A voicehearer’s path ~

Archive for the ‘grace’ Category

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.

 

 

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Well, dang, they’re still here!

There doesn’t seem to have been a wave of 2,000,000 people floating off in the air. But then, were you worried? I wasn’t. I have met many who believe in the Rapture for the Jesus plus nothing crowd, and haven’t yet met anyone who follows Y’shua’s teachings at the Sermon on the Mount, Yeah that inconvenient bit of Matthew that discusses what you practice, ooops, note I didn’t say believe, I said what you practice. Yup, there it is, putting the slam to the Jesus plus nothing spiel.

Now, just to be clear on this, there are many Christians who believe that they must be obedient to the Master’s teachings to show they are his, so, even though they believe in the free ticket to heaven, they also believe you must be sincere. That kind of Christian is at least a little more bearable to us who no longer call ourselves that. It’s the ones who believe you can pray on the Sabbath, (Constantine’s sabbath, not the established Sabbath in the Tanakh), and go and do as you please the rest of the week that get to me. I would prefer they call themselves Paulists, but that’s another post.

Matthew 7

Judging Others

1 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

6 “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.

Ask, Seek, Knock

7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

9 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! 12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

The Narrow and Wide Gates

13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

True and False Prophets

15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

True and False Disciples

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

The Wise and Foolish Builders

24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

28 When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, 29 because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.

These things actually matter to me, I know, picky, picky, picky: but when you speak to people of his saving grace, you should also be speaking of the path he taught you and everyone else to walk. I personally believe that it is the saving grace of Love, of Compassion, of Kindness, that are the hallmarks of Salvation, so, I quit buying into the Jesus is God and all you have to do to be saved is believe in him for the free ride home. If “knowing” him set you on a path of railing to the “world” about it’s unregenerate nature, and you saw no change in your own behavior, then, sorry, I don’t believe you are “saved”. If the words above, in red to mark they are his, don’t ring in your soul as necessary to your daily practice, perhaps you aren’t his, and you’d better be prepared to be left behind with the rest of us.

Correction, it was supposed to be 200,000,000, gee, I think we woulda noticed that.

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!

 

Ladders ~

171712911_c4eec580a3The concept of the ladder of deeds by which one climbs to heaven is interesting to say the least. It never seems to occur to those who feel that one must climb this ladder that it is not a matter of how much you do, but how you do it that matters to the One.

I rejected the “Grace only” doctrine of the Church not because I do not see it’s merit, but because I do not believe that the doctrinal stance actually explains the concept clearly enough for adaptation into one’s practice as a believer.  However, to claim that a “deeds only” doctrine could get you home would be just as false. I personally believe that the door to heaven is through the Heart of the believer, and can only be opened from inside, i.e. attitudinally, not physically.

Yes, most certainly the deeds one does, even amounting to a smile when it is difficult to do heartwdoorso, are reflective of the heart that is right before G-d, deeds are still only a reflection. The reason for my attitude regarding the Grace stance of the church is that it most often leaves open this attitude that one can lead as selfish a life as one desires, and pray for forgiveness in the end and be allowed into the Gates no questions asked. Remember, it was Y’shua himself that said one must obey the commands for the Spirit of G-d to dwell with us and within us. But, then, I believe in reincarnation, and suspect that such a soul could be sincere, and will be sent back to test that sincerity the kindergarten_team_picnext time around, try two or three lifetimes doing that, and you get sent back to kindergarten.

One of my difficulties with the idea that it takes knowing Y’shua as the person Jesus of the Christian interpretation is that this perception takes on an “It’s not what you know or practice, it’s who ya know.” (attitude),  sorry, that’s an earthly and unpleasant concept at best. Not my cuppa tea, and if that’s what the One wants, I think I’d rather be in Hell for eternity, for Heaven is not heavenly if it has adopted that particularly earthy pattern of thought.

Renewal ~

inipi002Each year, as the calendar moves gently but inexorably toward the spring, we begin to think of renewal, of the rebirth of the plants that blanket our lawns and gardens, of the rebirth of life on all levels, including our own.  I remember being taught that Christianity taught rebirth of the soul through Jesus Christ, and that no other faith taught any sort of rebirth. I still wonder if that pastor knew what he said was a lie, or if it was just ignorance.

The Native American means of renewal or rebirth is the sweat lodge, or inipi, in the Lakota language of the Souix.  During that ceremony one enters the womb of the mother (Earth) and via the ceremony and ones sincere prayers experiences a literal rebirth upon exit from the lodge. I have been through this ceremony more than once, and that is not an exaggeration. There are purification ceremonies among the Buddhists, and among nearly every group that aims toward better or higher living among it’s adherents. Through these ceremonies, one “washes away” the past and is born anew, to deal with life from a new chartres2perspective. It is very effective, and, at least among the Natives of North America, one can repeat the process later, when it is necessary.

Even in Christianity one can access a renewal when it is needed. This is via the labyrinth, whether you use the Chartre path or another, the prayerful, meditational walk through the steps of a labyrinth can give one new insight into one’s life. Even in the lives of those who do not follow particular ceremonies, but who experience a quintessential spirituality just in the living from one day to another, there is a sense of renewal that automatically comes with the spring.

It is in the release from the snow, which often keeps us indoors unless we are a winter sports person, from the new warmth in the air, from the new flowers that blossom all over the place, everything simply feels new. This sense of renewal can give us new purpose, or revive the purpose we knew before, it doesn’t matter, it’s so refreshing and so wonderful. No faith has a stranglehold on this feeling, or it’s purpose, Mother Nature is the authoress, even for those who do not believe there is such a thing as the Holy Spirit. Amazing! Absolutely amazing!

spring-flowers-1

Humor ~

oldchurchI spent most of my high school years in a little  church in a small town. I liked many of the other members of my youth group, and one of my mother’s best friends was an elder in that church. The Pastors that came and went were decent people whose main fault was that they took the Bible as a literal truth that must be practiced point by point. {The more I study this rich resrource, the more I find that is an impossibility. Onc can, without doubt or hesitation, most often follow the principles incited, but the literal obedience would have you stoning your  children to death for misbehavior. Perhaps a temptation, but never a possibility.}

I enjoyed that church, and the point of most of the sermons was learning to live a life that hermes1honors Creator. I had only one reservation in that church, and have heard from friends still there that it is better now. There was this hesitation regarding a sense of humor and the appropriateness of laughter because of some faulty translations in the Old Testament. I can be sure they are faulty because, though it is translated as laughter perhaps even appropriately, it is about a humor that hurts others. That is never right for those on a spiritual path.

However, there are places in the psalms that ring with joy, and one is encouraged to make that joyful noise before the Lord. It is impossible to have that kind of joy and not laugh and smile. In the reverse, no humor that makes it’s point through hurting the well-being of another, or taking power over another is part of that joy. In that joy, one cannot take delight in another’s sorrow or trouble, such a reaction to life is not possible when one resides so totally in the Spirit that one has that depth of joy.

Yeah, I kinda hammered that, sorry. But it is necessary to make that distinction. Especially for people like myself. I was reared by a man whose skill with sarcasm was razor edge sharp. I was capable of such wit that I could wound another with a few words. One day I had so wounded a dear friend with my sarcasm that I nearly ruined the friendship, and though she forgave me, it was a while before she could trust me not to hurt her again so deeply. I have only indulged in such repartee (since Spirit brought my shortcoming to my attention) when the person had so completely disregarded the well-being of others around them as to cry to be brought down. {I was more than happy to comply.} There is a time and place for all things, one must be mindful, however, that one will answer for every word that comes from one’s mouth, don’t wound the innocent or those who truly intend good, even when sorely tempted and the path laid out before you.

Just remeber, there is humor that wounds, not to be practiced by those who follow the Ruach Ha’Kodesh, and there is humor that heals, always appropriate, any time of night or day.

The Magi ~

xmas-magi2In St. Luke’s retelling of the legendary beginnings of the rabbi Y’shua, there is an oft repeated tale of a visit by three “wise men” of the time whose astral calculations told them of the birth of a specially anointed child. Their path to get to him is not recorded among our literature, though one could wish it had been. Hollywood has speculated on that journey,  the story carries all the romance and intrigue one would desire in a good tale. What they embody for us is an allegorical journey toward the light.

I have said before that I do not see Y’shua as G-d incarnate. Yet, neither do I see him as an ordinary man. I see him as a type of Buddha, a mentor in Spirit upon whom we can call for enlightenment, and even assistance when needed. I have never doubted the strength and possibilities of faith. Y’shua often said to those he ministered to that their own faith had made them whole. That is pretty incredible, for it implies that we live well below our full potential. Many times he said to those who listened to him that they could become like him. He wasn’t wanting followers to bow to his “glory”, he was wanting brothers to walk at his side, doing the deeds he did, from that time unto the present. If I understand that correctly, we have certainly missed the boat.

I had wondered about his mission’s failure to bring about the kind of living among the common man that he intended, and what he planned on doing about it until I read about a wonderful Jewish teacher called the Baal Shem Tov. I suspect, if that’s him, that he has things well in hand, and will keep coming back and teaching us silly folk until we get it right, for which I am most grateful. Until we understand that the walk along the path is as important as getting there;  that how we live each day of our lives, giving, loving, laughing and being true to Spirit is what we are supposed to do, not beat each other over the head or kill for the sake of religion; he will just have to keep coming back to teach each new generation, hoping that someday we get it right.

In the meanwhile, the best thing that we can do is celebrate the greatest gift, the gift of Love. As Spirit teaches us, through Y’shua, through the Baal Shem Tov, through Shakyamuni Buddha, through Ptesin Win, through Mother Theresa, how to love, we can learn each step of the way, to be kind, to be helpful, to be faithful to our teachers. Many blessings to you this season, no matter which Holy Days you observe!

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