America & The World – A New Spiritual Civilization Being Born

Amid the fracturing of identities around the world, and the descent into political and social chaos here at home in America, a new world is being born.

Seeds of a great new spiritual civilization are sprouting everywhere – in this place, in that place, in common circumstances, like the distant crowing of a cock before the actual dawn.

In politics today, we are seeing the ugly fruition of that shadowy, old underside dream of America, of money and arrogance and power that, far in our national past, corrupted the original pristine dream of America still lying unexpressed and unfulfilled in the hearts of men and women everywhere.

The Great New Emerging Civilization  BookFor America is more than the fifty States.  America is a dream at the heart of humanity.  And America is where this dream will unfold now and into the future.

Walt Whitman, our great national poet, spoke it well, though still vaguely:

“There will soon be no more priests.  Their work is done.  They may wait awhile, perhaps a generation or two, dropping off by degrees.  A superior breed shall take their place, the gangs of kosmos and prophets en masse shall take their place.  A new order shall arise and they shall be the priests of man, and every man shall be his own priest.  The churches built under their umbrage shall be the churches of men and women.  Through the divinity of themselves shall the kosmos and the new breed of poets be interpreters of men and women and of all events and things.  They shall find their inspiration in real objects today, symptoms of the past and future.  They shall not deign to defend immortality or God or the perfection of things or liberty or the exquisite beauty and reality of the soul.  They shall arise in America and be responded to from the remainder of the earth.”

America is one person, revealing the intent of the universe, come to fruition and bloom.

This is our task now, to scatter seeds of this new life, to plant them deep in peoples’ lives, to be revealed with astonishment in centuries to come.

What is this life to come?

It is awakening to our true identity, as the gods we worshiped in the past.  We are one with the universe.

Our greatest task is to expand our lives to the limits of the boundless space we see reflected in the mirror of the suns and moons and stars in our universe, to embrace everyone and everything, to summon forth our limitless potential and boundless compassion for all of life and life’s manifestations.

The Buddha is coming to America.

This year and next, author and speaker James Hilgendorf will be traveling to towns and cities all across America, meeting people, giving talks and readings from his books, and recording people’s thoughts and feelings about our country, the state of this land, and what their vision is of a greater America.

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Traveling to a New AmericaJames Hilgendorf is a filmmaker, speaker, poet, and the author of ten non-fiction books that are opening the way to a new vision of ourselves, a new dream of America, a new religion for the world.  You can follow his journey on Facebook.

To arrange talks, contact the author.

The Core of the Soul is the Core of the Universe

The core of the soul is the core of the universe.

To sync one’s heart with the greater life is to enable unlimited potential power.

To believe this, in the depths of your being, is what is required to bring it forth.  There is no limit.

Faith, and action; moving on your dreams.

The universe must eventually yield up and bend to the wishes of a solitary single soul.

Thus, I will never give in.

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Traveling to a New AmericaJames Hilgendorf is a filmmaker, speaker, poet, and the author of ten non-fiction books that are opening the way to a new vision of ourselves, a new dream of America, a new religion for the world.  This year and next, he is traveling to towns and cities all across America, meeting people, giving talks, under the banner of “Traveling to a New America“.

Follow the journey on Facebook.

To arrange talks, contact the author.

A Call For New American Voices – Traveling to a New America

Traveling to a New America“Traveling to a New America”, a journey to towns and cities all across America with writer and speaker James Hilgendorf, is looking for Americans of all ages and backgrounds to join in sharing their voices about an unprecedented dialogue on the future of our country.

Hilgendorf is a filmmaker, speaker, poet, and the author of ten non-fiction books, who is passionate about bringing forth the unlimited potential, not only of individual Americans, but of America itself.

He states:

“There is so much divisiveness and turmoil in our country right now, so much anger and loss of hope; but I feel that this is also a time of immense opportunity, of new beginnings, of an enormous shift in the way we look at ourselves, of our individual potential and the potential of these fifty states.”

He is talking and reading from his books, as well as listening to members of his audience and recording their thoughts and feelings about where we are headed, and solutions for a greater America, then sharing these ideas out to a national audience on Facebook.

Taos, New Mexico  SOMOS  Book ReadingA recent appearance took him to Taos, New Mexico, where he spoke at SOMOS, the Society of the Muse of the Southwest.

The visit is recorded on his Facebook Page at:  http://bit.ly/2wvxJWl

Some comments from the audience were as follows:

“I was deeply moved by your talk.  It resonated on many levels.”

“It was inspiring and challenging.  The author is a combination of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Bernie Sanders, Karl Marx, the Buddha, Ralph Nader, and Walt Whitman.”

“I enjoyed your presentation, especially your optimism and dedication.  I am inspired to remain optimistic in these changing times.”

One of his books is “A New Myth for America“, of which one reviewer wrote:

“I do believe a book like ‘A New Myth for America’ can not only spark an important dialogue in the world, but help us to look at the future with more hope, because we know that all is not lost”. – Cyrus Webb, “Conversations Book Club”

Hilgendorf is holding these talks and discussions, both in-person and via online Skype video, with interested groups, both large and small.

“Small towns and villages, big cities, colleges,”he says, “anywhere people are interested in coming together to talk about our nation’s future.”

He added, “President Abraham Lincoln once stated: ‘My dream is of a place and a time where America will once again be seen as the last best hope of Earth.’  Let’s move together toward that dream.”

For more information about Hilgendorf, and to contact him, visit his website.

Traveling to a New America – Florida State University

Traveling to a New America – Florida State University

Last week, I gave a talk, via Skype video, with members of the Department of Dance at Florida State University.

Cape Town Minstrels South AfricaThe group, under the direction of celebrated choreographer Millicent Johnnie, is creating a performance centered around the annual Minstrel’s Carnival in Cape Town, South Africa.

About fifteen years ago, my brother John and I had visited Cape Town and produced a 40-minute documentary about the city.  One of the sections of the film was a three-minute interview with an older man, Noor Ibrahim, who lived in what is called District Six at the time of apartheid. Millicent’s dance troupe saw this interview, and asked to use the audio as part of their dance performance, and also asked me to talk to the dancers about my experience in Cape Town.

District Six was an extremely cosmopolitan area of the city in the 1960′s, with people of all backgrounds, races, religions, cultures, with everyone getting along very well with one another.

In the 1960′s, the apartheid government chose to designate District Six a whites-only area, and proceeded to bulldoze all the buildings in the District and remove all the black and colored men, women and children to barren land just southeast of the center of the city, which came to be called the Flats.  People were just dumped there, with no facilities.  Families were divided, broken up.  The government wanted to create a State based upon white supremacy.  The Dutch Reformed Church was in league also with the government, and supported apartheid.

While in Cape Town, my brother and I visited Khayelitsha, one of the large townships in the flats.  We visited a small prefabricated school which had been donated by a Rotary Club in Germany for the children there, and interviewed the teacher.  The area around was devastated, with most people living in simple timber or metal shacks.  Young children were filling pails with water at the only open public water faucet available in the area.  This was the legacy of apartheid.  From reading reports, I don’t think too much has changed since I was there.  The problem has been difficult and enormous.

District Six, at its height, was also – and still is – intimately associated with the yearly celebration on January 2nd of each year, called the Cape Town Minstrel Festival.

The festival had its origins in the colonial era of the early 1800’s, when slavery was rife.  The ancestors of today’s Cape Minstrels, local slaves, were given only one day off a year – January 2nd – when they could celebrate and let loose – the day after January 1, when their masters had celebrated the new year.

In 1862, the internationally renowned Christy’s Minstrels visited the Cape from the United States, and for the next several years staged minstrel shows, which were believed to have contributed greatly to the birth of the Cape Minstrels and  Cape Town Carnival.  Christy’s Minstrels were a troup of white men and women who painted their faces black and whited out their eyes.  They brought American music with them, as did other minstrel groups.

The music celebration of January 2nd in Cape Town was a powerful binding force in creating cohesion and a sense of freedom, even amid the oppressive years of apartheid.  It helped to build bridges between the communities after the apartheid era. It is still a day when the community that survived slavery, segregation and apartheid celebrates its existence and perseverance.  It is a celebration of freedom.

Apartheid attempted to divide and separate black and colored communities, and create a state based upon white supremacy.  District Six was a blatant example of this.

But this is not simply a story of the past.  The struggle continues.  There are forces all over the world seeking to divide people.

Here in the United States, for instance, we are seeing old antagonisms emerge once again – battles over Confederate statues, over issues of white supremacy and racism – issues we thought we had finally buried with the Civil War and the passage of civil rights legislation.

These forces live among us.  As an example, the President himself recently rescinded DACA – the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals – which protected eligible immigrant youth who came to the United States when they were children from deportation.  Without this protection, whole families could be fractured.  Behind all of this is the same familiar impulse, the same impulse that leveled and destroyed District Six with its cosmopolitan community – destroy, divide, break up and render impotent, this is the idea – elevate the idea of the supremacy of one heritage, one race, one nation, one culture, one people.

The impulse that attempts to divide, to break apart, to sever relations with the broader world around, to retreat into the smaller, more familiar and isolated world of the past, is an impulse that will lead inevitably to disaster, both personally and as a nation.  Life is constantly seeking a broader expression.

President Barack Obama once said it well:

“For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness.  We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus, and non-believers.  We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.”

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Traveling to a New AmericaJames Hilgendorf is a filmmaker, speaker, poet, and the author of ten non-fiction books that are opening the way to a new vision of ourselves, a new dream of America, a new religion for the world.  This year and next, he is reaching out to towns and cities all across America, meeting people, holding talks, under the banner of “Traveling to a New America“.

Follow the journey on Facebook.

To arrange talks and discussions, contact the author.


Mabel Dodge Luhan House, Taos, New Mexico

Mabel Dodge Luhan House, Taos, New MexicoLast week, while giving a talk and leading a discussion at SOMOS – Society of the Muse of the Southwest – in Taos, Mexico, Elizabeth and I stayed for two nights at the Mabel Dodge Luhan House in Taos.

The House is a National Historic Landmark.

In 1917, Mabel, a rich heiress, and former famous patron of the arts in New York City, moved to Taos, where she began a literary colony.

The House became a magnet for visiting influential artists, poets, writers and other famous people, including such personages as Willa Cather, Robinson Jeffers, Georgia O’Keefe, Aldous Huxley, Carl Jung, Thornton Wilder, Martha Graham, Ansel Adams and others.

Perhaps the most famous of her visitors was the English writer D. H. Lawrence and his wife Frieda.  They became close; and eventually Mabel gifted a 160 acre ranch north of Taos to Lawrence, which he loved, and where he lived, off and on, for a total of about a year between his other travels.  In return, Frieda gifted the original manuscript of one of Lawrence’s most famous novels, “Sons and Lovers”, to Mabel.

Mabel fell in love with the American Indian culture (later marrying an Indian chief, Tony Luhan), feeling it was an antidote to the fractured life of modern humanity.  She hoped that her home, with influential people coming from all over the world, would become the center of a new rebirth of Western civilization.

D. H. Lawrence Taos New Mexico

D. H. Lawrence

D. H. Lawrence also dreamed of founding a utopian community, to be called Rananim, where humanity’s spiritual life and needs would begin to find a new rebirth.  He hoped that it might be in Taos, but that was not to be.

Lawrence dreamed of finding a new home, with other people, a place of renewal, apart from the materialistic civilization, founded upon money, that he sensed crashing everywhere he went.  His whole life was a search for this opening into a new mode of living, a new life for humanity.  He knew it was there.  He knew it would come, but he was ahead of his time.

We are now moving through that time.

A new spiritual civilization, beyond even age-old dreams, beyond anything we have yet imagined, is struggling to be born.  It is here and now.  It grows from the wreckage of despair, of lost hope, of pollution, greed, injustice, hatred and war.  It is the compassionate heart of the universe itself coming to fruition and bloom.

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Traveling to a New AmericaJames Hilgendorf is a filmmaker, speaker, poet, and the author of ten non-fiction books that are opening the way to a new vision of ourselves, a new dream of America, a new religion for the world.  This year and next, he is traveling to towns and cities all across America, meeting people and holding talks and discussions, under the banner of “Traveling to a New America“.

Follow the journey on Facebook.

To set up talks, contact the author.

D.H. Lawrence & Taos, New Mexico

D. H. Lawrence Ranch Taos New MexicoWhile giving a book reading recently in Taos, New Mexico, I drove one day about twenty miles north of Taos to the D. H. Lawrence Ranch.

Lawrence was one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century – author of “Sons and Lovers”, “The Rainbow”, “Women in Love”, “Lady Chatterley’s Lover”, and other numerous novels, short stories, poems, and non-fiction.

He was British, but ended up traveling the world, and was himself world-renowned.

He was given a 160 acre ranch in 1924 north of Taos, and although, in total, he was able to spend only about a year at the ranch, New Mexico, of all the places he had traveled to in the world, made a very deep impression on him.  He wrote:

“But for a greatness of beauty I have never experienced anything like New Mexico.  All those mornings when I went with a hoe along the ditch to the Canyon, at the ranch, and stood, in the fierce, proud silence of the Rockies, on their foothills, to look far over the desert to the blue mountains away in Arizona, blue as chalcedony, with the sage-brush desert sweeping grey-blue in between, dotted with tiny cube-crystals of houses, the vast amphitheatre of lofty, indomitable desert, sweeping round to the ponderous Sangre de Christo mountains on the east, and coming up flush at the pine dotted foothills of the Rockies!  What splendor!  Only the gawny eagle could really sail out into the splendor of it all.  It had a splendid, silent, terror, and a vast far-and-wide magnificence…way beyond mere aesthetic appreciation.  Never is the light more pure and overweening than there, arching with a royalty almost cruel over the hollow uptilted world.  Those that have spent morning after morning alone there pitched among the pines above the great proud world of desert will know how unbearably beautiful it is, how clear and unquestioned is the might of the day.”

His books, of course, were a record of his life.  He was seeking all his life.  He moved restlessly around the planet, trying to find his home, the place where he could feel really connected; and the connection he was looking for, in the end, was not just a particular place, but rather a connection to all of life and to the universe itself.

It was in his striving in this regard that was so poignant. Everything that he ever wrote was filled with this passionate craving for a new world, a world grounded in facts and daily life, but imbued also with eternity.

His longing knew no end.  He felt the hollowness of our materialistic Western civilization, he knew it was over, was crashing, but there was nothing yet to take its place – no new vivid realm of life.

In his book, “Studies in Classical American Literature”, he wrote:

“Men are free when they are in a living homeland, not when they are straying and breaking away.  Men are free when they are obeying some deep, inward voice of religious belief.  Obeying from within.  Men are free when they belong to a living, organic, believing community; active in fulfilling some unfulfilled, perhaps unrealized purpose.  Not when they are escaping to some wild west.”

He searched for a door that might open up this homeland for him, but he found it only in deep personal relationships – the relationship of a man and a woman, and small groups of people, like a tiny ship floating upon the flood of life and death, awaiting the recession of waters, and the long awaited new land.

He thought that our civilization had really come to an end.  But he never lost faith in life itself.

“What man most passionately wants is his living wholeness and his living unison, not his own isolate salvation of his “soul.” Man wants his physical fulfillment first and foremost, since now, once and once only, he is in the flesh and potent. For man, the vast marvel is to be alive. For man, as for flower and beast and bird, the supreme triumph is to be most vividly, most perfectly alive. Whatever the unborn and the dead may know, they cannot know the beauty, the marvel of being alive in the flesh. The dead may look after the afterwards. But the magnificent here and now of life in the flesh is ours, and ours alone, and ours only for a time. We ought to dance with rapture that we should be alive and in the flesh, and part of the living, incarnate cosmos. I am part of the sun as my eye is part of me. That I am part of the earth my feet know perfectly, and my blood is part of the sea. My soul knows that I am part of the human race, my soul is an organic part of the great human soul, as my spirit is part of my nation. In my own very self, I am part of my family. There is nothing of me that is alone and absolute except my mind, and we shall find that the mind has no existence by itself, it is only the glitter of the sun on the surface of the waters.”

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Traveling to a New AmericaJames Hilgendorf is a filmmaker, speaker, poet, and the author of ten non-fiction books that are opening the way to a new vision of ourselves, a new dream of America, a new religion for the world.  This year and next, he is traveling to towns and cities all across America, meeting people and holding readings and talks under the banner of “Traveling to a New America“.

Follow the journey on Facebook.

To arrange talks, contact the author.

Traveling to a New America – Taos, New Mexico

Taos, New Mexico.

This week, “Traveling to a New America” stopped in Taos, New Mexico, at SOMOS - the Society of the Muse of the Southwest – where I gave a reading from one of my books, “A New Myth for America“, and held a discussion afterwards with a small group from the audience about their views about America.

This was the conversation we had:

Discussion at SOMOS in Taos, New MexicoWhat are your feelings about America at this time?

Camille:

“I am the first generation of immigrants.  I came from Czechoslovakia.  My husband is native American.  I was 14 years old when the Berlin wall fell down.  I came here naive, with big dreams.  Now I’m crying, I’m disappointed.  I was thinking of maybe going to Canada or New Zealand or Australia.  I was giving up, but now I’m starting a business here, so the dream maybe continue, even with the hardship.  If you don’t do anything about yourself and crying about yourself, then nothing will happen, nothing will change.  It’s you who can make changes, and even with the troubles we have right now – I’m living here close to 20 years – I still believe it, I still have the dream.  I went back after 16 years to Prague, and I realized I’m not European anymore.  I proudly say I’m American.  When I go to Europe, I have claustrophobic feelings, and I said to myself, I’m proud to be an American.  Even if I struggle, even I’m crying sometimes, even if we have hardships, in the end, I’m American.”

What’s going to change all the divisiveness we’re experiencing in this country?

Linda:

“Well, I have to say, from my point of view, I was very distressed when Trump was elected.  I’m still distressed, because he’s much worse than I could possibly imagine, but I also realize he is the shadow of this country, and don’t believe we’re going anywhere without that shadow being dealt with.”

Lydia:

“I think also that we’re a very consumer oriented society, and I think that it’s necessary to stop this materialistic consumerism and simplify one’s lifestyle.”

Barbara:

“I think that it’s easier to say what’s wrong with America than what’s right with America.  I was like you, I was completely disturbed.  In fact, I wrote a piece about Trump being our shadow and mirror.  We have that zenophobia in us where we are afraid of the ‘other’, and he just brings it out and parades it for us.  People who aren’t ashamed of that voted for him.  People who still have vestiges of it, and are ashamed of it, and want to have those vestiges removed, don’t like him at all.  It’s easy to say what’s wrong with America, because there are forces that are actively sowing division.  Education is a good anecdote to the ignorance of following a propagandized message, and Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Breitbart, and even organizations on the left who aren’t concerned with the truth, but are only concerned with winning a point in their favor are extremely detrimental to our society.  Not to mention Capitalism.”

Sheree:

“I agree that we’re not going anywhere without our shadow side. Something you said just went straight to my heart tonight, it was about when things are just so bad and you don’t think you can go on, that’s the turning point  Because that’s the point at which we make a choice.  Do we lie down and die, or do we turn and go in a different direction.  I think Trump and what Mother Earth is doing right now is saying: I’ve had it with you people.  I’m from Texas.  I think that all of this is going to force a change, it’s going to force people to either lie down and die or turn and go in a different direction, and the things I’ve read about the younger generation, the millennials, they’re not going to take this lying down.  They’ve been compared to the Great Generation, they’re going to turn us in a different direction.  I have two sons, one is 25 and the other is 29, and they are very, very different.  I scratch my head when I hear them talk.  The 25 year old, when I talk about grand children, he says why do you even want them, there’s not going to be a planet left by the time they’re your age.  The other son is:  By God we’re going to take this challenge on and we’re going to fix what you screwed up.

“I traveled for six weeks in Europe, and I stayed in hostels with my older son, the ‘by God we’re going to change this one’, and conversations late at night with twenty somethings and some kids, there was even one girl there sixteen years old.  It renewed my hope, my hope in the future because just talking with those young people it took my heart and lifted it so high.  I think that God, the universe, whatever you want to call a higher power, is going to use, try if we let It, Him, She, use Trump and all to bring about a good change.”

Hannah:

“I don’t have my head in the sand, I’m not not looking at what’s bad about this country.  I think that there’s a fatal flaw woven into this country.  We were founded on this idea of human freedom and yet we used slaves to build that, so there’s a schism already there, and I think that’s our shadow that we are looking at now.  But I see that the change, the turnaround, is already taking place.  The fact that we’re sitting here and we’re sharing these ideas, it’s already happening. Your traveling around the country and your having this type of conversation all over the country, the change is already taking place.  I loved the way you described the small shoots coming up out of the devastation, the reawakening, the rebirth of the phoenix amidst the ashes.  I see it already taking place.  And the new myth – I don’t think there is a new myth – I think we each create our new story, and that has to do with raising consciousness.  We each have to turn inward and find that new myth from within ourselves.  I think it was interesting, the quote by Maya Angelo above your head as you were reading:  “There’s no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you”, and so I think that for each of us to turn into that untold story, and tell it, create it, is where the new mythology will be born.”

Marianne:

“This is terribly banal, but the fact that Trump made a deal with Nancy Pelosi just blew my head apart.  It’s been so long since there was anything but partisanship in this country.  It may be that someone as crazy and as loose a cannon as he is… and the hurricanes – I mean the hurricanes are doing something to our country.  There’s going to have to be cooperation if those places are going to be rebuilt.  I, too, am an immigrant, I was five when I came here, and I went back to a country that I never knew, that I had just heard stories about, and every moment I wanted to be back home.  And I’m not home here either.  I think that once you’re an immigrant, we’re the new prototype of the new global citizen, because so many of us exist that we have to claim the planet as our home rather than a country.”

Bill:

“I was born and raised in the deep south and moved to Texas in my adulthood, and I just watch with great dismay events of recent months, Charlottesville being the one that got the most attention.  Tonight I remembered a quote that was part of a piece that former President Carter wrote, I guess two weeks ago.  He was speaking about the compassion that emerged along the Texas coast with hurricane Harvey, with people helping people.  He began his reflection by saying what he was seeing was reminding him of a time when he was a boy, of what neighbors really meant to each other.  He said something, like, when the waters rise, our better angels appear.  What he was saying was that when they came to your house to take you on the boat in the Houston area, they didn’t ask you where you were from originally, or what religious affiliation was important to you, they said get in the boat so that we can save you.  I don’t know how that will last, but the devastation that’s happening Florida will test that again.  Our younger son said, I hope the compassion that’s been shown to Texas will be shown to Florida.  In a two week span, two incredible storms and devastation.  If you’ve never lived through a flood, it is not easy.  We’ve got a long way to go but I hope it will pull some of us at least together.”

Lydia”

“I was thinking about the myth of self-sufficiency that’s been around in this country, you know, the Marlboro man, the cowboy, and I think this is really the turning point.  When you have a disaster, people have to come together, and really function as a unit, rather than as an independent entity, and I think that’s happening.  But we have to get rid of that myth, because it’s always, you’re on your own, and it’s a matter of survival and you gotta get ahead, and that’s the myth in this country.  It’s been around for a long time.”

Camille”

“May I add something.  In Czechoslavakia, , they still have a social system that sends children to a higher education for free.  The taxes are going to education, not to making wars.  America doesn’t need to be a policeman of the world.  That’s my big issue right now. Why are our children sitting home and shooting themselves with heroin and snorting cocaine or drinking?  It’s because they don’t have any future, we don’t give them the goals, saying go for a future education for free, like Mr. Sanders said.  I believe education is the goal of our country.  Look at Japan, Australia, New Zealand, wherever.  If we don’t have a higher education system, that country will suffocate themselves, because only the rich can afford it, or the people you’re sending to the army to be educated.”

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Traveling to a New AmericaJames Hilgendorf is a filmmaker, speaker, poet, and the author of ten non-fiction books that are opening the way for a new vision of ourselves, a new dream of America, a new religion for the world.  This year and next, he is traveling to towns and cities all across America, meeting people, giving talks, holding discussions, under the banner of “Traveling to a New America“.

Follow the journey on Facebook.

To arrange talks, readings and group discussions, contact the author.

Evangelicalism on Trial, For All to See

So more than 150 evangelical leaders across the country have just put themselves on record, in part as follows:

‘We affirm that it is sinful to approve of homosexual immorality or transgenderism and that such approval constitutes an essential departure from Christian faithfulness and witness.”

“We deny that adopting a homosexual or transgender self-conception is consistent with God’s holy purposes in creation and redemption.”

And so on, ad nauseum…..

This broad band of  Evangelicalism thus finally defines itself for us in stark and clear terms.  It is a philosophy or religion (a way of looking at our ourselves and our relation to the people around us and to the universe itself) which deserves unqualifiedly to be relegated to the trash bins of history.

It is neither human nor compassionate, nor has anything whatsoever to do with the humble and all-embracing thoughts and actions of Christianity’s founder.

Several of the co-signers of this document have either worked closely with President Donald Trump or serve on his evangelical advisory board, orchestrated by Vice President Mike Pence.

This is all good to see and hear.  No hiding, no equivocating.  Get it out in the open, educate the American people about this backward, hypocritical, self-serving brand of thought.

A few quotes, supposedly from Jesus, whom Evangelicals profess to follow:

“Love your neighbor as yourself.”

“A new command I give you: Love one another.”

“Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar.”

“Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me’”.

“They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him.  They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.”

“Do not judge, and you will not be judged.  Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned.”

Trump, Pence, a distorted Evangelicalism – all coming to the fore, for all of us to see.  And what we see is increasingly clear and unsavory and discriminatory and frankly, evil, if we define evil as that which diminishes people, that divides people, that segregates people, that shuts off our hearts to people, that maligns people, that denigrates and abuses people.  Political power, and religious power, twined together into one.  We have seen it before, throughout history, and it is here now, here in America, for all of us to see.

Time to sweep the boards clear.  There is a new world coming.  There is a new America coming.

It has waited in the wings since the dawn of the first sun of the beginning of time.

It is the reason for the existence of the universe itself.

It is one person coming to fruition and bloom.

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Traveling to a New AmericaJames Hilgendorf is a filmmaker, speaker, poet, and the author of ten non-fiction books that are opening the way to a new vision of ourselves, a new dream of America, a new religion for the world.  This year and next, he is traveling to towns and cities all across America, meeting and interviewing people and giving talks, under the banner of “Traveling to a New America“.

Follow the journey on Facebook.

To arrange talks, contact the author.


America – Drilling Down For Pay Dirt

Traveling to a New America
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PAY DIRT

What is needed is the blow of a hammer.

Cracking through age-old sediment, releasing hot plasma.

There is fire at the center of your life.  Let it come forth.

Now spin a tale with utter abandon.  Resurrect voices stifled and buried and abandoned down the well hole of known history, and of unknown history, tides of people we have never known, prehistoric cave people with large skulls and protruding jaws, talented cave painters of bison and elk, magic makers invoking chants of mystery and awe to the spreading dawn.

We hold everything within our lives.  Give credence to it all.

The bards have been waiting for aeons, sweating in the dark.  Now bring forth the dawn of America.  Sing aloud.

I am here.  I am America.  I have been here forever, waiting.

I step forth from eternity, wading in giant galoshes through  ponds and pools of gigantic ferns and carnivorous plants of the new world.  Steam rises off the dark, hissing, new-born waters.

Here was where creation was born.  This is where I take my stand.  I am America.

Our powers create vast worlds, unlimited universes spawning out of our minds and eyes.

Look around.  This is the new world.

This is the world Columbus sought, the fabled Indies; and Vasco da Gama, circumnavigating Africa, opening up dazzling routes to India; and Marco Polo, carrying back magical tales of China and Asia; and Hernando Cortes, destroying Aztec temples and civilizations for gold.

They and others expanded the reach of our eye, unearthing continents.

In our own day, physicists probe the moon and Mars, send emissaries to Saturn and beyond; then turn to explore mini-worlds within the atom, dissecting parallels of space and time.

But all these explorers never found the true world, the mythical Shangri-la, the answer to the quest of our heart.  There was always something missing.

They uncovered vast realms, yet never discovered the door to eternity.

It lay all around them.  They had only to drill two feet into the ground, mark off a four by four plot around their own body, and hit pay dirt.

It is this world that opens up now.  It exists everywhere upon the prairies and mountains and rivers of this fabled land of America.

It resides in the heart of each and every person.

Let it come forth now.

Nam Myoho Renge Kyo.
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Traveling to a New AmericaJames Hilgendorf is a filmmaker, speaker, poet, and the author of ten non-fiction books that are opening the way to a new vision of ourselves, a new dream of America, a new religion for the world.  This year and next, he is traveling to towns and cities all across America, meeting people and giving readings and talks, under the banner of “Traveling to a New America“.

Follow the journey on Facebook.

To arrange readings or talks, contact the author.

Jack London & The Iron Heel

Glen Ellen, Ca. Jack London State Park.This past weekend, Elizabeth and I stopped by Glen Ellen, California, a lovely small town north of the city of Sonoma, and the location of the Jack London State Historic Park.

Jack London was one of the most prolific and successful writers of the early 1900′s – author of “Call of the Wild”, “White Fang”, “The Sea Wolf”, and other novels and short stories.

By 1913, London and his wife Charmian had acquired 1400 acres of land near Glen Ellen and turned them into a working ranch.  In 1910 construction was begun on a 15,000 square foot lodge, with 26 rooms and 9 fireplaces, called Wolf House, that was to be the Londons’ dream home.   In 1913, just a few days before they were planning to move in, a fire broke out, completely gutting the interior of the home, leaving only the massive masonry walls standing.   Three years later, at age 40, London died.

Jack LondonMuch of his work is imbued with a sense of the awesome power of nature and the struggle and survival of the fittest that characterized all of life.

This was reflected in his grasp of the titanic social forces that were playing out during that era.

London himself experienced firsthand the grueling working conditions of the time, and it turned him into a passionate advocate of socialism and workers’ rights.

In his book, “The Iron Heel”, published in 1908, he predicted the rise in the United States of an oligarchy, or small group of corrupt and selfish people, who would seize control of the government and economic power, destroy the middle class, and maintain power by oppressing the people.  George Orwell, author of “1984″, the great portrait of a future totalitarian state, was influenced by “The Iron Heel”, and saw London’s book as “a very remarkable prophecy of the rise of Fascism”.

The themes of “The Iron Heel” seem eerily familiar today – the gathering of economic and political power into the hands of a very small group of people, the destruction of the middle class, the rise of a government increasingly amoral and more concerned with the centralization and co-opting of power and money than for the needs and welfare of the people.

Whither go we?

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A New Myth for America BuddhismJames Hilgendorf is a filmmaker, speaker, poet, and the author of ten non-fiction books that are opening the way to a new vision of ourselves, a new dream of America, a new religion for the world.  This year and next, he is traveling to towns and cities all across America, meeting people and giving talks, under the banner of “Traveling to a New America“.

Follow the journey on Facebook.

To arrange talks, contact the author.