A voicehearer’s path ~

Archive for the ‘faith’ Category

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!

Voices . . . .again~

Well, we know that Moses heard voices, and saw things that others wouldn’t necessarily see. It’s why I cannot condemn him as a spokesman, as I am in the same boat. Though I wouldn’t dare to speak to others as though it were God very God that spoke to me. In fact, in order to keep some semblance of balance in my life, I have had to come to the conclusion that, for me, at least, if it was not of compassion, forgiveness, tolerance, love: it was not from God. I had to hold to that boundary, for if I listened to just any voice in the wind, I’d be listening to the dog telling me to go kill the neighbor, yikes, and no thanks!!!

Those of us who do hear those voices are always going to have that dilemma, as, if we are truly hearing voices from beyond the veil between dimensions, we cannot be sure whether the voices stem from high or low energies, or simply from our own minds misfiring in the auditory parts of our brains.  It was my mother, heaven bless her, who taught me to always ask questions. So I do, now and always. That’s ok, I know it means I will never be mistaken for some high prophet, mouth of God, if you please. But even if it keeps me from such wondrous elevation, it keeps me from being one of those who sent children into war. I know that Moses heard the voice he heard tell him to go kill the neighbor. But there you have it, because the question remains: why would a God who told us not to kill, instruct us to carry out commands that do that very thing?

Yet, among those who believe the Bible to be God’s written and holy word, to question the killing of neighbors if the voice instructed one to do so, would be tantamount to blasphemy. Oh well, I guess I’d rather go down in history as a blasphemer than as a killer. (Though betwixt me and thee, history will most likely not remember me at all.) I have  been contemplating the “rules” by which we are to interact with one another. The best set I have found was taught by one who didn’t even speak as a prophet, but as a being of enlightenment. Buddha. Hence, I have thought a lot about paraphrasing his words for those of us who feel God is very real, and ultimately very personal. Buddha spoke of concepts and principles that could guide a person in any era, any circumstance. It makes the list relatively short and sweet, where learning rule by rule would mean memorizing thousands of laws entailing every situation in which one would find oneself.

Principles can and do speak to circumstances in any time and place, rules speak to specific circumstances and may be outdated as soon as they are written. Principles will only guide us to more and more light. As we look at Buddha’s Eightfold Path and realize that slavery, child molestation, rape, were not issues that he grappled with, we can see that the principles he taught would lead you, with light to see that they are power driven crimes, and therefore not to be allowed a free ride in one’s own society. It seems that those who believe that we must lead lives governed by God, also believe God would govern us with rules rather than principles, I do not agree. Compassion speaks of a principle, forgiveness speaks of a principle. I cannot afford to limit myself to rules when principles have been written that can guide me in my life. I believe God is very real, I also believe Buddha had the best handle on how to walk this Earth. When I walk as Buddha taught, I find I am in obedience to the principles behind all the rules set forth by the prophets except those rules that say I have a right to kill those who don’t agree with me. I guess I will just have to hope that’s enough. I cannot afford to kill my neighbor, I’d be killing myself.

Critical Thinking ~

Don’t mistake ignorance for perspective.  Gather complete information.  One of the most important and most violated principles of critical thinking is thoroughness—that is, gathering all available facts on a subject under scrutiny.  Obviously thinking requires facts; erroneous conclusions often stem from inadequate factual knowledge.

Principles of Critical Thinking:

1.      Gather complete information.

2.     Understand and define all terms.

3.     Question the methods by which the facts are derived.

4.     Question the conclusions.

5.     Look for hidden assumptions and biases.

6.     Question the source of facts.

7.     Don’t expect all of the answers.

8.     Examine the big picture.

9.     Examine multiple cause and effect.

10. Watch for thought stoppers.

11.  Understand your own biases and values.

One of the reasons I have so thoroughly come to respect both Judaism and Buddhism, and adopt their views as my own, is that there is an encouragement toward Critical Thinking built into both religions. As this is the reason I drew away from Fundamental Christianity as my source of faith, you can understand that this would be a draw toward these as perspectives to both admire and to adhere to in my own walk. Question, question, question; this is my own stance toward life, and I expect to be questioned by those who walk the path beside me.

I believe Spirit is very real, as I have had that level of help in my own walk, both in making decisions and in who and what to be. I also believe that there is One, Holy and Righteous, that cares intimately for me, and all other human beings that walk the planet. I also believe the One has many helpers on many levels. I have had many mystical experiences along the way, which is why I call myself a mystic, though the path I walk could as easily be called the Questioner’s Path as any other name. In fact, one of the red flags along this path is that, when questioned regarding a particular event, any person says to me, “Don’t ask questions, just believe.” That will get my hackles rising in seconds.

I have been called a “New Ager”, and I understand the wish to label me, so I understand the desire to put this label on me, though, if you look at standard New Age belief systems, generally, I don’t fit with the norm, (when have I ever?), but just for the sake of argument, I have drawn from beliefnet.com a set of general beliefs to show where mine differ.

Belief in Deity
God is the impersonal life force, consciousness, ultimate truth and reality, the incorporeal, formless cosmic order personified within all people and matter. God is all and all are God.

God is very real, not only not impersonal, but extremely personal, with a sentience that goes well beyond our understanding. God is in all of creation, this is truth, but we are not God, we are co-creators with God, therefore gods, in a round about way, but not God the One.

Origin of Universe and Life
The universe, life, and matter were not created by God but “are” God. The universe and life emerged out of the creative power of the eternal universal life force.

This could get “tricky”. God is very real to me, as a personality and sentience that goes beyond understanding by my finite human brain, but though I believe God is made manifest in all of life, I do believe God has an existence outside our own universe, and that to presume all of life is “God” is a mistake. The idea that life emerged from the creative power of the eternal universal life force, well, there is truth in that, but only part of the truth, not a complete picture at all of what and who God is.
After Death
Some believe in continual rebirth–no death–as life is spirit. Some believe that our souls rest for a time before deciding on a new body (or bodies). Heaven and hell are states of consciousness, self-imposed, due to ignorance of God as all.
I am a reincarnationist, so there is a partial truth here, but I believe life on this planet is for learning, so there is much here that is left unsaid. And, while it is true that I believe Heaven and Hell are states of consciousness, and therefore “self-imposed”, they, Heaven and Hell, are part of the experience of living in a dense reality through which the eternal light does not necessarily shine, it is that very denseness of matter that creates the darkness into which evil presents itself as a dual reality, it is a lack of life, not another life form.
Why Evil?
No original sin, no Satan, and no evil. Most believe people make “mistakes” when they are ignorant of the power of goodness, which is God, within themselves and others. Some believe evil is perpetuated through accumulation of past-life wrongs and spiritual ignorance.
While I do not believe in original sin, I do believe there is actual evil in the world. The idea of Satan as an overseer of Hell is a bit skewed in my beliefs, as evil is chaotic and self-serving, therefore incapable of organizing on a level that would create an “Army of Darkness”. This does not, however, preclude that there are not dark forces at work, they are just not organized enough to prevail in the face of ultimate Good. As I hinted earlier, in my contemplations and meditations it has become apparent to me that evil is the result of the denseness of materiality, that it is in fact, a lack of light, the light of God, and the denser the matter, the less of God you will find in those places. This does not mean that I think of God as limited, au contraire, God is beyond such limits, I do, however, believe that God just doesn’t “go there”, in those places where the light is not.
Salvation
Salvation lies in the realization of oneness with the impersonal life force. Awareness can be heightened through methods that induce altered states of consciousness, e.g., hypnosis, meditation, music, drugs. Spiritual “tools” include crystals, tarot cards, amulets, channeling, fortunetellers and psychics. Some believe the salvation of humanity will occur when a critical mass is reached, when people converge in experiencing their oneness with God and with each other. This will bring a New World Order or new Planetary Order, resulting in oneness of civilization and one-world government, peace, and harmony.
Ah, no. Obviously, since I believe God is a real, sentient being, and a “person” who wants each of us to be “in relationship”, this is not part of my belief system. One part of the twofold issue of Salvation is that God saves, and God saves to the uttermost, so all are “saved” in that all will eventually be “in relationship” with the One. We may have to live many lives to eventually “get there”, but we will all eventually get there. The other part of the twofold “Plan of Salvation” is that each and every one of us, when we finally reach that point of being in relationship with the One, will know that living in unconditional love, compassion, and forgiveness are our “chores” in the learning process. This is what we are here for. This is what we are to learn. It is necessary for each of us to learn these functions in order to reach our own personal salvation. When we learn this, we will be able to “go home” permanently, living in the unconditional love of the Creator of all life. As for the New World Order, well, it isn’t happening in the next six hours, so the best we can do is learn our part in the plan, and see where that brings us when we have managed that.
Undeserved Suffering
Suffering is the result of greed, hatred, and spiritual ignorance in a person’s, or humanity’s, past lifetimes, which returns as suffering (karma). Suffering is sometimes viewed as occurring for a specific purpose, to further spiritual growth and learn a life lesson. Suffering is also seen as illusory, in that it results from attachment to bodily pleasure and pain, and only the universal life force within, God, truly exists.
Well, what we have here is a partial truth. Karma is very much a part of the picture, as Y’shua is quoted, “What you sow, that shall you also reap”. And, yes, I do believe that part of suffering is to learn a life lesson, but that is most definitely NOT all there is to it. Remember that I believe that there are three “lessons” that are uppermost in our learning process, unconditional love, compassion for ourselves and others, and forgiveness; when we have truly learned those lessons, suffering as such will become a non-issue, as it really is an attachment to bodily pleasure and pain that is the ultimate cause of such. What is not being said here is that this is a Buddhist teaching, and the teaching has a great depth not under discussion here. To learn the entire teaching, please refer to the Buddha’s teachings on suffering. I do want to mention here that, Buddhism is the ultimate of humanism. There is no mention of “God” in Buddhist teaching, as the point in the Buddha’s entire journey and teaching was the alleviation of suffering for the human soul. His point was to find what could lead to happiness within the heart of each and every human being. In my own journey, where I have come to believe the reality of Spirit, and the belief that God is real, is that ,most profoundly,  from a Buddhist viewpoint, one must learn to be compassionate and forgiving, and from a Judaic viewpoint one must be compassionate and forgiving. Hence, the ultimate obedience to God is to follow the same path that Buddha taught as the way to alleviate suffering: be kind.
I don’t believe that there is any religion on earth that has all of the truth. I do believe that there is a core truth in all the light serving religions, in that all teach that part of the path is to learn to be compassionate and forgiving. Will we ever see a time when there is only one religion? I hope not, as that implies that the World Order is evil finally organizing itself to destroy us all. What I hope for is a mutual respect given to all light serving religions, so that each and every person on the planet has a choice, finding the path that serves them best in their journey of growth in understanding of Spirit. May all be blessed. Namaste!

Jesus was not the sin offering ~

Yeah, I know, that is a point of debate for many, but I have felt this to be the truth for a long time. I have recently found teachings online from observant Jews that show why this is the case. Here is an essay on why there was no need for bloodshed to absolve sins: here is commentary from a contemporary site for Jews. There are others and I will bring them in as I discuss this issue. Jews also believe that HaShem told them that  He would not incarnate,  Judaism 101 shows perhaps the most comprehensive list and references regarding why.

Now, here is where I depart slightly from general Jewish thought. I believe Jesus (Y’Shua) came for a specific ministry, not as a God-man, but as a guide, to help us find our way home. Please bear with me here, as this is ground I am still sifting, to find the truth for myself as well as to share on this blog. I have said before that I believe the four extant gospels were tampered with. What I now suspect is that, rather than tampering with something already written, the Greek scribes took lists, as you would find in the Gospel of Thomas, and wrote narrative that would fit with Constantine’s perception of the God-man. One of the reasons I believe this scenario to be close to the truth is that the 12 did not forsake their parent faith after his death, but continued to attend synagogue. If they had believed he were a God-man, they would simply have forsaken their Jewish roots, knowing that such a concept was unacceptable among their peers.

Within the extant gospels, I believe Y’shua’s teachings to have been preserved, albeit mixed so thoroughly with the scribes work,  so that one must filter and sift in order to find them. Filtering here, would require a thorough understanding of what Y’shua would not, or could not have said as a Jew, honoring the faith of his fathers. One of the things that has always struck me as somehow wrong, is that the church teaches a Jesus plus nothing doctrine in order to gain heaven, yet, Y’shua most emphatically stated that one must forgive in order that the Father might forgive us each our transgressions, he also taught that living a compassionate life fulfilled the law, in fact he said more than once that he did not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it. This implies that his ministry had another purpose altogether.

Throughout Y’shua’s ministry he speaks often and consistently of the Holy Spirit. It is this knowledge that brought me to the conclusion that places where he is said to have been speaking of himself, he may have been speaking of this emanation. For instance, “I am the way, the truth and the life, no man cometh unto the Father but by me.”, this passage could easily have been intended to be “The I Am is the way, the truth and the life, no man comes to the Father save through the I Am.” As that phrase is often used in the Tanakh to speak of the very near, very clear, very now presence of God Very God, i.e. the Holy Spirit. If that measure of change has occurred in the gospels, and I believe it has, then the places where Y’shua appears to have been speaking of himself as the Source of eternal life, he may have been speaking of truths his Jewish followers could accept and understand.

Because of all these things, I have come to understand why the pastors in the churches I attended years ago were uncomfortable with “too much” study of the Old Testament, since one would discover that it was not an old covenant, but a very vibrant and living covenant that still speaks to us today. I am quite aware that there are many passages in the Tanakh that have little to do with life today, the treatment of women, for example, would not work in today’s world. But, here, you must look at the surrounding cultures and realize that the Mosaic Law treated women with much more respect that did the neighbors. I believe that perspective would need updated to fit now.

Now, however, comes the hard part. The ground explored in the above statements has been covered by others and is by no means new. If Y’shua did not perceive himself as abolishing the law, but rather fulfilling it, what was his purpose? Why would he put himself through the horrible ordeal at the hands of the Romans? I have seen with my own eyes and senses the power of the Native American holy men and women who have been through such ordeals in the quest for their own spiritual enlightenment, and have felt the “mighty rushing wind” from a holy man of the Lakota Sioux. It occurs to me that Y’shua may have been simply working through the power of his own “medicine” to open the door for the event that he spoke of in his teachings. That is to say, the Gift of the Holy Spirit.

What would this be for? Jeremiah speaks of a New Covenant, one I do not believe has yet come, (just look at the world today and observe that there is no peace in it.) Now, he may have been speaking of the time of the Moshiach, which, in spite of the Christian insistence that Y’shua was that person, is not here. What if Y’shua were preparing the way for that one to come? What if the Holy Spirit, dwelling with each of us as a guide, indeed, dwelling within us so that the law was written on our hearts, was his goal. It hasn’t happened, but then, his ministry was side-tracked by the God-man doctrine, and the Jesus plus nothing doctrine so that what could have happened within a generation if all had gone according to plan, has now seen many generations pass. I pray that the Holy Spirit write the law on my heart that I may serve Hashem in all his glory.

 

 

Feedback ~

Warning: This may be a very long post, read at your own peril:

Throughout the great scheme of things you secure a B+ for hard work. Exactly where you confused everybody was on your details. As it is said, details make or break the argument.. And that couldn’t be more accurate right here. Having said that, permit me say to you what did work. The text is certainly quite engaging and that is probably the reason why I am taking an effort in order to comment. I do not make it a regular habit of doing that. Secondly, whilst I can notice a leap in reasoning you make, I am definitely not convinced of exactly how you seem to unite your ideas that help to make your final result. For now I will, no doubt yield to your point however trust in the foreseeable future you actually connect your facts better.

First of all, thank you for this feedback, I have been hoping to get someone’s critique on the writing, and though this is overall positive, you make a good point about the lightness of the facts presented. In the entire blog, I have presented most of the passages from the Bible and from other sources that I base my argument upon, but you would have to read the entire blog to get that, as they are pretty scattered. In the hopes of not boring my regular readership, I will go ahead and list many of them here, so that you may see them in one post. Forgive me for presuming that most do not want to slog through my many years of contemplation and study, I do understand that most are not into that kind of study in reading a blog, but concede to the need to make the argument clearer and better organized.

I would like to share with you the passages in the New Testament that had me questioning the interpretation of spirituality that was being given in the churches I had attended, mostly Pentecostal and Evangelical.

From John 14 ;12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.

Now, I had seen true miracles done in his name, and had seen wonders come through my own prayers, but had never witnessed anything that could be listed as being any greater than what the Master is said to have done, either through my hands or through the hands of others. We were either not doing enough, or not believing correctly, or this was a misquote. For many years I thought it might be that I was not believing him for the greater things.

But, wait, there were other passages that had me asking questions. (BTW, please, always, feel free to read the entire passage from which I quote, to do that here would make a post that will already be more than a long chapter longer, it would make it unreadable in one sitting, it may be anyway.) There was the passage in John 4,

32 Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.

Now, this has been interpreted many ways, usually to signify that rejection of the Christ would result in eternal damnation, as it was the Holy Spirit that brought Jesus to us. I had other questions that lead back to this, however. What of those who had never heard of him, or those who had heard of him from people who had murdered a person’s family, and therefore made it impossible to hear a gospel of love from them. And what about the idea that one could speak against Jesus himself, but be forgiven, but not be forgiven for speaking against the Holy Spirit, that would make the primary explanation circular, and therefore false.

What about the idea that the Holy Spirit has already spoken to the Ivrit (Jews), giving 600(+) mitzvot or commandments regarding conduct before God. What about the other people with whom there is evidence of awareness of the Holy Spirit, such as the Tao Te Ching , which, in several passages refers to one who can only be interpreted as the Holy Spirit; I have provided a link to one such translation, please take the time to read it, it isn’t that long, and is beautiful. What of Buddha’s teachings, so similar to Jesus’ ; they are spoken differently, and even formatted differently, and if you wish, I will make a post comparing them teaching by teaching. These are only a few examples of where and to whom the Holy Spirit has communicated, there are others, they are prolific, and I will take them example by example if you wish. (and enjoy the task, as it is something I love to contemplate!)

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Compassion-energy_JasonAllenMiller

There is a statement in 1John:4 7&8 that has become a mantra to me;

7 Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love.

Now, I must digress and speak of the Holy Spirit, most profoundly and beautifully spoken of in Chapter 8 of Proverbs. Note, she is spoken of in the feminine, not the masculine as in the New Testament, because the church fathers did not want to have a comparison of their trinity teachings confused with the trinities from other faiths, Hinduism, Egyptian cosmology, Paganism, etc.. So, we must consider that she had transgendered, or perhaps the church fathers had arbitrarily decided to change her for their own purposes.The Holy Spirit, if I am correct, has spoken to all of compassion. It is here that I take my cue, that compassion is the primary purpose of our lives, we are here to learn to be compassionate with each other, against all odds! Here I also include the indigenous peoples of all the world, for when you study their take on cosmology, we are to be forgiving and to care.

Why I believe Y’shua may not have even implied he was God Incarnate;

During my journey of questions, I stumbled onto some things that were not taught in my Lutheran Catechism class.

♦ The God of the Jews, the God I thought of as my God had not actually insisted on a blood sacrifice for forgiveness of sin(a misconception in modern times, it meant shortcomings, imperfections in the original, not necessarily evil). This is stated several times in the OT but most markedly in Leviticus 5:11-13.

11 “‘If, however, they cannot afford two doves or two young pigeons, they are to bring as an offering for their sin a tenth of an ephah[a] of the finest flour for a sin offering. They must not put olive oil or incense on it, because it is a sin offering. 12 They are to bring it to the priest, who shall take a handful of it as a memorial[b] portion and burn it on the altar on top of the food offerings presented to the LORD. It is a sin offering. 13 In this way the priest will make atonement for them for any of these sins they have committed, and they will be forgiven. The rest of the offering will belong to the priest, as in the case of the grain offering.

Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but my ears you have pierced; burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not require. [Psalm 40:6]’”

Since I am not financially blessed, this would apply to me, and most of the folks who are a part of my circle, and means that it is not a requirement to sacrifice an animal for me to be forgiven. Though this was not hidden from me as a child in the church, neither was it pointed out. In fact, I was told that there was NO remission of sin without blood being shed for me by an animal or a Christ. I thought that the only way God forgave was through bloodshed. The more aware I became of the horrendous price paid on the cross, the less compassionate I thought God, to make anyone suffer so vastly for sins he had not committed, and for my sins to boot!

In my sojourn in the church, I had learned by implication that God was demanding, angry, vengeful, and unbending. People were put to death for walking into the sanctuary if they were not the right tribe, even. Children were put to death for not obeying their parents (I understand the temptation to wring an offspring’s neck sometimes, but, God?) And a God that didn’t understand that homosexuality wasn’t always a choice? Excuse me, if God made me, he can surely look into my heart and see what is there!  And, yes, I am taking the long way around to explain this point, but I will try to explain here all the reasons for my conclusions.

♦ The God of the Jews abhorred human sacrifice. Yes, the OT is clear on this, and states it several places.This is quoted from WhatJewsbelieve.org, just to make it a quick reference, to be sure, these references are commenting on the sacrifice of one’s sons and daughters to pagan gods, but then, we are all sons and daughters:

What does God say about human sacrifice in the TaNaCH? In Deuteronomy 12:30-31, God calls Human sacrifice something that He hates, and an abomination to Him, “for every abomination to the Eternal, which he hateth, have they done unto their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods. In Jeremiah 19:4-6, God tells us that Human sacrifice is so horrible a concept to Him, that it did not even come into His mind to demand it from His creation, “They have built also the high places of Baal, to burn their sons with fire for burnt offerings unto Baal, which I commanded not, nor spake it, neither came it into my mind.” We see the same thing in Psalm 106:37-38, and in Ezekiel 16:20.

Though there are places online where you can find basic Jewish beliefs, they do not have a central governing body that decides what is heretical and what is not, so there are many areas where there are differences in beliefs from one sect to the next, much the same as Protestants in the Christian faith. I realize I am using Jewish commentary on this, but I do trust the rabbis to be more in tune with what the Tanach says regarding their beliefs, and what the meaning of the verses truly is. I am an Egalitarian in my beliefs, so I am not always in tune with Jewish tradition, either. I do not believe it is right to attempt to own another human, I believe that Homosexuality is not wrong, I believe that pedophilia is completely wrong, I hear voices, and I have seen things in my mind as in visions that have come true, and I may be crazy, (it’s why I share what I believe rather than attempt to tell others this is the way they should believe)

♦If Y’shua had made the implications or said some of the things he is recorded to have said, he would have been stoned to death, as the Mosaic Law was still practiced fully in his time.That means that there are passages that may have been tampered with quite a bit to read the way they read in today’s New Testament. This may be a result of faulty understanding by the translators from the Aramaic notes that would have been available to the Greek and Roman scribes that would have been responsible for those translations, or it may be a true revision of the manuscripts for political reasons. For what ever reason may apply, there are things that he is supposed to have said that make more sense with minor changes. For instance, he is supposed to have said, “I am the way, the truth and the Life, no man comes to the Father except through me.” This would have gotten him stoned, immediately. But, with minor changes, he may have said, “The I Am ( a name used for the very near, very here presence of God) is the way, the truth and the life, No man comes to the Father except through the I Am.” very minor changes, very major change in meaning. This could easily have happened because the yod is added at the front of a word to say, “the”. Easily missed, easily misunderstood.

There are places in the four gospels that feel unchanged, others that feel like there are major revisions. I was taught that the model for prayer that is called the “Our Father” was original with Y’shua, and showed a stroke of his genius, it wasn’t until a few years ago that I learned that it was a part of Kaddish, the prayers said for the dead. I was taught that there was no other faith that used the baptism as a means of cleansing the soul to prepare for regeneration, so you can imagine my shock when I first experienced a sweat lodge at the invitation of my Shawnee teacher, the concepts run deeper, actually, but the result is the same, a newness of life and understanding. I was taught that there was a blood red line that ran through the Old Testament that testified to Y’shua’s coming. Imagine how frustrating it was to learn that the books that had been excluded from the Tanach had been excluded because they had nothing to do with Y’shua or his coming.

♦I was frustrated, and spoke of it to more than one pastor, that Paul’s words were treated with the same sense of authority as Y’shua’s words. That wasn’t right in my book then, it really isn’t now, as I have found that they take Christianity so completely away from it’s Judaic roots, that it is a Hellenized approach to faith. Paul was a very spiritual, but very human individual with faults that are difficult for me to accept in humans today. One such can be found in Corinthians. In the first letter he berates a man and his sexual practices, having coupled with his wife and her mother. In the second letter he recognizes that this was not the case, but tells them it was all for their good anyway. I really dislike people that do that, and won’t go back to a church where I find the pastor acting like that.

To be sure, there are spots in his letters that I thoroughly enjoy, even in the same letters where he errs. 1Corinthians chapter 13 is as beautiful a recitation on Love as any I have ever read, anywhere. Yet, in some of his epistles, or most specifically one that is supposed to be his, 1Timothy, he basically says women should be kept barefoot and pregnant. Grrrrr! He is pictured here preaching atop the monument in Athens to an unknown God. I would not mind so much his railing against Pagans if he and those who came after him had not made Paganism so much a part of Christianity. This entire passage can be found in the book of Acts in the New Testament.

Well, forgive me, please, I digressed a bit from my point in this section that Y’shua would not have called himself God, but I hope I am making more sense at this point.  If not, I hope you will give me feedback to that, too. I do want to make my point clear and easily understood. I am not here to impress, I am here to communicate. Thanks again for reading my blog!!

Book Burning ~

Gads! The point of book burning, in a day of mass produced books and internet publishing, is completely lost on me. All you are doing is making a statement that you don’t like what is written in the book, and there are more effective ways of doing that. The simplest of all being to start your own blog. (There are so many blogs in existence at the moment that one person’s words get lost in the many that are published, but, hey, my neighbor has a blog, why not me?)

If you will notice, though, most of the books from the first to now that get burned are of a religious nature. (Hitler had a bent that was more wide spread, but we can always hope he was a true anomaly.) When it wasn’t religious writings that were being burned, it was often scientific journals and papers that challenged the seat of power of a religion, so, direct or not, there is a connection.

Recently, a proponent of Christianity, (not a mainline preacher, let me be clear) is said to have burnt 10 copies of the Quran. His message, apparently, that this book did more harm than good. Now, I do not practice the Muslim faith, nor intend to in this lifetime, but, even though there are practices among the Muslims that I don’t care for; the veiling of women being primary; there are many teachings in the Quran that do well to be read by any peace loving servant of the Most High. A direct quote from a translation of the Quran, And what will explain to you what the steep path is? It is the freeing of a (slave) from bondage; or the giving of food in a day of famine to an orphan relative, or to a needy in distress. Then will he be of those who believe, enjoin fortitude and encourage kindness and compassion.” Chapter 90, Verses 12-17 teaches the very thing that is the cornerstone of everything I stand for. How can I revile such a book?

All I would ask of any faith would be that compassion be one of the true cornerstones in the practice of that faith. It would seem that that particular requirement is met in the text of the Quran. So why burn it? What was the point in burning 10 copies of a book that has many thousand copies dispensed throughout the world? It cannot be in the hope that folks will not read it. In fact, the reverse is true of many of my contemporaries, put a book on the banned list, and we will read it just to find what you would burn in it. One must presume, since the man calls himself a Christian, that part of the point was to draw folks away from this particular path. Why? The mainline Islamic teachers do not espouse the flaming rhetoric of the jihadists, and furthermore, the more I explore this faith, the more I see that much of the fiery spewings are in all likelihood, misdirection from the “Great Jihad” an intensely personal battle that has nothing to do with taking up arms against one’s fellow man.

I guess the question is, since the preacher wants a reaction, how do we react? I wasn’t going to spend anything on books this month, but it seems that I will just have to go out and buy a paper copy of the Quran, my computer version won’t make quite the same statement about my thoughts on burning books.

The Eagle ~

The Golden Eagle is the messenger from Creator to the people, according to Native Practice and legend. It is a beautiful bird, being large, up to 15 pounds, and having up to a 7 and a half foot wing span. They are just gorgeous in flight, wheeling and turning with a grace that touches the heart. The Eagle as a totem is awesome, and those who have this totem have guidance from step one if they will take it.

I have had the blessings of learning from a Wichasha Wakan (holy man) whose totem was the Golden Eagle. Vernal Cross was the teacher at the Sun Dance at Salt Creek for several years, and an excellent guide to Spirit in all facets of life. The lessons I would bring home from the Sun Dance would often take the entire year to process.

Some of those lessons were as big as learning the deepest meaning of a phrase (Mitakuye Oyasin) and that it meant that we are all related, four footed, winged, creepy crawlers, stone and tree people, all are related. Some of the lessons were little in scope, learning the ways of getting along in an atmosphere where cultures meet and sometimes clash over little things. (BTW, that always seems the way of things, the little things will clog the wheels of progress much quicker than the big).

That is the medicine of Eagle, seeing the details in the Big Picture. It can be rather overwhelming to work with. It is not my medicine, I carry mouse medicine in the East, and am inclined to focus on the small rather than the large,  seeing things through the eyes of those who can see the big picture can make a mouse want to crawl back in the hole and hide. But, it was good experience, and I would not trade those lessons for anything.

If you have the chance to learn from one of the sacred teachers, I would counsel you to do all in your power to do so. Be sure that it is a Native teacher, who learned from a Native teacher. I don’t want to disparage those who have learned from new age teachers, much of the knowledge will be good. It is simply that, if you learn from someone who had as their teacher the traditional teachers of their tribe, you are at least less likely to get mixed teachings that come from all over the globe. I say this as a “for instance”; the word “shaman” is not from Native lore, it comes from Norther Europe. The beliefs and teachings are similar, but when you hear a Native Teacher use that term, you know they have not been taught by one of the Original People of Turtle Island.

That is why I would not take on teaching a student my ways. I have been taught by teachers from many walks, and would not be able to give you the truest teachings of the People. Those who have come to me for spiritual insight are shown from the beginning that my ways are a mix of different cultures and traditions, and by no means should be used as an example of The Beauty way of the Native People. Try to correct a Holy person with ,”But, Sumariel said”, and they will ask you who the heck she is. And they would be right. What I share here is from many traditions, and from my own experience, I would never want you to correct a traditional teacher with something I shared with  you.

If you have the chance to work with an Eagle Wishasha Wakan, please take that chance, with humility and grace, for they will be able to teach you much about yourself and the world around you!

 

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