Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Back to Reality...

I started this yesterday morning...but have been having some trouble getting back into the swing of things...and so....a day and a half later it is still in draft form. After a quick sprucing up, I am going to post it and then be on my way, here, there and everywhere to pick up/drop off/ and pick the girls up again.  Back to reality.....and......

Back to work today after ten days off. ….ugh. To say I would much rather stay home is an understatement!! Kind of ironic since the book I chose to take to read on the plane(s) was by Max Lucado….The Cure For the Everyday Life. Max’s point was that we all have a sweet spot…which is where God intends for us to live and work. Like all Max Lucado books, I found a lot to be edified by. I marked passages that struck me…quotes and ideas that I will probably write about in tomorrow’s post. We’ll see. Nothing like that is ever a sure thing, though, since so often something else swoops in and carries off my focus.

Today, though, I am going to post a quick summary of the trip (because I have to get ready for work in just 15 minutes…oh, say it ain’t so!!!!)

We arrived in Corpus Christi on Sunday evening…flew out Friday at noon. We spent about a day in San Antonio (from 2ish on Tuesday to 2ish on Wednesday) where we, of course, toured the Alamo and the Riverwalk. So cool. So very cool. We ate Mexican food at Casa Rio…the oldest restaurant on the Riverwalk. Neither of us is particularly fond of Mexican cuisine but we ended up there anyway. From where I was sitting, I literally could have stuck my foot in the water with minimal stretching. Several ducks swam nearby…no doubt waiting for the inevitable floating nacho chip.

On Wednesday, on a whim, after a quick google query, we decided to check out one of the missions on the San Antonio Mission Trail. There were five missions (including the Alamo) that were built in the early 1700’s by Franciscan missionaries….to “save” the natives (convert them to Catholocism) and to colonize the area for Spain. Supposedly, a large part of their purpose was humanitarian.

The natives were in the midst of a drought….people were starving. The missionaries promised to teach them a trade (blacksmith, stone mason etc) and how to grow their own food. The natives were hunter-gatherers and didn’t grow any of their food but lived off the land. Sometimes this worked. Sometimes this didn’t. Whether the Franciscan’s methods and their purpose were noble…and whether they were kind to the natives is debatable. Some sites I read depicted the Franciscan priests who ran the missions in a negative light…but I didn’t get that feeling from the visit to the mission.

Our guide was a retired nurse, single, full time RVer…a volunteer guide… very knowledgeable and full of so much information she got frustrated trying to convey it all. She followed us around a bit after the tour, talking…answering some of our questions. She told us that the Franciscans were very protective of the Indians. The trades they taught them seemed to stick. The farming methods seemed to stick….but as far as their conversion to Catholicism, long term…not so much. She said the Indians slipped back into the spirituality of their own cultural. This makes me believe that the emphasis was more on helping than converting.

I was so taken by the first mission we visited (San Jose) that we went on to visit all four of them. Conception, San Juan, Espada….each with their particular history and personality. All four have active parishes. The churches were open to tour at all four missions.

Even though the Catholic Church is a bit too ritualized for me, there is a certain awe about standing in a church where people have worshiped for three centuries.

The churches were all fairly small…and very quiet. I think that if we lived in that area, I might visit the sanctuaries once in a while…just to sit there in the hushed quiet.

Very cool… the day we toured the Missions was probably my favorite part of the trip ….

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Spiritual Dictionary

On a site called Jesus Religion, I came across a work in progress….a dictionary with spiritual definitions of kingdom terms. The site seems to focus on the Christ in you/as you theme. Most of the articles urge us to look within to find God. The dictionary reflects that way of seeing things. A few of the definitions that caught my eye…..

Born-again - A change in perspective that occurs when one begins to believe that he (or she) may be able to hear God for himself (or herself) and begins looking anew inwardly to the leading of the Holy Spirit, and no longer outwardly for truth.

Christ - God and man operating as One.

Crucify - to kill the idea of God and man operating as One.

Fallen - to speak, act or operate as led by the carnal mind and five senses...contrary to being enlightened, which is to speak, act or operate through the leading of the Holy Spirit from within the person.

Forgiveness - to let go and be released from the bondage of the past and live in the now.

Heaven - the "higher" place; the realm of spirit.

Hell - the state of mind believing it is separate from God and others; trapped in beliefs contrary to truth on either side of the

Now - Today.  What truly exists, exists Now, or Today.  The Past no longer exists and the Future is not in existence; to live in the Past or Future is to be bound in illusion.  What is true and eternal exists Today...Now and always will.

Religion - man's (or another's) false beliefs and teachings regarding God and His relationship with mankind; appears as truth, but is the "broad way which leads unto destruction."

Satan - "adversary;" anything contrary to truth, but specifically the mind of man as led by the physical realm through the five senses

World - from the greek word "kosmos," from which we get the word "cosmetic."  An illusion.  A covering which "masks" the truth.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Whirlwind Bible Tour...

Keith and I arrived home from our Corpus Christ/San Antonio vacation in the wee hours of the morning. I slept until 9 am...very late for me....and have not done a whole lot since then. I've caught up on a few things but have mostly just hung out here at home today.  I haven't posted in a few days so I am bringing this post out of the queue...

I came across a most unusual site...even considering that I am always coming across a lot of "most unusual sites."  This particular one is called The Whirlwind Bible Tour. It's a bit hard to describe really.  The author of the site says it is:

A whimsically humorous and brief overview of the Bible.

It is a summarized, satirical, tongue in cheek, tad bit irreverent look at the Bible...complete with illustrations that illuminate, poke fun at, get to the gist of the Bible.  It's table of contents on the main page are as follows...

Earth: The Early Years
Introduction - Genesis 3

My World's Fallen And I Can't Get Up!
Genesis 4 - Genesis 50

Moses: The Great Escape
Exodus - Deuteronomy

War And Peace (Repeat)
Joshua - 1 Kings

Decline And Fall Of The Israeli Empire
2 Kings - Malachi

Jesus People: The Early Years
Between the Testaments - The New Testament

Check it out for a most unusual summary of the Bible.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


It doesn't seem like it was 2002 when "Jesus" appeared on the cover of Popular Mechanics.  I vaguely remember seeing this picture on TV...based on the work of a forensic anthropologist named Richard Neave.  I came across it again while looking for pictures of the Last Supper for my last post.

I've looked at this picture of Jesus for a long time...thinking about him at the Tomb of Lazarus, with the demoniac, and the cripple at the pool at Bethesda, writing in the sand, sitting by the well.  I kind of like this Jesus. 

Of course, it is not an actual depiction of him...but rather...similar to what he probably looked like, based on the appearance of other men in that same time period, a typical Galilean Semite....who was probably about 5'1" tall and weighted about 110 pounds. Perhaps Jesus was a little guy?  I'm not sure how I feel about a Jesus that is smaller than me.  Which is the title of an article I came across on Dad's Day Off - Non Orthodox Biblical Christian Truth. (Interesting site)

Are You Prepared To Bow Down
Before This 5' 1" Man
As Your Lord?


If Jesus did look a lot like this (and I think he did) it does go to show that God does not need a glamorous vessel in which to house the fullness of his spirit.  It says in Hebrews that Jesus was like us in every way.  Nothing spectacular on the outside...nothing to differentiate him from all the other disciples (isn't that why Judas had to point him out to the Roman soldiers?  Because his appearance was strikingly similar to the rest of the disciples?) When I think about Jesus, I'm going to conjure up this image in my mind.  He looks real to me.  Familiar....just like one of us. 


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Artwork of the Last Supper (and other basically unrelated web travels and life tales....)

"But I digress" would be a good title for this post.  First of all, in the original post, the introduction strayed from the main topic, meandereing here and there before getting to the point.  In other words, making "a short story long."  

And now I am going to further digress by mentioning that we are in downtown San Antonio..at a Red Roof Inn.  We spent the day here yesterday (first time for me) checking out the Alamo, the Riverwalk (wow...that is so nice) and taking the trolleys here and there to get an overview of the city.  Besides that...everyone was so friendly.  Several times, when we were looking a bit disoriented, the "guides" who wander around downtown offered their help without us even asking.  Several times, passersby overheard our conversations and extended their knowledge of the city.  So friendly!! I was impressed!! 

Today we are hoping to meet up with several people we know from our online life.  And so....since Keith wants to get on with the day, I am going to post something I have in the queue...having nothing to do with the Christmind etc. which is what I have been pondering and musing about lately....


It started out by reading a post from one of the lists about babies in hell…and the utter delight of the saints (the ones who make it to “heaven”) at the plight (and sight) of those who did not make it being tormented in hell. This includes relatives…mother, father, children. After all they deserve it….

I specifically remembered a quote by John Calvin that went something like…there will be babies a span long in hell….and another about the bliss of the saints as they watch the torture of the damned. So I googled it…and the first link took me to a well known, oft visited site called Religious Tolerance. (Great site) and I started clicking around a bit…ending up at the list of reader’s essays. One caught my eye….an essay written about a site dedicated to artwork and writings depicting a gay Jesus. I include the link…but be forwarned..there are some graphic images and links to sites with even more graphic images....some depicting Jesus in ways that kind of make me uncomfortable. 

Some of the links led to sites similar to the gay Jesus theme…some focused more on lesbians….one site had artwork of a black Jesus…and holy family and other related paintings which broadened my horizons concerning how Jesus might have looked. Very interesting site…worth a visit. But there were two sites that stood out.

The first site, which I intend to write about in my next post, was a medical anthropologist's scientific re-creation of the face of Christ. I vaguely remember this being in the news a while back, but I didn’t pay much attention to it. More about that…and my thoughts about it…in a yet to come (hopefully tomorrow) post.

The second site that captured my attention (in a good way…not in a squeamish kind of “that borders on blasphemy” way) had a picture of the Last Supper…painted from an historical perspective. How it would have really been at the last supper…with women and children there. Does is say anywhere is scripture that there were not women and children there? Scripture focuses on the disciples, of course, but perhaps the women and children were simply not mentioned? I don’t know…but something to ponder. The painting is by Bohdan Piasecki











And I came across some other really interesting artist depictions of the Last Supper….














By El Greco













By Anthony Falbo















From the Rolin Kocsis studio




I don't have the artist's name for this one.  Anybody know?

These pictures enlarge my thoughts about the Last Supper...

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

More on the Christmind....

As far as I can tell, this is a transcript of a Joel Goldsmith class Reality and Illusion – Questions from Joel’s students). I saved several quotes from the writing (which someone posted on a Sacred Cow Tippers.) Joel is referred to in the third person..so I don’t think he was present at the class. I could be wrong. If anyone wishes to clarify, please feel free to comment. I thought these snippets fit with the christ in us/as us theme.

…… the more we live in the Christ-Mind, the more that false sense of mind is dissolved and these things do stop coming.

if we are not living in our Christhood, if we are not listening to the inner voice, we have only one other choice and that is listening to the human mind.

it is a matter of attaining a depth of inner awareness, an awareness that expresses itself not so much in words as in feelings.

…….Spirit cannot be seen with the eyes. The eyes must be closed to the objects of sense so that we can inwardly behold God's creation. You see we need a new pair of glasses, don't we? We need to see with the new vision, a new faculty, something that has nothing to do with our five physical senses, another sense.

These quotes do not really tell us HOW to live in our Christhood…or how to attain this depth of inner awareness….only that it exists and that we can get there.

And as a side note, a comment this that we might all be wise to heed.

I write things in pencil because I never know when they are going to be changed. I quit using pen. I leave the roof off for guidance and direction

Monday, March 23, 2009

We're On Vacation!!

It's been 8 years since Keith and I have taken a real, actual vacation...involving air travel and a destination farther away than four or five hour's drive from Williamsport. We've gone to a five day conference in Berkley  Springs, West Virginia...at the home church of Lynn Hiles...for the past four years.  It has always been a time of blessing.  We meet new friends and reconnected with old friends. We've made various trips to Ontario to visit Keith's family since he moved to the states.  We've gone to Ellwood City (ooooh...big metropolis of Ellwood City) to visit my mom. 

But we have not had a real vacation for about 8 years This is not because Keith hasn't wanted to.  He has tried to convince me for most of those 8 years to take a real vacation.  A cruise?  A trip to Vegas?  Oh...the expense...the kids...but most of all, I am a homebody. 

This year when it was time for him to book his vacations for the year, he mentioned that we needed to plan a real vacation. I shrugged...okay...let's do it. We initially pondered driving to visit my dad in Florida...taking the girls..going to Disneyland but plans fell through...and we opted instead, to leave the girls behind and come to visit a long time (though far away) friend of Keith's in Corpus Christi, TX.

We started the journey at 3 am from Williamsport...3 flights and 12 hours later we ended up at the Corpus Christi airport.  Geoffrey and Katherine have opened their home to us whole heartedly.  We went on a condensed tour of the area. Omg..it is beautiful.  And some of the homes on the bay are breathtaking.  A spanish hacienda look...but some (most)  were huge...with clay roofs.  Simply amazing that anyone has the money to live in one of those homes.  Today we are going to see the Lexington, and the local aquarium and some more sightseeing.  Actually, Keith and Geoffrey are making plans for the day.  I am in a really cool place.  The NOW. 

I was in the NOW most of the day yesterday.  I will admit that air travel had me a bit lost in the  egoic, fearful..."oh my God, we're all going to die" mindset.  And it did surprise me (and not in a good way) when we went out to board the first plane and it was a little dinky thing...with propellers!!!  Keith (former avid skydiver) said, "I've jumped out of planes bigger than this."  During the actual takeoffs (all three of them), I did focus on the sovereignty of God and his ability to keep the plane in the air. 

For most of the day, though, I was in the NOW.  At home, I am keenly aware of the passing of time (and how I don't seem to have enough of it to complete all my daily duties) I am also in a chronic state of the should's...my mental list of all the things I should be doing.  Some days I don't give myself any peace at all.  My ego is a hard taskmaster. Do this, don't do that, can't you read the signs? 

But yesterday I had no real list of should's.  Well, obviously I knew that we should be at the right gate at the right time...but for the most part, I just kind of went with the flow...since there was really nothing else I could do but go with the flow.  I observed the people, checked out the shops, took in the sights at four airports (Houston was by far the worst of the four) And when our final flight into Corpus Christi was delayed three hours, it was like...oh well.  I'll just look at the people...observe the spring breakers returning home...watch the families traveling with (melting down) kids....find a plug somewhere...plop down on the floor and pull out the lap top.  (No wifi at Houston unless you were willing to pay 7.95 for the day...which I was not because there was a possibility the delay might be shorter) Being present.  It was great.  It was tiring, the day was long, but it was great.  Almost like a release from the clutches of my egoic mind. 

Tolle says that if we become aware that we are lost in our thoughts and catch the ego in the act, at that moment, we are present.  I do this often throughout the day...in my every day life...but I don't stay there.  Yesterday, more often than not, I remained there.  Present.  Not always thrilled with what was happening in the present...but I was there...in the NOW....and accepting of it.  Not fighting against it...but rather working with it.

It was really cool...and I see now it is an important aspect of vacations.  To get out of the every day, every way grind of daily life and get out of the egoic mindset. 

Now the trick is to learn how to live like that at work, at home, toting the girls here and there, at the grocery store.  Living in the NOW.  Once you have a taste of it and recognize it, that is a place you want to dwell.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Oh Wretched Man That I Am!!

In ANE Eckhart Tolle talks about several authors that he thinks brilliantly convey the dilemma of human existence (Franz Kafka, Albert Camus, TS Eliot and James Joyce)

He thinks that because they they felt it deeply within themselves they were able to brilliantly convey it in their writing. Unfortunately these writers do not offer a solution.  He says:

“Their contribution is to show us a reflection of the human predicament so that we can see it more clearly. “

“To see one’s predicament clearly is a first step toward going beyond it.”

In Weeds Among the Wheat, Thomas H. Green says:

The first step toward becoming free for God is the realization of how unfree we are.

I know another author who expresses the plight of mankind brilliantly. Paul seemed to have a first hand understanding of mankind’s predicament. He talked about it in Romans

But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me.

And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.

So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.

Oh wretched man that I am!! Who will save me from this body of death?

Is that one of the first milestones on the road to Christlikeness? To realize what He is and what we (in our egoic/adamic state)…are not? To cry out……who will save me? And finally to come to realize that we have the Christ living within us. We have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit whose job it is to convict. To convict the world of sin…and to convict of righteousness.

Doesn’t scripture proclaim that we are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. Isn’t that what we are?

So what is this other force, being, thing, power within us?

On a yahoo 360 blog called Josego, I came across a quote that I liked…and saved:

It was then that I found that the devil is in everyone embodied as their pain-body. The ego is a force to be reckoned with.

Ah-ha! The pain-body and the egoic mind (carnal mind/adamic man/flesh/unregenerated/old man) resides in all of us. Eckhart says that the pain-body is not only our own accumulation of unresolved emotions and pain lying in wait to be set off..…but that there is a sort of corporate pain body we are born with. Sound a bit like original sin?

While many authors down through history may have a handle on mankind’s dilemma, and along with Paul are able to express it and expose it, Paul goes a step farther and boldly proclaims the answer. And the answer is Christ…..

Thursday, March 19, 2009

A Different Sense of Self...

Someone on one of the e-groups where I hang out, posted a devotional by Richard Rohr. There are three or four someones who regularly post thoughts from his daily devotionals…the ones that they think are particularly edifying. The recent one was on contemplative prayer….but it also addresses this christ in us/as us theme.

He says:

Paul uses that wonderful phrase, “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20). It is a different sense of self. I think until I have come to that realization, I have not been transformed.

Contemplative prayer draws us to our true self. This is the only self that’s ever existed. We came forth from God and our deepest DNA is divine. We are not human beings trying to become spiritual, we are already spiritual beings and the profound question is how to be human. I believe that is why Jesus came as a human being.

from Contemplative Prayer

Richard Rohr

I guess I never thought of it from that angle…that Jesus came as a human being, in part, to show us how to be human. Not a carnal human….not flesh ruled by the egoic mind…but as the new creation man ….an expression of the divine here in the temporal realm. The hybrid….a term I borrowed from Ron on Gary Sigler’s H2H message board. I wrote a post about it a while back.

So…we are originally spiritual beings whom God lowered into the physical realm….as humans. Why? There must be something about being human…something about the conjoining of spirit man and human man that will bring about an end result that God desires. I don’t know the answers…but it does not stop me from musing about it.

The line about a "different sense of self" is also intriguing. It goes along with what Eckhart talks about...not living out of the egoic nature but rather basking in the Presence..or...to put it more biblically....walking in the spirit.   

Gary Sigler says this:

We were created to be full of the glory of God and to be the manifestation of God on the earth. That was God’s original purpose for man. God wanted a body through which to express Himself. He wanted to experience all the different aspects of life that He could bring forth, so He created man and then breathed His life into that body.

Francois du Tuit says it puts it this way….

Not a saved man and a glorious God. But man fused into God and God fused into man, one divine creation. One in heart, one in mind, one in soul, you and God as one.

Still musing….

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Mark Siljander

I don’t have much time this morning…because….well, because, I’ve spent too much time clicking links and reading snippets…a web journey instigated by the very first email I read (out of the 604 emails that are cramming my aol mailbox to bursting!!!) Dena posted the conversation from an interview with Mark Siljander, a friend of hers…congressman…former fundamentalist, who because of a series of events was challenged to take a closer look at the "arch enemies" of the United States and Christianity. Muslims.

After looking into it...reading the Quran, praying about it and thinking it through, he came to a different conclusion entirely. The following excerpt from the interview was my favorite part. I’ve read it before via a Dena post….but it is rather eye opening.

MARK: Before I read the Quran, I was told that it talks about Jesus. Here’s how much I knew: I said, “Oh, that’s BS. The Quran doesn’t mention Jesus.”

Then, I went and bought an edition of the Quran and I was blown away. It talks about Jesus more than 100 times..

DAVID: In the book, you’ve got a terrific chapter about how you’ve now taken this message back to evangelical Christians. It’s late in the book and you describe addressing an audience of 150 pastors and missionaries “gathered for a conference in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, all waiting to hear what I had to say about Islam. It was no mystery to me what they were expecting me to say: Islam is of the devil, a pernicious corruption of faith that is bent on destruction of everything we believe in.”
MARK: That’s right. And I said to them: “Do you mind if I open with some passages from the holy book?

And they called out, “Oh, yes!”
I began saying, “Jesus is the Messiah.”
They said: “Amen!”
I said, “Jesus is sinless, supernaturally conceived through a virgin named Mary by the spirit of God. He is the word of God. He heals the sick and the blind. He can even raise the dead.”
They got all wound up. They were shouting: “Hallelujah!”
And I said: “Jesus was taken up by God and he’s coming back on Judgment Day.”
They were going: “Amen! Amen!”
Then, I said, “These are all words from the Quran.”
DAVID: What happened?
MARK: The place went from a holy ruckus to a silence so complete that you could have heard a pin drop.

If you would like to read the entire interview, I found it, via google on a site called Read the Spirit. Really cool site…and the links I found there are the links I’ve been clicking. There you will find not only the interview but links to Mark Siljander info…to his book, A Deadly Misunderstanding, to a page about him on Wikipedia, his consulting firm and even a link to his very conservative evangelical church. Plus there is a lot of other stuff on the site about interfaith dialouge and associated topics. But I don’t have time for a lengthier discourse. I’ve got to hit the shower (twenty minutes later than I should) and get ready for work!!!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Christ In All Y'all

It was probably about twelve or so years ago when I moved to Nashville from Cleveland, Ohio. Culture shock, for sure. I remember that Matt needed a new pair of sneakers to start kindergarten so shortly after we arrived (like the next morning) we hit the nearest Kid’s Footlocker. The clerk was very nice, young, blond and very cute. She said his name....


with a drawn out southern twang the kids had never heard before….at least not in real life, up close, in person. It tickled them.

We soon learned all about the standard southern phrases. There was “hose pipe” instead of garden hose. "Reckon" for I suppose. "Fooler" instead of pacifier. “Fixin’ to” replaced I’m going to. “What do you lack” rather than what do you need.

I worked at Shoney’s for a while…supplementing the family income…where I got quite a bit of exposure to people from all walks of southern life. I single handedly brewed and sweetened enough tea to fill a small lake. Southerners love their sweet tea!!! Once I was taken aback when asked….”what kind of coke do you have?” Well, ahhhhh….”diet coke, cherry coke and coke classic?????” Not the right answer. You see, every carbonated beverage can rightfully be referred to as “coke” in the south. Not sure why that is but it includes sprite, 7-up, mountain dew, etc, etc, etc. Even pepsi fits in the category of “coke.”

And then there’s the infamous y’all...which everyone knows is the singular form of “all y’all.

To clarify….

-In the South, y’all is singular .... All y’all is plural.

And to prove that my mind works in odd ways….somehow I remembered that phrase and it occurred to me that it too (like the Popeye thing) fits with this theme I’ve been exploring. And that while many Christians (from the north as well as the south) don’t usually have a problem with Christ in y’all (singular) they start to balk about Christ in all y’all….as in everybody, everywhere…from sea to shining sea and beyond.

In a message called, Absolute Truth, Gary Sigler talks about the Christ in y’all…and, he talks about the Christ in all y’all. He says…..

Now Jesus is the head of the body but the mystery of Christ is that Christ is a corporate and Christ always has been and always will be. That is the real Melchizadec priesthood. To come into the understanding that I had no beginning of days or end of life. That's who you are. And when you begin to have a revelation of being the Christ on this earth, and begin to focus all that you are on that absolute truth, and refuse to look at your failings. Refuse to hide from them but don't focus on them because the more you focus on your weakness, your hang-ups, your inabilities the more they will become real in your life.

He says that regeneration occurs when….

you begin to hear the wonderful works of God

and are told that

you have the beautiful substance of the almighty God buried deep within you…even though you may not know it yet.

The result? That seed will be quickened and the process of regeneration will begin. Christ in y’all….Christ in ALL y’all. Isn’t that what Paul calls the “hope of glory?

To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me.

Monday, March 16, 2009

You Can't See the Bruises....

I am going to wrap up the series of posts I started last week (?) on words that edify and words that don't....perhaps picking it up at a later date.  I had pondered on delving into it a bit more, but for now I think I will focus my (somewhat flighty) attention on other topics...such as musing about the Christ within and how to find him.

At the opposite end of the spectrum of words that affirm are the words that tear down. I’ve been hit with that club a few times and I'm pretty sure I’ve hit with that club a few times. And there is no doubt about it….words can hurt just as much as a fist. No bruises you say?

A few years ago, I picked up a well worn copy of The Toxic Parent at a used book store. One of the chapters was titled “The Bruises Are On The Inside.” Ahhhh, yes….I’ve had a few of those on the inside bruises. I am pretty sure that, even though I am not a toxic parent, I have left a few of those invisible to the eye bruises on my kids. In the heat of the moment…ticked off by something they said or did….either on purpose or unawares. I wish I could always behave like Olivia Walton… but that is not happening anytime soon…..

Just ask my kids :) 

Sunday, March 15, 2009

I Yam What I Yam...

While pondering this stuff the other day, one of the lines Popeye is famous for popped into my thoughts without warning. Hmmmmm….that would make a good title for a blog post thought I. And the more I mulled it over, the more it seemed to fit into this overall scheme of posts…this carnal vs spirit stuff. What’s that? Who is Popeye, you ask? Who is Popeye the Sailorman??? Oh my. Robin Williams and Shelly Long did a remake of the cartoon classic a while back (in the late 80’s perhaps??) but it paled in comparison to the entertainment value of the real Popeye pictured below…..

I yam what I yam

And did you catch that line?

I yam what I yam.

In the cartoons, Popeye went on to say….

and that’s all that I am.

Perhaps for Popeye…since he is simply a character that began as a figment of someone’s imagination. Being a cartoon, he is probably accurate in declaring “I yam what I yam and that’s all that I yam” but don’t we say that too? Okay….we probably don’t actually say “yam” but when we look in the mirror don’t we often forget that there is more to us than meets the eye…more than our reflection staring back at us? Along with Popeye, don’t we ask ourselves

If I'm not me, who am I? And if I'm somebody else, why do I look like me? (another Popeye quote)

Scripture is very clear that there is an essence within us….ALL of us….that is far more than the reflection in the mirror.

Popeye had another quote he was well known for (other than the stuff about spinach…although he usually said this right before he downed the can of spinach)

I've had all I can stand, cuz I can't stands no more!

Eckhart said that very thing to himself…worded a little differently (and probably with a bit of a German accent). On the night his awakening overtook him, he was pondering suicide and declared….I can’t live with myself anymore. And it dawned on him that there were two of him. One was the pushy, bossy, outspoken egoic mind…the one he believed himself to be….and the other one…..the spirit within. Perhaps one of the catalysts for awakening….for finding the other nature within us….for nurturing the other nature within us is when we finally get fed up with things and declare

I've had all I can stand, I can't stands no more!

Perhaps then we are ready to be led by the Holy Spirit into all truth. Just like Jesus promised!!!!

More to follow!!!!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Pending Ponderings....

I’ve had this series in mind for a while. It is a logical place to go…considering the people I’ve been hanging out with and the stuff I’ve been reading (not the least of which is the New Testament) Eckhart Tolle, Preston Eby, Gary Sigler. I’ve listened to a lot of Gary Sigler’s stuff lately. His message is so balanced. I don’t find much to disagree with when I listen to Gary Sigler.

So….what is this series that has been steeping in my head, heart and spirit for a while. It is the mystery of the Christ in you…in me…in us. And if our true identity is the Christ then who, pray tell, is this other guy…the adamic/carnal man, the flesh, the egoic mind that we cling to thinking he is us? Is any part of our egoic mind us? Is trying to totally rid ourselves of ego a bit like throwing the baby out with the bathwater? Is there anything of our essence that remains when we awaken, reach enlightenment? Why did God make us each unique if his purpose was to mold/meld/form us into one essence without any difference or variation? That could not have been his purpose…that we end up back as one big God blob.

Yet, there are clear verses in scripture that declare we are to cast off the old man and put on the new. How exactly does one do that? I’ve read some stuff that declares if we simply realize we are not the old guy, we will begin to live out of that nature. Sounds good to me in theory…but even though I know it, I’m not really living it.

I’ve also read some stuff that declares the road to the new man…to becoming like Christ….is fraught with pain and suffering. I came across a website the other day that listed all the verses to support that. Preston Eby declares the same thing (along with quite a few other kingdom teachers) At one point in my Christian walk that really got me fired up....and not in a good way. Eckhart says that suffering is only necessary until we realize it is not necessary. Sort of like the writing by Khalil Gibran

Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses
your understanding.
Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its
heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain

So could pain and suffering be optional? Could we lessen its severity by not struggling so much against it? Buddhism teaches that a big part of suffering is because we cling to this world of form. I don’t know…at least at this point. Hopefully when this series is done (which could be 5 posts or it could be many more….or it could fizzle at one or two) I will have a clearer understanding.

Just know that I am musing here. This does not all have to fit together into a neat pattern. There are going to be some "what if’s" and some "yes, but’s."

You are cordially invited to join me.

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Power of the Tongue

This got me thinking (uh-oh) about the huge potential I have to affect people with my words. Do I use them to build up and bless…or do I use them to tear down and hurt? A little of both I guess. I have three kids…a husband…I talk to people all day long, every day at work.

You know the saying….if you don’t have something nice to say….clap the trap. The Bible even addresses the potential of the tongue to wield life…or to wield death. The power of life and death is in the tongue. Whoa….that really puts the snide remark or the snippy response into perspective.

And we don’t just talk to others….we talk to ourselves too!! Eckhart would tell us that this is the consequence of living in a world of duality….egoic mind and the spirit nature having a chat. He often says that his defining moment of awakening occurred when, racked with angst and misery, he declared, "I can't live with myself anymore."  And it suddenly dawned on him that there were two of him!!!  Form and formless. But if we are going to be talking to ourselves anyway…it seems to make the most sense to affirm rather than degrade.  Eckhart also says that if we had to live with someone who talked to us the way we talk to ourselves, we would have long ago, hit the road.

In the book I mentioned yesterday, Sticks and Stones, the author says:

As middle age begins to throw its arms around us, our internal voice tells us to slow down and give up on our dreams. The voice inside our head that once pushed us to try to change the world now screams, "You can't do that now; you are simply too old." The voice usually becomes louder as we hit our senior years. Rather than think with the old, "I think I can" mentality, we tend to say "I wish I could" or even worse, "There's no way"

Even worse….I wish I would have or I should have. The shoulda’, woulda’, coulda’s. They’ll wear you down every time!!!

He talks about Nola Ochs, a 2007 graduate of Fort Hays State University. Lots of 2007 graduates...but she was the only one who was 97 years old!!

Each day she got up believing she could handle whatever life threw at her. Nola had a can do attitude. Many of us (most of us) have a "can't do attitude"

And in her book, Believing God Day By Day by Day Beth Moore she quotes Matthew 12:37

For by your words you will be acquitted and by your words you will be condemned.

And then goes on to say…..

Words wield power. Our words are not omnipotent but they are still potent. We can tear down with our words or build up with our words. We can speak living words or we can speak killing words. We can encourage or we can discourage. The question is not whether our words affect; the question is how.

That is the question du jour….how will our words affect those around us?  How will they affect us.  Will they smite or will they edify? 

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Sticks and Stones.....

The following post has been in the queue…in draft form….for about a week. There are a lot of draft posts in the queue. If I actually write about everything I’ve thought about writing…well, I won’t need to come up with any new ideas for a year or so. Anyway….here is the (edited) post….

Sticks and Stones…

While on this morning’s web trip, I started out reading about Seigfried and Roy…spurred on by watching bits and pieces of a special tribute to them on TV last night. Somehow I ended up at Christianity Today (oh the detours in cyber space!!!) where an ad for a featured book caught my attention…(oh the distractions in cyberspace!!) The book is called Sticks and Stones by Ace Collins

Following are some excerpts from the book:

We live in an era when language is simply tossed about in an unthinking manner or spun to fit an agenda. Though we as individual talk a great deal in person and on cell phones and, thanks to the internet, write more personal and business notes than any previous generation, we don't as carefully consider our choice of words as did people of earlier times. Most of us, including parents, church leaders, CEO's, coaches, and friends, just "shoot from the hip" and do far more damage with our words than we realize. While a word or phrase more carefully chosen might have inspired someone, what we see much more often today is the use of words that hurt and destroy individuals.

Using real life examples, this book presents simple ways in which everyone can make a positive impact with their language. Whether it's in conversations, email, letters, phone calls, thank-you's, and even blogging, you will discover ways to employ words that will change the world.

Hmmmm....did he say blogging??? He estimates that we use about 30,000 words a day….

If you want to make those 30,000 words you use each day count, then this book will help you get more out of the time you spend communicating with others each and every day.

More to follow…..

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Work is love made visible.....

Work is love made visible. —Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

When I came across the quote above, it reminded me of the very popular series of books by Gary Chapman that talk about our “love languages.” This particular quote captured my attention because acts of service along with words of affirmation tie for the lead as my two love languages. Supposedly there is one main language, and then sometimes a secondary language. I would be hard pressed to decide which was which. To me, they are both such important ways of expressing and receiving love….

And speaking of words of affirmation…..that reminds me of a couple of draft posts that I have “in the queue” about how to make our words count….how to uplift with our words (30,000 a day according to one author)…and not tear down. That “series” will probably follow shortly on the heels of this post....

Resources to check out about the love languages are:

A blog post I randomly happened upon via the wonders of google….

Gary Chapman’s website….

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

God With A Human Face....

Following are a few more excerpts from the e-book I mentioned in my last post… God With a Human Face by John C. Purdy…..

Once there was a small child whose mother died. To help the child through the night, the father took the child into his own bed. In the middle of the night the father woke to find the child in deep distress. "What’s the matter?" the father asked. "I can’t see your face," was the reply. "But l am here," said the father. Even so, Jesus is God’s word to us in the darkest night and blackest storm, assuring us that we have not been abandoned.


The Statue of Liberty is a kind of perpetual question, directed at Americans. What kind of people are we? What is the destination of that voyage on which we are together embarked? What does it mean to be "one nation, under God," when God is known as Peacemaker?


……the story of the cleansing of the temple is more than a case study in the use of violence. The ultimate meaning of the narrative is revealed in the words by which Jesus justified his action. "[God’s] house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations." The words "a house for all nations" might well be inscribed on every public building. They might well be displayed on every stadium, bank, theater, locker room, library, house of congress, factory, lecture hall, or temple. No human institution can survive that serves the piety, profits, or politics of one people, one sex, one tribe, or one region only.

The cleansing of the temple is the story of a God who will be known and worshiped by all people - Israelis, Iraqis, Kurds, Palestinians, Americans, Arabs, Egyptians, Russians, Northerners, and Southerners. God’s house is large enough for all; Emmanuel is the savior of all. God allows the prayers of all.

It is a short step from "God allows the prayers of all" to "God allows all prayers," be they voiced by Christians, Jews, Moslems, Baptists, Mormons, or citizens of the New Age. And from there it is another short step to "God allows all kinds of prayers" - for victory in battle, for the defeat of enemies, for the smashing of a corrupt political regime, for the removal of a hated social or economic system. What else are we to understand by "My house shall be a house of prayer for all the nations"?


No, let it be remembered that when his death was near and he was with his beloved friends, Jesus wanted to demonstrate his devotion in an unmistakable way. So he got up from supper and washed their feet. According to the Gospel story, he did this in full knowledge of who he was and where he was going. It is a revelatory deed, not a mysterious gesture. The love of God for humans was never made so plain, so direct, so personal.

He is also the author of another book called “The Parables At Work”

Monday, March 9, 2009

Is God "Two-Faced"??

I’ve posted some excerpts from Gary Sigler’s series The Experience of Oneness in another post. In part 3, he talks more about looking to Jesus for our view of God….

The Jewish system had no comprehension of this unconditional love of God. And Jesus came to reveal to them, this is my father. You think he’s mean. You think he’s hurtful. You think he kills babies and murders children. You have a concept of God that was picked up from Paganism. It’s the pagans who burn their children…who sacrifice their children. So Jesus said, “this is my father. Just look at me and watch what I do.” “Watch the compassion and the love that I have for the people around me and then you’ll understand my father because you see, my father and I are one.”

I ran across a book on a pretty nifty site called Religion on Line. The name of the book is God With a Human Face. (more to come on that).  I stole the title of this post from that book. In the book, it says:

One of the deities of the Romans was Janus, the god of doorways and of beginnings. In sculptures Janus was pictured as two-faced -- like a doorway, which can let you i0 or let you out. Over time the expression "two-faced" lost the neutra1 meaning of in and out. It came to take on the idea of double-dealing. A two-faced acquaintance is one whom one can never trust; we cannot be sure that that face she shows to us is the same face that she shows to others. A two-faced god is one who also cannot be trusted: Sometimes the face of the Kindly Healer will be turned toward us, sometimes the face of Dread Avenger.

This two-faced god is well known in folklore and in popular religion. This is the god who has to be cajoled to heal. This is the god who just might, if sufficiently badgered or appeased, turn a smiling face toward the unfortunate. But if all prayers fail and that kindly face is not turned, then the supposition is that the afflicted deserves his fate -- or that his friends and relatives are being punished for being not sufficiently faithful.

This two-faced god is an idol -- a fabrication of the human imagination, a projection of fear and guilt. The countenance of God revealed in Jesus is not that of one with two faces: Dr. Spock for some and Sock-it-to-them for others. Rather it is the face of One who looks upon us with unwavering compassion.

So the question we all have to ask ourselves is this….

Did God show us his true “face” in Jesus? Is God "two-faced"? Did God come to dwell with mankind in the form of Jesus….Immanuel, God with us…and then not clearly portray his true nature and character?

Human beings, even the most straightforward and honest among us, put on a slightly different face for the world at large than the face we wear in the privacy of our own homes. Oftentimes, we seek to appear kinder, gentler, wiser…more understanding…better than we really are. We cover up the bad stuff. Is God guilty of the same type of masquerade? Consider the words of scripture....

John 10:30

I and the Father are one."

John 14:9

Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father'?

John 12:45

And whoever sees me sees him who sent me.

Colossians 1:15

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.

Hebrews 1:3

He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature,

John 10:37

If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me.

2 Corinthians 4:4

In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.


O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them."

What do you see what you look at Jesus….God With a Human Face?

Sunday, March 8, 2009

More Refuge Than Threat....

In my Threat or Refuge post, I fessed up to being royally pissed at God for several years…all the while diligently trying to cram him in the box others told me he fit it. He just would not accommodate me and get in the darn box (nor will he get in anybody’s box, by the way, but that is a whole other post) So what finally set me free from my God grudge? One thing was in trusting him to lead me….and finding a few good friends (hi, annie!!) who were willing to make the journey with me….and step off the beaten path with an open mind…and a heart trusting that God would not give a stone to his children who asked for a fish.

Keith gave me some good advice several times during our series of long “discussions” about God…discussions which mainly focused around the POE (problem of evil) and total sovereignty…things we did not/do not see eye to eye on. These were my main areas of angst. To my way of thinking, Keith’s way of thinking rendered God untrustworthy….a trickster who resorted to manipulation and deceit to get me to do his bidding, all the while proclaiming in scripture to choose….that he does not lie….etc. etc. Keith comes to a different conclusion than I do and can make a good case for the way he sees things…. Anyway…his advice at the time…..

He told me to not base my relationship with God on what I saw him doing to other people but rather to base my trust in God on his relationship with me.

“Has he been trustworthy?”

“I suppose…yes.” (but he still pisses me off)

He told me that I should tell him that...not only that I was mad at him but that, based on his interactions with me, I would trust him until he proved that he could not be trusted. To stop looking around and analyzing what he was doing with others/to others. In other words, MYOB.

Byron Katie teaches pretty much the same thing….

There are only three kinds of business in the universe: mine, yours, and God's.

But the most important thing I did was to fix my eyes on Jesus….the image of the invisible God…if you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the Father….and he became my filter for scripture and the character of God. Then things started to fall into place and God became more refuge than threat….

Friday, March 6, 2009

The Words of Jesus of Nazareth

A while back I wrote about an online book I came across that featured the sayings of Jesus. On EU, we had discussed the need for such a book and I was tickled to find it on the Sacred Writings website. Well, I came upon another such book last night as I surfed the internet.  I started this post...but found myself nodding off in the middle of it.  Yes, I know it is only a few paragraphs long.  I just could not keep my eyes open.

The one I found last night is called The Words of Jesus of Nazareth. Unlike the first book which discusses the words of Jesus by scriptural reference...along with a brief synopsis of the situation, this newest find has them listed topically.  As in:

part one
The Problem of Religion The Light
The Revelation
The Living Word
The Father
The Good Shepherd
Food for the Soul
part two
The Kingdom of Heaven
The Royal Commandment
part three
The New Doctrine
The Blessings
The Power of Prayer
Treasures in Heaven
Faith that Moves Mountains
Patience, Mercy, Forgiveness
On a Fruitful Life
Health and Healing
part four
The Call
Born a Second Time
Disciples and Servants
The Great Commission
Christ's Prayer
part five
This Generation
A Place for You
The Promise of the Spirit
An Invitation to Life
The End Times
The Return
part six
The Betrayal
The Trial and the Cross
After the Resurrection

I think both books are pretty cool.  I came across a quote the other day by Brian McLaren. The gist of the quote was that for all those who believe in the deity of Jesus and affirm the ancient creeds, they need to take what he said (about loving our enemies etc) very seriously.  These two books weed out the commentary and focus on the words of Jesus....who most definitely did not live a do as I say and not as I do life.  Unlike us who (according to McLaren)

...... often affirm the doctrine in our words—we can say “Lord, Lord”—but then we don’t actually do what he said.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Threat or Refuge?

.....the God in Whose hands we are, Who is our ultimate threat and our ultimate refuge.

I found this quote buried within Chapter 9, God’s Pursuit of Man in an online book by Paul Tillich called The Eternal Now

In this chapter he talks about how we try to flee from God…via work, via religion, via the party hearty life.

The quote jumped out at me because it was my experience for several years while trying to sort out the answers to age old unanswerable questions….the existence of suffering and the existence of a good God….the balance between absolute determinism and total volition. And truthfully, for quite a while I was extremely pissed at God. Furious…and disappointed.

When I tried to put God in the box other people told me he fit it, there were times I felt I must surely be morally superior to God.  When I took the OT stories of conquest and genocide at face value….the killing of women and children, the stonings, the animal sacrifices, the penal substitutionary view of the atonement, I really didn't care much for him. He came across as a big, egotistical bully. 

I still do not have all the answers….but I’ve worked out (or he’s worked in) an understanding of God that has taken some of the fever pitch level of frustration down a notch or two. And he continues to give me answers and peace and like minded friends (albeit cyber friends) to fellowship with.

But during the peak of my frustration, the quote fit all too well…

Even though I felt he was my ultimate threat, I also knew he was my ultimate refuge. I might not be thrilled by the way he arranged events in the big picture of history and in the history of my own little world but he alone had the words of eternal life. He was my ultimate refuge….

John 6:67-69 (ESV)

So Jesus said to the Twelve, "Do you want to go away as well?" Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God."

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Jesus is our Model...the OTHER other....

Perhaps my last post about mimesis in Ephesians was “putting the horse before the apple cart.” I mentioned what Paul had to say about mimesis…and how he proclaimed himself as a model for those living in his era…and for the rest of us down through the ages. Imitate me…as I imitate Christ. Mimesis is inborn…it is in you…you will pick a model whose desires you will take on as your own…so choose to imitate me….as I imitate Christ. Choose, as James Allison refers to him, the OTHER other.

Jesus, of course, knew all about mimetic rivalry and scapegoating and it was, in part, what he came to save us from. He “knew what was in man”…..our mimetic nature and our egoic mind, oozing with the travails of the pain body…which has been passed down from the time of Adam, not only individually but also corporately. But also dwelling within us…. the Christ nature…the light that lights every man that comes into the world…...the nature of our Father…whom Jesus perfectly represented and demonstrated for us….for all the world to see.

As Girard emphasizes, the Bible is the only sacred writing that points a finger at mimetic rivalry and scapegoating. Obliquely in the Old Testament…..with more clarity in the New after the veil had been rent and Jesus had played out the drama of the innocent scapegoat right before our very eyes. Once you begin to look for it in scripture you can find it everywhere. The Bible exposes. Other sacred writings are part of the cover up. And the Gospels, probably more than any other part of the Bible, addresses humanity’s ugly little secret….our need to vent our individual and collective displaced anger on an innocent (or not nearly as guilty as presumed) victim…and then cover it up (even in our own minds) as a justified and oftentimes sacred act.

Jesus came to set us free. His life was an example of the way to live non-violently….the way to overcome our rivalrous natures……

"For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you. John 13:15

Jesus often said, "Follow me."  I read somewhere the exact number of times he entreated people to follow him in the Gospels....but I'll be darned if I can find it now...even on google.  He said it a lot though...and I think he meant it as an all around do as I say, do as I do kind of thing.  From the Amplified...both from Matthew:

4:19 And He said to them, Come  after Me [as disciples--letting Me be your Guide], follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men!

16:24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone desires to be My disciple, let him deny himself [disregard, lose sight of, and forget himself and his own interests] and take up his cross and follow Me [cleave steadfastly to Me, conform wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying, also].

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Mimesis in Ephesians

As I mentioned in my last post, I have been doing most of my reading lately at the gym…and I’ve read through Galatian, Ephesians and Philippians…and read through them again. As I read scripture, I now take note of the themes of the christ within, the egoic mind/carnal man and one of the slyest tricks of the ego…mimesis and it’s black sheep twin…mimetic rivalry.

When I came upon Rene Girard a year or so ago…and his theory of mimetic rivalry and scapegoating, it shed so much light on the Bible, the crucifixion, the atonement, the nature of conflict and sacrifice. However, I know that Girard’s theory is not the whole enchilada. It is only a facet of our cunning egoic nature and an example of its determination to set clear cut boundaries between who is the “other” and who is “me.” The ego has to have another in order to strengthen itself. It prefers an other who is also an enemy.

Girard claims that we are mimetic creatures and that born within us is the inescapable tendency to imitate others. Jesus knew this (and this was, in fact, one of the reasons he came to dwell among us). Paul knew this and addresses mimesis in many of his writings. In Ephesians, the following verses stood out as Paul’s acknowledgement of the mimetic process and our need to imitate.

Ephesians 1:15 It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. 16 The latter do so in love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17 The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains.

The ESV even uses the world rivalry….and points out the ulterior motives of others who are preaching the gospel.

2:3 Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,

And the admonishment to be aware of our motivations…to do nothing from rivalry (there’s that word again) and to have the mind of Christ.

3: 17 Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. 18 For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ.

And the solution? (at least until deliverance comes in the form of a heart change…regeneration) imitate Paul and those who walk according the example he sets. If you have this inborn predisposition to imitate….well, then imitate Christ….make Christ your model.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Let Your Reasonableness Be Known....

Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand Philippians 4:5

I’ve been reading through some of the books of the New Testament (among other things) when I go to the gym. I read through Galatians, Philippians and Ephesians in the ESV recently. Using one of the free, nifty bright yellow and purple stick pens (with purple ink) that Planet Fitness provides for their members (along with big buckets of grape and chocolate tootsie rolls) I mark the passages I want to remember…and look up later when I am sitting here on the couch, computer on my lap….with access to Studylight, the Bible Gateway…and the wonder of google. Today the verse above stood out.

The ESV is the only version I checked that uses the word reasonableness. Other versions use …….gentleness, moderation, graciousness….considerateness, forbearance.

It is the Greek word, Epieikes…which according to Strong’s means:

seemingly, suitable

equitable, fair, mild, gentle

Jamieson, Fausset, Brown says:

....it is from a Greek root, "to yield," whence yieldingness or from a root, "it is fitting," whence "reasonableness of dealing"

This verse, in this particular translation, intrigued me. Let your reasonableness be known by everyone. Now, let me ask you….are Christians known for their reasonableness? In particular, are evangelical, fundamentalist Christians known for their reasonableness? Very unlikely…in fact, to the secular world, many Christians are known for the exact opposite….their UNreasonableness.

Not what Paul advises us to do…

And not just reasonableness in religion….but bringing a little reasonableness into our day to day lives is not such a bad idea either. Somebody cuts you off in traffic. Is it reasonable to lose it, swear or cuss…flip them the bird or let it affect your day or mood? Long grocery line? All the agitated sighs and shaking of your head in utter annoyance is not going to make the line move one bit quicker. I know this for a fact because I’ve tried the method many, many time to no avail. Is it reasonable to let it affect your day? Is it reasonable to argue with your children, fret over the economy, ponder the what if’s and the why not’s to the point that it taints the things that are happening now? Is it reasonable for us to live in relative comfort and ease, while not too far from us there are probably homeless families and elderly people who are hungry and cold and lonely? Again….not really.

So just some things to ponder from the writings of Paul…..about reasonableness….and letting the world see that Christians are not necessarily best depicted by Christian radio, The Creation Museum, CBN and its many other unreasonable spokespeople. Today, I am going to try to let my reasonableness be known by everyone I come in contact with. Sound like a reasonable goal??

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Fake It Till You Make It....

Staying with this peacekeeping theme of the past few posts, I want to write about an article I came upon today purely by happenstance. My cyber journey started when I decided to clean out my inbox. As I meander here and there on the internet, often, when I find a site I want to come back to…to save in my favorites…to post to my e-groups….to write about here on this blog…I click the “insert link in mail” icon (yes…still using my beloved AOL) and send it to myself. Between the links I send myself, the lists I am on, and the other assorted stuff that comes to my inbox, it is nothing to have 400 or so messages steeping there.

Wouldn’t you know it…today, the first one I clicked on, a book review of Searching For a Better God, on the blog Zoecarnate enticed me to follow a cyber trail, here, there and everywhere…and I ended up at Sojurner’s Magazine. How come I didn’t know about this magazine before?

I only “leafed” through it…but came upon some very candid writings by Bart Campolo about living and ministering to the poor. And then, as I clicked on the most recent issue of Sojurners, an article about forgiveness written by Rose Marie Berger caught my eye. The heading declares:

Forgiveness is an act of will. Fake it until you make it.

Now how does that fit with the focus of a lot of my studies lately…and the subject of many of the conversations on EU and SCT…..the theme of which is living out of the right nature within you. Recognizing the ego and painbody for what it is and seeking the Christ within? Fake it until you make it really doesn’t seem to fit.

Shouldn’t we just flow into the new nature…simply because we are aware that there is an alternative to our egoic mind/carnal flesh/adamic nature etc. etc. etc.? I don’t think it is always that easy.

Lynn Hiles and David Huskins both preach the message of the finished work of the cross. A bit different than what…oh, say, Tolle talks about…but at it’s core, the same. There is a nature that lives in you….that IS you….that is entirely different than who you think you are (ego). Yet, they too acknowledge that even though they know it is truth, in this natural realm not everyone has caught on….not everyone is rejuvenated....not everything has manifested yet. Their advice is to use restraint until you have been “born again”....been delivered. I heard David Huskins preach a message at a conference we attended about deliverance and suppression…Many mistake suppression for deliverance but they are two different things. He said:

My recommendation to you is that if you are having a struggle with any kind of issue, suppress it until deliverance comes....but don't mistake your suppression for having experienced deliverance.

In other words, fake it until you make it. 

Using restraint in our interactions with others definitely helps our day to day life go a lot smoother. I don’t have all the answers….and I am groping my way along in the dark half the time (oh come on Cindi….more than the half of the time….a lot of the time….just doing the best I can)

I saw Keith exhibit this yesterday when one of the girls tossed a flippant remark our way as she was heading down to her bedroom, carrying a bowl of chili, several rolls and a glass of orange soda filled to the rim, sloshing around, dripping down the side of the glass. She never spills she informed us…not like her sister. Keith was silent. When she got out of earshot he looked at me and partly in jest said, “I think my tongue is going to bleed”

Bravo to him for not fueling a disagreement..even though the bantering back and forth that would have ensued would have been more of a teasing nature than a true argument. I wonder though how he (and me) would have reacted if the orange soda had ended up on the blue carpet. Once Emily dumped a supersized blue Gatorade from McDonalds on the carpet….the whole thing…ice cubes and all. I was not gracious.

But anyway….on to the article….

She says that the first step toward forgiveness is to unearth, examine and defuse the anger that is fueling the fire. She talks about the ways we try to cover it up and hide it…and why we shouldn’t. Sort of along the lines of observing our thoughts and emotions because when we shine the light of acknowledgement on our egoic thoughts, they dissipate.

She says that forgiveness

To a certain extent it is about the “act of will. I will forgive. I will act with graciousness toward my enemies. I will take on suffering, rather than inflict it. I will do these things because I am a Christian. Period.

I really like the line about taking on suffering rather than inflicting it. That goes right along with what Gary had to say in his writing about being a peacekeeper.

Check out the Sojurner’s site. In order to access the articles and the magazine, you will have to register. It takes about 30 seconds and there is a lot on the site to read and ponder.