Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Jim's Christmas Blog

I simply had to write a Christmas blog! Its been ages since my last one and, well, its just what you do.

So, where to begin. What a year!!

This mad journey never stops, and even in the crappy times there is a new hope and joy that is better than anything I could have imagined.

I've spent the last 3 years or so, sifting and sorting what I believed - taking many cautious steps back to shake free the paradigms (yes, my favourite word) of fundamentalist, traditional christianity. The last year in particular has seen a huge shift as I have refused to be locked in by dogma and traditional thought.

I have read and studied relentlessly, found the loose ends of traditional beliefs and pulled the threads to see exactly how much is revealed if we dare to simply keep unraveling.

At times its been scary, simply thinking I'm losing anything resembling faith and chucking the baby out with every drop of bathwater. But every time, the essence of faith and spirituality takes on a deeper and stronger meaning, a more powerful life, and a new view into the vistas of love, joy and peace.

The fruit of my journey is the only criteria that defines and directs my path. Is it love?! Does it bring peace and joy?! Does it bring love to everyone else around me?! Then I'm on the right track.

I've had to redefine even the very basics of things like:
Who is God?
Who is Jesus?
Do doctrines about things like the Trinity even matter?
Do the doctrines around Jesus divine purpose really matter?
Is christianity simply another religion based on ancient cultural myths?

These aren't light questions, and after spending over 40 years in the church, studying, reading, wrestling - looking at endless doctrines, looking at my heart and struggling to find integrity in every aspect of my life, I've dropped a LOT of stuff.

Spirituality is now far simpler and far more profound. Christianity is now just another religion, with many profound and deep truths, and many profoundly incongruous and stupid beliefs as well.

Who is Jesus? A good question. One I'm unwilling to comment on any more.

In unraveling christianity, I'm seeing how horribly self obsessed it can be - how disgustingly exclusive, condemning, judgmental and self righteous!

But in all the uncertainty there is now a freedom - to be wrong, to not know, to search and question, and not be afraid of the answers, even if they are simply more questions.

At the risk of sounding a bit arrogant, I've found integrity in who I am and my journey. I no longer care (mostly) about other people's opinions or beliefs and simply trust God, knowing that there is nothing I can do that would separate me from him/her, my journey and future is guaranteed, no longer defined by fear and dogma.

Am I still a christian? I don't know! And who cares? Its only a label we use to make sure people are "in or out".

I am me - I am!

My only choice is to "live loved"

Oh yeah, so, Christmas...

Its a hodge podge of religious festivals, mainly about Jesus, but who cares really, let's just celebrate life, family, unity, and LOVE. Simply enjoy the festivity and fun and don't get stressed!

Sunday, 17 November 2013

A Classic Question.


Why would God limit something so important (the revelation of himself) to the pages of a book that depicts the history of one little tribe and their mythology about the origins of man and God?

And then further limit that single most important message for all mankind, to one guy from that tribe? 

Then, to add insult to injury, allow all the original documents recording these events to be lost, allow a bedraggled set of letters and disparate writings to be pulled together 300 years later, a collection that no one at the time agreed on anyway, and then the language that most of it was written in dies so no one really knows what half of it means anyway? 

1700 years later, no one is any the wiser and keeps fighting over what the collection of writings mean, and keeps continually fragmenting into more and more groups, cults, movements etc.

Meanwhile the rest of the world, the majority of the world, from way back when, has no idea all this is going on, or any idea that they have been left out of the most important revelation to all mankind. And the majority of the world still have no idea, because the keepers of this book are still busy arguing over it all, and billions of people, meanwhile, have missed out (and will continue to miss out) because God is stuck with this mess and isn't powerful enough or has his hands tied, or whatever, so he has no choice but to let most of mankind slope off to hell.

To make matters even more difficult, the keepers of the book have developed an extremely complex system of justifications as to why its the only source of everything God has spoken to mankind, using systems of very intricate circular reasoning, and then wrapping that reasoning in varying degrees of authoritarian control by presenting themselves as the ones who understand and can interpret it on our behalf.

Of course, because of all the endless divisions and arguments amongst the keepers, there are thousands and thousands of wise sages all dispensing conflicting understandings of the book with just as much authority and control, leaving the rest of us trying to decide who we should believe.

And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

Mind you, we do have a choice - we could take a step back and see if maybe there is a bigger picture?!

Monday, 11 November 2013

Spirituality vs Religion

I've been contemplating more and more on the nature of spirituality and how it relates to religion.

Often the terms are used interchangeably. Sometimes we use the word religion to refer to any denomination or cultural belief system. We hear people saying I'm a very religious person or others declaring they are spiritual but not religious.

I subscribe to the latter expression, but the impact of that statement has slowly been sinking in to the point where the differences are not only clear but extraordinary!

Here's what I have come to...

Spirituality is the concept of something outside of ourselves, greater than ourselves. Its the acknowledging of a greater mystery to the universe than what confronts our senses. Its often a realisation that we are part of a much larger "something", and are intimately united in some way, by forces we don't understand. More often than not, spirituality is regarded as an extension or expression of love, love being the only universal "thing" that enhances life, brings peace, joy and health.

The desire for peace with the spiritual is a universal "ache", however that may be pursued.

Religion is a whole different thing. Many scholars will give different meanings etc, and I'm aware that this is basically my opinions, but what the heck!

For me, religion is a system or codes, rules and rituals used to define spirituality. It takes a particular way of understanding, based on sociological and cultural paradigms, supported by subjective experience, and even factors like geography and genetics.

Religion is extremely subjective and can be anything from an individual's personal belief system to an authoritarian system that uses various methods of control to unite a large demographic of people.

That all sounds a bit clinical, but its not hard to understand. We all want to have a tidy set of rules and beliefs that are considered right, healthy and normal, that will ensure our health and safety and secure our eternal destiny. Mostly we want other people to sort it out for us so we don't have to think about the hard questions and we'll shift responsibility on to the "priests" (scholars, elders, leaders, philosophers, intelligentsia etc)

In the end, religion controls. It wraps up and defines a certain way of seeing spirituality. It puts it in a tidy box, has a set of written codes that govern thought and performance, and a prescribed "way" of achieving the "universal 'thing' that enhances life and brings peace, joy and health".
The problem with religion is its rampant and horrific ability to turn into dogma, usually expressed through exclusivity and the driving force of acceptance into a superior or higher level of spirituality than all others.

So what to do? We all have a system of "religion" that we use to internalise and express our spirituality (even atheists have a religious process to define their non-belief in spirituality, but that's another story).
Our systems are based on our own deeply complex paradigms, and more often than not, forced into an accepted religious structure (by choice, by birth or by threat).

Religion can be OK, absolutely fine - IF - we understand it for what it is. If we realise its an artificial system introduced to attempt to describe something that is inherently beyond our senses. Christianity is just a religion, like Islam, Hindu, all the others, all with their highly complex systems of beliefs.

The key factor is the "FRUIT" - what is the result of belief in that system? Does it bring life, peace, joy?
Is it love?
LOVE is the one factor that every human being that has ever existed craves. Its the one thing that unites us, the one thing at the core of our identity, of all we are.

If your religion gets in the way of that - if it attempts to control your core yearning for love - begin the unraveling. Start to ask hard questions. Be brave and admit to yourself there may be a problem. Strip away all that is not love. Don't be afraid of turning from a system that uses subtle (or blatant) ways of control through threats of curses and eternal damnation.

Live with spiritual integrity. Learn to see the real fruit of all religious systems.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

What am I?

Sick of labels! Thats what I am!

Sick of having to define myself by a specific belief system - by doctrines, theology, denomination or even a religion.

When I first encountered God, it was outside of any religious structure. It was pure and life giving, with no regard to anything religious. It wasn't even Jesus. It was simply an overwhelming revelation of love and acceptance by God.

The next 40 plus years were spent trying to categorise and analyse that experience, under the guidance and influence of "the church", simply because the closest thing to anything spiritual I could hang this experience on to was the local Anglican church where I played the organ (I was a classical organist in my youth, but that's a whole other story).

It was a journey of shaping and defining that experience, turning it into something tidy and quantifiable. I jumped through every hoop that was put in front of me, but I never found what I was looking for. Nothing ever fit the original encounter.

So here I am, having now spent years unravelling that journey and discovering how useless and irrelevant all that classifying and labelling was - realising how much damage I suffered by trying to adapt to a system of belief that was at complete odds with my core identity in every respect. I'm not talking about sexuality (although that is a whole other story as well) but my identity as a spiritual being. I discovered that a deep cognitive dissonance had eaten away at my whole identity to the point where I had no integrity. I acted out the christian life as prescribed by traditions based on the subjective interpretations of an ancient book.

But my heart knew better. It always has.

It knew about unconditional love. It knew about freedom and peace, joy and compassion. It knew who God is all the time and quietly refused to be manipulated, abused, insulted, humiliated and labeled into a neat conformed package.

So I can now finally feel free to drop the label "christian". Its no longer something I feel comfortable with. Its a label that doesn't describe me in the slightest. In fact, the image associated with that label is basically repulsive to me, although I have tried to maintain an attachment to the label for the sake of maintaining relationships.

So what do I believe?

It changes and grows. There are many core concepts that I find christianity has a wonderful grasp of. But there are many other christian beliefs that simply defy the very nature of the universe, humanity and God himself. I'm not even going to bother listing those things because you will only want to define me by them anyway. And I will continue to do the same to you, although its becoming much easier to look past those beliefs and paradigms to see the human inside, the love inside, God inside.

I have returned to the place God revealed himself to me, and started rebuilding without "christianity". Make of it what you will, call me backslidden or a heretic. But one thing I do have is integrity. I also have a greater sense of love than I've ever known. I no longer get suicidal depression, and genuinely feel a greater love for people.

So there you have it. I'm Jim - not a christian, not a buddhist, not a calvinist or arminian, not Hare Krishna or  new age, or any other age. I'm just Jim on an awesome journey of spiritual discovery.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Searching for Normality

I really don't want this to sound self indulgent, arrogant or patronising in any way, so excuse me if it comes across that way...

I've been thinking a lot about the way we all see things. About how we so easily put ourselves at the centre to the point where we refuse to accept that all we understand could be such a tiny distorted fragment of the truth. We love to find a simple place where we can reshape the universe around us. A place that is comfortable and non-challenging. And then we build up defences to protect that place and end up shooting anyone who comes near. We peer out over the parapets with binoculars that are so encrusted with dust and dirt that all we can see are vague threatening forms as they move closer. We grab our justifications (bibles, favourite teachers, holy books...) and hurl them at the advancing enemies.

Some of us "get it" and others don't.
Some of us seem to see a bigger picture, a much bigger picture.
Some of us can't be complacent with our thoughts and assumptions
Some of us see the ever spiraling complexities of life
Some of us struggle to find coherent integrity of mind, emotion and spirit
Some of us can't stand to live the status quo
Some of us are aware of the deceptions of paradigms and biases
Some of us cannot switch off logic and reason
Some of us cannot stop unraveling things until we find what's at the centre
Some of us realise we may never find what we are looking for
Some of us crave for a higher and deeper and wider understanding of all things
Some of us catch glimpses of the interrelatedness of everything
Some of us lack the expression for our flashes of insight, where every word falls so far short
Some of us see things so differently we wonder why we are here at all
Some of us see love where no one else does
Some of us have hearts that ache from the injustice and pain around us
Some of us give up in frustration
Some of us escape into other places

Why do some people think they've cornered the market on truth
Why do some people fail to recognise that opinions are just that
Why are some people happy in their racism, bigotry and narcissism
Why are so many not even open to growth; spiritually, emotionally or intellectually

So what do those who see the brightness of a bigger world, the security of unconditional love, the joy in the unity of all things and the freedom of life do, in the face of dogma, religion, legalism, close mindedness...

And not just in the church, but all societies, great and small.

Are some of us gifted or cursed? relevant or irrelevant? deceived by pride or humbled by grief?

I don't know, and I hate even thinking about it. some of us would just love to be able to live "normal" lives - whatever that is!






Monday, 7 October 2013

A Quick Look Over My Shoulder

It's been a while since my last blog,  mainly because I've been dealing with two family deaths, and sitting back a little to gather my thoughts.

I've also just been watching, reading, generally getting a feel for what's happening in the Christian/spiritual world.

I stopped today to "look back over my shoulder" and nearly turned onto a pillar of salt!

I have come so far on my journey that when I saw the hidiousness of bible believing fundamentalism, that I spent the best part of my life trying to embrace,  I actually felt sick!

I feel so sad and angry and frustrated that so many still live on that tiny little strangled world of self righteousness, completely ripped off by a religious system. And they actually want that! They want a tidy safe system that provides a list of rules and priciples to live by.

Any way, if you have followed many of my blogs you would be familiar with what I think these days!  God has never been more real, I have never experienced greater love and never felt more free!

Suffice to say, I was shocked at how repulsive it has become to me. And yet, my compassion for those locked in it has grown and it almost feels like my heart is  physically hurting for them.

"Oh you foolish Galatians..."

So, I can't go back, and when I looked even further back over my shoulder, I realized I've always been the one to question the status quo. Guess I have a rebellious spirit, despite all that prayer counseling and deliverance.

Life IN God, God IN me! So simple, so pure, living loved.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Slowmo Tornado


(The relentlessness of life's tragedies)

I knew it was coming
There was warning
We were told the clouds were coming
We stocked up
    I loaded up the bunker and went for a stroll

The last one clawed its way through
    with red eye malice
Talons shredding and shrieking
Oh yes, we heard it coming
But it was darker and meaner
No glimmer of mercy as it thrashed from side to side
Shattering the fragile colours
    the textures, scents, joys
And the lies too
    facades, stuff
All of it

Slowmo tornado

Why do I stay in this land - this tornado belt?
Why do I go back out to look at the devastation?
Why do I rebuild and replant?
Knowing...

Slowly it reaches you
Feet paralysed, staring into wind -
There it is - that feeling,
    weightless, spinning,
    slowly spinning
Watching as the flowers are pulled from the ground
    flailing in the wind with a life of their own


On it goes, and on, in unstoppable slow motion
Until it drops its load
    and I'm left lying in debris, again

No happy ending, no escape
But in the end, its gentle,
In the wind is the peace
Not one broken bone!
Just exhaustion
    rest
    sleep
    new day
    sunshine

Thursday, 12 September 2013

How to lose half your American friends in one post.



I'm gonna cop it big time for this, but it is something to think about, something to provoke intelligent discussion. Perhaps see a bigger picture.


9-11
Very sobering, very tragic, on every level. Horrific waste of life.
Those who died, didn't die heroically or give some ultimate sacrifice.
They just died. And we remember that, purely for what it is.
But lets also remember why terrorism against the west, and the US in particular, is happening.
Its not because Islam wants to convert the world by any means possible.
Its not because they hate everything that is not Islam.
Its not because they are all hate filled murderous unloving devils.
Its because its the only option left to people who have been treated like crap by a nation that thinks its Gods gift to the world.
Sure we don't understand the logic of terrorists, and the insane martyr attitudes, but we do understand blind patriotism that makes no attempt to understand another culture. Don't we?

Please take the time to read this article:

Monday, 9 September 2013

To heal or not to heal!

I've mentioned healing before (somewhere, not sure if it was in my blog) and pondered the workings and importance of it. I'm still pondering and may never really get my head around it - and I've yet to find anyone that can truly say they have.

As many of you know, I lost my wife to cancer 2 years ago. I nursed her for 2 years and in that time we read so many books and had so much prayer and did so many bible studies that it exhausts me to think about it.

Previous to that, I was involved with the charismatic and pentecostal movements from the early 80s and was very familiar with healing, and even had a couple of minor things healed myself, and I've seen some pretty awesome miracles. So when Min got sick, I can safely say we were no spring chickens at this sort of thing.

So with absolute determination and all the faith we could muster, we held on to her healing till the very end. Through all this my son decided that if mum wasn't healed then God obviously didn't exist or didn't care, and who can blame him! After all, we built up his expectations!

So, after a couple of years down the track, what do I think?

Firstly, God heals! No doubt about it, been there, done that, bought the t-shirt. But obviously not all the time, and obviously not for any of the reasons that preachers have offered over the last 100 years or so. Would I still pray for healing? Sure, but not like I used to.

Here's the crunch, from my perspective, at the moment (all things being subject to change, lol).

Jesus healed heaps of people, the apostles healed quite a few, and things sort of fizzled over the years until they became the realm of super-christians or mystics etc. They became a huge focus again after the great revivals of the 1800s. And rightly so, as it seemed God was awakening the power of the gospel again.

But as all things miraculous, they have become the focus. For example, the glory movement, is obsessed with seeing God "manifest" his presence with clouds, gold dust, and now gems. They are of course, quite amazing, and for many they are a great source of inspiration and faith. But they have nothing to do with relationship. Its like a man giving his wife endless gifts and dazzling her with fancy trinkets, to the point where she forgets about who he is and just wants more trinkets.

You can see it over and over in so many churches, only to have it fizzle out and leave the faithful grasping for more until it all eventually turns to custard.

I think the same is happening with healing. But the thing with healing is its very much a part of our being - our physicality, and illness affects our mental state and those around us. So no wonder its still an important "gift" from God, as it brings life and relief to so many.

BUT (you knew that was coming, didn't you!), seeing as our whole purpose is union with God, and to live in and through love and love alone, is healing really such an important issue? Don't get me wrong (re-read the last few paragraphs thanks), but when we go out "on purpose" to heal people, are we missing the point?

I'm thinking that if we live to love people, then THAT alone is all we are called to do. If we are living and constantly allowing our mind to be renewed to that love, then we will feel what God is really doing in every unique situation in every unique person's life. And sometimes that will involve physical healing, and sometimes it won't.

If our sole purpose is to love, and healing happens, then more has been achieved than just trying to heal people. In fact, far more than just scoring a notch in your bible and making someone happy for a little while. By loving - WITH NO EXPECTATION - we have done more than any amount of healings and miracles would ever achieve.

So what am I saying?

Healing and miracles are "good to have", they are "icing on the cake", and not to be chased after, or even made a priority. They are something that God sorts out as he sees what any individual really needs to benefit his union with them. They are not like rubbing the lamp in the hope that the genie of healing will grant our wishes - something that actually makes a mockery of Holy Spirit.

I don't pray for healing for everyone, in fact I think it shows lack of integrity to just pray to heal something not knowing if it will work or not. I know all the doctrines and scriptures, and I've seen the results (please re-read the beginning of this post), but love is the thing, beginning and end. I no longer want to assume anything in how God works, and healing is just one little arrow in his arsenal of love.

Healing is cool, but love is better.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Father vs Lover

This is a tricky subject, and can't say I've ever quite got to the bottom of it. Since letting go of religion and the obsession of assuming the bible is the answer to everything, I've come to some interesting conclusions that work for me - so far!

The concept of God as our father is well grounded in scripture, particularly by Jesus. There's no disputing the image of a perfect father who loves us unconditionally, and will bring every person to the knowledge of their completion in him.

But there is also the concept of God as a lover woven through scripture as well. It's more subtle but is intrinsic to the concept of the "bride of Christ".

These days I don't quote verses to prove a point. I might dig around to get a feel for a subject, but Christ in me is my guide. So here's the thing that has gurgled around the back of my brain for some time. A perfect father is awesome, can't argue with that so I'm not dissing that aspect of God at all. But I am taking it a step further.

I think the idea of the Bride hints at a level of union and oneness with God that goes way beyond any Father/child relationship. Our personal romantic relationships go way deeper than parental ones. There is a softness, romance, mutual adoration and intimacy that supersedes all other relationships. We leave our parental relationships to unite with another person in way that is impossible with our parents.

Even though Jesus talked about his father, and there are things like the prodigal son, which are beautiful metaphors, he hinted at something deeper many times as well - the father and I are one etc.

Paul and John talked a lot more about an intimacy that you would never describe as fatherly. In fact, father implies separation - sure, a loving father who is besotted with his children, but never the less, separate.

Now that we are one with God in every sense, that father/mother model has been outgrown. We are now old enough, as it were, to be lovers. To enter a whole new realm of love. A unity and oneness with all he is and all he has created (and expressed toward each other) that surpasses the need for the type self deprecation we associate with an authority figure (no matter how benign they may be).

The implications of this have been creeping up on me and creating a whole new sense of who God is and how I was created to relate to him. We are equals!! Of course, he is completely "omni" everything and I'm not like him in that sense, but he wants me as an equal, like a lover, no secrets, everything shared, neither lording it over the other. Just a beautiful oneness built on God's initiated passion that has drawn me into his arms.

Dare I also suggest that this surpasses all concepts of gender, God being completely female and completely male, thus completing us on every level no matter what our gender/sexuality is (although this is another huge topic!).

Perhaps the whole concept of lover is really what Jesus meant by "sending the Holy Spirit to live in us". There is a huge realm opening up for me that transcends culture/religion/scripture/tradition and all the bondage those things create, and frees me to to embrace Holy Spirit.

I've always thought that addressing God as Father just never really expressed it right. I'd try Jesus or Spirit or Lord or whatever, but nothing does the job. I'm tempted to call him Lover! No more "Father God I beseech you to pour out your blessings, blah, blah". Now its just "Hey Lover, what are you doing, can I help, or do you just want to hang out, maybe we could make love!!"


Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Old Testament theology made simple

Okay, this is my summary of years of diligent study, bible college, and countless sermons and books.

The Old Testament was the story of a particular ancient tribe and their impressions of God. It is completely irrelevant for us now except for any gems we can pull from it (sure you can make it about Jesus etc, but so what, means nothing now, and in fact completely distracts us from who we are now).

Jesus came from that tribe and actually spent most of his time telling them they had it completely wrong. He then sorted out the whole relationship to God thing, helped us to see how incredibly loving and personal God is, helped us to realise he is all in all and we have nothing to worry about.

Mankind has been trying to return to the mish mash of tribal Judaism in the name of Christ ever since - completely missing the point of everything Jesus did.

What a mess we have made of something so incredibly simple - God 100% in us and us 100% in God - complete freedom to live loved!

Sunday, 4 August 2013

The Mechanics of Prayer

Absolutely fascinating - if you can get your head around it. I'm still swimming a bit, but its where my thoughts have been heading for some time. Now I just need to do a course in Quantum physics and I'll be fine!!


By Adam Lanka - Waking Times

Prayer means many different things to many different people. It is something that is so pervasive in our lives that it permeates fully through our societies and cultures. All cultures and religious traditions have their own practices when it comes to prayer, but let us acknowledge the similar theme. People all over the world right now are praying, to influence their world and the universe in myriad ways. But what factors determine the effectiveness of prayer, what is the fundamental basis of its function? How does it work to influence our daily lives and shape our world?

Prayer is our divine and innate connection with the fabric of reality, the way that we write our free will upon the world. To completely examine the nature of prayer we must look at it through various lenses and perspectives, involving spirituality and science, to find the common factors that describe this ancient tradition.

To better understand the mechanics of prayer, let us view it through the Quantum lens. A crucial part of Quantum physics, Warner Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle dictates that we can only measure where a particle is, or how fast it is moving. The act of measuring one of these quantities actually increases uncertainty in the other. What this means is that energy exists as a wave when unobserved, and as a particle when we measure observe it in a location. Observation is the action that separates a particle into either state. But what is the particle when it is not being observed?

Waves in Quantum are actually waves of probability, where everything exists as a formless potentia throughout which any possible outcome can arise. Consciousness interacts with the infinite potentia to create and collapse the world around us into what we call our reality. But our true reality lies within the infinite, as parts of the all connected unitive consciousness of energy. Every particle and atom in the universe is born from the same infinite miasma, and as such, absolutely everything in the universe is one.

The focus of prayer does not need to be directed outward to an external source, it needs to be directed inwards, into our own personal connection with the source. By actively focusing our consciousness, we collapse the wave function of energies, and we consciously create the universe around us. We have stumbled through Quantum theory to finally come to the conclusion that its fundamental function works exactly as prayer does. But with this new foundation in mind, let us examine prayer in its current state.

But to focus our energy is more than just naming the new reality or possibility, it requires complementing it with thought, feeling, and belief. To influence the fabric of existence, we must consciously create with our intent. Prayers are more than just reciting words and chants, it is to be done with feeling, with purpose, and with intent. The combination and arrangement of words isn’t what makes prayer powerful, but what comes from our hearts. By feeling and making a vibration, we send that wave out to influence the infinite probabilities and possibilities in the universe.

Intent and strong feeling are the ways that we create our vibration, and manage the frequency of our wave. Every feeling, mindset, emotion, and thought has a corresponding coherent wave pattern that propagates outward into the fabric of the universe. As it moves through the infinite potential energy, it creates further waves and ripples, and influences all of the energy it comes into contact with. When praying, our intent and pure emotion are the catalysts that actually shape the universe around us, that collapse all of the waves into existence, into reality. We create and shape the world around us with simple, natural, human feelings.

But the caveat from Heisenberg again is that we can influence the wave with our energy, but when we observe it collapses. In prayer, if we are so tied up and entangled with our intent, trying to observe our reality and call it into existence at the same time, we make the energy collapse. Intent fails if we are attached to the outcome of our prayers, for the energy cannot occupy both states; we can know it as wave/vibration or as particle/location due to uncertainty. The most important part of effective prayer and manifesting is to be free of attachment to the outcomes, so that your vibration and intent are not interfered with by observation.

The ego mind plays the biggest role in attaching to the outcomes, as it is focused upon controlling the ‘how’ of the universe, or the particular way and pattern the energy expresses itself. But we cannot bend the universe to our will; we can work with it to influence and shape the expression of its energy. Instead of wishing, hoping for something to come to pass, we must instead be and feel the vibration that we wish to experience, that we wish to send out and influence the rest of the universe. One must feel, completely and wholly, that an intent or outcome already exists in the universe, is already happening. By surrounding ourselves with our new reality, our present reality grows to encompass the new vibration.

With this new glimpse at the mechanics of prayer, we see people all around the world, whether knowingly or unknowingly, constantly shape their daily existence. The universe is made of energy, and to better understand and interact with it, we need to only speak in its language; emotion. Prayer molds the medium, and paints the picture of the world around us. We simply need to be the vibration, be the wave, and be the change in the world that we want to see. We aren’t waiting for the world to change, it is already happening, right now, in each moment. As we all consciously focus our awareness, intent, and emotion to call forth the vibrations and the energy we wish to experience in our universe.

Friday, 2 August 2013

Who was Jesus talking to?


Matt 15:24 says "...I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel."


Oh, OK, that's interesting! 

So Jesus apparently, was just on earth for the Jews. Hmmm...

That means that every thing he did and spoke was just for the Jews and doesn't apply to us!! That really is heresy! I mean, to think that all the stuff recorded in the gospels was only relevant to the Jews is kind of disturbing - especially if we've been living by the "what would Jesus do?" mindset.

But the implications are even more disturbing if we really think it through. Jesus only spoke to Jews in relation to the old covenant setup (his odd interaction with gentiles was only in terms of their faith in God). He talked about the law, its bondage, the death it brings etc, in relation to the Jews. The gentiles had no idea about any of that stuff, so his words would have been meaningless to them anyway.

Paul was a Jew, who brought a different revelation than Jesus did. Sure, there's some commonality, but Paul was trying to communicate to gentiles through his Jewish paradigm. He struggled! He knew in his heart the extravagant inclusiveness of God's love and acceptance of ALL mankind, but he constantly had to wrestle with the Jews and his own cultural mindset. You can clearly see the battles he fought with himself and the original Jewish followers of Jesus.

Soooo, I'm a gentile. And most of us probably are as well. In fact, even if you are of Jewish heritage, the old covenant is long gone, so you may as well be a gentile! That means that the words of Jesus in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John aren't relevant to me - I can ignore them?? Well, yes, I guess that's true. I can ignore them, in the sense that they have no bearing on my relationship with God.

I can, however, get a lot better sense of God's nature and relationship with us from Paul. But even then, he struggled with the full implications of the gospel because of his Jewish heritage.

This only leaves us with one reliable option - the only option that Jesus gave us all just before he was killed. He said the Holy Spirit was going to come for everyone and he was going to be the source of all comfort and truth.

That's rather unnerving really, because it means we don't have a book of instructions to follow, only some intangible wafty spirit thing. Unless that spirit is far more real, and far more intrinsically part of us than we ever imagined!


Just imagine if we really are ONE with God right now! Just imagine if God really IS love and that love is already intrinsically part of who we are. Imagine if all we have to do is act on that reality! 

We would do well to remember that what Jesus did was established "before the foundations of the world", which implies a heck of a lot more than what he presented to the Jews.

Scary stuff indeed!!

Friday, 19 July 2013

The Dilemma of Grace

I think many people have the idea that grace (especially the "new" grace experience) is either a license to sin or a denial of the reality of our nature.

The view point of "license to sin" is simply based on not understanding the purpose and power of grace, and isn't the focus of this post.

Many, however, see that the embracing of the finished work of Christ, in that we are completely one with God, sin free, unconditionally loved, and completely free from any law etc, as being a denial of the reality of our life here and now.

The reality of what Christ did and the new covenant is even far more radical than that. God doesn't even see sin any more and only sees us as perfect loved children, well, more than that! He sees us, in fact, as lovers now, and simply wants us to enjoy him, living beyond the concepts of right and wrong (the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil).

Now this certainly sounds like a weird and wacky disregard of reality. A complete ignorance of the necessity for law and moral guidelines, and, even worse in some ways, a denial of our personal reality. By that I mean the processes that our minds deal with on a moment by moment basis. The complex dynamics of experience, paradigm, fears, guilt and shame, the handling of relationships that simply can't be nicely sorted and boxed. Our minds just don't resemble the ideal of this grace thing, so it seems like it really is just an ideal, but devoid of common sense and the reality of life.

Here's a quote by Paul Zahl:


Grace is love that seeks you out when you have nothing to give in return. Grace is love coming at you that has nothing to do with you. Grace is being loved when you are unlovable…. The clich√© definition of grace is “unconditional love.” It is a true clich√©, for it is a good description of the thing. Let’s go a little further, though. Grace is a love that has nothing to do with you, the beloved. It has everything and only to do with the lover. Grace is irrational in the sense that it has nothing to do with weights and measures. It has nothing to do with my intrinsic qualities or so-called “gifts” (whatever they may be). It reflects a decision on the part of the giver, the one who loves, in relation to the receiver, the one who is loved, that negates any qualifications the receiver may personally hold…. Grace is one-way love.

Grace doesn't make demands. It just gives. And from our vantage point, it always gives to the wrong person. We see this over and over again in the Gospels: Jesus is always giving to the wrong people—prostitutes, tax collectors, half-breeds. The most extravagant sinners of Jesus’s day receive his most compassionate welcome. Grace is a divine vulgarity that stands caution on its head. It refuses to play it safe and lay it up. Grace is recklessly generous, uncomfortably promiscuous. It doesn't use sticks, carrots, or time cards. It doesn't keep score. As Robert Capon puts it, “Grace works without requiring anything on our part. It’s not expensive. It’s not even cheap. It’s free.” It refuses to be controlled by our innate sense of fairness, reciprocity, and evenhandedness. It defies logic. It has nothing to do with earning, merit, or deservedness. It is opposed to what is owed. It doesn’t expect a return on investments. It is a liberating contradiction between what we deserve and what we get. Grace is unconditional acceptance given to an undeserving person by an unobligated giver.

It is one-way love.

With this in mind, we have to come to terms with how it affects our inner life, our daily struggles and moment by moment realities. Here's how it works for me:

I'm convinced of the truth about the nature of grace and that the key to living in it is renewing my mind to its reality. So in daily life I take the time to just stop and remember that I really am a new creation, that I am one with God, and that He is completely besotted with me this second and that will never change. That's it! That's living in the "rest" of His love. Its allowing my mind to focus on that simple fact.

I can't change anything about myself, but I can begin the renewing of my mind by just letting myself be loved and allowing that to slowly alter my thoughts and emotions. Of course I'll still do lots of stuff that is not beneficial to God, myself and others. I'll hurt people, make stupid decisions, wrestle with my past and my future - all that stuff. BUT, they no longer define me. The real reality (lol), is everything I need to live loved has been done, that by focusing on that and resting in that place as often as I can, I WILL be changed. It can't be helped. 

The crap of daily life doesn't change, but my responses do. The recognition of my unity with Love himself will change me - it has and it will. This is the life changing power that Paul speaks of in his letters. Its the ONLY thing that brings change. And its simple and goes against everything logic tells us. It goes against religion, morality, tradition and most church doctrines. 

It is freedom! And remember: God is love - live loved!! ;-)

Monday, 15 July 2013

Renewed Hope Network

After a lot of deliberation, prayer and very little advice, I've launched a new website/ministry dealing specifically with Christians struggling with same sex attraction.

The demise of Exodus and the rise of other reparative groups, in particular Restored Hope Network, has inspired me to step out and create an alternative ministry firmly rooted in the complete unconditional love of God for every single person on the planet, His desire for complete union and intimacy with all of us and the finished work of Jesus that enabled that.

Its my absolute passion to reach every LGBTQ (etc) person in the church with the good news that the gospel is better than they ever thought possible, that they are loved beyond their wildest dreams, and God couldn't give a stuff about their orientation, but His heart breaks for the pain, abuse, fear, shame, guilt, rejection and suffering they have experienced.

Its His grace that brings complete freedom, and to be transformed in any way He sees fit.

I'm still building the site and the network of resources, supporters, finances etc to make it happen. Its early days, but the need is huge and in my naivety I actually believe I can make a difference.

Here's the site in its first form. http://renewedhopenetwork.blogspot.co.nz/

I'm hoping to register the name www.renewedhopenetwork.org as soon as possible, and if I can, there are some other domain names that I'd like to buy to link as well.

Very simple at the moment, and I'll be adding content over the next few weeks, building on the outline I've got there.


Please support this in any way you can, if you feel inspired to. Donations welcome here or on the new site. Prayer is awesome, and helpful suggestions and guidance always appreciated!

PS: Any similarity between the name Renewed Hope Network and any other ministry is completely intentional.


Sunday, 14 July 2013

A Request

Many of you may be familiar with my life story (you can read some of the preliminary biography entries for my book in Its Life Jim), and the struggles I have lived through with sexual identity.

I had been involved in an ex-gay ministry for a long time and am now working to help those in the church system to see their sexuality issues in a new light. A way of integrity, wholeness, love and acceptance.

There are many in the ex-gay/reparative therapy system who have claimed complete success and are now living totally "straight". I am familiar with a very small handful of people who have returned to heterosexual relationships after receiving some deep "healing" of emotional trauma that brought fear of the opposite sex, although this is almost exclusively with women.

My request is this:

I sincerely want to hear from anyone who has had this experience. I want to hear your story without any religious/christian language attached. I want to know exactly how you changed and what your lifestyle now looks like.

This is a genuine request and I'm not going to slam people and will respect confidentiality. I am open to God changing people and its not my intention to destroy people's faith and beliefs. My intention is reality and truth. Above all, I desire everyone to realise they are unconditionally loved no matter what their gender/sexual identity is.

I'm aiming to establish a website with resources and support for those christians who are in turmoil about what is right and wrong, and give real hope for a complete and whole life - as God created them. There are a few good sites around already but I feel I have a unique perspective that can be of help to many.


Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Apuckerlips Now!

Apocalypse - Apuckerlips!! Get it? Pucker lips - kiss - love, anyway...

My point is this: Are we doomed to an apocalyptic nightmare where God's wrath is poured out on mankind, or is the kingdom of God going to be fulfilled in love on this earth?

We are all familiar with the devastation in the world - the poverty, injustice, hate, oppression, bigotry, racism, greed, war, conspiracies, you name it! Yes the world is really full of the worst of mankind. There are things happening that fill us with revulsion and horror. The governments are corrupt and the powerful forces behind them are mind boggling.

But lets have a closer look. One thing that we must be aware of is the complete change in media and communication in the last century. We are now privy to every little piece of news in every corner of the world. We can instantly see every atrocity and injustice committed as it happens. The internet floods us with millions of images and reports of how bad and evil mankind can be. The capability to search out every little detail of every news item, every political activity, military, conspiratorial, corruption, fraud... We see live footage of mass murderers, terrorist bombings. We are confronted with an endless barrage of evil and carnage, to say nothing of all the natural disasters.

We use all this information to conclude that these are the end times. But history may lead us to other conclusions. the world has been full of evil and darkness for thousands of years. There have always been corrupt leaders, dictators and fascists. In fact, very few of the leaders we know of throughout history could be called "good". Probably most were worse than our current leaders. Poverty and oppression was rampant. Injustice was the norm through so many cultures. The Dark and Middle ages were horrific. Even life in Victorian times was oppressive unless you were rich.

But here's an even more important thought. They didn't know what was going on in every small corner of the world. Nobody knew what was going on outside their own small world. 

Its all relative. In reality, the world is a much better place than its ever been! We are all aware of what's going on. Democracy and justice is finding a firmer foothold through all the world. Slavery is is all but gone (yes it still exists). Discrimination of any kind is actively opposed in most countries. We are working together in so many ways that I find it incredible and inspiring. Technology, health, social welfare - all at a level that was unheard of even a century ago.

Yes, we have a long way to go. Yes there is a lot of "evil" working through this world, everything we see that is so disgusting about the world is true. But the thing is, we are constantly exposed to the negative every minute of the day and painted an image that negates all the good and all the amazing progress mankind has made.

So the next question is of course, what about the bible? It says we are all doomed and Jesus will come and take his elect and destroy everything else. Really? Have we actually done our homework on that? Yes, there's Revelation and the things Jesus said, and all the "experts" tell us in never ending (although conflicting) detail about how the world will end, but have we stopped to really consider and examine this stuff? Its way beyond the scope of this post to look at in detail, but research the idea of "preterist" beliefs and you may be surprised.

Anyway, lets suppose that the good news of the gospel is really way better than we could imagine. Lets suppose that as more and more people embrace the unconditional love of God and all that He has done for us, and how incredibly inclusive He is, and how much His heart aches for every single person ever created that He will establish His kingdom on this earth? His kingdom of love and inclusion. His kingdom of justice and equality - everything every human dreams of. What if that were actually beginning right now? What if his whole plan all along was not to wipe out all the evil nasty people, but to overwhelm and embrace them in His love, and bring that to our tired aching planet that has been groaning for the sons of God to be revealed?

Maybe we are those who will bring that kingdom. Maybe it will take generations as His love slowly but inexorably conquers all. Maybe we need to step back from the horror stories that bombard us every day and start to see the awesome things that God is doing and make some real comparisons about the state of the world.

Maybe we need to be love! Apuckerlips - not Apocalypse!

Monday, 8 July 2013

New directions

Hi all you rabid fans!!

The last 2 years have been quite a time for me as I find new directions in life. I'm moving back to the big(ish) smoke of Auckland to be closer to the action. Although my ties to the Warkworth area will still be strong.

I'm putting all my efforts now into writing, music and Christian LGBT advocacy. I'm a volunteer worker and on the board of OUTLine NZ, who are very keen for me to work with the LGBT community in areas of spirituality. I have already started a forum/group on this area and loving it. I'll share more of my hopes and dreams soon.

I was hoping that I could raise a little money from my book of poems to help finance my new ventures. That would be nice, but I would rather just put them out there to provide whatever encouragement etc people may get from them (or not) for free, and if people want to donate to what I'm doing, then that's also great.

I've now published Jimzpomez through Free-ebooks.net who have a good promotional network and the options for donations. Here's the link:


Friday, 5 July 2013

Comfy Religion

Religion is comfortable.

I want to be discipled by wise and knowledgeable teachers who've spent years studying scriptures and can give me the real meat.

I want to be held accountable for the way I think, and be pulled back into line if I drift into heresy.

I want the company of like minded believers so we can encourage and build each other up in correct doctrines. To search the scriptures together with the same vision as our leaders.

I want to have clear guidelines for what's right and wrong, for godly living.

I want clear understanding of what the bible says about the way we should live.

I want good boundaries, wholesome fellowship, biblical standards, strong leadership.

I want to be comfortable and safe in my beliefs.

NOT!

Really, despite my "natural" inclinations for the above, God wants something entirely different. He wants us to walk a narrow road, a difficult road.

He wants us to think for ourselves.

He wants us to be accountable to no man.

He wants us to be so tight with him that we don't need any guidelines, rules or principles.

He wants nothing more (and nothing less) than to walk in love - allow HIS love to fill us and affect all we are and do.

He wants us to forget all about right and wrong, good and evil, sin and righteousness. He just wants relationship.

Everything else comes from that relationship. What that looks like is God's business. How that works for each of us is totally different. Sometimes it can be a challenge, sometimes it means running the gamut of human emotion as we are confronted by the depths of the love in that relationship.

But all he wants is for us to allow him to love us. Its that simple.

Monday, 1 July 2013

Division

I've been thinking a bit about division amongst christians lately. I don't mean things like petty squabbles over who's been promoted to head usher or when the sound guy refuses to turn up the keyboard.

No, I'm talking about doctrines and the attitudes we have when we disagree.

My first thought is that doctrines don't make a scrap of difference really. God couldn't care what  doctrines we follow as they are all subjective understandings based on our own paradigms. They are just part of our journey and should really be constantly changing as we grow. For this, we extend unconditional grace. We can discuss, debate, challenge etc but we must respect each other. We must realise that each of our journeys is unique and God shows us stuff in his time and in his way

But then there are some pretty big issues that I have difficulty with. Issues that are so big that they affect the foundations of what we believe. They change the way we view God and his relationship with us and each other. They change the way we relate to the whole of humanity and creation. There are beliefs and doctrines that affect the very basis of our understanding of God's inherent nature - who He is, who we are, how he sees us, how we see each other.

The central beliefs that the church is now wrestling with, that are causing the greatest divisions are hypergrace and universalism. Some would say sexuality is also right up there, but its not a game changer, it doesn't alter the foundational character of God like the others.

These are the big doctrines that seriously divide the church, and we are going to have to make a decision sooner or later because they just aren't going away. They are just getting hotter!

Many christians are of the view that we must respect each other's journeys no matter what we believe and extend the unconditional love and grace to each other that we all so desperately need. There has to be love and compassion for each other as we discuss these things, or we are undoing any credibility we have for the very message we are supporting.

I agree! We must have that respect and love. But here is where it gets difficult. The two hot topics are complete game changers and those on both sides recognise this, creating a sense of urgency and passion that truth will prevail. To accept the new revelations of grace opens us up to the realisation that the traditional "gospel" the church has taught for so long is not only wrong, but seriously damaging.

Traditional christians often get upset about the intensity of the grace arguments, and indeed there are many "gracers" who love the new knowledge but haven't had their minds renewed by it, and come across quite arrogant. The traditionalists also get very hot under the collar about this "heresy" and become quite abusive.

I can't help but think that it will get worse. That those who are open to this grace message will see the incredible lies and deceit, the abuse and complete misrepresentation of God that has been perpetrated for so long. And those who hold the traditional views will equally vilify the grace view for its "unbiblical" heresies.

Personally, from the viewpoint of a "hypergracer", I can empathise with those who don't get where I'm at. I even empathise with the likes of Driscol and others who hide behind the safety of literalism and fundamentalism. I know what its like to think like that. But I will attack their message. I will attack the very foundations of all they stand for, as Luther did, without fear. I will continue to respect every individual's personal journey, but I will make the very clear distinction about their belief systems, challenge their paradigms, call the horrific heresy of legalistic religious fundamentalism for what it is. I will do all I can to break its hold on our hearts and minds, so that the fullness of God's true character, his unconditional love and grace for all mankind, can bust through the cracks and release true freedom for every person on this planet.

Extending love and respect for individuals doesn't mean I have to just smile and accept the status quo.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

HOT OFF THE PRESS!

Yes folks it's here!
Jimzpomez
(No - not the book, I'm still writing that)

I have compiled many of my poems into a small book because, well, just because.

The poems are selections from a period of 38 years, covering my journey as a young mixed up kid in Kings Cross, through crazy religious delusions, heartache, confusion and just observations on life. Many of the poems are here on my blog - just have a dig through the labels/tag list down a bit on the left of the page.

You can get it from Free-ebooks - just click on the pic. Make a donation if you like them or would like to support my work.


Saturday, 1 June 2013

Weltanschauung / World View / Paradigm

I'm sure I wrote something about this a while back but just can't find it, never mind, if you have heard me rabbit on before, this should at least be in more in depth!

I often use the word "paradigm" when describing how we perceive and act in life. Its probably not the best word to use but its the only one I can find that's easy to say but encompasses some of the depth of the subject.

Weltanschauung and World View are probably closer to what I'm trying to describe. World View is a bit generic though and open to a lot of interpretation. Weltanschauung is better but, well... Anyway, Paradigm is usually used to describe scientific information rather than social/philosophical states, but at least people have some idea, and if you use the phrase "paradigm shift" it does sort of conjure up the type of image I'm looking for.

If you didn't understand a word I just said, don't worry, just ignore all that, and start from here!

We pop out of the womb and the first thing we see/hear/feel has a determining impact on us. The loving arms of a mother, the quiet fear and despising of an unwanted intrusion? An absent Father? We are taken into a home - or not. The words spoken in that place, the emotions that define relationships around us, the brothers and sisters (or lack of), the friends and relatives that share our lives begin to create our unique reality. We go to school and discover a bigger world, but one that is shaped by teachers, opinions, text books written by those with greater opinions based on research by those we trust have pure and unbiased motives. We make friends based on assumptions about who is safe or scary, who fits in the world we have already built around us. This is a never ending process of family and peer shaping, combined with media, our community, our political environment, or socio/economic status, our perceived intelligence. Day by day this grows into layer upon layer of our personal paradigm.

It's as inevitable as the sunrise - we cannot escape the building of paradigms.

Every word that comes out of my mouth is shaped by the complex layers of input and interaction that have brought me this far. Every belief I have is shaped by this never ending complexity of influence and assumptions. I am a unique representation of all that has been part of my life to this very second.

The implications of this are HUGE. To realise the depth of this is to realise that every thing we do, see, hear, speak is completely governed and coloured by this paradigm. We don't have a choice - it just IS.

When we apply this to our perceptions of God we start getting into interesting territory. The way I understand God is based on my upbringing by a conservative middle class english family who migrated to Australia in the 50s, my awareness of being gay from a young age, of being socially awkward from ADD and having a passionate musical talent, my encounter with God at 15 and expressing that in the anglican church, my frustrations, suicidal thoughts, my indoctrination into charismatic and pentecostal church - and on it goes, layer after layer of influence until the thoughts that I think are mine are really nothing more than a paradigm created by my life experiences.

Not one single person ever created is exempt from this! We are all a set of very, very complex paradigms.

If I have a "paradigm shift", I have a dramatic change of perspective that involves the dismantling of part of my life paradigm - changing the way I perceive something. Paradigm shifts are epitomized by expression such as "I didn't know what I didn't know". They are unexpected shifts into another reality.

So my point is??

Our paradigms are not necessarily "right or wrong", "good or bad", they just ARE. But as intelligent beings, who have been given astounding intelligence and hunger for truth, we do ourselves the greatest favour imaginable by being AWARE of our paradigms. To simply acknowledge that my paradigm exists is a huge step to understanding who we are and how we relate to God and each other.

When I interact with you, if I don't recognise that your paradigms are completely different to mine, we will never connect on any level. I recognise that despite my best efforts, you may never understand what I'm trying to say - because our paradigms are too diverse to meet at any mutually understandable point. That's OK - frustrating, but OK. The good news is that we are all in the same boat.

My hearts desire, that is behind all I "preach" is that we have the maturity to recognise our paradigms - these things that make us who we are and colour every single thought we have. I hope that by realising this, we will not hold so tightly to what we perceive as truth, when in fact it is just part of our paradigm.

Even what I'm saying now is from my own paradigm. I just hope that I'm aware enough of what has shaped me this far, to be able to communicate something that is universal.

I believe that when we can grasp this and all its implications, we will start to see who God really is and how we relate to him. Its all about heart, our heart and His heart, our union with Love incarnate, that cuts through every paradigm and speaks directly to the core of our being.

Thursday, 30 May 2013

More about living loved

"God is love - live loved".

Yes Jim, we know already, yawn...

Well hey! I got more!!

The impact of this little tag line just keeps digging its way deeper into my heart. It's the truth that is the foundation of everything we are. There is nothing else! There is no right or wrong, there is no us or them - Love is the beginning and end of all things. Yep - love! NOT correct doctrine, sound theology, holy living, obedience, submission, or any other christian jargon you care to insert here.

We are one with God - He is uniquely and wonderfully entwined with every quantum particle of our being. He IS love, and we are infused with love. We are just on the journey of renewing our minds - changing our minds - repenting - about this fact. We are one with love!

To live loved is the complete response of our being, to that intimate union. Recognising that we don't even think in terms of moral values, ethical issues, principles or anything else that refers to an external set of requirements. Our process of renewal requires complete abandoning of the desire for the knowledge of good and evil - yes, that's what I said. If we don't, we will never be open to acting in love, because every thought and action will be filtered through the the very thing that sent us down the wrong path!

Prophetic words, healing, miracles, annointings, whatever.... all just fluff and bubbles. They may be genuine, they may be something else (no, not demons or deception - its a whole other subject), but they are far short of the reality of living loved. These things are a mere side track to the real nitty gritty of living loved.

We are not called to judge anything, only act in love. What does that look like? I don't know! It looks like whatever Love looks like in you. Perhaps you might heal someone - awesome. Perhaps a child returns from a vision of heaven clutching a gemstone - incredible! But they are simply personal responses by a loving God to people at their point of faith. They are not universal truths.

To persistently try to establish correct doctrines based on moral, ethical, scriptural, legal, or simply "good" standards is totally and utterly missing the point of Christ. All of this stuff is part of the incessant struggling for secure boundaries - the desperate need to define what is correct/right/good against bad/evil/immoral. We all love to be told what is good and bad, so our actions are clearly defined and we know when anyone has crossed the line.

This system CANNOT work, simply because no one can ever agree on the fine print. From the daily decisions and interactions of our lives, right through to complex social decisions. Thousands of years of lawyers, fussing and squabbling, theological pontificating, "revelations", "revivals", you name it - have never ever improved a single thing, just made it more complicated.

It all has to go - completely! That's what the whole symbolism of the tree of the KNOWLEDGE of good and evil is all about. Its even more than Christ doing away with the law, its FAR bigger than that. Its Christ doing away with anything to do with that knowledge. This is mind blowing!! It only leaves us one place to go - yes, you guessed it - love.

Love is not a cop out, its the fabric of the universe! Until we get it into our thick heads that God actually is nothing but love, and that we are to LIVE LOVED, we are simply running in circles.

(I have much more on this subject, I'm just scraping the surface of this!)

Sunday, 26 May 2013

The Knowledge of Good and Evil

I was inspired by a friend this morning, preaching about the nature of good and evil and how it relates to us in terms of "the Gospel" and every day life.

A couple of things that I have been struggling to express for a long time fell into place for me.

The problem all began back in "the garden" (I don't care whether it was a story or a fact - doesn't change anything) when Adam and Steve, I mean Eve, ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (cue dramatic music).

Basically, they wanted to know the nature of everything in terms of two defined moral and ethical standards, standards they could describe in black and white - standards that required no decisions based on relationship, empathy, love or passion.

Just Good or Evil.

They walked away from relationship, and this is the whole basis of human thinking ever since. We are obsessed with defining everything in terms of good - evil, moral - immoral, ethical - unethical, ad infinitum...

So the greatest challenge to christians is the whole concept that Jesus completely did away with anything to do with that Tree. He didn't come to help us make better decisions about good and evil, right and wrong. He didn't come to give us the strength to choose good and right. He didn't come to give us the power to resist evil and bad things. He didn't even come to help us sort out our problems.

He came to rip out the tree by its roots!

EVERYTHING Jesus did was to reveal/point us to our unity with God (that was established before the foundation of the world...) - i.e. relationship! There is no more right or wrong, good or bad - there is only relationship with God. Relationship with LOVE himself (I only use the masculine pronoun because english doesn't have a non-gendered personal pronoun).

I will never get anywhere if I keep thinking about how sinful I am, how much wrong and bad I do, how bad everyone is, how right or wrong/good or evil the world is etc. That thinking is anti-christ. It is negating everything God did in his Jesus manifestation.

Yes, I know, the first thing that pops into my head is "what about the wrong/bad/evil things that people do - that I do?" But let's stop for a minute, and look at this. Everything is lawful/permissible but not everything is a great idea. Some things have crappy, and even horrific consequences. But the good news is that doesn't affect our union with God in the slightest - not one little iddy bit. So He's cool with whatever, but we do stuff that doesn't help ourselves or others - its not "beneficial". In other words, its not love - it doesn't come from (yes you guessed it) relationship!

So now what? Be responsible for the mess you make, in the full knowledge that you and those affected by those non-beneficial actions are actually completely loved and also free from the nasty tree. If I don't forgive myself, I'm saying I'm more important than God, I have greater power and authority, because he GOT RID OF THE TREE OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL. He doesn't even judge me, because he doesn't see us in that light.

I make bad decisions because my mind IS BEING RENEWED to realise my unconditional love union with him.

This is not making light of the messes and damage we do through stupid actions. It is the only solution!

Here's my idea of how things work (very simplistic, cos if kids don't get it, it must be wrong).

  1. No good or evil - just love union with God
  2. I can make decisions/actions that do not benefit me or someone else
  3. I take the most loving actions that reflect my union with God to reconcile those affected and fix the mess
  4. I love those affected by the decision - including myself - and move on, refusing to be judged further on the matter by anyone - including myself. 
  5. All my actions are to be governed by love relationship, NOT by right or wrong, good or evil.
This may sound petty or stupid and just ignoring huge amounts of "reality". But its the only way forward. I am no longer to think in terms of sin. God doesn't, so its the height of pride and arrogance for me to think that way. In fact its denying everything God established "before the foundations of the world" for us to live in unity with him and everyone else.

My un-renewed mind still wants "good and evil" because it gives me the power to judge and condemn, myself and everyone else. But Jesus grabs us by the hand, pulls us into the arms of God and only ever tells us about how much we are loved. That alone bring us to repentance, and repentance just simply and purely means changing our mind - that's it, no guilt and remorse, shame or self flagellation, just changing our mind about being separated from God in any way.

I am whole, loved and complete. I'm still being renewed to this fact, but that does not change anything. Jesus restored us to relationship - end of story. I will not hold anyone in judgement, and I will not allow other's judgments to affect me. 

The more I awake to my intimate union with God, the more I will be love, with no thought of good or evil.

This is true freedom. A license to sin? Sorry, I don't know what sin is any more.

And this will annoy a LOT of people.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

To love - to tolerate - to humiliate

I posted this on Facebook and thought I'd share here for those who aren't on it.

I posted my joy over the passing of the "gay marriage bill' in NZ the other day, and of course, in the middle of the joy and relief, the haters jumped on board.

There was a lot of rhetoric, much heated gainsaying, and plenty of plain pigheadedness from just about everyone, but in particular from those against gay marriage and homosexuality in general.

But here's the thing - in the middle of all that, some of us started to try to understand each other. A glimmer of willingness to be wrong crept in and opened the door to real dialog. As the dust began to settle, genuine questions opened up, and reality kicked in. Some of those who were slamming gays and just demanding repentance, began to listen and ask questions from the heart, challenging, and responding with respect.

That is what its all about! I have the utmost respect for those people. I could see them struggling to understand, with genuine concerns, but still asking and listening.

So often we write people off before we give them our hearts and try to open up real dialog. Time after time I've seen, when I get off my bandwagon, stop taking offence and treat people with the same respect I expect, things start to change. Sometimes it can take time, and you may never agree, but the point is, you start to understand each other, respect each others opinions.

I have seen so much arrogance and disrespect for people. People acting catty and self righteous, proud and intolerant. And the worse thing is its not just from the pharisees and religious fundies. I've seen so many people who talk of grace and love not even taking the time to use basic communication skills, no respect for the journey others are on, no tolerance for bigotry and hatred they may well have carried in the past themselves!

We will never all agree on doctrines or "what the bible says"! But if we are lacking the decency to listen, to draw out each other's hearts with integrity, to extend the love and grace to others we expect, even when they are lashing out at us - then we are no better and need to go back to Gospel 101.

I stand guilty myself on so many occasions. I have reacted and shamed people, told them they are bigoted wankers and worse. But seeing as I am one with God, I should be able to display his love, endless patience and tolerance as he has extended it to me. I apologize for all those I have offended by my intolerance - yes you may have been total assholes to me, but that isn't the point. I have to take responsibility for my heart and my attitude - not yours!

We will always get those who refuse even the most heart felt call to understanding, and we may have to end communication and relationship to avoid damage to each other. But the moment we react in the same spirit, when we sarcastically belittle them, label them with ignorance and mock them, we have just disappeared up our own anal orifice and lost hope of any integrity we may have been clutching too.

If we don't practice this grace we are so vocal about, we need to go back to square one and start again.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Fix it Jim!!

I was talking to a good friend today, and we were laughing about trying to fix people.

You know (especially guys) how when you hear someone pouring out their heart, you just want to jump in and fix it. We think people need to have our lifetime's worth of wisdom presented to them so they can apply it and, well, get fixed.

I realise that its wrong on many levels, but I had to stop and think about how I really respond to this. The moment people start to share problems and concerns, the first thing that pops into my brain cell is "what can I say that will help this person".

I start to flick through all the wise advice that has helped me and I think would be appropriate to help others. Perhaps there's a key word or concept that will trigger that cathartic moment. 
Perhaps the latest revelation I've had about God will release their pain. Maybe if I can present the doctrines/beliefs that changed my life, in the right way, they will understand and have the same "breakthrough" I did.


Or perhaps they really just need a shoulder, a loving heart and ear, who's only purpose is to be there for others.

We can't fix each other (as much as I really want to) despite the best of intentions. We don't need to give advise, and even if people ask for it, what exactly do we give them? For those who are familiar with counselling techniques, listening is the key. But with God, I think it might even be more than that. 

God is uniquely entwined with each of us. We are in total union with Him, even if we don't realise it. Our relationship with God is just that - OUR relationship. Mine is different to yours, everyone is different. Its like the relationship with our best friend or partner - no one else really understands it. 

So many christians, especially charismatic/pentecostal types, think we have to have a "word of knowledge", that its our duty to give the "word of the Lord" to people in need, and even made to feel "unspiritual" if we can't at least provide an appropriate scripture. 

But God speaks to us one to one, individually. All we have to do really, is create an environment of love, acceptance and peace - allow our hearts to feel God's heart, so we can truly be in agreement with Him and pour out His immense love on each other - even without words!

God will always speak in his way and his time to all of us, and this not only applies to those in desperate need, but also to all of us on our journey in life. We are all in different places, with different views and understandings of God. It's great to discuss, throw around ideas, stretch each other, challenge each other, but we can never assume we know where God is at with any other person in creation. Only God can determine what the next step is for each individual. 

So lets just pull our heads in, stop giving good advice, stop telling people they are wrong, or heretics, or sinners, or ignorant, or evil, or going to hell. If we aren't mature enough to give and take, to discuss, to empathise, and basically love, then we should just put up and shut up.

Yep, I've been known to jump on people with my good advice, and I must admit I have little time for those with closed bigoted hearts, but even in that, I'm open to change. Fortunately, God is also listening to my heart, patiently drawing me closer into his arms, so that we will breathe as one.

When God first introduced himself to me, 40 year ago, there's one thing he said in a vision that always stayed with me - "One thing at a time and all things in My time". When I do occasionally remember that, it makes the world of difference!

Monday, 4 March 2013

Words words words

Here's a list of some words that christians especially, consider veeery important:

  • Sin
  • Repent
  • Saved
  • Justified
  • Righteous
  • Hell
  • Heaven
  • Law

(and there's plenty more where they come from)

They are so important that there's been a lot of arguments about them for a long time, and even more so lately. Everyone seems to know exactly what the words mean, and many can prove it by Greek/Hebrew and exegesis. But there is one incredibly important thing that we all keep overlooking:

These "christian" words are loaded - like a gun - ready to aim and fire at the next person who obviously doesn't understand their true meaning. (Thought I'd just throw that in for current political comment).

But each word that is part of the christianese language, is loaded up with centuries of baggage, based on thousands of evolving doctrines, pushed by political powers, endless translations/interpretations, cultural bias etc. Then to make matters even more complicated we have to add our own personal baggage to each word: how do we personally interpret each word based on our upbringing (religious/cultural/family), our treatment by other christians and leadership, the sermons we have had preached to us, the way have been taught to think. All of the above factors (and more) are mixed together into this complex and personally unique interpretation of these words (part of what I refer to as our personal paradigm).

So what on earth does that mean?

When you hear the word "sin", what does that mean to you? What emotion flashes through you in that split second? What other words do you quickly associate with it? What string of thoughts does that initiate? Does it feel evil too you? Does the thought produce fear in you? Do you feel subtle guilt or shame straight away? Does it even concern you? This is a gut reaction, triggered by our paradigm, and colours our interactions in a way that we are usually totally unaware of - to the point that we not only don't understand why others don't "get it", but will actually get offended or even attack others because of it.

Are we prepared to even admit that there is a problem here?
Could it be that so much conflict could be avoided if we actually took the time to understand each others paradigms? To look for what is loading up each others thoughts and language to the point that it causes anger, hatred, and even wars?

Imagine if instead of being so keen to slam our favourite doctrine or philosophy down someone's throat, we could present it in a way that allowed others to explore with dignity and safety. That we would listen to their hearts and try to understand their paradigms.

This however, takes time and patience. Something in short supply these days! And forums like Facebook etc, really don't encourage respectful, patient interactions.

Words are never empty! Every word we speak comes loaded with our life history, our family, our culture, our education, our religion. Speak, by all means, but listen with all the passion and conviction that God has for us.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Slowing Down

Not sure how to express this, but I'll give it a go.

Here's the list of possibilities.

  • I'm way to cynical and burnt for my own good
  • I'm still in recovery from clinical depression
  • I'm overwhelmed by the sheer vastness of lost and confused people
  • I'm overwhelmed by the sheer vastness of people who know everything
  • I'm overwhelmed by the incredible diversity of people's paradigms
  • I'm overwhelmed by the blindness created by people's paradigms
  • I'm overwhelmed by the sheer vastness of God and his relationship to us
  • I'm overwhelmed by the complexity of matter, energy and its integration with spirituality
  • I'm frustrated with narrow minded fundamentalism
  • I loath the tiny little closed box of christianity
  • I'm disgusted by the arrogance of preachers proclaiming they know God
  • I'm horrified by the level of control wielded by spiritual leaders
  • I hate being labelled a christian
  • I'm ashamed of all that calls itself christianity

BUT
  • I'm slowing down and taking time to see things
  • I'm discovering God in new ways
  • I'm beginning to understand living in the moment
  • I'm experiencing real inexplicable moments of love FROM God
  • I'm being changed in deep ways that surprise me
  • I see clearer, every day, God's intricate oneness with everything and everyone
  • I have a sense of peace that grows deeper every day
  • I see people with more compassion than I ever have
  • I've dropped all christian dogma
  • I feel the weight of religion and christian expectation evaporate more every day

Yes, I'm all of the above, and I've never been better, never understood myself more, never been freer to just be me, and never experienced God's love in such a tangible way.

I'm also tired, but not a bad tired, just a peaceful tired. A happiness to close my eyes and dream, to stand on the beach and absorb the sun and sea. To feel loved and to love. Like the last 56 years were almost a dream - a very long difficult dream, that put me right here and now, right where I should be.

I guess its all a bit vague. But I think if we all stop to listen to our hearts long enough, there may be a lot of common ground between us all. 
I hope so.