Who Will Tell Me?

Tell me who will tell me where to go before the bell tolls,

And what angel will spread his tender wings in spring

To bring me back to you long after this sad song is sung,

When lying together will no more mean trying to love,

But tying our hearts together never denying affection

In an unending satisfaction in celestial fields of felicity, 

As we so supernally grow into one another for eternity . . .

Ah! Tell me who will tell me what to do to bring me back to you

 

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Singer of Light, Bright Bringer of Smiles

Born of the bright sun, giver of light, incarnate Bhaskara

Child divine, meek and mild, so strong, an ever-new song

My delight to stay the night, illumining my darkened soul

While the whole of your life given so free for me yet to be

At liberty from the ravages of time in chime with eternity

Yet speak to me, please, of Bhagavan and love and peace

That will never cease to flow from celestial throne above

And tell me your tales never heard by the ear of my heart

And grant me the better part of truth undistorted by ages

And self-crowned sages, theologians and priests of shame

Who blame what you came to reclaim in the bless’d name

Of the One who created life to shine with joy and laughter

And tell me you’re much more and other than definitions

Of men who prey on guilt, fear and threats of damnation

As they inflame their own pride while they hide the truth

Of who you are … singer of light bringing light and smiles

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Night Flowers of the Child

Bring me flowers of night dear child of light

In your flight of fancy so high, so wild,

Never meek nor mild in this waking dream

When we now possess only what is best

In youth taking wing to bring down a star

From afar off in heaven while we sing,

And smiles come from the flowers you bring

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Lost Innocence Regained

Writhing in agony to find again lost innocence

In the real presence of peace without penance

Or any pretence of greatness without humility

Yet always asking when will it all finally close

And open to something beautifully brand new

In which this tired old soul can live once again

Within the magnificence of an eternal youth

No longer bounded by limits of space and time

But simply free to be divinely innocent forever

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Ignoble Confessions 2: Undoubtedly Right About Being in the Right

Bringing the world under the rule of Divine Law, beginning with the United States, was the supreme goal and, presumably, the promise of holy Scripture — that is, the inspired and inerrant Word of God assured us that this world would eventually, providentially, grow into an authentic theocracy, and that, indeed, “at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2. 10-11, CSB)

Not that my parents were exactly Christian Reconstructionists, but this school of thought, propounded by theologian and philosopher Rousas John Rushdoony, who also happened to be an acquaintance of my father, did deeply influence our family. Not too surprisingly, then, I bought into it in my early adulthood, seeds having been planted during my teen years, and I found precious little resistance to this; rather, some in my circle even encouraged me, especially, of course, those who had already taken the plunge into what is also called theonomy, or dominion theology.

But what, more precisely, is Christian Reconstructionism? One good, succinct explanation is offered by the Apologetics Index, as follows:

Reconstructionism argues that the Bible is to be the governing text for all areas of life — such as government, education, law, and the arts, not merely ”social” or ”moral” issues like pornography, homosexuality, and abortion. Reconstructionists have formulated a ”Biblical world view” and ”Biblical principles” by which to examine contemporary matters. Reconstructionist theologian David Chilton … describes this view: ”The Christian goal for the world is the universal development of Biblical theocratic republics, in which every area of life is redeemed and placed under the Lordship of Jesus Christ and the rule of God’s law.”

Since evangelical, Protestant Christianity, particularly of the Reformed Calvinist brand, was most certainly right, while all other strands of the Christian faith, and especially other religions, were decidedly wrong, dominion theology with the goal of “theocratic republics” under the rule of God’s law was very appealing to me. After all, if we were right in what we believed — that is, in what we knew to be truth — then of course we ought to work toward bringing the whole of the earth under divine lordship. And what was even more exciting was knowing I was part of this favored movement predestined to unmitigated success and glorious victory, especially since it would all be for the ultimate and greatest benefit to humanity.

There was one major problem with all this, however, and that was the sad but undeniable fact that the overwhelming majority of the world did not share this most desirous goal. Point in fact, the world was resistant … even steadfastly opposed. So what were we to do to overcome this resistance? Evangelization, at least in the traditional sense, was largely out of the question because, when all the cards were on the table, the only people who would really eventually convert to the Christian faith were those predestined by God to become Christian, i.e. to be saved. Those who were not predestined were, of course, doomed to an eternity in hell, and there was really nothing we could do about that, no matter how much we may wanted.

What else was left to do, then, except work toward imposing Biblical law by any and all means necessary, even without the consent of the majority of people? Well, there was no room for democratic principles in God’s kingdom anyway; after all, theocracy is just divinely glorified, absolute monarchy, which has nothing whatsoever to do with democracy. And it’s interesting to note at this point that because of this, democracy itself was (and is) usually demonized within dominion theology-Reconstructionist circles. Constitutional republicanism, as a form of governance, seemed to be an acceptable precursor to “theocratic republics,” but not democracy, and this led us straight into the American political arena in an effort to restore decidedly “Constitutional republican norms and virtues” as the first, necessary step toward bringing the world under divine rule. Thus the advent of the Christian right.

Most folks probably don’t realize just what a profound influence Reconstructionism has had on the Christian right — and, for that matter, neo-conservatism, the alt-right, and other radical conservative groups, which often overlap, by the way — but the impact actually goes down to the very roots. Of course, not everyone in the Christian right has been, or is, an avowed Reconstructionist. In fact, some may not even know what Christian Reconstructionism is (exactly), or theonomy or dominion theology … but this doesn’t change the fact that the Christian right was born out of an ideology that had (and still has) as its goal the complete subjection of the nation and, eventually, the whole world to Judeo-Christian laws and principles. And I was definitely there, no doubt.

It might be enough to say I eventually made my exodus when I realised the sheer impracticality of it all, but more than this, I came to the honest-to-god recognition that I myself would really not want to live under the thumbs of any of the Reconstructionists I knew! Far from it, in fact! The thought of what it would probably be like living under their authority, especially as they ruled in God’s name, was absolutely abhorrent. This then led me to another conclusion, which should have been obvious to me all along, and that is: It is always, always dangerous and horrific to live in any society at any time in any part of the world, no matter the particular culture or religion, which claims to be divinely ruled, i.e. theocratic.

This has been tried before. Hell, it’s being attempted now! But it has never worked, it doesn’t work, and it will never work, no matter how good and pure the intentions of those involved. Which eventually led me to another conclusion: This is, perhaps, why God has given humanity free will. Even the Most High God knows it’s not worth compelling people to love him (or her), if that were even possible, or to obey… It has to be a choice freely made, and it has to naturally lead into an authentic, personal relationship, formed by the individual human person as much as it is by God. In other words, it must be genuinely divinely-human and humanly-divine.

At any rate, it was not too long after this awakening, if I may call it such, that I began rethinking some other deeply-held beliefs and perspectives, too … but that’s another story for next time.

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Ignoble Confessions 1: The Swastika and My Abhorrent Adolescence

It was admittedly an unnerving question, especially since it was thrown out pointblank on social media for all the world to read, asked by someone who has known me since the seventh grade. In fact, the question was quite jarring emotionally and psychologically, as it probably should have been since it had to do with something so loathsome as the swastika and the ethnocentric racism it represents.

“Didn’t you used to like the swastika and all it stands for?” he asked in response to a report I posted on how the alt-right, neo-Nazis, and white supremists generally identify politically, as well as, more specifically, their use of Twitter and this company’s response to date. Bottom line, the folks at Twitter have hesitated to weed out racial, ethnic, and religious hate speech by algorithm because it would allegedly target an entire group of people who tend to identify with one particular political party.

The swastika appeared in the illustration for the article, which is what (I suppose) gave rise to the question concerning my past feelings and viewpoints. Of course, I answered the question, which really came across more like an indictment (which I can guess it was meant to be … as well as an embarrassment), and in doing so reminded this person that he was referring all the way back to our adolescence … basically at a time when I was young and stupid. However, when I reflected a bit more on that period of my life, I realized that the charge against me was really more important than I first imagined.

The truth is, even though I was only an adolescent, the fact that I was fascinated by Hitler, Nazi Germany, the swastika and all that rubbish is serious. Yes, I grew out of that quickly — certainly before graduating high school — but, still, I had entered into the darkness of racial/ethnic extremism for some (thankfully) short period of time. And the question naturally arises: Why? What happened to me from around 12 to 14 years old? Or what had I allowed to happen to me? 

Well, the answer to these queries may honestly escape me — and by this I mean the “correct” answers, psychologically speaking — but I think I may at least have some ideas. For one thing, I had grown up in and lived within a culture — the southeastern United States — of embedded racism, oppression, marginalization and suspicion of non-Caucasians and non-Christians. In this cultural milieu it was expected that white Anglo-Saxon Protestants (or WASPs) would keep themselves separate and pure from all others, even while hypocritically claiming to be unprejudiced.

Along with this was really ludicrous rhetoric so many of us imbibed, such as: “We’re not prejudice, they are just culturally different and it’s not good to ‘mix’ with them, at least not too much.” And, of course, “there are some ‘good ones,’ but most of them are lazy and no-good, and they can’t really reach the intellectual, spiritual, and economic achievements achieved by the white, European, Protestant Christian race.” And, then, “it’s not that they shouldn’t have the same rights… It’s just they can’t really handle the responsibility. They really need to be supervised, guided and directed, almost like children.” And one of my favorites, “They’ve never had it as good as they’ve had it here, and they couldn’t move anywhere else and hope to have it as good as they do now.”

This is not all, though, as I strongly suspect my own terrible and deep insecurities played a role in my short-lived fascination with Hitler and his Nazi regime. I mean, my personal insecurity must be at least one reason I felt so attracted (at that point in my life) to raw power. You know, the fact that Adolf Hitler could seemingly hypnotize and control an entire nation stirred something inside me that to this day I can’t really fully explain. But it was almost as if the achievements of powerful figures, however nefarious and ultimately doomed, gave me some sense of … what? Safety? It did seem to embolden me (at that time in my adolescent life.) As a side-note, it’s also intriguing that, for some reason, I found no solace or sense of security in my faith-religion or spiritual tradition.

Finally, the third idea that comes to mind is tied to the first two, and it’s certainly a common problem for young people, and that is peer pressure. No, no one in my rank of friends told me to like the swastika and all it stood for, but there was plenty of racial/ethnic prejudice, accompanied by all of the racist remarks and misguided notions and jokes, etc. To fit in and, more importantly (at the time), to be truly accepted, I had to be an ethnocentric racist, who used the same language and laughed at all the jokes and whatnot. This does not excuse me, but it is part of an overall understanding of who and what I was during that confusing, oftentimes turbulent chapter in my life.

More than anything, I wish I could undo it all. Hitler, the Nazis, as well as white supremists and neo-Nazis today, are vile and reprehensible … and very dangerous. I can truly say I am deeply and forever thankful that I left that diabolical garbage behind before I even reached adulthood. More than this, I’m very thankful that my life pilgrimage has led me to this point in life in which I can truly see and appreciate the beauty of all people, all races and ethnicities, each and every culture, and every spiritual-religious tradition. I’m really in a much better place in life, and for this I’m a better person overall.

Unfortunately, the swastika and what it stands for was not all I had to grow through and leave behind. There were other, more deeply rooted beliefs, perspectives, and practices I needed to shed, like Calvinism, “Christian Reconstructionism,” sympathy for the old Confederacy, and what has now come to be called “alt-right conservativism.” All of this would take time, the patience of really good and caring people, and progressive maturation, as well as good old-fashioned life experience … but more on this next time.

 

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Day Meets Night to Play

Day meets night while night meets day

To say hello, fare-thee-well as they stray

Across earth and sky so high, so low

In slow rhythm of love above all else

As two children at play with sun, moon

And stars from afar to glitter so soon

Like an exquisite boon from heaven

To leaven the compassion they cherish

Before they perish in the sea of eternity


SongsofHeartstringsPlease Note: The free download Of Miriam Hurdle’s new poetry book Songs of Heartstrings is up on Amazon now until Saturday, March 9, 2019.

Download a copy for yourself and spread the words to your readers and friends. Thank you!

It is free global and here are just two popular links:

Amazon UK Link:  http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07K1S47W9 

Amazon.com Link:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B07K1S47W9