From ancient byways to modern highways, glimpses of faith are everywhere...

Friday, September 30, 2011

Confucius: Who are his true descendants?

Confucius (By Wu Daozi)
Because Confucianism is so often associated with family ties, the question naturally arises:  Who are the true descendants of Confucius?

This question has apparently been a vital one for centuries, considering that the Kong (family name of Confucius) genealogy has been mapped for 83 generations.  Wikipedia reports that this is the “longest recorded extant pedigree in the world today.”  It is currently estimated that there are two to three million Kong descendants. By no means do all of them live in China.  An estimated 34,000 of them live in Korea - most are descendants of a
Kong family member who migrated to Korea in the 14th century.  Another part of the lineage fled to Taiwan during the Chinese Civil War of the 1940s.

Now that DNA testing is readily available, there had been a proposed project in China to test the DNA of male Kong descendants.  Scientists would have been looking for a common Y chromosome with only slight variations over time.  This would have allowed them to identify the
biological descendants of Confucius.  However, Wikipedia reports that the project was stopped in 2009 because “the family authorities decided not
to agree to DNA testing.”

Along with biological data, biographical data is also lacking.  Many alleged facts about the life of Confucius
are prefaced with the phrase “according to tradition…”  Even his written teachings were authored for centuries after his death, and Wikipedia reports that “no texts survive that are demonstrably authored by Confucius.”

Therefore, when we speak of the “descendants” of Confucius, perhaps we should instead speak of the
philosophical and spiritual “descendants” of Confucianism.  It is they – the ones who have been profoundly influenced by these teachings – who have kept the seeds of Confucian truth viable for all these generations.


Copyright September 30, 2011 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Rosh Hashanah: Where do you stand?

Tashlikh (Gierymski, 1890) 
Although Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year (one of four, but who’s counting) - it is not necessarily a happy time for everybody.

The Mishnah refers to Rosh Hashanah as the “day of judgment.”  The Talmud further explains that this is the day when the “books of account” are opened – and the fates of the wicked, the righteous, and the “middle class” (moral, not economic) are determined.  The fates of the wicked and the righteous are pretty straightforward.  The wicked are “blotted out of the book of the living forever” -  and the righteous (to conclude on a positive note) are inscribed “to live.”

The intermediate group?  They have to sweat it out for another ten days.  Their fate will be forever “sealed” on Yom Kippur.  In the meantime, the clock is ticking.  They can choose to repent – or not.  While everyone else is celebrating (the righteous, and even the ignorant wicked), the middlers can get right to work on their sins.  Gluttony?  Well, then, it’s a simple matter of  saying a polite “No!” to the apples, honey, pomegranates, dates, spinach, gourds, leeks, black-eyed beans, challah, pumpkin pastries, beets, stuffed birds, and fish heads that come your way.

If that wasn’t sufficient, then tashlikh (the “casting off” of sins) can be performed later that afternoon.  This practice is derived from Micah 7:18-20, where it states:  Who is a God like unto Thee, that pardoneth the iniquity…  He will subdue our inquities, and Thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.  Fear not - if you’re nowhere near the ocean, any flowing body of water will do.  Simply stand upon the nearest bridge and cast your blessed bread upon the healing waters (Eccelesiastes 11:1).

Some, however, think it’s not all that simple.  The Maskilim (leaders of the Haskalah “Jewish Enlightenment” movement) have been opposed to tashlikh on principle.  They believe that repentance must involve profound transformations within the sinners themselves.


Copyright September 29, 2011 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Navaratri: Paving the way for women's liberation

Lakshmi (Photo by Ranveig)
During Navaratri, the festival of “Nine Nights,” Hindus throughout the world honor The Great Divine Mother, Shakti.  In honoring Shakti, they are also honoring the divine female energy within themselves. 

This energy - most active within females, but also present within males – is associated with many types of creativity.  Wikipedia reports that it is also referred to as the Goddess, or as the Tridevi (the three main Goddess forms of Shakti – including Saraswati (arts, culture, learning), Lakshmi (fertility,  wealth), and Parvati/Durga (power, love, spiritual fulfillment).

Hinduism Today states that “no other major religion of the world acknowledges God as part female, or is willing to fully depict Her as the Goddess.”  Navaratri therefore becomes “an affirmation of femininity.  Girls and women are often venerated at this time.  However, the question still remains:  What level of respect are they given during the rest of the year?

Some studies indicate that during the early Vedic period (circa 1700-1100 BCE), the women of India “enjoyed equal status with men in all fields of life.”  However, by about 500 BCE, women’s rights were on the decline.  According to Wikipedia, influences from the Smritis (texts on Dharmic tradition), from the Mughal Empire, and from Christianity all contributed to the weakening of female status in Indian society.  Some of the obvious signs of this intensifying oppression were child marriages, “honorary”
self-immolations, and the ban on widow remarriages.

Although the Jains, Sikhs and Bhakti Hindus lobbied for increased women’s liberation, their views were slow to catch on within the general population.  Eventually, the British began passing some laws to address this inequity.  In 1829, Sati (the sacrifice of a living widow on her husband’s funeral pyre) was officially abolished. reports that in 1865 the Hindu Widows Remarriage Act was passed, and in 1872 the Brahmo Samaj Marriage Act “set four essential conditions for a valid Hindu marriage” (monogamy, sound mind, marriageable age, and the parties should not be too closely related).

Although today’s India is led by a female president - under the auspices of a constitution “which guarantees to all Indian women equality” – there is still a long way to go before the Goddess is freely honored all year round.


Copyright September 28, 2011 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Meskel: Saint Helena's True Cross

Saint Helena (Da Conegliano)
According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, Saint Helena was born approximately mid-third century CE, perhaps in what is now northwestern Turkey.  She is believed by some to be of humble origins; St. Ambrose referred to her as a stabularia (inn-keeper) in his Oratio de obitu Theodosii.

Legend has it that when Saint Helena first met future Roman Emperor Constantius I (perhaps while he was stationed in Asia Minor during the campaign against Zenobia), both were wearing the same type of silver bracelet.  Constantius allegedly took this as a sign that Helena was his divinely-ordained soulmate.  Although Wikipedia states that “the precise legal nature” of their relationship is unknown; the Catholic Encyclopedia states that Helena “became the lawful wife of Constantius Chlorus.”

Their son, the future Constantine the Great, was born circa 272 CE in Serbia.  However, by about 289 CE, Constantius left Helena in order to marry the more politically-beneficial Theodora, daughter of then-Emperor Maximian.  Wikipedia reports that Helena and their son Constantine were then “dispatched to the court of
Diocletian at Nicomedia…”  Helena “never remarried,” and became closer than ever with her only son, Constantine.

When Constantine eventually became emperor, he appointed Helena as Augusta Imperatrix.  Along with this title came “unlimited access to the imperial treasury in order to locate the relics of Judeo-Christian tradition.”  According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, when Helena was about 80 years old, she was shown by a divinely-inspired Jew just where the True Cross that Jesus was crucified upon was hidden.  When that site was excavated, three crosses were found.  In order to determine which was the True Cross, Helena is said to have brought all three to the bedside of a dying woman.  After trying all three, Helena found that only one
of these crosses instantly healed the woman.  The identity of the True Cross was thus established.

Meskel (meaning “cross” in the ancient South Semitic language Ge’ez) is the annual Ethiopian Orthodox and
Eritrean Orthodox holiday that commemorates Saint Helena’s discovery of the True Cross.  According to
Ethiopian tradition, “Queen Eleni” was led to the True Cross by the smoke from a burning bonfire (Demera).
Bonfires are therefore integral to Meskel celebrations.


Copyright September 27, 2011 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

Monday, September 26, 2011

John Chapman: From apple to omega

If John Chapman’s life consisted of little else besides starting apple nurseries, it still would have been quite memorable.  However, apples were just the beginning of Chapman’s alpha-to-omega faith journey.

What Chapman really identified with was his role as a Swedenborgian missionary for The New Church.  The Swedish theologian and scientist, Emanuel Swedenborg, lived from 1688 to 1772.  Before entering his “spiritual phase” at the age of 53, Swedenborg had already sketched a flying machine, anticipated the existence and function of neurons, and helped to develop the nebular hypothesis.

At age 53, Swedenborg began experiencing dreams and visions which expressed a “battle between the love of his self and the love of God.”  This was understood to be a cathartic, purgatory-like phase of his spiritual development.  Swedenborg claimed to have visited heaven and hell – and to have talked with angels, demons, and spirits from other
planets.  According to Wikpedia, he also “claimed he was appointed by the Lord to write a heavenly doctrine to reform Christianity.”  He therefore spent the rest of his life writing theological works such as Heaven and Hell.

The New Church (aka “Swedenborgianism”) embraces some distinct theological positions.  According to the
website, tenets of Swedenborgianism include the following:  the Second Coming has already
taken place – and, in fact, is continuing to do so; the final judgment is a self-realization rather than an
evaluation by an outside Power; the Trinity consists of “one Divine Nature in which the three aspects of God are present”; Love is “the basic element of reality;” and Truth is “love in action.”

Chapman’s life seemed filled with action-oriented, loving Truth.  Throughout his early-Christianity type of travels, he would “tell stories to children, spread the Swedenborgian gospel to the adults, receiving a floor to sleep on for the night, sometimes a supper in return.”  He was also a vegetarian whose Christian compassion extended to animals, and even to insects.


Copyright September 26, 2011 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Shel Silverstein: A boy named M.E.

(Photo by Yzmo)
Once upon a time, a boy named M.E. and a tree named T. had a good thing going.  It was so good that T. sported a heart-shaped tattoo that read “M.E. & T.” for all the selfish grabby world of humans to see.  (Perhaps that last statement was unfair.  Maybe not all humans are selfish and grabby – maybe just those who call themselves M.E.) 

Had he fallen in love with a walrus, M.E. might have instead written, “I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together.”  However – everyone knows that poems are made by fools, and trees are made by God.  Therefore, M.E. was left with practically no choice but to carve his puny little initials into T.’s first line of defense.

Now T. was branded for life.  She took this “unto death do us part” thing quite seriously.  Whatever M.E. wanted, M.E. got.  He wanted apples, T. gave them.  He wanted branches, T. gave them.  He wanted a trunk, T. gave that too.  At the end of his life, M.E. just needed a quiet place to sit and rest.  Ye olde T. stump was only too glad to oblige.  The story ends with this pronouncement:  And the tree was happy.

As Shel Silverstein himself insisted, The Giving Tree is a simple story.  During a 1975 Publisher’s Weekly interview, he stated that “it presents just one idea.”  Here’s something to do during coffee hour when the conversation gets lagging.  Ask any five people (the more intellectual, the juicier) what that “one idea” really is.  Then let the games begin!

For a preview of coming attractions, here are some couldn’t-be-more-divergent-if-they-tried excerpts from The Giving Tree: A Symposium (yes, a “symposium”).  The first one claims:  The boy keeps coming back not simply because he gets what he wants from the tree, but because he loves the tree…  Another asks:  Is the story meant, then, to be an allegory of divine love?  If so, the author has got his Bible
mixed up with his Sears Roebuck wishbook.  For though Tree gives till it hurts, all her giving is in response to Boy’s material wants.  A third refers to the Christian Gospel and states:  what appears to be self-loss may be in reality our deepest fulfillment, since service, not detachment, makes us into creatures with whom our fellows may in some way abide.  Abiding with them, we may be happy…


Copyright September 25, 2011 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Einstein wrong? It just goes to show

About three and a half years ago, a letter that Albert Einstein wrote on January 3, 1954 sold for a record-breaking amount.  This letter included some explicit descriptions of Einstein’s views on religion.

In the letter, Einstein referred to all religion as “an incarnation of the most childish superstitions.”  He claimed to “gladly belong” to the “Jewish people” with whom he had a "deep affinity," but also wrote that he “cannot see anything ‘chosen’ about them.”  The letter moreover states:  The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still primitive legends which are
nevertheless pretty childish.  No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this.

This last statement seems particularly ironic, given the subtle calculations that might be about to rock Einstein’s universe.  The very subtlest of entities, the neutrino, is strongly suspected of being able to travel faster than the speed of light.  According to Einstein’s famous energy/mass equation, it would be
impossible to travel faster than the speed of light, unless…  energy itself were infinite.

Although infinite energy might seem like a new notion – so “radical” that today’s scientists are afraid to even let the catabolism out of the bag – it is actually a concept that religion has embraced for eons.  Dr. Dharmbir Rai Sharma explains:  The cosmological singularity combines zero space-time and infinite energy.  In Vedanta the primordial state of existence of the Reality is an infinite emptiness (shunyata)…  However, this emptiness is not nothingness or non-existence.  It is pervaded by energy and consciousness.

Sharma goes on to say that one can only realize this Reality of infinite energy “when the mind is completely
empty and one transcends space-time in deep meditation…”  Perhaps the sheer brilliance of Einstein’s own thought processes blinded him to the primordial (as opposed to “primitive”) Reality that cradles us all.


Copyright September 24, 2011 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

Friday, September 23, 2011

Mabon: Visiting Baba Yaga

(By Nicholas Roerich)
Here in North Country, we build our structures to last.  This often means putting them on firm foundations such as concrete slabs or posts.  Although there are also many farms in this area, there are virtually no cabins that rest on chicken legs.

“Virtually” still leaves open the possibility that there is such a cabin hiding deep within the woods.  If so, that would most likely be Baba Yaga’s.

Before visiting this renowned crone, a few instructions are in order.  Baba Yaga (“Baba” meaning “grandmother” in Slavic languages) doesn’t entertain visitors lightly.  In fact, she’s been known to kidnap children and threaten to eat them.  Therefore, it’s best to hire a babysitter, at least for the first couple of attempts to access her abode.

Keep an eye out (maybe two) for a dancing (on chicken legs) log cabin.  According to Wikipedia, Baba Yaga’s cabin is “surrounded by a palisade with a skull on each pole, or both…”  Her front-door keyhole consists of “a mouth filled with sharp teeth,” and the outside fence is “made with human bones with skulls on top.”  Since one fencepost is usually reserved for the latest human intruder, why would anyone want to tempt fate by visiting?

Baba Yaga is not only a fierce opponent, but she is also an essential ally.  Many a would-be hero has gone to her in search of the wisdom it would take to continue on the path to enlightenment.  She is the embodiment of Robert Graves’ “crone” archetype.  Patti Wigington describes the “crone” in this manner:  She is the hag, and the wise woman, the darkness of night, and eventually death.  She is the waning moon, the chill of winter, the dying of the earth.  This female elder has also been “the healer, the teacher, the imparter of knowledge” who “mediated disputes…  had influence over tribal leaders…” and “cared for the dying as they took their final breaths.”

Getting past the teeth and skulls can therefore be quite rewarding.  After all, what great knowledge has ever
been gleaned without some trials and tribulations?


Copyright September 23, 2011 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Pope's White Elephant

(Hanno:  In Memoriam)
Although white elephants have been called frivolous expenditures with upkeeps far exceeding their values, Pope Leo X certainly didn’t agree.  His beloved Hanno, the (relatively) small white elephant given to him by the Portugese monarch, brought joy to him and Rome as only a papal bull can.

Hanno, originally from India, came to Rome by ship in 1514 CE.  This was not just any Rome.  It was Rome at the height of the Italian Renaissance – the Rome of  Michelangelo, Leonardo, and Raphael – a Rome in which the arts, sciences, and just about anything else abounded.  Hanno therefore became the symbol of all that was right – and all that was wrong – with the papacy of Pope Leo X.

On the bright side, Pope Leo X maintained good relations with the Jews and the Poles.  He, like many of the other Medicis, was a great patron of the arts and sciences.  He employed numerous literati and artists, and restored the Roman university.  Wikipedia quotes this 1517 statement from Venetian Ambassador Marino Giorgi:  The pope is a good-natured and extremely free-hearted man, who avoids every difficult situation and above all wants peace; he would not undertake a war himself unless forced into it by his advisors; he loves learning; of canon law and literature he possesses remarkable knowledge; he is, moreover, a very excellent musician.

The down side?  His charitable and personal excesses led him to exhaust the papacy coffers within two years.  He then resorted to such things as “indulgences, jubilees, and special fees” - plus borrowing large sums of money.  When all that didn’t suffice, he pawned “palace furniture…  jewels, even statues of the apostates.”

He never, however, abandoned Hanno.  When this trained elephant – who spent two years dancing, kneeling, bellowing and parading for Pope Leo X took ill and died – the pope was right there by his side.  He then personally composed an epitaph which partially reads:  Under this great hill I lie buried, Mighty
elephant…  Fate envied me my residence in the blessed Latium, And had not the patience to let me serve my master a full three years, But I wish, oh gods, that the time which Nature would have assigned to me, and Destiny stole away, You will add to the life of the great Leo.  


Copyright September 22, 2011 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Passing the peace: How peaceful is it?

(Farewell of Saints Peter and Paul)
During many church services, there comes an interlude that is commonly referred to as “passing the peace.”  Depending upon whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, that moment can be heaven on earth – or quite the opposite.

According to Wikipedia, the passing of the peace is an extension
of the “holy kiss” that is mentioned in the Bible numerous times. 
with either a “holy kiss” or a “kiss of love.”  It was the custom in
ancient Judea, as well as in the ancient western Mediterranean, for
males to greet one another with a kiss on the cheek.  In one of his
Easter sermons, St. Augustine referred to the holy kiss as one of
the “great and powerful sacraments” - and advised that your heart
not be withdrawn from your brother’s when your “lips draw near”
to his.

The saying “Peace be with you” most likely originated from the
Hebrew phrase “shalom aleichim” (which literally means “peace be upon you”).  The Hebrew response to that would be “aleichim shalom” (“upon you be peace”).  This greeting is most often used by Ashkenazi Jews, and is used in the plural form even when addressing only one person.  Some think that the plural is used to address both body and soul; others refer back to the Hebrew Bible usage of the plural word Elohim (literally “gods”) to denote the name of God.

Today’s English-speaking cultures prefer passing the peace by shaking hands rather than kissing.  The biblical verse that is sometimes quoted in accordance with this is Galatians 2:9:  James, Cephas and John, those esteemed as pillars. gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship when they recognized
the grace given to me (NIV).  Sometimes a hug is substituted for the handshake between those more familiar with one another.

Unfortunately, the “passing of the peace” has often become anything but peaceful.  People scatter here and there, trying to quickly catch up on their worldly connections.  Somehow the following intention becomes lost in the social shuffle:  At the passing of the peace we should earnestly desire God’s peace upon each person we greet.  The passing of the peace is also a sign of obedience to Jesus’ words that we make peace with one another before offering our gifts at the altar (Matt. 5:23-24).   


Copyright September 21, 2011 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The seven deadly who-knows-what: Has DSM trumped sin?

(Pope Gregory I)
When it comes to sin - or whatever it is that’s deadly these days -  
seven has not been a lucky number. 

For one thing, Pope Gregory I’s SALIGIA - Latin mneumonics for
superbia (pride), avaritia (greed), luxuria (lust), invidia (envy), gula (gluttony), ira (wrath), and acedia (sloth) - has been ingrained into the collective Catholic psyche since 590 CE.  Preceding that were King Solomon’s “six things the Lord hateth, and the seventh His soul detesteth.”   According to Wikipedia, Solomon’s deadly seven were these: “a proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plots, feet that are swift to run into mischief, a deceitful witness that uttereth lies, and Him that soweth discord among brethren.”

However, all that was back when people still turned to the Bible to sort through emotions and behaviors.  These days, it’s all about the DSM.

The DSM-IV (aka Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV, so-numbered because it’s the 1994 fourth edition, not because it’s some ancient-Roman codex) has its own spin on sin.  Gone are the days when unrighteous souls repented their evils (with help from their clergy).  Present are the days when ill clients process their disorders (with help from their therapists).  The only thing that seems to remain the same (outside of the all-too-human frailties) is the number seven. recently reported upon 7 New Psychological Disorders.  These seven new (?) “deadlies” include the following:  Hypersexual Disorder (think luxuria), Premenstrual Dysphoic Disorder (think ira), Binge Eating Disorder (think gula), Hoarding Disorder (think avaritia), and Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (think acedia). 

The DSM-V is scheduled for publication in May 2012.  Preliminary information, as reported by Minerva Place, only seems to accentuate the gap between what the American Psychological Association is calling “Old Dogma and New Understandings.”  Pride, the deadliest sin of all, is now being termed “Positive Self Esteem Abundance Disease.”  An official Vatican spokesperson, Father Tony Caprezio, attributed this radical conceptual shift to “the present reality of living in a culture where no one is responsible for anything anymore.”


Copyright September 20, 2011 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

Monday, September 19, 2011

Greta Garbo: What's so bad about being left alone?

(Garbo in 1925)
The prophet Elijah eventually realized that – when all is said and done – it’s best to listen to that still small voice within.  Greta Garbo seemed to have come to that same conclusion.

She wasn’t born a movie star, and she tried not to die one.  Her humble beginnings unfolded within an impoverished cold-water flat in Stockholm, Sweden.  Wikipedia quotes Garbo as remembering:  It was eternally gray – those long winter nights.  My father would be sitting in a corner, scribbling figures on a newspaper.  On the other side of the room, my mother is repairing ragged old clothes, sighing…  Such evenings are unforgettable for a sensitive girl…

Garbo was not only sensitive, she was also “a shy daydreamer” who “hated school and preferred to play alone.”  Wikipedia reports that she was an “imaginative child, and a natural born leader.”  In other words, she had all the makings of an introvert.

Although introverts are often described as “shy,” that word just doesn’t do them justice.  “Shy” often connotes social awkwardness and timidity.  Even one as astute as George Bernard Shaw used the word “shy” in this manner:  “The poor man was shy and hated society.”  Word usage of this sort can unfortunately brand introverts as anti-social loners – when, in fact, they simply relish the quiet side of life.

Carol Bainbridge explains that introverts “often avoid social situations because being around people drains
their energy.”  They often seek solitude in order to “recharge.”  When introverts do socialize, they often do so in one-to-one or small-group situations.  Their conversations often revolve around ideas rather than around everyday matters.  All this differs markedly from the general population, the majority of whom are extroverts that are energized by social events.  Introverts are therefore often misunderstood, and often stereotyped as “unfriendly” and “eccentric.”

Garbo certainly had her share of that.  Ask people what her most famous saying was, and they will likely guess:  “I want to be alone.”  However, what she claimed to have actually said was this:  I want to be left alone.


Copyright September 19, 2011 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Ian Punnett: Praying with Diogenes

(Diogenes and his lamp)
Although (last we checked) Ian Punnett is not sleeping in an outdoor tub and subsisting on a diet of onions, he and Diogenes nevertheless have a lot in common.  They are both enamored with “truth,” and they both have very publicly pursued it.

In Diogenes’ low-tech world, the best he could do was walk around with a lamp while searching for an honest person.  Punnett, on the other hand, has the internet on his side.  His “lamp” is a site called The Angry Prayer Project at  One stated goal of this project is “to encourage people of faith to pray truthfully,” even when “mad at God.”  This goal is facilitated by understanding “the healing potential of angry prayers
in the Bible,” and by creating original prayers “as a way of transitioning through their anger towards peace.”

From the get-go, Punnett masterfully points out the paradoxical dilemma of being so angry at God that one cannot even pray.  If one is so blindingly angry that one fails to notice the “Exit” signs, then how can one ever expect to escape from a cage of rage?  Fake-it-‘til-you-make-it recitations of rote prayers aren’t what’s
called for  here.  Heartfelt lamentations are.

Therefore - when Punnett isn’t co-hosting his morning show, hosting his weekend show, making hospital rounds, moderating theological discussions, giving sermons, and being an all-around family man -  he is penning Psalms for those who wish to shake their fists at the heavens, but lack the words, nerve, or both.  This practice reflects Punnett’s stated belief that “God calls us to transition through the difficult emotions that plague us toward a place of peace by naming the problem, proclaiming our pain and reframing our perspective.”

For those who are aching to try this, here’s a (somewhat bitter) taste of what it can sound like:  Hey, you so-called representatives of the people!  Are you doing God’s work?  No, in your heart you devise injustice, your hands mete out violence on the earth and hide your selfish deeds in slick TV

Diogenes couldn’t have said it better.


Copyright September 18, 2011 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved