Dodie sitting on top of the world Dodie's World title bar
"... to know the Truth you must keep on, beyond the end of the book, beyond the conclusion of the course of lessons. You must keep on until you catch on. It is not someting you come to, but something that comes to you. It is an inward revelation."
Eric Butterworth
Discover the Power Within You, p.59
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Don't make the mistake of carrying sticks on the Sabbath!
Numbers 15:32-36 (KJV)
32 And while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man that gathered sticks upon the sabbath day.
33And they that found him gathering sticks brought him unto Moses and Aaron, and unto all the congregation.
34And they put him in ward, because it was not declared what should be done to him.
35And the LORD said unto Moses, The man shall be surely put to death: all the congregation shall stone him with stones without the camp.
36And all the congregation brought him without the camp, and stoned him with stones, and he died; as the LORD commanded Moses.

Some examples of my favorite authors who left their original faith behind:

Karen Armstrong

John Shelby Spong

Robert Price

Dan Barker

Charles Templeton

Musings, Ramblings and Minor Insights
April 6, 20009

Could It Be? Am I Just Trying Too Hard??
I am not a religious person. Never have been. Although it seems that the things that matter to me the most, the things that I give a great deal of my energy to, are things of a 'religious' or 'spiritual' nature. It always surprises me when people point this out. The other day, I sent my sister a link to some of my writings. Later I asked her if she'd read any of them. She replied, "I read little bit, but I just couldn't handle all that religious stuff." Hmmmm... Me???? Religious stuff???

I guess because I don't go around praising God, waving my Bible, urging people to accept Jesus, and making a general nuisance of myself, I don't consider myself 'religious'. But apparently, as it turns out, I do make a nuisance of myself in quite another way. Carrying on about how this or that aspect of religion doesn't make sense to me, or bemoaning the fact that I just don't understand what these people are talking about, or pressing people to tell me: "What do you think? What do you believe?" I long ago ceased to follow those two commandments that a person really needs to adhere to in these parts if they want to get along with folks:
  1. Thou shalt not talk politics
  2. Thou shalt not talk religion!
I live smack in the middle of the 'Bible Belt', and there certainly are plenty of Bible wavers, thumpers and pounders to go around. I'm just not one of them. I'm not at all sure I could do that, even if I shared their beliefs. But since I don't, well....I stumble along in my own annoying way.

I've read a number of books by individuals who started out as 'true believers'--nuns, preachers, priests, evangelists--who, in the course of their studies to become stronger in their particular religion, ended up studying their way right out of those beliefs. Some of them move on to atheism or some similar category of 'non-belief" or 'non-interest', but the ones who fascinate me most are the ones who retain their love for the Bible and belief in the Christian religion itself, despite their so-called 'unbelief'. I think maybe it's time for a new definition of the words 'belief' and 'unbelief'. Clearly for these people a belief in the Bible as 'literal word of God' or 'literally true' has disappeared as they've studied deeper into its origins. Once free of the limitations of 'literalism', a whole new world seems to open up. A world of mystical interpretation, a world of symbolism, a world that can only be described in metaphorical terms because there simply aren't concepts in our day-to-day experience to describe it adequately. It turns out that many of the stories in the Bible were written to explain experiences or ideas or ideals that the 'REAL' world, the world of the senses, does not offer us. Yes, some of it was devoted to rules and regulations, to control the daily lives of a particular group of people (ever read Leviticus, anyone??). But, often as not, if a person hasn't become accustomed to only looking for the 'rules', one can find some pretty heady stuff in the Bible. I just never had any of this pointed out to me when I was learning, because my childhood church was more concerned with keeping the rules properly than having a genuine experience of God. Sad... After all, I'm sure they believe it's possible. But I think they drifted off course with all that worry about whether God would be pissed off if they didn't 'keep the Sabbath' properly. It's true, the Old Testament God was pretty darn picky about the Sabbath (try reading Numbers 15:32-36, the story about the poor schmuck who made the mistake of gathering firewood on the Sabbath! ). But I doubt the 'REAL' God has such concerns. And only a few thousand years later, Jesus certainly didn't go along with the old Hebrew rules. When hassled about the things he did on the Sabbath, he put the officials in their place by pointing out that "...the Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath..." Meaning that the idea of 'sabbath' meant rest--a special day set aside for human beings to rest and relax and enjoy a brief respite, not a slavish ritual to appease an unreasonable and demanding God!

So, it's the world of 'the spirit' (for lack of a better word) that I've always been interested in. Not all the creeds and commandments and rules and restrictions. I want to know about this other-worldly, transcendent, ephemeral, unexplainable world that some people apparently experience, and that I can't seem to grasp. I keep trying and trying and trying, but it's like (to use an old metaphor) nailing jelly to a tree! Not that I don't enjoy the process. Sometimes. Other times.... arrrrrgh!!!! I just want to tear my hair out and scream, "Enough, already! Why does it have to be so hard?! Why can't somebody just tell me what I'm doing wrong?????

But....maybe the answer is: NOTHING. Maybe I'm just trying too hard, too damned concerned with 'doing it right'. Maybe I need to take a longer look at the life I'm living and just see what I can find right there in plain sight that can take me 'soaring to the heavens' as I've so longed to do. Maybe those supposedly 'spiritual' people don't really have something I don't have. Maybe they've just learned how to wring all the joy out of every experience they DO have, live fully every moment, and not worry and try and struggle all the time, looking for something 'way out there' beyond their reach. Maybe it is just a matter of perspective: How I choose to view my life. Is that why Rev. S constantly reminds us to look for things to be grateful for?????? Uh.... maybe she's onto something.....

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