My Goofy Sister Faith

Smart people cross the street to walk on the other side when they see my sister Faith coming toward them.

I do too; she is so goofy and we don’t want her to bump into us as she tends to do, even to the most dignified men and women in town.

I suppose the problem is that she is blind, or at least it seems that way to me.

I once saw her walking on a telephone wire a hundred feet up in the night sky, on a stormy night. Why was she doing that?  I don’t know, I suppose she was excercising. Isn’t that goofy?

Maybe Faith is an alien from another planet. She pretends to see what I can’t see and she is as blind as a bat to what is right smack obvious and in front of her. It’s as if she lives in a different world but she is manifested in my world, like an overlay!

All the things that try to destroy smart down-to-earth people don’t faze her a bit, such as cancer and poverty, broken promises and betrayal, those really and truly horrible things, those bullets and bombs. She even smiles when she is locked-up in a room with them.

Me? I want to run away and hide or get out my sword, but not Faith, she just sits there like she’s watching a scary movie and eating popcorn. Sometimes I hear her chuckle inside that room full of serpents.

I read in an otherwise good book that Faith was the evidence of things hoped for, the proof of the unseen, which I think means invisible. Evidently that writer was goofy too. Does he actually want me to believe that Faith is the normal one? What was he smoking?

My sister is tiny; somebody said she was as little as a mustard seed. I’d like to see her get even smaller until she disappears; she makes me so mad and so jealous. I admit it. The things I have seen her do are downright flabbergasting. Someone said she moved an entire mountain, but I didn’t see that so I don’t believe it.

O God how do you tolerate my goofy sister? When will you slap some sense into her?

You know how much she embarrasses me when we’re together.

Some people pretend to like her and invite her to dinner. I think they expect her to bring a good present, but I know she won’t. She hates temporary and you can never bribe her like normal people. Oh she gives gifts alright, really extravagant gifts, miraculous gifts I’d say, but never on my birthday or Christmas, or when I need something pretty bad. No, she waits like I have all the time in the world and then when I least expect it, poof! Faith has her hand stretched out to me. Who can trust a friend like that?

God, why do I bother to complain to You about my goofy sister? You probably made her that way and you probably love her more than you love me.  Faith called me a dead-head, and You didn’t even punish her. Did I hear you laughing?  

(Painting by Mark Rothko)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

The Thanking Room

The Thanking Room

In the land where time is space there is a magical place known as the thanking room.  Within the great golden walls of the thanking room angels and men with large warm hearts breathe in unison with God and with each other in a festival of thanksgiving.

Most of the residents of the thanking room once lived in a huge dark place that seemed to be too big to be called a room, where there was very little thankfulness; where the risen sun pulled gardens full of fruits and flowers up to meet it but no human looked up to stop and feel its warmth. There grabber princes believed that a person’s worth was measured by how much he had amassed for himself by his own strength and smarts. Many people didn’t even know what they believed; they simply ate and drank and slept, and pretended to work hard in a big circle of well trained animalness that fed the governor pieces of mush at the 45 degree mark of every rotation.

Large Russian bells rang in a cacophony of mystical sonorous tones calling to hearts to come off of the circle, and out of the strength of their bodies and wills. The bells rang incessantly from within a tall stone tower that protected them from wind and snow. They did not make their sonorous sounds by themselves, but with large thick ropes connected to them that were pulled by monks of the one true God who created the sun and everything beneath it. Each monk of a different size and weight was connected by rope to a bell of a corresponding size and weight. Together bell and monk made tones that pleased the one true God, and did so joyously.

Not everyone could hear the bells ringing so busy were they. Some could only hear them faintly, but for others the bells were deafening and called to them to come out.

Strong-willed self-sufficient hearts that left the circle to follow the sonorous sounds of the bells were lead by the tone of the bells through the valley of the shadow of death where the fear of the unfamiliar and unknown gripped them. Some ran fast back to the circle for fear of death, but others lost their way and couldn’t turn back because the bells had driven them too far. Those who by strength of will or want who made it through the valley of the shadow of death found the thanking room to be a place of refuge and quickly ran in.

It was soon discovered by newcomers that thankfulness was a by-product of enlightenment, the awareness that gratitude knitted together the souls of giver and recipient. The newcomer saw the unity of camaraderie and wanted more than anything else to become a part of it.

In the thanking room though, it isn’t enough that one heart thanks another in a temporary link the gift makes. These kinds of links, plentiful in the dark country, are broken as easily as the gifts which make them.

What makes the thanking room extraordinary is a fragrance from burning incense that fills the air of the room with beauty just as a holy spirit fills it with intangible delight. Glowing candles teach each heart that light emanates from total sacrifice and that light annihilates the darkness of divisiveness and of ignorance. Learned hearts seek ways to make light by giving of themselves. And in the thanking room God gives of Himself, energy and essence, spirit food and body food to feed the thankful and He is thankful too that so many had been drawn by the bells to the thanking room.

The old wise residents of the thanking room who still remember where they were born never cease to be amazed by how in the thanking room hearts work harder and give so much more than in the old country. However, being thankful for the work and joyful in the giving of it make all the difference.

So it is that together God and the angels and the thankful hearts breathing in unison, will live happily ever after. 

The Spirit of Money

I think I hear God laughing at us from time to time, the way we regard money and how humans spend more time in their quest for cash than in their quest for immortality. I think He is laughing at us for the same reason we quietly laugh at children when they don’t realize we are teasing them.

After all these years and all these millions of thoughts I’ve come to the conclusion that money is spirit that takes possession of paper and metals for its form, and sometimes it takes possession of men’s souls and twists them all up until an optical illusion is formed in them and they barely perceive reality and the purpose of life.

I wonder if God uses money as a thermometer to take the temperature of the souls of His aspiring immortal children. Does a lot of money read ‘K’ as trusting and aiming for His new earth; does a little money, maybe not even enough for food and shelter make any difference at all in how much ‘F’ trusts Him? Does desperation force ‘P’ to be more honest for Christ’s sake, or dishonest to save him or herself?

What terrifies me is the story about the talents and how the big winner was the shrewd one who parlayed his ten into ten more. I’m not sure I can do that, though God knows I try. I only hope that when the Master returns I don’t have even less than I was given.

When Jesus said to let people steal from you, and if they beg, give it to them. He knew that our Father would make up for the loss; He always does.    

One of my very favorite passages about the spirit of money is the one that rich King David wrote, now known as Psalm 62:

“Surely men of low degree are a vapor,
         Men of high degree are a lie;
         If they are weighed on the scales,
         They are altogether lighter than vapor.
 Do not trust in oppression,
         Nor vainly hope in robbery;
         If riches increase,
         Do not set your heart on them.                                                                                                          God has spoken once,
         Twice I have heard this:
         That power belongs to God.
Also to You, O Lord, belongs mercy;
         For You render to each one according to his work.”

When Jesus said to store our treasures in heaven instead of on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and thieves break in and steal, He was guiding us. That’s why I am sure there will be money in heaven. Money, the earning of it and the usefulness of it makes all kinds of other things happen, many very good things. Let’s be friends with the spirit of money but suspicious of it too. As John said, “Test the spirits!”

Dear aspiring immortal friend, if money is causing you to be unhappy these days, smile for the camera, God is probably poking you with His thermometer.

4. Thread - Luminopoly

A short while back it was all darkness around me and I was scared and unhappy. Then I decided that I needed to start a fire for light. So I went deep inside and swept into a pile all of the trash I could find. Believe me there was plenty like pride and impatience, gluttony and anger. To light the fire I swallowed the burning coal when suddenly enough light appeared that I could see two threads in front of my eyes. I pulled the one thread, which turned out to be a thank-you thread and sure enough it got brighter and I was happy.

Light is the most important thing in the world. For us aspiring immortals who will make it to the new earth there won’t be any darkness at all. Remember the revelation: “The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.” My friend John told me over and over that the life of Jesus Christ was light. I suppose he got that from the Lamb’s own mouth because He said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." That sounds easy enough but it’s not. Every day darkness displaces the light and every day we need to grope around to find Jesus so we can see again. But Jesus is invisible! What a dilemma! Or is He? Are those threads lifelines to light?

If it wasn’t for the thank-you thread I don’t know what I would do. No matter how dark it is I can reach around and feel the thread dangling. Then I know that with a serious yank or two some brightness will come. But even better is the second thread. Man, when I pulled that second thread a flood light appeared! Nope, better than that, it was like a bright sunny day on a snowy mountaintop. You know; how the light is all around because it comes down from the sun and up from the reflective snow. My friend Isaiah said it was like seven sunny days all in one. Luminopoly!

With a yank of the second thread I heard what sounded like a thousand voices telling God how magnificent He is. That’s when I discovered that the second was the praise thread. The shepherd/king David was very good at praising God and I am very glad that he wrote his praises down so we can say them all together but what I found out the other day is how much fun it can be to keep pulling the praise thread with my very own heartfelt thoughts. The room grows so bright. How does that work? Maybe it is because when I tell God how amazing I think He is, I am saying the most truthful reality based statement I can make. Just like thanks unite, praising God fills me with particles of angel dust. When a metal sword is placed in a hot fire, the fire and the sword are united, they meld. When I praise God, the reality of who He is melds with my own self who is recognizing God. I become a flaming red sword! Poof light!

My own little revelation is that I can sit in the dark and fret or I can spend that same amount of time and energy looking for the threads and yanking them a lot. Reality is in the light filled room, not the dark room anyway, so the less time I spend staring at the illusions of death, the more time I have to be joyful in the light. Light filled reality has a funny way of elbowing out illusory darkness. I remember a while back when it was dark every day and night for years, I finally learned that circumstances should have nothing at all to do with real life because circumstances live in time. Real life, the immortal life doesn’t have time at all. Time is where darkness and light take turns, but where we want to go, there is no time because there is no darkness. That must mean that the more we keep the lights on with the two threads and the hundreds of ways we can stick to Jesus Christ like glue, the less the darkness of time and all of its illusions of scary circumstances can grab hold of us aspiring immortals.

One problem: what I discovered is that nothing can make me feel smaller than trying to tell God how great He is. God is so creative and intelligent; He is so tolerant and patient. He is so wise and loving. I mean so much more of all of these things than I can even imagine that I figured it would take about a million of me(s) saying it all together to reach an inch of the reality. So, I have an idea! How about if we all get together next Sunday morning in church and focus on praise together. Really focus, don’t just pretend. I’ll bet that holy building will light up like a firecracker. Deal?

3. Thread - The United State of Light

Did you think I forgot about the second thread? I didn’t. Aspiring immortals are wise to keep their rooms well lit at all times. When I lived in Africa I did a lot of African things like travel around my country of Sierra Leone, and I ate Ma Temple’s stew and breadfruit, and I drank palm wine but I also ate pizza and went dancing at the disco on the beach. That’s because I wanted to bring my country of America to that country. I wanted to be surrounded by the me-ness that was American.

One problem with being an aspiring immortal is that we have never even been to our homeland except for moments in our hearts. But we know that the place is full of light and full of love. When God turned on the light in the dark void, He made the statement of His life. He said, “ The difference between Me and everything else is this new thing called LIGHT.  From now on Light will be my M-O.” 

Darkness is not evil; everything starts with darkness. From darkness and void God created light and all we see. I know darkness is not evil because darkness doesn’t need light to exist. Evil is a parasite of good, but darkness isn’t a parasite at all, darkness is completely distinct. Darkness and light are two completely independent things. God wants to be represented by light and darkness can be everything else. Darkness always was everything else before light was created. Not everything that isn’t light and Godly is evil. Most everyone knows that instinctively, especial non- aspiring immortals. I suppose they can be smarter than aspiring immortals in that they know that goodness is universal and not always Godly. 

Aspiring immortals waste too much life-time in the darkness of normal old earth matters. The more aspiring immortals learn how to make light, study what light is (not the sun kind of course) and bask in the light the more comfortable and familiar the land of immortality will be and the more likely that our major aspiration will become reality. Some people say, think rich and you’ll get rich, think smart and you’ll get better grades. I say, decorate your space with light and when you arrive at the place where God lives, you will feel like you’ve been there for years. Let’s talk about the second thread later.


2. Thread - Luminocity

I’m so happy! I just found two threads dangling from the sky that I can pull on for instant light! Wonderful! It was exactly like pulling the chain that dangled from the light bulb in my grandfather’s cellar. Why didn’t I find them sooner? Oh yeah, it was too dark to see them until I swallowed the hot Coal that burned off my garbage pile. Dark-Light-Dark-Light. Hahaha. It was so much fun pulling that chain off and on. The big difference now is that when I pulled the yellow thread I hear a voice in my very own heart say, “thank you.” And poof! -- Light. Is that me saying thank-you or someone else? I can’t tell.


My Boss told me that gratitude unites the one who gives with the one who receives. Unity, not materialism, is why giving and receiving are so much fun. Uniting, whether it’s the union of minds in agreement, or united hearts that ignore everything but love or even bodies that unite with hugs can all make light like thankfulness does. But thankfulness is the easiest way to make light.


Gratitude is an uncomplicated way to unite. Uniting with God is the goal for all aspiring immortals, which is why He thanks us. Have you ever noticed how grateful God is when you forgive someone who doesn’t deserve it? Light? Or when you give someone your money or gifts because they need it more than you do. Light? Everyone has more money than God. Sometimes people need money and God has to ask for a favor. The light doesn’t necessarily turn on just when God thanks us, but when we thank Him back at the same time.


When with all of our minds and hearts we are grateful for a gift that we know came directly from His powerful and generous Self, well that collision of gratitude from two givers and two recipients at the same time unites them and turns on a light so bright that darkness doesn’t have a prayer. Not the darkness of disappointment, nor the darkness of poverty, nor the darkness of betrayal. It’s just too bright, light is so much stronger than darkness will ever be.


So, I say whenever you hear yourself crying reach for the thank-you thread and pull. It’s okay to be in the light; don’t worry that all those things in the darkness will miss you. It’s okay to leave them. Maybe someday they will pull the thank you thread  or the other one too. When you do, I’m pretty sure God will be pulling it too. Illuminate your space with holy gratitude.


1. Thread - Black and Blue

The darkness of night is falling all around me. I don’t know how far out it goes but far enough so that I can’t see the end of it. It’s scary because in this darkness eyes are easily tricked into seeing a make-believe world where lies are good, where hatred wins, and where hope is exploited to deceive the simple minded. I know it is dark because I hear myself crying. Where there should be walls that shelter me, or that at least I can lean on when I start to fall, there is only a mirage. It’s important not to become dizzy or I will surely lose footing and plummet into the abyss. Eyes, stay open! Stay standing! I don’t know if my legs would have the strength to get me up again. My feet, as muddy as they are, are planted in a dirty kind of cloud in which a roller coaster keeps my heart on high alert. Am I dreaming?

Where is my Boss? Remember I saw Him yesterday when He told me to turn on the television set just in time to get a message from a smiling white haired man who showed me the sparkle of light where before, when it was day, there had been a black hole of darkness. Some consolation! It was easy to avoid that black hole; I never paid too much attention to it even though I knew how dangerous it was, how many people fell into it. That timing made me feel calm for about a second. Boss, can you do any better than that? Where did you go? It’s so dark I can’t see you or hear you or nothin’!

I want to go inside and look for some light there, at least enough to read by until morning comes. Is this a test like in the olden days when I was fed to the lions? Okay, I can take a test. Surely I studied enough. If the feet are muddy and there is no water around, get rid of them entirely. I don’t need feet. I only need light. Cling. I don’t need walls and I don’t need hard ground because I am a spirit after-all. Now where will I find some light? When it is this dark, the only thing I can do for light is to burn something. The only things I have to burn in this crazy place are those impurities in my self that have been making me feel fat and happy: pride, anxiety, vanity. I hate to see them go. But I must, these are desperate times. This darkness may eat me alive! Oh wow look at all that filthy pride and animus in here! That should give me at least a day or so of light! I remember when I was young and wanted to be a candle because of the way candles sacrifice themselves for light, and the day I realized that fasting was a good way to become a candle because it burned the fat. Ha-ha-ha, that was funny. If I was an olive I could be an oil lamp, but I’m not an olive and I’m not a waxy candle. I must get all that garbage together and figure out how to ignite it. I know; I’ll ignite the filthy garbage with the fiery coal of Eucharist. That’s what I’ll do. That should work.

Maybe this is a very good situation after all. A pitch-black dark crazy world may be just what I need to prepare for the luminous land of immortality. Sunny daytime made me think everything was okay when it wasn’t really at all. I’ll get use to this dark place and when I finally make light maybe other spirits will come closer and we can make enough light together so that we can pretend, if only for a minute that we are in the new world. Okay, something to look forward to and to work on. I feel better.