Sunday, February 27, 2005

Faith and Mysticism, Stories of Jesus

"For all its conviction, faith has a mystic side which realizes orthodoxy is not adequacy
but merely the least harmful betrayal of God. In its search for expression, faith ransacks
all cultural forms. Everything is pressed into service and juggled before the experienced Reality.

When faith frolics,
which seems to be what it does best,
it creates images.

This symbol making is not out to make a laborious point--
for sheer delight the mind
somersaults on the high wire.

Faith gazes into the kaleidoscope of God, Humankind, Christ, History and Nature,
and is lost in the beautiful mix.

The symbols of faith are
the result of the
Child of Wisdom
playing among the stars.

Therefore we do not abandon the Biblical Christ with his ancient theological trappings but reverence him as a metaphor of faith’s response to the historical Jesus.

P. 39. John Shea. The Challenge of Jesus. Thomas More Press, 1975.

Paschal: I once set out to read every book ever written about Jesus. I have not missed many, even the many recent ones emerging from the Jesus Seminar movement. Practically every recent book on Jesus written by scriptural scholars and others is well worth the read for this symbol of faith which remains, three score and fifteen, still my greatest fascination. Shea is always good--everything he writes. Another of my favorite is his Stories of God.

Friday, February 25, 2005


Yesterday afternoon I was home nursing laryngitis and sinus when I got a call from a College Dean, also a friend, asking me if I would please consider teaching a course starting in about 3 weeks on World Religions?

The book I had in my hands was a discussion of Joseph Campbell's views on World Religions. How could I refuse? So, March 9, at Midway College, I will begin teaching that course.

Fasinating book, which I here quote from and offer a summary recommendation.

On Kindness to Strangers.
Or What moves us to be generous with others?

"How is it possible that suffering that is neither my own nor of my concern should immediately affect me as though it were my own, and with such force that it moves me to action? . . . This is something really mysterious, something for which Reason can provide no explanation, and for which no basis can be found in practical experience. It is not unknown even to the most hard-hearted and self-interested. Examples appear every day before our eyes of instant responses of the kind, without reflection, one person helping another, coming to his aid, even setting his own life in clear danger for someone whom he has seen for the first time, having nothing more in mind than that the other is in need and in peril of his life. . . . "

This is Schopenhauer's question found in his essay "On the Foundations of Morality." His response was that the immediate reaction and response represented the breakthrough of a metaphysical realization best rendered as "thou art that." (A modern translation might be: "There, but for the grace of God go I!")

This presupposes, as the German philosopher wrote, his identification with someone not himself, a penetration of the barrier between persons so that the other was no longer perceived as an indifferent stranger but as a person "in whom I suffer, in spite of the fact that his skin does not enfold my nerves."

This fundamental insight, as Schopenhauer continued, reveals that "my own true inner being actually exists in every living creature.. . [and] is the ground of that compassion (Mitleid) upon which all true, that is to say, unselfish, virtue rests and whose expression is in every good deed."

Joseph Campbell was fond of Schopenhauer's question. This is the quote with which Eugene Kennedy opens his book, Thou Are That, editing Campbell, in his life’s study of Tranforming Religious Metaphors. Chapters in this book are: Metaphor and Religious Mystery, The Experience of Religious Mystery, Our Notions of God, The Religious Imagination, Symbols of the Judeo-Christian Tradition, Understanding Symbols.

Highly Recommended. 4.5 stars out of five. This book will be kept for re-reading, as it contains wonderful insights that speak to the searching restless soul of modern life.
Paschal Baute. 2/25/05

Tuesday, February 22, 2005


Life is something I have thrown myself into.
Not merely life, but work, faith, love, community,
rights of others, sport, social justice - all have been
and still are passions. Com-Passion.

Bonhoeffer said, as he embraced a costly faith to become
one of the few lights of Christianity during Nazi Germany,
Which witness as we know cost him his life,
"I would rather die living fully than die living carefully."

Long ago as a young man I put this saying on
my wall: "An ideal is not something to hang above
the mantel like some ornamental sword, but something
to become bloody and scarred in battle."

Looking back, I can hardly believe my life. It seems
almost mythical. In fact it is mythical, incredibly lucky,
blessed beyond all deserving.
I have been lucky in love, in life, in work,
in family, in faith, in many transitions.

Now I have had many roles:
athlete, coach, monk, priest, athletic director,
psychologist, Navy Chaplain, diverse military service, college administrator,
college faculty, husband, father, grandfather, friend, lover,
playmate, consultant applying psychology to the workplace,
and minister of the gospel to jail inmates.
In retrospect, 'tis really scarcely believable.

And I am still crazy about downhill skiing, with my wife as
my snow-bunny honey. "I am a walking contradiction,
partly truth and partly fiction." Many of my roles did
overlap and were not in sequence. Military service was mostly
reserve (but it was active and reserve, enlisted and commissioned
and with several commissions).

It is the journey that counts, not the arrival, the adventure of the
path-- not the destination.
My favorite question in mentoring the
journey is
"If you could ask God for one thing, a blessing that you
know God would wants to give, what would you ask for?"

My answer to that question now is that I could not ask for a single blessing.
I have already been blessed beyond all deserving. Maybe "let me
use well what time and energy is left, for God's purposes." Or
better still, "Let me love more fully, with more abandon."

My mission is empowering others by building bridges
between psychology, science and the Wisdom traditions.
Current consulting projects, education and curriculum
vitae are found via links here.

My central focus is The Spiritual Journey.
All my writing and ministry and consulting is related to that theme.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Ohio Workshop on Sex and the Sacred, Feb 19.

I thank Ohio Psychologists for their warm and enthusiastic response to my workshop completed today, Feb. 19. This was the 3 hour workshop on Sex and the Sacred at the Spirituality and Psychology conference for Ohio Psychologists, Deer Lake Resort, Feb. 18-19. (Kentucky is very different and does not even offer certification or CE in my speciality of organizational psychology.)

It was an honor for me to be invited to present at an OPA event as this state psychological association has a high professional reputation for leadership. Several were in my workshop who had attended my workshop: Conflict Management: A New, Creative and Effective Approach, at OPA in Columbus this past October. See We had 17 present, my memory is about 5 men and 12 women.

Aside from the content, I chose also to demonstrate the method we have developed over some 15 years here in Central Kentucky in the Spiritual Growth Network, leading our retreats. This powerful method accomplishes two diverse outcomes: A. Develops authenticity, and B. Develops Community. Four step path, which I demonstrated twice in 3 hours. Learning this method provides a way for them to lead their own groups for the same ends.

I set this "Sex and the Sacred" topic as a challenge for myself, because our society is really messed up on these basic needs with the churches making the situation worst, because no one has attempted it in workshop style for psychologists and I felt not only called to do it but that I had the experience to do it. The entire workshop was fun and exciting for me to do and I think also for the group. We laughed a lot. I am pleased at the positive response. I expected more critical remarks from a group of psychologists and got none. They (you, if you are reading this) were a warm and positive group.

I demonstrated, experientially, how to reframe sexuality so we can accept it as holy and sacred good in itself, (not simply for making babies), that is, how to combine these two most basic mysteries of life, Sex and God, for which we no longer have any adequate metaphors. Our Sexuality calls us out of ourselves into relationship. The ultimate relationship is with God, who is loving relatedness. I suggested new metaphors that could bring the experience of one’s sexuality into an appreciation also of the sacredness of that eroticism of our nature. Nice challenge for a workshop leader, and I will look forward to their written comments on the evaluation form. I believe that we did that together. That is, I figured out a way to help the participants do that for themselves. No small task for 3 hours. Time went fast. I will look forward to reading the comments, and you can leave any there you wish.

Enjoy the other readings here and in the other blogs. My other blogs dealing with these issues , accessed from the same Writing as a Summons page, are Healthy Spirituality, Love's Poetry, Stories of God, Whence the Wind, and the Human Shadow.
Namaste, to my new Ohio friends.
Paschal Baute

P.S. I also learned from Katie Crabtree that the "Blogging 101 for Psychologists" will go to press next week, their edited edition, and be published March 15 in the OPA Review. Since OPA is a highly respected organization, this will be nice recognition.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Power of the Unconscious, and dreams

Anyone who has studied the power of dreams knows that amazing insights are sometimes contributed to the dreamer concerning some problem pre-occupying them. Research can demonstrate many examples, the needle with the whole in it for the Singer Sewing Machine, the intricate loops off the DNA molecule.

This morning I woke up and knew what was missing in our Fierce Landscape for the Spiritual Warrior for correctional inmates. Nailing down an Apprenticeship program for the first month, to be completed before they can continue or receive help into an advanced program. It is done.

Enjoyed the grandkids at Sunday breakfast today. Got some resource material for Michelle and shared with her a sketch on the effective retention rate of various modalities in teaching / training.
It is time for our regular SGN Sunday meeting today. Be Well . Namaste. Paschal.

Friday, February 11, 2005

GONE SKIING, Friday, Feb 11

Wife and sister-in-law in a zone today, skiing so well that the left operator told them they make the kiddos look bad. My knees felt like 80 year old legs today, so I did not ski much. Last week they felt like 30 year old legs for most of the day. Finishing Saints and Villains, on Bonhoeffer's life in the car, reading. "I would rather die living fully, than die living carefully." Nice motto.
Sun finally came out. Nice trip. Perfect North slopes. near Cincinnati.

Thursday, February 10, 2005


Yesterday I worked on developing the Handbook for the Spiritual Warrior for our prison project, developing new labels and artifacts to make the handbook more attractive, and a more challening introduction. Some words here:

Spiritual warfare is a reality--there is not one person on the planet who does not do battle with inner demons. Awakening the warrior within, learning tools and techniques of inner combat, mastering the gifts of self, accessing higher powers, and adopting a mission-oriented path of life are the means of gaining inner victory and lasting spiritual peace.

The spiritual warrior within you needs to attack that which holds you back - that which self-sabotages your inner essence - overeating, drinking, drugs, addictions, laziness, unhealthy attachments, unlimited TV, or allowing others to abuse you as you blindly set yourself up to be a victim - anything that keeps your spiritual warrior-self imprisoned. Yield to the challenges the world brings to you. Accept that you are not the center of the universe. You will become less reactive. You will become more centered and more resourceful.

We are each called to a warrior identity, but we can only find this deep within ourselves. That place which transforms us so we become what we all must become, if we are to transform our world to the one we want to live in; but most importantly to answer the inner summons.

This SPIRITUAL GROWTH PROGRAM is devoted to the development of the warrior soul, connecting the warrior both to Wisdom and the earth, and to the fellowship of spiritual warriors.

(continued on the Fierce Landscape blog).
Birthday anniversary of a great lady, Bertha M. Lilly, who graced us for 93 years, Praise God!

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Bush: "A Phoney Budget"

"If President Bush's proposed federal budget for fiscal year 2006 were a college term paper, he might very well receive an "A" -- not in an economics class, of course, but perhaps in creative writing.

"Specifically, the President's claim to be tackling the record budget deficit seems delusional, since his blueprint excludes: spending for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (a special appropriation of probably at least $80 billion next year); the initial costs of his Social Security plan (almost $800 billion by 2019 and trillions thereafter), and the cost of realigning the federal alternative minimum tax (more than $500 billion, mostly after 2009).

"One problem, of course, is that terrorism (recently expanded to tyranny), Social Security and tax reform are at the top of Mr. Bush's agenda. Thus, his budget does not address, or fund, his own priorities.

"The good news is that the President at least recognizes that the deficit is soaring and finally seems aware that the mounting level of national debt carries serious consequences. . . ."
CourierJournal, Louisville, Ky editorial, Feb 9.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Where ae CORPUS folks "stuck"?


Let me first tell you a story.

After the Prodigal Son returned, he was so grateful at being accepted back in his Father’s graces, that he vowed to be forever obedient to his Father’s wishes. Tho he was eager to undertake much work to atone for
his going astray, yet his Father felt that because of this outrageous betrayal of the family honor, he could not be trusted. So his Father refused to give him new work even tho the family farm was hurting badly for workers.
Slowly the son became somewhat of a couch potato. Yes, he wrote letters and found companions of his lot. Yes, he would bitterly complain to others, but he could not gain the trust of his Father. He found others would sympathize, even sympathize mightily, with him. So even though he saw much work to be done, he felt like because he did not have permission of his Father, he could not act. He felt a combination of reactions: being stuck, being unrecognized, resentful, and wavering between anger and resignation. But he
was also consoled that the welfare of the farm was still on his Father’s shoulders and that of his older brother. Some day, in time, it would be his turn; sooner or later, it had to be. Those in charge would one day realize,
or maybe die off or eventually change. Yes, he looked in the mirror and said, "In the meantime, I will be ready, forever ready."

Now let me tell you another story.

The Prodigal Son returned to his Father’s house, but he soon recognized that his leaving was considered such a betrayal that he could and would NEVER be forgiven, even though he was now "accepted." For awhile he felt very stymied, as he knew he had been given talents and energies for the work of the farm. For a long time he fretted, but then one day . . . . He entered into himself, and although he felt disloyal in his thoughts, he began to hear a different Voice. This voice had echoes from his past which stirred his heart. As he listened more,
he found his heart stirred mightily. The Voice said, "Come follow me wherever I go. My grace is costly, not cheap-there is much work to be done. You have other brothers and sisters who have fallen by the wayside. They are hurting. If you think you need your Father’s permission for this work, then you are still a boy, not a man ready to risk and to be vulnerable for my sake. These others are also your Father’s relatives, often disowned, but still blood relatives. Who will serve them if you cannot get up and leave, come follow my example, and risk once more your Father’s displeasure." The Prodigal got up and left to follow this Voice. After a while, he felt great joy and freedom in finding and serving others. He rediscovered his own heart. He realized that until he decided to follow this Inner Voice, he had still been in bondage. Of course, his older brother and father and sisters considered him an outlaw to the family honor–a traitor. But as he looked back years later, he realized that it was he alone who took responsibility for the entire family--the Extended Family, and that, in the end, the entire farm was healthier, smarter, richer and more promising because of his Second Rebellion. Oh, yes!

Question 1. Is it possible that the bishops are sitting on a mountain of Denial, refusing to accept their responsibility, in locus Christi, for the health and welfare of the entire Church? "The salvation of souls is the supreme law of the church." (Canon 1752).
2. Is it possible that married priests waiting for permission to re-activate their priestly orders from Roman Catholic authorities are waiting for Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and Camelot?
3. Is it easier to see denial, bondage and fault in others than recognize it in ourselves? Why do you notice the speck out there...."
4. If it is He who calls me, how can I refuse? One must follow one’s own conscience even when it goes against authority, against family and against society. Shall I prefer cheap grace or costly grace? "

While he was still speaking to the crowds, his mother and his brothers appeared outside, wishing to speak to him. Someone told him, ‘Your mother and your brothers are waiting outside, asking to speak to you.’ But he said in reply to the one who told him, ‘Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?" And stretching out his hand towards his disciples, he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my heavenly Father is my brother, and sister, and mother." (Matthew 12, 48-50). The ultimate question is To whom
shall we listen?

"Hope has two lovely daughters :
anger at the way things are and the courage to
change them." -Augustine

Paschal has been associated with Corpus, FCM and CITI.

Blogging and Parables, update, Tues, Feb 8

Had an opportunity at the Clergy and Laity United for Justice - Bluegrass Kentucky, to introduce blogging and to pass out copies of my article on Ministry in Your Pajamas: Blogging 101 article.
Back at Fayette Co. Detention Center this a.m. New Workbooks and Journals and updating uses and tools of the FF8 Fierce Landscape program. Chaplain Howell always enthusastic about my work.
Using class blog to discuss workplace ethical issues for my Midway 301 class. Guido Caspani’s visit was a hit with my class. They loved him, several said the class was awesome. Remain enthusiastic about the possibilities for empowerment in this group of students, as well as my “jailbirds.”
We will use Celtic Spirituality and The Inner Landscape tapes at our next SGN day of recollection. Communicating with Corpus board re aims and mission of Corpus. Here is next post a parable I posted to key officers, two versions of the Prodigal Son story, some new midrash.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

A Letter to my CORPUS Friends and Folks

A Letter to Russ Ditzel and My Corpus Friends:

Russ concludes (September /October, 2004, Corpus Reports) “As a people trained in philosophy, theology, spirituality, and pastoral ministry, where is our exhibition of the empowerment of Spirit? We speak of seeking justice outside the church, but do we lobby for justice inside the church” Allow me to respond– my own response.

I decided in the 1980s after several initiatives here, that enlisting Catholics to discuss the crisis in priestly vocations– ultimately failed intiatives because of lay apathy and episcopal passive resistance, that energies toward renewal and reform were wasted effort. I also realized that even reading the NCR, which had kept my spirit alive for years with hope, was still too “churchy” for me, keeping me focused on structures and politics.

We are not summoned to “lobby” for justice when hearts and minds are closed. There must be a readiness which is the reason Jesus used thirty some parables. Jesus told us so and taught this. We all know the metaphors: he used: seeds, kinds of soil, pearls, dust on feet. By the close of the 1980s the intransigence and blindness was perfectly clear. My energies must be spent elsewhere.

Nevertheless, I remained in regular contact with our local ordinary with letters and visits. During 1993, I wrote him four letters, several long letters, warning him of “sexual time bombs simply waiting to explode,” challenging him to take responsibility for the lack of training of his priests in understanding and coping with their sexuality, matters of power, transference and counter-transference. I warned him repeatedly that unless he initiated such training, he and the diocese would face great scandals. No response whatever. Of course it happened. Huge scandals here, like elsewhere.

Once I even showed him (one of my letter writing phases) letters received from other Bishops, Sullivan, Cardinal Bernadin, etc, to shame him into more dialogue with me, and he promised to “do better.” Excuse me? He simply can't and they are simply unable to dialogue with married priests, those who are doing what they cannot even think about without sin, and who are strangely still thinking of being priestly, of pastoral work. It is simply too much of a psychological barrier for those who must protect the status quo. Remember they had to make promises to the Holy Father to receive their episcopal orders and he has forbidden any dialogue on these issues, while also demanding reaffirmation of the traditional discipline, as would a feudal lord, at Episcopal conferences.

Corpus friends: Roman Catholic bishops simply cannot dialogue with us. They CANNOT because their own control over their own sexuality is so marginal and tenuous. They know they have no scriptural, theological or psychological justification for believing that celibacy is a preferred path for canonical ministry. They are enormously threatened by even the thought of what they might learn. They are sitting on a mountain of denial, frustration, tension, busyness and other possible addictive distractions. Evidence? Look how badly they have handled the pedophile scandals for many years. Ask Thomas Doyle whether they can listen.

There is not only resistance and blindness, there is paranoia, which I have also written about. (See “What Good Can Come from Nazareth?” online at The bishop here once wanted to know if rumors that Corpus would protest an upcoming ordination were true. Rumors.

Jesus said take your energies elsewhere to more fruitful fields. I discovered that nursing homes and retirement villages seldom saw a Catholic priest. I discovered that the jail, the county detention center, capacity here 1200, usually full, rarely saw a Catholic priest. Do I need permission to exercise my priestliness?

Ah, that is the issue most renewal and reform Catholics are stuck on, waiting for permission, waiting for the PTB to tell them it is okay. How many CTA meetings have you been to? Mostly they are Call to Talk, not action. No, I do not need permission. I have the gospel mandate, “Go, and Do ” So I have done and do.

The question is where do we find “church,” if not in ALL the People of God everywhere? The next question is why do we need permission when the gospel mandates are there, already speaking to our hearts? I do not need permission. But I do need protection, and managed to acquire this. I had decided late 90s, that if I were to become active as a Catholic priest, really active in the community I would want more than my FCM certifications. Maybe it is the old German genes in me.

When word somehow got around a few years ago, that Father Paschal Baute was exercising priestly ministry, guess what? You are right. Without any dialogue, even tho I had always kept channels open with the previous ordinary and I am sure my personnel file in the chancery had all that, I received a “cease and desist” letter from the Chancellor. Cease from calling yourself a Roman Catholic priest. (Never did, I stopped being “Roman” years ago.). Stop your ministry.

Well, all I had to say, was, thank you Father, most reverend, but I am not under your jurisdiction. (Now being a fairly good letter writer, I had to say more than that--really a lot more-- but that is not to the point here.)

I had my priestly affiliation, after study, with an Old Catholic jurisdiction, now administered by a former Roman Catholic priest and canonist. The current structure of the RC church is an historical anachronism, and it is a cult of a leader, which cult is not following the gospels. This is increasingly clear to anyone who looks. But allow me to tell you of the empowerment of the Spirit in this piece of clay--now freed from asking permission.

My energies are to the larger world, the larger church where the needs are great and the soil is fertile. In 1989, a group of us established the Spiritual Growth Network of Kentucky. We have weekly meetings, monthly days of recollection, quarterly retreats and have sponsored six community interfaith conferences, the last joining with the Notre Dame Club of Central Kentucky offering four dialogues on Christian- Muslim issues by Muslim scholars. We do not reach large numbers, but we have be able to hold some 60 retreats and over one hundred Days of Recollection. In fifteen plus years we have missed one weekly meeting on Sunday afternoons.

At the county jail, we have developed a program that is both intensely spiritual and psychological, “The Fierce Landscape for the Spiritual Warrior.” Via volunteers recruited, we have daily programs for a selected residential unit teaching them to embrace jail as a “boot camp” full of opportunity to change their life style. We have developed a workbook of some 30 pages of inventories and checklists as tools for the journey. My previous 17 years of consulting in correctional settings has some payoff. We are planning to make this available to other prison ministries and it has been offered already on the FCM listserve. We are in process of replicating it locally already after some 24 months of development.

Wedding ministry? Most of us, maybe all, have been asked to witness a wedding by friends or family. I am now witnessing about 50 weddings per year, with a beautiful ceremony highlighting the awesome Mystery of Love this couple is stepping into. I am also writing, which ministry I have detailed elsewhere, and working on sentencing reform in Kentucky whose penal code has become one of the harshest in the county. I have a number of other ministries that my work as a psychologist, and particularly as an organizational psychologist has opened doors. I teach leadership, team building, Human Resource Management and Social Ethics courses at nearby Midway College, and have published several books.

I know that many of my old Corpus friends will not agree with me or the path I have taken. But there are instances when, I suggest, it is a shame and a waste to keep knocking on the door, hoping for an answer. That choice is no longer a viable option for some of us. I discover spirit speaking to me in many other places. And I praise God for these energies at three score and fifteen and counting.

Some of these ministries are described further at

Oremus pro invicem
Namaste, all you brothers and sisters.

Paschal Baute
February 3, 2005

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

HAPPY GROUNDHOG DAY to the woodchuck people!

February 2, 2005

In the US popular tradition holds that the groundhog, or woodchuck, comes out of his hole after a long winter sleep to look for his shadow. If he sees it he regards it as an omen of 6 more weeks of bad weather and returns to his ho.e. If the day is cloudy and, hence, shadowless, he takes it as a sign of spring coming and stays above the ground. (Note: statistical evidence does not support this tradition).

I hope you all saw the delightful movie with Bill Murray about Groundhog day, and doing it over and over until he finally got it right with the girl of his dreams, a really funny and charming move. Moral: we can do it over and over in life until we “get it right”! (tho not always with the same person :-) As I like to say in my college classes when asking for dialogue on controversial subjects: "Nothing you say here goes on your Permanent Record!"

Enjoyed sharing some of my story and the role of monasticism in the middle ages with the Honors History Class being conducted by my friend, Guido Caspani, yesterday afternoon at the University of Kentucky. It was the monks that provided human services to all people during those times before there was welfare, service organizations, city or state or federal governments, hospitals, schools, libraries, or any kind of other aid available when people were hurting. "Whatever you do to the least of my brethren, you do to me." For over a thousand years in Europe, monasteries were the only place of refuge, of education, or solace or service.
Most history books do not tell that story.

Anyway, dear friends, Spring is around the corner, and skiing season in the Ohio Valley, mainly Perfect North Slopes near Cincy on the Ohio, is more than half over. Have a good day!