A voicehearer’s path ~

Posts tagged ‘paul the apostle’

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.

 

Persecution of Christians ~

Christians of the evangelical bent have been taught for several generations that persecution is coming, it is a fact in their eyes, they are just waiting for the other shoe to drop for it to be so. I spent much of the first part of my life among them and wondered at this teaching. It didn’t make sense to me. If you treated folks the way Y’shua asked you to, you wouldn’t develop casual, or even many enemies. When you are good to people, they usually respond in kind. So where was this coming from?

Well, the beatitudes passage in the New Testament has at it’s ending a comment about persecution, and there are others that speak of it as well. But, I wonder if Christians are bringing on their own persecution. There is often a paranoia among those who practice Churched Christianity that presumes there will be persecution, so they act in ways that bring it about. The claim that they would like homosexuals to be put to death is one of them. This entire act on the part of such believers ignores the fact that, in that same passage of the Old Testament, those who practice adultery, or are rebelious against their parents are under the same death sentence.Reference Deuteronomy, chapter 22, and Leviticus, chapter 20.

First let me say this: if you want to make Levitical law your way of life, then do so wholly, make any death sentence you hand out to those who practice a way of life you fear also applicable to the way of life often practiced in the Evangelical Church. If you have committed adultery, then you also should be put to death. Second, let me point out that if you say you are a Christian, then you should practice the path proscribed by Y’shua, who advocated forgiveness of all shortcomings. He it was who said that those who are without sin should be the ones to cast the first stone. In other words, if you are not perfect, don’t cast any stones anywhere.

I am well aware that Paul the apostle wrote lengthy diatribes against things even the Master did not address. It is, in fact, for this reason that, though I recognize a strong spirituality in Paul, I refuse to elevate his words to the level of the Master’s teachings.It is Y’shua who taught us not to judge, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” He even taught us to be gentle with prayer. “And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Look at this carefully. Read Matthew from beginning to end, it is not a long book. We are taught to treat our neighbor with LOVE!

If we do this, looking to our own spiritual growth and not worrying about where someone else stands before God, then we will be doing what we should. I must admit to wondering if the reason so many of the churched feel the need to mind everyone else’s business is simple jealousy. Everyone looks to be having too much fun. Don’t worry about someone else’s life. Worry about yourself, worry about your own practice!

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