Sunday, January 27, 2008

Lighthouse Library International

Lighthouse Library International is described as a Treasury of Christian Writings...and it has what appears to be somewhere around 4500 articles. You can search by author, article, Bible study, poems, songs, books, letters. It seems to have a universalist slant...including authors such as AP Adams, Ray Prinzing, Charlie Slagle, Preston Eby, AE Knoch, Hannah Whitehall Smith. I came upon it purely by my weekend web journeys and when I checked out the "about us" section I've copied and pasted below, I was surprised to find that it is owned by Sunny Orly Coffman who is the author of the article I mentioned in my last post. That is kind of weird..perhaps a bit beyond circumstantial. Serendipity?

Lighthouse Library, Int'l. website was created as a depository of writings brought forth through writers from all over the globe. They all have one common denominator: as they have sailed on the sea of life, they have all been brought into a personal relationship with their Captain. It is through the journeys that each have come - their personal telling of victories won and peace achieved in the many areas of their lives - that we trust you can gain comfort, strength, and inspiration. As you browse this site, we ask that you be led to the very writing that will touch you at your point of need.


This picture is on both of the websites I visited. They look like such a nice couple, don't they?

It is a valuable resource to have many well known UR writers listed in one place (and not just links to their writings but the actual writings...available in html or pdf versions) There are a few notable exceptions...such as Jeff Priddy/Martin Zender, L.Ray Smith and even Mr. UR himself, Gary Amirault. Hmmmm. Perhaps this is a site still in progress. Perhaps it is an oversight. Perhaps they don't agree with the caustic style of writing. Thanks Roger and Sunny for this great site which obviously involved untold hours of work to put online.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


I was cruising around this afternoon and came upon this snippet on a site called The Writings of Sunny Orly Coffman
This excerpt below was from a writing called DIVINE ORDER/ Antichrist Revealed. I thought this was interesting.


[6] + [66] = 666

I guess I find a lot of truth in this. When I get into discussions with those who insist on taking the Bible (especially the OT) literally I see a spirit of "antichrist". There is no way that the real Christ....the one who walked this earth in the person of Jesus would have ordered the Israelites to perform the atrocities we see blazing across the pages of the OT.

I have been rereading Joshua....very slowly because I often wait until evening....and after a few verses, in spite of my best intentions, I am nodding off. I did read for a chunk of time this weekend and one thing that came to mind is how it keeps flip flopping between the Lord said and Moses said and Joshua said. There was also mention of the hail storm that was crucial in the winning of the battle against the five kings. More died from the hail than from the swords of the Israelites. My friend Roy has pondered the meaning of the verses in both Joshua and Deuteronomy that declare the Lord will drive the inhabitants out of the land little by little with the "hornet." The first meaning for the word "hornet" in the strongs is simply....hornet...wasps. If you go further back a bit to the root word it is more all encompassing and can include natural disasters. I am just thinking "aloud" here....again. I am one who believes that Joshua may have sincerly thought he heard the Lord speaking when he "commanded" him to destroy everything that breathes...but I don't think the voice he heard was the Lord's. It may have been his carnal may have been his pride or his ambtion or his greed. It may have been the "destroyer."

In the NIV, after it describes the hail storm and the sun standing still and the resulting victory, the text declares, "surely the Lord is fighting for Israel." Is the writer reassuring himself? Surely. I see a lot of "surely's" when we take to heart the actions of the god of the OT. Surely, the Lord wants Jihad declared on the infidels? Surely the Lord fought all kinds of holy wars against heathens, and witches, and heretics. Surely the Lord will burn his enemies for all eternity in hell. Surely......

Sunday, January 20, 2008

UR View of the Early Church Fathers

On Emerging Universalist, Dena posed the question about the Early Church Fathers and what they believed concerning UR.  She said:

I keep hearing/reading that UR was predominantly preached/taught/believed/accepted within the realm of orthodoxy in the early church... and that it changed over once Constantine did his dirty State-Church alliancing, and once Augustine came along, ET got nailed into predominance.

I keep reading this, but I have NO resources for it... no evidence. Where can I read about this -- for I believe it would go a long way in helping to establish it as a non-heretical teaching. Does anyone have any good resources for what the early Church fathers actually wrote and taught? Any resources for the Church councils?

The first resource that came to my mind was the online writing Universalism The Prevailing Doctrine of the Christian Church During Its First Five Hundred Years. 

Following is an excerpt from the "500 year" article that talks about the Catacombs where the early Christians were buried.  There were pictures found etched on the stone wallst hat depict Christ and draped across his shoulders  there is a kid..a baby goat.  That was one of the profound things that stuck out to me when I was in the early days of searching this out.  There is the well known ET proof text that declares Jesus will send away the goats...saying get away from me....I never knew you.  So, what are we to make of these two pictures of Jesus carrying a goat on his shoulders.  That spoke volumes to me.  The excerpt and the pictures follow........

Testimony of the Catacombs.

   An illuminating side-light is cast on the opinions of the early Christians by the inscriptions and emblems on the monuments in the Roman Catacombs.12 It is well known that from the end of the First to the end of the Fourth Century the early Christians buried their dead, probably with the knowledge and consent of the pagan authorities, in subterranean galleries excavated in the soft rock (tufa) that underlies Rome. These ancient cemeteries were first uncovered A.D. 1578. Already sixty excavations have been made extending five hundred and eighty-seven miles. More than six, some estimates say eight, million bodies are known to have been buried between A.D. 72 and A.D. 410. Eleven thousand epitaphs and inscriptions have been found; few dates are between A.D. 72 and 100; the most are from A.D. 150 to A.D. 410. The galleries are from three to five feet wide and eight feet high, and the niches for bodies are five tiers deep, one above another, each silent tenant in a separate cell. At the entrance of each cell is a tile or slab of marble, once securely cemented and inscribed with name, epitaph, or emblem. 13 Haweis beautifully says in his "Conquering Cross:" "The public life of the early Christian was persecution above ground; his private life was prayer underground." The emblems and inscriptions are most suggestive. The principal device, scratched on slabs, carved on utensils and rings, and seen almost everywhere, is the Good Shepherd, surrounded by his flock and carrying a lamb. But most striking of all, he is found with a goat on his shoulder; which teaches us that even the wicked were at the early date regarded as the objects of the Savior's solicitude, after departing from this life.13

  Matthew Arnold has preserved this truth in his immortal verse:

"He saves the sheep, the goats he doth not save!"
So rang Tertullian's sentence on the side
of that unpitying Phrygian sect which cried,--
"Him can no fount of fresh forgiveness lave,
Whose sins once washed by the baptismal wave!"
So spake the fierce Tertullian. But she sighed,
The infant Church,--of love she felt the tide
Stream on her from her Lord's yet recent grave,
And then she smiled, and in the Catacombs,
With eyes suffused but heart inspired true,
On those walls subterranean, where she hid
Her head in ignominy, death and tombs,
She her Good Shepherd's hasty image drew
And on his shoulders not a lamb, a kid!

   This picture is a "distinct protest" against the un-Christian sentiment then already creeping into the church from Paganism.


 christ catacombs

christ catacombs 2

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Talk About Unequally Yoked...

And I thought Keith and I were way different as far as our spiritual beliefs...even to the point of being "unequally yoked" but in my blog searchings, I came upon two blogs by a husband and wife. Her blog is called "All About Cori" She describes her blog as

Reflections about being a person of faith and yet also a person very much in this world, today.

She talks a lot about Africa, her relationship with her husband, heaven and hell and other controversial faith issues. I think she is a young her mid to late twenties I would guess.

His blog is called "Memoirs of an Ex-Christian" which he describes as a blog that "covers my thoughts and struggles as an ex-Christian. After going through a serious faith struggle about five years ago, I don't consider myself a Christian anymore. This blog covers my daily thoughts on this paradigm shift."

They both link to their partner's blog and from the limited amount I've read, it seems "so far, so good" as far as their relationship. I haven't read enough to know much about their story, how they found each other or how they got together. I do know the challenges of being married to someone whose spiritual beliefs differ from your own. Keith and I do share some UR....but see a lot of things very differently. It, quite honestly, has caused a lot of tension and upheaval. Often our discussions turn into arguments. Sometimes our arguments turned into shouting matches. We seem to avoid spiritual discussions a lot now. Not really a solution...but a whole lot more peaceful.

An interesting blog....

I have been spending some time checking out blogs the past few weekends. I signed up for an account on bloglines a while back and have been adding to a long list of blogs that pique my interest. I like the playlist feature on bloglines...and have no idea if there is anything like that on other the other readers since bloglines is the only one I've tried. But anyway...I've come across some really interesting blogs. Today I was adding to my "Skeptics" category and came across a blog called Mom's a Religious Nut and Dad's an Atheist. It made me think of my own mom. She was not the religious nut...but rather the one marred by fundamentalist parents. To this day she is pissed off at church people, at religion, at God. She is 72 years old.

Some of her issues are the standard complaints lodged against God. Why is there evil in the world? Why doesn't he take care of the creation he made? Why do fingernails grow back but not teeth? Yet, I find the God she rejects...and the God the author of the blog rejects is not really God at all. It is what they have been told about him, what they've seen reflected in his followers, what tradition taught them. Their image of him bears little resemblance to who he really is.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Fatherhood of God - Part 6

I collected a lot of snippets of information in my research about the fatherhood of God. Following are two excerpts from short online articles written by John Gavazzoni that deal with the Fatherhood of God and our birth.

Sonship, Pinnochio-style

God really is our Father and Mother. God really did come together within to bring us forth as reproductions of the Divine Nature; in fact, it was by us that the Divine Nature realized Its parental potential. Certainly it is true that we owe our Being to being born of God, but it is also true that God owes becoming parents to having given birth to us.

---we are the fruit of His loins and the work of His hands. It was from the substance of our God-birthed spiritual being that our creaturehood is made from, and that creaturehood is destined to finally reveal its birthed Origin. When John saw the new heaven and new earth, that is what he saw; the heavenly and the earthly re-united as One.

Born of God, Really?

Honestly, really, we've all been conceived in and birthed out of God. Rebirth, or being born again, or born from above in our creaturely, time-oriented existence and experience, is about being reconnected to, remembering, being awakened to, and realizing in time the truth that we have been, in and from eternity, born of God.

I believed, of course, that we originated by the creative act of God, but certainly did not believe that our substance was eternal in nature, that God had shared with us His very substance in bringing us into being, or that, by us, in/with Christ, Deity had increased Itself as Family. Now, by the grace of God which is mightily able to effect the deepest change of mind in any of us, and that, when He chooses, I now stand firmly in the conviction which I once deemed, a most deviant heresy.

Honestly, really, we've all been conceived in and birthed out of God

Do you realize that you were born by a passionate attraction that occurred, and is still occurring in God? What triggered your divine birth was when the twinkle in Deity's eye met It's own come-hither look.

You are a love-child, a passion-fire-child. You had to experience creaturely separation from that Love-family, so that in re-membering, in the gathering together, the re-collection of all things in Christ, you might fully know the glory of your Being.

"Beloved, now are we the children of God..." (1 John 3:2)

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The Fatherhood of God - Part 5

I am still pondering and researching the Fatherhood of God, feeling as if I have left things out. All the while, I am marveling that I have actually completed a 5 part series on something. Usually, I type everything I know in one megalong post...which is a no-no in the blogging world....or I lose interest before a series can be birthed. Well...not lose interest exactly, but something new piques my curiosity and I am off on yet another web search. I was googling some stuff this morning about God as the father of ALL...and I came upon a quote from Jonathan Edwards. I've read the quote before, but this morning I remembered that Jonathan Edwards was a father himself. Of quite a brood of kids if I recall. 12 or 13 of them. Was his heart this hard toward his own children...his sense of "justice" so pronounced that he could utter:

"The sight of hell torments will exalt the happiness of the saints forever. . .Can the believing father in Heaven be happy with his unbelieving children in Hell. . . I tell you, yea! Such will be his sense of justice that it will increase rather than diminish his bliss."
-Jonathan Edwards, "The Eternity of Hell Torments" (Sermon), April 1739

How could a learned scholar miss the big as a barn declaration in Scripture that God is LOVE. God is Father?

William Barclay, on the other hand, does not miss it...and he eloquently captures the heart of a father...the heart of our father...and the father of every human who has ever lived or will live in his writing "I Am a Convinced Universalist"

......there is only one way in which we can think of the triumph of God. If God was no more than a King or Judge, then it would be possible to speak of his triumph, if his enemies were agonizing in hell or were totally and completely obliterated and wiped out. But God is not only King and Judge, God is Father - he is indeed Father more than anything else. No father could be happy while there were members of his family for ever in agony. No father would count it a triumph to obliterate the disobedient members of his family. The only triumph a father can know is to have all his family back home. The only victory love can enjoy is the day when its offer of love is answered by the return of love. The only possible final triumph is a universe loved by and in love with God."

-William Barclay, William Barclay: A Spiritual Autobiography

Which of these two men has gotten a glimpse into the heart of our Father. Which of these two men was willing to REALLY take a look-see? One of these guys was a "convinced universalist." The other....a "sinner in the hands of an angry God." Oh thank you Lord for eyes to see the truth....

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Andrew Olmsted Killed in Iraq

In my cyber journeys yesterday, I came across the news that Rocky Mountain News Army Blogger, Andrew Olmsted was killed in Iraq on January 3rd. The name of his blog was From the Front Lines. He began a post written on November 17, called "No Greater Love" by saying:

Every day I'm on the FOB, I walk into the squadron headquarters building to check in. That was was easier in recent weeks, because the pictures were gone. For the first few months we were here, every time I walked into the building I had to walk by the memorial to all the soldiers from the squadron who had died during the deployment. It was impossible to walk by and not notice them. Brave young men who died long before they should have, far from home.

Then he went on to tell of the death and memorial service for a soldier with his FOB.

After the remembrances and a stirring rendition of Amazing Grace, the ceremony closed with the salute to the deceased. In small groups, all of us came up to the display commemorating the fallen, took a moment to gaze down at the dog tags, the helmet, the empty boots, and then we came to attention and saluted our fallen comrade. There was no time period allotted; one could stay as long or as short a time as one wished. I had never met the soldier, but I found it very difficult to keep my eyes clear as I saluted a good man who had so much more to offer the world.

We are in a dangerous business. Soldiers die in war; there's no way around it. But that knowledge does not make those losses any less bitter.

I didn't know Major Olmsted, didn't read his blog...and only happened to come across the story yesterday in my cyber journeys. And although, as he stated on his blog, there is no way around the fact that soldiers die in is a damn shame they do....may he rest in peace.


Saturday, January 5, 2008

The Fatherhood of God - Part 4

In his writing called "My Dad, God" John Gavazonni talks about the relationship he had with his own father, Luigi Gavazonni. (and again, all of John G's writings can be found on the Greater Emmanuel web site in the Serious Seminal Samplings section....say that tongue twister combination 10 times fast :)

The following excerpt is from that writing:

One thing stands out clearly to me when I compare my father's relationship with his children to the way our Heavenly Father is presented in conventional orthodox theology. It is simply this: Lou Gavazzoni's relationship with me was paternal, not legal. Whatever factors came into play, all was built on a familial, not a forensic foundation. There may at times have been a friendship element, associate-in-business element, fellow-musician element, boss-employee element, even lord-servant element and yes, the element of judgment came up as well. But, I never stood before one who was essentially a judge, who might, after legal matters were settled, then allow himself to be fatherly.

I stood before my father who might, as necessary, act in a firm, unyielding and corrective judgment as part of his love for me. Yet, it seems clear to me, that most of Christianity assumes that a relationship with God is only possible after legal matters are settled. Our minds are so entangled with what we perceive to be legal, judicial and forensic necessities that we miss the Father-heart of God.

For anyone who is not convinced at this point that God is indeed the Father of all humanity and that every one of his children will eventually be made into his image and likeness (no matter how farfetched that thought might seem) let me add the words of my friend annie:

if adam was the "son of God" and we are all descendants of adam, how can we not also all be children of God? and paul affirms what their own poets said... we are his offspring. i just don't know how it could be any clearer. if we're not God's children whose are we? not "the devil's" or anyone else, for the God alone has the ability to impart life. satan cannot create, nor can he procreate... he does not have life to give. the references to "children of the devil" are not literal, but figurative, speaking of the condition of their hearts - not their origin. it is in God that we ALL live and move and have our BEING, our substance. solomon also affirms in ecclesiastas that we came out from God and to God we will return. our life is hid with God in Christ... whether we know it or not... :) if i am an orphan who is lost, not knowing my true Father, i might THINK i'm a child of the devil, but it doesn't change who i really am...

The Solution for World Peace from Pope Benedict

I am going to interrupt my ponderings on the Fatherhood of God to make mention of a post that was in my mailbox this morning from a very scholarly Girardian list on Ecunet of which I am a member. It is not a very active list...and the members are very learned, well read professionals (college professors, published authors etc) so I have only piped up a few times and put my two cents into the conversation. (And both times, the list members were very gracious and affirming)

Today someone posted a link with the simple comment, "Is he kidding?" Part of the purpose of my blog is to talk about peace related topics...topics as far reaching as world wide peace or as close to home as "why can't I react peacefully when my husband pisses me off?"I thought this news bit would fit rather well into a discussion about peace. It seems that the Pope has come out and declared that homosexuality is a grave threat to world peace!!! simple as that, eh? Get rid of the gay people and world peace will follow? It seems he thinks it erodes the family unit and (as Pope Benedict proclaims) there is a "direct relationship that exists between the family and peace in the world" and that " if the world wanted to live in peace, it would need to recognize those universal values that all people share as part of a
single, "human family". Hmmm....aren't gays a part of that universal human family???

Not surprisingly, this has caused a wave of reaction on gay blogs (and probably evangelical blogs, too, but I don't have time to search that out this morning....perhaps tomorrow?)

On the blog called Proceed at Your Own Risk (and as a warning, the name of the blog sums its content up quite well. It is an outspoken pro-gay truly....if outspoken promotion of gay rights offends you then you do proceed at your own risk when you click the link) Anyway....this blog poses the question:

How can we think that civilization can progress in a positive and humane direction when the world's most influential Christian leader proclaims that love between two responsible and caring adults is a road map to chaos and war?

On Answer Bag from the UK the question was posed as follows:

Is this anti-gay rhetoric any different at its root than that of Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist church?

On the eclectic ( irreverent) blog, Of Course I Could Be Wrong, authored by "Jonathan," a priest at St. Francis, Anglican Church in Newcastle Upon Tyne. (who prefers to be referred to as "Mad Priest") there is short snippet about the sermon, followed by about 37 or so comments (also irreverent) This might be another one of those "proceed at your own risk" clicks.

In my opinion...when I ponder the things that threaten world peace, gay marriage is just not one of them.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

The Fatherhood of God - Part 3

Another reason I am convinced that God is the father of all mankind is because I don't believe that God created the world out of nothing (creatio ex nillo) as is commonly taught....but rather He created out of himself. ("creatio ex deo," which is creation out of the being of God.) Where else would he get the material to create us? And if he created us from himself, then how could we not be his offspring....his children? And where does the belief that we are somehow the children of the devil come into play? Gary Sigler sums in up in a transcribed sermon called "What About Deception?"

In the very beginning, we were created out of the very substance of God. Created is really not a good word for us. In Genesis 1:27 it says “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. “ The word created here does not mean to make something out of nothing. It means to cut down. It is the word (baw-raw) In other words, we are a chip off the old block. That is why it takes all of us to be the fullness of God because we are just a chip off the old block. When you understand that all that fullness is in you, you can begin to see humanity through the eyes of the spirit.

He goes on to explain in more detail:

I like Stacy Wood's explanation. Stacy says it this way: “You know, the ocean is vast like God. And you can take a cup of water out of the ocean. And in that cup you have all that the ocean is. You have all of its substance. You have the chemicals. You have the elements. Everything of the ocean is in that cup, but that cup with the substance in that cup is not all of the ocean.” That is all we are saying today. We are not saying that as an individual we are the almighty El Elyon God who has created the universe. That is not what we are saying. What we are saying is, we are God in the sense that every thing that He is, His very substance, His life, His nature, His character, everything that He is, is now emanating from our being. We are beginning to see with the eyes of the Spirit of God, rather than from a human, carnal understanding of God.

We are his very substance....we are his offspring. We are his children and he is our Dad....more on "My Dad, God" in my next post.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

The Fatherhood of God - Part 2

In his essay "Adoption" (which I mentioned in the previous post) John G goes on to point out

"another paternity-affirming statement of our Lord found in Matt. 7:11, and I quote from the NAS: "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall YOUR Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him." (Emphasis, mine.)

If we go to the end of that chapter, we find that the words were spoken to a multitude "who were amazed at His teaching...." and included those that Jesus called "hypocrite" (vs. 5)

In other non-believers and hypocrites, Jesus clearly refers to God as "YOUR" Father".

There certainly seems to be a contradiction between his words above and his scathing rebuke in John 8 when Jesus declares that "You are from your father the devil, and you choose to do your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies."

John G explains that the rebuke was because they "presented themselves in the persona of self-righteousness, and Jesus response showed that He refused to affirm them in that identity, in an identity based upon religious performance, but, rejected that satan-birthed, alter-ego, self-righteous false-persona that was being presented to Him as making one worthy of entrance into the kingdom of heaven."

To further illustrate his point, John G points out an interaction between Jesus and Peter that takes place shortly after Peter declares his belief that Jesus is "the Christ, the Son of the Living God." Jesus assures him that Peter's revelation was from the Father. Jesus did not stop there but went on to say that Peter would play an integral part in the building of His Church and that the gates of Hades would not prevail against it and that Peter would be given the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and that whatever he bound on earth would be bound in heaven, and that whatever was loosed by Peter on earth will be loosed in heaven." These are really affirmative words. Not long after, Jesus tells his disciples about his impending death. Peter is not willing to accept it and boldly rebukes Jesus and declares"this shall not happen to You!" To which Jesus replies, "Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men."

What, pray tell, is up with that? John G explains it thusly:

Jesus responds not by addressing Peter as Peter, but He addresses satan. What's going on here? Well simply, an alien, alienating, enmity- presence was speaking through Peter, and it was that enemy, that father of all enmity, that father of the lie, that Jesus addresses. He is addressing the cross-rejecting spirit.

And this sounds like a very good explanation to me...and thanks to John G for this and all of his other illuminating, inspiring writings which can be found in their entirety at The Greater Emmanuel International Ministry website.