Posts Tagged ‘Religion’

Powell Hall

March 29, 2019

We’ve been going there since the late 60s
Red plush seats
Ivory-colored walls
Ornate with sculpted shapes
Faces and vases
Gold-leaf highlights

As the hour approaches
Far below
On the stage
Move into sections
Concert Master appears
An A is sounded

Tuning begins
Then silence
Audience awaits
Tuxedoed conductor emerges
Taking the podium
Cues the orchestra
Magic and wonder fill the room

I often feel
On those evenings
Nothing else exists
Hurtling through the universe
Alone in this space
Unique in its own timelessness
Creations of those long departed
Made present

©2019 Thomas W. Cummins


Irreversible Change

June 3, 2013


I’m thinking about the story
A man and a woman
And an apple
Was that a tale of our beginning
Or of our end?


Down by the lake
On the shore
By the lake
Lies a pebble
One of millions, actually
By a glacier
Long, long ago
Where was it yesterday?
There or nearby?
Moved maybe
By a wind-blown wave
Or a passing boat’s wake
If it was moved
An irreversible change
To the entire universe
Took place
Tiny, but irreversible
What about us?
What are we doing?
How’s our piece,
Our allotted portion
Of the universe, doing?
Irreversible change
I’m thinking about sunlight
Stored sunlight, stored energy
As in an apple
As in coal, gas, oil
Why is the oil there?
The coal?
The gas?
Is it for us?
If so, to do what?
Are these tangible things,
These stored solar energies,
Here for our good?
Or are they the forbidden fruit
An apple … a poisoned apple
Perhaps that mythical tale
Two people and an apple
Is a story of our end, not of our beginning
A story about hubris and selfishness now
Rather than providing for those who follow
One bite or too many
An abdication of our stewardship?
Our misunderstanding of dominion?
A failure to faithfully respond?

© 2013 Thomas W. Cummins


At 71, A Reflection on Luke 13:6-9

March 7, 2013


No fruit
After three years
No figs on the tree
Give it another year
A fourth quarter
Another period to express its being
Life’s fourth quarter
For many, a final period
Something is being asked
More is required, expected
But three and a half quarters
Have already passed
Fatigue is present
Yet must be ignored
Fruitless time is over
Unrecognized, but over
Something is being asked
More is required
Not more activity,
Better results
Enough is being done,
Just needs to be better
More rewarding, more loving
Something is being asked
More is required

© 2013 Thomas W. Cummins

Back into the darkness

December 22, 2009

The following is a rant short on logic, but long on annoyance and concern.

Recall the saying, Life isn’t a series of problems to be solved, but a mystery to be lived. With that in mind, read this article in Sunday’s New York Times Magazine. Wasn’t that fun? Anyone doubt the mystery part of life?

One thing I will say, the man who is the subject of the article doesn’t want to think about nor seek solutions to life’s inequities. Black and white? Fine! Gray? Not so good.

For him, reason is the solution to all problems. Whose reason? His. Certitude is a scary thing to hold. Some would call it a loss of faith. Or, we can at least say, being smart does not mean one is wise. And he does, after all,  appeal to a small group of bishops. I could name at least four  more who would also think he’s great.

On another, but related, subject, I was listening to the discussion called “Tensions in Iran” on today’s (12/22) Diane Rehm Show during my morning exercises. As I listened, it seems the goal of most conservative religious extremists is to keep people in their place. Women, in particular, take it on the chin. The laity, in general, come in a close second.

Once the sheep learned to read, things began to unravel, and  those in charge circled the wagons and dragged out and dusted off any and all old dogmas, doctrines, and traditions.”Get back! Get back! Do as you’re told!”

This whole “created in God’s image” thing seems to be hanging on the fig tree which isn’t bearing any fruit. At least not in their orchard. I would love to find somewhere, anywhere, in the Gospels a reference to an insular hierarchy in lavish vestments shuffling about on polished marble floors. I picture Jesus walking into any chancellery office and saying, “Oops! I’m sorry. I was looking for some of my followers.”

Were the Pharisees in Jesus’ encounters that much of an abstraction? Simply a  reference to some folks way back when? If the Gospel lives, Jesus must have been referring to someone, some group, in today’s world too? Perhaps those who still think adherence to a handful of rituals, rules, and medieval thinking will always trump the needs of God’s children. Vatican II fades further and further back into the darkness.

There is an organized suppressing and diminishing of those who are outside of some “natural law norm.” Leaders on the right seem to sense a hierarchy of values in lives to be led and those worthy to lead them.

A clump of cells is worth going to the mat for. Collateral damage in an unjust war? Who cares? And homosexuals? Surely disqualified from being able to express one’s love for another. So, am I supposed to say, “I have my life-long love, but you can’t have yours.”? I wonder what our divine creator thinks of all that? How could She/He have been such a screw up in the divine planning?