Tag Archives: God

The Good and The Bad

I don’t think of God as being found in only the “good” part of humans or that “God is love”  or that we only see God when we see the goodness in the depths of another person.  Realizing that this may be an unpopular idea (and it took me a lot of years to come to that conclusion myself) and that everyone has their own idea of what God is, for me, if God is Nature, everything, ever present, which is how I define my own version of pantheism, then it’s not all always or only just about the good parts, the light, but also the darkness.  I’m recently reminded of this part of the John Burroughs quote  shared on the Universal Pantheist Society Facebook page (although I should point out the UPS welcomes different flavors of pantheism; this is just my personal take).

“When we call the power back of all God, it smells of creeds and systems, of superstition, intolerance, persecution; but when we call it Nature, it smells of spring and summer, of green fields and blooming groves, of birds and flowers and sky and stars. I admit that it smells of tornadoes and earthquakes, of disease and death too, but these things make it all the more real to us to conceive of God in terms of universal Nature…” (John Burroughs, “Accepting the Universe”).


Good Sunday Morning

“Every walk to the woods is a religious rite, every bath in the stream is a saving ordinance. Communion service is at all hours, and the bread and wine are from the heart and marrow of Mother Earth.”
(John Burroughs)


I’m remembering Sunday mornings as a little girl and a teenager.  Everyone hurrying and scurrying to get ready for Sunday School and church, dressing in our nicest clothes.  Last-minute ironing.  The smells of coffee and bacon, homemade grape jelly, shoe polish, and my dad’s cologne wafting through the house.  That little brown leather shoeshine kit was a familiar Sunday morning accessory in my house.  Yellow egg and purple jelly stains on the Sunday comics.

Then along the way, things changed….my ideas about Sundays and God and worship.  Mr. Burroughs said it eloquently.

This morning, I’m being lazy.  It’s gray and cloudy outside my window.  Rain’s on the way, then cold air, maybe even a little snow.  I want to snuggle in the covers longer, but work awaits, coffee needs made, and kitties are starting to demand to be fed.  Their patience is running out and they’re getting cranky with each other.

Have a lovely and peaceful Sunday wherever you are.


What Pantheism Means To Me

(This is the first thing I ever wrote on the WPM Yahoo group page, almost 20 years ago now, this little collection of thoughts I was finally brave enough to share, and thanks to Paul Harrison reading and responding to these words, that step to put them out there forever changed my life.)

To me, and I truly do speak only for myself here, pantheism means rethinking my belief system of forty-plus years, letting go of old ideas that promised false hope and false security in a world that doesn’t exist. It means letting go of words that had become commonplace to me and learning new ones, letting go of “God” and that “God is all good.”

Pantheism means truly living each day one at a time, because now is all there is, and being more aware of the decisions and choices I make through the day, because I realize that my choices can affect other people, animals, the planet, the universe. There is no savior to wash away “sins” or make it right in another life.

Thus, it means living a more thoughtful life. I won’t always make the best decisions or the “right” ones but I will think more about them, and some of them will become my new commonplace. It means respecting other people’s rights to be here even if I think they are making a mess of their lives. It means letting them make their own choices, some of which are unpopular or destructive, and speaking up when I feel it’s appropriate. It means standing up for human rights and hating certain behaviors even while I try to put myself in the place of other people and understand better why they act as they do.

Being a pantheist doesn’t mean I love nature more. I loved nature before. I was always most at home and most deeply moved sitting by a river, canoeing on a quiet lake, hiking in the woods, or sitting on the porch looking at the mountains. Looking up at a winter sky full of stars filled me with awe then and still does.

I appreciate it more now. I realize how right it all is and how I’m part of it, as is every part of creation. It means knowing that when I die I am still part of it just in a different way. It means living my life with integrity and in a way that will be remembered for positive contributions to my community or whatever part of the planet I come in contact with rather than for destruction.

It means letting go of the importance of my individual personality in the big scheme of things and realizing I live on through my children (and possibly my children’s children) genetically, through the things I have taught them and how they act in the world, through my own actions and effects on people I meet, and through memories others have of my life. As far as social issues, I have my chosen ones to take up a cause for (gay rights and gay marriage, separation of church and state, anti-racism, animal rights). I don’t personally think there should be global group shoulds and oughts as far as particular causes to follow. I think people will take up causes that touch them in some particular way. Those social issues were important to me before pantheism and still are just as important to me.

Finally, pantheism means being me, living my life authentically and not letting other people determine how I think or feel or act. It means expressing the source or nature or creation as the unique me, here and now.


The Burning Bush


“Earth’s crammed with heaven, and every common bush afire with God.” (Elizabeth Barrett Browning)



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I don’t think it was really about one special bush at one special time…..here are just a few I’ve had the pleasure to know, including mountain laurel, rhododendron,  crepe myrtle, and Rose of Sharon, among others.  All ground is holy ground, the whole Universe alive with the colorful and glorious presence, indeed the very substance, of God.