Protecting the Flame

Friday night, social media was flooded with comments, memorials and quotes from a gently fierce woman, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. As the news of her death from cancer spread around the world, people began asking questions like, "Can anything else go wrong in 2020?"  and making statements like, "Now, we are lost." But, I see it differently.Yes, my social justice, activist heart broke at the news that Justice Ginsburg was no longer with us on this physical plane. However, in an email to one of my daughters, I wrote something that inspired this post.  I wrote that with her death, I now knew what the disciples must have felt when they learned that Jesus had died. A TZADDIK
Not long after writing to my daughter, I read that "according to Jewish tradition, a person who dies on Rosh Hashanah, which began tonight, is a tzaddik, a person of great righteousness."  How perfect!  Justice Ginsburg absolutely embodied "great righteousness." 
While my first q…

Holy Women and Subversive Sister Saints

Today, I have the great honor and pleasure to share an interview I had with the multi-talented and multi-gifted Angela Yarber.Welcome, Angela! Being able to share your many talents with my readers, brings me great joy! To get us started, could you tell us a little bit about yourself? Aloha! I’m Rev. Dr. Angela Yarber. I live on Hawai’i Island with my wife and two young children; here, we run a non-profit, the Tehom Center, which empowers marginalized women by teaching about revolutionary women through art, writing, retreats, and academic courses. I hold a Ph.D. in Art and Religion, and I’ve been both a Professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and a Professor of Divinity since 2006. For fourteen years, I was an ordained clergywoman and served churches as a pastor. I’ve published seven books addressing the intersections among the arts, gender/sexuality, and spirituality. Four of these books were listed in the top LGBTQ Religion Books by QSpirit. Finally, I’m a working artist…

Why the Number Nine?

Nine Muses by RoyerEver wonder why certain numbers appear over and over in sacred texts?  For our ancient ancestors, certain numbers...numbers found in nature...were sacred and carried with them mystical powers.For instance, the number nine, which is the length of time in a novena, (the word novena comes from the Latin word for nine) was believed by the ancients to represent wisdom, leadership, Universal love, creation, and service to name a few.  These beliefs in the sacred number nine come from many cultures.There are nine muses in Greek and Roman mythology. There are nine forms of devotion and nine treasures in Hinduism. There are the nine gifts of the Holy Spirit as well as the nine levels of Heaven along with the nine choirs of angels. In the Mayan and Aztec cultures, there were nine levels in the underworld. The significance of the number nine as a sacred number can truly be found worldwide.Therefore, when we come to our ninth day of reflection in the Novena for L…

This Is the Truth

 Entwined  (c)2020 Rev. Linda M. Rhinehart Neas This is the Truth...
All beings that draw breath on this planet are connected.
We all come from the same Whole.
We are diverse and ever-changing.
We are Family - a dysfunctional family - but Family, nonetheless.
Some of us have lost the insight of our connectedness.
Some of us have become so mentally, emotionally, and spiritually sick that we can no longer remember who our true Parents are.
Some of us have been so oppressed, abused, diseased, tortured, and forgotten that we live in constant pain, fear, and terror.
Some of us enable the dysfunction.
Some of us make excuses, find loopholes, look the other way.
Some of us have nothing, yet understand the Truth.
Some of us look evil in the eye, daily, yet understand the Truth.
Some of us sacrifice everything for the Truth.
Some of us see the Light within other beings and kindle their flickering spark of Truth.

This is the Truth...
You are Loved.
You are never alone.
You are part of a great Mystery that is sti…

Up with the Birds

Baby Cardinal Outside My Window (c) 2020 Rev. Linda M. Rhinehart Neas "The older you get, the less sleep you need."  This maxim was quoted to me in my youth by many of my elderly family and friends as an explanation of why they would be "up with the birds." Thing is, I never believed it to be true since many of them took long afternoon naps! That being the case, I find myself up with the birds today. The sun has hardly crested North Sugarloaf Mountain, and I am wide awake wondering why. After all, at 5:45 it is still fairly dark. The birds singing didn't wake me because I can't hear them until I put in my hearing aids.  So, why am I wide awake? Some people believe that waking early is a call from Spirit to rise and commune with the Divine.  Not sure if this is so, but I do know that when I find myself up and about in the wee hours, I usually use the time to pray, to write and to appreciate Nature.  Even in the semi-light of dawn and bad weather, I can see my ga…

Core Strength

Out from the Core  (c) 2020 Rev. Linda M. Rhinehart Neas
After a Zoom exercise class that my daughter was leading, she commented on my core strength. "You know Mom, you have great core strength." 
Without thinking, I quickly replied, "This house is built on rock, Baby. No storm is taking me down!" 
We laughed, said our goodbyes, and went on with our day. However, that term - core strength -  kept buzzing in my mind. Just what does  core strength mean?
Physically, core strength means that the muscles in your back, abdomen, and around your pelvis are strong. According to the Mayo Clinic, "Core exercises train the muscles in your pelvis, lower back, hips and abdomen to work in harmony. This leads to better balance and stability, whether on the playing field or in daily activities. In fact, most sports and other physical activities depend on stable core muscles."

In my late 60's, I am taking this as a good sign, but my mind kept wondering into other realms.  Do…

Seven Years and Counting

(c) 2020 Butterfly by Rev. Linda M. Rhinehart Neas The day I was ordained was one of those clear, warm late spring/early summer days that people remember with great fondness. My colleagues and I were waiting in the gorgeous library of All Soul's Church in New York waiting to process into the church sanctuary. Each of us was in various stages of reflection and preparation for the ritual that lay ahead of us.
I remember, as we walked down the aisle singing, "Here I Am Lord,"  thinking to myself, "Wow, Linda, you finally made it!"  After nearly 60 years of hearing the call, I was finally being recognized. Like the Velveteen Rabbit, I would become "real" in the course of the service.

Walking down the aisle, looking into the eyes of my beloved and my cousins, who came to New York to be with me; meeting for a brief moment my dear soul sister, Maryam, who came to share the experience after two years of reading about my journey to ministry, gave me such joy. The…