Thursday, June 8, 2017

When is the Judge a Killer?


Glorification of the Eucharist by Salimbeni

After consider the topic of God in the last post, it would be good to have a look at the word judgment which is so often linked with him. The image of the man with the long beard sitting on a throne watching and judging everything we do is a bizarre concept. It suggests that God is a giant stickybeak!

Take, for example, these words from the Gospel of Matthew which records Jesus saying:
You have heard that it was said to the men of old, 'You shall not kill; and whoever kills shall be liable to judgment.' Mt 5:21
Let’s ask what is being killed and who is judging? Sure, in the next verse Matthew’s report continues about being angry with your brother but the logic of my ideas about verse 21 applies also to the subsequent verses when we identify the brother as something within us.

The Fall of Icarus by Reubens
The specific Greek word used here for ‘kill’ is phoneuo which means to murder. Murder means to kill secretly when no one is aware of what we are doing. What happens within us secretly that no one is aware of? The forming of our opinions! All day long we decide what is good and bad mostly without being fully informed. Therefore, in our consciousness, with our thoughts, feelings and intentions, we secretly take the life from people and things that displease us. What is more, we think it is our right to do this while at the same time demanding that someone who physically kills another person is punished with a jail sentence or a death sentence.
So who is the judge? The judge is actually the killer. Judgment in Greek is krisis and means separating (analyzing) and then a decision. Yet how often do we separate out all the facts? Modern life is full of quick decisions. If we want to stop being the killer, the one who takes the life out of something, we must take the time to do the separating.

This Greek word krisis is similar to the English word crisis that means a critical moment or a turning point. In daily life it is our opportunity to be aware of all the fact before we make damaging statements, or act prematurely. This means we need to be much more aware of all the issues so that we stop, separate out all the facts, and put them back together differently before making decisions - then the judge is no longer the killer.

Also published on Huffpost

Friday, April 7, 2017

Who or what is God?


The Creation by James Tissot

One of the most astounding things I heard when I began to really study the Bible was that there were many gods. Not in the sense of the ancient Greeks and Romans looking towards Olympus - although that could hold some answers as well - but in the sense that God-God, the Highest One, needs other mighty beings to implement His intentions.

Take for instance the first words in the Bible,
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

In Hebrew this text goes like this,
Bereshit bara Elohim et hashamayim ve'et ha'arets.”

The word translated into English as God is Elohim. Who is this Elohim character? For the Hebrews God was Jehovah or YHVH, but they also had other gods as described in Wikipedia:

El Elyon ("Most High God"), El Shaddai ("God Almighty"), El `Olam ("Everlasting God"), El Hai ("Living God"), El Ro'i ("God of Seeing"), El Elohe Israel ("God, the God of Israel"), El Gibbor ("God of Strength")

It will be no accident that there are seven. Then there is Moses’ famous conversation with God at the burning bush, when Moses asks God what his name is (Exodus 3:14) and the response is Ehyeh asher ehyeh, I am that I am. In the New Testament, Jesus refers to this I Am often using the Greek words ego eimi. Notably when he was challenged about where his authority came from in John 8:58
“Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!”


Landscape with Moses and the Burning Bush by Domenichino 1600-10

Understanding the I Am can provide answers to questions we may have about God. link to I Am post.
Amidst all this confusion, it is perfectly understandable when people say, “I don’t believe in God.” They have the courage to admit that, so far, they have no information to assist them to have any plausible understanding of God. Blind faith doesn’t do it. When they come across ideas about God they do not experience any inner confirmation that the information makes sense.

When I first heard that about the Elohim-God I felt liberated. The Elohim are one level of the nine levels of spiritual beings that put the highest God’s intentions into action. These nine levels of spiritual beings were described by Dionysius the Areopagite and using his list we can find them identified throughout the Bible, specifically when the words, power, authority, might, principalities, among others, are used.

The Greek word for Elohim is Exousiai and is rightly translated as power – the power to create. Furthermore, the word Elohim is plural and feminine. I have come to understand why this is. They are the creators of form, like a pregnant woman, and we see their work in every form on this earth. This is like seeing the finished house from the architects plan.

It is clear that no one can explain God to us, we must remove the blindfold ourselves and intelligently discover not just one God but all the Gods who uphold this universe and keep it in order.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Disciples as Mind Traits 4

Road to Emmaus by Alexandra Ross
When we think of Jesus and his Disciples, we should be equally mindful of the mighty Cosmic Spirit called Christ gradually becoming infused into the body of Jesus. Only when we think of it in this way can we approach the truth of the situation. Two beings; Jesus the man and Christ the Being who had never experience life in a human body before. Imagine that! This happened for the first time in the whole universe. Think about what it is like to do something for the first time; learning to swim, learning to drive, learning to ski, taking your first roller coaster ride or first bungee jump. Magnify that thousands of times and we may get some idea.
The other side of this story is that humanity cannot move forward without Christ. That is why he went through the process of entering into the man Jesus. We cannot evolve without Christ - not that he does the work for us, no, quite the opposite, we do the work which he has made possible, and he enhances it.
"Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I go to the Father. Jn 14:12
For Jesus to go through the mighty transformation of taking into himself this mighty Cosmic Being required the support of the disciples, just as we need support when we learn to swim, drive or ski. Stop and think for a minute what it would be like to be infused by a being of the stature of Christ. Luke knew when he wrote about the Son of man - the Christ infused human:
"For as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of man be in his day." Lk 17:24
Are we ready to be struck by lightning? For that is what it is like when Christ becomes active in our being. For that lightning to be effective, we have to make some choices. Otherwise it will burn us or kill us. To survive the strike, the 12 mind faculties represented by the disciples have to be activated in a positive way.
It is a work in progress and we should go easy on ourselves. We can be so critical of ourselves it can be crippling. It is about building pictures for ourselves and taking baby steps. The last three disciples speak strongly about choice. Having choice is so free making; always mindful that if we can make a choice in one direction then we can also make it in another.
Disciples James Alphaeus, James Zebedee and Simon the Cananaean
James Alphaeus: James the son of Alphaeus represents order, especially creating order in chaos. He is also known as James the Less, or James the Just and is a half-brother of Jesus. James is connected with the use of the word; speech is a very creative thing, primarily because it gives us choice. We can choose to speak or not to speak, and we can choose what to say or what not to say. We can also release a power in what we say, as Jesus did when he said, “Laz’arus, come out.” for instance. James is associated with the power in us to say something, perhaps something difficult. James is also the discipline in us not to say something. Our speech will be orderly according to how conscious we are.
James Zebedee: James the son of Zeb’edee represents the faculty of judgement or discrimination within us. Judgement is that higher ability not be swayed by our self-will, or the will of others; to resist being drawn back to the past and to stand in the present, in the new situation, and seek to express our higher will. Within us, our intentions are our will; without, will is visible in our actions.

Simon the Cananaean: Also known as Simon the Zealot who probably belonged to the Zelotes, an extreme Jewish sect. This sect was also known as the Cananaeans. Simon was the brother of James and Jude. After the martyrdom of James, Simon became head of the Church at Jerusalem. In hermetic tradition, the zelator is the one who is able to approach the fire. Simon the Cananaean stands for zeal, enthusiasm; this motivating energy is optimism for the future.

Published on Huffington Post September 11, 2016