Thursday, January 18, 2007


"The days are coming," declares the LORD, "when I will send a famine through the land— not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the LORD.”
Amos 8:11

I originally started this blog thinking that our world was like that of Amos the ancient Israelite prophet, a world starving for a word from God. But then it dawned on me that we may actually be in the opposite condition, suffering from a gluttonous flood of so called words from myriad gods.

The modern world is inundated by preachers, prophets, ayatollahs, imams, priests, rabbis, gurus, doctors, motivational speakers, channelers, maharishis, therapists, sages, guides, psychics, trance mediums, spiritualists and countless teachers. And each thinks his or her version of the deity, gospel or ‘way of living’ is right, or at least a little better than the other guy's. In this modern information age, we are exposed to more psycho-spiritual ideas, formulas and opinions than ever in the history of humankind.

A few years ago, Alvin Toffler spoke of Future Shock, the coming age of information overload. His prediction was before the invention of the ubiquitous internet. Today you can Google God and get a pantheon of articles, blogs, images and advertisements for every religious and spiritual commodity imaginable. Who can keep up? You can accompany your favorite psycho-spiritual guru to various sacred sites through prestigious travel agencies – you can stay at a $400.00 a night hotel and get a guided tour the next morning of the raunchy barn in which Jesus was born. You can sip tea and listen to a cello ensemble near a pyramid. You can trace the steps of Jesus, Buddha, Moses, Mohammed or Ronald Reagan in an air conditioned bus or boat.

The variety of choices and voices at the modern spiritual buffet is overwhelming. The Chinese Taoists anticipated this sort of immersion in images and ideas hundreds of years before Toffler wrote his book or Google opened the world to us.

Tao Te Ching 12

Colors blind the eye.
Sounds deafen the ear.
Flavors numb the taste.
Thoughts weaken the mind.
Desires wither the heart.

The Master observes the world
but trusts his inner vision.
He allows things to come and go.
His heart is open as the sky.

Perhaps humans have always had a propensity to push their own amazing agendas and better ideas out in front of the masses. Perhaps that is just what we humans do – wave our arms around, make colorful banners, noisome sales pitches and enticing appeals to the desires of the searching masses always seeking glossy, quick solutions to deep internal problems.

On second thought, perhaps the words of Amos do fit our modern situation:

"The days are coming," declares the Sovereign LORD, "when I will send a famine through the land— not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the LORD.”

Perhaps this modern day god-glut is actually a famine. I fear that so many of the sugar coated and micro-wavable spiritual dinners, and bottles of literary religious pabulum may make some of us little more than undernourished religious dilettantes. We snack on a bit of second hand Bible from some doctrinally fortified study guide filled with easy answers; or we smooth our sacred toast with a little Buddha-berry jelly, or dip our fingers into the sticky jar of some recently channeled peanut butter from the ghost of Mary Magdalene or some 10,000 year old entity named Rama Gana Guni. And yet with all of the books, guided tours, churches, retreats, seminars and spiritual programs – many of us are starving to death!

We are scientifically brilliant, and soulfully retarded, and that is a dangerous combination. We have the tools and ability to destroy the planet, and not enough soul to realize or imagine a way out of our perilous predicament. Carl Jung’s words, written in 1933, were prophetic, "we are modern men and women in search of a soul."

We have religion and spiritual formulas aplenty. Glib answers and superficial solutions abound. Everyone can converse about the latest book or movie on the topic. We have thousands of anecdotal stories about miracles, spiritual healings, positive outcomes and supernatural phenomena – but where is ‘our own story’? What about the non-healings, the starvation of children, the death of men and women in war, the imbalance of abundance on the planet?

Are we growing souls? Are we ready to die? Are we ready to live well? Can we account for the horrible chaos in the comsos as well as the glorious beauty? Are we any deeper and wiser than a year ago? Do we have our own depth of soul without props and confirmations from our religious dogmas or gurus? Many of us, though sated with spiritual junk food, are starving.

We have adequate material comforts, our funerals arrangements are made and paid for and we have some money left to leave our kids – now what? That is where I will end for now, by simply asking, “Now what?”
Of course a ‘good’ spiritual mentor would answer his own hard question, serve up a quick snack of superficial mac-n-cheese for his readers. I suppose my only response right now is, if this has struck a chord, go grow a soul, find some ingredients, maybe grow a garden and harvest it.

I think there is a step toward a solution in the poem from the Tao Te Ching quoted above:
The Master observes the world
but trusts his inner vision.
He allows things to come and go.
His heart is open as the sky.
Now there is something to sink your teeth into!

If this blog hasn't effected you in the least…th, th, th, th - that's all folks.

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