Category Archives: Emergent

Where Is Your Spiritual Identity?


Specific to American politics, the last few years have been very tough on the identities of all Americans. As an African-American, I may perceive that it has been especially tough for people color. However, regardless of our cultural perspective, we all may be feeling like our culture alone is being singled out. It appears that the current political strategy has raised the stakes in a game known as identity politics. Pitting the feelings of one cultural group against another group of humans is a very popular and easy way to win support for anything.  In the same way, the threat level was used to control public sentiment and manipulate perceptions about personal peace and safety after 9/11, the reporting of ethnic slurs float as headlines across our media. And like a group of children in a schoolyard, we continue to fall prey to its tactics watching a bully pick on the innocent all the while fearing that, that kind of attention is never focused in our direction.

So when asking the big and relevant questions concerning identity the key to the answer has to do with where we go for that answer? Many of us turn to an outside source like a mirror, family,  culture, or religion to tells us who we are. Then there are those families, cultures, and religions that we do not belong that also make their opinion of who we are known to us and others. Please notice that these sources appear to come from outside of our being.

As humans, we all have individual traits that separate us from others in our various groupings. However, we all have one thing in common, and that is, we all use the title “I,”  to describe ourself. As technology brings awareness of happenings and opinions from around the world, we develop a global consciousness concerning the opinions of others, and we allow those to shape our identity.

When one’s identity is no longer subject to outside opinion, tactics of identity politics go away. Thus, understanding our essential nature as spiritual beings allows us to see reality in its purest form. If we can grasp the infinite qualities of our existence, then we would understand that we cannot be threatened or harmed. Human consciousness is fundamental, revealing oneness with God and all creation. However, these truths fly in the face of some religious and cultural traditions. But at the root of these same cosmologies, often the peace and unity longed for, is ignored to foster hierarchical systems known as our social order.

As technology brings on global awareness it increases the tensions between the trends that want more equality and those that benefit when human culture continues to organize around economic, gender, and ethnic divisions. So how do we humans rise above these simple tactics of namecalling and other schoolyard strategies? How do we begin to see the truth of our identity and enjoy the immunity from outside threats and opinion?

First, we must be willing to change our personal beliefs about ourselves and others. Ultimately we must be ready to change our world view. Amazingly, we are eager to replace the software in our phones and computers, but we are unwilling to change the software of our being. Who is willing to live without a technology upgrade for the next 10 years? And yet, many of us are holding onto beliefs about ourselves and others that have origins older than 100 years.

Second, is the acknowledgment that human evolution is not complete. Our current social structure rests on the advancements and shortfalls of previous generations. As we spring forth from the unevolved creatures that existed during the days of black and white television and pre-transistor technology, we need to maintain a perspective that we humans are still evolving. 1950 was 70 years ago and the relationships between every human sub-category and social role has advanced. Therefore judging people based on traditional societal roles, rebels against human advancement.

We are fast becoming technologist about to embark on a journey side-by-side with Artificial Intelligence, and many of us are not willing to ask the deep questions concerning human identity.  If the assumption is that traditional religious and cultural authority will continue to be the arbitrator of what is right, then we might as well bring on the apocalypse. Many of the minds in some of these religions and cultures groupings see no future existence on earth outside of the scriptural interpretation or imagination from many centuries gone bye. The sad truth is that many of us today feel lost and we have settled to become better versions of the human creatures of days gone bye. Even the social justice activist of today that fight for new visions of equality still rely on the tactics of 70+ years ago.

Only by understanding the truth of our being can we get off the merry-go-round of identity politics. So, how to do we find out what is fundamental and essential to our being? Using a piece of rope as an analogy, we must see the truth of its reality.  Just realizing that the rope is not the snake does not keep us from mistaking the rope for a stick at a later time. We must see beyond what the rope is not and truly see its nature.

Overcoming a racial slur, gender or ethnic putdown will only happen when the truth of our identity is revealed. As long as we continue to allow others in this material world to define who we are, our lives will remain on the merry-go-round in the schoolyard. The ultimate security of our being rest in the knowledge of what we fundamentally are, and thus making us immune to the opinions of what others might mistake us for.

By the process of self-inquiry the answer of who am I is revealed. If we find that our identity is continually assaulted by reports in the news, then its time we get a hold on who we really are. Investigating more deeply the “I” of our being is not difficult. Here is a hint. About 6000 years ago, it was stated: “I am that I am.” Simply asking ourself and pondering the answer to that statement any human can begin to unlock their true identity and find out what all humans have in common with that statement?

Leave a comment

Filed under Emergent, Emergent Church, Evidence, Evidence Locker, God, Mystic, non-duality, Religion, Spiritual, spiritual but not religious, Spirituality, Uncategorized

The Other Team Sport?

2019-01-01_waterdrops-8-1184377-1599x1066The human concept of religious freedom is our acknowledgment that spiritual beliefs, practices, and understanding can be as individual as the number of humans. The recognition and respect for all individuals to freely express their personal beliefs are fundamental as breathing.

So, why do so many people participate in their spiritual development as a team sport? Also, why have many people allowed their personal spiritual identity to become entangled with a religious organization? Organizational religion has two main goals. One is to aid in the spiritual training of those that join its organization. The second is to transmit to future generations the teachings and practices that are part of the religious culture for which it represents.

Many Sunday morning worship services in America have morphed to resemble sports and political gatherings with people supporting their home teams. The Sunday morning gatherings in America used to be a time of spiritual devotion where any visitor could join the community practice. It was an opportunity for people to temporarily escape from of their personal lives to reflect on the actions they committed or omitted during the busy week. It was a time for quiet reflection while being washed in spiritual words of encouragement. It was an opportunity for personal transformation.

Do you gather in huge a stadium or do you gather in a smaller group, and is it with people and friends that have the same perspective or worldview? Is there time for quiet devotion and reflection or does the gathering put on a production and presentation to keep you excited so you will come back again? Is the overall point of view being shared one that says, there is only one way to God and all others perspectives in the marketplace need to be driven out, so the world can become transformed? If someone holding a different worldview happens to visit or is invited to attend your service are they accepted as they are if they never change, or are they made to feel especially uncomfortable if they fail to cheer on the home team and its perception of the world?

This may be fine for sport and political gatherings, but it violates the concept for spiritual freedom. Yet, religious institutions have adopted this format as a method to support and bolster its organizational goals. Religious institutions train their membership in groups to maximize efficiency, but they fail to reinforce the idea that a person’s spiritual identity is as personal as their fingerprint and that it belongs to them. More important and because of tradition, many members freely abdicate their responsibility for spiritual development and trade in their personal identity for a group identity. Many people do this in hopes that God’s heart is moved by numbers when standing in faith on an issue. Have you given over your identity in hopes that it will be used as a political force that can influence the material world issues in a spiritual way?

For many years religious organizations, worldwide, have been more than happy to let people give them their identities so they can be the ones representing their spiritual lives. Just prior to the Protestant Reformation in the Christian culture, the most popular religious institutions were accused of having to much power and abusing that power. Back then the power was in the form of a financial tax on individuals, and families. From birth to death these organizations formulated a strategy of dispensing and withholding blessings to influence and control various parts of a persons moral and spiritual life.

Today people volunteer to be members of their religious institutions and have the freedom to terminate the relationship whenever they want. However, for those that choose to evolve spiritually, most never do it outside of a religious organization. Therefore, today these organizations continue to yield tremendous power from birth to death. They do not directly tax individuals, but the relationship has financial obligations and when it comes to political power, they strongly influence the beliefs and thoughts of most of its members. There is a valid chicken and egg argument to be made, however, within the membership only a few members hold differing beliefs from the membership at large.

But be encouraged, many people are waking up to these trends as it concerns personal spiritual development. The Spiritual But Not Religious (SBNR) movement and specifically within Christianity the Emergent Church movement and the Red Letter Christian movement are examples of pushbacks towards this trend. However, just switching teams is not a solution to the trend of spiritual development being a team sport.

Only the act of taking personal responsibility for one’s spiritual training can truly reverse this trend. It does not require everyone to exit organize religion, but it does require everyone to set personal goals and partake of training materials that they have sought out. With the advent of human technological advancements, especially in the area of social networks, individuals in the western world are without excuse when it comes to seeking spiritual enlightenment. Do you avail yourself of the spiritual resources available on the social network at least once a week?

To remained pigeonholed into a way of thinking spiritually from birth to death reflects truly on one’s beliefs about all things spiritually. Fear is the primary tactic that keeps many people from exploring spiritually. In every other area of life, people exercise freedom except when it comes to their spirituality. It is kind of like when a stockbroker or a doctor discourage you from getting a second opinion, you should automatically know that something is wrong. However, many falsely believe they will be better off not knowing the truth.

Again, be encouraged that you will not be the first pioneer to strike out on your own and do something spiritually on one of the other six days of the week and still show up on Sunday for the religious pep rally. Odds are that there are more than a few members already doing it. Social media sites like Meetup.com provide links with information about meetings and groups that have planned alternative events for exploring and finding people with awakened spiritual points of view.

For every charlatan standing in the pulpits in America, there is probably one on social media with the fraudulent intents, and yet my experience over the last 5 years has been all good and left my desire to explore peaked and all the while feeling safe. As human understanding grows some religious tradition will not stand the test of truth. What is true is that our spiritual identity as a created child of God is secure as God’s very Presence. That is our spiritual heritage and it has nothing to do with human tradition or the team we choose for our spiritual training.

One reason that unconditional love is in short supply among the human population, is because love has been made conditional to the spiritual identity of the spiritual team a person trains with. Yet, the true source of unconditional love is God. This is the reason that Jesus made love the only condition for a true relationship. While the religion of Jesus day had 613 ways to break the relationship, Jesus made love the only condition for a relationship.

So, let each of us stay mindful that we have the right and the freedom to develop our personal spiritual training. If nothing else, explore the limits of your current training organization. Ask questions of God, your organization’s leadership and other members. Open your heart and spiritual ears to God and determine where you want to end up when this earthly life is finished.

Do you want a personal faith relationship in your spiritual team or personal faith relationship in God? There are 52 Sundays this year, will your personal spiritual development remain as the other team sport?

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Christian, Christianity, Church, Emergent, Emergent Church, Evidence, Evidence Locker, Faith, God, Jesus, Religion

Utopian Hope

The thing that seems to be in most need today is a hopeful view of the future. If you browse any book store and see the type of fiction that fills the teen shelves, you will notice that many of the bestselling stories are very dystopian. If the children are our future, then what we are filling them with is scary. The phrase “Happily, ever after” is another indicator when compared to the beliefs of many this phrase has been relegated to fairy-tale and myth status.

More important is the outlook that some of the owners of today’s future tech companies hold. As Artificial Intelligence technology begins its ascent many of these owners feel free to communicate their fears of a coming dystopian future that they are steering us toward. In the cases of the teen books and the outlook of some tech firm owners, maybe the reason we hear such fearful predictions in the media is because that is what sells as news today.

So how do we change our personal outlook from this looming fear to a future that resembles heaven on earth? One simple solution would have us use the tools of love and gratitude. Love can be defined as the removal of separation between people. Gratitude is an attitude of thankfulness. Fear is the opposite of love, and we can first be thankful that our fear has not totally overwhelmed the reality of this present moment.

Too start, all we need to do is take a simple inventory of the blessings in our life at this current moment. For example if you are reading this posting you are alive. The next thing to notice is that you will probably take several pairs of in and out breaths within the next few minutes. From there quickly exclude of your relationship status, political affiliation, and personal financial status and inventory anything else you like and it will be a blessing.

Hebrews 6:16-20 (NLT) Now when people take an oath, they call on someone greater than themselves to hold them to it. And without any question that oath is binding. 17 God also bound himself with an oath, so that those who received the promise could be perfectly sure that he would never change his mind. 18 So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us.19 This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary.20 Jesus has already gone in there for us. He has become our eternal High Priest in the order of Melchizedek.

Oh, bird of my soul, fly away now; For I possess a hundred fortified towers. ~ Rumi

 Most of us at times allow thoughts of fear for the future to fly into our minds and obscure our view of the reality at this present moment. In this moment there is abundant life, for the 7.5 billion humans on this planet. Though our definition of utopia may differ vastly, we are all at this moment alive. The portion of the human race that experiences immediate death or extermination is vastly diminished when compared to just 20 years ago.

Historical Crude Death Rate (DR)

Years CDR Years CDR
1950–1955 19.1 1985–1990 9.4
1955–1960 17.3 1990–1995 9.1
1960–1965 16.2 1995–2000 8.8
1965–1970 12.9 2000–2005 8.4
1970–1975 11.6 2005–2010 8.1
1975–1980 10.6 2010–2015 8.1
1980–1985 10

Source: World Population Prospects: The 2012 Revision | United Nations Population Division

Secondary to death, fear that our liberty may be restricted, or that we will not have the resources to exercise freedom of choice, presents another looming set of fears. In this present moment humans on this planet are experiencing technological and social advancements and yet many fear that they will not be able to participate in future developments. This fear overshadows our current reality and produces an outlook so dark that death becomes a viable option. Life is changing for the better every day and yet many hold beliefs that society has lost its way and civilization is out of control and everyone is doomed. One such advancement is the awakening of the human global consciousness, aided by communication technology it provides greater awareness about the lives of many people with details on a personal level, and for many this is ‘too much information’ (TMI). The acquisition of any new technology always presents new challenges, but instead of embracing these advantages many tend to dwell on the glass half empty.

Today most humans perform jobs that make life better for all of humanity. Like bees in a hive we actively participate in laying the groundwork for a future society that will be capable of sustaining a greater human population and yet far too many see only, and fear what can go wrong. At this very moment we each love someone or something. We also posses the ability to pray and meditate for their health and well being. Hope has never been at a higher level in human history and more people possess the spiritual tools to make their lives better. At the same time we are fickle individuals who like slowing down and looking at a car wreck and consuming the fear of being hurt and ignoring the fact that just seconds before and after viewing the accident, we were probably exceeding the speed limit as we zipped through life.

My encouragement today, is for us to take time to inventory and then dwell on the good that is our life. Stay present when we are with those we love. Be thankful for every breath and put the fear of not having a next breath in proper perspective. Life may be difficult but compared to the human population 1000 years ago, we are living the utopian dream. Hope is always relative to the time measured for its manifestation. During this infinite moment of now, love is in your heart and breath is in your nostrils and human society is more supportive of our next breath than ever before. At this moment in human history hope and fear are like two wild beast living in the hearts and minds of every human. There is a Cherokee proverb that simply asks which animal will you feed?  Feed love and feed hope that today life will be well with you.

“Every day, think as you wake up, today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others; to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry or think badly about others. I am going to benefit others as much as I can.”  ~ Dalai Lama XIV

Leave a comment

Filed under Emergent, Emergent Church, Evidence Locker, spiritual but not religious, Spirituality

Love and Material Reality

2016-12-31_cascading-water-1183847-1278x855God is love and God is Spirit.  Each member of the human family is also created in this image or pattern.  Turning water to wine, multiplying food, and healing the sick are all results demonstrated by Jesus of Nazareth while a member of our human family.  Likewise, any person with a deep spiritual understanding also has the capacity to make material reality subject to spiritual law.

Love for example is a spiritual law that is simple enough for any human to exercise, experience, and experiment with. In the same way, that the laws of flight overcome the laws of gravity, love is a law that over comes most laws of material reality. This is the reason Jesus demonstrated and taught the spiritual truth of love as the basic way of living. Jesus used the condition of blindness as both a literal and a metaphorical teaching object. The material reality of blindness is powerless when confronted with the spiritual understanding of the power of the law of love.

Spiritual understanding is simply conscious awareness of an existence beyond this material world. Faith in the possibility of spiritual truth is a start, but it is not until one has a conscious experience with spiritual truth does this material world begin to yield and reveal its weakness. During the holiday season of Christmas there is an atmosphere of love, if one can become consciousness of it. When we allow ourselves to get caught up in the spirit of the season any impediments to our peace and happiness that was erected in the material realm, seem to dissolve. However, most people dismiss such disillusions as Christmas magic.

Because very few of us humans have attained the understanding or awareness of the spiritual realm, we settle for the peace and happiness that the illusions of material wealth and health give. If those that claim to be disciples of Jesus obtain even a little success in the mastery over this material reality, a joy unspeakable would reverberate within their being. To be able to pass on an inkling of this consciousness to their children would be an inheritance fit for a king. Imagine a generation of humans having beliefs beyond what passes as normal religious faith.

Jesus said, “Love others as self”

Yet, He always demonstrated,

“Love others before self”.

So the question becomes how can, any human operate a love that transcends this material reality. First, we must awaken to this simple insight. Jesus said, “Love others as self” yet, He always demonstrated “Love others before self”. Secondly, one must make an effort and assault the common notion that love is a two-way street. Holding that belief as truth will make it impossible to walk on water, disappear through a crowd, or walk through walls. When love flows from God, through you, toward others it is an indescribable feeling. In that moment, we need nothing from material reality, and there for we are no longer subject to its laws.

Galatians 5:23 (NKJV) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

We hold beliefs that God is infinite and that we are created in His image or pattern. Yet most religious and scriptural interpretation does little more than give an infinite God the human attributes of a face, arms, and legs. Very few if any appropriate the infinite qualities of God like an infinite conscious, one that does not slumber or sleep, or infinite presence. We lay down to rest the body and our consciousness soars as it returns to the greater realms of what we misname as the realms of dreams and deep sleep.  When we return to the smallest realm of the material reality, we say we are awake, all awhile we are blind and dismiss the greater realms we just left.  We must let go of the belief that the “I” of our being shares the limits of our material body

Psalm 82:6-8 (NKJV) I said, “You are gods, And all of you are children of the Most High. But you shall die like men, And fall like one of the princes.” Arise, O God, judge the earth; For You shall inherit all nations.

Luke 6:40 (NKJV)  A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher.

We humans were created for so much more, yet we are stuck in our traditions. A box of no escape may be good for building an earthly organizations and protecting its membership, but it will never get humanity to see itself as sons and daughters of God.

Escape velocity is a term of violent revolution for earthlings that have not achieved travel at the speed of light.  Likewise, we humans holding a set of beliefs that exalt the laws of material reality need a violent revolution of love as demonstrated by Jesus in order to become transformed.  We need to redefine the common definition of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. My suggestion:

A Disciple of Jesus is a believer, motivated by the belief that within a single human lifespan, any human could be trained to replicate any of the works of Jesus, and live as the child of God they were created to be. Upon graduation the child of God lives out the remainder of their days in the office of Ambassador to God’s Kingdom.

If humanity is to complete its evolutionary journey and reach its full potential, we need a constant update of our beliefs, as we consistently become more conscious of spiritual reality. Love is the doorway out of a belief system that material reality reigns supreme.

Leave a comment

Filed under Emergent, Emergent Church, Jesus, Kingdom of God, Mystic, non-duality, Spiritual, spiritual but not religious, Spirituality

Humans Evolving Spiritually

2016-11-14_droplets-1384830-1598x1125Human evolution includes the development of that part of us that exist at our core. What makes this evolutionary period unique is our ability to observe on a global scale this process in real-time.   For thousands of years our developmental feedback has also evolved. Where once we were only shaped by our local tribal community, and then molded by patriotic influences of the nation-state. Today there is a global cross-pollination effecting human spiritual development.

More than anything else, religious traditions continue to provide the greatest framework for human spiritual development. They set the parameters for describing the spiritual nature of humanity. The institutions that keep and dispense the parameters are also subject to today’s global evolutionary influences. The questions proposed in this post concerns itself with the limits of human understanding as it relates to the reality of the nature of human spirituality.

Genesis 1:26-27 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

Exodus 3:13-14 Then Moses said to God, “Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they say to me, ‘What is His name?’ what shall I say to them?” 14 And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’”

John 17:22-23   And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23 I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.

Most, but not all religions define human spiritual nature in relationship to their understanding of God. If that God is infinite then spiritual nature tends to be infinite. Some religions derived their spiritual understanding and practice from a God that is perceived to be finite.

Religious tradition has much to say from both fronts. However, because of its slowness to adapt to the new outside global influences it is losing its ability to shape the moral consciousness of the current and therefore the next generation. Religion had been the go-to institution of society for ethical values. However, Its slowness to adapt has caused secular schools to pick up the slack in human spiritual evolution.

To counter this, there is an emergence of a global consciousness bought on by technology-based, virtual social constructs. Traditional religions are passing on an opportunity by using its resources to defend long-held traditions that they will eventually abandon as human understanding evolves. Technology based schools and technology driven social constructs are by default filling the vacuum by providing new paths to understanding human spirituality and ethical values. Internal to the major religions and yet outside of its hierarchical authority a grass-roots emergence of sorts has been taking place over the last 20 years if not longer.  This emergence has led to a growth of external movements that attempt re-transmit or re-communicate only the revelations of peace and love from the world’s main religion traditions. Members of these technology-based constructs consider themselves no longer affiliated with the traditional institutional culture of these main religious traditions.

Spirituality without judgement is not a new concept, but it flourishes in an environment where there is no requirement for group identity and membership.

Spirituality without judgement is not a new concept, but it flourishes in an environment where there is no requirement for group identity or membership. When group identity is no longer required spiritual understanding expand and evolve. If we live in a world where we change software on our phones every two years, why is it we are afraid to upgrade our beliefs and understanding concerning human spiritual nature? If God and His realm is truly infinite then there is more that we do not understand, than we do understand. Today’s traditional  models effectively binds understanding to that model.  Traditional cultures could provide a greater service to humanity if the ratio between defending beliefs and exploring human spiritual nature were reversed.

Once and individual or a group awakens to the evolutionary waves that are moving through the human species, the resistance to the waves of change decrease. As it relates to spiritual evolution, resistance is futile. However, the developmental journey needs the wisdom of the ages as we chart our unknown course into the future.

It is my hope that both traditional and these new religious social constructs will not abdicate their responsibility to human society and remain engage in the moral and ethical development of humanity’s spiritual evolution. I have no fear because like water, moral and ethical advances will find its way around any blockage and therefore peace and love will prevail. I encourage the non-affiliated technology based adherents that have escaped the limits of major and minor religious faiths of the world, to remain independent.

Our independence is evolutionary for human spiritual development on two fronts. Firstly, traditional institutions of religion are taking notice of opportunities missed when we opted out from them in pursuit of deeper spiritual understanding. Secondly, as spiritual freedom increases so does our ability as a human species to freely and lovingly respond to infinite God. This creativity will only be discovered and experienced as we shake off hierarchical relationships as the only path to seek the face of God. In an environment of pure freedom, prayer and meditation the only judgement that remains are the motivations of our heart. Are they arrogant and presuming, leaning on tradition or are they still and silent, in freedom and humility, soaking in the Presence of God. Human Spirit, locate at the heart of our being, is a manifestation of the infinite and diverse Presence of God.

Spiritual development that is free from hierarchy, doctrines, and practices is evolutionary and its awareness connects to an infinite God in ways inexperienced by the human generations before us. We must remain thankful and respectful to our ancestors who helped us to this point. However, future generations are counting on us to explore and push the spiritual envelope and evolve spiritually.  Infinite God is pure freedom.

John 4:21-24 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father.22 You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Emergent, Emergent Church, God, Kingdom of God, Spiritual, Spirituality

Is There A Sense Of Transcendence Active In Your Life?

2016-10-01_ripple-1181181-1279x794Most humans will simply live out their lives playing on the field between the birth and death, end zones. Yet every one of us has within them a sense that there is more to life than this material plane of existence. Many will discover and experience one or several religious systems that claim to provide understanding and solutions that will aid them in their transcending to the next levels of existence.

Today most humans living in the western culture live in societies were obtaining their basic needs (food, water, shelter and clothing) require only a fraction of the 24 hour day cycle to obtain those needs. So why is there not more time devoted to answering our transcendent call? Could it be that our human education has convinced us that our pursuits would be more beneficial if spent elsewhere?

Even though the sense of transcendence is individualistic, we are culturally entangled with one another, and as a member of the human species, there is also a sense of limits and protocol when we attempt to inform others about our discoveries pertaining to the subject of transcendence. This attachment to our cultural groups makes escaping earth’s material hold on us very difficult to overcome. So how does an individual achieve escape velocity?

First, it takes a belief that escape and transcendence are real tangible possibilities.  Then it takes faith, first to seek out strategies, then faith to pursue the goal of transcending. Even after we grow weary on our journey, it requires courage to re-evaluate and re-tool if necessary. This journey toward transcendence moves us form the material to the spiritual plane of existence and experience. It is a lifelong endeavor that affects everyone member in the human species. We are all a part of the same whole.

For many our sense of transcendence has been reduced to the joy we get by having children and living vicariously through the next generation. Then they mature and begin to pursue their life’s journey. Quickly do we come to the understanding that only our personal journey can fulfill our heart’s desire to answer transcendence’s call?  For many this occurs during their midlife awakening, and realization.  During this period, many begin to take seriously their spiritual development and not rely on human tradition to solve their transcendent call.

Throughout our lives, the sense of transcendence continues to reverberate internal to our being. Some answer the call by doubling down on the traditions given to them at birth and others set off and explore the foreign and exotic traditions of other cultures. Regardless of how you choose to answer the call, what are the questions that arise and keep active the call?

Acknowledging that there is a process or a state called transcendence brings little comfort if our lives are not actively pursuing that state. What is the process for achieving escape velocity? Is it available to every human? Is it called by different names in different cultures? So let us say, for discussion purposes we have become born again, awakened or enlighten; am I transcending this game called life? Will the religious tradition, spiritual journey, or cultural path that I have chosen position me in achieving escape velocity?

It is very hard to measure our progress towards transcendence. Even if we compare our journey to the previous generations, we still have no way of determining the success of those generations in the afterlife.  Regardless of the path we are on, we can measure how active that sense of transcendence is in our life. Are we passionately pursuing the unknown? Do we trust in the traditions, myths and legends?

The God of the Christian bible once described Himself as “I am, that I am”. What is the nature of what we call I am? Is it awareness? Are we spiritual beings? What is that relationship to God and others?  This brings us to the question what are we transcending from? Is it our being, our relationship with God or our relationship with other humans? The questions are many and the answers are sometimes few.

Yet, for some of us we are very aware that this current life is not all there is. Many around us allow themselves to become distracted in the everyday drama of life. Many do it to deafen the sense of that internal call to transcend, thinking that if they ignore it, it will go away. Many bury themselves in religious and cultural traditions hoping that it will absolve them from a judgement that will determine if they qualify to transcend.

On my journey as a non-affiliated Disciple of Jesus, I am convinced that my awareness of love and peace within my fellow humans is paramount to experiencing a transcended existence. Quantum science also hints that the observer changes the potential of possibility, into reality. Therefore, if I want a sense of transcendence active in my life and in future human generations, then I must remain consciously aware of the transcending human potential.

Matthew 22:1-14 The Parable of the Wedding Feast

And Jesus answered and spoke to them again by parables and said:“The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son, and sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding; and they were not willing to come. Again, he sent out other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “See, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and fatted cattle are killed, and all things are ready. Come to the wedding.”’ But they made light of it and went their ways, one to his own farm, another to his business. And the rest seized his servants, treated them spitefully, and killed them. But when the king heard about it, he was furious. And he sent out his armies, destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. Therefore go into the highways, and as many as you find, invite to the wedding.’ 10 So those servants went out into the highways and gathered  together all whom they found, both bad and good. And the wedding hall was filled with guests. 11 “But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment. 12 So he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. 13 Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and[a] cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14 “For many are called, but few are chosen.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Christian, Christianity, Church, Emergent, Emergent Church, Evidence, Evidence Locker, Faith, God, Jesus, Kingdom of God, Mystic, non-duality, Religion, Spiritual, Spirituality

National Forgiveness

 

2016-08-06_splash-3-1190007This may seem to be a crazy concept; however, God dropped it into my spirit a few weeks ago. It is staying in the forefront of my mind quite possibly because we are in this political season. As I pondered the concept, I imagined it to be a fully developed doctrine plucked out of the rubble of our current civilization by some futuristic civilization. What my mind can’t imagine is this concept ever being acted on by the human subcultures that exist in the world today.

The act of forgiveness would necessitate a clear violation of sovereignty. Rarely do we think of ourselves as sovereign or relate to other individuals as sovereign beings. The term is relegated to members of royal families and the stuff they own as part of their kingdom. Yet that is exactly what we all are, members of God’s royal family.

Notwithstanding, we live in a reality, that is defined by our awareness of secularized social authority. These various forms include authority of family, of persons over 18 year of age, religious organizations, state and local governments, and their delegated officers. When these various entities exercise their form of authority quite often they come into conflict, and we appeal to a higher authority such as the Federal Government and God.  Therefore, it is that within the reality of our social structure, violations happen and forgiveness is needed. Many judicial proceedings are held every day to keep in-check the lines of authority and to recognize the boundaries of individual rights or what could be described as personal sovereignty.

A violation of national sovereignty could rise to the level of an act of war or a simple snub in diplomatic relations between two nations. Depending on the severity of the violation, what is required is for the collective ego of the violated nation to absorbed the incursion to its sovereignty and be willing to forgive.

What this is not, is an overlooking of an accident between allies, or an act of insurgency by one of it colonized states. What I am talking about is an unprovoked unilateral attacked on the national sovereignty by a nation with lesser or equal strategic power. What makes the situations more difficult is when the offense is witnessed by other sovereign nations. This is where a national ego arises and asserts it standing among its fellow members of nation states.

The reason I cannot imagine the concept of National Forgiveness being executed at this moment in human history is because the individual collective egos (you and me) within a nation-state are very fragile. We live in a world where the love of God for us is constantly in question by every human child. In other words, every child still requires a constant demonstration by God that they are loved. In the face of a foreign sovereign nation’s violation, the collective of individuals turn to God for justification and an overt act to save face and comfort their fragile ego. God on the other hand is looking for mature individuals, people who recognize His presence within, having the strength of spirit to absorb offense and a heart willing to forgive.

The roots of the Judaeo-Christian religion has created a system of beliefs, popular today in humanity, that God chooses to love one child more than others for the benefit of all His human children. Therefore, everyone wants blessing so they can be the path through which humanity is saved.  Everyone desires to be so enriched that others around them can’t help but notice the hand of God in their lives.  If that is not reality, wars are fought to change the status quo. It is within this traditional framework that makes forgiveness between individuals very difficult and the concept of National Forgiveness a pie in the sky fairy-tale. Can this be changed? Does hope exist?

When we examine the roots of traditional scriptural interpretation and the resulting human beliefs today, we can see some areas available for re-evaluation. Again, in the Judaeo-Christian religion three early historical stories (Cain/Able, Jacob/Esau, Ishmael/Isaac) are caught up in this dynamic of who will get God’s blessing. Even the most popular parable of Jesus, the story of the lost or prodigal son has its traditional interpretation trapped in this paradigm of blessing one and not the other.

Luke 11:13 (NKJV)  If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”

The belief that a parent chooses to love one child over another child may be an experiential reality, from the point of view of human interaction, however it is a misinterpretation of scripture and of God’s nature to think that God would bless one child over another. This definition of dysfunctional love, even though traditional, is a gross injustice and has been used to justify one group of humans mistreating another group.

Humanity is evolving by dropping outdated traditions and beliefs that tend to keep the status quo and serve only portions of humanity. Jesus died for all and scriptural interpretation is growing in the light of what “all” means today. Concepts like National Forgiveness are on the horizon for the nation states within humanity. More and more human children are learning to recognize God’s presence within “all” and His love for “all”. Therefore, as His children mature, humanity’s evolution continues to advance.

The infinite-ness of God is clearly seen in scripture. However, the human inability to contemplate the infinite-ness of God or the infinite-ness within our personal being has causes us to hoard wealth and display it like a badge of honor creating a false reality of God’s blessings. Individual human identity has shifted its roots from the relationship with God, to its relationship with wealth, traditionally interpreted as God’s blessing. Our ability to discern God’s presence is therefore limited to the wealth we perceive.

God loves us all and God is within us all, individually and collectively.  The awareness of that truth makes individual forgiveness and national forgiveness possible.

Luke 15:28-32 (NKJV) “But he was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him. 29 So he answered and said to his father, ‘Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends. 30 But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him.’ 31 “And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. 32 It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.’”

Leave a comment

Filed under Christian, Christianity, Emergent, Emergent Church, Faith, God, Kingdom of God, Religion, Spiritual