Episode 98: Reflections in a Golden Eye

This is a little “onesy” and posits your current media/avocational/move-television/music-iPod interest as a sort of “true north” of your life, of what’s really going on inside you, and therefore outside you.

What I mean is, the books you like, the TV show you can’t miss, the music you just have to download: those are indicators of what you’re currently looking for — in life, for life, from life.

Two odd and devastating sentences from 20th Century literature tell this story. One is from The Genius and the Goddess (1955) by Aldous Huxley, and the other is from Morning Noon And Night (1968). I’ve wanted to talk about the second one for a long time.

And yet — and yet — I can find the same truth in “Brandy” by Looking Glass (1972); or your own embodiment of “Brandy” — your “Brandy”! (I sincerely hope it is made of “finest silk, from the north of Spain”.)

Or maybe your enthusiasms are ever changing, as in Style Council’s song, “My Ever Changing Moods” (1983).

In any event, I am talking about your interests, what you’re drawn to. What are they saying? For me personally, “Brandy”, by Looking Glass, would probably sum it all up. Everything.


Episode 99: A Night at the Bardo

I had an experience recently that shook me up. It took place on an airplane, and if you had been there, you wouldn’t have seen a thing. But I saw a lot.

What I saw is what young Watson saw in Young Sherlock Holmes (1985): a parade of pastries and cupcakes that once seemed great but were now traveling down my throat to smother me.

Or maybe the experience was like the pre-Reformation paintings you see in European churches, of people gathered around the bed of a dying man, the priest holding up a crucifix and the eucharistic Host, while devils and demons crowd around the bed, doing everything in their power to snatch the good man’s spirit and lead it into Outer Limits.

I guess I learned something about death, even my own. Can I tell you about it?

Episode 99 1/2: Got To Have a Hundred

The subject this time is career.

Here are one or two things I learned, through fat years and lean, about career advancement: what prevents it from happening, and what helps it to happen.

For one thing, understanding the power of transference — i.e., psychological transference — is crucial. Clergy are especially prone to slipping on the mighty banana peel of transference.

Then there is welcome: you have to be wanted. “Wherever I am welcome is where I’ll be” (Bob Dylan/Aaron Neville). Many search processes and elections, from college boards of trustees to parish vestries to hospital overseers, are flawed. Somebody didn’t want you. You were told the “vote” was unanimous, or that you had the full support of the committee. But you didn’t! And therein lies many a shipwreck of good people.

Finally, and this only applies when you get it, if you ever get it: the “big job”. Then you’re on a tightrope, or rather, the plank. What is required then is something that rhymes with ‘Dow’. It corresponds to the New Testament Fruit of the Spirit that are self-control and patience. Those are the dull-sounding ones, to be sure. But when you’re on the high wire, they’re the ones that are more important than anything. Another expression for them would be “non-interference”.

Non-interference is a way of saying, grace. It is grace. It is the not-having of a vision, the not having of a big idea for change (even if change is required), the not having a strategy or plan. The policy of non-interference is what many potential leaders don’t know about. And what they don’t know about will usually cost them their heads.