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.

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The economic, political and religious institutions are groaning. You can see the gradual but relentless stuggleweek 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, 2030. 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 neighborhoods I grew up in. It’s my roots and my family. I’ve lived here in California since 1999 and been religious 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. A renaissance is around the corner.

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 wine skins. 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 saw less people and energy in the pews at my local Catholic parish in Mountain View, but at Queen of the Apostles in Belmont, North Carolina (where I’m currently) it’s stronger.

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 blogs about writing and Silicon Valley.

The 2018 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 market share 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.Bridges across Vltava

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.

 

 

Our Future Calls Us To Be Original, Surprising and Remarkable

I’ve tried to keep my head and soul when it seems so many around me have lost theirs. It’s hard.

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.

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. I saw 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. 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!

Women are the story of 2018. There’s primal energy at play in the society. I’ve never seen anything like it!!

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 essence, original, surprising and remarkable. Lord Business and Marin County types can’t help you.

Women’s voices are rising in an amazing movement. Men shouldn’t stand in their way. We’ve seen that in the Kavanaugh confirmation hearing for the Supreme Court.

All of us can do amazing things!!

 

 

 

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Turning 50 and Thriving in the Next Chapter: A Story

A friend of mine was driving down the expressway, the main highway that takes you from downtown to the south. 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 six years ago, 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.

When I hit 50 and as my friend, John Morrison said, “50? That’s nothing. You’re just hitting your stride, shipmate.” John’s right. The world starts listening to you in a new way. 10750106_846686038715619_7780181443543171397_o

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. But then in 2016, Working the Glass: A Novel came out and that started to change.

Now the journey continues…

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. 

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Seeing Falseness in Religion without Faith

california-san-francisco-golden-gate-bridge-1
The Golden Gate Bridge that brings together San Francisco and the Marin Headlands. Until it was built, the only direct way between them was by boat. This bridge represents the triumph over nature. Can we go deeper toward something spiritual amid all this?

Is there soul in the world? Yes.  Of course. But the dominant technological and scientific religion, a religion, without faith has already taken hold.

I saw that in California with each passing year of being there. I arrived in 2000.

But the place changed. And I changed, too.

So I moved to Gastonia, North Carolina earlier this year. Let’s just say it’s better for me in many ways.

We all want to feel important. To belong. There’s more balance for me in this city south of Charlotte.

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 the religion. It’s a river of life hidden beneath the ice. You survive.

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 as I grew up in Chicago. Southern Cal 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.

Don’t go to a place just because the weather is great! But I did.

The Golden State has such dramatic rich beauty and a deep spiritual foundation from the Spanish Missions.

California became icier with each passing year I lived there. To me, when technology triumphs over nature and religion, a place is lost. 2014-11-19_ht_universe_AndromedaGalaxy

Granted the scientific and technology stories are attempts to explain things. The mystery. How things work. They’re valid. But it’s only one story.

For many of us, our 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. What do you think of that?

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, they their own elite class-systems engineers and analysts. They do their specialized work and offer us up to managers and leadership. The priestly class, I would call them.

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’s 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 robe of beauty!

Let’s get some religion with faith.

Where is the spirit in your life today?

 

 

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Being Sufficient To The Day Requires Letting Go

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.

There is an opening scene in Tim Winton’s novel The Riders that illustrates holding on and letting go.Fire letters

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!

This negative target fixation is no way to live your life. Pilots of airplanes know this effect well.imagesCAEY0VPV

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
From self-necessity.

Shamrock flower background.

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Do We Work for the Machines or They For Us? Time to Wise Up Before It’s Too Late

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 even1294541_846685385382351_7297171292484329696_o

I was talking to my brother yesterday. 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 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.Tech worker

Not surprisingly, business has embraced robot technology in a wholesale 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 working for 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.

The same with technology. Technology, created by humans, is taking over. Human imperfection is replicating. We can’t seem to get the balance right. We have too much energy and too little soul.Computer Code


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.

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?

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Don’t Listen To The Fundamentalists And New-agers, We’re Connected

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 2018.

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 changed. There was a massive resurgence at my parish in North Carolina. The place was filled and overflowing in a way locals hadn’t seen in 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.imagesCAEY0VPV

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 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 return to the ground of your being. 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.

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 renew your heart, compassion and creativity in a world that sorely needs it.

Bless the world and life everyday.

 

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Reasons Pope Francis Represents Hope of Positive Change for Future

2014-11-19_ht_universe_AndromedaGalaxySometimes 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.

Pope Francis, who’s visiting Ireland at the end of August,  isn’t trying to put the new wine in old wine skins. He’s taking us on a new path!Francis 1

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.helping-climb-520x245

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. 

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, the South, 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 misleading us.

Today there are a lot of excesses and injustice to stand up against. The 2018 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.

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Are You Impersonating Yourself?

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, I found this poem in an old book on my bookshelf. 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.

Be strong

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 wings.

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Mobilizing against powerful forces, we will succeed (together)

Hitler DeadGalaxiesThere’s much to learn from the movie Guardians of the Galaxy.

I’m not one to see science-fiction movies like this one. Or ones with fantastical scenarios, cartoonish characters. It’s an older movie released in 2014.

I thought this film Guardians of the Galaxy was worthwhile seeing. The forces are great against this Peter Quill and others in the universe. I’d say this is some new version of the Jesus story.

In 1988, a young Peter Quill’s mother dies. That was a powerful opening that draws you in to the story. You align emotionally with that Peter Quill character for the the rest of the movie because of that scene.

What a great start! A lot of science fiction films or people don’t draw you in because they keep everything in the rational/cold/calculating realm.  The personal and emotional touches are great.

In the very next scene, this young boy is abducted from Earth by the Ravagers, a group of space pirates led by Yondu Udonta. Twenty-six years later on the planet Morag, Quill steals an orb, after which he is intercepted by Korath, a subordinate to the fanatical  Kree, Ronan. Although Quill escapes with the orb, Yondu discovers his theft and issues a bounty for his capture, while Ronan sends the assassin Gamora after the orb.

We think we are out there on our own. The myth of the one man or woman creating. We’ve made this whole kingdom and it’s no one else but our own greatness.  That’s especially big here in Silicon Valley where I write this from. Steve Jobs had the vision but there were many people who joined behind him. He didn’t do it alone. Nor do you or I.

Neverthless, we/many of us believe in the sovereignty of the self.  Forget nations. Or anything larger than themselves. But then how come we give so much of that sovereignty away to the Sily-con Valley groups that cheapen the experience and thwart us from going deeper? We’re complicit in  enslavement. So much freedom in theory but so little on the other end.  The irrational is not dealt with. Rational inside but externalizing the irrational.  Destructive stuff. But that’s the monoculture we need to escape and battle against.

At our best, we imaginative human beings, are threshold creatures embracing the visible and invisible. Drawing out unspoken truths that others can’t. This leads to insights and breakthroughs. The poetic language and stirring that the world needs. A writer with soul can penetrate any darkness, any castle of the tyrannical order holding sway. I need you and am not doing this by myself. If I think that I’m doing it alone, it’s false/an illusion.

The guardians accomplished their goal of saving the universe by believing in something bigger than themselves, each other. These guardians were by no means perfect. We see many examples of their shortcomings.

Nevertheless, they race in on their star ships. And a whole force of guardians follow. They spent their lives to that point surrounded by enemies but now as they face death; it will be with a force of friends.

You and I together can create something wonderful. It’s only through the force of agile teams that dynamic energies become activated. It’s not me. It’s not you. It’s us together.  There is genius in the group motif out there in the universe.  The Guardians of the Galaxy and this blog  are examples of that.

What are you going to do on the journey ahead?

 

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Telling A Powerful, Vibrant Story Takes The Magical Impulse

In the marketplace of ideas, the Church is losing. Other competing systems and explanations are supplanting ours.

In Greek myth, the goddess Hera tells Zeus, who are you to go out into the world with these demi-goddess’s and mortal females when you have me? Zeus makes her his wife but in a similar way the Church has acted like the jealous lover. They don’t have to do that when they have all the strength and power they need.

Our lives are filled with uncertainty, magic and surprise. The church has always held that there’s power in the world we can’t see. The magical, mythical, invisible; these bring power to our lives.

There is more surprise, spirit and mythical aliveness in the Disney movie Cinderella released than in the Jesus story being told these days in Catholic churches. How can that be? But it’s true.

The film Cinderella, staring Lily James as Cinderella, is worth seeing.

Cinderella is vibrant story and one with soul. Yes, Cinderella is a story we’ve all heard many times! The secular Disney does it well with a story of soul and spirit. It’s more than a fairy tale, it’s a hopeful interpretation of the world and our lives. See that movie and let me know what you think.

Ironically, the church isn’t helping us go into the soul and spiritual transformation that Jesus showed. Their business has been spirit and substance but it’s just a period of bad soil. Everything goes through cycles. Expect the time of good soil and fruitful growth to return. It will!cinderella

Critics are quick to point out that Jesus liked the adulation on Palm Sunday as an uplifted hero where people lined the streets of the ancient city of Jerusalem as he rode in. Then a few days later, he was offered up and sentenced to death. The same critics also point out the guy couldn’t even carry his own cross the whole way. It’s true; the Roman soldiers had to impress a man along the crucifixion route to carry his cross so he had the strength to make it to the end.

But these oppositional forces in the character of Jesus are hidden not drawn out like they could be in this 2000 year old story. We only get a part of the whole, and because of that, the narrative vibrancy is lost.

There is a Catholic literalism that hurts/compartmentalizes this religion. But that’s not the Jesus way. He said show me the Roman coin. They did.

Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is Gods.

Coins are two sided but one unified element of metal. He’s right.

Our faith has to bridge both worlds and impact the wider world. That’s a great message of Holy Week.

Jesus stands out as the great emancipator and fellow pilgrim on the soul journey and pilgrimage of our lives. But in the current church story, all we get is that Jesus is King on the linear journey of our lives as we move to birth to our own deaths. Not real empowering when there is more archetypal energy there to explore.

There is a great scene in the movie Cinderella where this country girl on horseback meets the prince on horseback for the first time in the forest. They ride around in a small circle being introduced to each other and us the viewers.

It’s wonderful and a metaphor for what we experience in the path of the soul and pilgrimage of life that each of us take. We approach the world of soul and the divine through a kind of circling around it and each other on the journey of life.

There is much hope in the Church and this new pope has us on the right path. But the storytelling and mythology about this Jesus figure has to emerge into a more vibrant and empowering story than we’re being told.

There is plenty of strength in the objective reality and the mythical story woven together in this kingdom.

This country girl turned princess is the one. No need to look to foreign lands when we’ve found this special one.

The glass slipper fits!

 

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