Subscribe to "A Daily Spiritual Seed" eNewsletter.
Page 1 2 3 4 5 6 
Go
New
Find
Notify
Tools
Reply
  
Public Enema #1 Login/Join
 
posted
Let me first start by cutting and pasting a favorite reflection that became, in the writing of it, a transformative experience as well. In fact, it's in the retelling of experiences that seems to help turn them into transformative ones -- otherwise it's just trauma. Wink

Recounting such personnel experiences can be somewhat like a public enema as one opens one's self up widely to scrutiny...while hopefully getting a good cleansing at the same time. And believe me, the title of my thread is apt. At times it's cleansing but the process is not without discomfort and embarrassment. I never know (and still really don't) when I'm running off at the mouth and when I'm saying something worthy of reading. Oh well. Please pass the warm water...

quote:
I can't think of a better analogy for life than this woman who lives in the duplex across from my place of work. I see her almost every day doing the most unusual, although simple, things and seemingly doing them in complete peace and contentment.

She shows in her actions that knowing and doing one's task is the secret of life, no matter how grand or humble that task is. In her case it is endlessly shoveling, raking, spading, hoeing, and otherwise arranging the dirt in her yard (there is no longer any grass�it's all dirt). Perhaps knowing one's task isn't really a part of the equation. It seems that doing that task can be equated with knowing it. One doesn't have to do a lot of searching for the "knowing" unless one is lost. One simply does. I doubt there's a lot of careful planning involved in coming to know what tasks it is one is destined, designed, or compelled to do. I say this because I doubt many people ultimately do what they do because they've made a careful, rational cost/benefit analysis of it, even if we do sometimes make a grand show of looking rational by engaging in such planning and intellectualizing (and, of course, such things can be helpful). If we are like water we flow where we can and don't worry too much about trying to flow over mountains. That is the job for birds. If we are water then that is not our path. If we are a healthy bird then we might not even consider such a question. We just fly over the mountain effortlessly.

What good is a bird? What good is a river? What good is a neurotic and/or mentally challenged gardener? I don't know, but I don't feel pity. I feel awe�and wonder. But sometimes rivers become so thick with pollution they do not flow (or they even catch fire!). Sometimes birds break their wings and can not fly effortlessly anywhere, let alone over mountains. Therefore some people build their mountains lower�even move them in a wheel barrow from one side of the yard to the other and will do so again and again and again. Some rivers will simply seep into the earth, ignore what impedes them, and come out somewhere else as a healthy, clear spring.

Those bright blue tarps, carefully smoothed and weighed down at the edges with rocks, cover half of the dirt in the yard and make for an interesting substitute for grass � if they are meant as a substitute for grass. When spring comes, will the tarps change position? Will new, fresh dirt be uncovered to celebrate the season of renewal? I'll have to watch more closely to find out, but I'm afraid of upsetting the smooth rhythms that exist now by bringing my unimaginative and unbelieving attention to the works; works that are perhaps as great as the excavation of the Panama Canal � at least when seen on the scale of the worms and bugs � or in the heart of the excavator. Maybe finding one's scale is the ticket.
 
Posts: 5413 | Location: Washington State | Registered: 21 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
Here's an oldie but a goodie:

quote:
Kids

I love kids and kids love me, no two ways about it. It's just this teensy, tiny little technical detail of having a wife that gets in the way of having my own. But I do enjoy my brother's young son. He's a good father and so is the mother (I mean the mother is a good mother, not a good father also!). They are both extraordinarily generous about sharing their bundle of joy - and that he is. Beyond belief.

Recently me, my brother and his son were in my brother's den watching baseball on TV. I think it was the Atlanta Braves vs. somebody. I'm a BIG Braves fan (who are second in my heart only to the Mariners). At the time I was trying to do three things; fix my brother's computer, watch the game and pay attention to his son who was climbing all over me in the chair. He was excitedly telling me all about this and that, the way kids do. Interspersed in his excited soliloquy were references to his Winnie the Pooh and Mickey Mouse games and all of the rest of "his" stuff which was on a shelf directly behind me. I kept having to crane my neck to look behind me while all the time trying to follow the game, listen to him and fix the computer. The little tyke was so full of joy at the moment that pangs of guilt were rushing through me as I noticed that I wasn't giving him my full attention. Then all at once, out of nowhere, and un-coached by anyone else, he said, looking me straight in the eye with a smile on his face that was joy personified, "I love you, Uncle Brad." I was absolutely stunned. After a brief pause to bask in this unexpected and sudden glow I told him the same, and it was as if the word love had never been spoken by me before.
 
Posts: 5413 | Location: Washington State | Registered: 21 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
Okay, that's enough to get up and running. Wink I've been reading some of the transformative experiences that Phil has posted from others. It's pretty impressive stuff and I'm not discounting, belittling or besmirching the transformations of the big or dramatic kind. They obviously happen and they're obviously life changing. But it seems the nature of that type of experience is as rare and as transformative as an 8.5 Richter scale earthquake. Maybe that's just as well because even if it's good for you that sounds like awfully traumatic stuff. I don't think we'd want to undergo change like that very often. It would be too unsettling. But I think there's a lot more going on underneath the radar, so to speak.

Perhaps I�m just ignorant, too infected with cynicism, or just plain too tired to part the Red Sea, but other than unwelcome trauma that can turn into a powerful transformative experience, I'm going to stick up for, as it were, the itty bitty experiences that hardly go noticed but whose cumulative effects are great. Much like continental drift, they act slowly, but over time can tear entire continents apart and reconfigure them into new ones.

And I sometimes wonder if we don't get just a little addicted to transformation, or the idea of transformation. I'm certainly not speaking theologically. I'm not qualified to do so. I recognize that transformation and grace are the very tools, so to speak, of the Christian God. But I can tell you that it's probably been my desire for change and transformation that has caused me more grief. If I'm making any progress at all it's because my rather strong desires, mind and ego (aka "stubbornness") are starting to learn the benefits of letting go, of acceptance. I wonder if we don't too often have this idea of transformation as some type of mystical experience that stays with us and fills us with the warm fuzzies. The reality, even among happy, well-adjusted people, as I understand it, is quite different.

I think we're right to equate transformative experiences with more dramatic or singular events. Those are the times when we may be starkly and unambiguously shown our weaknesses (or strengths). Without such drama or dramatic contrasts we might stay in our rut. Perhaps those big events are necessary to get our attention. It's somebody telling us we need to change when we either aren't aware of this need or have no desire to. On the other hand, when we do have some kind of readiness or willingness for change it is the small stuff that has the potential to do the yeoman's work of transformation. I think noticing what is happening all around us and finding meaning in it helps bring us to present moment awareness. There are lessons all around us, coincidental or providential, I don't know, but they're there. In the long run it may be best to rely on these small lessons than to wait around for the big temblors.

Perhaps this will be inspiration and justification for some of you to relate your "world in a grain of sand" transformative experiences. These experiences may not seem big and dramatic, but there's a quiet depth to them all the same; a depth that can be particularly difficult to describe but perhaps worthwhile to try.
 
Posts: 5413 | Location: Washington State | Registered: 21 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
. . .I'm going to stick up for, as it were, the itty bitty experiences that hardly go noticed but whose cumulative effects are great. Much like continental drift, they act slowly, but over time can tear entire continents apart and reconfigure them into new ones.

Amen! I would consider those "transformative" as well, and "fair game" for this forum. The high voltage stuff is often more like a "sledgehammer to the head" -- a wake-up call, or a special grace with some kind of implicit calling. They can also give evidence to dramatic healings, but in the long run, it is the fidelity to living wholesome values in the nitty-gritty of life that is the mainstay of spiritual growth.

Can you give an example or two from your own life, Brad, of how this happens?
 
Posts: 7539 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 09 August 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
Can you give an example or two from your own life, Brad, of how this happens?

First let me state that I would consider it one of the worst offenses to lie in confessional or to be less than truthful in a part of the forum that is a bit more help-oriented. To say that I�ve had transformative experiences is not to suggest that I�ve been transformed into anything particularly noble or worthwhile while acknowledging that if there is a Creator then He is the one who gets to decide that.

Part of any long-term, slow, cumulative transformative process for me, I think, has to be seen now in terms of something I didn�t even know existed until I came here (and still am quite dubious as to whether we�ve labeled this process correctly): The Dark Night. I think I�ve been in one, or something very similar to it, for the last 30 years. Now, please don�t misunderstand. While I still have GREAT desire for ego fulfillment and even grandiose desires, I really don�t have a desire for sainthood, martyrdom or self-aggrandizement on the level of a Jesus complex. I recognize that if we have certain gifts that they are not things we invented. They are gifts from Darwin, if you will, or God. And I believe that those who have gifts are bound to serve and that a majority of people are doing that right now, unconsciously competently. I am not,
either unconsciously or otherwise, so this is my great failure and any transformations that I relate must be seen in this regard. A hundred practice swings in the batter�s box is not worth even one ground ball to shortstop that turns into a game-ending double play.

Now, having said all that let me just say that one of my greatest stumbling blocks (because of fear and shame) is the need for perfection and therefore has often lead me to judging myself and others harshly. I hope I am becoming better acquainted with Brother Humility in a positive, less masochistic way. Wink So let me say that the stage of any transformations I make is set with the backdrop of some kind of a wandering in the desert, of a Dark Night, or just being stuck in a long, unproductive, unhealthy rut.

Cumulative pain can have a humbling effect. It can also have a dehumanizing effect so I�ll thank my lucky stars that I�m not a serial murderer who is sitting in prison right now, and I admit that without the restraints of my life-long fear and shame that that scenario isn�t so far-fetched. That cumulative pain has often made me impatient, bitter, ill tempered and belligerent, but it has also made me generous, patient, sympathetic and considerate. Part of the process of building on this pain is letting it carve down to the real person. At least for me, it does absolutely no good to feign kindness. It�s doesn�t "stick" and just leaves me further from myself. But if one can bring some of the pain to the forefront and kind of read its message then one might learn something from it. And if you combine that with a true willingness to change (or some type of sincere humility) then you can make some real progress. Real progress from me, the small transformations, are coming in the form of losing or re-writing all the little stories, delusions and self-deceptions that we weave about our lives. I find almost endless opportunities to do so and am doing in a kind, constructive way. It�s not just fault-finding and harsh judging.

Another big part of this process is letting go (as best as I can). This might be thought of to you Christians in terms of "letting go and letting God", and I will confess it is quite impossible to let go to Darwin, Carl Sagan or Hillary Clinton. There�s a metaphysical aspect to transformation that I think is inescapable, no matter what one calls the process or the object of the process.

I�m rambling here I know, but let me just bullet-point a few other significant long-term transformative processes: being around children and playing; reading inspirational books; turning DOWN the noise so that the Great Battery in the Sky (God, whom- or whatever) can recharge my batteries for I know that something does if I let it and just shut the hell up; saying no to things I don�t really want to do (you�d be absolutely surprised if you did your own inventory�so many of those things are definitely NOT must-do�s); and finally (at least for now), getting in touch with MY priorities. That�s the really scary part for me because those priorities and preferences scare the hell out of me. I may have at one time wanted The Wife, The Car, The Kids, The House, The Job, etc. But now all I want is a little peace, work that engages my soul, and basic comforts, but nothing extravagant.
 
Posts: 5413 | Location: Washington State | Registered: 21 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
Desiring peace and beginning to search for the means
of obtaining it is Transformative Experience. Most are driven by pain of some kind or just the nagging existential question, "why?"

http://www.human-nature.com/re.../james/contents.html

This is a real classic. So far I have only read the lectures on mysticism. What do you see here, Brad?
 
Posts: 2559 | Registered: 14 June 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
This is a real classic. So far I have only read the lectures on mysticism. What do you see here, Brad?

That�s a lot of information, MM. It looks like there are some wonderfully provocative ideas there: Advantages of the psychopathic temperament when a superior intellect goes with it�especially for the religious life. And Lecture III looks interesting:

quote:
THE REALITY OF THE UNSEEN

Percepts versus abstract concepts�Influence of the latter on belief�Kant�s theological Ideas�We have a sense of reality other than that given by the special senses�Examples of "sense of presence"�The feeling of unreality�Sense of a divine presence: examples�Mystical experiences: examples�Other cases of sense of God�s presence�Convincingness of unreasoned experience�Inferiority of rationalism in establishing belief� Either enthusiasm or solemnity may preponderate in the religious attitude of individuals.
In my way of thinking, the material and spiritual (or non-material) are interconnected (that�s, of course, a bloody obvious observation). But we�re much more comfortable describing the material as "real" and everything else as wishful thinking, the result of mental illness or whatever. It�s tempting to think this way and easy enough to see how this happens. We can literally open up a person�s skull and stimulate areas of the brain and make people feel things, hear things, or recall certain memories. Thus we see all the intangibles of existence as no more than anchored in the material. That the non-material (like the mind) eludes a precise explanation of what it is isn�t too serious a threat to the material point of view. After all, no theory is perfect. You�ve got to expect some inconsistencies, one might say. But I think one can (and with good reason) turn around and say that the material might just as well be nothing more than an expression of the immaterial.

I think there�s a certain language and set of laws that go with each domain. We get into trouble by not knowing and respecting these two domains and we get into trouble if we try to use the exact same techniques of discovery for both. We make a mistake if we take generalities about the one and assume them about the other, and vice versa.

There�s so much there in those lectures. What caught your eye, MM?
 
Posts: 5413 | Location: Washington State | Registered: 21 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
Call this type of sharing by this name or that ... ...

I cannot NOT share my gratitude for the generosity gifted us all by such a depthful personal sharing, behind no persona at that. The sharing is beautiful. The public vulnerability is poignantly beautiful. It is only with great awe and circumspection that I offer any feedback whatsoever, out of concern for trivializing the import of such holy introspection and making profane what is truly, truly sacred. Long live this luminosity known as Brad Nelson, which lights the skies of the world's many dark nights, a champagne supernova, to be sure.

No comments in particular, just a deep heartfelt sentiment that every consolation flow to you and all who may be ministered to by you and your sharing.

deep peace and great shalom,
jb
 
Posts: 2881 | Registered: 25 August 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
It's considered by many to be an important book. Bill W., founder of A.A. was very enamored of these
lectures. Amazing how well the book holds up over a century later. Just finished lecture III, where things get a tad bit more interesting. It's been on my list for a dozen years now, and today is the day to cross it off. I thought it might be a good read for you, Brad, which is why I brought it up, but now am finding myself quite interested. He was a very learned man. Smiler caritas, mm <*))))><
 
Posts: 2559 | Registered: 14 June 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
I thought it might be a good read for you, Brad, which is why I brought it up, but now am finding myself quite interested.

Thanks, MM. Then I'm going to definitely have to read through that stuff right after I'm done with Reluctant Saint (still waiting for the cliffhanger finish�will he or won't he be canonized?). Thanks for the recommendation, and thank you so VERY much for adding to my backlog of reading material. Big Grin

And thank you, JB. Add yourself to the list of positive transformative influences. I was going to mention that but I didn't want to put you on the spot, so I will now -- big time. You're the big brother (not to be confused with Big Brother) that I never had. That implies no future commitment nor do you even have to play nice (nor would I want you to�you're too damn funny and creative for that). Just let me tag along on a few dates. That's all I ask.

For whatever reason, I had something else flash transformatively into my brain while writing this. I have plenty of reasons for guilt and shame, but perhaps not for the reasons I thought or for the reasons I was taught. Instead of trying to avoid, heal or transcend that guilt and shame, perhaps I should have just given into them. Perhaps they were trying to teach me an important lesson and that lesson was always smack dab right in front of my eyes: Shame on me for spending more than five minutes on earth without trying to help other people. If there's a reason I couldn't look into the face of another human being and feel their equal it is because I should have been their servant, at least in attitude. If I was filled with fear about some prospective enterprise then it was because I was afraid of seeing the real truth: I'm incompetent at nearly everything except a few tiny areas of competency which my ego just wouldn't accept. But alas, I have no strength these days for much more than intellectual truths. These lessons were learned too late (assuming there's any validity to them and that they have penetrated more than skin deep). But everyone should think about the "crap" they have going on. Consider walking through it rather than around it. It always pained me greatly to have such a rigid, almost impenetrable wall in between everything I wanted to do and could do. Perhaps instead of activating my ego and rebelling against this shame and fear I might have simply accepted it as trying to tell me something; a something that has always been quite impenetrable to me because of a needy ego.

Yes, delusions of grandeur, you betcha! St. Francis, move over. We'll start a new order called the "Slightly Less Minor Brothers". Smiler
 
Posts: 5413 | Location: Washington State | Registered: 21 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
Aye, but there's the rub. I am utterly incapable of walking through the fire of purgation from the guilt and shame. I just saw the movie version of Nabakov's
Lolita and it was apparent to me that Nabakov was dealing with a damned soul which never even saw where the doorway was, much less Christ knocking on the outside. Frowner

The Baptist preachers harp away on this one thing, "you must be born again." It is the beginning of the Christian life and becoming enlightened as the Buddha suggests is merely to place the cart before the horse from a Christian perspective. As to whether there may be a cycle of rebirth as he has suggested may be a matter of speculation for some,
but it was not the message of Christ. He said we must believe in Him and in He who sent him.

I would give my right eye to possess a quarter of the intellectual capacity of William James, his understanding of psychology and philosophy, but from where I stand it seems that the lectures are an attempt at grappling with an experience he observed with great skill, but which unfortunately
seemed elusive to him. I'll bet that he would give his right eye for what Francis could see.

I'm going to read Reluctant Saint and get back 2U
on that, Brad. Great-full that you brought it to my attention. Smiler

Here in Chapter 5 "The Sick Soul" it is revealed that Goethe knew ony four weeks of happiness in 75
years. This would go for most philosophers. Why do we still read them???

caritas,

mm <*)))))><
 
Posts: 2559 | Registered: 14 June 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
I'm going to read Reluctant Saint and get back 2U on that, Brad. Great-full that you brought it to my attention.

You're welcome, MM. And I plan on getting to the William James stuff soon. And I don't think you'll be disappointed by Reluctant Saint, but then I have to admit coming at the subject with a fairly blank slate. If the author was mixing in postmodernist PC garbage then I didn't pick up on it although I a bit of it might have crept in regarding Islam and what seemed a rather na�ve attitude at times by the author. But that's a quibble. The way the author approached the subject I thought was quite remarkable and skillful. You can almost read this thing like a hymnal. The entire biography seems like a very long prayer. And I think it's filled with all sort of incredible insights that anyone who is grappling with how to live their lives between the extremes will find distinctly helpful. Francis, in a very real sense, was an extremist and yet at the same time did not have many (if any) of the attributes that make extremist positions usually so harmful. In fact, one can read this biography and easily come away with the notion that our daily-life-deadened way of living is an unnatural, if not extremist, method of living. I think, particularly in the way people reacted for and against Francis and his brother, you'll find this biography a wonderful insight into human nature. In the end, Francis wasn't wrong. He wasn't power hungry. He wasn't a control freak. He wasn't cruel or unjust. His methods weren't inconsistent or difficult to understand, and yet many of his own brothers in the later years quite literally abused Francis. They refused to "get" was Francis was all about. They, like us, found it hard to willingly put themselves under the knife of transformation. I'm sure it was a lot easier and more fun to "play-act" the part of a Friar than to actual be one. What Francis had in mind was certainly challenging but it was also quite simple, flexible and ultimately powerful and potentially relevant to any person in any age. Here's a couple passages from the biography that I think do an extraordinary job of getting to Francis' point:

quote:
He wished to change only the world's moral and spiritual perspective, primarily through the gentlest and most unobtrusive example, and through identification with all society's outcasts. As opposed to the fixed regulations and rhythms of the monastery, Francis had something both freer and more difficult in mind: the flexibility of the Gospel and the initiative of men of goodwill on the alert for the promptings of the Spirit rather than the letter of the law.
And�

quote:
Nor was he a mere literalist in the matter of poverty, as some of his friars believed. Being poor was not a question of being without possessions merely for the sake of being without possessions. Rather, the condition was to be freely chosen as a sign of one's essential poverty of spirit � total reliance on God in every aspect of life. And for Francis, dependence on God was impossible unless one regarded oneself as a mere steward, and not an owner, of one's own being. For Francis, this was wonderfully liberating, not a deprivation: he was free, and he wished others to share his joy at the freedom from the obsession with money and things, with what is visible, tangible, profitable.
Here in Chapter 5 "The Sick Soul" it is revealed that Goethe knew ony four weeks of happiness in 75
years. This would go for most philosophers. Why do we still read them???


Good question. Misery loves company? Seriously. Try to tell me that all those murder investigation shows on TV are so popular because people merely love a good mystery. Nonsense. Just like the popularity of broadcast news which is full of specifically bad news and little else, people are comforted from seeing other people suffer worse than they do.

And let's face it. Just as there is political correctness, multiculturalism, and cultural Marxism (an obsession with racial and sexual discrimination as the root of all problems) in our age, so there must have been other facile notions in ages past. Just as people today tend to put more credence in the words of "serious" people so do we still (and probably did then) put more credence in the ideas, thoughts, and writings of those who were, basically, professional sufferers. There's even a great passage in Reluctant Saint about how Francis was almost unique in his age for promoting a loving, forgiving, un-punitive, and salvation-filled version of religion as opposed to what everyone else was preaching which was a very negative message of being damned and going to hell.

Francis: still ahead of his time in our age. Wink
 
Posts: 5413 | Location: Washington State | Registered: 21 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
. . . Real progress from me, the small transformations, are coming in the form of losing or re-writing all the little stories, delusions and self-deceptions that we weave about our lives. I find almost endless opportunities to do so and am doing in a kind, constructive way. It�s not just fault-finding and harsh judging.

That's from your sharing, above, Brad, and I think it's the nitty-gritty of what spiritual writers and theologians would call the journey to authenticity. I think this is really the foundation of a good human/spiritual life, and even a means by which one grows in God's grace (inclusivist view of salvation). Again and again on this forum, you give testimony to this and I think it's a powerful witness. Granted, I would that you and all people would find this integrity opening into theistic and Christian belief, and so experience the many advantages of explicit faith. But it's another one of those mysteries to me -- why/how some come to this, and others don't. It seems that some must, at times, practically renounce the whole religion business to recover sufficient authenticity to embrace theism and even Christianity later.

We wait . . . and watch . . . and continue the journey together. Smiler
 
Posts: 7539 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 09 August 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
�and even a means by which one grows in God's grace (inclusivist view of salvation).

Thank goodness there's a category that even includes me. I'm impressed. You Catholics have thought of darn near everything. Wink

Granted, I would that you and all people would find this integrity opening into theistic and Christian belief, and so experience the many advantages of explicit faith. But it's another one of those mysteries to me -- why/how some come to this, and others don't. It seems that some must, at times, practically renounce the whole religion business to recover sufficient authenticity to embrace theism and even Christianity later.

First off, thank you for all the kind things you've said, Phil. Indeed, if online contacts can have any human value (and I think they can and do) then you have been a tenacious defender of the faith and have done so in such an intelligent and compelling manner (and keeping in mind the exchanges in the background) that you are the Rock upon which anything that is proto-Christian in me is built, if that's not too blasphemous a sentiment. Wink

"I don't know" is the only honest thing I can say, which is heads and tails over that time when I thought I knew everything.
 
Posts: 5413 | Location: Washington State | Registered: 21 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
Well, "I don't know" much either. Wink

One thing I've discovered, however, is that "knowing" isn't a pre-requisite to "believing." In fact, if one "knows," there is no need to "believe." That doesn't mean belief is irrational, only that it opens one to possibilities that aren't available otherwise.

Good, thoughtful sharing, Brad.
 
Posts: 7539 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 09 August 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
Most conversions take place in an environment of love. A person meets a Christian who demonstrates loving concern for that individual, and good things follow. They don't care how much you know until they know how much you care. I see this over and over again in 12 step recovery. Many of us have had the experience of deep self loathing, and we get loved into recovery by people who actually care about us more than we care about ourselves.

Still, I seldom mention hell and damnation or salvation through Christ to most of my closest freinds. I get so busy playing "good cop" that I forget how to play the "bad cop" role. Billy Graham seldom shys away from this:

" I remember some years ago I was preaching in New Zealand, and I was invited to give a lecture at the university of Auckland, the capitol of New Zealand. During my lecture I mentioned the word "hell." That night -- I had alrady gone to bed --
there came a loud knock at the door. I got up and rubbed the sleep from my eyes, and I went to the door and found a student. He was very angry. He said, "Tonight you talked to us, and you said there is a hell. I don't believe there is a hell or a judgement. You shouldn't talk like that to us." I said, "Come in, Sit down," and he did. We talked for a long time. I said, "would you admit there is 10 per cent chance that Jesus was right
and there is a hell?" He scatched his head, and he thought a minute. He said, "Yes, I would say there is a 10 per cent chance, but," he added, that's not much." I said, "I want to ask you another question. Suppose you go out to the airport, and you are planning to take a plane to Sidney, Australia. You have the ticket, and just as you are ready to get on the plane, they make the announcement 'There is only a 10 per cent chance the plane won't make it.' Would you get on the plane?" He said. "No." "And you tell me," I replied, "that you believe there is a 10 per cent chance there is a hell, and you are willing to take the eternal risk?" He said, "I suppose not." I said, "Then you'll receive Christ?" He said no.
"Because," he said, "I admit that my problem is not intellectual. My problem is moral. I'm not ready to surrender to Christ. His moral demands are too high." How tragic it is to turn our backs on God and his salvation! "

While these fine fellows are busy loving you to death, I am willing to confront your anger and objections or obstacles which may remain. What is left which stands in the way? Is it intellectual,
moral or a trust issue? Some people are afraid of Jesus moral teaching, as it is quite severe. No one lives up to it perfectly except the Son of God, which is why I seek to become his disciple and have been joined to him. Many are called, but few are chosen.

in love,

mm <*)))))><
 
Posts: 2559 | Registered: 14 June 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
Is it intellectual, moral or a trust issue?

Intellectual? Maybe just a bit. Moral? No. I'm okay with most of the morals. Trust? Oh, sure. You betcha. But I think it's also a willingness and relevance issue, not to mention a confinement issue. Simply stated I'm not sure I want to bother. I'm not sure it matters if I bother. And even if I wanted to and needed to, I'm not sure I'd want to limit myself to the constraints of one system of beliefs. It might be easy from all this to perceive that I think the sun shines out of my butt and expect better proof or more proof or whatever, but the truth is that the type of structure that fits my character and life is going to be a looser, more informal one. It's even possible that I have a certain amount of respect for Christianity and Christ that I do not want to profane it by masquerading as a believer when I'm not. The other considerations are that I don't want to join a club. I don't want to put on airs. I don't want to mimic. I've done too much of that image crap all my life. Fine. Bang me with a Christian stick and tell me that I'm saved and I'll accept that. But I won't go to church. I won't say "Blessings be upon you this fine morning" as I pass you on the sidewalk, and I won't go through the motions and rituals as so much of that stuff I don't believe really matters.

From my perspective I'm working on the spirit of the thing and not the formalities. I don't require special treatment but I do require different treatment.

Please consider my speaking honestly like this, MM, the kindest gesture I have to give. Your thoughts I find most intriguing and not altogether unpersuasive.
 
Posts: 5413 | Location: Washington State | Registered: 21 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
Appealing to an honest man, probably more honest than I can be, is a difficult issue. Jesus had a hard time with it, but still made the effort. He used a different approach with everyone, custom tailored to their needs. Nicodemus and the rich young ruler were difficult cases. They just weren't sick enough to feel the need of conversion.

What about the meaninglessness and vanity of life? All we do and accumulate will be forgotten. All we have to look forward to is illness old age and death. What does it all mean? Why are we here?
The existential question.

Christianity need not be confining. Billy Graham is not the acme and apex of Christian thought. He's just really good at getting them through the door. Alas, nuclear war and hell just don't scare people enough anyore. Wink

What about a God who loves us enough to give everything for us, including his only begotten Son. What do I have to trade for that? What can I say to that? All other belief systems represent an attempt to ascend to the Divine. A Christian admits this is impossible. I need some help.

"Quo est veritas," asked Pontius Pilate. He had all the education Greece and Rome had to offer, yet he had to ask the question, "What is truth."
If one follows the truth sincerely, one winds up at the logos, the Source. It is He.

Honoring your quest for truth,

justanotherhypocrite.com
 
Posts: 2559 | Registered: 14 June 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
It's even possible that I have a certain amount of respect for Christianity and Christ that I do not want to profane it by masquerading as a believer when I'm not. The other considerations are that I don't want to join a club. I don't want to put on airs. I don't want to mimic. I've done too much of that image crap all my life. Fine. Bang me with a Christian stick and tell me that I'm saved and I'll accept that. But I won't go to church. I won't say "Blessings be upon you this fine morning" as I pass you on the sidewalk, and I won't go through the motions and rituals as so much of that stuff I don't believe really matters.

All that I can understand very well. None of it really makes much sense outside the context of an identity explicity committed to covenant with Christ. Sort like the hoopla of football fans -- people who don't "belong" by virtue of "fandom" think it all nonsense. But for two fans, "Geaux Tigers!" is an affirmation of a special kinship and a joyful acknowledgment. Move the metaphor over to commitment to Christ and the many instances of public profession and worship make more sense.

Agreeing with MM, here, that within the context of Christian belief, one can develop a "structure" (i.e. spirituality) that suits one's temperament and other considerations. The tricky part for all of us is to stay on top of whether we are requiring Truth to meet the a priori demands of Ego in the name of "freedom," or whether freedom is really discovered when one submits the Ego to the implications of Truth. Huge difference, and easy to be deluded. I do not know that we can ever say that we're "done" with the need to discern that dynamic.
 
Posts: 7539 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 09 August 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
Reading the gospels, one can find a wide range of reactions to him, I suppose there might be over six billion currently. Here are exactly seventy-nine POVs to ponder...

http://www.kahlil.org/sub/jesus

He has the amazing ability to defy description and become different according to the needs and faith of the individual. May the Holy Spirit direct. Smiler

caritas,

mm <*)))))><
 
Posts: 2559 | Registered: 14 June 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
I tend to get a tad bit bible-thumpy at times, so thanks for bearing with me. God is much larger than
my itty-bitty brain. I like the openness around here
and would not want to shut that down in any way. A freind is someone you can look in the same direction with. Jesus has called me His freind. Smiler
 
Posts: 2559 | Registered: 14 June 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
First off, I think all your advice and encouragement is just terrific. I�ve been ruminating on it for the last couple days. I�ve also been spending a fair amount of time watching original series Star Trek episodes on DVD, so if I start talking like William Shatner I hope you understand.

Wwww-eeeee�rrreach, Mr. Spock, to find love -- a uniquely human emotion that I think you would enjoy. Lllllllll-uuuuuvvv is one the most powerful of human motivations. Ironically we even kill or maim trying to attain it. But underneath this sometimes hard and brutal exterior is a deep respect and awe for each other and the universe. Wwww-eeeee�nnneed human companionship and the warmth of the human touch. There IS no substitute for that, Mr. Spock.

They just weren't sick enough to feel the need of conversion.

LOL. Believe you me, MM, I�m plenty sick enough. Can�t you tell by now? Big Grin But the question here, as I see it, is not of faith but of which type of faith. Maybe JB would call this implicit faith as opposed to explicit. I don�t know. But I do know that faith for me, and probably many others, means getting up and going through the whole process of another day expecting (and not without some justification) that things will be no better and might likely get worse, but with a hope, no matter how small, that things could get better. Faith is getting out of bed every morning, no matter the physical pain, and knowing that what drives you is more than just the fear of death. Faith is being bitter, angry and impatient at times but not giving in to the bitterness, anger and impatience because, well, because there�s something that prompts you to do otherwise.

Faith is living with often excruciating mental fatigue and pain and yet still managing somehow to find and hold onto something solid and substantial in seemingly the only place where it can exist � in the eye of the storm.

Faith is looking for love, trying to embrace love, trying to exude some measure of love even though love has often been quite absent from one�s life.

Faith is resisting the cynical and trying to embrace, however little one may understand it, a concept or reality that transcends cynicism. The Christian faith appears to be a nice one but at the moment I�m sort of up to my ass in faith and don�t really know if I can take any more on board and drain any more swamps. Yes, I can think of a hundred excuses for "why not" but perhaps not all of them are untrue.

Wwww-eeeee�rrreach, Mr. Spock
 
Posts: 5413 | Location: Washington State | Registered: 21 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
Brad,

A fellow shared in a meeting about not being much into the prayer thing yet. I mentioned to him awareness as a form of prayer, and another fellow
suggested looking for the "Good" rather than "God,"
as that might be easier for him.

Twelve step meetings deal more with general principles, such as faith and hope and an admission of powerlessness. Those are the basic building blocks. Honesty, openness and willingness
are important ingredients. Then come forgiveness
justice, consistency, seeking guidance and carrying the message to others.

These principles are mostly what gets kicked around in recovery groups as topics. People seldom bring up
psychology or religion, as twelve step groups have no opinion on such things. Everyone is encouraged to find a higher power of their choosing, something that they can understand and relate to for themselves.

Star Trek explores what it is to be human. Many of life's lessons came to me through that medium and
mileu.

As far as being sick, it's better than to call one's self bad, as that is permanent and sick is at least hopeful of a potential cure. To me it's not running myself down to daily make the admission of being "sick." Humility and many other desirable things begin for me at that unflattering
point of departure. Have you ever noticed that crazy people often won't admit it, even to themselves? I'm not as healthy as I'd like to be, but I'm glad I'm not as sick as I used to be. We can change and grow or adjust to living life on life's terms, whatever that might mean.

caritas,

mm <*)))))><
 
Posts: 2559 | Registered: 14 June 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
I tend to get a tad bit bible-thumpy at times, so thanks for bearing with me.

If I couldn't handle a little bible-thumping, MM, what would I be doing here? You go on thumping. Thump hard. Thump long. Thump loud. If you don't spread your word then somebody else is just going to come along and spread something else and I can almost guarantee you that that word is not going to be as true or as beneficial.

Star Trek explores what it is to be human.

That's a very nice way of putting it. And Voyager explored what it means to be politically correct. Enterprise, I think, is fast exploring what it means to be irrelevant. That series started out with promise but has since lost confidence in its vision and has side-tracked into uninteresting noise.

Deep Space Nine worked for a while because they remembered Roddenberry's own prime directive which was to NOT make the story primarily about technology and gee-whiz stuff but to ground it solidly into characters and character development. Gene strongly wanted to avoid cookie-cutter cut-out people. Deep Space Nine, I think, did this for at least a portion of its run.

As far as being sick, it's better than to call one's self bad, as that is permanent and sick is at least hopeful of a potential cure. To me it's not running myself down to daily make the admission of being "sick." Humility and many other desirable things begin for me at that unflattering
point of departure. Have you ever noticed that crazy people often won't admit it, even to themselves? I'm not as healthy as I'd like to be, but I'm glad I'm not as sick as I used to be. We can change and grow or adjust to living life on life's terms, whatever that might mean.


What is crazy? What is sick? For the most part, it's whatever society decides to call it � and that's about as relativistic as you'll find my opinions outside of talking about Einstein's theories, but I think there's a lot of truth to that. Ironically, much of our "sickness" is caused by trying to deny ourselves and conforming to what society says is normal. Well (expletive deleted) that, at least to some extent. Avoid the cynical. Avoid the blatantly manipulative. Avoid doing intentional harm, either from anger or ignorance. But beyond that, just go with who you are. You might be surprised that there's not a hell of a lot wrong with you. Dare to be different. Dare to be as idiosyncratic at you are (or normal, if that's your schtick). MM, I like you because you're passionate about things and aren't afraid to show it. What you probably need is someone who understands you and can nurture that instead of exploiting it or criticizing it. Maybe you have that now. If so, appreciate it and just go with it.

That's my 13th step that I recommend for you � or consider it the 14th if you're superstitious.
 
Posts: 5413 | Location: Washington State | Registered: 21 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
The next ten years will see as much change and upheaval as the decade of the 1960s, so get ready!
Star Trek put alot of these new ideas across by placing them in outer space, where they seemed a bit more remote and we could get a better look at them.

When you ask a Zen master about earthly things, they speak of heavenly things, and vice versa.

http://deoxy.org/w_value.htm

"When you sleep on the floor, you can't fall out of bed." I know alot of people who have had psychotic breaks. I've traveled the edges, which is why I'll just never be a good capital "R" Republican again, and I'm no longer controlling enough to enforce sanity on the masses.
 
Posts: 2559 | Registered: 14 June 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
  Powered by Social Strata Page 1 2 3 4 5 6