Tag Archive | religion

Behold!

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This weekend is not about the Easter bunny, egg hunting, or any of the other earthbound trivia and hype ordinarily associated with this holiday. It’s about – if you choose to observe it as such, or if you don’t choose to do so – the startling reality of a new creation forged in the fires of the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. But it doesn’t end there… It’s not even “all about me” or the stuff I think I can do for God out of my own self importance. It’s not even about being “churchy”. Instead, it’s about a deep truth which has gotten overlooked and lost for the most part: “I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”

The question is, how seriously do we take this? Ponder that for awhile, and see where it takes you… It’s not just “about me” or “for me”; it’s “in Him.”

And it doesn’t end here either. See Colossians 2:20-23 and Colossians 3:1-10 for where it goes from here.

Cross Purposes 30 / Reasons For Religion

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The art that accompanies this entry symbolizes what critics may perceive as they observe the Body of Christ. The image is skewed, scattered, broken, fragmented, and off kilter. The cross is almost hidden. That’s intended. No, it isn’t pretty. It doesn’t please the eye. If it were a song, it would likely be off key. Little about it would rhyme. And this may be how some see Christianity.

A friend of mine commented the other day on how disgusted she is with religious people. “They aren’t what they’re cracked up to be. They are such hypocrites.” At first I was a little surprised at the rest of her remarks, some of which were quite heated and full of popular, over-used expletives. She claims to be “open minded” concerning just about everything. However, when it comes to “believers”, she cuts them no slack!

Instead of reacting to her reactions, I decided to explore this a little myself. Is there evidence for her conclusions? This is what I came up with, based first of all on her challenge. After doing some self examination as well as a little spiritual “time travel” into the past to revisit some religious “worlds”, I discovered that her claims may carry some weight.

These “reviews” amounted to the formation of a question: Just why are people involved in religion, or “spirituality”, as some prefer, since they regard themselves as “spiritual” and not “religious”? Unfortunately the two seem to have become mutually exclusive in some minds. However, Lucifer is a spirit and he certainly “believes in” God, so I guess that makes him “spiritual” too, eh?

Please, mind you, these are observations, not judgements. Christians get accused of being judgmental quite a bit, and that ought to be cause for serious, honest introspection and repentance. I cannot “judge”. I do not sit behind a tall desk, dressed in a black robe, a gavel in my hand dispensing sentences for crimes, offenses, or misdemeanors. No, my name is not Judy.

Observations and conclusions about why people do religion:

1. You grow up in a tradition. The whole family – immediate and extended – follows “the tradition”. Blindly. You “believe” because it’s your family’s belief, but you do not really know God. You may be nominally Catholic, Lutheran, Pentecostal, whatever. “It’s what we do.”

2. Religion is entertainment. You know – the parlor games crowd. Dabbling with no commitments. Spiritual one night stands. Tarot readings, newspaper astrology, palm readings… reading everything but the Bible. Seances, visiting haunted buildings, dancing in circle under a full moon, spoon bending, retreats and workshops on how to discover or enhance your psychic abilities or see auras. This is the group that objects most vehemently to the word religion for some reason. No, we are spiritual.

3. You have a curiosity about the “unseen”. So you involve yourself in metaphysical research. The word itself simply means “beyond the physical”. There are many branches of metaphysical science. It’s essentially the study of how the unseen – “energy” – effects the realm of matter, what we can see. It is the study of the interplay of cause and effect of the unseen on the seen – prayer, positive thinking, science of mind, affirmations, and the like. Personally I do not actually regard this as a religion, except to add that paradoxically all religions have metaphysical practices and tools. Metaphysical science observes and theorizes how religious practices work, for example, how does prayer or ritual effect physical situations? Yet it would also include the effects of light or color (art and symbolism), sound or vibration (music), within integrative healing settings.

4. The next reason why people do religion is that the church basement is the nearest thing to an exclusive social club where you can get the latest gossip about who should be excluded from your clique. The rule of thumb is to always bring your yardstick to the quilting circle. That way you can decide how someone who’s not there does not quite measure up to your standard for them, but you indeed wind up being tall in the saddle of self righteousness. Right, pilgrim?

5. Or maybe you are someone who likes to win, even at church in the men’s Bible study. You like to impress with all your knowledge, which certainly exceeds that of anyone else in the room. But you’re on your fourth marriage, and your current wife hasn’t yet mentioned to you that she’s filed for divorce. Your his-hers-ours batch of kids are pretty much little hellions whose respect you’ve never managed to win, and who may, if they’re fortunate, not grow up to be like you. But since you’re too heavenly minded to be any earthly good, who cares?

6. Maybe you’re afraid of hell when you die, and the life you’re living now is riddled with guilt and drama. So you’re into chastisements, punishments, penance, and really love a good hellfire and brimstone sermon every now and then. Your life is so bad that this kind of thing actually gives you comfort. It leaves you temporarily feeling better (or bitter?) about yourself, and you think if you can please God with your ego attempts at being good, this will give you a better crack at Heaven.

7. Then you may be one who chooses a religious path that shows you how to keep your sunny side up, but the reality is that you’re torn apart on your insides and the outside of your life. It’s a place where you can learn principles and affirmations that basically instruct you on how to serve a gourmet dinner on top of a dumpster, but the garbage and its smell never get taken away, and the inner stench permeates every area of life. You just can’t get away from it, because you haven’t realized that it’s what’s inside a man that defiles him, as Jesus taught. It may be a religion of “getting ahead” in the world, or how to attract more stuff into your life. But it isn’t changing you from the inside, and that’s where the work needs to be done.

8. You’ve always been into politics, so you join a religion that may run anywhere from ultra-conservative right to ultra-liberal left. Whatever it is, it must be politically correct, having its particular agenda for mankind, just as long as it’s a religion informed by those who know what’s best for everyone else – “the” cause or party you blindly support with vigor. Have you considered Jesus when He says, “My kingdom is not of this world”?

9. And last but not least, is that of the Jesus Christ Way of salvation through His cross and resurrection, by the power of the Holy Spirit. It’s not about tradition, habit, religion as entertainment, trendy spirituality, the unseen, Bible thumping, gossip, self righteousness, fear, guilt, positive thinking, politics, or even how to have a better shot at your fifteen minutes of fame. Christianity is where you come to be dismantled and put back together again – made whole from the inside out! It’s not a religion it’s The Way!

It is about the narrow Way! It is about the Jesus Christ Way of inner spiritual transformation! It’s your real reason for being! It’s about being “saved” – freed from sin, death, the world’s way of doing things, and the hooks of the evil one on your Soul. At some point you come to the place where you experience the life-transforming call of Jesus Christ the risen Son of God. You hear Him say within you, as He looks into your Soul, takes you by the hand, and says, “Follow me!”

You leave your ego stuff right there and walk away from it. As the Door opens, you walk into the transforming power of the Presence of the Living God, as He seals the promise on your Heart, “I will never leave you or forsake you!” And everything changes, especially your priorities. None of those other “reasons for religion” can hold a candle to this divine reality.

If you’re like me, and you’ve been in those other spaces or something close to them, the people who questioned you then may really criticize you now. They may always see you as they formerly perceived you, refusing to admit that a sea change has occurred, and this can be deeply disturbing. They also may not perceive you as a work in progress!

When St. Paul was still Saul of Tarsus, he was a Pharisee who had overseen the martyrdom of many Christians. But when Jesus introduced Himself to Paul in a blinding vision, it transformed him beyond his former identities. The old Saul was gone, whether anyone was for him or against him. He now labored on behalf of those he’d formerly persecuted, in order that Christ be formed in them. (See Galatians 4:19). In other words the change was so radical that his name was no longer Saul, but Paul.

Yet the best way to overcome this barrier to the acceptance of our Christ transformation is to keep shining the Christ Light! This will eventually dispel any doubts any may have, as they question, “Is this for real?”

 

Cross Purposes 18 / Cosmic POW’s

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My perspectives are just that, my perspectives. Hopefully what I offer may shed a little light to someone who reads it.

Male or female, black or white, employed or unemployed, Catholic or protestant, gay or straight, political or apolitical, own a gun or don’t own a gun, Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim, Taoist, Pagan… The point is – we’re all in the same boat called the Human Condition. These are only a few examples of how the three dominating systems – religion, corporatism, and politics – strategize to divide us one against the other and to keep us stirred up so they maintain control, so that we never embrace or finally reach any real freedom, our Divine Birthright, realize who we are, or experience unconditional love.

There is fabulous, potent, unlimited creativity buried deep within every one of us – as the Human children of God, created in His image! If we actualized this awareness, the Luciferian control game is over. And we then experience freedom from the massive programming which has gone on since the Fall. This is the goal. Some of us call it “salvation”. Salvation is not a religion; it is your birthright from your Heavenly Father.

The human condition results from this: that we’re all prisoners of an ancient Cosmic war, each in his or her own peculiar jail cell of sin, circumstances, and issues that beset us. All of us to one degree or another. No exceptions. Sin might not look the same in you as it does in me, but no human is free from it.

There are many social commentators bringing us to awareness of what the bad news looks like in the world scene. They keep us focused on it! They come as stand up comics with foul mouths, and news broadcasters and shows from the “alternative” camp and the mainstream.

Yet one wonders how they get away with tattling on the system?

Here’s why I think the forces of limitation [henceforth called the “FOL”] leave them alone, and why they’re allowed to tattle as they do. The reason is a rather metaphysical one. The FOL understand the power of suggestion and thought. It works like this:

1] What you resist shall persist.

2] What you fear will appear.

3] Where the focus goes, the energy flows.

4] How you see is what shall be.

The FOL don’t care that people are aware of the degree of corruption in the world. That is essentially irrelevant. Sign all the petitions you like – it won’t matter. They don’t bother to hide it anymore because they actually want you to focus on it!

Your anger and disdain actually empower them, enhancing their goals, making it easier and more effective. It’s an energy feast for energy vampires. Fearful creatures are easy pickings for predators and scavengers.

What’s important is to keep the people stirred up with negative mental pictures. This is a very clever method of generating propaganda – not even hiding it in plain sight, but letting people focus on it, support it, and spread it around, in particular through social media [which some perceive is created and funded for this purpose!].

Mind creates! It’s simple “science of mind 101”. If you are among the FOL, and you want to make it easy on yourself – with a diabolical intent for people to experience misery and destructiveness, or eliminate themselves entirely – then you let them create the conditions for themselves, beginning with negative mental constructs, which over time lead to destruction.

The strategy is flawless. Create a focus on negativity, disease, strife, conspiracy, doubt, controversy, conflicts, corruption, and so forth. Divide and conquer. Get them hating one another for their differences. Allow for a consciousness that creates turmoil and even disease and disaster.

Reality is intrinsically bound up in consciousness. Negative consciousness = negative experiences. Stir up the banal-finite-false-ego self [create problem] and make it perceive its very survival is at stake [create reaction] bringing in alarm and fear, and then offer to be the savior and solve the problems by tightening down control emphasizing “safety” and “security”. [create solution]. And there you have it – the Hegelian Dialectic in action like you’ve never seen it in operation before: problem, reaction, solution.

What’s needed is not the world’s focus or solutions, but Divine intervention, God’s Mind over the matter.

How do we get it?

We turn away from the problems and all the noise, and place ourselves daily in the Presence of God, with all our questions, concerns, wounds, fragmentation, neediness and yes, sin. We turn from the tempest and turbulence of the outer world to the Lord by going within, and ask Him – What must I do to be saved? We ask and keep on asking, seek and keep on seeking, knock and keep on knocking – until He opens the door. He withholds no good thing from the one who asks in faith without doubting. His Grace is sufficient. His strength is the perfect answer to our weakness. It is the One True Light to which all darkness – whether within us or outside of us – must surrender.

And as we first surrender ourselves to the One Who is omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, and infinitely full of unconditional love, the outer world is changed as each of us is transformed from within. One by one we show up for the work of His love within us. Therefore, the practice of the Presence of God is what’s needed on a daily basis to turn the world around.