Thursday, July 29, 2010

Remember and Change…

A week or so ago...perhaps a bit longer....annie posted a snippet about a place in Ireland called Correymeela. It is a community dedicated to reconciliation in Ireland and in the world.  She posted the following quote from an interview about the community. 

Paul Hutchinson, the director of Correymeela, described how an escalating cycle of vengeance grows; individuals or groups strike back blow for blow, death for death and this goes on for generations until one side does something unexpected. When someone makes a non-violent, surprising, gracious gesture toward their enemy then the conflict is caught up short and enemies re-examine each other with new eyes. He told us a story of how a cup of tea between an IRA foot soldier and a British policeman helped to avert a riot. The two met at Corrymeela, had a conversation and weeks later, in the midst of a street conflict, the two were able to negotiate a stand down between the police and the Nationalists who were ready to riot.
He also gave me an aphorism I’ll remember, “Don’t forgive and forget, remember and change.”

This reminded me of the times throughout history....two that come to mind quickly...both in wartime...both when unusual circumstances led to this re-examination of each other with new eyes. Both of these events happened at Christmas.  One during World War 1 in 1914…on the battlefront. The other, depicted in the movie Keith and I watched last New Year's Eve...Silent Night starring Linda Hamilton…happened in a secluded cabin in Germany during WWII.   You can read more about it HERE and HERE if you want more details.  And in a post I wrote about the movie HERE

A phrase from the above quote caught my eye.  I've pondered it off and on since I read it. 

"Don't forgive and forget, remember and change"


I have a few more posts in the queue about forgiveness.  Interesting subject.  One Jesus was quite adamant about.  Forgiveness.  7 times 70 no less.  It's hard enough to forgive once let alone 70....and lets just forget about the 7 times 70 nonsense.  Yet there it is in scripture.  In. Red. 

More to come…..

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Enlightenment Next....

Not long ago, I came across...for the second time, the website and magazine formerly know as the WIE...What Is Andrew Cohen.  I found it the first time...well, I don't remember happenstance probably.  I pilfered a quote from the cyber mag and was used in a recent post in the series of posts about Truth.

Anyway...the site is now called Enlightenment Next...and it has all kinds of resources....and I do mean ALL kinds of resources. The magazine is billed as the magazine for "revolutionaries." Each issue is devoted to a particular theme.  Archives...including those from when the magazine was still What is Enlightenment...are also available pretty much in their entirety on the website.  An example of the diversity?  Well.....

  • The Many Faces of God 
  • Constructing the New Man
  • The Mystery of Evolution
  • Death, Rebirth and Everything in Between
  • Spirituality vs. Religion
  • Is God a Pacifist?
  • What Does It Mean To Be In the World But Not Of?

And there are a lot more....

If it wasn't neigh on bedtime I might cyber browse through the Pacifism issue....but alas, it is getting late...and I am getting it will have to wait for another day....

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Very, very cool web apps....

Major digression coming up....

I've been busy lately....doing...other stuff. Nothing important really...just trying to get my whole freaking life in order.  I've been on a bit of a relentless (obsessive?) search driven on by the certainty that somewhere...out cyber space, there is THE perfect web app that will help me ORGANIZE everything.  A place to capture these ideas and thoughts and to do's and don't forget's and the tell him/her/them...this/that/or the other ideas...things I want to read, watch, listen to, think about, ponder...muse...cook.  Cook?  Did I say cook? Ahhhhh...scratch cook from the list.  

          www confusion

Oh...and it has to be free.  I have found so many cool...really cool, very cool, beyond cool...unbelievably cool apps out there.  And I think I've got some sort of a "system" figured out because...alas...even though there are unbelievably cool apps out there...none of them "does it all"....even though they say they do.  I've been reading some of the principles of Getting Things Done....and they make a lot of sense.  But actually doing it is more difficult than reading about doing it. 

As you have probably surmised by now, this post has nothing to do with mercy...or sacrifice...or anything spiritual really...but just a little about some of those cool apps I've been dinking around with.

First of all there is google calendar.  I love google calendar.  You can have an unlimited number of calendars...and they are all COLOR CODED...colors are automatically generated...but you can change to a color of your choosing.  So you could have a calendar for work (green) and a calendar for home (purple) for a blog (pink)  or for your family (green) ...or your husband...or spiritual pursuits etc etc etc.  What you enter on the calendar does not necessarily have to be time specific. You can enter "tasks."  Check it out if you have any anal me. 

Another app that I have been using for a called reqall.  After you sign up for an account and register your phone number with them, you can add things to your to do list on the fly...via phone.  It is then transcribed and sent to you via email and to your account on the reqall site on the web.  There are all kinds of ways to categorize it there....labels, locations, times....mind boggling.  There are also some other bells and whistles that are available...for $2.99 a month or 25 bucks for the year.  It's come in quite handy...mornings I am hurrying out to my car...late for work and suddenly remembered something I absolutely could not forget.  Sometimes the transcription, which is done electronically...with a touch of human intervention, is amusing.

"What are Emily's plans this weekend" turned into "Water Emily's plants this weekend"

It will also remind you of stuff...if you know the right questions to ask when you call the number.  I haven't used that feature yet. 

Then there is zoho notebook...and scrapbook plus (a firefox extension) that will let you save stuff you find on the web.  And Instapaper and Read Later which also saves stuff from the web that you want to "read later."

So that is what I've been up to for days.  My kids have oft described me as OCD...I think they might have a point.....

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Similar Truths from Different Eras

In keeping with this truth is truth is truth theme...

As I was headed out the door for the gym last weekend, I grabbed two articles..randomly..from a stack of articles I've printed at various times over the past year or so.

One contained a quote from The Philokalia, written by a fourth-century desert monk named St. John Cassian.

"[The ego] is difficult to fight against, because it has many forms and appears in all our activities . . . When it cannot seduce a man with extravagant clothes, it tries to tempt him by means of shabby ones. When it cannot flatter him with honor, it inflates him by causing him to endure what seems to be dishonor. When it cannot persuade him to feel proud of his display of eloquence, it entices him through silence into thinking he has achieved stillness. . . . In short, every task, every activity, gives this malicious demon a chance for battle."


And, the other article...quotes from Eckhart Tolle...who, many centuries later, continues with the same line of thought...

An essential part of the awakening is the recognition of the unawakended you, the ego, as it thinks speaks and acts. 


unless you know the basic mechanics behind the working of the ego, you won't recognize it, and it will trick you into identifying with it again and again. 


Monday, July 12, 2010

Isn't that the truth??!! Part 3

I've belonged to a yahoo group called the Church of Interfaith Christians for several years now.  I don't often participate on the yahoo group...and I am not ordained into their "denomination" (or any denomination for that matter) but I usually keep up via the digest version of posts.  The founder of the group was a man named Ernest Steadman who is the author of a book entitled Pathway to the Stars.  The mission statement of the group could be summed up (paraphrased by me) Although we are Christians, Christ can be found in religions other than Christianity...and we honor that.  In their own words (contained in their mission statement)

Our purpose is to spread the true teachings of Christ to enlighten, uplift and heal. As Interfaith Christians, we recognize those who include Christ in their worship, regardless of what faith they might be. We seek Truth and unite in the quest for higher values in worship and in living.

or to put it more concisely,

ONE GOD - Many Names / ONE SON - Many Paths / ONE TRUTH - Many Faiths

Reverend Steadman died....within the past year or so...and recently there was a church split kind of thing. Reverend Sharra is now the head of the COIC.  She's been posting weekly messages that are a thumbnail view of her beliefs and the history of the church and its teachings. Following is a quote from one of her recent messages that I think kind of fits with this Truth is truth is truth idea....
Sharra said:

We are the Church of Interfaith Christians.  A new denomination of Christian.  We are to be a light to people of all faiths.  We are to be enlightened.  We live in a world of oil spills, greed, war strife and suffering.  Why in this enlightened age are these things still going on?

One of the underlying reasons for all the suffering going on in the world is because a large portion of our population is in an `identity crisis."  They have forgotten who they really are. They don't see their connection with God.

A common teaching of Christ found in most faiths is that God is within us and because of that we have the unlimited potential to be  fully conscious of the Spirit of God and be able to experience His unlimited love, wisdom and power.  We are all children of God with a unique spiritual aspect of awareness.  We are `spiritual' beings temporarily sharing in a `physical' experience together.

She identifies this common teaching of Christ as one of the common threads running through many faith traditions.  The Apostle Paul called it...."Christ in you...the hope of glory." 

Friday, July 9, 2010

A quote from the Jesus Army...

I digress....

It started with Greg Boyd's latest blog post...delivered to my inbox sometime between when I turned my computer off last night...and when I turned it on again this morning.  I love how things just show up in my inbox...via a process that can only be described as "computer magic".... a term I've stolen from the guy who does the ads for the Red Roof Inn.  He was specifically talking about the free wifi now available at the Red Roof Inn and how you can connect to the internet via computer magic...but I think the term magic applies to just about everything to do with the computer. (and black magic when it doesn't work the way it should)  But anyway...back on track...

Two things of interest stood out in the post.  One is that he is still feverishly..obsessively working on his latest book about Old Testament violence.  He describes it as his:

close-to-insane obsession with explaining Old Testament violence (working on my forthcoming book, The Crucifixion of the Warrior God)

I am..for sure...going to purchase that book when it becomes available. 

And the other point of interest in the post was his review and opinion on another book written by another author...The Naked Anabaptist by Stuart Murray. And of course from there I went exploring.

The link in Greg Boyd's blog post led to a website called the Anabaptist Network...a UK based site that is all about Anabaptists...their beliefs, their traditions, their history.  Very interesting site.  I want to explore it further...but don't have the time this morning. 

I did do a little exploring there, however...and came across a short writing by Murray about his view of the atonement...which is not penal substitution.  Anabaptists...for the most not see the atonement that way.  And, according to Murray, neither did the early Christians.  A quote from the article:

For nearly 300 years, these Christians were committed to taking Jesus seriously, not only as their saviour but as their teacher and example. In the Alpha or Christianity Explored courses of their day, enquirers and new converts were taught, not just the meaning of Jesus’ death, but the meaning of his life and his message.

For nearly 300 years, these Christians were uninterested in developing theories of the atonement. They knew Jesus had died to save them, they preached ‘Christ crucified’ and they celebrated his resurrection triumph over the spiritual and political powers that oppressed them. They drew on various images the New Testament uses, but they did not insist on one formula or explanation. Certainly not penal substitution, of which there is little trace in the early centuries.

And as I clicked around here and there on the website, I came upon a testimony written by a guy in the Jesus Army...not to be confused with Joel's Army.  I went to the site...clicked around a bit and came upon a quote I liked that fit very well with the above quote.  It was on the Jesus Army blog...written by someone named "daydreamer."

When we look at Jesus, we see what God is like. Jesus said “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father”. He shows just how committed God is to rescuing us. His sacrificial, non-violent, willing death shows the lengths God will go to, to soak up evil. His resurrection shows that death itself is no match for God.

I think this quote captures one of the main aspects of the atonement that the penal substitutionary theory misses...or negates to almost trivial.  Rather than the view that Jesus pays for our sins on the cross...this excerpt declares that that purpose of his death was to "soak up evil."  A good description of the Christus Victor theory of atonement.  And I have a lot more I could say, but I've gotta' go get ready for work. NOW!!! Ugh...TGIF. 

Oh...but before I more quick quote..kind of unrelated..from another entry on the Jesus Army blog...a quote from Rick Warren...

“Many have amputated the hands and feet from Christ’s Body and kept only a big mouth.”


Thursday, July 8, 2010

Isn’t that the Truth??!! cont….

So, yesterday I was talking about Truth…..and truth.  “Big T Truth” and “little t truth”  Big T truth as in….it is what it is.  Little t truth as in…my perception is my reality. 

Martin Zender talked about truth in a book Keith was reading…."How To Be Free From Sin While Smoking a Cigarette"  I glanced through the book a week or so ago.  The part that caught my eye was the chapter about truth. Truth is Truth. In the grand scheme of things, it doesn't matter how we feel about a Truth.  Our feelings are subjective. Just because we feel something is true...that does not necessarily mean it is.  (and visa versa)

Our feelings alone do not determine TRUTH.  Our (possibly distorted) feelings about the Truth doesn’t change what’s True.  We might not like it…It might make us kind of pissy but our feelings do not negate Truth.  Truth is objective.  Truth is truth no matter how we feel about it.  Big T truth…objective.  Little t truth…subjective. 



I think the point Zender (whose real name, by the way, is really Jeff Priddy....Zender is his "stage name") is trying to make is that Jesus defeated sin on the cross...whether we believe that or not.  Whether we act like it or not it is True. But that is not exactly the point I am getting at.

My point?  Many Christians will not accept something as Truth if it is not conveyed in Christianese. They will sometimes outright deny a TRUTH if it is proclaimed by someone they consider new age or heretical or from another faith "inferior" to Christianity.  But just because they turn their noses up at it….denounce the package it comes wrapped in....even consider it dangerous....none of that makes it any less True. 

I like to find the common strand running through the different teachers and faith traditions and sacred writings because it so magnifies God to me.  In him we truly do live and breathe and have our being.  He is omnipresent...everywhere.  And we can find him in many faith traditions if we bother to look….. 

It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter.

When all these voices, timeless, diverse and sundry,  are saying the same thing in a different way, shouldn't it make one pause and consider if that adds credence to what they are saying?  True, a lone voice in the wilderness can proclaim TRUTH....and Truth is not determined by a majority vote....but these similar strands that keep showing up in the tapestries of so many different belief systems and paradigms should make one pause to ponder what is the True good news of the gospel.

And is the Bible the only place it can be found?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Isn’t that the truth!!??

I came upon an extensive list of spiritual/religious books available online….free….

You can’t beat free….

And so I went exploring!!  One of the sites had the writings of SRI SWAMI SIVANANDA. I came across his writing entitled The Life and Teaching of Lord Jesus.  In it he gives his take on the meaning of Christmas, the events of the life of Jesus as told in the Gospels, the meaning of the Beatitudes and the parables Jesus told.  I took note of the following parable....and his explanation.  

Parable of the Unclean Spirit
The evil spirit leaves the house. It wanders through waterless regions. It finds no rest anywhere. It return to the house again. In the meantime, the house had been swept clean! But, what
does the evil spirit do? It goes out and brings seven other kindred spirits with it, to dwell in the house. Imagine the state of the house then! Is it not worse than it was before? Even so:
The evil nature of man temporarily leaves him some times. It is starved out; association with the wise, precepts of sages, etc., prevent the evil from manifesting itself. These forces of the divine sweep the house (the heart of man) clean of all dirt and impurity. This does not last long, however!
The evil nature returns. And, how? Often, sevenfold.

O man, beware! Be eternally vigilant. Look out for the signs of the return of old evil nature. Nip it in the bud. You will then be safe.

I love it when I find different sources....far flung and varied that say the same thing...perhaps a bit obliquely but never the less the gist is the same. 

When I read this parable I thought of Eckhart's teachings on the pain body.

The pain-body is semiautonomous energy-form that lives within most human beings, an entity made up of emotion. It has its own primitive intelligence, not unlike a cunning animal, and its intelligence is directed primarily at survival.

Like all life-forms, it periodically needs to feed - to take in new energy - and the food it requires to replenish itself consists of energy that is compatible with its own, which is to say, energy that vibrates at a similar frequency.

Any emotionally painful experience can be used as food by the pain-body. That's why it thrives on negative thinking as well as drama in relationships. The pain-body is an addiction to unhappiness.
It may be shocking when you realize for the first time that there is something within you that periodically seeks emotional negativity, seeks unhappiness. You need even more awareness to see it in yourself than to recognize it in another person.

Once the unhappiness has taken you over, not only do you not want an end to it, but you want to make others just as miserable as you are in order to feed on their negative emotional reactions.
In most people, the pain-body has a dormant and an active stage. When it is dormant, you easily forget that you carry a heavy dark cloud or a dormant volcano inside you, depending on the energy field of your particular pain-body.

How long it remains dormant varies from person to person: A few weeks is the most common, but it can be a few days or months. In rare cases the pain-body can lie in hibernation for years before it gets triggered by some event.
- A New Earth by
Eckhart Tolle


Truth is timeless...truth is truth whether we find it in the Holy Bible, The Power of Now...or the writings of an Indian swami named Sivandana.  More on that tomorrow….

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Moderate Islam???

Karen Armstrong said:

It would be as grave a mistake to see Osama bin Laden as an authentic representative of Islam as to consider James Kopp, the alleged killer of an abortion provider in Buffalo, N.Y., a typical Christian or Baruch Goldstein, who shot 29 worshipers in the Hebron mosque in 1994 and died in the attack, a true martyr of Israel. The vast majority of Muslims, who are horrified by the atrocity of Sept. 11, must reclaim their faith from those who have so violently hijacked it.

I think Dalia Mogahed agrees. She thinks that the violent, radical Islamofascists have hijacked the Muslim religion. She thinks they are the original reformists because they have reinterpreted the original meaning of the texts in the Qu'ran....the classic interpretation of the Qu'ran)  to incite violence and hatred.  She does not believe that was the original intent. She believes that the PLO...or Al Queda...radical Islam has "reformed" the texts...reinterpreting them in a violent way.  

Irshad Manji disagrees.  She thinks many of the texts in the Qu'ran were violent in their original rendering...and that modern Islam...reformed Islam must reinterpret them in a way that does not promote violence.  I found their discussion on very interesting. the comments section of a recent post, Timothy Furnish provided some links to his writings about Islam.  The first one I checked out was a discussion about whether there actually is a moderate Islam. The article is transcript of a three way discussion with opinions ranging from "no way Jose'' to "ALL Muslims are moderates."  I think Mr. Furnish is somewhere in the middle of those two extremes. Check out the discussion HERE....and check out his website HERE.

More to fits and starts since I am so easily distracted. Blogworthy and thought worthy topics ABOUND EVERYWHERE.  So much to read and think about.  So little time!!!