Sunday, 31 May 2015

The Good Within.



Jesus said, "'The Kingdom of God is within you.'"  Luke 17:21b (GNB)

Within each one of us there is a Divine Spark - a part which partakes of God's nature.

To identify with this spark we must live in the present moment - the moment of eternity.

To do this we must quieten the mind with its endless searching and distractions.

But the Divine Spark is not in the mind.
It is in the heart.

So to experience the spiritual we must enter the fifth dimension - within.


[Scriptures (marked GNB) are taken from the Good News Bible published by The Bible Societies/Collins copyright American Bible Society.]


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Friday, 29 May 2015

Religions.


All religions grew out of the one ground.

Each tree is a description of an experience of God.

Each description is colored by the vessel through which it was realized.

And so we have many manifestations of religion.

But the sap which is the life-blood of each tree is Love.


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Wednesday, 27 May 2015

New Growth.


Christianity is like a tree with many branches.

For new growth to begin the tree must be pruned.

Gone is the branch called Original Sin.
Gone is the branch called Virgin Birth.
Gone is the branch called Penal Substitution.
Gone is the branch called Fall/Redemption.
Gone is the branch called Trinity.
Gone is the branch called Christology.
Gone is the branch called Death.
Gone is the branch called Satan.
Gone is the branch called Hell.
Gone is the branch called Judgement.
Gone is the branch called End Times.

The tree has one trunk - Judaism.
And in Judaism God is One.

So the tree must be pared right back to the basic teachings of Jesus:
Love God, and love your neighbor, love even your enemies.

And from this will spring new growth.


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Monday, 25 May 2015

Turn to God.


"Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth!  For I am God, and there is no other."  Isaiah 45:22 (NRSV)

Jesus (John 12:40) quotes Isaiah, "turn and be healed" Isaiah 6:10b (NRSV)

What could this mean?

It would appear that God does not act in the world unless we turn to Him.

What does it mean to turn to God?

It means to call on Him in prayer.

Many people who complain that God does not act in the world, or worse blame Him for all the evils of the world, have failed to call on God in prayer - they have not turned to Him for help.

Many are unaware of the fact that you can call on God for help.

When we call on Him we become aware of His benevolent nature and the social justice agenda of the Old Testament prophets: the widow, the orphan, the stranger.....

And He heals us.
He mends our broken hearts, our broken bodies, our broken spirits.

We are healed in body, mind, and spirit.

He delivers us from our oppressors.
And He delivers us from evil.

So turn to God and be healed.


[Scripture quotations (marked NRSV) are taken from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A., and are used by permission.  All rights reserved.]


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Saturday, 23 May 2015

Redemption.


No one is too far gone to outreach God's Love.

Even the most heinous apostate can be reconciled to God.

To God we are all like His children.
He will not judge us.
He will not condemn.

This is why Jesus said, "'For I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.'" Matthew 9:13b (NRSV)

We can pray for those who persecute and abuse us to be reconciled to God.

This is what it means to love our enemies.

And who is to say that God will not redeem them?


[Scripture quotations (marked NRSV) are taken from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A., and are used by permission.  All rights reserved.]

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Thursday, 21 May 2015

Our Popular Culture.


People are unaware of the evil which permeates our popular culture.

We are encouraged to denigrate religion, use violence to resolve conflict, call for harsher penalties, banish forgiveness, have tough/hard attitudes, ignore the disadvantaged, fear foreigners, crush our enemies, live for money and possessions, watch T. V., and follow the football.....

The popular culture worships celebrities who are of dubious quality and may even be evil.  It has an endless capacity to distract us from our purpose.

So until people learn to turn off the T.V. and use the internet with discrimination nothing will change.

Or rather all change will be for the worse.


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Tuesday, 19 May 2015

The Global Plutocracy.


At present we live in a global plutocracy.

Rich corporations and individuals control the election of governments through their ownership of the media.

Even left-wing governments are controlled by their economic rationalist advisers.

So any progress towards a more equitable world is doomed.

Our economic rulers don't want a fairer world.
Nor do they want to preserve the environment.

So cries for help like the Earth Charter and the Charter for Compassion have limited impact because their adherents have no real power.

We can only hope that people will grow tired of injustice and wake up to the ways in which the media manipulates our thoughts and actions.

Hate campaigns and saturation methods control public opinion and votes.

But where are the politicians?
Where are the leaders who might implement a reactionary humanism?

Perhaps this is to come.


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Sunday, 17 May 2015

Heaven or Hell.


The mentality that endorses a philosophy of rewards and punishments, heaven or hell, is one with no faith in the goodness and benevolence of God.

These individuals, who have dominated the religions of the world, believe that humankind is basically wicked and depraved and in need of stern punishments to keep them on the straight and narrow path.

Hell is the ultimate deterrent.

Those of us who believe that humankind is basically good, however, have more faith in the benevolence and mercy of God.

Many are now challenging the traditional belief in hell, stating that it is incompatible with the God of Love that we believe in.

To do so circumvents the convoluted arguments which try to reconcile evil with God.

Evil is merely the ignorant actions of people with free will.
It is usually the result of deep-set fears.

So to believe in a good and benevolent God we no longer need the deterrent of hell.

Humankind can find God through Love.


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Thursday, 14 May 2015

The Wisdom of Solomon.


At the beginning of this holy book Solomon sets out the mentality of the wicked - that when you die the body is buried and there is nothing more.

The righteous, on the other hand, live with God in Love.

At first this seems true.
But he goes on to enumerate the punishments of the wicked and the rewards of the righteous.

This is merely natural justice dressed up as cosmic law.

But God does not judge as we on earth judge.

God punishes no one.

And, rather than the way being the way of righteousness, the way is the way of the heart - the way of love.

God does not punish the wicked.
He seeks to reconcile them to Himself through Love.

This is why Jesus said he had come to save sinners, not the righteous.

As for the righteous, they are probably not as righteous as they think.
They may need forgiveness along with the wicked.

The way is a way of love and love is its own reward.

So do not put too much emphasis on moral rules.

Open your heart and you will find God.


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Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Strength.


People mistake tough/hard attitudes for strength.

But this is not true strength.

People who are truly strong and secure are gentle and loving.

It is fear that makes us tough and hard.


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Sunday, 10 May 2015

Authority.


The tough/hard attitudes of men in authority have historically been projected onto God.

This has produced the judgmental,violent God of the Old Testament and other religious texts.

But this is not the true nature of God.

God is gentle, forgiving, compassionate, and loving.
God judges no one.
God punishes no one.

God is transcendent and sublime.
A mystery beyond dualism.

So when religious authorities tell you that God is judgmental and violent don't believe them.

Go into your room and close the door.

Pray to God and He will hear.


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Friday, 8 May 2015

Men.


As we grow up in the world we encounter difficulties.
To overcome these difficulties we are encouraged to develop a tough/hard attitude.

This is called growing up, becoming a man, and living in the real world.

But this philosophy is not what life is about.

What we are reacting to is the tough/hard attitudes of faithless men.
The men who rule the world.

We are not reacting to God.

As we grow closer to God through study and prayer we come to realize that God's attitudes are quite different.

God is on the side of the weak, the losers, the outcast.....
God is merciful, not ruthless.
God is close to your heart, not your mind.

Life is about Love, not success.

So when people tell you that you have to be tough to survive in the real world tell them that God will protect you and provide if you open your heart.
  

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Thursday, 7 May 2015

Satan.


Those who have turned away from God and embraced evil, in other words Satan, are not to be destroyed.

God punishes no one.

There is no devil in reality.

Even those we call Satan are human beings like us.

And as we are forgiven so they will be forgiven also.

Satan is God's prodigal son.


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Tuesday, 5 May 2015

The Sword.


When the light rises it illuminates both good and evil.

When we first encounter evil the instinctive reaction is to battle against it and defeat it.

This is the sword.

But Jesus said, "'Do not resist an evildoer.  But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also.'"  Matthew 5:39 (NRSV)
And, "'Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven.'"  Matthew 5:44,45a (NRSV)

So if we seek to be like God we must lay down the sword and pray for those who attack us.  


[Scripture quotations (marked NRSV) are taken from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A., and are used by permission.  All rights reserved.]

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Monday, 4 May 2015

Discipline.


"I do not understand my own actions.  For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate."  Romans 7:15 (NRSV)

An Indian yogi once said to me, "You cannot be happy without discipline."
By discipline he meant self-discipline.

The practice of yoga leads to self-actualization - i.e. doing what you want rather than what you hate.

This is achieved by controlling your thoughts - replacing negative thoughts with positive thoughts.  This is the first lesson of meditation.

St Paul could have done with some meditation practices from yoga.

These practices have become so widespread in the west that they are almost second nature.

But if we remember what it was like before yoga we can identify with St. Paul.

So not only do we need to know the way, which is the way of the heart, but we need the discipline and technology to put it into practice.


[Scripture quotations (marked NRSV) are taken from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A., and are used by permission.  All rights reserved.]

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Friday, 1 May 2015