My Books Available Now on Amazon ebooks

Amazon Kindle books now have some of my books. Please keep checking for more titles as they become available. Thanks!

Monday, May 22, 2023

Origen vs Celsus

I have been wading through the long argument of Origen as he refutes Celsus' attack on Christianity. Just to refresh the memory, Origen wrote in the 200's and Celsus in the 100's. It seems to me that Celsus' arguments must have had a continual negative effect for Christianity, a thorn in its side, for such a renowned man as Origen to write a refutation in exquisite detail, seemingly sentence by sentence, a hundred years later.

This morning I read several things I want to share with you.

He mentions that some of the Bible is written as a Hebrew figure of speech, some as allegory, and all so that people at different levels can understand from where they are, that is, the simple at the surface level and deeper and deeper as spiritual senses develop.

One figure of speech mentioned is the famous the eye of the needle for a camel to go through. He says it is a figure of speech meaning the straight and narrow. He says the rich and the poor are not what can be seen, but rather rich or poor in wisdom, understanding, and discernment.

Apparently. Celsus said that the saying It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of the needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom God, is from Plato. Plato said it thusly, It is impossible to be distinguished for goodness and at the same time riches. Origen's argument is that Jesus was not acquainted with classics or any literature for that matter. The flaw I see in that argument is that he was apparently raised in Nazareth, a short 4 kilometer walk to Sephoris, the capital of Galilee and on a caravan trail. His father, a builder, would have found work there, as would his apprentice son. There a person would be exposed to many people and many ideas. I imagine he would have heard any number of exciting ideas discussed and argued from people of many diverse regions.

Another figure of speech he mentions is from the 18th Psalm, He made darkness his secret place. Origen said that God is hidden from those not ready or are unable to face His splendor and His deepest Truths. This is another example of the message available at different levels to folks at different levels. 

Later, Jesus took his disciples apart to teach them sayings the multitude were not ready for, so he obviously taught at various levels.

Oh Divine Presence, prepare our hearts to receive ever deeper and deeper understanding of You. Lead us on Your Path, leading us ever farther. Open our inner senses to You. Lead us away from the simple surface to dwell in Understanding and Communion with You.

Thursday, May 11, 2023

Ego --- Go

Some thoughts from Aldous Huxley in his book "The Divine Within", which I am re-reading, seemed to be so pertinent to the current times as I read them this morning. Let's consider them.

A measure of detachment from egoism and alter-egoism is essential even if we would make contact with the secondary aspects of cosmic reality. Thus, in order to be fruitful, science must be pure. That is to say, the man of science must put aside all thoughts of personal advantage, of “practical” results, and concentrate exclusively on the task of discovering the facts and coordinating them in an intelligible theory.

This statement seems obvious. It is what I learned in the sciences in the university. Science is neutral, only seeking the truth about whatever it studies. It puts forth hypotheses, tests them, reaches tentative conclusions, then tests those, until a reasonable certainty can be found.

But some "science" these days is the slave of those in power. It is bent to conclude what those in power want it to say. Absurd things are spoken of as "science." They even have the gall to say absurd, obviously untrue things, with a straight face. The egos of the power hungry, the power drunk, shout down actual science.

Why are such absurd things happening here in this advanced society? 

There are many hypotheses. Some are wild conspiracy theories. Some are timid. It has been my practice to look for patterns in all manner of things. What do the patterns of the elites portray as we look at them? 

Most go against the long established understandings of science, philosophy, psychology and the study of history. Most have a control feature. Most have an upending of freedoms at their root. Most create confusion. Most have a very dark side. Many are part of the global push to one world government, ruled by a few. Most have a Marxist theology. Most follow the pattern laid down by Saul Alinksy in his "Rules for Radicals."

The patterns that are there for all who look and are willing to actually see, are dangerous to our way of life. If you and I are awake and see, then it is up to us to awaken others.

Look. Ask God for Guidance.

Saturday, May 6, 2023

Navigating Being Human

There are many writings and speakers across history who have declared tenets for the ideal human life. They pretty much agree that we should avoid wickedness and strive toward virtue.

However, there are many, maybe most, people who struggle with living a virtuous life, and quite a few who just give up. There are, of course, some who have not significantly been exposed to the ideal. Then there is the problem of defining virtue and giving help in avoiding the pitfalls that lead us astray.

In my study and experience, there are several essentials to living a virtuous life: kindness, integrity, service, generosity, a spiritual underpinning, a community of others also striving toward ideals - all with generous splashes of forgiveness, self-reflection, critical thinking, and a commitment to life-long learning. 

Our egos can lead us astray. We can become boastful, judgmental, and even cruel. This especially so when the ego labels some as "other" and therefore not worth receiving kindness or consideration. Or when we elevate ourselves as higher than or better than the "others."

To protect our ego positions we can engage in confirmation bias. We ignore any study or opinion or person not in agreement with our positions, and we recite and pay attention only to those in lockstep with us. We even out and out lie to demonize others and to elevate ourselves. This results in a lot of negativity including fear, persecution, violence, and the shutting down of free speech.

We become easy prey for the propagandists and demagogues of this world who have gone far astray from the ideal human.

The question I think of is - then how do we help those who have gone so far astray as to be a danger to themselves, others, and even our civilization?

So far, I don't think anyone has come up with a workable and useful solution to bring all those who have gone into the far reaches of negativity back into the human ideal, or at least moving in that direction. 

Of course, we strive to keep moving in that direction too, knowing full well we have broken places in us that are in need of care and healing. 

While that is important, that doesn't solve the larger problem of restoring those with a cruel, violent and criminal sickness and who do not know or care about the ideal human they can be. They obviously don't know about our responsibility here to develop and be all we can be, and that we will be held accountable when we pass from this earth.

I know there is some success in prisons where religious groups lead studies and discussions. There is quite a lot of success in 12 Step programs helping people rise out  of various addictions. There are some effective groups restoring those who have been trafficked and in prevention of it. There are those who see and do something about it.

But nevertheless, my heart breaks to see the horrors of war right now, or the rampaging youth destroying buildings and carrying out armloads of stolen merchandise, or the shootings and stabbings going on in neighborhoods and parties and even on the streets. So much is going on in plain sight that is the opposite of the ideal human.

Won't you pray with me this week for wisdom and for an answer, or more likely answers, to be found? There has to be a way through and out of this. I offer a simple prayer:

Oh Divine Presence, You have inspired many over the centuries to show us Your Way, the Way we as humans are to be and live. You spoke through Jesus great and wondrous words. Help us to hear with our inner spiritual ear, to see with our inner spiritual eye, and to heal our lameness in our spiritual walk. Grant us Wisdom to live as closely as possible to the ideal You have shown us. Guide us to find a way to restore those who have gone astray. We are open to You and are thankful to know that because You are everywhere present, You have heard our prayer and are even now in this moment in process of answering. We listen. We seal this with the ancient seal of faith, Amen, Amen and Amen

Monday, May 1, 2023

A New Way to Look at Eyes to See, etc.....

I sent this quote from Origen out to some of my friends, as I find it fascinating. Part of his works include detailed arguments against Celsus who wrote extensively against Jesus and Christianity. In this section he is discussing Celsus' argument that Jesus was just another sorcerer and his disciples were low class and charlatans. Here he gives what seems to me a profound thought that I don't believe I've heard from others. 

I would say, moreover, that, agreeably to the promise of Jesus, His disciples performed even greater works than these miracles of Jesus, which were perceptible only to the senses. For the eyes of those who are blind in soul are ever opened; and the ears of those who were deaf to virtuous words, listen readily to the doctrine of God, and of the blessed life with Him; and many, too, who were lame in the feet of the "inner man," as Scripture calls it, having now been healed by the word, do not simply leap, but leap as the hart, which is an animal hostile to serpents, and stronger than all the poison of vipers.  And these lame who have been healed, receive from Jesus power to trample, with those feet in which they were formerly lame, upon the serpents and scorpions of wickedness.

Blind in soul - how powerful a thought. Across history, and maybe even more so currently, there are so very many blind in soul. There are so many who ignore spirituality, morals, laws, duties, and who instead are busy with things that are opposite of all moral ideals. I would say that not only are many blind in soul, they are not interested in or aware of soul. What a powerful thing to be able to heal the blind in soul and lead them to see from a spiritual lens.

Deaf to virtue and God - Perhaps a large number of people have tuned out virtue and God. This is for various reasons. They are turned off to what seems mythical to them in the world of science and "modern" knowledge. They fill their ears with temporary things only, not aware of the eternal journey upon which they tread. What a wonderful thing to be able to open the inner ear to the More.

Lame to the feet of the inner person - Many may not be aware of the inner power to trample wickedness and negativity. to smash addictions of all kinds, to stamp down desires that lead astray, to walk over the temptations of this earth and walk with the Christ within. How exciting it would be to heal such inner lameness.

I offer this prayer for myself and you:

Oh Divine Presence, I come this moment to seek Your healing. Open my inner eye wherever it is blind. Open my inner ear wherever it is deaf. Open my inner feet wherever they are lame. Restore me to fullness of life. Lead me in Your Ways in all I think and say and do. I am filled with thanksgiving, for I know You hear my prayer and even in this very moment healing has begun. I ask this in the name of Christ and seal it with the ancient seal of faith, Amen, Amen and Amen.