Monday, 2 May 2016

Self worth and Jesus

A central tenet of christian doctrine is the belief that we are intrinsically bad/evil and that only through Jesus can any sense of self worth be attained.

This is strengthened by persistent teachings that say things like "all of Him, none of me", "I can do nothing without Jesus", "I'm just a worthless sinner saved by grace" and countless other expression all based on various interpretation of scripture.

Self worth however, is exactly that - the worth of our "selves". What is our core identity (our essence/spirit/heart - all that we are) actually worth?

Is it doomed, from the moment of our conception, to be thwarted in every attempt at living loved, with honesty and compassion, to be a source of light and love to all around us?

Is our self worth a thing to be despised and utterly rejected, to be replaced in some magical way by the "worthiness" of another, which alone will make us acceptable to our God?

I know there are many doctrines that explain the indwelling of Christ and how he makes us one with him as our spirits are remade in his likeness etc. There are thousands of books written and sermons preached on this.

But all avoid the most fundamental issue - that however we hide it in nice and loving sounding doctrines - our deepest self, the "me" that we were created with that makes up all that we are - is worthless crap until Jesus takes over our hearts and makes us like him.

In a way, this works. Simply because if we accept that we are totally corrupted and screwed up, as is evident by the way we think and live, then believing that a "perfect being" can live inside us and solve this problem by us sacrificing every thought and desire we have to that being, then yeah, we will change, especially as we believe that being is loving and gracious and only wants the best for us.

But at a deeper level this is the ultimate abuse of humanity. It destroys our hearts and souls in a way that is so subtle that we actually think its healthy.

What if the real problem is simply that our own self worth is damaged by the lies we are taught from birth?

What if the examples of constant lovelessness as we grow reinforce the idea that we are so flawed that the only hope is by abandoning the little we have and allowing another being to live vicariously through us?

But what if the flame of our self worth were to be encouraged, brought to life and allowed to be everything it was created to be, simply for its own value?

What if we actually believed that we are beautiful, lovingly made, infinitely valuable, just because we are human? Imagine billions of people honouring each other's unique worth, respecting each other out of their own unique self-worth, living from a place of perfect and complete self love - a love that can do nothing other than embrace the love that we are all made of.

What if the religion we try to use to feel worth something, is doing the exact opposite and is slowly and thoroughly killing us off as individuals and as a species?

Yes, I know many people have been "saved" from lives of misery and abuse through christianity. But what if its nothing more than a cover up - a poor substitute for real life and living powerfully and wholly ourselves, full of love and life?

Personally, I've found this to be the case. By accepting who I am at the core of my being and allowing myself to unconditionally love that "me", I have become more loving, more patient, more compassionate, more filled with peace and joy, and far more capable of giving love to others than any amount of self-sacrifice to Christ could ever bring. Pride and arrogance fall away, rather than grow - the exact opposite of what Christianity told me would happen!

Live loved!

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Our lovingly evil god

The last few years have seen me become more and more ruthless with my attacks on Christianity.

Many people say I've thrown the baby out with the bathwater. Others think I've just become bitter and hopefully, one day I'll see that my bad experiences have taken me this way, and that God really is as loving as many believe. Some understand the depth of what I've battled with, some say I'm just deceived and have become a tool of the "enemy".

I've posted many blogs about this, so I thought it was time for one more, lol.

The "grace" message that so many now preach was a huge step for me. The idea that God indeed absolutely and unconditionally loves everyone was mind-blowing. The doctrines of the "finished work of Jesus and the cross" finally made so much make sense.

...sort of...

The problem however was the brain teasing, mind twisting doctrinal re-arranging we have to do to get the bible to make any real sense. The proponents of Grace can back their doctrines with solid scriptures, but like it or not, it's at the cost of others.

I still, in all honesty, couldn't reconcile the character of God, as represented throughout the entire bible, as being a truly loving God. I studied and read so many books. I prayed and meditated on it, even did 2 years bible college. But ultimately I had to admit that the God of the bible is an asshole. In fact, far worse than that. To accept that the bible gives us the entire picture of a never changing, omniscient, omni-everything God forces us to accept the horrors that he inflicted as well as the supposed good. The God of the Old Testament was a monster - no better than the gods of the surrounding heathen nations, and probably more arrogant and exclusive.

The god of the New Testament seems a lot more loving and forgiving, but it doesn't take much to see that no matter how good we spin the doctrines, he's still an asshole.

He's exclusive, demanding and judgemental, unless we choose to love him. It's that simple. And yes, I know every argument and doctrine in the book for both sides. I've been doing this for over 40 years and believe me, I've yet to hear anything new that would convince me otherwise. Every single comment I get when I say stuff like this, I could have written myself! I just get never ending clich├ęs and more scripture quoting, or insane circular logic - you name it!

The problem however is that so many genuine loving and passionate people fail to see the glaring absurdities - like I did for most of my life!

Sure we can believe whatever we want, not a problem. But what is the fruit of our beliefs? What is the basis of our beliefs? Are we believing something that is actually far more damaging than we could possibly imagine, and yet only see it as good and loving? Are we blind to the centuries of horror this religion has caused? Or are we happy to just say we are the generation that finally understands it all?

The god of the bible is horrific, as are the gods of so many other religions, most of them in fact - simply because we love to create gods in our own image - we just can't help ourselves!

I know I'll get the usual responses from this, but that's ok. If just one person stops to really ponder what the hell they actually believe and why, then this world could become a better place. So believe in whatever god you want - but do so with the most integrity and honesty you can possibly muster, and above all, don't be an asshole like the god of religion.

(I'll be writing more about the deeply damaging aspects of christianity and religion in general, and much of it will be in my next book - which is taking far too long to get into!)

Thursday, 7 April 2016

What if?

What if time was not time - not event upon event?
What if sequence is illusion - and illusion is bent?
What if now is then and then is now?
What if I am, and was, is the same somehow?

What if we just dream the now?
What if everything is nothing, or an endless Tao?

I have a world in my head
Full of love and dread
It seizes the day
But I stay in my bed

My world and yours
We agree by default
A manifold illusion
In our great gestalt

What if past, now and then were one?
What if all was simply the kingdom come?
What if we, in this life confined
Were truly immortal, love divine?

Sunday, 20 March 2016

I was a chronic liar

Lying.

We hate liars. We are taught from day one that its absolutely wrong to lie, and when we catch people lying it destroys trust and credibility.

But we all tell little lies every so often. We twist the truth a little, tell "white lies", you know the story. It's even justifiable if the truth could do more damage than a careful lie!

But I lied all my life. I lied about who I was. I lied to myself every day. I lied to my family and friends. I lied to everyone.

I felt like I had no choice, but it ate me up from the inside out. "Coming out" as gay was inconceivable. Confiding in friends wasn't even an option - even those who I had some sort of "same sex" relationship with wouldn't talk about it. We just "did it". We had to lie.

Lying is so incredibly destructive. Obviously to those around us, but even more so to ourselves. It causes us to slowly build a false reality, a dual reality. It splits us, creating cognitive dissonance. It begins the process of mental illness and for some this can end in death.

I lied to my wife (both of them). I lied to my family. It was the only thing I could do to survive. But it nearly killed me.

This is why personal integrity is so important to me now. I ached to be "integral" all my life. You can't imagine what a relief it is to have nothing to hide any more!

When I say I'm free, I really mean I'm finally living whole and with integrity. I am who I am, open and transparent. Perhaps too open sometimes, but I don't care. It's such a massive relief to tell the world that I no longer have anything to hide. I'm not lying to you any more! No more skeletons in the closet. No more fear. No more self hatred.

I'm free! Yeah, it's all relative, and I know there are still many parts of my identity and "being" I don't understand. I'm still influenced by the deep scars of the lies, and my emotions betray that far too often. But I'm free of the need to lie - about anything actually.

Life is good!!

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Achievement abuse

The pressure to "achieve" is relentless.

I don't just mean, get a good job or whatever. I mean to make something of your life -  to become a "useful/normal" member of society. We are told to get over our crap - sure, take time to work through it, so long as you actually "get better" - there's only so much "compassion" we are allowed to receive before it's time to move on and get back into the system.

In christian circles especially, this is a type of subtle but powerful abuse. Yep, that's right - abuse!

We use a combination of capitalism and the "protestant work ethic" backed by the twisted dogma of religion that demands we fit in to a mould - that we all look and behave the same, allowing just enough diversity so it appears we are tolerant.

This covers every aspect of life! Our personal goals and ambitions, our work ethic, relationships, mental health, finances, politics... All are neatly framed by expectations to conform, but most importantly, to "succeed".

Our ability to conform has become the measure of our success.

We are given all the help we need as long as we can measure the results of that help in terms of becoming "functional" members of society. And for christians, that means "functional" members of church. We measure relationship with God (our validity as a christian) by how much we have achieved. This includes our level of "obedience to God", our "ministry", our "service", having the perfect family, good finances (prospering) and a great smile that shows how we have "overcome".

But what if those measures of success are totally arbitrary? What if they are actually destroying us - destroying who we really are - our true identity? What if the pressure they put on us is slowly killing us?

What if there were no expectations to be anything other than who we are, and encouraged to simply find love in ourselves and everyone else?

All cultures have inflicted this on its people in some form. Christianity excels at it, especially as it bases it all on being pleasing to God. It makes God out to be the one who wants us to achieve the right (righteous) results, and excuses this abuse of our core identity and self worth by claiming it's the way God decrees it.

We are not broken. We are not miserable sinners desperately needing some external magic God to save us. We don't need to fit any mould. We are all completely unique, and when we are given the freedom to be just that, we'll all function together in ways we never imagined!

Friday, 4 March 2016

"It's Life Jim" vs Xlibris :'(

I've been hesitant to share what happened with the publishing of my book (It's Life Jim...) because, well, just because I feel like an idiot really.

I chose to use Xlibris to publish, as they are a division of Penguin and Random House. They are well established companies, been around for a long time, and thought I couldn't go wrong.

I was wrong.

They offered an amazing selection of services to promote/market my book, all at premium prices. I was prepared to spend the money though, because I'm passionate about what I'm doing. I scraped together $4000 through donations and my own savings, for a range of services. They then offered me the deal of the century - New York Times literary section, book review, advert and radio interview for another $4000!

Too good to turn down, and a friend offered to lend me the money. But it turned out that the real price was $16,000 (four monthly payments of $4000), and the sales rep had neglected to inform me of this minor detail. Long story short. it took 6 months - yes 6 months!! - to finally sort out the mess, meanwhile we had missed the opportunity of a lifetime to promote my book through all the international media attention I received from a nasty piece of hate mail (thank you Logan Robertson).

Instead of taking a refund of the $4K, I foolishly reinvested it into another service they offered, thinking I could recoup the losses. But no... after getting a place in 4 major book-shows through the US, they informed me that to get real results I needed to be at the shows to personally promote it, and they weren't going to cover the airfares, lol.

So I got screwed over big time. Even the basic services, I've since found out, I could get for a fraction of the price if I'd researched more. I was stupid - sucked in by hype.

Sales trickled along - enough to help promote Silent Gays and keep me alive - but nothing like enough to actively promote the book, and pay back loans.

So there you have it. Go on, say it... "Jim, you're a sucker". Yes, its true!


Thursday, 18 February 2016

I Love To Be Loved

The simplicity of love!

To-Love-And-Be-Loved...It's not hard, or complicated. We have turned it into some crazy spiritual/religious/moral/ethical maze of conditions and exemptions. We have dissected it into oblivion and robbed it of power and declared it unachievable on any practical level.

But I love to be loved!

I know what love is when I receive it. It's the most empowering and life giving thing I could ever hope to have. When I do something good for others, no matter how "selfless" it may be, deep down it makes me feel good - I'm experiencing love, even if it's my own love!

We don't need to be told what love is. It's written in every heart, it's who we are at the core. Yes, even the worst of the worst know what love is, even if they have never experienced it or expressed it. All evil is simply a deficit of love.

It's OK to love to be loved. In fact, it's the very thing that gives us real life. Love yourself, let yourself be loved, soak it up for all your worth.

Live Loved!





So, you know how people are
When it's all gone much too far
The way their minds are made
Still, there's something you should know
That I could not let show
That fear of letting go

And in this moment, I need to be needed
With this darkness all around me, I like to be liked
In this emptiness and fear, I want to be wanted
'Cause I love to be loved
I love to be loved [x2]
Yes, I love to be loved

I cry the way that babies cry
The way they can't deny
The way they feel
Words, they climb all over you
'Til they uncover you
From where you hide

And in this moment, I need to be needed
When my self-esteem is sinking, I like to be liked
In this emptiness and fear,
I want to be wanted
'Cause I love to be loved
I love to be loved [x2]
Oh I love to be loved

This old familiar craving
I've been here before, this way of behaving
Don't know who the hell I'm saving anymore
Let it pass let it go let it leave
From the deepest place I grieve
This time I believe

And I let go [x2]
I can let go of it
Though it takes all the strength in me
And all the world can see
I'm losing such a central part of me
I can let go of it
You know I mean it
You know that I mean it
I recognize how much I've lost
But I cannot face the cost
'Cause I love to be loved

Yes I love to be loved
I love to be loved
[x3]

I love to be loved
I love to be loved
Yes I love to be loved

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Anti-dogma

Dogma is a principle or set of principles laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly true.[1] It serves as part of the primary basis of an ideology or belief system, and it cannot be changed or discarded without affecting the very system's paradigm, or the ideology itself. (Wikipedia)

Some people think I'm "anti-christian" these days. I'm a heretic for sure, but not anti-christian as such. My views were probably best summed up here.

I've been having more interactions with traditional/fundamentalist christians lately (not sure why really!) and dogma is the thing that stands out the most. It wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't so damaging. I mean, sure, believe whatever you want - it's your right as a human being! But the moment your beliefs become dogma, you've stepped over to the dark side.

Christian dogma simply says I'm right and you're wrong - end of story. Embrace my dogma and you'll be ok for ever. You can be one of us, blessed and loved by God.

But it's not just christians.

Just about every belief system has it's own form of dogma, and dare I include atheism in that?

Nothing outside the realm of our physical senses can be termed irrefutable truth. Nothing. It's all philosophy, beliefs, ponderings, assumptions etc. Many ideas can sound pretty darn good and be backed by "science" to some degree, but they are still subjective and "intangible".

Science itself is basically the art of translating the unknown or inconceivable into something our physical senses can understand - something we can go "yeah, can't argue with that!" But again, even science can get it wrong and build theories based on incorrect premises.

So anyway - dogma. It sucks. It kills. It isolates. It divides. It's the antithesis of love. Believe whatever you want, but the moment you turn it into dogma, you lose, and bring death to all around you.

No one is right or wrong, but we are free to create belief systems that bring life and love - real unconditional love, with no agendas.

Love is all that matters - and you don't need a dogmatic belief system to live loved in all it's fullness!


Friday, 29 January 2016

You mean I'm really OK??

I've really been into helping people see that they are OK, at the core of their being. They aren't broken.

I love seeing that spark as they realise they have value, that they actually matter and can bring so much to those around them, and even the rest of the world!

But I'm realising I don't quite live it myself - not as much as I would encourage others to do! Sure, I'm happier and more confident than I've ever been, but I'm seeing that my self hatred is deeper than I thought.

I didn't fit in as a kid. Then I realised I was gay - culturally forbidden in the 60s and 70s conservative middle class. Then I got religion, and the self loathing got even worse. My whole life was one of failure - not living up to my own or other's expectations. The image I had of myself affected every aspect of my life. I lived in fear of being exposed as a fraud.

Now, I have come out of that to the degree where I feel free and integral for the first time in my life, but I still don't value my abilities. I still think I'll fail - that people will somehow see that I'm a scrambled mess, and I'm of no real value.

I still walk into a room full of people and deep down assume that they are all "better" than me - more "adult" - more "together".

So here I am, trying to make Silent Gays and my book a going concern, when deep down, there's still that sense of fraud and failure.

I'm not sharing this for pity. Its simply that in seeing this for what it is, I realised that so many of us feel the same. If we've hidden who we really are out of fear and shame, then it will affect every area of our lives!

I passionately want to help the world be a better place, to provide hope and love. We all need to help each other to be all that we can - to recognise the affects of the past and to support and encourage each other.

We CAN do this - We are not our past - We are not who we were.

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Jesus who????

Now for the big one!


Over the years, I've heard various alternative ideas about the historical Jesus. The only people who think that the Jesus of the bible is an historically accurate record these days are either fundamentalists or those who have never really thought about it.

Having said that, most people just assume it's close enough not to worry about, and any discrepancies don't undermine the message anyway.

There's a lot of scholarly work now from people like Reza Aslan, that thoroughly researches the culture, sociology, religions and just about every other factor you can think of, to build a picture of the "real" Jesus.

But for some time, there's also been research that says he never even existed! What I'd read of this wasn't particularly credible and had that conspiracy theory edge to it.

This guy however, is rather challenging and, I must confess, pretty thorough and very scholarly. I'm going to read his book and dig deeper.




So if this is true, where does it leave us?

It clearly puts Christianity into the realm of a mythical cult, which, none the less, has a lot of value in terms of spirituality, morality etc.

It would certainly change the entire landscape of christendom, and probably bring the complete demise of traditional church. But then again, there is too much vested interest in a religion with 2000 years worth of traditions for many people.

We may never know "the" truth about Jesus, but I'm glad some objective research is finally coming out.