Category Archives: religion

The Theocrats Are Here – a poem by Paul Vincent Cannon

Photo: C-Span Local, state and federal elected (republican) officials of Texas. Beto O’Rourke confronts this lot over their failure to prevent the shooting.

“There’s something rotten in the state of America” could be a line from a modern Shakespeare.

“Theocracy is the worst of all governments.” C.S. Lewis

The Theocrats Are Here

There's a sickness in the land,
the gods of vengeance masquerade
as righteous lovers of goodness,
but their wolfish snouts peek out
from beneath their sheepish skins
for all to see, though sadly, too late
for reversals, now judgements scour
the land as to who owns women's 
bodies, the divinity of children, 
the evil of colour that is not white,
where you park a penis (even never), 
whether to murder in the name of 
justice - electric, gas or juice, 
there's a sickness in the land,
there's no rash or temperature,
it's a handgun and an AR-15.


Copyright 2022 ©Paul Vincent Cannon
All Rights Reserved ®

Note: C.S. Lewis’ quote goes on to say (profoundly) that “If we must have a tyrant, a robber baron is far better than an inquisitor. The baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity at some point be sated; and since he dimly knows he is doing wrong he may possibly repent. But the inquisitor who mistakes his own cruelty and lust of power and fear for the voice of Heaven will torment us infinitely because he torments us with the approval of his own conscience and his better impulses appear to him as temptations.”

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How Strange – a poem by Paul Vincent Cannon

Image: depositphotos.com

“My idea of Christmas …. is very simple, loving others. Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that?” Bob Hope

How Strange

How strange,
that Christmas is crucified,
its guts emptied out like
William Wallace on a bleak
field of no consequence,
and yet we claim the shell 
of the day and its saccharine 
shell to suck dry and make its
meaning, long perverted by 
the mad monks of st. banal's,
who has set everyone's teeth 
on edge with their vinegary 
story that curdles me, while
all it ever was, was a story 
of how to love in the midst of 
the chaos of life.

Copyright 2021 ©Paul Vincent Cannon
All Rights Reserved ®

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Mythos -a poem by Paul Vincent Cannon

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Image: dreamstime.com

 

“In order to stay relevant, you have to stay open to new trends and keep educating yourself. You have to keep evolving.”  Natalie Massenet

Mythos

We speak out of one world
the mythos of our dramatized lives,
all and one speaking differently,
exhausting ourselves to be
refashioned as relevant,
we feel so free, but are we in a
sense just falling through the
habitual lines of our self-limitations,
failing to be curious about each other,
entering the skeletal ruins of our
beliefs, knowing that the thing
is not a thing until it is known
by love.

©Paul Vincent Cannon

Paul, pvcann.com

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Belief – a poem by Paul Vincent Cannon

Belief – VJs Weekly ChallengeIMG_1214.jpeg

Photo: Uluru at sunset, a calm and peaceful place, an ancient place, a deeply spiritual place.

“belief, like love, must be voluntary.”  John Updike

Belief

Of orthodoxy there is no real centre
except of ink on paper
where imagination dies
a thousand deaths
in a rut of doctrines and dogmas
that pierce the heart
and erase the future,
imprisoning vision,
punishing hope,
and yet we are all heterodox
bringing our creative spice
to the great universal stew,
an ever changing recipe.

©Paul Vincent Cannon

Paul, pvcann.com

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Lavabo – a poem by Paul Vincent Cannon

Laundry – RDP Friday

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Lavabo

His hands were not dirty
though he offered them to the server
that they might be washed
in that ritual of hypocrisy,
an outward sign
of an inner need
where no one,
least of of all himself,
knew the depth
of the dirt within,
nor the extent of its torture
for those he prayed upon.

©Paul Vincent Cannon

Note: Lavabo (sink, washing) and lavo: refers to laundry and other forms of washing, including ritual washing, hence the priest’s lavo at eucharist.

 

Paul, pvcann.com

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There Were More

Three – RDP Saturday

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Photo: midsouthhiking.com

The Festival of the Three has a long history, but carries many historical discrepancies. There are three gifts given by the Magi to Mary on behalf of Jesus, but the number of gifts doesn’t indicate the actual number of wise people. There is no mention of camels in the story. They weren’t kings either, but Magi or the cream of the wise in any realm –  were astronomers, geographers, metallurgists, healers, etc.

 

There Were More

Wittgenstein, Jung, Curie, and Bohr
walked into Bethlehem,
and kicked some dust around,
eventually getting to some house,
where an unwed mother waxed lyrical about her child,
who smiled beatifically,
at the wise ones,
and asked;
why four?
and why no camels?
Perplexed, Jung replied that
greeting cards created expectations,
a kind of make up your own story,
but there were no camels,
and there were more than three,
though finding wise ones was problematic.

©Paul Vincent Cannon

 

Paul, pvcann.com

 

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There Was No Donkey – a poem by Paul Vincent Cannon

Royal – Word of the Day

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Photo: unsplash.com  – a Classic Royal Enfield

There Was No Donkey

They set off from Nazareth
where love always hurts,
and it did because Mary was pregnant
and not yet married,
it was complicated,
as life always is,
but tongues wagged nonetheless.
The overlords were holding a census,
typical bureaucrats,
and so to Bethlehem they were headed
to be registered.
But there was no donkey,
cept on Christmas cards,
as poetic licensing can do.
No, this child to be,
of royal blood,
deserved a true steed,
so Joseph kick-started
an Enfield so Royal,
they made it to the inn by supper,
and all were in awe,
even the angels.

©Paul Vincent Cannon

Paul, pvcann.com

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Oracle of Love

Enigmatic – Word of the Day

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John Collier’s ‘The Delphic Oracle’ (1891) The Delphic Oracle were priestesses highly valued, who offered divination at the temples, including that of Apollo in the locale of Phocis at the foot of the south slope of Mt. Parnassos, in Greece. The Oracle would sit on a tripod over a fissure in the floor where vapours arose which induced trance and utterance.

 

Oracle of Love

There you sat,
midst the herbs and vapours,
in the place that caused you to sway and swoon,
to speak in ecstatic utterance,
bending your tongue in language unknown,
contorting, writhing,
while unveiling ancient truths,
as you divined that enigma of Delphi,
the oracle, that spoke of our undying love.
It was there you held me
priestess of love,
and I was overcome.

©Paul Vincent

 

Paul Cannon,

pvcann.com

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Into The Mystical

Mystical – Word of the Day

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The Blackwood River, Augusta, looking north east, one of my mystical places.

Mysticism comes from thε Greek root of μυω, which means to conceal. Mysticism crosses every religious boundary and belief system. That which is mystical is hidden. In the great debates about God from a Christian point of view there is the mystic view that God is both knowable and unknowable at the same time, that as such, there are elements of God that are visible, definable, but that mostly, God is concealed and unknowable.

Many have pursued mystical experiences. Aliester Crowley (1875 – 1947) was one of the most famous occultists of the twentieth century, trying to make connection with a world beyond. Carlos Castaneda trained as a shaman and explored mescalin using peyote as a mystical experience, inspired by the Toltec. Timothy Leary went with the synthetic drug LSD. There are trance groups, fasting practices, musical experiences, ritual practices and more. True tantra, like Tibetan Tantra, was only ever a form of meditative practice whereby the delay of orgasm and the control of orgasm is said to increase ecstatic experience, but for the purpose of prayer and meditation (and should not be confused with “Californian tantra” as I call it, or with Hindu left hand practices). Kabbalah originated as a Jewish mysticism, but now has non-Jewish paths as well. A number of celebrities have dabbled in Kabbala from Elizabeth Taylor to Madonna.

In the third and fourth centuries Christian men and women from Israel, Jordan, Asia Minor, Egypt and North Africa went in droves into the deserts to develop a communal and contemplative life. And from John Cassian to Theresa of Avilla, to Thomas Merton, a few Christians became mystics, seeking the unknowable God.

I think the unknowable attracts, and we pursue it, partly to make it known, to unravel the mystery, to bring the hidden into full view, in the main, to experience what is concealed. Most of the writings of mystics that I have read reaffirm that God, Other, the divine, is unknowable, but that in the journey of mysticism, there is connection, ecstasy, love, wholeness, union and more.

For me any sense of the divine comes more through nature and the contemplative. The photograph shows a familiar walking space I take in, some days it is beautiful, some days it just is, but always it evokes a sense of mystery, of the divine in some way. There is something about certain places that does that for me. Uluru, Kata Tjuta, Elachbutting Rock, Boranup Forest, and more, are places that move me deeply, places where I sense an otherness beyond myself or other people. I have felt ecstasy in these places, I have been overcome with joy, they can be erotic (in the pure, emotive sense) experiences, I have experienced deep inner stillness, and sometimes a confusion of feelings rushing in all at once. Such things tell me I am more open in these spaces, yet I also know that my openness is also because I sense something more. This for me is the mystical.

As Van Morrison wrote in his song “Into the Mystic” – “Let your soul and spirit fly into the mystic.”

I stand in silence
mystical nature envelops
the heron smiles

©Paul Cannon

Van Morrison “Into The Mystic”

 

 

Paul,

pvcann.com

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One of the Great Negotiators

Negotiate – Word of the Day

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Dag Hammarskjold (1905 – 1961) a Swedish Diplomat, economist and from 1953 – 1961 he was the UN Secretary General. He was also a deeply spiritual person, a contemplative who loved the medieval mystics. His book ‘Markings’ a journal of his spiritual struggles was posthumously published with a foreword by his friend, the poet W.H. Auden. He called his diary – negotiations with himself and with God.

Hammarskjold was propopsed by the British Foreign Secertary Anthony Eden who was impressed with Hammarskjold’s work in diplomacy and economics. The vote was almost unanimous in the Security Council and Hammarskjold was announced as the next Secretary General. The American and Soviet delegates thought Hammarskjold was harmless. He was reelected in 1957.

Hammarskjold was unaware of the nomination, and in fact thought the media report was a joke, and because it was announced on April 1st, he quipped that it was a bad April Fools joke. But it was indeed true.

Hammarskjold believed that relationships were important and that example was one of the best forms of leadership. He tried to meet as many employees at the UN as possible, he ate regularly in the staff cafe, he refused to use his private lift and opened it for general use, he established the meditation room (which he helped to design) which was to be for withdrawal and reflection, a place for silence, and a multi-faith space. He prevented FBI intervention at the UN that his predecessor had allowed at the height of McCarthyism. And he brought order and regulatory process to an organisation in crisis.

He was an able negotiator. He made some impact on relations between Israel and the Arab states. In 1955 he successfully negotiated the release of eleven US airmen who were prisoners from the Korean War. In 1956 he played a major role in ending the Suez Crisis, There are many other negotiations that he was involved in, and which demonstrate his capacity to work hard and achieve a positive outcome. Not everything was plain sailing though, the Congo was unresolved, interrupted by his death, and the Soviet interference and then occupation of Hungary was frustrating for Hammaskjold as there was little he could do to bring a resolution forward.

His role in the Congo Crisis was cut short by his death as the result of a plane crash travelling to Congo. There are those who still believe that Congolese rebels associated with mining interests were responsible for the plane crash, but no substantive proofs have come to light, including a UN 2015 investigation into the matter. Hammarskjold made four visits to the Congo. It was, as history has shown, a tangled web of politics and power plays. The USSR and the Americans had their own people on the ground and were manipulating much of the power play. The Congo had become factionalised on independence, and the popularly elected Prime-minister Patrice Lumumba was murdered. It was utter chaos.

J.F. Kennedy said of Hammarskjold: “I realise now that in comparison to him, I am a small man. He was the greatest statesman of our century.” Kennedy was reflecting on Hammarskjold’s death and on his own resistance to Hammarskjold’s policy in the Congo.

Extreme left and right views are critical of Hammarskjold, and in the main these revolve around the immpossible situation in Hungary, and the seemingly intractable problem in the Congo. But for me they are the proof, by comparison, of the majority of successes he was part of and integral to. His record stands as testimony to his great ability to network, form key relationships, to maintain a consistent approach, and to believe the best in people. His commitment was to keeping peace and finding better ways for nations to negotiate their differences. He formed the UN Emergency Response Group, and initiated the first Peace Keeping force. He was posthumously awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in 1961.

His strength came from his contemplative stance, especially meditation, and his sheer passion for peace in the world. His personal belief was that selfless service to humanity was crucial. Whatever you may think of him, he was one of the great negotiators of the 20th century.

Paul,

pvcann.com

 

 

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