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Hello Friends,
Jesus said in Matt 5.48,'be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect..' I think many Christian believe Jesus is talking about a state after the ressurection.

But I think he meant exactly what it is; Perfection of the Heart or Divine Love.

Jesus has faith in man's potential...'greater things you will do.'

I think a perfected man is not a superman coming from the cloud but one who can see things from God's view point, know God's will, love as God loves and one who loves himself as a child of God and extend his goodwill to all because he sees the same divine nature in others.

A perfected man's mind and body moves as one. And he can say 'I am' , not 'I think but can't do,' or 'do as I say, not as I do.'

I think a perfected man is person who is able to use his talents creatively for self purpose and higher purpose therefore achieving joy and happiness of higher value.

I think a perfected man's intellect, emotion,and will is balanced without bias,or arrogance
and has an open mind to recieve higher truth.
He uses these attributes wisely so that he can relate to others with wisdom and compassion.............................

Like to hear your point of view.

Happy Holidays to All!!!
 
Posts: 21 | Location: california | Registered: 16 December 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Phil,
You can tranfer this topic to 'spirtual' board if you like. Unable to delete! Thanks , ithink
 
Posts: 21 | Location: california | Registered: 16 December 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I've read some rather persuasive passages from a couple books, ithink, that have made the pursuit of perfection sound like a worthy goal. Normally when I hear the idea of "perfection", "full potential", or "higher purpose" the image I have is of trying to rise above ourselves in order to escape ourselves. I think this is probably so because perfection, after all, isn't likely to be achieved, not at least in this world. Same with full potential. And "higher purpose" makes me think that being just a humble, plain, but decent enough, human being isn't enough�and it think it is enough. I just hear more striving and grinding from those words and I admit that I'm in a stage of my life where that just doesn't sound good to me. But for those in their 20's or 30's, I say go ahead and knock your socks off. You'll probably be doing the world a service as you follow your destiny. You'll probably do great things. You might even be inspired to find a cure for cancer or something.

And yet, one of the books I read (I think it was "Divine Conspiracy" and/or a C.S. Lewis's "Mere Christianity") made perfection sound a lot more noble and doable. I think it was because it didn't have the sense of escaping ourselves, of moving from crummy and ordinary humanness to some kind of "fully actuated" being where we were then good enough to look into the mirror. It made it sound like something as simple and gentle as just learning to be ourselves because ourselves is very, very good. So therefore it was a matter of stripping off layers a gunk, not adding to the heavy burden most of us already have. Does that make any sense, ithink?

Happy Holidays to you as well.
 
Posts: 5413 | Location: Washington State | Registered: 21 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Brad,
Thanks for sharing your thought.
First I must confess I am no way close to 'perfection'.
On the journey to reach my 'goals' I have felt great stuggle between my mind and body , or just conflict within my mind, which I call growing pain.
But everytime I conquered my ego, or achieved some deep understanding about life, or able to love a little more freely, the joy and peace I felt was very fulfilling and worthwhile.
Sometimes I rather give in to the ease and comfort of the mind or more often the body, and I choose not to face my fear or difficulty.
However I am willing to take responsibility for my own failures and I would not blame anyone for not putting effort to make changes.
I do feel striving to become better is a 'noble' thing. Jesus said: blessed are the pure in heart,blessed are the peacemaker....ect.
Actually he said something about those who do not do things that he ask us to do, we will be called 'least' in the Kingdom of Heaven.
I guess we can still hang around the KOH, but we
might feel too ashame to sit next to him!
By the way I think perfection is not an instantaneous thing. It is a growth process.
When a baby is able to do what a baby do best..
smile,giggle..it is a PERFECT BABY.
Each moment we can bring perfection to a relationship like being kind to someone who feels rejected, or say a word of encouragement.
We have done something that make God proud.
May be that is why Jesus said Matthew 10:41 '....whoever gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, ....he shall not lose his reward.'
Again we reap what we sow......!!
 
Posts: 21 | Location: california | Registered: 16 December 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Another thought I have is how to become like Jesus. Jesus is a perfected man or 'true' son of God. He said we have to be lke him.

I think one is truely perfected is when one is no longer influenced by selfish, self centred, evil or unprincipled thoughts. He becomes one with God's thought, will and God's plan.....

May be that is why he asked his disciple, "who do you think I am.'...... The one who can sensed the spirituality and mind and thoughts of Jesus is truely appreciated by Jesus!!
 
Posts: 21 | Location: california | Registered: 16 December 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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By the way I think perfection is not an instantaneous thing. It is a growth process.
When a baby is able to do what a baby do best..
smile,giggle..it is a PERFECT BABY.
Each moment we can bring perfection to a relationship like being kind to someone who feels rejected, or say a word of encouragement


I think that�s wonderfully and quite poetically said, ithink, and I heartily agree.

whoever gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple,

I think that�s an excellent passage. A similar one that does it for me as well is: Truly I say to you, In so far as you did it to one of these, the least of My brothers, you did it to Me.

I do feel striving to become better is a 'noble' thing.

Well, I do think you are probably right. But I think the spin I was putting on it is that so often our striving becomes The Thing. It becomes the point. We get so involved in the struggle to improve, build, grow, expand, collect, and advance that we�re never really where we are at the time. Our mind and attention is always focused on some point in the future when our lives will finally have real meaning and be full and happy because we will have striven so well.

Surely you are quite correct, ithink, that striving can be, and usually is, good and this may be because it is often a truly additive process wherein we add some good things to our character and nature, such as patience or love. And I think (now that I think about it), I�m coming from the direction of saying that we can also make quite real and meaningful �advances� in more of a subtractive process where we just sort of let go of striving and bring a heapin� teaspoon of acceptance to ourselves, other people, and to the very world itself which, if openly received, requires a lot less striving in the first place.

And I do think that the universe does sort of open up and accommodate us if we are on the right path. I would probably want to point out that I define �striving� as �effort+angst�. And that is to say, I have nothing at all against effort, ambition, inspiration, passion or enthusiasm. But the �angst� part of the �striving� equation, at least to me, means that there is a type of fear mixed in with the effort that (and I�m finding this very hard to define) tends not to result in quite as much peace of mind and joy. And our efforts (our strivings) seem also never to be enough.

As I think you pointed out wonderfully with your baby metaphor, there is a perfection inherent in just being. And I would say that we need to sort of tap into that sense of perfection, even while making (hopefully) enthusiastic efforts to do and try new things. I hope such a balance will bring much joy.
 
Posts: 5413 | Location: Washington State | Registered: 21 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Another thought I have is how to become like Jesus. Jesus is a perfected man or 'true' son of God. He said we have to be lke him.

Jesus was the best Son of Man that he could be. Perhaps our goal is to be the best non-infinite, non-omniscient, non-omnipotent, and non-perfect non-gods that we can be. We�re lucky to have such low standards thrust on us, me thinks. Big Grin It makes life a heck of a lot easier. And maybe that�s where the whole Jesus archetype or Reality comes in: We all sense a desire for perfection. We can almost feel it and smell it. We�ll (as in the case of the Soviet Union) even look past such horrors as have happened when man has tried too hard for utopia, for perfection, and we�ll try yet again to give it another shot despite all good sense.

I happen to think that, just like the ubiquity of religion throughout time shows that we have a yearning to connect to the Transcendent (which I now believe exists), our long-standing cravings for perfection perhaps shows us that in that Transcendent realm (whatever that realms is) that Perfection exists. And because we are creatures connected to both worlds (we have a spiritual existence and connection to god even while our feet remain firmly planted in physical existence), it would sure make sense to me that we have a natural yearning for perfection. And fulfilling such a yearning, in a universe made by love and for love, would surely seem to be a very good goal and thing. But infinities are not allowed in our physical world. There are always limits. You can�t go past the speed of light, for instance. And the reason for that is not because Einstein was such a sour-puss, but because it would take infinite energy to do so. And the physical universe doesn�t contain infinite energy. Nor, perhaps, does it contain the possibility for infinite self-improvement (aka �perfection�), unless, of course, you sort of �rig� the entire system.

I�m sure you�ve all heard about computer hackers who have broken into the computer systems of some bank, or other business, by breaking in through the �back door�. That back door, as I understand it, is simply a little secret entrance to the inside workings of a computer network and which bypasses the normal security safeguards. The software engineers who write the software that runs and controls these massive computer networks put in these back doors as ways to easily tweak and troubleshoot the systems they are in the process of writing and maintaining. And this is something that experienced hackers are aware of and can sometimes exploit.

We too may be able to �exploit� the apparent fact that there is a back door put into the whole Universe. That (in computer terms, at least) could be called �Christ�. In spite of our limited, normal, physical-world, imperfect human selves -- selves which, as far as I understand it, can not achieve perfection on their own in this physical reality � we con apparently connect to perfection.

As far as emulating and being like Jesus? You�ll get no argument from me that that is not a good thing. But I don�t, offhand, see how we can attain perfection except by symbolically linking to it through Him and then we are instantly, perhaps, sort of �perfect� even though maybe the �perfect� part of it is the entire process that we are engaged in through this belief and connection. And maybe that�s not to be confused with thinking that perfection is within reasonable reach on this earth as humans�which is not to say that improvement is not. Improvement surely is�as is the desire for perfection � and, apparently, the scriptural promptings to do so. After all, if you were god, and if you knew that ultimately all beings are (or �could��I prefer �are�) going to someday be perfect in heaven, for instance, (and if you were an honest god) how could you NOT ask human beings to try to be like Him, especially when you know that, ultimately, they CAN be. So the immediately attainable perfection, in my view, is the connection that is made (a perfect one at that) that then puts us on that path to Ultimate perfection.
 
Posts: 5413 | Location: Washington State | Registered: 21 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I was first presented with this view about six year ago via Thomas Keating, Ken Wilber and Aurobindo. I'll have much more to say about it in the coming months. I have been well schooled in the doctrine of "Total Depravity" and "Armegeddon is Coming."

I'd like to be an optimist, but was not there a serpent once who suggested that we could be like
God? Isn't pride the root of every evil. What is self-esteem and what is the human potential?

I'm not so wise and anybody's guess is a good one.
 
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MM, I like you. Don't ask me the hell why. But I like you. I just had to blurt that out because it came to mind.
 
Posts: 5413 | Location: Washington State | Registered: 21 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Gentlemen, I am no learned scholar....forgive me if I do not always understand some things you talk about.

Anyway,I like to talk about the topic on perfection...

Correct me if I am wrong, Brad, you believe it is not possible to be perfect in this world unless we are connected to Jesus, a kind of 'back door' to perfection.

I agree that Jesus is the 'quicker way' to God because he knows the formular and path to God.
Jesus has the road map!

But Jesus can only show the way,I think man has to do the walking or driving to get to the destination, the 'ultimate perfection'.
We as sinful men are like people drowning in the ocean. Then Jesus came along, inspite of dangers and persecutions, he jumped in the world of sin and saved us. But when he took the sinful man to shore, the sin does not disappear automatically.
But man has the benefit to work from a reasonable neutral/ safe position. The man must pick himself up and go about making his life meaningful.

When Jesus saved a lady from being stoned, he said, 'sin no more.' That lady has to make the effort herself.

I do think people continue to grow in the spirit world after they died.....

Merry X'mas!
 
Posts: 21 | Location: california | Registered: 16 December 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I like to add a little something....

I remember something Jesus said, 'what you bond on earth will be bond in heaven, what you loosed on earth, will be loosed in heaven...'

Does it mean that whatever man do on earth will affect what he is like in Heaven?!

Confused Roll Eyes Smiler
 
Posts: 21 | Location: california | Registered: 16 December 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Correct me if I am wrong, Brad, you believe it is not possible to be perfect in this world unless we are connected to Jesus, a kind of 'back door' to perfection.

Actually, I admit to sort of starting with the assumption that Jesus was the connection to perfection and then I sort of worked back from there. But you ask, again, an interesting question, ithink. First we have to define perfect. I can't do that. And it doesn't much help my brain to understand perfect by just saying that god is perfect. Okay, I can accept that He is. But it still doesn't give me an idea of what perfect is. Is, for instance, a snowflake perfect only when all six of its ice-crystal arms are perfectly and equally symmetrical? Often little bits and things are mis-formed or get chipped off, presumably by colliding with other snowflakes in the sky. But couldn't one look at this snowflake, even if not perfectly symmetrical, and think of it as perfect for what it is? Maybe that connects with your baby analogy again. If we do so, if we call this asymmetrical snowflake perfect, than what we're saying is perfect is not the individual atoms of the snowflake, but its form. Perhaps we're saying that the idea of the snowflake is perfect. And perhaps this analogy might be carried over to man, who is a spiritual being while, presumably, the snowflake is not. For us perfection would perhaps be perfection in spirit. And what thing or form comes to mind that is a perfect example of that? Well, I guess doctrine says that that would be Jesus. And so our spirits are sort of considered connected to him (much like one of those six arms of the crystal snowflake), then we become part of perfect�or at least are connected to the path of perfection. On our own, on this earth, I would say offhand that, no, our spirits aren't going to be perfect. But in the total of reality, including heaven and earth, if we are connected to Jesus then we might be seen as a perfect part of that overall whole.

I don't know if I answered your question. And I can assure you that whatever I said is not the "official" answer, unless I came close enough to it by accident.

But Jesus can only show the way,I think man has to do the walking or driving to get to the destination, the 'ultimate perfection'.

It's certainly been brought to my attention these last few months, ithink, of the importance of our will and our intention. So yeah, surely we must walk in the right direction, the direction of love. And if you think about that, without will and intention we're really not separate beings. We'd be analogous to a wart on a frog. We just go where the frog goes. And although we are obviously separate beings, even if we make poor use of our will and intention, we sometimes might as well be a wart of a frog for all the good our lives do under such circumstances. I've notice my life change immediately and dramatically with just the simply intention to act and react in a loving way. I don't always. And I don't "fake" it if I'm not feeling loving. I just notice what I'm feeling, don't try to push it away or shame it, and have in mind that, next time, or in five minutes, I hope to feel genuinely loving again. And danged if it doesn't work. Smiler

The man must pick himself up and go about making his life meaningful.

I love the way you said that, ithink. We certainly must. And if we free ourselves by using our own imagination and instincts, and not primarily somebody else's (unless, of course, they've got some really good ideas, and people often do), we will very likely discover fantastic, unexpected, and original ways to pick ourselves up and walk the path of meaning.
 
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I remember something Jesus said, 'what you bond on earth will be bond in heaven, what you loosed on earth, will be loosed in heaven...'

Does it mean that whatever man do on earth will affect what he is like in Heaven?!


I've been thinking about that passage, ithink, and I think it's truly a fascinating one. And I've been thinking about what you said. What is definitely complicating things for me is that fairly recently I read an exquisite interpretation of that passage by a quite wise and loving author�unfortunately (darn it), I forget who it was. And I even forget most of what he said about it. But I do remember that he thought this passage had tremendous importance for us. And so what I think the problem is is that I'm intimidated by it. This is one I wouldn't want to screw up.

First off, I hope you don't mind a bit of extemporaneous thinking which will tend to just go where it may�and very often quite not where officialdom is settled now. I think it's easy enough to envision the concept of Heaven, at least in very rough outline. We don't, as humans, have any problem dealing with the concept of extra dimensions as in, say, superstring theory, even though we really can't experience such a thing directly. It�s a mental abstraction only and, to be sure, a felt esthetic one as well. If the idea of extra dimensions didn't have at least some emotional, even spiritual, draw for us then it would be just a cold calculation on a piece of paper somewhere�which, oddly enough, sort of describes right now how a lot of people feel about superstring theory. It's sort of in an in-between phase right now. Yeah, the numbers, formulas, and logic appear sound. There's even a sense of beauty to it via its symmetry and other attributes. But it is so "out there" that much of it lies beyond experience (that is, beyond scientific verification via experiment) and thus beyond any means of invoking in us humans a more tangible sense of reality.

I find the concept of heaven to be quite similar to superstring theory. We have inklings that surely tell us that such a concept makes sense in the grand scheme of things. But when it comes right down to trying to verify the details, it lies beyond human verification via direct experience. What we get is a lot of indirect experiences. We can experience great love here on earth and, through our mystical imagination or otherwise, form an idea of the Transcendent. The formulas with which this Transcendence is described are not mathematical. That's because we're dealing with a different entity than, say, a force of nature. Different tools for different jobs. That's all that is. And that means feelings, thoughts, "knowings," prayer, and, I guess, even revelation all count as evidence and data for the Transcendent. But, frankly, when people get down to the details of saying, for instance, that in heaven we will receive 72 virgins, well, I think they're simply using their earth-bound imaginations to try to describe something in a realm where such imagination, while not totally foreign or inapplicable to this realm, nevertheless falls far short of being able to describe it in detail, I think.

And so I think it is inherently difficult to try to deduce and comment on a passage such as "And I will give to you the keys of the kingdom of Heaven. And whatever you bind on earth shall occur, having been bound in Heaven. And whatever you may loose on the earth shall be, having been loosed in Heaven." If someone says something even as difficult and challenging to understand as "Turn the other cheek" we can still relate to that. We can put it into practice and quickly gauge the results. But it doesn't seem that we're in much of position to make direct and immediate comparison between earth and heaven unless, I guess, we view the two as quite a bit more connected and continuous than we are used to thinking. I think it's perhaps usual to think of heaven as "out there" or "up there" or in some place quite distinct from us. And whatever heaven may be, frankly, I'm confused about where it is and how it relates to us:

John 18:36: Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would have fought that I might not be delivered up to the Jews. But now My kingdom is not from here. [Kingdom = "out there"]

Matthew 4:17 17 From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, Repent! For the kingdom of Heaven has drawn near. [Kingdom = not here but not "out there" either]

Matthew 6: 31-34: Then do not be anxious, saying, What may we eat? Or, what may we drink? Or, what may clothe us? For after all these things the nations seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you have need of all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Then do not be anxious for tomorrow. For the morrow will be anxious of itself. Sufficient to each day is its own trouble. [Can we seek or find anything that isn't right here in our immediate experience?]

Dallas Willard in "The Divine Conspiracy" does what I think is a masterful job of analyzing the whole concept of the Kingdom of Heaven. He treats is as something not only to come, but here now, and something we are committed to joining in. According to his interpretation (as best I can remember), we are, or should be, committed to cooperating with creating that kingdom on earth. Yeah, that will scare the hell out of the liberals. It sounds like the makings of a grand theocracy, but theocracies are, by nature, coercive, I think. But I think if we understand the concept of the type of kingdom that we're talking about, we're talking about the lightest possible touch with other people. We're talking about a kingdom based on turning the other cheek, not burning people at the stake. It's a kingdom so loving that people do the right thing without coercion. This is surely something that is a cooperative venture�totally and completely. And surely little slices and tastes of "Kingdoms of Heaven" are created sometimes in church congregations -- or perhaps even in quite jovial and congenial gatherings of men and women in some bar.

So if we can conceive of earth and Heaven being closer together and more connected than we commonly may think of them, one might perhaps see that whatever you bind on earth shall occur, having been bound in Heaven. And whatever you may loose on the earth shall be, having been loosed in Heaven.

Merry Christmas Eve, ithink.
 
Posts: 5413 | Location: Washington State | Registered: 21 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Maybe Christ has offered Universal Salvation and we all don't "go" to heaven but "GROW" to heaven.

Of course that would put the ball in man's court and I believe according to the Bible that is a divine "NO, No".

But if Christ did offer Universal Salvation. Hell not being infinite but temporary and all things returning to God in the end. Then I would agree. Perfection of man can be reached.

I might be wrong but I think according to fundamentalism we can never be perfect. So a perfected being "Jesus" stood in our place.

Then again what does perfect mean? Are we using right angles as a measurement? If the angle was off would it be less then perfect and why? I think the only way perfection can be reached is that we have to have perfect guidelines to compare everything with. Where might we find these perfect guidelines? My only guess is God.

What would make God perfect? Well, him. Why? I guess because he is at the top of the command station. If he says it�s perfect. Then it's his creation.

I just don't see how we can ever become something like that unless we become God. Then we will be able to set the standards for perfection and then thus achieve them by default.

Now it you are saying that if you give it 100% in life and reach every full moment of potential granted to you in life is another form of perfection I would agree. Being true to yourself and being in the moment all seem like forms of perfection in their own right.
 
Posts: 470 | Location: Greensboro, NC | Registered: 05 February 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Then again what does perfect mean? Are we using right angles as a measurement? If the angle was off would it be less then perfect and why? I think the only way perfection can be reached is that we have to have perfect guidelines to compare everything with. Where might we find these perfect guidelines? My only guess is God.

What would make God perfect? Well, him. Why? I guess because he is at the top of the command station. If he says it�s perfect. Then it's his creation.

I just don't see how we can ever become something like that unless we become God. Then we will be able to set the standards for perfection and then thus achieve them by default.


First off, I like what you said, Eric. I wonder if perfection is one of those words so loaded with human connotations that it has become next to meaningless. If we look at all matter and energy in the universe there are not some protons that have grease or oil smudged on them. There are not some electrons that are running roughly and in need of a new catalytic converter. All the substance of the universe, although it can surely change form, appears to be flawless. We can think of our bodies being flawed. We can think of perhaps a baby being born with no legs as being imperfect. But what, per chance, does a perfect body look like? What is the perfect body form? Some species have eight legs. Are humans imperfect because we have only two? How then is a baby born with no legs made perfect again with the addition of two legs?

We use "imperfect" in ways that maybe have little meaning when it comes to defining and clarifying its supposed opposite, "perfect." I suspect, especially because of the way you laid things out, that perfect is a concept useful only for defining rough forms (a "perfect" square as opposed to one that is obviously uneven). And perhaps here's the really kicker: the real sort of "perfect" is a perfect that sees past perfect, that does not measure by way of perfect, that does not hold the concept of "perfect" as the highest achievement, that does not think in terms of perfect but in terms of something else, perhaps love. Such a Being might not even think in terms of "perfect love" because that might be oxymoronic. What do you think?

For us humans, the "perfect" thing in any circumstance might be to try to do the loving thing.
 
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I was thinking about perfection some months back. Somehow I started thinking about Isotopes. This really opened up a pandora's box for me. Especially concerning water in the universe.

"Heavy water, D2O, is water in which both hydrogen atoms have been replaced with deuterium, the isotope of hydrogen containing one proton and one neutron. It is present naturally in water, but in only small amounts, less than 1 part in 5,000."

There is a flawed Particle! Deuterium occurs in one atom in 6500 of hydrogen. It contains one proton and one neutron, whereas a normal hydrogen nucleus just has one proton.

How could this be in a universe that I considered to be perfectly created by God? This stumped me for a long time.

Then I realized it really was perfect it was just my thinking that was not.
 
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I honestly don't think there is such a thing as perfect. At least not the way we look at it. Even the most flawed things are perfect in their own way.

Everything is perfect because it is imperfect.

Even mistakes in our life can seem like lifes imperfection. But if you learn from them they guide you towards some type of perfection. So how were they not needed and how does that then not make them perfect mistakes?

Why do humans grow and learn? Why do we even continue in life? What exactly are we striving for? We are trying to reach something it seems. Perfection?

I don't see how I can continue in this discussion without confusing myself with semantics.
 
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Dear friends,
Hope you had a wonderful X'mas celebration one way or another!
May be you have gained a few more calories with the delicious food, and may be you have gained some spiritual calories through the love shown by gifts or hugs or gained through spiritual words!
I am inspired by all the thoughts you have put into discovering the 'meaning' of perfection....
There is so much to THINK about and I need time DIGEST your contributions...
I am not sure how I can tackle some of the ideas yet.
Be patient, I will be back.
Just to remind you of the common saying: Beauty lies with the eyes of the beholder. (A small respond to Eric's thought: Everything is perfect because it is imperfect.)
HAPPY NEW YEAR 2006! Smiler
 
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Then I realized it really was perfect it was just my thinking that was not.

It would surely appear, Eric, that "perfect" may be a bit of a bogus concept�or one, much like beauty, this is relative to the observer. You may think a cow patty painted with silver paint and hung in a museum is not beautiful, but I'm sure there are some people (possibly from Oklahoma, but I�m not naming any names) who would think such a thing beautiful. Perfect seems an esthetic statement rather than a logical statement such as saying that something is symmetrical. Offhand, if I try to put myself into the mind of god (which is hopelessly impossible, of course), I would say that "perfection" is when everyone is loving everyone else and there is no hate. There could be people with one leg loving people with one arm. What's not perfect if there is nothing but love, beauty, and truth flowing between them?

I tend to agree with you about the whole concept of perfect.

Even mistakes in our life can seem like lifes imperfection. But if you learn from them they guide you towards some type of perfection. So how were they not needed and how does that then not make them perfect mistakes?

Don't get me wrong. There is surely pain and suffering. But as I pondered elsewhere, I think everyone is trying to do good as they see it. And some people see it in some very distorted ways, of course. Nazis, via their own sense of esthetics and rightness, thought they were doing good. I remembering reading something that said that no one really goes out and tries to do something counter to what they think is best for them. And I think if you analyze any action minutely, you'll probably find this to be so. Maybe this is the inherent structure of the universe that allows for it to be so that god can make good out of all things. If there are good intentions behind it then maybe good can come out of it.

But that's an inefficient and painful way to do things as we all know. I think what we're probably working toward in this world is to align our sense of truth, goodness, and beauty with God's. Not necessarily with some religion's. Not necessarily with some guru's. And not necessarily with some monk's. But with God's. And I think we have a pretty good clue that we are getting closer to this alignment when our lives, attitudes and disposition are filled more and more with humility, mercy, charity, and last, but certainly not least, love.

Maybe "good" is a little different from humility, mercy, charity, and love. Maybe good is a bit like "perfect". It's inherently relative. It's a hopelessly relative value judgment. We may say it's good that it's raining today because the crops need watering. Another, who is being washed downstream by a flood, considers the rain bad. But mercy is mercy. Humility is humility. Charity is charity. Love is love. Right? If you've ever felt love, you know there is no substitute. It's not relative. Oh, surely, we may think some twisted feeling we are having is love, but being confused about it doesn't make it love, even from someone's own particular perspective.

I think all of the above is surely full of logical errors. And I don't think I even addressed your original comment, Eric, which was: Even mistakes in our life can seem like lifes imperfection. But if you learn from them they guide you towards some type of perfection. So how were they not needed and how does that then not make them perfect mistakes?

You may have just summed up the entire point of our earthly existence. How odd that most of us actually get better as we're kicked around just a bit. We'd all make terrible gods, I think. Our heads would grow forty sizes too large almost instantly with that kind of knowledge and power. And in thinking of that the other day, it sort of dawned on me that the Creator isn't likely the fire-and-brimstone entity that some think He is, although perhaps it is possible to be all-loving and still get angry. I don't know. With that kind of love must come a humility so gentle that we can't even imagine. That's why prayer is necessary. It ain't so we can go to great lengths in our own heads to sort of create a layered, complex � but inevitably artificial and false � conception of god in our heads through sheer repetition and effort. No. It's because He won't shout. He won't scream. He won't raise his voice. I think we're quick to mouth the words "all-loving" when it comes to god, but not very quick to imagine the implications. That kind of love surely must also be accompanied by an extraordinary humility. So imagine being able to build Creation, hold life and death powers, and yet reign with such an absolutely soft touch � so soft that our suffering is allowed. If we humans have to hold things in tension (and we surely do, and it almost always makes us wiser and more loving), imagine trying to hold all that in tension. I can't imagine. And I'm pretty sure I still haven't touched on your question. But it was a big question! Wink

Why do humans grow and learn? Why do we even continue in life? What exactly are we striving for? We are trying to reach something it seems. Perfection?

I don't see how I can continue in this discussion without confusing myself with semantics.


Yes. I think I see your point. Perhaps love is not absolutes or holding onto things too hard and tightly�whether people or definitions, especially, and including, "perfection."
 
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I said: I think what we're probably working toward in this world is to align our sense of truth, goodness, and beauty with God's.

ithink said: Just to remind you of the common saying: Beauty lies with the eyes of the beholder. (A small respond to Eric's thought: Everything is perfect because it is imperfect.)

Ray Stevens said: Everything is beautiful�in its own way/Like a starry summer night/Or a snow covered winter's day/And everybody's beautiful�in their own way/And under God's heaven/The world's gonna find a way.

Would everything be beautiful, in some way, from the perspective of God? If we were to concede (and surely no one need do so) that "perfect" might not be as cut-and-dried a term as it first appears, maybe to god (and stay with me on this) even sees beauty in Auschwitz. If truly he can make good out of anything, then there would be implicit beauty in that place, abhorrent as that may seem too our senses. And yet recently I read the story (sorry�I forget her name, but not Anne Frank) of someone who wrote some incredible thoughts and underwent an incredible transformation leading up to and including her imprisonment (and eventual execution) by the Nazis. Her story and thoughts were stunningly beautiful.

And it seems that anyone who has read Man's Search for Meaning, by Viktor Frankl, has been impressed by the beauty of Frankl's thoughts about his imprisonment at Auschwitz. So I guess, like it or not, we're sort of forced to grudgingly admit that even Auschwitz created, or caused, some beauty.

So perhaps mirroring that Einstein quote, either everything is perfect or nothing is. Either everything is beautiful (in its own way), or nothing is. Very strange no matter which way it falls.
 
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Brad,
I think that beauty, perfection, and love /heaven is so analysed and misunderstood. The world is still mystified and puzzled by what is the 'perfect' truth.

I definitely would not say dung on the picture of Mary is beautiful eventhough some artist want to set his own standard of beauty.

Experience of 'true' love and 'true' beauty is a substantial spiritual experence just like electricity, or gravity. Eventhough you do not see electricity or gravity, it is real and creat a result of burn or falling respectively.

Have you heard of people saying that they feel a warm feeling when touched by love.
Or when one encounter an unfriendly personality or mean person, one feels 'coldness' in the room.

Eventhough an artist may say something is beautiful would not make it so unless the beholder experience 'that' beauty.

I think that people who appreciate the artist who distorted the face of Mary propably love the idea of 'rebellion' against the establishment, or they are trying to sympathise with the 'minority' thinking it (supporting the little one) is itself a noble act.

I think true spiritual experience should add spiritual 'calories' or quality to our spiritual
mind and body. Experiencing true beauty is one of these experiences.

When I say "beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder", I am thinking of someone who is able to see beyond the usual public view of beauty and instead of seeing the fatness or external stuff, he is able to see some trancendental essence, or certain internal characteristics that is given by God to that person or object.

I think many artists have that ability to see the hidden beauty in creation that the public is blind to.

I think religious people are also sensitive to that part of people that is 'divine' and so easier to love or respond to.

Have a little more to talk about, but will leave for next time!! (Unless I can't stand holding my thoughts) Bye for now.
 
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Have you heard of people saying that they feel a warm feeling when touched by love.
Or when one encounter an unfriendly personality or mean person, one feels 'coldness' in the room.


And I don't know how much of that is non-verbal cues that slip right past the conscious mind to the unconscious, and how much might be something else. However it is transmitted, I think clearly what we're picking up is their intention. Humans who have been deeply wounded are especially sensitive to those who attempt to control, manipulate, or demand.

I think that people who appreciate the artist who distorted the face of Mary propably love the idea of 'rebellion' against the establishment, or they are trying to sympathise with the 'minority' thinking it (supporting the little one) is itself a noble act.

Yeah, that whole "let's put Jesus in a jar of urine and call it art" is interesting. I think such a thing is surely art, but never, ever the kind of art that those who produce it claim it to be. They tend to just say it is some "expression" as if labeling anything as an "expression" is enough to excuse anything in any circumstance. Imagine if you or I could get away with that. Let's go tell some dumb blond jokes in front of a bunch of angry feminists. See how far your "just making an expression" spiel gets you in the face of charges of sexual harassment. Or go to some black church and burn a cross across the street on your own property. Tell everyone they have no right to get angry or offended because you're just "expressing" yourself. Heck, it wouldn't have to even be that dramatic. Just put on display in a real, live art gallery (where provocative art is considered both appropriate and expected) a piece of bronze statue depicting a couple AIDS victims engaging in anal sex with the caption below it "They carelessly played 'hide the sausage' thus draining needed healthcare dollars away from innocent victims of less preventable diseases such as children's cancer." A third character in that bronze statue would, of course, be a dead baby. Oh, and be sure to tell them it was just an "expression."

And you know what, if it's in an art museum, then I�m okay with any and all of those. But what sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. If you're going to have one then make room for the other. But, of course, I didn't just fall of the turnip truck. I know damn well that putting Jesus into a jar of urine isn't about art, per se, as much as it is about the art of using art to take cheap shots under the cover of art. And by the way, I do believe that "under the cover of art" is legitimate and should, within reason (no burning crosses near black churches or any churches) be protected speech. But to be protected, even to technically be art, does not mean that we can't judge it as cheap, shoddy, and rather childishly amateurish. And it's not that I don't find value is such art. I do. In particular I do, but very rarely in the way the artist intended. Hey, if God can make all things work for the good, us humans should be able to do so at least once in a very great while, huh? Wink
 
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Experience of 'true' love and 'true' beauty is a substantial spiritual experence just like electricity, or gravity. Eventhough you do not see electricity or gravity, it is real and creat a result of burn or falling respectively.

Nicely said, ithink. I think I was stumbling around a while ago trying to say something close to that but couldn't find the words. I just got through talking to some people about self love. These two people are both waking up just a bit and attempting to love themselves again. At least one of them was aware that they had previously considered love to be when one was critical, demanding, perfect, etc., etc. That's what they learned as love. And, strange as this may sound, I do think we can become estranged from love to such a degree that we don't trust the real love feelings for what they are when they come around. I think it's because that true love feeling will automatically activate in conjunction other feelings, other treatening feelings, such as fear and shame. And so we can easily convince ourselves that the true love that pops up every once in a while (it can't ever be fully vanquished, thank God) is not love at all. Love is all those other things we do, and all those other feelings we have; all those feelings, particularly feelings of righteousness, sternness, and criticalness. That can be a very tough loop to break out of. Very tough. And I think this relates marvelously to the topic of perfection of the heart because, at least in my opinion, we need to say on guard against the wrong kind of perfections for the wrong kind of reasons. We are lovable particularly when we are imperfect, which I think is a good thing because chances are, most of us are quite imperfect. And I think as soon as we get rid of the conception of perfect, we are, oddly enough, made just a little bit more perfect.

Yes, I think true love is real. And if true beauty is real then, logically, that would seem to mean that everything is beautiful in it's own way and that the more we gain God's perspective of beauty, the more things we will think are beautiful until, finally, everything is beautiful.

I think true spiritual experience should add spiritual 'calories' or quality to our spiritual
mind and body. Experiencing true beauty is one of these experiences.


I think it's tricky dealing with absolutes and ultimates. But I think it's entirely necessary that we do so. The problem (if this is indeed a problem, ithink) is that people seem to have different conceptions of what a spiritual calorie is (nice term, by the way). I, for example, think if something increases love, humility, charity, or mercy than it is made up of the kind of calories that have just about zero percent saturated fat in them. Others think duty, honor, commitment, or loyalty are perfect spiritual qualities, although I would say all of those contain at least 35% or more of saturated fat. Others think self-righteousness (even if they don't recognize this in themselves as such), vengeance, or controlling are spiritual calories of the highest quality, even though (just personally, mind you) I think those calories are composed of 90% saturated fat.

I think it's interesting to consider what true beauty might be. Perhaps you're meaning "universal" beauty � beauty that would appeal to all people and beings if they had no obstructions -- because I'm thinking that you didn't really mean that there is a false beauty, unless, perhaps, it was like the Nazis going all misty-eyed over some piece of Aryan master-race art.

They say art has many purposes and no purpose. It can just "be" and well as affect. I think, and this is just a hunch, that everything is art. Everything is beautiful. I think it's logically impossible for it to be otherwise from the Highest perspective. Theologically, if one believes the world is built by love for love then this would seem to be in line with that too.

I'm sort of reminded of this after having just watched The Chronicle of Narnia. The movie is set in the beautiful English countryside. One of the early scenes is of a train winding through the green, almost heavenly, English landscape. Such scenery, no matter how many times one has looked at it, always seems to invoke a sense of beauty. But a scene of lush trees and country meadow from the vantage point of a helicopter is fairly novel and really sort of should invoke a feeling a beauty. That's why the director chose that shot. He or she (I think it was a "he") could have simply shot something else, something more common, something more everyday. But it wouldn't have invoked such a feeling of beauty. I think at least part of what makes something beautiful to us is its novelty. We might have long ago, in our childhood, (I doubt we can remember) thought that a simple red rubber ball was spectacularly beautiful. And we surely think flowers are beautiful, even as adults, but who hasn't walked by literally whole gardens of them sometimes without being affected? Beauty seems to come and go for some reason. And so we thus have such things as "art appreciation" classes. Why do we have to learn to appreciate beauty? Ain't it obvious and unhidden? So, all this considered, it seems to me that everything is beautiful if we can recognize the beauty in it and/or regain that sense of novelty�to, in essence, look on the world with "new eyes". And that may actually be saying to look on the world with loving eyes, which may be the same as saying that if you are an all-loving god then everything will look beautiful.
 
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I think at least part of what makes something beautiful to us is its novelty.

And to sort of finish that thought about Narnia, what particularly struck my attention was that when the kids went through the back of the wardrobe they came upon a snow-covered forest. And the feeling was magical. It was so amazingly beautiful. This forest was probably no more intrinsically beautiful than the woods and meadows just outside the house on the other side (the reality side) of the wardrobe. But I couldn't help noticing how, even considering the effects of the music and the tricks of cinematography, how magical and beautiful this snowy landscape behind the wardrobe was perceived to be (at least by me, although I doubt I'm alone in this perception). Suddenly the rather mundane had turned into the magical, mysterious, and beautiful, if not downright sublime. And it was all due not to the landscape itself, for the green hills, trees, and meadows of real-England were clearly on par with the snowy forest of Narnia. It was due to us seeing the same thing with new eyes�with perhaps loving eyes.
 
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Eric and Brad, Thank you for giving me interesting view of what perfecton is for you.

I confessed I have preconceived ideas of what perfection is and am surprised by your analysis that is different from mine ...

The main diffference for me is that you believe perfection is not attainable on earth... And I like to believe it is possible.

Actually I have kind of revelation today that the perfection of the HEART is more important than perfection of the intellect or understanding, or faith or beauty.

Most people of the old testiment understand God as righteous, fearful at times, and vengeful againt evil doers. But Jonah understood God as a God of love inspite of His LAWFULNESS. He begged God and appealled to his HEART to forgive the people of Ninevah. He has so much confidence that he could beg God again and again knowing the HEART will take over.

I have a vision that Jesus knew the old testiment so well that he understood from the writings that God is not just the LORD but a FATHER of HEART.


I think 'religious' people has a tendency to be 'righteous' and focus on protecting their view point to the exclusion of others.

Well, I am glad we don't have to 'kill' each other just because we are different.
Your ideas are truly appreciated and I mean it.
 
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