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One World

When I was a little boy, my world was what I saw around me. It was centered on a Mother and Father and an older brother in a home that was more than just a house. There was school and church and relationships and feelings. There was life all around me. Other people and other families, but also mosquitos and frogs, dogs and cats, horses pulling ice and milk wagons. There were trees, and grass and flowers, sidewalks and paved streets whose tar was hot to bare feet in the summer. On trips in our 1926 Buick, I’d get carsick.. There was the warm and bright sun each day, but also sunburns in summer. At night, either the moon filled the sky or the brilliant Milky Way spread its stars against a dark sky.

It was an ordered world for me, with teachers and ministers (my Father was the Methodist minister.) There were policemen, firemen, and postmen. There was an A&P Grocery store, a Rexall Drug store with ice cream cones and jimmies, and big department stores in nearby Boston, and everyone dressed up even to go shopping.

As a small boy God was somewhere “up there” as our creator, but also within me as my conscience. He also loved me as a Father. Only later did I understand God loving me as a Mother. And I learned the larger story of the world’s creation and evolution, which I see as God’s gradual revelation to us as thinking human beings. And what a grand story it is.

I now see each day as a new revelation of God’s world . By world, I mean the entire Universe from the tiny atomic systems to the largest galaxies, constantly creating with birthing and dying, and including our Earth as a living and integral part of that creating that includes even you and me. It is One World. It is a Sacred World. I see God’s Love in all the relatedness and relationships that have evolved as Life developed here on our Sacred Earth. How privileged we are as human beings to share in that Life and Love. Our response must be awe and wonder and gratitude, but also compassion and justice – and grief at our failures.

Listen to the words of Mary Oliver’s one-sentence “Poem of the One World.”

This morning the beautiful white heron was floating along above the water
and then into the sky of this one world we all belong to
where everything sooner or later is part of everything else
which thought made me feel for a little while more beautiful myself.
(A Thousand Mornings, by Mary Oliver. 2012 The Penguin Press)

Loren Bullock
November 21, 2020

I Grew Up In Predominantly White Suburbs

in the 1920s and 30s, I grew up in several Boston suburbs that were predominantly white. That adverb “predominantly” was generally understood in a numerical size sense. That was true of my neighborhood, my schools, my church – that was my culture. It was also true most of my career life- in the Navy in WW2, teaching Physics in Colleges, and then 32 years in IBM marketing. I never considered myself as a racist.

I never thought much about how the word “predominantly” was used any differently in the phrase, ”predominantly white or black.” It meant numerically by color. Except I did understand that it had a rich – poor connotation. In my culture, I failed to appreciate that “predominatly” included the word “dominate,” implying strength and control. Unfortunately, it had also come to imply “better than.” Blacks clearly understood and experienced this. And still do.

Domination Culture is not new. The Roman Empire was certainly a domination culture, as were the resulting nations of Europe. And that included the Catholic Church. In the 15th Century, following Columbus’ “discovery” of new lands, two Papal orders (called “Bulls”) were issued that authorized the Kings of Spain and Portugal, in a series of Discovery Documents, to claim those “non-Christian” lands. Their inhabitants, being non-Christian, were considered “less than human” so were available for enslavement and cruel treatment.. This ideology supported the dehumanization of both the enslaved Africans and the existing indigenous peoples in the Caribbean and California Spanish Missions. Britain also accepted this as their authorization for eastern North America. This Discovery Doctrine therefor encouraged white supremacy in the New World in that the white European settlers saw themselves as bearers of divine design with cultural superiority Moreover, in an 1823 opinion, Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, John Marshall, wrote, “the principles of Discovery gave European nations an absolute right to New World lands.” So it’s even part of our United States legal heritage as well.

I am much more aware now of the privileges I have been given as a white American in the 21st Century. Black Lives Matter is a significant movement that has the potential of making real equality in justice and economics that has been too long in coming for all living human beings. Even more significant to me is the realization that we are an integral part of the entire Universe which includes all forms of life, plus the Earth itself, the stars and galaxies. For me the entire Cosmos is sacred, making each one of us a sacred part of that Cosmos. Humans must come to accept that total Cosmos Community if are to reach our full potential as a species. We belong to something Grand. It changes our viewpoint on everything. For me, my first response is awe and wonder – and gratitude.

Loren Bullock
July 25, 2020

Reading the Bible

I grew up in the 1930s in a Protestant Christian culture in Massachusetts in which the local churches were a significant part of our society. My father was a Methodist minister, so I went to church every Sunday (but doodled on the bulletin with a pencil during his sermons.) My father had two theological graduate degrees (Boston University School of Theology), and was of the more liberal theological thinking. So I didn’t grow up with a fundamentalist and literal approach to the Bible. This was reinforced when I took my first Bible course in my high school years at Mount Hermon School in western Massachusetts. And in college, although I majored in Math and Physics, I took an in-depth course in “Synoptics”, an intense study of the structure of the first three Gospels that gave me the base for my later reading and study.

Four books have been key to me in my attempts at articulating my own understanding and experiencing of God. The first one, Honest to God, by Bishop John A.T. Robinson (1963), became a classic, but upset even his own Anglican Church at the time. Then in the 1990s I discovered the weekly column and then the books of Bishop John Shelby Spong, Episcopal Bishop of Newark, New Jersey (1979-2000). He articulated for me a theology that I had been trying to express and understand. Three of his books have been particularly meaningful to me: the first one, Jesus For the Non-Religious – Recovering the Divine at the Heart of the Human (2007), the second one, Liberating the Gospels – Reading the Bible with Jewish Eyes (1996), and the third one, The Fourth Gospel – Tales of a Jewish Mystic (2013). The last two are for me the clearest explanation of what the four Gospels are all about. His interpretation makes sense to me.

In Liberating the Gospels, early “Christians” were Jews in their Synagogues reading their scripture (OT) and retelling the stories as now applied to Jesus. They were initially for liturgical use in a synagogue, but by the time the Gospels were written, they were becoming increasingly separated from the synagogues. As written, they clearly reflect the chronology of the Jewish festivals. But their Jewishness was soon lost as the Christian Church became Gentile. And the stories became more and more interpreted literally.

In The Fourth Gospel, Spong has given me a whole new way to read the Gospel of John. The author of John did not write it as history or biography, but presents The Christ as Jesus interacts with a series of characters that are all metaphorical, even though some have familiar names He gives me a new way of understanding why this Gospel is so different from the other three.

Loren Bullock

May 3, 2020

My Personal Creed 2020

Over the years I’ve written numerous versions of my Personal Creed, attempting to articulate my ever-evolving beliefs as a Christian. This most recent version is still in three parts: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. I’m just not using those traditional titles. Because, for me, “God” has become a verb rather than a noun. “God” is an experience more than a belief. So my own Personal Creed does not describe the nature of God, but is an expression of my experience of God.

First, I experience God in the creativity that is happening all around me – in new life each spring, in the birth of a baby, in the warmth of the sun. I see God in our constantly evolving universe, its distances, its minuteness, its incredible order and system, its beauty and mystery. And I experience God in the expanding story of the evolution of life – including even me.
I can only respond with awe and wonder, with reverence and love.

Second, I experience God within me – as the risen Jesus within me – as those early Disciples must have felt even more deeply their own experience of the spirit of the risen Jesus within themselves. Jesus was a living human being within whom the holy was so intimately and totally present in the human that they were as one – revealing what it is to be fully human, embodying love and forgiveness, servanthood and sacrifice.
I must respond by living each ordinary day as a holy day with God’s presence in me defining who I am and constantly urging me to become more fully human, transcending my inborn self-serving survival instincts.

Third, I experience God in community, not only God within me, but God through me and beyond me. God’s Spirit is in my relationships that become covenants – a mutual dependency – not just with those closest to me, my family and friends, but with all humanity, all forms of life, a covenant with the Earth itself, the source of all life and its sustenance. I am an integral part of this sacred Universe. I belong!
I must respond with gratitude, but also with justice and compassion, to live in oneness with God’s world, to love extravagantly, to wash more feet.

No, I don’t live up to these words each day. But they are my vision of God’s Kingdom, and my goal as a Christian.

My Credo.

Loren Bullock
July 19, 2018, rev May 20, 2020

Christmas 2019

How special those Christmas stories in Matthew and Luke are to us as each year as we celebrate the birth of Jesus. For those of us who grew up in Christian homes, our childhood memories are still a part of us, or as parents we watched our own children’s delight and excitement bring warmed hearts. Stories of angels singing and of the rearrangement of the stars to guide the world to the glorious happening still bring hope to the world.

Christmas is still special in 2019 because we also celebrate Jesus’ resurrection. His resurrection in the hearts of those first Disciples, and His continuing resurrection in the hearts of each successive generation is our experience So let us celebrate Christmas in 2019 as a present day happening, as a rebirth of Jesus on Christmas day this year in each of us. Let us accept His rebirth of God’s love in each of us as a commitment to pass that love on.

So we can still hear the angel voices and join the Wise Men in praise. It happens every year.

Loren Bullock
December 1, 2019

The Meaning of Democracy

In 1943, during World War II, the Writers’ War Board in Washington wrote to the New Yorker Magazine asking for a statement on The Meaning of Democracy. This was E. B. White’s reply in the July 3, 1943, issue of the New Yorker.

“Surely the Board knows what democracy is. It is the line that forms on the right. It is the don’t in don’t shove. It is the hole in the stuffed shirt through which the sawdust slowly trickles; it is the dent in the high hat. Democracy is the recurrent suspicion that more than half the people are right, more than half the time. It is the feeling of privacy in the voting booths; the feeling of communion in libraries; the feeling of vitality everywhere. Democracy is the letter to the editor. Democracy is the score at the beginning of the ninth. It is an idea that hasn’t been disproved yet; a song, the words of which have not gone bad. It is the mustard on the hot dog and the cream in the rationed coffee. Democracy is a request from a War Board – in the middle of the morning – in the middle of a war – wanting to know what democracy is.”

Quoted in Franklin and Winston – An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship, by John Meacham, 2004, p. 368.

Loren Bullock
October 6, 2019

My Life’s Transition Points

Reflections on the Redirections in My Journey’s Path

Being in my 90s has given me a new appreciation of life as an adventure that proceeds through the years in ever changing directions. I am keenly aware of the constancy of the self that I sense within me throughout my journey. My varied experiences that fill my memory are all connected in a time line that is ME. I am still that little boy of five, I am that fifteen-year-old going off to a boarding school, I am a 20-year-old Ensign in the U.S. Navy in World War II, marrying my highschool sweetheart at 20, going on to graduate school in Physics, and so on. A series of experiences that become a lifetime.

But there seem to be two different aspects of my life’s journey . One is my physical life with its daily happenings with family and school and career, with houses and cars, vacations and sicknesses, babies and dogs . . . My everyday real life. The second is my thinking life, my curiosity about everything which probably led me into science, my search into those deep questions, such as “Who am I?’, my study of the Bible and theology. And there have been significant turning point in both aspects. Those in my physical life have been obvious and significant. But I now can see that in my thinking life there have also been turning points that set me off in new directions. And I have reached a point in my thinking life that gives new meanings to the transition points that have been a part of my physical life. What seemed at the time to be breaks into new directions, I now see as fortuitous turns in one continuous pathway of 90 plus years. And I am comfortable with that. And very grateful.

My “thinking life” clearly developed throughout my academic studies. In addition, I grew up in a “liberal” Christian home where I was taught to think for myself. Both my Father and Mother had Master’s degrees. My Father was a Methodist minister. I never had to “unlearn” dogma of the fundamentalist churches. While my academic studies were Math and Physics, I also had academic courses in Bible both in high school and college. I also started to read history and theology books extensively . I soon had Bible Commentaries as well as the latest Bible versions.

A major turning point was reading Honest to God, by Bishop John A. T. Robinson in the 1960s, followed especially by the books and weekly email essays of Bishop John Shelby Spong starting in the late 1990s. My reaction was “That’s what I’ve been trying to say all along.” And in 2004, I started writing my own short essays, trying to articulate my understanding of my of my own basic beliefs. They became my learning documents. By 2012, I had 37 essays in a folder on my computer when a friend introduced me to WordPress, which I then used to create my own blog [] with those original essays. I have been adding ever since, and the blog now has over 100 essays and thoughts.

So now I approach a new transition point, one that comes to all life, whether an oak leaf, a rose, a robin, a tiger, a human being. Birth and death are together basic to all life. What a privilege to be such a part of life. But it’s more than that. Transition, change, motion are all basic to the entire Universe, from its galaxies and stars to its atoms and molecules, to the mountains and oceans and life of the Earth itself. We human beings are part of something grand – of something sacred. There is a oneness to it all. I see God in every part of it, including me.

Loren Bullock
May 24, 2019

The Christmas Stories

The basic Christian tenet is that after the death of the man, Jesus of Nazareth, his disciples and then others experienced The Christ – an aspect of the Mystery that we call God – within  and among themselves.  And it’ been happening ever since, again and again.  This is what we celebrate in the liturgy of the Eucharist or Communion. This is what we celebrate at Christmas.

As Dawn Hutchings describes in a recent sermon, “These are celebrations of the mystery that the spiritual and material coexist, celebrations of the incarnation of The Christ, the incarnation of the LOVE that we call God. who is not some person in the sky, but rather the incarnation of the Reality that lies at the very heart of all that IS. The incarnation of LOVE that the nativity parables point to, and that the Eucharist celebration points to, is the same LOVE that was encountered in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. It was this experience of the person Jesus that even death could not rob them of.

“That is why the Christmas story has become such an important parable in our annual celebrations of life. Everything about the nativity parables points us to the reality of the spiritual in the everyday stuff of life. In the simple birth of a child, in the poverty of a people, in the struggle to be free, in our quest to love and to be LOVE in the world, it is here in us that Christ takes on flesh and dwells among us. Wherever we are connected in right relationship, you might say, wherever we are “in love” there is the Christ, the body of God, the essence of life itself. Life is so much bigger than mere words can express.

“The Reality that lies at the very heart of existence is so much bigger than we have words, images, or parables to contain. Not even Jesus of Nazareth can contain all that the Christ IS. To celebrate the Christ is to celebrate the LOVE that is born over and over again. It is to recognize the intimate connection between the spiritual and the material and to marvel at the Reality that holds it all together. To celebrate the Christ at Christmas is to open ourselves to the wisdom of the ages and dare to explore the wonders that we are discovering each and every day.

“So in the darkness of winter, we await the coming, the advent, of the ONE who is LOVE. To warm our darkness, we tell stories about way back when. Advent is also a time to take in the wonders of the MYSTERY that IS, and to look forward to ALL that is to come.”

“So when we tell the old, old stories, let us never forget that there is so very much more to know, to be and to do. But for now, let the feasting begin as we celebrate that Christ is born again and dwells among us and that tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow after that, LOVE will be born again and again and again.”

[Rev. Dawn Hutchings is Pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Newmarket (Toronto), Ontario, Canada. Above is an excerpt from her sermon of December 9, 2018.    In her blog,, she is a significant new voice for Christianity in the 21st Century]

Loren Bullock
December 12, 2018



by Julia Morris

The year goes around, and season faithfully follows season.
The boughs that bend to breaking in the winter wind
will fill with sap once more
and burst into young fresh green.
They bend low a second time in summer
with full leaf and blossom
and then autumn will glow red and fiery
until each dying leaf makes a scarlet carpet
to soften the footsteps of winter once again.
So life and death are part of the unending rhythm
of creation, renewal and love.

As we give thanks to God in Christ
for the beginning of life so
we trust in God for the end of life. Amen

   As I read this poem, I see a beautiful image of life that ties each of us – even a leaf – to the awesome mystery of our ever changing and evolving universe with its galaxies and stars, its molecules and atoms.  I sense the sacredness of the entire universe, especially of the Earth itself with its mountains and oceans, trees and flowers, fish and birds. and elephants – and you and me.    I see God.

 Loren Bullock
November 18, 2018

Poem is from,  Newsletter of January 10, 2015

Becoming Whole

As human beings, our species is relatively young, about 250,000 years. In contrast, the dinosaurs evolved for 170 million years before becoming extinct. We have not separated very far from our common ancestor of chimpanzees. In many ways we have a long way to go in our evolutionary development. But as Christians, we have seen in Jesus the full potential of our humanity. We glimpse our own potential of wholeness as a human being. The transforming power of the presence of the resurrected Jesus is in each of us – if only we will accept it. John in 14:20 describes this when he has Jesus say, “I am in my Father, and I in you, and you in me.” I think of Mother Theresa or Nelson Mandela as two examples of humans who have reached out to wholeness in their own lives.

We see too much brokenness and incompleteness in humanity – causing so much distress and hurt and evil in the world. It need not be. Listen to the vision of a poet.

I bow with ever changing waves
that wash the shore
to clutch a stone, a shell,
a hope to hold before all
opening doors.

I also reach with every pine
to touch the best that I can be
and brush the heavens of my dreams
with wispy clouds of certainty.

Of sea am I
and, too, of breeze
and all that in between
my soul may seize
to lead me ever past my reach
and touch the wholeness of myself.

Loren Bullock
February 9, 2018

In 1960 or so I found the above poem in something I was reading and copied it down. I have no record or memory of the author or source.  For myself, I sometimes replace the word certainty with mystery, to reflect my increasing recognition of the wonderful mystery of it all..