Sunday, May 31, 2009

Absolute Truth

I've been asked this question a lot: "What do you believe are the absolute truths."

I get that. I used to do that to people, too.

It's a litmus test -- the purpose of which is to determine whether or not the responder is "in" or "out."

My absolute-truth-list used to be a mile long ... it was founded upon the Apostle's Creed, and the Nicene Creed, and an accumulation of all those things that *others* told me were "absolute truths."

This was my plumb-line, which I used to divide from others ... because they will know we are Christian by our divisions, y'know. Must. Stay. Safe.

Reminds me of this rather uncomfy-yet-hysterical joke:

I was walking across a bridge one day, and I saw a man standing on the edge, about to jump off. I immediately ran over and said "Stop! Don't do it!"

"Why shouldn't I?" he said.

I said, "Well, there's so much to live for!"

"Like what?"

"Well ... are you religious or atheist?"


"Me too! Are you Christian or Jewish?"


"Me too! Are you Catholic or Protestant?"


"Me too! Are you Episcopalian or Baptist?"


"Wow! Me too! Are you Baptist Church of God or Baptist Church of the Lord?"

"Baptist Church of God."

"Me too! Are you Original Baptist Church of God, or are you Reformed Baptist Church of God?"

"Reformed Baptist Church of God."

"Me too! Are you Reformed Baptist Church of God, reformation of 1879, or Reformed Baptist Church of God, reformation of 1915?"

"Reformed Baptist Church of God, reformation of 1915!"

To which I said, "Die, heretic scum!" and pushed him off.

As for absolute truth ... I see Truth as a Person to know (Christ) and not a concept to grasp/defend.

As I get to know Him more and more (experientially), my list of absolutes has radically shrunk. More and more it's looking like: Love God; Love Neighbor.

I believe that God is absolute, but that our concepts of Him, and of His nature, are very subjective. And that we, who are mid-process, have no business in telling other mid-processors what's absolute truth, and what's absolute falsehood.

We were told to stay *away* from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, not to climb it and throw rotten fruit.

While we're all (all!) mid-process here, journeying from "looking through a glass dimly" into all truth, we can afford to treat each other the way that Jesus said to treat each other. Whether we consider each other a brother, friend, neighbor, or "enemy", it's the same heart-response: Love.

As we each follow the One who is both Guide and Goal, let's practice that love-thing, more than we practice that division-thing.

Just for a change of pace.

Shalom, Dena

Expose on Tradition...

I read this some time ago in a book entitled, "Satan Unmasked" by Dr. James B. Richards. It hugely spoke to me then, and still does ... I share it for those who have never considered this life-altering point of view:

Tradition is an incredibly powerful tool. In fact, Jesus said it was so powerful that it could make the Word of God have no effect in your life (Mk 7:9-13). This neutralizing effect happens when tradition becomes as much a part of our belief system as the Word of God. Tradition is the product of the ideas and perceptions that
have been repeated so frequently that they become accepted as reality. Once this happens, they are as important to us as the Bible itself. Tradition is not something about which we are passive. It is something we attempt to guard, maintain, and
defend. It is a part of who wee are. We understand ourselves through our traditions; therefore, we fight to preserve them.

Tradition becomes a part of our emotional fabric through a simple mental process. Once we accept a certain opinion, the mind begins to seek equilibrium. In other words, if you believe it to be true, the mind seeks to prove it is true. In fact, if you do not determine something to be false and you continually expose yourself to the idea or behavior, it will, in time, be determined to be acceptable and factual. This is the subtlety of deceit.

This isn't something that happens on a mere emotional level. Your mind works 'til your beliefs and your sense of reality are well balanced. There is a set of nerves at the base of the skull called the Reticular Activating System. Once we accept something or pass a judgment, activity in this area of the brain affects our reasoning process. A neurological process begins in our brain to establish it
as fact. It alters our ability to perceive. It literally causes us to see it as we believe it to be. I call this process 'selective reasoning.'

If you believe something to be true, your mind will seek to prove it true.

In selective reasoning we stop seeing things as they are and seek to prove what we have already chosen to believe. It is like looking at a word and thinking it says 'horse.' You read the sentence over and over again, and finally realize that it says 'house.' You could've sworn that it said h-o-r-s-e. Why were you so sure, yet so wrong? Your mind had already determined what it was seeing.

Our traditions begin the moment we insist that we see. The moment a new paradigm is established, we have begun to form a new tradition. It is at that moment that we become blind to anything other than our point of view. Once it is accepted as truth, we begin a process of unquestioned repetition until we can't conceive of any other
point of view.

The Pharisees heard the message of God's love and forgiveness, yet they insisted their doctrine was right. Because they clung to their point of view, they could never see what the Scriptures really said. Thus, they not only rejected the truth, the also crucified the One who brought the truth. "Some Pharisees who were with Him
heard Him say this and asked, 'What? Are we blind too?' Jesus said, 'If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains'" (Jn 9:40-41). Insisting that we see is the road to blindness and tradition. Once something is accepted as fact, it is acted upon without thought or

All that we must do to see is to honestly "consider other possibilities". The Word of God holds so many possibilities to which we have already closed our mind. Therefore it is impossible to see them. We are so consumed with defending our position that we, like the Pharisees, crucify those who bring the truth that will
set us free. We must relieve ourselves of the need to prove we are right. Why do we place so much of our self-worth on being right? What I currently see about any subject may be right or wrong. It may have nuggets of truth as well as nuggets of error. Being right or wrong changes neither who I am in Jesus, nor my position before
those with whom I interact. We place far too much emphasis on the need to be right, and too little emphasis on the need to serve and build up.

If interested, here's more on the Reticular Activating System, and how we see, or don't see, truth:

And a short video description:

Shalom, Dena

Friday, May 29, 2009

Apologetics ... without Apology

I keep running into folks who are alarmed by me ... who find my thoughts to be too challenging, too radical, too dangerous even. I've been accused of discounting Jesus, negating the Atonement, teaching "doctrines of demons," throwing out the Bible ... and because I share whatever I'm thinking and believing quite openly, I'm also a "false teacher."

But don't, they warn me, tell them that they're acting out of fear. Okaaaaaay.

In case anyone who's reading here has had the same thoughts as above, I figured I'd just address it straight-up.

As far as Jesus and His Atonement goes ... I've come to believe that Jesus, who is the Savior of the world (or universe, in my thinking), actually managed to save everyone He intended to. I believe He actually reconciled the world to God. So, in my thinking, that really magnifies the Atonement ... whereas my previous notions rendered Him either less than fully-loving (as if some had been created to be eternally tormented), or less than fully-omnipotent (as if He couldn't quite save everyone). I guess I see that God is both all-powerful and all-loving ... and this view has hugely magnified Jesus for me. As for those who say that there's a "special hell" for those who believe God is "too loving," well, that just makes me smile...!

As for doctrines of demons ... I encourage anyone who uses the term to study to see exactly what those teachings were ... it's a fascinating discovery. Hint: notice how many authors of the Scriptures said that they were in the last days ... in the first century.

As for being a false teacher ... I see that we live in the covenant in which there is no need for anyone to teach anyone else about God ... though, of course, we're all invited to share our journey with others ... to share what He's teaching us (didn't Jesus say that there was only One Teacher?). I have no desire to set myself up as a teacher ... I'm a consummate student -- if I inspire others to do the same, wondermous! But don't expect to find me sitting on top of a mountain, donning Depends, uttering ethereal wisdoms...! Egads!

As for the Scriptures ... here's what I've come to believe ... I certainly don't throw them out. I do however, want to understand them, apart from the agenda of man. I test the spirit of what I read, by means of the Spirit within me. I've come to believe that I can hear the Voice of God as well as any of the writers of Scripture. I believe that God is still speaking... in a myriad of ways. He's always broadcasting, if we would but tune in...

I believe that Truth is a Person to know (and not merely a concept to grasp and defend), and I believe this Person has spread His Truth all over this planet, lavishly! And so, I delight to find His Truth, wherever it may be found. Having come to know Him, knowing His voice, I know what resonates ... I know what fits with His nature and character (& anyone can likewise know this for themselves). And so I read all manner of spiritual writings (not just the Bible, but including the Bible), and I test it by what the Spirit reveals to me about God's nature. He *wants* me to know. He doesn't hide from me, but has sent His Spirit to lead me into all truth. I do not believe that He meant "a book will be compiled that shall contain all truth." Somehow we've been taught to replace the former with the latter, to our detriment...

Of course, as I read, I pray to not be deceived (by my own egoic thinking ... which I've come to believe is the essence of what we've called "satan" ... that which is adversarial to God, within man). Having asked God for bread, I do not expect Him to give me a stone ... having asked for a fish, I know He will not give me a snake.

My friend Annie recently wrote, "I am convicted of error too many times in my meditations to believe that the voice I hear is that of ego, who ordinarily either congratulates or condemns. The voice speaks freeing impartial truths ... I've been accused of being on a slippery slope, of 'picking and choosing' for doing this, but what's the alternative? Didn't God grant us self will that we might CHOOSE? The only other option is to let a person, a religion, a book, think FOR us... selah."

I find myself on that same slippery-slope ... and I've discovered that it lands me right smack-dab in the arms of my delighted Father... and so I choose to follow Him, to hear His Voice, over the voice of man, as well.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Awakening

I didn't write this, but I could have ... my spirit is ringing with the truth of what I read here:

The Awakening
(author unknown)

A time comes in your life when you finally get it—when, in the midst of all your fears and insanity, you stop dead in your tracks and somewhere the voice inside your head cries out “ENOUGH!” Enough fighting and crying or struggling to hold on. And, like a child quieting down after a blind tantrum, your sobs begin to subside, you shudder once or twice, you blink back your tears and begin to look at the world through new eyes.

This is your awakening.

You realize it’s time to stop hoping and waiting for something to change or for happiness, safety, and security to come galloping over the next horizon. You come to terms with the fact you are neither Prince Charming nor Cinderella. That, in the real world, there aren’t always fairy tale endings (or beginnings, for that matter). That any guarantee of “happily ever after” must begin with you—and in the process, a sense of serenity is born of acceptance. You awaken to the fact you are not perfect and not everyone will always love, appreciate, or approve of who or what you are… and that’s OK. They are entitled to their own views and opinions.

You learn the importance of loving and championing yourself—and in the process, a sense of newfound confidence is born of self approval. You stop complaining and blaming other people for the things they did to you (or didn’t do for you) and you learn the only thing you can really count on is the unexpected.

You learn people don’t always say what they mean or mean what they say, and not everyone will always be there for you, and it’s not always about you. So you learn to stand on your own and to take care of yourself—and in the process, a sense of safety and security is born of self-reliance. You stop judging and pointing fingers and you begin to accept people as they are and overlook their shortcomings and human frailties—and in the process, a sense of peace and contentment is born of forgiveness.

You realize much of the way you view yourself and the world around you is as a result of all the messages and opinions that have been ingrained into your psyche. You begin to sift through all the junk you’ve been fed about how you should behave, how you should look, how much you should weigh, what you should wear, what you should do for a living, how much money you should make, what you should drive, how and where you should live, who you should marry, the importance of having and raising children, and what you owe your parents, family, and friends.

You learn to open up to new worlds and different points of view. You begin reassessing and redefining who you are and what you really stand for. You learn to go with your instincts. You learn it is truly in giving that we receive. That there is power and glory in creating and contributing and you stop maneuvering through life merely as a “consumer” looking for your next fix. You learn principles such as honesty and integrity are not the outdated ideals of a bygone era but the mortar that holds together the foundation upon which you must build a life.

You learn you don’t know everything, it’s not your job to save the world and you can’t teach a pig to sing. You learn to distinguish between guilt and responsibility and the importance of setting boundaries and learning to say NO. You learn the only cross to bear is the one you choose to carry and that martyrs get burned at the stake. Then you learn about love. How to love, how much to give in love, when to stop giving and when to walk away.

You learn to look at relationships as they really are and not as you would have them be. You stop trying to control people, situations, and outcomes. You learn alone does not mean lonely. You also stop working so hard at putting your feelings aside, smoothing things over and ignoring your needs. You learn feelings of entitlement are perfectly OK, and it is your right to want things and to ask for the things you want—and sometimes it is necessary to make demands. You come to the realization you deserve to be treated with love, kindness, sensitivity, and respect—and you won’t settle for less.

And you learn that your body really is your temple. And you begin to care for it and treat it with respect. You begin to eat a balanced diet, drink more water, and take more time to exercise. You learn being tired fuels doubt, fear, and uncertainty and so you take more time to rest. Just as food fuels the body, laughter fuels our soul. So you take more time to laugh and to play. You learn for the most part, you get in life what you believe you deserve—and much of life truly is a self-fulfilling prophecy. You learn anything worth achieving is worth working for and wishing for something to happen is different from working toward making it happen. More importantly, you learn in order to achieve success you need direction, discipline, and perseverance.

You also learn no one can do it all alone—and that it’s okay to risk asking for help. You learn the only thing you must truly fear is the greatest robber baron of all: FEAR itself. You learn to step right into and through your fears because you know whatever happens you can handle it and to give in to fear is to give away the right to live life on your own terms. You learn to fight for your life and not to squander it living under a cloud of impending doom. You learn life isn’t always fair, you don’t always get what you think you deserve, and bad things sometimes happen to unsuspecting, good people.

On these occasions you learn to not personalize things. You learn God isn’t punishing you or failing to answer your prayers. It’s just life happening. You learn to deal with evil in its most primal state—the ego. You learn negative feelings such as anger, envy, and resentment must be understood and redirected or they will suffocate the life out of you and poison the universe that surrounds you. You learn to admit when you are wrong and to build bridges instead of walls. You learn to be thankful and to take comfort in many of the simple things we take for granted, things millions of people upon the earth can only dream about: a full refrigerator, clean running water, a soft warm bed, a long hot shower.

Slowly, you begin to take responsibility for yourself by yourself and you make yourself a promise to never betray yourself and to never, ever settle for less than your heart’s desire. You hang a wind chime outside your window so you can listen to the wind. You make it a point to keep smiling, to keep trusting, and to stay open to every wonderful possibility. Finally, with courage in your heart and God by your side, you take a stand, you take a deep breath, and you begin to design as best you can the life you want to live.

Shalom, Dena

Renewal of the Mind ...

I have discovered the joy of finding God's truth in a myriad of places ... no longer do I think in terms of "safe" and "unsafe" resources. I see that all truth is God's truth, and that He has lavishly spread His truth all over creation, so that His beloved creatures may find it, and thus know Him. I see that it's not dependent upon being in the right "club", or having the right "doctrines" ... but about knowing the One who is nearer than breath, closer than hands and feet, and who draws all men to Himself. I see Truth as a Person to know (Christ), rather than a concept to possess and defend ... and so I welcome Truth in whatever guise it may find me, or me it.

A friend of mine shared this with me today -- it spoke to me, and so I share here:

"Much of the suffering you have to endure comes, of course, from
outside yourself. And yet, the suffering inflicted on you for which you are not directly responsible is, all the same, partly your responsibility. Why? Because you have not learned how to make yourself immune to it. If you are so vulnerable, it is because the negative elements sent you by the outside world strike a chord in you. And it may even be that the harm is magnified because of the impurities and darkness you harbour. If you tried to foster purity and light within yourself, not only would the evil be neutralized but the good you receive would become greater, too. Why, yes, if you are unable to really feel the good that comes to you every day from the visible and invisible worlds, it means that all sorts of opaque matter in you are blocking it. You see, then, how repelling evil, as well as attracting and preserving the good, all depend on you."

To this I respond:


Another way of saying, "the lies you willingly (even if unconsciously) embrace within you become like your own false 'truth', and thus block you from receiving and experiencing the real Truth that comes to you."

But we can have our minds renewed (we participate in the process ... we don't just wait for it to hit us, LOL!). We can have the lies we believe replaced with Truth, and that Truth really WILL set us free!

We do not need to believe all that we think -- we can question what we think, "is that true? can I be absolutely certain that it's true?"

When we believe that we already possess all truth, we're not open to receiving more of the truth that God has for us ... Jesus said this to His disciples, "I have much more to show you, but you cannot bear it... but the Spirit will come who will lead you into all truth."

(When did we replace that with "a collection of books will be written which shall contain all truth"...? When did we replace Relationship with rules-to-follow..?)

Do we really trust the Spirit, within us, to lead us into all truth? Or do we instead trust external influences? I have learned to trust the God I experience within, more than the God that others tell me about. Even the Scriptures are filled with accounts of people having experiential encounters with the Living God. I am thus inspired to experience my own encounters with the Living God. I do not believe that I'm intended to have vicarious encounters with a mere historical god.

I pray, which aligns me with this Living God ... He challenges and alters my perspective. We can change our perspective, which entirely changes our experience.

And so, regarding suffering: it's not the things that happen to us that harm us, but what we THINK about what happens to us that harms us ...!

I thank You, God ... that you are renewing our minds... show us how we may be resisting You ... thank You that You do lead us into all truth. Help us to become aware of Your Presence within us ... enable us to trust You, within, more than the influences of man, without.

Shalom, Dena

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Furious Pursuit

I'm a consummate reader ... usually have 2-3 books going at once. I was recently reading "Furious Pursuit: Why God Will Never Let You Go", by Tim King & Frank Martin. Tim's someone I know (he believes God saved everyone, and that Jesus already returned), and Frank works with the writers of the "Left Behind" series & Dobson (these two are in *quite* different "camps", and yet this book is focused on all that they have in common).

This book is a user-friendly delight to read...! It's confirming the message I'm hearing elsewhere, yet put in "Christianese". Here are some snippets for your perusing pleasure:

Conversation between two friends:

"I'm sick of chasing after God - I want God to chase me for a while!"

"To be honest, I'm tired of chasing Him, too."

I still don't know exactly where that came from, but it was the most honest I'd been in a long, long time.

Weariness may not be the best word for what we experience from time to time. Let's call it a nagging sense that all is not right between God and us. We sense that our faith should be stronger, that our resolve should be more resolute, that our lives should be more in tune with God's will. And that we should be closer to God than we so often feel.

In your heart you know you're supposed to chase God - and so you do. You continue to pursue Him, to reach for some kind of real and personal connection with your Creator, yet feeling all the while as if you're running in place. And the faster you run, the more exhausted you become. Eventually your heart grows weary, and you do the only thing you feel you can do: You succumb to spiritual numbness.

Don't you wish you could stop and let God chase you for a while?

What if I told you that's exactly what God does - that He not only chases you but never takes His eyes off you? What if I could prove that God has never gone a minute without thinking of you, wooing you, whispering in your ear, I'm right here..? What if I could show you that God not only pursues you day by day, minute by minute, but he actually screams for your attention?

You don't have to chase God. All you have to do is awaken to his voice. He is never silent or out of reach or indifferent to what's going on in your life.

What if I went a step further and showed you that God's pursuit of you has absolutely nothing to do with your level of obedience and righteousness or your dedication to the spiritual disciplines? He has drawn near to you whether or not you ever choose to draw near to him.

Is there any more potent force that love? Is there anything in life that brings greater motivation, higher expectations, deeper introspection, better clarity? Is there an emotion that elicits more passion or brings out more fury?

The world moves for love -- it kneels before it in awe.

When you are led by love, nothing is powerful enough to stop you. Nothing can discourage your quest.

And God is led by love.

More than that, God is love. It is his nature, his primary focus, his driving force. He is moved by love, provoked by love to press forward, to stay the course, to relentlessly pursue his beloved.

This book is written for those who want desperately to believe that truth. It is for those who long to feel loved and wanted by God. It is for those who want to believe in the furious faithfulness of God, yet struggle to see it. It is for those who want to trust deeply in the character of God.

The most damaging lies we encounter in life tend to be the lies we tell ourselves about ourselves. And the damage is multiplied because these lies almost always go unchallenged. The hard truth is that transformation can't begin until we start to challenge these lies with a more complete understanding of God. Until we contrast what we tell ourselves to be true with what God says is true.

"Life is hard, and then we die," we may tell ourselves. But God tells us, "Everything has meaning -- everything you experience in life is either a product or a by-product of my great pursuit."

"My faith is so weak," we say. But God says, "It's not about your faith; it's about my faithfulness."

"I'm just an unworthy sinner," we say. But God says, "You are not defined by what you do; you are defined by Who pursues you."

"What comes into our minds when we think about god is the most important thing about us." (A. W. Tozer)

"If we are faithless, He will remain faithful, for he cannot disown Himself." (2 Tim 2:13)

What would happen if you woke up tomorrow morning and flipped on the news only to learn that God had just announced that everyone on earth was saved? Or what if you went to church next Sunday, and God showed up to tell everyone that he had just done away with hell? Imagine that, from here on out, there was no longer any cause to worry about eternal judgment.

If you knew for certain that no one would end up in hell, would you still tell people about Jesus? Would you still have a compelling message to share? Would you have any motivation to try to reach those who don't know God?

If everyone on earth were saved, what could you say about God that might still appeal to people? Would you have enough of a relationship with God to talk passionately about His love and mercy? If you couldn't spare people the torments of hell, would you still want to make sure they knew how to enjoy a relationship with God?

How you answer those questions says everything about the nature of your relationship with God.

"I'm often surprised to find out how my doubts can mingle so freely with my faith."
(Mark Buchanan)

"I don't let go of my thoughts -- I meet them with understanding. Then they let go of me."
(Byron Katie)

"The sorrow of God lies in our fear of Him, our fear of life, and our fear of ourselves."
(Brennan Manning)

"God will use you to accomplish great things on the condition that you believe much more in his love than in your own weakness."
(Mother Teresa)

"You live by shedding."
(Robert Frost)

Perhaps the hardest thing you will ever do is to accept God's acceptance of you, which leads to resting in the faithfulness OF God, instead of wallowing in the faith-less-ness of your humanity.

If we could learn to trust and rest and BE instead of always striving to DO, we would find ourselves face to face with some of life's most perplexing paradoxes. First, that transformation comes only when we stop trying to transform ourselves. Second, that love can flow out of us only after we've allowed it to flow freely into us. And third, that you can't catch God by chasing Him; you catch Him only by accepting His pursuit of you.

And here is perhaps the greatest paradox of all: God somehow made the Story all about you, by not making it about you at all.

"It is never fitting to say that we are only human."
(Molly Marshall)

"Our Lord God is to me all in all. Since he is, what more could I have and what more can I desire?"
(Thomas `A Kempis)

"Today the heart of God is an open wound of love. He aches over our distance and preoccupation ... He weeps over our obsession with muchness and manyness. He longs for our presence."
(Richard Foster)

Time as we know it is an illusion. It may feel real, but it's not. Time is all in your head. Just a figment of your imagination, so much smoke and mirrors.

But we live in a world that worships time. We live and die by it. We cling to our calendars, Day-Timers, or PDA's like a drowning man clinging to a life raft.

Our preoccupation with linear time wasn't an issue until about the seventeenth century. Before that, the world was pretty much ruled by seasons. Somewhere along the way, all that changed, but who knows why? We started obsessing with time. In the process, we lost touch with the present. We forgot how to live in the moment. And when you lose touch with the present, you lose touch with god, because that's the only place He can exist for you (the Kingdom of heaven is at hand, here and now, in your midst).

We are all affected by an underlying belief that robs us of our relationship with God. It is the reason we struggle so hard to hear him. It causes our relationships with family and friends to suffer, it creates unnecessary stress, and it robs us of hope.

This underlying belief isn't about our obsession with time, although it has something to do with that. It also isn't about our inability to live in the present, although it has a lot to do with that. It's much more subtle. And it's always at work in us.

This underlying belief is that we are not enough and that we don't have enough.

This fear-based belief causes us to be obsessed with time. It's the reason we're so preoccupied with our schedules, so intent on maximizing each hour and each day, so obsessed with performance and productivity. It drives us to live in the future, and it causes us to be eaten up with the regrets of the past. We are all dogged with the feeling that we're not enough. We believe that we're not enough because we don't have enough and we're not accomplishing enough. We're convinced that everything we need for happiness is "out there, somewhere," just beyond our reach. And we're always striving to get to the place where we can capture the happiness that eludes us. We see the present moment as nothing more than a means to an end.

We've lost sight of who we are in the present moment. The only time that exists is the present, the here and now, this moment. It is physically impossible to live in any other moment than the present one.

Could it be that what you and I need most is a new way of looking at our lives in the presence of God? Let's try this one on for size: "In this moment, I find God. In this moment, I am and have all I need."

God is the great I Am, not the I Was, nor the I Will Be.

Think of the unwarranted power we give both to the past and to the future. We believe we can kill time in the present moment without injuring our eternal relationship with God. It is impossible to be with God in the past, or in the future; we can walk with him only in the present moment. And because God doesn't submit to a linear time line, every moment is an eternal moment. Eternity isn't waiting for a grand blessing to come at the end of this life. Eternity is living with God today, being fully alive in His presence moment by moment. The sacred eternal space in the reality of His immediate presence.

"Life does not happen to us; it happens from us."
(Mike Wickett)

"Return to me, for I have redeemed you."
(God, through Isaiah)

"We love, because He first loved us."
(God, through John)

"You didn't choose Me; I chose you."

"Human things must be known to be loved. But Divine things must be loved to be known."
(Blaise Pascal)

"The supreme happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved."
(Victor Hugo)

"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us."
(Oliver Wendell Holmes)

Shalom, Dena

Oswald Chimes In ...

I adore this quote from Oswald Chambers..!

Certainty is the mark of the commonsense life----gracious uncertainty is the mark of the spiritual life. To be certain of God means that we are uncertain in all our ways, not knowing what tomorrow might bring. This is generally expressed with a sigh of sadness, but it should be an expression of breathless expectation. We are uncertain of the next step, but we are certain of God. As soon as we abandon ourselves to God and do the task He has placed closest to us, He begins to fill our lives with surprise. When we become simply a promoter or defender of a particular belief, something within us dies. That is not believing God—it is only believing our belief about Him. Jesus said, "…unless you become as little children…." (Matthew 18:3). The spiritual life is the life of a child. We are not uncertain of God, just what He is going to do next. If our certainty is only in our beliefs, we develop a sense of self-righteousness, become overly critical, and are limited by the view that our beliefs are complete and settled. But when we have the right relationship with God, life is full of spontaneous, joyful uncertainty and expectancy. Jesus said, "…believe also in Me" (John 14:1), not "believe certain things about me". Leave everything to Him and it will be gloriously and graciously uncertain how He will come—but you can be certain that He will come. Remain faithful it HIM.

Oswald Chambers

My Utmost For His Highest

Spiritual Conspiracy

This came to me, and begs to be shared:

On the surface of the world right now there is war and violence and things seem dark. But calmly and quietly, at the same time, something else is happening underground. An inner revolution is taking place and certain individuals are being called to a higher light. It is a silent revolution. From the inside out. From the ground up. This is a Global operation. A Spiritual Conspiracy. There are sleeper cells in every nation on the planet.

> You don't see us on the T.V.
> You don't read about us in the newspaper.
> You don't hear about us on the radio.
> We don't seek any glory.
> We don't wear any uniform.
> We come in all shapes and sizes, colors and styles.

Most of us work anonymously. We are quietly working behind the scenes in every country and culture of the world--cities big and small, mountains and valleys, in farms and villages, tribes and remote islands. You could pass by one of us on the street and not even notice. We go undercover. We remain behind the scenes.

It is of no concern to us who takes the final credit; but simply that the work gets done. Occasionally we spot each other in the street. We give a quiet nod and continue on our way. During the day many of us pretend we have normal jobs. But behind the false storefront at night is where the real work takes a place. Some call us the Conscious Army. We are slowly creating a new world with the power of our minds and hearts. We follow, with passion and joy, guidance from the Central Spiritual Intelligence, The Source, God. We are dropping soft, secret love bombs when no one is looking: Poems ~ Hugs ~ Music ~ Photography ~ Movies ~ Kind words ~ Smiles ~ Meditation and prayer ~ Dance ~ Social activism ~ Websites~Blogs ~ and Random Acts of Kindness...

We each express ourselves in our own unique ways with our own unique gifts and talents. Be the change you want to see in the world. That is the motto that fills our hearts. We know it is the only way real transformation takes place. We know that quietly and humbly we have the power of all the oceans combined. Our work is slow and meticulous. Like the formation of mountains. It is not even visible at first glance. And yet with it entire tectonic plates and mountains shall be moved in the
centuries to come.

You don't have to be a highly educated person or have any exceptional knowledge to understand it. It comes from the intelligence of the heart. Embedded in the timeless evolutionary pulse of all human beings. Be the change you want to see in the world. Nobody else can do it for you. We are now recruiting. Perhaps you will join us, or already have. All are welcome; the door is open. Shift is happening.

~ author unknown

It seems to me that however we perceive the world around us, so too do we experience it. "As a man thinks in his heart, so is he."

Thanks be to God that we don't have to believe everything we think...!

Shalom, Dena

Excuses and Affirmations ...

I just received a promotion for Wayne Dyer's newest book, "Excuses Begone". I've not yet read any of his books (he was formerly denounced as evil in my previous circles), but I do like these excuse/affirmation messages, and so I forsee delving into his books soon:

"I'm too scared!"
I can accomplish anything I put my mind to, because I know that I am never alone.

This is a beautiful affirmation ... I am never alone. Where could I go to escape or evade the Omnipresence of God? Perfect Love casts out *all * fear...

"I'm too busy."
As I unclutter my life, I free myself to answer the callings of my soul.

I'm going through this right now... having a huge desire to declutter my physical environment, which is metaphorical for a deeper decluttering process, within me. Questioning and investigating all that I believe, so that what I am not falls away, revealing who I really am, in Him.

"It's my personal family history."
I live in the present moment by being grateful for all of my life experiences as a child.

This has become true for me ... after decades of regretting my own past, the things done to me, the things done by me, I'm coming to see that it was all instrumental in making me who I now am ... the consequences for my choices have become my tutors ... showing me what no longer fits me, showing me what works and what doesn't ... showing me the results of my errant thinking. These experiences have brought me into more truth ... they've been used, and are still being used, by the Spirit within, to lead me into all truth (a progression).

"I don't have the energy."
I feel passionately about my life, and this passion fills me with excitement and energy.

Oh yes! I am more invigorated than I ever was in my youth ... I was then sucked-dry by expectations (both internal and external), trying to live up to what I thought I was to do, trying to please others, as well as the internal accuser of my ego. I have a huge reservoir of passion now, which does indeed fill me, and motivate me ... it feels like a spiritual umbilical cord, connecting me to the very passion of God... and from Him I derive my nutrients.

"It's too big."
I think only about what I can do now. By thinking small, I can accomplish great things.
I am quite prone to overwhelm. I see the big-picture all too frequently, and I can be consumed by the very many tasks which all seem to demand my attention and efforts. I like this notion of doing the next thing, and leaving the results to God ... trusting that the continuous revelation of the "next thing" will be given to me, and that I can respond to the inner-guidance that He gives ... here is the way, walk ye in it. Despise not the day of small beginnings ...

"The rules won't let me."
I live my life according to Divine Rules.

Yes ... more and more the ways of man are being shed from me ... I'm outgrowing them like shedding skins that have become too confining. I am grateful for their place in my life, their role in my growth ... but I no longer cling to the ways of immaturity, like a well-worn and even disintegrating security blanket. When a thing has lost it's usefulness, it becomes a fetter, an entanglement, even a blind-fold. I see that the purpose of life is to come into the maturity of Relationship, rather than to conform to training-wheel rules.

"I'm too old (or not old enough)."
I am an infinite being. The age of my body has no bearing on what I do or who I am.

As I mature, as I near the half-century mark, I'm becoming aware of a state of agelessness ... that age is a state of mind, more than a state of body. And even as the body itself begins to fade in prominence, the spirit within emerges as the true-er essence of who I am. And in this way, I observe that physical death is merely the horizon of this stage of life ... that life goes on beyond the horizon, just as surely as the planet continues beyond what I can see.

"I'm not smart enough."
I am a creation of the Divine mind; all is perfect, and I am a genius in my own right.

God's life is all there is ... there is no other Source of life. My true mind is not the egoic mind, but the Mind of Christ ... His very thoughts are within me, accessible when I chose to avail myself of them.

"I'm not strong enough."
I have access to unlimited assistance. My strength comes from my connection to my Source of being.

When I am weak (in my egoic awareness), I am strong (in my true nature). My strength comes from God, who is within ...

"It has never happened before."
I am willing to attract all that I desire, beginning here and now.

I am willing to discover how I am created in God's image ... as a creative being, as one whose thoughts, words and deeds have causal effect ... I am willing to assume the responsibility for this, and to create in cooperation with God intentionally, consciously, rather than to continue to do so unconsciously, and often negatively. I am willing to connect the dots.

"No one will help me."
The right circumstances and the right people are already here and will show up on time.

All the infinite possibilities are already available -- all has been created and awaits my bringing it forth, through my choices. When I am ready, as I can bear it, all that I need will come to me ... in perfect timing and perfect manifestation. I can choose to see all I experience as gifts in disguise ... I can see with spiritual eyes, rather than judging by appearances.

"I can't afford it."
I am connected to an unlimited source of abundance.

He owns the cattle on a thousand hills ... all is God's, and God is in all. He is the perfect provision, and there is no lack. I can cooperate with Him in bringing forth from that infinite supply.

"It's not my nature."
My essential nature is perfect and faultless. It is to this nature that I return.

God is within me ... at my very core, we are One. All the rest, the covering-over layers of illusion, is fluff. If I see myself as less than God sees me, then I am deluded, and that delusion can become my experience, my seeming reality. But it is not Truth. And my delusions can, and are being, replaced with Truth, as my mind is renewed to align with the Mind of Christ. I come from God, and I return to God.

"I don't deserve it."
I am a Divine creation, a piece of God. Therefore, I cannot be undeserving.

It is only my delusions that cause me to sense shame ... shame, fear and guilt are the enemies of mankind. The Law is the accuser of the brethren ... but the Law has given way to Love. Jesus came to show us the Father ... and told us that we are One.

"There will be family drama."
I would rather be loathed for who I am, than loved for who I am not.

This SO speaks to me...! I have exhausted myself through the years, trying to "earn" love for who I am not, but thought I "should" be. I no longer should on myself, and do not wish to should on others. I want to be known for who I am ... and if others thus loathe me, having seen me, so be it. There is more integrity in that ... even if less safety. I would rather be authentic than safe. My security comes in my true identity, and not from the strivings to perform. I cannot earn what I already possess ... I can only discover what I already have.

"It will take a long time."
I have infinite patience when it comes to fulfilling my destiny.

There is no shortage of time with God ... He is outside of time, and I can live in the eternal *now*. It all unfolds in perfection ... nothing is wasted. All is redeemed.

"It's going to be risky."
Being myself involves no risks. It is my ultimate truth, and I live it fearlessly.

I am becoming more emboldened to be who I am. Fear IS being replaced with Perfect Love ... and I can live in an ever-expanding awe and wonder of who God is, and who He's made me to be.

"It will be difficult."
I have the ability to accomplish any task I set my mind to with ease and comfort.

I can do all things in Christ, who strengthens me. My thinking will either prevent or enable me to accomplish what He prepared for me to do, from the foundation of the world. As I change my thinking, I change my life ... and the world.

Shalom, Dena

Monday, May 25, 2009


Be still and know that I am God.

Be still and know that I am.

Be still and know.

Be still.



Shalom, Dena

God of Wrath...? Immature Perspective...?

More and more I see the evidence of fear ... and the fear people have of losing their fear...! As if, without fear, they will run amok into licentiousness. As if God has nothing else going for Him. As if we won't have a relationship with Him without fear. As if a fear-based relationship is a relationship at all. As if Love is not more powerful than fear.

As if God's love, and God's wrath, are in competition with each other. As if who He is depends on how we behave. As if He is schizophrenic. As if our choices can thwart Him.

Wrath, as we perceive it, is just the most severe form that His love and mercy can manifest.

I see that Scripture tells us that God IS Love ... that this is His nature ... nowhere are we told that "God IS wrath." As I see it, everything about God comes out of His love ... everything is a manifestation OF that love. I see that perfect love casts out all fear (including, I believe, fear of God ... that the fear of God is [merely] the beginning of wisdom ... that we're meant to move on from that immature perspective).

I'm thinking that it's our perspective that's skewy ... that we keep putting our stuff onto God, and thinking it's Him.

As I see it, He loves us so much that He goes after that which is destroying us -- that's His wrath -- it's His fierce love in the form of destroying that which destroys us.

I've got a couple of true-life examples (both involving 2-year-olds) of how we perceive God's wrath (which, to my thinking, is just the most severe form His mercy can take):

Let's say my Benji, age 2, is in the front yard, playing with his ball. Let's say the ball goes out the open gate, into the street, and he goes after it (of course), happily. But I see the danger Benji is oblivious to -- I see a log truck bearing down, heading straight for him, and too fast to stop. I take off for Benji, running full steam ahead, likely frowning, looking fierce, and tackle my boy to the ground, hitting his forehead hard on the curb - whew, just in time! However, how does Benji perceive this? All he knows is: "Mama just hurt me! Mama hurt my head, bad, and kept me from getting my ball! Mama is mean. Mama betrayed me. Mama must hate me."

Such would be his limited perspective -- but the truth is I was motivated by fierce love to save my boy. My wrath against the truck, against something harming him, propelled me across the yard, and was willing to let him be hurt, so that he would be saved. That's wrath. The most fierce expression of mercy.

Here's another living metaphor, from Wayne Jacobson (from his book, "He Loves Me"):

"It was the most poignant picture of wrath I've witnessed. I had taken my family camping in the Sierra Nevada mountains to escape the heat of our home on the valley floor and to soak in some rest and relaxation. I was hunkered down in a lounge chair deeply engrossed in a novel. My wife, Sara, was coming to join me when suddenly we heard screams of pain from our two-year-old son, Andy.

He'd been playing in the dirt not far from our campsite. As I looked up he was stomping his feet and waving his hands wildly. Swirling around him were flying insects, backlit by the sun, Sara immediately recognized them as bees. Somehow he had stumbled into their nest in the ground and they were attacking him relentlessly.

Before I could extricate myself from the reclining chair, Sara had already rushed to the sounds of his screams. Even though she is allergic to bee stings and got stung for her efforts, she angrily swatted at the bees as she scooped up her son to run with him to safety. When I got to them she was stroking his head with comfort while still panting from the overload of adrenaline still coursing through her veins. Soon she reacted to the venom and we took her to the hospital for treatment.

If you want a picture of God's wrath, I can think of none better. She was as angry as I've ever seen her, but the anger wasn't directed at Andy nor did it seek retribution. She simply risked herself to rescue someone she loved so deeply.

That's what God's wrath is like. He sees the evil that mars his creation and destroys people he loves and he must be rid of it. His wrath consumes evil and wickedness and as such does not exist as the opposite of his love, but as an expression of that love. It must protect and set free the object of his affection.

I'm sure when my son first saw mom running at him eyes blazing with anger, he thought he was in trouble. Even though he didn't know what he'd done wrong, he was already recoiling from her as she approached. Only after she had swept him to safety did he realize he was not in trouble.

I think our shame-consciousness toward God does the same thing. Whenever we see God acting to consume sin, we internalize the anger against ourselves. But that isn't where the wrath is primarily directed. "The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men…" (Rom. 1:18). It's not people that God seeks to destroy but the sin that destroys his people. In that sense God's wrath is far more curative than it is punitive. Its primary purpose is not to hurt us, but heal and redeem us."

That so deeply speaks to me...!

Shalom, Dena

Friday, May 22, 2009

REAL Danger...! TRUE Warning..!

It's my turn to send out an alarming email...!

This trumps anything else that's on my mind.

Read this, and watch the videos linked on the top right:

I'm horrified -- cannot believe what I've just seen and heard ... I'm sitting here, shaking as I type.

In the Congo, children, some who are only toddlers, are being accused by their parents, and by their pastors, of being witches ... they are brought to the pastors for horrific "exorcisms" ... for which the pastors are paid half a year's wages. The exorcisms are nothing short of spiritual, psychological, emotional, physical & sexual ABUSE...! These children are tortured, in the "name of Jesus," with the pastors claiming that they're doing so by the power of the Holy Spirit. The parents believe that their children are witches, because the pastors have told them so, and they have been taught to believe whatever the pastors say, without question...!

Once the "exorcisms" are over, the children are rejected by their families, and the entire community - turned out into the streets, where they suffer unbelievably ... most of the girls forced to turn to prostitution, in order to survive.

Please do not ignore this ... please pray, make a noise, pass this on, do what you're led to do. Some of you have large circles of influence -- use them.

Here are some more news-sites exposing this atrocity:

Shalom, Dena

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Warning! Danger! Alarm!

You know that type of email ... the type that gets forwarded umpteen times over the years, added to by many, letting us know that yet another dangerous element is "out there" trying to deceive us, and suck us into the slippery slope of destruction. Whether it's Madalyn Murray O'Hair threatening to take "Touched by an Angel" off the air (never mind that Madalyn has been dead for 18+ years now, or that said show was discontinued a decade ago), or some "proof" that Obama really is the antichrist (sheesh!), these emails require that we turn off our brains and jump into the fear-parade. Oh - and if you do send it (to 10 people in 3.5 minutes), then angels will bless you with a winning lottery ticket ... and don't waste time (because the angels have stop-watches) ... and if you *don't* send it, then Jesus will deny you, and your armpits will be infested with the fleas of 10,000 camels. Selah.

Amongst marketing specialists, it's well known that Christians are among the most gullible of all groups... we've been well-taught to turn off our brains, and to believe whatever an "expert" or a "leader" tells us. We swallow whole what we're fed, and buy into the myth that asking questions is tantamount to rebellion.

So, I got one of those emails today ... one that declared that a series of books, called, "Conversations with God," was dangerous, and that we. must. not. let. our. children. read. them. It even pulled out all the stops, saying that not only did Oprah promote the books, but that Dr. James Dobson denounced them (a double-whammy!). Those two names have been more influential in determining the thoughts and actions of Christians than Jesus Himself in recent years ...!

Normally, I let these sorts of emails go ... there's usually no point. But, as I opened this one, and began to read (and even before knowing which book was causing such a ruckus), I sensed a strong urge to respond ... and once I saw the title, I knew that I must. You see, I've just spent the past couple of months reading the entire "Conversations with God" series ... and have been delighted with them. Didn't say I agreed with them 100%, or even close (no book fits that description for me), but they certainly challenged me, gave me food for thought, and inspired me to have my *own* conversations with God. Good was done here today.

This was my response to that email:

Just wanted to chime in as one who has read this book (& all the successive ones), all by Neale Donald Walsch.

I didn't allow myself to read them for about 15 or so years, back when I first became aware of them... because my pastor (& other "authorities") told me they were evil ... and that was the end of the discussion. Back then, I believed God wanted me to listen to what other humans told me (if they deemed themselves to be my spiritual leaders), and to swallow-whole what I was fed.

Only recently has my relationship with God been transformed ... so that I now trust He who is within me (the Spirit leading me into all truth), He whom I experience, rather than trusting others who tell me about God. I believe that the Scriptures give us an incredible account of person after person who experienced first-hand experiences with the Living God ... and that He wants the same for us. Too often, I observe, Christians seem content to have second-hand/vicarious encounters with God ... living off of what others (in the past, in the present) experience. I just can't settle for that anymore.

Out of this new-found relationship with God, I've come to trust Him vastly more. I take Him at His word that He is leading me, and that He is everywhere ... how would any of us escape Omnipresence? And, He, who created this world, who sustains all that is, is in all things ... including us ... in Him we live and move and have our being. I trust that He has given me (and all of you) discernment ... and it's like a muscle ... it's either atrophied or developed, depending on how often and consistently we use it.

I've come to delight in finding the Truth of Christ in all manner of places in which He's not "supposed" to show up ... and why wouldn't He lavishly slather His truth all over the planet, amongst all peoples? He is drawing all men to Himself, as He promised. And that's the only way any of us get to Him (we cannot congratulate ourselves for our faith ... that too is given by Him). I see no more divisions of "us" and "them" ... I see everyone being of Him, and being drawn to Him ... that we're all in various stages of our awareness of Him. I believe that Truth is not a concept to defend, but a Person to Know. I have come to trust Him to lead me, to escort me on this divine "scavenger hunt" for more and more of the glory of *all truth*. I've lost my fear in this exploration, because I've discovered that He really *is* with me. As He is with each of you ... He is not a respecter of persons. He is all in all.

(so why am I blathering on like this...?)

Not too long ago, I felt myself being nudged to read "Conversations with God". I resisted, and He insisted. I finally relented, and plunged in, with plenty of "don't let me be deceived, God" prayers (and my God is the Father who will not give me a snake when I ask for a fish).

I have to say, I've been inordinately blessed by what I've read. I don't take it as wholesale absolute truth, LOL, but see it as the reflections of one man, sharing what he believes. Do I believe that God inspired him? Sure ... I believe God is continuously inspiring all of us, and that our filters are fallible and oh-so-human, and wont to be tainted by carnality. However, so too were the authors of the Scriptures... God could have used the purity of writing on stone tablets by Himself, but He chose instead to use fallible humans (perhaps so that we wouldn't worship the Bible, or inordinately put it upon a pedestal, but would turn to Him instead ... oops!).

I believe that we, too, are inspired ... God-breathed beings that we are. Nobody ever said any human resource was meant to be inerrant ... certainly the Bible doesn't call itself that -- we humans put that upon it. Unless the Spirit is interpreting what He inspired in the first place, we're just reading ink-on-page ... and the results of having done so are self-evident in the world (& Church) around us...

So ... do I consider "Conversations with God" to be dangerous? No... not for the person who exercises their own discernment, and reads with God ... asking Him to illumine as they go. I believe (& I mean no offense by this), that Evangelicalism has oftentimes taught us to not use our brains ... to trust in what we're told ... that we cannot trust our own hearts (the very place wherein the Spirit dwells ... the holy of holies in our temple), and so we fear that which challenges what we've been taught to swallow-whole.

For someone who's of that mindset, then, no, I wouldn't recommend "Conversations with God" ... but if someone is sure of who they are in Christ, those who have a living give-and-take relationship with Him, then go where you're led, enjoy what you explore, and know that you can KNOW what's of Him and what's not ...

I prayed this prayer 5 years ago, and He's never failed to answer it: "Show me what I believe that's of man, and what I believe that's of You ... I want nothing less than Your truth ... let me not settle for anything less."

And it's certainly ok to dismiss any or everything I'm saying here ... I'm just one human voice - listen to the Voice within.

Shalom, Dena

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Thou Transformed

I'm sharing this here, because my friend, Kevin (who wrote this), said I could:

Thou Transformed

You know those special three little words. They have etched our hearts and chiseled our lives. These ancient words originated in our primeval past, and they continue to influence our Transmodern consciousness.

Chances are that you learned those three words in your infancy. Before you could talk, think, or understand spoken language, someone uttered them to you. Maybe in a whisper, maybe with shrieked intensity, well-intentioned adults repeated three little words that have directed your path.

You've heard the words frequently and from countless sources. Teachers, coaches, employers, and religious leaders have reminded you of the power these words convey. Authority figures communicate the message that they, too, have been hearing since childhood.

The three words are suggested to be the cornerstone of an orderly society. They are displayed in courtrooms and in various public buildings. They are the subject of bitter legal disputes, and they are a topic of contention amongst culture warriors.

The scriptural tradition suggests that the three little words were the earliest instructions that an unseen deity taught to primordial humanity. Later, the narrative says that God etched them in stone and handed them to an elderly prophet who had hiked to a mountain peak to receive the ordinances. Upon returning to the waiting multitude, the lawgiver recited the three words that have forever shaped humanity.

"Thou shalt not."

Usually, they're not spoken in Shakespearean English. But their demanding ubiquity has wormed its way into the depths of individual and collective consciousness. Parents constantly remind their children, "Don't touch. Don't put that in your mouth. Don't run with scissors." Teachers enforce the rules. "Don't talk. Don't chew gum. Don't look at your neighbor's test." Street signs order drivers, "Don't go too fast. Do not enter. Thou shalt not make a left turn."

Much of religion has embodied "thou shalt not" as a fundamental premise. Do not eat forbidden food. Do not forsake the ordered gatherings. Do not wear unauthorized clothes. Thou shalt not read banned books, listen to prohibited music, or have proscribed sex."

Often, the instruction comes as a command accompanied with implied threats. If you disregard the "thou shalt not," thou shalt be utterly punished. Laws offer the illusion of limiting harmful behaviors and encouraging approved behaviors. This is especially true when it comes to breaking the command. Did you always obey your parents, teachers, or posted speed limits even if you knew you would be punished if caught? Have antifraud laws and long prison terms eliminated Ponzi schemes?

Paradoxically, restrictions can elicit the actions they purportedly abolish. Consider the Garden of Eden. God says, "Don't eat." About ten minutes later, Adam and Eve eat. The apostle Paul noted his similar experience, "For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, 'You shall not covet.'" (Romans 7:7). For Paul, "thou shalt not" led him to do what he was told not to.

A further irony emerging from the illusion of "thou shalt not" involves ongoing bondage long after the command has served its alleged purpose. Perhaps, even now as an adult, you hear the voice of your parent scolding you. "Don't cross the street. Don't get your clothes dirty. Don't you disrespect me." The worry instilled through the command, its threat, and its violence has forged pathways in your thinking that left a scar. Instead of simply channeling actions, the command-punishment matrix reinforces fear, anxiety, and hypercritical apprehension. The threat haunts you long after the specific command passes away.

Moreover, Jesus showed how easy it is to get around commands. You can follow the letter of any command while mitigating its spirit. You haven't murdered anyone. That's great, but do you hate your neighbor?

Besides all this, "thou shalt not" belies most people's lived reality. "What do you mean, 'Thou shalt not?' I already did, and I continue to."

However, the intense dread, sidestepping, and charades can dissipate by looking at the three little words in a new light. Rather than understanding "thou shalt not" as a command that you must fulfill upon the risk of being castigated, you can look at "thou shalt not" in two creative interrelated ways that bring about peace and wholeness. In this light, "Thou shalt not" becomes an invitation into self-awakening and a divine promise.

Consider the phrase, "Thou shalt not bear false witness." It is usually taken as a command teaching honesty in dealings with others. Be upright. Don't lie. Don't cheat. Who can argue against that? However, there are more layers.

First, as an invitation into self-awakening, it functions as a wake-up call to personal authenticity. Be an honest spiritual witness of yourself to yourself. Do not think of yourself as a rotten scoundrel deserving of punishment. Don't reinforce the falsehood that you are separate from spirit. You participate in the divine nature. Make that affirmation clear to yourself.

Second, as a divine promise, "Thou" transforms from the individualistic egoic self into the transcendent integral Self. Thou is the eternal Witness that is above all, in all, and through all. Thou is the infinite You that cannot be co-opted, bribed, or tricked into false testimony because its presence embraces everyone and everything. Martin Buber describes it as "the universal relation into which all rivers pour without drying up."

In this sense, Thou shall not bear false witness because Thou is the witness. As the witness, Thou is not a judge. Thou is not a condemning voice. Thou watches, not from the outside as a disembodied spectator, but from the inside as a holy incarnation. Jesus spoke of this function of witnessing when he said, "I bear witness on my own behalf, and the Father who sent me bears witness on my behalf" (John 8:18).

Jesus distinguished between the individual witness seeking approval and the ultimate Witness whose presence accepts all as it is. Thou sees each sparrow and numbers the hairs on your head without accusation, reproach, or censure. "If I bear witness about myself, my testimony is not true. There is another who bears witness on my behalf, and I know that his testimony to me is true" (John 5:31-32).

By transforming Thou from an overactive sense of identity (whether prideful or critical) into the awareness of the all-encompassing spirit, you will experience liberation from oppressive burdens that neither we nor or ancestors were able to bear. As command transfigures into promise, you will experience a deeper and truer integration with God and others in the recognition that a profound causal connection exists not through meticulous rule-following but through the sharing in the nature of the One who fills all-in-all.

If it feels right with you, please share this email with a friend.

Kevin A. Beck is COO of Presence International. He is married to Alisa, and they live in Colorado Springs with their three electrifying children.




Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Must You Conform?

“There is no formal religion that does not insist, as its first requirement, on a confession of conformity. Nor is there, any longer, a religion that offers a path to Heaven other than the autobahn of submission. One and all, they have conspired, in the name of the Spirit, against the spirit of man; one and all, they have sold him into slavery. Under threat of damnation, hell-fire, they have ordered him to renounce protest, to forego revolt, to be passive, to surrender”

[Dr. Robert Lindner (1914-1956), Must You Conform?, written in 1956].

Shalom, Dena

Reflecting ...

Some say that seeing is believing ... I say believing is seeing.

I do believe that if God were to say something to all of humanity, it would be two statements:

"I love you all,"


"You've got Me all wrong...!"

Shalom, Dena


Dave, a new reader here, left some pertinent and important questions in a comment ... I'd like to share them here, and then answer them, as best I can. Know that I do not even *attempt* to deliver "all truth" here ... that's a destination we're all heading toward, not something we can claim to now possess. I can share what I'm seeing at this point, which could change tomorrow, as I'm more able to bear all that Christ has to show me. I expect Him to show me more ... I expect that I'm merely resting on stepping stones at this point ... I expect to grow, and change, and be challenged as I go. To remain ensconced is, as I perceive it, to stagnate.

Dave's comments will be in italics, mine in standard font:

Dave: Dena, maybe I am misunderstanding you, but do you really mean to say there is no evil and that God is in everyone?

Certainly we have the perception of evil ... things that appear to be horrendous happen all around us, even to us, in this life. In my experience, however, there are times I've discovered that I merely had an errant perspective of a situation, and once I was shown another perspective, my entire view, my entire experience, was profoundly changed. For instance, I first experienced being excommunicated and shunned by my former church as a horrendously evil event. In time, and with more maturity, and when I could better see through the Mind of Christ, I was able to see that same event as an incredible blessing, in that it liberated us from a destructive and abusive situation (to which we were largely blind while *in* it). It's become a source of joy and freedom for me ... even though what actually happened didn't change at all.

As for God being in everyone, as I've come to see this, there is no Life-Source besides God. He IS life itself. He is the one and only Source of all life - there is no "competing source". Scripture confirms that we are "all His offspring". At the very core of each of us, is His life. In Him we live and move and have our being. We're created in His very image. Sure, we have layers of misperceptions, confusion, deception - about Him, about ourselves, about all there is. We're seemingly enslaved to our deceptions ... and yet, Jesus came to set the captives free. I believe that He can, and will, and has, done this. I believe that each of us comes to our senses, as in the parable of the Prodigal Son, and in the life-example of Saul of Tarsus ... who declared himself to be an example of those who do not yet believe, and who reminds us that God is not a respecter of persons.

Dave: Help me with this, then: I have a real hard time believing that Hitler, for instance, had God in him.

Yes, I know ... Hitler is nearly *everyone's* stumbling block..! Can't tell you how many times his name is brought up! Hitler, like the rest of us, was a product of his upbringing, and had numerous lies planted in his mind, just like the rest of us. Unless and until we get our minds renewed, we will be driven by those lies ... they will be like unto truth for us, for if we believe them, they seem true to us. We cannot know the inner battles of another ... we cannot compare our insides with their outsides. We cannot discern hearts ... we cannot know what another suffered, nor what they pick up from the collective thoughts of their environment (science is only beginning to understand the power of thoughts, words and deeds upon each other - read for yourself about the nocebo effect).

The perception and experience of both good and evil come from the same tree ... we cannot know one without the other. We cannot know hot without cold, joy without pain. At what point does cold cease and hot begin ...? They're just the polar extremes of the same spectrum. What if good and evil are the same? What if we were told to stay away from feasting on that tree because we do not have the ability, while in this human form, to truly discern one from the other?

God says that all things work together for our good, as we're transformed into the likeness of Christ (a verse we could unpack for years, and not exhaust!). ALL things work for our good ... all things ultimately then are good (& we're told to be thankful in ALL circumstances). We just lack the bigger-picture perspective to see with spiritual eyes. We can't see the grandeur of the forest, for the one rotten tree (which dies in order to feed the growth of the forest, but I digress).

What does God not allow? And, if He allows, is it not part of what works-to-be-good? And, if God allows a thing, including the choices and actions of Hitler, is that not then His will? I see that it's God's will that all of us, including Hitler, have free choice. I also see that it's not God's will that any of us would be punished unendingly, unceasingly, if we do not make the choice God wants us to make. If that were the case, how "free" has He made our choices? Are we really free to do what we want if we know we'll be made to suffer unspeakably if we do not do what God wants? What sort of choice is that?

If it was God's will that we should never suffer, why would HE create the possibility that we would? And why would He allow us to be tempted, day and night, to break the very laws that He put down?

I see that the only way we can rationalize our theology (the traditions of man), is to render God either powerless or cruel.

I see we have a choice: if we believe that life is a test or trial, a period of putting us through a test to see if we're worthy, then our theologies begin to make sense. However, we can also see life as an opportunity, a process of experiencing who we are not, so that we can discover who we really are. I see that Jesus came to show us who God really is, and who we really are, but we couldn't bear it ... and so we continued in the vein of the old covenant/striving process, of trying to earn God's favor through our behaviors ... seeing God not as the Loving Father, but as the Vengeful and Angry Wronged-One... the one who must be appeased by our behavior, even as the volcano-god had to be appeased with the sacrifices of first-borns and virgins.

Dave: And I have a real hard time saying the holocaust was merely a perception of evil.

As the wife of a Jewish man, and mama to 8 half-Jewish children whom Hitler would've deemed unfit to live, I completely understand how this is hard. Believe me.

I'd like to share something that I read, which has shaped how I view this:

Hitler could do nothing without the cooperation and support of millions of people (as well as those who ignored and denied what was going on). It was the collective consciousness which provided fertile soil for the growth of the Nazi movement. Hitler seized the moment, but he did not create it. It's important to understand the lesson here. A group consciousness which speaks constantly of separation and superiority produces loss of compassion on a massive scale, and loss of compassion is inevitably followed by loss of conscience. The horror of the Hitler Experience was not that he perpetuated it on the human race, but that the human race allowed him to do so. The astonishment is not only that a Hitler came along, but that so many others went along. The shame is not only that Hitler killed millions of Jews (and others), but also that millions had to be killed before Hitler was stopped. The purpose of the Hitler Experience was to show humanity to itself. Learning this lesson is GOOD. And yet, Hitler was not sent to you. Hitler was created by you. He arose out of your collective consciousness and could not have existed without it. THAT is the lesson. The consciousness of separation, segregation, superiority -- of "we" versus "they", of "us" versus "them" -- is what creates the Hitler Experience.

It is GOOD when we allow ourselves to learn how we are complicit in such things. It is EVIL when we ignore the lesson, and do not learn from it, and thus perpetuate it. How we respond to it determines whether such a thing is good or evil -- therefore, it's all about perspective.

The bigger question for me, Dave, is not "how could Hitler have done such a thing", but "why is Christianity still perpetuating the notions of separation, segregation and superiority, that have indeed resulted in a loss of compassion, and a loss of conscience...?"

I'm also curious.. If there really isn't evil, what was it Jesus was driving out of people when it says he drove out an evil spirit? Was He simply driving out a perception of evil? In your opinion, do demons/evil spirits have God in them, too?

I no longer hold to a traditional view of demons (surprise, surprise!). It's my *opinion* (and not something I will either debate, nor attempt to prove), that evil spirits are manifestations of our negative thinking ... from our own carnal minds (egos) ... that which is "adversarial" (i.e., "satan") to God, and which resists Him. These negative thoughts can come in the form of lies which we believe, illnesses, inordinate physical strength, depression, rage, hatred, addictions, mental problems, etc. I personally believe that since the people in that age believed them to be demons (preferring to project them "out there" rather than taking ownership and responsibility for them), that Jesus met them where they were, in that understanding, and dealt with them in a way that would be effective for them.

I don't see demons as "beings" to either "have God" or "not have God" in them ... they are no-things, parts of our own imaginings, parts of our own carnal mind, which can be utterly absorbed by the Light of truth, just as darkness is a no-thing that cannot resist light, but becomes absorbed by it.

Dave: Also, if there is no real evil then I suppose there is no real sin... and if there is no real sin, then Christ died for nothing. Thoughts?

I believe that the time which Daniel prophesied, a time that was to be the fulfillment of Christ, was in his future, but is now in our past. I believe that Daniel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and John (in the Revelation) were foretelling of the time to come (for them) which was the transition from one covenant into the next. I believe that this timeframe was a one-generation period of time (40 years) that began in 30AD, and ended in 70AD, with the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem ... thus utterly ending the old covenant, and fully unleashing the emerging new covenant. I see that Daniel said that this new covenant would be a time that brought an end to iniquity, a cessation of sin, and would be bringing righteousness. Sin is about separation from God ... I see that God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself. Now, this was done in time, with the events from 30-70AD ... but this was *always done* in God's perspective (outside of time) ... "the Lamb was slain from the foundation of the world" (also, we were chosen from the foundation of the world). As I see it, from the whole story of Scripture, we were never separated from God -- but our shame made us *think* we were separated from God ... our beliefs made it our perceived reality. For, as a man thinks in his own heart, so is he. If we believe we're separated from God (and from one another), we will experience that, and act like that.

I see that mankind saw themselves as separated from God, and sought throughout ancient history to work his way back into God's favor ... sacrificing to the volcano-gods ... then God shows up as One God and seems to say that He wants animal sacrifices instead ... so they do so, meticulously, for centuries ... then God says He never wanted sacrifices at all, but wanted mercy. What gives? Did God (who never changes) change? OR did our perception of what God wanted change? This is the same God who says HE never wanted to be our "master", but our "husband". (The same God who wants intimate relationship, and we insist upon religion instead.)

As I see it, we were groping in the dark, trying to comprehend God for all those years, projecting our own stuff onto God ... and so Jesus comes, as God, to show us the Father -- before then, we were clueless. Jesus shows us the God who doesn't *want* our sacrifices ... in fact, He shows us the God who *BECOMES* the sacrifice for us. The Sacrifice to end all sacrifices. This is the God who becomes the Cure for what was killing us ... our own deceptions.

I no longer buy the theory of substitutionary atonement (the notion that God was angry, and demanded blood, and someone had to pay, and so Jesus stepped in to "take the heat" for us). I now see the view of Christus Victor ... the concept that Jesus was utterly victorious in the Atonement (the at-one-ment), re-conciling us to God (which implies to me that we were once "conciled" to God in the first place), and that He not only saved every single one He intended to save, but that it was always done, from God's perspective.

We were never separated from God in the first place (for how can anyone be separated from Omnipresence?), and more and more are awakening to this REALLY good news for ALL mankind, that God really is too good to not be true...! It's not that we need to "be saved" ... it's that we need to "wake up" to what's always been.

(again, this is my perspective, at this juncture of the glorious journey, with the One who is both Guide and Goal ... your mileage may vary!)

Shalom, Dena

Knowing ...

A wise friend of mine shared this elsewhere:

I am fully persuaded that each person can know with certainty that there is God who is eternal. That knowing comes from communion with God. It is something each can find a way to achieve, and all will ultimately find that way. One person cannot prove that knowing to another; I see nothing to be gained by debate or compiling long lists of scriptures. We can joyfully share our testimonies and persuasions, but that isn't proof.

In science we can gather data through experiment and observation until we have evidence that something is true beyond all reasonable doubt. Such truths include the theories/laws/principles of gravitation, planetary motion, thermodynamics, evolution by natural selection, genetic transmission, and many others. Science is a way of knowing with a methodology we can all share. There are other kinds of knowing that cannot be achieved by common methodology. I can know that something is beautiful, but I cannot prove that to someone else. There are works of art that some know are beautiful and others know are hideous. One such knowing may seem to contradict another, but they do not. They are separate knowings.

There are many kinds of knowing. AISI all are secondary to the spiritual knowing that we must each come to in our own way. There is no way for any of us know what spiritual knowledge another individual knows. We do not use words in the same way in trying to convey our thoughts.

But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. (1 Cor. 2:14)

Shalom, Dena

Monday, May 18, 2009

Mark and I were going for a walk, as we do most mornings, walking and talking and praying and enjoying those free-floating endorphins..! We were discussing the spiritual path we've found ourselves upon ... how some friends and acquaintances have become alarmed, many have issued warnings and dire predictions ... some have even turned away from us, and against us, in this process.

We were crossing over a bridge as we said this, and entered the park ... suddenly, from the playground, a little boy, all of three years of age, jumped right in front of us on the path, and declared, "Stop! You may not walk on this path!" We kept going, of course, and each gave him a high-five as we passed him, smiling at his chutzpah. Of course we would continue down that path ... we knew it was the way home.

Then, I asked Mark, "Was that some sort of message? Do angels come in the 3-foot size?" But, instead, we both had the thought that this is the absurdity of those who would say, "you may not go down this path" ... as if they have all the authority and insight of a toddler, making his declarations in a high-pitched falsetto voice...! As if they know, any more than he does, about the way to go...

As if we have to play the game.

This reminds me of a joke Paul Young shared with some of us last year:

A man dies, and goes to the pearly gates. He walks up to St. Peter, and asks, "So, how do I get in?" St. Peter looks up, and says, "You need points."

"Points? How many points does it take?"

"One hundred points," replied St. Peter.

"Well, how do I get these points?"

"That would depend on what you did in your life..."

The man thinks, and then brightens up, "Oh! I spent 20 years volunteering at the homeless shelter ... feeding folks, cleaning up messes; I showed up every week, without fail!"

St. Peter chews on the end of his pen, considering, "Ok then, that's one point."

"One point?!? Wow, well, I was a pastor! I spent 40 years preaching, and I was there every Sunday and Wednesday, without fail, never even took vacations!"

St. Peter screws up his face in contemplation, "Hmmm... I don't know ... not sure about that one.."

"Aw, c'mon!"

"Alright," St. Peter laments, "you can have a point for that, too."

The man is flabbergasted -- his entire life's work worth two points! Just then, he sees a man from his town come up to the gate. This man never went to church, never amounted to anything ... and he just walked right IN the gate!

The man, astonished, turns to St. Peter, "Don't tell me that he had 100 points!"

St. Peter shakes his head, "Nah, he just doesn't play this game."

Shalom, Dena

Jesus Calls Us "Evil"...? Really?!?

Mt 7:9-11 - "Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?
10Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11If you, then, though you
are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your
Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

I shared this verse with someone today, showing the lavish nature of our God ... but the phrase "you then, though you are evil" ... gave me pause.

I went to several versions, and the Peshitta, which is taken from the Aramaic
(the language Jesus used), and taken from the Septuagint (the version of the
Bible Jesus quoted) ... and it *actually* says:

"if you then, though you ERR..."

Egads, from "err" the translators chose "evil"...!

How we've been taken for a ride by those with an agenda...!

Dear God, how many have been led to believe that they're evil, due to the
traditions of man, rather than what Jesus actually SAID..?!?

Shalom, Dena

Sunday, May 17, 2009

I'm learning a lot from some challenging situations lately ... that others really cannot hurt me ... that others' opinions are just that, and nothing more. And, perhaps most importantly, that if this message, that God loves and saves everyone, doesn't transform the way I see and experience and relate to others -- then it's worthless. If I allow myself to take offense at others, even when they're outright unkind, if I lash back with the same energy or dysfunction (i.e., my ego), then I become part of the problem. This has been hard, hard, hard, as I want to point out how *wrong* they are (which is precisely what they believe they're doing with me, LOL!). I like what Einstein says, "you cannot solve a problem with the same consciousness that caused the problem in the first place." I find that to be true...

So, this whole experience has been about transforming ME, and if anything I share is remotely helpful to someone else, perhaps in planting a seed, or in modeling that it's ok to question and explore, then that's a bonus.

I read something this morning that helps me understand this better:

So much of the lack of happiness that we feel in our lives emerges from our judgments. We tend to judge everything. The people around us, the circumstances they present, the events of the moment, and, of course, ourselves.

Some folks don't miss a single opportunity to get into their place of judgment. It's almost as if life itself is on trial. Constantly.

What is especially interesting about most human judgment is that people do not even use an objective measure with which to make their determinations. They mostly use a previous experience, their own ideas, their own "story" as a basis upon which to decide about another.

It never occurs to them, of course, that it could possibly be their experience, their ideas, their "story" that might be a bit askew. I've watched this from a distance enough to conclude that I am probably doing it, too - more than I realize. So, I've made a real effort to move into self-reflection as a replacement for judgment of others.

When I am tempted to be judgmental, I look inside to see when it was that I acted that way in my life, where it was that I produced such outcomes in my life, how it was possible that I made such mistakes in my life. Suddenly, compassion rushes in, pushing judgment aside -- and making condemnation impossible.

What I am saying here is that judgment has no place in a loving heart. Yet remember, judgment is not discernment, and observation is not judgment. It is perfectly healthy to be discerning, and it is perfectly natural to make an observation. An "observation" says "what's so." A judgment says "so what?"

Know that the twists and turns that remove us from the path that we thought we would be taking are not detours at all, but the fastest path from where we are to where we truly want to be -- otherwise we wouldn't be taking it.

Remember that very often when life seems to be falling apart, it may actually be falling together for the first time.

Trust that God knows what God is doing. Know that life is always conspiring in your favor. All things work together for your good... all things. For you are being transformed into the likeness of Christ.

And, if you saw you as God sees you, you would smile a lot...

Dare to pray:

Dear God, I thank you today for that which is in my world and in my life. I rest my heart in the knowing that I will yet see pain turn into joy, sorrow into gladness, and even death into everlasting life. Thank you for helping me to understand that this problem has already been solved for me. You are with me, even unto the end of time. As I experience the ever-present love of God, in me, I am becoming happier than I have ever been before. Thank You.

Shalom, Dena

Saturday, May 16, 2009

"What About Evil? What About Injustice?"

I'm having a similar conversation
elsewhere ... I was asked, "what about evil, what about injustice?"

Here's what I shared, for what it's worth:

(disclaimer: this is what I've come to believe, at this point in my own journey
... not claiming that this is "all truth", or that any of us can grasp "all truth" while in a limited form of humanity...)

I believe that God made all things, and sustains all things ... that God is IN all things (& all humans as well). I believe that in Him we live and move and have our being ... I believe that He is the only Source of life ... apart from Him there is no life at all... but nothing and no one is apart from Him ... indeed, everything and everyone is a part *of* Him.

Given that, all is GOOD. It's our perception that would tell us otherwise, because we eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and we think we can tell what's good, and what's "evil" by our own perception. But we discern and judge with a faulty, limited, temporal perspective ... we do not yet see how ALL things work together for good, as we're transformed into the likeness of Christ. We perceive from our ego, rather than from the Mind of Christ (the intersection of Spirit and spirit within us).

We discern on a conscious level, but truth is often found on a subconscious level ... which is why we can *know* a think is true "in our hearts," even while our minds are protesting.

So, yes, we humans do perceive things to be "evil" and we judge things to be "unjust" ... and certainly harm seems to be done. We can indeed harm relationships, but we cannot really harm another ... though we can perceive to harm, and to be harmed.

Once we realize that we are not our bodies, but that we *have* bodies ... that we're really our spirits (& we're having a human experience), and that what we see is not what *is* (& even quantum physics proves this to us), that there is no death (it's merely the horizon of our perspective, but life is, by it's very essence, eternal), then we can lose the perception of evil and fear.

God has often met us where we are, and given us the level of truth that we could/can handle ... Jesus told His disciples that He had MUCH more to show them, but they couldn't bear it then (and can we now bear it?).

God shows us in the OT that He is the One who created evil (calamity) ... for we cannot experience goodness without the context of evil. We cannot know hot without cold, light without darkness, joy without sorrow ... they're really just the same thing, on a continuum.

So, too, we cannot experience Oneness without the illusion of separation ... which is what I believe this human life is all about -- to experience "separation" from God (though He does not experience separation from us), so that we can experience returning to Him. All things come from Him, and all things return to Him, for He is all there is.

So, I see, in the absolute sense, that there is no real evil, just the temporal perception of it.

BUT - we are called to experience what is "not us" in this life, so that we can know who we really are. So, when we experience harm, and even harming another, we can know that it's not really who we are ... and we can choose to respond differently.

If I see that someone is experiencing what appears to be evil, or injustice, I can choose to do something to ease their suffering ... the first thing I would do would be to intervene in some way ... but I would ultimately want to invite them to go deeper, to come to know God in an authentic way, and to come to see who they really are as well, in Him, of Him.

I'm invited to do unto others as I would want them to do for me -- to love others as I do myself. I can meet them where they are, feel whatever they're feeling, be with them, and help them to start to see the illusion that's really causing the pain.

It's not what happens to us that hurts us, as much as what we *think* about what happens to us that hurts us...

Maybe if I share a story, it will help to illustrate what I'm talking about.

A woman was at a workshop, being confronted with these very notions ... that all is good, that even death is good, and that no one dies before they choose to (on some level ... though they can be consciously as surprised as anyone else when they die). She was enraged by this, due to what she'd experienced. When she married, many years previously, she could not conceive ... and so they adopted a little boy, Bobby. Shortly after the adoption, as is often the case, they conceived a baby, and raised these two boys together. Bobby was always told he was adopted, in ways he could comprehend. But when he started school, he was tormented by the other children, who said, "Bobby's so ugly his own mother gave him away -- Bobby's mother didn't want him!" He was hurt and furious, and his adopted mom couldn't console him ... his adopted mom told him that when he was 18, she would help him to find his birth mother. For years he reminded her of this ... and gave her agony, through acts of rebellion, acting out his pain-of-rejection in a myriad of ways. She loved him through it, and even took his lashing out, as he reminded her, over and over, that he would find his "real" mother when he was 18. On the day he turned 18, he took off on a motorcycle, and died in a tragic accident.

She looked at the workshop leader, and said, "Tell me, what sort of 'good' is that? What sort of God would allow my son to miss out on what he wanted most? How did my son choose his death?!?"

The workshop leader closed his eyes, and prayed, "I need help here God, give me the words for this woman..."

Out of him the words spilled ... "Your son Bobby got what he wanted that day ... he didn't know it consciously, but his birth mother had died, and so he went to meet her, to be with her, because his job here on earth was done. It was his time, and he got what he most wanted. He's worked to bring you to this workshop, so that you could know this, so that you could know he's happy, that he's so grateful to you for all you did in loving him through those tough years, preparing him for the reunion with his birth mother. He's waiting for you, and wants to introduce his two mothers to each other. He wants you to be able to live in peace and joy until then."

The woman's expression changed from rage and pain, to utter joy and peace, with tears streaming down.

Our perspective changes our experience.

If we change our thinking, we can change our world, and then invite others to do the same...

(and that's where I am right now, awaiting further revelation...)

Shalom, Dena