I found this “place” on the web doing a search for the translation of the Lord’s Prayer by Neil Douglas-Klotz. It is so worthy of marking, I felt I had best interject it into my blog in a way that others would see it quickly, thanks for stopping by! spiritheart.org
I have embarked on a study of Jesus’ words. This is going to take me a while, cause I keep getting side-tracked. For instance, I just ran into something that “Christians” seem to forget. . . . Matt. 5:16 – “Let your light shine like that in the sight of men. Let them see the good things you do and praise your Father in Heaven.” . . . .It is precisely because this has been disregarded that so many have questioned whether “God” even exists. That’s sad.
As a result of E. Tolle’s books, I have come to call God the Presence, because there is so much misunderstanding of the “function” of God in society and in our lives. First, we humans, from the darkest to the brightest have free will. When I speak of the darkest, I mean really dark, as in Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pott and others that have visited such wickedness of their fellow humans as to be thought to be devilish. There is not a “Devil” involved here, onlly wicked and twisted humans who think only of what they want in the world, no matter who else gets hurt in the process. Now, that wisdom comes from the Buddha. And is called the Tanha condition.
When Jesus spoke of the “good that we do” he was speaking of the compassion we show our fellow travelers. Modern Christianity has walked away from this, and, instead of being kind to one another, Christians are often mean, dirty and under-handed in how they treat each other, and all other humans in the bargain.
You see, most people think that if there really existed a “God”, then that Presence would feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and provide housing for all that need it. That isn’t how the Presence works, that isn’t how God works. The Presence works with individuals, bringing light into their everyday activities. It is those who follow that Presence that in turn feed, clothe, and house those less fortunate than themselves.
It isn’t until the majority of the human race walks in the light that we will see an end to the horrors of war, and the basic needs of the poor will be met. Right now, most humans are operating under the tanha condition, Some only mildly, being good to family and friends, and even to those in their community, disregarding the needs of the larger community. Some walk in nearly total darkness either self-destructing, or destroying all those around them.
Do not blame “God” for the evil that you see. Blame the human condition. It is only when the majority of humans see the need for compassion toward all that we will see others, and the earth treated with the respect and kindness that is needed for us to survive.
I haven’t posted for quite some time, partly because I seemed “stuck” on the theme of compassion, I still am, but have a few new things to say. I hope to keep your interest, and that what is here will help.
This “Salvation” bit that the church has been throwing at people for millenia, it’s backwards. It isn’t about asking Jesus or Father God into your heart, The Presence is already there. That is the divine spark of life that all humans carry. You wouldn’t be breathing if it were not so.
The scriptures, flawed though they be, have carried the instructions for you from the beginning. “Be still, and know that the I Am is God”. It’s that simple.All you have to do is silence your mind, that’s right, so you can listen instead of chattering nonsense, then release all the things that are gone “wrong” in your life, yes, you need to forgive others if they have wronged you, and you need to forgive yourself for the wrongs that you have done. We’re human, we miss the mark daily, the Creator knows that.
Then, in the silence, surrender to the Light. It’s there, even if you have lived a life full of whining, groaning, and complaining, you wouldn’t be breathing if the light had gone out. In doing this, you will find that you are slowly, but completely saturated with joy and peace. A peace that passes all understanding. As this joy and peace begin to flow through you, you will find that your heart of hearts will be filled with compassion, for your self and for all living things. Do this, don’t make it complicated, keep it simple. The Presence is there for you, at the very core of your being.
This is available to you no matter what relligion you have followed, and you can continue to follow that religion if you choose to do so. The Presence cares for you as an individual, that was the message brought 2000 years ago by the Master Y’shua. That was the message Buddha brought, though he was careful not to talk about “God” so that it would be a path to finding happiness whether you were religious or not. It is not compllicated, the path is simple, follow it to your heart’s fullfillment.
Jesus called himself the Son of Man. No matter if you think he was the Son of God or a mature, evolved human being like the Buddha, his vision would have been expanded enough to see that you really can’t worship “other gods” if you are a compassionate being. You cannot worship GOD with evil deeds, nor can you worship darkness with good and compassionate deeds. ( first said, at least to my knowledge, by C. S. Lewis)
He didn’t mince around, he said love was the only commandment one had to obey, for everything written could be boiled down and summed up in that one command, love God, love your fellow man. If you truly love God, you will love his creation, both your fellow travelers and the earth that supports them. If you do not love, you will not be able to serve the highest and best there is for those that walk beside you.
He did NOT say, love only those who celebrate the eucharist, He did NOT say, love only those who are part of your worship group, he did NOT say, only love those who walk the way you do. He said LOVE, with a deep, from the very marrow of your being love. In the letter entitled First John, in Chapter 4, verses 7&8, we are told
7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. 8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
This is a beautiful understanding of the commandment to love, for in it we can see that it truly does not matter whether a person calls themselves Buddhist, Christian, Jew, Muslim, Jain, or unbeliever, for if they love, they know God in their hearts, if they do not love, they do not know God. Yes, I know, that puts many who call themselves believers at risk, for love is the one commandment that many have not learned to obey, yet, it is the only commandment given.Truly, if you have learned this one command and obey it as often as you are able, you are my brother or sister, for we are children of God.
There are many in our time that have shown that though Moses understanding of God was great, and even ahead of his time, it was not perfected. He did not understand that slavery was wrong, he did not understand how very wrong rape was, he did not even have a clue that child harm was so very wrong. So, though we can admire him for being ahead of his time, and so close to God, we cannot stay at his level of understanding and claim that that way is complete. We must move forward, we must learn to love, we must come to understand that the way of love will not hold others as chattel. They are human beings. We must give others the same rights and privileges we hold for ourselves.
Part of that understanding is the principle behind the words “first do no harm”. If there is a way of life that is foreign to you, but harms no one, then it is not “sin”, if it indeed brings about love, and is a good thing in that community, we must hold it to be in obedience to the command to love. We cannot hold ourselves over others as their keepers or jailers, we must let others be free to learn to obey the command in their own way. We must learn to love, not just in part, but completely, as God would have us love.
I have a bit of an excuse this time, at least for the last month or so. My computer crashed, and I haven’t yet been able to get it back up and running. I fear I am going to have to take it in to have it worked on by a professional, gads, I hope not, that gets expensive! I have been puttering on a tablet, but my old fingers do not do well on a virtual typepad, hence, no posts.
I will confess that even then, I haven’t got much new to say. I suspect I wouldn’t make it as a pastor, these dry spots happen to everyone, and though I am not exactly in a dry spot I have said so much about the things that are on my mind these days that I can’t imagine you all wanting to read more about abortion, slavery and child harm. I have listened to some wonderful speakers, on both sides of the abortion issue, but I remain solidly in the spot that considers it a woman’s right to get an abortion, even if I personally don’t think I could do it except as a result of rape. Ahh, but therein lies the rub, eh?
I don’t feel that I can stand in judgment of anyone who is in that position, or in other spots that require soul searching in order to go through with a pregnancy. I have “liked” the Facebook page called the Christian Left, it’s an interesting page, since it is by nonjudgmental Christians who try to live the life Jesus taught in the four gospels. They do sometimes ask questions regarding one’s faith, but have peacefully, and even with comment gladly allowed me to present my views when appropriately responding to a question. And, if you’ve read much of my blog, you know I’m not a traditional Christian. It’s rather comforting to know that even more traditional believers than myself take the same stance on this question as I do.
I am in search of other topics to discuss, since I really prefer not to bore you all with my thoughts on this, you have every right to your own opinions and I have voiced mine. So, feel free to ask for discussion on topics you want to think about, and I will open the discussion. You are always free to comment. Take care!
BTW, the only reason I can begin to look at typing this much is because a gracious friend got me a new laptop. I just wanted to voice my thanks to her and to Creator. I am thrilled with it!
The upshot of these studies really, is that we are not sure which comes first, the fear, or the conservatism. I remember when I became a Democrat, a buddy and I had taken off from Indiana, looking to build our lives in California, wrong timing, and a bunch of other factors brought us ultimately back to Indiana. But, in the aftermath of that adventure, my politics had changed. Now, when I look at the whole incident, the “adventure”, and it’s subsequent failure should have made me more fearful, i.e. more conservative.
But the major lesson this particular adventure had taught me, was to choose love first. Now, looking back, I cannot honestly say how that lesson came through, or even “stuck”, I just know that fear, which was the precursor to that adventure, did not work, and was not a path to travel. I guess I do know how that lesson “stuck”.
But, now comes the kicker, love and fear are opposites. You cannot choose to love and live in fear. It will not happen. Love, and by this I mean all manner of love, whether you are speaking of love of one person or love of all mankind cannot come out of fear, nor will it manifest as fear. To choose to Love, truly, in the sense of having compassion for oneself and all others will manifest itself in the positive; joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, kindness, humility, and self-control. To be sure, I am not perfect in this, not by a long shot. But, I continue to learn.
I am often at odds with Paul the Apostle, who is the original writer of the above litany of the manifestations of love, but, like Paul, I have many fears, and those fears sometimes take a great deal of prayer, self-examination, faith in the Master of the Universe, and time to conquer. It is both a very good thing that Paul’s letters were included in the New Testament, and a very bad thing that they are there. The good, of course, is that we can watch a very human individual, a murderer, no less, come to terms with his imperfections and find solace in the love of God. The very bad thing is that, if you do not read Paul’s letters as a journey toward love, you see them as a mandate on how humans are supposed to conduct themselves as believers. That will result in a horrible lack of growth, for his letters were not a manifest, but a record of a journey from human failing to learning to love at the highest level. In fact, the entire Bible is very much about such a journey, not for just one person, but for an entire nation.
That, indeed, is why, though the original laws written in the Torah were an excellent starting point, they were remiss in that they did not list a group of heinous crimes that we have, finally, grown enough to see as the wicked crimes they are, i.e. slavery, rape, and child harm. All three of those can be listed together as what one could call “power” crimes, in that their entire force is to hold power over others. It was not until the later prophets that one began to see that “compassion” was first, last, and always, the way to please God. Compassion will not manifest itself with slavery, rape, or harming children. It will, indeed, manifest itself in kindness toward all other humans. Truly, we are a long way from manifesting this as a people. Some humans have arrived, and speak to us about this, for instance we see the Dalai Lama, leader of the Buddhist faith, speak often about the fact that compassion is a human need, not necessarily a religious tenet. He is right.
We humans, if we are going to grow from childhood to adulthood, must grow in compassion, living our lives in fear gets us “stuck” in childhood. We will continue to be militant, angry, suffering humans if we do not learn to manifest love from the first of our interactions, to the last of our lives. We need to learn as a people, to choose love first.
I am half way through this book. I must admit to being thrilled to find that Bishop Spong speaks of Spirit the way I do, and sees scripture the way I do. He, however, is much more thorough than I have been, being well equipped with a lifetime study of the Bible from the point of view of an Anglican Preist. He touches on many of the subjects I have written of here in my blog, and I would encourage anyone who is interested in this point of view to read the book. He speaks of the Bible and ecology, of the Bible and women, of the Bible and homosexuality, of the Bible and Anti-semitism, of the Bible and child abuse. He also has addressed the idea of a need for a reformation of the faith of Christianity, noting that the ways of the past will no longer serve those who live in the here and now.
Greetings, readers. I am looking and realized I hadn’t posted in some time. I am so sorry, I am at that point where many who write for a living find themselves, and this is just my thoughts, so I cannot even imagine the pressure one would be under if this were my livelihood. I have said a lot about compassion, almost to the point of boredom, and, though I have written about political issues, I really do not want this to be a political blog. I want, however, to wish you all a wonderful and prosperous New Year, and hope that all is well with you!!!!!