Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Fulfillment Follow-Up...

For those who don't read the comments that follow the blog-posts, Sue made this important and far-reaching comment to yesterday's post, and I thought to share it at-large, and the conversation that followed, in case it would address anyone else's thoughts...

Sue said:
I still really must admit that I do hold to a literal return of Jesus and a new heavens and a new earth. Be interested in your thoughts

I responded:I do not see a future coming of Jesus -- for if we are waiting for a literal/physical fulfillment of prophecy, then we are going *backwards* into what is lesser/inferior. I see that the spiritual always trumps the physical. AND, I see that we are now in, and have been in, the new heavens and new earth ... it's one and the same as the new covenant. We've just been prevented, by the traditions of man, from seeing, and thus experiencing, what we have, and who we are.

(I see that the Jews, insisting on a literal fulfillment of a King on a throne, missed the coming of Jesus the first time ... and Christians, insisting on a literal fulfillment of a King on a throne, missed/are missing the coming of Jesus the second time. To insist on a literal fulfillment is to miss the point, and to miss the significance of what is *at hand* ... will the world, the environment, the interactions of mankind improve, in the future? YES! As more and more awaken to what IS, rather than believing the insanity of the Christian forever-in-limbo, tread water 'til Jesus comes to fix it all -- and fry the majority -- message...!)

The entire old covenant was tangible/physical/external ... and the fulfillment was spiritual/internal. The spiritual is superior to the tangible. Always. Law on stone became law on hearts ... circumcision of flesh became circumcision of "hearts" ... external observation of Sabbath became internal Sabbath rest (way of Life) ... seeing God as external/distant became realizing God as internal/nearer-than-breath/within. The Kingdom, as Jesus put it, does *not* come by observation (IOW, we cannot see it with our physical eyes) ... it is within us, in our midst, accessible by way of understanding ... repenting (turning from) the carnal/egoic mind, and realizing that we HAVE the Mind of Christ. This happens one heart at a time, not in a cataclysmic world-wide "enforced from outside of us" event. God has done all that needs to be done ... "It is finished." The only thing remaining is for us to *awaken* to what *IS*, to what God has done, to who we ARE, so that all of creation will be released from the madness of our egoic/separation-mentality thinking...!

Of course, the Spirit IS leading us into all truth, and Christ IS drawing all men to Himself, so it's inevitable ... we all must be willing to examine what we've been taught to believe (or have assumed), and willing to let go (i.e., "die to self") so that our minds can be renewed, so that lies can be replaced with truth, so that what is in the way can fall away, and we can HERE AND NOW experience the Abundant Life with is our ultimate reality.

As a man thinks in his own heart, so is he. I had to ask myself, "is what I believe enabling me to live the Abundant Life? Is what I believe leading me to Fear, or to Perfect Love?"

IOW, how are your current beliefs working for you...?

Sue responded:
Yeah, that makes sense. But it doesn't mean that he can't come again, know what I mean? That all makes sense - although verses about taking the throne of David come to mind that make me wonder. But I'm not talking about the old law. I'm talking about what's to come next. I just can't help wondering, you know?

I respond: I wonder if literalizing the prophecies renders them moot..? I see that Jesus used parables to teach truths that were beyond-the-surface ... with the point being to look *beyond* the surface. Why wouldn't God, who never changes, also have employed the metaphorical lessons in prior generations ... as in, wouldn't the OT scriptures (including the prophecies) also have the purpose of using the tangibles to demonstrate, to symbolize, a deeper meaning?

So, I see the throne of David given as a tangible demonstration of what would later be fulfilled in a far-superior spiritual realization. Everything else demonstrated in the OT as tangible (Law, Sabbath, circumcision, Kingdom) was fulfilled in a spiritual way (law on hearts, sabbath as way of life, Kingdom within). Why would the throne of David be the sole literal exception to that...? Especially given that Jesus said that His Kingdom would *not* come by observation (we cannot see it) ... but would be (is) in our midst, within us. The Abundant Life is achieved by faith, by grace, not by being overwhelmed with physical evidence and proofs ... then it would no longer be faith.

It is fun to fathom the possibilities of the future ... but for me, the way I frame the story makes all the difference for how I live here and now. And I notice that NOW is all there is. The past is gone, and the future never arrives ... all I have is NOW. God is the I Am, not the I Was (& too bad we missed it), or the I Will Be (sorry it's taking so long..!). If I'm waiting for God to *do* something in the future to "fix this mess", then I miss that He wants me, as part of the Body of Christ (NOT the Christian/church definition, BTW), to be His hands and feet, to cooperate with Him here and now, to make a difference in this world, to bring healing to others' minds, bodies, lives ...!

The traditional Christian message of "this will get worse and worse and then Jesus will show up to liberate the few and fry the many" renders me to treading water (in limbo) at best, and cowering in fear at worst (what IF I'm one of those to whom He'll say, "I never knew you"...?) ... and further, I'll regard this planet & most humans, as future flame-fodder (why bother to heal them?), and I will thus rejoice as things escalate in "appearances" of evil. I see that the story of a future-return of Jesus has brought much pain and destruction upon mankind and this planet ... so that Christians actually celebrate when tragedies happen (thinking it means Jesus is soon coming!) ... and has rendered most of us to be self-insulated and passive, rather than participating fully in the Abundant Life we have here and now, being salt and Light and Love to those who are dying from a perceived lack, and an erroneous notion of being separated from God ...

So, that's why I'm passionate, that's why I think the fulfillment understanding matters.

Yes, of course, God can do anything He chooses ... but I see that all of the scriptures (from which we derive our notions of future happenings) is now, and has been fulfilled. So, whatever happens in the future, is speculation -- we have nothing telling us, in scripture, of what happens in the future (everything written in Scripture has long been fulfilled).

I want to be about the business of living, of healing, of sharing, of shining my Light, of BEING Light, to this (self-imposed) dark world ... recognizing that He is HERE now, even more so than when He was walking the planet (Jesus said it would be better for us if He physically left, so that the Spirit came -- i.e., that we became more aware of the Spirit who is always here, within us, AS us) ... for I see that the unseen/spiritual reality is more real than the seen/tangible appearance of reality.

LOL, now I'm preaching ...! Ok, I'll shut up...!

Shalom, Dena

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Fulfillment of ALL -- Why I See as I See ...

I want to directly address those who wanted to know more about how I've come to see that all biblical prophecy is now (and has long been) fulfilled.

I didn't arrive here overnight, of course. It was a long and quite-wrenching journey. My mind, like all human minds, sought to cling to what it *thought* it knew ... anything new, or different, is at first perceived as a direct-threat (truth is most-always first perceived to be a blasphemy ... take Jesus' teachings as a case in point), and thus resisted, if not outright attacked.

We, as human beings, seem to prefer the "security" of the familiar, rather than the risk of the Truth-adventure.

I fully understand that ... I've lost half my hair, much sleep, and most of my friends, in this Truth-adventure ...!

(& I notice that Jesus said this would happen ...)

Anywho, I came to the place where I had to question "what the hell is hell" about 2+ years ago ... and it was INtense! Much agony in the process. I had come to a place where I believed it in my heart, more than I believed the traditional story of "hell" ... and yet, when I read the last chapter of Isaiah, wherein it was the "new heavens and new earth", and there were all those bodies being viewed with much shame ... this did NOT fit my understanding of this being the "utopia" I'd been taught was coming (the Reign of Christ on the earth), and my understanding that all would be saved...!

This appeared to be a case for annihilation, more than for the salvation of all.

And so, I was perplexed, and I cried out to God for His understanding ... I wanted Truth.

Enter my friend, who had been checking into a concept called "Preterism" ... the belief that "all is past." I'd never heard of it. But, at her urging, I purchased a book called "Beyond Creation Science", and read it ... it was new to me, and yet it made sense ... fitting the scriptures together in a way that the traditional view never did. In order to believe the traditional view, it requires that we suspend our thinking, that we overlook inconsistencies and incompatibilities that a literal-rendering causes ... and that we assume a "we can't know truth here and now - we just have to go on faith, and truth that God will make sense of this after we die."

Well, that flies in the face of "you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free" ... "the Spirit will lead you into all truth" ... "[God] desires all men to be saved [from their own dark/erroneous thinking] and to come to the knowledge of the truth."

It seems to me that God *wants* us to know Truth, to know and experience His perspective, to operate in the Mind of Christ -- which we have.

So, what's in the way of knowing this Truth ...? The lies we believe ... the stories of man we've received and believed ... the traditions of man which continue to nullify the word of God (that which the Spirit within is showing us).

So, about 18 months ago (not long ago!), I found myself delving into this understanding of "all is fulfilled" ... wanting nothing but truth ... here's what I wrote then, in May of 2008 (I'll put updated-thoughts in brackets, along the way):

I've been reading "Beyond Creation Science":

They talked about the "coming in the clouds" ... "coming in the clouds" = judgment, I can see that, biblically -- it makes sense, given how the metaphor is throughout
the OT, and the Jews who were watching Him ascend, would've understood the beyond-the-surface meaning.

(we do seem rather stuck on the surface, in our day and age...)

[When I read this account, in the first chapter of Acts ... I notice that they saw Jesus being lifted up ... and then being obscured by clouds ... and the angels said that HE would return the same way, i.e., obscured by clouds, or "out of their sight" ... this speaks of Him being discerned only spiritually, not literally/physically ... and I recall that Jesus said the Kingdom does not come by observation ... we can't SEE it with physical eyes. The expectation that Jesus would return in a way that would be seen by everyone on earth, is a tradition of man, not aligned with what Jesus actually taught.]

As I continue to read, what REALLY strikes me, is how the war between the Romans and the Jews (AD 70), when the Temple was destroyed, has been just swept aside, in our modern teachings...! I mean, this was a HUGE war! Two million Jews died in Jerusalem -- half were slaughtered (horrendously), and another half died, slowly, from starvation and atrocities committed against them, as the city was
surrounded. Two million! That's enormous in today's population, but can you imagine the enormity of it THEN?

[I've heard people argue that this cannot be true, as Jerusalem didn't then have 2 million occupants ... however, the siege by Rome occurred during a Jewish festival ... when Jews gathered from the whole "world" (known, occupied-by-Jews world) ... in that case, 2 million was then conceivable.]

I've never been taught this! The destruction of the Temple in 70AD has always been a mere blip in history -- just barely mentioned.

It was an incredibly destructive war -- Jerusalem was utterly destroyed, bringing an end to the age of the Old Covenant (& some say, judgment against the city that rejected and killed the Messiah, just as Jesus predicted).

Josephus, a Jewish (non-Christian) historian was one of the few to survive this war (because he defected to Rome, and is considered by Jews to be a traitor, thus not believed), and wrote about it extensively -- his reports eerily echo the predictions of Jesus, the apostles, and even Revelation.

Here's a link to Josephus's "The Wars of the Jews" (scroll down a bit):

Here are some things that stood out to me, in reading "Beyond Creation Science":

- The Bible has nothing to say about the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple as *past* history. The Bible speaks about it only as prophecy. This should suggest that the NT books were already written before this event took place. It seems inconceivable for the NT writers to remain completely silent about the Jewish War and
destruction of Jerusalem with its temple, if these events lay in their past as they wrote the NT.

- Eusebius [known as the "Father of Church History", and, incidentally, an admirer of Origen who was a Christian Universalist] claimed that the early Christians were warned by "approved men" (apostles?) and that they listened, and left Jerusalem and Judea. Eusebius then endorsed the history of Josephus, a Jewish general and
prisoner of war who witnessed the entire siege.

(and then, Eusebius himself is quoted):

"The number of calamities which everywhere fell upon the nation at that time; the extreme misfortunes to which the inhabitants of Judea were especially subjected, the thousands of men, as well as women and children, that perished by the sword, by famine, and by other forms of death innumerable -- of these things, as well as the great many sieges which were carried on against the cities of Judea, and the excessive sufferings endured by those that fled to Jerusalem itself, as to a city of perfect safety, and finally the general course of the whole war, as well as its particular occurrences in detail, and how at last the abomination of desolation, proclaimed by the prophets [Dan 9:27], stood in the very temple of God, so celebrated of old, the temple which was now awaiting its total and final destruction by fire -- all these things any one that wishes may find accurately described in the history of Josephus."

- The difficulty is that most Christians do not know about the Jewish-Roman war. Even those who do know vaguely about this war cannot imagine that anything as horrible as what Jesus predicted could have ever happened in the past. What if Josephus confirms that it did?

- When Rome invaded and destroyed Judea and Jerusalem some 1-2 million people died and 100,000 were taken away into slavery. Yet apparently not one Christian was lost... Jesus had warned His followers and they listened.

- Jesus warned, "For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now -- and never to be equaled again (Matt 24:21)."

And, Josephus wrote: "It appears to me that the misfortunes of all men, from the beginning of the world, are not so considerable as those of the Jews ... This makes it impossible for me to contain my lamentations (The Wars of the Jews, Preface, Para 4)."

- Josephus writes of the false prophets and deceptive leaders who rose up, fooling vast numbers of the people in Judea: "These were such men as deceived and deluded the people under pretense of Divine inspiration, but were for procuring innovations and changes of the government; and these prevailed with the multitude to act like
madmen, and went before them into the wilderness, as pretending that God would there show them the signals of liberty... An Egyptian false prophet that did the Jews more mischief than the former; for he was a cheat, and pretended to be a prophet also, and got together thirty thousand men that were deluded by him; these he led round about from the wilderness to the mount which was called the Mount of Olives ..."

- Josephus goes on to talk of wars, and rumors of wars (numerous ones!), and a great flood, and earthquakes, and famines, persecutions and tribulations, and Jerusalem surrounded by armies (Luke 11:20), and lightning "as from the east to the west": "There broke out a prodigious storm in the night, with the utmost violence, and very strong winds, with the largest showers of rain, with continued lightnings, terrible thunderings, and amazing concussions and bellowings of the earth, that was in an earthquake. These things were a manifest indication that some destruction was coming upon men, when the system of the world was put into this disorder; and any one
would guess that these wonders foreshowed some grand calamities that were coming (Josephus, Wars, Book 4, Chapter 4, Para 5)." Sounds a lot like what Jesus foretold, including, "For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfil ed." (Luke 21:21-23)

- Josephus also wrote, "...neither did any other city ever suffer such miseries, nor did any age ever breed a generation more fruitful in wickedness than this was, from the beginning of the world. (Josephus, Wars, Book 5, Chapter 10, Para 5)."

- Jesus warned about signs in the heavens, including the sign of the Son of Man, when He came in power and great glory (i.e., judgment/vengeance). Josephus writes of what happened just before the calamity began: "... they did not attend nor give credit to the signs that were so evident, and did so plainly foretell their future
desolation, but, like men infatuated, without either eyes to see or minds to consider, did not regard the denunciations that God made to them. Thus there was a star resembling a sword, which stood over the city, and a comet, that continued a whole year. Thus also before the Jews' rebellion, and before those commotions which preceded the war, when the people were come in great crowds to the feast of unleavened bread, on the 8th day of the month Nisan, and at the ninth hour of the night, so great a light shone round the altar and the holy house, that it appeared to be bright day time; which lasted for half an hour... At the same festival also, a heifer, as she was led by the high priest to be sacrificed, brought forth a lamb in the midst of the temple... [and don't miss this part!]... a certain prodigious and
incredible phenomenon appeared; I suppose the account of it would seem to be a fable, were it not related by those that saw it, and were not the events that followed it of so considerable a nature as to deserve such signals, for, before sun-setting, chariots and troops of soldiers in their armor were seen running about among the clouds, and surrounding of cities. (Josephus, Wars, Book 6, Chapter 5, Para 3)."

- Others in history confirmed the following: the fire in the temple melted the gold so that it ran down into the cracks in the floors. Not only did the Romans tear down the temple, stone by stone ... After the ruins cooled, the Roman soldiers pried up every stone in order to retrieve the gold. The temple was destroyed. Not one stone
was left on another.

- For 1800 years, these historical events were common knowledge among Christians, Yet for reasons unknown, the implications were never systematically explored. Since the rise of modern futurist views of prophecy in the 19th and 20th centuries, this history has largely been forgotten.

[I have since read through some of the writings of the early church "fathers" ... and discovered that many of them did believe that Jesus had "returned", albeit spiritually, as HE had said, and not literally/physically, as the traditions of man teach ... I've written extensively about that elsewhere ... I'll provide a link.]

Ok, folks, this has me stunned. Why is this not common knowledge among the Church? I mean, it happened -- it's verified by secular, eye-witness historians. Why have we not been taught how horrendous that war was, and of the things that happened -- which sound SO much like what Jesus and the apostles wrote about?!? And WHY, if the epistles and Revelation were written AFTER the war, and the destruction of the Temple, why is it not mentioned...? And why is John, during his vision on Patmos, supposedly in ~95AD, told by the angel to measure the Temple, if it were already destroyed (would John not object, if this were being commanded 25 years after it's cataclysmic destruction)?

This puts a whole new understanding on the words of Jesus, when He said, "Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away 'til all these things take place (Matt: 24:34)."

Here's how the Amplifed Bible puts it: "34Truly I tell you, this generation ([a]the whole multitude of people living at the same time, [b]in a definite, [c]given period) will not pass away till all these things [d]taken together take place."

And He also said, 27 "For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father's glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done. 28I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom." (Mt. 16:27, 28)

[Note: this cannot refer to the Transfiguration, which occurred 6 days later ... for there were no angels, no judgment, no manifestation of the Kingdom. Besides, how absurd for Jesus to note that "some of them" would still be alive in 6 days, when they *all* were...! However, forty years from then, while most of them had been martyred, some of them were indeed still alive, when the events of 70AD unfolded. This also does not pertain to Pentecost, which was also devoid of judgment and angels ...]

I also notice that Jesus told Caiaphas, the High Priest in Jerusalem, that he would witness the Son of Man coming into His Kingdom ... according to historians, Caiaphas was alive, and in Jerusalem, in 70AD.

[BTW, about those dead bodies in the new heavens and new earth, prophesied in Isaiah ... as Jesus had also predicted, after Rome had destroyed Jerusalem, the bodies of the Jews were indeed dumped, uncermoniously, into the dreaded and unclean garbage pit of Gehenna ... (erroneously translated as "hell") ... viewed with others in great shame. The "new heavens and new earth is synonymous with the new covenant, and New Jerusalem ... spiritually entered and experienced ... here and now.]

Ok, I'm intrigued ... I'll continue reading about this.

If I've misunderstood what was written in the Bible, due to erroneous teachings of man, I want to know. I want truth. At all cost.

[It has indeed cost me quite a bit ...]

At this point, I still have more questions than understanding --
still can't figure out how 1,000 years of peaceful reign = 40 years
of non-peace, but I'll keep reading and studying this.

[I've come to see the "millennium" or 1,000 years, more symbolically than literally -- I further believe it was never intended to be read literally (Revelation is a symbolic writing ... as apocalyptic literature always is intended). Christianity has done the world a grave disservice in reading the text as literal, rather than as symbolic! The number one thousand means "Divine Completeness" ... what God had designed to show us, through the historic-unfolding of the covenantal-story, had indeed been fulfilled, completed. It was never about a literal 1,000 year reign of Christ ... it was always about the fulfillment and completion of Him being all in all, for those who have eyes to see this ... for those who let go of the Adamic consciousness of darkness/blindness, and who realize that they are (& always have been!) In Christ, in the Christ consciousness of being "born again" to the Abundant Life. It was always about seeing what had always been done, from the foundation of the world, who we had always been, In Him ... and God used the panoply/stage/screen of history to *show* us, allowing the micro-story of our own journey(s) to be writ-large in the out-playing if the macro-story of history -- HIS-story...! Do you see...?]

Yes, there have been those throughout history who have seen this (most have been maligned and killed by the establishment of the institutional church...!). Barnabus, Eusebius, Origen, Athanasius, Bede, and scores of others, were seeing this in full, or in part. It's all there, written down in history, for all to see ... and, apparently, for most to ignore.

THAT is the power of the traditions of man ... the power of group-think ... the power of propaganda ... to believe what we've been told, by humans, over and over, denying/grieving/squelching the Voice of God (i.e., the Word of God within us), enforced by the fear of trusting our own hearts, getting it wrong, and being sitting ducks for the "wrath of God". The God that we've (all, collectively) created has besmirched the true nature, character, and plan of the One True God ... we have "graven images" of a false god in our (collective and individual) minds, which have blinded us to the real God.

But, God wants His reputation, plan, and utter *Victory* over the darkness of man's thoughts, BACK...! He IS awakening us, we ARE awakening, we ARE responding, we ARE coming to see the truth ... and it IS contagious...!

Go and be infectious...! Let your Light so shine...!

Shalom, Dena

P.S. For those who want to *really* dig into this, I had an extensive conversation with some folks on a site called SimpleChurch ... most were opposed, even violently-so, to what I was sharing, but others affirmed that this is what they are seeing, too. It's long, but for those who are being led, it could be a good place to start:

For those who would like to read only the excerpts from "church fathers", start here (begin with the 9th post down):

P.P.S. There is an organization that BEAUTIFULLY melds together, all of these seemingly diverse views ... all "saved", all fulfilled, all as One in God ... Presence Internaitonal. While their website is undergoing a complete overhaul, the discussion forum can still be acceessed here:

Tim King, the CEO, has a new blog as well, about the "Post-Christian" understanding (HIGHLY recommended!):

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Hot-Topic Conversation...!

On Friday, thousands of Muslims gathered in Washington, DC for a day of prayer. Because of this, and because of the fears of what they think this *means*, I received many emails asking Christians to pray, to "counteract" the prayers of the Muslims ...

Soooo ... God runs a democracy, and listens to those who vote/pray the most? Competitive prayer...?

I thought I might share this email conversation, between an anonymous friend and myself ... in case it would be helpful to anyone else... My friend will be in italics, and I shall be indented.

I always appreciate your thoughts and input, Dena. I always have to think and question deeper.

Others have said I "give them a headache"...! ;)

I'll add my thoughts to yours, below ... just for conversation. I want to honor your perspective ... and perhaps offer another perspective to consider ...

I don't see this as an us and them situation either. I don't see it as who get more to pray -- the word says the prayers of "a" righteous man avails much power. It only takes one. My concern is would our current administration allow Christians to come and pray as the Muslims have been allowed. He (Obama) has openly declared that we are not really a Christian nation and certainly his policies on gay marriage and abortion have not upheld Christian values.

I agree with Mr. Obama that we're not a Christian nation - certainly not in the way in which Christians of today think. The nation was founded by a combination of various types of Christians, and a lot of Deists ... who wanted to provide religious liberty for all ... which would include those with whom we may disagree.

I've personally had to do a bit of scrutinizing of my views of homosexuality, and abortion ... God has brought some rather amazing homosexual men into our lives ... people we admire and care about. These men are Christians ... I've had to re-dig into what the scriptures actually say, and what they mean, rather than to continue to allow other humans to tell me what they say, and what they mean. Things are not as they appear on the surface ... just as they're not as some declare regarding women, either. As for abortion ... I had to face that unless I was "pro" the life of every man, woman, and child, including those on death row for murder (& I had a grandfather assassinated in the 70's, right here in Oregon, on the capitol steps), I had to face that I was *not* really pro-life ... there's been much for me to unlearn and relearn in those areas ... I no longer see either one as a black and white issue ...

As far as seeing people in terms of "us" or "them" -- I think the very mentality that we're at "war" with other humans is part of the problem ... the war is over -- and it was only in the minds of man anyway...

I feel that is not as much that we are at war with other humans as they are at war with us and the American way as well as the Christian.

Yes, there are the extremist fundamentalist Muslims who have declared an active jihad against the US... against our "demonstration" of Christianity (they have no problem with Jesus Himself). But, the vast majority of Muslims are just like you and me ... people who want to live in freedom and peace with our neighbors. PLUS, there are Christian extremist fundamentalists who are just as dangerous ... and have always been throughout history (thinking of those who declared others as "heretics" and killed then; thinking of the Crusades, the Inquisition, the witch-hunts, slavery ... as well as the folks who carry "God hates Fags" signs to the military funerals of homosexual soldiers ...). Trust me, if we ever had a Theocracy in this nation, I'd be in the first wave of those killed -- and they'd be thinking they'd done God a favor...

It's fundamentalism -- of any and every religion, including Christianity -- that is causing the problem.

Sure, I'll pray, but prayer is never to get God to do something (as if we have to tell God how to be God) -- it's to get my mind aligned with His -- for I *have* (present tense) the Mind of Christ (no fear), and it's only my vain imagination that thinks there's even anything to be afraid of.

I don't agree that prayer is never to ask God for help (ie to get Him to do something) But I do agree fully and whole heartedly that the purpose of prayer is more about getting ourselves aligned with God. If one of your children were in danger would your first prayer be for God for your to get your mind aligned with His or HELP!..

Believe it or not, I'm desiring, and learning, for my first reaction to be to get my mind aligned with His ... so that I would have the Presence of the Mind of Christ to guide my responses. I would want to react with confidence and strength ... both of which evaporate when fear overwhelms.

The thing is -- most of what we fear to be as 'danger' never happens (though I notice that our fear can bring about the very thing we fear! we might want to wake up to that one!) ... and, since He has said that He IS our protection, I don't ask Him to be what He is. I thank Him for however He manifests His very nature. I no longer dictate to Him, how He should perform in any given situation. He is utter goodness, He is love, and HE can't but be that, towards me, towards everyone (the sun shines on the repentant [changed-thinker] and the unrepentant [old-way-thinker] alike).

Christianity as the organized church is not "The Way, The Truth, and The Life" Jesus is...........

I would take it further -- Christianity as the religion, period, is not the Way, Truth and Life. I no longer believe that Christianity was ever Jesus' idea ... it's an invention of man, designed to label, define, confine, control, and "franchise" the teachings of Jesus. And it's done horrendous harm ever since ... it's far more like the pharisees, than it was ever like Jesus. There are many, many folks who love and follow Jesus, who are not Christians ... I'm one of them. Christianity is my past, my heritage, but I've shed it like a skin that no longer fits ... it no longer defines me, though I certainly thought it once did. I had to let go of Christianity in order to better see, and become one with, Christ.

The word declares that IF Jesus is lifted up, He will draw all men to Him. Today I have asked that Jesus be lifted up and for the Muslims

He already was ... the lifting up was defining/prophesying the crucifixion. It's done, it's happening, despite appearances. Like Elisha, we need to have eyes to see from God's perspective.

(BTW, did you know that the Word pertains, not to the Bible - "in the beginning was the Word ... the Word became flesh" there were no scriptures in the beginning ... the Word is the very presence and essence of God ... That which fills the universe - Omnipresence - and each person with Life ... it is that which speaks to us through the Spirit within us ... it is that word, and not the Bible, which divides even soul (egoic thinking) and spirit (the Mind of Christ), showing us where our thoughts originate ...)

to see the Glory of God and the price that Jesus has paid even for them.

Ah, I've come to see the Atonement differently ... more of a revelation of what had always been, from God's perspective, than of anything being achieved...

Do you believe that Jesus is the one that saves and that ALL men must come to that conclusion or do you believe that there are other ways to find salvation?

I don't believe that it depends upon us, particularly since we "know not what we do" ... for I see that no man comes to the Father unless the Spirit draws them ... and Jesus says that He is drawing all men to Himself.

But I believe now that this is about awareness, and not us "making the right decision" (which is just another good work we would do). I no longer believe that we were ever separated from God, nor enemies of His ... as Paul says, we were enemies of God *in our own minds* ... I believe that God has never had a problem with us ... but our fear and shame and dark thinking caused us to *believe* that we were separated from God, and that it was up to us to fix that problem ... thus all the sacrifices (even as God said, "I never wanted sacrifice -- I wanted mercy" -- and Jesus repeats that). So, God came to show the ultimate sacrifice -- to bring an end to all attempts to earn God's approval (which we had never lost).

The problem is that we've projected our dark thinking onto God, and imagined His nature to be all manner of awful. God created us in His won image, and then we returned the favor. He kept telling us that He didn't want to be our master, but our husband ... that He never wanted sacrifice ... that mercy triumphs over judgment ... that apparent destruction was always restored ...

Are you aware that our literal thinking, so prevalent in Christianity today, was unheard of until the 17th century? Prior to that, the scriptures were believed metaphorically ... which is how I now believe them, seeing as how that's how they were intended. We've come up with some horrendous stuff in reading them literally...! I see that God wants His reputation back ... and wants truth to flood our minds ... so that we are no longer enslaved to what our minds think.

As far as being saved ... I see that we never needed to be saved from anything, other than our own lie-based thinking (as a man thinks in his heart, so is he). How does anyone manage to be separated from Omnipresence ...? ("If I go to Sheol, the place of the dead, You are there...")

The statements in the NT, about salvation, are specifically about being saved from the destruction that came upon Israel at the end of the new covenant age (the end of the age, never was the "world"). It was never about life after death ... Jesus never spoke of "hell" ... that's a bad translation ... He spoke of Gehenna -- the literal garbage dump south of Jerusalem, where "unclean" dead bodies were dumped ... Jesus warned that they would end up there, unless they repented (changed their minds). He said that this would happen while some of them were still alive, within that generation ... and it did ... it happened just like He said, in 70AD, when the armies surrounded the city of Jerusalem (He had warned them to run from the city, to pray that it would not be the Sabbath when they were forbidden to run, and to go to the hills outside of Judea -- which they did).

Rome kept Jerusalem in siege for 42 months (or 3.5 years -- sound familiar?) ... 10,000 Jews were crucified around the city wall -- never before or since has such horrendous things been done ... women forced to cook and eat their own children, men/women/children raped, run through with a sword, tortured and starved ... and then the city was burned ... and eye-witnesses (Josephus, Tacitus, and Suetonius) all said that there were uncanny signs ... including seeing "soldiers" and "chariots" running on the clouds over the city, and a booming voice declaring that the time had come (this is all documented historically).

THAT was what they were warned about, so that they could be saved from that destruction ... those were the last days, the last hours, that the NT writers wrote of ... that was what John wrote, in code, in the book of Revelation, when Nero (who was known then as "the beast" for his utter cruelty) was on the rampage ... to encourage them that their salvation (from their suffering) was *soon* to come (the author of Hebrews told them that Jesus would return a second time, bringing salvation) (& how cruel to them, suffering then, if the salvation hasn't yet come, nearly 2,000 years later...!).

We've taken it all literally, and misunderstood, and have told a story that is not true, not even *sane* ... trying to frighten people into a relationship with God, as IF fear is the basis for a relationship...! We have not yet learned that love is the most powerful force in all the universe ... but we will. For we come from God, live through God, and return to God ... everyone. It's irresistible. It's inevitable. That is the good news for ALL mankind ... not the good news for a select few, and terrible news for the vast majority...

Anyway -- don't know if any of this makes sense ... if I'd heard it just five years ago, I'd have run, screaming about blasphemy ... and yet, I notice that all truths have first appeared to us as "blasphemy". After all, that's why the religious folks killed Jesus ...

Keep following the Spirit's promptings ... remember, Jesus said He had "much more" to show His followers, but they could not bear it. What it is that we cannot bear today? What traditions of man do we cling to, not realizing that it's nullifying the word of God (the Spirit's leadings within us)...? How are we squelching and grieving the Spirit by not listening to what He's wanting to show us?

Could it be that man has warped and tainted the truth...? Gee, it has, countless times in the past...? What will history reveal about what we believe today...? If what you have been taught is not truth -- would you want to know...?

Shalom, Dena

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Come, Lord Jesus...? Where did He go?!?

Just today, I received one of those, "look - the world is getting worse and worse -- surely we are in the end times, surely Jesus will return soon" emails. (Actually, I get them a lot.)

Most of the time, I ignore them ... but today, I responded, and the person asked for more information, about what I'm seeing ... how I see the "end times."

I thought I'd share my response here, in case it offers another alternative-thought to anyone else. Now, by all means, if the "the world is about to come to a cataclysmic crescendo, and 2/3 of the humans will be slaughtered, and then the earth will be fried to a crisp -- so that a minority of us can life in utopic perfection" message *work* for you -- then go with it.

As for me -- it ain't working no more.

Here's what I'm seeing -- here's what's working for me:

I'm seeing that everything prophesied in the scriptures, including what we have traditionally termed "end times" -- is all fulfilled, and was fulfilled in 70AD. When scripture was written, during the first century (all prior to 70AD), they were then still awaiting the return of Jesus ... which happened (albeit not in accordance with the way the Christian church has taught for the past 200 years), in 70AD, with the destruction of the Temple and the ending of the old covenant.

Just as Jesus prophesied in the Olivet Discourse (Mt. 24, Mk. 16 & Lk 21). He even told them, then, that some of them standing there, hearing Him speak, would still be alive when it happened ... and while most of them did indeed get martyred, a few were still alive.

The end of the age (not "world" -- aion means age) was the end of the old covenant age ... and it already happened. We live now in the new covenant ... as described by Jeremiah, Isaiah, Ezekiel and Daniel ... all fulfilled, God is now all in all.

The problem, of course, is that most don't realize it, don't see it, and thus don't experience it. As a man thinks in his own heart, so is he. If we believe that we're waiting on God to *do* something, then we'll live in that perpetual limbo (as Christianity has these past nearly 2,000 years, forever awaiting the *soon* return of Jesus).

Further, since Christianity has made the same mistake that Israel did (in assuming that the prophetic fulfillment would be *literal*, rather than the superior spiritual fulfillment), we missed His parousia (second coming), just as the Jews missed His advent (first coming).

I remember Jesus saying, "until *all* is fulfilled of the law and the prophets, not the tiniest portion of the Law will pass away." IF we were still awaiting His return (which was prophesied), then we're *still* under the Law.

Yes, they had to pray, "Come quickly Lord Jesus" for they were living in the "overlap" of the two covenants, with the old covenant then "becoming obsolete and about to disappear", and the new one emerging. They were awaiting the removal of the old (the "veil" that blinded), in order that the new (what had always been) could fully be "seen" and realized.

We have no need to pray for Him to come ... He is here, moreso than when He walked the earth. It was better that He would go, so that the Spirit could manifest... IN us, AS us... for there is only One Life. We are never, and have been never, separated from Omnipresence.

So -- what about the future? What about these seemingly threatening world events...?

What that means is that we are creating our own future ... based on the insanity of our own collective, dark (blinded) thinking. There is no looming judgment of God ... all wrath is past. The Kingdom is here, at hand, only it's spiritually entered -- there is no future-literal throne to come, no literal anything to arrive ... the Kingdom is in our midst, within us -- unobservable with human eyes. The spiritual is always superior to the literal/tangible/physical.

The events of the planet are man's doing, the consequences of insane thinking. We imagine ourselves to be separate from one another ... we imagine that we are competing for resources -- when there is enough of everything. As long as we promote and defend the "haves" benefiting from the "have-nots", as long as we see ourselves as separate, as long as greed is idolized as a way of life, we will continue to suffer, and have crises ... we, like the Prodigal son, need to wake up in our pig-sty, come to our senses, and return Home - to the Mind of God.

After all, we're told we have (present tense) the Mind of Christ ... the problem is we keep relying instead on the carnal/egoic mind of illusion -- and there's nothing stronger than the force of the mass of humanity believing the same collective illusion ...!

*Except* for the power of Love -- which is drawing ALL men to Himself ... and all men into all Truth... as we can bear it.

The good news (& it's always good news!) is that more and more are awakening to God -- to His true nature (rather than as He's been portrayed by man), and to what unfolded in time (to show us what had *always* been -- for the Lamb was slain from the foundation of the world -- we were never separated from God -- we just *thought* we were...!).

More and more are seeing this ... that we are One with God, and One with each other ... and lives are being transformed, to live free of ALL fear, to live the Abundant Life, to freely love God and neighbor, in this Kingdom which we enter by going past the veil of appearances ...

So ... that's how I'm seeing it ... it played out in history (culminating in the first century, at the transition of the covenants), and yet, from God's perspective, it had always been -- we have never been separated from God, except for *in our own minds* - Jesus came to show us that, to bust apart our illusions, to set us captives free from our own dark thinking.

And that, my friends, is what's working for me ... even as I await further revelation, from the One who is leading me (& you!) into all Truth..!

Shalom, Dena

Friday, September 25, 2009

Just Musing on What's Goin' On ...

I was listening to national public radio this morning ... Oregon (where I live) is now the #1 state in the US, in terms of homelessness -- scores of homeless families are out on the streets, and in shelters, here & now (mostly due to our quite-high unemployment). And, because medical insurance is tied to the job, scores more without coverage. So, people lose homes in trying to pay for medical expenses. Meanwhile, big business is raking in the money, and paying 15% or less in taxes ... and hiding in foreign banks, which lack transparency. Banks have been given bail-outs, and are now refusing to loan, and giving top execs big bonuses.

The haves live it up on the backs of the have-nots ... this is the glory of capitalism - a human system based on greed -- as corrupt as all the rest, including "socialism".

Never mind that there IS no lack, there's enough of everything (for God is our Provision), that any system based on the necessity of debt is enslavement, that the illusion of human separation and division ("us vs. them") are the crux of the problem...!

I see the whole house of cards come tumbling down, as the foundations are being shaken ... I think God is up to something ... perhaps the threat of collapse, and global weather threats, are getting our attention (and so fear gets our attention, but Love is the solution) ... perhaps the emperor will soon be recognized as buck-naked. Perhaps we will collectively come to our senses, awaken as did the prodigal in his pig-sty, and then return HOME.

I sense something coming to a head, to a tipping point ... for good, for awareness, for enlightenment ... so let your Light shine before men ...!

Shalom, Dena

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Our Deepest Fear ...

Due to time-constraints (preparing for another art show), this entry may be a short one. However, what it lacks in "prolificness", it oozes in power. Read this meditatively ... and if there is something your mind balks at, pause, re-read, and ask the Spirit to show you if it's true. Trust that He knows how, and when, to show you.

Our Deepest Fear

(Often attributed to Nelson Mandela, but actually written by Marianne Williamson -- y'know, they *do* kinda-sorta look alike ... got that same Light in their eyes!)

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?

You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you.

We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; It's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fears, our presence automatically liberates others.


Shalom, Dena

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

River of Life ... some thoughts

I love oddness. Especially when it becomes Godness.

(oddness is just an experience we have, before we realize that it's God getting our attention...)

So, this morning, I wake up with an odd little song in my head. This has happened before, of course, and sometimes it's an annoying thing, such as when "It's a Small World" or the "Barney Song" ("I love you, you love me, we're a happy family...") is stuck, and won't get out.

This morning, I heard:

I've got a river of life, flowing out of me,
Makes the lame to walk and the blind to see;
Opens prison doors, sets the captives free,
I've got a river of life, flowing out of me.

Spring up, O well, within my soul;
Spring up, O well, and make me whole;
Spring up, O well, and give to me
That life abundantly.

Now, we used to sing that song, over and over, ad nauseam (as is the penchant in Christian gatherings -- as if we have to work ourselves up into an emotional/mesmerized frenzy so as to *make* God show up and *do* something, but I digress).

Got to admit, I never really looked at the lyrics before...

God-incidentally, I was reading this morning, and the book I'm reading suggested that I check out the first portion of Ezekiel 47, about the River of Life ... got my attention!

Here's what it says:

1The man took me back to the temple, where I saw a stream flowing from under the entrance. It began in the south part of the temple, where it ran past the altar and continued east through the courtyard.

This is the same river spoken of in the book of Revelation ... (& Revelation is all about making the transition from the old covenant/mindset, into the new covenant/mindset).

2We walked out of the temple area through the north gate and went around to the east gate. I saw the small stream of water flowing east from the south side of the gate.

3The man walked east, then took out his measuring stick and measured five hundred sixty yards downstream.

Or, one thousand cubits ... thousand is metaphorical language for "divine completeness".

He told me to wade through the stream there, and the water came up to my ankles. 4Then he measured another five hundred sixty yards downstream, and told me to wade through it there. The water came up to my knees. Another five hundred sixty yards downstream the water came up to my waist. 5Another five hundred sixty yards downstream, the stream had become a river that could be crossed only by swimming. 6The man said, "Ezekiel, son of man, pay attention to what you've seen."

You and I, sons of man (Sons of God) are to pay attention to this as well ... what does it mean, for us? We're told to wade in the stream ... the River of Life ... the very flow of the Presence of God (that which holds all things together, is in all things, IS all things). We're to become aware of this River, to experience this River ... to go INTO it. The more we go into it, the more we experience it ... the more it overcomes us, until we are submerged (baptized?), and caught up in the Flow of the River of Life ... but it is not outside of us, it does not come upon us ... it flows OUT of us, for it is indeed our very life...!

We walked to the riverbank, 7where I saw dozens of trees on each side. 8The man said:

This water flows eastward to the Jordan River valley and empties into the Dead Sea, where it turns the salt water into fresh water. 9Wherever this water flows, there will be all kinds of animals and fish, because it will bring life and fresh water to the Dead Sea. 10From En-Gedi to Eneglaim, people will fish in the sea and dry their nets along the coast. There will be as many kinds of fish in the Dead Sea as there are in the Mediterranean Sea. 11But the marshes along the shore will remain salty, so that people can use the salt from them.

This echoes the passage from Revelation ... the River of Life flows to all, bringing healing/wholeness (awareness) to all it touches ... they are urged to drink. For those who refuse, they are living in the Dead Sea, where there appears to be no life. They are "salted" ... salt is a preservative, and we're told that we are "all salted by fire" ... fire being a purifier, burning off that which blinds us. Salt also, I notice, makes us thirsty ... so that we are then drawn to the River of Life, to drink, to receive the Living Water, which makes us whole, ALIVE...! It has always been there, within us, only if we don't see it, if we are veiled by the lies we believe, then we won't experience it. And YET, God is drawing all men to Himself, and the Spirit is leading us into all truth, and God uses even those things which seem to be harming us, to lure us to Himself, within, our true natures, so that we can live His Life... which is our life.

12Fruit trees will grow all along this river and produce fresh fruit every month. The leaves will never dry out, because they will always have water from the stream that flows from the temple, and they will be used for healing people.

This speaks of God's non-ending, non-lacking, ever-present provision for us ... we only experience lack if we believe more in lack than in His provision. I recall the verse in Revelation, "and the leaves of the tree shall be for the healing of the nations" ... healing is our inevitable inheritance ... we will come to our senses, He is drawing us ... we cannot, and shall not, thwart the very purpose for which we were made ... to live the Life of God.

As our minds are healed, as the lies we believe are replaced with His truth, as our souls are aligned with His Spirit, then so too do our bodies manifest the wholeness of God Himself. The Abundant Life is for us to live ... as we submerge in the River of Life, as it flows through us ... unclogged and unblocked from the vain imaginings that we gave way to, when we didn't know better.

Now, we know better.

Shalom, Dena

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Unpacking the New Covenant ...

(in case you were wondering, yes, this is a continuation of the whole "living beyond disease" exploration)

I notice something about the new covenant ... God tells us, through the prophets, that this covenant is *not* like the old one ... the old one was an agreement, with each party, God and man, doing their part ... IF you do this, then I shall do that, but IF you do that, then this shall result.

(& further, I see that man insisted on the conditions, and God in His mercy, in His desire to reveal how fruitless this whole experiment was, met man right smack-dab where he was ... that's what God does.)

But ... God says that in the new covenant, GOD is the one who does it all. It's based on mercy, on grace, on God being all in all.

(& this, my friends, is the good news for ALL mankind..!)

Grasp this (or at least ponder it a while): in the new covenant, the Spirit of God lives this life for us.

HowEVER, if we insist on remaining in the old mindset, the old covenant, thinking we have to do certain things in order to please God, to gain His acceptance, to bridge the gap of "separation", then we will continue to suffer the experience of futility and failure.

Yeah, we have that option. Good to know.

Keep this in mind: God is not the One who causes the failure and suffering when we 'do our own thing' ...! It's just the consequence of choosing to live under human effort -- the law of sowing and reaping, cause and effect -- it's US bringing about our own suffering!

And remember this: Our life is not our own (small self). There is One Life, and that Life is God's, and we are all manifestations of God's Life, and Life is eternal ... we have a purpose, to demonstrate truth and compassion and mercy ... to bring Light into every dark corner of creation ... to demonstrate live-action displays of love-replacing-fear... to BE Christ in every experiencing, bringing healing and wholeness to all that appears to be broken...!

First, we must learn to be still, and to listen. Stop, look, and listen (whoever first said that was tuned in to God!). "In returning and rest shall you be saved from this (whatever is presenting) evil ... in quietness and confidence shall be your strength" (Isa 30:7).

Rather than responding in our egoic/carnal/natural thinking (our usual first reaction), we must let the Spirit of wisdom counsel us, and direct us and lead us, in every single situation, in every decision. This will at first be an intentional exercise of our wills ... dying to self (that which fearfully screams, "DO something!"), and listening deeper, to who we really are, way down deep where we are One with God. In time, with practice, with familiarity and trust, this will become our nature, our first inclination. We can learn to "practice the Presence of God" (to realize God is always here, everywhere, in and as everything that is).

Now, this doesn't mean that we're ignoring the presenting problem ... this is not denial. We are having a human/physical experience here, and thus God's application will be practical. But let's face just how our normal first-reaction tends to be problematic in itself ... because if we meet a problem (be it a person or a situation) with the same consciousness OF the problem, then we just wallow IN the problem -- only, we've likely made it worse (ohhhh, we're SO good at that!).

Our calling is not to fix problems -- but to heal them. Not with the wisdom of egoic man (which ain't working too good, y'noticed?), but with the wisdom of God (which is the TRUE nature of man).

Here's what I'm seeing about *how* to do this:

We need to let go of any predetermined outcomes ... we can't go to God, telling God how He should deal with the situation. "Please do this, and oh please do that," as if He doesn't know what needs to be done, and how, and when...! (oh, we're so funny!)

Knowing that God is good, and thus only goodness can come forth, we can THANK Him for whatever it is that's already being worked out, and THANK Him that He knows how to let us cooperate with the unfoldment of that good (yay, we get to play with God!).

Knowing that the Spirit is always leading, always guiding, always speaking, always directing, we can plunge into that current, that River of Life, trusting that we can listen, that we can hear, and that we can thus respond as God responds.

(& didn't Isaiah prophesy of this: "and you shall hear a word beyind you saying, 'This is the way, walk ye in it' when you turn to the right or to the left." Seriously, I learned SO much when I actually LOOKED at what the prophets said about this new covenant, and then compared it with what Christianity teaches about it ... NOT the same! Methinks I'm going with the original rendition, and not the re-make!)

What's so incredibly, amazingly, astonishingly, unfathomably uber-cool to me, is that, in this process of *wanting* to know and understand (& live) the heart of God, I'm finding, more and more, that His will and my (truest, deepest) will are one and the same...! I'm beginning to understand the ancient quote, "Love God and do what you wish."

Fathom this: We share the heart of God. God is Love. God leads us by the desires of our heart -- God PUTS His desires in our heart (which is His heart). The Wisdom of God appears to us AS our desires.

We need not fear the will of God ... we need not fear surrendering to God ... and if we DO fear God, perhaps and perchance 'tis time to examine our view OF God ... are we fearing a man made, man-projected god who rewards and punishes, who withholds His favor unless we perform well, who plays hide and seek with us, who is schizophrenic in his response to us...?

Is that god truly God...? Dare we ask? Dare we fire the false god who is keeping us from seeing and experiencing the REAL God...?

EVERYthing that happens to us is good, in that it will all teach us what we need to know about God, about ourselves (including exposing the lies we believe!), drawing us higher and deeper into the truth of everything, into the Mind of God, releasing our inherent Mind of Christ ... resulting in peace, in the Abundant Life.

The new covenant, the kingdom of God/heaven, the new Jerusalem, the new heavens and new earth (new EVERYthing) is at hand, is in our midst, is within you ...!

~*Inquire Within*~

Shalom, Dena

Monday, September 21, 2009

Ohhhhhh, God is SO Good...!

Immediately after writing the last blog entry, I went to prepare lunch, and turned on NPR (National Public Radio) ... I found myself listening to a woman, Karen Armstrong (whose books I have read), a former nun, expounding on the history of man's view of God ... echoing what I had just written ...!

Love it!

This is an absolutely brilliant message -- I highly encourage you to hear it (38 minutes).

I'd love to hear your responses, if you tune in...!

Shalom, Dena

Rethinking the New Covenant ...

Did you know that we're in the new covenant...?

Now, this may elicit a big collective "duh" from y'all, but I've come to believe that while we talk new covenant, we tend to think, and thus live, old covenant.

Christianity strikes me as being uber-fixated on adherence to the law, external rules, striving, achieving, measuring-up, sin, shame, fear and separation ... rather than realizing what's been done, who we are, and the inherent freedom we have ...

The old covenant, as I'm seeing it, was a contract that God made with humanity ... it was God meeting humanity where they were at that time, bringing them out of the darkness of their own thinking, into the progressive unveiling of truth, little by little, step by step.

I see that the awareness of God's Truth is a progressive one ... I see this displayed both in the macro-story of all of scripture, and in the micro-story of my own life ...

Initially, humans saw a plethora of gods, who warred with each other, with man in the cross-hairs of that dangerous drama. We had volcano-gods who spewed lava-wrath onto villages and crops, with capricious randomness ... seemingly furious with man, and punishing. As humans are wont to do, they turned to bargaining ... and determined that the gods must be appeased ... by sacrificing that which was most precious. And so began the practice of tossing in first-borns and virgin-daughters, so that the gods would perhaps back off a bit.

Enter Abraham, and the dawning awareness that there was but One God ... but old habits die hard, and the concept of human sacrifice still prevailed. God had to dramatically show Abraham that He wasn't interested in having humans killed to appease Him ... in fact, God Himself provided the sacrifice... surely the killing of an animal was a step in an enlightened direction...!

We may notice that this knowledge of One God didn't have too much of an impact where human behavior was concerned ... more progression in thought and awareness was required ...

Enter Moses, who was given the law -- rules of conduct by which man was to live. These were "training wheels", or a "tutor", given to provide humans with boundaries, until humankind progressed enough in our relationship and awareness of God that we would no longer need an external list of rules to obey (see Galatians 3:24, 25).

Interestingly, the law was given right after the time of enslavement in Egypt (I see the Bible as both an account of remembered-history, and a metaphorical parable of our own spiritual journey). Perhaps Egypt is symbolic of the darkness and enslavement of the human consciousness/mindset, wherein we are in bondage to the world's group-think. Perhaps Egypt symbolizes the imagination of man that WE have created, and enslaved ourselves to ... in bondage to our own beliefs...

In spite of this revelation of the law, humans continued to live in confusion about God ... seeing God as one who rewarded and punished, depending on the behaviors of the humans ... as if God created us unable to follow Him, and then punished us for our own inherited inability...!

What if human-thinking, imagining ourselves to be separated from God, came up with the concept of following the law, and receiving either blessings or punishmnents, in the first place...? What if that was the best thinking man could come up with at the time? What if God met us where we were, and let us follow the natural consequences of that thinking, showing us the results of thinking we had to EARN God's approval, allowing us to exhaust ourselves with all that endless, empty, inevitably-failing striving ... so that we could SEE for ourselves that our own efforts (to get what we'd always had) were a waste...?

What if that was what it took, for us to come to our senses?

(& it begs the question: have we YET come to our senses?!?)

I notice how God kept talking to and through the prophets, saying things like, "I never wanted to be your Master -- I want to be your Husband" ... "I never wanted sacrifice -- I want mercy" ... as if to say, "Hey, guys, you've got Me all wrong! I'm not the Source of your misery ... your thinking is the source of your misery! I keep trying to show you what I'm like, but you prefer to see me through your own darkened thinking! Do I have to come down there to SHOW you what I'm like?!?"

And God kept saying, through the prophets, that this covenant/age would come to an end (note: it was never the "end of the world", but the end of the age), and that a new covenant, a new age, a new heavens and new earth, a new Jerusalem, a new Kingdom, would replace the old one (& yes, I do see all those as synonymous, as I discover that they're biblically synonymous).

So what did those prophets say that the new covenant would be like...? It would be a covenant of peace, of joy, of love ... no disease, no sin, no iniquity ... all would know God, former enemies would live in peace, we would see as God sees, justice would prevail ... we would have no need for any human to teach us, for we would have One Teacher ... we would live by His Light ... we would be governed from within ... the law would be written on our hearts ... our Sabbath rest would be a way of life (rather than a thing to be externally observed) ... our hearts would be circumcised ... our hearts of stone would be replaced with hearts of flesh ... there would be no distinctions regarding gender, or age ... all would have the Spirit ... all would be One... Love and Mercy would prevail... Mercy would triumph over judgment.

Enter Jesus, who said and did the most radical and anti-religious things. Like, "I and the Father are One" ... "if you've seen me, you've seen the Father" ... "I have come that you might have Abundant Life" ... "you will be forgiven as you forgive" ... "May they be One, as we are One, and they One with us" ... "my Kingdom does not come by observation, but is in your midst, within you" ... "The Spirit will lead you into all truth" ... "no one comes to the Father unless the Spirit draws them" ... "I will draw all men to myself" ...

Now, here's the problem.

We all tend, from the Jews of that day, to the Christians of this day, to expect to see (*observe*) a literal/physical fulfillment of those promises ... rather than realizing that Jesus was speaking of a spiritual awareness -- a spiritual dimension, available here and now, for those who have eyes to see, rather than a literal/physical fulfillment.

In every way, the new covenant replaces and surpasses the old covenant ... the literal/physical/tangible foreshadowing of the old covenant was surpassed with the superior spiritual fulfillment in the new covenant.

So that external/physical circumcision becomes internal/spiritual circumcision of the heart.

So that external/physical observation of a Sabbath day becomes internal/spiritual Rest as a way of life.

So that the external/physical adherence to the Law becomes an internal/spiritual desire to live and demonstrate love (which is the fulfillment of the law).

So that the external/physical kingdom becomes an internal/spiritual Kingdom within.

So that the external/physical Jerusalem becomes an internal/spiritual New Jerusalem within.

It is insane to think that there is a coming "utopia", an external/physical fulfillment of the return of Jesus, rather than seeing that He has already returned, in the more superior-spiritual fulfillment of US manifesting as The Christ...!

Christianity, in teaching a literal/physical return, a literal/physical kingdom, a literal/physical utopia, ignores this physical-surpassed-by-spiritual progression, and instead reverts backwards ... mistakenly thinking that the physical trumps the spiritual, and actually lulls us into MISSING that which we now HAVE..!

As I see it, the new covenant was always here, always the ultimate reality ... available to us if we had eyes to see ... and indeed, throughout recorded history, there were those who were able to enter in, by seeing beyond the physical/tangible, able to experience a relationship with God as He actually is ... able to move beyond the fear-based thinking of man, into the Love-based truth of God.

But, in order to move into the new (the ultimate reality), we have to let go of the old. The old has to die before the new can emerge .. it was always there, but we are blind to it.

We must die to self ... die to the old way of thinking, the old way of seeing, the old way of relating to God based on fear... on imagining that we are separate from Him. We must no longer allow ego to tell us what is what, so that Spirit can show us the truth.

Any time we find ourselves striving, using human effort to gain, we are admitting that w do not yet understand who we are, and the eternal truth of our existence. Human effort to achieve anything spiritually is a statement that we do not yet understand grace. And thus, we are putting ourselves back under the "old covenant", back under the law, with all it's laws and punishments.

It is by grace that we are who we really are.

It is by grace that we come to know and see and understand the REAL nature of God, and who we are IN God.

It is by grace that we rise above every obstacle that *seems* to be in our way (i.e., anything that causes us to believe we are less than who we are in Christ).

When we do not accept what Jesus came to show us about God, about us ... when we continue to try to be worthy ... when we try to earn God's acceptance ... when we try to please God to avoid His 'wrath' ... when we strive under a sense of having to prove anything ... to that degree we are STILL LIVING UNDER THE LAW. And thus we are denying Christ, and grieving the Spirit.

When will we believe, and accept, and live in accordance with the reality that the Spirit is the "true Light which lights every man born into this world"...? (John 1:9)

Why are we still trying to earn what we already have, and who we already ARE?

Jesus told us that WE (& He) are the Light of the world.

John writes that "of his fullness we have all received."

We're told that we have been translated out from the kingdom/consciousness of darkness, into the kingdom of the Son.

(notice how none of those statements suggest a future state, but are NOW...?)

So, why don't we believe those? Why do we behave as if we still have to earn something, by our own efforts? Why are we living in despair, as if we won't achieve that?

Why do we not yet know that our beliefs, that which we've been taught to believe, are in direct contradiction to that which the Spirit of God teaches, what Jesus taught?

Why do we teach the old, even while declaring that the new has come?

It's because we believe what we are *seeing* ... and we see what we *believe*. We ignore what Jesus warned against -- we insist on judging according to external appearances, rather than judging according to "righteous judgment."

Righteous judgment is agreeing with God. No matter WHAT the external circumstances declare. Righteous judgment is saying that the illusions we see are NOT ultimate reality.

We can ASK for, and expect to receive, God's version of truth ... He will renew our minds, so that we can see as He sees, if we want His truth more than we want what we think is truth.

Which do you *want*...?

Shalom, Dena

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Power of Thoughts -- for Good or for Harm

After a bit of a detour into the absurdities and adventures of my past, I return now to exploring how we can (if we dare) live beyond disease/dis-ease...

Let's think about thoughts ... I've come to see them as incredibly powerful forces. For good, for harm, for change ... always impacting us and others, but seldom recognized for what they are. It seems we largely take them for granted, and discount them as powerful ... which, of course, enables them to affect us, unchecked.

And I'm reminded that we're to "take every thought captive" ... could God be telling us to no longer allow ourselves to be "victims" of our own uncaptivated thoughts, but to realize that we're co-creators, in His very image, and that perhaps it's time to wake up and become responsible for our own thinking ...?

Could it be that thoughts (& the resulting words and actions) are the most powerful force we have? And if we're ignorant of this, could we be unknowingly thinking and speaking ourselves into our own misery...?

What if the thoughts we entertain, and defend, and cling to, are the stuff of "graven images"? Dos a graven image have to be on stone, or can they be engraved in our minds..? As I'm learning, whatever is engraved in our own imaginations actually appears in the world of form -- what we see (inside) is what we get (outside).

If we don't like what we're experiencing/getting, perhaps we should take the time to ask God to show us what thought we're clinging to that's in contradiction to His Truth ... IOW, show us our graven images, so that we can cease to worship (hold as valuable and worthy) them, and instead worship God.

Is it possible that disease begins as a thought...? Not necessarily a thought about a particular disease, but as the very atmosphere of (individual or collective) thought that sees a world filled with disease, dis-ease, ruled by confusion and chaos...?

If we are seeing confusion and chaos, then we do not see, nor expect to see, GOD ruling His creation in Love and Divine Order. If we are seeing the world through the graven image of confusion and chaos and dis-ease, then we will experience circumstances, situations and ignorance ruling instead of God.

How we see God, and how we see ourselves, is absolutely imperative for how we experience Life. Do we see God as Omnipresent, Omnipotent and Omniscient, or do we see God as conditional, withholding, and limited...? Do we see ourselves as spiritual beings having a physical experience, Children of the Light, offspring of God ... or do we see ourselves as fallen and unworthy wretches, undeserving of mercy, physical beings who must strive to become spiritual...?

Should we maybe question what we believe, what we've been taught, and turn to the only One who can tell us the Truth about Himself, about ourselves...? Can we let go of what we think we know, what we think we're supposed to believe, to make room for the "much more" that the Spirit wants to lead us into? Do we trust what humans have taught us to believe, or what God wants to show us...?

Does the physical determine the spiritual, or does the Spirit determine the physical? Which is preeminent? Which came first? Which is eternal?

The moment we let the physical trump the spiritual, we fall into a state of confusion, chaos and darkness that leads to dis-ease/disease in our minds, in our bodies, in our world. NEVER should the created usurp the Creator. Never should the physical lord over the spiritual.

The body does not determine the Life - the Life determines the condition of the body.

Look around at the magnificent order and harmony of what's created ... everything functioning in Divine Order ... from the smallest atom, to the most seemingly complex solar system ... the seasons flow with perfect order ... stars "appear" in the same places in the heavens ... all creatures follow an inner life-flow of when to sleep, when to awaken, when to mate, when to hibernate or migrate ... everything flowing in concert with the Mind of God, the Mind of all Goodness and Divine Order ... including your very body.

And yet -- we believe that we have to intervene, with pills, and programs, and check-ups and x-rays, and examinations and human interventions...! Is the human body exempt from the absolute, sovereign, loving authority of God's Divine Order...? Do we truly need human help and intervention, and manufactured replacements, or do we just *think* we do...?

When did we give over trust in Divine Order to the traditions of man? Who led us to believe that we must see ourselves as victims of chance and probability? Who taught us that disease is inevitable, and we must fear it and fight it?

We have become convinced, as a society, as a culture, that we cannot survive without human intervention. Have you yet noticed that what we believe - we then experience? As a man thinks in his own heart so is he (I know, I know, I repeat that verse ad infinitum, but it's so crucial to see this on a deep level!). Then we see what we believe happening, which reinforces what we believe ... 'round and 'round and 'round we go ... projecting our beliefs, judging by appearances, justifying what we believe, believing it with more conviction, until we cannot and will not accept any challenges to our carefully-crafted creations...!

BUT -- when the Christ awakens us to His perspective, when the Spirit of God rests upon/in us, "we will not judge after the seeing of our eyes, or the hearing of the ears, we will instead judge according to truth and what is eternally right" (Isaiah 11:3f -- and this is prophesying the new covenant -- which we have been IN ... perhaps time to live what we have?).

When our judgments are challenged and change, and our beliefs are aligned up with God's perspective, then our experiences will change as well.

So, why do we spend time asking God to change our experiences (which we have orchestrated and created), when the root is what we believe...? Is prayer for the purpose of changing our circumstances, or for changing our perspective...? Do we need a fish, or do we need to learn how to fish?

I can hear someone asking, "yeah, but what about diseases in animals and plants? And what about infants? Are they indulging in wrong thinking/believing, too?"

Great question! Glad you asked! ;)

Here's what I'm seeing about that: "ALL creation groans and travails in pain together waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God." Or: "All Creation stands on tip-toe, awaiting the sons of God to appear."

(My father really liked that last rendition -- he would literally stand on tip-toe and grin, right in the choir loft, when he sang that song..!)

I see that humans are the crowning glory of all creation ... the only part God called "very good." And it was to man that God said, "go and take dominion over all the earth, and subdue it." (ever notice how He said it to male and female? with no mention of hierarchy? Hmmm...)

How do we subdue? Not by raping the earth for our own greed and waste, but by taking care of it, with self-sacrifice, wisdom, stewardship and love ... for the good of *all*. AND, we subdue it with the knowledge of truth ... for as we perceive life, so do we govern. If we believe in, and thus live in, disorder, confusion, fear, greed, lack, and dis-ease, so too will the rest of Creation appear and manifest.

Yeah, we're that powerful, for good and for harm. It's time we saw that, and got responsible about that.

We either infect, or bless, all of Creation, with our own thinking...! Yes, thoughts are THAT powerful!

(& it's not just our individualized thoughts that create disease ... but the power of the collective thoughts around us ... which has prevailed for millennia ... which is not often, if ever, questioned or challenged ... the very system in which we are born and which we unthinkingly accept ... the very group-think that creates "reality" around us ... that which we accept, acquiesce, adhere, and allow ... that enables disease to flourish ... and with which we must contend, for ourselves, for all.)

But as we awaken, individually and collectively, coming out of the murky fog of selfishness, lethargy, insanity ... as we remember who we really are, why we are here ... all the rest of Creation will respond ... as we realize who we really are, and thus appear and manifest as we really are (the Sons of God, coming into our own), THEN will all of creation respond in kind -- no wonder it's groaning and awaiting this...! No wonder it keeps displaying God's truth and divine order to us, trying to get our attention, giving us message after message of His goodness, of His love, of His Presence, of His mercy, of His Omnipresence, for all to see, if we would have eyes to see..!

God is speaking, through His creation ... are we listening?

Shalom, Dena

Friday, September 18, 2009

A Blast from my Past ...!

I first "found" Jesus (ok, He was never lost), while involved in a high school rendition of "Godspell" (we were good, LOL! Seriously, Melissa Etheridge was our lead guitarist -- I kid you not!). This was in Leavenworth, Kansas, in 1977 ... and it all became real to me during the crucifixion and resurrection scene.

I got in touch with my friend, my high school youth group leader's daughter ... and she posted some photos of us ... if you want to see me at age 15, playing the part of the Floozy, here it is:
(I'm on the far right -- Melissa Etheridge, then known as "Missy", is behind the
chain link fence, playing lead guitar, but of course...!)

Ahh, you can see Melissa here:

And, a close-up of Melissa (faux afros were in then):

Here I am (far right again) dancing to "O Bless the Lord My Soul" - having the time of my life:

Here's another one of me, giving a "sermonette" in the chapel:

That's when it all began, LOL!

Shalom, Dena

A Bit of FUN with an "Evil" Plunger...!

Well, that got your attention, no?

I thought we've have a bit of fun today, amidst all this serious pondering.

Four years back, when we had first moved from Washington, DC to Oregon, it was *quite* the ordeal, on many levels. It's all summed up in this Saga of the Evil Plunger. This is how I learned the value of laughing hysterically, rather than screaming thusly.

You'll understand better, once you've read this. I know I've never been the same.

After my run-in with this evil monstrosity, I knew I had to get it OUT of the house ... and so I offered it to my local Freecycle group (for those who don't know, it's an online give-away group - designed to keep unwanted items out of the landfill). Not terribly surprising, I didn't get any responses. I came across this today, and thought I'd share the laugh ... enjoy! And learn from my experience! (We'll get back to pondering the unfathomables tomorrow, I promise!)

A toilet plunger?!?

Who'd want a used toilet plunger?!?

Ahhhh, but this is no ordinary toilet plunger - no! - this one has a story behind it... curl up and prepare to hear the epic of the ORANGE ACCORDION STYLE TOILET PLUNGER (but, ahem, forego any sort of snack whilst reading... just trust me on that!).

We moved here last August, during that hot, horrible couple of weeks out here that make everyone scream in unison, "my kingdom for an air-conditioner!!!" And, naturally, having just purchased a 1900 Victorian, we had NO air conditioning. And NO ONE told us ('til about October) that Oregonians leave their windows open all night, and then CLOSE them in the morning, and pull the shades, so as to keep in that "Oregon air-conditioning"... we found out, the hard way, how miserable it is on the second story, 'round 'bout bedtime, when one keeps the windows open all day.

That's the setting... and the plot is thickened with the many SNAFU's that accompanied our move from 3,000 miles away: our vehicles took 13 weeks to get here (had a rendesvoux with hurricane Katrina in Louisiana, en route...). I was pregnant (& didn't know it, and later miscarried), resulting in me having vertigo in my non-plumb, non-square, non-level house. We're talking seaSICK! And all (no jokin', ALL) of our appliances broke down, i.e., dishwasher, fridge, washer, dryer, oven... well, the oven didn't technically "break", so much as got stuck on the "clean" cycle, and couldn't be opened... and the repair man broke the lever off, and the part was naturally only found in (you guessed it) New Orleans, and so we couldn't use the oven for 6 weeks (can anyone say, "I'm so sick of microwaved dinners I could holler!"?).

We had boxes, upon boxes spilling out of our house, onto the porches, into the yard (as if our house had thrown up), couldn't find ANYTHING, and couldn't unload until the basement was remodeled (which took 8 months, but I was mercifully in the dark about that at the time). We had truck-loads of JUNK to haul off of the property... ugh (& expensive!). My husband was traveling, taking the only rental vehicle (a Ford Focus for 9 people... take a moment to envision that). AND, due to the new-to-our-immune-systems bacteria in the region, we all had to get sick, repeatedly, in an attempt to get our bodies used to this side of the country.

Nowwwww, you're ready for "the rest of the story..."!

So, we were on our third bout with the dreaded stomach virus (what IS it with that stomach virus out here??? We got it 3 times in a month!)... envision 9 people, all with both ends purging, contending with merely 2 toilets, standing in line with all my mixing bowls in hand... saying, "please hurry up in there"! NOT a pretty sight.

So, one morning, I take traveling-husband to the shuttle in Salem, and then head back home (hoping to lie around and feel sorry for myself for the day), only to discover that THAT DAY was the LAST DAY to register my kids for homeschool... and I had to go back to Salem to do so. Sigh... So, I left my puking kids at home with their oldest sister, and went to Salem, hoping that my own stomach would keep calm... returning hours later... to find...

Apparently, my 7 year old had had to relieve himself in the toilet, we're talking about what boys do whilst sitting down on the toilet, and was apparently going through an aversion to touching himself "down there", and believed that using an entire roll of toilet paper, wadded up in a ball, between his hand and his nether-regions, would protect him from whatever was striking terror into his little heart...

... and so, he did just that. My daughter swears it was TWO entire rolls, but I'll err on the conservative side for now...

Now, this is the same kid who "forgets" to flush.

And, close on his tail (ha! so to speak!), were at least 3 puking children, who didn't have the time, nor the inclination, to flush in between each other, creating a mess of great magnitude and unparalleled disgustingness.

That would have been fine and good and contendable, however...

...SOMEONE (who remains nameless as no one would confess, to this day), had the "brilliant" notion to (you guessed it)... FLUSH!

Up, and over, and all over, came the aforementioned mess of great magnitude and unparalleled disgustingness ... across the bathroom floor, and down the open hole that was meant for the (as then yet to be hooked up) radiator pipe. Into the (still unfinished, praise God) basement. My enterprising children took it upon themselves to fetch every stinkin' clean towel and put them on the bathroom floor, as
well as on the basement floor, to make the mess of great magnitude and unparalleled disgustingness "go away" -- at least, they could no longer see it. Three cans of air freshener were then dispensed in an effort to make the air breathable again.

I came home to this... hot, tired, nauseated, racked with vertigo, and was about knocked out by the sight, smell and reality of what I had to face. Sigh... sometimes, no one wants to be the mommy!

I dealt with the towels (bearing in mind, this was between the era of "all appliances have broken" and the great appliance-shopping-fest, so this meant getting things gathered up for a trip to the laundromat), and then pondered how to deal with the toilet (you should be really glad I did not have the presence of mind to take a photo, to post here... this is a story best left to the imagination,
rather than to the harsh realities of digital illustration!).

I called my husband, blessedly unaware of what was going on back home, safely away on a business trip, and asked him with as much calmness I could muster, "Where is a plunger?" He told me he'd seen on in the garage, and I sent an offspring to fetch it. Said offspring came back with something I'd only seen, and eyed with cynicism, in Home Depot... a day-glo orange, plastic, accordion-pleated thingy... masquerading as a toilet plunger. It was my only option.

Now, bear in mind, that I'd previously only been acquainted with the "normal" type of plunger... the wooden-handled, bell-bottomed, suction-cup-thingy type of plunger. I KNEW how to use those babies... I knew that you stuck the thing over the hole (in this case I couldn't exactly SEE the hole, but I knew, by faith, remotely where it was, lurking under the aforementioned mess), and then you pumped with a vengeance, successfully releasing the clog, and causing the mess to go bye-bye. I had done this before -- I knew how it was supposed to work ... with a *normal* plunger.

I did not yet know that this was no normal plunger, but an evil, diabolical, beastly plunger!

So... I did what any other reasonable, rational-minded human being would do, with having no experience with the day-glo orange, plastic accordion-pleated plunger -- I put the thing down there, and pumped with a vengeance!

Now, for those of you who ARE familiar and experienced with these things, you KNOW what happened next, and you can stop laughing now. For those who aren't familiar with them, read this story with solemnity, and REAP FROM MY EXPERIENCE, lest you fall into the same fate! (If I cannot be a good example, at least let me be a horrible warning!)

You see, these things are designed NOT to push water down the drain, so much as to *displace* the water, by use of forced air, from the bottom of the plunger. And, when the toilet bowl is full (of you know what), that force of air causes the water (& mess) to go in one direction only: STRAIGHT UP!

Yeppers, I found myself being geysered, smack-dab in the face, with a whoosh of mess of great magnitude and unparalleled disgustingness...! I was so stunned, that I just stood there, dripping. Gasping. Gagging. I believe I used an entire box of baby
wipes to get cleaned up enough to call my husband back...

I asked him, "have you used these day-glo orange accordion plunger-thingies before??" He answered to the affirmative. I responded (having lost all veneer of calmness), "Then why didn't you TELL me that you can't plunge with a vengeance?!?" He said, "I detect a bit of self-pity in your voice, dear." I came back with, "YOU'RE DARNED TOOTIN', BUDDY, BECAUSE I'M FILLED WITH A BOATLOAD OF SELF-PITY RIGHT NOW!!!"

I've long-since forgiven him, long-since cleaned up the bathroom, and we have a bunch of new appliances (&, in case you ever eat at my house, I've thoroughly sanitized all of my mixing bowls...!).

However, that dang day-glo orange, accordion pleated plunger-thingy is STILL lurking in my bathroom...!

Have I mentioned how much I HATE that plunger...?

Does anyone DARE to adopt that plunger...? (I'll get some offspring to hose it off outdoors, before it leaves).

I recommend you put a BIG ol' hairy warning label right on the sucker, before someone else falls prey to its evil shenanigans!

After getting zero responses (beyond the folks who let me know they were laughing, and gagging), I listed the plunger on eBay, along with this story. A brave (& odd?) man in California actually bought the plunger from me, and asked that I print out & ship the story as well ... which he framed, and put on the wall above the plunger, in a place of honor in his house.

And NOW, you have had fun with an evil plunger ...!

Shalom, Dena

Thursday, September 17, 2009

~A Little Chat with Jesus~

My friend, Bob Harkema, wrote a rather amazing little dialogue, between him and Jesus, on his blog ... I found it so enchanting and affirming, that I wanted to treat the rest of y'all with it. So, I'm taking a wee break from my own thoughts, to share those of Bob. If you would like to explore the rest of his blog, it's here: I'll be adding it to my blog-roll as well.

With no further ado, here's that conversation (enjoy!):

A little chat to clear things up

This is a transcript of a recent conversation. This is not intended to be a complete theological treatise, it is a fictional representation of how I believe Jesus might respond to some questions.

Me: It really is amazing to finally to get to talk directly with you, face to face. I have so many questions I really don’t know where to begin. What shall I call you?

Jesus: Jesus is fine. I don’t really care what people call me. My mother called me Yeshua. Sometimes when she was mad she called me other names.

I remember this one time when I wandered off at temple. When she caught up with me she was in a real tizzy. She grabbed me by the ear and drug me all the way home. Joseph, my dad, just laughed but that only made her madder. Do you believe it, I got grounded!

Me: You are kidding? The Son of God got grounded?

Jesus: Well she calmed down after a bit when I told her I was, “about my Fathers business.” That line got me out of a lot of trouble when I was a kid.

Me: So you called Joseph your “Dad” and called God your “Father”?

Jesus: Yes, that seemed to work out best at the time. It’s pretty much like you do today I think. Father is me and I am Him and the Spirit is in us and I am in you. Kind of blows your mind doesn’t it?

Me: Yes, the concept of the “Trinity” and union has been hard to comprehend so most people don’t even think about it.

Jesus: They were actually two of our best ideas. But like most of our ideas some self-righteous, religious type people managed to create a lot of confusion and chaos out of them. We love them anyway but they sure put a lot of people through the wringer with their beliefs.

Me: You sound a bit critical of religion?

Jesus: Hey, religion was not our idea. For us it has always been about relationship, with each other and all that I created.

Me: So you are saying that dressing a certain way or behaving a certain way or participating in religious rituals or believing certain things are not necessary to get close to you or gain your favor?

Jesus: Exactly, but you look so serious when you do that stuff, it is kind of cute. We usually get a pretty good kick out of it.

Me: But what about the 10 commandments, the “Golden Rule”? What about repentance and confession? What about going to church? What about not drinking, not smoking and not dancing? What about lust and pornography and fornicating?

Jesus: You know why Baptists are so against pre-marital sex?

Me: No.

Jesus: They are afraid it might lead to dancing! Love that joke, wrote it myself.

Me: Very funny, but you didn’t answer my question.

Jesus: I am sorry. I forget that you guys are always so serious about “spiritual” things. I had really hoped you had gotten past that a couple thousand years ago.

Ok, here it is, one more time. Listen up, I am only going to say this a few trillion more times, I love you man!

Me: Just love? What about justice? What about holiness? What about sin?

Jesus: I took care of it.

Me: What do mean you took care of it?

Jesus: We, Father, Spirit and I, planned it all before time even began. You think we were surprised by Adams disobedience and unbelief? This has always been Plan A, to involve ourselves into your existence and let you know we love you. Always have and always will. Did you actually think we expected you to be perfect before we could love you? King David will get a real charge out of that idea.

Me: Well maybe not perfect, but surely those who are trying should get more credit then those who do not.

Jesus: You remember when I jumped on my disciples because they tried to prevent some kids from being near me?

Me: Yes, I read that in the Bible.

Jesus: Why do you think I said my Kingdom will be made up of children such as these?

Me: Because children are innocent, pure, and trusting?

Jesus: Well they are that, but they are also selfish, noisy, fickle, messy, largely ignorant and much more prone to play rather then work. They exhibit all the stuff that I put into them when I created them. So do you.

Me: But don’t we have to believe in you? Don’t we have to believe correct things about what the Bible teaches?

Jesus: You have to trust me to live in the power of my love, but whether you believe in me or not, whether you trust me or not, I still love you.

I think you can trust me when you realize that I have already forgiven you, already believe in you, already chose you and already received you into Our embrace.

Me: But your Book, your Word has all those rules and regulations?

Jesus: Unless people use those words to love each other better they are missing the point entirely. They might as well be reading a dictionary. You can’t really think we inspired those words so that it would cause people to separate themselves from each other do you?

Me: Well, no, but a lot of people say they understand the Bible perfectly and that we should think and act like they do in order to gain your favor.

Jesus: I get a rash when people think they know Our mind and what they say about us does not reflect our unconditional love for all of you.

Look, it is not about striving for perfection, it is about love, and you can best love me by loving each other. And others can best know My love by the love that you show them.

Me: Don’t we at least have to go to church?

Jesus: Church is not something you go to, it is something you are. Don’t get me wrong, going to a meeting house with others who trust me is fine, just do not get so obligated there that you miss opportunities to love outside of those walls. Showing love to those who do not trust me yet will bring you enormous joy.

Me: You make it sound so easy.

Jesus: When people can grasp that it is much more about what we have already done for you, in you and to you then they will find the true peace and love we want to share with them.

Me: But what about our free will? How can you do things for us, to us and in us without violating our free will? Don’t we have to “receive” you or accept you and your gifts? Don’t we have to make you our personal Lord and Savior? Aren’t you standing at the door knocking, waiting for us to let you in?

Jesus: That’s a good one, personal Lord and Savior, that kills me. Wait until Brother Paul hears that one. I was kind of under the impression that Father, Spirit and I were ALREADY THE LORD OF THE UNIVERSE. DO YOU REALLY THINK THAT WITHOUT MY INDWELLING PRESENCE WITHIN YOU THAT YOU WOULD EVEN EXIST? IS NOT MY VERY BREATH THE SOURCE OF ALL LIFE?

Sorry for shouting, I just think I already earned the title of the Savior of the World.

Me: Please forgive me

Jesus: I already did, long time ago. That’s exactly my point. Why do you find it so easy to believe that we “violated” your free will to condemn you, but so hard to believe we will not “violate” your free will to redeem you?

Why is it so hard for you to trust that I was more successful at my mission then Adam was in his failure?

Besides once you can see Us for who we really are and not the false image and misguided caricature that religion has made us into you will be able to trust in Us.

Not all gifts have to be “received” to be beneficial. Suppose I went to your bank or mortgage company and paid off your house. I do not need your permission to do that. My gift was applied to your account. Your debt has been paid without any action at all on your part. In fact you didn't even know it happened until you sent in a payment and it was returned along with the deed. You may continue to send in house payments but that would just be silly and unnecessary.

My gifts for you are like that.

Me: So you are saying everyone is saved? Everyone is going to Heaven? No one is going to hell?

Jesus: Shouldn't you at least hope I succeeded in what I came to earth to do?

I am saying it has never been all about attaining rewards or avoiding punishment, it is about life. Life with me, life with us and life with each other. You are wasting your time thinking the goal is somewhere out there, up there or at some time in the future. Quit living in the past or waiting for the future, live now! I am here with you now. I have always been with you. We will always be with you, even when you choose to ignore us. We have always been for you. We will always love you.

Me: What about judgment day?

Jesus: Did I not already pay the price? Did I not already conquer sin and death? Our justice is not about revenge; our justice is about restoration and reconciliation. Our justice is about making things right, not getting even.

Our justice is not waiting for some “big day”, we are always just. Unlike you, we can see end result of our actions. What you may perceive as unjust or unfair in the present may well change over time. Trust us.

Me: Is everything I thought about Christianity wrong?

Jesus: First of all, I never intended to start a religion. That was some mans idea, and not a very good one at that.

Secondly, anything you think you know about the Father, Spirit and I that does not reflect our unconditional love and affection for you is wrong.

Thirdly, RELAX! We always have your best interests at heart, quit worrying about things that you cannot possible comprehend in this lifetime.

Me: That is really good news!

Jesus: Exactly!

[Dena's note: I've come to see church a bit differently ... I see it as the ekklesia, the called-out-ones who were in the old covenant, called to enter the new covenant ... as I see the rest of us already being IN the new covenant, I see no more purpose for what we call "church" ... but I'm quite open for God to show me more about this ...!]

Shalom, Dena