Flower art

Seek and ye shall find (accompanied by flower art)

I livew in my own little world

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Pink flowerA fellow blogger asked me about my “irreligious views.” He said he thinks I’m agnostic. According to Wikipedia: “[A]gnosticism is the view that humanity does not currently possess the requisite knowledge and/or reason to provide sufficient rational grounds to justify the belief that deities either do or do not exist.” I think he’s right.

Yellow flowerI have no problem with religion per sé. If religion helps someone refrain from raping, stealing, killing, etc., then by all means, go for it. However, when religion exercises mind control over its followers — Mormon, Islam, and Jewish religions, for example — then I do have a problem with it. Blindly following a religion simply because you were born into it is, in my humble opinion, a little strange.

Flower artI find it entirely plausible that people of old — i.e., prior to the Age of Enlightenment — needed a way to explain thunder, earthquakes, the sun, the moon, eclipses, falling stars, rain, snow, volcanoes, earthquakes, clouds, the desire to kill each other, life, death, etc. Enter religion. However, once people became enlightened, and science was able to explain all those things (except, perhaps, the desire to kill each other), I find it interesting that they still need to believe in a deity in order to explain those things.

Flower artSome of my friends ask, “What if there’s an afterlife?” What if there is?

If I spend my life helping the poor, the hungry, the sick, the homeless, the disabled…. and someone’s God doesn’t want me, I’m okay with that because I don’t want that God either.

Flower artIf someone’s God will take the rapist, the killer, the thief…. simply because he says as he’s dying, “I repent of my sins and accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior,” well, I also don’t want that God.

Some of my friends don’t believe that the Big Bang “just happened.” My response is, “How did God happen?” That usually ends the conversation.

My wise old grandmother, a devout Catholic, often said, “Seek, and ye shall find.” I think she was on to something.

Flower art

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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42 thoughts on “Seek and ye shall find (accompanied by flower art)

  1. marsellaj

    Shakespeare said it best “To thine own self be true”. What does it matter what anybody believes or doesn’t believe? Ironic that religion has been the cause of more war and death than any other cause.

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  2. Daniela

    I enjoyed reading your views here … if only those who are so ready not only to profess their firm faith, but also condemn all those who either do not share their particular faith, or declare not faith at all, match that zeal with acts of generosity and love … world would be a very different place indeed.
    Daniela

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  3. Clanmother

    I like your grandmother. She was on to something. Perhaps we like to find more than we like to seek. Seeking means that we need to do a little bit of thinking…imagine!!!

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  4. lizziejoy10

    I can see where you’re coming from. I personally think people like to believe in God because it gives them hope, and we all need hope for the future. I was brought up in a very religious home with chapel 3 times every Sunday. That fell by the wayside as soon as I was 16yrs old and I refused to believe any longer in a judgemental God who would burn me in hell if I didn’t do as I was told!!. Now I have no particular religion. Neither do I consider it important. On the other hand, I respect those who do. I personally have come to believe in some Higher Force from whence we all came. I choose to call it ‘God’. My ‘God’ is a God of love who absolutely worships us, His progeny. This is my personal belief system and I have built the foundations for my personal world upon it. I try to listen to the inner nudgings of my heart and to be guided by love. It serves me well. Thank you, Russel for the thought-provoking material.

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    1. marcusampe

      People of this time to not need a God to explain weather happenings, nor should they to explain disasters. It also should not be part to be feel safe under a form of mind control. Though in any system, Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Wicka, Hindu, Buddhism you get forms which try to bring a person or ‘follower’ under control of a group. In every system you also can find some dominating organisations and fundamentalist groups. They have always been part of human race its nature. The will to have power over others has done a lot of damage and shall still do a lot of damage in the future.
      But Belief is that something extra a person gets in his or her life which can give him or her more assurance and hope. It can offer a lot of certainties and answers to make life more bearable.

      A real Christian should not believe in a judgemental God who burns people in hell. That is totally against the Holy Scriptures. Hell (Sheol) is the grave and when people die they have paid for their sins. So the Righteous God would not demand still another penalty. Once people have paid the penalty no other one in purgatory or hell would be necessary. According the bible people when they die or just dead and in death they shall not be able to feel or do anything any more = life shall be finished, that is the end.

      The big problem with a lot of people is that they do not know their Holy Scriptures and do believe what tradition and certain organisations (certain Churches or denominations) have taught them to keep their power over them. Lots of those churches use the power of Fear to get everybody nicely in line.

      Instead for looking for the answers in the Book of all books, the Best-seller of all times, people keep to extracts or just to a few verses taken out of context to suit their church. I would advice please read the full Bible, is considered the Word of God, the Creator of heaven and earth.

      “For therein is revealed a righteousness of God from faith unto faith: as it is written, {1} But the righteous shall live {2} by faith. {1) Hab 2:4. 2) Gr [from]}” (Romans 1:17 ASV)

      “{1} Every scripture inspired of God [is] also profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for {2} instruction which is in righteousness. {1) Or [Every scripture] is [inspired of God, and profitable] 2) Or [discipline]}” (2 Timothy 3:16 ASV)

      “Jehovah killeth, and maketh alive: He bringeth down to Sheol, and bringeth up.” (1 Samuel 2:6 ASV)

      “There is a way which {1} seemeth right unto a man, But the end thereof are the ways of death. {1) Or [is straight before]}” (Proverbs 16:25 ASV)

      “For the wages of sin is death; but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23 ASV)

      “For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not anything, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.” (Ecclesiastes 9:5 ASV)

      The Higher Force which gives everything to all creatures in the universe (according to the Holy Scriptures Earth is not the centre of the Universe, there are many more places of which we even do not yet know the existence) He the Elohim should be given all the honour, but He allows men to prove that he can govern the world (which he cannot). But there is a hope for all those who believe that there shall come an end to the ridiculous high-mindedness of the human being. According to the Holy Scriptures after the Third World War or Armageddon at Jesus return living and dead would be judged. Than there would be still another 1000 years before the total end of the world system and than after a last trial for those who where born in those 1000 years, the righteous shall be given eternal life in the Kingdom of God. That is our hope.

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    2. Christadelphians

      Dear Lizzie, would you really think when Jesus was three days in hell (= sheol = the grave) that he was been tortured, or that when Job was dead for several day that he was in hell or in heaven. In case he would have been in heaven because he was found righteous by God would it not have been terrible of Jesus getting him back here on this earth to live again under not such nice circumstances as he could have had in heaven? Job also had to die again after he was raised from the death by Jesus Christ.

      Those who believe in a Higher Force, Jehovah God, have got the insurance from HIm that His son (not He Himself) would be put as an example for all people. Jesus really died (while God can not) and was brought back out of his sleep of death to walk on this earth as a human being again (remember that God is an eternal Spirit but Jesus had a beginning in his birth and an end in his death). as such in Christ Jesus, the Messiah, we can have the hope for a better life, but that happens not directly after we die, first there shall be Armageddon and the Last Judgement.

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  5. valeriedavies

    First things first! Thank you for camping on my blog, Russell, as usual you left the campsite in perfect order no dying camp fires or broken tent pegs lying around, please come again!
    Interesting discussion. What beats me about organised religion is that members of one faith are so sure that their God disapproves of all the other people He must have made – who are calling him by a different name!
    If they really believe that God loves us, why do they think he wants to punish us?????
    So I’;m with Lizzyjoy, I have a God who loves us all to bits…

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    1. marcusampe

      God does not disapprove of people who are looking for the Truth and is willing them to give a choice to find the right path. Also the apostle Paul knew that we as believers do not have to judge about other believers. When they are preaching the Messiah and the second coming of the Christ, even when not everything of their teachings agrees with our teaching, we should let them do and be happy that the Kingdom of God is been told to other people, we perhaps can not reach. Humans should get to understand that it are not they who can offer people the total peace. It is God who pull people and shall allow them in the Kingdom of God. He is the only One who knows the hearth of people. He knows what goes on in their mind and shall judge them accordingly.
      It is not like many Christians would like to believe, that if they are baptised and when they call themselves reborn that they may live like they want and shall enter heaven. Faith without works is death (and of no value). Also according to Scriptures only a few shall be allowed to enter heaven to be co-rulers in the Kingdom until Jesus hands down the Kingdom back to his Father, who sits at his right hand. (You notice that Jesus is not the same person as God?) Those who shall be called righteous by Christ at the Last Judgement shall be allowed to enter the Kingdom of God here on earth, to live in peace, without to be afraid to die again.

      “23 for all {1} have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God; {1) Gr [sinned]} 24 being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:” (Romans 3:23-24 ASV)

      “8 But God commendeth his own love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, being now justified {1} by his blood, shall we be saved from the wrath [of God] through him. {1) Gr [in]}” (Romans 5:8-9 ASV)

      “Now unto the King {1} eternal, {2} immortal, invisible, the only God, [be] honor and glory {3} for ever and ever. Amen. {1) Gr [of the ages]; Compare Heb 1:2; Re 15:3. 2) Gr [incorruptible] 3) Gr [unto the ages of the ages]}” (1 Timothy 1:17 ASV)

      “9 making known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he purposed in him 10 unto a dispensation of the fulness of the {1} times, to sum up all things in Christ, the things {2} in the heavens, and the things upon the earth; in him, [I say,] {1) Gr [seasons] 2) Gr [upon]}” (Ephesians 1:9-10 ASV)

      “and {1} I appoint unto you a kingdom, even as my Father appointed unto me, {1) Or [I appoint unto you, even as my Father appointed unto me a kingdom, that ye may eat and drink etc]}” (Luke 22:29 ASV)

      “6 Yet I have set my king Upon my holy hill of Zion. 7 I will tell of the decree: Jehovah said unto me, Thou art my son; This day have I begotten thee. 8 Ask of me, and I will give [thee] the nations for thine inheritance, And the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.” (Psalms 2:6-8 ASV)

      “And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations, and languages should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.” (Daniel 7:14 ASV)

      “But the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever.” (Daniel 7:18 ASV)

      “and madest them [to be] unto our God a kingdom and priests; and they reign upon earth.” (Revelation 5:10 ASV)

      “19 and what the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to that working of the strength of his might 20 which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and made him to sit at his right hand in the heavenly [places], 21 far above all rule, and authority, and power, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this {1} world, but also in that which is to come: {1) Or [age]}” (Ephesians 1:19-21 ASV)

      “2 And I saw {1} the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. {1) Or [the holy city Jerusalem coming down new out of heaven]} 3 And I heard a great voice out of the throne saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he shall {1} dwell with them, and they shall be his peoples, and God himself shall be with them, {2} [and be] their God: {1) Gr [tabernacle] 2) Some ancient authorities omit, and be [their God]} 4 and he shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and death shall be no more; neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain, any more: the first things are passed away.” (Revelation 21:2-4 ASV)

      “2 Or know ye not that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world is judged by you, are ye unworthy {1} to judge the smallest matters? {1) Gr [of the smallest tribunals]} 3 Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more, things that pertain to this life?” (1 Corinthians 6:2-3 ASV)

      “32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: 33 and he shall reign over the house of Jacob {1} for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. {1) Gr [unto the ages]}” (Luke 1:32-33 ASV)

      “9 After this manner therefore pray ye. Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so on earth.” (Matthew 6:9-10 ASV)

      Please do read Isaiah to know how the earth would look like when the Kingdom of God shall be brought into full reality. and notice how Jehovah God shall give His son (Jeshua/Jesus) as a mediator between God and men.

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      1. valeriedavies

        Thank you for taking the time to reply to me, and for giving me so much of your time. My remarks in Russell’s blog were a very brief summary of my beliefs which I don’t propose to explore in this setting.
        Suffice to say that having grownup in the beliefs that you explain to me I no longer subscribe to them.
        As I think I understood you to at the beginning of your writing, God does not judge us, and loves and accepts us all, and we are agreed on that.

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  6. marcusampe

    You are right Ray that it is ridiculous that so many people just stay or follow ideas of a religion where they are born and breath into.

    The Creator, Elohim Hashem Jehovah demands of His creatures that they examine everything and do not take everything just for granted. But God has given His Word for us so that we would have an aid to further ourselves in life. That Guidebook is the Bible, which everybody can use to form certain ideas and to give knowledge.
    More people should listen to the advice which is given in this so old Book of books.

    “Hear counsel, and receive {1} instruction, That thou mayest be wise in thy latter end. {1) Or [correction]}” (Proverbs 19:20 ASV)

    “6 ¶ Now {1} these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. {1) Or [in these things they became figures to us]} 7 Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, {1} The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. {1) Ex 32:6} 8 Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. 9 Neither let us make trial of the {1} Lord, as some of them made trial, and perished by the serpents. {1) Some ancient authorities read [Christ]} 10 Neither murmur ye, as some of them murmured, and perished by the destroyer. 11 Now these things happened unto them {1} by way of example; and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages are come. {1) Gr [by way of figure]}” (1 Corinthians 10:6-11 ASV)

    “16 {1} Every scripture inspired of God [is] also profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for {2} instruction which is in righteousness. {1) Or [Every scripture] is [inspired of God, and profitable] 2) Or [discipline]} 17 That the man of God may be complete, furnished completely unto every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17 ASV)

    “20 knowing this first, that no prophecy of scripture is of {1} private interpretation. {1) Or [special]} 21 For no prophecy ever {1} came by the will of man: but men spake from God, being moved by the Holy Spirit. {1) Gr [was brought]}” (2 Peter 1:20-21 ASV)

    “whom the heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, whereof God spake by the mouth of His holy prophets that have been from of old.” (Acts 3:21 ASV)

    “9 Remember the former things of old: {1} for I am God, and there is none else; [I am] God, and there is none like me; {1) Or [that]} 10 declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not [yet] done; saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure;” (Isaiah 46:9-10 ASV)

    “when a prophet speaketh in the name of Jehovah, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which Jehovah hath not spoken: the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously, thou shalt not be afraid of him.” (Deuteronomy 18:22 ASV)

    “And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe.” (John 14:29 ASV)

    “22 [It is] he that sitteth above the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as {1} a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in; {1) Or [gauze]} 23 that bringeth princes to nothing; that maketh the judges of the earth as {1} vanity. {1) Or [confusion]}” (Isaiah 40:22-23 ASV)

    “26 For {1} behold your calling, brethren, that not many wise after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, [are called]: {1) Or [ye behold]} 27 but God chose the foolish things of the world, that he might put to shame them that are wise; and God chose the weak things of the world, that he might put to shame the things that are strong; 28 and the base things of the world, and the things that are despised, did God choose, [yea] {1} and the things that are not, that he might bring to nought the things that are: {1) Many ancient authorities omit [and]} 29 that no flesh should glory before God. 30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who was made unto us wisdom from God, {1} and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption: {1) Or [both righteousness and sanctification and redemption]} 31 that, according as it is written, {1} He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. {1) Jer 9:23 f}” (1 Corinthians 1:26-31 ASV)

    “saying, Amen: {1} Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honor, and power, and might, [be] unto our God {2} for ever and ever. Amen. {1) Gr [The blessing, and the glory etc] 2) Gr [unto the ages of the ages]}” (Revelation 7:12 ASV)

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      1. catrinblue

        ‘oh my’ ..I think when you mention religion the can of worms is opened lol….and then you get the endless bible quotes which do not make much sense to me personally (and by saying that is very likely to start another paragragh of it :/ )
        but liking your post and point of view and the can of worms it opens … 🙂

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  7. Alastair

    I am agnostic, have been since I realised I’m not atheist (which I thought I was for a long time) However, I hold nothing against other religions as long as they don’t try and force it down my throat.

    I let my kids decide their own religions. My son has decided to follow God and said he wanted to be baptised, so I told him to make all the decisions himself – who he wanted as Godparents etc. I very often had chats with the vicar who oversaw the church my sob went to . One funny time, my son went up to him (Vicar’s name is Fr Stewart) and said “I believe in Gad, Father Christmas and Father Stewart”. After he walked off, Fr Stewart said to me “at least one of us exists then” 😀

    I also asked him where his god came from and his response was “I don’t know, I wish I did”

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    1. Christadelphians

      Dear Alastair, there are many people who say the are atheist and continue tell people they do not believe. But often we do find they believe in a lot of things. For example they can believe in the Big Bang, like Ray does seem to believe, so he too is a believer. Many also try to get their children to believe in Father Christmas, Ghosts or Demons and worship even earthly gods, Maradonna, Madonna, Spears, a.o. or even things like trees or weather situations (thunder, lightening).

      Finding people who do not believe, would will find very difficult. Because when they do not believe in gods or the God, they probably believe in certain sciences.
      People mostly and easiest believe in the things they can see and understand. The most difficult thing is to be able to believe in the things we do not understand or are not able to explain. Jehovah God, the eternal Spirit is one of such things which is to incomprehensible for the normal human spirit to fully grasp. But in the Holy Scriptures we are given enough material to come to understanding of His Person, function and what He is planning to do with the world. It is a book everybody can read, believing or not in God, to use it for exhortation and funding of their own personality as believer or non-believer in God.

      The big problem is that not many really dare to take it up and read it from A to Z, fro the first book Genesis to the last one Revelation of John.

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  8. adinparadise

    “Blindly following a religion simply because you were born into it is, in my humble opinion, a little strange.” I couldn’t have said it better myself, Russell. I so enjoyed this post. 🙂

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  9. Gobetween

    I live my life according to the 10 commandments, but it is difficult to relate to the rest of the bible and I never go to church because I feel church preachers do not give you the information you want or need all they want is money.

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  10. Halim

    As a Muslim naturally I feel sad that you think my religion, Islam, ‘exercises mind control’, or for that matter that of Jews and Mormons. On my part I I choose not to think negatively on any religion or towards agnostics/atheists.

    I enjoyed reading this post, and am happy for you that you are happy and at peace with your possible agnosticism. I wish you well. Hugs!

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    1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

      Hey, Halim. Although it is a perception, it’s not just mine. There are lots of people in those three religions, and others, who blindly follow them. The 9/11 terrorist attacks come immediately to mind. I realize they were radical Muslims, but religions need to take responsibility for what they teach their followers.

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  11. Nicole Brait

    Wow. I clicked on Flora to see and read about plants and low and behold I get a wonderful narrative about religion.When people ask me what religion I am I tell them I believe in the religion of it all comes out in the wash.

    When I was in 5th grade we had to pair up and do projects for History Day. I had a partner who didn’t do much. I wound up doing most of the work yet we both got A’s.

    I got home and complained to my mom about the situation. She said, ‘This time it may have been you who did most of the work and the other girl who skated and still got an A. But trust me, there will be another time when, for whatever reason, someone else does most of the work and you will benefit. Eventually, it all comes out in the wash.

    Oh, and PS You’re photos are great.

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    1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

      Some of my posts make it into several categories simultaneously. This one got into Digital Photo Editing, Flora, and My Own Little World. If you look at the menu at top once you get to a post, the categories that any specific post is listed in will be white text on a black background.

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  12. gold account

    Apr 4 2011: For me I am agnostic bordering on atheist, I was christian, in fact my dad is a minister. My thing is that there are wayyyyyyy to many condridictions within the idea of god for me to beleive in one. I think that the idea of a compasionate god comes from mankinds need to true compassion. But I feel that the only place you need to look for it is in oneself. Why ask an invisble man for it. It might sound mean, I don’t want it to, but how can you receive love from others if you don’t love yourself and put your full confidence in yourself first. It doesn’t matter how much someone tells you if you don’t beleive you are worthy of it. And thats the basis of religion your not worthy of eternal happiness unless you do these things. Well I’m here to tell you you are worthy of anything you want you just have to work for it.

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  13. burnettfreelanceimagery

    Well said. I often find myself trying to explain to ppl how I once was ‘quite the follower’ to being a ‘skeptic’ – your explanation is great, and I love your response to their question as to how did the Big Bang ‘just happen’ – I may steal that one day 😉 Thanks for sharing!

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  14. LB

    Mind control … interesting that you listed Mormon, Islam and Jewish … but not Christian … especially those who judge and judge and judge and …. interesting discussion

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  15. Cynthia Guenther Richardson

    Stumbled on this post when looking at your site. I am Christian. But religion is many things–perhaps a historical depiction of belief, a complex methodology and instruction of of worship, and/or a structured set of informative rules and suggestions and beliefs–but not the faith, itself, necessarily, or at least not the entirety. I do not recall NOT believing in God/Divine Light/Love, which resides fully within us (if we choose) as well as beyond us, I feel. I never loved church and still do not, actually, but my faith in Love remains intact. It is my journey spiritually and it imbues all. There is so much profound mystery in the universes; I know–we know–so little, I think, although we seek and question and wonder. But my belief in compassion,mercy and abiding love informs my living/doing– and gives me hope and joy as I go on in this raggedy world.

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