Waterfall 2014-13

How vividly I recall our visit to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park near Cleveland and seeing the beauty of the woods, the valley and a place called Brandywine Falls. I was there on a late summer day and the leaves were starting to change for the beginning of the Fall season. You could stand at the top of the waterway and see where the falls began and then take a walk down a wooden platform walkway to get below the falls and look up at the spray. Brandywine is not a BIG waterfall, but is impressive anyhow, because of its beauty. When you look at the stream below the falls, it becomes again, a simple stream, but the falls make the transition from above to below, just wonderful to see.


The wandering cool stream gently sped

Moving toward the precipice close ahead

Funnels of rock squeeze the flowing water

Pushing it toward the outcrop faster

Emerald greed moss nurtured by its flow

Mingle with the ferns above and below

Molecules of wetness leap in the air

In bursting spray without a care

Once blue-brown now white, so white,

Plunging down with all its might

A constant thunder and roar make a bellow

And becomes louder as it races below

The cascading cataract frozen in flight

Smashes on the boulders with all its might

Reaching for the sky it falls, near the shore

Then continues flowing gently as ever before DDB

God and Devil’s Presence 2014-12

God’s and the Devil’s Presence    2014-12


I never thought about God’s presence when I was younger than I am today. It only has been recently (last couple of years) that I gave it any thought. I had the same thoughts (or non-thoughts) about the Devil himself. It was sort of like, taking it for granted that there was a God and also a Devil out there somewhere.

Then something happened that I ended up calling “The Happening” (made sense for me to do so at the time).  That is an event that has its own story/description that I will not go into detail here, but is on record elsewhere. Suffice to say, that experience affected me to where I started a spiritual journey which changed my life forever. I am no longer the person I was before, but instead am what I am now, which I identify as a spiritualist, for the sake of using a word. This is where I do not fit the mold of typical spiritualists that claim they can communicate with the dead or that type of context. I am a Christian, church going person that has a relationship with God and as such, I also feel His Divine presence at all times and all places.

God’s Presence

This concept is not new of course, and much has been written about this presence of God. Some other religions make the same claim, but in almost all, they make the same theological terms. God’s presence is in nature, in all human beings and especially in each human being. It could be perceived as an outside, environmental or natural entity that could be in the mind but instead is an unseen being that influences human perception. You cannot see it perhaps, but it is there, it is felt and in the feeling it actually “is”.

Some would call this presence “an angel” (perhaps) that has somewhat of a human personality and can therefore interact with humans without actually revealing themselves. The Divine or Holy Spirit, or the archaic expression of Holy Ghost, is tied into the Triune God that interacts with humans in God’s name as God Himself. What we hear at Christmas as Immanuel, “God is with us” which is a Biblical concept of the Divine presence as a title for Jesus.

What you believe about the presence, is what you believe and that goes for my thoughts as well. It is the same as the word “Faith” that is said so much. Either you believe or you do not. The “Presence” (for short) is mentioned in religious context very much, but is it felt or experienced? Maybe it is and we do not know of its affecting us or being around us when it is. Jesus Christ is part of the Triune God and because of this fact, or opinion, if you think this way, His presence is with us always.

Allow me to quote from my favorite source, Wikipedia. “Considering the notion of Jesus’ presence within the Christological area of study, one can articulate an account of presence in nine themes and so throw light on Christ “in himself” (in se) and Christ “for us” (pro nobis), thus recalling the strikingly new modes of divine presence to humanity and the world that the missions of the Son of God and the Holy Spirit brought, according to the Christian faith. As Word/Wisdom/Son of God, Christ is eternally and personally related to the Father in the Spirit. To adapt a central statement from Nicaea I, “there never was a moment when God was not present to/in him” ( Col. 1:19; 2 Cor. 5:19)  This divine “presence to”, which constitutes the triune God’s life in communion, is mirrored in Christ’s earthly existence — from the Trinitarian face of his virginal conception and baptism right through to his “being exalted at the right hand” of God the Father and jointly “pouring out” the Holy Spirit on the world (Acts 2:33). The Trinitarian presence takes into account the ultimate reality of Christ’s eternal and temporal existence.”

Let me digress to discuss the Devil’s Presence.

Much has been also written about the Devil and his presence. This entity (the Devil) is considered to represent evil and many religions have a devil to talk about in their writings. Many Christian writings have things about the Devil that are fabricated, or taken out of context.

The devil is sometimes called Lucifer and is thought to be a “fallen angel”. This has been taught in some Sunday schools for a long time. The only occurrence of the name Lucifer in the (KJV) Bible is in Isaiah 14:12, in this verse: “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How are thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations?” Seems pretty straightforward, but it turns out that it’s another case of misinterpretation and mistranslation. If you go back to the original Hebrew text, you find a story not about a fallen angel, but about an unknown or named Babylonian king who figuratively fell from his throne when he began persecuting the Israelites.

The same goes for the number 666 that has been tied in with the Devil. This is cited from the Book of Revelation, in which John associates the number with the Antichrist, but the details of the story aren’t entirely clear. I don’t know many or any that truly understand Revelations. Another number, 616 has been mentioned as the other more accurate number based on numerology and different translations of text.

Now, there are many mentions in the Bible about Satan (The Devil), so I am not going to say there is not a Devil, but would like to offer the fact, or opinion, that the Devil is an evil presence that represents “sin” and, as such, is a factor in our lives. The Devil tempted Jesus Christ and was renounced by Him for his efforts. I will not call the Devil any name such as Lucifer, but say he is “the evil one” that corrupts humans to go against God’s wishes.

How do we know that the Devil is at work? Many do not know or ever will because what they do is normal (to them) and not evil in their mind, but instead, a way of life. He is described as hating all humanity (or more accurately creation), opposing God, spreading lies and wreaking havoc on the souls of mankind. Other Christians consider the Devil in the Bible to refer figuratively to human sin and temptation and to any human system in opposition to God.

In the Bible, the Devil is depicted as the serpent, which convinced Eve to eat the forbidden apple, and therefore Satan is shown as the serpent. Many snakes have been killed just because they represent the Devil in the minds of those doing the killing.

Is the Devil’s presence around us and affecting us? Once you get past the name calling and the myths that have been made, and consider what evil is, then you might believe that there is an evil one out there, coercing us to do those things that go against God’s wishes or Commandments. Modern conceptions of the Devil include the concept that there is a Devil that symbolizes humans’ own lower nature or sinfulness brought upon by evil actions.

What is evil?

What is evil? The easy answer is the opposite of good or  the dualistic antagonistic opposite of good, in which good should prevail and evil should be defeated. In the context of religion, evil is complex and well discussed in Scripture. I read that the word evil occurs over 613 times in the KJV or 481 times in the Old Testament and 132 in the New Testament. Evil is described as a biblical term as being opposed to God and His purposes as “sin”, and describes the human perspective as being harmful and nonproductive, as in suffering. The fact of evil creates, not only a problem for existence, it creates a problem for belief in an all-good and all-powerful God allowing evil to exist.   Almost all religions and denominations of the Christian faith have evil as a force to be reckoned with in one way or another.

I believe that evil exists and that learned people know when evil has entered their lives. As such, I can blame the Devil, called Satan in my mind, as the evil one that tempts me or entices me to do the things that are contrary to God’s will. That is a simple statement, but one which I will stick to. Others can bring up a load of facts and past opinions by academic scholars or text written by well educated people, but when it boils down to reality, “The Devil Made Me Do It” is real.

Is there a Presence of God or the Holy Spirit and is there a Devil called Satan that is hovering around us on a continual basis.  I think so.  I feel His Presence and at times when I have the feeling that the evil one is lurking near me, at those times I say, “Be gone, in the name of the Father, the Son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit”, and I feel a calming effect come over me and I am at peace.    DDB

Consolation and Desolation 2014-14

Consolation and Desolation        2014-14

How many of us, including me, have had some or any periods of consolation and also desolation in our lives? I remember my cousin’s husband saying, “I have never had a depressing moment in my life!”  Wow, what a lucky guy; but I did not believe him.  He ended up with problem kidneys and was on dialysis and finally said, “I quit” and died after stopping the treatment. Did he get depressed or get into a period of desolation; don’t know.

This past year or so, I have been studying, with  my Spiritual Director, St. Ignatius and the exercises (S.E.=Spiritual Exercises) Ignatius came up with during his life. Pastor Paul and I would key in on a “moment” that was part of the study, and some of them involved consolation and desolation. Allow me to quote some of his exercises, in the following.

Desolation, what is it?

Let me begin with the word desolation. Mr. Webster describes this as being lonely, with sorrow, grief or woe as a state of being.  If allowed to continue, a condition of clinical depression can occur and this is an extreme living disorder that can rule. I somewhat arrived at this situational state many years ago after being in an auto accident and finding myself unable to walk and talk correctly and experiencing a rehabilitation  stay in the hospital and rehab over 3-4 months.

The problem I had with desolation is the fact that it was ongoing and my mind could see no escape from the present.  This is a period where hope disappears and only dejection and sorrow remain. It is a horrible way to live and my thoughts were not positive at that time. Fortunately this changed and slowly I became aware of thoughts that were good and I became better, not great, but better. Also, a therapist named “Jim”  got me thinking that it was not “I”, but the accident that was causing me problems in life.

So, an event can create desolation, but what keeps it going?  Ignatius blames the evil one, which I have written about before as being the Devil. He stated that the evil spirit goes after weak points, when we are most vulnerable. We are unprepared for this period; we are fragile and susceptible to the weakness of life. He states our tactics should include firmness in our dealing with the evil spirit. My note at this junction show I said, “Just say no!” Well, that is easy to say, but sometimes hard to do; believe me.

When I do get somewhat depressed, I now turn to God, instead of a guy named Jim. If I show signs of depression or desolation, my wife, turns to me and asks me, “Have you taken your problems to God lately?”   I admit, I usually say “No!” and go into my man cave (actually my den, where my reclining chair is located), and start to pray to God. It helps almost always. If it does not, it is usually because I did not spend the time correctly or didn’t ask God about things he already knows about me at the time.


Call it what you want if you are a believer, but I say, or Ignatius states, “We will find that the good spirit (God) tends to give support, encouragement, and oftentimes even a certain delight in all our endeavors, S.E. #329)”.  He further expounded on the fact that “the good spirit brings about ….. Consolation in order to strengthen and to speed the progress of our life in Christ”.

Conversely, the evil spirit “on the other hand arouses good feelings so that we might be drawn to focus our attention on wrong things, or to pursue a more selfish motivation, or to get our own way before all else. Quietly, and slowly, the change is brought about until the evil direction becomes set and clear.” (S.E. 329)

I think of the writer, C. S. Lewis and the book he wrote “ScrewTape Letters”, whereas the minions of the Devil are actively at work trying various ways to change their “clients” beliefs in a way that is contrary to God’s wishes. They do this and that, which is somewhat interesting to read, but in reality is somewhat true for the evil one to succeed in the quest of dominion of souls.

To realize that there are actions by factions, to change your mind and work against you is somewhat daunting. We want to be in control and accomplish things on our own, which is human nature to do so. But, when we are so overburdened with remorse, or sadness, the fact that we can reach out to God and ask for His help is so very reassuring to know.

What will he do? I really cannot answer that, because only God will be taking action and I cannot predict what will occur. I do know that He works in His timeline and in His own way.  What we ask for is not exactly what we might get, and that is somewhat normal.

I asked God to help me recently and asked Him to do something. The end result was not what I expected but, in effect, He answered me in His way, which was better and had benefits beyond what I imagined.  I could feel the “consolation”, could name it, and I experienced it.

You might ask, “How can God do the things He does, with so many people asking Him for help or answers?”  I wondered about this in the past (long time ago) and even recently within the past number of years.  It wasn’t until it came to me, just what was going on in my life and how my relationship with God the Father, His son Jesus Christ, and The Holy Spirit was working.  It is amazing to know and I will share this opinion with you another time.

I leave you with these thoughts.  Consolation is grace by God and Desolation is evil by the Devil working against you.  I have to quote Ignatius again, “A time of consolation should provide the opportunity for a growth in true humility……. Acknowledge with gratitude the gifts we have received…. Take stock of how poorly we fare when such consolation is withdrawn…… If we are afflicted by desolation, we should take some consolation in knowing that God’s grace is always sufficient to follow the way of the Lord. (S.E. #324).

Bread and Wine Meal 2014-11

Bread and Wine Meal             2014-11

If we are practicing Christians, we know what is meant by the celebration of the Meal. Call it Communion, the Eucharist, the Meal, or whatever your Christian faith calls it. Theologians can describe it in any way they want, but I could call it the Rite of Life.

This Christian rite commemorates the time of the Last Supper of Jesus with his disciples. In the Bible it tells that— on the night before his death, Jesus consecrated bread and wine and gave them to his disciples, saying “this is my body” then saying “this is my blood.” He also gave instructions to his followers to repeat this rite in his memory, and the Eucharist traditionally involved the consecration of bread and wine by the leader and this followed the consumption by worshipers.  This celebration along when the first Christians gathered to share a meal, this rite soon became a central part of the formal worship service and, in a way; it still is the main part. It has also been a source of division because of differing interpretations of its nature.

For the Roman Catholics the Eucharist, as it became to be known is a Sacrament, and the bread and wine are thought to become the actual body and blood of Jesus through what is called the transubstantiation. Anglicans and those of the Lutheran religion also emphasize the divine presence in the offering and recognize it also as a Sacrament, while other religions may just regard it as a memorial type thing with largely symbolic meaning.


The term Eucharist is a Middle English term that started actually about the 14th century, so this word is somewhat new. The Catholics would use this as the Sacrament of the Holy Communion, signifying the consecration of the bread and wine and the actual partaking of the meal at the Lord’s Supper.

Lutherans believe that the body and blood of Christ are “truly and substantially present in, with and under the forms” of the consecrated bread and wine (the elements), so that communicants orally eat and drink the holy body and blood of Christ Himself as well as the bread and wine ( Augsburg Confession, Article 10) in this Sacrament. I have read that the Lutheran doctrine of the Real Presence is more accurately and formally known as “the Sacramental Union.” I have never heard of this phrase before, so include it, and hope that it is factual at my church.

It, the communion doctrine, has been inaccurately called “consubstantiation“. This term is specifically rejected by some Lutheran churches and theologians since it creates confusion about the actual doctrine, and it subjects the doctrine to the control of a biblical philosophical concept in the same manner as, in their view, does the term “transubstantiation by some, such as the Catholics.

I think all these words somewhat makes for a wide area of confusion, brought upon by man as a religious concept during the service. I do not believe that it is the actual blood and body of Jesus Christ, but the bread and wine both represent Jesus. We honor our Lord by remembering Him and the sacrifice that He made for mankind. For me, it is easier to think of it this way, but I still believe it has deep religious meaning.

When I take communion and the bread and wine come to me or I take it from my Pastor, I take the time to thank Jesus and say, “Thank you Jesus” as I take each and, if by intinction, my dipping the bread into the wine. If the Pastor or Lay Assistant is giving each, then I say this as I take each from them, and dip into the cup.

I believe that rules, policy and ways of doing things were developed over time, going back to the time of Jesus, when he instructed his disciples to partake of the bread and wine.

In the past, I took communion by rote. I went through the motions, listened to the minister say the words that were said, and finished like many others.  Since my Spiritual Journey began, well, sometime after it began, I felt the presence of my Lord Jesus Christ during the communion service. It is not just the bread and wine, but His presence is with me, either beside or around me.  As far as that goes, I feel His presence always now, regardless of what I am doing.

The Presence

This Presence is not something to be afraid of or in any way resent, but instead, something I feel is welcome and comforting to know and realize. To think that God in the form of Jesus Christ is watching me always, seeing what I do, hearing me when I talk to Him, having Him touch me, such as a hand on my shoulder, is so very great. The least I can do is thank the Lord Jesus Christ, when I try to remember Him during the simple act of communion. I wear a cross to remind me of His presence and it helps me in my daily life in trying to live a life as a disciple of Christ.

Many of the church procedures were arrived at in time. They were thought of, embellished and became a way of doing things. The higher ups, those in charge, decided on the way things were going to be done and then it became church law or rules.  I must say even having the requirement that an ordained person be officiating is still a man-made rule.  I am not suggesting any change and will go along with these, but feel that they are still archaic in a way, and not that important overall in life as being a Christian. It is important to those in charge, but that is the way it is now and has been in the past. If I was on a desert island with a bunch of people, I feel I could partake in communion, not have an official clergy present, and still have the service and communion as part of my life.

I am not going against my religion’s mandates and rules. I said I did not suggest any change, but will go along with the dictates of the religion I follow. There is nothing in the Bible that states I must follow this way or that way—- or else.  I said at the beginning, you could call the act of communion, The Rite of Life, and, somewhat, that is how I see it.  We are given the chance of eternal life, through Jesus Christ and the Cross and that is something I do believe in and I look at the Meal as the way to remember Him, forever in my time on Earth.

Poets Self Thoughts 2014-10


Poets Self Thoughts                2014-10

He thinks he is a poet to some degree,

Others will argue with him and not agree.

He believes he has a little common sense,

Others think his works aren’t worth two cents.

He likes to say his poems are really terrific,

Others would comment that they sound very odorific.

He will agree that he is not a great renowned bard,

Others will concur with him and state that’s not hard.

He considers himself fair and not a one sided man,

Others would state that is not fact, but really a sham.

He talks through poems and expresses feelings in rhyme,

Others don’t care and really can’t take the time.

He thinks he is a poet and cares less if you agree,

Others will still argue and might be right –   to a degree.