Monday, 31 August 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 the bullies about fear.
What are they afraid of?
And don't create more fear by threatening them.
That 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 and fear.
God is our loving Father.
And He will not reject us.
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Saturday, 29 August 2015
"My beloved speaks and says to me:
'Arise, my love, my fair one,
and come away;
for now the winter is past,
the rain is over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth;
the time of singing has come,
and the voice of the turtle-dove
is heard in our land.
The fig tree puts forth its figs,
and the vines are in blossom;
they give forth fragrance.
Arise, my love, my fair one,
and come away.'"
Song of Solomon 2:10-13 (NRSV)
[Scripture quotations (marked NRSV) are taken from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A., and are used by permission. All rights reserved.]
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Friday, 28 August 2015
Thursday, 27 August 2015
The pattern which we find 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 the 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 own hearts and give our love to God and to others.
In this way we make heaven around us.
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Wednesday, 26 August 2015
Tuesday, 25 August 2015
Monday, 24 August 2015
Post-Modernism is the time 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 enter 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 was a God of love and forgiveness.
The angry, punitive God of the Old Testament and the old Churches was a projection of earthly authority figures and not the reality at all.
God is transcendent, sublime, non-violent, even small.....
God will not reject you.
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Sunday, 23 August 2015
Our soul is the part of us that loves.
When we love we integrate our personality.
And our soul rises to the surface.
What inhibits this process is fear.
We must overcome our fear.
And come to meet another soul.
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Saturday, 22 August 2015
Friday, 21 August 2015
Thursday, 20 August 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 in 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 Allah.
And ignore the passages of wrath.
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Wednesday, 19 August 2015
Tuesday, 18 August 2015
The New Atheists claim that religion causes atrocious crimes against humanity like the Crusades, the Inquisition, the Caste System in India, Islamic Jihads etc..
And by citing these examples they claim that religion is an evil force and the world would be better off without it.
But religion has also been a force for good in the world.
The Ten Commandments stop some people from committing crimes.
The belief in Karma inspires some people to do good to others.
The loving example of Jesus has led to non-violent non-cooperation in Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jnr. and many others.
The compassion of the Buddha leads many to compassionate acts in the world.
The poetry of Sufism invites us to love and trust.
It is true that religion can sometimes cause us to act like animals towards each other.
But without religion we would probably be acting like animals all the time.
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Monday, 17 August 2015
And when at last
the gates of heaven
and receive forgiveness
for all we've done,
we turn around
and see our Dog,
our rock superstar,
the curse and bane
of wasted lives,
as we have been
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Sunday, 16 August 2015
The message that gays and lesbians are getting from the media is uncompromisingly negative where religion is concerned.
The message that gays and lesbians are an abomination to God and that they are evil and they will burn in hell forever is the only message we are given.
It's no wonder people deny the existence of God.
But this is a false message.
It is propagated by the media in the interests of conflict which they think makes viewing more compelling.
You never hear a Christian supporting gays and lesbians in the media.
But the truth is that God does not condemn homosexuals.
He accepts our sexuality as something natural (it appears in nature) and normal (it is not an aberration).
So gay people are free to establish a relationship with God based on mutual love and trust.
And we can be sure of our place in heaven.
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Saturday, 15 August 2015
Friday, 14 August 2015
Thursday, 13 August 2015
Wednesday, 12 August 2015
Tuesday, 11 August 2015
Sunday, 9 August 2015
Saturday, 8 August 2015
We are born into darkness.
As we grow we gather light through education and experience 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 that we 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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Friday, 7 August 2015
Love is at the heart of all the things of light.
Love is the source and the purpose of life.
Humans were made for Love.
We cannot live without Love.
So when the ray of light comes it opens our hearts through the Love of God.
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Thursday, 6 August 2015
Where do we find hope in the modern world?
We will 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 will 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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Wednesday, 5 August 2015
Faith is fatefully out of fashion.
Our popular culture, our music and our entertainment, are geared towards the abandonment of faith.
The New Atheists delight in destroying faith.
To me faith is believing in the goodness and benevolence of God when all around you are blaming Him for what happens on earth.
It means relinquishing the idea that life is controlled by God.
It means to hold onto the idea that God is Love.
It means to go against everything that our culture teaches us.
But what happens on earth is the result of human beings acting out of free will.
It is not done by God.
So pray to the God who will deliver you.
And always have faith in Him.
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Tuesday, 4 August 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 would 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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Monday, 3 August 2015
We hear the word selfless bandied about in the media.
It means such things as handballing instead of kicking, or tackling to protect a teammate.
This cheapens the word selfless.
To be truly selfless is to be attuned to the needs of others.
To never think of ourselves but to think all the time of the other.
This, of course, is impossible.
But it is something we can aspire to.
It is something we can do in the moment, in individual circumstances.
Once again we must overcome our fear of being taken advantage of.
We must trust in the goodness of the universe.
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Sunday, 2 August 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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Saturday, 1 August 2015
To be charitable in the world in which we live is to act counter to everything our culture teaches us.
Our world is driven by money and profit.
It is cutthroat, miserly, and tough.
Charity goes totally against all of this.
Charity means to give.
To give to those in need.
Not to blame them for their own misfortune.
To do this we must have compassion.
And we must overcome the fear that makes us hoard money and things.
The fear that we will never have enough.
Give to your neighbor and treat him kindly.
And you will be a child of God.
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