hundred eager minds ready to hit the jackpot. Money, we want more money in our lives! Ms. Gaines sat rather regally on her chair, perched like she was riding side saddle alongside the Queen of England. With her bouffant hairdo, wearing a ruffled dress and bright pink lipstick, and with a delightful Southern drawl, she declared, “Write this down. The first law of prosperity. I will not complain for 21 days.” Many of us were speechless. How could this notion contribute to prosperity?

“Those who complain much get little, those who complain little get much.”  ― Jeanette Coron, artist, author, blogger

This it not what I came to hear. I wanted insights into how to get rich and stay rich. “Then stop complaining,” she said to us, over and over and over again. So, I committed to no complaining for 21 days. If I caught myself complaining, I had to start over. How’d I do? I never got through 21 days. Once I learned how complaining diminishes my energy body, I got what she was saying. Consider these snippets of research:

“Complaining releases cortisol, otherwise known as the stress hormone.” - Travis Bradberry, Emotional Intelligence 2.0
“Every time you complain, your brain creates shortcuts to think more pessimistically. Therefore, when you verbalize a gloomy idea, the brain wires you to accept new information negatively.” Scientific Review of Mental Health Practice, 2007 study 
“As it turns out, whining about your problems during the day can affect you at night. Those who practiced gratitude slept longer and had a better quality of sleep than those who expressed annoyance or frustration.” - Berkeley study for the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology

Gaines was used to hearing complaints about complaining, but she never took offense. What she tried to do was help us form what she called a “habit of positivity.” Not in a Pollyanna kind of way, but the real truth that the vast majority of things in my life are going well. Gratitude became my friend.

“The soul that gives thanks can find comfort in everything; the soul that complains can find comfort in nothing.” ― Hannah Whitall Smith (1832-1911) Lay speaker & author

There’s a man—older than me—in my arthritis swim class who always wears a smile. I never hear him complain about his body aches and pains, which is why we’re in this class together. Recently he said to me, “My doctor told me I had to exercise more.” I replied, “So that’s why you’re in this swim class?” “No,” he said, “I took up watching golf.” With that he let out a manly sort of giggle. I asked him what the doctor said at the next visit. “You need an exercise that is more active.” So, what did he do? “I started watching bowling.” Again, the giggle, this time from me as well. Just a few days ago I inquired about his newest from of exercise. With incredible vim and vigor, he said, “I’m watching tennis and I feel G-R-E-A-T!!!” No complaints from this guy.

Wear a smile. Get some exercise. Start a gratitude journal. Embrace your aliveness. And for the sake of your aliveness, stop complaining!

“Any day above ground is a good day. Before you complain about anything, be thankful for your life and the things that are still going well.” ― Germany Kent, print and broadcast journalist

Goodbye Bindi

January 9, 2020

“Animals are such agreeable friends—they ask no questions;
they pass no criticisms.” –George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans) 1819-1880

When a new cat purrs its way into my heart, we always have a serious talk. “Someday,” I say, “you are going to have to tell me if it’s your time to go. You must be very, very clear.” That is what unfolded with Bindi, our beloved tuxedo girl cat, only 7 years old. What started on Dec 26 as a bad tooth ended up being advanced kidney cancer. My husband and I are in agreement that we do not do heroics for a pet. The vet agreed.

I slept with Bindi on the couch her last three nights. Actually, there was very little sleep given her discomfort and my hovering. She would sit perched and stare off into space. Pretty soon she would circle around and sit perched in another direction. Always away from me. Finally, I got down on the floor and looked deeply into her eyes. I could see my reflection as the tears started to flow. “It’s time, isn’t it, Bindi?” Given the expression on her little furry face, I swear she saw her reflection in my eyes. That’s when I knew it was time to say goodbye.

Our last night together found Bindi “head butting” me several times. I’ve been told that when cats brush up against us, they are leaving their scent. But when they bump their face and forehead on us, they are saying hello and I love you. I must have said “I love you” back to her dozens of times. At two different points she put her head in my palm and laid there for several minutes. She was literally putting her life in my hands.

The following morning, January 4th, we bundled Bindi in her favorite blanket, slipped her into her carrier and drove the short distance to the vet. I was startled by a Flicker that flew across our drive way in front of the car. I briefly wondered if Flicker had a message. Bindi died very peacefully. We chose to take her home for burial.

Late Sunday afternoon, Doug started digging the hole while I held the box containing Bindi’s body and the blanket. Suddenly, a deer bolted by us and ran into the trees. A Flicker and now a deer, I wondered. Is there a connection?

After a weekend where I had to be somewhat “on,” I devoted Monday to sadness and sorrow. I didn’t even get dressed, but I did brush my teeth. While browsing through numerous photos of Bindi on my computer, I saw a spider walk across the 2020 day timer that sits next to my desk. Flicker, deer, and now spider. That’s when I knew I had to do some research. Here are brief interpretations found on the internet.

Flicker demonstrates a new rhythm and cycle of growth. She shows the importance of healing love and the power of forgiveness. Insights and intuitions are activated and perceptions are changing.

Deer medicine includes gentleness in word, thought and touch. The ability to listen, plus grace and appreciation for the beauty of balance.

Spider is telling you to create, create, create. Look for new alternatives to your present impasse. Think outside of the web of illusion.

I’m giving myself plenty of time to ponder the messages from the three critters and how they might relate to Bindi’s death and my grief. The sobs have subsided, although the tears flow from time to time. The house feels eerily quiet, probably because we interacted so often during the day. When that nagging thought, “Did I do the right thing?” surfaces, I remember seeing my reflection in Bindi’s eyes and likely Bindi seeing her reflection in mine. It was time. We did the right thing. And now, time alone will heal.

Sun or Son?

December 11, 2019

“I suppose leadership at one time meant muscles;
but today it means getting along with people.” Mahatma Gandhi

One December day, many years ago, I got a phone call from my mom. She was having a theological dilemma. I could hear it in her voice. Very tentatively, and precisely, she asked, “So, if you don’t believe in Jesus, then should I not get you a Christmas present?” She was dead serious. I was flabbergasted and couldn’t wait to dive into another juicy spiritual dialogue with the woman who gave birth to me.

Previously I had explained to her that I don’t believe that Jesus is my savior. I believe he was a master teacher. A profound role model. A way shower.

A few days after this conversation she phoned me with news. “I was telling my bus driver today, a very nice young Christian woman, about your beliefs. She told me I should get down on my knees and pray for you because you are a sinner.” Which led me to tell Mom that I don’t believe I am a sinner. I was born of Original Love. I make mistakes and miss the mark. When I get the learning, I strive to make amends and move on.

“So are you Christian?” she eventually asked. Out of my mouth came these words. “I’m outside the box of Christianity, but inside the circle of God.” That was our moment of connection. “Got it!” she shouted. Religion no longer mattered between us. Spirituality took its place. The Christ Consciousness guided many more dialogues between us during her dying process. I miss the depth of that sharing and exploring, and yet remembering it inspires me to re-visit the meaning of Christmas. Am I Christian or Pagan, or does it matter?

Singer/songwriter Dar Williams says it beautifully in her clever holiday tune, The Christians and the Pagans. Dar Williams – THE CHRISTIANS and THE PAGANS – live in concert from Teaneck, NJ

If the Christians and the Pagans can sit together at the table, “…finding faith and common ground the best way they are able,” then we too can find common ground—if we look for it. That’s my intention this holiday season. To savor all of the many sights and sounds of the Winter Solstice and Christmas. Pagans celebrate the birth of the SUN, as do I. Christians celebrate the birth of the SON, as do I. They are similar beacons of light showing us the way in times of darkness. We are all one, and, goddess knows, we’re all in this together.