Welcome! My name is Andrew Kloak and I will bring you dynamic communication that leads to insight and personal breakthroughs. Bridge to Worlds is a blog about bringing more spirit and soul into our lives.
I’m blogging a book Finding Spirit: Why the imperative of the age is to go deeper. I’ve been inspired by Hermes, the messenger God. Hermes is an ancient Greek god of travelers, guide of the souls and an interpreter between the two worlds. He is also a guide to the best hidden experiences of the world and the soul.
The economic, political and religious instituitions are dying. You can see the gradual but relentless diminishment week by week.
All systems go through a rise and fall. It’s not inevitable that has to occur now in 2018 as opposed to, say, 2021. But it’s happening. And it’s the recession of the last one of those systems- the religious-that makes me saddest.
The Roman Catholic Church connects me to my past in Chicago and my ethnic Irish and Eastern European neigborhoods I grew up in. It’s my roots and my family. I’ve lived here in California since 1999 and been religously active the whole time. But sometimes I feel like a fool for being the dutiful son when it’s all falling around me.
I resolved that now is the time to act and speak up and not be afraid to help create something better. We need to follow the Jesus way.
Just because there are fewer people in the seats and energy in the church doesn’t mean it has to end. It will carry on but just in a new way. But the question is with what spirit? The need for the spirit doesn’t go away just because you walk out the door. The religious or spiritual impulse for faith remains.
The Catholic Church has largely been stuck the area of storytelling and mythology. Jesus is the new wine and we keep trying to put this new wine in old wineskins. The time-worn mythology (Jesus as King) is only one way to look at it. But that’s what keeps being told week after week. What about Jesus as guide and fellow pilgrim as we walk the journey of life? And many more archetypes. We’re not hearing anything else.
The imperative of the age is to go deeper. There are positive sparks of change within the church. One of them is the pope, Pope Francis. He’s telling a new story and challenging those who keep trying to do and say things the same way. Another spark is an enlivened you. These developments are very hopeful.
Nevertheless the Church as a container of the energies has not done so well lately. People are pushing against the walls and out. Each week I see less people and energy in the pews at my local Catholic parish in Mountain View. It’s sad to see the smaller, more ideological and slower church but it is the one John Paul II wanted. But that’s not good enough. The church is better than that and still has potential as a positive force in society.
Their role and real advantage has always been a critique of the culture since the time of Jesus. Today there are a lot of excesses and injustice that they can stand up against. Read my other posts like this one in my other blog about Silicon Valley and technology. http://bit.ly/1wgYH2O
The 2016 Catholic church has the dynamic tension like other religious organizations to make our world better. But look at the majority of our bishops and cardinals in America. They are answering to the Church backers with money just as our politicians do. It’s made things worse to center a large part of your strategy placating to those interests. There are a finite number of money people in the church and they are aging out. No wonder why marketshare is declining in the Catholic Church in the western world. If they keep doing that it will lead to our continued decline and collapse. We are on the brink of something. It’s more than money.
Jesus was a fugitive soul and the great emancipator. We need that today in the time of confederacy and slavery to everything but spirit. We have an exciting future with technology especially as it takes a more central part of our lives. It’s just that we have to do some spiritual catch-up now. The soul can’t be ignored. One starting place is to go deeper.
There is a lot of great stuff in the shadow and darkest part of the forest. We have to go there to bring balance to our lives and institutions of spirit. Don’t give up faith.
My mother said I’m like her father. The Sentimental Irishman. Like him, I cherish things I’ve written.
I hold onto things with the best of us.
But I can’t move ahead on my journey of the soul without letting things go.
The main character Scully cleans out an Irish cottage he buys in order to inhabit it. The previous owners—an old couple that died—left some things behind.
Scully carries a number of items onto the front lawn. Suitcases, a wooden water bucket, pencils, dead flowers, lace curtains, newspapers, scapulars, love letters, wedding day photos, tax records, and prayer cards.
Then standing right there, Scully sets it to flame. A bonfire erupts, consuming it all.
But one of the wedding photos of the couple remains. Two people standing next to each other for one moment in time. They had hopes for the future. Their love was to span the test of time.
Next red and yellow fingers warp and then consume the 4″ x 6″ image to nothingness.
The writer Winton and his Scully character perhaps let go a little too easily in that powerful scene. And because of it, things get worse. The novel struggles, too.
There’s a time for letting go and a time for holding on.
You can let go. Some of us easier than others.
Next there’s a whole society predicated on I’m not enough or have enough.
You are enough. You’ll always have enough.
There’s an avalanche of factors—employers, media, and advertisements— that work on us. They influence.
I take it in and start to believe it.
Sure, I’ve been anxious about money but did I need to be? Everything always worked out. The economic urgency comes from external forces and it preys on us. But it’s unfounded.
Some people say you should live with the worst case scenario in mind. But the trouble with that operating principle it presupposes that you’re insufficient!
The pilot becomes so fixated on the target such as an open field, where they can land their malfunctioning plane that they miss things. Most pilots end up maneuvering a disabled plane into the very things they want to avoid. In other words, they crash the plane.
Focus on what you have, not what you don’t have.
You have everything you need.
I close with a poem by the another Irishman, Patrick Kavanagh.
Me I will throw away.
Me sufficient for the day
The sticky self that clings
Adhesions on the wings.
To love and adventure
To go on the grand tour
A man must be free
It could really be called the Parable of the Lost Sons. The sons are all committed team players and organizational true believers. They’re dutiful organizational men.
Son#1: A Tragic Cautionary Tale
One emblematic scene is this one:
Hans Solo (the father) played by Harrison Ford takes a risk. This gray haired man walks out onto the catwalk over the abyss to talk to his son, Kylo Ren, a kind of Darth Vader-like figure. The two talk, instead of yelling and fighting. Hans Solo pleads with his son to give up his ways and return home. He’s ready to slaughter the fatted calf and celebrate being reunited with his son.
Ren, clad in black, listens but says it’s too late. He has the Prodigal Son-realization but just can’t do it. The son plunges the red lightsaber upward through his father’s heart, killing him. Hans Solo is sent tumbling off the catwalk into the abyss.
He refuses to leave the tyrannical regime called The First Order and the Supreme Leader Snoke. He’s high up in power in the organization and his Side of the Force. The son’s realization is to not move away from all he has. How could he? Kylo Ren has status and belonging that he can’t give up. He’s an organization man looking to reap the rewards. But because he stays, he meets his end not long after this!
Son#2: The One that Sees the Light
For every son that loses his way and meets a tragic end, there are others that see the dilemma and move toward balance. Finn in the film Star Wars: The Force Awakens worked for the First Order as a stormtrooper. However, Finn sees the craziness, inhumanness and falseness of the First Order. His deeper realization helps him switch sides to help the Force. His familiarity of the inner workings of the First Order becomes a source of strength and healing in the story. His resilience and courage against the tyrannical First Order is exceptional. We all have Finn in us.
He has an awakening in the middle of the road of his life as Dante would put it.
Son#3: The Disheartened One-Which Way Will He Go?
Finally the last lost son is the middle-aged Luke Skywalker. The powerful woman protagonist Rey finds Luke’s lightsaber and brings it to him at the end of the film. The last scene ends in her finding the dispirited Skywalker, who has retreated from the world and lives on some kind of island that looks like Scotland. She comes up behind him to hand him it but he doesn’t immediately take it and the film ends there. Like you and me, he has a choice to rejoin the world or flee from the courageous journey. I like that ending of the film.
We have to move beyond simplified models that reduce societal interactions to rules or algorithms while ignoring the behavior of individual human beings. We need to go deeper, to take into account the fine-grained impact of societal interactions.
Novels, films and even parables aren’t really intended to be read like Aesop’s Fables with a clear moral for right living. Instead, they are meant to open us up, to invite us to hear anew, to use them as mirrors to peer into our own lives and culture.
Today, we have Stars Wars technology but medieval institutions and Stone Age consciousness. This movie offers more than just insights into the battle between the forces of light and dark. Our greatness comes from integration of the two sides and making ethical decisions. The stakes are high; it affects us all.
I’m curious to see which way you go on your own journey navigating the light and the shadow in your life and career!Read More Comments 0
On one hand if you do write about politics or your creed, there’s the potential to alienate a whole segment of population. My book Working the Glass: A Novel is not about politics or religion. So I may turn some people against me because they’ll say I’ll never read something written by that guy. He believes in X. That certainly can and does occur. You don’t want to repel people away from you.
But then again there is another way to look at it. Another person could have read a post I wrote about bringing more soul into American life (Silicon Valley, politics and the Catholic Church) and that reader will say, I like what he says about this. I want to read more of what he writes. That person buys the book. In this last scenario, you attract people to you who wouldn’t discover you any other way.
It’s hard to know what’s right. You could call it an editorial decision in blogging. Be authentic and alienate readers. Be authentic and attract readers. I try to keep the balance.
My friend Dave Buelow, who I’ve known 25 years, and I talked about this very topic when I was in Chicago earlier this month. He said, “A lot of people are going to give you advice in life. You take 5% of it and the 95% you ignore. When you do take that advice, whatever you do own that choice. You’re accountable for what you write about or your career for that matter. Win or lose, you’ve made a choice. You live with it and can’t blame anyone else for their advice.”
I like what Dave said there and it rings true to me.
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A friend of mine was driving down the Dan Ryan Expressway, the main highway that takes you from downtown to the southside of Chicago. She was listening to the audiotape “See You At The Top” by Zig Ziglar.
While she drove at 60 miles per hour, a car slammed another car in front of her. She swerved toward the shoulder, but wasn’t fast enough. In a flash of light and heat, the front of her car crumbled in her face. That’s what happens when you go from 60 to 0 in a few feet!
Before she could check the extent of her injuries, the last words of Ziglar’s southern preacher-like voice boomed through her demolished vehicle…And we’ll see you at the top.
My friend thought the end had come and those words were a surreal sign that heaven was just minutes away.
The inspirational speaker Zig Ziglar, who happened to be quite religious, died three years ago today, November 28, 2012. His external affirmations are good and pointed to something greater. I’m all for positive thinking/affirmations and the synchronicity like my woman friend had. But our lives are greater than that. I’ve evolved, just like God has.
Miraculously, my friend in the car crash was uninjured. She got out and helped the less fortunate drivers from the other cars.
As a fiction writer, I’ve never made a dollar over these last 17 years. In fact, I had to pay $100 to get published in an anthology Courageous Journeys with other writers from the “Write from the Heart” seminar I took when I lived in Chicago.
When I release Working the Glass: A Novel in April 2016, it will be a transformation that requires a new story. It must be a story in which the desire to bring the differences together (dynamic tension) is more exciting than the willingness to die for what’s comfortable and fixed notions of a world that’s no longer coming back.
Here’s what Jesus said to the paralytic: Rise, pick up your mat, and walk into a new life.
But I take heart from this: Even Jesus wasn’t ready for the grandiosity and scale-up that occurred. People were ripping through the thatched roof and lowering themselves to see him in the places he was talking. He did his best to escape and keep his solitude and inner balance during it all. I’ll write about that more in upcoming posts here on Bridge to Worlds.
For me, it will be a courageous journey. As the reader or viewer, you know the forces and events the main character faces are bigger than he can handle.
But that person goes anyway.
In the good stories, they have to.Read More Comments 0
During the presidential debates here in the United States, no one on the right or left is talking about what happens when computers/technology really begin to take over. It’s a real question that has to be asked. A fundamental question. A spiritual one even.
I was talking to my brother visiting from Chicago last month. He said he had just gone to the Science and Industry Museum in Chicago, where they have a new exhibit on robots. When there, my brother met with a young Asian-American robot enthusiast who said he was learning to fix robots. And that that was going to be his job- to repair the machines.
My brother said what happens when the robots start fixing themselves? And they will eventually learn to do that, then you won’t have a job.
Our future robot repairman said, that won’t happen.
But it will!
The trouble is we’ve gotten to the point where we’re serving the machines. Machines were supposed to lighten our load and make our lives easier. But that hasn’t happened! Instead, we’re working for the machines. And the skills we learn in that are perishible and will become obsolete. What will we do then? We’ll have no jobs or money because robots and computers will be doing all the work. An Economy can’t work if people don’t have money to spend. And we won’t have money as more and more are sent to the sidelines.
Not surprisingly, business has embraced robot technology in a wholescale manner. But Business is amoral. They don’t care about the effects of what they’re selling/creating. As employees, we have to fit into the system. Not the system accomodating you, the human. In fact, we’ll go one step further, says the boss, if you don’t like it, LEAVE! That’s the stuff that stirs up revolutions.
Here’s a great strategy for the 4% at the top.
Keep the system the same. Pay money to write the laws in our favor. It doesn’t serve all, but it helps us, super wealthy elites. We want freedom to earn/the ability to be rich. That’s our God-given right! But not for you. Just for us! You’ll never get there if we have anything to say about it, hehehe.
Republican candidate Jeb Bush believes that. His hat should say, I support the 4%. But that moribund game is up, the world has changed.
Last week, I was watching a television interview with Charles Koch from the Koch Brothers. The reporter asked him why he thought our democracy needs one powerful family like the Kochs to control elections so much. Are you worried about that? the reporter said. Koch said he was was giving his billions to influence Republican candidates because his goal was to “fight special interests”. I’m thinking that’s nuts, but this guy and his brother are the special interests. So was their father Fred Koch, who was a founding member of the John Birch Society.
City-States are rising. Sea levels are rising. Regions are rising. The Federal System is in decline. So are systems and organizations.
I believe that God’s evolving, just like us. The question is where are we heading? And furthermore, where’s the soul in this insanity?Read More Comments 0
Sometimes you see a spark of fire across the night sky that stands out from the rest. Pope Francis would be that. He’s a force of positive change but maintaining the best of the richness of enlightened tradition.
The last two popes Ratzinger and his predecessor John Paul II wanted a slower, smaller Church based on conservative ideology. But Pope Francis, who arrives soon to visit the White House, New York City and Philadelphia isn’t trying to put the new wine in old wineskins. Rather, he’s a explosion of change and departure from those before him. Thankfully!
The Catholic Church has largely been stuck in the area of storytelling and mythology. The last several popes fought the old Science versus Spirit debate in a destructive and counterproductive way. But even the Greek messenger God Hermes would say Science isn’t the truth; it’s just an aspiration toward the truth! There’s a bigger story here and fullness. Pope Francis understands that.
The prophetic voice of the Church has been dampened because they’ve been more interested in maintaining marketshare. And dismissed even more as a legitimate force in the culture because of Catholic Church’s alignment with corporate/economic interests. Being a true prophet is dangerous work. In ancient Egypt you would have temple prophets that would only say good things even if they weren’t true. The modern day church has been saddled with the same phenomena.
The Church as a container of the energies hasn’t done so well lately. People are pushing against the walls and out. Each week I see less people and energy in the pews at my local Catholic parish in Mountain View. It’s sad to see the smaller, more ideological and slower church but it is the one John Paul II wanted. But the church is better than that and still has potential as a positive force in society. The only power we ever had was our integrity. But we’ve lost that in the last few years.
The role and real advantage of the religious tradition in America has always been a critique of the culture. But this has been the case since the early Church battled to survive against the Roman Empire.
Another gift of Christian religion to the culture is the idea of Christian optimism. That unique brand of hope is irreplaceable and unique. Christian hope is vital to the health of the whole system-political, cultural, and spiritual. It’s all connected.
In a culture that’s so rational, we are dealing with a lot of the irrational. That’s why it’s coming out in externalized way in our politics in the United States. Extreme polarization. We’ll see it even more so when the primaries are over and the two parties face off in the quest to capture the U.S. Presidency in 2016.
I see myself as a voice of moderation in a moderate age. Besides writing a novel, I’m a cultural critic with a positive narrative that we have to go deeper. Silicon Valley and the Catholic Church need more soul.
Jesus wasn’t conservative or liberal, he was just Jesus. That’s why libertarian directors of Silicon Valley firms or conservative Catholic groups like Opus Dei are misguided and even malevolent to a better culture.
Today there are a lot of excesses and injustice to stand up against. The 2015 Catholic church has the dynamic tension like other religious organizations to make our world better. But look at the majority of our bishops and cardinals in America. They are answering to the Church backers with money just as our politicians do. The more the Church entangled itself with business and politics the worse it does.
But this new pope has shown it’s more than about money. There is some real soul in his mission and he’s moving the old elements to the sidelines.
Jesus was a fugitive soul and the great emancipator. We need that today in the time of confederacy and slavery to everything but spirit and soul. We have an exciting future with technology especially as it takes a more central part of our lives. It’s just that we have to do some spiritual catch-up now. The soul can’t be ignored.
Pope Francis is a leading light and, for that reason, there’s a lot to be excited about as he arrives in America.Read More Comments 0
Some people use clever or cunning facades to trick or deceive others. That’s something fraudulent and corrupt. Although there are dishonest outliers out there, that’s not what I’m talking about.
It’s more innocent than that. To impersonate is pretend to be someone or something that you are not. After you reach career and organizational success, you start to coast on your past success. You can’t tell its happening and neither can other people.
Our former passions and hopes hold incredible power. Accept the consequences of being revealed. Our lives are meant to be daring, courageous and exceptional. So bring your most heart-filled and authentic self into the world. One way to tap into that power is looking back to who you were in an earlier age. That younger you had a lot of wisdom! The choices made and interests you had back in high school will provide you guidance today.
In that world, everyone calls me Andy. These are people that have known me for years. Those friendships from the southside Chicago have remained strong over all this time. They were with me during the sweat, the struggle, the morning writing sessions. You need community. These guys have been there from the beginning.
Last week, I went back to my hometown of Chicago and went to look at where I went to high school. I saw back in high school that writing was my best chance and destiny. It started in Journalism class in my junior year at Quigley South. Mr. Michael Mahany was a great teacher and that class ignited the flame in me. I loved it. Inspired, I joined the school newspaper and the yearbook team. The flame for writing never went out.
At the time, my friend Bill Kelly and I were reading a poetry book. Then this week I picked up that yearbook for the first time since way back then. I couldn’t believe it when I saw a few days ago, there was the poem I was reading at the time.
Here’s the poem by Maltbie Babcock from the yearbook.
We are not here to dream to drift
We have hard work to do and loads to lift.
Shun not the struggle, face it,
Tis God’s gift
Another writer Ralph Waldo Emerson, who I was reading at the time, said, Imitation is suicide. You can’t be a person you’re not.
Finally, our destiny is like a potential marriage, it chooses us as much as we choose it. Between our first steps and our last is an incredible journey.
You and I have unremembered wingsRead More Comments 0
This Father’s Day, I’m lucky. I have a supportive family with two daughters, success in my work career journey of work, and a loving wife of 20 years. I’ve tried to keep my head and soul when it seems so many around me have lost theirs.
I guess my father George and Coach Bob Pechloff, my high school basketball coach from the southside of Chicago, would be pretty proud of that guy.
But there’s more.
That can’t be all of it. An epitaph is a phrase or statement written in memory of a person who has died. What will they say about you? What will say about me?
My journey as a novelist and writer when it’s all said and done will be my greatest contribution. I’ve seen that for a while now. I have to finish this novel that’s taken 17 years to write.
Coach would say, Andy, if I’ve taught you anything, here’s what’s most important: never give up on what you want most.
I know I’ve enjoyed writing it and you’ll enjoy it, too. There’s more of the journey with you ahead. My legacy as a parent and a friend is courage.
But it goes beyond that.
My religious faith has brought balance and rightness with the world. We have a unique collective gift and edge we bring to the culture: Christian hope. Without that, the whole thing falls apart. We’re seeing that in California with the hyper-consumerism, addiction to technology, replacement of one unbalanced philosophy with another. They are trying their best to import these things and supplant what the rest of the United States has going for it.
On the spiritual and religious front, you’ve got the Marin County types running around with a New Age Mindfulness. When you say to them couldn’t mindfulness also be considered intuitiveness? They say no it’s got to be Mindfulness.
Most true believers in this new way are Jews that have converted to Buddhism and moved to that most “enlightened” county in the Golden State, Marin. In Chicago they move to Evanston, IL. The trouble with these Buddhist Jews is they espouse a world of all light and they dismiss a whole other side that makes us great. There’s no dynamic tension in that if you don’t embrace the light and darkness. That’s why they’re so hostile under the veneer. You don’t have to go too deep under the fine surface to expose coarser wood.
In the Catholic Church, which is my foundation, you’ve got similar separatism: Opus Dei zealots that want to take us back to the 1950’s and the priests that are concerned about the color of the drapes in the Church. What I call the Drapery Guys. Where are the strong men in the Catholic Church? They’re hard to find these days. Our challenge is to cut through these worlds to something better and truer.
Be that strong man, we need you. Not just today but all year long.
The age requires balanced strength and authentic community. I see that as I approach my 50th birthday in November! The meaningful way life calls for us to build community and depth, it’s what I want now. We all have the need for intimacy and connection. That has to be renewed.
Before the age of television, working men, and it was mostly men, used their evenings to engage in political discussion and community activities. Real dialogue!
Coach or any good coach would want you to give the extra effort. That 5% surge is the difference between one good player and an exceptional one, between winning and losing.
Worker bee citizens meticulously follow the construction and social rules set out by Lord Business. And to be sure you need that kind of energy to construct a great work like a cathedral, a successful career, or even a sports novel.
But the messiness and creativity of master builders are a threat to Lord Business! That overseer seeks perfect order, predictability and obedience. In the Lego movie, master builders conceive and construct incredible creations using lego pieces they find in the vicinity.
In other words, you have to be a fugitive soul in all this.
You are, at your essense, original, surprising and remarkable. Lord Business and Marin County types can’t help you. Listen to Coach, he knows.
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Is there soul here in Silicon Valley? Yes. But the dominant technological and scientific religion, a religion, with no faith has already taken hold.
The California of today is not a very spiritual place and community is very hard to kindle compared to other regions of the country. A lot of that comes from our religion.
Silicon Valley represents the excess in all of us. It’s a religion. We all want to feel important. To belong.
To get ahead in Silicon Valley you have to buy into it, all of it. Otherwise you are banished to the margins because you’re not in this religion. It’s a river of life hidden beneath the ice.
Whatever religion you are in (spirit-filled or secular), you have to have faith. The key with any religion is faith. Faith in what? Faith in each other. Faith in the whole, the human spirit, kindness and love, and beauty. Something greater.
I remember watching the Rose Bowl in Pasadena each year I lived in Chicago. It was 75 degrees, sunny and blue skies. Everything Chicago wasn’t that first day of each year. A surreal, foreign landscape. But yet it represented for me a greater life where the weather was mostly the same (great) all year long.
California represented the American Dream and my move west was the path that millions have taken and the history of the expansion of this country was a western one.
But when I arrived here 16 years ago, I found it was icier than Chicago. The triumph of technology over nature and religion. That’s contradictory because there is such natural beauty here and a deep spiritual foundation from the Spanish Missions.
The scientific and technology stories are attempts to explain the unexplainable. The mystery. How things work. They’re valid and have a right to do it. But it’s only one story.
Since I’m a Catholic my training and background are steeped in the Jesus story. It’s a powerful one that has relevance today. And points to things the others can’t.
I believe this: Reject simple answers “scientific” and “religious” for explanation of the mystery. We can’t transcend the mystery. We do need to go deeper, as we do, the mystery becomes more mysterious.
Religious mythology has the ability to point to something greater. In each of us and the world.
For the Silicon Valley story and its religion, I’m not sure it can do that. Other than come from some place of absolutism. We are right and everyone else is wrong. Our story is the only story.
How is the Silicon Valley story new? It’s not. It’s just a revival of old ways of cruelty and intolerance under the guise of a leap forward.
These Silicon Valley leaders are the personification of the hyper rational and analytical. There are creatives that work in the industry yes, but to what end?
Let’s get specific. Social media and tech companies say, We know everything about you! We know you better than you know yourself. We can compile a comprehensive composite of you based on your online activity.
But that’s just a part of me. And you.
They’ll say no the data is right here in the ark of our belief (the computer). We have it all written and stored there. We know it all: Your behavior, how you think, how you act and even your belief systems.
In Middle Ages, the scholars were the only ones who could decipher the sacred data. They could read Latin and everyone else only knew the local language. So they became the elites. Today in Silicon Valley, we have our own elite class-systems engineers and analysts. They do their specialized work and offer us up to managers and leadership. The priestly class.
Their religion doesn’t have many ethical filters so those higher ups act on it in ways they see fit.
But the most important thing is this: Can anyone really know you? There’ an essence and impression of you that can be formed. Yes. What does it mean to be human? Not just just human, but you? I think that’s a mystery.
Here is where the pathology comes in. They’ll say, Mystery? There is none. We have transcended the mystery and the things we don’t now will soon be answered. Our efficiency and certainty are supreme. End of story!!
We all prefer certainty wherever we can find it. That’s true. But we can’t escape and overcome the mystery. Our imperfections and mistakes are our greatness and our robe of beauty!
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Mobility and learning are the keys to work success. And so too are they for a better perspective. Even a life with soul and meaningful spiritual evolution in 2015.
Last blog post I said I feel like a fool for being the dutiful son when it’s all falling around me. I was seeing less people week to week at my church.
But then on Easter Sunday, that was last week, that changed. There was a massive resurgence at my parish St. Joseph Mountain View. The place was filled and overflowing in a way I hadn’t seen in five years. A very good development!
That shows that people want to belong. That’s the first rule of teams and communities. People want to be connected to something larger. And the spirit journey will allow that. It’s a powerful faith.
But that’s just the beginning. People also reconnect and need to be a part of a faith community or any group to stand out. That’s the second rule why people join groups. The third reason is they want to be connected to a deeper mystery and meaning.
These last two – standing out and creating deeper context/meaning – have been elusive. And the biggest challenge of the Church. So there is work to be done to create these things.
You have faith, I don’t doubt that. Your pilgrimage of the soul is not a linear proposition that just can be charted on a birth-to-death map. There is something more. We circle around the same area getting closer to the Holy Grail. You have to take the journey. You have to live in a new way, a circular movement through the forest of life.
Psychology, science and technology are not enough. They’re interesting and relevant stories of the universe but on their own are insufficient. There has to be a deeper mythology of connecting it all together as you struggle on the way.
Societies can’t survive on economies just as the Church can’t survive on doctrine. Don’t live your life for doctrine. Live for the soul journey. Now is the time for you to go deeper. That’s the call for each of us.
Christianity and the Catholic Church has sadly found itself lacking in the methods and practices of contemplation. One Christian told me we shouldn’t have contemplation, solitude and going into the dark forest of our soul because that’s the place of the devil.
But he’s part of a fear-based, rule-bound religion doesn’t work. You need rules, yes but they shouldn’t imprison so your soul dies in the process. They spend most of their life condemning the world versus blessing it.
But that’s not the Jesus way.
Our religion has been hijacked by the morality of self-interest. Ayn Rand, herself an antireligous atheist, wrote a book Atlas Shrugged that now sells four hundred thousand copies a year. This book is the philosophical underpinning of Tea Party movement and 2012 U.S. Republican candidate for President, Paul Ryan. Ryan is Catholic.
Just by the name alone, – morality of self-interest – you know there is something out of balance with that. Too much emphasis on ego, the rational and narcissism. And morality? It’s just the opposite of that.
That, too, doesn’t sound like the Jesus way to me.
Separatist Christians spend their time in the reactionary/angry realm just because they don’t know where things are going. Condemning others and everything that’s different. And their political posturing reflects that. The biggest problem is that there is no learning going on.
What they are talking about doesn’t point to something greater. But religion and spiritual living has to. Catholicism also, has to.
The Roman Empire was massive as they kept absorbing economies and culture. They were facing the end of the empire. The emperors were struggling to even hold themselves together. They had to find an enemy in Christianity. It wasn’t the worst thing. It led to the Church. A strengthened resilient and global one. We wouldn’t be what we are today without it.
Don’t lose who you are. Of course, you will lose your way but you can refind it. The Roman Catholic Church connects me to my past in Chicago and my ethnic Irish and Eastern European neighborhoods I grew up in. It’s my roots and my family. However, I moved west. I’ve lived here in California since 1999.
Be true to who you are but don’t lose your way. Diversity is great but people understand their own tribes best. We do. My tribes are the Czechs, the Irish and Catholics.
In Chicago, Irish move out of the city. They move west on the south, central and north migration routes to Chicago suburbs of Orland, Naperville and Schaumburg. But what follows is not good. Many abandon their compassion towards others and shift to the right. They begin calling themselves English.
On your journey you will lose your way. But if you take the path of the soul and go deeper, you’ll refind your heart, compassion and creativity in a world that sorely needs it.
Bless the world and life everyday.
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