Tag Archives: Birur nitzotzot

Podcast – Brightening the sparks

Birur nitzotzot

Brightening the sparks

Related blog post: What great thing can I do?
Related blog post: What great thing, part 2
Related blog post:  For us
Related essay: “Your Heart’s Desire,” by Emmet Fox

Music: Rita Coolidge, “Higher and higher”

Script:

What’s a nitzotz?

Nitztotz, spelled N-I-T-Z-O-T-Z, is a Hebrew word naming the “divine spark” that is at the core of every person’s being.  This is a portion of God’s own being, the same stuff God’s composed of.  One can call it the Life Force; the brighter it is, the happier and healthier the person is, and the more inclined she or he is to do good things.

You can tell when someone has a very bright spark; they shine.  What one’s actually seeing at that time is the person’s aura, which gets brighter along with the spark itself.

When you’re in high spirits, your spark is bright.

So, what sorts of things are prone to lift your spirits?

I don’t know what it is with me and roses, but every time I see or smell a rose, and I mean ANY time, I’m prone to feel my spirits lift.

The same goes with seeing a pretty female, no matter how impossible it might be to hope for romance.

If someone smiles at me, first of all, I’m prone to smile back — and feel better.  On the other hand, I’m prone to smile, myself, and smile at other people, and so lift their spirits, or brighten their sparks.  This is typical of, and key to, what I now mean to do as Mildew — I’ll explain all that after the break.

Which we may as well do now.

[Commercial break]

What Mildew will do.

“Mildew” is a code name I use for William Tell, so that his enemies won’t know I’m thinking or writing about him.  The full name is Philip Mildew, a take-off on the name of the fictional detective, Philip Marlowe.

A couple weeks before the election, I began praying for the nation.  This has never before been normal for me.

After the election, I was praying day after day for insight as to my career, or my whole direction in life.  What is it that I really want? or CAN really want?  It came to me that I’d really like to see all Americans with brighter auras.  Happier and healthier.  Less prone to strife, BECAUSE they are happier.  Better off, no matter what their material circumstances, BECAUSE they are happier.  This is a vision I can really, really want, something that will bring me untold joy.  I can be happy wanting it; I can be happy seeing it.

There’s a very unusual dynamic here, that wanting it, and having it, are the same thing.  To want it, is to have it.  I will visualize all Americans as having brighter auras; and if I happen to meet an American whose aura is dark, I will visualize that person as being surrounded by bright light anyway.  All by itself, this is prone to resonate to her or his nitzotz, his or her spark, and make it brighter.  I can’t lose.

And yet somehow I’m having a real hard time composing this episode.  It’s a different way of seeing the world, with many unknowns.

One unknown is what this all means for The William Tell Show, the call-in, two-way radio talk show that’s been my ambition for years.  I have wanted it to be a Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood for adults; that will lift folks’ spirits; that becomes front and center now.  Teaching things may become less important.  But I know that, just the way I am, the ways I interact with people normally, are prone to lift their spirits, prone to resonate to the spark they already have in them, and amplify the spark, make it brighter.  People who follow the teachings set forth in my little book, Free Speech Handbook, will be happier than people who don’t.  And I can share about my whole approach to life, which may make it easier for people to be happier, than otherwise.

My new worldview has not yet been tested.  For example, although I am safe in many places other people aren’t, there may still be places I won’t go.  I’ve specifically remarked some such places in previous blog posts, where even at noon on a sunny day, the spiritual darkness is palpable.  One such place is Penn-North.  Another is the block on Gay Street, from Fallsway on the south to Orleans Street on the north, by the Juvenile Justice Center.  When I used to stay at the hotel there, I walked that block many times.  Somewhere along there is a carry-out with a singularly bad reputation.  I have heard homeless black men talk about it before, and I wanted to ask them, “So why do you go there?”

Literally and figuratively, there may be better places to go.  Seeing all Americans happier, may be the best place I can go.

What great thing can I do?

Sometimes I wish I could be proud of something.

I have seen pictures and videos of places where parakeets run wild; there are flocks of hundreds and thousands of them. I would love to live in such a place. It lifts my spirits every time I see their brilliant colors.
Continue reading What great thing can I do?

The poop on the stoop

The shelter boots us out at 5:45 a.m. daily.  You must take all your belongings with you and cannot come back until 2:30.

Until February 2013, my custom on non-work days was to go to Dunkin’ Donuts to pray, drink coffee and use the bathroom, until the library would open at 10:00 and I could go online.  Then the temp agency closed down, and I could no longer afford Dunkin’ Donuts coffee, and so began going to McDonald’s instead.

Some days I would arrive at Dunkin’ Donuts before opening.  One such morning, I arrived to find a large, neat pile of human feces on the doorstep.  It was clearly no accident.  Who had left it there, and why, had no bearing on the fact that it was there now.

When staff arrived we opened the door and stepped inside very carefully to avoid any contact between the door and the stool, or our feet and the stool.  However, I knew that if nothing were done about it, eventually, inevitably, customers who could not take the time to be as observant and careful would step in it and begin tracking it through the store.
Continue reading The poop on the stoop

What the New Testament means to me

This exchange occurred at Messiah Truth:

MT 3

The New Testament equips me to love All.

On the one hand, one who diligently lives as Jesus taught eventually reaches a point where loving All is not merely a possibility, but a responsibility. I am at that point now.

On the other hand, loving All of necessity entails loving situations, events and people one might much more easily abhor.

1 Corinthians 12 applies to the need to love one’s whole self.  We are acquainted with an individual who finds one feature of himself, or rather of his story, so abhorrent that he preoccupies himself with it, until the self-hatred becomes unbearable; at which point he lashes out.  I wrote “A short route to agony” with that person specifically in mind.

In 1978, I applied through the United Methodist Church Board of Global Ministries to become a missionary to Japan; I would teach English at a Japanese Christian high school.  As part of this process, they required me to read William Stringfellow’s An Ethic for Christians and Other Aliens in a Strange Land.  I hated it.  For the most part, it was a typical 1970’s radical screed, blaming America for every single problem that exists in the world.  One point stuck with me, however.  Stringfellow opines that the Kingdom never does or will manifest in any permanent or worldwide basis; the Kingdom instead appears here and there, now and then, in a community that honors the gifts of its each and every member.

1 Corinthians 12 applies equally here.  I belong to “A real church in a real ’hood.”  We are diligent and intentional about being that sort of community.  Now, I have learning opportunities here: even though I am homeless myself, it is easy for me to look down on “the critters and the crazies” whom I meet at McDonald’s.  Birur nitzotzot relates: evangelism entails facilitating each person’s discovery of his or her own way to shine.

In the Parable of the Great Dinner, the master directs his servant:

“‘Go out at once into the streets and lanes of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame.’ 22And the slave said, ‘Sir, what you ordered has been done, and there is still room.” 23Then the master said to the slave, ‘Go out into the roads and lanes, and compel people to come in, so that my house may be filled.'”

In the Kingdom, there are no outcasts.  Everyone has a place at the table.

(Originally posted 2014-09-24.)

Kansas prisoners get the granny treatment

(Originally posted 11/23/13.)

Steve Hartman’s “On the Road” segment for the CBS Evening News, 11/01/13:

Kan. prisoners get the granny treatment

Here is a practical example of how brightening the “divine spark” within people can effect redemption or transformation.

* The poop on the stoop

The shelter boots us out at 5:45 a.m. daily.  You must take all your belongings with you and cannot come back until 2:30.

Until February 2013, my custom on non-work days was to go to Dunkin’ Donuts to pray, drink coffee and use the bathroom, until the library would open at 10:00 and I could go online.  Then the temp agency closed down, and I could no longer afford Dunkin’ Donuts coffee, and so began going to McDonald’s instead.

Some days I would arrive at Dunkin’ Donuts before opening.  One such morning, I arrived to find a large, neat pile of human feces on the doorstep.  It was clearly no accident.  Who had left it there, and why, had no bearing on the fact that it was there now.

When staff arrived we opened the door and stepped inside very carefully to avoid any contact between the door and the stool, or our feet and the stool.  However, I knew that if nothing were done about it, eventually, inevitably, customers who could not take the time to be as observant and careful would step in it and begin tracking it through the store.
Continue reading * The poop on the stoop

* What the New Testament means to me

This exchange occurred at Messiah Truth:

MT 3

The New Testament equips me to love All.

On the one hand, one who diligently lives as Jesus taught eventually reaches a point where loving All is not merely a possibility, but a responsibility. I am at that point now.

On the other hand, loving All of necessity entails loving situations, events and people one might much more easily abhor.

1 Corinthians 12 applies to the need to love one’s whole self.  We are acquainted with an individual who finds one feature of himself, or rather of his story, so abhorrent that he preoccupies himself with it, until the self-hatred becomes unbearable; at which point he lashes out.  I wrote “A short route to agony” with that person specifically in mind.

In 1978, I applied through the United Methodist Church Board of Global Ministries to become a missionary to Japan; I would teach English at a Japanese Christian high school.  As part of this process, they required me to read William Stringfellow’s An Ethic for Christians and Other Aliens in a Strange Land.  I hated it.  For the most part, it was a typical 1970’s radical screed, blaming America for every single problem that exists in the world.  One point stuck with me, however.  Stringfellow opines that the Kingdom never does or will manifest in any permanent or worldwide basis; the Kingdom instead appears here and there, now and then, in a community that honors the gifts of its each and every member.

1 Corinthians 12 applies equally here.  I belong to “A real church in a real ’hood.”  We are diligent and intentional about being that sort of community.  Now, I have learning opportunities here: even though I am homeless myself, it is easy for me to look down on “the critters and the crazies” whom I meet at McDonald’s.  Birur nitzotzot relates: evangelism entails facilitating each person’s discovery of his or her own way to shine.

In the Parable of the Great Dinner, the master directs his servant:

“‘Go out at once into the streets and lanes of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame.’ 22And the slave said, ‘Sir, what you ordered has been done, and there is still room.” 23Then the master said to the slave, ‘Go out into the roads and lanes, and compel people to come in, so that my house may be filled.'”

In the Kingdom, there are no outcasts.  Everyone has a place at the table.

(Reblogged 2020-01-16.)

* Kansas prisoners get the granny treatment

Steve Hartman’s “On the Road” segment for the CBS Evening News, 11/01/13:

Kan. prisoners get the granny treatment

Here is a practical example of how brightening the “divine spark” within people can effect redemption or transformation.

(Reblogged 03/23/17.)