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Why It Really Is “All About the Love”

“It’s all about the love”

Regardless of which canon of scripture one subscribes to – whether it be the Bible alone (with or without apocryphal books), or the Quran alone, or one of the Mormon collections (consisting of The Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price, or any of the many variations thereof), or even if your personal canon consists of books outside these more widely accepted collections, such as “A Course in Miracles” or “Urantia” or “The Aquarian Gospel” or “The Ra Materials” or the “Life and Teachings of the Ascended Masters” or any others of the myriad books that may or may not teach us truth – regardless of which canon you choose, scripture is at best a coarse outline of the truth of man’s relationship with God.

Let me re-state that.  Scripture is at best a coarse outline of the truth of man’s relationship with God.

I am not disparaging scripture when I say this.  These writings – all of them – are invaluable in helping us accomplish our purpose in this life, which is, in my opinion, to “fulfill the measure of our creation”, which itself is shorthand for “to gather into our collective consciousness all the love, joy, peace, and happiness we can”.  In other words, our purpose is to joyfully be one with God and with each other.  Even the books that include untruth are valuable to us in that they point the way not to go.

I am saying, however, that if we’re not careful with these writings that we consider to be scripture, we can twist them into a vehicle of separation, disunity, even destruction.  If we give them weight and significance beyond the truth that they contain, they can be turned to effect just the opposite of their intended purpose.

Consider the Bible.  The entire creation story, whether that spans 6000 years or 6 billion years, is depicted in 6 of the 50 chapters of Genesis, followed by another 44 chapters that cover the eras of the flood and the 4 generations of the family of Abraham.  That’s a lot of history to cram into that single book of the Bible.  There are a lot of gaps to be filled.

Now, let’s take the New Testament – the 4 gospels, to be exact.  Of all of Christ’s teachings – of his 15 years of adulthood, we pretty much only have first and second-hand recollections, written decades after the fact, and translated from the spoken language (Aramaic?) to the written language (Greek?) to the Latin, then the German and English, and – you get the point.  Then, of the seminal 50 years following Christ’s death, we have one book of history (The Acts of the Apostles) and a couple of dozen “epistles”, the vast majority of which are questionably attributed to one man (Paul) and his “after-the-fact” interpretations of Christ’s teachings.  Again – lots of gaps.

Obviously there are a lot of truths that the Bible does not teach us.  Truths about history.  Truths about God.  Truths about Christ.  Truths about us.  Other scriptural books hardly fare better.

Again, I am not trying to disparage the Bible or any other book, but I am trying to establish some perspective.  You see, I think where we get into trouble, where these scriptures become a weapon of separation, disunity, even destruction, is when we start trying to fill in the gaps of this coarse outline.

We do that, you know.  We do it a lot.  We have to.  These scriptures do not contain all truth.  That process of “filling in the gaps” has led to the myriad different “sects” and “creeds” which, according to Joseph Smith, are an abomination to God.  My personal revelation confirms Joseph’s account that these creeds are an abomination to God.

Some of us fill in the gaps through personal revelation, through personal study, or through personal experience.  Others rely upon other people – the purveyors of the creeds – to fill in the gaps for them.

And this is all ok, at least until we start trying to convince others that our version of “filling in the gaps” is somehow superior to theirs.  That begins to perpetuate separation – personal, religious, cultural, even political.  It gets worse when we begin to withhold our love, or our support, or our social or cultural acceptance of others because their version of filling in the gaps is different from ours.  Then things really go south when we begin to kill people because of the disparity between the results of our attempts to fill in the gaps.

Is there any way that all of this is the intent of the creator, or of the son that chose to come to earth, to teach the gospel of inclusion and love (re: The Sermon on the Mount), at the expense of His own mortal life?

I’ve come across people recently who have accused me of being “anti-christ” because the results of my sincere, heart-felt, love-seeking attempts at filling in the gaps are inconsistent with theirs.  These people are apparently so entrenched in their dogma that they feel justified in acting as my accuser.  I have never met these people.  I have never shaken their hand, or given them a hug, or even looked them in the eye.  As a matter of fact, my only interactions with them have been on facebook.

But lest you think I’m whining (well maybe a little), let me assure you that I have not lost the perspective that that are still people in this world who kill others whose version of “filling in the gaps” is different from theirs.  I guess that leads us to the real point of this post.

If my personal version of “filling in the gaps” were to be summed up in a nice, concise, easy to remember by-word, it would be “It’s all about the love”.  That’s what the gaps say to me.  When people hear this – and I don’t claim to be the originator of this – I only claim to have arrived at this conclusion independently – they are wont to respond vehemently, “It’s not that simple”.

But I think it is very much that simple, while at the same time not simple at all.

I think the Lord doesn’t really care about how we fill in the gaps.  I think we trivialize Him when we think He does.  I think He doesn’t really care about how we sin differently, or which ordinances we believe point the way to oneness with Him. I don’t think he cares about which version of the last days drama we subscribe to, especially the “details” that drive a wedge between so many of us.  I think he doesn’t really care what “revelation-evolved into doctrine-evolved into religion-evolved into dogma” we choose to follow – as long as we do it with love.  And if we don’t do it in love – if we do what we do without love – it becomes at best irrelevant, and at worst it becomes sin.

I think Paul nailed it in his letter to the Corinthians  (1 Corinthians 13) when he said:

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

 

I think John nailed it when he said in 1 John 4:18

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

 I think Joseph Smith nailed it when he recorded his treatise on unrighteous dominion from Liberty jail, including this nugget from the Utah LDS D&C section 121, verse 45:

Let thy bowels also be full of charity towards all men, and to the household of faith, and let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distil upon thy soul as the dews from heaven.

And I think Christ Himself nailed it when He said:

Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

This is the first and great commandment.

And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

 

I think this is the message of all scripture, even the message, the essence, of our existence – “It’s all about the Love”.  I think if we’re not seeing this message in the scripture, then it’s either not scripture, or we’re not reading it right – we’re not filling in the gaps right.  I think if we don’t recognize this, then we’re interpreting said scripture through the filters of fear, of culture, of a desire for structure, or power, or control – whether that be control over the elements or over other people.

I think God is love.  I think we are love.  I think love is the only source of power.  I think all else is illusion, the fruit of the proverbial first lie offered in the Garden.

It’s been about 3 years now since my personal dogma came crashing down around me and I found myself asking the Lord, “Then, what is true”.  He has not failed to answer me.

It’s been about a year and a half since I told the Lord, “I want to become love – like you are.  Will you help me?”  He has.

It’s been a couple of months since the following came to me:

The Lord said, “Come unto me” and the journey began.

He said, “Walk with me” and we walked and talked.

He said, “Be with me” and we sat together

He said, “Be me”…

And it’s only been a couple of weeks since I asked the Lord, for the umpteenth time, “Lord, Who are you, Really?!”.  He said,

I am the purity that you seek.

I have no need to exist, I simply am.

This purity that He knows I seek is love.

There is no fear in love.

Fear is the source of the “need to exist”, which is not of Christ

Fear is the source of the need to be right – the need to tell others that “our attempt to “fill in the gaps” is true, and theirs is not – and therefore you are not worthy of my love”.

Fear is the source of our desire/need for justice, judgment, and guilt

Fear is the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil

Fear is the source of all dogma, and the perpetuation of the fall, the separation, the natural man.

Fear is the real enemy to God.

When I speak of love, or say, in whatever manner, “It’s all about the love”, or describe the nature of Christ as being filled with love, with no room for judgment, fear, and guilt, I am not dismissing your particular belief or even dogma, but I am saying that all roads lead to love.  Any road that does not lead to love is not a road to life, but is a road that leads ultimately to death. Such a road cannot lead to communion or oneness (Zion), but only to separation and disunity.

Love is life, and it binds us all together

– From “Prayer” by Shiloh Rising

So, would you consider that maybe we would all benefit from being willing to look beyond our current understanding of our relationship with God, and search for the love that is essentially the message of all scripture and that is the source of all creation?  Would we benefit from learning to recognize the role that fear, and thus not love, plays in our daily thought process?  Would we benefit from realizing that judgment, justice, and guilt are simply not part of the Lord’s will; are simply not in His nature?  Would the world be a better place if we understood that our attempts to fill in the gaps in scripture are just that – attempts to fill in the gaps – and if we stopped trying to force our results on others?

I think we would all benefit from these ideas, and I am choosing to live my life based upon these principles.  It is not easy.  The natural man – the fear – is strong, pernicious, and binding.   I pray daily for the Lord’s help in walking this path, but it is my path, and I feel like I must walk it.  And I do not walk it alone.

But I have no need to force these ideas upon anyone.  Doing so, in any way, would constitute a quite perfect hypocrisy.  I have no desire to do anything more than to invite people to consider the merit of these ideas for themselves.  And, above all, I have no desire to withhold love or acceptance from anyone, or to belittle or browbeat or bully anyone because they don’t agree with me.

The invitation, offered by the Christ Himself as recorded in Matthew 11:28-30, remains:

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

What a beautiful invitation – filled with love, light, and life, and without judgment, justice, or guilt.

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The Nature of Christ

Someone posted the following question today on facebook:

“Do you think the symbol of the cross is disrespectful to Christ? Did Satan inspire this, to focus on His execution?… the Lord does say “take up your cross and follow me” and He submitted Himself to the cross when He had all the power to end it.”

This individual is kind and sincere, and often asks thought provoking questions.  He has my love and respect, and I am thankful for his thoughtful spirit.

I answered: “I think it’s impossible for Christ to be disrespected, but it’s not impossible for us to disrespect Him. He is not offended because such is not in His nature, but we can be offensive. Reducing his holiness and perfection to such a profane symbol might offend us, but not Him.”

I would like to expound on this idea, and in doing so, record for all my knowledge of the nature of Christ:

  • Christ is Love.  It’s that simple, and it’s that complete.  There is nothing else.  Love itself is everything.  All else is fear-based, and since there is no fear in love, all else is not Christ.
  • Christ is pure.  Pure love.  Unadulterated.  Again, there is nothing else in His nature.  All else is impure, and there is nothing impure in Him.
  • Judgment is not love, so there is no judgment in Christ.
  • Punishment is not love, so there is no punishment in Christ.
  • Control is not love, so there is no control in Christ.
  • Guilt is not love, so there is no guilt in Christ.
  • Power is not love, except the power of love.  There is no power other than the power of love in Christ.  There is no force, no control, no manipulation, no “trickery” in Christ.
  • There is no propaganda in Christ.  He does not withhold or manipulate truth to accomplish a purpose.
  • There is no deception in Christ.
  • There is no impatience in Christ.  There are no deadlines, there is no final judgment, there is no “my spirit will not always strive with man” in Christ.
  • Christ does not hate anyone.  Ever.  Not in any way.  No exceptions. He is simply not capable of any such feeling or thought.  Christ does not dislike, or disrespect anything or anyone.  He does not love one more than another.  He truly is “no respecter of persons”.

Now I need to repeat a principle from another post – that I cannot project, or perceive a virtue or a motive or a characteristic in someone else that I do not carry in myself.  To do so is to suggest that I have the ability to create something that I cannot imagine.

My perception of another person is my own creation.  It is NOT that person.  It is only my perception of that person, and that perception is my own creation.

So if you or I perceive someone is good or evil; if we attribute good or evil to that person, that is because somewhere, deep down inside, we can conceive of that evil. Otherwise, we could not create such a perception of that person. To illustrate using an all-too-familiar extreme, a 4 year old child is simply incapable of conceiving of the murder of millions of Jews during World War II.

Since the things I described above are not part of Christ’s nature, then He cannot attribute them to us!  He just does not see us that way!  If He did, He would cease to be God!

Oh, we see ourselves that way.  And we attribute those things to Him, but they are NOT Him, and in His eyes, they are NOT us.

Christ love for us is a pure as His own nature.  In His eyes, we are guiltless.  We are perfect.

We profane Him, even take His name in vain, when we attribute to Him a nature that is only our own.

And anything that we attribute to Christ that is not part of His nature does not become Him.  It is simply our perception of Him.  And these things are our thoughts, our needs, our desires, our fears, or we would not be able to project them onto Him.

Why are we separated from Christ?  Because we do not know Him.  We only know our perception of Him, and that perception is not Him.

If we are to be one with Him, we must learn of His true nature. And if we are to perceive that true nature, we must have that true nature in ourselves.  And as long as we continue to sustain a nature in ourselves that is not His nature, we can never know Him as He truly is.

But we can know Him.  For that true nature of Christ – that Christ Consciousness – is in us.

We just don’t recognize it because we are fallen.  We can only see in others what we see in ourselves.  As long as we continue to see ourselves as fallen; as the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil; as beings who indulge judgment and guilt and fear and jealousy and control, we will never be able to see that Christ perfection in ourselves, and we will never be able to see it in Him.

And we will never be one with Him.  We will never know Him.

Instead, we will continue to seek to engage a being who doesn’t exist.  Dare I say that we will continue seek to engage an idol?  An idol whom we have formed in our own minds, an idol who is an extension of our own fallen consciousness – our own ego – our own natural man?

I know I’m repeating myself.  But this message is a message of ascension.  It is a message of redemption.  It is a message of salvation.  It is a message of eternal life.  It is the message of eternal life (…to know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent).  There is no other!

In order to become one with Christ, we must know Him – the true Him – free of the imperfect attributes that we project onto Him because of our own fallen nature.  In order to do this, my friends, we must discover that perfect nature, that Christ nature in ourselves.  Again:

  • We must forsake the idea of judgment.  That is not Christ.
  • We must forsake the idea of guilt.  That is not Christ.
  • We must forsake the idea of punishment.  That is not Christ.
  • We must forsake the idea of condemnation, or worthiness.  That is not Christ.

These are all the fruits of fear, and there is no fear in love.

If we are to know Christ, we must approach Him in pure, childlike love, even as a little child.  We must approach Him in complete trust, and if we are to do that, we must find that love, that purity, that peace, in ourselves, and we must celebrate it, and nurture it, and elevate it to the forefront of our consciousness on a daily basis.

In short, we must love God with all our might, mind, and strength; and we must love our neighbor as ourselves.

This is the will of God.

There is no other!

As I settled into prayer today, I didn’t last very long.  I was not overwhelmed with a love from outside myself, but I was filled to bursting with a love that was coming from inside.  Bursting, yet it was still peaceful, and warm, and joyful.  I felt the urge to fold my arms across my chest, and just squeeze that beautiful spirit that is Christ, and that is me, and that is you, and hold it to myself, in myself, through myself.  I felt the warm desire to “be Christ”.

And then the Lord said, “Get up and write”.

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“Be Me”…Thoughts on the Sacrament and Eternal Life

Last week, the following came to me:

Christ said, “Come unto Me”, and the journey began

He said, “Walk with Me”, and we walked, and talked

He said, “Be with Me”, and we sat

Then He said, “Be Me”…to be continued.

 

Of course, the question of what it means to “Be Me” was obvious, and I asked for help.

This morning, I was reading something that “Pure Revelation” (a blog maintained by a friend who wishes to remain anonymous) wrote about the sacrament, when I suddenly knew that the sacrament is symbolic of “Be Me”.  Let me try to explain.  I say “try” because I don’t know that I fully understand it myself, even if the knowledge was suddenly there at the time.

Christ’s body and blood, as symbolized by the bread and wine, represent His physical death – the end of His mortal existence on earth.  He conquered His fear of death – the fear of non-existence that is perpetuated by the ego – and the proof of that was his submission to be tortured, humiliated, and crucified.  He knew who he was – not only the Christ but, even before that, a being of divine, eternal destiny, a perfect manifestation of God the Father.  He knew that He was, above all, a being who would never die, because that’s how He was created.  Christ had that knowledge.

Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:  And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? (John 11:25-26)

Do we believe this?  Is the sacrament symbolic of our “believing” in this – that we, like Him, are beings of divine, eternal destiny, who shall never die?  Is the sacrament then symbolic of the atonement – the promise that we will all inherit that eternal destiny, the very measure of our creation?  Is the sacrament really symbolic of eternal life, or, as PR said, “The New Covenant”; “New” because it could now be offered by Christ because He partook of mortality without sacrificing His divinity?  Is the sacrament symbolic of His call for us to do the same: to receive this new covenant; to come unto Him; to follow Him; to believe in Him?

Is the sacrament, then, symbolic of His invitation to “Be Me”?

Breathe, Scoot.  Just breathe.

Consider the possibility that Christ conquered death long before He was crucified.  There are multiple extra-biblical accounts of His journeys between the ages of 12 and 30 that suggest that he spent that time traveling the current known world, studying and teaching with “ascended” or “enlightened” masters in India, Nepal, Persia, Egypt, Greece, and perhaps other places.  The “Aquarian Gospel” describes how He was recognized everywhere as the most ascended of all the ascended masters.  If this is true, then it seems that, by the time He returned to His homeland to begin the ministry recorded in the New Testament, He had already uncovered the knowledge of His divinity.

Then comes what occurs to me might be the real climax of His mortal life and ministry – the 40 day fast in the desert.  This is where He conquered death.  This is where He came to a full awareness of His ascension as “The Only Begotten”.  40 DAYS!  Without food.  Without water?  How is that possible?  Was He translated by that time?

Regardless, this is where He partook of the fruit of the tree of life.  I have speculated before that, if we can overcome the ego – the natural man – forsaking the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, we can unlock the power over the elements, no longer bound by time, space, and form.  In other words, our divinity overcomes the ego.

Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:  And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? (John 11:25-26)

Then, at the end of the 40 day fast, Christ had one last chance to surrender to the ego, represented in the scriptures by Satan.  By this point, He had the power to turn rocks into bread!  He had the power to rule the world.  He had the power to command the elements to the point of cheating gravity and certain death. He had the power to heal the leper, give sight to the blind, and cast out demons. Had he surrendered to the temptations of the ego, He still had the power and the knowledge, but He didn’t exercise them for the sake of power or control, ultimately not even to save His own mortal life.  His mortal body held no value to Him except as a tool to perform His ministry; a tool to teach; a tool to heal; a tool to lead…a tool to love.

I love this Christ!

I am reminded that it was only after this experience that Christ came to John for baptism.  I’ll leave it to you to ponder what that might mean for the rest of us.

When Christ resisted Satan’s temptations, He sealed the victory over death.  In this context, the passion was almost anti-climactic.

So, as I seek to understand what it means to “Be Me”, I am led to the

 conclusion that I, too, must overcome my fear of death.

We all fear death.  As we get older, we often come to grips with it.  Perhaps we kid ourselves that we don’t fear it, but our ego is not going to “go gentle into that good night”, and it is our ego that is the source of that fear.

So, how might we overcome our fear of death, so that we might learn to recognize this mortal body not as the definition, the alpha and omega, of our existence, but instead as merely “a tool to perform His ministry; a tool to teach; a tool to heal; a tool to lead…a tool to love.”  How might we learn to “be me”?

I have come to recognize that God’s will is simply that we love God and love our neighbor as we love ourselves. That’s it.  That is the elusive “will of the Lord” that we all seek to know.  It’s all about the love!  Everything else that we might conjure is nothing more than an attempt by us to force God to love us; to take control of our salvation and eternal life.  This proves to be an exercise in futility, because, in reality, there is nothing we can do to cause Him not to love us; and there is nothing we can do to not have eternal life.  Except, of course, to just not receive it.  But even then, we’re only delaying the inevitable.

But there is something we can control.  We can choose whether or not we engage in the earthly progression of comparison, competition, contention, and control that characterizes most of our individual, family, and social relationships.  We can choose whether or not we indulge in jealousies and fears; in guilt, in judgment, in a desire for justice and punishment, and the belief that such is somehow righteous.  Ultimately, we can control whether or not we choose joy.  We can control whether or not we choose to love.

And this, my friends, is what it means to choose life.  Christ taught us throughout His ministries what it means to choose life. He taught this in the Sermon on the Mount.  He taught this, of course, at the temple in Bountiful.  He taught it to Martha after raising Lazarus from the dead.  He taught it to Nicodemus in the shadows of the night.  He taught it to His disciples.  He is teaching it to me.   I choose to believe Him!

I choose to shake my head at myself every time I recognize a thought based in judgment, or guilt, or jealousy, or pride.  Then, I choose to remember that He loves me no matter what, and that he’s cheering me on – because this is hard!  Then I remember that He showed me how!  Then, I choose peace.  Yep – I shake my head, and wonder at the grip that my ego has on me, and I learn another lesson, and then I choose peace.

I might shake my head at the actions of someone else, but then, more and more often, I choose to regard them with peace and joy.  Then I try really, really hard to reject judgment, because I know that inside that other person is a divine creation just like me who someday will experience the same eternal life that I have been promised.  After all, we are all creations of the same God.

And, you know what? I look for…no I seek…no, I crave opportunities to tell someone about that divinity in them, about how good they are, and about how joy is at their fingertips!  I crave opportunities to tell them that this joy is actually their very essence; it’s who they are – if they will just reach for it.  And every time I do that, I create waves of joy and love and acceptance throughout the universe…waves that quickly come back to me.  Every time I do that, I create love.  And that is the same creation process that God used to create you, and me, and the mountains and the trees and the sky and the moon and stars and sun…the whole universe.  That…is eternal life.

So, I choose to create…life.  Not death.  Not judgment and justice and punishment.  I choose to create life.  And that life becomes me, and I become it, because I can’t create something that I know nothing of, or that isn’t part of me.

And Christ is the way, the truth, and the life.  And every time I choose life, and reject the very seeds of death, I become just a little more Christ.

Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:  And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? (John 11:25-26)

None of this is easy.  But it’s a lot easier than it was a decade, a year, a month – heck, even a week ago.

Christ said, “Come unto Me”, and the journey began

He said, “Walk with Me”, and we walked, and talked

He said, “Be with Me”, and we sat

Then He said, “Be Me”.

And I asked for help.

And I knew it would come.

And I think maybe, in spite of myself, I’m actually starting to figure out what He meant when he said…

“Be Me.”

And I will never think of the sacrament in the same way again.

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Conversations with God #15 – Friends Forever

Lord, when I come to you, I still find that I bring a little guilt, and doubt, and even fear to the conversation.

Yes, I know.

And I’m still seeking validation – like, “Am I ok?  Do you still love me?”

And that’s kind of ok, but it’s so unnecessary.  I’m still waiting for you to grow out of that and realize your perfect state.  But I know it’s hard, so it’s ok.

But, it makes me wonder, if I weren’t coming to you for validation, or reassurance, would we really even have anything to talk about?

                LOL!  Really?  What kind of question is that? 

I know – it seems kind of silly, but – well, I do get to just say what’s on my mind with you – kind of stream of consciousness, because I know it’s ok…right?

                Yeah, that’s right.  Keep going.

And you’re really the only person in the whole universe that I can trust completely, I mean – my wife is close, and soooo precious, but you’re even beyond that.   You know me even better than she does.

You’re getting warm.

And I guess we all just need a friend like that – kind of a super friend – don’t we.  So, even if I’m just completely comfortably in my skin, and have absolutely no guilt or doubt or fear swirling around in my mind, and have no need for reassurance, it would be really lonely if I didn’t have any friends.

Ahem.

And, I guess, even if I were…like, a God, who had descended below all things, and fulfilled the measure of my creation, and ascended beyond the bounds of time, and space, and form, and knew the end from the beginning, and could commune with hundreds, or thousands of people all at the same times, with complete intimacy and perfection of understanding and compassion and empathy; even if I were all that, I’d still need friends, huh.  At least one!

Yep, that’s right.

So, no matter how cool or perfect I get to be, and even if I’m somehow able to transcend all this guilt, and doubt, and fear, and judgment – the things that bind me to this fallen state, and even if I don’t need reassurance any more – we still need each other, right?  And we would still find joy in each other’s communion – even peace and growth.  Right?

Yes, my son…my friend.

Guess I kind of just answered my own question, huh?

I guess you did.  And you got it right.

There’s really important truth in this conversation, isn’t there, Lord?

Yes, there is.  And, if I may say, my feelings would be kind of hurt if you went away. Actually, they would be hurt a lot.   I like you.  You’re a good person, and I feel like I can trust you, mostly because you trust me!  And we talk – intimately.  And even perfect love gets really lonely if I’m the only one who gets it, and you’re really starting to get it.  Oh – and that swelling in your heart right now…I feel it, too.  In case you missed it – that’s called joy.  And it’s called love, and it’s what it’s all about.

And this has been a pleasure.  Talk to you tomorrow, huh?

Thanks, Lord.  Yes – I’ll talk to you tomorrow!

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Oneness

Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.  And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. John 17:20-23

As I was praying this morning, I heard a bird outside my window.  Oh, the joy of that bird!  A single, solitary bird offering a cacophony of sounds.  It was gleefully exploring – creating – all of the sounds available to it; all the rhythms, tones, notes that it could conceive and execute, in myriad combinations.  I just couldn’t help but smile as I sat there contemplating what that bird was experiencing as it sang out the joy of creation – the lightening of the morning sky, the warming of the air, and the seemingly irresistible urge to…just…sing!  Many throughout the history of mankind have extolled the simple joy of a songbird. Now, so have I.  And this has little to do with the subject of this post.  Or maybe it does…

What does it mean to “be one”?  What is “oneness”?  How do we become one…with each other, with Christ, with the Father? (Heck, maybe the first challenge is to become one with ourselves!) What does it mean to be “of one heart and one mind”?  What does it really look like and feel like?  Most importantly, how might we bring such oneness about that we might enjoy such a blissful state – assuming that it would actually be blissful?  Christ prayed to the Father that we might be one – with each other, with Him, with the Father.  Is this something that we can do for ourselves, or is it something that we must ask for and passively receive?

Unsurprisingly, I have some thoughts about this.  Fortunately (especially for me), I’ve had some experience that has certainly helped me understand a little better how this oneness might be brought about.  Equally unsurprisingly, this experience has to do with my marriage.

One aspect of a joyful marriage is that one must feel the ability and desire to celebrate the uniqueness and individuality of the other, and be willing to love the person for who they are, not for who you want them to be.  It’s easy for me to see the angelic traits in my wife because – well – that’s who she is.  She’s easy to love.  And it’s easy for me to just enjoy her being herself, and to encourage her in pretty much everything she does, because she rarely does anything out of fear or jealousy or pride, and never to hurt me or anyone else.  Because it’s so easy, I’ve been able to practice and to experience the results.  Obviously, I’ve been really blessed in this way.

I’ve written before about the idea that, in a marriage of oneness, it is critical to be willing to accept all decisions as shared and equally owned.  Regardless of how the decision came about, or how it turns out, once it is made and agreed upon as the most desirable course of action for the two of you, you both own the decision.  “I told you so” is never an option.  Not even “I was afraid of that” can enter into the one’s thoughts.  This state of oneness or partnership requires great faith, commitment, and trust – in each other of course, but also in the belief that we are eternal, divine beings and that Christ’s expansive micro-sermon about the lilies of the field is truth, even a promise.  One must have faith that pursuing this oneness will yield a greater reward than attempting to control every aspect of the relationship in homage to our fears.

And there’s the segue to our discussion on the oneness of all men.  The rules are the same, whether it be a two person relationship or a two billion person relationship.  We need to be able to celebrate each other’s uniqueness and individuality.  We need to be willing to overlook any fears or pride and acknowledge each other’s eternal, divine nature.  If we are to be one with each other, and Christ, and the Father, we need to accept each other, including Christ and the Father, for who they are, and not for who we want them to be.  We must be willing and able to enjoy each other being themselves, and encourage each other in the pursuit of our righteous desires.

Furthermore, we need to be willing to accept each other’s decisions within the perspective of the Sermon on the Mount.  In other words, it’s all good.  God’s will is that we love, and His promise, through the atonement, is that we will all realize our divine nature, as that is our eternal destiny, the very fulfillment of the measure of our creation.  We must somehow develop the belief that everything is part of God’s will – even as it unfolds before us.

And this is NOT easy!

And it requires “…great faith, and commitment, and trust – in each other… but also in the belief that we are eternal, divine beings and that Christ’s expansive micro-sermon about the lilies of the field is truth, even a promise.  One must have faith that pursuing this oneness will yield a greater reward than attempting to control every aspect of the relationship in homage to our fears”.

Accepting this oneness is not an option – it is an eventual certainty.  Not accepting it is a lie, and an exercise in futility because, as individual, unique manifestations of the same God, the same creator, we are, by our very nature, one.  Yet, we will continue for as long as it takes to deny the truth, and believe the lie – until that perfect day when the lie no longer sustains us.

The opposite of oneness is separation.

This separation that defines our current state of existence is embedded deeply in our beliefs:

  • The 4 C’s of separation – comparison à competition à contention à control – undermines everything I mentioned above, yet they are the bedrock of our fallen state. We actually believe that comparing ourselves to others is the way we’re supposed to be.  This is not of God.
  • The very idea that some will spend eternity in oneness with God, while others will not, ensures that we will never have oneness.
  • Churches, hierarchies, prophets, apostles, noble and great ones, authority, power…saved vs. condemned – separation conventions all.
  • Judgment, even “righteous judgment”, if it is perceived to elevate one above another in our own eyes or in the eyes of God, perpetuates separation.
  • Any idea that the decisions of others are a potential threat to one’s welfare; any idea of attack, or insult, or offense; all perpetuate separation, and thus deny oneness.

And this is NOT easy!

If we are to be one with each other, we must understand our true nature.  If we are to be one with Christ, we must understand His true nature in conjunction with our own.  After all, if we seek oneness with Christ, but perpetuate a nature that is contrary to His, how can we be one with Him?  How can we be one with each other?

In that context, I’d like to explore the nature of Christ.

Christ is love.  Picture Him for a minute in flowing white robes, like in Bertel Thorvaldsen’s Christus statue.  The robes fall loosely, gently, perhaps moving slightly in the breeze.  There are folds – gentle, round folds – not sharp ones – that just sort of exist.  Beautifully, freely, perfectly, even though there’s no specific geometric pattern.  The robes are white.  They exude peace, kindness, acceptance – of themselves, as well as of their interaction with all around them.  The robes are graceful, and they do not judge.  They just are.  Especially important, of course, are the welcoming, outstretched hands.

This is Christ.  He is not a ruler.  Such would frankly be beneath Him.  He is not a judge.  He simply invites us to be the most love that we can be, after having shown us how.  He does not condemn. He does not demand or command obedience.   He does not wield power, except the power of love. He invites and welcomes, and rejoices with us as we discover the joy in ourselves.  He views us, and loves us, in perfect perspective – fully cognizant of our eternal, divine nature – the nature that He realized and fulfilled, which realization elicits our worship, but does not demand it.  Again, he simply invites…and welcomes…and encourages.  Christ is patient beyond measure, largely because He knows the end from the beginning, and that because He is not bound by the perception of time.

Consider a scenario where I approach my wife with manipulation and control in my heart.  Perhaps I have become convinced that we can be happier if she does everything my way, or that we must become more “righteous” if we are to be exalted.  I set about trying to convince her that she is wrong (and thus less than me by comparison) and I am right, and that I am her leader, and she needs to obey me.  I require righteousness at all times, and ridicule and criticize when she “sins” differently from me. (The irony here is that mine is by far the greater sin). What do we think would happen?  I can assure you there would be shock, then tears, then…separation.  We would no longer be one, because I introduced the 4 C’s into our relationship, and I basically cut that beautiful lily of the field off at the ground.  The flower that I married would be plasticized, or laminated, forced into a fixed state,, but never, ever blooming in the full measure of her creation.

Consider next a scenario where I approach Christ with fear and judgment, justice and guilt in my heart.  How can I be one with a being in whom there is no such thing?  Let’s then extend that scenario to my approach to my neighbor.  Perhaps we are one in that we all have fear and judgment, justice and guilt, comparison, competition, contention, and control in our hearts, but these things only insure that we will never be one, because we will always be separated – by the very traits that we have in common. Pretty ironic, wouldn’t you say?

Now, what to do?  I can maybe strip myself of fear and guilt and the desire for justice and judgment, and thus hope to approach Christ in oneness.  I can cherish my wife in all her glory, showing love and encouragement at all times and in all places, and we can experience the joy of a marriage of oneness.  But how do I become one with all my neighbors?  Well, this is where we seek to become like Christ and follow His example.  We invite, and if the invitation is accepted, we welcome.  But we do not judge if the invitation is not accepted, and we do not give up.  We nurture patience beyond measure, having faith in Christ’s (our?) knowledge of the end from the beginning, and freeing ourselves from the bonds of time by focusing on the now.  Of course, once again, “this state of oneness or partnership requires great faith, commitment, and trust – in each other…but also in the belief that we are eternal, divine beings and that Christ’s expansive micro-sermon about the lilies of the field is truth, even a promise.  One must have faith that pursuing this oneness will yield a greater reward than attempting to control every aspect of the relationship in homage to our fears.”

And this is NOT easy!

But because this oneness is our nature, our destiny, the measure of our creation, and because the separation is a lie, an illusion, a temporary state, perpetuated by ourselves out of fear and unbelief…the day will eventually come when we will understand His true nature, which is our true nature.  The day will come when we will know that “love is life, and it binds us all together”.   And on that day…

there will be peace.

My love to you all.

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There Will be Peace

There will be peace.

A profound, all consuming, fulfilling-of-all-hope type of peace.  Peace like the lion lying with the lamb; the child playing on the cockatrice’s den; because “This is the purpose that is purposed upon the whole earth: and this is the hand that is stretched out upon all the nations”. Isaiah 14:26

His hand is stretched out still because He is, and because we are, and there never was anything else.  Not really.

Just peace.

The Christ is the embodiment of that peace.  When He walked the earth, He endured the illusion that there is something that is not peace.  But that was just an illusion.  It still is just an illusion.  But He endured the illusion, the same illusion that we all endure as part of our walk on the earth. In this way, He descended below all things.

Nevertheless, He was always peace.  We are always peace.  The difference is that He knew it.  He knew that “not peace” is an illusion, and the reality is peace…always, forever.  Creation is Peace.  Existence is peace.  God is peace.  Christ is peace.  You and I are peace.  And, of course, peace is creation.  Peace is existence.  Peace is God.  Peace is Christ.  Peace is you and me.  Peace is all things eternal, and all things eternal are peace.  All else is…death.

Yes, there will be peace…when we choose it.

We won’t bring it about.  We can’t.  It already is.  Our striving for Zion?  Zion already is, we just can’t see it.  Seeking to “know Christ”?  We already know Him, we just can’t see it.  We are blinded by the illusion.

What is the reality of this illusion, then?  Why does it seem so real to us?  Why do we think that this illusion is our “I AM”?  Furthermore, why do we project our illusion onto Christ, and decide that our false “I AM” is also His “I AM”?

We do this because we keep thinking that:

  • Christ cares about the past, when He doesn’t
  • Christ cares about the future, when He doesn’t.
  • Christ cares about judgment, or guilt, or punishment, or justice, when He doesn’t.
  • Christ cares about hierarchy, or organization, or authority, when He doesn’t.

Instead, Christ JUST IS.  He is love.  When we are love, we are one with Him.  But when we’re distracted by the illusion of the past, the future, or guilt, or punishment, or authority, we separate ourselves from Him.

And then it’s really hard to experience the peace that, ultimately, is all things.

We do this – this illusion – to ourselves.  We ALL do it.  It’s part of our experience.  I don’t really know why.  If I started asking why, I would probably find myself going down a mega complex of rabbit holes that would serve little purpose other than to distract me from the now, from my “I AM”, from love.

But there will be peace…when we choose it.

How, then, do we go about choosing peace?

Perhaps I can share a few keys that have helped me open my eyes – just enough – to begin seeing beyond the illusion.  The view remains dim, because I’m still burdened by all the lies, but it is becoming clearer day by day; prayer by prayer; revelation by revelation.  And what I am beginning to see is glorious…and peaceful.

  • I don’t have to be right. That doesn’t mean I don’t want to know truth.  It does, however, mean that I don’t have a need to prove to you that I’m right – that my knowledge is greater or more accurate than yours.  It also means that my journey toward truth does not have to be more valid than yours, or that I have to be more enlightened than you are.  It also means that I’m not afraid to find out that I’m wrong.  All of this is possible because my worth, my value, my access to Christ is not determined by any of these things.  It just is.
  • We are all guiltless! Guilt is an illusion, created by us, in an attempt to earn our way to heaven.  If we “repent”, and feel guilt, we think we can wipe out our “sins” and gain access to the atonement, because somehow Christ will love us more and we can be closer to him if we express guilt.  This irony is that it is this very guilt that separates us – from Him, from each other, even from our true selves. Guilt is a product of the past, and we’ve already established (well, I’ve already established) that Christ doesn’t care about the past.  You know what else I realized?  If I want to rid myself of the burden of guilt, I can’t project guilt onto others, either.  I cannot judge someone else as guilty, or think that they should be feeling guilt, if I wish to feel guiltless myself.  It’s a weird dichotomy – but I somehow know this is true.  I can’t be guiltless unless I recognize the guiltlessness in everyone else.  But – voila!  When I do this – I see them as Christ sees them.  I see everyone else through His eyes!  Now I can start to realize that oneness, and heal that separation.
  • Fear is so cagey! It’s like a spider.  I don’t hate spiders, by the way, but my wife does.  I can tell how big a spider is by how loud she screams.  Anyway – back to the spider, and its web, and fear.  Once we allow fear to be part of our thought process, it begins to spin this masterful, even beautiful, web, and lies in wait for us to get caught up in it. If we’re not diligent, or aware, fear will absolutely consume us.  Fear is a product of the future, but it’s based upon the past.  Christ doesn’t care about either one.  He is not bound by time, space, and form.  Oh- and then, (this is almost a cliché for me) we all know by now that “there is no fear in love”.  So, fear cannot be part of me, and I need to recognize it and root it out of my being.  This takes faith.  Lots of it.  And trust.  And love.
  • Sin is what’s in my heart. It has little to do with my actions – only my motivations. Of course, like guilt, this concept must apply to everyone, or it can’t apply to me.  We are all sinners together, or not at all.
  • Practice living in the now. Practice existing in the now.  The past doesn’t matter. It cannot be changed.  Only our view of the past, as it helps us appreciate the now, has any relevance in our being.  Furthermore, the future is not here yet.  We can hope, but we can’t control.  And I think one of the best ways to influence the future is to learn to appreciate the now.  Peace resides in the now.  It obviously doesn’t – no, it can’t – reside in the past or the future – only in the now.

Perhaps the most profound concept that helps me move towards having peace is my concept, or knowledge, of Christ.  As I’ve said before, Christ just is.  He is love.  Pure love.  He is us and we are Him – all together, and we all are beautiful, and glorious, and full of grandeur.  “Trust me, relax” is like scripture to me.  Our existence is peace.  Everything that we fear – death, judgment, guilt, betrayal – none of these things are eternal, or even real.  They are all our self-made illusions.  They are not Christ.  Christ is all goodness, and perfection, and joy…and peace.  Consider the power of the sun (or a nuclear bomb, or whatever) unleashed, unbound, in full glory, yet existing in such harmony that even the lily of the field is free, even encouraged, to bloom in its time, in fulfillment of the measure of its creation.  This is Christ.  Power, and glory, and patience, and wisdom, and love.  Christ IS creation, and creation is Christ…power, and glory, and patience, and wisdom, and love.

And peace.

Yes, there will be peace.

When we choose it.

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Friends Forever

Sometimes you just catch lightning in a bottle.  Most of our songs have been that way.  The ones we’ve had to work at just usually don’t amount to much, if they don’t just get dropped.  This one wrote itself.  In February, we attended a get together (reunion) of old friends from my college days at the University of Oklahoma.  While I had stayed in touch with some, there were others that I hadn’t seen since 1979.  That time was so filled with love and joy!  It was like we had never been apart.  And it was so clear, even after all these years, why we were friends then, and remain so no, even though we’re separated by miles and life experiences.

This a song from our heart.  A song about life, and heartaches, and laughter.  It’s a song of love in its purest form.  We made a cell phone video in our living room.

 

An old green house

In an Oklahoma town

A home for the ages

That momma handed down

A gift for her family

By blood or by love

It didn’t really matter

When we gathered together as

 

Chorus

Friends forever

Friend who never

Forgot about the joy of just being together

Singing ‘bout life

About  heartache and laughter

And friends

Forever friends

 

Heaven she knows

And she gathers her own

Down different roads

But the seeds that are sown

Are A gift for the world or

A gift to each other

It didn’t really matter

When again we gathered together as

Repeat Chorus

Though the years disappear

In the rear view mirror

And memories may gently fade

But love just gets bigger when you give it away

To friends, Forever friends

 

Instrumental break

 

Heaven she knows

And she gathers her own

Down different roads

But the seeds are sown

A gift for the world or

A gift to each other

It didn’t really matter

When again we gathered together as

Friends Forever Friends

 

An old green house

In an Oklahoma town

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