You don’t need to have a plan.

Valentine transformation

Valentine transformation

“You don’t need to have a plan and you do not need to know precisely what this new world will look like. You simply need to be willing to live by the Truth.” ACOL Treatise 3:16.2 pg 325

Our entire world is goal oriented. We are taught very early on that if we want to make it in this world we have to have a goal. And of course this makes perfect sense. If I want to write this blog I have to have the desire and the goal to do so. If I want to eat I better decide to go to the store and get some groceries. If I want to have a successful life—however that looks for me—It would be really good to know what it looks like and set up some plan to get from here to there.

Not having a plan does not mean not doing or not following through on desired means. It means doing without attachment to preconceived outcomes. To do and to let be.

Jesus also said: “If you keep on doing/obeying what I have said, you are truly my disciples. You will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free. Goal→Action→Outcome.

The only thing Jesus asked us to do is Love. Love God and our neighbor. If we keep on doing this every moment—that is the only time we can Love is in the moment—the outcome maybe exactly what we had planned OR it maybe something else entirely. But it will be the Truth of who we are and the situation right at that particular instant. Whether we like it or not is really irrelevant but it will be what it is. If we live what is, in love, in the moment without attachment to the next moments we will know the Truth and we will be free of all fear. There is no fear in love.

So can I Love this moment and the next and the next? Do I build on a foundation of love or one of fear? The project built on love each moment of the way will be the Truth of who you are. I do this with the knowledge that I don’t know precisely what this new world will be.

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.

God’s giving without measure

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God only does one thing-Give and his giving is always without measure, totally and completely ALL of itself ALL the time. The Spirit of God in us gives without restraint and never partially. This totality is available ALL the time never waivers and never changes in any way for any reason. Gods giving is total Love and completely Good ever abundant for our rich supply. Our place is to receive and give as much as we want without coercion or guilt but in Joy and Gratefulness.

“God is lavish, unfailing Abundance, the rich omnipresent substance of the universe. This ALL-Providing source of infinite prosperity is individualized as me-the Reality of me.” John Randolph Price.

Love is a boundless ocean

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AMOR AGITAT MOLEM

Love is a boundless ocean, in which the heavens are

but a flake of foam.

Know that all the wheeling heavens are turned by

waves of Love: were it not for Love the world

would be frozen.

How else would an inorganic thing change into a plant?

How would vegetative things sacrifice themselves to

become endowed with (the animal) spirit?

How would (the animal) spirit sacrifice itself for the

sake of that Breath by the waft whereof a Mary²

was made pregnant?

All of them would be made stiff and immovable as ice, not

flying and seeking like locusts.

Every mote is in love with that perfection and mounts

upward like a sapling.

Their silent aspiration is, in effect, a hymn of Glory

to God.

Rumi

² The elect are inspired and regenerated by the Divine Spirit which was breathed into the Virgin Mary. (Qur’an XXI, 91; LXVI, 12). Cf. Fihi ma fihi, 22  ‘The body is like Mary, and everyone of us hath a Jesus within. If the pains (of Love) arise in us, our Jesus will be born’ This recalls Eckhart’s doctrine of the birth of Christ in the soul (Inge, Christian Mysticism, 162 seq.) and especially his saying ‘The Father speaks the word into the soul, and when the “son” is born every soul becomes Mary’

from RUMI POEMS; Selected and edited by Peter Washington. Everyman’ Library Pocket Poets; Knopf 2006

Spiritual Growth, A Metaphor

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Proverbs 27.19 “You see your face in a mirror and your thoughts in the minds of others.”

James 1.23 “If you hear the message and don’t obey it, you are like people who stare at themselves in a mirror

1 Corinthians 13.12 “Now all we can see of God is like a cloudy picture in a mirror. Later we will see him face to face. We don’t know everything, but then we will, just as God completely understands us.”

Spiritual growth is like standing in front of a mirror with a giant spotlight directly in back of me, like one of those used at grand openings that illuminate the sky. It is shining directly at the mirror and is so bright I can not look at the light or its reflection in the mirror. In order for me to stand in front of the mirror I must get as close to it as possible with my nose touching the glass. But still light is leaking around me especially my head and I must put on sunglasses to tolerate the light. I find one pair of sunglasses will not do so I add layer upon layer of dark plastic until I can tolerate the light. My eyes will naturally adjust and once I get comfortable I am able to live there in what I think of as light but really it is still dim darkness. After a while I get used to the intensity of the light and feel comfortable enough to peel off a layer of dark plastic this causes somewhat of a discomfort but it is tolerable. This is done over and over until all the plastic is removed and I can actually remove the sunglasses. However my nose is still up against the mirror. Now as my eyes adjust to the brilliance leaking around my head I begin to see my face clearly but not my entire body. As the desire grows to see all of me I take my first step backwards toward the light. I know to turn around would blind me but my goal is to see in the light so I keep moving. As I back closer and closer to the source of light I see more and more of my reflection in the mirror but a strange thing begins to happen, the farther I get from the mirror I begin to disappear into the light. The light is surrounding me, swallowing me, enveloping me until eventually all I can see is the light and I have disappeared. And yet I know I am still me. I have disappeared and yet still here. “You are the light of the world.” Jesus, Matthew 5.14

Antoinette Tuff and the Averted School Shooting: God’s Love in Action

Spiritual Insights for Everyday Life

Last week, on Tuesday, August 20, 2013, Michael Brandon Hill, 20, walked into an elementary school armed with an AK-47 assault rifle and 500 rounds of ammunition. The elementary school was the Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy in Decatur, Georgia.

Hill fired only six shots.

No one died that day. No one was even injured.

Why not?

Because in the front office of the school, that troubled young man met Antoinette Tuff.

And Antoinette Tuff loved him into laying down his weapon and surrendering to the police.

But if you ask her, it was God’s doing.

Antoinette Tuff: A Vessel for God

Yes, Antionette Tuff was one of three school staff who had received training for handling potentially dangerous situations.

However, she was not even supposed to be in that place at that time. Here’s a segment of her interview with Anderson Cooper on CNN, in which…

View original post 1,076 more words

Omni-Benevolence part 1

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Omni-Benevolence part 1

          In my theology classes I do not remember talking about Omni-Benevolence. There was always the traditional Al powerful, All-knowing and Present everywhere God but not the specific phrase Omni-Benevolence. Of course “God is love” was mentioned all the time and emphasized as the reason behind ALL of Gods actions as seen in the Bible. I just find it curious an “ALL GOOD GOD” did not accompany the three traditional Omnis.

Omni-Benevolence is the most important of the Omnis. In fact it is the one major revelation of God that is not automatically apparent when viewing the natural world which could account for “Omni-Benevolence” not being accounted among the Omnis. Also in our need to anthropomorphize God an ALL good supreme being is a difficult concept to grasp since we rarely see in man or nature examples of this quality. Nature can be extremely cruel, unforgiving, impersonal and destructive. And that is just nature. Human nature can take on such a turn of evil upon any slight or offense real or imagined. The endless struggle for sustenance and the watching out for predators both animal and human plus random acts of unprovoked violence often leaves people so afraid they won’t leave their own homes. Life does not appear to be ‘good’ ALL the time.

If there was any quality of God that must be ‘revealed’ to us it is that God is good. An all knowing, all powerful and all present God who is also good and loving and kind ALL the time is really counterintuitive. In scripture we often find an all powerful God being the instigator of many events we consider not good at best and when looked at thru modern eyes downright evil.

The first mention of ‘goodness’ being associated with God found in the Bible is in Genesis when God finished creating the world he called it good. This linking the works of God to goodness was part of the oral traditions of the Hebrew people probably long before it was written in the middle 5th century BCE. It appears though this goodness was always provisional based upon the behavior of His chosen people. They had to be commanded to love their God and to treat others as best they could. Commanding obedience or else sets up a relationship of fear not of love. Obviously submitting obedience to a good ruler is much better than a murderous dictator however the idea we will be punished for not submitting rankles in the hearts of people who love freewill and are naturally prone to want to live as they please. Hence all the ups and downs of the Hebrews described in the Jewish scriptures as the result of the conflict between a Good God who orders subservience and people who exercise their freedom of choice.

This ‘good world’ created by God was often seen as the very instrument God would use to punish disobedience making God seem not so good at all.

Gods commands to love him first and completely and to treat our neighbors like we would want to be treated is of course for our own well being as well as our neighbors if followed as a rule of life would indeed lead to a very harmonious society.

All I’m trying to point out here is we do not have any idea what an all good being is. We are cemented in the world of duality a world of good and evil. This was the lie of the serpent that we would be like God if we came to know both good and evil. Believing that God “knows” evil would not make him an ALL good God. In my view real knowledge and being are the same thing. In God there is no knowing about like we humans know about many evil things but are not evil ourselves. We are kinda of all mixed  up about the whole good and evil conundrum, sometimes showing great acts of both goodness and evil. Many heroes in our mythologies and current dramas are the ones who battle their own evil tendencies and once conquered become the savior of the day. This is not God though. An ALL good God has no evil tendencies to conquer. God does not know evil nor does he know about evil. Evil could never enter his mind.

This knowing that I’m talking about is like we know how to walk. We are walking beings. It is our identity as humans. We rarely think about it unless something happens which interferes with this aspect of out being. Even learning how to walk would not happen if it weren’t a part of out genetic inheritance. Having two legs is part of the definition of humanness.

God is good and does not know evil. God was good before creation. Creation comes out of his goodness. God never changes and so would not change after humans decided to not follow his injunctions. God had no reason to be angry before creation and we have not made him angry after creation. It is we who are trapped in the world of duality and believing we are like God in knowing both good and evil. This is not the truth.

Here is an interesting quote from the 7th century CE saint Isaac of Nineveh; “A handful of sand, thrown into the sea, is what sinning is, when compared to God’s Providence and mercy. Just like an abundant source of water is not impeded by a handful of dust, so is the Creator’s mercy not defeated by the sins of His creations.”

More on the Omni-Benevolence of God later.

Have a blessed day everyone.

The Seven Negative Voices of the Ego You Need to Ignore.

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I read a wonderful blog the other day form Marc and Angel Hack life called “The seven negative people you need to ignore.”. As I was reading I realized that all of those “people” are in me. They have shown up over and over again in various ways to suit their own purposes resulting in self-condemnation, fear, anger, hatred etc., etc.

            A little background from my Orthodox past.

            The word ‘sin’ is loaded with negative connotations of God hating us. Because of the guilt he will throw us into hell because we have offended Him. He can do nothing else but cause us to suffer for ever in the fiery pits of doom. Today sin has been replaced by another friendlier word—as long as it is not demonized—‘ego’. Ego has become a shorthand for sin, sin nature, flesh, body of death, separation from God and everything else that defeats us in our lives, and the eventual cause of all its outward projections seen in the horrors we afflict on our world. The explanation of ego/sin is covered in great depth from every possible angle in A Course in Miracles, all of Dr. David R. Hawkins books and of course the Christian Bible.

            My first insight that ‘sin’ and the ‘ego’ are the same thing came from reading the Aramaic translation of the Bible by George M. Lamsa and following that the Roth Aramaic translation of Hebrews 12:3. In his footnote Roth uses this verse as one example of how the Greek New Testament is secondary to the Aramaic Peshitta:

“Not only has the Greek lost volumes of magnificent poetry, but here the Greek redactor dropped an entire phrase! The Greek reads: “Consider him who endured such hostility against himself from sinners, so that you may not grow weary or lose heart.”….The Aramaic reads “Behold, therefore, how much, he suffered from sinners, for they were adversaries of their own soul, that you may not be discouraged, nor your soul become remiss.” Obviously NOT just some small remission here! [emphasis Roth’s]”

            This really awakened me to the entire idea that ‘sin’ and the modern replacement of ‘ego’ is exactly the correct interpretation. Sin/ego does not make us an adversary of God whom he needs to defeat and punish forever in the fiery pits of hell but we are our own adversaries and it is God who is helping win this battle that our soul is fighting against the ego.

            How are we to recognize the ego in our lives and what do we do with it once we see it? This is where Marc and Angel’s post becomes very helpful. I am going to re-interpret it here from the perspective that the “Seven Negative people” are found first in us then manifests in the world via the people we meet. As seen in the verse above those who are adversaries of their own soul have no problem projecting that adversarial position onto others. And because the ego/sin nature would rather kill us—i.e.,seen in all addictive behaviors—it would rather kill others first because “they are the problem.”  Seen here in Hebrews 12.3 as it references the killing of Christ Jesus. The ego wishes to kill the Christ in us because the soul is where Christ resides.

            I’m going to start with Marc and Angel’s point number 7 “The Inner Critic.”

All six prior negative ‘people’ to stay away from are disguises for the this inner bully. My own inner critic had no problem seeing God as my father and hiding it’s negativity behind the religious doctrines of original sin, the sin nature and the belief we are born in sin and there is no good thing within me. In fact it was now able to condemn me without obstruction via the belief that it’s constant nagging about my smallest short comings as the “conviction of the Holy Spirit,” the third person of the Godhead. This was HIS JOB description. The comforting part only came after rigorous self-inspection, brow beating, attempt after attempt and finally many many trips to the altar. Only to find myself once again in the clutches of this inner authority heaping loads of guilt and condemnation for the slightest infringements.

            Today, I know this is not God and never was God. I am amazed to look back and see how many preachers and teachers—I was in their number— did nothing to lessen this false idea of who God and his role in our lives. Even to the extent of equating this constant condemnation with the love of God as the reproving parent. It is no wonder I left the church

            Yes by all means ignore this voice and all the people who show up in our lives mirroring this aspect of our ego. This authoritarian voice is not God.

            Point 1.  The hopelessly hostile drama queen. The ego/sin nature loves to stir up controversy and drama for no apparent reason—it will create many justifications for which any and all infractions of it’s arbitrary positionalities will do.  Don’t buy into it’s propaganda. The ego loves drama.  Stay out of other people’s drama which the ego enjoys creating in our minds. Don’t allow the ego to spew hostile words at someone silently in your mind. Just because they aren’t said does not mean they aren’t heard.  Keep your composure and replace the stink of confrontation with the fragrance of resolution.  The louder the ego wants to yell, the more drama it wants to stir up, calmly and confidently speak to this drama charade and tell it to be quiet or just go away.  Don’t let it get to you.

            Be an example of a pure existence; ignore the egos outlandish antics and focus on kindness.  Communicate and express yourself from a place of peace, from a place of love, with the best intentions.  Change that inner voice of drama towards others by love and forgiveness towards good. Use it to inspire, to encourage, to educate, and to spread the notions of compassion and understanding. We created the Drama Queen we can uncreate it.

            When your inner drama queen manifests as an actual person you will be better able to love that person because you have learned to love the drama queen inside you. You can create a mental space of love and when the time is right you can walk away if they insist on foisting their drama on you.

            Forgive yourself and the role you have taken. Then extend that forgiveness to the ‘other.’ This will create the space you need to not take it with you when you go thus not perpetuating your own drama.

            Point 2 The person you have failed to please a hundred times before. The ego is impossible to please; you will not be able to satisfy it no matter what you do. It lives on dissatisfaction.

            The dissatisfied ego will show up in your life as people who discredit you, disrespect you and treat you poorly for no apparent reason at all.  Don’t consume yourself with trying to change them or win their approval.  And don’t make any space in your heart to hate them.  Simply walk away and let karma deal with the things they do, because any bit of time you spend on them will be wasted, and any bit of hate and aggravation in your heart will only hurt you.  (Read Emotional Vampires.)

            If this isn’t the ego showing up I don’t know what is. It will never be happy with anything EVER. Its job is to keep us running all over the world attempting to fulfill its minutest demands and then moving us on to the next, on and on and on and on. It is constantly distracting and constantly unsatisfied. It’s incessant hunger is always projected outward onto other people and things in the vain attempt to get happiness from someone or some thing out there. As the song says, “looking for love in all the wrong places”

            Marc and Angels advice to “simply walk away” is the endeavor of all aspirants of higher spiritual consciousness. Every positive faith tradition I have read are guide books for leaving the ego and it’s incessant demands and to become completely fulfilled in God alone. This ego self is the self we are to die to in order to live for Christ.

            3.  The naysayer who always dumps on your dreams.

            Stop giving credit to the ego/sin nature which always discredits your dreams. it will readily attach itself to all negative statements about you and magnify them as the only reality of your life.  If listened to the ego will squash your potential by slowly extinguishing your inner flame with its watered down vision of what you are capable of achieving. These people showed up early in my life as parents and teachers; “David doesn’t work up to his potential” is a common phrase on all my report cards. Rarely was I given credit for what I had accomplished but pointed out my short comings. This is the biggest hurdle I face in my creative endeavors. I will never be good enough no matter how many ‘A’s” I get.

            Marc and Angel point out, “If you give in and let their negativity convince you of who you are, their madness will wither you away.  You will morph into who they say you are, rather than living honestly as yourself.  In this way, these people will steal your life from you.  You will lose track of where their opinion ends and your reality begins.  Their fiction will become your life’s story. What is possible for you.  So look beyond their presumptions and mental limitations, and connect with your own best vision of what YOU are capable of and how YOUR life can be.  Life, after all, is an open-ended journey, and 99% what you achieve comes directly from what you work to achieve on a daily basis.”

            4.  The manipulator.

Your ego will and has been manipulating and bullying you. It will try to use it’s negativity to intimidate and manipulate you into believing your negative thoughts are who you really are.  If you stand back and observe it from a distance, you will realize that it is completely self-referential with no concern for others.  In other words, the ego wants you to fit into it’s plan simply based on how this false you can be used or manipulate you for it’s own survival.

            The ego routinely prioritizes its own feelings and needs over and above your true best interests.  It will demand that you submit to help it, but if, heaven forbid, you ask the ego to help you achieve true happiness it will resist at first but then morph into the ‘spiritual ego’ which becomes the wolf in sheep’s clothing.

            Bottom line: It will say and do anything, thoughtlessly, to get you to do what it wants you to do.  Do not accept this behavior as normal it is anti-normal.  When the ego/sin nature tries to bully you, stand up for your true Self and say, “Not so fast, buddy!  Your delusion of superiority is your problem, not mine.”  And if it refuses to reason with you, walk away without a fight. (Read Codependent No More.)

            5.  The stubborn one who insists you should be someone else. The ego will never be happy with who you are right now. Listening to it will always keep you dissatisfied and there will be plenty of people who show up to reinforce the point you are not alright right now. Oddly enough in choosing a life of spiritual transformation the ego/sin nature will use all the things you are learning to reinforce the point you are not good enough right now. Hey isn’t that why we choose to work on ourselves in the first place? I think the first lesson we need to learn on our spiritual journey is to not condemn ourselves for anything. God never does nor ever has for anything. Jesus told a group of thousands of people in his sermon on the mount; “You are the light of the world.” Right now before you make all those changes you think you should make “you are right now, here as you sit on the grass listening to me, the LIGHT of the world.

            Now that the ego has put on a spiritual mask it will insist you need to act in such a way in order to please others and demonstrate how “spiritual” you really are. Of course we are not perfect yet but the spiritual ego will demand we appear to be to others. Hence the rise of hypocrisey. It is really easy to be ‘spiritual’ on Sunday morning.

            You don’t have control over what others think about you, but you do have control over how you decide to internalize their opinions.  Leave them to their own judgments.  Don’t feel threatened and don’t conform just to please them.  Let people love you for who you are, and not for who they want you to be.  Or let them walk away if they choose.  They can’t harm you either way; it’s their understanding that is faulty, not yours. See Marc and Angel’s book 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.

            6.  The unforgiving friend who refuses to forgive you for your mistakes.

            The ego will always condemn you. God never will. A statement from A Course in Miracles puts it this way, “God never forgives because he has never condemned.” And from the New Testament “there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.” Which is the whole human race. Unfortunately the majority don’t know this. Self condemnation of the ego will draw others into our lives to mirror its opinion of us.

            The ego wants to rub your face in your mistakes every chance it gets. It will keep bringing them up over and over again until we feel completely worhtless. The past no longer exists. If you have done what you can to fix your errors then that is all that is expected of you. Some mistakes may require societal sanctions but most of us allow the ego to imprision us in a life sentence. The egos interpretaions give that power to God and believe they are suffering for past errors via karma or God’s righteous indigantion. This is not so. The purpose of God and karma are for healing and growth in love. No one deserves eternal punishment for finite errors. God never condemns us so why should we?

            Shining the light on the shenanigans of the ego/sin nature rids it of its forcefulness in our lives. There are many different ways to deal with it once recognized; the oldest and I think least effective is putting the ego/sin nature and your true Christ Self in an adversarial position. Resistance always creates counter resistance with the result we are in a constant battle of the ‘bad’ versus the ‘good’ me. The apostle Paul say in Galatians 5.17 “The Spirit and your desires [ego] are enemies of each other. They are always fighting each other and keeping you from doing what you feel you should.”

            Jesus says:

“You have heard people say, “Love your neighbors and hate your enemies.” 44 But I tell you to love your enemies and pray for anyone who mistreats you. 45 Then you will be acting like your Father in heaven. He makes the sun rise on both good and bad people. And he sends rain for the ones who do right and for the ones who do wrong.” Matthew 5:43-45

            If Paul is correct that our desires/ego/sin nature is our enemy then shouldn’t we follow Jesus’ admonition to love the ‘enemy’ inside us. Once we learn to love this ‘enemy’ within we can love those who show up on the outside in the disguise of our own ego traits. Do we need to hang around with them, not necessarily, can we ignore them, perhaps. Can we leave their presence, if necessary. However our greatest teachers show up in those we are closely related to in family, work or organizations and neighbors.

            The inner critic, drama queen, the unsatisfied person, the naysayer, manipulator, the person who does not like you and the unforgiving ego, once loved inside you, turn out to be not so bothersome in person and actually become our best teachers. Humility reminds me that in some form I’m bothering others even if I don’t intend to so we are helping one another, even unwittingly towards the goal.

A quote from Thomas Traherne

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“Your enjoyment of the world is never right till every morning you awake in Heaven; see yourself in your Father’s palace; and look upon the skies, the earth and the air as celestial joys; having such reverend esteem of all as if you were among the Angels. The bride of a monarch, in her husbands chamber, has no such causes of delight as you.

You never enjoy the world aright till the sea itself floweth in you veins, till you are clothed with the heavens and crowned with the stars; and perceive yourself to be the sole heir of the whole world, and more so, because men are in it who are everyone sole heirs as well as you. Till you can sing and rejoice and delight  in God, as misers do in gold, and kings in scepters, you can never enjoy the world.

Till you spirit filleth the whole world, and the stars are your jewels; till you are as familiar with the ways of God in all ages as with your walk and table; till you are intimately acquainted with that shady nothing out of which the world was made; till you love men as to desire their happiness with a thirst equal to the zeal of your own; till you delight in God for being good to all; you never enjoy the world. Till more feel it than your private estate, and are more present in the hemisphere, considering the glories and beauties there, than in your own house; till you remember how lately you were made, and how wonderful it was you came into it; and more rejoice in the palace of your glory than if it had been made today morning.

Yet further, you never enjoyed the world aright, till you so love the beauty of enjoying it, that you are covetous and earnest to persuade others to enjoy it. And so perfectly hate abominable corruption of men in despising it you would rather suffer the flames of hell than willingly be guilty of their error.

The world is a mirror of Infinite Beauty, yet no man sees it. It is the Temple of Majesty, yet no man regards it. It is the region of light and Peace, did not men disquiet it. It is the Paradise of God. It is more to man since he is fallen than it was before. It is the place of Angels and the Gate of Heaven. When Jacob waked out of his dream he said, God is here, and I wist it not. How dreadful is this place! This is none other than the House of God and the Gate of Heaven.”

Thomas Traherne from The Perennial Philosophy by Aldous Huxley

God, a short introduction

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The passion of Light

God, a short introduction

I am about to introduce a someone who literally needs no introduction. Because this Person/Being/Spirit has been written and talked about for eons non-stop even by those who don’t believe He/She/It exists.

Just ask anyone you meet: some will be ready and willing to tell you just who God is and even the more reluctant if pressed will tell you what they think even if it is just; “God is very personal to me and I have no wish to talk about it.” And then others when asked will immediately try to convince you that their definition is the correct one with severe penalties for not marching to their drummer.

Wars have been started and been ended by those who have decided to call this ONE by a certain name. There is no other topic that has brought so much peace and love to so many people and the exact opposite to others. Homes and nations have been divided and brought together by just this single definition.

In fact so much has been written and spoken thru the centuries, perhaps billions upon billions of words in every language that there is really no need for this post. And yet I find I must define myself if not the ONE I’m discussing. When we define God we are at the least letting people know where we stand on the topic and in some respects who we are and even how we intend to live our lives.

            “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.

            The history of mankind will probably show that no people has ever risen above its religion, and man’s spiritual history will positively demonstrate that no religion has ever been greater than its idea of God. Worship is pure or base as the worshiper entertains high or low thoughts of God.

            For this reason the gravest question before the Church is always God Himself, and the most portentous fact about any man is not what he at a given time may say or do, but what he in his deep heart conceives God to be like.”

            From; The Knowledge of the Holy by A.W. Tozer

          It is not that we are the same as the ONE and yet there are many religious traditions which tell us just that, that as we come to accept this sameness we actually become more human and oddly enough Godlike—“partakers of the Divine nature.” (2Peter 1.4) In this we are our conundrum. We even find our definitions are highly anthropomorphic in nature, after all, all we really know is ourselves as humans, hence the argument by some that we have created a god in our image and not the other way around.

When we say for example, “God is love,” we have picked the highest emotion humans are capable. When we attempt to define love we may point to people we see as exemplars of this quality and yet we still must realize that the best humans can demonstrate falls far short of Love when applied to Love as an infinite being who does not have love as a quality along with other qualities but is love itself that is infinite and unknowable.

The mystery.

In the west very little is said about the unknowableness of God. It is part of the western ocean of theology we swim in that God must be defined. However the Eastern Orthodox emphasizes the mystery and unknowableness, preferring negations to affirmations.

God is not.

Not this.

Not that.

The best we can do when it comes to knowing God is to say what God is not. “God is not a bully,” is an example.

Buddhism goes so far as to eschew all concepts including the concept of a divine being in favor of direct perception of Reality of everything preferring to live in the certainty of NOW, which of course is the only “time” any of us can know. In fact the only place any of can know God.

Also from the east comes another mystical tradition of the most ancient Hindus:

“So also the mind must be trained to take to right ways. It will gradually grow accustomed to good ways and not return to wrong ways.

D: What are the good ways to be shown to the mind?

M: Thought of God.” From Talks with Raman Maharshi.

In this brief summary of the possibility to know and not know God we encounter the two broad themes of every theology; the imminence and transcendence of God.

The following descriptions and definitions are not meant to be a survey of all the various traditions and their similarities or dissimilarities, that has been done many times over and is far beyond my desire to pursue such a course. Several years ago I read in a blog somewhere a statement by Brian McLaren which really challenged me. He said to this effect that everyone should write their own theology. I also remember the disagreements about this coming from the idea that “regular” people did not have the capacity to do such a thing and the resulting dangers of everyone coming up with their “own theology” was very unhealthy for their faith and maybe the faith of the church at large. This did get me to thinking about all the different theologies I had read over the years and wondering if I could really articulate what I now believed.

I realized that if asked to do this right after bible college and my short time in seminary I simply would have regurgitated everything I had studied at those institutions. I then understood I had been doing that during those many years of writing papers, being graded and thus subtly by their approval or not directed towards the proper way to see and understand God, according to the Wesleyan Methodist tradition with a bit of the Charismatic movement thrown in, both very fundamentalist traditions.

What do I believe now? This is in the classical sense an apology, not trying to show others as wrong or even to prove myself right but to explain what I have come to believe up to this point in my life. That last sentence is itself a big departure from the fundamental views I was schooled in. When I studied other faiths and belief systems it was always with the understanding that ours was the best and the only true way to look at and understand God. I no longer believe this. I’ll save that discussion for latter when I talk about Divine Inspiration.

Is it possible to know God? Yes to an incredible degree as seen in the lives of many individuals who were given the talent to express in their life and words enough to give us a glimpse thru the window of the unknowable. Theirs was not book knowledge but direct emotional connection. But like explaining the sunset to a blind person all that can be said is “you can’t see it until God opens your eyes.”

 “He was not born blind because of his own sin or that of his parents,” returned Jesus, “but to show the power of God at work in him.” John 9.3