Shedding Religion… Finding God

IMG_0170 (2).JPGThe older I get the simpler life becomes
I feel sort of like a tree shedding it bark
End of life // is not too far in the future;
makes me stop and think…
“What is really important and true?”
The older I get
the more focused faith becomes;
Moving beyond religious trappings
guilt, fear, and control;
(Knowing those
were nailed to the cross for me.)
Understanding God’s grace in my life
brings me peace;
Knowing I am blessed
to have lived this long
in good health.
I let go of all those things
I once felt obligated to do;
Understanding that the metaphors,
taken so literally by some,
Are there to guide me along the way…
not to prove right or wrong.
I let go of “streets paved with gold”
and “mansions over the hilltop…”
knowing God is Spirit;
No need there
of physical things
we hold so dear.
I believe the image of God
is not flesh and blood
nor what I put on or take off,
but rather an attitude of spirit
that is loving and compassionate.
I came to the realization
that all those prayers I prayed
demanding results
never got past the ceiling.
I realize prayer is meant
to change me // not them
Prayer brings me closer to God,
as I focus on my needs
and the needs of others.
Infomercial religion has no appeal to me
…nor or to God…
There is no place for peddling the gospel
for personal gain…
nor to exert control over the faithful.
Hamster cage religion
leaves me frustrated
and going in circles;
Faith and action bring a feeling
of authenticity and connection.
Church should be uplifting…
an encouraging fellowship
full of good news
connecting us with God
showing us how to love as Jesus loved.
To me the Bible is my guide …
not my God…
words of truth to live by.

Photo: Dwight L. Roth

Theory of Everything

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This week at d’Verse Poets Pub, we have been discussing theories of everything both real and imagined. When Darwin’s theory of evolution was presented it was greatly challenged by the Christian Church leaders. Those who believed in creationism could not accept this far out theory. The debate still goes on, with no one really able to prove their theory.  Yet one has to wonder, as we look at the world around us, how it all came about!

As I contemplate my existence
How it must have all come about
I find a thought persistent
In my mind and won’t come out

If as some believe we all came from the ocean
Organisms and fish learning to breathe on land
Evolving into monkeys, dinosaurs, and toucans
Then we are all the same both woman and man

In every drop of water and every living thing
The DNA strands in us and them should all be the same
But the opposite seems to be true it seems
DNA is different in every living organism, woman, and man

So how can it be possible to have such strange dichotomy
Millions upon millions of living things
All different yet with such unique anatomy
Not one of them the same whether on legs or on wings

With such a well-ordered plan and imaginative design
It seems intelligence beyond our comprehension
Has put in motion this world a one of a kind
And we all participate in this great dispensation

Photo: Dwight L. Roth

Power All Around Us

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The forces of nature are astounding! Whether it be an erupting volcano or a powerful waterfall, we can only stand in awe of the forces at work in the world around us. This past year we watched fires destroy a whole town in California, mudslides carry houses crashing down the slopes, and Tornados that flatten everything in their path.

And then we see the power of creation in opposite ways in the beauty of birds, flowers, butterflies. and rainbows. The God of creation must have had a wonderful time when he created all these things that make us marvel. I find it very hard to believe that this all happened out of nothing or from an exploding star.  The earth is a very special place!

God of creation
Revealed in power and grace
Leaving us in awe
Purpose in every detail
Makes my faith an easy choice

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Painting and Photo: Dwight L. Roth

My Faith

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Faith is the floodplain of Grace
Where I plant my roots to grow
Giving me the strength I need
To find meaning and purpose in life
Faith is the floodplain of Grace
Where conscience and moral values
Are cultivated throughout my lifetime;
Bringing meaning and purpose to life
Faith brings meaning and purpose to life
Sharing in a community of likeminded
Believers who support and encourage
One another to become all we can be
Faith is my connection to God
Community is the cement holding us,
The lively stones // the believers in Christ,
Together in love and fellowship
Faith is the floodplain of Grace where I am rooted
The source of who I am

Photo: Dwight L. Roth

Finding God

 

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Somewhere amid the rules and regulations
The desire for correctness
The literal interpretation….
Underneath it all we hope to find God
Buried in the guilt and shame
Of imperfection // fallenness
We lie…
Controlled by our fears
Manipulated by our insecurities
Underneath it all we hope to find God
In creeds and sacraments of blood and wine
In stories of suffering // blessing // and chosenness `
We struggle to make right our wrongs
Knowing that…
Underneath it all we hope to find God
Our prayers ascend on wings of faith
Hoping to find an opiate for our pain
A clearing and focused mind
That can see and feel that…
Underneath it all we hope to find God
We open our heart to redeeming grace
Finally realizing // it’s not what we do
Not what we say verbosely to others
It is in forgiving others // and ourselves
That we find love and acceptance
And underneath it all we find God

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Photo: Dwight L. Roth

Stain glass window from the WUM Church in Weddington, NC

Proving Your Faith

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I believe it is contradictory to try to prove faith.  Some go to great lengths to prove that what they believe is right. Endless studies and theological discourses are done trying to disprove everyone else. Some feel if they can disprove evolution, for example that they will have accomplished a great milestone for Creationism. Still others pick and choose proof texts to support their particular beliefs. For me, this proves nothing. The proof of your faith is in living it. If what you say does not match what you do then you have nothing to offer anyone.

Proof is in the living //not in the proving

Faith is not based on proof //rather on belief

Proof is not disproving others

It is living the faith you choose

For it is in living that we convince others

That our words/work is not in vain

Yet we try so hard to convince ourselves we are right

Is it our doubt // or feelings of superiority?

Few are brought to faith by details of theology

Rather by the life of One who has lived selflessly

Faith is not supported by disproving science…

Which is ever changing as knowledge increases

Faith is not proven by what cannot be proven //

Stories of the past or imaginations of the future…

Recorded to uplift and reassure the faithful

Having little to do with drawing others to accept your Truth

Faith is a mystery // believing what can’t be proven

Accepting God’s Love and Grace

Living in that light each day of your life

Loving God //Loving your neighbor //Serving others

Faith is based on Love … not on Proof

Your faith in action becomes

“The Word made Flesh”

Questions

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Questions draw us toward eternity

Leaving us to speculate what will be

The future of this fragile soul

Wandering (wondering) // like in a black hole

 

Questions draw us toward answers unknown

For no one knows accept by faith they’re shown

What lies in store // what will be our fate

As we pass through this life’s final gate

 

Questions draw us to stake our claim

Designating truth becomes our aim

For we know in truth we feel secure

Even though we don’t know what’s there for sure

 

Questions draw us into a sense of peace

Realizing knowing answers brings no release

But our minds will forever seek to know

What only faith can reassure and show

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Photo: Dwight L. Roth

 

Illusions of Truth

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Abstract

Life a series of abstract images

Some realistic some absurd

Reality eludes the ideologist

Illusions of truth plague the pragmatist

Do we seek the photo image

Or blurred lines of enhanced color

Abstractions of truth stand alone

In the minds of all who follow

Distortions also stand alone

In media and pulpit

Abstraction better left

To paint slingers and sculptors

Leaving voyeurs of truth

To speculate on what they perceive

And claim it as their ownIMG_9804

Paintings: Dwight L. Roth

Cynical Reality

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I believe that faith and proof are really contradictions and tend to get us nowhere. It is interesting to me how some people say they believe by faith and yet spend endless amounts of time trying to prove that their faith is reality based on the Bible, or on history, etc. Reality is not found anywhere in the definition of faith. In the Christian Bible Hebrews tells us that faith the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen!  In essence it is telling us that faith is a belief in something that has no tangible reality. So to try to prove it to be otherwise is contradictory. Our belief system  is based on faith. Faith is what we believe is the truth of God in our lives.  The only tangible evidence we need is that my faith works for me. I can only tell my own story. Beyond that it becomes your story to tell. What the future holds remains to be seen.

Cynical Reality

Pursuing knowledge down roads of history

Truth collections worn as halos

Crosses robes and purple hearts

Learned studies revealing questions

Drawing us into an never ending spiral

In pursuit of truth that makes

It no longer faith out of necessity

Rather truth in its actuality

What contradictions we offer

Finding faith and actuality

On the same train

Finding reality and unreality

To be identical twins

In the end finding love

To be the ultimate unending truth

And faith the ultimate unreality

How foolish we are to attempt

To prove the substance of things hoped for

And the evidence of things unseen

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