Saturday, January 31, 2009

From Her Mouth

Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Huh? Other gods?  These "gods" must be false gods. Perhaps the made up gods we worshiped under the sacred oaks.  Our Baals. Our false gods...our false ideas and mistaken beliefs about God and his character and nature...which was perfectly mirrored in Jesus.  If the god we worship does not look exactly like Jesus then he is a phony and a god of our own making, bearing attributes we have assigned to him.

I came across the following verses the other day (while busting hump on the treadmill at the gym)  

Hosea 2:16-17 -
16 In that day'" says the Lord, "you will call Me, 'My Husband.' And you will no longer call Me, 'My Baal.' 17 For I will take the names of the Baals from her mouth. The names of these false gods will never be spoken again. New Life Bible

The word translated "spoken" in this verse actually means

to remember, recall, call to mind

to mention
to record
to make a memorial, make remembrance

So he promises to take the names of the false gods from our mouths and our he replaces the mistaken, erroneous, misplaced characteristics we have attributed to him and replaces them with the truth...and the truth looks exactly like Jesus. 

Friday, January 30, 2009

You Will Be Ashamed

Isaiah 1:29 - "You will be ashamed because of the sacred oaks in which you have delighted; you will be disgraced because of the gardens that you have chosen.

I came upon this verse while reading in Isaiah the other night before bed. I can usually manage to get through a chapter (if that) before sleep insists I put whatever it is I'm reading down on the nightstand.

This verse struck me. It is from my Quest NIV Study Bible-- the Bible I read most often. One of the features I really like about it are the questions that line the margins of the pages...questions that naturally come to one's mind when reading. It was given to me by a good friend who the Lord used mightily to draw me to himself. Upon its pages I have scribbled notes and thoughts, and underlined and highlighted and circled--always amazed at what I find there.

So the question that went with this particular passage was:

In the ancient Middle East, gardens shaded by oak trees were often used as places for religious gatherings. There, under the trees, various kinds of idol worship took place including some religious rituals that actually involved indiscriminate sexual intercourse.

We all need to stop and ponder what we have delighted in under the "sacred oaks". Beliefs we've held...views of God we've preached...condemnation and judgements we pronounced in the name of the God we've preached.

For me....I was an agnostic atheist. I use both agnostic and atheist because there was a tiny shred of doubt...or should I say there was a tiny shred of hope concerning the existence of God. I guess you could say I delighted in "secular" oaks...instead of sacred oaks....and the judgements I pronounced were against anyone foolish enough to believe in any God. I am so thankful he opened my eyes and made me "foolish"....

More to follow.....

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Ego, the default position

The following two quotes sort of go along with this invalidation theme.

The knee jerk reaction is almost always ego. So you wait and you pray and you listen. And then you might have something wiser to say—something a little more truthful than my story—that might possibly approach the story. Richard Rohr


The default position is the ego position every time. Unless we get in there and actively and consciously change the settings, we will default to ego. Tomas Viera

So who are we really? How do we teach our kids who they are?

When we seek validation for our feelings, just who is seeking validation? Our egos (carnal man/adamic man/flesh)? Does the part of us that is infinite...the spirit within...need validation?

But now we live in two realms. The earthly and the heavenly. Back and forth..mostly earthly for me at this point. How do we sort it out?

One of the best gifts we can give ourselves is to recognize that we are not our stories, and to becoming aware of when our mind chatter starts telling these stories. ~ Tina Su

Easier said than done!!!!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

And another thing...Invalidation Part 2

As I ponder invalidation and the balance I talked about in a recent post, I am reminded of the teachings about mistaken identity...the egoic mind, the pain body. Part of Eckhart's teachings are all about invalidation. You are not who you think you are. Even the Christ as you, in you teachings are all about not succumbing to the belief that you are merely a fallen human (with all the emotions and feelings that go along with that).

So I don't have it all figured out. A big part of the reason for this blog is so I can ponder all these questions...questions and more questions...and invite you to ponder them along with me.

"My commitment is to truth as I see it each day, not to consistency"

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Hope of Glory...


Deb on EU posted this video yesterday.  Too good not to share....


On Lifestreams, Dena posted a link to a site about invalidation. I've only poked around the site a bit but some of what I've read has really struck me...again, as one who has been on both sides of the fence.  The invalidator and the invalidatee.  It is closely related to listening...or not listening...seems to go along with my last post about "close active listening."  Some snippets from the website....

So what is invalidation anyway?   

Invalidation is to reject, ignore, mock, tease, judge, or diminish someone's feelings. It is an attempt to control how they feel and for how long they feel it.


Invalidation goes beyond mere rejection by implying not only that our feelings are disapproved of, but that we are fundamentally abnormal. This implies that there is something wrong with us because we aren't like everyone else; we are strange; we are different; we are weird.

And it seems that the consequences of being invalidated as a child can be quite serious and far reaching....

Psychological invalidation is one of the most lethal forms of emotional abuse. It kills confidence, creativity and individuality.

Each persons's feelings are real. Whether we like or understand someone's feelings, they are still real. Rejecting feelings is rejecting reality; it is to fight nature and may be called a crime against nature, "psychological murder", or "soul murder." Considering that trying to fight feelings, rather than accept them, is trying to fight all of nature, you can see why it is so frustrating, draining and futile.

I realize there is a balance in this...and we can go too far the other way....especially with our kids.  A while back, a mom (lovetruth) of three fairly young kids posted the following that seems to fit with this idea of balance. 

.......when my kids scream about a skinned knee or something that is minor but huge to them.  i suffer with them, though i feel a different kind of pain than they do.  but i also am practical in knowing the passingness of that pain and how small it is in comparison to what they will feel. 

i also know that, to be a good parent and prepare them for life i can't let them think that their big feelings about this pain are the legitimate estimation of it.  so, even though i want join in their feelings and make it all better, i often, while i take care of the pain and hold them, have to keep an emotional distance and tell them that it isn't as bad as they think and tell them that they need to calm down and control themselves while they cry.

This was written in response to a discussion about God...and how he oftentimes seems distant. She went on to say:

it's a weird journey and i often don't like it, but it helps me to understand that God is helping us grow up into something we can't comprehend right now when He seems distant, cold or even cruel.

I think we can listen to our kids and our spouses and our family, truly hear what they are saying, but gently (and the gently part is what is tricky) point out that what they may be seeing or feeling might not be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.  Perhaps they can benefit from a different perspective...

In the case of our kids, they have not lived long enough to make educated judgements on many things.  They simply do not have all the facts and the benefit of hindsight.  Yet we can listen with true empathy...perhaps conjuring up times past (long past for some of us) when we felt those same emotions and fears. 

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Pondering the POE yet again...

I've been reading 1st and 2nd Corinthians...and came upon this verse the other night. 

2 Corinthians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

I know that a "been there, done that" comforter is more apt to truly understand our heartbreak than someone who has led a happy go lucky life. I know too that suffering must surely have a more noble purpose than enabling us to comfort someone else along life's rocky way. If not...thanks anyway, but I think I'll pass.  Actually,  I would like to opt out altogether until I get a little clearer understanding of exactly what the noble purpose is.  And while I'm at it, I would like to opt EVERYONE, EVERYWHERE out of it.  No more suffering for anyone. 

The POE...the biggest why in a whole arsenal of why's in the world of the unbeliever. The biggest "why" in the world of most Christians.  Theodicy.  The big,ugly question mark...the blot on God's reputation. If there is a good God, how come there are children like Hudson? 



I've come to accept that we...humankind...probably have a big part in and responsibility for the pain and suffering in our own little private world and the world at large.  I also have come to accept that God can bring good out of any situation.  He says so.  I have more questions than answers about the POE but I am not driven to find the answers like a was a few years ago. And in the meantime, let's not let any of our suffering (and insights gleaned during our turmoil) go to waste.  annie often uses the expression...don't waste the pain.  Learn from it, share it, let it enlarge you and pass it on....

Who, then, can so softly bind up the wound of another as he, who has felt the same wound himself? ~~~~  Thomas Jefferson

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Pray For Hudson and his Family....

One of Emily's teachers has a very sick little boy.  He is about a year and a half old and has an aggressive form of cancer that began in his lungs...and has spread.  Hudson is slated to have a bone marrow transplant .  Tonight at the high school they are having a benefit dinner for Hudson.  His dad, Emily's favorite teacher, spends some of his nights, all night at the hospital then teaches the next day.  Emily says he is her best teacher in spite of all he is going through.  Keep them in your prayers.....

Pro-choice? Anti-abortion?

There is a discussion on Gary Sigler's board, Heart 2 Heart about Obama...and in part, about his stand on abortion.  Recent events have added fuel to the fire of this controversy.  Following is a post I wrote on the board in response.  Since time is sometimes an issue with posting on this blog....and since I am often out of step with current events, this post will kill two birds with one stone.  It is timely...and it is already written and has gone through the rigors of having the wording tweaked.... and of spell check :)

First of all, I want to say that if my daughters got pregnant...through any means including rape, I would encourage them not to opt for an abortion.  I think life begins the moment sperm hits egg.

But I don't think that the answer to abortion lies in picketing abortion clinics (and taken to the extreme in actually committing acts of violence...even support pro-life) or in stiffer laws...or a total crackdown on abortion.  The argument that says "women will get abortions anyway" proved true in the life of my grandmother.  She had several back street abortions.  One in a garage where the abortionist had to blow the dust off the instruments.  Once she had her teenage dad... accompany her to a backstreet abortion...a botched one.  He later saved her life when she began to hemorrhage at home hours later and he called an ambulance. 

On Emerging Universalist, an e-group my best cyber bud, annie, and I started, there was a discussion on abortion that went on for a long time.  There is virtually no fighting or mean-spirited debate on our group...but there were totally different opinions and beliefs.  (and there was a long...long...long series of discussions on the presidential elections...with whole hearted support for both candidates)  During the abortion discussion someone posted an article they came across called, Alex Was Aborted.  Following are a few quotes from the article....

Why could Alex not smile?

He was aborted.

"Huh?", you ask.

Yes, Alex was aborted.

You see, Alex's abortion was the drawn-out type, those that last years instead of

Alex's mother did not want him, but did come to visit him once or twice a year. For that
matter, the grandmother that raised him did not really want him either, but at least she
did have enough compassion to keep him and feed him, and occasionally show him a bit
of affection. His father? I never met him, and to be honest, I could not even say if the
mother knew who he was, let alone Alex. I don't know that for a fact, that is just the
way things are too many times with "living abortions".

No, Alex did not survive a botched abortion. He was simply born to a mother and father
that did not love him. So instead of his left arm, head, right leg, and then his abdomen
being sucked out of his mother's womb by a vacuum, his soul was, and still is as far as I
know, being vacuumed out by a self-centered mother and father who do not care about

Alex was an angry little boy. No, he did not really throw anger-fits as such. His
grandmother would not permit that. She would occasionally chasten him with a stick
about 4 feet long if he misbehaved. About the only thing left in his vacuumed-out soul
was a deep-rooted anger.

And thus Alex could run fast, but he could not smile.

He is a victim of "drawn-out abortion".

So perhaps many of the most dedicated pro-life proponents who fight tirelessly to repeal Roe vs Wade...and outlaw abortions...are really advocates of the "drawn out abortion" spoken of in the article above? Are they are willing to delve in and do all they can for the babies that might be saved when women are convinced to change their minds as they arrive at the doors of the abortion clinic....including financial support....up to a willingness to adopt a child (as has been suggested in some articles I have read) Are they willing to work just as tirelessly for a solution to the plight of children like Alex...and to all the babies born to the crackheads and meth addicts...and to the poor....and the mentally ill....and just in homes where they are not at all wanted. 

Long ago when I was in my early sister got pregnant.  She was about 19ish...and not in a long term relationship with the baby's father.  She was torn on what to do.  Her "boyfriend" pushed for an abortion.  It is to my shame that I did not try to talk her out of it and in fact, because of many circumstances in her life at that time, I more or less encouraged it.  I was godless atheist...and had not thought it through.  She became pregnant again shortly afterwards...several months....and had the baby....Joshua.  He was born 10 days early and died on his due date...of SIDS.  My sister looked upon that as a judgment from God. 

I have seen many aspects of the abortion issue. And while I would not consider myself pro choice...and while I do not campaign for a woman's right to choose....I tend to lean that way.  So, perhaps I am an example of someone who is anti-abortion but leans toward pro-choice.  I also think there is merit to the the argument that a government that can tell a woman " cannot have an abortion" is just the opposite end of the same spectrum as a government (like China) that can tell a woman, "yes, you must have an abortion"

The real answer to abortion lies in restoration not laws, in quickening the seed of God which dwells in everyone. When the commandments...which are promises in disguise and not prohibitions.... are so much a part of our nature that killing (as in thou shalt not) is impossible, there will be no more abortions.  (Thanks to my husband, Keith, for pointing out the promises aspect of the commandments to me years ago) 

Long another a previous marriage that was not Christian but still with a respect for a sanctity of life, we knew a young girl that my ex-husband worked with and was very good friends with.  She got pregnant...purely by circumstance and not carelessness when her doctor didn't warn her that certain antibiotics lowered the effectiveness of the birth control pill.  We offered to adopt the baby.  Sincerely.  She knew us well enough to know that the baby would have had a good home. My ex-husband "campaigned" to adopt the baby.  Sadly, in the end she opted for an abortion. 

And so, I think it is with a heart change and not a "law" change that abortions in this country will end.  All the social programs and aid and well meaning, sincere anti-abortion proponents who are willing to do any and every thing to help raise these babies of aborted abortions will not eliminate abortion until hearts are changed.

From what I have read at supposedly unbiased websites, I think Obama is anti -abortion...but pro-choice.  To many that is a misnomer...but I understand it perfectly. 

And one more thing before I close this rambling post.  As I said, I see pro-life as an issue that includes a much broader scope than an anti-abortion stance...including how one views the war on terrorism, capital punishment and the "drawn out abortions" of children like Alex.  Just how I see it now imho.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Do You Hear What I Hear? Close, Active Listening...

In Neale Walsch's book, The Holy Experience, he talks about listening...about what he calls Active Listening. It is a listening beyond hearing the words. It is a listening that tears down the separation between us and fosters the concept of "oneness." I've posted some practical aspects of listening of late...this is more of a spiritual kind of listening that depends on intuition and emotions.

The excerpt from Walsch's book:

The next time you are with someone, try to gauge what they are feeling. Don’t just listen to their words, look deep inside to see if you can get a handle on what they are feeling. Read between the lines. Look past the words. Practice what I call Active Listening.

This is a form of listening in which you tune into the communication of the Soul rather than of the Mind of the person before you. Feelings are the language of the soul. This is not a language that it is impossible for you to understand. In fact, just the opposite. You can often understand a person’s feelings a lot faster than you can understand their words.

Think of how many times you have listened to a person who is distraught or frightened or very sad or deeply disappointed. Often, their words come out in jumbles, and make no sense at all. You may even have caught yourself saying, “You’re not even making sense.” You might even have used this as a defense during some verbal exchange.

A person who listens to words rather than feelings often will throw another’s words back in their face, reciting what they’ve just said word for word in order to show them that they are making no sense at all. Right about then is when the other person will say, “Can you hear anything at all about how I am FEELING?”

Right about then is when you know that you have been listening to that person’s Mind, and have made a decision to have nothing at all to do with their Soul. If that other person thinks that he or she is your “soul
partner,” this can be a devastating experience. They will wonder why you cannot hear them at the level of soul, but insist only on taking their words apart, one by one, and analyzing them to show them how silly they are being.

A few experiences such as this can change a relationship forever. Someone who was once very close to you can decide that it is not safe to remain that close—that perhaps they were never that close—because you have no idea at all of how they are feeling.

The fastest way to let someone know that you and they are One is to feed back to them exactly what they are feeling. This means giving up defense in all verbal exchanges—even arguments—and realizing that, if the two of you are One, there is no one to defend against. There is only to understand what the Totality called the Oneness of You is now experiencing. This means honestly looking at your own feelings and opening to the feelings of others.

I know I have been on both the sides of this the one not really hearing and as the one not being heard. Once is while, I think I get it right.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

From Greg Boyd on MLK......

I regularly read Greg Boyd's Blog on his Christus Victor website.  I have written sporadically about "peace" here on this blog....mulling over my convictions about what it means to live a life of peace..and pondering where I fall short in my day to day life.  Greg Boyd writes a lot about nonviolence.  His blog entry yesterday was about Martin Luther King (as were many blog entries yesterday) and how even his most devoted followers seem to have forgotten the heart of King's dream. 

He talked about a commemorative breakfast he attends every year on Martin Luther King day.  The speaker this year was Colin Powell.  Boyd's blog entry points out the irony of this...a career military, 4 star general delivering the keynote address and somehow using the opportunity to support the war against terror.

Following are two excerpts from The Forgotten Heart of King's Dream

The heart of King’s dream wasn’t about racial equality. It was about racial equality only because it was first and foremost about a society in which love prevails and that recognizes the insanity of hatred, oppression and violence. And while America has certainly made important strides toward racial equality – as evidenced by Obama’s presidency – it seems to me that we have not progressed one iota toward the ideal of non-violence. If anything, it seems we’ve gone backwards in recent years on this ideal


Taking his cue from Jesus and Ghandi, King insisted, over and over again, that lasting justice and peace can only come about when we resolve to love our enemies rather than retaliate against them. In fact, in some of the speeches King gave before demonstrations, he told this audience he didn’t want anyone participating who harbored hatred in their heart toward their oppressors and who were not willing to commit to non-violence, regardless of what may be done to them. In his speeches and writings (e.g. Stride Toward Freedom) he proclaimed that true freedom can only come when the oppressed care as much about freeing their oppressor as they care about freeing themselves from oppression. The only way forward, King rightly saw, was through self-sacrificial love, even toward – especially toward – our enemies.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Martin Luther King Day.....

I wrote a post about Martin Luther King a few weeks ago.  Today, I am just going to post a few links to some resources on the internet for anyone who might be interested in reading more about this remarkable man.  He was committed to peace and nonviolence in his quest for equality. 


The Martin Luther King Jr. Research and Education Institute

The Seattle Times Martin Luther King Jr. Resource Page

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Christianity the only way?

I found the following comments on the blog I mentioned in a recent post...Open Source Theology. In a thread from September 2007 (back to the day late/dollar short thing) entitled Christianity, The Only Way? I found these interesting comments on religious inclusion/exclusion.

The following statement was made by someone named Phil:

While I would agree that religions (and further subdivisions within those religions) vary in terms of how well they point to God, I would deny that Christianity is the only way. Christ, not Christianity, is the way the truth and the life… And though there is one way to the Father: Christ, I might say that there are several ways to Christ (or to rephrase this so that it is less controversial, different people on different life journeys encounter Christ in different way.


The following quote from someone called danutz which espouses the opposite view....

I think religious pluralism goes well with the NT if you read the NT through a metaphorical view. For example, I think Christ is the way to salvation, but I see Christ as something bigger than Jesus. I see Christ as an ideal or philosophy that is revealed in the NT about loosing your own selfish way of life and becoming transformed into a life focused on the service of others. I see "believing in Jesus" as described in John 3:16 to be more correctly defined as accepting his truth to be your truth. Having faith is more about accepting that Jesus’ description of the kingdom of God will happen and finding your part in making it true rather than believing theological ideas about who or what he was.

Speaking of a Tribal Chief....

Could my helter skelter, here and there cyber path be considered research?  Perhaps. It has been a "God blessed the broken road" kind of journey right from the very beginning when I "happened upon" Tentmaker and came to believe in UR shortly after...just a few short months after becoming a Christian.  I am very grateful to God for that.  But, I digress. 

I came across the following TIMELY...yes, I said TIMELY post in my "research."  Please note, date of post is December 29, 2008 which for me is pretty darn timely.  When I came across the post, I realized it kind of goes along with the quote by Deepak Chopra...about how we've created a tribal chief instead of the Infinite Being that is God. 

I think our creation of this warrior God extends all the way back to the atrocities and genocide and jihad written about in the Old Testament.  With a shrug of their shoulders, in a matter of fact, so what, who cares kind of way, they describe these God ordered slaughters. 

I've discussed this theme in a bunch of other posts on this blog.  I don't have all the answers but I am content in the belief that God, our heavenly father, is not a tribal chief and that his perfect representation and likeness can be found in the face of Jesus.  And Jesus would not command jihad.  Of course, not everyone believes that way and they continue to shrug their shoulders with that so what attitude.  After all surely the Lord was fighting for Israel

The post I came upon on Open Source Theology was actually a response to a post by Andrew Perriman called The Canaanite 'genocide' and the renewal of creation.  See the quotes around the word genocide?  If the OT accounts are accurate, would not the killing off of all the "hites" be genocide? 

Perriman sees the atrocities as a cleansing of the land related somehow to the cleansing of the earth in the flood.  After the flood, a new creation began. After all (or almost all) of the "ites" were gone, the land of milk and honey...the promised land was a new creation too. 

As far as the flood described in the OT and whether or not it was directly caused by God as judgment, well that is the subject of another post.

So back to the Canaanite genocide....

C.S. Cowles takes exception to Perriman's article in a post called Canaanite Genocide and its Monstrous Concept of God in which he gives his own views on why we cannot believe God orchestrated the whole thing...that God "permissioned" it rather than commissioned it.   Following are a few of the points he expands on in his post. 

  • God Has Disclosed Himself Fully and Finally in Jesus of Nazareth.
  • The God Revealed in Jesus is Nonviolent
  • Our God is nonviolent and is liberating us all, beginning with the poor and oppressed, from our addiction to violence and death."
  • God’s Love is Revealed Most Compellingly On The Cross.
  • Our final authority in exegeting "texts of terror," then, is Jesus to whom the Scriptures give a faithful and true witness, attested by the Holy Spirit who dwells within us.

Very interesting views about the atrocities (very similar to mine) The comments section has thorough well written comments...some in agreement with Cowles...some not.  Also, C.S. Cowles is a contributor in a book called Show Them No Mercy.  Andrew Perriman is the author of Otherways: In search of an emerging theology.  It is a collection of writings from the his web site Open Source Theology

Thursday, January 15, 2009

We've Created a Tribal Chief...

During my recent You Tube spree, I found the following quote from Deepak Chopra on Larry King Live on an episode that discussed the afterlife fate of the 911 hijackers. I am, behind the times.  I thought it was a good quote though so I am including it in this latest flurry of posts that deal with the christ in us and whether or not Christianity is the only way to the Father. 

I have a problem with some of your panelists because I don't think Christ was a Christian.  I don't think Buddha was a Buddhist and I don't think Mohammed was a Mohammedan.  I think it's just that kind of thing that says only the way of Jesus is right.  The others say only the way of Mohammed is right, only the way of Buddha is right, only the way of Krishna is right.  We have sacrificed a universal being and created a tribal chief with our gods.  And that's our problem. 

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A Vortex With a Different Name....

Check out the following video I came across the other day when I was watching those contrasting You Tube videos of John MacArthur and Brennan Manning.  I came upon a snippet from a Larry King show about what happens when we die.  This portion of the video featured Marrianne Williamson discussing her views and was entitled New Ager and Catholic Agree on Salvation.


Marianne says:

"I believe that we are all the sons of God and I believe that Jesus was...and is... a fully actualized human being who now has the function of helping others who choose...who feel that he is their way to arise as well."

She goes on to say:

There are others who experience that vortex as it were without the name Jesus on it.  And I find it very unfortunate, and slightly offensive, this notion that if someone does not proclaim the name're talking about Jews, you're talking about atheists, agnostics, Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, who somehow, even if they aren't babies...if they do not proclaim the name Jesus to me that is an incorrect understanding of Jesus himself. 

Hmmm...someone can experience that vortex without the name Jesus on it.  Sort of a rose by a another name would smell as sweet kind of thought.

During one of my recent internet treks I came upon the following excerpts from an interview between Charles Schuller and Billy Graham.  This interview was from several years ago and was hot news at the time (another instance of me being a day late and a dollar short concerning the things I write about)  It is still hot fodder for those web sites that warn of false prophets/wolves in sheep's clothing/ cults etc.  


SCHULLER: Tell me, what do you think is the future of Christianity?

GRAHAM: Well, Christianity and being a true believer--you know, I think there's the Body of Christ. This comes from all the Christian groups around the world, outside the Christian groups. I think everybody that loves Christ, or knows Christ, whether they're conscious of it or not, they're members of the Body of Christ. And I don't think that we're going to see a great sweeping revival that will turn the whole world to Christ at any time. I think James answered that, the Apostle James in the first council in Jerusalem, when he said God's purpose for this age is to call out a people for His name. And that's what God is doing today, He's calling people out of the world for His name, whether they come from the Muslim world, or the Buddhist world, or the Christian world or the non-believing world, they are members of the Body of Christ because they've been called by GOD. They may not even know the name of Jesus but they know in their hearts they need something that they don't have, and they turn to the only light that they have, and I think they are saved, and that they're going to be with us in heaven.

SCHULLER: What, what I hear you saying that it's possible for Jesus Christ to come into human hearts and souls and life, even if they've been born in darkness and have never had exposure to the Bible. Is that a correct interpretation of what you're saying?

GRAHAM: Yes, it is, because I believe that I've met people in various parts of the world in tribal situations, that they have never seen a Bible or heard about a Bible, and never heard of Jesus, but they've believed in their hearts that there was a God, and they've tried to live a life that was quite apart from the surrounding community in which they lived.

SCHULLER: I, I'm so thrilled to hear you say this. There's a wideness in God's mercy.

GRAHAM: There is. There definitely is.

And a little while later, I came across the following quote from  Norman Vincent Peale in a television interview with Phil Donahue in 1984.

Peale said:

 "It's not necessary to be born again. You have your way to God; I have mine. I found eternal peace in a Shinto shrine...I've been to Shinto shrines; and God is everywhere."

"Donahue exclaimed,

"But you're a Christian minister; you're supposed to tell me that Christ is the Way, and the Truth and the Life, aren't you?" Peale replied, "Christ is one of the ways! God is everywhere." Peale told Donahue when he got to the Pearly Gates, "St Peter would say, I like Phil Donahue; let him in!"

And from another site I found another quote credited to Peale

"If one follows the teachings of Buddha, one will get to the same place Jesus teaches about because Buddha taught many principles Jesus did. There isn't a particular heaven the Buddhists go to and the Taoists go to and the Christians go to and the Jews go to. They're all God's children."

Tomorrow another snippet from another video where Deepak Chopra voices his views about an exclusive God. 

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A Division of the Divine....

Neal Walsch describes the "christ in you" as:

....the individuated part of You that is the localized expression of the Universal Self.


Well, he goes on to explain it in a bit more detail. 

They must understand that humanity is not separate from the Divine, but IS the Divine, or a division of it. You might say that humanity is a “division of the Divine.” This helps people wrap their minds around the concept of Oneness with Divinity.

Many folks have a very difficult time seeing themselves as Divine. Yet if you tell them that they are part of that which is Divine, many people can go there. They can hang out in the place. They can embrace the concept. Partial magnificence is acceptable, total magnificence is not.

So we might say for our purposes here that humanity is a division of the Divine. That Which Is Divine created many divisions of Itself, and one of those divisions is called humanity. Even as a large company or corporation may have a division here and a division there without any of those divisions being in any sense separate from, or other than, the whole, so, too, does the Divine have a division here and a division there without any of those divisions being in any sense separate from, or other than, The Whole.

It is possible to be a division of something without being divided from it.

That’s an important concept for you to grasp if you are to have the Holy Experience. Please let me say it again. I said…

“It is possible to be a division of something without being divided from it.”

Think about that for a minute. Hold that concept in your mind. Humanity, as a Division of Divinity, is neither separate from, nor other than, The Whole.

A glass of water from the ocean, containing everything the ocean is...yet not all of the ocean.  Just another way of saying it. 

Monday, January 12, 2009

Not All of the Ocean...

I've posted before about a sermon by Gary Sigler called The Fear of Deception in which he compares our relationship to God with a glass of water taken from the ocean.  In the sermon he says:

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.

Keep that excerpt in mind when you read the following from a book called The Song of the Bird by Anthony de Mello.

~ The Salt Doll ~

A salt doll journeyed for thousands of miles over the land, until it finally came to the sea.  It was fascinated by this strange moving mass, quite unlike anything it had ever seen.

"Who are you?" said the salt doll to the sea.

The sea smilingly replied, "Come in and see." 

So the doll waded in. The farther it walked into the sea the more it dissolved, until there was only very little of it left.  Before the last bit dissolved, the doll exclaimed in wonder, "Now I know who I am!"
~ Anthony de Mello
in  "The Song of the Bird"

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Door...

I came upon a quote today...a snippet from a post...on a forum called Coexist.  It intrigued me.  It was about light and darkness.  

Two sealed rooms, separated by a wall with a closed door in the middle. One room is fully lit, one room is totally darkened, now open the door. What happens?

Keith has talked about this many times in our years together saying...loosely paraphrased....that you don't have to fight the darkness, you simply need to turn on the lights. 

It occurs to me that these rooms are in us...not just in the world at large...but in us.  The carnal and the christ.  The trick is opening the door to let light flood into the darkness....



Every man's life is his own castle of many rooms. By His indwelling Spirit, the candle of the Lord has been moving from one room to the next, silently, carrying the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. He has been challenging every activity, deed, act, word, and even every thought and intent of our lives. Now we come to the close, and just as we are ushering our heavenly investigator to the last room of the castle of our lives, as we are walking down the hall, He stops, looks down and says, "What is this?" We had devoutly hoped that He would not notice that trap door set so securely in the floor. Hardly anyone knew about it at all; and casually we toss it off. "Oh, that's just the basement, Lord. You really wouldn't want to go down there." "Oh," He answers, "but I would. In fact that's why I came - to go down there." So, over all your protestations His will wins out. You lift that creaking door, and as it opens, there is the odor of stinking flesh and hidden corruption and the sound of bats' wings, and a circular, narrow stairway leads down into the inky blackness below. With anxious heart, you follow Christ down those stairs, wondering what evils shall be brought into His light. As the shadows flee before that light which radiates from Him, you reach the floor of the basement with all of its darkened chambers and its unclean imagery. There is no place to hide, for the light that comes from Christ reveals all. Jesus has come, the Morning Star has appeared, the candle of the Lord has come to search the heart and reveal the very depth of the secrets, the suppressed attitudes, secret motives, hidden desires, concealed ambitions, all the darkness of the soul. Thank God! He does not uncover our iniquity to destroy us, but to save us and purify unto Himself a people to show forth His glory in the earth.

And from there He goes on to enlighten the world!!!!


The enlightening rays of the Sun of Righteousness will fill the earth, not only your earth and my earth, but that earth out there - until all the shadows and darkness and night have been chased away. This means that all doctrines of devils, all superstitions, all human creeds and dogmas, all human precepts by which men are taught to fear God rather than to love Him; all political intrigues, all humanistic education and institutions, as well as the thousand and one other evils which plague a dying world, are to be swept away, replaced by the glorious KNOWLEDGE OF THE LORD AND HIS TRANSFORMING GRACE. With the glory of God filling the earth, there will come also the destruction of all the myriad citadels of sin and vice and crime. As that glorious Sun of Righteousness forces its healing rays into the various dens of iniquity, the hells of this world, the satanic darkness of these rendezvous of evil will give place to the glorious enlightenment of the NEW DAY.

There will not be a nook or corner in the earth where the light from that glorious Sun will not penetrate. The warmth of its healing rays will pervade the slums of our great cities and radiate into the institutions of suffering which we call hospitals. The prospect for the suffering peoples of earth is truly a marvelous one. It has been well said that the hopes of the world are as bright as the promises of God, and these are very bright indeed. And not only bright, but sure. How glad we are to know that the limited scope of God's Kingdom in the earth today is not the end of the matter! And how blessed we are with the knowledge that the Christ does not arise to destroy the earth, but to bless the people with peace, health, provision and life, and that through the powerful agencies of His Kingdom He will fulfill all the grand promises of sages and prophets, that all the families of the earth shall truly be blessed.

And more from Preston Eby.  The following excerpt is from THE KINGDOM OF GOD series....The Increase of the Kingdom 

“Truly we see that the Lord shall have an army of Light-bearers. Words cannot describe the acts and supernatural wonders that God will yet perform. It is your opportunity among that called remnant to stand among the number of this great army. Your life may have had many trials, testings, and hardships, you may be old and sickly, but if you believe that God has prepared you with all these exercises in order that you may stand in this hour, then nothing is impossible unto you. You have undergone a life training for such a time as this, so spend your time wisely now until that moment...”

About using time wisely...I am trying, yet sometimes the pressure of that flies in the face of the Power of Now way of thinking.  It simply encourages the "shoulda's."  You know, as the day is drawing to a close and a whole flock of things you "shoulda" done flood your head...and they bring along with them regret and guilt.  Perhaps, dwelling in the present moment (as Eckhart...and many others...teach), listening for the still, small voice to guide our actions and interactions is the only way to spend our time wisely.  Shrug. 

Saturday, January 10, 2009

There is a balance...

My friend annie says that we are the Infinite individualized. Keith has often used the phrase that there is a balance in things...
The balance in the Christ as us/in us teachings?  I think we have to remember that we are not all of God...but that he is the essence of us.  If we don't acknowledge this spirit within us, like the poor mistaken bird in the story below we will never soar.  However, we must remember that in him we live and move and have our being.  If we get too "uppity" and forget that it is he who sustains us, fuels us, forms our life's essence then I think the inevitable outcome is that we fall.  He truly is the air beneath our wings.  He upholds us with his right hand...because we are his offspring.....

A man found an eagle's egg and put it in a nest of a barnyard hen. The eaglet hatched with the brood of chicks and grew up with them. All his life the eagle did what the barnyard chicks did, thinking he was a barnyard chicken. He scratched the earth for worms and insects. He clucked and cackled. And he would thrash his wings and fly a few feet into the air.

Years passed and the eagle grew very old. One day he saw a magnificent bird above him in the cloudless sky. It glided in graceful majesty among the powerful wind currents, with scarcely a beat of its strong golden wings.

The old eagle looked up in awe. "Who's that?" he asked.

"That's the eagle, the king of the birds," said his neighbor. "He belongs to the sky. We belong to the earth--we're chickens."

So the eagle lived and died a chicken, for that's what he thought he was.
From the book Awareness, by Anthony de Mello, S.J.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Yet Ever Distinct....

On Emerging Universalist, on a thread called Jesus and Buddhism..which evolved into a discussion of chirst in us/as us...someone posted the following quote that I thought succinctly explained the concept that God is all of us, but individually (or corporately) we are not all of God.

each is as a-hair on the skin of Dog*,
not all that Dog* is... but... completely Dog*.

Yep..well said, samuel. 

Sometimes, I get this little check in my spirit at the "we are god" teachings.  A few times, I have been at praise and worship services where we were encouraged to substitute OUR name in place of God's name in some of the songs.   Ahhhhh...that just does not feel right.  I get a huge check in my spirit about that.I am a hair on the skin of Dog....but not all that Dog is.  And when I sing praises to my heavenly father, I don't feel as if I should stick my name alongside his if I deserve that same level of glory.  Nope. Just does not feel right. 

I think a lot of the "Christ as us" teachings over estimate our worth...our level of "godhood."

Don't you think that God is an entity/being/force outside of us that is not limited to what is in humanity?  If I look out at the is God.  I feel Him all around the air I breath.  He encompasses me.   I know He is not a bearded guy in the sky, but I don't think all that he is is contained in humanity.  Like Stacey Wood's analogy of the ocean and the glass of ocean water.  Everything that is in that glass is "ocean" but it is not THE ocean.  I've been rereading some of Eckhart Tolle's writings again and in the first few pages of The Power of Now there were two quotes similar to this.....

On page 15 it says:

There is an eternal, ever present One Life beyond the myriad forms of life that are subject to birth and death.  Many people use the word God to describe it; I often call it Being.  The word Being explains nothing, but nor does God.  Being, however, has the advantage that it is an open concept.  It does not reduce the infinite invisible to a finite entity. It is impossible to form a mental image of it. 

To me, when we limit the totality of God to his manifestation in humanity we are making him into a finite entity.  Some of the websites I have visited lately seem to say God exists only in the portion of himself that he deposited in humanity.  There is no God outside of us.  I don't think I agree with that, because to me he seems so much more.  Infinite and endless. 

And on page 21 where Eckhart is discussing catching glimpses of this Presence within he says this:

And yet this is not a selfish, but a selfless state.  It takes you beyond what you previously thought of as "your self."  That presence is essentially you and at the same time inconceivably greater than you. 

I am still at the level of God as Father...greater than me...greater than the sum of his spirit in humanity....immeasurable, mind blowing, yet infinitely personal and closer than breath....all the while being omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient and what was the other omni someone coined....onmicapable????

A few posts ago I mentioned a web site with comparisons of sacred writings from many different religions listed topically, I came upon the following verse....

Why do you go to the forest in search of God?
He lives in all and is yet ever distinct;
He abides with you, too,
As a fragrance dwells in a flower,
And reflection in a mirror;
So does God dwell inside everything;
Seek Him, therefore, in your heart.

9. Sikhism. Adi Granth, Dhanasri, M.9, p. 684

He lives in all and is yet ever distinct...yep, that sums it up well, don't you think?  

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

You'll Never Be The Way You Should Be????

Yesterday, my friend Dena, posted a link to a Brennan Manning video on You Tube.  I knew of Brennan Manning...knew he wrote a book called The Ragamuffin Gospel...associated him (rightly or wrongly) in my mind with the emergent church movement and just kind of felt that he seems to be the kind of guy who might hang out with Philip Yancey. 

I loved this video...right until the very final sentence when he should have kept on talking.  He should have added something like...

....until you allow my spirit to permeate your being and from the inside out I will guide you back to how "you should be"...or in the words of a Linda Musgrove song...called "I'll Take You Back"

I'll take you back to where you were in me before the fall of man. 

I'll restore your soul, I'll reconcile your heart

I'll give you back your true identity. 

I'm removing the veil from your eyes

So that you can clearly see

You will be with me in paradise

On this earth you'll walk with me.....

And you most definitely will be "as you should be." Trust me. 

There are several other Brennan Manning videos that can be accessed from this video. (you know how YouTube lists related videos off to the right) There are also links to videos declaring that Brennan Manning is proclaiming a false an angel of light...wolf in sheep's clothing etc. etc. Quite a few other preacher/teachers fit into this category...and there are videos to "prove it."  Joyce Meyer's, Joel Olsteen, Mother Teresa....and the list goes on.  Even Billy Graham.  Especially Billy Graham. There was a video called Why Billy Graham is Going To Hell.  Self described as an:

Excerpt from the sermon preached by Pastor Steven L Anderson at Faithful Word Baptist Church in Phoenix, AZ, independent, fundamental, soul-winning, King James Bible preaching.

Boy oh boy...makes me want to high tail it to Phoenix to get me some of that independent, fundamental, soul-winning, King James Bible preaching.  Guess You Tube will just have to do in the meantime.

There are also links to quite a few John MacArthur videos.  I was exposed to a lot of his teachings back in the days of being a newbie Christian...a free spirit in a very conservative reformed, Calvinistic church.  Not a good fit. 

I know his teachings are Calvinistic... which makes me wonder about the video where he promotes a book he authored called Safe In The Arms of God which espouses the view that all babies go to heaven.  Perhaps he disagrees with the father of Calvinism himself who declares:

 "There are babies a span long in hell."

There are a lot videos from his appearances on The Larry King Show.  Among them is a video where he twists the gospel to defend the war in Iraq, explains why homosexuality destroys families and explains the "true gospel."

I don't not like John MacArthur...although I would like to mess up his perfectly coiffed hair a bit.  I know he has spent his life as a teacher/preacher.  How can he so miss the mark?  What makes the videos I mention above (and provide links to) worth watching are the opposing opinions of other guests on the show with him...and just the "you've got to be kidding" factor...the check in one's spirit upon hearing some of the ludicrous things he proclaims as truth.  My advice...stick with Brennan Manning or the many other teachers who have a clue to the heart of God and the magnitude of the true gospel. 

Sunday, January 4, 2009

People of the Pebbles....

I keep stealing these catchy titles from the articles I stumble upon during my web excursions....

I owe the title of this one to Neale Donald Walsch.  There was an email in my inbox this morning announcing a one day seminar...too far away and too expensive for me to attend but it motivated me to poke around his website.  I happened upon the "Free Resources" and from there, the free E-book called The Holy Experience.  What I have read thus far is way cool...and the following quote taken from the book jumped out at me.  It seems to address, indirectly perhaps, how our day to day experiences and behavior can move mountains.  They can be the catalyst, the leaven, the beginning of the long process where swords are beaten into plowshares, and spears into pruning hooks.  Yes, indeed, my behavior at the grocery store can be a small part of that process.  An excerpt from the book follows:

It is easier to experience Reunion with God on an individual basis than it is collectively. That is because it takes a great deal more energy to alter Collective Consciousness than it does to alter Individual Consciousness. Yet Collective Consciousness can be altered when the alteration of Individual Consciousness reaches critical mass. When sufficient individual energies are lifted, the entire mass is elevated to a new level. The work of Conscious Evolution, therefore, is the work of changing consciousness at the individual level. That is why every effort to do so is critical.

Every individual undertaking, every individual thought, word, or action which leads to the transformation of the Self and to the lifting of any other being, is of extraordinary importance. It is not necessary to move mountains to move mountains. It is necessary only to move pebbles. We must become People of the Pebbles.

We must do our work on a person-to-person basis. Then we shall move mountains. Then the mightiest obstacles shall crumble, and the way shall be made clear.

So let us undertake to deeply understand, on an individual level (and then to demonstrate on an individual level) how and why it is possible for The Divine to want nothing for Itself, and to seek only to distribute.  

The book also deals with the Christ in You/As You theme.  I may write more about that later when the whizzing thoughts congeal into something I can articulate, summarize in a blog post and slap a catchy title on....

In the meantime, I wrote a post about Neale Walsch a while back entitled What Would Love Do Now?  It occurs to me what an effective mission statement/guiding principle that question might be.  It might help us to discern which pebbles to move where....when....and how. 

Also, check out his website, Conversations With God.  There you will find the link to the free resources section where the book, A Holy Experience, resides.  You do have to register to access the free resources, but the process is quick...just your email and name if I recall.  There is also a link to his blog on Beliefnet. 

Have a great day!!!!