Tag Archives: Old Testament

Ep98 Listening Is Loving



Father Len helps us grapple with what it means to truly listen and why God calls us to be professional listeners.

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Highlights, Ideas, and Wisdom

  • Shema Prayer: “Listen O Israel, the LORD your God is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your mind and all your strength and your neighbor as yourself.”
  • Shema means listen, but it really means pay attention.
  • The Shema is the central prayer of Judaism and Catholicism.
  • The Bible says, ears that Shema will discover God and what God has made known.
  • Our society is not trained to listen, but to overpower each other with counter accusations.
  • God meant us to become professional listeners, listening to the word of God and the voice of God in other people.
  • Listening forms community.
  • Not listening or paying full attention destroys community.
  • Marriage is a type of community.
  • The gift of hospitality is your full attention.
  • We can become what we listen to so we must be careful what not to listen to.
  • “First seek to understand, then to be understood.” – Stephen Covey
  • “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R Covey
  • “The only commandment I ever obeyed – ‘Consider the lilies.’” – Emily Dickinson
  • “The number one sin that people are confessing these days is anger.” – Father Len
  • “All morality comes down to attentiveness, attentiveness to God, attentiveness to other people. The essence of immorality is not to be attentive to others or God, not to see or hear other people.” – Iris Murdoch, Irish philosopher
  • “Stolen Focus: Why You Can’t Pay Attention—and How to Think Deeply Again” by Johann Hari

We welcome your questions and comments:

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Ep56 Bible Symbols Revealed and Explained-Part 2 Trees



Father Len reveals that trees are symbols for God and human beings and trees represent the most important choices we make in life.

Highlights, Ideas, and Wisdom

  • Trees are the third most common thing mentioned in the Bible.
  • God loves trees and gives them a ring every year on their birthdays.
  • Trees are places where human beings choose to worship or reject God.
  • There is a tree present at every major event in the Bible.
  • Every major character in the Bible is associated with a type of tree.
  • The only thing Jesus ever harmed was a tree that produced no fruit.
  • The Bible begins and ends with the “tree of life” and trees are present throughout the Bible.
  • The story of human history is choosing between two trees: the tree of life and the tree of good and selfishness.
  • There are two types of food. One gives us physical life. The other gives us spiritual life.
  • If we eat the fruit of the tree of good and selfishness we are cut off from the covenant with God and disconnected from the source of life.
  • The temptation to eat the fruit of the tree of good and selfishness is the promise of the power to define what is good and evil for ourselves rather than God.
  • We don’t have to earn the fruit from the tree of life. God gives it freely to us.
  • When anybody makes a commitment to God in the Bible there’s always a tree, an altar, and water present.
  • The tree of good and selfishness often appears in the form of an Idol in the Bible. The Idol is a false tree we create to define our own version of morality.
  • The Hebrews called idols “luxuriant trees” representing the pursuit of power, sex, and money for happiness. The Hebrew letters for “luxuriant tree” cleverly spell Garden of Eden backwards.
  • Addictions always promise happiness, but in the end leave us destroyed.
  • Trees in the Bible symbolize commitments and altars represent the rituals around the commitments.
  • The spiritual life in the Bible is pictured as a tree that must push its roots down deep to find the water of life necessary to produce good fruit in all seasons of life.
  • Jesus’ cross is called a tree in the Bible representing the tree of life. That’s why there is one cross next to or above the altar in every Catholic Church. It’s a reminder of the tree we should be eating from each day for eternal life.

Ep48 God is a Trickster



Father Len reveals how and why God uses loving trickery to expose truth and help us understand and live our purpose.

Highlights, Ideas, and Wisdom

  • Father Len explores the common theme in the religious mythologies presented in Joseph Campbell’s “Power of Myth” that first got him thinking about God as a trickster back when he was in junior high school.
  • The trickster in every religious mythology is a rebel who is creative and helps humanity in unexpected, backwards and upside down ways.
  • The theme of the trickster God, the God who turns things upside down, is also present in the Bible.
  • Father Len shares the story of Moses, the coward with a stuttering problem who becomes the greatest prophet in the Old Testament to illustrate God’s unexpected, upside down, and backwards ways.
  • The Bible tells us God’s ways and wisdom don’t necessarily follow straight lines or human logic with lines like: “Eyes have not seen, ears have not heard what God has in store for us.”
  • Father Len shares his theory on why God loves to play the trickster.
  • The mystery of God means we can never truly understand the infinite. The God of infinite love and infinite possibilities.
  • Truth can be very tricky.
  • Father Len shares a Native American religious myth to illustrate why God sends us tricksters in life.
  • When God created the world, he gave every single creature a gift that must be shared for creation to work properly.
  • We crave clarity. We demand things be either horizontal or vertical, hot or cold, black or white, right or wrong, good or bad. But, God provides ambiguity and less clear lines that must be fully explored with an open mind to be understood.
  • God is willing to forgive what we consider unforgivable.
  • Father Len uses stories about the “Feast of Fools” and the “Feast of the Ass” to illustrate the value of tricksters in religion and life.
  • We need tricksters and fools to keep us from getting trapped in our orthodoxy and thinking we have the answer to everything in life.
  • There is real danger in orthodoxy that boxes God into simple neat little answers.
  • The heart of any civilization is its spirituality.
  • God sends us people like Francis, Dorothy Day, and Catherine Doherty who seem foolish and silly at first, but in actuality they are tricksters sent by God to expose truth.
  • Tricksters have this sacred role to help us laugh at ourselves, see the world from different perspectives and expose hypocrisy and foolishness and our spiritual rigor mortis.
  • Christ is the ultimate trickster and holy fool. He does everything in unexpected ways. He destroys our enemies by making them our brothers and sisters. That’s a great trick. He destroys death by welcoming death. That’s unexpected.
  • God is the trickster who’s always overturning our ways.
  • Habits have a way of deadening the impressions from our experiences, causing even the holiest of things to become superficial or lost.
  • When things happen in our lives appear to be silly or foolish, could it be the trickster God trying to help us see what is real and true?

Ep46 Interpreting and Understanding the Bible



Father Len reveals the obstacles to accurately interpreting and fully understanding the Bible and what it takes to overcome these hurdles.

Highlights, Ideas, and Wisdom

  • Father Len shares a fun study about how people rate their driving abilities to illustrate the effect of ego on how we see ourselves and view the world.
  • Human beings believe their opinions and decisions are rational, but studies reveal they are most often based on personal desires.
  • It takes great humility and freedom from ego for us to accurately see ourselves.
  • In spite of more than 400 detailed prophecies in the Bible about the coming of the Christ, very few people showed up for the birth of Jesus.
  • Father Len explains why shepherds and Zoroastrian priests were the only people to go to Bethlehem to honor and celebrate the birth of Christ.
  • For all eternity, God desired to take on human form to teach us how to be true human beings. Ironically, the great desire of human beings is to become godlike, chasing power and wealth and distance from the problems of fellow humans.
  • In spite of constant study of the Messiah prophecies and authoring a complicated compilation of these prophecies, known as the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Essene monks missed the coming of Christ because they were highly judgmental and filled with hate.
  • If you read the Bible through the lens of your own ego, prejudice and social position, you’re always going to come up with a wrong interpretation.
  • Hatred, selfishness, and ego blind us from finding God even if we memorize and are able to quote the Bible.
  • The Bible warns us of false prophets, those who interpret Scripture through their own agenda.
  • The “Left Behind” series of books by Tim LaHaye is an example of false prophecies.
  • Sincere desire to discover truth, humility, and love are essential to accurately interpreting the Bible.
  • It takes years to gain humility and the self-awareness to recognize how often we interpret the world from our own perspective and we’re not always right.
  • “Awareness” by Anthony De Mello

Ep9 What is the Bible and why does it matter?



Father Len explains what the Bible is, where it came from, why it matters and how to use it.

Highlights, Ideas, and Wisdom

  • The Bible is a collection of books of sacred stories that span thousands of years.
  • The Bible is not a rule book. There are rules in the Bible, but they only make sense in the context of the stories in which they are contained.
  • The stories in the Bible give meaning to why we’re here and help us understand the purpose of our lives.
  • Bible stories are stories of a community written by a community explaining sacred reality from many viewpoints, different viewpoints, and even opposing viewpoints.
    • The wisdom contained in the “Book of Proverbs” is innocent and sweet like a young teenage girl.
    • The “Book of Ecclesiastes” critiques everything in the “Book of Proverbs.” Imagine a 40-year-old guy with a cigarette in one hand and a tumbler of whiskey in the other sitting down to share his perspective on life with the innocent and sweet teenage girl.
  • The Bible tests our ideas about life and reveals truth from many different angles. It offers the wisdom of generations and generations.
  • Wisdom grows over time. Wisdom at one part of your life may not work at another. Your truth at age 18 might be true, but it’s a limited truth. Your truth at 50 is another type of truth and it might be true. When you get to 90, you’ll see the world much differently than you did at 18 or 50.
  • The Bible uses many genres to reveal truth. It contains large amounts of poetry, historical facts, myths, and fiction. All are sacred stories.
  • The Bible is inspired by God and directed by God, but written by human beings for human beings.
  • The Bible should be used as stories. Complete stories. Isolating and quoting individual chapters and verses from Bible stories can be problematic. Even though the words are correct, their meaning can easily be misunderstood or misinterpreted when removed from the context of the overall story and its meaning.
  • The Bible disagrees with itself at certain points, and it’s meant to, because then you have to change your thinking.
  • If you’re going to study the Bible, read it regularly in a community with a community’s perspective. Read it slow. Let it challenge you.