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Monday, July 22, 2024

Justice= Truth

 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they shall be well satisfied.”  Justice is another name for truth, and truth is something that stands the test and is durable. Anything less than the truth fades away... Justice is as precious and as necessary as the air that man breathes. When justice is flouted, human equilibrium is thrown out of balance; but when justice reigns in a land, everything functions well.                     -- "The Kingdom of Heaven on Earth" by George Lamsa  
(Lamsa's book on  the Sermon on the Mount  is amazing.  He was an Aramaic language speaker from an area much like it was when Jesus walked the earth.)

It was a new idea to me that justice and truth are the same, at least in the understanding of the Aramaic  language.  

When Truth/Justice are ignored or denied, sad and dreadful things ensue. When they are honored, something good and enduring are honored.

That could explain the current situation in the world. Truth is not being spoken by our leaders in any area - not in politics, not in government, not in science, not in media, not in religion - not in any area. Therefore there is no enduring Justice in our world.

Let us begin a new movement, speak only the Truth. It is a sacred duty in order to honestly be able to say "I follow Christ."


Sunday, July 21, 2024

Ways to Read the Bible

 There are many ways to read the Bible, many eyes through which to view it.

There are the eyes of an archeologist. These eyes look for clues in the Bible as to where to search and dig. For example, The Armstrong Institute has found verification for a number of things by finding what the people left. I get their fascinating magazine, Let the Stones Speak. Another magazine I get and recommend is  Biblical Archeology Review.

There are the eyes of an historian. These eyes seek to find what actually happened, what was it like back in the day, what were the laws and customs and diet and on and on. What was the Roman Empire like?  One example, they never had a census where people had to go their home town to be counted. Can you imagine the chaos  of that in the huge Roman Empire? They did have a few censuses, but the people just went to an official in the town where they lived.

There are the eyes of a linguist, of experts in ancient languages, experts in idioms, experts in how languages change over time and meanings of words change.

There are eyes of apologists who seek to make it fit their theology. They want it to be all true and literal and do all sorts of contortions in an effort to force it and to stop all thinking otherwise.

There are eyes that skim the surface and give little thought or care.

There are eyes that seek the Truth, that delve deeply, that meditate and contemplate and find deep meanings. They know that some things are myths, allegories, or parables, and they contain great truths. 

This morning in meditation, I heard "No room at the Inn," is there room in your heart to nurture the Light of Christ?" The story might not be historically true, but is loaded with profound meaning. 

I challenge you today to look at the Bible, or any sacred text, with new eyes. Open your eyes, your heart, and your mind to  enter the Great Mystery of God.

Monday, July 15, 2024

What Is a Human?

 Epictetus answers - A rational and mortal being. He also tells us he/she can act like a wild beast and lose the promise of rationality and lose oneself, lose our humanity. When does one become as a wild animal? We act gluttonously, lewdly, rashly, filthly, inconsiderately .. When we act contentiously and harmfully and passionately and violently, to what have we declined? To wild beasts.

Therefore, it is upon our shoulders to get in control of ourselves and to be the person God had in mind when He created us. It is essential we become aware when the beastly rears its ugly head in us, and to send it away and refuse to sink into that dark place 

I think of Jesus extending the commandments. Not only should we not murder, but we also must avoid anger.  Not only should we not commit adultery, we should not lust. Etc. And if we even have something in our heart against someone, we need to stop what we are doing, even worshipping, and go clear it up. 

In so many ways Jesus would have agreed with Epictetus. How about you?

Thursday, July 11, 2024

Great Spirit

This morning in my meditation I was asking what am I now to do in my remaining years? I heard guidance to write this down and share it.

There is a Great Spirit that speaks in the depths of souls and has done so from the very beginning of humanity. It calls out the very best of us. It calls out to love, to be joyous, to be kind, to be generous, to be curious, to be creative, to celebrate this Great Spirit in everyone and everything, and to endeavor to be like It.

But It also made it so that we have to work to go beyond appearances. Much like an athlete in training, we have to stretch and flex and develop our spiritual strength. 

The Great Spirit is urging us vigorously to awaken to this NOW. 

It is time to realize the many religions are various attempts to awaken us to the spiritual truths in somewhat similar ways. The details vary as do cultures, but there is Truth to be found everywhere.

It is time to stop making slight differences the stuff of  prejudice, hatred and violence. It is time to stop dividing people into groups and judging them as a group, aka prejudice. 

We are all humans. We all are kin to God, The Great Spirit. We all have greatness of soul. Teach this to one another. Awaken this Truth in as many as you can.

So said The Great Spirit of God to me this morning and asked me to share it with you. I pray you contemplate these words and implement them in your life. God Loves you and so do I.

Sunday, July 7, 2024

Why I Don't Believe in the Virgin Birth

Recently I shocked an evangelical friend of mine, when I told him I do not believe in the virgin birth of Jesus, actually of anyone. It occurred to me this morning I might share my reasoning with you.

Long ago I had the realization that God gave me intelligence and expected me to use it. 

I began to question and explore.

 So here is a brief outline of my thinking.

 Paul wrote between 52-64 CE. The only thing he said about Jesus' birth was he was "born of woman under the law." He surely would have said something about a magical birth, if it were being talked about. 

The next writing we have is Mark who starts his Gospel with the baptism. Not a word about a virgin birth. All three baptism stories have Jesus see a dove or spirit and hear a version of Isaiah or Psalms saying he is my son. Indicating he did not know that before this time. 

Then there is the episode in Mark 3 where his mother and brothers want to take him away "for he has gone out of his mind." That does not seem consistent with Mary being made pregnant by God. It seems that story does not develop until The Way has moved fully into the Greek/Roman world where they already had such stories. 

For these and other reasons, such as the genealogies in Matthew and Luke all through Joseph, I am pretty well convinced that Paul spoke the truth

Saturday, July 6, 2024

A Really New Idea to Me

 He did not speak to His disciples of His resurrection, His ascension, and His parousia as three distinct acts, since the event to which He looked forward is not identical with any of the three, but is composed of them all. The resurrection is, at the same time, the ascension and parousia, and in the parousia the resurrection and the ascension are also included. --- Albert Schweitzer, "The Quest of the Historical Jesus"

Wow! I never even considered this as a possibility. My mind is whirling.

I can see this as possibly true. All three were contained in this multifaceted event. 

It goes on to say:

 "Jesus spoke of the future of His work and His teaching in a way that implied the consciousness of an influence to be continued after His death, whether unbrokenly or intermittently, and the consciousness that by this influence His work and teaching would be preserved from destruction and the final victory assured to it."

Here we are 2,000 or so years later and various versions of his teaching are still here. I'm going to have to contemplate all of this!

Thursday, July 4, 2024

1776 and Us

 July 4, 1776, the official birthday of our nation, is a joyous and sacred day. Courageous and visionary people dreamed of a new kind of government, and surprisingly they did something about their vision. They wrote The Declaration of Independence. They fought the greatest power of the day and won independence with farmers, builders, and other ordinary people. Great men led them, including the incredible George Washington. Then they wrote the landmark document, The Constitution. They realized some more was needed, so they wrote some amendments. It developed and grew and became the place in the world where dreams could come true.

John Adams said, “Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

The quote above haunts me more and more. Christianity seems to be unraveling. Marxism is on the rise in the world and in subverting our foundation. Youth are being taught false history and to hate our country. 

It seems to me that it is time to wake up, to think, to stand for what once made this place great. I often think of my long ago political science professor who said, ""You can tell which country is the best by which way the borders leak."   From the very beginning, people with a dream were drawn here. I'm not talking about the current invasion - I'm talking about orderly and lawful immigration. Remember the history of the Roman Empire, weakened by bad emperors and declining morals, finally taken down by the barbarians flooding the borders. 

God bless the American Dream. Will we have the courage of our visionary founders, or will we go down as a failed experiment, a footnote in history?