Friday, 30 January 2015
The pattern which we encounter in our Churches is this: good works done out of fear of hell followed by a triumphant entry into heaven.
While it is not for me to deny them this I don't think that this pattern is what God intended.
Spiritual development is about the heart.
Opening our heart and giving love.
While good works may resemble acts of love and compassion the motivation is fear not love.
And rather than emptying ourselves out (kenosis) in order to be a channel of divine love we should open our hearts and give our love to God and to others.
In this way we make heaven around us.
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Wednesday, 28 January 2015
Post-Modernism is the period when it became apparent that science was not the answer to human suffering and people began to search.
We rejected the moralizing and authoritarian approach of the Churches and began looking at eastern religions, ancient mythology, yoga, astrology, tarot etc..
Without knowing what we were looking for we vaguely aspired to some answer that was connected with the Divine.
This is spirituality not religion.
Not wanting to go inside a church for fear of being indoctrinated or castrated we searched in vain.
When, in the end, I returned to the Church through Progressive Christianity I found by following the teaching of Jesus to love God and love your neighbor that God is a God of love and forgiveness.
The angry, punitive God of the Old Testament and the old Churches is a projection of earthly authority figures and not the reality at all.
God is transcendent, sublime, non-violent, even small.....
He will not reject you.
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Monday, 26 January 2015
What is it that makes us close our hearts and hide our true selves?
It is fear.
Our early experiences of community teach us fear.
We may be O.K. while we are with our family but the schoolyard teaches us fear.
And fear begets fear.
Bullies are people who are afraid of being bullied.
They have to look tough so that the bigger bullies will not attack them.
And they do this by bullying more vulnerable people.
It is a vicious hierarchy with fear at the top.
If you want to stop bullying talk to bullies about fear.
What are they afraid of?
And don't create more fear in them by threatening them.
This will only make it worse.
Many people portray God as the ultimate bully.
This is not helpful.
Closer contact with God helps us to lose our fear.
All people become our brothers and sisters.
And love helps us to lose our fear of God.
God will not punish us for our mistakes, which are made in ignorance out of fear.
God is our loving Father.
And He will not reject us.
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Saturday, 24 January 2015
There is no devil in reality.
The concept of the devil came from dualistic thinking which attempted to explain evil in a world crested by a good God.
The evil in the world could not be coming from God so there must be a devil.
It was used as a literary device in the Book of Job.
But there is another explanation.
Evil in our world comes from the ignorant actions of human beings who make mistakes of their own free will.
Or a conscious apostasy in reaction to harsh and punitive images of God (these images are false).
But because there is no devil does not mean there are no devil worshipers.
Some people who believe in the devil are so disillusioned with the God of the Churches that they willingly embrace evil.
These people sell their souls and do evil in the world.
Among them are rock musicians, actors and directors, sportsmen and women, authors, media and advertising people, and journalists.
They hate the Church and Christianity and they tempt us with the intention of sending us to hell.
But there is no hell in reality.
God does not punish us.
God is one.
He is everything and everyone.
He transcends evil and sin.
And He manifests Life, Light, and Love.
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Thursday, 22 January 2015
We are born into darkness.
As we grow we gather light through experience and education until we reach enlightenment which comes from God.
And yet babies glow with an inner light.
This is the divine spark which we learn to hide and lose sight of.
Jesus said you must become again like a little child.
This is to rediscover the divine spark within us and love openly like a little child.
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Tuesday, 20 January 2015
Where do we find hope in the modern world?
We do not find it in science.
Science has failed to deliver humankind from suffering.
We do not find it in economics.
Economics has delivered the most unequal conditions in history.
We do not find it in our popular culture.
A steady diet of sex, evil, and materialism does not give us hope.
We hope that the light will come from somewhere.
But we are constantly betrayed.
We can place our hope in other things but in the end our only hope comes from God.
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Sunday, 18 January 2015
We are often asked to show gratitude for things that we take for granted.
Like our parenting, our food, our education, and our job.
But often this is done by those who seek to put us in their debt.
This is a kind of manipulation.
A method of keeping people down.
But to be truly grateful is to experience help from someone who has no obligation to us.
This is something which can happen if you humble yourself and ask for help.
This may take place in prayer.
And when a generous response comes forth we feel genuine gratitude and love.
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Friday, 16 January 2015
The power brokers of our world are miserly.
They hoard money and possessions for themselves.
They won't give a sucker a second chance.
They are judgmental and unforgiving.
They orchestrate injustice.
To be generous is to be unafraid of loss.
To be generous is to give yourself away.
To be generous is to cast your love on the waters.
To be generous is to go the extra mile.
To be generous is to smile, and encourage, and stay.
Have faith in the generosity of God.
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Wednesday, 14 January 2015
How can we show compassion?
First we must feel for those who are suffering.
If we have suffered ourselves we can empathize with others who are suffering.
To show compassion is to act to relieve suffering in some way.
A kind word, a phone call, a visit, listening, patience, sympathy, and love.
These are the things of compassion.
To do this we must overcome our fear.
Fear of being taken advantage of. Fear of being abused. Fear of violence. Fear of death. Fear of our own inadequacy.
These things can be overcome by faith.
Faith in a higher power.
And faith that by acting compassionately we are participating with the compassionate author of the universe.
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Monday, 12 January 2015
What does it mean to be merciful?
It means not pulling the trigger when you have your opponent down.
It means not judging evil but cultivating good.
It means not being afraid to look weak.
It means giving a person a second chance.
It means trusting in the infinite mercy of God.
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Sunday, 11 January 2015
We are used to thinking of our time as enlightened.
Science, education, the media, the internet.....
Everything is advanced and immediate.
But these things are being used by evil forces.
All science and education is geared towards employment.
The values of the plutocrats dominate:
profit, productivity, pressure, competitiveness, work ethic, insensitivity, dog eat dog, and the bottom line.....
And our popular culture is saturated with evil.
Darkness and cruelty are everywhere.
So we are foolish to think that our era is enlightened.
We are surrounded by evil.
And darkness covers everything.
We live in an evil era.
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Friday, 9 January 2015
In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful.
Islamic fundamentalism is the right hand of Allah.
The instrument of His judgment and His wrath.
But Allah has a heart.
The teachings of Sufism emphasize the Love of God and encourage us to trust Him.
God is trustworthy.
Steadfast and reliable.
He will not punish us or damn us to hell.
He is non-violent, compassionate, and loving.
So we should always look for the heart of Islam.
And ignore the passages of wrath.
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Wednesday, 7 January 2015
There are no straight lines in nature.
The straight lines and the squares
are all man-made.
God's creation is circular,
wheels within wheels.
From galaxies to atoms
all is circular and rotating and revolving.
This gives rise
to the cycle of the seasons
and the aspects of the planets.
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Sunday, 4 January 2015
What is my message to young gays and lesbians?
What young gays and lesbians need to know is that there is nothing wrong with them.
They are not lame or sick, they are acceptable to God, and they will enter heaven when they die.
My experience of the Divine has taught me that everyone else is wrong and we are right to think that our sexuality is O.K. with God.
The message that young gays and lesbians hear from the media is uncompromisingly negative.
They are told that God rejects them and that they will go to hell.
They are told that they are lame and that they are sick.
A constant diet of negativity is very bad for your self-esteem, let alone your pride.
So my message to young gays and lesbians is that God loves you as you are and you should not let anyone tell you otherwise.
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