Monday, December 18, 2006

Gnoscast the Gnostic Podcast Episode 5

GnosCast: The Gnostic Podcast

Illuminating the Da Vinci Code Seminar 2

Our Stories of Stories: The Nature of Sacred Stories

What stories do we tell about stories, and what do they tell about us?

Stories, and particularly, sacred stories shape our lives. Yet we also shape them. This seminar considered their nature and our relationship to them

Recorded: Sept. 19, 2006

Friday, December 15, 2006

Happy Birthday Philip K. Dick!

His birthday is Saturday the 16th, but why not start early?

Kindred in Spirit

Monday, December 11, 2006

The Mountain Climbing Club: a parable

There is a mountain climbing club at the base of an imposing mountain. The members take pride in their knowledge of mountains, climbing, techniques, gear. They spend evenings in debate over which is the best method for going up a cliff face or a crevasse. They are often well-versed in the climbing exploits of famous and relatively unknown expeditions, and are capable of providing detailed criticisms of them. Those who attend the club as guests, spread the word far and wide that it is the best place to learn about mountain climbing. There is no place remotely like it.

An individual from a distant country hears of this wonderful club, and makes considerable effort to journey to it. There aren't any mountain climbing clubs near his home, there being few mountains worthy of such enterprises in the region. Yet there is the innate desire to climb, to scale to the peak, to pit himself against such a task. He knows he will find all he needs at this club, fellows to learn from and scale mountains with.

When he reaches the club, the first evening of discussions make his head spin. The members know so much, and it is impossible for him to tell where to begin. He stays as a guest for some time, and begins to learn in bits and pieces, things slowly making sense. He begins to ask questions, and finds that the members are quite fond of certain kinds of questions, but don't seem to hear others. But he is learning so much, he doesn't mind such a small eccentricity among foreigners.

He expects that the members use the mountain towering over the club to practice on. Yet no one offers to take him with them. He doesn't hear anyone talking about going. Never sees anyone prepare to go. In fact, he never hears anyone talk about or see them prepare for any expeditions. This strikes him as being odd, but is one of the question areas where the members don't seem to hear out of some polite embarrassment for him. And not wanting to be a fool, he stops asking. He knows that there must be some way that these are arranged, and if he waits he will see it. But he never does.

Gradually he begins to make an acquaintance with one of the servants. Something clearly not done. But he plans on using his status as a foreigner to explain it if anyone learns of it. And so, over time, the servants being well trained in propriety, by kindness and attention he finally gets to speaking terms with one of the servers. At first the servant also does not hear much that he asks out of the same polite embarrassment. But slowly, by way of asking surreptitiously about particular members, he learns that none are planning expeditions.

After puzzling over this for some time, the servant shares a bit of back room gossip, that the members are to extend membership to him. Flabbergasted, he replies that he has yet to set foot on a mountain. The surprised servant says that none of the members have ever done such a thing. Not believing this, he goes directly to members and insists that they respond when he asks them to go on an expedition he is forming. They all decline, shocked at his behavior. And, he is quickly “asked” to leave.

Many explanations are offered for such strange behavior and outright rudeness from someone they were considering making a member. His status as a foreigner is considered, as is the possibility of sudden insanity, but the explanation that settles in is that the poor man never understood what mountain climbing was all about.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

GnosCast The Gnostic Podcast #4

GnosCast: The Gnostic Podcast

Episode 4 - Illuminating the Da Vinci Code Seminar 1

Stories Untold & Half-told: The Surprising Power of a Story

Uncovering the larger issues buried in the Novel & Phenomena

The least interesting position to have on a topic is to be either for it or against it. In this seminar we began to look beyond the easy answers to see why this story has such strong reactions and polarized sentiments.

Questions were asked on many topics related to the DVC and to Gnosticism in general.

Recorded: Sept. 12, 2006

Friday, December 08, 2006

Who's Your Coreligionist?

A profound lesson from the Society of Friends.

Best if read in order.

Who's Your Coreligionist?

Beyond Majority Rule

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Requiem in Pace my Canine Buddy

His condition worsened quickly. He started to stagger a bit. He did try to eat, but it all came back up. He needed me to hold his head up to sleep Sunday night, and in the morning he wasn't able to hold water down.

We took him in late Monday morning. He had always been a dog that preferred being outside, and he showed interest in the world outside the car windows, so I held him up so he could see. At the clinic he was happy to see some other dogs. And when I let him out of the car he wanted to walk around and sniff. It was a sunny day, and he had been stuck inside for weeks by the cold except when he had to go out. Walking in the sunshine invigorated him for a little while, he enjoyed it while his energy lasted. Then we went inside.

The only regret that I have about the only other dog that I had adopted and had a close relationship with, was that I did not stay with her through the end. This was many many years ago, I was just a teenager. And, when given a choice by the veterinarian, I opted to wait in another room. Yet, I took her body home to bury.

That was one of the points when I became aware of our strange contemporary relationship with death. One of the experiences that lead to years of consideration and study of thanatology. Those years lead to a very Gnostic view, before I discovered Gnosticism and recognized it as my path.

This week, I did the opposite of those many years ago. I stayed with him through the end, then when he was gone, there was an outworn form.

It is still very difficult. I walk several times a day past the door where I let him in and out, or would go out to play, or just peek out the window to check on him. When I am thinking about something else, the thought often intrudes to check on him, or let him in. We grow together when we live together. We become family, regardless of species. I did not call him my dog or my pet, I called him my buddy. And though we did not chose each other to begin with, we chose each other over time, and that is the meaning of family.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Quick Update

It has been difficult to spend time on the net of late, so I thought I'd put up a brief update. I had an infection in my back that required a procedure and then packing the day before my surgery. The surgery on my sinus went well, but started 4 hours late, and ended with my having a reaction to something and staying until 1 AM.

When I got home my dog, was having trouble breathing. I'm currently sleeping on the couch to be able to take care of him. It is probably cancer in his lungs. So, I've had a kind of pet hospice set up while I've been recovering myself. He was doing so poorly that I had planned on taking him in Wednesday to be euthanized. But, Thursday he was doing much better, and even eating again. Now, he has stopped and will probably not make it through next week.

My elderly mother came down with bronchitis, so I've been doing what I can for her in addition to the rest. And my aunt who is receiving hospice care took a turn for the worst.

On top of it all, I've been getting the Gnostic Calendar ready to ship. Already delayed due to my seminars in September and illness since then, I've been working on it when I can to take care of finishing touches, printing color-balances, and so forth. The first batch will ship early Monday. I honestly don't know if there will be a 2008 Gnostic Calendar, so if you are interested, I'd suggest getting one this year.

The GnosCast podcasts have been on hiatus, due to illness and recovery. However, this Sunday, Advent Sunday, I plan on celebrating the first service in a number of weeks. And, plan on getting the podcasts up and running again.

I am applying to graduate school to go ahead and get a PhD in Psychology. The school that I originally wanted to attend, but didn't because it wouldn't lead to licensure as a therapist, still offers the program I should have enrolled in long ago. The PsyD. Program is one I just never cared for, and it will be good to get back to more serious research. There is also the hope of survival through student loans.

The last development I'll share is this: after waiting for the Gnosis Institute tax ID number for quite some time, we did some digging and found out that the paperwork had been lost. We are resubmitting and hopefully it won't go missing this time.

Well, that is all that I have time for right now. The future is uncertain. Big changes need to occur as the course of this past year is untenable. With fewer sinus infections, and some resources through student loans, maybe the direct route forward will be open.