Links to my Books

Links to My Writings

Meditations on Maintenance for the Kindle
Memoirs of a Super Criminal for the Kindle, Nook
One Year in the Mountains for the Kindle, Nook
Adventures of Erkulys & Uryon for the Kindle and Nook

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Mark 4:1-34

Mark 4:1-34
Again Jesus is by the lake, away from the city or village, out of the church/synagogue. Again crowds come to hear him speak. He gives them a number of parables, stories that would make sense to them; stories out of their own life experience. But the parables contain more than just farming techniques, they teacher a deeper lesson.

The seed must be spread everywhere, just as light from the lamp must be cast everywhere. What the light reveals or how the seed grows is of God, a mystery to the farmer. But the seed must be cast and the soil will respond as it can. Good soil returns good crops, bad soil no crops. It is up to the farmer to sow the seed and up to God to bring the seed to fruit in its time. The Kingdom of God will be fulfilled. And the deeper one wishes to mine the parables for truth, the more they will find. Like a Zen koan. Meditation upon the parables of Jesus can be a life long endeavor and the truth will just keep coming like a mustard seed growing into a large tree.

One could reflect upon whose responsibility it is to prepare the soil? Isn’t rejoicing in the potential abundant harvest of the prepared soil enough, or do we need to chastise the path and rocks for not being soil? Or do they serve another purpose that is not part of the parable as it was told? And what about those birds? And who in their right mind would put a lamp under a bed? The answer is obvious, but that parable of a parable means all things are revealed in the light of Wisdom, even though Jesus reveals it in secret to the Disciples. A hint that there is no “secret” teachings of Jesus, only teachings that have not been meditated upon sufficiently for the truth to be revealed.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

A few paragraphs

The trip to Megaplex would take three days. And then two days over to the Sultanate, and four back home. A lot of alone time, which was just how Reagan liked it. Occasionally Toolbox would accompany Reagan, but the monkey spent most of his time in the engineering sections of the ship adjusting and tweaking the performance so much that it made Reagan nervous. On straight runs with a hold full of cargo Reagan would invite his girlfriend, Becca, along. She was good company. But on this trip he wanted the decorum of a clean ship, no unnecessary clutter or awkward conversations that might come up between the captain’s girlfriend and a Sultan’s soon to be bride.

Once clear of the Ring and far enough out into space, Reagan could power up the Zero Drive and then relax. Time passed smoothly until the marker for the outer boundaries of Megaplex chimed. Reagan cut the Zero Drive and fell back into standard space/time.
Reagan was seated in the captain’s chair on the bridge. He watched the scopes closely. This was not his first trip to Megaplex, but it was always an odd experience. Soon, two blips appeared on his scope at maximum range. He was still two or three hours flight time from Megaplex. An escort was not unusual. The blips closed quickly with his ship.

Two Dolphins slipped quietly into formation beside the Twist of Fate. Their ships were long and sleek with a big bubble dead center. They were not equipped with Zero Drive engines but what they did have were far more powerful then the Twist of Fate’s near planet engines. Reagan assumed that the hull of the escort ships also contained many lethal weapons hidden from view. He hoped he never had to encounter the escorts in their armed configuration.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

A quick look into my next book

This is a short excerpt from my upcoming book, still untitled. Another short reading will be made available later in the week. 

On his way back to the bridge, Reagan noticed that the bodyguard was in the kitchen portion of the galley preparing a meal. “I trust you rested well.” Reagan began as he poured another cup of coffee.

The big man turned, startled. His hand moved of its own accord to the blade he carried on his belt in the small of his back. He was dressed in a blue loose fitting slacks, a matching tank top and shipboard slippers. A relaxed dressed and one that told Reagan this man had seen many transits.

“My apologies.” The guard offered. “The first day of a voyage is always the hardest for a new bride. Much uncertainty awaits her. It makes new brides... ready to be foolish. This is not my first trip to fetch a bride. In fact it is one of my duties.” The guard turned back to his food preparation. “Sometimes when the weight of the decision finally fully rests on the shoulders of a new bride, they look for an escape. Or a last fling.” The man turned back towards Reagan and gave him a penetrating look. “I am here to prevent that, as well as to see her safely to her new home.”

Reagan sized up the man. Confident, large, relaxed and in control were words that came readily to Reagan’s mind. He did not like the man’s tone, nor the implications of what he was saying. “I would never violate my contract. You and her are secure here.”

“And that is always what the captain says. Even the captains with wandering eyes... and hands.” He emphasized the point by moving his hand back to his blade.

“I respect your position. Now please respect mine. I am here to pilot my ship and fulfill a contract. That is all. I do not need threats from you, veiled or not. This is my ship and if you violate the terms of the contract, rest assured it will be ended immediately. And I will drop my cargo immediately regardless of where we are located.” Threats could go both ways.

The man picked up the tray of food and moved quietly towards the cabins. Reagan also knew that he could easily drop word about what the escort did aboard ship, with or without evidence, and it would end the man’s career if not his life. He was sure the guard knew that as well. Reagan really despised these games of bluster and posturing. Reagan did not see him again until the day they docked at the Gardens.

The Gardens was the docking area for ships seeking safe harbor at the Sultanate. The Sultanate was not a planet if its own right. It was a collection of asteroids, planetoids and small moons that had been smashed together over a period of centuries, as additional space was needed for the growing population of the Sultan’s Empire. The Sultan forbade entrance to the Empire to any infidel. But some trade and commerce were required so as a section of the planet, called the Garden, was established for non-believers to make landfall. It was an opportunity for the Sultan to show off his wealth and power as well as for other families of the Sultanate to conduct business. The Garden offered a vast, well-tended garden of many delights. It also offered many “backrooms” for other delights and places to conduct shadowy business deals.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Mark 3:20-35

Mark 3:20-35
“...again a crowd gathered,” This is a repetitive theme. Jesus draws the crowd. But he does not use this power to control the crowd or to gain position in the community. He guides and heals them and sends them on their way. And because of his proper use of authority the religious leaders call him demon possessed. They cannot understand why he does not translate that power into control, for they certainly do. His actions are so far outside of their norm the only explanation they can think of is he must be demon possessed.

Even Jesus’ family is concerned, for family always seems to know better when someone is acting outside of expected behaviors. But Jesus easily pokes holes in their arguments and concerns. A united house is strong; a divided house falls. If he is from Satan then Satan is already lost. But if he is not? Then something new is happening. Pay attention and listen to God’s will for that is entrance into the winning side, the united side, the family of God. Jesus, by his act of compassion, draws crowds. The religious leaders try to explain it away instead of accepting it as true and valid evidence of God. Jesus is showing the right way to act, where his own family and the religious leaders do not. Do we act as family members with Jesus in compassion towards others? Or as a religious elite finding excuses to judge and seeking control or position over others?

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Mark 2:23- 3:19

Mark 2:23- 3:19
 Remember we already know that God is pleased with his son. We are, in part, searching for the answer to: why is God pleased with Jesus? In this section we see the religious leaders are displeased with Jesus for he is breaking or allowing to be broken the Law of God, or rather their understanding of the Law. But Jesus has already shown that the way to the Kingdom is compassion and healing. That is the role of the Sabbath. It is not a time of strict religious observance, but a time of rest when wounds can have a time to heal, even wounds of the earth. A Sabbath rest is important for the soul, the community, and creation. God is pleased with Jesus and his understanding of what the true Sabbath is about, but the religious leaders are displeased and it takes them down a dark path. It is not easy to hear the truth when one has heard nothing but half-truths, propaganda and even lies. But the truth of compassion will draw crowds seeking healing which they are not finding in the established institutions. Jesus offered something the religion of the day could not: hope and healing. The common people will seek what is good for them even in opposition to authority.

Jesus frequently withdraws into the hills, valleys and lakes to create a space in nature where the city and the institutions can be left behind. In that open space of nature, truth of healing and compassion can be experienced. Important decisions take place on the mountain, such as choosing the Twelve Disciples. Do you find a Sabbath rest that nurtures the soul and body? Do you escape into nature to find truth and healing?

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Mark 2:13-22

Mark 2:13-22
Jesus does not make it about religion or sin or cultural expectations. The religious leaders do that. Jesus makes it about healing, about being the medicine/doctor who the sick need. Jesus is not about religion but rather about living. Religion says, “fast now, observe this rite, attend that meeting.” Jesus says, “celebrate now, have life and have it abundantly.”

And here we have a wonderful parable that sums up Jesus and his teachings. He will always be at odds with the Old Faith for he is new wine, which does not go into old wine skins. Jesus is new and only a new understanding of faith will contain Jesus. He does not fit onto an old cloth or teaching, it would be a bad fit and ultimately destructive. Not that the newness of Jesus supersedes the Old, only that it is different and requires a new perspective. The Old Faith cannot understand nor accept this newness. The new that is Jesus is not because he is novel, but rather because he is fresh, spirit inspired. When the spirit infuses faith old norms, understandings and traditions tend to fall away. Look for the spirit and faith to see the newness of Jesus. Is Jesus still new today or have we turned his life and teachings into an Old Faith?

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Mark 1:40- 2:12

Mark 1:40-2:12
Jesus meets a man with leprosy who desired to be healed. The man knew Jesus’ ability to heal and yet after the healing did not follow Jesus words which instructed the man to follow the Jewish law at the Temple. Compassion leads to healing that should lead to obedience but instead the man spreads the word about Jesus. Jesus becomes a “faith healer” drawing crowds. Did the crowds understand the teachings that went with the healing?

The teachers of the Law question Jesus methods and motives. Healing and forgiveness is the realm of God. One can be a conduit through which God can heal, but forgive sins? Impossible. For Jesus, both are part of the word “repent.” The faith of the paralytic shows the desire to repent which is both forgiveness and healing. The teachers of the Law fail to understand the simple teaching of Jesus, as many others will. It is not about sin or sickness but about repentance which is turning, in faith, towards wholeness and healing. It is health in the most complete form possible.

If the teachers of the Law were to understand that the Law as a way of life bringing one to God then they would be less concerned about the Law and more about God. Today we still struggle with the same concept. It is not about right theology or even sin and shame or dogma, but about repentance as turning and walking with Jesus in health and wholeness. And that health and wholeness comes through the words of Jesus. Healing is the first step of repentance. But continuing on the journey of faith through compassion and obedience keeps one heading towards the Kingdom of God. Both the leprous man and the Teachers of the Law failed to grasp the full understanding of Jesus and repentance. Healing or forgiveness is just the beginning of faith, not the end.