A voicehearer’s path ~

The Lord’s Prayer ~

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

The Good you do

jesus-words1I 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, hungryand 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.

Simplicity

simpleI 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.

Son of Man ~

jesus1Jesus 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

Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. 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 buddha90210matter 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.

dnacadueceusPart 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.

Back again ~

computercrashI 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 spchild-abuse3ot 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 multifaithmuch 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!

Fearfulness ~

New Studies

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 fearcannot 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, journey2self-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 Dalai Lamakindness 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.

 

Sins of Scripturesinsofscripture

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.

Hi! Happy 2013!

hnyGreetings, 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!!!!!

Murk ~

Murky-FoggyGod does not see into the murkiness of our souls. I have held this view for many years, and every horrible thing that happens, from school shootings to genocidal events confirms this for me. I have even had debates with my fellow believers on this subject as they insist that the “Almighty” can see whatever the Holy Presence looks at. But, therein lies the rub. We were given free will. If the Ancient One interferes with that, it is not free will. But that means that in this world in which we live and move and have our being, there will be horrible atrocities that are completely unexplainable if you believe that God has set the Holy Presence as some sort of GameMaster.  That isn’t how it works, obviously, or 26 people would not have died at Newtown, many of them children under the age of 7.

Do I believe God called these children home? Well, I believe that God opened his arms to receive them when they were sent home by a  madman. Is that the same thing? I don’t think so. I, personally, believe that the only way such an atrocity, such a heinous act, could have been prevented was to restrict and enforce that restriction of the sale of such guns. I know, I will be told by those who believe in gun freedom that the law breakers will get their hands on them anyway. Maybe. Murders with firearms, are down in many countries, the only countries ahead of us on this scale are war torn, at best. We need to admit that we are not first (I know, GASP!) and look at their laws and adapt such laws to our nation.

But, getting back to this thing about the murkiness of the soul, and God’s not looking into that murk. I believe the ancient laws of Moses were given so that we could know some of the causes of murkiness andopenbible find the way to be more pure of heart and mind. Now, do I believe that list was complete? No! Do I believe that list was correct? Well, for the most part, but there were things that needed much longer explanations, or just not mention them. Do I believe the Bible was inspired? Sort of. You see, to me, Moses may have had more visionary instruction than dictated instruction. That would lead to wordiness where succinctness would have sufficed, and succinctness where more verbiage would have helped. And, I believe that all inspiration comes through our very faulty filters, in which case, no matter how much God tries to tell us what we need to know, if we are not clear enough to see it, we won’t get the lesson. I don’t care how powerful you believe God is, and I personally believe God to be more powerful than anyone is capable of imagining. If you have not gone through a clearing process, you will not see or hear any instructions you are supposed to see and hear.

Dalai LamaIf, in fact, we were all clear enough to see and hear the best instructions from the High One, there would be a world of people like Buddha and Jesus. I don’t think we’re there yet. I think we are much more inclined to be like a sieve, where some of the holes are blocked, and some are clear, where we hear, we may, indeed, hear with great clarity, but where the holes are blocked, we don’t even see that there’s a problem. And, there’s another issue. Many times what we do hear is for us, not the congregation, and we think this light we’ve just been given must surely be shared. That has lead to some incredible confusion. The only “‘sharing” of light that we are to consistently do is to be compassionate toward each other, to forgive perceived wrongs, and to be responsible for our acts and words so as not to hurt others unnecessarily in our quest for higher living.

Reality, Is there a God?

jesus_teaching_2I happen to believe that “God” is very real. I also believe that this God wants us to be happy and good to one another. Much beyond that, and it gets murky. I have had personal experiences with Spirit in my life that have convinced me of the reality of a “Higher Power” in the universe. I cannot tell you that you must believe, or even what to believe, you are responsible for your own thoughts on this.

I have come to believe that, though the scholars may be right, and the stories of a Christ may be twisted and suborned, there are kernels of truth in the gospels. Not of a human that was a God, but, rather, a human teacher that was enlightened and taught a better way for us to live. Yes, I am aware that he is quoted to have said some things that are just simply not supportable by a human. I believe those things were added into the story by those who wrote the legends many years after this rabbi lived.

In fact, it is because of all the controversy that I am going to share with you my base for the beliefset I hold. I must admit that when I first became aware that there were no notes and documents from the time in which the rabbi lived, my head was spinning. Had I put my faith in a myth? Well, possibly. So I began to search out from other faiths, what they believed, and why they believed them. One of my favorite books was Huston Smith’s work on the religions of the world. I was most impressed that Dr. Smith had done the field research that I would want to do if I had had the opportunity.

What came through to me so clearly in that research, and more of my own in reading and talking to those who practiced other faiths, was that Buddhism, stripped dalailamadown to it’s core teachings was nearly identical in principle, and many of the Buddha‘s teachings were a rephrasing of the rabbi’s, or the rabbi’s teachings were a rephrasing of the Buddha’s teachings. Either way, this gave me a basis on which to build my own practice. I had also found a woman who would teach me regarding the indigenous beliefs of the First People, so I must admit this is also part of my beliefset. In fact, my current practice has little to do with ceremony from any of the three basic foundation sets, and much to do with how I see things, and the principles I try to practice in daily life.

There are some lovely side issues when Buddhism is so similar to the Christian path. One is that I see Y’shua as another Buddha, an enlightened human, not a God. Another is that, with Buddhism, there is no need to worry whether there is a “Father” God at all, Buddhism is about relieving humanity from suffering, not about worshipping a God.  Ergo, you can be an atheist and practice Buddhism quite easily. The key, for me, has more to do with how you treat your fellow human beings, in following Buddha’s path, you are in obedience to the one I call the “Ancient of Days”. There is another gem here that should not be over-looked. With Buddhism, you are instructed right at the start that this has to do with your own journey, not about telling others how to live. You don’t have to worry about “John”, or “Suzi”, or anybody else along the way, just worry about yourself. What a wonderful release from being responsible for how others live. It isn’t yours to worry about.

8fold_pathNow, that last part, that’s been a point of contemplation for me. Y’shua taught us not to judge others, he also told us that we shouldn’t worry about the splinter in our brother’s eye when we had a log in our own. That should pretty much tell us to mind our own p’s and q’s, but, rather than telling us not to worry about others so much, Gautama Buddha went on to teach us how to travel the path toward the light, i.e. Wisdom, our own ethical conduct, where to concentrate our efforts. Though you can see the parallels in their teachings in the third link I gave you, the focus of their teachings was a bit different. Y’shua’s was almost all about conduct, Gautama was about the inner journey. Both were leading us toward spiritual growth, Buddha was teaching us how to be another Buddha. Though I believe it was Y’shua’s intent to also teach us to be like him, that has been made to look almost impossible by those who preach and teach in Christian churches, teaching us to love the messenger and forget his message. I don’t personally believe we can afford to do that. We must learn to follow the message.

 

Jesus, real or not?

jesus1Is Jesus (Y’shua) a real figure in history, or just a tool used by the “establishment” to control the masses? I can’t answer that one for you, you have to do the research yourself and come to your own conclusions. I know that I have come to some conclusions of my own, and will share them, but you must do your own. First, I do not see Y’shua as an actual Son of God, as I do not believe that God will take human form. I had already begun to question that when I did some digging into Jewish thought. You can see those thoughts on several very good websites, Jewfaq, Judaism 101, Aish.com, all are good. (Remember, there is no “pope” in the Jewish faith, so there are differing interpretations for all things God depending on the sect you question.) But, generally, Jews do not believe that God will incarnate, ever, in human form.

After I had done much research on those sites, and in questions to rabbis, I began to see Jesus as a rabbi, not God’s son. Now, to be honest, Jews do not see Y’shua as having been a particularly good rabbi, for he taught obedience to principles rather than the letter of the law. That is because Moses outlined the laws down to the very minutiae of daily living. It seems that the rabbi Y’shua was attempting to teach living by the principle of compassion. It was at the point at which I began to see this that I started to read the teachings of the Buddha. Now, I had been studying Y’shua’s words and thoughts for about 20 years, both as part of Evangelical MB1Christianity, (I was part of the fundamentalists), and outside the church, because I did not fit with the people with whom I was studying. My basic problems were that, though Y’shua taught a peaceful way of life, many from that particular sect were not inclined to Love. You can’t do that, and be faithful to Y’shua’s teachings.

What I encountered in Buddha’s teachings was so similar in principle that when you do a comparison of the two, you see many many parallels. So many that I needed to write them down, and did, in the post I have linked for you. In fact, the amount of parallels I found had me beginning to see Y’shua as another Buddha. The reason that is important to me is that you can pray to a Buddha, (essentially an enlightened human being) and recieve answers, both in advice and in help, for living a better way. In other words, if you pray in the name of Jesus, or Y’shua, his Greek and Hebrew names, the Spirit behind his enlightenment will help you.

The only reason this is important is that there are so many legitimate questions regarding the historicity of Jesus’ life, especially the way it is presented in the four gospels. There are many who question his very existence, so much so that it becomes important to see that it is what is at the core of his teachings that matters. He taught that we could become like him, he taught that we could do the things he did, and understand what was needed and that we could grow into that place he spiritualgrowthoccupied. That makes him a genuine son of man, not an offspring of God, but enlightened and willing to help us. So, when I pray, I still have Y’shua in mind, but think of him more as a Big Brother, than as God. My helper, my path teacher, if you will.

The remarkable thing in all of this is that, if you study Buddha’s teachings you will see that it doesn’t matter if there is a God or not. Buddha never taught about God, he was teaching a path that would lead humans out of suffering. He was teaching us that if we are compassionate toward all life, we will begin to find our own way out of the morrass of pain and suffering that is so much a part of the human existence. We could become a Buddha. I like that perspective so much that it no longer matters to me if you believe in God, so much as it matters to me if I am kind. It is not my business if you choose that path or not, it is my business to live my life following that path.

Morality ~

I find myself contemplating the Eightfold Path often, and wondering why it is that the faiths that believe in God very God should find it necessary to place commands for right living rather than principles. Buddha said all that was needed, by putting forth 8 well written principles to live by, rather than 100’s of laws that basically say the same thing, but get into the minutiae of how to shake hands on Sunday, if you will. I, personally, have not found ritual to be that helpful, other than in my times of meditation, when I am settling into “that” space, which is what I think it’s all about. Unfortunately, I also think that much of the ritual is intended to entrain one toward the thinking of the leaders rather than enlighten one about one’s own truth.

That being said, I do believe that each of the prophets and teachers was intent upon leading us closer to what was, to them, the desires of a Holy God. Look at Moses, he was nearly right on a lot of things, most of the mitzvot of the Hebrew faith leading his people toward compassion and forgiveness. You can’t ask much more of a leader, until you look at Buddha, who put all those laws into a set of principles that are timeless in nature. Then came Jesus, a rabbi, whose original words have been so coated with other men’s thinking that it is hard to sort through the teachings and come out on the other side truly enlightened. His goal, of course, was to make faith a more personal thing, while still retaining compassion and forgiveness as the center of all that he said and did. Add Mohamed into the mix, and you have compassion mixed with militarism. Eh, not my cuppa tea, but it calls to many.

However, there seems to be a lack of understanding regarding just how far we were to go with compassion. I am not saying they were wrong. I am saying they simply did not go far enough. None of them said war was wrong. None of them said anything about slavery that would make you recognize it as something deeply wrong. Child marriage was still allowed in all that, girls as young as 9 years old. Child labor still remained right up until the 19th century, as legal, and “under the table” it still exists. Rape didn’t even get a nod as the horror it truly is. So, we have a long way to grow in awareness of right and wrong. Pedophilia was never recognized as a sin, but sends shudders up and down my spine every time I think of a child being forced into adult sexual activity!

Many of those faiths and others not listed still consider homosexuality wrong on the whole, even though where it is addressed in both Old and New testament it was being held up as an example of wrong worship (not brought out so that you could see it that way, but when we dig that’s what it was about.) In fact, when you look at Sodom and Gomorrah, the entire question had more to do with people being taken, and harmed, against their will. That isn’t what homosexuality in this era is even about, so there is no connection to that from a modern view.

In fact, it looks to me to be that the Buddha had it closest to right when he said that all sexual contact needed to be consensual, and that one could not even consider it if the person with whom one had it was basically unable to give consent. To Buddha, that meant a child, a slave, a married person. The child because they were not old enough to resist, the slave because they were owned, the married person because they had made promises to another. Buddha thought it was best to remain celibate. but if celibacy was beyond you, at least make sure of the playing field.

In fact, if you are going to quote ancient teachers to me regarding what should and shouldn’t be allowed, quote Buddha. One must strip away most of what is extant in the New Testament in order to get to Jesus actual words, and one must consider that Moses didn’t even know that war, rape, and child molestation were wrong. And don’t quote Mohamed because, as long as it is woman’s fault that men cannot control themselves, (consider the Burka) then something else is going on. It looks to me as though our laws have moved into the realm of what is considered consensual, that’s a major plus. But otherwise, we need to reconsider and revamp our views of what is moral by law. In fact, I am beginning to like the Dalai Lama more and more. It’s time to take this out of the realm of religion altogether, and come to terms with what is compassionate, what is forgiving, and what is right.

God of Love ~

Those that need to think that God is real (I number among them) have many reasons for this need. My own is that I hear voices and see things that sometimes are not there to others. That can be pretty scary. I came to the conclusion a long time ago that the only way I was going to be able to cope with it all was to find a bottom line, and stay there. It is through that storm that I came to see that even though the many forms of faith have a lot of differences, there were a couple of things they had in common. The differences are unimportant to me, the things they held in common, a call to live compassionately, forgiving others as quickly as possible, were the things that seemed destined to help me cope.

Many times, as I read the Old Testament, as well as the New, I find myself shaking my head in wonderment that a True God could have been perceived to be so tribal. Yet, we must remember that Moses, and Father Abraham were tribal above all, and would have seen God in this same reference. You see, that seems to always have been a problem. It is difficult to see an entity as existing beyond the bounds of our own individual experience. Yet, I want to be fair here. The books in the Old Testament are not the complete version, there were many books left out, because they seemed not to have anything to do with Jesus Christ, and were therefore, ignored. The shame comes in the fact that in those books that were left out, a quite larger view of God comes to light. It is somewhat startling, but some of the mystics could envision a God that was big enough to have made the Universe. Now that is where I can say I could join them.

Here, I am going to irritate some of the “faithful” for I do not believe in war. In fact, I believe that war is failure. We were given language and tongues. We can talk, and we can reason, and we should be able to negotiate. Any time we resort to shooting each other, we have failed at negotiations. I am well aware that this world has been overridden with a need for power that seems to trump all other considerations. I do not, however, believe that the God I worship caused this. This is a man made problem, and man needs to solve it. Soon!

In fact, it is this need for power that has caused not only war, but some very personal crimes that are none of which, like war, have been recognized in the Book as crimes. So, what can this list entail? Well, there is war, the wanton shooting of other humans who do not agree with us; there is slavery, often in the past ages the taking of people from among those defeated in war for personal pleasure, be that sexual in nature, or work related in helping us become wealthy; there is also rape, the overpowering of one person by another for sexual gratification, (YUCK!) ; then there is child slavery and molestation. I don’t personally believe there was ever an instance where GOD declared war on any of us. NOT in the Old Testament, NOT in the New, Not in any document from the Quran to the Baghavadgita. God didn’t choose war, our ancestors did, and they were not Holy in their intent. Ever. So, that is a list of power crimes, not complete, I suspect there are more that have not come to mind, but that is a list that must be recognized by our current leaders as a list of things that MUST be stopped before we can even begin to build a civilization that will bring about peace on Earth.

Many look for a messiah, some think he has come in the nature of one Jesus Christ. I don’t believe that was the case. OK I know y’all are gonna slam me for this one, but the human race is just now beginning to recognize power crimes for what they are, and we are not ready for the messiah; Jesus, either as a conglomerate of teachers and rabbis, or as a single person, would have only been the forerunner, setting the stage for what yet is to come. We haven’t yet gotten to a point where the compassion both he and the Buddha have called for from the enlightened is present in a majority of the people. We are a long way from even beginning to enter such an age. We aren’t even close.

I, personally, believe that only when we as an entire race of beings can get to a point where the only God we would even consider worth worshiping would be a God of love and compassion, will we be ready for a time of peace and prosperity, for only when that includes everyone, will it be true.

I have come to believe that God’s Love is a given. It is there at one’s birth or origin from the moment you are brought into existence. You and every creature on this planet. That makes it simple, and I believe that the Love of God is that simple. It’s there for you to lose, not something you can earn, it was always there. In fact, it is that that makes it so difficult for me to listen to all the Preachers and Teachers who speak condemnation as part of their belief system. But what would that mean? It means that it is your decisions that make or break you. You have to be deliberately mean and cruel to others in order to lose the love of God. It means that all concepts of Hell are erroneous at least in part, for a God that loves completely will not condemn completely unless you choose deliberately in your life to walk away from that love.

If you choose to live your life as though God does not exist, but are kind to others, and hold no grudges because you simply know this is not good for you, you will not lose the love of God. This is why prayers of those who have not lead devout lives are often answered. And why the “devout” who are cruel to their fellow men are often ignored. You simply can not lead a life of cruelty and call yourself a Christian, or a Muslim, or a Jew, and expect God to respect your self-naming of your faith. In fact, I believe that once you call yourself a believer, you are more responsible than ever to be good to your fellow creatures.

It doesn’t matter if you believe, God does not need your adoration. God is complete, therefore He/She does not need ANYTHING from you, not your devotion, not your worship, not your dissidence. God does not need you. However, having said that, God loves you completely, and listens always to your cries for help. It is simply there.

Now, you may ask me why there is so very much evil in the world if the Love of God is this complete. It’s a valid question, but you know the answer before you ask it. Look into your own heart. Is there no anger, no jealousy, no hatred there? If there is none of those things you will not be able to understand evil. But, if you truly have examined yourself and your feelings you will know that multiplied by all the people of the earth, there is a great deal of evil all over the world. Is there a Satan? Well, not as a person. In fact, I don’t believe evil is well enough organized to call it a force in and of itself. That is why a mere babe may back it off with a simple tune which praises Good, or God. For that is part of what God is, Good. All else that we would call evil is just our human dark side shaking in the abyss.

Further, you cannot do evil in the name of good, that would constitute the “sin against the Holy Spirit”. That would earn you a place in a world in which God does not exist, call it Hell if you wish, for it will feel Hellish even were it not so.

Images ~

There is a movie coming out that I want to see.  The reason it interests me is that, when I have contemplated the 4th commandment, “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.” it seems to me to be many layered, and has something to do with how the human mind actually works. This is examined in part in Jungian psychology, and is an extremely powerful part of who we are.

Most people are aware that the pictures and statues of Buddha and Jesus, and Mary, and any other image, are symbolic of the original, that they are not the original, and are only “so to speak” a means of concentrating our prayers. However, this is more easily seen in something like the swastika, an image, originally, of a peaceful people at worship, not a symbol of evil, yet, with it’s constant use by Hitler and his minions, it became a symbol of evil in our minds, making us quake at its sight. Its use was repurposed, or at least sidelined from its original use. There are ways this has happened to images of Jesus. He was a teacher, a lover of children in the most ethical of ways, one who taught a compassionate and forgiving path.

Yet, that very image has come to be something of horror to those who are born with homosexual tendencies. It is a horror filled image to those of African origin who have been plagued by slavers killing their families and kidnapping their children. Pictures of Jesus have come to mean condemnation and oppression to those who have felt the outrageous slings and arrows of those who would use his image to further their purposes. It was several years ago that I became aware that these images of a gentle teacher and the use of chanting songs of “praise” were a type of entrainment, meant to attune the entire congregation to one another, and to be more malleable to the preachers ravings at the pulpit.

Needless to say, I quit attending such services, and began to study other religious and spiritual traditions in order to understand what I was seeing and feeling while in those services. I do very much believe that it is an individual responsibility that each of us bears regarding what we study, what we believe, and how we act. I began to realize that Y’shua, Jesus to most of you, was never wanting us to hang up our sense of self, but was encouraging us to actually examine ourselves and discover who we really and truly are, as the more in touch we are with the “authentic self” that is at the core of our faith, the more likely we are to act in compassion, in forgiveness, in truth.

Power Crimes ~

Child harm, such as this: http://samuel-warde.com/2012/11/american-misogyny-peaks-as12-year-old-sex-abuse-victim-is-blamed/
And rape, such as this: http://kidshealth.org/teen/safety/safebasics/rape_what_to_do.html
as well as slavery, such as this: https://www.freetheslaves.net/SSLPage.aspx?pid=301
ARE POWER CRIMES!!!!! They must be abolished for us to call ourselves civilized!

In doing a Google search for “power crimes”, I find little or no discourse to make my point. So I am going to try to wing it, and hope that I make sense. All of these crimes fall under one umbrella, the term “power crimes”, and are all equally heinous. Whether you are raping a woman, harming a child with sexual assault or enslaving another human for your own pleasure, you are committing crimes that have long been ignored, or shifted to back burners, or even minimized by the verbal badinage that is used by politicians. As an example: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/oped/bs-ed-reimer-women-voters-20121107,0,3771323.column

I am aware that rape and child molestation are much more in the frame of public awareness than is slavery, but slavery still exists, and until we ad

dress the horror of all of these crimes, studying them to find the ultimate cause, and find a way to eliminate these crimes from our society, we are not even remotely civilized. Most of the time I think of these crimes as proof of testosterone poisoning in our society, but as we change and women become more involved in the workaday world, we see more women committing these crimes. This may be an indicator of the level of insensitivity that one must reach in order to succeed in the working world. How sad a society
we must be if this is true.

However, as we find ways to insulate people from the horrors of slavery, we may find ways to insulate our children and women from sexual assault, merely by empowering them. If you read the comments about the 12 year old that was sexually abused by two of her male teachers, you will be aware that the child is being blamed for the abuse. The Old Testament shows a marked lack of compassion toward women in the case of rape, apparently Moses felt women were to blame for being attractive to possible rapists. GAH! And how does society blame slaves for their enslavement? By looking the other way. By acting as though slavery were a personal problem rather than a societal problem. GADS!

Perhaps the solution, then, is to teach all those who are potential victims the art of self defense. This would be most easily accomplished by beginning to teach children and women to do meditative Tai Chi. That seems too easy, but if you are aware of the martial arts, then you must know that the power of Tai Chi is in the ability it gives its practitioners to concentrate, and the wise and certain control of their bodies in crisis. A child who knows Tai Chi would be one a potential rapist would not wisely approach. A woman who practices Tai Chi would be one who would be deadly to an aggressor. Yet, Tai Chi is not for combat, it is for self control. It is for meditation. Yes, I begin to think that I would like to see Tai Chi taught in public schools here in the States. It might civilize us.

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