About Me

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Retired archaeologist and governmental tree-hugger. I'm a: United Methodist lay pulpit supply preacher; semi-professional photographer; and poet.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Mother Earth's Day

Life in the Anthropocene: 

"We hear much today of the many crises we face: the economic crisis, the energy crisis, the social crisis, the educational crisis, the moral crisis, the ecological crisis, the spiritual crisis. In reality all these individual crises are part of a larger crisis of the society we have created over the past four hundred years. This is a global crisis in that this model of society has been transmitted to or imposed on practically the entire globe.

The first visible characteristic of this type of society is that it produces poverty and misery on the one hand and riches and the accumulation of wealth on the other. This phenomenon can be observed globally as well as within each individual country. There are a few rich countries and many poor countries. It is especially obvious within individual countries that a minority benefits from a great abundance of goods (food, health care, education, housing) while the majority lack the elements essential for life and dignity."



"The liberation movements of the oppressed say that this society is not built on life, the common good, participation or solidarity among human beings, but on economy, the powers and instruments that create wealth through the ravaging of nature and the exploitation of human beings. This economy seeks unlimited growth in the shortest possible time with a minimum investment and maximum profit. Those who are able to survive within this dynamic and follow this logic will accumulate capital and become wealthy, but as a result of a permanent process of exploitation."


"The economy is directed by an ideal of development that is encompassed by two infinite quantities: the supply of natural resources and a wide open future of unlimited possibilities. Within this type of growth economy, nature is simply a supply of natural resources, raw material for the satisfaction of human desires. Workers are the human resources necessary to attain a production goal. As described, this vision is instrumentalist and mechanical: people, animals, plants, minerals, in short, all living beings lose their autonomy and intrinsic value. They are reduced to means by which to meet an end that has subjectively established by those human beings who consider themselves to be the centre of the universe and who seek riches and the accumulation of wealth."

Leonardo Boff, "Social Ecology: Poverty and Misery" in Ecotheology: Voices From South and North; 1994


(photography by tiwago)

Friday, April 21, 2017

Cold Fog at Dawn





Thursday, April 20, 2017

iPhone Spring










Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Each Day


"Each day we are given is for thanksgiving for the earth. We are to enjoy it and share it in service of others. This is the way to grow in unity and harmony. Central to the movement into harmony with other communities is the idea of respect. Respect allows for diversity within the unity of the creator. Dialogue can then take place in a global community which does not develop defensive arguments to protect some truth. The situation will be one of sharing stories instead of dogmatic statements and involves listening as well as talking."

Stan McKay



From An Aboriginal Perspective on the Integrity of Creation, in Ecotheology: Voices from South and North; 1994

(photography by tiwago)

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Through the Soles of the Feet



"Walking or standing barefoot upon the earth provides the conduit for my spiritual enrichment. To stand on the hills of my ancestors still fills my heart as it did when I was a child. There is something about it that inspires reverence. Gripping the earth, grass or field flowers with one's toes is extremely reinvigorating for the soul." 

Rob Cooper


Through the Soles of My Feet from Ecotheology: Voices from South and North; ed. D. Hallman; 1994
(photography by tiwago)

Friday, April 14, 2017

How Does a Fern Feel?


how does a fern feel
as water rushes by it
- my soul yearns for wings


~ tiwago



(photography by tiwago)

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Is Man More Than a Plant?



A leaf is infinitely complex;
Yet, it is still a leafy whole  -
Each leaf is unlike the next;
Yet, each leaf is also alike.

Leaves jointly contributing,
To support the whole plant;
Plants jointly contributing,
To support the whole community;
Communities jointly contributing,
To support the whole ecosystem;
Ecosystems jointly contributing,
To support the whole biosphere...

Vegetation in fecund diversity,
Yet each relates to the sun's light,
In their very own unique way.

Mankind, who believes itself to be,
More infinitely complex than any,
Simple flora, believes itself to be,
A self-contained stand-alone event.

Each person, believes themself to be,
A self-contained stand-alone event;
While at the same time demanding,
That each and every one be the same.

What if, someday, we believed ourselves to be,
A leaf?


Tiwago


(photography by tiwago)


Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Water is Life, or Not



Water's Life, and we - Water
On a planet named The Ground;
But out among the Universe
Other possibilities abound!

Tiwago

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Social Pollution


"In this cultural system the destruction of environment goes hand in hand with forms of social pollution represented, for instance, by growing unemployment, dependence of vast human masses on a few centres of power for basic human needs like food and water, the exploitation and degradation of the poor, especially women and children, within a broad and deep commercialization of life, intense human suffering from a sense of loneliness and meaninglessness as people are increasingly cut off from quiet communication with nature, as their mutual relationships become deadened and mechanized, as their native and necessary feel for poetry and mystery are eroded by shallow pragmatism or sheer greed."

Samuel Rayan, 1994; Ecotheology: Voices from South and North


(photography by tiwago)

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The Messy Room


The first time you enter a room, do you judge the owner?
What new thing does the room tell you about that person?
Is the room chaotic and cluttered and unlike it "should" be?

But please look again, and think more upon what you see -
Diversity is an ordained state, but a non-regimented order.
It is an exuberant celebration of life, potential, and possibility.

It is we, 
If we but let ourselves be, 
As we should be.

Tiwago



(photography by tiwago)

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Practical Compassion



"...this kind of compassion is the central disposition of a life-centred ethic for our time, the moral norms which serve the ethic are the following:

- Sustainability, as the ongoing capacity of natural and social systems to thrive together, both for current generations and future ones.

- Participation, as the inclusion of all involved voices in society's decisions, and in obtaining and enjoying the benefits of society as well as sharing the burdens.

- Sufficiency, as the commitment to meet the basic material need of all life possible.

- Solidarity, as the obligation to stand with others, with a view especially to the most vulnerable of every community."

Larry Rasmussen


(From: Theology of Life and Ecumenical Ethics)


(photography by tiwago)

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Muted Lines of Euphorbia



Friday, March 24, 2017

One's Place


"One has to be alone, under the sky, before everything falls into place and one finds his own place in the midst of it all."

Thomas Merton


(photography by tiwago)

Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Future of Man


"I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority."

E.B. White


(photographybytiwago)

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Ferns




Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The World's Economy



"A society in which consumption has to be artificially stimulated in order to keep production going is a society founded on trash and waste, and such a society is a house built on sand." 

Dorothy Sayers


(photography by tiwago)

Monday, March 20, 2017

Self-Preservation


"I am my surroundings,
and if I do not preserve the latter,
I do not preserve myself."

Jose Ortega y Gasset  


(photography by tiwago)

Saturday, March 18, 2017

The Naked Alien is Back!



For those who are not interested in musings on faith and religion, I am resurrecting The Naked Alien! This blog (renamed Photography by Tiwago) will continue to exhibit my photography work. Both blogs will share Tiwago's poetry.

Friday, March 17, 2017

The Book of Nature


"Jesus set before me the book of nature. I understood how all the flowers He has created are beautiful, how the splendor of the rose and whiteness of the lily do not take away the perfume of the little violet or the delightful simplicity of the daisy."

Therese of Lisieux  

 




(photography by tiwago)

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Foul-weather Christians



Throughout the Jewish Bible, our Old Testament, we see time and time again that it is at those times when we are the most prosperous that our faith is the weakest, that we are the most separated from God!

"All these curses will come on you. They will pursue you and overtake you until you are destroyed, because you did not obey the Lord your God and observe the commands and decrees he gave you. They will be a sign and a wonder to you and your descendants forever. Because you did not serve the Lord your God joyfully and gladly in the time of prosperity, therefore in hunger and thirst, in nakedness and dire poverty, you will serve the enemies the Lord sends against you. He will put an iron yoke on your neck until he has destroyed you." Deuteronomy 28:45-48

When things go well, we forget God, or we thank Him/Her for our super-awesomeness, for our ability to be so wonderfully great, for our not being like the poor Poor. Our faith in ourselves, in the "system", in the American-way, is strongest when we feel strongest. But, when things go bad, when we feel weak, we are quick to all of a sudden remember God! (Often however, we return to God only to plead for a return of our own prosperity, our own health and success, to make the Church or America great again.) We listen to the silvery-tongue of the prosperity gospel false-prophets, and ignore the first-shall-be-last Gospels.

Deuteronomy talks to us, not about faith as belief, but as obedience and service. When we are economically comfortable and full of ourselves, our obedience slips - we forget to serve and demand that others serve us instead! We jealously guard our "hard-earned" prosperity from those who "don't deserve" it. And, when we do obey, we obey joylessly. When we do serve, we serve resentfully. What does the Lord tell us about when that happens? "You will live in constant suspense, filled with dread both night and day, never sure of your life." (Deut. 28:66) How many of us does this describe?

Over and over again, Deuteronomy refocuses us on how we treat these three vulnerable groups: the alien; the orphaned; the widowed. Do we serve the powerless, or the powerful? Do we lift others up, or push them down? Do we serve those who can do something for us in exchange, or do we serve those who God commands us to serve? Do we serve with joy, or is our joy in money, power, and things? Do I serve come rain or come sun, or am I only a fair-weather "Christian"?



(photography by tiwago)

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Haiku of Peonies


red bloody fingers
from the grave, grasping for light -
life has its own ways

tiwago








(photography by tiwago)

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Within the Cracks of Life



Within the cracks of life,
Made fertile and fecund by
Rich detritus of past lives; 
In the brief narrow spaces
Between infertile stones -
Permeable islands between
Hard spaces within my life;
Impervious stumbling moments. 

Flowers bloom anyway...

Tiwago


#photographybytiwago

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Protectors


"Give me fellowship with the beast and bird. Let me enter into sympathy with their hunger, their thirst, their weariness, their cold, their frequent homelessness. Let me give their wants a place in my prayers...

Let me be to them what Thou hast been to me - a protector, a Providence."

George Matheson


Quote from the The Green Bible
(photography by tiwago)

Friday, March 10, 2017

Spirituality Combat



"We need to develop what the WCC's" (World Council of Churches) "Nairobi assembly (1975) called a spirituality combat - a spirituality that will make us move against destruction in this world rather than silence us to tolerate what we see. Spirituality is not something that can be imported or exported. Surely we can learn from each other. But once Christians in their own context live according to the gospel and take up the challenges before them, their spirituality will emerge. That has been the experience of the peace movement, of the human rights movement and now also the ecological movement." Margot Kassmann

Covenant, Praise and Justice in Creation by Margot Kassmann in Ecotheology: Voices from the South and North, David G. Hallman ed.; 1994, WCC Publications, page 36


(photography by tiwago)

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Two Feathers


Two signs I saw in the morning,
Two tokens from over-night.
Did a terror attack a Terror?
Are they messages of mortality -
Of the grounding of the wing-ed,
Or a cross amidst flowery hope?
Or treasures to ponder upon?
Or wings for my soul to use?
Or... or... or...

I know not what they portend,
But I know that something big,
Something important happened here.

Tiwago



(photography by tiwago)

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Out, in the Prairie


"If it were not for the outside world, we should have no inside world to understand things by. Least of all could we understand God without these millions of sights and sounds and scents and motions weaving their endless harmonies. They come out of his heart to let us know a little of what is in it."

George MacDonald  



(photography by tiwago)

Monday, March 6, 2017

Bloodroot


"There are crowds who trample a flower into the dust without thinking once that they have one of the sweetest thoughts of God under their heel"

J. G. Holland 




(photography by tiwago)

Saturday, March 4, 2017

The Old Nurse



"And nature, the old nurse, took
     The child upon her knee,
Saying, "Here is a story book
     My Father hath writ for thee.
Come, wander with me," she said,
     "In regions yet untrod,
And read what is still unread
     In the manuscripts of God."

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


(photography by tiwago)

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Lenten Surrender Part Two


"For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:21 

I love Ash Wednesday's imposition of ashes, the anointment with last year's death. Yet the smudge is so visible, so in other people's faces. Our lectionary reading for this first week of Lent concerns me; in Matthew 6, after the blessed Beatitudes during the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus advises me to be careful that I don't try to appear too self-righteously pious before others - as this is not of the Father, it is not rewarded by the Father. I'm supposed to let my light shine. I am supposed to witness by example. Yet, I am supposed to keep somethings secret? How often did Jesus perform a miracle, only to tell the healed person to keep it a secret? I never understood. Yet this warning on how to practice spiritual disciplines have become more clear as I have observed myself and others on social media: do not humble-brag!

People talk about how much money they give at church (or give an illusion that they give more than they do) to justify their grab for status and control. People shame others by bragging about helping them in their mess ("did you know that she..."). People brag that they gave a dollar to a mentally handicapped veteran living on the street. Are we next to start bragging about breathing, and walking, and sleeping too?

People judge themselves, judge each other, desire to be judged, based upon how well they can whip out a prayer and sling it in public. People remain silent, or wish that others would remain silent. During prayer time at church, the prayers become announcements or gossip masquerading as holiness. (But, I have a friend who really has a prayer closet - WOW!)

We all know people who post a vague comment implying suffering, pain, impending doom, sans any useful detail. They beg we ask, they demand our attention: "well, since you asked, I have a boil on my butt..." Or we see people who fast as though it were man-flu, "Oh, I'm sorry I'm so weak today, I've been fasting for the Lord since breakfast! Do you fast? It's good for you!" Unless you're on a hunger-strike for justice or starving because you can't afford food, we don't care that you're hungry!

"Don't store up treasures on earth." I've preached on that many times, always talking about money and physical things - what good is "stuff"? Yet, I should probably rethink that in context. Since Jesus is talking about spiritual disciplines and our self-appropriating a mantel of self-important holiness, maybe the treasures he mentions are praise, and honor, and recognition. Maybe, he is telling me that all this time, I have been looking in all the wrong places for affirmation?

Maybe, what I need to fast from is not Face Book, beer, pizza, or watching the news. Maybe, what I should be fasting from is myself?


Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Last Night and Then This Morning

There was no 'in the calm of the night'
last night:

funnel clouds, elephant trunks, and wedges
danced just over the horizon;

hail and twigs and new catkins peppered, pestered,
westside windows;

thrumming thunder and wailing wind drowning out
distant siren howls;

and rain,
an eruption of rain, tempestuous and shrill,
followed by

flowers.


~ tiwago


(photography by tiwago)

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Lenten Surrender Part One


"This is the 'fast' that I want from you: break the shackles of injustice; remove the chains of slavery; stop oppression; release the prisoners." Isaiah 58:6 



The warm February weather has confused my garden - the chives, the peonies, the tulips, the daffodils - all have come up; I even found some secret crocuses blooming this rainy morning. Lent is such a time as well: sorrow and celebration; guilt and renewal; death and life; hopelessness and hope. As children, we were taught that we must surrender something...
“Shout! A full-throated shout!
    Hold nothing back—a trumpet-blast shout!
Tell my people what’s wrong with their lives,
    face my family Jacob with their sins!
They’re busy, busy, busy at worship,
    and love studying all about me.
To all appearances they’re a nation of right-living people—
    law-abiding, God-honoring.
They ask me, ‘What’s the right thing to do?’
    and love having me on their side.
But they also complain,
    ‘Why do we fast and you don’t look our way?
    Why do we humble ourselves and you don’t even notice?’"
We once had a Pastor that told us to take up something instead of putting down something - people looked at her like she was crazy. But she was right, do we really surrender anything important (to us, to humanity, to God)? Do we really do anything important, anything transforming and different, anything holy? Or is it all just a big show of public piety, self-righteousness, religiosity? 
“The bottom line on your ‘fast days’ is profit.
    You drive your employees much too hard.
You fast, but at the same time you bicker and fight.
    You fast, but you swing a mean fist.
The kind of fasting you do
    won’t get your prayers off the ground.
Do you think this is the kind of fast day I’m after:
    a day to show off humility?
To put on a pious long face
    and parade around solemnly in black?
Do you call that fasting,
    a fast day that I, God, would like?"
Are we surrendering ourselves, or just what we have to spare from our abundance? What does a voluntary fast or deprivation mean or do when so many starve and suffer involuntarily? Are we not called to surrender our lives so that we may live new lives? So that others may have better lives?
“This is the kind of fast day I’m after:
    to break the chains of injustice,
    get rid of exploitation in the workplace,
    free the oppressed,
    cancel debts.
What I’m interested in seeing you do is:
    sharing your food with the hungry,
    inviting the homeless poor into your homes,
    putting clothes on the shivering ill-clad,
    being available to your own families.
Do this and the lights will turn on,
    and your lives will turn around at once.
Your righteousness will pave your way.
    The God of glory will secure your passage.
Then when you pray, God will answer.
    You’ll call out for help and I’ll say, ‘Here I am.’

“If you get rid of unfair practices,
    quit blaming victims,
    quit gossiping about other people’s sins,
If you are generous with the hungry
    and start giving yourselves to the down-and-out,
Your lives will begin to glow in the darkness,
    your shadowed lives will be bathed in sunlight.
I will always show you where to go.
    I’ll give you a full life in the emptiest of places—
    firm muscles, strong bones.
You’ll be like a well-watered garden,
    a gurgling spring that never runs dry.
You’ll use the old rubble of past lives to build anew,
    rebuild the foundations from out of your past.
You’ll be known as those who can fix anything,
    restore old ruins, rebuild and renovate,
    make the community livable again."
What does the Spirit of the Word of God say to me, say to my church, say to the Church, say to the nation? 



(Text from Isaiah 58:1-12, the Message; photography by tiwago)


Monday, February 27, 2017

"A Lack of Trees Brings Poverty"


"Men will become poor because they will not have a love for trees...
If you don't love trees, you don't love God."

Nikephoros of Chios






(Quote from the green Bible; photography by tiwago)

Friday, February 24, 2017

All That Is Sweet



“All that is sweet, delightful, and amiable in this world, in the serenity of the air, the fineness of seasons, the joy of light, the melody of sounds, the beauty of colors, the fragrancy of smells, the splendor of precious stones, is nothing else but Heaven breaking through the veil of this world.”
William Law; Rules for Living a Holy Life


(photography by tiwago)

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Peter's News



Peter wrote to us: 

I couldn't make this stuff up! I saw the Lord transfigured in all the Glory of God - an eyewitness to his divinity and his majesty. The mantle of the Glory of the Father was bestowed upon the Son with these anointing words: "This is My beloved Son who makes Me glad." We heard the voice ourselves coming from heaven, there upon the mountaintop. 

We carry prophetic news, real verified news. We would do well to listen to this news, this light shining in the dark of the world, waiting for the dawn to come again. But hear me well, no prophesy or scripture is subject to one's singular mental effort for interpretation. No true prophesy was ever uttered that came by invention of the human mind. Prophesy and scripture came from (and is only understood by) men and women as moved by the Spirit of God to speak and to write.



(painting of Pope Peter by Peter Paul Rubens)

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

My Darkness

I wear a heavy cloak of invisible midnight;
Even on the clearest day, it shades me,
From the sun - 
The umbra of a pall;
And even though it can be seen by none,
All sense its oily presence -
An odor,
Like the stench of rotting meat -
A miasma of introverted worry;
And so,
I walk away.

I walk through the woods.
I walk through the prairie.
I walk beside still waters.
There I find the sun reflected by the finest jewels -
Bright flowers at my feet, frail and hardy all at once.
Thus the sun sneaks in, up beneath my hidden cloak.
Thus the fecund smells of Spring, 
And the soft scents of Hope,
Light a candle in the darkness!

Tiwago


(photography by tiwago)

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Mountain Time



Meet with Me Moses
Come to the mountaintop 
Wait for Me Moses

So Moses went up 
Up to the mountaintop

So Moses went up 
Up to the mountaintop

The Cloud covered the mountain
The Cloud covered Moses
God's Glory covered the mountain
God's Glory covered Moses
Glory consumed the mountain

So Moses went up 
Up to the mountaintop

Moses was within the Cloud
Moses was within the Glory
God surrounded Moses for forty days
Moses was within God for forty nights

(Exodus 24:12-18 told by Tiwago)

Monday, February 20, 2017

From the 1549 Book of Common Prayer


"We give you thanks, most gracious God, for the beauty of the earth and sky and sea; for the richness of mountains, plains, and rivers; for the songs of birds and the loveliness of flowers.

We praise you for these good gifts and pray that we may safe-guard them for our posterity.

Grant that we may continue to grow in our grateful enjoyment of your abundant creation, to the honor and glory of your name, now and forever."



(photography by tiwago)