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Reiki: Black Magic or God’s Grace

Logo del RC

Logo del RC (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Brother Christopher

Throughout  Christianity, we have been told innumerable accounts of Jesus the Christ’s ability to heal using the laying-on-of-hands while on this earth as the Son of Man. In scripture, particularly John 14:12: ‘… he who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do…’ , Jesus communicated to his disciples that those who followed His teachings would surpass his abilities.

Hands-on healing, also known as Energy, Lightwork, or Spiritual Healing, has been performed by almost all cultures throughout history and around the global. Greek mythology talks of Chiron, the wise Centaur, who taught Asclepius, the God of Medicine, the practice of hands-on healing. Both Pagan and Christian cultures have embraced this form of healing throughout history.  Our ancient legacy of hands-on healing is today comes in a number of diverse forms, from; Reiki, Therapeutic Touch, (TT) ,  A Healing Touch (AHT), and a number of others.

As the attractiveness of Hands-on Healing develops and grows in today’s society, many Christians are exposed to these healing styles.  And many Christians are told that incorporating these modalities into their treatment plans or practicing these modalities is wrong… against God.  This false fear of systems like Reiki is perpetuated by church goers who are ignorant in both healing and the teachings of Jesus.  Healing is God’s calling, and the spiritual gift of healing that Reiki and its cousin modalities offer is fulfillment of this calling.

Increasingly more and more Christians view Energy (Medicine) Healing as a practice that provides an opportunity to follow more closely the teachings and examples of Jesus, Son of Man, healing the sick. Yet there are others that voice a concern that Reiki and the other energy healing modalities have an Eastern origin and in turn are automatically dismissed as ‘evil, the work of Satan, or non-Christian’.  Often those who bad-mouth energy medicine have never researched it or understood it and in turn speak of it in a fear-based mentality.

True Christians seek ways to increase and strengthen their spiritual relationship with Christ.  We have examples of our saints adopting different practices to strengthen their faith develop the ‘Gifts of the Spirit’, of which reinforced their relationship with God and Christ Himself.

1 Corinthians 12:4-12 New International Version

4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.

7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.

In I Corinthians 12:4-12, Paul speaks of the gifts to including speaking wisdom and knowledge and the power to heal.

1 Corinthians 12:28-31 New International Version

28 And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues ? Do all interpret?

31 But eagerly desire the greater gifts. And now I will show you the most excellent way.

Paul goes onto describe the people within the church as having roles of apostles, prophets, teachers, those who perform miracles, those who heal, those who direct others and those who speak in tongues.

One of the spiritual gifts spoken of is healing. Dedicated Christians who understand scripture have investigated the practices of Hand-on Healing to include the practice of Reiki and its cousin modalities.

John 14:12-14 New International Version

12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

Within John 14:12-14 is both instruction and task.

As Christians study the teachings of the Master and search for ways to follow more fully Jesus’ teachings in order to draw closer to God, we must keep in the forefront of our mind those the examples Jesus set for us.

Matthew 14:14New International Version

14 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.

Mark 3:10New International Version

10 For he had healed many, so that those with diseases were pushing forward to touch him.

Luke 4:38-39 New International Version

38 Jesus left the synagogue and went to the home of Simon. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked Jesus to help her. 39 So he bent over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. She got up at once and began to wait on them.

Mark 1:40-42 New International Version

40 A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, ‘If you are willing, you can make me clean.’

41 Jesus was indignant. He reached out his hand and touched the man. ‘I am willing,’ he said. ‘Be clean!’ 42 Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed.

Matthew 20:29-34 New International Version

29 As Jesus and his disciples were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed him. 30 Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was going by, they shouted, ‘Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!’

31 The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet, but they shouted all the louder, ‘Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!’

32 Jesus stopped and called them. ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ he asked.

33 ‘Lord,’ they answered, ‘we want our sight.’

34 Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him.

Mark 8:22-25 New International Version

22 They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. 23 He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, ‘Do you see anything?’

24 He looked up and said, ‘I see people; they look like trees walking around.’

25 Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.

Mark 7:32-35 New International Version

32 There some people brought to him a man who was deaf and could hardly talk, and they begged Jesus to place his hand on him.

33 After he took him aside, away from the crowd, Jesus put his fingers into the man’s ears. Then he spit and touched the man’s tongue. 34 He looked up to heaven and with a deep sigh said to him, ‘Ephphatha!’ (which means ‘Be opened!’). 35 At this, the man’s ears were opened, his tongue was loosened and he began to speak plainly.

Luke 7:12-15 New International Version

12 As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out—the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. 13 When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, ‘Don’t cry.’

14 Then he went up and touched the bier they were carrying him on, and the bearers stood still. He said, ‘Young man, I say to you, get up!’ 15 The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother.

Luke 8:49-55 New International Version

49 While Jesus was still speaking, someone came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. ‘Your daughter is dead,’ he said. ‘Don’t bother the teacher anymore.’

50 Hearing this, Jesus said to Jairus, ‘Don’t be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed.’

51 When he arrived at the house of Jairus, he did not let anyone go in with him except Peter, John and James, and the child’s father and mother. 52 Meanwhile, all the people were wailing and mourning for her. ‘Stop wailing,’ Jesus said. ‘She is not dead but asleep.’

53 They laughed at him, knowing that she was dead. 54 But he took her by the hand and said, ‘My child, get up!’ 55 Her spirit returned, and at once she stood up. Then Jesus told them to give her something to eat.

English: The healing hands of Penny the Wonder...

The healing hands of Penny the Wonder Nurse (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And the list of scriptural teachings goes on….

If one studies scripture, prays, sits in contemplation the truth on Hand-on Healing will be revealed.  The Scriptural evidence clearly reveals that healing is something appropriate for Christians to be participating in. Christians, who have a solid foundation in their faith, know that God always look after and directs them to do His will. Those Christians who practice modalities such as Reiki do so within the direction and armor of God, assured in the confidence that they have been guided to follow Jesus’ model to be a healer.

So, more particularly what is Reiki? Reiki is a Hands-on Healing modality that balances and rejuvenated the bio-electric magnetic energy (science proven) of the human body balancing the body, mind, emotions, and spiritual essence of a being. Reiki is a Japanese term meaning ‘Universal Life Energy’ referring to that bio-electric magnetic unseen energy that permeates and gives life to everything. A Japanese Tendai Buddhist monk named Mikao Usui was given the method of healing, a gift after 21 days of fasting and contemplation on a mountain outside of Kyoto. He used this gift to heal those in need; he was able to teach others this system of healing.  Just because Usui was Japanese… just because he was Buddhist does not invalidate the modality, nor does it mean the ‘Love of God’ or ‘Holy Spirit’ was not or is not present in healing.

Romans 2 13-16 (NIV) tells us this:

13 For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. 14 (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.) 16 This will take place on the day when God judges people’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.

Even a Buddhist practice can follow the Will of the Christian God. Reiki delivers a magnificent system for Christians to make use of God’s grace. When giving or receiving Reiki attunements or treatments, call on God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit to work directly through you and do the healing for you (in essence this is what Reiki practitioners are doing- though they use different Buddhist or New Age terms). This can be done through prayer before Reiki sessions, attunements or classes etc. By doing this your connection with God’s love (what some identify as that bio-electric magnetic energy we earlier discussed) can become very powerful and act as a source of support, healing and grace that is always be available to you. Reiki practitioners feel that they do not heal, but the energy or God’s Love does the healing; they are simply tools in the process.

Reiki is not Black Magic. Black Magic has a purpose to cause harm and suffering to another. There is no ill intent in healing. Reiki can only be used to heal and to help people and is always guided by God. In fact the practitioner must enter the session with no attachment in the outcome and allow the Grace of God to heal. Healing is not curing, but bringing a balance of body, mind, emotion, and spiritual bodies into harmony to accept the problem(s) at hand. Here is something to keep in mind when someone says Reiki is Satan’s work… our knowledge about Satan comes from the Bible. Nowhere in the Bible do we find where Satan healed someone. Satan tempts people to sin but Satan does not heal people. Furthermore, in Luke 6:44, Jesus speaks, ‘Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers.’ Which translates to, ‘if something is helpful and benefits individuals with positive results, such as with Reiki, then it must be trustworthy and come from God.’ Reiki the system and Reiki the energy comes from God, which is understood to be the one or Universal God, AKA The Source.

Challengers of Reiki often argue against the attunement process and the use of Reiki Symbols. The attunement process is simply turns on your healing energy which has been lying dormant. During this process God connects you more powerfully to His grace which in-turn supports the healing energy coming from your hands. Those who receive a Reiki attunement have noticeably stronger healing energies coming from their hands. As for symbols and rituals, they are throughout Christianity: the Sign of the Cross, and the fish for example. The symbols are used in Reiki to connect with different intents for the healing (physical, emotional, spiritual) which come from The Source, God. But the uses of the symbols are not necessary to use with Reiki for the healing to be effective. And Spirit Guides. Not an original Reiki concept or teaching. They do not need to be used.  Christians often call on the Christ for guidance or saints.  So why stop?

In the end you must decide if Hands-on Healing is ‘Christian’ or not. As for me I will continue to follow the teachings set out by Jesus utilizing my skills as a Reiki Master/Teacher as one of the tools in my kit.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/reiki-articles/reiki-black-magic-or-gods-grace-7038641.html

About the Author

Brother Christopher Bashaw OFD, RN, M.Div. is a professed Brother in the Franciscans of Divine Mercy, an Old Catholic Tradition within the Independent Catholic Church of the Americas. He is also enrolled in the Independent Catholic Church of the Americas Seminary studying for the permanent deaconate. Brother Christopher has worked as a RN since graduating nursing school in 1984, with nursing experience including drug and alcohol recovery/detox, psychiatric nursing, physical rehabilitation, pain care, military nursing, occupational health, nursing home care, and pediatric/camp nursing. He has brought these skills into the developing his ministry the Mother Mary Society and Franciscan Pastoral Counseling. In addition to holding a M.Div., he holds certificates in Biblical Counseling, Marriage and Family Counseling, and Alcohol & Drug Addiction Recovery (Level 3) with a Christian approach.  


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Jesus and Buddha; brothers from another mother

Thich Nhat Hanh at Hue City, Vietnam (2007)

Thich Nhat Hanh at Hue City, Vietnam (2007) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Brother Christopher

What I am about to share with you is not endorsed by my church. Nor is it endorsed by my order.  It might even be considered heresy by many.  And up until a couple hundred years ago I may have been put to death for even mentioning what I am about to share, or at the very least excommunicated from Rome. Even today there are Christian-based church hate groups that may end up coming to my door to picket and demonstrate against me as this thought reaches their ears (and I will say now, that these groups are so far removed from the teachings of Jesus I cannot fathom how they call themselves Christian).

I learned more about true Christianity from a Buddhist monk then all my years of catechism.  Thich Nhat Hanh has written a number of books on regaining our spiritual connection; but to me his two most important books in the life of a Christian were ‘Going Home: Jesus and Buddha as Brothers’ and ‘Living Buddha, Living Christ’.  In short the Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh takes the two most pivotal characters in our worlds spiritual history and draws the correlations between the two through their lives and their teachings. In essence he looks for the similarities in the two, which in the end discards the petty differences and prejudices man places on the subject and see the beautify of both.  I reminds me of the saying that, and I paraphrase, ‘we all attempt to climb the same mountain; some take the cleared and worn path, others narrow and dangerous trails. While others even bushwhack upward. At times we all slip, stumble and fall, only to get up and continue to move forward. Upon reaching the summit, no matter our path or vehicle to get there… we all experience the same glorious view of the moon.

In referring to the context of Hanh’s teachings it has been pointed out, that the he association between Jesus and Buddha can teach us to ‘practice in such a way that both Buddha and Jesus the Christ is born every moment of our daily life.’ For at the junction of compassion, mercy, benevolence, and holiness at which the two traditions meet lies the understanding of both. Regardless of our spiritual or religious tradition if we see the similarities in all things we then live like true Christians is our case, with tolerance and coexistence.

I want to stretch your mind a bit… What if the there is more to the story of Yeshua ben Yosaf (Jesus, son of Joseph)?  I agree that the bible is Divinely inspired by men (and we have to think that quite possibly women had a hand in it as well) who recorded the events of His life for the particular groups the represented and were in turn trying to teach. I also acknowledge that these chronicles were recorded several decades after the death of the Son of man. (During his earthly ministry, Jesus was referred to Himself as Son of Man. Think about this… why did He represent to himself as the Son of Man? The cause for this is evident? He lived like a man during this time; fact is he died like a man. He lived with us as a real human being. He was the Son of Man.  It is not until after his human death when he was reunited with the Father that he became the Son of God. And it will not be until his return to this earth that He will take on the role of king. It will be then that He will be called ‘Son of David’.) The aspects of the readings that were canonized and excepted by the newly emerging Christian leadership of its time (hundreds of years after the death of Jesus) in regards to the life of Jesus (as they wanted to portray that life) include little of his infancy, childhood, and even his adult life but focuses mainly on his three-year ministry and demise. So what happened leading up to those events? None of us know for sure what was left out of the story, or why it was not included. What I do what you to consider is this Buddhist tale out of Hemis Monastery, Ladakh (a region of India in the state of Jammu and Kashmir that lies between the Kunlun mountain range in the north and the main Great Himalayas to the south. The area is inhabited by people of Indo-Aryan and Tibetan descent with a culture and history very much related to that of Tibet.). To most theologians this is controversial territory to enter, but I am going to ask you put aside your prejudices and read on with an open mind before considering this a hoax and inconceivable. It has been established there were well-established trade routes that included the Roman Empire through this territory.  So it would not be impossible to conceive someone venturing from the Holy Lands coiuld have traveled to the region and back… even Jesus in his younger pre-ministry days. Now I am not stating that He did, nor that this is fact, merely an unrecorded canonized possibility. We do know there were many temples in the area of the regions indigenous spiritual traditions, one spiritual practice being Buddhism or Buddhism derived. And if Buddhism was alive and well in the region (remember Buddhism is a philosophy of love, mercy, benevolence, and compassion toward enlightenment more so than an actual religion taking on the traits of the culture it inhabits) why is it so hard to expect that travelers along these caravan routes would not come into contacts with the priestly cast of these traditions.

This particular tale tells of splinter sect of area Buddhists who speak of a manuscript about a man named Issa or Isa. Interestingly enough the name Isa is an Arabic name is commonly paralleled to the name for Jesus. Within the words of this manuscript the person Isa is revered as a Boddhisattva (a Buddhist term signifying an enlightened (bodhi) being (sattva); traditionally, a bodhisattva is anyone who is motivated by great compassion). Though the actual manuscript has never been produced the region tells of stories of this Isa, this living saint and Boddhisattva and of his compassion and miracles. Could this Isa be our Jesus? Before you answer this remember the three year ministry of Jesus was built on a love of our Father, a Divine Source of Love. Remember that throughout the ministry of Jesus he preaches about acts of love, mercy, benevolence, and compassion in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven (AKA enlightenment).  I cannot say yes, nor will I say no that this is not our Jesus.  But the similarities are interesting to say the least. … I’m just saying.

The Buddhist tale of Isa ends with him leaving the region returning to his homeland sharing those teachings of love. I believe we must expand the narrow minded view that Buddhism and Christianity separate; the fact is that Buddhism and Christianity have more in common than their believers are willing to admit. The story of Isa may or may not be true. This Isa may or may not be our Jesus, and there may or may not be an ancient manuscript in some remote monastery in Ladakh that tells the truth of Isa. Regardless of your belief and your personal truth on the matter of the Buddhist Isa (be it that you feel there is truth in the story or be it that you feel it is all a hoax, we cannot deny that there are many points of similarity between the first millennium religious movements of Christianity and Buddhist India which persist to be studied and investigated.

In theory as Christians we follow the New Covenant of Jesus the Christ. Those who call themselves ‘Christian’ must have the character and actions that define the term as set by the New Covenant. That make-up includes becoming Christ-like. Living a life of charity, compassion, love. Living a life of of non-judgment toward others. Living a life of peace and honesty. Living a life deserving of entering the Kingdom of God. (Starting to sound similar to being a Buddhist doesn’t it? Amazing!).  My purpose and how I define myself as being a Christian is to love God and to love others as I love myself. Remember Buddhism is a philosophy of enlightenment (touching God, being with God,) it is not per say a religion, as it can be adopted by the culture that accepts it without changing the spiritual traditions of said culture but enhancing them.  Thich Nhat Hahn teaches us in his books the essence of the Kingdom of Heaven as defined by our own bible:

Romans 14:17 ESV

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

 

Matthew 6:10 ESV

Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

 

Matthew 5:10 ESV

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

 

1 Corinthians 15:50 ESV

I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.

 

John 18:36 ESV

Jesus answered, ‘My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.’

So, I leave these questions with you… Is the Kingdom of Heaven a place or a state of being we achieve through our thoughts, actions, words?  Is the Kingdom for those who practice only the Abrahamic religions (A religion is defined as an organized collection of beliefs, cultural systems, and world views that relate humanity to an order of existence based on the people of the culture practicing it that include but are not limited to their beliefs about the cosmos and human nature, morality, ethics, religious laws or a preferred lifestyle.) or can those who live the life of these teachings of love and compassion and found enlightenment, even those who have never heard of Jesus the Christ enter heaven?  Before speaking read Thicht Naht Han.  Then look within for the answers.

Be well on your spiritual journey.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/religion-articles/jesus-and-buddha-brothers-from-another-mother-7032977.html

About the Author

Brother Christopher Bashaw OFD, RN, M.Div. is a professed Brother in the Franciscans of Divine Mercy, an Old Catholic Tradition within the Independent Catholic Church of the Americas. He is also enrolled in the Independent Catholic Church of the Americas Seminary studying for the permanent deaconate. Brother Christopher has worked as a RN since graduating nursing school in 1984, with nursing experience including drug and alcohol recovery/detox, psychiatric nursing, physical rehabilitation, pain care, military nursing, occupational health, nursing home care, and pediatric/camp nursing. He has brought these skills into the developing his ministry the Mother Mary Society and Franciscan Pastoral Counseling. In addition to holding a M.Div., he holds certificates in Biblical Counseling, Marriage and Family Counseling, and Alcohol & Drug Addiction Recovery (Level 3) with a Christian approach.  


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Touché!

Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...

Stained glass at St John the Baptist’s Anglican Church http://www.stjohnsashfield.org.au, Ashfield, New South Wales. Illustrates Jesus’ description of himself “I am the Good Shepherd” from the Gospel of John, chapter 10, verse 11.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By PK Christian Writer

I remember that it was 2006 that I first became a believer in Christ and it was His providence that I would end being involved in evangelism and apologetics. At that time I was just 15 with virtually no background in Biblical interpretation or logic.

Nevertheless, the “zeal” of my faith did not allow me to stay silent. The internet in general and social media in particular was getting popular by the day (do remember that I live in Pakistan), and so I found a whole new venue for “spreading” the Gospel.

I came across a number of non-Christian groups that were challenging the authority of the Christian faith, largely based on the arguments of a famous Islamic speaker in the subcontinent. It is important to note here that everyone around me including my own parents were enthusiastic about my new found interest, yet no one made any effort to mentor me.

I think along with my own stupidity, it is was this factor that made me write things on these websites that I wish I never have written.

For instance, one person wrote that since we do not know the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, therefore it must not be the word of God. In reply, I asked him for some evidence, and he happily obliged by quoting authoritative commentaries.

You know how I responded ? “The commentaries are all false!”

No effort to research and no willingness to divert from my position.

Later that evening I told my parents that commentaries are simply rubbish. My father simply smiled, while my mother got angry. Yet no one of them simply took out the time to correct me.

It was a couple of months later that I finally realized that it is true, that it is not only Hebrews but a lot of books in the Bible have debatable authorship And I also learnt that authorship does no harm to the the Christian view of Inspiration.

Sometime later, I came across this wonderful website that presented scholarly articles in the defense or Christianity while criticizing a major worldview. I started whole-sale copy pasting from this website, thinking in my mind that since others are also plagiarizing their arguments, why shouldn’t I do the same?

Overtime, I had stopped responding to objections (which is the only form of apologetics that the Bible talks about) and started pin pointing the flaws in other people’s religions. I had no regard for the sentiments (since they did not have respect for our faith), I made no effort to check the arguments for accuracy, and I simply had no regard for the sources.

Surprisingly, I was doing pretty good and I developed a reputation as challenging online debater. But this shows the quality of religious discussions that were widespread on the internet.

The point that I want to raise by writing all this is that when people discuss religion or other ideologies, all they need is conviction and that’s it. While conviction is necessary for propagating a worldview, we also need to consider the logical aspect of the whole matter.

Jesus told us to love our God with all our minds as well, but we as Christians don’t follow this, right? And then we consider that since we are promoting our faith (which is obviously true), everything we say or do is legitimate.

A lot of my Christian friends, when I contradict something they say, respond by saying “Oh man, you don’t know!” or “you’ll see”, and this according to them is a fairly legitimate argument. Or consider how two people usually debate about 9/11:

For: Hey man, Islamic terrorists bombed the WTC”

Against: No man, it was an inside job!

For: Yeah? Well how do you know?

Against: Well I saw videos where they showed all the details of the conspiracy.

For: Nonsense, I have seen a video where bin Laden himself stated who did it!

As you can see, none of them realizes that they are in fact saying the same thing. The problem is, most of the people who make such arguments are not 15 year old boys who flunked the 9th grade, but educated and aged men and women who have some standing in the society.

So here is my call to all of you. I make the effort to admit my mistakes and tread the path towards honesty in all things, even if they go against what I already believe.

If we claim to follow the Truth, we have to be honest.Sure people bring up absurd theories, like Jesus was the leader of a mushroom cult, but do you also have to say that a certain denomination is the “anti-Christ” because they “changed” the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday?

About the Author

Suleman, M. John – I am a writer who creates content for clients (and myself as well). I think, read, and surf a lot, but my strong areas of research and writing include religion, history, literature, and online content creation (especially ghostwriting).


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The Three Poisons of Buddhist Psychology or Christian Teachings Left Ignored

Temptation via Tumblr

By Brother Christopher

There are what is known as the three poisons in Buddhism, ignorance, attachment (greed), and hatred. This concept of the three poisons is important whether you consider yourself Buddhist or not, and by understanding this concept of the Three Poisons both your pastoral practice and the client will benefit to wholeness.

Greed, anger and ignorance are treacherous toxins which can build and destroy our life, are noted as the cause of human suffering. Buddhist psychology reveals that not only are these ‘poisons’ the source of our material greed in wanting more and more possessions, and the root cause of all of our harmful illusions of the ego, but they are also painful pollutants, which bring both physical and mental illness.

From the Christian angle, the core definition of greed or attachment defines the term(s) as the obsession with accumulating material goods; a greedy person values material goods more than they value God.

Luke 12:15 New International Version (NIV)

15 Then he said to them, ‘Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.’

Greed’s buddies are desire and lust; these appetites and attachments cause us to want to ‘get hold of’ things, and to have more and more of them. Leading to never being satisfied. In essence greed and his entourage separate us from the One True God; Greed is that Golden Calf of the Old Testament.

Hate, simply put from a ‘Jesus perspective’ is when we stop considering another’s welfare. Hate is when we simply don’t care. Hate includes ‘when my thing is more important than your thing’.  Hate kills harmony. Hate kills inspiration. Hate kills others. Hate is suicide.

1 John 2:11 New International Version (NIV)

11 But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them.

God&Window

God&Window (Photo credit: Tallapragada)

Hatred’s cohorts are anger, animosity and loathing, which trigger us to reject that which displeases us or infringes upon our ego. Again we create and divide the separation to the Divine as we promote hatred.

Matthew 22:36-40 New International Version (NIV)

36 ‘Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?’

37 Jesus replied: ‘‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.’

Ignorance, which is ‘not knowing,’ our true nature, sets the path for delusion or in our believing something that is false when it is not or in believing lies in order to support our ego and avoid hurt.

Mathew 7:21-23 New International Version (NIV)

21 ‘Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

With ignorance we breed fear, co-existence with others diminishes, our intolerance of people, ideas, and practices grows. Out of ignorance we have bigotry, lack of understanding, lack of compassion. Ignorance is a choice that can be overcome through acceptance and education, and is something that is continual in our human life- ever evolving. Ignorance does not allow us to live in God’s Light.

Christ and the devil via Tumblr

Countless numbers of us are most likely to be dominated by at least one of the poisons. These poisons fill our lives with suffering, unhappiness and our ability for tolerance and co-existence.  They are the reason we make poor decisions that upset our future.  They are the source of our self-serving and dishonest intentions, which lead us to act both unethically and immorally.  They are the roots of not only our own pain and misery, but the cause of the pain and suffering to those who love us. They bring ruin upon society itself.  Fortunately, there is an antidote, a treatment, a cure to these three poisons.  The practice of loving kindness and compassion and the connection to God, serving God,  is the medicine.

If we become aware of the Three Poisons, their causes and their cures, we can bring about a wonderful metamorphosis to those we serve as well as to our self.  Through the practice of loving kindness and compassion poison is transformed into nectar. And from the nectar evolves true happiness and righteousness that God intended each of us to behold.  When we realize our interdependence on each other, our connectedness to each other and to the Divine Source, as well as our unique oneness, we rid ourselves of the poisons that keep making us sick.  With pastoral counseling guidance can be offered, lessons can be given, but each one us must take the hand reaching out to us, embrace the tools being given to us, and then use those tools. This is God’s way.  As pastoral counselors we must look at how these poisons are affecting our clients… and unlike many other counselor types use the teachings of the Master, Jesus the Christ to teach our clients how to rid themselves of the poisons and bring harmony and wellness back into their life.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/mental-health-articles/the-three-poisons-of-buddhist-psychology-or-christian-teachings-left-ignored-7021341.html

About the Author

Brother Christopher Bashaw OFD, RN, M.Div. is a professed Brother in the Franciscans of Divine Mercy, an Old Catholic Tradition within the Independent Catholic Church of the Americas. He is also enrolled in the Independent Catholic Church of the Americas Seminary studying for the permanent deaconate. Brother Christopher has worked as a RN since graduating nursing school in 1984, with nursing experience including drug and alcohol recovery/detox, psychiatric nursing, physical rehabilitation, pain care, military nursing, occupational health, nursing home care, and pediatric/camp nursing. He has brought these skills into the developing his ministry the Mother Mary Society and Franciscan Pastoral Counseling. In addition to holding a M.Div., he holds certificates in Biblical Counseling, Marriage and Family Counseling, and Alcohol & Drug Addiction Recovery (Level 3) with a Christian approach.  


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The Meaning Behind Not Eating From The Tree Of Knowledge

English: Tree of Knowledge by Mordecai MOREH ע...

Tree of Knowledge by Mordecai MOREH עברית: מרדכי מורה – תמונת פרופיל (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Eric Robert Nielsen

Tree Knowledge

Many people believe the Garden of Eden’s Tree of Knowledge is a physical location on earth. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Tree Knowledge is found when someone turns within as Jesus has stated. It also is associated with the Bible’s Baptism by Fire and can be verified by at least two other religions– Buddhism and Taoism.

Tree Knowledge is gained when a person successfully is able to completely leave this world behind through the proper use of meditation or centering prayer.

During the experience of passing through the symbolic Garden of Eden.The point represented by eating the apple from the Tree of Knowledge, is the exact moment the veil goes up between God and the Soul.

The Tree Knowledge acquired at this point is the soul gaining a sense of self as being separate from God.It is where God cuts the Soul loose to live in the world. This fact is easiest understood by the person having this type of experience, over someone who has not.

Tree Knowledge at this point is also Jesus’ Baptism by Fire. Because other than the Soul becoming separate from God, the Soul is also given the five senses to live in human form in the physical world.

The Tree Knowledge relating to the Baptism by Fire is based on the feeling created after the five senses are placed into the Soul. The feeling is that of being totally bathed in an uncontrollable burning desire to want everything and anything that will present itself.

Tree Knowledge

One should understand that this is a very primal desire, as the Soul is burning with uncontrollable want, when no-thing has yet presented itself to the Soul, as an object of that want.

The Tree Knowledge from the view of the Soul is that movement has now begun as the Soul begins to head quickly toward the physical world.

Someone not experienced in these matters, like myself, when going through this is rocketed forward by burning desire, holds on and will go where ever the Soul ends up.

A person who is experienced with what goes on when passing through this part of the Garden of Eden, can remain calm, as that statement is associated with controlling desire or want.

By not letting the desire build within the Soul or a better way to make the point would be to say ‘not become overwhelmed with desire to want,’ can stop the process and return back into the Kingdom of God. This is Tree Knowledge.

Tree Knowledge

Though Buddha doesn’t mention the place that he obtains this knowledge, he none the less gave a Fire Sermon on the power of desire and how it burns within us all; affecting everything we do in this life, which is the result of our constant sorrow.

Buddha’s warning as it relates to not eating of the apple for Christians is to not get attached to the dualistic way life plays with our desires to satisfy the urge of the five senses.

His Tree Knowledge is that the five senses are a perfect match for every object associated to each of the five senses. This causes us to burn with desire for sensual satisfaction, which cannot ever be controlled unless a person puts more strength and effort into going within through meditation or prayer, rather than allowing the senses to keep the person attracted to the physical world.

From ‘The Secret of the Golden Flower,’ the Taoist Tree Knowledge has the point of eating the apple being compared to eating spirit-energy, which causes a man to be born. The Taoists also mention that the movement out into the physical world can be reversed, causing the Soul to again merge with its higher self.

The spirit-energy corresponds with fire mentioned in Christianity, as it is associated with the Taoist symbol for clinging. Fire in Christianity, as it related to Baptism by Fire has everything to do with being bathed completely in desire, which is the same desire needed to fuel the desire to live.

The Tree Knowledge to take from this material is this. Thinking about God focuses a person’s interest back again to the territory within, where the Kingdom of God is located. This is done by focusing your attention on your deepest self (the self behind all you think and do). This is the definition of God as he exists in you.

To ignore God causes us to focus our attention on the only place it can be placed–out into the physical world. This causes you to forget the importance of who the self/ you is. When the self is forgotten, so is respect for the self/ God, which is identical in others. This causes the divide between humans resulting in the rippling effect of separation in our world community.

For more information on this subject, stop by and visit us to watch the video.This video is part of our Human Soul Series of videos. This concludes Tree Knowledge of why we should not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/religion-articles/the-meaning-behind-not-eating-from-the-tree-of-knowledge-5997340.html

About the Author

Eric Robert Nielsen is an Author, Mystic and Centering Prayer/Meditation Expert Purveyor of the The Mystic Post, He is an Author of ‘God’s Veil Removed…A True Story of Mystical Union with God’.


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God’s Way – One Step At A Time

Piero della Francesca: Legend of the True Cros...

Piero della Francesca: Legend of the True Cross – the Queen of Sheba Meeting with Solomon , Detail. (c. 1452-66, Fresco, San Francesco, Arezzo, Italy) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Ngozi Nwoke

Can you image a child learning how to walk today and tomorrow he is driving? I know you can’t imagine it. But that is what many people expect God to do for them. They want to take giant steps beyond God’s way. One step at a time is God’s style and it always gets you to the peak if you stick to the Lord. This article gives the reasons why this way of the Almighty is the best approach to life.

A bishop then must be blameless… not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil – 1 Timothy 3:2, 6 (emphasis mine, NKJV)

But the word of the Lord was to them, ‘Precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little,’ Isaiah 28:13

I will not drive them out from before you in one year, lest the land become desolate and the beasts of the field become too numerous for you. Little by little I will drive them out from before you, until you have increased, and you inherit the land – Exodus 23:29-30 (NKJV)

Multiple promotions are desirable but not at the detriment of one’s future or destiny. A father, no matter how much he loves his six-year-old boy, will not allow him to drive his car. Also, no pupil starts primary one or standard one today and next session he is in the secondary school. It is always one step at a time. This is God’s way and God, our creator, is the originator of this way.

Every newborn baby always starts with milk and gradually graduates to solids (1 Peter 2:2). This principle applies both to spiritual and physical growth. Also, in leadership positions, whether spiritual or physical, nobody puts a novice in leadership position. Everyone needs to grow into any new and higher position.

However, some people do not want to go through this growth process and so they involve themselves in dishonest and unethical activities that end up in destruction (Proverbs 28:20). While others wind up in complaining, murmuring and being offended in God, instead of going through the pain of growing into the position they desire.

King Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 3:1 that there is time for everything. Furthermore, he that believes will not make haste, (Isaiah 28:16). It is honour and glory to go through the growth process because what you learn remains with you forever (Romans 5:3-4), no man can take that from you.

One step at a time is not a delay tactics. There is a purpose for it and it is beneficial to you. God is a God of purpose and He never does anything without a reason.

Why one step at a time?

1.       It increase your sustainability

It is one thing to get to a new level or position, and another thing to sustain that level or position. You need to be able to balance every other aspect of your life with that new position. For instance, your walk with God and family should not suffer because you had a double promotion in your place of work.

However, God will give you a double promotion if you qualify for it. The growth process prepares you for the double promotion.

You may ask me now how you are to qualify for it. It is through:

                                I.            Increasing your knowledge level – God said in Hosea 4:6 that His people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. The more knowledge you have the more your ability to sustain the new position.

Knowledge about what, you may still ask? First and foremost, your knowledge about God, His word and how He operates. This is the foundation for any other meaningful knowledge. And if the foundation be destroyed what can the righteous do, (Psalm 11:3)

Secondly, you need a good knowledge of your desired position. If it requires getting a certificate, go for it. Prepare yourself (Proverbs 24:27), let it not be that you missed that position because you didn’t know enough or you didn’t have a tangible proof of your qualification.

                              II.            Increasing your faith level – It is impossible to please God without faith, (Hebrews 11:6). It  takes faith for God to move you to your next level and to sustain you there. The word of God remains the authenticate source of faith. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God, (Romans 10:17)

  2.       It keeps away the beasts

Another reason for one step at a time is to keep beasts from over-powering you. In Exodus 23:29-30, God chose to drive the enemies of Israel little by little so that the land will not become desolate and the beasts of the field become too numerous for them. He wanted them to increase and grow into fully occupying the land.

There are many beasts around, visible and invisible and unless you grow to be bigger and stronger than them, they will encroach into your territory and may take over. Therefore for every new position you need a new level of strength to match.

The sons of Sceva in Acts 19:13-16 assumed a position that they had no matching strength for and the demons in the possessed man over-powered them. The evil spirit said, ‘Jesus I know, Paul I know but who are you?’

Now the strength I am writing about is not in yourself but in the Lord and in the power of His might, (Ephesians 6:10). This is because your human strength is limited and cannot deliver you from the beasts. Truly, by strength shall no man prevail, (1 Samuel 2:9)

The acquisition of this strength boils down again to increase in the knowledge of God and His word, and also increase in your faith in God. Surely, God’s way prevails anytime and anywhere.

In conclusion, as much as God loves you and wants the best and has prepared them for you, you must grow into your inheritance in Christ. And it will take one step at a time to get there. But the speed with which you will possess your possession depends on you. Therefore start today and you will surely get to your desired position.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/christianity-articles/gods-way-one-step-at-a-time-6834257.html

About the Author

Ngozi Nwoke is a teacher and a counselor. She has a passion to teach people how to enjoy peace, God’s love and christian living for more fulfilling life. Want more fulfilling life? Subscribe for free email updates today. http://stepswithgod.com


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Sunday Reading

English: Mary and Jesus

Mary and Jesus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Matthew 11:2-11
New American Standard Bible (NASB)

2 Now when John, while imprisoned, heard of the works of Christ, he sent word by his disciples 3 and said to Him, “Are You the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else?” 4 Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and report to John what you hear and see: 5 the blind receive sight and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. 6 And blessed is he who does not take offense at Me.”

Jesus’ Tribute to John

7 As these men were going away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John, “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? 8 But what did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ palaces! 9 But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and one who is more than a prophet. 10 This is the one about whom it is written,

‘Behold, I send My messenger ahead of You,
Who will prepare Your way before You.’

11 Truly I say to you, among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist! Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

Commentary

John the Baptist was no ordinary guy. He was something of a wildman, eating locusts (grasshoppers) and an uncultivated substance that tastes like honey. He wore rough cloth made of camel’s hair. Today, he’d be like a self-sufficient hobo, living away from the city, offering salvation to sinners. Authorities would probably shoo him away to somewhere he couldn’t be seen and “bother” people. Maybe even issue a citation or arrest him if he failed to comply. And I don’t think Jesus would have won any fashion contest, either. The issue of clothing is brought up in today’s reading. Jesus notes that royalty wears fine clothes but, for the people of God, it really doesn’t matter what we wear.

Jesus proceeds to tell us that John is simply the best human being ever to walk the face of the Earth. We can assume that Jesus is excluding himself in that assessment. But here comes the clincher… Jesus adds that, although John may be the best, he can’t compare to the LEAST in the kingdom of heaven. Wow. Can you get your head around this? What Jesus is saying is that heaven is so fantastic, so altogether different from this world, that we just can’t imagine it. We may have glimpses through moments of grace. But on the whole, heaven is a completely different order than this physical universe, and all the conventional judgments that usually go with it.

So with Christmas coming, it’s great to see family, friends, and enjoy giving and receiving whatever toys may come our way. But most important, Christmas is a time to remember what it’s all about. What’s behind and above it all. What counts. What makes it possible for us to enjoy all the lesser, temporary things of this world.

And what’s that?

Well, the Lord. And for most Christian believers, Christmas is a time to remember how God came to us as Jesus Christ. Myself, I can get so caught up in the tree, the lights, and the idea of “Christmas Cheer” that it takes a while for me to get in that quiet space where I just think of a young teenage woman, Mary, giving birth to God-in-the-flesh amidst all kinds of persecution and resentment. (Remember that King Herod wanted to kill Jesus, even as an infant). But when I do get in that headspace, that’s when Christmas takes its most noble and holy form.

—MC


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The Healing Power of Forgiveness

Copyright © Linda Stuart 2013. All rights reserved.

Forgiveness Nurtures Love

The embodiment of Jesus’ love for mankind is found in the words he spoke from the cross: “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”

In Luke chapter 7, we are taught a powerful lesson concerning forgiveness. Jesus is invited to dine at the house of a Pharisee named Simon. While he is there, a sinful woman comes to Jesus and washes his feet with her own tears, wipes them with her own hair, kisses them and anoints them with perfume. The Pharisee, being a self-righteous man, observes the woman’s actions and says, if Jesus were a prophet, he would know “what sort of person this woman is who is touching him”. Luke 7:39

In response, Jesus tells Simon a parable about a moneylender whom had two debtors: one owed five hundred denarii and the other owed fifty.

Luke 7:42 “When they were unable to repay, he graciously forgave them both. So which of them will love him more?”

Luke 7:43 Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.” And Jesus said to him, “You have judged correctly.”

Then Jesus says to Simon, when he entered the Pharisee’s house, Jesus was not given water to wash his feet, nor was he given a kiss, nor was his head anointed with oil by his host. However, this woman who has washed his feet with her tears has loved much, and for this reason her sins, which are many, have been forgiven.

Luke 7:47 “But he who is forgiven little, loves little.”

Forgiveness Sustains Health

Dr. Frederic Luskin of Stanford University’s Center for Research in Disease Prevention has found through recent controlled studies that forgiveness training can be an effective way of reducing anger and distress associated with feeling hurt. According to the Stanford Forgiveness Project, this may have important implications for the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular and other chronic diseases. Research suggests unmanaged anger and hostility can be harmful to, not only a person’s physical health, but also one’s psychological and emotional well-being. In studies involving heart attack patients, research shows that patients whom acted in a more forgiving way were often able to demonstrate less anger and hostility, and thus reduce morbidity and improve overall quality of life.

In his new book “Forgive For Good” (Harper Collins, 2002), Dr. Luskin outlines nine steps to forgiveness. One of the principles central to these nine steps is: “Forgiveness is for you (the forgiver) and not for anyone else.” As Dr. Luskin explains in his book, forgiving someone for a past wrong does not necessarily mean the offending action is being condoned, nor does it necessitate reconciliation with the person who has caused the offence. According to Dr. Luskin, forgiveness is about finding peace for oneself.

Can these two notions — forgiving offenders through God’s example or forgiving for the sake of one’s own health — be reconciled? Perhaps what modern medical research fails to take into account is the healing power of loving one’s fellow human. In offering forgiveness to an offender, we help to mend and strengthen the fabric that pulls all of humanity together. Whether or not spiritual and scientific approaches to forgiveness can be harmonized, one thing is obvious — forgiveness is a powerful act of love that benefits both forgiver and forgiven.


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Sunday Reading

English: Readin the Bible.

Reading the Bible (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mt 24:37-44

Jesus said to his disciples:
“As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. In those days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day that Noah entered the ark. They did not know until the flood came and carried them all away.

So will it be also at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be out in the field; one will be taken, and one will be left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken, and one will be left. Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come.

Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour of night when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake
and not let his house be broken into. So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.”

Commentary:

It seems almost silly to comment on this. It’s just a fragment of an ancient text written by an anonymous ancient author with an ancient mindset. Right? Well, yes. But I think there’s a bit more to it than that. When I read the Bible, when it really works for me, I don’t suppose that I’m reading a history book. And I don’t suppose that I’m reading a work of pure fantasy either. The Bible is something in-between and more. But I had to open myself to the Bible’s possibilities before realizing just what it could do. Or what God could do to someone while reading it.

Sometimes I get the impression that non-Christians think Christianity isn’t cool. Or they think that all Christians are just brainwashed, narrow-minded goofs. The funny thing is, I find that people who prejudge like this often aren’t so cool themselves. They’re usually pretty conflicted and just as hypocritical as any Bible-thumpin’ Christian.

Not only that. Some folks who prejudge Christians waltz around as if they’re somehow free of all bias and belief. Right… To my mind, these people are fooling themselves, supposing that they’re “objective,” “scientific,” “holistic” or whatever they wish to call it, when really they’re bound up by their own biases and beliefs a lot more than they’re willing to admit.

Having said that, I have to admit that a lot of overly zealous, cherry-picking Bible thumpers do turn me off big time. That’s partly why I hesitated doing this Sunday Reading in the first place. And why I have to question doing it every Sunday.

I think it’s important to educate ourselves about things that matter to us. And the Bible is no exception. But by educating ourselves, this doesn’t mean we should turn off our sense of wonder, our openness to heavenly guidance. That’s not being smart. It’s just being “an educated fool” as the old song goes.

When I speak about education I mean we shouldn’t use the Bible as a history book. It’s far too fuzzy and ancient. And, as far as using it as a source book for moral prohibitions, one should be careful. People who cherry-pick verses from the Bible to “prove” their point are usually ignoring some other passage that could be taken as a counterexample to their alleged proof. The Bible is vast. One part talks about wars in the name of God. Another about turning the other cheek. These seeming contradictions are usually glossed over or massaged into some kind of ancient theological system.

But I digress. The main thing to take away from today’s reading, I think, is in these lines:

For you do not know on which day your Lord will come…. So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.

Myself, I don’t know if Jesus is really going to come again in person. But if he does, it’s silly to pretend that we can know when. The important thing is to live as if he’s right here, right now. Because you know what? I believe he is.

—MC


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Sunday Reading

English: An ikon of Aghia and some votive obje...

An ikon of Aghia and some votive objects – these have a specific name: tamata. Photographed in the chapel dedicated to her (see below) above the , Iraklio, Kriti in 2001 May. A life of Aghia Paraskevi. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Luke 21:5-19

While some people were speaking about
how the temple was adorned with costly stones and votive offerings,
Jesus said, “All that you see here–
the days will come when there will not be left a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down.”

Then they asked him,
“Teacher, when will this happen?
And what sign will there be when all these things are about to happen?”
He answered,
“See that you not be deceived,
for many will come in my name, saying,
‘I am he,’ and ‘The time has come.’
Do not follow them!
When you hear of wars and insurrections,
do not be terrified; for such things must happen first,
but it will not immediately be the end.”
Then he said to them,
“Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.
There will be powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues
from place to place;
and awesome sights and mighty signs will come from the sky.

“Before all this happens, however,
they will seize and persecute you,
they will hand you over to the synagogues and to prisons,
and they will have you led before kings and governors
because of my name.
It will lead to your giving testimony.
Remember, you are not to prepare your defense beforehand,
for I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking
that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute.
You will even be handed over by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends,
and they will put some of you to death.
You will be hated by all because of my name,
but not a hair on your head will be destroyed.
By your perseverance you will secure your lives.”

Commentary:

Some people spend a lot of time looking for signs about the end times. Others seem to be convinced that whenever something bad happens, like a World War or horrific catastrophe, the end of the world is near. This kind of fanaticism is nothing new. It’s been around for centuries. Even many of the early disciples thought the world would end in their lifetimes.

But today Jesus tells us that this is folly. In fact, even Jesus doesn’t seem to know when the world will end. In Matthew 24-36 he tells us that only the Father knows.

“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son,f but only the Father.”

So I’m not going to waste my time worrying about the end of the world. In fact, I’m going to live my life to the fullest, as long as I can. And I’ll only let go of those things that I truly believe Jesus wants me to let go of. Until then, I’ll keep on being me. Imperfect and at times weak. But at the same time, having reason to believe that there’s more than this. A lot more!

—MC

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