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…

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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.

How to feel more inner peace

Yellow Lotus

Today I am re-posting this wonderful reminder on how to practice inner peace from Dr. Ben Kim’s newsletter

How To Feel More Inner Peace

Posted By Dr. Ben Kim

Updated on February 27, 2013

For most of the year 2000, I worked and lived at a fasting clinic in northern California where I spent time with many groups of eclectic guests from all over the world.

I often tell my wife that during that year, I felt like I was floating around in a bubble, almost immune to any downers that life brought my way. Sure, there were times when I felt a bit crummy, but most of the time, I felt like I was at peace, able to feel compassion for anyone.

The source of my deep well of peace was a commitment that I made with myself to live with the following philosophy in mind:

All behavior is motivated by love or by a need for love.

Whenever someone gave me reason to feel angry, sad, anxious, or fearful, I was able to slow my thoughts and emotions down, remind myself that my antagonist was likely deprived of love, and choose to respond with kindness and understanding.

Okay, maybe I wasn’t able to do this every time I felt I was wronged, but I was definitely on a plane of thinking and being that Jesus Himself would likely have appreciated. I was in the zone that Gandhi must have been in while he was allowing himself to get physically smacked around.

Here’s the thing: Over the past decade, whenever I have been able to purposefully respond with a generous heart in situations where most sane people would have given me full license to respond with righteous anger, I have always been able to walk away with peace in my heart. Always.

I think that this is the magic of taking the high road. Sometimes, it’s human to want to call out mean-spirited and rude behavior. You feel like you need to preserve some self respect. But interestingly, I have yet to feel like I lost anything by diverting or even absorbing bad energy and being compassionate.

Put another way, I have found that peace of mind is a natural consequence of choosing to be kind in every circumstance (And sometimes, being kind entails walking away in silence).

Without exception, in situations where I haven’t been able to pause and control the urge to let someone know that he or she just generated some bad karma, I’ve walked away feeling worse for having “stood up for myself.” In such situations, I guess I, too, was motivated by a need for love.

Also interesting is that I’ve found that the more good energy I put out there, the deeper my well of good energy seems to become. Consciously choosing to walk with a forgiving and compassionate spirit really seems to fortify the intention to lift others up.

This reminds me of the “what do you get when you squeeze an orange” idea. You get orange juice, of course, because that’s what’s inside an orange.

If we have love and compassion within, love and compassion is what will come out of us when we’re squeezed.

Clearly, choosing to give out love doesn’t happen naturally all the time. It takes work. It takes daily effort to stay in this zone. I find that I have to fill myself up with uplifting thoughts on a regular basis. I think this is why I tend to have my best days when I begin by reading from anything that inspires me to inspire others.

And when I don’t do this work, when I don’t take time to consciously choose to give out love rather than demonstrate a need for it, I find that it becomes super easy to slide back into being a reactive person who is easily offended by anything that threatens my ego.

So I guess the main thought that I want to share is this: if you’re ever feeling crummy and you’re looking for a way to feel at peace, try going back to the well, the well that fuels you to be gentle, understanding, generous, and humble.

Even when you are clearly wronged by someone, I can almost guarantee that if you put your hurt feelings away for just a moment and respond with a gentle, understanding, generous, and humble spirit, you will be better for it. And you can spend the rest of your day knowing that you did your part to create healthy energy for someone else.

I’ve long believed that consistently feeling peace within is the most important requirement for optimal health. Never mind the toll that emotional stress takes on our physical health; without inner peace, how can any of us consistently make healthy choices?

Here’s a short list of books that, over the years, have become steadfast sources of inspiration for me to get back or stay on track in living with a giving spirit:

The Art of Loving, by Erich Fromm

The Prophet, Kahlil Gibran

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Dr. Stephen Covey

A Course In Miracles

You Can Heal Your Life, by Louise Hay

And we can never go wrong in meditating on the following passage on love from the first book of Corinthians, chapter thirteen:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

One funny thing about love that I’ve observed over the years is this: the more we give it to others, the more it comes back to us from all over. And the more we demonstrate a need for love by getting easily offended, the less it seems to flow our way.

To the magic of finding inner peace by giving love.

– See more at: http://drbenkim.com/how-to-find-peace.htm#sthash.IDSxKUML.dpuf