Monday, December 26, 2011

true theology

"In a very real sense, all theology is autobiography, is it not? Our experience, real and vicarious, is what informs our sense of reality, our internal picture of the way the world works, what our values are. We believe what we know is true -- that is, our felt knowledge--not what we are told is true. In the final analysis, how can a person who wishes to live with integrity do other than this?"

-Marilyn Sewell, Unitarian Minister

Thursday, December 8, 2011

how to temper steel

For many years, a blacksmith worked hard and performed many acts of charity; yet despite all his devotion, nothing seemed to go right in his life.

One afternoon, a friend was visiting him was concerned:

‘It really is very strange that despite your firm belief in the spiritual world, nothing in your life has improved.’

The blacksmith answered:

‘The unworked steel arrives in my workshop and I have to make swords out of it. Do you know how that is done? First, I heat the metal until it is red-hot, then I beat it mercilessly with my heaviest hammer until the metal takes on the form I need. Then I plunge it into a bucket of cold water and the whole workshop is filled with the roar of steam, while the metal sizzles and crackles in response to the sudden change in temperature. I have to keep repeating that process until the sword is perfect: once is not enough.’

The blacksmith paused for a long time, then went on:

‘Sometimes the steel I get simply can’t withstand such treatment. The heat, the hammer blows, the cold water cause it to crack. And I know that I will never be able to make it into a good sword blade. Then I throw it on the pile of scrap metal that you saw at the entrance to the workshop.’

‘I know that God is putting me through the fire of afflictions. I have accepted the blows that life deals out to me, and sometimes I feel as cold and indifferent as the water that inflicts such pain on the steel.
“But my one prayer is this: Please, God, do not give up until I have taken on the shape that You wish for me.
“Do this by whatever means You think best, for as long as You like, but never ever throw me on the scrap heap of souls.’

Written by Paulo Coelho

Thursday, December 1, 2011

unending love

I seem to have loved you in numberless forms, numberless times…
In life after life, in age after age, forever.
My spellbound heart has made and remade the necklace of songs,
That you take as a gift, wear round your neck in your many forms,
In life after life, in age after age, forever.

Whenever I hear old chronicles of love, it’s age old pain,
It’s ancient tale of being apart or together.
As I stare on and on into the past, in the end you emerge,
Clad in the light of a pole-star, piercing the darkness of time.
You become an image of what is remembered forever.

You and I have floated here on the stream that brings from the fount.
At the heart of time, love of one for another.
We have played along side millions of lovers,
Shared in the same shy sweetness of meeting,
the distressful tears of farewell,
Old love but in shapes that renew and renew forever.

Today it is heaped at your feet, it has found its end in you
The love of all man’s days both past and forever:
Universal joy, universal sorrow, universal life.
The memories of all loves merging with this one love of ours -
And the songs of every poet past and forever.

-Rabindranath Tagore

Translated by William Radice