Friday, March 31, 2017

The Sadness of Consumerism and Disposability


"Christians will want to be in the vanguard in favoring ways of life that decisively break with the exhausting and joyless frenzy of consumerism." Pope John Paul II

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Sacramental Earth

"The earth is a sacrament which conveys to us God's heart and life, God's generosity, power and tenderness, God's fidelity and total dependability." 


"Exclusive private ownership which holds the earth captive and prevents it from promptly reaching out to its hungry children with the milk of life is unacceptable."

"Therefore the earth may not be slighted, abused, wasted, conquered, plundered, privatized, destroyed. It deserves to be treated with reverence and tenderness. it has to be bequeathed healthy and whole and beautiful to generations to come, to be source and support of life to them, to be for them too the sacrament of God and foundational grace as it is to us."

Samuel Rayan, S.J.


(photography by tiwago)

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Living Life

"The seriousness of ecological degradation lays bare the depth of man's moral crisis...


Simplicity, moderation, and discipline as well as the spirit of sacrifice must become a part of everyday life."

Pope John Paul II

We are called to treat creation as our neighbor.



(photography by tiwago)


Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Disorder

The Web of Life is an ordered community of interconnectivity, inter-dependence, and interactive mutuality dependent upon diversity, freedom from external forces, and balance.


"When man turns his back on the Creator's plan, he provokes disorder which has inevitable repercussions on the rest of created order. If man is not at peace with God, then earth itself cannot be at peace." 

Pope John Paul II
(photography by tiwago)

Monday, March 27, 2017

Restoration

Can dead bones live?



Hear the Word of the Lord you dead dry bones. To think too much of your flesh, yourself, is to entrap yourself within yourself. To think upon the Spirit is to free yourself. God breathes the pneuma of the Spirit into you and you live. The breath of God blows the stench of death away. The fallen dead, the walking dead, are renewed, restored, re-fleshed. But first, he weeps.

Then he takes away the stone. There is sinew and there is flesh, but there is no breath, no spark of life. Then he breaths upon the dead, that Lazarus might live. Unbind him, that he may live. 

He removes our stones from our graves. He speaks to us, he speaks to the Church: "This corpse is you!" So we cry, and we moan, and we whine. We lament that our bones are too dry and too fragile. We morn that all hope is lost. We grieve that we have become separated from God. Then he calms us: "I AM opening your graves. I AM bringing you out into the light and the fresh air.  I AM breathing my Spirit into you that you may truly and fully live."

The Spirit of him who raised the Christ permeates you. You have new life.



(Taken from Ezekiel 37:1-14; Romans 8:6-11; and John 11:1-45)


(photography by tiwago)

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Extinction and Christians


"To drive to extinction something He has created is wrong."

"We Christians have a responsibility to take the lead in caring for the earth."

Billy Graham

 


(photography by tiwago)

Saturday, March 25, 2017

A Call Unlike the Others


In the three synoptic Gospels, Jesus calls fishermen to go "fishing" with him; unlike John, which has Jesus gathering disciples from other rabbis or from people passing by. Doctor Luke's detailed account is unlike the Reader's Digest versions we have from Mark and Matthew - Luke emphasizes relationship building (Luke 4:38-5:11).

1. Jesus first heals Simon's Mother-in-Law.
2. Jesus then asks Simon for a favor, so Simon takes Jesus out in his boat.
3. Simon's business partners, James and John, take their boat out as well, because Simon does.
4. After Jesus completes his sermon to those on the shore, he suggests that the fishermen lower their nets.
5. Even though everyone is tired, and the best fishing is not in the middle of the day, Simon agrees because he and Jesus have developed a relationship of trust.
6. So many fish fill the nets, that there is a danger of the boats being swamped. Simon recognizes that Jesus is more than just a Teacher and Healer, and he honors him. The others, who do not yet know Jesus, are frightened.
7. Jesus calms them, and tells them to not be afraid.
8. Only then, does Jesus call them to follow him.

"'Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people.' When they had their boats back to shore, they left everything and followed him." (Luke 5:10b&11)


When we evangelize and when we invite, how often do we just follow the abbreviated versions from Mark and Matt, instead of pursuing the more time-consuming personal investment of Luke's relationship building? How often are we disappointed that our invitation is unheard?


(painting by Eugene Isabey)

Friday, March 24, 2017

Silence


"We need to find God, but we cannot find him in noise or in excitement. See how nature, the trees, the grass grow in deep silence. See how the stars, the moon, and the sun all move in silence."

Mother Teresa

(photography by tiwago)

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Erotic Spirituality

"Faith without works is dead." James 2:17

"The quest for an adequate spirituality has become increasingly urgent in our eco-crisis. In the past, spirituality has been seen as synonymous with asceticism, spiritual discipline, meditation, prayer and otherworldly pursuits. According to a dualistic worldview, the spirit is against the body, the emotion and the appetite. We now need to speak of a holistic, bio-philic and embodied spirituality. Instead of being passive and emotionless, this new spirituality must be passionate, erotic and full of fire. It must move us to live with our full capacity, to seek justice in our relationships and to walk humbly with God and mother earth. It must evoke wonder and awe in us when we see the falling star, the autumn leaves and the morning dew."


"This passionate spirituality must enable us to work for peace. Peace is not the absence of war or conflict, but harmony, well-being and blissfulness because of just relationships. Peace is not passively waiting for politicians and strategists to work out a solution for us, but passionately active in our local communities to empower the powerless, strengthen the weak and restore what has gone wrong."

Kwok Pui-Ian, Ecology and the Recycling of Christianity


(From: Ecotheology: Voices from South and North, David G. Hallman ed.; Orbis Books 1994)

(photography by tiwago)

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

John, Act Nine, Scene One



A teacher and his class enter stage left, into a crowded street scene. His students look stage right, and see a man one of them knows.

Student: "Teacher, that man has been blind since birth; was it because of his or his parents' sin? And if it was his, how could he have sinned before he was born?"

Teacher: "As you know, neither."

The Teacher makes a poultice of honest spit and good old red adama clay. He approaches the blind man, and without asking, puts the mud in his unseeing eyes.

Teacher: "I AM the light of the world. Go to the pool named Sent and clean your eyes."

The man does as instructed. As he's trying to interpret the strange new sights streaming into his brain, the crowd around him implodes.

Woman #1: "Isn't that the man who used to sit on this very corner and beg?"

The Not-Blind Man: "Yes, it's me."

Woman #1: "I gave him my hard-earned money - he's a con-man!"

Man #1: "It sure is him!"

Man #2: "No it can't be! I knew him and he really was blind - born blind."

The Not-Blind Man: "Yes, it is me!"

Man #1: "Then how come you can see all of a sudden?"

The Not-Blind Man: "A man they called Jesus stuck some gunk in my eyes and told me to go wash it out. I had to get the stuff out of my eyes anyway, so I did it - and then I COULD SEE!"

Woman #2: "Seriously? Where is this imaginary man?"

The Not-Blind Man: "I don't know; when I came back, he was gone!"

Since the whole thing smells like old fish, several of the more up-right citizens drag the poor man to a squabbling pack of Pharisees. They question the man closely to determine if this Jesus has sinned by working on the Sabbath.

Pharisees on the right: "This is NOT a Godly man - he made mud on the Sabbath!"

Pharisees on the left: "He must be a Prophet! Who else could heal a man's eye-sight with mere mud?"

Pharisees on the right: "Maybe this is a hoax, and this man was never blind in the first place. Go bring his parents to us! We'll get to the bottom of this right now."

The frightened parents are shoved in front of the Pharisees, but then are stunned when they see their son's tears and can tell that he sees them for the first time in his life!

Dad: "I have no idea why he can see now. Isn't it wonderful?"

Mom: "We don't know who healed him. It's a miracle!"

Dad: "He's an adult and can speak for himself; did you ask him about it?"

The man is brought forward again.

Pharisees on the left: "Glory to God!"

Pharisees on the right: "We know this stranger of yours is a sinner - admit he sinned by giving you your vision!"

The Not-Blind Man: "I am not an expert on the Law. All I know is that I once was blind, but now I see."

Pharisees on the right: "Tell us again, what did he do?"

The Not-Blind Man: "I have already told you. But you ignored me. Why do you want me to tell you again; to trap me? Or, do you want to become his students?"

Pharisees on the right and on the left united as a Chorus: "You may follow this huckster, but we follow our One Law! God spoke to Moses, but we know nothing about Jesus."

The Not-Blind Man: "Isn't that amazing? You've never heard of him and don't know his lineage, and yet, he still was able to give me sight. God doesn't do the bidding of sinners, yet He healed me through Jesus. Have any of you ever read about or heard of anyone ever gaining sight who never had it before? If this man were not of God, what he did would have been impossible!"

Pharisees on the right: "You were born under the cloud of sin! You dare try to teach us the Law!"

The Pharisees band together to drive off the man and his family. Jesus, hearing that the man is being driven out of the Synagogue comes to visit him as he comes out into the street.

Jesus: "Do you believe in the Son of Man?"

The Not-Blind Man: "Instruct me Teacher, so I may know him."

Jesus: "You have already seen him. He stands here before you."

The Not-Blind Man: "I believe!"

The man, who has been made whole with physical and spiritual vision, kneels and worships the Lord.

Jesus: "I came to judge people by giving the blind vision, and by taking away the sight of those who think they see all."

The Chorus of Pharisees: "Surely, he didn't just call us blind?"

Jesus: "No, for if you were blind, there would be no guilt laid upon you - but as you say, you can see."






Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Birth Announcement



Surrounded by the Glory,
Before a fearsome Angel,
Frightened Shepherds trembled,
In the fields amidst their flocks.

"You do not need to fear me,"
The Angel spoke to calm them;
For when blood is rushing,
Our ears hear only murmurs,
As though submerged in water.

"I bring you the good news:
The good news of great joy;
A great joy for all peoples!
Today in a poor tiny hamlet,
In a place named for Bread,
In insignificant Bethlehem,
The village of King David,
Your savior has been born,
Christ your King has come.

You will know him by this sign,
The World's Messiah swaddled,
The Anointed One born in a barn.

Tiwago



(Luke 2:8-12)
(photography by tiwago)


The Carnal Soul


"Your self is the mother of all idols:
the material idol is a snake,
but the spiritual idol is a dragon."


Jalalu'l-Din Rumi  

Monday, March 20, 2017

Moral Application


"Many Christians who profess a firm belief, without reservation, that God created everything and who may even oppose any teaching of evolution unfortunately seem not to see how their Christianity may have an impact on creation. They live and act in ways that may be moral and ethical, but they do not apply these principles to the earth and the environment." M. B. Efthimiou



Photography by Tiwago
Quote from: Orthodoxy and the Ecological Crisis, by Milton B. Efthimiou in Ecotheology: Voices from South and North, David G. Hallman ed. 1994; WCC Publications, Orbis Books.

Defilement

"When you defile the pleasant streams and the wild bird's abiding place, you massacre a million dreams and cast your spittle in God's face."  John Drinkwater


(photography by tiwago)

Saturday, March 18, 2017

I'm Back!


I have resurrected the Naked Alien as a place for my more theological side, separating it from my creative side. Although this is an artificial division for me, it may help those who are not interested in my photography (Photography by Tiwago). Stay tuned as I start phasing over. No doubt, you will find the occasional poem by Tiwago here.

Jonah's Whale of a Tantrum (Warning: "Adult" Language)

When the Renewing God of Ongoing Creation saw that the lost sheep (Nineveh, Rome, Germany, Japan, _______?) had turned from the path of co...