Tuesday, December 31, 2013

I Worry About the Pope

I worry about the Pope; I think he faces fierce opposition ahead because he is talking about the need for societal change.  It is one thing to talk about personal sin because one can excuse the self by pointing to someone who is worse; but when it is suggested that a 'way of being' with which the majority is comfortable, is in need of change, there is an outcry and a banding together to protect against a perceived threat.

I believe generally in the goodness of people but too frequently we are limited by vision which takes in only the narrow bit of reality we occupy. The truly 'Great Men' see beyond that limited vision to concern for the greater good that transcends selfishness.  They carry us forward to reach beyond our base human nature and lead us to discover our better selves.  But such men are opposed, often violently so--the Lincolns, the Gandhis, the Mandellas . . .

I believe Pope Francis to be such a one; and that is why I worry about him.  In his latest encyclical he addresses the challenges of today's world; a call to truly look at the enormous gap between the 'haves and the have nots', the glaring imbalance of opportunity for education, health care, and even daily survival needs.  He points to an economic structure that stacks the deck for those who are privileged with unearned favors and excludes those who are not.

These are the issues that cry for our attention; unless we address them our world is not sustainable, but they promise great hardship for those who make us face them.  So, while I pray for his safety, I worry about the Pope.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Goodness Shines

I teared up upon learning that Pope Francis has been named 'Person of the Year' by Time Magazine.  Each year they choose from news coverage who had the greatest effect, thereby naming him the 'most influential'.  In the choice the quality of the influence is not an issue, just the quantity--yet this year goodness tipped the balance.

Along with other leaders, the Pope's competition also included: the current most evil dictator who has poisoned his own people and destroys his country in order to hold on to his power, the most embarrassingly outrageous exhibitionistic stage performer, the most narcissistic self-appointed 'fixer' who leaked national secrets, and an arrogant  freshman congressman who took it upon himself to shut down the government. All of those did indeed exert influence upon 2013 and history will remember them in one way or another, but Time's choice helps me keep faith in the hope that humanity may yet save itself from itself. The world fell in love with this man who stepped forward to accept the mantel of power bestowed upon him with humility and simplicity, eschewing the lavish display of 'superiority' expected of his high position.  He described himself as 'a sinner' and asks the people to pray for him. In his first public statements he chose to speak of showing mercy, of not judging the heart of others, and of following the call of Jesus to reach out to the poor and hurting.  People and reporters can't get enough of him because he exemplifies the high state of true human dignity to which we are all called but few ever reach.  The unprecedented response he received and keeps receiving from people of all ethnic and religious backgrounds makes him the most influential.

The choice of Pope Francis as 'Man of the Year' stands apart from accolades shown another man of goodness and dignity who also has won the hearts of millions, Nelson Mandela.  At his death this week there was an outpouring of love and honor given him by nations round the globe from citizens of the lowest rung on the social ladder to the highest dignitaries of state.

The connection I see between these two events is that regardless of the sound and fury of the famous, the outlandish, or the politically powerful, in the final analysis it is those from whom goodness shines who win the hearts of people in the long run.  And that gives hope to look beyond the greed, violence, corruption and cynicism so prevalent and know that people still put the highest value on goodness.

Monday, November 18, 2013

More about Where's Momma?

It's a week later and I'm still thinking about kids and parenting.  That picture of the little boy hugging the Pope's legs and the Pope gently resting his hand on the child's head has stayed with me--it is beautiful.

Looking back, my post seems stern . . . I do love the tenderness it captures and I expect it to be among the 'pictures of the year' . . . but as the situation occurred, it awoke the 'parent' and the 'Child Development teacher' in me.  I want to expand the point I alluded to regarding parental authority--my 'serious thought' for today.

A child is seeing a new world.  He or she does not know how it works or what the dangers are, parents are there to provide the security while the child learns to operate within the existing reality. The greatest security a child can have is confidence in the parent's ability to navigate the turmoil of the 'big wild world'; the child's confidence rests in the parent's firm authority . . . they won't always like it, they will challenge it over and over, they will at times vehemently oppose it . . . but if that authority is fair, firm and not dependent upon their (the child's) reaction, it demonstrates to that child, "the person I rely upon is in control, they know what they are doing and I can count on that when I feel threatened."  Besides firmness, the other necessary element that allows the child to have faith in that authority and thus provide the security is, of course, love.  If the child feels the love--an unconditional love--the result will be respect.  Within the circle of: love + reasoned authority = respect + security, the child's free spirit blossoms.

That is my 'teacher' thought;  my 'parent' thought follows:


I was the central figure
       in my life as I lived it --

My hopes and dreams, fears and disappointments
       took center stage of all my concerns.

Family and friends, world events and God
       were the background against which my life played.

How--when the importance of figure was so central --
       could I imagine being satisfied as ground?

It didn't occur to me to consider
       God's willingness to be ground in our lives
       even when told of 'The Ground of Our Being';
                 How could I know?
                 How could I know?
       God showed me a pattern I couldn't see.

And life proceeded from my 'figure' position
       of yearning for inclusion
       and yearning for distinctiveness . . .
But yearning to become ground was not something I sought.

Then I became parent
       A tiny new being evolving to personhood,
       and I the ground to support the unfolding!
                 How could I know?
                 How could I know?

       How could I imagine being satisfied as ground
       Till I became ground for one more important than me?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Where's Momma?

     There was something in this past week's news that I found troubling . . . over and over we saw the clip of the little boy who walked up onto the stage while the Pope was making a formal address to a large audience.  The repeated rebroadcast by the networks said 'Oh, isn't this cute!'   Well true, it is a cute image for the cameras, but it raises questions for me:  Where was the mother or caregiver?  How did he get that far on his own?  Why was the child allowed to dictate that situation and no parent  intervene?  Where was adult judgement to draw the line between appropriate and inappropriate  behavior?  Yes, Jesus said, "let the little children come unto me"--and if the Pope were seated at an informal gathering and a child ran up and hugged him, that indeed would be heartwarming and a reflection of the Bible text . . . but in this case: a formal address to a large audience with microphones and TV cameras and this child roaming unrestrained was inappropriate and the parents are culpable.  Imagine every parent there with a child below the age of 6 allowing their 'little darling' to freely run onstage and do nothing to discourage him/her, the result would be total disruption of the proceedings.

     This incident provided a flashback to the idea that emerged somewhere about 40 years ago that suggested we let our children 'raise themselves', do nothing to control their 'free spirit'--just protect them from harm.  Perhaps in a small primitive village that would be OK, but it does not fit in a complex pluralistic society striving to gain a balance that maintains order yet allows for individual freedom.  We are not born knowing this, we learn how to be free without infringing on the freedom of others slowly.  It is the parental job to teach how that can work.  Behavior that may be appropriate in one situation is out-of-order in another.  Children don't know that, that is why parents are charged with governing them for some 18 or so years.  Animal young live under care only briefly because their lives are guided by instincts--human young require adult guidance for survival and they must gradually learn how to live in society and what it means to become 'civilized' (evidence of moral and intellectual advancement).  Unfortunately the popularity of that concept of unrestrained childhood is showing up in the erosion of respect and self-restraint that plagues our modern world.

    Yes, the image of a little kid hugging the Pope may be cute, but parents, please you need to teach your little ones behavior that is right for one situation may not be so for another--that's your job!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Judgement & Critical Thinking

     Judgement is essential to human existence but we are not educated to develop judgement, rather we are programmed to learn facts.  This seems to be a time of disfavor toward 'judgement', especially among young people we hear "you shouldn't judge", "don't judge me", etc.  because judgement has been equated with condemnation but that is limiting it to the negative end of the spectrum; at the positive end we employ it to choose the desirable, and use it to evaluate the various merits and flaws in a conflict situation.  Judgement is uniquely human and fundamental to choice making; education should focus on its development.  When we relinquish our ability to render judgement and rely solely upon laws, rules and procedures it can lead to absurdity in situations that don't fit the norm -- A gathering I attended this week highlighted this point.

     A soft-spoken Senior Citizen who walks with difficulty entered the discussion by apologizing for her state of mind because she was still upset and angry over nearly being arrested the day before; several people who knew her reacted with shock and disbelief, she went on to describe the incident:  She has given up her driver's license so now relays on public transportation.  She attends art classes at a Senior Center within a 10 minute drive from her home.  There is a town supported transportation service for Sr. Citizens/Handicapped for which you must call to reserve seating.  She and a friend planned to use the service to attend the art class, the friend had called in the reservation for 2, but another obligation caused her friend to cancel.  When the person telling of the incident boarded the bus, took a seat, and gave her name as required, she was told her name was not on the roster so she must leave; the driver stated, "only those registered can ride".  She refused to leave her seat, explaining that her friend had made a reservation for both of them but only the friend had canceled.  The bus driver recognized the woman from previous rides but explained she had been reprimanded for giving a ride to someone not registered, so she had to uphold the rule.  There were only two other passengers aboard and they were commenting…there was plenty of room and it was only a few short miles to the  Center…It grew a bit heated at the driver's refusal to allow her to ride.  The teller of the tale did not want to miss her class, she stayed in her seat, the bus went nowhere, a supervisor was called!  When the supervisor appeared she ordered the woman off the bus, telling her to call in as she was supposed to do and take the next bus that would be by within the hour.  Protesting that the suggestion was unreasonable and would cause her to miss her class, the supervisor threatened to call the police and have her arrested.  Still she sat; the supervisor took out her cell, dialed, asking for an officer to come there to resolve an 'incident'.  Our story teller said she then exited the bus because she reasoned that an art class was not worth going to jail for!     --As she told the story she was visibly shaken and the entire group was incensed by the injustice.

     In this complex world we occupy it is increasingly important to know how to assess situations and use reasoned judgement.  The term 'critical thinking' emerged in the mid-late 20th Century as an approach to problem solving based upon 2500 years of development from the Socratic method.  Most educators are aware of it but it is not widely used in our schools.  Wikipedia refers to 'critical thinking' as: "a process that leads to skills that can be learned, mastered and used."  There is a need for education to focus upon developing judgement in our students as it is not possible to write rules and procedures for every situation; we will always encounter the need for 'common sense' (=good judgement) so it seems only reasonable to work at enhancing it.

Monday, October 14, 2013


In creating a new nation, our forefathers foresaw government at its best--while today we must watch government at its worst:  legislators blind to the long range effects of bad choices made from intransigent positions and personal self-interest . . .
We wait and hope that ultimately their better natures triumph.

I recall a poem I wrote at another time for other reasons:


I believe in human potential--
       man can be more than he is
       if armed with the will to become.

I see the inherent dangers--
       power can either create or destroy
       so knowledge of it awakens fear.

I know of quantitative quality--
       that which can be expressed positively
       can likewise be expressed negatively.

       I look to civilization's development
              - the taming of fire
              - the mastery of communication
              - the understanding of order
              - the creation of beauty
              - the invention of systems
              - the development of industry
              - the perfection of technology
       laced with wars, tyranny, slavery, holocaust, bigotry,
             treason, genocide . . .

       This is my heritage, my lineage, my ancestry;
       It all came before me and is mine because I am!

       This awareness engenders painful ambivalence;
       majesty and pride joust with horror and shame.

       All this is because of human potential
       our being has changed the face of the earth.

       Man has traveled to the moon
       and he has created Auschwitz and Dachau.

                       Are we gods or demons?

       The more we refine our being
       the more aware we become of its flaws.

       Ignorance once hid from us our vast potential;
       yet once glimpsed, that image holds the mind in bondage.

       Reality forces us to live with the less that is
       while desperately longing for the more that can be.

Now, together, we are called to create a better world--
       the negatives are painfully real
       but somehow, somewhere, progress happens.

Truth demands we acknowledge our potential's full range
       without abnegating the responsibility;
       --each person's choices helps shape the future.

Friday, September 20, 2013

more about Synchronicity

(see previous blog)

By paralleling Colorado's vote to oust legislators supporting gun control with the devastating floods that swept the state immediately following, some might presume I was implying God's vengeance.  Not so! I do not believe in a vengeful God; rather, a God of love awaiting humanity to realize its mandate for recognizing life's interconnectedness.  It is our choices, not God's intervening that sets the stage for world events.

All life shares a tiny blue ball suspended in a vast universe--but only man makes choices.  If we don't learn to make sustainable choices we face extinction--from wars and violence, ecological degradation, economic imbalance, political polarization, denial of moral values . . .

Too often we ignore a problem and collectively make choices on behalf of special interest groups who prevail because they are organized and funded and so are able to manipulate public perception to serve their purpose while diverting attention from the actual problem.  Climate change is one such problem that has largely been ignored while industry actively blocks movement toward solutions.  The unprecedented weather disasters in this and the last decade demonstrate catastrophic results of bad choices.  So too we have a violence problem in our nation, to ignore it and punish those actively seeking reasonable solutions is to invite disaster.  What I see as the meaningful connection between the two unrelated Colorado events is that both illustrate inappropriate choices in response to obvious needs.  Is this a wake up call?

There are those who believe there are no random coincidences, that all happenings are part  of a greater plan . . .

Friday, September 13, 2013


There are those who believe there are no random coincidences; that all happenings are part of a greater plan -- I find that an interesting idea but take no stand on it.

Ummm -- with no implication of cause and effect I observe this week's news:

1)  Because two state politicians in Colorado had spear-headed new gun control legislation the NRA and gun lovers initiated a referendum to oust the two from office.  The legislation did not take away guns, only required tighter background checks and a restriction on the size of ammunition magazines holding more than 15 rounds--not an unreasonable move to curb the violence infecting our society--yet on Tuesday's vote the two were ousted.

2)  The next day, Wednesday and continuing through Thursday the state has been ravaged by floods.  A freak storm dumped unprecedented rainfall on the state with devastating effects--roads and bridges washed away, homes threatened by mud slides and loosened boulders.

Karl Jung would here use the term synchronicity:  an apparently meaningful coincidence but causally unrelated.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Moral Dilema

This seems an appropriate time to give ‘serious thought’ to moral dilemmas.  A simple definition of dilemma is: a required choice between conflicting alternatives.  A moral dilemma is never a choice between right and wrong (that choice is obvious); it is a forced choice requiring evaluation and judgment.  While moral dilemmas can be either positive or negative, the more apparent moral dilemma is one where there is no desirable outcome, yet the situation demands a choice.  This is the current situation we face regarding Syria’s use of chemical weapons.
            I don’t presume to know the best answer, but I clearly see the dilemma.  The Assad regime is at war with its own people; in its attempt to subdue the rebels it has loosed chemical weapons that have killed thousands of non-combatants, mostly women and children.  In the Geneva Accord of post-WWI, nations came to an agreement to ban chemical weapons for use in conflicts.  The Assad regime ignored than ban and the world has viewed dying children gasping for breathe and rows and rows of bodies wrapped in shrouds.  The question before the world and our nation is: How do we respond to this abomination?  There is no ‘good’ alternative and the issue of military retaliation is on the table.  We as a people are called upon to choose the course of action.  We cannot know the outcome of ANY of the potential choices.  The current choice before us seems to be between military reprisals or to do nothing.  Either seems abhorrent!  It may seem that ‘do nothing’ takes us off the hook—but non-action IS a choice: the choice to squarely face what we know to be morally abhorrent and simply look the other way—ignore it.  Is that not what the German public did as the Nazis rounded up Jews and sent them off to concentration camps that ultimately led to gas chambers? 
            To do nothing is a choice!  Yet I ask, are there choices other than: bomb or ignore?  If our leaders choose not to use military force, let us not lose our moral outrage, but put all effort into finding another way to retaliate against this monstrous immoral regime. 
            I believe the biggest challenge of our era is to learn to make moral choices.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Psalm 6 for the contemporary world

An exercise I enjoy is taking a Bible Psalm and re-writing it to fit that theme into today's world.

In Psalm 6 David seeks deliverance in a younger world;  in mine, an older and different world, the story  changes while the prayer remains.
David is pursued by enemies and fears his sin has ignited God's wrath causing God to turn from him.  His prayer describes the agony he feels at God's absence.

       . . . I too have felt God's absence . . .
I have walked the edge of the void
       and peered into the darkness . . .
Not God's wrath do I find
       but man's thunderous denial!

Life is a precarious balance
       between God's goodness and man's selfishness
When God is taken out of the equation
       man is free to create hell.

My heart has never been without a longing for God,
but the rest of me lives in a world of ever present denial of His being
       not just by words of brilliant men from Fredrick Nietzsche
                                                                 to Karl Marks
                                                                 to Steven Hawking
       but by daily demonstrations:
such as obscenities and pornography protected by law
       while prayer is banned from schools;
as the few luxuriating in opulent wealth while
       orphaned children sift through garbage heaps;
as men of power willingly destroy cities and
       slaughter their citizens to keep that power.
On a daily basis the God of Love is mocked and slandered by our
       entertainment saturated society.

I live in this reality we've created which ever makes the case
                                                                  for a godless universe . . .
and the plausibility of that conclusion seeps through to threaten . . .
                                                                  Awareness asks: IS GOD?
                                   The shouts of 'No' drown the whispers of 'Yes'
                                                                  6 . . . 7 . . . 8? billion people . . .
       In my aloneness I become a grain of sand on an endless desert

                     My soul is in anguish,
              How long O Lord, how long?
       When your absence is all that I feel,
              my soul is inconsolable
              my eyes grow weak with sorrow
       when I realize the strength of my enemy!

                                 . . . still I pray
                     Turn, O Lord, and deliver me
              save me because of your unfailing love!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Such Wonder!

Out of the void
       God called forth life.
              It was good!

Through millenniums
       that call expanded and continued.
              Marvelous diversity!

Then came beings with awareness
       who could look back and ahead,
              to know and comprehend.

Life flowed on and on . . .
       Marvelous complexity
              ever expanding thru eons.


And one day against all odds of possibility
       I came into being
              . . . and was to become a conduit

Life continued through me:
       My baby, my child.
              Mine, but not wholly mine,
                     rather, life's own.

Such Wonder!


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Retelling the Story

I initiated this blog with the prose poem Un-Named God because it captures the central concerns of my 'serious thoughts'; next, I turn to one of my journals for some stray thoughts.  In this entry from a decade ago; I was thinking about how different perspectives change things and how our images of God are formed.  In scripture stories there are essential messages, but both the message and our images of God are colored by the story told.

                                                                                                            December 17, 2004

Thoughts . . .

          Men and women see the world through different eyes and express understanding with different voices.
          Each human awareness is colored by the observer.
          When we turn to scripture, what we know of God comes through words of individual men. 
          Accepting that God’s message is true . . . we might ask: how has it been effected by those who are giving voice to the message?
          And we might ask further: where are the women’s voices?
          The voice as spoken becomes the ‘reality’ that shapes the living.

          And what is ‘divine inspiration’?  I doubt that God dictated any story whole to anyone; rather, one received the essence of a thought/idea, weighed it against Truth as he understood it, then wrote it into a story        __      thus did the Bible come into being.

          The first thing the Bible tells of is creation; followed by the appearance of the human and the condition of innocence, lost innocence, and consequences.

Retelling the Story

          If we look at Genesis—the very beginning of scripture—as written, the story is told of God placing the tree of knowledge of good and evil in the center of the Garden of Eden and forbidding the human couple to eat of the fruit . . . but Satan tempts them, saying they will be like God if they eat the fruit.  The woman picks the fruit and eats, then gives it to the man to eat . . . (here we see the male author blaming women for original sin . . . and thus justifying millenniums of oppression of women and establishing the superiority of the male gender) and then we see God, learning they disobeyed, so in anger, drives them from the Garden.

          Had a woman written the story it might have gone differently . . .

          In the beginning, God placed the tree of knowledge of good and evil in the garden, saying to the human couple it was their choice to eat or not; but for their own good he cautioned them not eat it because it was the nature of The Garden to hold only the good, so if they ate of the fruit and came to know evil (it would become part of them) they would have to leave. They would then have to make their own way in the world.
          When Satan told them that if they ate the fruit they’d know all things like God, Adam became restless.  He wanted to be like God.  He was curious, ‘what was this thing called evil?’ and he longed to see that world beyond the Garden.  He talked of adventure to Eve, how exciting it would be to explore the unknown.  She’d listen and agree that it sounded interesting, but she was more content with the garden and it didn’t seem wise to go against God’s advice.  One day as they sat under the tree Adam said:
          “Eve, reach up and pick me one of the fruit.”
          “I think that’s not a good idea” she said.
          He laughed and said, “Come on, Hun, trust me, it will be OK.”
          “But God said not to”
          “No, God just advised against it—and how do we know what we are missing if we don’t’ try it?”
          “No, we shouldn’t” she pleaded.
          “Come on, if you really love me you’ll do it.”
          “Well,  . . . I don’t know.”
          “Go ahead, just pick one.  That one right above your head.”
          As she reached up gingerly, he said, “Great going, Hon!  Now take a bite and give it to me.”  She did.
          After a while as the awareness of evil seeped into them, they knew they could no longer live there.  Together they walked out of the garden as God watched them leave with great sadness, knowing the tribulation ahead.

          If we distill each story to the basic point, we find the same essence in each: The garden can only be occupied by the innocent, in human nature there is a desire to be god-like, to know all things, and the lure of the forbidden is strong.  God gave human brings the freedom of choice; with that freedom they often make choices to their own detriment.

          But the basic point is cloaked in a story, and the story often eclipses the point.  In the masculine story we see the character of God as demanding, wrathful and punishing.  We see blame assigned only to the woman.  In the feminine story we see a God advising and explaining while leaving the choice open and the consequences spelled out.  We see an interaction between the man and woman, with the woman yielding to the man’s persuasion, pointing to shared responsibility . . . while a compassionate God sadly watches as the no-longer-innocent children go forth.

          Where is truth to be found?  In the essence only.   The story suggests a possibility, and different perspectives illuminate different possibilities.  When complex understanding is filtered through only one perspective truth is distorted.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Un-Named God

You are the un-named God
the soul-giver

Who or what you are
is a mystery requiring humble acceptance
not a problem demanding final solutions.

You gifted man with consciousness--
the invitation to participate in the mystery
by shaping the world he occupies.

Kings of the earth responded with arrogance--
employing the law of the jungle 
that “might means right”.

Each ruler interpreted the mystery differently
seeking to amass power and control.

                  - - -

Foolishly, men of power became god-namers
and for a time. . .

The god-namers ruled
presuming to control both God and men.

The god-namers ruled
dividing humanity into controllers and the controlled

The god-namers ruled
luxuriating in glamour and arrogance

The god-namers ruled
losing the quest for the Holy Grail.

- - -

How wise the admonition
to not utter God’s name!

We ignored it to our peril--
we named You and contained You;

We locked You within dogmas,
confined You to denominations;

We borrowed your power to levy control,
stole from You your glory to praise our creations;

We molded and made You into our images,
choosing and selecting what pleased our design.

- - -

We are the inheritors of all that came before
We’ve misinterpreted what and who You are,
We’ve misconcluded who and what we are!

And so history unfolded. . .

Till finally the controlled awakened,
forever beyond blind obedience.
They looked and saw the illusion--
The gods named weren’t as they’d been told!

They saw empty dogma and warring denomination,
They saw corrupted power and tainted glory, 
They saw false idols and self-serving gestures.

Ordinary men turned, first on the god-namers,
--then on God!

Yet foolishly they accepted the divisions of 
controllers and controlled

And everyone raced to be in charge
while denying responsibility for control.

The 20th Century ‘common man’
Intrigued by the proclamation
of God’s death
tried it on and in so doing, brought about
...his own

Meaninglessness. . . 

- - - 

The structure of civilization 
  has been built upon domination and control.
The hope for its continuation 
  hangs upon humankind freely embracing true Wisdom.
The formula is there for us to discover
Beyond controllers
Beyond dogmas

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”
  I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life”
“Love one another”
“Go and sin no more”
“Forgive your enemies” 
                               - - -

Is it that God IS NOT. . .
Is it that God is beyond our containing?
--our naming?

God is Unity, Totality, Infinity
God is Love, Justice, Truth
God is Benevolent Transcendent Power.

- - -

Without God upon whom to center
my life,
My Life becomes the center of 
my universe.

Exit warmth and compassion,
honor and integrity:

“Take care of #1!”
“If it feels good, do it!”
“Grab what you can, it’s only once around!”
“The one who dies with the most toys wins!”

- - -

But we’re made to seek God
It’s programmed into our being
so imitations fill the vacuum:
sex replaces Love
legalisms replace Justice
data replaces Truth
and the almighty dollar replaces Benevolent

We’ve become the hollow men!

- - -

Louder, Faster!
Louder, Faster!!  Hide the hollowness!                                                                                                                           
But no matter how loud and how fast
there are moments of 
self alone with self
and the hollow places echo
the absence of the soul
. . . another suicide
                                 and more senseless violence.

Here and there, a tear is shed, a cry is heard
another tear, another cry
and another, and another. . .
till the Louder and Faster
aren’t loud enough or fast enough
and we finally realize

There’s a cry echoing across the land. . .

The cry of a hollow generation
wailing for its lost soul!

With our own hands, we fashioned hell!
We refuse to see how we did it to ourselves--
We not only named God, but dictated the spelling

- - -

But You are the un-named God
The soul-giver

I know you by your absence.

When we turn from You
we dispossess our soul--
soon to discover
we are the hollow men.

Without You we cannot save ourselves
                            from ourselves.

Only in Your presence do we partake of the mystery--
Only in Your presence do we reach beyond ourselves--
Only in Your presence do we find fulfillment.