Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Personal Note to Myself

Hello Wade,

Do keep in touch and allow me to know how life is progressing. Talk to me; I will hear you. If it feels like it's not progressing, then you are not involved enough in it.

I look around often and check to see if all my limbs are working, that I can still run, that I can speak without stuttering, that I think above average with interest, and I do listen, and I know there are people who care about me. With this start and many more assets, I also realize that there are people around me who have never known all of these marvelous blessings ... and I am the person in their path who can be a friend.
"When the giving begins...the heart changes gears and pumps exhilaration into those empty spaces. Be abundant with your giving. That gratifying after-taste in your mouth is the receiving. To give is to receive. Do not expect a nod or an acknowledgment; just smile inside and offer a thank you for the opportunity to experience this level of a fully functional, spiritual existence."
I do believe it is an evolutionary process which is a part of human development, for peaceful co-existence is a very selfish process. It preserves all of us and it feels so very correct. It allows for promoting the best in all of us and places our productive qualities into action. It is the only way which will preserve this fragile species and allow us time to move beyond this planet and out among the stars when this place called Home is exhausted or placed in jeopardy by natural forces which will visit.

We will all be a part of that group so far in the future who takes the next leap. We will have placed a tiny seed into a stranger's will to reach out and take a hand and touch and care, and direct energy outward to others in that long chain of curious, loving children who will follow. We will not receive a nod or acknowledgment from that band of explorers. We won't have to...for we know now our importance to their journey. NOW is what we have and it is everything.

Do forgive me for this extended reflection, for I am delaying your journey; but it just came to my fingers, and I believe YOU are a vital part of NOW.

Stay involved NOW where you are. There are so many who have need of YOUR caring. This is one truth of which I am confident. Rest assured that I am here to remind YOU of your singular importance to the NOW. Stay focused and embrace the opportunity.

And, if you ever have a to me. I am listening. Love...Me

Reverend T. Wade Clegg III

Monday, November 10, 2008

Begin with a Question

Q. And why sir have you come?
A. I have come to raise your level of expectation.

Q. But sir, our expectations are acceptable.
A. I regret to inform you that you have accepted expectations at a very low level.

Q. But sir how can you tell such is the case?
A. I have listened to your children at play, at work, at study, at your dinner table.

Q. And sir what is not acceptable about them?
A. Your children have settled into certain repetitious patterns which you find acceptable and pleasing, for they are meeting your expectations.

Q. And sir, is that not acceptable?
A. If you were to ask each of your children each night at the dinner table about their expectations and what would they do to raise their effectiveness at play, at work, at study, with their playmates...what would be your expectation?

Q. Sir, I have not offered this opportunity, but rarely.
A. Then you have the opportunity to take that which is rarely done and make it a constant companion. The very question will raise within each child that opening that even your expectations are not low, as might be perceived by lack of stimulation.

Q. Sir, you must be a good Christian or Muslim or Jew or Hindu or Buddhist or some other sect?
A. I am a traveler who sat at the table with good human beings as a child, and even now as a man, and discussed this topic of raising expectations ... first within ... and the natural progression which leads to sharing the idea with others.

Q. And sir, what is your expectation of me?
A. Make that which was rare and so valuable a daily practice. Ask the question.

by Reverend T. Wade Clegg III

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Response from a Reader on "The Necklace"

Sometimes you receive comments about an article which needs a response. It would be nice to respond directly to a human being and not someone who felt it necessary to hide behind the name "anonymus." The following was sent in response to the story of "The Necklace" published last month. Our Reverend T. Wade felt an answer was needed further explaining the story and it's intended purpose.

ORIGINAL COMMENT from "Anonymus"

"Man did you ever miss the point of the story.The story was a metaphor...We are the little girl...We work and work and waste our lives on junk. We are so afraid of giving it away...and eventually most of us die with crap that was always worthless...When our savior Jesus died for us, he was the pearl of great price.This little bit of crap that I hold in my hands keeps me from loving Him because I love it more.When I let go...He, Jesus, my savior replaces all the worthless crap of my life with true riches, with true life, with true hope. (What kind of minister are you anyway...(apparently not one that reads her Bible)"
August 27, 2008 11:55 PM


Dear Anonymous,

Perhaps you should have constructed a story which was less sappy than the one which I received to be passed mindlessly along to others. Yes, I know quite well that this was a metaphor, although very poorly conceived and constructed. I also know that any religion, which has as its mission a conversion aspect, constantly offers stories to lead one in a direction, but this story was a metaphor of Daddy "coercion" at its worst. It's a story of a relentless attack on a tot with no rhyme or reason, just submit, submit, submit or disappoint Big Daddy. Surely this reached you at some gut level? Or perhaps not.

There was no junk in this little girl's world. She had a treasure. No one explained anything! You evidently want the message, which you perceive as being portrayed to be recognized, while ignoring the damaging aspects of the other metaphor in the poor conception of this tale. From my observation this was clearly a misguided dad (god) and his subject (the tot) was being harangued relentlessly without any idea of why.

It sort of reminds me of that story (now where was it?) where this couple eats a fruit from a tree, when told specifically not to do so. Two supposedly innocent first people with built-in exploration chambers in their fresh new brains who had never been corrected for anything and knew no dangers awaited them, and low and behold, ate the whole thing! Wow, then the "know little or nothings" learned what Big Daddy was all about, when hell was unleashed. Does that sound like a metaphor for the old rabbis who needed a tale to wow the masses and keep them in tow? You bet it does!

I am not a Christian, yet I recognize clearly when a story needs scrutinized. For God's sake, do not insult a loving god with such trite stories as "The Necklace...A Beautiful Story." Please learn not to give credence to everything that seeks to be instructive, when it's clearly diminishing. You pointed out your beliefs in a few sentences much more than the writer of the beautiful story, and without a metaphor, and without dragging a child into the valley of sin.

Had the story not been presented to me as a plea to pass it along, as if I agreed with it in totality, I would not have commented. You may feel free to circulate such mixed messages in your arsenal of conversion techniques, but there are messages which need considerably more thought in what is actually striking the reader. This story falls into the genre of “child abuse.”

Most of the Bible is a metaphor, but that will not set well with most fundamental literalists. The first book is a marvelous metaphor. Most Jews understand this, while most Christians take it literally as fact. There are literally hundreds of men and women who teach at bible colleges who do not understand metaphor at all. It doesn't exist in their bible. You might spend some time educating them with some direct remarks.

If you are going to portray a loving, caring God, then don't kill the dreams of a little girl (meaning all children...that's a metaphor) with or without reason. Pick another route to exercise deliverance. Use a grubby adult who has, as you repeated, so much crap in this life. Not an innocent child who from my perspective is sinless, but won't know that she was born full of it… until this Big Daddy works his ways.

I am delighted that you personally have found something or someone, in this case, Jesus, to provide your life hope. There are indeed some grand precepts attributed to Jesus, words which Thomas Jefferson tore out of his Bible so they could be isolated and appreciated without the babble which reduced the impact of the messages.

Perhaps you will get the point of my reaction. Tell your story, allow it to resonate where it will, tell it without insulting your God and yourself, and quit allowing coercion as a major instrument in your tool box, especially toward children or adults who are child-like. The weakest link in the Christian chain, and some other religions, is the constant repetitiveness of coercive techniques of their children, who will rebel in due course upon bringing reason into their lives, and after years of exposure to the multitudes who present hypocrisy in daily doses.

There is a precept which still rings with me from many years ago, and it is borrowed from Thich Nhat Hanh, one of the world's most respected religious leaders. It is certainly not a precept which finds favor with Christian parents, yet it is an honest appeal. It reads, "Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education. However, through compassionate dialogue, help others renounce fanaticism and narrowness."

Bring a little more kindness into the stories of your God, and walk the walk. Perhaps the actual "walk" will begin to reduce coercive techniques upon the children, because the talk (and so much written materials) is too corrosive.

Thanks for the note. Sincerely....Reverend T. Wade

Monday, June 9, 2008

Link to "A Most Lethal Weapon - Words"

Please take a few minutes, as time allows, and go to Reverend Elisheva's entry for this month on the new interfaith ministry wikizine, The article is entitled "A Most Lethal Weapon - Words." It is an important read.

There are forces at work which are very destructive, and some are extraordinary in their harshness. Elisheva has taken time to explore and outline some very revealing information which may shock some readers. The entry on the internet magazine,, is being used since the BLOG entries are generally used for much shorter, more concise entries.

Your attention to the article at: is appreciated.

Reverend T. Wade Clegg III

Book Marks

A Poem by Reverend T. Wade Clegg III

When there is
knowledge gained
wisdom obtained

be not hampered

Allow yourself
to stretch
or you will never know

the incredible
which is YOU!

My Personal Reflections
When I was a small boy, the favorite gift which came my way was a book or a bible. I really enjoyed receiving books, and they were always inscribed with personal notes from friends or relatives. I even received bibles from my grandparents which offered family birthdays and complete names for many past generations. Even to this date, I still reach for my Grandmother Della Daisy Clegg's Bible for a family reference regarding a cousin's full name and birthday.

Sometimes these old books or bibles, passed along to me, had little newspaper clippings. Memorial announcements, weddings, favorite poems and scripture, even pressed flowers, would be lodged in chapter after chapter. I still look through old books and bibles in used book stores, hoping to discover some momento important to the former owner.

I have books with personal handwritten notes from the 1800's. I am still sharing the heartfelt expressions from the giver of the book to its recipent ... but now I am the holder of the book and privileged to share in the original experience.

I began to think about what to leave in my favorite books to be passed along to my children and grandchildren. What tidbit of knowledge or inspiration could I offer? I doubt that I will ever produce a book of my own, although that possibility might occur; however, I stumbled upon one method whereby I can be in everyone's book, even if they did not intend my presence. I thought, "I will simply impose myself upon the great authors by inserting myself in between the pages, and affiliate myself with their productive influences."

Some years ago I began to write "book marks" with my own little bursts of inspiration for consideration. The little poem above is just such an item. The thought simply popped into my head while reading a marvelous book. So I made this book mark (like so many others) and placed it at the page which had so much meaning for me. I hoped that one of my children or grandchildren would come across the book mark and think, "I wonder what made granddad leave a marker at this particular page?" And I imagined that he or she would be stimulated to read the section closely and perhaps return to Chapter One and enjoy the entire book. It seemed like a really good idea.

Reading is such a marvelous pleasure, and perhaps these few paragraphs will stimulate you to write your own poems or thoughts or humor, and then provide marvelous books for the next generation to discover, while also discovering you, tucked in between the pages.

What a fantastic find! Don't you think so?

Monday, May 12, 2008

The Human Core of Spirituality

Basis for a Global Community
Daniel A. Helminiak
University of West Georgia, USA
World's Religions after September 11: A Global Congress
Montréal, Québec, Canada September 11-15, 2006

The goal is to propose a basis for structuring a global community. Whereas in earlier times individual religions held together their separate and isolated societies, today the encounter of different religions leads to misunderstanding, animosity, and outright violence. Rather than being a solution to the fragmentation of the human race, intense religious commitment and even belief in “God” have often become the problem.

Nonetheless, today as in earlier times, only shared beliefs and common values could ultimately support community—and beliefs and values are spiritual. Thus, emphasis on some generic spirituality, not particularistic religion, must be the solution.

One approach to implementing this solution would be to start with the religions. Sorting out the generic spiritual aspects of the religions—such as the Golden Rule—from their particularistic dimensions would seem to provide a spiritual basis that transcends all religions and cultures. However, it is doubtful that a viable basis could derive from the religions themselves—because religions are many, their beliefs and values differ, they base even this-worldly claims on metaphysical ones, and, certainly as regards their metaphysical claims, it is impossible to adjudicate the differences. Besides, building on the religions would leave out non-religious people and secular institutions.

Therefore, that basis must be something that all religions, cultures, and peoples have in common. Such universal commonality could only lie in the very humanity that all people share. From the point of view of human attempts to structure a global community, the basis must be human, not divine, religious, or culturally specific. Appeal must be to the human spirit and its innate structures and exigencies. Only these could provide a common basis on which to structure a global community of the third millennium.

The challenge, then, is to elaborate the human spirit and to say exactly what spiritual and wholesome spirituality mean. Bernard Lonergan's analyses of intentional consciousness, or the human spirit, provide a remarkably rich elaboration. He was the late Canadian philosopher-theologian whom Time magazine called the Thomas Aquinas of the twentieth century. On the basis of "self-appropriation"—that is, attentiveness to the workings of one's own mind—Lonergan describes a dimension of the mind that is inherently self-transcending. It is an open-ended dynamism that expresses itself as wonder, questioning, reflection, and choice and that, in the ideal, would not rest until it understood everything about everything and in universal love affirmed all that is truly of value. Such an achievement could only result from openness, insight, honesty, and goodwill, for by their very nature close-mindedness, foolishness, dishonesty, and malice provide no basis for a secure and expanding future. The unfolding of the human spirit depends on unavoidable and inherent requirements. In Lonergan's words, four "transcendental precepts" define genuine or authentic humanity: "Be attentive, Be intelligent, Be reasonable, Be responsible." These are the exigencies of the human spirit even as meanings and values—or beliefs and ethics, or understandings and commitments, or truth and love—are its products and its hallmarks.

Granted that the human spirit is of this kind, it would appear that spirituality regards, first and foremost, the on-going integration of the inherent human spiritual capacity into the structures of the personality. Spirituality is deliberate commitment to the self-transcending dimension of our minds, and its goal is increasing sensitivity and responsiveness to this same dimension. Further, it would appear that this human spiritual capacity is the source of knowledge about Transcendent Reality and the origin of society, culture, and organized religion. It would also appear that the role of religion is precisely to foster spirituality. Therefore, any religious beliefs or practices that curtain or prevent the unfolding of the human spirit would have to be judged inauthentic, spurious, misguided, wrong. Thus, emphasis on spirituality that is grounded in the make-up of the human being would seem to provide a universally valid basis for genuine human community and the criteria of genuine spiritual pursuit.

From other perspectives, others have arrived at a similar solution. The advantage of relying on Lonergan's analyses is their thorough-going rigor, exhaustive detail, and philosophical depth. Lonergan thematizes that very human "instrument" that generates cultures, religions, and systems of meaning and value. Thus, his position seems to be immune to post-modern criticism, which itself is an expression of the human spiritual capacity that is focus of Lonergan's analyses.

Just as a single humanity expresses itself in a variety of wholesome and colorful cultures, so, too, such "generic spirituality," grounded in a single humanity, could express itself in a range of religious diversity. Apart from concern for other-worldly or metaphysical possibilities but from the more urgent point of view of this-worldly living, the religions of the world and all people of good will, religious or not, could rally around this core spirituality. Thus, a shared set of beliefs and values, those that foster life, would provide the basis for a global community.

To the extent that the particularities of specific religions violated the core human beliefs and values, if attentive, intelligent, reasonable, and responsible, the religions would have to acknowledge that their teaching was askew: If these teachings do not foster richer life and deeper spirituality in this world, how could they be of God or enhance a life to come? In light of an emerging global community and the encounter of differing religions, it is only to be expected that the religions would be led to adjust and purify their teachings and, thus, better serve their adherents. Any religion unwilling or unable to follow this course could hardly claim to be authentic either before humanity or before whatever Transcendent Power there might be.

This non-religious and non-theist understanding of spirituality applies to secular institutions, as well. It calls them to respect and foster the inherent spiritual dimension of humanity. They might do so under the urging of the united voices of religious agencies and individuals and of non-religious people of good will.

This via media respects religious concerns in that it insists on spirituality, and it respects secular concerns in that it imposes no specific religious position. As in traditional societies, the religious and the secular could once again be healthily integrated, and the whole of society would be spiritual. Appeal to the human spirit—not to revelation, tradition, culture, God, or religion—could provide a universally valid spiritual basis on which to structure a global community. Required for the successful deployment of this urgent project are only the honesty and good will of the religions, nations, businesses, corporations, agencies, and people in our world.

Major Resources on Bernard Lonergan

Lonergan, B. J. F. (1972). Method in theology. New York: Herder and Herder.

_____. (1990). Understanding and being: The Halifax lectures on Insight (E. A. Morelli & M. D. Morelli, Eds.). Collected Works of Bernard Lonergan (Vol. 5). Toronto: University of Toronto Press. (original work published 1980)

_____. (1992). Insight: A study of human understanding. Collected Works of Bernard Lonergan (Vol. 3). Toronto: Toronto University Press. (original work published 1957)

McCarthy, M. (1997). Pluralism, invariance, and conflict. The Review of Metaphysics, 51, 3-23.

Application of Lonergan's Analyses to Generic Spirituality

Helminiak, D. A. (1987). Spiritual development: An interdisciplinary study. Chicago: Loyola University Press.

_____. (1996). The human core of spirituality: Mind as psyche and spirit. Albany: State University of New York Press.

_____. (1997). Killing for God's sake: The spiritual crisis in religion and society. Pastoral Psychology, 45, 365-374

_____. (1998). Religion and the human sciences: An approach via spirituality. Albany: State University of New York Press.

_____. (2005). A down-to-earth approach to the psychology of spirituality a century after James's Varieties. The Humanistic Psychologist, 33, 69-86

_____. (2005). Meditation without myth: What I wish they'd taught me in church about prayer, meditation, and the quest for peace. New York: Crossroad.

_____. (2006). The role of spirituality in formulating a theory of the psychology of religion. Zygon, 41, 197-224.

_____. (2006). Sex and the sacred: Gay identity and spiritual growth. New York: Harrington Park Press.

_____. (2008). Spirituality for a global community: Religion, pluralism, and secular society. New York: Rowman & Littlefield.

Related Works of Similar Emphasis

Dalai Lama (1999). Ethics for the new millennium. New York: Riverhead Books.

Elkins, D. N. (1998) Beyond religion: A personal program for building a spiritual life outside the walls of traditional religion. Wheaton, IL: Quest Books.

Holloway, R. (1999). Godless morality: Keeping religion out of ethics. Edinburgh: Canongate Books.

Küng, H. (2001). Global responsibility: In search of a new world ethic. New York: Continuum.

Küng, H., & Schmidt, H. (Eds.). (1998). A global ethic and global responsibilities: Two declarations. London: SCM Press.

Kane, R. (1994). Through the moral maze: Searching for absolute values in a pluralistic world. New York: Paragon House.

Mustakova-Possardt, E. (2003). Critical consciousness: A study of morality in global, historical context. London: Praeger.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Gift

The tale of the vase began at a very important wedding in a storybook place some time ago. Following a lovely ceremony, the request was presented to the audience for anyone wishing to offer words of comfort or learning to now state those wishes to the couple.

There arose from the crowd an elderly man, who had come alone. His name was not known to the couple, but he had a presence of being The Wise, and his nature was soothing to all. He walked to the couple and asked for both to hold forth their hands...into which he placed the most gorgeous handmade vase.

The Wise then said, "There is in this setting an excess of goodfeelings of love and caring. The overflow which is so abundant will now enter this vase. You will place this vase and all that it contains in a prominent place in your dwelling, and there it will remain."
The Wise added, "The vase is by itself a beautiful object from this memorable day, but it now contains sustainable ingredients of the most important celebration in your lives. It is the host of the love and caring which originated with your union."

And then The Wise said, "The challenges will be many in your marriage, and understanding may experience strain. You may inadvertently say or do something which diminishes your partner, and hurt may permeate your being and bring stress to your partner. Then - the one who has caused stress will go to the place of the vase, and place a flower into it. The bloom will draw sustenance from that which is within the vase, and the flower's fragrance will sweep through your dwelling and reach your inner senses and allow you to know that the transgressor seeks forgiveness and a return to love. The one who forgives will also place a flower into the vase as a signal that a renewal is secured."

Then The Wise added one single blessing: "May the vase never know occupancy, but if it must, may the flowers remain for the shortest duration, and find their way to other vessels."

The vase was released to the couple and The Wise departed. No one knew who he was or from where he came, but the vase was to become a cherished and permanent reminder to the couple, who lived joyously for fifty years and died peacefully within days of each other.

What is known and passed along in the history of the family is that the vase never was used in the life of the couple. They knew the art of communication and the knowledge of each other's heart, and never allowed the vase to bear the burden of disenchantment.

When the couple died, their children went to find the vase, but it had disappeared. Their intention was to bury the vase with the couple, for it was their most valued possession.
On the day they were buried in a place not so far away, a wedding was in progress and at the end of the service, when the audience was asked to offer a blessing...there arose an elderly man who came forward with a gift.....
- Reverend T. Wade Clegg III

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Necklace...A Beautiful Story! OR IS IT?

Just some observations from Rev. T. Wade Clegg III

The following story originated with someone I do not know and was then transmitted by someone I do know, hoping to provide what they believe to be inspirational. However, like so many “seemingly” inspirational offerings which I receive, I seldom pass them along. I often wonder if such stories are really being read, and more importantly, I fear that this particular story which is aimed at adults might actually be passed along to children as a worthwhile message. You be the judge.

The Necklace…A beautiful story!

The cheerful little girl with bouncy golden curls was almost five. Waiting with her mother at the checkout stand, she saw them, a circle of glistening white pearls in a pink foil box.

“Oh Mommy, please, Mommy. Can I have them? Please, Mommy, please?”

Quickly the mother checked the back of the little foil box and then looked back into the pleading blue eyes of her little girl’s upturned face.

“A dollar ninety-five. That’s almost $2.00. If you really want them, I’ll think of some extra chores for you and in no time you can save enough money to buy them for yourself. Your birthday’s only a week away and you might get another crisp dollar bill from Grandma.”

As soon as Jenny got home, she emptied her penny bank and counted out 17 pennies. After dinner, she did more than her share of chores and she went to her neighbor and asked Mrs. McJames if she could pick dandelions for ten cents. On her birthday, Grandma did give her another new dollar bill and at last she had enough money to buy the necklace.

Jenny loved her pearls. They made her feel dressed up and grown up. She wore them everywhere, Sunday School, kindergarten, even to bed. The only time she took them off was when she went swimming or had a bubble bath. Mother said if they got wet, they might turn her neck green.

Jenny had a very loving daddy and every night when she was ready for bed, he would stop whatever he was doing and come upstairs to read her a story. One night as he finished the story, he asked Jenny, “Do you love me?”

“Oh yes, daddy. You know that I love you.”

“Then give me your pearls,” said Jenny’s dad.

“Oh daddy, not my pearls. But you can have Princess, the white horse from my collection, the one with the pink tail. Remember, daddy? The one you gave me. She’s my very favorite.”

“That’s okay, Honey, daddy loves you. Good night.” And he brushed Jenny’s cheek with a kiss.

(Forgive me for interrupting, but does this sound like a Grimm tale with that wolf? Sorry, but it just struck me that daddy is really toying with little Jenny)

About a week later, after the story time, Jenny’s daddy asked again, “Do you love me?”

“Daddy, you know I love you.”

“Then give me your pearls.”

“Oh Daddy, not my pearls. But you can have my baby doll. The brand new one I got for my birthday. She is beautiful and you can have the yellow blanket that matches her sleeper.”

“That’s okay. Sleep well. God bless you, little one. Daddy loves you.”
(Forgive me for interrupting, but I am almost exhausted having to read and write this gibberish again…my desire to jerk the hair on Jenny’s dad’s head is almost unbearable!)

And as always, he brushed her cheek with a gentle kiss. A few nights later when her daddy came in, Jenny was sitting on her bed with her legs crossed Indian style. As he came close, he noticed her chin was trembling and one silent tear rolled down her cheek.

“What is it, Jenny? What’s the matter?”
(Forgive me for interrupting, but can you imagine that this “daddy” has no clue why little Jenny is weeping! WOW, this guy needs therapy!)
Jenny didn’t say anything but lifted her little hand up to her daddy. And when she opened it, there was her little pearl necklace. With a little quiver, she finally said, “Here daddy, this is for you.”

(Forgive me for interrupting, but just as Jenny started to quiver, I screamed, “NO JENNY, DON’T GIVE BIG DADDY THE PEARLS!! He has no sense of the sentimental value to you! You worked, you saved, you took Grandma’s dollar and invested in those pearls. ASK HIM WHY HE NEEDS THEM SO BADLY! But… it was too late.)
With tears gathering in his own eyes, Jenny’s daddy reached out with one hand to take the dime store necklace, and with the other hand he reached into his pocket and pulled out a blue velvet case with a strand of genuine pearls and gave them to Jenny.

He had them all the time. He was just waiting for her to give up the dime-store stuff so he could give her the genuine treasure
(Forgive me for interrupting, since I needed to settle down and catch my breath. When Big Daddy started to weep, after the family made little Jenny earn her own birthday pearls (with the help of Grandma’s pension), and then saw no shame in brow-beating little Jenny with guilt, night after night, to let go of her precious pearls…well I had to stop writing for just a minute. I HAD NO CLUE THAT BIG DADDY WAS A BANKER, AND CHEAP STUFF IS NOT ALLOWED, NO MATTER HOW MUCH MORE VALUABLE IT MAY BE TO A FIVE-YEAR OLD CURLY HAIRED LOVING CHILD.)


So it is, with our Heavenly Father. He is waiting for us to give up the cheap things in our lives so that he can give us beautiful treasures. God will never take away something without giving you something better in its place. God bless… (The end)

No more interruptions; it’s sadly over. Little Jenny has been coerced over the weeks and burdened with so much guilt that she gives up those pearls and gets the real thing. Daddy did not tell her WHY he wanted those pearls, and little Jenny is just FIVE, and not old enough to ask some simple questions. No rhyme or reasons, just Daddy wants those pearls. There needs to be suffering for little Jenny with all that guilt in route to getting her Mercedez. It makes it all worthwhile with the suffering. After all without the suffering and guilt how would she know? Know what? Poor little Jenny may lose her Mother tonight, and Big Daddy will provide someone better. Seems logical.

Something is terribly wrong with this story. If there was a desire to relate a lesson of learning, this was not it. WHERE is the unconditional love in this sobby tale? There is so much simplicity packed into this story, and sadly these are the stories which are almost never questioned upon receipt. They are just labeled, “a beautiful story.”

My dear lovely readers…please take stock of what you are NOT questionning, and talk to your children when they come home from Sunday School or church, and allow them to hear (as Paul Harvey said so well)…THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STORY.

There is so much more to say, but not today. These thought-provoking stories of guilt, shame, suffering little children with worthless stuff, and a God who will not tolerate cheap pearls, just keep coming, so I need my rest to read them all, and know when to delete. AMEN.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Beautiful Locale for Weddings & Ceremonies

It is not often that we write a special entry to promote a business or person, but sometimes, something comes along that requires mentioning. When a couple confronted with all the planning and excution of the dream wedding, we know this can take its toll .

So when something comes across my path as a wedding minister, which is exceptional, I like to pass it on to my friends. I know most of you are married already, but maybe there will be a friend, family member or vow renewal in your future in need of a locale.

The place I'm speaking of is called "Khimaira Farms" located in the beautiful rolling mountains of Virginia near the town of Luray. You may explore more information about Khimaira Farms at their website located at the following:

The contact person is Linda Campbell (email: who is a very professional and delightful coordinator. The feedback we have had from couples, so far, has warranted this information being passed to you today.

Blessings, Rev Elisheva

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Poem by Reverend T. Wade Clegg III

The mirror reflected a mark,
just over my heart

An old wound,
still painful to touch

No, not painful
at the entry point

But just below
at the center of my being

There, where love was ...
and is no more.

Oh wake me,
please wake me

Let me shed this skin
and dream again

And gaze into that mirror
no blemish will I see

There, where love is ...
and will forever be.

From the thoughts of Reverend T. Wade Clegg III

Then - is it not absolutely logical that the most powerful emotion within the human condition will energize a room, and two observors will experience the full influence of these magnetic waves. Perhaps this is the lightning which has been so often expressed in metaphors over time eternal, when true lovers meet. If only this were enough to sustain a relationship; that explosive rush which leaves knees weak and tongues tied. This is the beginning, yes, but the depth of the magnetism to sustain requires constant nourishment, constant observation. In the act of commiting to one another in the acceptance of marriage, each observor is aware that love is sustained by attention. The act of commiting clearly indicates that this unknown force which drew this couple together will be sustained because of their openly declared intention. This intention will influence and continue to energize and from it the most powerful result in creation will result in the human effort. It is called oneness.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Incorporating Children into the Wedding

Allow us to cut to the chase for those of you who have been married, and have children. The diversity of situations, and with different ages, can lend itself to many chapters; but the core of the matter is that this wedding is the formation of a new family with a whole new set of dynamics.

As an Interfaith Minister and a Pastoral Counselor, I use a questionnaire to learn about a couple and their backgrounds. This generally offers an abundance of information which leads to in depth discussions.

Sometimes couples do not allow for adequate time to engage through our questionnaires, but I do not let this matter go unanswered even if our discussion is solely by phone and e-mail. The subject of children, their ages, their acceptance of the new parents and perhaps new brothers and sisters, the present role of birth parents and their acceptance of the new bondings; these are just a few of the matters which need discussion. Inattention by the couple to the feelings of children can lead to disastrous situations.

While most wedding ministers may not be fully equipped for counseling, a couple should consider a formal counseling session, if the minister has qualifications, or seek advice from a family counselor, when the wedding minister is simply hired as an officiant. The couple must allow their excitement to blatantly reach out and engulf their children. They must use the words, “This is as much about you as about me," and show that they mean it.

Children may hide their feelings, or in some cases with the very young, they are simply confused. They are often caught in a game of shuffle between parents who have arranged for weekly and monthly visitations. Many still have the expectation that there will be a return to their previous home with birth parents, and the reality of that not happening only comes forth the day of the actual wedding when a new parent is added to the mix.

I recall vividly when one very professional couple married in their lovely new home. The bride had two teen boys; the groom a teen girl and an eight year old boy. They wanted the kids involved with entry, handling rings, candle-lighting, etc. Although it was not planned, all four children remained next to each parent as full participants during the entire ceremony.

I changed the words in the ceremony and made their involvement very prominent. From the time the service began, the oldest teens – the boy from the bride and girl from the groom - both cried almost constantly. Nothing awkwardly disturbing, but quietly as if the loss of their past lives was breaking their hearts. The other two kids were just confused and held on to their older siblings.

The couple was totally surprised by these reactions. They had not anticipated or prepared for this emotional scene. Indeed, it was learned from one of the grandparents that the distraught boy had been told by his Father that he would never marry again, giving the child hope of reuniting with his Mother. However, the Father had broken that promise and married someone else, and now the final blow was his Mother's wedding.

I spent some time privately speaking to the kids. Each set of kids liked the new parent and appreciated the new friendships. They were just not as prepared as the couple for celebrating the wedding. I gave each child my phone number and asked each to call me if they needed to talk. Their parents had consented to this involvement and the kids sensed that I had an understanding of their feelings.

I remember another couple, the groom without children, and the bride with three little ones, all boys. The wedding was in a small home with family, and the boys were so excited to have a Father. I asked the couple if the children could participate for they had not discussed it. Once the boys were asked, they became very excited and the couple realized how important this wedding really was to the children.

I devised simple little things, even if it meant coming up and holding hands, and placing hands all together over rings. During the ceremony the youngest boy grabbed my leg with both arms and just held on, as we continued. He was all smiles, and when it came time to hug and kiss,everyone wanted in on this special action. The words, “You may now kiss!” will forever have such heartfelt meaning for that family.

The conversation, the ceremony, the rituals, the mention of new and extended grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, and a special invitation for all to come forward after the ceremony and greet the kids with their new titles, is such a marvelous opportunity to reach out and touch.

The opportunities for inclusion are many. Use the ceremony to make each child feel special. Once again, the magic word is “inclusion!”

Ideas for the Inclusion of Children:

1. First and most prominent is for the couple, separately and then as a couple,to initiate conversation with the children and the couple's desire for the children to be involved in the wedding. Suggest that until consultation with the minister exactly what this may entail is open for discussion. Listen to their feedback.

2. During procession, children could escort Mother down the isle. Children may accompany Father during his entry also. Children may remain with couple during the ceremony. In one wedding a teenage son escorted his Mother to the minister and was asked, "Who presents this bride?" The boy said, "My brothers and I." Just sharing.

3. Children may take the lead in the procession, preceeding the Maid of Honor/ Groomsmen and stand with them during the ceremony. Children can replace Maid of Honor and Groomsmen and stand with their parents. It may have merit to consider how to involve the children first and then fill in with other participants.

4. Children can be given a special gift during the ceremony, i.e. a special necklace or bracelet (something intimate) with a date/notation engraved, accompanied by, as desired, a special message or statement by the couple. Sometimes this is a most emotional moment, and simply a hug and "I love you," is quite powerful.

5. Children can be involved in a candlelight ceremony. They can light, or be assisted in lighting, smaller candles, which in turn lead to a unity candle concept. Bridesmaids and groomsmen can be designated to assist smaller children.

6. Children may wish to speak to the couple during the ceremony with a prepared message or reading or poem. This is not an infrequent occurance when teens are involved. Perhaps this idea is best offered as an option for consideration by the minister to children. One of the most moving two minutes in a ceremony in my experience was delivered by a 12-year old girl, an only
child, who wanted to express her happiness for having the bride as a Mother. It was after this message that the couple presented her with a gift.

7. Children can be integral in a presentation of a rose to each parent, who can then present each rose to their new spouse. This exchange of roses, which can take place following the pronouncement, would then represent the first gift from one spouse to the other as husband and wife, and the children's participation is tied to this first gift.

8. Children can be involved in the ring ceremony in a variety of ways, serving as holders of the rings, and presenters.

9. Children can participate in a ritual which can be originated around a blessing of the hands of the couple. Sometimes a hand-binding ritual, which can involve a stoll or ceremonial band, is wrapped around the couples' clasped hands, and then the parents of the couple will place their hands on top as the minister offers a blessing. This can also include the children, or remain
relegated to the children. Sometimes...the more the merrier!

10. The above are generally known ways to include children; however, there are so many imaginative innovations. Your wedding will set the tone for this new and vibrant family's future.