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Vacation over — Oh well, I enjoy writing about psychology, spirituality and religion

Last night I was pooped and went to bed unusually early. Waking up unusually early, I felt it was a good time to update earthpages.ca. I enjoyed working on the above. As I research and revise these entries, I’m not only brushing up on my general knowledge but also on my ability to (hopefully) communicate fresh ideas to as many people as possible.


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Snippet – The Gospel of Thomas – uplifting or obscuring?

via Tumblr – Click for full article and image credit link

Never thought I’d be highlighting my own writing. But life always gives us the unexpected. The above is from an entry I wrote for earthpages.ca this morning. The Gospel of Thomas.


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Using the word “scholars” to legitimize views about Jesus


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Jesus… myth, fact or a bit of both?


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Merry Christmas!

The Flight into Egypt by Giotto di Bondone (13...

The Flight into Egypt by Giotto di Bondone (1304-06, Scrovegni Chapel, Padua). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

To celebrate Christmas I worked on a tune that started out as an exercise in exotic scales. There’s an app at Reaper.fm, the digital workstation that I use, that has countless scales. Probably more than anyone could ever use. So I picked a few that sounded good, tried to blend them together, and soon after realized that it was turning into an unconventional Christmas Story (musically speaking).

Just tonight on Christmas Eve I was watching a show about the flight into Egypt. How Joseph and Mary had to flee from the paranoid King Herod, who was killing all the firstborn because he got wind from the Magi that a King had been born. After a while, sitting in front of our Christmas tree, I felt that this tune sort of captured the flight.

Unconventional, yes. But then, so was Jesus Christ, who continues to be more radical (in a good way) than any other figure to have walked this Earth.

Merry Christmas to all who wish to celebrate this hallowed holiday. The lights and gifts are great. But they’re just symbols of something far greater.

Enjoy!

–Michael Clark


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Sunday Reading

English: Icon of Jesus Christ

Icon of Jesus Christ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Gospel Lk 23:35-43

The rulers sneered at Jesus and said, “He saved others, let him save himself if he is the chosen one, the Christ of God.”

Even the soldiers jeered at him. As they approached to offer him wine they called out, “If you are King of the Jews, save yourself.” Above him there was an inscription that read, “This is the King of the Jews.”

Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us.”

The other, however, rebuking him, said in reply, “Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation? And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

He replied to him, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

A portrait of Karl Marx.

A portrait of Karl Marx. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Commentary:

Today’s reading underscores the Christian belief that Jesus is not the king of this world but the king of heaven. As such, we can’t expect him to solve all our worldly problems or help us get everything we want in this earthly life. With all due respect to all seekers, my feeling is that many people reject Jesus as the Messiah because they believe the Messiah should be some kind of political leader.

This certainly is how it was back in Jesus’ day. The people wanted a Messiah who would deliver them from the occupying Romans. When Jesus didn’t deliver – not in that way, anyhow – they just couldn’t wrap their heads around the idea that the Messiah was far greater than that. The Messiah was to deliver anyone, that is, anyone, to the kingdom of heaven. So instead of a temporary worldly glory, believers could expect an everlasting glory, one far surpassing anything that could be experienced on earth.

But there was a price tag, as there is today. And sometimes it’s quite high. We have to really put God first and our worldly concerns second. This doesn’t mean that we should be passive or apathetic and not try to improve our lot and the world in general. Far from it. But it does mean that we shouldn’t put all our eggs in this worldly basket. We’ll end up disappointed if we do. For God is the source, the ultimate source of all this is good. So God can be with us as we try to change the world. But our efforts probably won’t be too effective if God is not behind us.

Just one example:  Karl Marx. He didn’t believe in God but I imagine he really believed he was doing the right thing. And maybe some good has come out of his movement. But on the whole, communism didn’t happen as Marx envisioned it, and the entire movement has pretty well proved to be a huge flop!


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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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