Third video is up at love-returns.org.
I forgot to put up a notice for the second video.
My friend is not amused.
At the AMP conference last month, Michelle Tepper’s topic was “breaking the silence on love, sex and relationships.” Michelle trumpeted her success reaching college students, but I found her message uncomfortable. She relies heavily on Biblical rules in framing responses to the psychological needs of individuals.
So when I approached her afterwards, I began by suggesting that we sit down, bringing our eyes to the same level.
As I explained, if any of us were complete in ourselves, we would be God. He made us a duality on purpose. I expressed my concern that this aspect of the Biblical message was underrepresented in her teaching.
Having warned us in her presentation that we shouldn’t go around looking for a relationship that completed us, Michelle was hostile to the idea. I guided her away from reiteration of her message, observing that I have been advising youth on-line.
Then the conversation took a sharp twist. She asked “Do you think that Jesus was satisfied?”
I knew that she meant sexually, but I shifted to a large view of his life. “No, he wasn’t satisfied at all. He knew that his culture needed to change, with a passion that drove him to the cross.”
Michelle wasn’t to be deterred. “I meant satisfied sexually. I believe that he was beyond that need.”
Well, it was time to plunge right in. I shrugged. “Read the description of the New Jerusalem. It is a metaphor for the union of the divine masculine with the divine feminine.”
She was struck dumb, as were the onlookers.
I continued “Look, the Bible is all about men’s problems. The holy mother is in hiding, and it is time for her to be sought out and revealed.”
I know that I appear to be uptight and tortured as regard my sexuality. But the Bible describes the brutal beast of the apocalypse as possessing ten “horns.” This is an apt metaphor for the masculine approach to dominance: many men run around the world trying to stick their penis into it. The feminine beast in Revelation is red, suggestive of the menstrual cycle. The feminine beast uses sex to co-opt masculine aggression.
So the reason that I haven’t been “playing the field” (which would be easy to accomplish) is because all the women that I meet accept these conventions. They may not wish to personify them in their relationships (part of what makes me attractive to them), but they accept that bestial patterns of dominance define the world that we live in.
Being who I am, I am incapable of submission to any ethic that limits the domain in which love is expressed. So I choose not to have a relationship with any woman that brings that with her.
Sera Beak has been in my mind ever since I read “Red, Hot and Holy.” I believe that she showed up at MovinGround one Sunday after I filled out her online contact form. In that message, I suggested that if we were each who we claimed to be, that would be apparent only in relation to one another. She was clearly uncomfortable in my presence during the dance, and stood before me timidly afterwards. My thought was “Not yet.”
She lives in Texas, though, which is a hot-bed of Christian hypocrisy. Last year I felt her reaching out in concern, and I poured power into her spirit, trying to expand her range of influence.
Why? Read the book: Sera went all the way in with the Red Lady, and found wisdom waiting for her on the other side. That wisdom came from the holy mother.
Putting this all together last night, I reached out again, sending “It’s time for us to merge our powers.”
But what are those powers? What is the nature of love, and how is sex a metaphor for its operation?
Our exploration last night was complicated by pragmatic concerns, but it boils down to this: any act of love that preserves self involves penetration and yielding. A gift is offered, but room must be made for it to be received. As we are aggregates (both physically and spiritually), reception is consensual at many levels. Full acceptance requires communication of the nature of the gift, and adaptation to the perceptions of those smaller parts. That involves circulation, which is stimulated by withdrawal so that the gift of yielding may be repeated again and again until consummated.
Yeah. This is “White Hot” and Holy. This is why Jesus told the Magdalene “Do not cling to me.”
The visualization eventually evolved as a complex many-dimensional Klein bottle. A man penetrates a woman, the women connecting to the Earth that gives life to the man, the male penetrating the Earth as light from the sun, the light from the sun sheltered in the womb of space, and on and outward.
The Bible, being concerned with men, celebrates the masculine aspect of God. But that is only half the story.
I spent the hour after lunch weeping at my desk, thinking about the panic I generate when I dance.
I don’t understand. Chris Tomlin sings (Good, Good Father, which I’m looping today):
Oh, it’s love so undeniable
I, I can hardly speak
Peace so unexplainable
I, I can hardly think
As you call me deeper still
As you call me deeper still
As you call me deeper still
Into love, love, love
Is that what it’s like for you when I dance?
The world calls for love, compelling a response, and energy fills the air as I arch backwards with my heart open to the sky. On the streets later people smile as though they know me, and I wonder what they expect. I can’t relieve them of the hole in their hearts that God meant to be used as a gateway for love. I can only bear witness to the consequences of their neglect, witness etched deep into my disfigured face.
Oh, Woman! I don’t need the forgiveness of your beauty. I need a pair of arms to encircle my weary heart. I need someone to believe that I am enough, even as the tide of sorrows rises and our conventions surrender to heaven’s purpose.
Yes, it hurts. It hurts SO MUCH! You were meant to see that wound, to guide the healing power of love to it. It’s not your heart to own! It is filled with waters for you to channel into life.
This purpose: why does it have to mean so much? Why does it have to exclude everything else?
My father tried to warn me: “Maybe we’re all waiting , Brian, for you to prove that love works.”
Corruption seeks power, and absolute love draws corruption absolutely. We fear ourselves, the candles that draw the moth to the flame.
The painters at the Sunday Art Walk in Santa Barbara have adjusted themselves to my visits. I don’t know whether my criticism is of value to them, or whether they benefit commercially from the spectacle of a spirited discussion.
Of recent, I’ve been following three of the artists. I admire John Grandfield’s sagebrush landscapes, but I can’t afford the larger pieces that capture the spirit of the land. His combed acrylic landscapes are more affordable, and the first that I saw was perfect for the site header out at Love Returns. As well as suggesting the elements of the creation story from Genesis, the piece conveys my sense that the angels perceive through a veil – albeit an exquisite veil – the sensory experience of living creatures.
I’ve had rather longer conversations with Steve Richardson, whose oeuvre defies characterization. His original sensibilities appear to be present in his harmonious landscapes, reminiscent of the middle work of George Inness. He fights against that tenderness in landscapes that suggest the battle between fog, light and vegetation in the tidal sloughs around Santa Barbara. Steve also paints the local monuments with a painterly verve, the travels of the brush and palette knife laid bare for our examination.
I first resolved that I would purchase a piece from him when struck by a speckled oak tree. The effect was as though falling through the silhouette into spatter paint drops that could be both atoms and galaxies. I enthused that I had been wrestling with the idea that our material forms were metaphors for spiritual evolution. I left him to consider whether he could create the same effect in larger format, only to be told a month later that he was giving up the style for safety reasons (the drops are created by striking the brush, which can send paint into the eyes).
When I stopped by today, I knew immediately that I would buy the piece anchoring the corner of his exhibit. It has the sense of light from above trying to pierce an oppressive indigo, with the complex and truncated response from the humans in the boats below. This is very much my experience of reaching up to join my intentions with those of Jesus’s “Abba.”
I wish that the photo conveyed the subtlety of the patchy sails.
I’ve also been following the work of Avril (a pseudonym, although as you travel the Walk you’ll recognize her work), a very French woman whose introduction was an aggressive demand for philosophical clarification of the phrase on the back of my Love Returns t-shirt. Avril is one of the few artists on the Art Walk that focuses on the human form. Her most popular works may be her sisterhood cartoons (multigenerational women fishing naked on the pier). She displays a number of linotype nudes, and is particularly aggressive regarding her abstract and collage work.
What captivates me, however, are the acrylic nudes, sinuous spines and generous hips set against abstract pastel tapestries. The figures are not delineated, but ensconced in a penumbra that bespeaks yearning for a caress. Having sublimated the responsive male desire for most of my adult life, I recognize now that I will never know the flower of a woman’s sensuality, that first innocent expression of sexual joy moderated solely by the wisdom that shelters its root in procreation. But it is a power that I need to engage – it is the only power that can heal the world.
So I bought this piece, a piece that Avril warned me would “talk at night.” I countered that I already have women speaking to me in the middle of the night, and would rather wake to beauty than suffer their drama without reward.
Tomas Patricek offers a stimulating analysis of program language design in the framework of science as a practice. As tools advance, later generations often deride their predecessors as “unscientific,” seeing their theories as myth. This is a point that I have advanced in defense of ancient philosophers and theologians: they were thinking rigorously within the limitations of the evidence that they could perceive. More, their thinking encompassed types of experience (what we call “spiritual”) that modern scientists, trapped in materialism, fail to honor.
Patricek is particularly interested in the evolution of programming languages, which are subject to rigorous scientific analysis both as regards expressiveness and efficiency. My comment to him:
I greatly enjoyed your article. I do have one specific vision regarding the future: programming language design is about bridging the mismatch between the digital and organic perceptions of reality. For much of the history of programming languages, the burden was on the organic participants to conform to the limitations of digital devices. That boundary is shifting rapidly to allow digital devices to interpret utterances of non-programmers.
Within any one paradigm for adaption between the two domains of perception, “developers” (which may include the general public) are not really involved in science as a search for first principles that constrain possibilities. Rather, they are exploring and evolving an ecosystem. An analogy is the human genome which can be understood – but probably not justified in scientific terms (missing initial conditions), nor optimized in engineering terms (due to complex functional dependencies).
Rachel Maddow is building the case that Rex Tillerson’s actions at the State Department – and principally the firing of the top career civil servants – are consistent with the goals of Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
To those that understand Putin’s Russia, the goals are simple: transfer as much wealth as possible from the Russian state to private ownership. This is called “kleptocracy” – government serving the financial interests of the leadership. Putin has made an art of this game, becoming arguably the richest man in the world.
As CEO of Exxon Mobil, Rex Tillerson was awarded Putin’s “Friend of Russia” designation for his stand against U.S. sanctions that impeded Exxon’s ability to exploit oil and gas resources in Russia. The methods used to enforce those sanctions were situated in the U.S. State Department. Those methods were also used to bring pressure against Exxon for its actions elsewhere in the world.
So Tillerson’s business history supports the conclusion that the State Department, with its focus on human rights and equity, is a nuisance to those trying to get business done in the world. My guess is that this is consistent with Trump’s goals, particularly as it has become clear that our President is almost certainly in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, for which the sentencing mandates jail time. Cleaning out the top of the State Department will allow the administration to identify and elevate career diplomats that share their priorities, and perhaps protect themselves from prosecution.
So Rachel, don’t push the Russian connection too hard. Trump and Tillerson share with Putin the attitude that government should be turned to the purpose of making money. Their kleptomania may be sufficient explanation for their policies. Regardless of whether Putin is using blackmail to coerce their actions, the Trump administration is composed of people that appear to be inspired by Putin’s success.
We are engaged in World War III. Vladimir Putin go the drop on us, organizing a disinformation campaign that has allowed nationalists throughout the Western World to rise to prominence, undermining Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign by releasing hacked documents to support the Republican contention that she was unable to secure secrets.
Russia’s leading opposition figure released a video that both documents the luxurious lifestyle and the ownership structure that allows Putin’s inner circle to protect the wealth they have embezzled from the Russian people. The production include footage from drones flying over huge compounds owned by Putin’s second-in-command, Dmitry Medvedev, a man whose government salary is less than the U.S. President’s.
I don’t think that I need to make any claims regarding the source of this information. It’s almost certainly a tit-for-tat by our intelligence services.
In the last year of his term, the Obama Administration leveled a $700 million fine against DeutscheBank for facilitating embezzlement by Russian officials. Donald Trump netted nearly $60 million through the sale of an estate in Florida to a Russian kleptocrat. The key question in this war is whether American’s intelligence services have the means to hack the hidden accounts to drain away the funds, or means through financial accountability laws to freeze the assets.
If Vladimir Putin had a significant portion of his personal wealth seized by foreign governments, would he respond with a nuclear counter-strike?
It’s hard to judge. The similarities between Putin and Russia’s last strongman, Josef Stalin, are eerie. Stalin, too, sent state security agents around the world to assassinate actual and supposed enemies.
Stalin set the terms of the Russian campaign to build nuclear weapons. The program was driven by terrifying threats against failure, leading to short-cuts that left massive environmental degradation around many of the facilities. Russia eventually created a hydrogen bomb capable of vaporizing everything within a ten-mile radius of the explosion, with a 100-mile-wide fireball.
Stalin was motivated by threats against the Soviet system on his own territory, and may have seen nuclear weapons simply as a protection against invasion. Putin, however, feels free to cross international borders to achieve his domestic and foreign policy aims. Would he honor the constraints recognized by Stalin?
If he does, this war will proceed much as did WW II following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Better, it will progress at internet speed. Putin has already seized two of Russian’s most senior information security officers, presumably believing that they were responsible for some of the information that appeared in the US intelligence briefing on Russian intervention in the presidential election. Given that Putin has engaged in a war with an invisible enemy pushing photons down optical cables, this kind of paranoid response is going to run out of control. While Putin is decimating the ranks of his information security office, the US side will tighten control over technical secrets at its facilities, preventing any future WikiLeaks releases, and focus narrowly on the weaknesses of Russian cybersystems.
Putin may rely on couriers to run the country, but you can’t move money and conduct cyber warfare by those means. His international web of criminal terror will be strangled.