Tag Archives: Jesus

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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Living Unconditional Love, Is Easier Than We Think

 

2016-04-30_water-1502135-640x480When we think about the term unconditional love, we think about God. From our human point of view, unconditional love seems impossible as a way of life. However, we as humans are also children of God and emulating our Heavenly Father is possible if we choose it as so. As sons and daughters of Adam and Eve, we can only make excuses for not living up to our potential as children of God.

God continually demonstrates unconditional love with His human children. If there is such a thing as a “God hack” for loving unconditionally here it is. Do not focus on the other person, but focus on the legal instrument of our relationship. At the core of every relationship between two persons is the will of each. Will, indicates choice and the declaration of ones will is a legally binding instrument.

The human point of view is dualistic, with our will acting as the subject and in this case, the will of the other person, acts as the object. In this scenario, what we humans usually say is that I will love you as long as you love me. We make our will to love others conditional on their will to love us. When we give love, we demand an acknowledgement and an accurate accounting of what was given. If we do not receive, the honor and thanks we believe we deserve for that gift, then we become measured and even withdrawn in our giving of love. In fact, most relationships are built on looking for evidence from the object of our love to determine if we will remain subject to our declared love.

God on the other hand (here is the God hack again) declared His love with five covenants for humanity and has never broken any of them or withdrawn any of His infinite being from us. In fact, every subsequent covenant lavishes a greater understanding to us of His desire to be one with us. God ultimately wants a state of non-duality, or unity in perfect freedom with every human.

The human point of view cannot comprehend love this intimate, so collectively and individually we test the limits of God’s love offering by exploiting, abusing, enslaving, torturing, and killing other objects of His love. We slap His cheek and in the same breathe we ask him do you still love us? What parent would not have a broken heart, if one of their children asked for the power and permission to kill their brother or sister? Yet he continues to love us.

God declared five covenants with humanity. Forget all the earthly definitions of what a covenant is. Even the best human reproduction pales in comparison to how God uses these five declarations to convince us of His unconditional love for all His children. Trust me, every earthly covenant you could study will be conditional and thus moot for this conversation. God’s five covenants as historically recorded in scripture, were made with, witness by, and named after five humans; 1) Adam, 2) Noah, 3) Abraham, 4) David, and 5) Jesus.

At the core of these covenant relationships is the will of God and the will of humanity. God declares His love focuses His action toward the legal instrument. (Are you recognizing the God hack?) In every case, we humans have walked away from our side of the covenant to pursue our personal will.

John 3:16 (NKJV) For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, ….

Romans 8:31-32 (NKJV)  What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?

We as children of God can likewise begin to love unconditionally when we recognize and focus on the legal instruments of our relationships and not on the subjective will of others. Here are a few examples of relationships:  family, boyfriend/girlfriend, marriage, citizens of communities, company employee, parent/child, citizen of a nations, citizen of humanity, and citizen of earth. For each relationship listed, has a legal instrument such as, a passport, a driver license, or a marriage license. For every legal document you possess there is a person, or ten thousand people, or millions of people on the other side of the relationship. This is the same with God’s 5 covenants.

It is easy for children of God to declare love.  This is evidenced by the many legal instruments of relationships in our material world. In the same way, loving unconditionally can be just as easy if we focus our giving toward the instruments of our relationships and not the willingness of others to respond in kind. Remember, It is only when others fail to uphold their side do we evidence unconditional love. Love is kind and does not envy. Unconditional love for a child of God simply declares itself and lives out that love through eternity.

This is what heaven on earth looks like and it is fundamental to the operation of God’s Kingdom. For any person who aspires to hold the office of ambassador with the Kingdom of God, unconditional love is the reconciling structure of the covenants our Father has established with all of humanity. Imagine a world where 10 billion people choose to demonstrate unconditional love towards each other. In this type of world people do not think more highly of themselves but remain aware of the equality of every person to freely exercise their will.

As we focus on the many instruments in our relationships and give willingly expecting nothing in return, we will begin to see what God see’s in His human children. Giving is contagious, even if our giving is rebuffed we turn the other cheek and freely give again. Especially for those who reject or mishandle our gifts we simply pray “Father, forgive them because they do not yet understand what they are doing”.   The Kingdom of God is here now, and we walk in it, as we love unconditionally. We humans are children of God and unconditionally loving our brothers and sisters is easier than we thought possible.

Matthew 26:26-29 (NKJV)  And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” 27 Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 28 For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. 29 But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.”

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Family Style Love

2016-3-28_ripples-ii-1162684-1279x850The Lord is my Shepard I shall not want.  Dysfunctional families have the pathologies of abuse and false expectations. The reason we make the statement that nobody is perfect, is because we acknowledge that dysfunction is inherent within all families. Jesus however came to reveal a family that includes all humans and this family has no dysfunction. Looking out across the earth realm, it would seem impossible for such a family to exist, nevertheless it is does.

Jesus is an acceptable sacrifice for any person to become part of the God – human relationship going forward. There has always been a God – child relationship with all humans, but for most of human history, we humans have been blind to the nature of our true relationship with God. The many religions of the world including Christianity, is the evidence that humans lack understanding of God’s universal love for all of His children. On the other hand, the various religions of the world provide hints to this truth.  Deep within every person in every culture, there is a sense that we each are interconnected and we are all part of something bigger and something hidden.

The greatest dysfunction we humans suffer is the sense that “I am not loved”. If every person had an internal confidence, they are loved the world would be dramatically different. Within every culture of the world, there are stories of its members seeking love and successfully finding it. Also included in those stories is the obtaining of love at the expense of other cultures. The Judeo-Christian culture is founded on one son tricking his brother out of his birthright or blessing. That is because we humans view love as an object that is finite. Even before the story of Jacob and Esau there is the story of Abraham son’s Isaac and Ishmael, one is considered the son of promise the other is written out of his culture. However if we change our point of view to God’s perspective we can begin to see His love shining on all humans equally, because God’s love is infinite just like God’s nature.

John 8:58 (NKJV) Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.”

God being infinite which is the understanding of Jesus the “Last Adam” (1 Cor. 15:45), do humans begin to see the potential of God’s love. It is very short lived and Rabbi Paul all but resets human understanding of love and family back on the path from Jesus to the understanding of Rabbi Moses. Western human thought does not deal with the infinite paradigm. Today’s western thought is lastly derived from the Greek philosophy and tied closely with scientific materialism. There is a strong mythology and ideology from a human perspective and that point of view guides scriptural interpretation to justify a social order based on inequalities.

There is a truth from God’s point of view and it is that God loves every human equally. Even the greatest nation on earth acknowledged this truth and declared as much in its documents of independence.  “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights”. However, the National Constitution created laws to justify a social order based on inequalities. We also need to upgrade our terms to recognize all humans and not just “men”.

Luke 15:31 (NKJV) “And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours.

Quantum science is beginning to shift the materialistic, and finite human mindset to a quantum state that includes all possibilities. Today however the default mindset is very dualistic. As evidence of our dualistic biased interpretation of scripture, let us look at a family described in one of Jesus’ parables culturally titled “The Lost Son”. A simple family but only three member are depicted a father, and two sons. My question is simple. Based on all of the interpretations you have heard which son is lost? The first thing to notice is that the common title of the parable implies that only one son is lost. When I make the statement, that the scriptural interpretation is used to justify inequality in our social order, this is a great example.

From God’s point of view or from the point of view of the father in the story his loved for both of his sons is equal. The majority of orthodox ministers need us to stay members of their flock so the lost son is always the one that leaves his father home. So what is the point of the story? Both sons needed their father to prove that they were loved. The giving of material wealth and sustenance is what every human uses to measure the depth for which they are loved.  Yet this does not end there. Humans also require that wealth and sustenance be taken from or no longer given to the other. In other words God cannot love both, only me.

Galatians 3:28 (NKJV) There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

If human social order is ever to evolve into a human family, we must begin to perceive and experience a unity of love. A single child in a family is the center of attention and is seldom accustom to sharing the love of their parents. These same dynamics happen on a cultural level. As the nations of the world grow, we all are noticing that we are living in communities with multiple sub-cultures.

Like children, the sub-cultures are expecting to receive expressions of love from their parents. Also true is that the dominate sub-culture may for the first time have to share the love and attention. This is where justifying inequality in our social order leads to more and more dysfunction. Nevertheless, this is also the point for a paradigm shift in or human mindset. I hope that as children we all mature and begin to realize the nature of family and love.

Is it possible for each child to know and experience loved? Even if for a moment in time while love is flowing towards another it does not mean that they are loved less. My encouragement is for us to see as individuals and as members of sub-cultures the interconnections that make us all family. If we are family then we are equally loved by our Father in heaven.

Even if one of our family members is declared lost, written off or cast off, our prayer is for them to return from the dead. We live in a dysfunctional family and a world that justifies inequalities in the fabric of our social order. Only the revelation brought on by love can shift the mindset of our family members. Love alone defines the style of our human family.

John 3:16 (NKJV) For God so loved the world…

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Love’s Bigger Picture

2016-02-20_ripples-1455224-637x285The life of Jesus provides revelation to humanity in a twofold way. Firstly, He made known the legal standing that all humans have with God. Secondly, the Son of Man provided the revelation of what is possible in human, bodily form. In both cases, love is the common function to activate and make these revelations a reality in the life of any human.  Any person can become a disciple of Jesus for the purpose of study and training in these two areas of revelation.

The search for love is a quest that every person makes and God alone can provide the answer to that quest. Legally, all humans are heirs and are children of God, the One who is the source of all life in the universe. However, if you are like me, you may be well into your fiftieth year of living before you begin to accept the fact that we are truly loved by God. Until then we search for peace and fulfillment in objects, substances, and relationships.

What we accomplished in bodily form is a function of our understanding of the revelation of our inheritance. Thus far, cultural segments of humanity have tended to only show love to other members of their cultural group and those alone do they view as inheritors of the blessings from the God they worship. In other words each cultural group appropriates God exclusively and maintains that they alone are the inheritors of that God.  However, God’s inheritance, which is love, is bigger than the current imagination of most humans.

For example sharing the Love of God has mostly been reduced to a corporate endeavor. In society groups of people band together to feed the poor, care for the homeless, provide clothing, and care for the sick. While this is good, God’s love is also available to empower any and every  individual to fulfill the need of the many. Nevertheless, we as individuals tend to become overwhelmed in the face of humanity’s need. We tend to lose our awareness of God’s presence inside of us and become more aware of the external material need.

The feeling of helplessness in the face of others need is designed by God to encourage us to look for His Presence within ourselves.  Instead of taking that feeling to prayer and meditation, we organize to alleviate and push-off these feelings onto some other person. The saying “I gave at the office” was a popular defense mechanism until we erected social laws to stop people from making direct appeals. How can one justify perusing the American dream while others are starving? Not a problem if one gave at the office.

Yet, Jesus demonstrates that within all humans God provides a resource that is more than capable to solve any human need. The Kingdom of God is commonly thought of something that is only accessed in our next life. However, Jesus clearly demonstrates that if we could love at a different level these supernatural resources are available to all humans today. Something simple as turning water to wine or turning stone into bread is a demonstrable and practical reality for any human.

Material reality requires that we love ourselves above all others in order to survive. In our capitalistic culture it has been proven time and again, that the person with the greatest ego has the most resources to share. In every sector of society including political, business, entertainment, and even religious, the winners possess characteristics that are envied by the rest.

However, the real Jesus held a different view of the world and even some revisionist of history try to conform his teachings into the capitalistic model of reality. Jesus spoke openly and in parables of the inheritance, the every human has within. He also spoke of the love that is required to access that which is within every person.

Many have mistakenly interpreted prayer and meditation as the method to access God’s Presence. Jesus may have used these methods but they were not the means. Love of God and love for others as equals to self are the truth and the way. Luke 6:40 clearly states that we all can be trained in the ways of Jesus to the point in which we become like Him.

Providing health from cancer, healing eyes blind since birth and even restoring life to the dead are all within the realm of possibility for disciples that have completed their training. These are not popular beliefs in the materialistic culture we live in today, but they are nevertheless true.

I encourage any human looking for love in all the wrong places to look for the love that is closer than your breath. God has promised through the revelation presented by Jesus that God will never leave us or forsake us and that there is nothing that can separate us from God’s Love. We just need a little faith and believe that God has already rewarded us with an inheritance of His Presence if we seek that Presence within.

Luke 17:20-21 (NKJV)  Now when He (Jesus) was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; 21 nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”

 

 

 

 

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The Heart of our Reality

2015-09-15_water-ripples-bubbles-1-1393338The reality we experience is very programmable. And the substance with which our reality is created comes from the core of our being. Depending on our cultural background we may use terms like, our heart or our spirit or our consciousness to describe this center or core area of our being. But what is the substance or stuff that makes up our reality? And just how flexible and programmable is our reality?

Proverbs 4:23 (NKJV) Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.

2 Corinthians 4:18 (NKJV) While we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

Hebrews 11:3 (NKJV) By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.

We live in a perpetual state of now, as eternal beings.  Yet because we understand ourselves to be separate beings, our minds have created dimensions of space and time to make sense of reality. These dimensions give meaning to our relationships with “other” things we believe to be separated from us. But, is this understanding of reality fundamental, or is this just a mirage that allows us to operate cooperatively?

If our reality is programmable, how do we access and lay hold of the fundamental substance of our reality? Typically religion has tried to fix the problems in reality and bring peace to our world by trying to control human behavior so that individual and collective faith can create a state of Nirvana or heaven on earth. But there seems to be these continual exceptions that appear to be outside of human control. Even when faith is placed in a big God there seems to be calamity like sickness, death, weather related incidents or big social events like war, economic discord and viral infections that randomly occur and opposed to our faith.

Science tries to increase human understanding by breaking down the individual objects and reducing them to their fundamental components. However even with the best tools developed by the human species such as the particle accelerator in CERN Switzerland, or the Hubble space telescope we continue to find the edge of our understanding. Then we have to create more theories to explain phenomena such a dark matter, and re-organize our understanding into systems such as quantum, string or unified field theories.

So let me suggest a different strategy one that does not preclude any humans from participating and one that should be compatible with existing explorations in our cultures of religion or science. I must give credit to author Melody Fletcher and her book Deliberate Receiving for suggesting some really practical ways to explore the programmable-ness of our reality. I do believe our answer lies somewhere in the combination of our beliefs about spiritual truth and our beliefs about objective truth.

Here are two simple but profound beliefs to add to our understanding and our exploration for ultimate truth?

  • Firstly that our being is not limited to this human body, its thoughts, feelings and perceptions; because the nature of our true being is infinite in scope, eternally present and consciously aware.
  • Secondly that we understand ourselves fundamentally to be unified with God and all of creation (human, animal, plant and mineral). Which could mean that our material world is not made of ideas or matter that are external; but is made of the consciousness at the core of our being?

Genesis 1:27 (NLT) So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

John 17:22-23 (NLT) I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one. I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me. (Jesus praying to God about every human)

With these two simple beliefs we can begin to contemplate, pray or meditate a bout our relationship in reality. What we will begin to see is that the tens of thousands of our existing beliefs are immediately in opposition to the emerging worldview being spawned by these two simple beliefs. As we contemplate these two simple beliefs let’s not do so in a vacuum but search your current cultural traditions for existing hints of the emerging reality that is coming into focus.

Many may agree that fundamentally humanity is not evolving the way we imagined it would go. As technology increases our ethics, kindness and love for everyone including the whole of creation must also grow. The traditional concepts of space and time will not disappear but we will soon learn to operate outside of the limiting beliefs  that formed these concepts. As a disciple of Jesus I see that this deeper understanding of reality will increase our faith and enable us to feed more, heal more and love more.

Human evolution does not have to go the way of the dystopian world view. The spiritual visions of reduced suffering and greater compassion resulting in heaven on earth is a possible reality. What is needed is courage to self-reprogram from our traditional belief structures. Those that accomplish this will begin to experience the programmable-ness of our reality. We will notice that the substance of our so-called material  is not hardwired because the substance of this world’s reality is the same substance at the heart of our being.

Hebrews 11:1 (NLT) Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen: it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.

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Delivering Evidence of God’s Unity with All

2014-09-07_795754_54710131God’s love for all humans equally, can be understood in many ways. One way is through the words in scripture which testifies of His actions and hope for humanity. The story of the prodigal son is an allegory which is being lived out in our current times today. Before I show examples of how this is happening I want to remind us of how the story ends. Spoiler alert!

Luke 15:31-32 “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.’”

The jealously between humans could be dissolved if we keep active in our mind and heart, the above thought. From the first murder till now the understanding of this scripture is lost evidence to most humans. The understanding of this evidence alone could quell fears, end all wars and bring about the equal distribution of all earthly resources that God has provided for all His human family.

Today in Christianity and in most areas of human society we are experiencing an emergence that is taking place throughout every institution in our modern society. We are witnessing it in the governance of the nation-states of the world, in the social–media changes moving through our global communications, in the restructuring and accountability in world financial markets, we are also beginning to see  joint exploration between the traditions of science and religion.

In this post however, I want to focus on the emergence that is happening within Christianity. When Protestantism was formed, this same world transformation was happening as well. The two sons of this allegory were at it again, and during that time Catholicism was the son that stayed behind. This time it is the Emergent Church that is the son leaving with its inheritance with the belief that it can make a better impact in the world.

The traditional interpretation of the  story referred to as the “Prodigal Son” in Luke chapter 15, only recognizes one son to have an incorrect world view. It was the son who left his father’s home with ideas that he could make life better without his Father, but in the end he squandered his inheritance and returned home defeated. However what is overlooked by the orthodox interpretation is that the jealous son who faithfully remained in his Father’ home also had an incorrect world view in which he thought he alone would inherit everything left behind after his brother went out for his adventure. This is evidenced by his reaction of jealousy when his father begins to give his brother some of his perceived material wealth when his brother returned.

Both cases reveal that both sons were entertaining thoughts of living a life without their father as they enjoyed the spoils of their inheritance. The sole purpose of Jesus telling this allegory was to put an end to the human concept of life without God our heavenly Father. The sole purpose of Rabbi Jesus prayers, teachings and demonstrations was to communicate to humanity that it is possible to be one with God and enjoy the spoils of inheritance during our life here on earth.

John 17:20-22 “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one:

I have heard it said that love is the dissolution of separation between to people and beauty is the dissolution of separation between objects. When people fall in love we become one with another person or community and when we walk in nature or move within a city built by humans we become one with the sights, sounds and smells of our environment.

If we Emergent’s leave the fold, in our desire to expand the Kingdom, and do it without our true inheritance we will fail to carry God and His loving message to our lost family and we will return home defeated. It is true that traditional Christianity has added baggage to the idea that God is a loving Father that loves all His children equally. This is why Jesus became the demonstration of God’s love that has the power to establish loving relationships between God and each member of humanity.

Likewise if the traditional Christians fears that adding the world to the Kingdom will change or diminish the Kingdom of God then we truly need to question our understanding of an infinite God who took away our sins in this world. If our sins have not destroyed the Kingdom and His grace and glory is sufficient for us, then surely His grace and glory is enough to cover the sins of the world.

In this story both children are lost and hold a wrong understanding of the resources of their father. When Jesus spoke this allegory he told it in hopes that both audiences would hear and see the errors of their materialistic thinking. Life without God is separatist thinking and is the opposite of love and beauty. The idea that we can establish anything new or maintain any tradition without our Father in heaven is just bad theology.

My encouragement is to us all, regardless if we are emerging from long-held traditions or if we are the supporters of existing traditional institutions. This allegory of Jesus is to get us to hold a world view of a loving God as a Father to all who are willing to share His infinite resources with everyone equally. Jesus was sent by our Father to change our mindset so we can see all members of the human family as members of His family and that He loves each member equally and has no favorites. Today this is not our human experience of family but it is the spiritual experience of the Kingdom of God.

If we are the ones who go out and help awake our fellow humans too their membership in God’s Kingdom, or if we take on the responsibility to stay behind and work for greater understanding of family and Kingdom within our existing religious traditions we must always share the substance of God’s equallity toward all, as our evidence. The evidence is the love and beauty that has the transforming power to make all things new. And by new I mean awakening to the reality that any person or thing, is already one with God. In God’s Kingdom there is only unity and the very Presence of God permeates all. God is love and It is the evidence of His Kingdom.

Gal 4:1-6 Now I say that the heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ at all from a slave, though he is master of all, 2 but is under guardians and stewards until the time appointed by the father. 3 Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world. 4 But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. 6 And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” 7 Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

Philippians 2:5-7 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.

 

 

 

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Our Spiritual Maturity is Evidenced by the Liberty We Extend to Others

6-22-2013_543574_28914537One of the trends in Emergent Christianity and in the other novel expressions that are a part of this run-up to the establishment of Christianity 3.0 is the exploration for greater expressions of love and liberty. As we members of mainline Christianity begin our expedition for something more in our relationship with Christ and our fellow humans we will soon encounter two very different sensations as a response to our search for the hope we have for the next generation of Christianity. We are not people who are giving up on Christianity but we are a people who are desperate to find and be a part of spiritual communities that will love all humans equally.

Romans 8:20-22 (NLT) Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, 21 the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. 22 For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.

Luke 4:18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed;

As people emerge from their traditions they begin to seek Christian thought which is presented in a way that remains truthful to their beliefs but provides fresh expressions and novel ways to communicate the main point delivered by Jesus, our leader of this two thousand-year old movement. That main point being is love of God and love for all other humans equal to the love we have for self.

This sensation that people will encounter is either one of more bondage or one of freedom. As we grow spiritually we are no longer fooled by words. We begin to rely on a deep relationship we have with God who lives and speaks to each person equally on the inside. This voice continually speaks into every little detail in our lives, guiding us on how to bring liberty in every relationship we take part in. From the cashier checking us out at Target, to all of our co-workers including our bosses, to our neighbors and friends we interact with when taking our kids to ball games and to every member of our many spiritual communities old and new, we hear God’s voice saying love deeply.

As we all move from childhood toward spiritual maturity we no longer need the rigid outward rules to guide us. We can live, dress, eat, and pierce or tattoo any part of ourselves and still remain pure in our ability to sense the difference between spiritual liberty or spiritual bondage. Can you imagine the students on a college campus holding on to a rope being led by a teacher to get from one class to another? No we can’t because with maturity of any type there is an implied expectation of responsibility and devotion to purpose.

Jesus made one point very clear. Love is liberty. So if we have a loving relationship with God, one of mind, heart and strength then we will achieve max freedom with God. Jesus also places almost equal importance on this love/liberty that we experience, be at the root of every relationship with any human. And the point He makes is that this experience of love/liberty be shared equally with everyone.

Jesus the master teacher, even while bound by his Jewish tradition, was able to communicate this love/liberty relationship and start a new movement in the fabric of humanity which we have all inherited. Under the tradition of rabbinic Judaism after a disciple has completed his training he can become a rabbi. Like the kings and presidents of old these rabbis were itinerate but they would use their understanding of the Old Testament theology and Jewish law to help settle disputes in their region. Each rabbi had what was called a rabbinical yoke. It was his personal prioritization of the laws according to his understanding and relationship with God. Each rabbi used their understanding to help resolve conflicts of either spiritual or material nature when rendering his judgments concerning these disputes. Also each rabbi would also train a set of disciples that he chose to carry on and advance his yoke. Jesus willingly died that we all might be His disciples.

My encouragement for every Christian, is to more lean on the yoke of Jesus, because he has chosen us to carry on His interpretation of love and liberty. Rabbi Jesus summed the 613 laws down to 2 laws and when asked which of the 613 laws was most important to He responded “love God with all that you are and love everyone else with the same love you have for yourself.” As each year passes we become more spiritually mature and we come to understand God better and the result is that we will come to love and live in more liberty and understand ourselves and God better. Therefore our love/liberty relationship with all other humans should be maturing equal to the love and liberty we each experience with God.

So today in your mind take an inventory of everyone you personally know and then think of every group of people known to you including groups formed because social status, racial, religious, cultural and national characteristics. Then begin over the next few months as the situations rise in your conscience, to evaluate your thoughts, actions and words you express about these people you know and the people who make up these groups. What is it that you say and do with any of these persons. Everyday multiple times a day spiritually mature people work on their relationship with God. So I know we are all always changing in our relationship with God. And this personal change is the main cause of the Christian emergence.

In case you missed the memo we live in a global community. In my opinion the main reason for the move of those that are emerging is that our traditions require us to relate to other humans in ways that we sense remind us of bondage. Jesus however wants us to learn to love until we can see every human we meet as our brother or sister. Jesus does not want us to fall back and become like the enemy but He encourages us to express love and liberty in new ways that will create new lovers of God and lovers of humanity.

So my friends keep emerging by dropping the yoke of bondage and become more deeply yoked with Jesus. We Christians are disciples of Jesus, first and foremost. He alone is our Shepherd, Master, Teacher, Everything, in other words He is our All in All. Our evidence to the fact that we are disciples of Jesus is that we freely give the liberty that we were freely given and personally experience.

2 Corinthians 3:17 Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

Gal 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.

2 Peter 2:19-20 While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage. 20 For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. 21 For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them.

Matthew 11:28-30 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Acts 15:8-11 So God, who knows the heart, acknowledged them by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He did to us, 9 and made no distinction between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. 10 Now therefore, why do you test God by putting a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? 11 But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved in the same manner as they.”

Matthew 23:1-5 Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples, 2 saying: “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. 3 Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do. 4 For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. 5 But all their works they do to be seen by men.

 

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