Monday, May 31, 2010

Let me put that another way....

On one of the yahoo e-groups where I am a member, there is a lot of arguing about the inerrancy of the Bible..and the validity of other spiritual/inspirational writings.  Everyone has their ideas about what is acceptable reading material.  Some of us are quite laid back and trust the spirit to lead us...and everyone else....into all truth.  I consider myself to fit in that category.  if someone is reading something that does not resonate with me personally...oh well.
A Course in Miracles is oft cited by the "new age police" as a writing that borders on demonic...and one that just about guarantees a quick trip, headlong, down the slippery slope.  Personally there is no resonation between me and A Course in Miracles.  Even though I read the first few lessons, it left me kind of scratching my head. 
Lesson One:
Nothing I see in this room [on this street, from this window, in this place] means anything.
  • This table does not mean anything.
  • This chair does not mean anything.
  • This hand does not mean anything.
  • This foot does not mean anything.
  • This pen does not mean anything.
Hmmmm....Okay...but I'm kind of fond of this laptop....and this hand and this foot.  They do, in fact , mean something.  Just try to wrestle this meaningless laptop from these meaningless hands. 
But the lesson goes on...
  • That door does not mean anything.
  • That body does not mean anything.
  • That lamp does not mean anything.
  • That sign does not mean anything.
  • That shadow does not mean anything.
You get the point...and perhaps it resonates with you...but I stopped after about lesson 3....
I do not understand anything I see in this room [on this street, from this window, in this place].
So while, A Course in Miracles is not my choice of reading material, I don't really care if others read it...or discuss it on the list.  Some do care.  A lot.  They moan and groan, whine and complain about how the list has gone totally new age and is no longer Christian. A few get downright pissy and name call and defame the character and motives of the others they deem new agers. 
But whatever....
I have found truth all over the place.  I have found truth in Eckhart Tolle's writings, and from the pen of Ram Dass, Paramahansa Yoganda, Adyashanti, Pema Chodron and many other teachers/preachers with ties to other religions and spiritual outlooks.  I have found truth in some of the excerpts I have read from the Quran...Spiritual Notes to Myself....and from mainstream writings of authors like Phillip Yancey and Max Lucado.  So far, nothing that has resonated goes against truths I've found in the Bible.  So far.  I am not ruling it out.  The Jews living in the time of Jesus clung to their scriptures and refused to accept the diamonds of truth Jesus laid at their feet because it went against their scriptures.  Even when Jesus told them flat out, "You have heard it said, but I say....." they could not look past what was written.  
So an example of how the truths I find one place are confirmed in other (not always similar) places, there are three quotes I've come across about death.  First from Eckhart....
The secret of life is to "die before you die" -- and find that there is no death.
And from an 18th century mystic.....Francious Fenelong
Daily dying takes the place of final death.
We must bear our crosses; self is the greatest of them; we are not entirely rid of it until we can tolerate ourselves as simply and patiently as we do our neighbor. If we die in part every day of our lives, we shall have but little to do on the last. What we so much dread in the future will cause us no fear when it comes, if we do not suffer its terrors to be exaggerated by the restless anxieties of self-love. Bear with yourself, and consent in all lowliness to be supported by your neighbor. O how utterly will these little daily deaths destroy the power of the final dying!
And the confirmed in scripture part?  Well, Paul's references to dying to self are all through the epistles...
Here is a trustworthy saying: If we died with him, we will also live with him; 2 Timothy 2:11
I die every day - I mean that, brothers - just as surely as I glory over you in Christ Jesus our Lord. NIV 1 Corinthians 15:31
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. Galatians 2:20
I die daily...crucified with Christ...if we die with him....die before you die...these little daily deaths. 

annie posted the following quote on EU...which was originally posted on Will's facebook page.  Yet another diverse source saying, in essence, the same thing....

On June 2, 1987 Fr. Anthony DeMello entered into fullness of life, leaving a rich legacy of teaching & literary works. In one meditation he wrote "To a disciple who was obsessed with the thought of life after death, the Master said, "Why waste a single moment thinking of the hereafter?" "But is it possible not to?" "Yes." "How?" "By living in heaven here and now." "And where is this heaven?" "In the here and now."

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Interesting Websites - "New" New Testament Translations....

I received an email yesterday from the Greater Emmanuel International Website...which piqued this post...

It announced a study on Revelation by Jonathon Mitchell...a frequent contributor on the GEIW website.  Like the study by David Fields, it takes a look at the book of Revelation, chapter by chapter, verse by verse...with explanations that differ from the standard status quo, "OH MY GOD THE SKY IS FALLING" interpretation.

FYI...another resource for a study on Revelation...if you have lots and lots of time to Preston Eby's From the Candlestick to the Throne series.  It is not a chapter by chapter study...and is kind of meandering....written with Eby's usual prolificness. Very detailed and encompasses more than just an interpretation of Revelation.  Oh, and of course, there is Ray Prinzing's, Revelation, a Positive Book.  Just saying...for anyone interested in looking into a view of Revelation the authors of the Left Behind series forgot to include in their collection of horror books.... 

So anyway...I am on the mailing list of the GEIW website because Keith and I became acquainted with their ministry...somehow....five or six years ago...perhaps longer when we attended a very small gathering they hosted at the YMCA in Hamilton.  At the time it was a real life...though very small....fellowship in Hamilton, Ontario.  John Gavazonni was the featured speaker.  I've always liked John G ....ever since his writing "The Great Misrepresentation" affirmed a view of the atonement I carried within my heart (but did not realize could be supported sculpturally) Since then the founder of the website, Alan Savage, passed away and it has become mainly an internet ministry. 

Their site houses or provides links to the writings of many kingdom ministries....Eby...Gavazonni...Ray Prinzing, Bill and Elaine Cook, Richard Wayne Garganta...AP Adams...and many more.  The site is definitely worth checking out.  And Jonathon Mitchell...well, in addition to the Revelation study...and quite a few other articles, has also translated the New Testament.  John Gavazonni often uses that translation in his writings.  It is one of the new New Testaments I referred to in the title of this post.  It is a translation that is not so much an easy read since it is akin to the Amplified Bible... on steroids.  Lots of study notes included in this version separated from the Biblical text with the use of parenthesis.  It does not flow off the tongue but does provide lots of details and insight into the meaning of the original words etc. 

Another new New Testament I've happened upon in the past year or so is called "The Source," a translation by Ann Nyland.  It was available at God's Word To Women....I have the pdf saved on my computer.  Unfortunately you won't find it at the GWTW anymore. They are miffed at Nyland for publishing a version of her translation earmarked especially for Lesbians, Gays, Bi, and Transgender--With Extensive Notes on Greek Word Meaning and Context.  I found this version  online.  I compared it, side by side, with the version I have on my computer and it is very (very) similar to the original version of The Source. There are some differences however...such as the study notes on the GLBT clobber versus are not neutral as they are in The Source.  So....up to you...if you want to read the biblical text of Nyland's translation....with a plethora of unique study notes, the majority of which have noting to do with homosexuality, you can find it HERE.  Otherwise, there is an online version of just the biblical notes....HERE.  And of course you could always pay for a hard copy version available at Amazon....starting at about $20 used....

Friday, May 28, 2010

O Colourful One 2

There are more snippets in Walter Lanyon's O Colourful One that I wanted to post.  I've kind of let the time slip by this morning...checking my mail...checking out items of interest on my AOL Welcome page.  Very important and mind titillating things like a light bulb that lasts 17 years and where to find the best deal on eyeglasses. 

As far as the eyeglass this point I have to say, Sears is probably not on the list.  Keith and I recently bought new glasses at Sears.  Within a week or so, we both fell and broke our old glasses.  Keith's, to make a long story short, were run over by a truck. Mine took the brunt of a face first belly flop on the sidewalk.  I loved those lenses that I could actually see out of from day one...with no adjustment period.  So off to Sears we went...enticed by the advertisements of TWO pairs of glasses for 149.00.  Not only were they quite a bit pricier ...we can't see out of either pair.  Mine are going back today...Keith's are going back tomorrow or Sunday....but.....I digress.  Back to Walter and his thoughts on this "oh colourful one" who dwells within us....

He says:

"What you are about to experience when you can give up or let go of this tinsel personality---painted with the colours of effort and struggle to be or do something personal---is so far beyond anything that has ever been written or told you that the comparison is absurd. What you lose when you give up or let go of the personal something is the difference between Jesus and the Christ. And this giving up is not a straining thing when once you understand the truth as taught by the Master.

Now that comparison...the difference between Jesus and the Christ is quite interesting for someone trying to figure out this adamic man/christ man thing.  Is there a difference between the two? I find this intriguing because I have oft mused about...oh, for instance....when Paul talks about he talking about Jesus the skinsuit (as my friend annie refers to the MAN Christ Jesus) or the (new age wording alert) cosmic Christ that supposedly lies within all of us.  It is there, the light that lights every man who comes into the world, yet it is unquickened in many.  Will only a CHRISTIAN experience of being born again awaken the Christ in us from its slumbers?

Do not be afraid that your darling ---the little personality that has perhaps to your eyes attained such wonderful things, and wants credit for it always---is going to be lost by giving up and letting the Christ into expression. You will lose nothing but the prison of a name and a following, and find a Name and a hollowing a million times greater than the little consecrated soul you thought you were when working to bring in the millennium and to save the world.

This reminds me of a quote I stumbled upon long ago and saved to my quote file...

Salt, when dissolved in water, may disappear, but it does not cease to exist. We can be sure of its presence by tasting the water. Likewise, the indwelling Christ, though unseen, will be made evident to others from the love which he imparts to us. Sadhu Sundar Singh

Yet I wonder if this could not also be visa versa.  Could it not be that when the Christ in us is awakened and like Paul, we experience the "it is not I who lives but Christ who lives within me" thing...that our individuality is swallowed up...dissolved, like the salt...yet it is still there.  I've heard Gary Sigler say that we are each an individual expression of the Christ...and that we express him on the earth as only WE can.  So is there something of enduring value to the uniqueness and diversity God has taken the time to endow us all with that does not simply melt into a God blob...or a "we are borg" communal mindset? Walter addresses this when he simply states:

Your individuality is not lost; it is found.


You are this fountain of pure White Light which is everything and anything. It can be that which it will, and is so chameleon-­like that it can harmonize with its surrounding either for protection---lost to the human eye---or to bring forth a glorious revelation. The great floods of understanding will ever be able to speak in that colour that is understandable to the listening one. Thou art all colours, twinkling, blazing, flaring up into expression.

Reminds me of Paul's I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some and this I do for the gospel's sake, that I may be partaker of it with you.”

And then there is that Jesus vs. the Christ differentiation again...

What to Jesus was a problem was nothing to the Christ-what to you as a human personality may seem an impossible, insurmountable obstacle is nothing to the soul of you. The tiny resources which you hugged to yourself as a personality become as a drop in the bucket compared to the overflowing of the windows that are opened in heaven when you recognize the Power of the Son of the Living God.

Something to think about as I go about this day.  And a question from this writing.....

When will you lay aside the trinkets you borrowed from your masters in Egypt? They have served you well, but they are also souvenirs of your bondage.

More to follow....probably :)


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

O Colourful One....

Someone recently "repiqued" by interest in Walter Lanyon.  He is on the long list of people/places/things/concepts/beliefs that I intend to blog about someday (and if I live long past my life expectancy, I just might get to everything on the list.  Problem is...the list keeps growing exponentially.  As I explore one thing, a dozen other thoughts/questions/observations/revelations pop into my mind and so I add them to the list.  But anyway.....)

I don't know that much about Walter Lanyon except that his name is familiar and I have come across his writings on kingdom websites here and there.  I tried a while back (six or seven years ago) to read "The Laughter of God" and it did not resonate at all.  Not even a little bit.  I was so immersed then in finding the answer to the problem of evil and the interplay of sovereignty and free will that I could not be bothered considering the christ within vs the adamic man stuff.  What kind of nonsense is that anyway? 

Two natures beat within my breast?  One is cursed the other blessed.  Huh? 

It took the writings of Eckhart Tolle to open my understanding to that concept...and now I have a clue what Paul was talking about when he said, it is not I who lives but Christ who lives within me.  Thanks Eckhart. 

And I have to say, from reading a bit of Lanyon's stuff over the past week or so...he sounds pretty new agey to me.  He is actually classified as "new thought" by some.  That is a misleading  description because, as Solomon rightly penned, there really is nothing new under the sun. Everything is simply restated, repackaged, revisited, "repique" the interest of newer generations.   

I am going to post the beginning of a Walter Lanyon writing I read over the weekend...O Colourful One a writing that led to a bunch of questions...and new entries on the "to blog about" list....

I AM the Great White Light in which all the visible and invisible colour of the universe and heaven rest. My name is O Colourful One---I am full of light that is white and glistening and at the same time is multi­coloured and many-hued. My white light passes through the prism of human thinking, reasoning, or teaching, and takes on seven distinct rays. And man, looking through a glass darkly and with the double eye, sees as many different paths all claiming to be the truth; but so long as a man remains in the personal idea of the truth he had not yet seen the Great White Light of his True Self in which are hidden all things-hidden only to the eye that is double. 

And what are the 7 distinct rays? Researching that led to some writings that talked about the 7 spirits of God, 7 Churches, 7 archangels, and the 7 Rays.  Google does not edit the results into Christian/New some interesting stuff came up.  Some dealing with the zodiac...some dealing with the Aquarian Gospel of Jesus...some dealing with angels and the different beliefs of different faith traditions concerning angels.  Lanyon goes on to say:

He may follow a single ray of colour, think­ing that he at last has the truth, only to find that it terminates in disillusionment. One by one he may exhaust the paths, until finally he comes to the Great White Light of his Soul. It is the whole garment alone that can satisfy, and this comes, not by a mediator, but through the Christ within, and until man learns this he will go seeking in every strange place and chasing every will-o'-the-wisp of colour, hoping to fund peace and the All.

Pretty soon he begins to see the Great White Light of his Soul-and, as he recog­nizes this, he sees hidden in this' all the glorious colours of Soul. A million colours and tints burst upon his startled eyes as he goes from glory to glory-for he suddenly realizes that for the first time he is seeing. "Having eyes, ye see not," is changed to the glorious explanation, "Whereas before I was blind, now I can see." He is thrilled with the exquisite bliss of the awakening in the new heaven (state of consciousness) and the new earth (manifestation in the flesh). He finds there everything that he has tried for long years to demonstrate by one means or another. He finds there overflowing abundance of the All, and he is unafraid and naked. There is nothing between him and the truth-he is lost in the great swirl of colour, of light, and glory. He is bathed in its golden mists.

More questions to ponder.  Is this awakening...this rebirth...this new sight limited to Christianity?  Doesn't the light...though distorted into various rays of the color spectrum by our carnal understanding, dwell in every man? Doesn't it light every man that comes into the world?  Does the oneness of humanity....blending all the rays back together....make the pure white light that is made up of all colors of the spectrum?  Is this the body of Christ that Paul talks about?  Is this related to the body of Christ that Paul talks about? Doesn't scripture say that God is light and in him is no darkness? 

Just some questions off the top of my head.  I'll write more tomorrow...because seriously I have got to get going.  First day back to work since Friday.  Ugh.  I will end with another snippet from the writing...and will write more about this in my next post.

"When a man loses his life he shall find it" --when your personal sense of trying to run the universe is ended, and you are willing to let go of the petty personal desires, you shall taste of a fruit of life that will again admit you into the portals of your lost Eden.


Thursday, May 20, 2010

God On Trial...

Another digression from the current series...a digression that was initially birthed as a digression from a series I was writing several months ago.  I started this post about "God on Trial" after watching the movie with Keith...but never got around to finishing it.

Imagine that.

I feel compelled to post it now because otherwise, it could get lost among the topics I want to post about someday....and also because it goes along with the posts I've written lately about Bonhoeffer.

  Like Bonhoeffer, the characters in God on Trial are in a Nazi prison camp.  They also have lots of unanswered questions.  True, the characters are fictitious but their questions are not.  They are as old as time.  Almost everyone has asked these same questions at some point or another. They have been whispered in imploring prayers.  They have been shouted angrily to the heavens. They have been used as proof by skeptics.

This movie is for anyone who has ever questioned the God of the Old Testament, the book of Job, the God who allows suffering and evil to exist in the world.  It tackles free will, and atheism, humanism, the covenant with the Jews.  This is all set against the bleak backdrop of a Nazi prison camp.

There is an interesting cast of characters.  Some are believers.  Some not.  Some are Jews.  Some not.  Some are honorable men. Some not. Among them are rabbis, fathers, sons, thieves, businessmen, craftsman, con men. 

During a morbid kind of lottery...where the group is separated into two smaller groups, half of them chosen for the gas chambers the next day.  The prisoners can only guess which group will live and which will die when morning comes.  It is the last night for some of them. 

How do they spend the night?  They put put God on trial.  They seek to decide for themselves, once and for all.... If God is good and all powerful, why is there evil?  If he can stop evil and does not is he good?  If he wants to stop the evil but cannot, is he all powerful? It is riveting

Following is a YouTube eloquent 10 minute summation, given by Akiba, an old-fashioned Rabbi from the countryside. He is a Melamed, or religious teacher, and a healer who has committed holy writings to memory. Although quiet for most of the trial, when Akiba eventually speaks, everyone is drawn to him.

And does he ever say a mouthfull. He recites a a laundry list of many of the atrocities and unfair, cruel doings attributed to the God of the OT.  One does not have to look too hard to find many, many atrocities. 

Particularly poignant, is his comparison of their plight to the plights of some of the people Adonia's wrath was vented against in the OT.

He muses:

For the Egyptians, the Amalekites...what was it like for them when Adonai turned against them?  It was like this.

He asks (knowing full well the answer)

Today there was a selection, yes?  When David defeated the Moabites, what did he do?

Schmidt a well-educated Rabbi appointed the Father of the Court, replies:

He made them lie on the ground in lines and he chose one to live and two to die. 

Akiba continues:

We have become the Moabites.  We are learning how it was for the Amalekites.  They faced extinction at the hand of Adonai.  They died for his purpose.  They fell as we are falling.  They were afraid as we are afraid.  And what did they learn?  They learned that Adonai, the Lord our God, OUR God, is not good.  He is not good.  He was not ever good.  He was only on our side.

He goes on to talk about the Flood, God's demand of Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac.  He repeats the sad conviction he has come to about God...

He is not good...he has simply been strong.  He has simply been on our side. 

And he's not finished....

When we were brought here we were brought by train.  A guard slapped my face.  On their belts they had written  "God is with us."  Now who is to say he is not?  Perhaps he is.  Is there any other explanation?  What do we see here?  His power, his majesty, his might.  All these things...but turned against us.  He is still God...but not our God.  He has become our enemy....

That's what's happened to the covenant.  He has made a new covenant with someone else.



Plot spoiler...God does not fare well in the final verdict. 

I rewatched parts of the movie tonight.  It is available in its entirety in four parts HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE. 

Akiba's number is among those called to go to the gas chamber.  When another prisoner, one who has declared he does not believe in God, is also called, he panics and implores of Akiba, "What do we do now." And Akiba's answer?

Now, we pray...

And they covered their heads with their hands and prayed....and they continued to pray as they were led into the gas chambers to die...

Without quoting the chapter and verse, they demonstrated by their Job did....

Though he slay me, yet will I trust him.....

Monday, May 17, 2010

About Bonhoeffer's Religionless Christianity

So what exactly did religionless Christianity mean to Bonhoeffer?  He didn't have any hard and fast answers.  He was in the pondering stage.

How this religionless Christianity looks, what form it takes, is something that I'm thinking about a great deal, and I shall be writing to you again about it soon. It may be that on us in particular, midway between East and West, there will fall a heavy responsibility.

.......but he did say some things about it.  For one, he thought it would be religionless but not faithless.  

It will be a new language, perhaps quite non-religious, but liberating and redeeming as was Jesus' language; it will be the language of a new righteousness and truth, proclaiming God's peace with men and the coming of His kingdom.

That's pretty cool, don't you think?  Quite "non denominational."  In prison, he was drawn to the non denominational.....the religionless....

I often ask myself why a "Christian instinct" often draws me more to the religionless people than to the religious, by which I don't in the least mean with any evangelizing intention, but, I might almost say, "in brotherhood."

One thing that strikes me again and again: here one meets people as they are, away from the masquerade of the "Christian world", people with passions, criminal types, little people with little ambitions, little desires and little sins, all in all people who feel homeless in both senses of the word, who loosen up if one talks to them ~ a friendly way, real people; I can only say that I have gained the impression that it is just these people who are much more under grace than under wrath, and that it is the Christian world which is more under wrath than under grace .

It occurs to me that much of the Christian world is under wrath because they put themselves under wrath....with their "do this, don't do that, can't you read the sign"  theology. 

I've picked Beth up a couple of times near a run down "church" called "Freedom House." It advertises "spiritual deliverance" and "spiritual counseling." 

Somehow, I think freedom is not on the agenda at Freedom House.  There is this heavy aura surrounding it. The place gives me the creeps. 

Only half in jest, I told Beth she should not dilly dally when she passes by Freedom House...with her blue hair, tight, low riding jeans....octopus tattoos, a skull ring on her finger....wearing her "your God is dead" t-shirt.  Oh...and carrying a long board. (kidding...kidding....just using a bit of poetic license.  Her hair is not blue anymore.  It is a respectable shade of damaged brown.  And she hasn't worn the "dead God" T-shirt for ages...but we certainly made some memories with it in its heyday)  I think Freedom House might consider her a perfect candidate for a dose of spiritual deliverance...

But I digress.....

Bonheoffer goes on to say.....

While I'm often reluctant to mention God by name to religious people - because that name somehow seems to me here not to ring true, and I feel myself to be slightly dishonest (it's particularly bad when others start to talk in religious jargon; I then dry up almost completely and feel awkward and uncomfortable) - to people with no religion I can on occasion mention him by name quite calmly and as a matter of course. 

So it seems Bonhoeffer was looking beyond traditional Christianity and has been called a heretic by some. I think his faith remained to the end even though his foundations were being shaken.  The Holocaust and a year in a Nazi prison camp tends to rattle one's beliefs hard enough so only what cannot be shaken remains...

Last Bonhoeffer post tomorrow....

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Still More…..

And Eby goes on to say that just as the Tree of Life is in the is the other tree....

Like the tree of life, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil also stands in the middle of the Garden! To this tree is attached the warning not to eat of it upon penalty of death. Death in the middle. Within. In man's very nature. Thus is it declared with unquestionable certainty that man was formed with the capacity to LIVE IN THE FLESH and WALK AFTER THE FLESH.

Yeah' living in and walking after the flesh seems to come a lot more naturally to most of us than walking in the spirit.  And walking in the not good...not good at all...

"For to be carnally minded is death" (Rom. 8:6). One of man's inherent potentials was to know Self as the source and center of his life. But alas! Self would not bring life, it would mean death. Man could make the outer world of appearances, the physical realm, mortal consciousness, the bodily senses and appetites his center but death would be found to dwell in that center.

Anybody but me relate to this?

Eby believes it is only via the Christian paradigm that we can abide in the Spirit.  Others not so much.  Below I am going to quote Robert Rutherford....from his Facebook page....

I speak forth wisdom.... From the fertile banks of the river of Christianity.... But, please, rest assured.... I have traveled this river to it's end..and found the Ocean... Which IS our Father!
Ours is not the only river.... And the ocean is MUCH bigger than we've imagined....God, truly, is not a Christian..... The ocean is MUCH bigger than any river!!!!

Friday, May 14, 2010

More on dwelling in the “now”

A post or so the series of posts I've been writing about Bonhoeffer, which was a digression from the series of posts I was writing about violence and non violence….which was a digression from the series of posts about mimetic rivalry....which was probably a digression from another series....I said:

Quoting Eckhart.....
Find the “narrow gate that leads to life.” It is called the Now. Narrow your life down to this moment. Your situation may be full of problems---most life situations are---- but find out if you have any problem at this moment. Not tomorrow or in ten minutes, but now. Do you have a problem now?

I know some will quibble about the wording but in Christianese, I think Tolle is saying...
Find the narrow gate that leads to life....which is "the Christ" that dwells within...the light that lights every man that comes into the world. Or what Preston Eby refers to as

the man’s “I Am,” a gift from the I AM who created him

In Christianese Tolle is saying as Galatians 5:25 declares

walk in the spirit. If you sow to the Spirit, you will reap eternal life from the Spirit. (Gal 6:8)

And so….

The topic of today’s post?  How does someone who writes from a much more Christian perspective….someone who speaks Christianese, word that? 

It means that man was created and formed with the wonderful capacity to LIVE IN THE SPIRIT and WALK AFTER THE SPIRIT. "For to be spiritually minded is life and peace" (Rom. 8:6). One of man's inherent potentials was to know God within as the source and center of his life.

He goes on to say:

 It is a STATE OF BEING. It is a higher existence for man than this cursed state we find ourselves in by physical birth and mortal consciousness. It is the state of being that man was in when he was first brought forth from the creative hand of God and placed here upon earth. It represents man in the presence of God! Man with the incorruptible life of God available to him!

These words were "penned" by Preston Eby...taken out of context a bit from his writing on Job.  In the article, which is well worth reading, he talks about similarities between the book of Job and the book of Genesis. I love the way Eby describes the differences between the christman and the adamic that I understand what he is talking about. 

He talks about the Garden and two of the trees in the Garden....specifically the two trees in the MIDDLE of the Garden. (Genesis also talks about “other trees” which would make an interesting look see into the spiritual significance of the other trees.  As a side note, after the Fall, Adam and Eve hid amongst the trees….the other trees no doubt…but I digress)  Anyway, the Garden is, of course, not a “piece of real estate in Mesopotamia”  but is (as Keith has said many times) right between your ears. The Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge are planted right in the middle of your mind/brain/consciousness. 

First about the Tree of Life....

 It was IN THE MIDDLE — that is all that is said about it! It was right there in man's consciousness, in man's nature. The life that comes forth from God is in the middle. That means that God, the source of life, is in the middle. In the middle of the world that is at Adam's disposal and over which he has been given dominion is not Adam himself, but the tree of God's eternal and incorruptible life. Adam's life was to come from the middle which was not Adam in his self-consciousness, but in his Deadconsciousness. This means that with God as his center man would have life. It means that man was created and formed with the wonderful capacity to LIVE IN THE SPIRIT and WALK AFTER THE SPIRIT. "For to be spiritually minded is life and peace" (Rom. 8:6). One of man's inherent potentials was to know God within as the source and center of his life.

So there you have it…right from the anointed pen of Preston Eby.  Man was created and formed with the capacity to live and walk in and walk after the spirit.  Eby says it is only through a Christian paradigm.  Others, like Eckart Tolle and Robert Rutherford (to name a few) say it is much broader than that.....

More on this….and the Tree of Knowledge in my next (few) posts....

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

And speaking of dwelling in the now....

My last post made me think about a poem I came upon quite a while ago...but it's stuck with me through the years.  It fits with the dwelling in the now stuff...and Preston Eby's comments about the "I Am"...

My Name is "I AM"

I was regretting the past
And fearing the future.
Suddenly my Lord was speaking:
“My name is I Am.” He paused.
I waited. He continued,
When you live in the past
With its mistakes and regrets,
It is hard. I am not there,
My name is not I WAS”.
When you live in the future
With its problems and fears,
It is hard. I am not there.
My name is not I WILL BE.
When you live in this moment,
It is not hard. I am here.
My name is I AM.

And I've admitted here before...several times...I like Southern Gospel music. There is a southern gospel song...written by Ira Stanphill entitled I Know Who Holds Tomorrow.  The following You Tube video features Allison Kraus singing the song with a decidedly different kind of country twang/style. 

I don’t know about tomorrow;
I just live from day to day.
I don’t borrow from its sunshine
For its skies may turn to grey.
I don’t worry o’er the future,
For I know what Jesus said.
And today I’ll walk beside Him,
For He knows what is ahead.

Many things about tomorrow
I don’t seem to understand
But I know who holds tomorrow
And I know who holds my hand.


Saturday, May 8, 2010

Bonhoeffer's Answers

In my last post about Bonhoeffer, I listed some of his questions. There was a long list of questions.  In this post...and probably the next one....I will highlight some of his answers.   

About living in the now he says:

These theological thoughts are, in fact, always occupying my mind; but there are times when I am just content to live the life of faith without worrying about its problems. At those times I simply take pleasure in the days' readings- in particular those of yesterday and today; and I'm always glad to go back to Paul Gerhardt's beautiful hymns.

I discovered later, and I'm still discovering right up to this moment, that is it only by living completely in this world that one learns to have faith.

Didn't Jesus do this?  Didn't he live completely in this world...partaking of its ups and downs, petty discomforts, major set-backs, small joys, earthly pleasures? Didn't Jesus know the "power of now"....what he called "eternal life?

This reminds me of Eckhart Tolle's teachings about dwelling in the now...not tomorrow, not next week...not even ten minutes from now. 

The ten minute rule was an especially helpful teaching a few years ago when Beth was running away and causing so many problems.  I am a worrier by nature and nurture...daughter of the queen of the worst case scenario. Reminding myself of the ten minute rule helped a lot during that very difficult time. As I type this post, it occurs to me that revisiting the ten minute rule might not be a bad idea.

Quoting Eckhart.....

Find the “narrow gate that leads to life.” It is called the Now. Narrow your life down to this moment. Your situation may be full of problems---most life situations are---- but find out if you have any problem at this moment. Not tomorrow or in ten minutes, but now. Do you have a problem now?

I know some will quibble about the wording but in Christianese, I think Tolle is saying...

Find the narrow gate that leads to life....which is "the Christ" that dwells within...the light that lights every man that comes into the world.  Or what Preston Eby refers to as

the man’s “I Am,” a gift from the I AM who created him

In Christianese he is also saying as Galatians 5:25 declares walk in the spirit.  If you sow to the Spirit, you will reap eternal life from the Spirit. (Gal 6:8)

So what is your problem, right now, this second?  By focusing on the moment at hand, we do not waste precious resources obsessing about something that might not even occur.  And when something does occur...within our ten minute window...we will be better able to deal with it when and IF it occurs. 

Bonhoeffer did not call it "living in the now."  Neither did Jesus...but the idea is the same..documented in the pages of the "red letters" no less....

Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Interesting Website - Wabash Center....

For a plethora of writings on religion (mainly Christianity) from a scholarly perspective....and I do mean a plethora....check out the Wabash Center.  More here than one could hope to read in years.  While I still find the sheer magnitude of information available on the internet amazing, I find it frustrating too.  So much to little time to read it.  Some of the topics?


Aspects of Religion
•  Apocalyptic thought and millennialism
•  Death and dying
•  Fundamentalism
•  Gnosticism
•  Interreligious dialogue
•  Liturgics
•  Monasticism and religious orders
•  Mysticism
•  Religion and anthropology / sociology
•  Religion and architecture
•  Religion and art
•  Religion and colonialism
•  Religion and culture
•  Religion and drama
•  Religion and economics
•  Religion and film
•  Religion and film -- Reviews
•  Religion and humor
•  Religion and journalism
•  Religion and law
•  Religion and literature
•  Religion and medicine
•  Religion and music
•  Religion and politics
•  Religion and psychology
•  Religion and rhetoric
•  Religion and science
•  Religion and violence
•  Religion -- Introductory courses
•  Religion on the Internet
•  Religion -- Relief and development work
•  Religion -- Study and teaching
•  September 11 Terrorist Attacks, 2001
•  Spirituality
•  Women -- Religious aspects

Religious Thought
•  Abortion -- Religious and moral aspects
•  Biomedical ethics -- Religious aspects
•  Capital punishment -- Religious aspects
•  Church and state
•  Environmental ethics -- Religious aspects
•  Feminist theology
•  Liberation theology
•  Philosophy and religion
•  Postmodernism -- Religious aspects
•  Religious ethics
•  Sexual ethics -- Religious aspects
•  Social ethics
•  Theology
•  War and peace -- Religious aspects


And much...much more....

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Verses from Isaiah....

On EU, Chris has suggested we do a Bible Study on the book of Isaiah.  He is leading a study at church and would like our (heretical :) perspectives.  He posted yesterday that as he read the first few chapters of Isaiah it seemed to be more of the same old, same old "repressive, theocratic religion"

Chris went on to say:

But then I was digging through some of the EU files and found this:  “I was sought by those who did not ask for me; I was found by those who did not seek me…” (Isaiah 65:1).

Following is my reply....posted here not because it was brilliantly written or wittily worded...but because it contains wonderful verses from Isaiah...some that are echoed in the New Testament as well.  Post follows.  More on Bonhoeffer to come....




That verse goes on to say:

To a nation that did not call on my name, I said, 'Here am I, here am I.'

I love that.  Some of my favorite verses are in Isaiah...

Isa 25:8  He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it.

This same verse is repeated in Revelation....TWICE.  These are my favorite 3 verses in Scripture....

Rev 21:4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

Rev 7:17  For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes

and another hopeful...universalist verse in Isaiah.....

Isaiah 45:22 Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.23 I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.

which is also repeated twice in the New "second favorite" verses in Scripture...

Romans 14:11 For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.

Philippians 2:9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

And more from Isaiah.....66...

        3He who kills a bull is as if he slays a man;
        He who sacrifices a lamb, as if he breaks a dog's neck;
        He who offers a grain offering, as if he offers swine's blood;
        He who burns incense, as if he blesses an idol.
        Just as they have chosen their own ways,
        And their soul delights in their abominations,

And Isaiah Chapter 1:

  11"To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices to Me?"
        Says the LORD.
        "I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams
        And the fat of fed cattle.
        I do not delight in the blood of bulls,
        Or of lambs or goats.
        12"When you come to appear before Me,
        Who has required this from your hand,
        To trample My courts?
        13Bring no more futile sacrifices;
        Incense is an abomination to Me.
        The New Moons, the Sabbaths, and the calling of assemblies--
        I cannot endure iniquity and the sacred meeting.
        14Your New Moons and your appointed feasts
        My soul hates;
        They are a trouble to Me,
        I am weary of bearing them.
        15When you spread out your hands,
        I will hide My eyes from you;
        Even though you make many prayers,
        I will not hear.
        Your hands are full of blood.

        16"Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean;
        Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes.
        Cease to do evil,
        17Learn to do good;
        Seek justice,
        Rebuke the oppressor; F8
        Defend the fatherless,
        Plead for the widow.
        18"Come now, and let us reason together,"
        Says the LORD,
        "Though your sins are like scarlet,
        They shall be as white as snow;
        Though they are red like crimson,
        They shall be as wool. 

Isaiah was farther along in progressive revelation than some of prophets that came before him.