Friday, March 27, 2015

In the Garden of Spirituality – Richard Rohr (Part II)


“We are not on earth to guard a museum,
but to cultivate a flowering garden of life.”


– Pope John XXIII


The Wild Reed’s series of reflections on religion and spirituality continues with Richard Rohr's thoughts on the mystical element of Christianity and thus the evolutionary nature of authentic religion.


There were clear statements in the New Testament giving a cosmic meaning to Christ (Colossians 1, Ephesians 1, John 1, 1 John 1, and Hebrews 1:1-4), and the schools of Paul and John were initially overwhelmed by the hope contained in this message. In the early Christian era, a few Eastern Fathers (such as Origen of Alexandria, Gregory of Nyssa, and Maximus the Confessor) noticed that the Christ was clearly something older, larger, and different than Jesus himself. They mystically saw that Jesus is the union of human and divine in one person, and the Christ is the eternal union of matter and Spirit from the beginning of time. But the later centuries tended to lose this mystical element in favor of a more dualistic Christianity. We were all the losers. What we could not unite in Jesus, we could not unite in ourselves!

Christianity became another moralistic religion (which loved to be on top). It was overwhelmingly aligned with a very limited period of history (empire building through war) and a small piece of the planet (Europe), not the whole earth or any glorious destiny (Romans 8:18ff) for us all. Not surprisingly, many Christians ended up tragically fighting evolution--along with most early human rights struggles (such as women's suffrage, rights for those on the margins, racism, classism, homophobia, earth care, and slavery) – because we had no evolutionary notion of Christ who was forever "groaning in one great act of giving birth" (Romans 8:22). Until the reforms of the 1960's and the Second Vatican Council, Roman Catholic Christianity was overwhelmingly a tribal religion and hardly "catholic" at all.

We should have been at the forefront of all of these love and justice issues. The Christian religion was made-to-order – to grease the wheels of human consciousness toward love, nonviolence, justice, inclusivity, love of creation, and the universality of such a message. Mature religion serves as a conveyor belt for the evolution of human consciousness. Immature religion actually stalls people at very early stages of . . . tribal consciousness, while they are convinced they [have all the answers] or "saved." This is more a part of the problem than any kind of solution. Only the non-dual and mystical mind gets you all the way through.

– Richard Rohr
Adapted from Eager to Love: The Alternative Way of Francis of Assisi
pp. 218, 222-223, 226;
and Hell, No! (CD, MP3 download)


See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
In the Garden of Spirituality – Richard Rohr (Part I)
Quote of the Day – July 22, 2010
Jesus: Mystic and Prophet
Jesus: The Revelation of Oneness
Thoughts on the Feast of the Ascension
Michael Morwood on the Divine Presence (Part I)
Michael Morwood on the Divine Presence (Part II)
Michael Morwood on the Divine Presence (Part III)
Prayer and the Experience of God in an Ever-Unfolding Universe
In the Garden of Spirituality – Ilia Delio
In the Garden of Spirituality – Beatrice Bruteau
Quote of the Day – July 24, 2012

Related Off-site Link:
The Current Culture War and the Way Toward Reform: Integral ConsciousnessThe Progressive Catholic Voice (March 19, 2015).

Image: Michael J. Bayly


Australian Sojourn – March 2015

Part 8: A Wedding in Melbourne

NOTE: To start at the beginning of this series, click here.




On Sunday, March 15, 2015, my family celebrated the wedding of my nephew Ryan and his partner Farah in Melbourne's beautiful Fitzroy Gardens. A reception followed at an establishment in nearby Richmond.

Right: My parents Gordon and Margaret Bayly on the morning of the happy event.




Left: Standing at right with my brothers Chris and Tim. Chris is Ryan's dad.


Above: Ryan's three brothers – Liam, Mitchell and Brendan.



Above: The happy couple with the groom's parents, my brother Chris and sister-in-law Cathie.



Above: Farah's beautiful bridesmaids.



Above: Ryan's maternal grandmother, Merle, and his paternal grandparents, my parents Gordon and Margaret Bayly.



Above: My brother Tim (center) with his youngest daughter Sami and Dad.



Above: A delightfully subversive shot of my groomsmen nephews and best man Tom (left).



Above and below: Photos from the reception.





Above: Best man Tom makes his speech.



Above: The night's entertainment.



Above: Sami, Charmaine and Kieran.



Above: A lovely shot of Mum and Dad.




Twenty-seven years ago, at Chris and Cathie's wedding in 1988 (below), I was the groomsman partnered with bridesmaid Sue, pictured with me at right at Ryan and Farah's wedding.



Above: Chris and Cathie's wedding in 1988. Sue and I are at right, while my younger brother Tim is at left.



Above: My brother Chris and his wife Cathie today.



Above: Chris and Ryan, father and son.



Above: My nephew Mitchell and niece Sami.





Above: Sending off the happy couple!


See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Australian Sojourn, March 2015: Part 1 – Brooklyn and Morpeth
Part 2 – Port Macquarie, Wingham, and Ellenborough Falls
Part 3 – Roving Sydney's Eastern Beaches with Raph
Part 4 – The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras
Part 5 – Watsons Bay, Camp Cove and the Sydney Heads
Part 6 – Family Time in Melbourne
Part 7 – The Great Ocean Road
A Bushland Wedding (2011)

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Australian Sojourn – March 2015

Part 7: The Great Ocean Road



While recently in Melbourne with family members for my nephew's wedding, I spent much of Friday, March 13 driving along part of the Great Ocean Road with Mum and my good friend Joan. As you can see from the following photos, it is a very beautiful part of Australia.

Above: Bells Beach, Victoria.

Right: With Mum.



Notes Wikipedia:

The Great Ocean Road is an Australian National Heritage listed 243 kilometres (151 miles) stretch of road along the south-eastern coast of Australia between the Victorian cities of Torquay and Allansford. Built by returned soldiers between 1919 and 1932 and dedicated to soldiers killed during World War I, the road is the world's largest war memorial. Winding through varying terrain along the coast and providing access to several prominent landmarks, including the Twelve Apostles limestone stack formations, the road is an important tourist attraction in the region.
















See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Australian Sojourn, March 2015: Part 1 – Brooklyn and Morpeth
Part 2 – Port Macquarie, Wingham, and Ellenborough Falls
Part 3 – Roving Sydney's Eastern Beaches with Raph
Part 4 – The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras
Part 5 – Watsons Bay, Camp Cove and the Sydney Heads
Part 6 – Family Time in Melbourne


In Australia's Leading Catholic Newspaper, a Helpful Introduction to the Sacred Presence in an Evolving Universe

Given my interest in evolutionary spirituality and my creation back in Minnesota of the workshop "Companions on a Sacred Journey," I was happy to see an op-ed on evolutionary spirituality in the most recent edition of the Australian publication The Catholic Leader.

Written by Br. John Venard, FMS for his regular column "Sacred Space," this op-ed doesn't actually use the term evolutionary spirituality. Venard does talk a lot, however, about "cosmology," which he describes as "the branch of astronomy concerned with the evolution and structure of the universe."

Venard notes that creation is an on-going process set in motion by God and that humans have a specific role to play in this process. That combination of cosmology and theology is, of course, a key component of evolutionary spirituality.

I have some issues with Venard's op-ed; the apparent contradiction that many struggle with of an all-powerful God versus an all-loving God is, for example, unacknowledged and unexplored. Ditto for the "specific role" that we as humans have to play in God's ongoing creation. That's all unfortunate. Still, other aspects of Venard's piece serve as a helpful introduction to evolutionary spirituality, even if the term itself is never uttered. Hopefully, such an articulation will be the focus of Venard's next "Sacred Space" column. Indeed, the title of his column lends itself beautifully to an ongoing exploration of evolutionary spirituality!

Following is an excerpt from Venard's op-ed from the March 15, 2015 issue of The Catholic Leader.


Cosmology is the branch of astronomy concerned with the evolution and structure of the universe.

Powerful telescopes and orbiting satellites have given scientists much more information for discovering the mystery of creation.

The universe consists mainly of galaxies and enormous systems of stars. There are millions of these and in them are found solar systems with assemblages of planets, satellites, milky ways, comets and meteorites.

[At a recent lecture on cosmology] we were shown a picture of one Milky Way and amongst the multitude of white specs was an arrow -- this is you. It was the tiniest of little specs and by reflecting on the size of our earth we could get a faint idea of the immensity of the universe. But more mind-boggling facts emerged as we got into the distances involved and measurements of light years (the distance light will travel in one year) had to be used.

When and how did creation originate?

Is the hypothesis of the "Big Bang" of 12 billion years ago the answer? It is only a theory but remembering Galileo, I am keeping an open mind on the matter.

Does this do away with God? Just the opposite.

It increases my faith because a God of complete goodness, wisdom and love, all-powerful and all-knowing, caused the "Big Bang." This set [God's] on-going creation in motion and now we are part of it with a specific role to play. Isn't this great news?



See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Michael Morwood on the Divine Presence (Part I)
Michael Morwood on the Divine Presence (Part II)
Michael Morwood on the Divine Presence (Part III)
Prayer and the Experience of God in an Ever-Unfolding Universe
In the Garden of Spirituality – Ilia Delio
In the Garden of Spirituality – Beatrice Bruteau


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Australian Sojourn – March 2015

Part 6: Family Time in Melbourne


On Wednesday, March 11 I traveled with my parents by train from Sydney to Melbourne. (You may recall that I was in Melbourne around this time last year.)

We journeyed to Melbourne for the wedding of my nephew Ryan and his partner Farah. Ryan is the eldest son of my brother Chris and his wife Cathie. His younger brothers are Liam, Mitchell and Brendan.

My younger brother Tim and his wife Ros and their youngest daughter Sami also joined us in Melbourne for the happy occasion. All in all it was a wonderful time.

Above: With my parents, Gordon and Margaret Bayly, at Melbourne's Jells Park – March 16, 2015.




Above: With my two brothers, Chris (center) and Tim (left).


Right: And here we are many years ago! From left: Me, Tim and Chris.



Above: Tim, me, Chris and Sami  March 14, 2015.



Above: Mitch, Ryan, Farah, Ryan's good friend (and best man) Tom, and Brendan.



Left: With my youngest nephew Brendan. I'm holding Poppy!



Right: Sami, Mum, Cathie and Farah.



Above: My nephew Liam with Grandpa Bayly (my Dad).



Above: Cathie, Liam, and Mum.



Above: With my good friend from Minnesota, Joan. You may recall that Joan and I both arrived in Australia on March 1. We spent time together in the Hunter Valley and in Port Macquarie, but while I was roving Sydney's eastern beaches and attending the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras with my friend Raph, Joan was experiencing an outback adventure. We reunited in Melbourne on March 18 – her birthday!



Above: Happy birthday, Joan!



Above: Liam and his best mate Kieran.



Above: Dad, Liam (holding Poppy), Kieran, Mitchell, and Chris.



Above and below: We engaged in lots of pool playing while at Chris and Cathie's home in Melbourne.






Above: Some down time.



Above: Mum, Dad, Cathie and Poppy at Jells Park – March 16, 2015.



Above: Happy to be with my family in Melbourne for those special days we shared in March 2015.





See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Australian Sojourn, March 2015: Part 1 – Brooklyn and Morpeth
Part 2 – Port Macquarie, Wingham, and Ellenborough Falls
Part 3 – Roving Sydney's Eastern Beaches with Raph
Part 4 – The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras
Part 5 – Watsons Bay, Camp Cove and the Sydney Heads
One of These Boys is Not Like the Others
A Lesson from Play School
The Bayly Family (2006)
The Bayly Family (2011)
"Like Persephone of Myth"