Goodenough Gismo

  • Gismo39
    This is the classic children's book, Goodenough Gismo, by Richmond I. Kelsey, published in 1948. Nearly unavailable in libraries and the collector's market, it is posted here with love as an "orphan work" so that it may be seen and appreciated -- and perhaps even republished, as it deserves to be. After you read this book, it won't surprise you to learn that Richmond Irwin Kelsey (1905-1987) was an accomplished artist, or that as Dick Kelsey, he was one of the great Disney art directors, breaking your heart with "Pinocchio," "Dumbo," and "Bambi."

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Sometimes it is easy for me, being raised Christian, to get drawn into this sort of logic--and indeed there is a deep mystery to the nature of the divine and it is good to recognize it, but then the record screeches to a halt, and I come out of my trance, and I think wait a minute--Jesus, i.e. God, has already been here and last I checked we still had sin, disease, and death--the world sure don't look to redeemed to me.

And, of course, the author chose his words carefully to indicate that the coming of Jesus marked the beginning of a new age that is slowly dawning. I can perhaps agree with that, but as Christians view Jesus as God himself and consider his sacrifice the most important thing if not for the universe, than for the earth, I'd expect a little more. Like maybe war would stop while Jesus was here and when he left suddenly disease would be gone or something: not just a few fishes here and there multiplied. Impressive for a dude, not very impressive for the entity that has created limitless galaxies.

This is where the theologians like to turn all glazy-eyed and invoke the unfathomable mystery of the divine, and I can't help but think that is good cover for a shaky theology. Any time your theology is sketchy throw some smoke in the air and hope no one notices.


I don't know, Adam. Aren't you the same one who said we were outgrowing religion?

I don't believe Jesus has saved us from sin, I believe He came to save us from sin. He opened the door; He can't push us through it. Only we weak (although many believe superior) human beings can figure out if we dare go through the door.

This door doesn't lead us to sinless nature or freedom from disease and the seven deadly sins, etc. It hopefully does give us the will to try and be the best children we can be... kind, thoughtful, helpful... probably Sermon on the Mount stuff.

I guess I think differently, I don't mind the mysteries of my Faith. The bread and wine becoming Body and Blood... I trust it will all work out.

Jesus did more than multiply loaves and fishes. He wiped the stain of sin away... so we can live(hopefully) in the Glory of God. I don't mind the omission of Jesus, amba. Jesus is God, yes; Jesus is God become man-in all our human frailties save sin. That was a major sacrifice in itself, I'd say.

Sometimes, I hate being human. I think we suck. But, must be my soul still has hope for the flowers, eh?


Hi Karen,

At base what is important is a personal relationship with the divine and how one lives one's life. The theological details don't particularly matter. I happen to honor and venerate both Jesus and Mary though in a highly unorthodox way. I believe in some form a divine benevolence as well as life after death.

So basically my stance is one can practice traditional religion and get much out of it. My mother is a gung-ho episcopalian and deeply enjoys it: she recognizes some of the theological difficulties but she is caught up in the joy of spiritual practice so as not to really care.

So at base, if catholicism works for you, and gives you spiritual sustenance and joy, keep on doing it. If there are parts that don't sit well with you, I would advise you to take those aspects with a grain of salt.

However, my personality is deeply analytic and theoretical, and while there is much beauty and benefit to be gained from Christianity my mind very quickly zeroes in on the theological details. I perpetually ask is this true, is this accurate, why ought we believe this. In other words, I am interested in creating a spiritual framework no less sophisticated than advanced physics. I want to iron out every last detail. It is a source of joy and diversion.

Hinduism outlines four paths to God. One is the way of knowlege: jnana yoga it is called. Another is the way of devotion and adoration of God: bkati yoga. Another is the way of good deeds: karma yoga.
And the final way is the way of spiritual exercise such as meditation and visualization: raja yoga. You may be like my mother in that you are a bhakta and karma (love and good deeds) yogini (female for yogi).

I appreciate all four but I have big streak of jnana (knowledge) in me.

So if you're not interested in all the theological niceties, you can ignore a lot of my posts. After all, I do favor the existence of God, the afterlife, and do have admiration for Jesus and Mary.


But if you want to get into the details, Karen, you have to realize that what is at issue is whether it is plausible to believe that Jesus really wiped out sin or will do so for believers.

On one hand you state that he will, but then on the other hand you say that believers will still suffer from the seven deadly sins. Therefore, in what sense has Jesus erased one's sin? All that might possibly have been done is to start the process of wiping away sin: in which I case I would argue that I would expect a little more improvement post a visit from the diety then we have thus far experienced. Or possibly a promise that we will be free from sin in heaven in which case all Jesus did was to allow believers a free pass into heaven. Now, at least this is consistent. But I'm not sure why a blood sacrifice was necessary. Why does God need us to accept a blood sacrifice to forgive us? Assuming we need forgiveness, couldn't God just forgive us unless we just refused. I don't see the necessity of a blood sacrifice in this process.

Bottom line: I think Jesus was important and he may very well have raised the spiritual temperature of the planet considerably but to equate him with the God of all Gods just doesn't seem accurate. IMHO opinion, his performace on earth just doesn't seem to measure up with a fellow who has the ability to wish entire galaxies into existence.

However, unlike in Judaism and Islam, I don't consider it idolatrous to have devotion toward Jesus or Mary or the Saints. I consider them to be aspects of God, not the whole kit-and-kaboodle.


You know, my knowledge you could fit in a hat. I just try every day to learn more, so in a way... I'm a seeker of knowledge as well.

i think you want tangible evidence as to the God of which you speak. The Hebrews(IMhumbleo0) were no different. The physical aspect of blood sacrifice is the fact, not fiction. The tangible proof. It all has to do with Covenants made throughout the Jewish history, even Cain murdering Abel is a blood letting. Didn't Abel's blood cry out to the Lord from the ground?

So, Christ's sacrifice, always foretold in the Old Testament as the Lamb of God, I think, was a reversal of all that had happened before. It doesn't mean that we won't sin... human nature is sinful nature. We always want what we shouldn't have. It's the free-will thing you don't seem to be getting in my explaination.

God never stops loving us or being there for us. We choose to walk away from Him. I know what you mean ,do I believe or not that Jesus wipes the slate clean. What I believe is that if we ask Him to, He does. He opened the door to Heaven, original sin washed away and all, but sin exists still. I'm not certain of my afterlife, like alot of my Protestant friends. I would never say I am gaurenteed to be in Heaven, that's arrogant and snotty.

To be aware of all the miracles in life today, that's a very involved God of all, to me. Sometimes you don't realize what you have until it's gone. I would never take that chance w/Him, He means too much to me. i know what you mean about the grain of salt, but maybe I'm too accepting. I just figure if I feel that way, I'm not getting it yet. It's a me, not my Faith sorta thing. If i said i didn't agree w/something in my Faith, it's putting myself and needs in the center and not God. That's not faith. It's fake. making something fit you vs. growing to fit into something is a competition between Relativism and acceptance that there are things greater than oneself. Even Thomas had the psysical need to test, but to replace dogma or doctrine w/something that feels better to you, that doesn't encourage growth or knowledge. I think, in the end, it will create a chasm of individualism that has dots scattered so far from eachother on the page of life, no real connections can be made between God's children. Especially if each thinks they have the Truth. MonoMEism. Dangerous.


You're right, Karen, that there is a danger to every person figuring out things for themselves.

However, I don't see any other way to do it. To me, I believe that God is within us and can separate truth from error if we are sincere. I also believe that religions were in large part created by men. If you look at the history of church doctrine a lot of the foundational stuff occurs centuries after Jesus: the nicene creed for instance. I take the stance that the Bible and Church doctrine are inspired by God but not necessarily without error.

Thomas Jefferson likened the New Testament to be a dung hill that contained buried gold. So I think there may be very beautiful things in the Bible and in Church doctrine but I feel it is buried in a whole lot of error.

I agree that people ought to scrutinize their motivations when "picking and choosing" ; they ought to search their heart. If my heart tells me one thing, and church doctrine another, I go with my heart.

After all, there is more than just one faith, and many variants within a faith, how to decide which is true, if any are true? I think it is bit shaky to rely on one's birth to determine one's religion. If you took the stance that Judaism was best for this person and therefore they were born Jewish, and likewise for a Christian I could understand that to an extent. But a lot of people seem to blindly accept their faith without wondering about all those people who were born Hindu or Muslim.

It is a difficult task, but I think "picking and choosing" can be a good way to exercise one's spiritual muscles. Attuning yourself to God within on your search for truth.

Jesus himself referred to judging things by their fruits. In my experience and throughout history, church teaching has led to suffering.

Buddha advised that one ought to believe things not because of tradition, or because one's teacher has said so, or even because he said it but because you have found it to produce joy and happiness for all mankind.

I kind of view of tradition as a sort of training wheels. When one is strong enough, one will begin the arduous process of discovering the truth for oneself.

In fact, Jesus himself did this when he left Judaism. At age 33, he came back and laid down new teachings that he had found for himself. It is written, but I say unto you . . .

If we are truly to follow Jesus we ought to do as he did, and that is to find truth for ourselves. Perhaps with him as a guide, but not necessarily the tradition that has associated itself with him.


I also believe that this process will unite people not create little dots of unconnected individualism. I believe that there is one truth and as people begin to progress spiritually they will begin to perceive parts of it. If they see different parts they may disagree, but eventually they will see enough to see that they're all talking about the same thing.

The way it is now Karen, the world is divided into warring religious camps. Humanity is not united in this system. I think we do indeed need to outgrow tradition so that we can have a brotherhood of humanity. As long as we have people confining themselves to these camps, we will not have true brotherhood (or sisterhood).

As it now, there is a war between secularists and the religious in our culture and around the world. And we are facing a modern-day religious war against Islamic terrorism. I think it is time for humanity to grow beyond these camps and embrace a universal religion.

I am hopeful for this process. After all, I know a lot of people with which I have a lot in common spiritually, and we all arrived at this POV independently. Before I met Amba, we more or less independently arrived at similar conclusions. I am just as close to her as a Christian would be to another Christian, probably even more so because we don't have to worry about all the little denominations.

It actually wouldn't be hard to come up with a basic creed for people like me and Amba. All this is proof that humanity can unite spiritually outside of tradition.


Finally, finally, finally Karen. I think it is very important to go with what works. If you are growing spiritually within Catholicism and you are in love with it, then by all means stay. Don't let intellectual issues get in the way.

I say this because I am sometimes nervous in writing these critiques of Christianity. I don't want someone to say, o my God, all I believed was wrong and my life is over. :)

Damn't, if it makes you a better person then stick with it.

I think some people make the mistake that if one part of their faith is wrong, then the whole must be wrong too.

Despite my rather severe critiques of Christianity, somehow I have found a way to still believe in God and venerate Jesus and Mary. (That I view them as bodhisattvas one with Brahman is besides the point :))

My point isn't to destroy faith, but rather to root out error.


Adam, you are the optimist in this debate tonight. I don't think you are necessarily wrong, either. It's more of the way humans put things and themselves above their one God, or many gods. $$$$ is a God. it's a huge divider and it creates pain and victimizes the innocent. When 10% of a country is wealthy adn the other 90% menial, $$$$ is God.

i believe what you say of Tradition, you must know Catholics are big on that. I understand it's man-made, but how much time and study has been put into it? They are like laws to the gov't. If people could pick and choose which laws they preferred and which they wanted to ignore, then the system would be a mess. No uniformity or order, I guess the word is. i'm a disorganized gal. i have cows probably because they keep me on schedule. They demand a method and a consistent day.

Catholicism is the same for my soul. there are always ways I could do better. Yes, it works for me and i can also appreciate how my Muslim friend is devoted to her Faith, i see her as equally loved by God. i just wish people would put god fIRST and quit giving him leftovers, crumbs swept from the table ment for dogs. then, the perspective is easier to focus on others as it is already away from self. What works for me is good, but tough things to swallow can be very healthy in the end, as well.

I appreciate your thoughfulness, Adam. If you love w/your heart, God does feel the intent and intensity. But, I believe the devil exists; he's a strong- willed bastard,too. He preys on the confused and feeds off the hate,that's what scares me. I never hear metion of the devil. I think when W talks of the axis of evil, it's the burning hate of the devil he feels. i feel it myself. It isn't folklore nor fantasy. We'd better get our shit together, i feel, or we may just be lunch.

You don't believe in the Trinity? Do you believe Mary was still a virgin?


I do believe ritual and tradition can be healthy, but I guess I feel we need a new tradition. One which has parameters of belief and practice but one which is flexible to accomodate all people. But to get beyond our warring camps, new territory must be charted. So that is what I think Amba and I support. I don't think spirituality need be frozen in time 2000 or more years ago.

Do I believe Mary was a virgin? I'm not so sure. I think it is also held that Buddha was born of a virgin, but I guess I consider that to be more symbolic than literal. I don't know how Jesus's body could function if half his DNA was missing, and I have trouble thinking that God has DNA on offer. Maybe God gave Jesus the best paternal DNA he could create, but I dunno, sounds a bit fishy to me.

As for the trinity, no I don't believe in the trinity like Christians do. I don't really think of God like the Christians do either. In one sense, I view the whole universe as a part of God, and I view humanity as potential saints/buddhas, but I also think the divine exists outside of time and space as well.

Nonetheless, all these things on a very deep level are one. If you view God as a jewel, I would consider Jesus and Mary to be one of infinitely many facets. We ourselves are facets, but in the rough shall we say.

So from one angle, I am a pantheistic because I believe everything is God. From another angle, I am a polytheist because I believe in an infinity of saints/buddhas, and from another angle I am monotheist because I believe all is fundamentally one.

But I do believe in the trinity in the sense that I think three fundamental qualites of God are love, wisdom, and strength. And if I wanted to get very esoteric I'm sure I could find other trinities.

But I definitely reject the notion of Satan. I definitely do not think there is some malevolent conscious entity that works in opposition to God. I don't believe in a being of evil.

However, I do believe in evil. But I think evil is internal to human beings. When Jesus was tempted by Satan, or Buddha tempted by the Buddhist "Satan" Mara, I believe that they were overcoming there own "demons"--there own emotional and mental ills.

I could probably come up with some quasi-Buddhist, quasi-Hindu explantion of the evil we have in the world, but under no circumstances is there a dude with horns.

In that I believe in karma, I sort of think humanity has over a long period of time built up very negative emotional tendencies. Pools of negativity if you will. So when you see things like Hitler, or serial killers, or Bin Laden, you know these guys are sort of drawing on these built up pools of human negativity. But it is an impersonal force, created by humanities negative tendencies.

Everytime someone gives themselves over to rage or violence, so the theory goes, they add a little to the pool. Just as believers can tap into the infinite goodness of the divine, humans can tap into the negativity of their fellow humans. But I think it is dangerous to assume that this evil could hold a candle to the infinite good.

I think it is helpful to believe that the only reason evil is in the world is because humans will it, and the divine will not violate our free will. But if we renounce our bad ways, the divine is willing to provide necessary reinforcements.

I think Satan is a dangerous idea because it gives power to evil. Evil to us is very real, but in the mind of the divine it is but a minute speck. It is a mere blip in eternity.

I do not believe the world is in a collosal struggle between good and evil. It is a foregone conclusion that good will prevail; it is up to us, however, how long we have to wait until it does.


Yup, you're the optimist. I do believe that Good trumps evil; easily for the Lord, not always for us.

I can see many things I agree w/ in your analysis of the crystal in the light. How many prisms created and from only slightly tilting the stone. All of us are of God and God is in all things.

Jehovah's Witnesses believe all water is holy, it's all from God. i agreed and then later thought to ask if they drink from the toilet? If water is water... Then drinking from the dog's dish is okay?

You have a great mind, Adam. i just don't see how one great religion agreeable to all will cure the ills of man. It's like the Anarchists believing that all gov't is bad, but since it's alternative is chaos... in which I see the power hungry and natural born leaders and outlaws duking it out for Domination(correct word?); it isn't like these people will use peaceful dialogue to solve their quest for difference.

I like the dogma of my faith, and i'm sticking to it :0. Thanks for talking with me, Adam, see you in another thread again.


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