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Thursday, April 28, 2016

Just A Quick Note

A huge a ha this week. I wonder why I didn't see it before?????

We know that Jesus and the main folks in the area spoke Aramaic. We know that Jesus called God, Abba  - the Aramaic for daddy or papa, plus more intimate usages that led to beloved - such as between spouses, or to the children.

We know that in Aramaic bar means son -  as Simon bar Jonah means Simon son of Jonah.

We know the person presented as an alternative to Jesus for crucifixion was Barabbas - bar Abba/son of God.

So we may have a reprise of the sheep and goat story from the Jewish tradition for atonement - the lamb is killed and blood goes to the altar and goat is released to go out into the wilderness to carry the people's sins.

Just considering this possibility as presented to my thought process by Spong's book I mentioned before.

His - story

History, of course, is written by those in charge, those who have won the orthodoxy battle, but not often by the most accurate, neutral and truthful. This is true in all areas of what has gone before. The voices of opposition fade over the centuries, or are distorted and/or dismissed as a bit crazy or ill informed and to be brushed aside.

For me, part of my quest has been to uncover what really did go on in the first century. There are no original documents. There are no eye-witness accounts of the birth of the Jesus Movement. Thinking scholars have attempted many ways to put mismatched puzzle pieces together, all with varying results.

So Paul wrote first, but there are no documents from his hand, no first century documents. He wrote probably in the 50's which was 20ish years after the crucifixion. He didn't know Jesus and was reported to have been unpopular with the apostles. Mark wrote, maybe just before the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem which was 70 c.e. That was 40 years after the subject of the story. We don't have any old documents anywhere near that time of Mark either. They leave out some things that later writers put in their writings, and that is a bit confusing. If the magical birth was an important factor in the understanding of the day, for example, one wonders why Mark and Paul left out all references to it? Were they unaware of it? Was it a later addition to the growing narrative? What???

In trying to clarify what went on back at the time, I think we do need to consider what the first writers included and what they left out.

Bishop Spong suggests the various audiences are important to put into the mix. Mark wrote for a Jewish audience, then Matthew wrote for a Jewish and some Gentile audience, then Luke wrote for a heavily Gentile audience and John for an almost totally Gentile audience. The first 88 years the new Christian stories were read in the synagogues, and after that for awhile. Eventually, the Christian groups were primarily Gentile and no longer understood what the first writers and hearers understood. Greeks and Romans did not have the Jewish understanding. Spong shows how Mark, Matthew and Luke organize their stories to fit into the Jewish liturgical year, and how the Jews understood them to be examples of the Jewish stories - Moses, Isaiah, Joshua, etc. He writes a compelling and startling hypothesis.

I think that Jesus' teachings have in them a sort of fail safe, so that no matter how much later people fiddled with the stories and changed the meanings, there was a core that stands out in bright lights blinking at us.

Love. Love. Love. Unconditional Love. Love for self. Love for others. Love for God. To stay in this Love, sometimes forgiveness and a generous heart are needed.

I think if we could all come together around the flashing lights of the Love/Forgiveness message, Christianity would bound forward with new gusto. Stop arguing over theological details made up decades and centuries after by not fully realized men.

The direction this would take us all is a beautiful scene, unlike the ugliness of the infighting and out fighting going on now.

Which world do we choose?

Wednesday, April 20, 2016


In a sort of strange combination, I am reading both "Perennial Philosophy" by Aldous Huxley and "Biblical Literalism, The Gentile Heresy" by John Shelby Spong.

Basically, Huxley wrote about how the Divine has spoken in the hearts and minds in similar ways throughout all of history. I think anyone who has read widely, understands this.

Spong, in his newest book, wrote about the Jewish liturgy and how the writers of what we call the Gospels wrote the story to work into the liturgy. The people were not literal in their orientation and would be shocked to learn that later people took it all literally. The story was that Jesus was the new Moses, the new Joshua, the new prophets like Isaiah, etc. Matthew, for example wrote the stories in the order to be read in the synagogue with the Torah stories. I've only read 29% of this book so far, so I need to see where it goes.

He points out that the writings of Paul were first, in the 50's and the Gospels later, written after the fall of the temple in 70 c.e. and even as late as 100 c.e. or 120 c.e. The magical, fantastic stories are not in Paul's writings or the first Gospel, Mark (the first written, but for some reason placed second). Of course, this is common knowledge among anyone who is paying attention. Just reminding us in the context of this line of thought.

But, he says that by not understanding the actual meanings and placing fantasmic stories in the column of literal, no wonder people are turning away from Christianity in droves. He suggests it is a heresy to take as literal the deep stories that mean so much more. I think that is worthy of consideration. The first century people were trying to speak a powerful message of God's Love, Forgiveness and Healing showing up for them to see and know and try to welcome into their own lives.

This life was so irresistible that just like long before Queen Sheba brought great gifts to King Solomon, so Jesus/Yeshu was worthy of such adoration. Just as Joseph went in Egypt in slavery yet later saved his people, so the baby would grow to save his people, all people. And on it goes, one Torah story after the other, showing up to explain and honor this amazing energy that was Yeshu.

I always thrill at deeper meanings, and real meanings, and uncovering what has been hidden by misunderstanding, ignorance and control dramas. So I go on with my quest.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Pray for Christianity

This morning in church I had strong Guidance to begin the process of getting people to pray for Christianity Itself. Christianity is under siege.

Just a few examples: Incredible violence against Christians in the Middle East, China vowing to get rid of Christianity and so far this year destroying 48 churches and thousands of crosses, only 18% of Americans under 60 attending churches and far less in Europe, the war against Christian holidays and symbols, the coarsening of society, etc.

I think the various divisions within Christianity need to rise above the man-made theologies and consider the core teachings in the original words and deeds. This would be the most amazing and persuasive argument as to why Christianity in its essence is what can save the people of this planet and the planet itself.

Jesus summed up his teaching, and said it fulfilled all, in the Great Commandments. LOVE. Love God. Love your neighbor as yourself.

Imagine peop!e taking these words seriously and doing their best to live them. The ugliness so prevalent would melt away. Evil deeds would not be done. People would not starve to death. On and on Love would go healing, restoring, oneing...

I propose we urgently need to return to what Jesus summed his teaching to be, LOVE. We are being called to restore and save Christianity. Please consider this and ask others to read this and join us in prayer.

Lord, we come this day and offer ourselves to You. Teach us to love fully and completely as You have asked us - unconditionally, without reserve. Wash us clean of any darkness so that Your Light and Love may shine through us without distortion - straight from Your heart through us to all on this earth. We lay down our reasons and arguments, our versions of theological twists and turns, our biases, our judgements of others, all that hinders the free flow of Love. Lead us to bring the world to Your Love so that there is Peace, so that goodness and kindness reign. We ce!lebrate this prayer that has been heard and is even now being answered and seal it in the ancient seal of faith, Amen, Amen and Amen

Saturday, April 9, 2016

A Pause

I took a brief pause because so much is unfolding and moving, and I needed to take a breath.

It seems to me that from time to time in life, that is exactly what we need to do - step back, take a breath and relax- before making big decisions, when in a crisis and it is critical to make the right choice, or when we're just worn down and a bit shaky from it all.

In some ways I've been experiencing all of the above for +2 years now. My pledge to myself has been to not allow the deep valley to change me, not give my core, my peace, my faith to the control of "them."  From so many directions, the onslaught has come. It simply has to be cosmic because unrelated, as far as I can tell, people and events bear down upon us, wave after wave. So many promises of "it" being over come and go with no changes apparent.

But I notice some cracks in my resolve. I am not as patient as I once was. I am more emotional. I am not as optimistic. I am not as patriotic. I am more shaky.

I am still participating in life's projects and giving to others as best I can. Yet, I wonder how long can I hold on under the testing or challenge or whatever it is that is going on. But then, what else can I do? When the earthly powers that be hold you in their cross hairs, what are one's options?

So I sit in the Holiday Inn, doing the best I can. I think of so many with even more to deal with. I think of projects that can  be of big help to others, and that we can do once this is over and our finances and life are set free. I think of going home once again, of unpacking our treasures and organizing my sewing studio. I realize the one thing I can do to get there is to pray. I am One with God, which is more important than having control over the earthly tormentors. So I recall Paul's words, this too shall pass.

I cherish Your Presence in my life, for I know You are with me. I ask for Your Guidance to lead us out of this long valley. You are greater than all of the challenges, all of the earthly powers. Give us the insight to know what to do to become free of these false and bizarre restraints. Lead us to freedom. Lead us home.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Working Backwards

More insights keep coming to me regarding the conversation I mentioned yesterday regarding a call on my birthday, March 30. The person also called another relative and reported to her with vehemence that I had said things to him I had not said. And of course related his upset in general. He is extremely attached to his point of view.

I got to thinking about how the great enlightened ones and the great writings indicate the necessity of arriving at non-attachment. I think it is also part of the unconditional, agape love that is called for. From my experience and study, I know that an enlightened person is loving, empathetic, compassionate and also non-attached.

Non attachment does NOT mean not caring. It means, I see you, I observe, I see your journey. Your journey is interesting. I love you, I know God walks with you and you must walk your own path. If you should fall, I will reach out with a helping hand. I care so much about you that I accept you and where you are in the journey. You do not need to change for me.Who you currently are is between you and God, so I will not manipulate you. I care about you, and at the same time I am not attached to some vision of how I want you to be. I love you, period, because who I am is love - it's like Grace. You cannot earn it. It just IS

Let's talk about this for a moment since this is the goal of most spiritual practice. Let's work backwards from the goal to the beginning. We begin with little awareness and develop some degree of it in this lifetime.

Quite a few people are, and have been historically, strongly attached to a box created by a belief system that is very attached, loving only to others in the same box, and does not tolerate any deviation from its ideology. The filters often then distort incoming information through the twisted lenses of the particular ideology. Things have to fit to what is believed and cannot be seen and understood as they are. This can be true of groups and individuals.

When we arrive at non-attachment, we are aware and observant but not manipulative and judgmental. Our peace of mind is not attached to the other behaving a certain way. If others are abusive, we don't have to play the game with them. Their behavior is their current behavior and there is no thought of paying the price of peace of mind because of it. We can take effective action to prevent them from creating harm, or remove ourselves from their reach, and yet we love. Sometimes the most loving thing to do is let them go to hit bottom and find their own repentance. Sometimes we have to intervene to prevent great harm - as with terrorism, fascism, or most any "ism."

Wherever we are on this journey, let us remember we walk each moment in The Presence of God. Our goal is to be awake in The Presence and therefore non attached/loving through and through. We are accountable to The Presence that is so incredibly Infinite that no box can contain It. We can commune with God, be aware and awake in God, but we cannot put God into words or ideologies or anything that has limits. Jesus came closest when he said, "God is Love (Agape, unconditional)."