Sunday, July 28, 2013

DREAM: ANIMA WOMAN OF THE PALACE ... August 9, 2009

As I began a nap a very vivid dream image, so totally unexpected and so totally not anything I would have consciously developed: A beautiful woman dressed in sheer flowing material with all the colors of the rainbow was gracefully, practically dancing, spreading a rug on the white marble floor of the central large luxurious room of a palace. This looked like an ancient scene from a place like India or Pakistan. The rug was a very large square with concentric squares of all the colors of the rainbow. As she spread it she said, 'It was the most dazzling experience of my life.'  This has the earmarks of being an archetypal dream more than a personal one, thus applies to the whole culture of the dreamer. 

REFLECTION: How can I possibly put words to an image, a symbol like this? I find it better to simply let it soak in and make its own impression on consciousness. It certainly makes a positive mesmerizing impression. The woman reflects the erotic and also the spiritual. Her movement is more than just a physical thing, it is a worshipful dance. She is not this way to get attention or to seduce, she simply is a creation of physical and spiritual beauty. These are common qualities of the 'inner woman' that Jung and others have described as the living 'anima' of the human unconscious. 'She' also appears in many of my dreams in various forms. 

Can you imagine  the disappointing consequences if a man were to project such an image onto a real woman? This woman is an inner woman, the anima. This is a living image  of my, and likely many others', soul. And she seems to have my full attention and serious devotion. If a man were to go out looking for her in the world among human women he would be missing the truth, that she is not 'out there' but 'in here.'   True, if taken seriously, if fully acclimated into one's inner life , it is possible that a real woman could then be 'seen' to be just as amazing and beautiful in her real humanity as the anima figure is in a person's inner realm. But in our day and for the past several centuries men unconsciously have tried to find such an image of woman on the outside and in the process have failed to appreciate actual real women. This has justified men in keeping women inferior and failing to allow them equal rights and power in our cultures. This distortion and failure to differentiate between inner and outer erotic life is usually called 'romance' in Western culture. Real women, without knowing why, have not felt fully adored and loved. They do not know that 'another woman' is present that they were being compared to and found wanting. How terribly unfair and a lousy trick of nature on both the man and the woman. But it is now humanly possible  for us to 'see' our way through this and to arrive at human mutual relationships of a spiritual/psychologically quality that have not been before possible, but only 'dreamed' of. Humanity's capacity to grow in individual and collective consciousness is the key for this potential.

Think of how  commercial industry has exploited this eternal image of the feminine by presenting the 'princess'  to children as 'only' make believe. (I'm not opposed to that.) This is actually a product of the collective adult unconscious and as such it is a Sacred image. And because of its Sacredness carries  the potential  to transform human consciousness, even ushering in part of a new and needed image of God.  Many an adult is likely as mesmerized by  the Disney princesses as the children but the adult has no permission in our restrictive culture to 'see'  it as inner reality to be taken seriously, as even an expression of our personal or collective soul.

She spread a square rug. The square along with the circle is a symbol of wholeness, unity and successful combining of the opposites of human experience. The colors speak for themselves that the spiritual and the physical realities of nature are a unity of harmony and unsurpassed beauty. The rug is 'on the floor'. This pictures the anima as bringing a man finally totally back to earth, to solid ground, to earthy stability after she has perhaps led him to the ethereal heights and the lows of a symbolic, but very real experiences of , heaven and hell.(One outstanding example of this in literature is the Dante Masterpiece of the 14th century The Divine Comedy, especially the third part called Paradise.) She is undoubtedly the Queen of the palace. The palace is a spiritual symbol of the dwelling of the Sacred. It is the inner Temple from which all our physically beautiful  Temples and Sanctuaries have received their templates. The dream shows the woman interested and delighting in creating environments of beauty, peace and safety for others. Should this become a primary way of thinking of  an aspect of God, it would revolutionize what such believers would see as 'God's Will' for the people of the world. The Bible speaks of 'ivory palaces' and the 'throne of God.' This dream reflects these same timeless symbolic descriptions of the Sacred.
Ivory Palaces

Her seemingly ambiguous words leave much, nearly all, to the imagination. To what does she refer when she she says, 'It was the most dazzling experience of my life?' This part human, part goddess woman personality says she has experienced the indescribable, the dazzling, the incomparable. She has been in ecstasy. There is no reference to the male in the dream at all. But that may say more about the male than if he were present. The dream does not tell anything of her ecstatic experience. But whatever it is it must surely be the source of her present grace, her wholeness, contentment and beauty. And her experience of ecstasy must have made her suitable to live in, if not the co-creator of, the heavenly palace. Since this image of the anima is certainly a reflection of the soul of man, if not also of women, her 'dazzling' 'ecstatic' experience must also refer to what the human's soul wishes every human man and woman to be introduced to and perhaps to live in and out of in their daily earthly life. This could be another way to describe finding the 'pearl of great price', the 'treasure hidden in a field', even the very 'Kingdom of God.” It may be a prophecy of a coming evolutionary quantum leap of what it can mean for humans to experience intimately loving and being loved. And for it to be the common  occurrence of humans, like God, actually loving and embracing   the whole  World. Jim Hibbett

*The reader will find another reference to Dante in this post: http://jhibbett.blogspot.com/2016/02/that-dam-pillar-of-salt-february-5-2016.html

Sunday, July 21, 2013

FOUR THEMES TOWARD REVISIONING /REINTERPRETING CHRISTIAN ATONEMENT ...July 2013

JULY 2013
This blog post is my response to four short essays on 'Atonement Talk- Fine Tuning' by my friend and conservative New Testament  and Historic Christianity scholar Edward Fudge. As I look these over I find I have described four of the most important religious/spiritual/psychological themes which I have come to highly value the past three decades. My response to each is above Edward's essay. All of Edward's words are in italics to make clear who is writing . These can be read as four stand alone essays or taken as a whole. These fundamental views are not just my own but all have been formulated in various ways and places throughout Human history, especially in humankind's religious endeavors. I credit Carl Jung as most helping to connect these themes from their many sources. They are all consistent with the Vision-like experiences I had, especially strong beginning Mid August 1985 and persisting for several years.

The four themes in this order are:
1. The Imperfect Aspect Of God 2.God And Human Mutual Need For Each Other and An Important Role Of ancient Gnosticism 3.The Manifoldness Of The Word Of God 4.The Importance of Jesus Not Being Viewed Humanity's 'One And Only' Literal Sacrifice.

1. The Imperfect Aspect Of God
Hi Edward.  I hope this finds you with minimal pain and many of  moments to enjoy.  I think there is plenty of  room in scripture for your arguments. But there is also lots of evidence  in scripture that make, from the common folk's perspective,  1,2,4 being very  Biblical and very much foundational in Historic Christianity's teaching. The general concept of  Christ as 'atonement for our sin' is very problematic for more and more thoughtful people I think. Maybe similarly as how  people came to question the concept of a literal Hell , an image that has been fully assumed by nearly all believers, from taking the New Testament literally. We know that from a human , and a parent , perspective  the 'atonement concept'  is not a healthy way of relating or of reconciling differences. One can argue, if they wish, that atonement dogma was generated primarily  by the later church and I think there is much truth in that. But the gospels do have Jesus saying, ' The son of man  came to give his life a ransom for many.' But to read the record of Jehovah's dealing with people in the Old Testament and  say that he was not a generally angry God and not pleasant or secure to be around is an understatement.

Yes, like even  many an  out right brute, we can hope Jehovah wanted to be better , had his good moments and people were glad to appease him by making  grand statements about his faithfulness, forgiveness and kindness. I surely believe such  character has been and  is the goal that the Ultimate  Sacred set for itself  and humanity but  just like our own personal moral development and collective psychological/spiritual human development, it is a long time coming.  One does not have to look hard to find Jehovah not coming across according to his own high ideals in his relationships with humans. Often  a more conscious human is seen cajoling  him into being in fact the high moral image that  he has set for himself.  Like Abraham pleading with him to not destroy Sodom or Job asking  him to reconsider his temper outbreaks and outright wrong judgment and immoral treatment  of Job. This darkness of  Jehovah is what led Gnostic thought to see him not as the Ultimate God but a god who had forgot his origins and assumed he was more ultimate than he could possibly be. Also images of God should always be seen as how a people at a given  time viewed and experienced God. That need not  and should not be our image of God today in our situation. Many people have noticed the monumental change in moral character between the Old Testament Jehovah image and that of God incarnate in Jesus of the New Testament. This correct observation needs to be taken seriously if we are to move closer to an image of the ultimate God. Edward, I think you overstate your case and try to talk people out of realities that they know from repeated experience and story  is how the Biblical Jehovah has come across. His nature would demand someone to be slaughtered for him to accept those he is suppose  to already  faithfully love. People are just now letting such Biblical reality become more conscious.  Most have excused and rationalized such  obnoxious behavior coming out of God. We have not let it register consciously the way we would if a social leader treated us or someone else that way.  This development process is not unlike  how we finally let the faults of our earthly parents become hard fact for us. We love them none the less for  it but much more honestly and hopefully mutually.  When people are under the impression that the Bible and Christianity teach 1,2 and 4  they are not, I think,  misinformed to have those reservations. Thanks for your messages. God bless you always. Wish we could have coffee still. The mature shaded  pond  has appeared in my backyard just when I have needed it most.  Jim H.

On Sun, 23 Jun 2013 03:59:00 -0400 "Edward Fudge" <edward@edwardfudge.com> write



ATONEMENT TALK--FINE TUNING (1)



Sometimes Christians hesitate to speak to others about Jesus Christ because they think they know too little. However, we share testimony, not theology, and God gives the words. But our theology shapes our testimony and is shaped by it, making it worthwhile for us to note four theological details that are widely-held but actually are unbiblical.
1--UNBIBLICAL: God was angry with sinners until Jesus came and died in their place, but then his wrath turned to love.
TRUTH: God loved the world before Jesus ever came, and that love motivated God to give his Son to rescue sinners (John 3:16; 1 John 4:9-10).
2--UNBIBLICAL: God "punished" Jesus instead of punishing sinners.
TRUTH: The Bible nowhere says that God "punished" Jesus. It does say that Jesus bore our sins in his own body on the cross (1 Peter 2:2), that he was made to be sin for us (2 Cor. 5:21), that he was made a curse for us (Gal. 3:13), and that the chastening for our well-being fell upon him (Isaiah 53:5).
3--UNBIBLICAL: God was angry with Jesus while he was bearing our sins.
TRUTH: The Bible nowhere says that God was ever angry with his beloved Son, with whom it repeatedly said that he was well pleased (Isaiah 42:1; Matt. 3:17; 17:5).
4--UNBIBLICAL: The death of Jesus satisfied God's wrath.
TRUTH: The Bible nowhere says that God's wrath was "satisfied" or that it needs to be. It does say that Jesus rescues us from the wrath to come (1 Thes. 1:10; Rom. 5:9).
2.God And Human Mutual Need For Each Other and An Important Role Of Ancient Gnosticism
Edward, by denying that historical Christianity  teaches 1,2, and 4 you take practically all the emotion that has driven Christianity historically  out of the story as  taught for all these centuries.  Unfortunately a large part , certainly not all, of that emotion has been fear and anger and pride. Any story of salvation must have  a driving emotion  or it fails to grip the whole person. I  gladly grant we can look at these passages non literally and insist they do not teach what 'Christianity' as understood by Christians from 100 CE on. But is that what you are really willing to say, that you are now at odds with dominant Historical Christianity and its atonement teaching?

That is what I have  eventually become willing to say regarding the literal Idea that God can only fully accept the individual human by Christ  specifically dying 'for him/her.' And I have also arrived at the reality that the Sacred was not yet perfected  in the Trinity Godhead but created humans out of It's own deep need for increased moral consciousness so lacking in the Old Testament Yahweh. At the Creator's impulse and need  historical humanity was the only place  sacredly conceived where the initial imperfection and flaw in the Sacred could be first perceived, then encountered   and potentially redeemed in human history. This could only be achieved in the Sacred's judgment by   'God becoming man' and this is , to my knowledge, a best explanation for  the story of Jesus' suffering and his   truly sacrificial death. And for his awareness of the  human experience of being 'forsaken' by the dark  undeveloped aspect of God. But in that experience  God also became far more conscious.... a giant step in consciousness development in the Sacred  was taken is how I can best comprehend it. 

But that was not the 'one and only and final' redemption of God and man.  Conscious human suffering today is accomplishing this same continuing  redemption of God and ourselves. God's Incarnation is a continuing  process in us humans- not a story 'once and forever' told.   It is forever a truly cooperative  opus of a consciously suffering God and  Humans at the most intimate level. God and Human need  and must have each other mutually yet it is correct to understand that this whole process was a necessary aspect always present in the undifferentiated consciousness that was the nature of the ultimate beginning of all that is and can be.... that is the Sacred before any human ego and thus  any human consciousness in which to suffer in behalf of God was present. God was truly and totally unknown before human consciousness appeared.  To not be in consciousness is equivalent to not existing. This becomes a very mature no blaming  or finger pointing explanation for all conscious  suffering, for the Christ story and for our present and collectively dangerous historical situation on our planet. This is an explanation that provides the highest motivations, with emotions all accepted and experienced(not repressed) and most respectful, empathic and mutual relationship between God and human that I have ever come to imagine or  partially experience. This preserves the integrity, while not denying the imperfections,  of the Sacred , of every human and of all creation.  And as well  it proposes to generate  a higher , broader and more inclusive consciousness in both God and Human. These ideas of God and Humans are what I experienced in the 'vision' experiences beginning in mid August of 1985 and persisting strongly for a least two years. And have continued to be in harmony with my experience ever since.

And (this explanation)  is in  full accordance with the higher plane of the NT regarding the fullness of love  potentially coming into being, such as Paul's ode to the priority of love in I Cor 13. Edward, at some point just as protestant Historical Christianity has finally rejected a literal Hell, with your self-surprised intellectual support, as not consistent with a mature and  morally conscious and loving God, neither is an image of God that blames all the suffering and evil in the world on the created Human. We abhor such self serving and blind  blaming in human behavior. Yet we are told to be imitators of God. There are times when the creature has had to prove himself more moral than some aspect of God for God's own sake is what I am suggesting and seeing  it in the overall Bible story as well.
 
I suspect you will say of my brief statement , "Jim has become Gnostic."   No I have not become any collective   'ic' or  'ism', but acknowledge that some of  the so called  'Gnostic' interpretations of   the O.T and of Jesus were sincere and as legitimate  and 'revealed' as those whose interpretations which  gained the power to erect Historical Christianity, including the synoptic gospels. (It is important to me that  much of what I am saying can be supported  strongly by the canonized scriptures not taken primarily as history but as spiritual texts, especially John's gospel. We have just historically ignored  these implications that do not fit the majority rule.)  Some 'Gnostics', this became a pejorative term used by the church fathers much like 'anti' was in my youthful experience, were also quite misguided in some of their literal mindedness as were those on the other side of the argument. Historical Christianity has hidden this genuine debate of reality. And well it had to in order for a institutional religion to have been built up. Christianity owes much to Gnosticism in that it was its war against it that produced the powerful institution it became. It is only through the painstaking writings of the church fathers that we can now know what  the 'Gnostics' were trying to say. The psychology they display is parralled in alchemy, all world wide mythologies, Biblical symbolism as well as present day depth psychology.  In these matters I am never saying, 'What should have happened instead is......".  But what we must do is be honest in our interpretation of what DID happen in the early centuries of Christianity's development and what implications and understandings  that brings down to our very moment.

I think the 'Gnostics'  were surely onto something  essential in emphasizing that 'gnosis' , a knowledge by direct experience rather than by  collective story only, has always been central to the birth of any extended  religious movement.  I note that Peter and Paul, both according to sacred tradition, had direct 'gnosis' as the basis of their deepest spiritual  conversion to a new and 'transformed mind.'  The basis was not in informational knowledge of  'what they had been told by others.'   The 'gnosis'  realty of the history of religion should, but it hasn't in general, keep us ever aware that nowhere along the line has  the genuine experience of 'gnosis' been somehow ruled out as the most  transformative, essential for religions to form and  religious experience a human being can have. It does become a question for us all  of how to know when one has actually had such an experience.  And I must add that such an experience would  not make that person fully perfect or whole nor does it protect them  against perhaps the greatest temptation of all ...'to think their personal experience is a one and only revelation of God.'   God help us individually and collectively in finding our way through the present  national and world Chaos that some are more sufferingly aware of than others.  May the greatest present Human  and God cooperative sufferings be accompanied by the highest meanings so it can be borne by  the small but amazingly strong  individuating human conscious ego.  Blessings to you and yours. Jim H.

 P.S. Edward. This is a very spontaneous unplanned writing. It reminds me that you asked me soon after my experiences of Aug. 1985 to write down what I learned from that. That is what I have been attempting to do for 28 years. That is what I have partly made public on my blog the past two years. This two responses may be one concise way of my answering your question. Notice there is no mention of Jung for it clearly was not Jung who taught me through those experiences. But Jung was able to talk about such similar things in ways that were a helpful tool in my  better understanding  what I was being taught by a truly higher power.


On Sun, 30 Jun 2013 03:59:00 -0400 "Edward Fudge" <edward@edwardfudge.com> writes:


gracEmail®
Edward Fudge
ATONEMENT TALK--FINE TUNING (2)



Biblical texts such as Romans 4:25; 2 Corinthians 5:14-15, 20-21; and Galatians 3:13-14 are sometimes thought to teach the four following statements that I have called unbiblical:
1--God was angry with sinners until Jesus came and died in their place, but then his wrath turned to love.
2--God "punished" Jesus instead of sinners.
3--God was angry with Jesus while he was bearing our sins.
4--The punishing of Jesus satisfied God's wrath.
Although the four passages I just mentioned do not teach the four things I called unscriptural, they do teach us two very important truths. First, that we humans sinned, and that our sins resulted in Jesus suffering and dying on the cross. Second, that Jesus' life and death resulted in our forgiveness and many other spiritual blessings. In these texts, Paul reasons on the basis of three principles from everyday life that enable us to regard the action of one person as the action of another. Those principles are cause and effect, representation, and identification.
Friend Jim,
 Thank you for sharing your heart to me as one invited into your inner circle. Thank you for your good wishes concerning my health.
 As we each come to the threescore and ten year marker  in our lives, each in his own way is  evaluating his own life, his relationship to ultimate reality, and his relationship to those closest to himself by nature and by choice. I wish you only the best, and, convinced as I am of the validity of orthodox Christianity in its most inclusive and ecumenical form, I pray that God will in the end see the humility and obeisance of Abrahamic faith in both our hearts and by the atonement accomplished by Jesus Christ keep us for himself through all the timeless eons that never end.

Cordially,
Edward


3.The Manifoldness Of The Word Of God  
Dear friend Edward. I expect that I have  been much a pest in recent years. I desire so strongly that your health is improving and that your pains and physical discomforts are minimal.( I have just received word that  my brother George in Florence is failing rapidly. After he leaves there remain two of us  brothers.  I am grateful  for the important role each of my brothers has had in my life.)
 
 I'm wish to express some things here  and will  also attach some pages from a commentary on Jung's final scholarly work Aion. He was I think  73 years old.  I hope you may find time to read the pages at the bottom. The order is pages 90-94 followed by pages 75-79 with pages 90 and 75 being partial. (These pages are copied in this order at the end of this blog post.) The book is The Aion Lectures, Exploring The Self In Jung's Aion by Edward F. Edinger. I share these readings  not that they are unusual or all that special for me personally but as  very typical of the manifold ways and places that depict what I think I have experienced as a matter of personal spiritual development. Though very appreciative of my religious heritage I'm generally let down or put off by conservative orthodox Christian teaching in that it suddenly, and I think very unnaturally and dogmatically,  restricts and cuts off  the human from the manifold places the 'Word of God' is free to  approach us from.

 It seems most reasonable to me to expect a manifold of sources that together continue to express a common pattern in what matters most, how the human is most profoundly confronted by and encounters God. This is a  significant disposition of Jung  which is often at variance with Christian orthodox teaching. He was open and intentionally searching in all those places in human history where the brightest and most sincere minds were seeking to find meaning in the human situation and also were often convicted that there is indeed an 'other' that we are prompted to seek and hopefully find. Sometimes people without those credentials have been a mouthpiece unknowingly in such matters. In general the 'other' , God , the Self or the 'Collective Unconscious' is seeking to make itself more conscious through the wide full range of human culture and experience.  Jung did not probe into just any areas but those that were authentic, patiently practiced and had, in time,  offered the most  meaning to significantly  large parts of the human community. He does not fully separate , as any orthodoxy  nearly always does, the so called 'secular' from the 'religious.'  It is all a part of  Sacred creation and development and together holds the secret referred to in more than one place as the 'pearl of great price', the 'narrow path',  a 'treasure hid in a field' and arriving at a perception of having a 'single eye.' How could it  be otherwise that the God of creation would make itself known in manifold ways and places  to human consciousness?  Thus we find Jung drenched from youth  with the  canonical Biblical materials but he surely was not a 'sola scripture' person for he found in human life that God is obviously not 'sola scripture' but  His manifold voice is found in a multitude of sources. But Jung was demanding in his search to find the major  underlying patterns that all these sources reflect in their unique way. Also  at variance with orthodoxy one's actual experience, both inner and outer but especially for Jung inner, is a continuing, vast and acutely  reliable source for finding the fundamental patterns of  human development  with regard to its connection to the other, to God. So this is why we  find Jung quoting and examining the common patterns in scripture, Apocrypha, Kaballah, Christan mysticism, church fathers,  alchemy, gnosticism, Greek -Roman and many other mythologies and  Astrology, as it was found and used by the finest minds in the ancient world, to name a few.  His range and thoroughness  of resources is mind boggling to most any serious reader.

 

This, though mine more limited to explaining my personal experience and never with  the scholarly and academic standards employed by Jung,  has been the nature of my path for 30 years.  It does make the search far more  daunting but I think also eventually more full. It seeks to truncate nothing from life's history and experience.   My central task in life or fate  is very different than his. My under-girding search, at work long before I had significant consciousness of it, has to do with human love, at the personal intimate level  and collectively with how such personal love is the potential redeeming experience to put humankind on a new, long yearned for and  renewed path of  hope I can only imagine. But the patterns of development that Jung finds in all these manifold places have matched the pattern of my own personal experience, more and more as time passes. So his work has been a primary and essential (It can be said that all other  influences have been also essential. Each conscious raising experience has its effect on the whole of life.) tool in my holding  together in an ever surprising measure psychologically and spiritually.  This has required a most  unexpected and still to me mysterious state of mind and psychological functioning.  In my dealings with family and outside world I think any difference is barely noticed but I sense that my inner reality is not typical, but it is uniquely the one needed to under-gird my specific life challenge.  A simple  example of such functioning is my spontaneously composing such a detailed letter as this to you. This, as with much of my behavior,  is motivated from beyond any rational purpose or goal.
 
Dr Jim Pancrazio

Dr Joe Bohlen
I received significant personal  professional  counseling support in 1984 from professor-counselor Jim Pancrazio. My only formal 'analysis', a word frequently mentioned in the book pages below,  was near the beginning of such experiences twenty eight years ago with  therapists, Dick Dayringer, my long time  supervisor-counselor, and  Eugene Qualls, a Jungian counselor I  fortunately worked with for three months. My work with Dr. Qualls  immediately preceded my  nearly overwhelming direct  'discovery' of the reality of the  objective Collective Unconscious. (Edward, this is when  you attended me in mid August of 1985, the most    stirring way I think  our paths have or likely ever will cross.) I also found consulting with Dr Joseph Bohlen was most helpful at times when I was assimilating Unconscious contents.


Dr Richard Dayringer
I find it synchronistic  that here you make reference to Christians being like 'fish in the river.'  This is likely what motivated me to write you.  I had just read  these  copied pages below   where a church father is quoted using the same symbol from a dream in  about 500 CE.  But  Jung explains in Aion the development of the 'fishes symbolism' did not stop there. For then Jung shows another Christian dream, about 1500 CE that shows the individual Christian not being  like a 'fish in the river' but like one who 'carries the water' describing a significantly less collective,  more developed, individuated, psychological position than the earlier idea that you are still interpreting as being most  'up to date' and completely applicable. The apocryphal  'fish' story, bottom of page 92..ff , included the three fold process of  such an encounter  with the 'other' which is stated as 'capture, extraction and transformation.'  
Dr. Eugene Qualls

Edward, You were with me at a stage that may slightly  precede these. The 'fish' was  compellingly  and surprisingly discovered by my conscious ego. I guess the fact that I could express to you anything then was the beginning of me both being 'captured' yet also managing to begin 'capturing' something myself.   It came to me like a giant ocean Leviathan with me being like a gnat  on the shore as it came bursting out of the water to give me the first glimpses  of its gigantic spiritual/psychological proportions. When you saw me I was mesmerized and in danger of being engulfed by the shear difference in my smallness and its largeness. It was obvious that I and my conscious ego  were a creation of 'it' , not the other way around. Yet it was my feeble ego doing the apprehending and comprehending of the 'other' which was an ecstatic exhilaration. Thus is my experience of your 'God is God and I am not.'  In the months and years that have followed I have experienced my own stages of 'capturing, extracting and  transformation.' Unlike orthodoxy of any kind, which always degenerates into a 'conventional wisdom'  where ones  group all confess like 'fish in a river', this process I'm convinced  is experienced mutually by 'me and the large fish' or God. Each of us is being 'captured, something precious and needed is  extracted from each, and each is being transformed' in a natural harmony with the needs of both the human and the Sacred. An example of this psychological/spiritual process is laid out in the  Bible story of Jacob 'wrestling with the Angel.' There both 'the Lord' and Jacob experience 'capturing, extracting(Jacob a blessing for himself and the Lord a wound to Jacob's privates) and transformation.'  Each party we can assume was significnatly more conscious of the other after the  horrific encounter.


 These paragraphs may say all that  is on my mind for this communication. And it sounds and feels  like a final one of this type to you. Please take the readings I forward as primarily only an  example of how 'manifold' the ways of God are in that, it seems to me is most reasonable, the ' patterns of development' in an ordered world are presented in seemingly  numberless  ways throughout creation.  Especially through the finest developed minds and most spiritually developed hearts of God's humanity over the course of recorded history does the manifold nature of the Sacred  come into sharper focus. This view of the manifoldness of  'Gods voice'  is what is most at variance with my personal religious heritage and any collective orthodoxy that I have become familiar with, including much of Western Christian which I also claim now as my heritage. 

Edward, in closing, I maintain that as important as intellectual formulations such as this may be , as a partial intellectual expression of whatever is the ultimate reality,  that friendship freely and responsibly  exercised does transcend any differences no matter how painfully felt.

Blessings always to you and yours, Jim





gracEmail®
Edward Fudge
ATONEMENT TALK--FINE TUNING (3)



Paul uses at least three principles common to law, logic, and rhetoric to describe how Jesus' life record can count for us as if it were our own. He uses the principle of cause and effect when he says that Jesus was delivered up "because of our transgressions," and that he was raised up "because of our justification" (Rom. 4:25). Scholars agree that the Greek text of this verse says "because of" both times, but the second statement is not immediately easy to understand and the New American Standard Bible is apparently the only major version to translate it literally both times in Romans 4:25. Yet, as surely as our sins were a cause of Jesus' death, just that surely God's declaration of our acquittal was a cause of Jesus' resurrection. Just as Jesus' death proved that we were sinners, so Jesus' resurrection proved that God had declared us righteous.
The principle of representation involves a proxy or other authorized representative who is empowered to act in the stead of another. An illustration of representation is Paul's statement that Jesus died "for all" and therefore "all died." Jesus died as the representative or proxy "of all," and when the representative died, in the eyes of God all whom he represented died as well (2 Cor. 5:14-15). Paul has an ethical purpose in his logic. Since the "all" who died now live again only through Jesus' representation, they are morally obligated to live for Jesus their representative and not for themselves.
We see the principle of identification at work in the statement that Christ became a "curse" for us by hanging on the cross, so that "in Christ Jesus" we Gentiles might receive "the blessing of Abraham" (Gal. 3:13-14). Paul is noted for his vision of believers as living members of the spiritual body of Christ, which means we are "in Christ" just as a 'fish is in the river.'(quote marks are mine J.H.) And just as a purified river means that the fish will be purified as well, in the same way whatever is true of Jesus Christ can be truthfully said of everyone who is "in" him.
It appears that the principles of representation and identification both are at work in the statement that God made the sinless Jesus "to be sin on our behalf," in order for us to "become" the righteousness of God "in Him" (2 Cor 5:21). Jesus identified with us so closely that our sin became associated with him. And we are so closely identified with Jesus ("in him") that the divine righteousness he so faithfully and perfectly demonstrates becomes associated with us as well as with him.
When we read the New Testament, we discover a wide variety of illustrations of the blessings that flow from the saving work of Jesus Christ. However, we find no theory of the atonement that attempts to explain its mechanics or inner workings. Perhaps we should be content to believe and to say what the Bible says—and to stop with that. If we did so, we would avoid creating theories and explanations that are human constructs lacking divine authority. Indeed, if everyone had used only biblical language, we would not face the risk today of confusing what God has revealed in Scripture on this subject with what we or other human beings have thought, imagined, and passed on to others.




4.The Importance of Jesus Not Being Humanity's 'One And Only' Literal Sacrifice.
Edward. It's of highest  human spiritual accomplishment and value when a person under the ethical complications of living the human life chooses to sacrifice some measure of itself, even  if necessary to the point of dying.  This is the great spirit of Jesus of Nazareth. That very human and courageous decision is screened from full consciousness when such  a divine/human accomplishment  is interpreted as an appeasement to ones belief of God's disappointment or disapproval of the very ones this individual is sacrificing for. As appropriate as 'obedience' is  when freely chosen, a bit of reflection reminds us that frequently 'obedience' is quite the opposite of  love. Jesus primarily loved, he loved the world. That is enough to know his motivation for dying.  It is important to recall  the gospel speaking of  Jesus 'choosing to lay his life down , not responding to a demand  to prove his  obedience to a higher power.'(paraphrase). For that choice to be diminished  is to ascribe 'obedience' as Jesus' highest value rather than love.  This greatly clouds the richness of  his choosing to die and of our aspiring in a practical way  to such ethical character ourselves. I agree it can help to keep in mind  the idea of 'Jesus being God as human incarnate' makes such sacrifice one that is made mutually by both God and Human suffering together.

This can be true potentially of any Human person. Human nor Sacred integrity is attacked in that view when it is kept clear that Jesus and God is one.  Eventually I think we will understand that God and All, including us, is one. Then it  will become clear that saving sacrifice is a mutual participation, not the action of just one human.  I think most words that Jesus likely said stop here and I think that is where we should stop if we are not going to give homage to an aspect of  God or Human that carries  some evil self grandiosity. There is an aspect of the God Image, especially demonstrated in the Old Testament, that is precisely this negative and destructive. But with increased awareness and consciousness post-modern Christians can and really must stand against demanded sacrifice as a model of moral conduct. Any source, human or Sacred, that says in essence 'One must die in order that 'I' can fully accept the one being died for' is not a source we should give our obeisance too. It is surely a source that is not fully individuated itself. It is a narcissistic source. It is a continuing of the powerful and violent  archetypal energy that inspired literal human sacrifice  in some of the most ancient religions.

This is the kind of  soul-searching work today's believers might pray to have the consciousness and courage to do if we would be like Jesus and desire to stand by Humanity which even God depends on for God's own redemption. Man and God  mutually needing, working  and sacrificing together is the picture of  religious realty needed today and I think that is what we can see in the Jesus story if we so responsibly choose. Thank you for this stimulating  series on the idea of Atonement.  May all Jesus followers continue to explore our deepest heart for how it is that God and Human are becoming One.  Best to you  Always Edward, Jim


On Sun, 14 Jul 2013 03:59:00 -0400 "Edward Fudge" <edward@edwardfudge.com> writes:


gracEmail®
Edward Fudge
ATONEMENT SERIES--CONCLUSION



When we read the New Testament, we find that all the classic theories of the atonement have some biblical basis, and also some room for improvement. We learn that New Testament writers employ a variety of metaphors to illuminate the atonement, but that none of them creates a full-bore theory to try to explain its inner workings. And we discover that the metaphor used most often for the atonement in the New Testament is the Old Testament sacrifice known as the sin offering. Not surprisingly, the New Testament author who uses that metaphor most broadly and who explores it most deeply is the unknown author of Hebrews (perhaps Barnabas of Cyprus, a Levite no less).
But even the writer of Hebrews works with multiple metaphors and similes. He likens Jesus' atoning work to the activity of a divine rescuer who engages the tyrant who previously held them and their ancestors captive, then defeats him man-to-man (Heb. 2:14-17). Jesus is like a wealthy man who leaves his riches to his brothers and sisters as an unqualified inheritance (Heb. 9:16-17). He is the runner who first completes the marathon, but instead of going home remains at the finish line to encourage the other runners to cross it and enjoy their own prizes (Heb. 12:1-3).
Most conspicuously, Jesus is the high priest who, having once lived and then offered a human record of unbroken faithfulness consistent with every divine wish, was exalted and invested by God as king and high priest in heaven in fulfillment of Psalm 110:1, 4). There he lives forever, serves forever, and saves forever (Heb. 7), dispensing grace and mercy to his people as needed (Heb. 2, 4). As high priest, Jesus was chosen by God from among those whom he represents (Heb. 5). He was chosen with an oath as to his perpetuity (Heb. 6) because he was chosen on the basis of his unchanging flawless character (Heb. 7). One day he will return to gather his people and to give them their full reward in new heavens and new earth (Heb. 11-13).
By definition, any theory of the atonement is commentary, not canon. For that reason, when we create theories and explanations beyond the Bible’s actual words we should always make it plain that they are only as authoritative as our human logic. And we should regularly remind ourselves and others not to confuse what God has revealed with what we or other human beings have thought, imagined, and passed on.



















Friday, July 19, 2013

REMEMBERING MY BROTHERS


Since it is not a common experience I wish to write down what having six older brothers has been like to me. I've just returned from George's funeral. He is the third brother to die within the past ten months. Two deaths were long anticipated and the other a most unfortunate case of West Nile Virus. Ike, the fourth youngest, and I are the two brothers still living. I moved away from our home town when I was eighteen to attend college. Like many siblings this ended my being near my brothers in day to day living. But each of them has forever been very near to me and influencing me in my inner life. One exception of our being physically separated was that my fifth oldest brother Gene was my Chemistry teacher for my first two years of college. Most of my reflections will be how I remember them during the years of growing up in Florence, AL. I will be speaking mostly as that kid who found that the background and fabric of his life included being the far youngest of the seven Hibbett boys at 637 N. Cherry St. My brothers ranged from seven to twenty years older than me. In a very real way it was like having six extra fathers in my life. There was too much distance in our ages for me to feel any serious competition with them. I always was confident they liked me and were for me in every imaginable way. *

Rufus Hibbett And Sons ...@ 1972

I cannot focus on one of my brothers without 'seeing' them all. They belonged together like a team, each providing a very unique flavor to the whole. A central part of my identity was that I was the youngest of seven brothers. I used to enjoy telling others that and I loved the sound as I would rattle off their names in order: Rufus, Lester, George,Ike, Gene, Barry and me. Still one of my favorite fantasies has me driving my boat up to my brother Ike's boat dock. There on the dock standing casually are my six brothers looking at me. All are well and healthy. And each is flashing his very unique smile of approval. I then attempt placing myself standing with them and realize that I can see them far more clearly and objectively than I can see myself. In my mind they are 'together' my brothers. I had absolutely no higher value or evaluation placed on any of them over the other. To me they each were precisely what they were suppose to be and I truly had no sense that any of them had any flaw whatsoever. Also I could not imagine them not feeling that same way about each other. And as we have grown older I think there was solid and demonstrated truth in how my brothers valued each other and supported each other. Since they were to me a single 'unit' of my life I think when they began to die, Rufus being the first about twenty years ago, that I knew something very formative and important was trying to die inside of me. It was like experiencing part of the circle of my life being broken. I had a strong need for them to 'all' be present as they had always been while I was a youngster. As a child I could not have verbalized what I am saying now. I surely took this 'brothers' background for granted as any child does his surroundings. I did not think of it as particularly unique. It was just my life. My brothers contributed strongly to the security and confidence of my young life.

As best I can calculate my conscious memory of my brothers picks up when I was about six years old. I can remember four of my brothers when they still lived at home. Ike I can only remember was at that time 'living in the basement.' This was a 'rite of passage' for Hibbett boys. Some time as a late teen each fixed up the musty room in the basement and slept there away from the rest of the family at least for awhile. The tiny room had its own outside entrance through a four by four window door. This basement living usually ended when one morning our feet touched the floor in about six inches of water after a heavy rain. My time to live in the basement was when I was a senior in high school. I recall Ike bringing me to his basement room. He let me listen to his homemade radio, whose circuitry was on a ply wood board, through a headphone. From then on Ike was forever introducing me to new wonders and gadgets. Growing up I experienced Ike as a great giver of things to me. He was like a living Santa. Ike liked to give things to people. As the Hibbett store CEO he was always giving out promotional gadgets, candy etc to his customers and friends. And I was always included with handfuls and bags full of things. It was a child's bonanza around Ike. I recall suggesting to Daddy that I might should have a new football. Daddy's first thought was to look through used balls at the store for one he could put new lacing in. I noticed Ike talking to Daddy. And shortly afterward I had a brand new leather, sweet smelling, white lined pee wee Wilson football in my hand. I strongly suspect Ike had a hand in the grandest Christmas present I ever received. On the tree was a note that said a twelve foot Feather Craft boat with a new 35 horse Evinrude was being rigged out at the store for me. That boat and Shoals Creek were my salvation during my teen years, much of that time being at Ike's place  on the lake.  Ike built an all red wood A-frame type house on the lake when I was a freshman in high school.  He made it clear it was mine to use anytime. He gave me a key and gave me no restrictions or rules on using it, just common sense, keep it in good clean shape. I did not realize at the time  just how open ended his gifts to me were. He let me work at the store as much as I wished  and I came to see myself as a rather dependable and hard worker there. I think he did expect me to take my work reasonably seriously as he did his. A few times I recall he asked me to do something with him.  I had the unusual sense that he needed me for something. When  he  was single he once took a few days off and asked me if  I would be his buddy  at our Mama Gene's place on the lake. I was happy to and it relieved me to see him not working so hard. That was an unusual way for me to experience Ike. I was glad to have helped with that project.   Ike asked me a month before I entered college what the tuition costs were. I told him and a few days later he gave me tightly rolled bills saying, 'This is for your first semester tuition and books.' When I was a senior in high school Ike purchased a new 1962 beige Thunder Bird. This was the first year of a very new design. With less than 500 miles on it he said, 'Jimmy, I'm going on a week long business trip. Would you take care of my car while I'm gone? Just remember in this car you are always going faster than you think you are.' I drove it to school that week and got more attention from peers than I ever did in all my life. Two years later he let me drive his blue Thunder Bird to Illinois to impress my girl friend.  After married my English Ford broke down on a trip home to Florence. Ike paid me an outrageous price for it so I could purchase a better car for my family. This is how I think of Ike, always sharing his exciting newest things with me and always supporting me in every way. How fortunate can a boy be? I am so thankful I've been able to visit with Ike, Barbara and Kneeland on two occasions in the past year. I hope I will have occasion in the future to see Leigh Ann and Whitney and their families. On my trip South last August Ike slipped me a note with a hundred dollar bill saying, 'Gas money for your trip to visit your brothers.' That is my brother Ike.
637 N. Cherry St. -Home For Hibbett Brothers

I also remember my oldest brother Rufus at home. I recall him sleeping in our 'middle bedroom.' And I slept very securely with him. I  must have been about six years old and this was shortly before he got married. I recall him at home in his dress navy uniform. He was sharp and handsome, my big brother. Rufus and his family moved to California when I was an early teen so my direct contact with him was rare after that. One of my favorite times with Rufus was when I was invited to make a Smokey Mountain camping trip with him, Betty and my two nieces Becky and Esther. Betty's sister Margaret also made that trip. These are extremely fond memories. I remember Rufus as an extremely sweet and kind person. One would have to push very hard to get an argument going with Rufus. It was not his nature to fight or argue. His temperament may have set the tone for the rest of the Hibbett boys regarding fights and arguments. I know I have never had a real fist fight in my life and I can hardly imagine any of my brothers being so engaged, unless very strongly provoked. We just were not looking for that. Rufus loved to laugh and was always ready to hear or tell a good story or joke. It is still so clear to me. I was staying the night at Daddy's sister in Nashville while the rest of the family was with mother at Vanderbilt Hospital February 7, 1954. Rufus' assignment was to come and tell me mother had died.  Bless his heart. He sat in a large rocking chair in the front bed room and held me close on his lap. His soft kind words gave me the most distressing words of my life. No one could have done that job better. We were all devastated.  Rufus and Betty were the blue ribbon hosts for any Hibbetts  or Florence friends who made it to California. I was the recipient of such graciousness twice, once with Daddy and Mama Gene the summer of my junior year at Coffee High. And with my wife and six months old daughter Sheri when I was at Arizona State in 1970.

Three of my brothers, at least,  had very good singing voices. In our church of Christ any boy who took an interest in singing would be given good attention for developing into a church song leader. I can clearly recall the sound of three of my brothers standing up front and leading the congregational  a'capella singing. This they got from their Daddy who also was a song leader throughout his life. Rufus, George and Ike were all I think exceptionally good song leaders. Each one had a very unique and very sweet voice. I wish I could have been present when Rufus and Becky sang a spiritual duet in her Church many years ago. I remember the family singing together only when camping in the mountains and sometimes riding in the car. I'm not sure why we did not sing at home. Maybe they did before I came along and the others began to leave home.

Another brother I can remember being home with me is Barry. He was seven years older. Just enough distance that he could not help but to occasionally tease me. Barry never roughed me up physically which he could have easily done. I  recall on a car trip to Tennessee Daddy bought us each a candy bar of our choice. I observed Barry and concluded he had eaten his. So with much enthusiasm I gobbled mine right down. Barry then brought out his unopened bar and slowly ate it while I cried how unfair he had been to me. I don't think my parents took my side in that sibling dispute. Barry was one of the most positively determined of all of us brothers. And that took him far. I recall as a teen  how much he liked nice clothes and he often visited Otto Speaks and Krisman's Men's stores on Court street, either buying a new item or just seeing what the latest fashions were. Barry achieved a wonderful and heralded career as a dentist and he demonstrated his positive determination when confronting the troubles of life. I had the highest admiration for my brother Barry. He was an adorable brother to me. Barry and his fiance Ann Griffin, showed profound interest and patience in  teaching me to ski. I can't guess how may attempts Barry helped me make while I learned to ski. This began on the Tennessee River near the Florence boat harbor where Barry taught me to ski on two skis. And later he showed even more patience helping to 'get up' on one ski on Shoals Creek. The strongest impact he ever had on me was when our mother died. I was three days before being ten years old  and of course folks were concerned about what impact mother's sudden death would have on me. Few may have considered that Barry was only a sixteen year old kid himself. What a tragedy this was for him as well. A week or so after mother's funeral Barry took me aside in a more serious way than I had ever experienced him. He said words to this effect, “ Jimmy, I want you to know that I will never tease you again as long as we live.” From that day on Barry always treated me as his peer and never looked down on me as just a little brother. I was deeply affected by that demonstration of brotherly love. In  1984 my family and I were devastated by my loss of a long time ministry position. Barry called me. He was already in Springfield, IL and wanted to visit and offer his encouraging support. This demonstrated to me the depth of Barry's spiritual intuitiveness and his love for a brother. A year later Ann and Barry graciously took me into their home as I wrestled with serious mid-life issues. I'm  so glad to have had conversation with Ann, Ken, Rob and Molly several times recently.

Also I can most clearly remember Gene being at home with me. Gene was truly a best buddy for me ages six through about thirteen. I always looked forward to when Gene arrived back home from his teaching job at Deshler High, his navy cruises and his return home for the summer during his early college days. Gene was always a great source of security for me. He played with me, made me laugh and nearly always included me even when he had friends over. I think I transferred some of my emotional need to Gene after our mother died. He nor I knew just how important his presence was for me. I can recall that I was not happy about his getting married. I felt I was losing a very dear friend and confidant. Jackie Graben only proved to strengthen Gene's and my brother connection. I've had wonderful and  memorable times  with Gene, Jackie, Lynne and Lee at their home during all these years. Gene was amazed many years later when I shared  with him how I hated to see him leave home. He was quite elated and full of smiles to hear just how much he meant to me. Gene was always to me a fully sweet, gentle and kind person to have in my life. We continued our strong connection when I attended Freed Hardeman College where he was my chemistry teacher for two years. He was instrumental in helping me get admitted to dental school after two years of college. He came to Illinois to conduct Beverly's and my Wedding Ceremony. Gene  continued right up to his death to keep ongoing quite regular contact with me. He always asked specifically how I and my family were doing. He even wanted to know how our finances were.  He and Jackie encouraged two of my children to attend Freed Hardeman where they were nurtured by Gene and Jackie.  Gene suffered much with some of the changes in religious belief that I experienced beginning in 1985. He expressed his great spiritual care for me. We were experiencing more pressure on our strong brother relationship than we had ever had before or since. We agreed for about two years to not discuss religious matters for both our hearts' sake, but to relate only through the brother relationship which we both considered a true gift of God. After that we gradually returned to where we were able to converse about religious matters and anything else as we had always done. About  five years ago following a thirty minute phone conversation and maybe remembering some our more difficult talks Gene joyfully remarked, "We have had a really good conversation haven't we Jimmy?" That is the only kind we had from then on. I likely have experienced more spiritual conversation with Gene than I have any of my other brothers. I think we both sensed that we had won and discovered that our precious brother connection truly did transcend any religious differences that we at moments had painfully felt. I had  learned something importantly grand about brotherly love.

My first remembrance of George was also at age six. I clearly recall Mother, Daddy and me driving to Clarksville when Judy was born, my first niece and my parents first grandchild. It was a really big deal. I remember going up the steep stairs of their apartment house. Out the back window one could see the Cumberland River. When mother was giving Judy a bath she used the occasion as a learning experience for me(Judy I hope you don't mind.) She made sure I saw the baby girl naked. This was the first chance mother had of letting me observe the basic difference between girls and boys. I got it. George Hibbett to me has been a person with whom I have never had an uncomfortable moment in his presence. Quite the contrary, George was always an interaction I looked forward to with joy and enthusiasm. I recall other times of being with him in Clarksville. I visited a week with him, Martha, Judy and baby Chip shortly after mother died. George was always such a pleasant person to me. I loved being with him and his family, eating at their table, taking trips with them to the mountains, being invited to their times on the lake. This family gave me my strongest impression of what good young family life can be. They served as a primary example to me for what I hoped to experience in a family of my own. In Clarksville I got to go with George on his sales route where we attended stores and cafes taking orders  for produce. I observed George's gentle and kind approach to people in the business environment. I learned a lot from being around my brother George. After George and family returned to Florence to work at the Hibbett store I continued to associate often with him again noticing his good and friendly way of interacting with others. I've yet to see a better example of a man in such situations. As often as possible I continued to be in George and Martha's home with their children. I would frequently go home with him for lunch from our work at the store.... for a good meal and maybe a quick nap. I learned about children younger than me by being a frequent baby sitter for his three children. All of the Hibbett family was devastated when David Hibbett was killed in a street auto accident when he was only ten years old. As terrible as this tragedy was for George and his family their faithful  response  demonstrated the character of George and Martha as they modeled to all of us how to handle one of life's most devastating disappointments. George and his family visited my family  in each our homes in Illinois and Tennessee. It was good to know they had seen how my family lived and maybe what I had learned about being a father and husband from him. In recent decades I have visited George in his home usually spending at least one night on my trips to Florence. What a blessing to know that George would always be his joyful self and always have his door open to me at a moment's notice. During some of my most difficult years George was always a strong listener to my unfolding personal story. And because he was a good and open listener he heard more from me than most anyone outside my own family. It is hard to say Goodbye to my dear brother George.
Anne And Rufus Hibbett With Sons...1945

My first remembrance of my big brother Lester was , again about age six, when Mother, Daddy, Barry and I visited him and Elaine in their upstairs apartment in Nashville. Lester was well into Med school at Vanderbilt. Their brick apartment home was just off West End Ave. I recall a stuffed toy on their bed, a blue duck maybe. On that trip I had my first fast food burger. Lester brought home  Crystal Burgers one day. Once we joined Lester, Elaine and baby Susan in Nashville to make our way then to the Great Smokies for a week's camping at Smoke Mont near Cherokee N. Carolina. Lester had creatively put a baby bed mattress on top of luggage in the back seat making a perfect place for the baby.(I realize that would violate seat belt regulations now. But I was able to use that idea many times for my children.) I think Lester had the admiration and respect of me and all my brothers in a way that was unique. It may be because of his, showing much endurance, becoming a medical doctor. Or it may be that he may have had a higher natural intelligence than some of us. Lester's opinion was often sought out. This may have been a heavy load for him at times. I remember calling him several times from Illinois with medical questions that my family was having. In the mountains you wanted to be around Lester. He made you feel the magic of family camping in the mountains. He made it fun beyond all imagination. I remember  Lester taking me fishing. I was as young as six years. It seems to me we went to a home on Wilson Lake near the dam. I associate it somehow as belonging to Elaine's father Early Williams. Lester and I made our way to a  small fishing boat with a little motor on it and went fishing. All  I recall was our seeing an extremely large dark snake gliding through the edge of the water. I watched with great wonder and awe. I was with my brother so  all was safe. After Lester moved to Florence and first practiced at the Florence Clinic, I would walk several blocks from grade and junior high school to his office. I would show up unannounced at his waiting room. I would explain I was Lester's brother and would like to see him. Every time with a short wait I would be called back. Lester would greet me with his winning smile and full welcome as if he had no patients at all. He would chat with me and always give me something, usually a paper weight , calendar or some other pharmaceutical promotional item. Those were precious times being in the presence of a big brother I so admired and who I knew thought the world of me. Several days before my wedding  Lester invited me to his lake house. After some boating activities, and with some embarrassment, he gave me a box of condoms. I think he saw this as an older brother's assignment  and a kind of rite of passage ritual. Also it was a strong and practical demonstration of his interest in my personal well being and happiness. Of much importance to me, the five years before Lester's full illness he and I had numerous email exchanges. He is the only brother with whom I have ever  had significant written communications and I highly value  the interest he had in that opportunity for our relationship. I am so glad that I finally made it to Temple Terrace, Florida to see where Lester and most of his family have lived for I think nearly two decades. I was able to visit with Elaine, Beth, Ann and Emily there and see my dear brother Lester for the last time. I also was fortunate to visit with Elaine, Susan and Ann in Florence several days after Lester left us.
Susan, Emily, Elaine, Lester at Shoals Creek Home

There are so many more clear memories of my brothers. The stories would be endless to tell. These are some primary images I carry of my brothers each day of my life. I will carry them till I join them in the experience of leaving this life as we now know it. Should the five who have departed be aware of life back here I hope they can give their smiling approval to my attempt to describe what they each continue to mean to me. Jim Hibbett
*http://jhibbett.blogspot.com/2012/10/my-brothers-saved-my-life-october-13.html

http://jhibbett.blogspot.com/2012/12/rufus-and-anne-hibbett-tribute-and.html?spref=fb