Posted tagged ‘faith’

Metaphorically Speaking

August 6, 2017

park sunrise

In 12-Step programs, we spend a lot of time talking about God because they are spiritual programs based on no particular form of religion.  God first appears in the 2nd step as a power greater than ourselves (who) could return our life to sanity … or, more simply, a Higher Power.   For some reason, in men’s meetings, some guys choose to abbreviate this to HP, as in, I’m better off if I turn my problems over to HP.   Because I’m an engineer, HP has always meant Hewlett Packard and there’s no way I’m turning my problems over to them … or to Dell or Lenovo for that matter.   But then again, turning things over to God under any name has always been a challenge to me.  12-Step people often say that when they turn things over to God, God does for them what they couldn’t do for themselves.   People tell stories of difficulties turned over to God that resolve themselves miraculously  … often sounding as if that’s how the world always works.  With these cynical eyes God gave me, sad or tragic outcomes are as likely as good ones whether I turn my problems over to God or Hewlett Packard or no one at all.  Cliches like, Sometimes things that initially appear bad turn out to be good, and Everything happens for a reason, don’t help much, even though both have been true in my life sometimes.  But for twenty plus years I have been turning someone I love over to God and that someone continues to struggle.  I don’t blame God for his problems but I do wonder why God’s help doesn’t help.  Likely something to do with free will.  There are those who tell me I should banish this person from my life as a way of getting out of God’s way.  That doesn’t feel right but I’m certainly not certain. (more…)



May 19, 2013

sevenFour times a year, an occasion comes along when Muri wants to buy me something nice … a present: birthday, Father’s Day, anniversary, Christmas.  Tomorrow, by the way, is my birthday.  We’ll talk about that development on Monday Smiles. Tomorrow.  I’m not easy to buy for.  For someone who doesn’t care all that much about clothes, I’m fussy.  There are certain clothes that look like Bud and I certainly don’t want to be one of those men who look like they were dressed by their wives (translation: wearing clothes that don’t look like Bud).  As I’ve aged, too, I seem to want fewer toys, in spite of being both a techie and somewhat of a geek.  So, Muri and I usually shop together for my gifts or I come up with some electronic gizmo and buy it for her to give to me.  But for a while now, I’ve had trouble coming up with anything I want.   Ah, yes, you might say, the man who has everything … and I certainly do have a lot of things.  But when I wander through Best Buy, I see many of the hot guy-toys that I don’t have: 55-inch flat panel TVs, $1000 tablets, $400 Bluetooth soundbars and super-light ultra books.  This week, I considered a new bike to replace my aging Panasonic.  But a funny thing has happened on the way to 69 … what I have … my old bike … my 36-inch TV … my clunky laptop are enough.  What a concept. (more…)


January 20, 2013

spiritualityI know a few people who are always talking about blessings.  It’s such a blessing that your baby was born healthy.  It’s such a blessing that you found a new job so quickly after you were laid off.  Having good friends is such a blessing.   It always feels vaguely religious to me, perhaps because the people I know who say it are on the born again side of Christianity.  At sixty-eight, I no longer criticize anyone’s beliefs … although I may avoid their evangelism … but still, I rarely use the phrase.  In 12-Step programs, I often hear an unexpectedly good turn of events called a God-Shot.  Carl Jung calls the fortuitous benefits of seemingly unconnected events synchronicity, which has the benefit of not requiring anyone to do the blessing.  For much of my life, I let blessings … God-shots … synchronicity … pass by unnoticed.   I was willing to take complete credit for most of my successes and the rest were luck. (more…)

Wanting to Believe

December 16, 2012

star1During what would turn out to be my mother’s last stay in the hospital, she told me that one of the things she regretted was that she didn’t do more to get me and my siblings to remain Catholic.   By that point in our lives, I had moved on to a tenuous agnosticism.  It was typical of my Mom that she stated her disappointment in terms of her efforts not in us, but it was still hard to hear.  Mom loved Christmas and it is at this time of year that I think of her most.   Several years after she died when I was missing her on Christmas Eve, I made my way to the midnight mass in our local Catholic church, hoping to find something.  The church was packed and as I stood in the back listening, hoping to have my spirit lifted, I realized the rituals meant nothing to me, although the holiday itself still did.  I left after about twenty minutes. (more…)

Friday Favorites 5/27/2011

May 27, 2011

Many years ago, my niece gave us a book written by her rabbi, Harold Kushner.   The book, When Bad Things Happen to Good People, sat on our bookshelf unread (at least by me … I honestly don’t know if Muri read it).   Then, out of the blue, my father had a seizure and was rushed to the hospital, where they discovered a tumor beneath his right temple.   The event rattled my youthful certainty about the nature of life, so I found Kushner’s book and began reading.  My father’s tumor was removed and found to be benign … he lived a mostly healthy life into his nineties … but Rabbi Kushner’s book stayed with me.  I was in my semi-Jewish phase, interested in Judaism but not enough to convert, and in my agnostic phase … wanting to have a God but not enough to commit.  You could say I was at a fragile point in my spiritual quest and I’m not sure what direction I’d have turned without When Bad Things Happen to Good People. (more…)

Googling God

April 3, 2011

A few days ago, sitting at the computer after completing a post, I Googled God.  It was strictly an impulse.  I didn’t expect to find God’s website, although did show up second on the search page.   I thought, If this is God’s website, He is in need of a better webmaster.   I’d be willing to help for free if I could work from home. After a few clicks I found that belongs to The Evangelical Media Group (EMG) a non-denominational Christian organization … they are unlikely to want my services … or I, theirs.   No offense to Christians, it’s just not my cup of God. (more…)