Monday, March 11, 2013

This will be the final posting from Hillbilly Musings.  My friends can continue to follow me at my NWA Gnosis.  I will also be unveiling a new website soon.  In the meantime, here is a copy of the first posting of the new blog:


"The light and the darkness, life and death, the right and the left, are brothers one to another. It is not possible to separate them from one another. Because of this, neither are the good good, nor the evil evil, nor is life a life, nor death a death. Because of this each one will be resolved into its origin from the beginning. But those who are exalted above the world are indissoluble and eternal." - The Gospel of Phillip.
One of my most recent past times has been to compare the lectionary readings from Ecclesia Gnostica and our own Revised Common Lecitonary.  Sometimes they seem to compliment each other.  Our own Gospel reading was the tale of the Prodigal Son.  Like most of Jesus parables, it has been trodden many times and looked at from a bazillion different angles.  What struck me in hearing it this time was how both of the main characters are flawed in some way.  The Prodigal Son is portrayed as an irresponsible philanderer who asks for and squanders his inheritance, and the Elder Son works diligently for the Father and becomes jealous at the treatment of his younger brother upon the younger's return. In their own way, both suffer from the same sin.  That of hubris.  Each feels entitled to something, the younger to easy money, and the elder to a higher status because of his labors. 

None of us is without fault.  Paul says as much when he says, "For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God..."  All of us, each person regardless of race, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, is worthy of love without judgement.  Each person carries a small part of Christ within us, that Divine Spark that links us to the Sacred Flame of the Divine.  This is what Paul meant when he said that "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is no longer slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus."

In my own life, how do I reflect these qualities.  Who am I unwilling to forgive or love because they do not seem to deserve that love?  What is it that I feel is entitled to me because of my status?  How is this reflected in the way I see others?  How is it reflected in the way I see my fellow person?  How is it reflected in my relation to the Divine?  And finally, what do I need to do to open myself to change these things?

    "Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.
Amen." - Prayer attributed to St. Francis

Sunday, March 10, 2013

New Beginnings

"The disciples said to Jesus, 'Tell us, how will our end come?'
Jesus said, 'Have you found the beginning, then, that you are looking for the end? You see, the end will be where the beginning is.
Congratulations to the one who stands at the beginning: that one will know the end and will not taste death.'" - Gospel of Thomas Logion 18.

This year has so far been marked with both endings and beginnings.  Both Mrs. H and I have started new jobs: for her a return to the pharmacy and for me a job in health care doing paperwork.  In one sense we are back into familiar territory, and yet it is a with a fresh set of eyes and new ways to tread the old.  I have been under treatment for adult ADHD for the past 8 months, and with the addition of medication, I find myself in a place of calm, finding a sense of stillness that so eluded me in the past. And while the new employment I find myself pays much less than the similar job I had three years ago, I find myself eager to go to work in the morning, looking forward to each challenge in a way I have never experienced.  

I have also been exploring ancient and modern Gnosticism, reading from both the Nag Hammadi Library (a collection of ancient codexes found in Egypt shortly after WWII) and some more modern publications on the subject by authors like Jordan Stratford, Anthony Silva, and Stephan Hoeller. These collections of texts and spiritual practices have complimented and enhanced my own spiritual journey by showing me new ways to see the old Scriptures I grew up with in a new light as I began comparing the path I had been on with the emerging path ahead.  

At first I thought this new found awareness was calling me in another direction.  As I explored the more modern form of Gnosticism, I found the Apostolic Johannite Church, which seemed both strange and familiar, again combining the liturgy I have grown to love with an esotericism that I have sought all my life.  And yet I love Christianity as expressed in The Episcopal Church, as it too seemed to bridge the divide between old and new with its ancient liturgy and open and inclusive theology.  The pull of the two right now is equally strong.

Then I realized that at the beginning of Christianity, those who we now call Gnostics did not call themselves this.  Like so many things, this is a title that we today bestowed on these early explorers of spirituality.  Many so-called Gnostics in fact were members of their local churches and synagogs.  Valentinus himself was in line for the Papacy, and much of modern Gnosticism today is based on the remains of texts penned by him and his followers in Alexandria.

And so, much like the early Gnostics of the past, I will continue to be of two worlds.  Exploring the boundless horizons of both world views and allowing for the movement of the Holy Spirit to move me where she will.  As the great theologian Jimmy Paige once said, "Yes there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run, there's still time to change the road you're on..."  In the meantime, I will look upon the beauty of  what is before me rather than try to worry about what is beyond where I am.