Air Brushed Christ

Jesus is our savior not because he was superman but because in the midst of being human he knew how to remain connected to God.

One of the goals of a Christian is to be changed into the likeness of Jesus Christ.  On my desk I have a copy of Thomas a Kempis “Imitation of Christ.” One can hardly read a page of Kempis’ meditations without falling in love with Jesus and wanting to imitate his nature. But I see a problem in all that.

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Make Mine Welches!

The story of Jesus turning water into wine is one of my favorites. It has always seemed to me to be a bit of a cheeky story. A bit irreverent—and brash. You know, something like drawing mustache on Mrs. Grundy’s picture or putting soap suds in a water fountain. It wasn’t what I would expected for a first public miracle by the Messiah. I think I might have expected something along the lines of levitating in the temple with all of the scribes being struck speechless while Jesus spoke. But it wasn’t like that.

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Havens of Spiritual Understanding & Meaning Pt. 2

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I have come to believe that most people have, what I call, a spiritual haven–a go to place of refuge and comfort that works for them. It is where they find connection with something greater than themselves. I have identified nine unique havens that I believe are convenient little pigeon holes in which we may sort the most common experiences.

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Havens of Spiritual Understanding & Meaning Pt. 1

I have come to believe that most people have, what I call, a spiritual haven–a go to place of refuge and comfort that works for them. It is where they find connection with something greater than themselves.

I often hear people say, “I’m spiritual but not religious,” or “I’m a spiritual person,” as though we both understand what is meant. The truth is more complicated. “Spirituality” is a multi-factored word and no one definition adequately encompasses or describes it. For some, spirituality and the study of religious teachings are essentially the same. For others religion has nothing to do with spirituality. For others, it involves participating in unique rituals and practices while for others spirituality describes a process of meditative and extra-normal inner states. What is spiritual to one person may not be considered as so by another.

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Haven 1: Life as Magic

To ignore God or mythological stories altogether because they are not factually true is to commit a greater sin of ending spiritual development by denying that stories can actually be truer than true!

I don’t know about you, but my life as a kid life was pretty magical. All of my needs were taken care of by loving parents who saw that I never lacked for much of anything. I lived in a stable idyllic setting where my needs were met and my worries were restricted to concerns about making friends and doing fun things. Additionally, there were the magical days of Christmas, Easter, birthdays and teeth under my pillow.

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Words

I love words. I love learning new words. I love speaking. I love reading the written word. I love hearing the spoken word. I love hearing other people speak I love to read books that are little more than one word stacked upon another and another until a wonderful story has been told. I love nouns, Verbs, Adverbs adjectives and direct objects. I cannot imagine Life without words.

Everything I’ve ever learned was built upon words. Words have provided me the most sublime of ideals and my greatest of frustrations.  I have forged powerful relationships with  people through words. I have damaged relationships in the same way.

I think in words, I pray in words, I write poetry in words, I ramble my thoughts in words, I revel in words. I love long words that sound erudite give me a reputation for being a sesquipedalian. I love short words that pack power and punch. I love foreign words that sound suave and sophisticated. I make up my words sometimes–I don’t think I fool anyone when I do this!

But words are tricky and treacherous. Words are wiggly and not at all as precise and specific as some think. Carefully constructed legal contracts are often broken because some word didn’t say what it was intended it to say.  Words can fool and deceive.

Words give a sense–– A false sense–– of security. Word seems so foundational, so secure, so precise–– but none of that is true. No word ever fully expresses the truth of the heart, the love one feels for another, the pain and sorrow one feels for the travels of life.  More often than not, words fail us.  And, as wonderful as words are,  people often use them to curse rather than bless. And in the end, words are ethereal–seemingly real for the moment then slowly their meanings change and degrade until no one really understands what was said–much less what was meant.

Existence

Dualism is the concept that matter and consciousness are separate. As hydrogen and oxygen combine to form water, so matter and consciousness combine to form existence–or life. At some point when the body dies, the conscious portion is split away while the body decomposes to a different form of matter.

Non-dualism is the notion that consciousness and matter are essentially the same stuff. As water from lakes and streams combine to form the great seas, all matter and consciousness derive from a singular source and empty once again into it. This energetic matter (God?) is formless, eternal, unitary and the ultimate reality of all material things. What we call existence is consciousness that is aware of itself. There is only consciousness manifesting itself in infinite states and varieties of matter.

One could argue that our perceptions of consciousness and matter is trivial since our understanding of it is independent of reality. What is true exists whether or not we acknowledge or understand it correctly. At another level our understanding makes all the difference. In quantum physics, the decision to measure light as a wave or particle has been shown to influence what is measured.  Thus our understanding may well bias our experiences as well.  In the end, it must be acknowledged that all human understanding is based upon a limited set of tools of measurement. Our eyes and ears only perceive a limited part of the spectrum and our scientific instruments, though powerful, have limitations as well.

Even so, nature does provide clues to draw upon. In my view, all things–material and conscious alike–can be reduced to energetic material states. We perceive some of them physically, some of them with instrumentation and others remain hidden. In nature we understand that vapor, water and ice are all manifestations of hydrogen and oxygen. These elements, in turn, are little more than arrangements of atoms and other sub-atomic particles.  And these, in turn, will eventually be divided until we arrive once more at the unitary state. So it is with all “so called” states of matter–including human beings.

As “human being matter,” we can only perceive a limited part of all things—such as light and sound. To human perceptions, the plants and animals appear, grow and die—but our perceptions are limited to our physical senses. We, like the vapor, water and ice, exist in a variety of states—all physical and with it our awareness. Were our sensory organs more precise, we should see the energetic matter of human beings repeatedly come into recognizable human states, materialize and disappear once again into another energetic form.

Regardless, we exist as a part of the great sentience.

Nothing Lasts but the Land

He told me that nothing lasts but the land.

“The land boy!  That abides long after you and I.”

But it doesn’t.

One day we and the land will be gone.

One day the sun will fade and die

And all the stars will go silent as well.

And it will be as though none of this ever was.

What abides after all has died

and nothing but darkness is upon the face of the deep?

Will it not be the ineffable and infinite energetic reality

that was here all along?

That silent witnessing consciousness

That will say once more,

“Let there be light!”

Don't tell me what you believe…

I don’t want to know what you believe.

I don’t care what your politics are

Whether you believe in God

Or if you have religion or not.

Please don’t speak of

What makes one person good and another evil

Or your judgements about

Who should love whom or

What others should or should not do.

Be done with your beliefs about money, education, class and privilege,

Philosophy, culture, work and

What’s worth saving and what’s not.

Speak to me instead about things you value.

Tell me how you have dedicated your life.

What value is so important that you would make the ultimate sacrifice?

What values receive your devotion?

What are you working toward?

Tell me those things and

I will know your God,

I will know what is holy and good about you,

And we will know each other

Maybe for the first time.