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Thursday, March 30, 2017

Views of Eternity



Over the course of my life I've followed Christian teachings as my barometer of faith.  As I grew older I searched for all forms of truth, wherever I found it, as an answer.  I've heard people say that various religions all offer the same truths, but with different dressings.  I disagree.  I believe that truth is of a single spirit, but that does not mean all of it is equal, nor that being a quest for truth that all information must be accepted equally.  I believe that God is able to commune with us, obviously, but that doesn't mean all are able to commune with God.  The difference in religious expression, in my opinion, is how each faith approaches divinity.

I found that for me the best way to pursue my faith was through questioning, searching, and exploring all ways of thought and belief.  I didn't become whatever I searched for, despite the accusations of others.  "You don't have to eat the whole egg to tell if it's rotten." Joseph Parisi  I, openly, borrowed the structures that work, and abandoned others that do not.  I completely accept that I am not able to comprehend a God's mind, or heart.  But I also dismiss the idea that I should accept all of a religion when some of it has been shown to be bigoted or hurtful.

As such, I can say that I have pursued my Christianity by using the concepts of deepening faith found in Buddhism.  I am not a Buddhist, nor am I an Universalist, but I see no reason to abandon truth if it isn't dressed in the same manner as I am.




THE WISDOM OF BUDDHA

“Understanding is the heartwood of well-spoken words.”

"Can there be joy and laughter When always the world is ablaze? Enshrouded in darkness Should you not seek a light?"

"No one saves us but ourselves,
No one can and no one may.
We ourselves must walk the path
Buddhas merely teach the way.
By ourselves is evil done,
By ourselves we pain endure,
By ourselves we cease from wrong,
By ourselves become we pure."

"I will go about, from kingdom to kingdom,
training many disciples.
They — heedful, resolute
doing my teachings —
despite your wishes, will go
where, having gone,there's no grief."



FROM THE SUFI POET RUMI

"Love is the ark appointed for the righteous,
Which annuls the danger and provides a way of escape.
Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment.
Cleverness is mere opinion, bewilderment intuition."

"I died as a mineral and became a plant,
I died as plant and rose to animal,
I died as animal and I was Man.
Why should I fear? When was I less by dying?
Yet once more I shall die as Man, to soar
With angels blest; but even from angelhood
I must pass on: all except God doth perish.
When I have sacrificed my angel-soul,
I shall become what no mind e'er conceived.
Oh, let me not exist! for Non-existence
Proclaims in organ tones, To Him we shall return."




FROM LAOZI, Founder of Taoism

"The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao;
The name that can be named is not the eternal name.
The nameless is the beginning of heaven and earth.
The named is the mother of ten thousand things.
Ever desireless, one can see the mystery.
Ever desiring, one can see the manifestations.
These two spring from the same source but differ in name;
this appears as darkness.
Darkness within darkness.
The gate to all mystery."

"A way can be a guide but not a fixed path
names can be given but not permanent labels
Nonbeing is called the beginning of heaven and earth
being is called the mother of all things
Always passionless thereby observe the subtle
ever intent thereby observe the apparent
These two come from the same source but differ in name
both are considered mysteries
The mystery of mysteries is the gateway of marvels"



ZEN PROVERBS


"No snowflake ever falls in the wrong place."

"A soldier named Nobushige came to Hakuin, and asked: "Is there really a paradise and a hell?"
"Who are you?" inquired Hakuin.
"I am a samurai," the warrior replied.
"You, a soldier!" exclaimed Hakuin. "What kind of ruler would have you as his guard? Your face looks like that of a beggar."
Nobushige became so angry that he began to draw his sword, but Hakuin continued: "So you have a sword! Your weapon is probably much too dull to cut off my head."
As Nobushige drew his sword Hakuin remarked: "Here open the gates of hell!"
At these words the samurai, perceiving the master's discipline, sheathed his sword and bowed.
"Here open the gates of paradise," said Hakuin."




FROM JESUS CHRIST


"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.

Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you."

"You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven."

Friday, March 17, 2017

APOCALYPTIC BELIEF


 I am a Christian.

I was told today that I dance upon the tombs of the unbelievers by believing that God will some day destroy the world, taking his own with him before the end.  Now, there are at least three bad assumptions that were made by the person saying this to me.  I have issues with the comment because people assume many things that are far from true.

Assumption 1)  Christianity is a monolithic faith and what is true for one is true for all.  

Really?  Assuming I am no different from Catholicism or Assembly of God denominations is as bad as me saying that Atheists have no belief in anything.  Or that Agnostics are actually atheists in more polite clothing.  I don't believe these things.  And I am very different from Catholics or Assemblyites of God.

My belief in Armageddon and Apocalypse is that we are going to face the end of the earth, and whether it comes from God or man, it is going to happen.  It is a tragedy.  It is a catastrophe.  I mourn those lives I couldn't help, and far from dancing upon the graves, I see my failure in them.  I am not saying that Armageddon or Apocalypse isn't from God, or that I have hopes for great things in the afterlife.  I am saying that the bible should be rated PG-13 or R because if it is true, life is really going to descend into hell.

Assumption 2)  As a person I look forward to the horrible deaths of masses of people I do not know, along with those I know who do not believe as I do.

Insane.  I see in the accusation a hint of what the person meant about me, when they said what they did.  They see Christians as being cold, hurtful and smug.

I live a life that is by no means sinless, or flawed, but I do try to live in a moral fashion.  It happens often that I fail.  But at no point do I assume who should live or die regarding the end of the world.  I would never, and do not foresee this changing.  I believe in a compassionate god, but, I also know that if my belief that God is enormously powerful is true, 99% of what is real, that from God's perspective and understanding, is alien to my mind.  Yet, I try to be moral, and have tried to be a dispenser of mercy, hope, and goodness to others.  I try not, in fact, to judge others.  It is foreign to my form of belief.

Assumption 3) That I must not read the bible.  

This is a mistake people often make when hating Christians.  That is,  that they might know God's mind or heart more than one who actually believes the religion.  I am not saying I know more about God than anyone else, I am saying that I've read the bible, along with tons of books from other religions to discover truth.  I believe in God, and read the religious works that I do, with a mind to learn more about it.  I might well be wrong, flawed, mistaken, but I think someone who has read Shakespeare, for instance, would know more about Shakespeare's work than someone who listens to other people's opinions on the work.  (I don't altogether like the works, but recognize their importance and brilliance.)

I believe that the End is going to happen.  And it won't come with a banner flying behind a dragon saying "This is God telling you, time to die".  It'll appear as the worst sort of event in human history.  And from there, I can only pray that you are safe, hopeful, and have found shelter.
 


Revelation 19:11-21And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.

And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, "KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS." Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and he cried out with a loud voice, saying to all the birds which fly in midheaven, "Come, assemble for the great supper of God, so that you may eat the flesh of kings and the flesh of commanders and the flesh of mighty men and the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them and the flesh of all men, both free men and slaves, and small and great." And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies assembled to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone. And the rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse, and all the birds were filled with their flesh.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

The wave of change has hit

The following is my opinion.  None of it is based upon anyone else's voice.  I am simply saying what I think.  I might be wrong.  I might be full of shit.  But it remains my opinion.

Let us view the changed world of Donald Trump, Post Obama America, and the future.  America is not the world, this isn't about the "popularity" of American popular culture.  But the election of a different kind presidential candidate has caused enormous upheaval.  Some rally to build a wall to keep illegal immigration from the border, others protest rally against "Hitler". 


My straight out opinion is that Trump is a response to President Obama's previous years of change.  I do not say Trump is better, it isn't a positive or negative statement.  I am not suggesting Obama was wrong.  Obama's years in the presidency are unapproachable as far as comparisons of leadership.  Obama went about his presidency different than Bush had, or frankly, Clinton had.  And all of the three are far different than Trump.


The people who voted for Hillary Clinton might have voted for her, or for the opposition to Trump.  The people who voted for Trump were not nearly as much against Clinton as they were to the numerous cultural issues that had changed in the previous years of 2008-2016.  Again, I am not saying right or wrong, or evil or good.  Change is its own beast.  Some people can accept change others not.  But if Trump is Hitler, you really have to say Obama was Stalin.  Their different approaches, individualism and capitalism versus collectivism and socialism are not compatible.  I also must say, I don't think Trump is Hitler nor Obama is Stalin.  I am just pointing out that labeling of both works in the same way.


I believe that we've entered a period of reactionary government.  This is bound to have an effect upon the popular culture.  If Muslims in general are to be banned, perhaps we should ban Jehovah Witnesses from knocking on my door.  If we ban specific religions why not keep the people at airports for Krishna away from asking money from air travelers?  Why can't we as a country just say no to the Kardasians and ban them from the airwaves if not the actual country?  I honestly don't believe that we should ban Jehovah Witnesses, or Hare Krishna followers.  *Although I do particularly despise the Kardasians.


America is, and Hollywood is particularly the world's greatest producer of popular culture.  This isn't to say it should be, it is the only or that it is the best.  It is true to say that culture reflects the events of, and the beliefs of a people.  Will the current upheaval be reflected in the popular culture?  Maybe, but I think there is another way that popular culture responds.  It responds with escapist materials.  The boom in comic book characters in film?  It will definitely continue.  So will reality television such as the Kardasians.  And so will the swimming in the cesspool done by both of the major political parties of the US.


The world watches with shock as the country with the largest economy and military chooses to argue over the use of bathrooms by people of different genders instead of deal with the reality, that the global economy is based upon oil, coal and other unsustainable fuels.  And that the reason for terrorism against the US is not based outside of the US, but within it.  Radicalized Islam might also not have a war to fight if the US didn't have troops in the Holy Lands.  But who am I to suggest anything? "Osama bin Laden was a Muslim terrorist and the founder of al-Qaeda, an Islamic terrorist organization. In conjunction with several other Islamic leaders, he issued two fatwas—in 1996 and then again in 1998—that Muslims should fight those that either support Israel or support Western military forces in Islamic countries, stating that those in that mindset are the enemy, including citizens from the United States and allied countries."  Source Wiki


It is time to be honest about the threat to the people, it isn't bombs, it isn't war.  It is the making of policy surrounding greed and gathering of gold.  Cynical people often say it is all about the money.  I don't believe that all things are, but, our government, whether by Democrat or Republican has followed a policy of gathering gold.  It places troops in harm's way for oil.  It is not about the left or the right, it is about maintaining our dominance over the world's economy, with troops, with policy that prevents uprisings against our interests.


America longs for pleasure, comfort, treasure and hedonism.  We have lost our way.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

the journey

this winding path
my journey of tears
has no remnant joy
nor melancholy
I bear the wrath
of my enemy's fears
with neither glib nor coy
words
nor pedagogy
I am simply a voice
where no one questions
where no one reasons
and I am the artifact
Of a life lived knowing
the cost of existence
and a dreamer
also insomniac