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Posts posted by Kingfisher

  1. That's a good question. It depends on your definition of the term. I've never personally claimed to be persecuted as a Christian, but I've witnessed some who have died for their faith. I won't get into the gory details except to say that the world is a very troubled place. There are many people who will not tolerate the existence of any beliefs but their own. That has caused me a great deal of suffering.


    “See, I lay a stone in Zion,
        a chosen and precious cornerstone,
    and the one who trusts in him
        will never be put to shame.”

  2. My name, roughly translated from the tongue of my ancestors, means "shepherd king".


    How does that old saw go... "God never gives you anything more than you can handle, I just wish He didn't trust me so much."


    Welcome home, Brother. I look forward to seeing things from your point of view. Every seat is a hot one around here, ain't it?



    𒀭 :gathering:



  3. "In any case, you can't have effective allegory in times when people are swept this way and that by momentary convictions, because everyone will read it differently. You can't indicate moral values when morality changes with what is being done, because there is no accepted basis of judgment. And you cannot show the operation of grace when grace is cut off from nature or when the very possibility of grace is denied, because no one will have the least idea of what you are about." - Flannery O'Connor

  4. 5 minutes ago, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:


    Unless we are engaged in true "Gnosis" -- where we know something with absolute supernatural certitude -- we must have some confidence in our experts.


    Even if I presume the most common usage of language, I haven't done any of the measurements myself. I have faith that the Earth is "spherical" (although viewed in higher dimensions I'd call it something else, and agree that it was flat in two) because I have confidence in the methodology. Other minds with empirical evidence might know, but based on the subjective standard of consensus we've arbitrarily just agreed upon, I don't. My intuitive sense tells me that dogs know things, but I've yet to make any gnostic observations about the geometry of the Earth. It seems kinda silly to describe the world of form with the tools of the supernatural (or vice versa). If I had to assign language to it I might say that when you get down deep enough, everything looks rather wiggly. Spiritually it's ineffable, and materially it's subjective. Philosophically I don't know if there's any true knowledge in the chaos, or if we're just seeing horses in the clouds and sharing the delusion.

  5. 3 hours ago, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:


    It is possible to have too much intellectual purity.  I know that I know that the Earth is round.  Not a perfect sphere.  Actually, egg shaped.  


    Aye, I could say I know it's an oblate spheroid, it all depends on your point of view. That's the problem - it depends on the definition of knowledge. I assume epistemological reflection was the point of this exercise, but I didn't pose the question and I don't want to assume the definition, ergo I don't know if I know the answer (or even can, if we're talking about intellectual purity). Could be false, could be true. I don't know. I have no frame of reference. I could have just asked, or supplied my own, but I know this ain't the kiddie pool so I figure as long as I'm jumping in I might as well dive deep and cut right to the heart of the matter. I "know" the whole universe is flat, but that's just, like, my opinion, man. If I answered any other way it would have been a lie. Is that too much purity? I don't know. It depends on your point of view.


  6. Are you calling my wife a whore? 🖖;)


    "The wild beasts of the desert shall also meet with the wild beasts of the island, and the satyr shall cry to his fellow; the screech owl also shall rest there, and find for herself a place of rest. There shall the great owl make her nest, and lay, and hatch, and gather under her shadow: there shall the vultures also be gathered, every one with her mate." - Isaiah 34:14-15 [KJV]

  7. I recall one summer morning while visiting close friends, I rose early and walked into the bamboo garden to watch the sunrise and feed the mosquitoes for a couple hours. Not ascetically, but gladly and compassionately. Loving life on its own terms was a very enlightening experience. If asked now about the Nature of God my scripture would be a traditional creative verse:


    ... up high in the saddle I belong ...

    ... wild where the horse and the cattle'll roam ...

    ... when the skies and the prairie are steeped in the glowan ...

    ... and the wind blows us all along ... like the tumbling tumbleweeds ...

    • Like 1

  8. On 10/7/2017 at 4:44 PM, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:



    If God, the perfect mind, were behind Scripture -- any Scripture -- it would be perfect Scripture.  Any one who read it, would have perfect understanding.  I don't have anything resembling a perfect mind, so I can't imagine how this would be done.  God would know how to do it.


    On the other hand, if all Scripture had Human origins, with all the imperfection that implies -- how would the world of religion look?  It would look the way it does.  Divisive, fractious, and chaotic -- with all the nasty bits of the Human mind projected onto God.  


    Now a simple look at the claims of Genesis.  God created the "world" -- and the rest of everything -- the entire Universe -- 

    in six days.  Really?  God did the entire  Universe in six days -- and needed Human scribes?  The All Powerful couldn't self publish the perfect Book?  He needed Human scribes?  Better yet.  We couldn't all be born knowing the contents?


    And eternal damnation if we believe the wrong Book?


    :rolleyes:          :sigh:




    Books are a relatively new method of spreading the gospel, but some of those hearthfire stories go back a million years. Or in the old Hebrew idiom, "forty days and nights". Can you imagine that? The collected wisdom of mankind's journey through the wilderness over those vast aeons, all condensed into such a frail volume as the Bible. We must have been really spooked by that early Holocene flooding to be so determined to establish a more permanent record. How easily all trace of who are, and who were, can be erased from the world... but I digress. I don't reckon you could fit everything of value from our own saga into a book, much less that of the heavens, even if you were to sacrifice all the trees and hides that ever lived in its making, but scripture remains a signpost on a very ancient road. I don't believe in eternal damnation, but I think it's unwise to dismiss it entirely. God may not have written the sign at the zoo either, but it's there for a good reason - if you pet the tigers you're liable to discover temporary damnation right here on Earth. Of course, now the garden is littered with paper trails (and cat memes) going every which way, and humanity has become preoccupied with preparing new homes among the stars, so perhaps the written word isn't as useful as a spiritual message in a bottle as it was once upon a time. Maybe we're ready for a new way of passing on our stories, some technological miracle which may flourish for a while but in it's turn shall also subside. I wouldn't worry about it. Those are just our fairy tales. If you want to read the story God wrote then look up. Or look within. It's all the same.


    On 10/29/2017 at 12:08 PM, Dan56 said:


    I agree, evolution is not an accident, its a theory of how things evolved into what they are after some primary living cells accidentally came into existence.



    If life and consciousness, and even elementary particles (according to the math), can spontaneously come into existence, then why not God? It is possible that the grand unified field from which everything arises, and to which everything returns in death, is itself aware and self-actualized. What is so strange about that when we ourselves are infinitely strange? The concept of a divine mover isn't unreasonable, it's merely unproven. Does everything need to be?

    • Like 1

  9. On 9/6/2017 at 6:47 AM, mererdog said:

    It was amazing how often plumbers and architects would seem about to come to blows. I only ever worked for the one contractor, and I've never asked anyone with broader experience whether its a common thing. Now I'm curious.


    It's a frequent bugbear that appears in every corner of human society -  too many chiefs and not enough Indians.

  10. On 9/1/2017 at 8:40 PM, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:

    I thought it might be a fun topic to discuss the different labels.

    Which label do you like? 


    I would profess not to care about such ephemeral things, but apparently the rank I've got here is Cherished Friend and I must confess I rather like that one. I've been called worse. :cool:


    On 9/3/2017 at 8:59 AM, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:

    I can't stand groups with no sense of humor.  They're no fun at all. 


    I was thinking about joining the nihilists, but I didn't see the point. :smoke:

    • Like 1

  11. My "church" is Nature. The environments of civilization and human society are merely reflections of concepts we hold in our minds. We manifest those beliefs upon our surroundings and declare them to be reality, and they in turn influence our perception and further bind us to the illusions we have created. As I sit and play my flutes I learn to harmonize with the natural world and lose the desire to impose my will upon it. This sort of meditation can be accomplished anywhere, I just find it simpler and more efficient to distance myself from the the temporal distractions in which we tend to place our hopes and fears. Walking out into the forest is a symbolic gesture of relinquishing those attachments and abandoning expectations of what life "should" be. It cultivates a spirit that asks for nothing and allows itself to simply exist in peace, come rain or shine. It is in that place where I stop seeking for God that the boundaries of self dissolve and I become aware that God was with me all along. For myself, worshipping in the untamed wilds isn't so much about trying to contact some mystical spirit that resides in the universe, but in sweeping away the artificial constructs and internal dialogues which obscure the luminous mind.

    All philosophies are mental fabrications. There has never been a single doctrine by which one could enter the true essence of things.” ~ Nāgārjuna

  12. Relevance of the Debate Polemic

    I didn't leave Methodism because I thought it was wrong, I joined the Franciscans because I saw the middle path and the argument no longer mattered. Just do it.

    [Luke] Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning

    Everything, you say? ;)

    The debate over initial evidence and subsequence will continue.

    The what now?

    Just kidding, I concur. Monkeys gonna monk.

  13. 114-B_025-142x71.jpgflauta.jpg

    While the end-blown style has its advantages (my favourite being an embouchure suited for whistle accompaniment) the pueblo has been a pretty challenging instrument to play. Bamboo can also be pretty unforgiving, especially in Bb which seems to require insane half/quarter-holing skills to even rasp out a smooth diatonic scale. It's been discouraging at times, so I recently picked up another pair of flutes in D(min/maj). Above, the first is a birch "Kestrel" from High Spirits (Odell Borg), the other is an old Clarke tin whistle. Both have beautiful voices and have been a lot of fun to play. They appealed to my Celtic blood, and since they're pretty compact I figured they'd be better suited for my Appalachian sojourns and the odd sabbat. Just the kick I was looking for to break the funk. I reckon all I need now is a fiddle and a jug of whiskey. And more cowbell.

    Speaking of sabbats, I played for more than an hour tonight with a pack of coyotes - a bright and sorrowful lament of the land. The hills were sparkling with their voices. They stop somewhere nearby for a chorus most nights but this was the first time they approached quite near as they sang/warbled/yipped/howled/barked in a great jubilee. It was their longest performance by far, and it was a rather exciting honour to be accepted like that. I named the boldest one "Private Joker" because he has the most ebullient personality, and he knows what makes the grass grow. Yeah, I'd say it's part of my ministry. Blessed Samhain.


    "Ohh, the wheel in the sky keeps on turnin'..." ~ Journey

  14. But is god(dess?) bigger than the universe?

    If by "bigger" you mean transcendent, I would say yes, even an in infinite multiverse. I believe the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Whether I take a scientific or metaphysical point of view, whether consciousness is an emergent phenomenon or a fundamental property of the universe, it doesn't seem to make a difference in the result to me.

    This is also my understanding of our relationship with God and am thankful for the limitless opportunities to share in His creation.

    Aye, my gratitude waxes and wanes, but even when the moon is new, so to speak, it is always there. Life is a constant vibration, a magnificent engine, a never-ending journey of growth. Sometimes folks say that the concept of heaven is a crutch for those who are afraid of reality, but I think atheism can also be a crutch. There are no guarantees that the afterlife will be pure and joyous, and it's rather terrifying to consider that it may go on without a God to console us. It is very comforting to contemplate utter oblivion in that scenario. I see that deep shadow of unrelieved and empty agony (I have found a certain truth in pain, that nothing is ever so bad that it can't get worse)... but that likewise is encouraging to me, for even if there is no purpose it still suggests that the only meaning to life is that which I provide... and I can choose to create the bliss that was lacking in it simply by accentuating the positive and embracing that I AM. The deepest pains make room for the greatest joys, for I have also observed the truth that everything is transient. Heaven may not be real, but if there is anything at all, it will be, at least some of the time... and if there is not, the void will take me and I will not care. I cannot foresee any fate that leaves me forever in despair (though it may seem like that at times, hope does spring eternal,) and that speaks to me of a divine nature in all that is. Nothingness no longer seems to have a foothold in the universe. Symmetry has been broken, the scales are unbalanced... and I thank God for that. At least until the old rheumatiz flares up again. Sometimes I wish His creation wasn't quite so limitless. ;)