Thursday, April 26, 2012

Celtic Theology Part III

A Look at Differences Between Celtic and Latin Spiritual Traditions
The great beauty of our Celtic heritage is that it is already very much a part of the Anglican way and other Protestant traditions, much more than we realize.  The interweaving of Celtic and Latin heritages, though, is so tightly integrated that we generally do not see the contrasting qualities, even the actual conflicting virtues, and emphases that differentiate the two orthodox ways.  I want to show you some of the differences in the Celtic and Latin traditions.
GRATITUDE OR TRIBUTE— Perhaps the greatest single contrast found between the Celtic and Latin forms of Christianity can be summarized in two phrases: Celtic gratitude and Latin tribute.  From St. Patrick forward among the great saints of Irish and English backgrounds and all the way to St. Francis of Assisi (who was educated by the French Celts), the theme of gratitude is prevalent in the hymns, prayers, stories of the Celtic way. In contrast from the time of the settling of the Church institutionally within the Roman imperial framework, the Latin Church took upon itself the necessity of garnering its resources by exacting support either in benign acceptance of the Church’s requirements or in various more intensely invasive and coercive forms. Latin stewardship comes out of duty based upon tribute.  In our own day, we are frequently confused about giving time, talent, and money to the Church because the Church uses both approaches when they are not compatible. 
MAKING WAR OR PEACE— Another major theme in Celtic spiritual life is that of peace.  St. Patrick brought peace to the pagan Celts and in so doing created among them for some centuries a time of prosperous growth in civilization and education.  In contrast, Latin Christianity was captivated by an imperial structure that frequently for good defensive reasons necessarily was involved it in war making.  The Latin Church, once forced to hold on to the last vestiges of the old empire in the West, took on most all of the governmental offices and jurisdictions that had once belonged to the pagan empire, including its defense.  The contrast between Latin and Celtic spiritual life has to do with what they inherited.  Christianity in Ireland brought peace to the pagan Celts. Christianity received the Latin empire with all its organizational trappings from the pagan Romans. Such a difference has permanently affected how Christian faith has been experienced and practiced. Mission among the Latins was accomplished by the soldier and priest conquering native populations and settling the Church in new lands.  Celts missionized by going to discover the Christ in others and sharing the divine peace and the Good News.
LOCAL EXPRESSION OR GENERAL UNIFORMITY— As Christianity adapted itself to the Celtic environment without the imperial influence of the Romans, it settled into the local villages and tribes. While the essentials of early orthodox faith and doctrine were generally accepted, Christianity among the Celts adapted its ecclesiastical forms to the place and nature of the local situation, be it village or missionary, monastically based movements in Ireland, England, Scotland, and on the European continent.  In contrast, Rome based Christianity began to expand with the claim that orthodoxy was as much based in organizational forms (like having dioceses, adjudicatory bodies and governing bishops or executives) and usages as it was in doctrine.  As a result, wherever the Roman Church reasserted itself, it brought the tremendously successful heritage of Latin organization with it.  The further result was that the Roman Church has generally not effectively adapted to the local people and their native expressions of spiritual and culture life.  As we find in many locations around the world, especially in Latin America, Christianity and native religious practices live in a patch work of schizophrenic expressions, such as voodoo.
PENITENCE: ACTION OR EMOTIONALLY BASED—St. Columba made and won war and lost his innocence.  As a result, with grace and gratitude, he accepted his penance and was permanently banished from his home and princely ways to go on to a life of holy journeys developing faith in villages and monasteries.  He responded to his penance by acting out his repentance from pride and war-making in a vigorous and by all accounts an uncompromising personal expression of his mission.  He was energetic, loving, and terribly gifted with spiritual talents.  As well, he was a man who was direct, even gruff, and bravely honest and truthful.  He set the tone of a penitential life for all the Celtic saints that followed.  In contrast, Latin penance was notably psychological and inward, resulting in an individually penitent sinner. Augustine set the pace with his elaborate and eloquent Confessions.  A rich tradition of self reflection and spiritual reform developed onward and probably formed the basis for both the religious and secular models of psychological reflection we use today.  The outcome of this sort of penitence has not been a vast revolution in mission development but in personal adjustment to the ever present authority of the Church and the State. While all Christian traditions use a general confession, there is little sense of the person or body of the Church being brought to vigorous action in Christian mission because of the penitential experience.  Celtic spirituality has much to recommend itself to us in its rich heritage of penitence as the catalyst for journeys in mission.
SPIRITUAL REVELATION FROM WITHIN OR FROM ABOVE—Celtic spirituality encourages an awareness of our spiritual growth from within us personally or from within the faith community, especially the local congregation.  Latin spirituality relies on formal, external authority for revelation.  While both traditions honor fundamental doctrines or theological standards, the Celtic tradition has actively encouraged spiritual discernment as emerging from the person or community within and from which innovative spiritual direction and diversity flow out.  The Latin tradition encourages conformity to the rules and formal disciplines that adjust the person or community to meticulous, universal standards.  Consequently the Celtic tradition encourages creative adaptations of formal rules and procedures whereas the Latin tradition rewards pharisaic adherence to the Church’s teaching.  The profound difference between the two traditions can be illustrated by the question, “Are we those people who grow in the religion of Jesus or the religion about Jesus?” Or, “Are we to become more faithful to God or to the Church?  Is the Church made to save people or is the Church made to help people to discover God within.
THE GROUND OF EXPERIENCE: A NATURAL OR RATIONAL ORDER—Celtic spirituality encourages the journey into the unknown and in faith believes that the content of the journey contains almost everything of spiritual importance.  Consequently the Celtic tradition of Christianity does not shy away from the chaotic and natural.  This tradition encourages the intuitive hunch, the gut feeling for guidance.  It believes that we were made by God, equipped naturally to find our way first in what we experience.  Celtic spirituality encourages faithful people to give formal, reasonable structure to their personal and community experience.  The Latin tradition emphasizes the formal, rational, traditionally structured ways that are to be trusted with or frequently against what our human nature tells us in hunches, stories, and other nonlinear forms.  For instance, to this day in Roman Catholic, Protestant, fundamentalist, many Lutheran, and Episcopal seminary curricula there are little to no education offerings about mystical, intuitive histories or training in experiences that have informed nearly all major religious and scientific breakthroughs throughout the centuries.
THE CREATED ORDER:  BASICALLY SPIRITUAL OR MATERIAL-- The Celtic tradition places an emphasis on our evolving spiritual nature within the material.  We are spiritual beings having a human experience.  We are with Christ, the incarnation of the divine in this gloriously material reality.  The Latin tradition tends to emphasize the idea that we are fallen creatures who must be redeemed from our tainted, material condition.  Perhaps the greatest scandal of the many that repulsed the Romans in their views of the St. Columba and Brigid oriented missions were their easy co-habitation in the great double-houses in which men, women, and their children lead holy and monastic lives, surely a sign, the purist Latins thought, of the lack of ascetic, sexual discipline.  Why? Because of the Latin exultation of a life without sexual, intimate companionship, except for procreation.  The Celts emphasized the importance of finding the divine in the material creation and in the human condition in its rich variety.
SIN: MISSING THE MARK AND CORRECTION OR FALL AND ULTIMATE CORRUPTION—Perhaps one of the greatest hallmarks of difference is in the way the Latin Church defined sin as the fall of all creation from grace for which only the atonement of the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ could bring about forgiveness and release from Hell.  The Celts believed that Christ brought completion and fulfillment to humanity and the created order.  For the Celts, sin was in the order of Paul’s definition of it as “missing the mark,” however simple or disastrous.  Sin was encompassed within a sacred creation, not a fall into the Pit.  Atonement for the Celts was the unifying reality of Christ whose life, death and resurrection brought the revelation of an underlying and orderly reality, a completion, balance and righteousness (right relationships) to all of humanity and creation.  With the triumph of Augustine’s notion of the fall from grace born on sin and its procreation through generative sexual relations and the constant necessity of renewing redemption in the penitential system of the Latin Church (in its peculiar adaptation of the Celtic use of private confession to one’s soul mentor), a chain of spiritual deceit was set in motion with disastrous results for humanity and the earth. 
This corrupt and deadly model that we see in its death throws, begs a certain question and answer. How do you eradicate sin in creation?  Stop procreating, stop life and end the world and material corruption!  Stop procreating—create a mandatory system of celibacy for the high caste-clergy- that denies sexuality.  Stop life—use up the resources of the created order with no sense of the earth’s sanctity and heavenly qualities.  End the world—await with fear and perverse glee an end time in which this world passes away, in which the righteous, separated from the impure, unredeemed and perpetually fallen, can live in heaven off earth.  Stop material corruption—create a system that has evolved in such a way as to destroy much of the whole earth in minutes and, therefore, get “rid” of sin. (Practically speaking this corrupt view remains amazingly “human-earth-centric” as if creation in all its glory were not ultimately providentially, cosmically and divinely centered!)
The Celtic model provides the necessary antidote to this hideous twist in Christian theology and history by a return to a great and magnificent vision of sin as opportunity for transformation and redemption for building up the earth creation.  The Episcopal Church’s Book of Common Prayer gives us a magnificent summary of this view of sin and redemption in the following prayer of thanksgiving:
Accept, O Lord, our thanks and praise for all that you have
done for us. We thank you for the splendor of the whole
creation, for the beauty of this world, for the wonder of life,
and for the mystery of love.
We thank you for the blessing of family and friends, and for
the loving care which surrounds us on every side.
We thank you for setting us at tasks which demand our best
efforts, and for leading us to accomplishments which satisfy
and delight us.
We thank you also for those disappointments and failures
that lead us to acknowledge our dependence on you alone.
Above all, we thank you for your Son Jesus Christ; for the
truth of his Word and the example of his life; for his steadfast
obedience, by which he overcame temptation; for his dying,
through which he overcame death; and for his rising to life
again, in which we are raised to the life of your kingdom.
Grant us the gift of your Spirit, that we may know him and
make him known; and through him, at all times and in all
places, may give thanks to you in all things.  Amen.

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Left Brain Trap Door

Charles Denison's book The Artist's Way of Preaching is an easy read about preaching, but it is also a brilliant summary about the effectiveness of the Church in a postmodern culture. It is the most important book that I have ever read about the problem of preaching and teaching the evangelical message today.
Here is his summary of the postmodern situation, "The culture has shifted. Where once we stood secure on tradition, on education, on training, and on faith itself, a trapdoor seems to have opened. We hang suspended over open air. The culture changed. What do we do now? Is there a safety balloon down rationalism is losing its grip. Ours is a culture that feels betrayed by science and abandoned by logic. Reason cannot answer the deepest questions of life and existence. So where do we look for answers, for hope Our religious institutions have become associated  with the analytical scientific world view.  Indeed, they are in danger of becoming its defenders...we were trained in linear, analytical thought. We were taught that our faith  could be understood through propositions, statements, creeds and theologies. We sat through our lectures; we took our notes. We went to church and got three points of explanation of a text. Now what do we do?"

Here is a critical issue for Episcopalians? We have a deep communication crisis! If there is any denomination that has bought into the modern linear, left brain analytical way of knowing an worshiping God it is us.We describe ourselves as the thinking person's church. However, we are really the defenders of a left brain faith of propositions, traditions, bishops and clergy reading boring sermons.
Recently, I  heard about a group of bishops with a vision for the future. They are concerned about the inability to staff there small rural parishes with ordained priest. The solution is amazing. They argue that seminary training is too expensive and too long for the development of clergy for their rural parishes. So, the answer is to raise a large sum of money, build a conference center and use it as an education center for the preparation of clergy and other needed skilsl for evangelism.
This type of solution might have something going for it if they had designed a formation model totally unlike seminary education, but they have not. What is the definition of insanity? It is doing the same thing expecting different results. The answer to the postmodern crisis is a brick and mortar one. Build a mini seminary with the outdated left brain theology and prepare left brain clergy.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

"Alleluia. Christ is risen!" (And the church needs life support.)

Here is a great piece by fellow blogger Gary Gilbertson.  I give it to you in its entirety.

Fewer and fewer of us are present on Easter Day to respond, "The Lord is risen indeed.  Alleluia."  The Episcopal Church continues its five decade decline with an almost 3% loss in the last reporting year.  We celebrate the Resurrection with joy while viewing with sadness that our traditional approaches to ministry, worship, Sunday school, evangelism, and mission are no longer effective.  Skilled gurus tell us how to turn churches around (Barna), enable the emerging church (Kimball/Moyhaug), or tough it out (Nixon).  Perhaps a fresh approach from the top down would be in order:

WHAT IF there was a bishop or two who declared a moratorium on his/her professional travel outside the diocese for one year.  That's right.  No House of Bishops gatherings, no national committees, no workshops, and no commissions -- you get the idea.  Stay home except for personal trips on their own days and dollars.  And just imagine those bishops committing 2/3rds of their work time to actual labor in congregations.  They would lead a Christian "formation" event or teach a course for the Parish.  They would conduct leadership training for the Vestry and evaluate the vocational/professional skills of the ordained with an eye to guiding clergy change if needed.  They might do "hospice" work so that a parish could die with dignity.  And,

WHAT IF a bishop or two revoked their assessment formula that mandates "giving" by congregations to the diocese and instead championed a voluntary tithe as a guideline.  We all know, even if some won't admit it, that the primary work of a judicatory is growing and maintaining healthy local congregations.  More resources at the local level and dioceses streamlining their efforts to be about their principle work could only be a good thing.  And,

WHAT IF a bishop or two committed to a minimum average Sunday attendance (ASA) of 20,000 before a diocese could have an Episcopal election.  According to the data, there are nine national churches within the Anglican Communion which have one million or more adherents and the average size of a diocese in these nine is 121,000.  Nigeria averages 225,000 members per diocese and Australia averages 170,000; we are at the bottom of the list with 19,000 members while the two above us are 48,000 and 83,000.  It is easy to see that we are top heavy with bishops and dioceses and this can only drain resources from local congregations and mission fields.

God compromised with Abraham that if only 10 righteous people could be found, Sodom would be spared.  God WHAT IF a bishop or two could be found who would do these three things; would you spare our Episcopal Church?  Maybe then more of us can respond, "The Lord is risen indeed.  Alleluia."

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Hi. I'm Bob, a Recovering Parish Priest

I was a full time active parish priest for 36.5 years.  Since retirement I continued to work both full and part-time.  Over the years I have experienced all the joy, pleasure, pain and stress of parish ministry. For the most part I liked it, felt like it was a calling from God, and experienced the  emotional reward that comes from preaching a good sermon, celebrating a beautiful Eucharist, anointing the sick and dying, baptising and officiating at countless weddings.  But in retirement, now withdrawn from the institution, I have taken the time to reflect on my addiction to the job.

As many of my readers know, the first step of addiction recovery goes like this.  "We admitted that we were powerless over (name your addiction)-that our lives had become unmanageable."  When thinking back over my years in parish ministry, I can admit now that I was powerless over the the hook of power, adulation, adoration and prestige that came with the territory.  On the converse side, whenever enemies surfaced to undermine me, I was addicted to the terror and the thrill of doing battle with an imagined "Satan" in my midst.  Because I identified with the mythological warrior (George Patton is my favorite general), I saw myself, particularly in the early days, as a cause for righteous justice and peace against the bigotry and hatred of racism, sexism and war.  "Onward Christian Soldiers," as it were.

Clergy are not the only folks addicted to their jobs and in this sense, we are not all that special. Throughout the world there are men and women of all stripes who are pathologically wired to that which feeds their egos and rewards their hubris.  But it takes a huge toll on not only the individual, but also spouses, children, family and even friends.  When all we can do is compulsively hitch ourselves to the wet wagon of workacoholism, even with all the adulation and praise, we are one day bound to crash and burn.  This was made so very clear to me when recently I read an article about alumni of the Harvard MBA program who said that "their one regret was that they didn't spend more time with their spouses and children." 

In my situation, I was a called as Rector of a corporate size suburban parish in one of our large metropolitan areas when I was 34.  By the time I was forty I became seriously stressed and completely overwhelmed.  In the throes of complete denial, I of course crashed and burned.  I made bad decisions, alienated people, and was caught in a downward spiral the end of which resulted in my resignation and removing myself from full time parish ministry for six years.  In that space of time I quieted down, began to deal with my issues and planned for a time when I could honor my calling from God and a new and different way.  The key for me was the spiritual exercise of detachment.  This is a spiritual detachment of the mystics, where we rescue our brains from our brains, pausing to allow the presence of the Divine into our lives.  Several key phrases helped me do this: the Jesus Prayer, the Christ verses from St. Patrick's Breastplate, repeating the Kyrie in Greek over and over again, the practice of Zen and Transcendental Meditation, with some Meister Eckhart thrown in.  By clearing the brain of the clutter and clang of ego driven stupid stuff, the hook of addictive cravenness began to modify itself.  It also helped to confront the demons within.  That's another article.

In time I returned to parish ministry by starting over in a small parish.  It wasn't easy at first  and the temptation to ministry addiction lay always before me and sometimes overpowered me again.  That's easy to do when the system the ordained live in is a fertile field for addictive wiring.  But with God's help I persevered.  Oh and by the way, retirement from retirement helped. I would like to say that now I am perfect.  But, far from it.  Whenever I preach or celebrate the Eucharist, I still get that wired feeling that if I am not careful, could feed into my addiction.  But I'd like to think that God still speaks through my pulpit and celebratory voice.  Because, even in addicted ministry, God speaks through our words and deeds, whether or not they are totally consistent with his will.  God transforms our broken humanness and re-creates us into his servants who proclaim the good news of his Son.  This is the glory of God's work in us, fragile creatures that we are.  This is what the Incarnation is all about.

Fortunately not all clergy are addicted to their jobs.  But I urge all of my colleagues who are still in parish ministry to think about whether or not you are one of us.  I say this because I care about the mental, physical and spiritual well being of the clergy.  I don't want any of you to "burn out," but I know that some of you will.  So my advice, such as it is, is to back off the intensity with which you work at your jobs.  Make sure that your relationships with spouses and children are healthy, alive and persistent.  Say no. It's OK to do that.  Take time off, not only just your mandatory day.  Make friends outside of the parish and find some priest friends you can trust to hang out with.  Get a soul friend or spiritual director. Reflect on life and meditate using both Christian and non-Christian techniques. Remember that the Divine Presence in you is what really counts if we are to love others as He loves us. And above all, back off and laugh at yourself and the foibles of clergy life, and don't take yourselves to seriously.   

Celtic Theology: Part 2

From the past, we see falling upon us the carcasses of old institutions as they die and yet as they fall to us, they will also feed us. All our institutions come in one way or another out of the multi-millennial development of the Western world, which has in fact given us the basis for the cherished traditions of religious and governmental order. Our old new world emerged to be the wealthiest, most educated and economically effective situation ever known to the people of this earth. Yet, as well, we suffer with this complex development in ways that the great theologian, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, identified the the early 20th Century. He believed that we were at a massive turning point in the divine revelation to be found in human evolution. We were groaning and travailing in the process of birthing, as he recalled from Paul's writings. He and others in the 20th Century who prophesied a great turning point were correct, I believe. In the last century, what Teilhard predicted has occurred, a developing and electronically based and spiritually empowered world consciousness that lies deeply embedded in our new global reality on which an old world is dying and conferring in its death, its legacies of history to the new transforming order, one that is far more complex and vital than what we see dying. The question is that of where we focus, on the dying or in accepting this death and learning to carry its legacies as gifts of nourishment into the new world that is, as yet, so newly developing.

If we accept the dying, we are equally called to be grateful for what the old world gives us as its many lessons. These lessons may come in positive and negative forms, in things that best need to be put away and others that can invigorate and shed a past light on our present circumstance. Such lessons can recall negatives, like our injustices and excesses which we must continue to leave behind while we strive for justice and equality in which to frame the new world. So out of the negative, the positive lessons can ring true and need to be developed and protected in these new circumstances of ours.

One of the lessons we are learning in this new world is the power of emotions and relationships. With the end of the Enlightenment and Modernity, we see the groaning excesses of rationality as they fall and alienate us. They do not serve us well as we attempt to define our feelings about what is happening and how we find both conflict in and need for our relationships with one another and the whole created order. In short, we find ourselves confused by the need, on the one hand, to define our situation in a way that is universal, and yet we beg for the unique applications of definition to who we are and how we relate to our many world partnerships. We want systems that give us rational, meaningful and satisfying ways and means to relate to one another and yet do not try to make us conform to a single global, cultural or social mold.

From the past, we see falling upon us the carcasses of old institutions as they die and yet as they fall to us, they will also feed us. All our institutions come in one way or another out of the multi-millennial development of the Western world, which has in fact given us the basis for the cherished traditions of religious and governmental order from which has emerged the wealthiest, most educated and economically effective circumstances ever known to the people of this earth. Yet as well, we suffer with this complex development in ways that endanger us with various material and spiritual pollutants. In part our response has either been to create utopian notions that have all failed or to attempt to retreat to a past ideal which is both romantic and desperate. However, another response has been and is to carefully pick through the historic debris around us and to find new adaptations of old things left unused and forgotten. It is in the picking through, that we are beginning to locate gems of great worth. We are finding traditions that could not be used by the Enlightenment and Modernity, which now today, in our electronic and emotionally charged age, have new vitality.

A practical example can be seen in answering the question as to why Finland of all places had the earliest and still one of the largest use of cell phones and why Nokia, its cell phone company, is so successful. Within the rubble of history, we learn that Finland was also one of the earliest land phone connected countries in the world in the early 20th Century. Being isolated by weather and location, the Finnish people understood the power of myth making and stories to convey information about survival in all sorts of conditions. They quickly accepted phones as a way of keeping in touch and conveying the information they needed to care for one another and survive together. The cell phone is a sort of icon of myths that gain the Fins and us connection and survival!

Another example was the rapid rise of technology in Ireland. Ireland, an enchanted land of story and myth, a place, thought to be rather backward among other developed countries of the Western world, has revived its place in the global economy as a technological power house. Even while the recent set backs have hurt Ireland greatly, it is a very different country than it was even thirty years ago.

History in Ireland seems to indicate one of those turning points where we see history anew as we turn the corner and discover a new vision of our world. Ireland, nearly two thousand years ago was very primitive. Yet with the rapid acceptance of a pre-European Christianity, it transformed its cultural myths. Ireland became for many centuries, a great and significant repository of Latin scholarship during the early Middle Ages. It was before its conquering by the Latin (Western or European) Church at the latter time of the Middle Ages, a place of great civilization and faith quite different from that of the European Continent. The Christian Celts had a way of life that was less due to rational governance, economy and organization than what they based in their life on loyalty, trust and affiliation, itself grounded in a common faith merged effectively with its ancient mythology. But finally the Celts fell under the domination of the West. Their ancient ways had to die to the efficiency of organization that was necessary to win the world to a new order, to make a new more unified, rational European model from which came nearly all of what has formed our recent world, as we have known it. But this world itself is now dying! So as this old new world dies, we see in the shards of its history and the record of our common experience, Celtic possibilities are now being found as nourishment for bringing in new technologies and global reality. We see glimpses of a new world where Celtic Christian remnants may well give us a new energy for a transforming personal and global spirit.

The need for connection among a vast and growing human population, the need for survival skills that will enhance and not cause the decay of our earth, the cry for a great unity that celebrates a diversity of life experience and cross fertilizing cultures and the promise of profound and deeply satisfying mental, emotional and spiritual bonding across all borders and barriers, calls for a recollection and transformation out of a past that can nourish us. We are perhaps in this transformation, new little creatures, whose pathway takes us near old kingdoms fallen at our feet and whose treasures are there for the picking from their broken vessels. The Kingdom of God is near at hand in the treasures of our many and varied for-bearers.

More later. . .

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Celtic Theology: A Little Story

A very long time ago, millions of years actually, a great meteor crashed to earth. There were terrible explosions, storms of wind and fire and the death of many living things. It seemed like the end of the world. In one location a group of dinosaurs cowered together at one of their favorite watering holes, under a dark sky and in a very cool climate. They were commiserating and trying to stay warm together. One of them said, “Well, guys, the good days are all over! Our friends are dying; our feeding areas are getting smaller. I guess we’ll just have to wait for the end.” As the big dinosaur spoke, one of his friends looked around, his eyes rolled up to the back of his head; he wavered, lost his balance and fell to the ground. Boom! . . . But something very different was going on the floor of the old jungle around where the old dinosaur fell. A bunch of furry, little creatures were running around, jumping, sliding through the mud, and having a race. One of them yelled out, “Wow, more food from heaven!” Look we’ve got even more to eat. Gee, the weather is so nice and cool. What a great life; what a great world, better than ever!”

What are we to make of this story? One group sees the world ending. Another sees food from heaven and a new world beginning. Both groups are right, but each has a very different view. There have been times in the history of this planet and for us humans when we have experienced “world endings” and many “new worlds” born. And sometimes, some of us have been able to be at the bend in the road of history where one world ends and a new one begins. When such an occurrence is upon us, we have to decide which world we are really going to identify with and live in. Are we going to be with the dinosaurs or with the furry little creatures down below? Is all hell breaking loose, or is heaven showering us with new life?