Wednesday, 30 January 2013

A Face Full of Dirt

(Likened unto visionaries we shall walk with still feet and not trample the tall blades or spill their green life)

I fell on my face the other day, or maybe in another time, and they came, I thought to laugh at me, but offered warm hands, I thought in self righteous piety - and I told them all about themselves - I thought. If they had just seen and told me I would not have fallen. They too should fall on their smiling little faces and taste the dirt that I can taste, and eat the mud and slime.

I waited for a while, or a lifetime, and felt them move back out of my awareness.

The dampness about me had a dark warmth and life all of its own - moving on soft edges and brittle limbs and burrowing into darkness to die and give life back to the cycle. And I watched and drew my own life from theirs and I heard their whispers and longed for their wisdom.

(We moved beyond his sight but always watched for him, for the movement would not be long)

After a time I felt the wind moving through my hair as if challenging my part in the earth cycle, and I moved, ever so slight, my face braking contact with the earth, and the breeze twisted around my cheeks. The life of the breeze was complete and unto itself and above the earth. But the dirt held my eyes and the life of the wind and earth would blend, I thought, at least with me as their mediator. But the strain on my neck was growing and with my desire for the life of the wind AND the life of the earth eating at my heart, confusion held fast.

(We saw the moment, stepped forward, and gently raised his head)

As my strength gave, hands, warm and gentle, lifted my head back to the compromise, and I welcomed their strength. But they kept lifting a little higher, and a little higher. And the breeze began to enfold my whole face, and I understood the life of the air, I thought, and restrained the hands there, for here was all understanding! It seemed.

The hands held firm and never faltered and I wondered at their strength and beauty. I remembered then, MY hands, and slowly brought them up to my face, examined them and began to see the likeness to those that held me!

(We moved closer - he was seeing, and an eagerness flooded our hearts)

I touched my face - with my hands! They felt like those who held me. I felt the dirt still clinging to my cheeks, almost embedded grain by grain into the skin. I rubbed, and dirt fell, and as it fell I felt more of the life of the air, and in my excitement I found I was leaning on my elbows and the hands moved to help me.

(We smiled now, and cautiously prepared to lift him as he gave us leave)

The air filled my spirit but it overwhelmed me, and the simple cycle of life in the earth held my mind. I tasted the grains on my fingers and smelled the mud, but now, I was only seeing its death. I hoped then that at least I would understand the air, so I pushed up back onto my hands and felt the other hands shift in firmer grip to help me. They felt so warm and loving compared to the damp of the earth, so that all I now desired was to see and feel more!

I raised my head slowly, straining against unused muscles, and saw faces. I think I remembered the faces, but I wasn't sure, and seeing their smiles, I smiled too and realised we shared the same life of the air.

(If they could all be this willing we would be there by now)

Together, we stood up - they held me still, though, for my legs were weak and shaky. I looked around and in the distance saw - something, a goal, and I began to walk with them, like visionaries, with still feet and not trampling the tall blades or spilling their green life.

And the wisdom of the life of the air filled me.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

The Curse of Blessings

Bless you!
I've been so blessed!

God blessed me with a new xxxxx
You are such a blessing

Its part of every christian's vocabulary. We love to acknowledge that God has blessed us in some way. Its part of our attitude of thankfulness, a positive attitude, an acknowledgement of his special love for us...

But wait!

When we say God blesses us, we are implying there are times when He doesn't bless us! If we are constantly blessed then why the need to differentiate specific times and events?

How do we then define blessings? Is it something we get because we have been good, or faithful, or God was in a good mood, or He just felt sorry for us, or we needed a morale boost?

Do we realise that the ratio of good things vs bad things for christians and non-christians is the same? That they get "blessed" or not blessed exactly the same as we do? If you get that parking spot when you are in a rush are you blessed, but the atheist in the car next to you also got a park at the same time! So he was blessed as well. So are all good things to ALL people blessings? Are all bad things then curses? Is there a middle ground? Are we just not as blessed sometimes, or don't see the hidden blessing, or have we been bad in some way so we either get a curse (just a little one if it wasn't tooo bad), or just lost a bit of faith.

Ah! hang on, it must be a lack of faith that we don't get blessed all the time! But then there are so many times we are so full of faith we feel like we will explode and shit happens! No, can't be that!

Well, could it be that we have taken something from an old arrangement with the Jews, that was never meant for us anyway, and tried to build some sort of behaviour scale into our relationship with God? Could it be that to even think in terms of blessings (or curses) is such a curse in itself that we completely miss the whole deal with God in the first place?

We aren't blessed, or cursed... We just ARE! Its not about getting rewards or punishment, or hoping God will feel sorry for us today and make things good! This is really a sick twisting of the very nature of God and our relationship with Him.

He loves us! The only promise we have really, is that everything will work together for good - at some point - in the end. Meanwhile, we live in a world full of crap and sunshine, good and bad, love and hate. We get endlessly hung up about getting healed, about getting our finances met, about getting the perfect relationship, about getting THE BLESSINGS! We create doctrines from twisted scriptures, build expectations and performance driven faith, just so we get blessings to "prove" to the world that God loves us - that if you become a christian, you too will blessed! WTF!! Sick!

Its all about love! Its about relationship, its about lovers (us and God) who hold each other while the ship is sinking, who kiss while the guns rage, who cling to each other when the tsunami hits. Its about not being concerned by whether something is good or a blessing. We just ARE - with Him, one with Him, loved unconditionally - nothing to do with good or bad things happening to us. Its being in love with someone through the worst crap and the greatest joy. ITS RELATIONSHIP!

To even think in terms of blessings is to adopt an old, out of date covenant meant for some other race totally unrelated to us - completely irrelevant to us. We walk in unconditional love now.

Thats it folks!

Friday, 11 January 2013

Daily Things

Things - daily things
Oh the washing, facing the tormenting of grey drops
The webs in the corner of bustling long legs, they can have their lunch today
   and tomorrow, as I pass them by...
Dust bunnies bouncing in windy corners - waiting
   Yeah, I see you...

Daily unravelling, a preoccupation with what is and what was
Piecing together what will be -
Do the dreams of expectations past fill the cracks of today?
Will that childhood vision be remade?
Will integrity crack and break the other life
   The other life that tried, that wanted to be shaped
      Shaped by better dreams, other dreams, alien dreams

Things - important things
Oh the mundane, fighting for reality
Webs in corners, forgotten youth's revelation
   that first flush of spirit wrapping warm arms around dreams of flight
The long slow walk from freedom to the new man
   Yeah, I see you - now

When the dust has settled, the expectation gone
When the tired heart lets go -
Do the dreams of the future fulfill past achings
Will the honest heart find honesty
Will life crack through Pharisee bones
   To find new shapes, new dreams
      Familiar dreams, childhood dreams?

Washing and dust bunnies, grey drops and webs
Backdrop the spotlight of hope

Disclaimer (or why you should ignore me)

Hi folks!!

I thought after the last year or so of evolving rants and raves, it's possible that no one has a clue what I really believe. So I thought I might put together a sort of Statement of Beliefs. But you have to remember that this is a very fluid thing, and if you ask me next week things may have been amended. I've been passionate bout truth and integrity with God all my life, poured everything into trying to understand him and his ways. Studied and read who knows how many books, been through all the doctrines, streams, movements, loves, disenchantments and come out the other end realising that life was meant to be very simple.

I should start by saying that one of the most important things in terms of how I come to my beliefs is the recognition of paradigms. I'll probably do some specific writing about this soon, but for now I should say that   every human has a complex set of paradigms, that are unique to them, through which they view, process, and react to everything they perceive. In terms of spirituality it makes communicating concepts to each other far more difficult than we think.

So the way I perceive, process and respond to a statement like "love your enemies" is different to every single person on the planet. Of course there would be a lot of similarities, but often the devil is in the detail, and that's what undoes us more often than we care to admit. My beliefs are extensions of my personal paradigms that I have grown into through my life's experiences and colour every aspect of how I understand God, people and life in general, whether I recognise it or not. All I can do is recognise that fact, and be open to God changing it as he sees fit.

My understanding of scripture has always been non-literal ever since God zapped me when I was 15. I then spent years trying to change my mind about that. I've now given up and gone with my heart. The bible isn't and never was intended to be taken literally and is not the inerrant Word of God. I think its a collection of writings that express man's efforts to understand God within specific cultures and contains much truth, pointing to the true nature of God and his heart for all mankind, despite being full of error and contradiction. But I also believe we have Holy Spirit first and foremost to guide us in everything and the bible isn't necessary for salvation or life in God. Its a good reference book if you can sort it out.

I believe that Jesus was central to God's relationship to humans, giving us a focal point, an image, of how he expressed humanity, so that we wouldn't have to feel isolated, condemned or a failure. He wanted to show us what he really thinks of us. In terms of anything he accomplished spiritually, it was done "before the foundation of time", so affects all people through all time whether they know it or not. The details of that are interesting to work through, but not necessary to know for life and relationship with God. I no longer care to argue about "the blood" sacrifice, penal substitution, appeasement for sin. Its all way too ambiguous and contentious, and in the end, no matter what we think about it doesn't change God's love for us and our relationship.

I believe God lives in union with us in every sense of the word. He's intrinsically part of every atom of our being, giving us unconditional worth. We are not God, but are "entwined" with him, part of him. He holds us together and infuses us with all that he is. But we are unique from him. I also think God is expressed through a "trinity" although not some storybook concept of a king on a throne, a bearded Jew and a ghost wafting around. I think God is expressed in three unique forms that can be many things to different people and cultures.

I believe God did not limit his actions and revelation of himself to one race/culture and then bind up the entirety of his revelation into one book. He showed his nature and heart to all nations and loves and accepts all people. He will not lose one single person he has ever created, and will eventually either override their so called free will to save them from themselves, or at least pour out his love in such depth and power that all will be unable to resist. Preferably the latter.

I believe God couldn't give a toss about doctrines and theology. All he wants is integrity of heart, to allow him to love us, and that all life comes from that simple belief and action. We will then love simply because he loves us. The greatest joy we then have is to pour that love and life into the world - to bring them to the same realisation - that they are loved, accepted and can have fullness of life now!

I believe that life can be a bitch, and that God isn't going to make everything peachy just because he loves us. Not everyone will be healed, and we don't have to worry about it. Miracles may or may not happen, people may or may not be raised from the dead, and it doesn't worry me one way or the other. God is interested only in relationship with us. All the other stuff is purely an outcome of our relationship.

I believe there are universal principles governing how things work in the spiritual realm and anyone (christian or not) can tap into that to see manifestations, miracles etc, and their use/prevalence is not an indicator of God's blessing/anointing on anyone. I also think faith can be included in this category, and that complete undoubting belief has a power of its own.

Well, that's sort of scratching the surface really, and hopefully more will be elaborated when this book I'm writing ever gets finished. It would help if I didn't keep discovering more about myself.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Jim's Gospel

Things in Christendom are coming undone. 

The fundies are waging war (or should that be raging war) against anything that defiles literalistic dogma. Doctrines, denominations, cults abound in ever greater numbers. People are discovering we have been ripped off by centuries of misinterpretations, political/religious manipulation, power struggles, incorrect translations, you name it. And the temptation to hang on to traditional christian thought is like grabbing at the rope as the anchor slips over the side - you'll get rope burns, or dragged overboard with the anchor.

Sifting through the morass of what's left of Christianity is daunting. Those who have taken the time to attempt to understand some of the issues are often tempted to only go so far, for fear of losing faith completely. Many threads of thought will lead to slippery slopes that by their very nature will fly in the face of the mainstream church.

Many people are being "zapped" with new understanding of how awesome God really is and how we so completely misunderstood his nature and plans for humans. Great stirrings through every stream and denomination. More divisions, arguments. A huge slow rumble that will erupt in the greatest earthquake the church has seen - not some "revival" of holiness, healing and bible bashing, but a change in the very core of Christianity.

So, what about my gospel? Glad you asked!

We all have a basic idea of what the gospel is, don't we! I mean, you ask anyone, even non-christians (well, in the western world at least), and they will probably be able to spout something. Good christians will have a good biblical answer, and you can get a range of brochures that will outline it for you in simple to follow instructions so you can "get saved" by applying the aforementioned gospel.

But in reality the gospel is getting a bit cloudy. At the very least there is Jesus' gospel and Paul's gospel, and heaps of arguments about that! And lots of discussions about what being saved really is, and being born again, and eternity, and God's perfect will, and free will, and well, just about everything that colours how you interpret the gospel - to yourself, let alone others.

So I began to realise that no matter what we think or claim about it all, our deep understanding of what God has done to make everything right for us all is uniquely personal. Most of us will parrot what we think the bible says or what our favorite teacher says, but our hearts have their own understanding. Our hearts intrinsically know what the gospel SHOULD be. Yes it can be twisted and mutilated and wrapped in conditions, fears, but deep down we know that if God really was as good as we hoped for, the gospel would be the most freeing wonderful thing the world could ever imagine. God would be all that our hearts could ever desire - perfect unconditional love and acceptance!

I began to strip away everything except the most basic thing that a child can understand without scripture - yes, that's right, especially without scripture!

Its Gospel 101! Ready?

God is Love - He loves me!

What about Jesus? He was God demonstrating His intrinsic involvement in humanity and solving the problem of "sin" - all sin for all time, for all people, whether they know it or not. To know that God is Love and we are loved by Him, IS to accept what Jesus has done anyway. We don't have to "know" about him, he sorted all that before he even made us, he confirmed it by his physical appearance to those that a physical appearance would be most significant to (the Jews), and then confirmed the whole thing by opening our eyes to our unity with him.

Theology is fun! Gives me hours of thought provoking entertainment and lively discussion. Our minds are made to explore the deeper meanings of life the universe and everything. BUT, when it comes to life and death, I'm starting to hold those ideas lightly now - it matters less everyday. I only care about it if the fruit of someone's ideas is bad. And we all know bad fruit, and we all know good fruit.

So YOUR gospel can really look like anything! It can be Jesus' gospel or Paul's gospel but mostly it's your gospel, the one that Holy Spirit speaks to your heart - the one that says "God is love and He loves me!" And we live from that place - we live loved!

Its so easy and yet so hard. Its expansive in its freedom but the narrowest road we could walk. Jesus is the centre of everything, whether we recognise it now or later. We "preach" the kingdom of God here and now in all of us, and that kingdom is the best thing unknown to mankind!

LIVE LOVED (and only use words if necessary)