Posted tagged ‘religion’

Good. Bad. Indifferent.

July 10, 2016

park sunset1I will tell you that this post could be a ramble.  It addresses a topic that’s been rattling around in my head for months and unless I write it out, it won’t stop.  It might not anyway.  I am fortunate to be part of several men’s meeting where guys talk about life and how they live it in a much more intimate way than I have ever known before.  Sometimes, I get to see our similarities, how we all do our best to deal what life deals us and how we can learn from each other’s struggles.   Other times, I get to see differences in the way we view the world … and the way we deal with it.  In those instances, it would be nice if I could just say to myself, This is what I do … that’s what they do.  But sometimes, their way looks easier if I could only mange to follow suit and I need to articulate my beliefs … to myself. (more…)

Facebook, God and Politics

February 1, 2016

facebookI joined Facebook back in 2009 for two reasons.  As somewhat of a computer geek, I wanted to know what all the fuss was about.  And my wife, Muri, had been hearing things about our daughter, Amy, from her already-member friends.  I was tasked with seeing how it worked so I could show her.  Later on I would also add a page for Older Eyes, my alter ego and author of my blog, hoping to increase its readership.  In six years, I have accumulated 105 friends, which makes my alter ego feel inferior … he has only 38 likes. If you’d like to help him out, hop over to Older Eyes page, here, and like it. Most of my FB friends are family and real friends from here in Socal. There are a handful of people I’ve met blogging and a few friends from my high school days that I’ve reconnected with. Then there are some who I don’t know or how we ended up friends … a few even accepted friend requests from me that I don’t recall sending.  I suppose that’s fine.

Faith and Facebook

December 20, 2015

wreathI enjoy Facebook.  At least once a day, I check my Facebook page.  I do that because it helps me keep up with old friends I never see because I’m a transplant from the New England to the West Coast.  It lets me see pictures of my grandkids now that they are farther away in Utah.  I get to see pictures of friends’ grandkids and cute pets.  I see inspirational stories and sayings that (sometimes) help me get through the day and (sometimes) annoy me, depending on my mood.  There are funny stories and pictures. (more…)

Not Just Monday

September 14, 2015

I need to write today even though I have been neglecting Older Eyes – Bud’s Blog for over a month.  I need to write something to make me cry, to stop holding at bay the sadness I am feeling over the loss of a friend.   My son’s Siamese cat, Mr.P. has been missing for three days now.  He’s always been a little escape artist, waiting for an open door to slip away on an adventure in the great outdoors.   In the past, he’s always returned within a day, usually slipping in through the patio door left open for his return.  The hills around our home in Anaheim Hills are full of interesting creatures for a feline to stalk but they are also home to larger predators, like coyotes.   With each passing hour, our hope that Mr. P will come home fades.  It’s just a cat, Older Eyes, and not even yours, you may be thinking.  Well, for one, he isn’t just a cat and for two, I’ve loved him as if he was mine. (more…)

Getting By

April 26, 2015

park sunriseI belong to a spiritual community.  Unlike most spiritual communities, it does not require me to believe in anything, even something as fundamental to most spiritual communities as a Higher Power.  That has been a good thing for me because it has been the pressure to believe things contrary to my experience that has led me to keep religions at arms length, even as I pick and choose from their spiritual concepts.  One of the spiritual concepts of my spiritual community is Take what you like and leave the rest.  Imagine that.  But  being able show up and participate believing whatever I want doesn’t mean there aren’t orthodoxies, notions that are largely accepted and commonly shared at meetings.   When I came in as an agnostic/atheist, the continual use of the slogan, Let go and let God, drove me crazy.   I’d ask myself, Let God what? since many seemed to be saying that the act itself solved problems, phrased as God did for me what I couldn’t do for myself.   Now, I say it myself as means of accepting whatever outcome occurs.

Stuff We Already Know

April 14, 2015

indexMy wife, Muri and I, have not been sleeping very well lately.  To some degree, it seems to be a phenomenon that strikes human beings as they age, not sleeping then dozing on sofa in the middle of the afternoon.  And walking around yawning the rest of the day.  We each have our own peculiarities that wake us during the night and subjects that keep us awake thinking once we’re awake.   Saturday, while I was in the park I found and article in Forbes Magazine online titled Twelve Ways to Beat Insomnia and Sleep Better No Matter What’s Keeping You Awake , so I emailed a link to Muri.   She must have been sitting at her computer reading email because she wrote back within ten minutes:  Isn’t this Stuff We Already Know?  Indeed.

Goodbye Matzos

April 10, 2015

matzosToday is the last day of Passover for Muri and I.  We celebrate the holiday in the Reformed Tradition because Muri is a Reformed Jew and I am her husband, a quasi-reformed Jew, meaning I’ve never really converted but some of the traditions have become part of my life.   You probably know that during Passover, observant Jews only eat unleavened bread, known as matzos.  If you’ve never tried matzos, go out in the garage and chomp on a corrugated cardboard box.  It will give you the general idea.  OK, OK, it’s not that bad if you slather it with cream cheese and a little jelly, and egg matzos (which not all Jews consider Kosher for Passover) are actually fairly tasty.   Some years I religiously (well, perhaps a better term is scrupulously) follow the no-leavened bread-tradition, others I cheat when I’m out and about.  This was a scrupulous year, except when I forgot and scarfed a few cookies and a donut hole at my Thursday Night Men’s Meeting.   Why you might ask, would I follow such an arcane tradition if I’m not really Jewish.  I do it because I believe spiritual traditions, particularly those requiring some sort of discipline, are good for the soul and because I know it’s good for a husband and wife to share spiritual rituals. (more…)

Spiritual Stew

April 5, 2015

park sunrisePassover and Easter often don’t coincide, even though the former is a significant part in the latter.  In case it’s been a long time since your last Comparative Religion class, Passover is the Jewish commemoration of their liberation by God from slavery in Egypt and their freedom as a nation under the leadership of Moses.  The traditions include a rutual meal known as a Seder, in which certain foods are eaten (and not eaten) and the story of the Exodus is told from a book called a Haggadah.  In this country, it is more likely you know the significance of Easter, which celebrates the resurrection of Jesus after his crucifixion on Good Friday.  A central element on the Easter story is The Last Supper, the last meal Jesus shared with his disciples before his crucifixion, an event that provide the basis for the sacrament of Holy Communion.  The connection, of course, is that Jesus was in fact a Jew and the Last Supper was likely a Seder which includes the ritual of wine and bread (matzo) at the table.  If you want a detailed discussion of why these related holidays don’t coincide regularly, you can find it here.   Suffice it to say that simultaneous arrival of the two holidays, a tradition of my youth and one of my adult life, is the perfect topping to the Spiritual Stew that was this week.


Sacred Treasures

October 17, 2014
Basilica of the Sagrada Familia

Basilica of the Sagrada Familia

I’ve been home from our trip to the Mediterranean for a little over a week.   I’m back on California time doing California things (today Muri and I went to lunch at the Corner Bakery).   And this old brain is starting to put in perspective the sights we saw.  Perhaps nothing stirred me more than the churches, cathedrals and basilicas, particularly if you allow me to count the Sistine Chapel.   While the duration of our trip didn’t allow us to tour many museums, we did get a whirlwind of the Vatican Museum, which holds an amazing collection of art, both secular and sacred.   Walking through St. Peter’s Basilica, I had a short but interesting philosophical discussion with my friend Ron.  Essentially what he said was that he’s bothered by the vast wealth the Church possesses and that makes it hard for him to appreciate the art and antiquities.  I suggested that most of this was acquired in the distant past not by the modern church but that belies the fact that nearly €30,000,000 a year in admissions to the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona is being used to finish the cathedral instead of help the poor.  And that outside the lovely Church of Santa Croce in Florence’s Piazza di Santa Croce, there were countless poor selling tchotchkes or outright begging.  My friend. Ralph, back home in Socal had the same thoughts.  It would be a lot easier for me to appreciate the art if it were in a library or public museum, he said. Looking online, I see there many people who question whether the Church should have such wealth when people are starving.   There’s a particularly stimulating discussion on, here. (more…)


June 8, 2014

park sunriseAs a young Catholic, I knew the third commandment as Remember the Lord’s Day and keep it holy.   The Lord’s Day was Sunday.   We went to church, often the late Mass because Mom liked the High Mass ceremony.  We had Sunday dinner after church.  Sometimes, after dinner we visited relatives and sometimes we took a ride through the Connecticut countryside, me hoping that we’d end up on the Roller Coaster Road, where my Dad would thrill us by driving faster than usual through the dips and turns.  I never thought of Sunday as the Sabbath, although I knew that was how it was referred to biblically.  During my agnostic college years, the weekend was simply the weekend, no classes and party time … except, of course, when I was home and put up a good front for Mom.  Later, I would follow Judaism, at least casually, and the Lord’s Day became Shabbat, extending from sundown on Friday night to the same on Saturday.  We’d occasionally light Shabbat candles and sometimes attended Friday night services, particularly when our kids were attending Hebrew school or when there were events in our lives that needed a bit of spiritual attention. (more…)