Keep your eye on the umbrella.


Assign a domino for every denomination of every religion,

every one.

Set all the dominoes atop a very large dining table

with all its leaves in.

You won’t have enough leaves.

Are you ready? Here we go.

Begin with Christians, the protestant kind, who doth protest.

They are so many. And they are divisive.

Take Baptists, for example.

Southern Baptists, American Baptists, Congregational Baptists, Free-will Baptists,

Foot-washin’, Apostolic, Conservative, Cooperative, Uncooperative,

tongue-speaking, snake-handling

…and many—believe me many—more kinds of Baptists.

Try to find any two Baptists who agree on all Baptist doctrines.

Ultimately, every Baptist is a freestanding Baptist church

of one member, a church unto himself/herself.

Methodists are pretty much the same.

Free Methodist, United Methodist, United Reformed Methodists, etcetc.

No doubt you never realized how very many kinds of Methodists there are.

Then Lutherans. Quakers. Presbyterians; Church of God; Church of Christ;

Congregationalists; Mormons; Seventh day Adventists; Pentecostalists…

Keep going, you’ve barely begun to list all the protestants.

This will take a while.


Next do the Catholics. What—you actually didn’t know

there’s dozens of different kinds of Catholics?

Where have you been?

Do likewise for Abraham’s other spawn, Judaism and Islam.

…Orthodox, Conservative, Reconstructionist, Reform.

…Sunni, Shia, not to mention Kharijite, Kalam, Ibadi, Zahiri,

Ja’fari, Zaidi, Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi’, Hanbali.

There’s lots more. They can’t get along. They keep splitting.

Branch out.

Assign a domino to the Hindu religion

—and to each of its hundreds of internal subdivisions,

Then do Buddhism and its endless subdivisions:

Zen Buddhism, Nichiren Buddhism, Theravada Buddhism, Mahayana Buddhism,

Pure Land Buddhism, Tibetan Buddhism. Korean Zen Buddhism…more…

Do as many more world religions as you can think of

—or discover—

Taoism, Confucianism, Baha’i, Shintoism, Sikhism…

And all their subdivisions…

And still more that you never heard of.

There’s lots of material. Be thorough.

Somebody made a list of all major organized religions

and their endless subdivisions,

4,300, more or less. No doubt an undercount—

never-ending subdividing, the list was instantly obsolete.

Just look at all the dominoes, side by side and rows on rows.

How many churches God only knows.

Which church does God go to?

Keep your eye on the umbrella.


List now the spiritual beliefs which aren’t much organized at all.

List the names of the tribes who hold those beliefs

—thousands of tribes, across the Earth—

as stand-ins for the spiritual beliefs, themselves,

which have no names.

Australia’s Ngarabana, Arabuna Arrabunna, Urapuna Urabuna, Urabunna Urroban, Wangarabana,

Wongkurapuna, Wangarabunna, Jendakarangu, Nulla, Yendakarangu,…

North America’s Apache, Iroquois, Cherokee, Sioux, Creek, Maumee, Lumbee…

Africa’s Masai, Hadzabe, Karo, Hamar, Himba, San, Samburu, Zulu, Xhosa…

Amazonia’s Kuarup, Kuripako, Hupda, Nadöb, Yuhupde, Baré, Warekena…

New Zealand’s Maoris, Japan’s Ainu, Arctic Europe’s Sami…

…and so many more, all over the earth…

who believe

That Earth’s air, water and the very ground itself belong equally to everyone,

That there are no boundaries in Nature, all Creation is interconnected,

That everything is related to everything else, all is unity,

That the deer and fox and beaver, swan, iguana, salmon and moth

and bees and dragonflies are our little brothers and sisters,

That one almighty Creator instigated Universe and Earth and Life

and is variously called Kitchi-Manitou, YHWH, Allah, Bog, Duw,

Jumala, Mungu, Ilaah, Domnezeu and thousands of

other man-made words that all mean God.

Look at all the dominoes, side by side and rows on rows.

How many beliefs God only knows.

Which among all those beliefs does God believe?

Keep your eye on the umbrella.


List now the fields of science,

Assign a domino to all the many disciplines,

each and every one.

Physics, the quantum in the big bang, the foundation of it all,

with gravity conducting energy’s upward emergence into

galaxies and stars and planets, all self organizing,

Behold, a universe creates, has created, is creating itself.

Let there be light.

Chemistry, the forming and joining of the atoms

in myriad combinations, most beautiful,

that transform primal energy into

air, water, earth and fire.

Biology, transmogrifying inert matter into living life

that reproduces itself, and consciously tries to survive,

and evolves ever upward from less to greater complexity,

as witness:  here stand you and I, above a lowly rock.

And then the many other phases to which Science give its nod.

History. Culture. Psychology/Psychiatry. Medicine/Neuroscience.

Geology/Tectonics/Volcanism. Ecology/Conservation/Environment.

And all the rest—

as Man discovers science’s endless nooks and crannies,

one by one,

and assigns a discipline name, a domino, for each and every one,

as if they were separate,

and not all one thing.

Which “parts” of science, do you think, were created by Man,

and which by God?

*          *          *

Our table overflows with dominoes—religion, spirituality, science.

Keep your eye on the umbrella.

It’s up there you know, above the table,

the full, true, all-encompassing spirituality.

On one end it over-reaches all the religious dominoes,

which are many, doctrinaire and dogmatic;

Then in the middle the umbrella over-reaches all the spiritual beliefs,

which also are many

and singularly free of doctrine or dogma—

though diverse.

At the other end the umbrella over-reaches science,

which is nothing more than HOW the universe is organized,

and which progressively comes to light

as scientific Man observes it, thinks about it,

and at long last understands pieces of it, bit by bit by bit,

never asking WHY.

But his inquisitive observational gaze is intensely focused

on the microscope,

And thus he fails to notice the umbrella overhead,

just the same as do all the proponents of all those religions.

The umbrella is noticed only by native tribespeople

and a few astronomers,

who retreat to mountaintops,

who look upward at night

and see.

Religion, tribal spirituality, science,

All is one.

Behold the umbrella’s broad span

How long until we all notice,

and finally understand?




  1. This is perfect for election day! We can elect a higher vision of life!! Thank you, Don Coffey, for who you are! My deep love to you and Sylvia!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *