Category Archives: Spiritual

Spirit or Religion, One Difference Is Love

2017-02colors-1383652The big problem we humans face in the world today is our inability to love one another. Of all the institutions in the world that can solve this problem, humanity puts it hope in the religious institutions. Why? Secular institutions made attempts with ethics but it was corrupted by corporate interest. The goal of ethics has been reduced to determining what can be done legally in the pursuit of making a profit.

Yes, the golden rule may be defined as do unto others as you would have done unto you. Thus, the ethical response is like a chess move, let me gain the upper position over you, before you can gain the position over me. Love on the other hand is putting others before self. Jesus states the minimum requirements (love other’s as equal to self) but demonstrated what love really looks like in action (put others before self).

John 10:14-15 (NKJV)  I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. 15 As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. 16 And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.

Daniel 7:14 (NKJV) Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, Which shall not pass away, And His kingdom the one Which shall not be destroyed.

In many ways, religion has become a tool of identity politics and communities that once gathered for spiritual reasons have been reduced to grass roots recruiting grounds for political constituencies. All the while, Jesus remains at the task of building a kingdom from every nation on earth. Unfortunately many religious groups are going through the motions by choosing winners and losers based on religious affiliation. More importantly national political policy is being crafted around religious affiliations.

Jesus came to break down those distinctions between Jew and Greek, slave and free, and male and female. Even the Prophet Mohamed placed all the religious relics of the warring tribes into a single tent in order to unite the worship of many nomadic peoples. The arc of humanity is on a trend towards removing that, which separates.

We can also define love as the removal of distance between people, and beauty as the removal of distance between people and objects. When in nature one comes to a clearing or a view that makes you feel that you are one with all that you see. Even the lobbies of some purposely design buildings create this feeling of oneness. Many times, what is mistaken for sexual attraction is a sense of oneness between two people.

Many of our great travel experiences are when we leave our usual cultural setting and immerse ourselves into another culture. The sense of oneness, the welcoming feeling and embrace we experience is hard to put into words. And when we return to our usual cultural norms, we quickly notice how our culture requires us to identify and shed all identity from outside cultures.

I encourage you to be agents of change within your religious cultures helping them to embrace the outsider or your neighbor or the Samaritan. The OT and NT uses the Samaritan as the one group that should be embraced but are always rejected.  The Samaritan’s accepted Jewish religious traditions while sharing captivity with the Jews. They were abandon when the wall was rebuilt and religion was returned inside the walls of Jerusalem. The star in one of Jesus’ parables, the women at the well and the object of the disciple’s wrath when they want to ask God to rain down fire from heaven. The Samaritan’s are equivalent to African descendants in western culture today.

If Jesus and Mohammad could see their spiritual communities that were originally designed to love and reduce the separation, they both would be disappoints with their respective religions today. Membership and group identity have replaced the actions of love. Disciples of both of these religions have become devotees to the culture, ignoring the words and actions of their founders.

Each of these religious cultures is in need of a reformation to regroup to the original goals set forth by their founders. What the world needs is love, which is the spirit not the law of these cultures. More important is that there are many in these groups that see the need for change and their voices are being drown out. Helping a religious culture keep its spiritual sensitivities is a noble task today. It is the hope of humanity.

The Parable of the Good Samaritan

Luke 10:25-37 (NKJV) and behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”

26 He said to him, “What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?

27 So he answered and said, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’”

28 And He said to him, “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.”

29 But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

30 Then Jesus answered and said: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.31 Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. 33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’ 36 So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?”

37 And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.”

Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

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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.

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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.”

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