Annual Season For Nonviolence week 2

War is Over if you want it. John and Yoko

War is Over if you want it. John and Yoko

Hi everyone. Today is the fourth day of the Annual Season For Nonviolence. Each day of the 64 days between January 30th (Assassination of Mahatma Gandhi) and April 4th (Assassination of Martin Luther King Junior), is dedicated to a simple practice or thought which will help us to become more conscious of the peacefulness inside each of us. I was given this list on Sunday at my Church (The San Diego Center for Spiritual Living) and I would like to pass these thoughts on to you.

Here we are in week two and here are 7 more daily practices starting with yesterdays Feb. 9th. In-Joy

Day 11 Today I will look beyond stereotypes and pejudices.

Day 12 Today I will choose to be aware of what I talk about and I will refuse to gossip.

Day 13 Today I will live in the present moment and release the past.

Day 14 Today I will silently acknowledge all the leaders throughout the world.

Day 15 Today I will speak with kindness, respect,and patience to every person that I talk with on the phone.

Day 16 Today I will affirm my value and worth with positive “self-talk” and refuse to put myself down.

Day 17 Today I will tell the truth and speak honestly from the heart.

Have a great week.

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John 8.31-59 Some insights into spiritual growth 3

“I tell you for certain anyone who sins is a slave to sin.” (v.34)

Jesus’ mission was to preach the Good News which is: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”

In this passage from Luke 4.18-19 Jesus is letting us know that we are slaves, poor, captives, blind and oppressed. The remedy is the “acceptable year of the Lord” which can be understood as the Kingdom of God. Can you imagine there being bondage of any kind in the Kingdom of God? He says: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand (right here right now); repent (change your mind), and believe in the gospel (good news).” Mark 1:15

We find Jesus talking here to believers (v.31) who do not understand what he is saying. Sound familiar? (v.43), “why can’t you understand what I’m talking about?” I’m reminded of Jesus’ statement on the cross “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” Luke 23.34

What is the sin we are slaves to? Sin from the Greek; hamartia means to miss the mark. The commentator from the online Blue Letter Bible says of this word; “It is the most comprehensive term for moral obliquity.” Maybe what this commentator is pointing out here is that the word hamartia itself is a morally oblique term. It is very possible this word is used on purpose to describe an amoral condition of blindness or ignorance. That we have not offended God for the simple reason we are unable to reason. We cannot see the target (God) and we have no clue as to how get there. Is this a moral failing or just the condition we find ourselves in?

Some of the synonyms for obliquity are: ambiguous, darkness, inscrutability, murkiness, mysteriousness, and opaqueness. Of course we keep missing the mark because we cannot see the mark. Is it not inscrutable that theologians would take such a morally ambiguous word and create an entire moral system based on the idea that God hates what spiritually blind people do? Of course God does not hate anyone and he is no more offended by our actions then we are of mentally compromised people. We just don’t know what we are doing. And this ignorance has us imprisoned, slaves to our insanity. There are no Venal sins, no mortal sins, no sins of omission and no sins of commission. These theological terms describe only one condition our inability to see.

There really is only one sin from which all our mistakes have their root. We mistakenly believe we are separate from ALL there is. God. We believe in the impossible. We believe in something that can never be. There are not thousands of choices for our happiness there is only one; choose God or we are stuck in our blindness.

Here is what Jesus’ contemporary theologians had to say:

39 Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.”

40 Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, “What? Are we blind too?”

41 Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains. (John 9 NIV)

This was said after healing the man born blind.

What we have done is cloak our ignorance in the fig leaves of theological thinking and convinced ourselves we can see. “Abraham is our father.” “We have just one father, and he is God.” said the people. Because of what they were taught they believed they could see.

For many of us our minds are full of theological theories and because we accept them and have called them MINE we are very attached to them. Did you know that your most important possessions are your beliefs? Aren’t we willing to kill for them even die for them? Unfortunately history proves this all to true. With this insight we see that the people in Jesus’ day were just like us. I find it interesting that at the end of Luke 4 and the end of John 8 the people are trying to kill Jesus. Isn’t this something we need to watch for in our lives? How do we react when someone threatens our theology? Do we demonize them? Once we do it is a very short path to the killing fields.

For the past 20 years I ave been a professional caregiver mostly working with people with Alzheimers and dementia. During this time I have been hit, accused of stealing, thrown up on, yelled at, told to leave etc. I would have not lasted very long in this work if I had taken any of this personally. These people no longer know what they are doing. In comparing our intelligence and spiritual insight to the creator of the known universe does it not seem that the human race has a case of Alzheimers? Now into this scenario comes a caregiver, a comforter who tells us we aren’t in our right minds. And why? because we have made a mistake, we believe that we are separate from God. This belief has given us dementia and we now think we are OK. However deep down inside there is a small bit of remembrance of how things used to be. It is this memory that Jesus is speaking to. It is like during those times of clarity when the one with Alzheimers remembers the name of her husband and begins to talk of all the wonderful things they used to do together.

What keeps us a prisoner? My mistaken belief that I can get back to God without help—”I can see.” This is where all of our insane actions (sins/mistakes) come from. I will have more than I need if I steal it. And we have forgotten we are sons of the King. I will have more love in my life with just one more lover. And we have forgotten that God is Love.

This way of interpreting hamartia in the light that God is not offended in any way brings us to a place where we must take another look at the death of Jesus and its purpose. But that is for future posts. Why if God is not offended did all those animals have to be sacrificed and why did Jesus have to be “sacrificed”? Just something to think about. And what of guilt?

Day 18 of 40 days of Prosperity

Sunset Lovers, On the Boardwalk in Pacific Beach, CA

Sunset Lovers, On the Boardwalk in Pacific Beach, CA

Day 18 of 40 days of Prosperity

“My consciousness of the Spirit within me as my unlimited Source is the Divine Power to restore the years the locusts have eaten, to make all things new, to lift me up to the High Road of Abundant prosperity. This awareness, understanding and knowledge of Spirit appears as every visible form and experience that I could possibly desire.”

I can never be separated from God. Never. The realization of this truth is the beginning. I become “born again” when I know that I am not separate from God. Who or what I believe God to be will determine my experience of life because I will see God in everything. Is God angry? Then I will see an angry world and at the same time given myself permission to follow my Fathers example. I can be angry at whatever I think My Father is angry at. Is God Love? Then I will see a loving supporting and giving world. As I define love I will also be loving to that measure. Is it unconditional or conditional?

The radical Islamist who say they are killing and destroying in the name of God are convenient scapegoats, the extreme example, of all those who believe God hates such and such.

Jesus pointed out and proved by his actions, his own teaching to, “Love your enemy and do good to those who persecute you.” God has no enemies nor does he need to be defended in any way.

Is God both hate and Love? Then I will be a double minded person unable to see anything but a conflicted world. I will have Friends and enemies and as so often happens friends who become enemies. Friends I will embrace to some fashion and enemies I will kill in some fashion. Because of this viewpoint I will be in constant conflict. I may speak peace but it will not come from a peaceful heart.

Does God fight with Himself? There is no compromise here, God is one or the other, friend or foe. He is what he is before we have any reason to believe it. Before he created the universe was he Love? Did he change?

Maybe its no accident that towards the end of the Christian Bible Paul tells us that “the goal of our instruction is Love from a pure heart” (I Tim. 1,5). A Pure Heart to me means Unconditional Love. And John tells us God is Love and if we don’t Love we don’t know God.

It is the kingdom of the world which believes it is separate from God. That God is a God of hate and anger and retribution. No wonder the world is in the state it is in. Once the belief in our separation from God took hold we concluded that God hates us and wants to punish us.

Those of us who start to leave this worlds belief system carry with us the baggage of a hateful God. We will find ample proof of it in the Bible so continue to believe it is true. The Good news that Jesus came to bring is that this is not so. God is like Him and not like he is portrayed in many Old Testament passages.

Our journey to the Kingdom of God involves stripping away the old beliefs and replacing them with the God of Love, Support, Giving, Freeing, Joyous, Alive, non condemning and ever activating Life. This is our journey, the God of Love from a pure heart, the high road of Abundant Prosperity.

The Bible asks us to choose who we will serve?

The unlimited source of ALL Good or something else.

The Spirit of God in us will manifest according to our choice. We will see in the Holy Scriptures of any religion exactly what we want to see. And yes that applies to me.

Day 3 of the 40 day prosperity plan

Plumeria-3152

Plumeria

“I am conscious of the inner Presence as my lavish Abundance. I am conscious of the constant activity of the Mind of infinite Prosperity. Therefore my consciousness is filled with the Light of Truth.”

The Abundance of the song of Peace. This consciousness of the Presence of God at the center of my being brings Peace, joy, and prosperity in every area. This why it is so important to know who God is. See previous post here here. Our concept of God is the most important thought we can have. It is what guides our every thought and subsequent actions. In this knowledge we can be at peace only if our concept of God is one of Peace. We will have no enemies if the God we believe in is never threatened and therefore has no enemies. We will not want to attack anyone if the God we believe in does not have vengeance in his heart. How can we be in poverty if the God we believe in is always giving? How can we defraud or hold back from anyone if the God we believe in is always giving? Does the God we believe in give lavishly for any need of life? Do we need Peace, Love, Forgiveness, Mercy, Justice, Faith, Wealth a full bank account, Joy?

“…how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” The Holy Spirit is the Kingdom of God and is God working in us to give us All of The Kingdom, as much as we can receive. Ask and receive, seek and find, knock and open because God can do a lot better and more abundantly the those of us who are evil. Luke 11;9-13

Can anything ever be lacking in the Kingdom of God? No.

“I am conscious of the inner Presence as my lavish Abundance. I am conscious of the constant activity of the Mind of infinite Prosperity. Therefore my consciousness is filled with the Light of Truth.”

I looked up the derivation of  ‘Abundance’ in the “Online Etymological Dictionary”… from Latin abundare “overflow, run over,” from Latin ab- “off” (see ab-) + undare “rise in a wave,” from unda “water, wave”

A “Lavish Abundance” could mean a big wave maybe a tsunami of goodness flowing into our lives. Is this what Jesus meant that we would receive ‘overflowing’ as a result of our giving.

Or in John 7.38  ‘Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.’”

Blessings and peace

Amazed pt 2

36_Images_1-9443 

Amazed pt 2

It has been almost a year since I posted part 1 if you’d like to catch up or refresh your memory please go my last post “Amazed” 

God wants everyone to be saved and to know the whole truth,…”

Does God get what he wants? If there is any being in the universe that always gets what he wants it must be God. At least the God I can think of. Anything less would demonstrate the powerlessness so often attributed to God by non-believers. As described in previous posts God being everywhere not only surrounding us but inside of us; knowing everything, the wisdom to make what he wants come to pass; and having ALL power, meaning the ability to make it happen and the desire to do so meaning He is ALL loving and does want ALL suffering to eventually cease.

One definition of salvation would be the end of suffering individually and ultimately the entire human race from the beginning of history up to the last grain of sand in the hourglass. My former belief in an eternal damnation of suffering and pain for all eternity would not allow for this broad interpretation of salvation. Only a few would be saved those who chose to enter the “narrow gate” would be allowed in. Allowing for a somewhat broader interpretation the Swedenborgians open up salvation for all those who live a good life and do the right things—no matter what religious tradition you belonged to—meaning acting out of love for your neighbor which equates with love for God as well. This would fulfill Jesus’ admonition to Love God and your neighbor. So far I have read many passages in Swedenborg’s works that tell me God has the desire for the salvation of all people but have not read anything which tells me ALL people will be saved. What Swedenborg’s interpreters do say is God will be with everyone in hell and will be loved by him as far as they are able to receive it. Which may eventually lead to some leaving hell but most will not and continue to suffer according to the consequences of their own choices.

Where does this disconnect come from. Why the apparent desire on God’s part but not his ability of fulfill that desire. Why can’t theologians find that God not only has the ability to SAVE ALL but will do so? To get around this conundrum theologians have said it is our fault. That the horde of people not finding the narrow path is because they just don’t want to. They choose not to enter the gate to the narrow road that leads to salvation. We are told in scriptures no less, people would rather live in darkness than come to the light. Will there ever be a time when everyone will want to come to the light?Is God therefore helpless to do anything for them. Now on this earthly realm it is painfully obvious that those we think need the most help adamantly refuse to be helped but will this continue after we leave the physical realm?

We are told our free will is the trump card foiling God’s desires. You see the fault is our own thus leaving God off the hook. But is this the case? Traditionally fundamental theologians who believed in the literal interpretation of the Christian Bible had to make room for all the passages which seemed to predict eternal suffering for all evil doers, God’s enemies. Before the rise of modern literalism when the church was in control of the lives of society, eternal hell was an extremely potent doctrine to help keep people in line, this form of emotional blackmail; i.e., bulling—is still with us today. How many of us who claim to follow Jesus, refuse to do wrong out of fear of punishment in eternal hell rather than out of Love of God. This type of motivation is just a subtle form of coercion. We are held in check by our fear. How is this different than being forced to submit to any despot against our will? For me there was this constant gnawing sense of failure and resultant fear. Every verse I read that had anything to do with hell would reinforce this feeling. Responding to alter calls was only a temporary remedy and never the solution. For me God’s “unconditional love” was always conditional. This is for those of us who are trying to do God’s will. What about the rest of humanity who Christianity has labeled the “enemies of God”?

Because of our refusal does God then reluctantly throw up his metaphorical hands and say, “What can I do, I’ve done all I can and now I’m at a lose. I just can’t figure this one out. I mean hey, don’t blame me I sent my son down to earth and you killed him I even raised him from the dead and still, nothing. I give up, you all deserve to suffer for eternity, I turn my back on the lot of ya.” I know this sounds simplistic but this is what my former belief boiled down to. If I abandoned God he would abandon me and close the gate for all eternity. I even thought hell was a completely separate place from heaven a place where God was not. My belief in eternal damnation not only made God powerless and also not omnipresent. As if there could be someplace “outside” of God. A place where God didn’t exist.

Is this the God we believe in? If so than I am an atheist. It is the God I used to believe in. I just hadn’t faced the limitations the doctrine of eternal damnation had placed on the unlimited God.

So I am wondering how is it even possible that my freewill will foil God’s will? This indeed would make me another being in the universe equal to or greater than God. Which by the way is what the ego/sin nature tells us we are. This ego/sin nature has us convinced we can go against God’s will and for centuries it has been codified in to our theologies. We have turned God’s gift to us—our free will—into the very instrument to foil God’s plan for the salvation of humanity. By allowing our free will to be this strong God’s plan becomes a sham.

Obviously I don’t agree with this interpretation.

Here is my simple solution to this seeming conflict between my will and God’s. My freewill is God’s will and it is precisely this instrument God uses to accomplish His ends not mine and He does this through His wisdom without violating my freewill or His desire.

God’s will is done on earth as it is in heaven.

All the theologies I have read—not very many—tell me evil is the servant of God. That ALL things workout for the good. If evil is the servant of God then my evil choices somehow are working to accomplish God’s ends for the benefit of ALL. If ALL benefit then we must ALL be partakers of—eventually—the end of suffering.

God is inevitable, yes unavoidable and only good—meaning the end of suffering—will come of that encounter.

But how will this happen? What will make people who love only evil and hate God change their minds? Will God force people to bow the knee and swear reluctant allegiance to the conquering King? Or as some say everyone will be saved simply by the Grace of God because Jesus paid the penalty for ALL our sins on the cross. But both options violate our freewill which would then violate the very reason God gave us free will in the first place. God does want us to freely choose to bend our knees; i.e., recognize His preeminence in the universe and our lives individually.

Romans 14.11 is a partial quote from a passage in Isaiah 45.22-25, the following is taken from the Contemporary English Translation:

22 “I invite the whole world to turn to me and be saved. I alone am God! No others are real.

23 I have made a solemn promise, one that won’t be broken: Everyone will bow down and worship me.

24 They will admit that I alone can bring about justice. Everyone who is angry with me will be terribly ashamed and will turn to me.”

Again Romans 14.11 from the CEV

11 In the Scriptures God says,I swear by my very life that everyone will kneel down and praise my name!”

Something to keep in mind, in the spiritual world—in God’s presence—only what is truly in our hearts will be tolerated. Falsehood has no place in heaven. As Isaiah and Paul point out worship and praise will result when people bow the knee before God, even those who are angry enemies of God. This will be True worship from the heart not the feigned obeisance we see in this earthly existence. God will not force this, everyone will want to praise and worship the ruler of the universe.

But why would an enemy become a truly loyal subject? Through the process we know so well here on earth. It is so familiar like the air we breath that we rarely notice it until we need it. The “second chance”. Every instant of the day and with every breath we take we are given the opportunity to choose again. We really don’t notice it until we begin to feel the consequences of our decisions. The beauty of free will is the consequences we receive from the choices we make. This process then must continue throughout eternity until: “…everyone will kneel down and praise my name!”

“the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last” who has seen the beginning and the end has already witnessed this happening.

God does get what he wants and our freewill is not stronger than God’s will. Our freewill, in His wisdom, is the very instrument given to us by God to make this come to pass.

“Hey dude I knew all along you’d make the right choice, when everyone doubted you I didn’t. Way to go. I Love ya.”

What about Grace? You may ask. If you mean the Grace that allows everyone into heaven even those who don’t want to be there? A pointed out above this is a violation of our freewill and would surely result in the enemies of God remaining enemies. Grace is the entire process from beginning to end. It is all God’s grace. From the very first moment we thought that we could be separate from God until we come to know the impossibility of such a thought and surrender to him, is Grace.

The Holy Spirit’s job of leading us into all Truth—which is God—is constantly and gently whispering in our ear; “Choose again, my child. Its time to wake up from your nightmare. You don’t have to be in hell any longer.”

Thought for the day

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Is this a true statement?

“In the Scriptures God says,

“I swear by my very life

that everyone will kneel down

    and praise my name!”

Rom 14.11

Omni-Benevolence part 2

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Omni-Benevolence part 2

            An important man asked Jesus, “Good Teacher, what must I do to have eternal life?”

Jesus said, “Why do you call me good? Only God is good. You know the commandments: ‘Be faithful in marriage. Do not murder. Do not steal. Do not tell lies about others. Respect your father and mother.’” Luke 18.18-20

“Only God is good.” Then Jesus goes on to point out a good way to conduct ones life. A life of giving not taking.

God does only one thing, give.

There are things that are impossible for God to do. He cannot be other than himself. He will never violate his nature. God never kills anyone because he is life itself. God will never take anything from you because he is the giver of all things and is never depleted. God is truth itself and there is no falsehood within him. God will never disrespect any true relationship because all relationships demonstrate the Oneness of himself. The father and mother relationship is God himself demonstrated and seen in all human relationships to a greater or lesser degree according to the consciousness of the participants.

According to Emanuel Swedenborg woman is the personification of the Goodness of God. And man the Truth of God. And every marriage is the demonstration of the marriage within God of goodness and truth. Woman and Man or Goodness and Truth are the givers and sustainers of life just as the earth is the giver and sustainer of our physical life. God called his creation “Good.” He called it good because everything he does reflects who he is in every detail.

Emanuel Swedenborg also points out that Truth is the issue of, comes from, Good. In today’s world we believe truth is first and of utmost importance. But it was Jesus who was the issue of Mary who calls himself the Truth. He is the second Adam. The first Adam was the issue of the earth—his body only—but did not become human until God gave (all giving comes from the feminine the giver of life) him the breath of life and he became a living Soul. The order here is important because when truth gets separated from goodness and becomes the most important and is seen as the creator of the good, it becomes unloving, not giving, hard, dogmatic and believes it is the only way and will in the end attempt to kill the good. This is played out in the New Testament with Jesus’ relationship with the religious authorities of the day. This pattern continues to be repeated over and over again throughout religious history  and seen again in today’s conflicts. The religions who believe their doctrine is the only way to God demonstrate it by keeping their followers trapped by fears of a punitive afterlife. When truth becomes the first in importance the doctrines of men are created. This results in what Jesus calls “lip service” where our hearts are far from God and goodness and lives are destroyed in the misguided attempt to keep the faith pure. (Matt. 15)

But we must have balance. If we have only goodness without truth we end up in the other extreme of anything goes. Without truth to guide our way we can end up participating in activities that will eventually kill the good in us. Just as truth alone results in heartlessness so goodness alone can also destroy our love. Permissiveness is just as destructive as legalism.

The Goodness of God is a balanced goodness because he is both good and true in perfect balance this combination produces a perfect justice which is always active within the omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient moment.

The conflicts we see throughout history are men’s attempts to balance the extremes of permissiveness and legalism. Unknown to most people it is God in the background holding all things in balance. The truth is that evil has no power and is the servant of the good. A lie cannot be true. All falsehood disappears in the revelation of the truth. Two and two equals five will simply disappear when the correct sum is given and so to evil vanishes in the light of goodness. In its weakness, evil tries to force others into its service through fear, bullying and coercion by taking away the freewill of its servants. This blustering of the ego/sin nature will always be defeated in whatever form it appears. The seeming power of evil is like the flame of a match compared to the sun. All of the evil of the entire human race throughout all time is like a handful of sand thrown into the ocean according to Isaac of Nineveh.

As people of faith we do need to decide for ourselves how best to take a stand against evil without creating more evil in return. This we must do in our own conscience there is no hard a fast rule as some would have us believe. Strange as it may seem the goodness of God gives us the soldier and the pacifist both can “fight” and both may die in the service of defeating evil. Death is not the enemy nor is it the end as it is impossible for life to die. There is only life. The shedding of the physical—which was never alive in the first place—is the necessary step into experiencing real life, like walking out the door of your house to experience the sunshine.

“God’s love goes forth not only to good people but to evil people. So it is that God loves not only those who are in heaven, but also those who are in hell, for God is everywhere and forever the same.”
True Christian Religion 43 Emanuel Swedenborg

                “Unless truth is lighted up by good, or unless faith is lighted up by kindness, there is nothing but darkness.”
Arcana Coelestia 4844.4 Emanuel Swedenborg