These words of Hafiz, the ancient Persian mystical poet resonate with me and to some degree describe me:
Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. It doesn’t matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again , come , come.
My spiritual path has taken me to many places: Methodism, the Charismatic movement, the social gospel (liberal Christianity), Catholicism, the New Age Movement, humanism, Earth-centered spiritualities, and Unitarian-Universalism. Each of those institutions and movements remain with me on my path. They all follow me and lead me. I consider myself a mystic–which means to me constantly being drawn into the meaning of things, the experience of things, the inter-connected Reality in and among and through all things, all people.
I have pedigrees, if that’s important. I graduated from Oral Roberts University in 1981 with a BA in Biblical Literature–Greek and Hebrew. I graduated from Candler’s School of Theology at Emory University in 1984 with an M.Div. I was ordained as an Elder in the United Methodist Church in 1985 and served a total of 8 years as a clergyman. I later gained the equivalent of an M.Div from Notre Dame Seminary (New Orleans) through a long distance situation set up by the Catholic Bishop of Birmingham, AL at the time for me in preparation to be ordained a married priest. Ultimately, that did not happen. It’s a long story and a good outcome. I graduated from Massage Therapy school in 1999 and have been a licensed Massage Therapist ever since focusing on pain relief and body/life integration. I have studied with several modern Druid groups and lead a local grove which integrates those studies. Since 2006, I have been an active member of my local Unitarian Universalist congregation. I took a PhD in Latin and Classical Studies from the University of Florida in 2010, and have been a teacher in secondary, undergrad and graduate schools in various combinations for 27 years.
I write this blog because it occurs to me in the midst of this new government headed by Donald Trump that the large number of Christians who supported him seem to be unaware of the large body of teaching in the Judeo-Christian scriptures about the poor, poverty and how the saving covenant with God places the poor at the center of things. It seems to me, from conversations with some Christians, that their pastors, Sunday School teachers and Bible study leaders must never or rarely focus on this wealth of wisdom in the Bible.
I need the reminders of this forgotten wisdom, too. And, like always, I write mostly because I need to learn.