good news.” They want to see the good news in action. The church doesn’t hold revival meetings and call it a day — we feed the hungry, clothe the naked, dig wells, and staff medical clinics. Social action isn’t an optional part of evangelism; it is evangelism. This is an important correction to the overspirituality that dominated evangelical Christianity just a generation ago. But the both/and of holistic mission still misses the heart of Jesus if we don’t see that the church needs the poor as much as the poor need the church. Jesus didn’t embrace the poor only because he pitied them or because he knew he had the resources to help them. Jesus embraced the poor because they were rushing into the kingdom ahead of the scribes and Pharisees — those who called themselves God’s people. Jesus welcomed people who knew poverty because they were ready to receive what he had to offer. Religious people, he said, could learn something from them. Our spiritual lives are linked to the material conditions of our life. When we feel like we don’t need much materially, we often have trouble remembering why we need God. We comfortable Americans can go through an entire day without thinking of God. But Jesus gave the poor more than food to eat and relief from their sickness. He restored them to God’s beloved community.
The good news is that I believe every woman who wants to can find a great partner. You're just going to need to get rid of the idea that marriage will make you happy. It won't. Once the initial high wears off, you'll just be you, except with twice as much laundry. Because ultimately, marriage is not about getting something -- it's about giving it. Strangely, men understand this more than we do. Probably because for them marriage involves sacrificing their most treasured possession -- a free-agent penis -- and for us, it's the culmination of a princess fantasy so universal, it built Disneyland.
Watch carefully the children around you. In precious moments you will catch a glimpse of your Savior’s face. Listen intently and you will hear his voice. Walk gently among them; his footprints are all around you. Embrace them, for you are embracing him. Respect them, because they are sometimes God’s agents – exactly the kind of instruments he needs. At such times, only a child will do.
reconciling grace, saving grace of Jesus"[In regards to struggles and potential in relationship],..we are sinner with capacity to to do great damage to ourselves and our relationships. We need God's grace to save us from ourselves. But we are also God's children, which means that we have great hope and potential-- not hope that rests on our gifts, experience, or track record, but hope that rests in Christ. Because he is in us and we are in him, it is right to say that our potential IS Christ. We are well aware that we are smack-dab in the middle of God's process of sanctification. And because this is true, we will struggle again. Selfishness, pride, an unforgiving spirit, irritation, and impatience will certainly return. But we are neither afraid nor hopeless. We have experienced what God can do in the middle of the mess. This side of heaven, relationships and ministry are always shaped in the forge of struggle. None of us get to relate to perfect people or avoid the effects of the fall on the work we attempt to do. Yet amid the mess, we find the highest joys of relationship and ministry.
[The goal is] "liberation from the bondage of rebirth. According to the Vedantists the self, which they call the atman and we call the soul, is distinct from the body and its senses, distinct from the mind and its intelligence; it is not part of the Absolute, for the Absolute, being infinite, can have no parts but the Absolute itself. It is uncreated; it has existed form eternity and when at least it has cast off the seven veils of ignorance will return to the infinitude from which it came. It is like a drop of water that has arisen from the sea, and in a shower has fallen into a puddle, then drifts into a brook, finds its way into a stream, after that into a river, passing through mountain gorges and wide plains, winding this way and that, obstructed by rocks and fallen trees, till at least it reaches the boundless seas from which it rose.""But that poor little drop of water, when it has once more become one with the sea, has surely lost its individuality."Larry grinned."You want to taste sugar, you don't want to become sugar. What is individuality but the expression of our egoism? Until the soul has shed the last trace of that it cannot become one with the Absolute.""You talk very familiarly of the Absolute, Larry, and it's an imposing word. What does it actually signify to you?" "Reality. You can't say what it is ; you can only say what it isn't. It's inexpressible. The Indians call it Brahman. It's not a person, it's not a thing, it's not a cause. It has no qualities. It transcends permanence and change; whole and part, finite and infinite. It is eternal because its completeness and perfection are unrelated to time. It is truth and freedom.""Golly," I said to myself, but to Larry: "But how can a purely intellectual conception be a solace to the suffering human race? Men have always wanted a personal God to whom they can turn in their distress for comfort and encouragement.""It may be that at some far distant day greater insight will show them that they must look for comfort and encouragement in their own souls. I myself think that the need to worship is no more than the survival of an old remembrance of cruel gods that had to be propitiated. I believe that God is within me or nowhere. If that's so, whom or what am I to worship—myself? Men are on different levels of spiritual development, and so the imagination of India has evolved the manifestations of the Absolute that are known as Brahma, Vishnu, Siva and by a hundred other names. The Absolute is in Isvara, the creator and ruler of the world, and it is in the humble fetish before which the peasant in his sun-baked field places the offering of a flower. The multitudinous gods of India are but expedients to lead to the realization that the self is one with the supreme self.
I also remember that my father was one of the people who voted to get the Dauntless out of the factionless sector of the city. He said the poor didn’t need policing; they needed help, and we could give it to them. But I would rather not mention that now, or here. It’s one of the many things Erudite gives as evidence of Abnegation’s incompetence.
...We must say to ourselves something like this: 'Well, when Jesus looked down from the cross, he didn't think "I am giving myself to you because you are so attractive to me." No, he was in agony, and he looked down at us - denying him, abandoning him, and betraying him - and in the greatest act of love in history, he STAYED. He said, "Father, forgive them, they don't know what they are doing." He loved us, not because we were lovely to him, but to make us lovely. That is why I am going to love my spouse.' Speak to your heart like that, and then fulfill the promises you made on your wedding day.
Lovers must not, like usurers, live for themselves alone. They must finally turn from their gaze at one another back toward the community. If they had only themselves to consider, lovers would not need to marry, but they must think of others and of other things. They say their vows to the community as much as to one another, and the community gathers around them to hear and to wish them well, on their behalf and its own. It gathers around them because it understands how necessary, how joyful, and how fearful this joining is. These lovers, pledging themselves to one another "until death," are giving themselves away, and they are joined by this as no law or contract could join them. Lovers, then, "die" into their union with one another as a soul "dies" into its union with God. And so here, at the very heart of community life, we find not something to sell as in the public market but this momentous giving. If the community cannot protect this giving, it can protect nothing...
It was so cold. In the monastery. Sometimes the wind came from the sea with ice in it... It could freeze the skin off your face. Once the snow was so deep we couldn't get out of the doors to the woodshed. A monk jumped from a window. He sank into a drift and took a long time to get up. That night, they made me sleep next to the stove. I was small, thin, like a piece of birch bark. But then the Stove went out.Father Bernard took me into his cell... It was he who first gave me chalk and paper. He was so old his eyes his eyes looked as if he was crying. But he was never sad. In winter he had fewer blankets than the others. He said he didn't need them because God warmed him.(...)But even Father Bernard was cold that night. He laid me down on the bed next to him, wrapped me in an animal skin, then in his own arms. He told me stories about Jesus. How His love could wake the dead and how with Him in one's heart one could heat the world... When I woke it was light. The snow had stopped. I was warm. But he was cold. I gave him the skin but his body was stiff. I didn't know what to do. I got out a piece of paper from his chest under the bed and drew him, lying there. His face had a smile on it. I knew that God had been there when he died. That now He was in me, and because of Father Bernard I would be warm forever.
So I've been thinking. Do you believe there's a hell?""Sure. Doesn't everybody?""Well, what if this is hell, but we just don't know it?""That's crazy. Hell is like lakes of fire, and there are devils with horns and pitchforks. here's none of those around here.""But what if hell's not really like that?" Grace asked. "Everyone says it's that way," I said. "I don't think Jesus every talked about fire and brimstone.""Then why do they teach us that at church?""To scare us.""Why would they want to scare us?""I don't know. I just don't think God wants us to do good things because we're scared. I think he wants us to do good things because we're good.
You will not find Jesus in heaven, reclining on a cloud. He isn’t in church on Sunday morning, sitting in the pews. He isn’t locked away in the Vatican or held hostage by a denominational seminary. Rather, Jesus is sitting in the Emergency Room, an uninsured, undocumented immigrant needing healing. He is behind bars, so far from his parole date he can’t think that far into the future. He is homeless, evicted from his apartment, waiting in line at the shelter for a bed and a cup of soup. He is the poor child living in government housing with lice in his hair, the stripes of abuse on his body and a growl in his stomach. He is an old forgotten woman in a roach infested apartment who no one thinks of anymore. He is a refugee in Sudan, living in squalor. He is the abused and molested child who falsely feels responsible for the evil that is perpetrated against her. He is the young woman who hates herself for the decisions she has made, decisions that have imperiled her life, but did the best she could, torn between impossible choices. Jesus is anyone without power, ability or the means to help themselves, and he beckons us to come to him; not on a do-gooding crusade, but in solidarity and embrace.
There are congregations on nearly every corner. I'm not sure we need more churches. What we need is a church. I say one church is better than fifty. I have tried to remove the plural form churches from my vocabulary, training myself to think of the church as Christ did, and as the early Christians did. The metaphors for her are always singular – a body, a bride. I heard one gospel preacher say it like this, as he really wound up and broke a sweat: "We've got to unite ourselves as one body. Because Jesus is coming back, and he's coming back for a bride not a harem.
Like the Church the individual Christian will not be able to escape the deep ambiguities of this-wordly existence whether in its cultural, social, political or other aspects, and he too will inevitably be a mixture of good and evil, with a compromised life, so that he can only live eschatologically in the judgment and mercy of God, putting off the old man and putting on Christ anew each day, always aware that even when he has done all that it is his duty to do he remains an unprofitable servant, but summoned to look away from himself to Christ, remembering that he is dead through the cross of Christ but alive and risen in Him. His true being is hid with Christ in God.The whole focus of his vision and the whole perspective of his life in Christ’s name will be directed to the unveiling of that reality of his new being at the parousia, but meantime he lives day by day out of the Word and Sacraments. As one baptized into Christ he is told by God’s Word that his sins are already forgiven and forgotten by God, that he has been justified once for all, and that he does not belong to himself but to Christ who loved him and gave Himself for him. As one summoned to the Holy Table he is commanded by the Word of God to live only in such a way that he feeds upon Christ, not in such a way that he feeds upon his own activities or lives out of his own capital of alleged spirituality. He lives from week to week, by drawing his life and strength from the bread and wine of the Lord’s Supper, nourished by the body and blood of Christ, and in the strength of that communion he must live and work until Christ comes again. As often as he partakes of the Eucharist he partakes of the self-consecration of Jesus Christ who sanctified Himself for our sakes that we might be sanctified in reality and be presented to the Father as those whom He has redeemed and perfected (or consecrated) together with Himself in one. Here He is called to lift up his heart to the ascended Lord, and to look forward to the day when the full reality of his new being in Christ will be unveiled, making Scripture and Sacrament no longer necessary.
I wanted to be sure it would give you the strength and courage to win through today. I decided that all you need to know is all that anyone really needs to know—you are loved. I love you. Melanie loves you. We believe in you. Somewhere up there God’s watching. He’s surely watching you. If His eye watches a sparrow, you know He’s watching the first of His children to reach across the stars and take the history of our small corner with His message out to every race of the universe. I think He must be on the edge of his throne watching and thinking, ‘Finally! This moment has come.’ He loves you, Leo. You can be sure of that. If all you know in life is that you are loved, you can press through anything. You can bear anything. Don’t let them stop you.
Because there is nothing, nothing on Urras that we Anarresti need! We left with empty hands, a hundred and seventy years ago, and we were right. We took nothing. Because there is nothing here but States and their weapons, the rich and their lies, and the poor and their misery. There is no way to act rightly, with a clear heart, on Urras. There is nothing you can do that profit does not enter into, and fear of loss, and the wish for power. You cannot say good morning without knowing which of you is ‘superior’ to the other, or trying to prove it. You cannot act like a brother to other people, you must manipulate them, or command them, or obey them, or trick them. You cannot touch another person, yet they will not leave you alone. There is no freedom. It is a box—Urras is a box, a package, with all the beautiful wrapping of blue sky and meadows and forests and great cities. And you open the box, and what is inside it? A black cellar full of dust, and a dead man. A man whose hand was shot off because he held it out to others.
Welcome evermore to gods and men is the self-helping man. For him all doors are flung wide: him all tongues greet, all honors crown, all eyes follow with desire. Our love goes out to him and embraces him, because he did not need it. We solicitously and apologetically caress and celebrate him, because he held on his way and scorned our disapprobation. The gods loved him because men hated him.
News came of Beni Beni, the madman of Wimbe, who'd always made us laugh in better times. He'd run up to merchants in the trading center with his raving eyes and snatch cakes and Fantas from their stalls. No one ever took them away because his hands were always so filthy. The mad people had always depended on others to care for them, but now there were none. Beni Beni died at the church.
He chooses us, not because we believe, but that we may believe; lest we should say that we first chose Him” (Augustine). Faith receives the electing love of God not as if it had already become efficacious without faith, but aware that God’s prescience foreknows faith like all else.In accord with ancient ecumenical consent, predestination was carefully defined in centrist Protestant orthodoxy as:'The eternal, divine decree, by which God, from His immense mercy, determined to give His Son as Mediator, and through universal preaching , to offer Him for reception to all men who from eternity He foresaw would fall into sin; also through the Word and Sacraments to confer faith upon all who would not resist; to justify all believers, and besides to renew those using the means of grace; to preserve faith in them until the end of life, and in a word, to save those believing to the end' (Melanchthon).
...What I have denied and what my reason compels me to deny, is the existence of a Being throned above us as a god, directing our mundane affairs in detail, regarding us as individuals, punishing us, rewarding us as human judges might.When the churches learn to take this rational view of things, when they become true schools of ethics and stop teaching fables, they will be more effective than they are to-day... If they would turn all that ability to teaching this one thing – the fact that honesty is best, that selfishness and lies of any sort must surely fail to produce happiness – they would accomplish actual things. Religious faiths and creeds have greatly hampered our development. They have absorbed and wasted some fine intellects. That creeds are getting to be less and less important to the average mind with every passing year is a good sign, I think, although I do not wish to talk about what is commonly called theology.The criticisms which have been hurled at me have not worried me. A man cannot control his beliefs. If he is honest in his frank expression of them, that is all that can in justice be required of him. Professor Thomson and a thousand others do not in the least agree with me. His criticism of me, as I read it, charged that because I doubted the soul’s immortality, or ‘personality,’ as he called it, my mind must be abnormal, ‘pathological,’ in other, words, diseased... I try to say exactly what I honestly believe to be the truth, and more than that no man can do. I honestly believe that creedists have built up a mighty structure of inaccuracy, based, curiously, on those fundamental truths which I, with every honest man, must not alone admit but earnestly acclaim.I have been working on the same lines for many years. I have tried to go as far as possible toward the bottom of each subject I have studied. I have not reached my conclusions through study of traditions; I have reached them through the study of hard fact. I cannot see that unproved theories or sentiment should be permitted to have influence in the building of conviction upon matters so important. Science proves its theories or it rejects them. I have never seen the slightest scientific proof of the religious theories of heaven and hell, of future life for individuals, or of a personal God. I earnestly believe that I am right; I cannot help believing as I do... I cannot accept as final any theory which is not provable. The theories of the theologians cannot be proved. Proof, proof! That is what I always have been after; that is what my mind requires before it can accept a theory as fact. Some things are provable, some things disprovable, some things are doubtful. All the problems which perplex us, now, will, soon or late, be solved, and solved beyond a question through scientific investigation. The thing which most impresses me about theology is that it does not seem to be investigating. It seems to be asserting, merely, without actual study....Moral teaching is the thing we need most in this world, and many of these men could be great moral teachers if they would but give their whole time to it, and to scientific search for the rock-bottom truth, instead of wasting it upon expounding theories of theology which are not in the first place firmly based. What we need is search for fundamentals, not reiteration of traditions born in days when men knew even less than we do now.[Columbian Magazine interview]
PRAISE FOR 'THE JOURNEY HOME'Many saints are known and praised by all. We pray to them in litanies and celebrate their feast days. But the vast majority of holy men and women live heroic lives quietly before God. Loyal to family, lovers of God, servants in the Church, these unsung saints live everyday life as an example for us. David Hanneman is one such man. His story is exemplary and should be told to the world. He not only lived a noble life, but also suffered with heroism and grace as he passed into glory. This is a story to encourage and bless us all. We are thankful to Joseph Hanneman for sharing his father and making his story known to us who need such examples to encourage us as we face the difficulties and challenges of life.
I pray that the world never runs out of dragons. I say that in all sincerity, though I have played a part in the death of one great wyrm. For the dragon is the quintessential enemy, the greatest foe, the unconquerable epitome of devastation. The dragon, above all other creatures, even the demons and the devils, evokes images of dark grandeur, of the greatest beast curled asleep on the greatest treasure hoard. They are the ultimate test of the hero and the ultimate fright of the child. They are older than the elves and more akin to the earth than the dwarves. The great dragons are the preternatural beast, the basic element of the beast, that darkest part of our imagination.The wizards cannot tell you of their origin, though they believe that a great wizard, a god of wizards, must have played some role in the first spawning of the beast. The elves, with their long fables explaining the creation of every aspect of the world, have many ancient tales concerning the origin of the dragons, but they admit, privately, that they really have no idea of how the dragons came to be.My own belief is more simple, and yet, more complicated by far. I believe that dragons appeared in the world immediately after the spawning of the first reasoning race. I do not credit any god of wizards with their creation, but rather, the most basic imagination wrought of unseen fears, of those first reasoning mortals.We make the dragons as we make the gods, because we need them, because, somewhere deep in our hearts, we recognize that a world without them is a world not worth living in.There are so many people in the land who want an answer, a definitive answer, for everything in life, and even for everything after life. They study and they test, and because those few find the answers for some simple questions, they assume that there are answers to be had for every question. What was the world like before there were people? Was there nothing but darkness before the sun and the stars? Was there anything at all? What were we, each of us, before we were born? And what, most importantly of all, shall we be after we die?Out of compassion, I hope that those questioners never find that which they seek.One self-proclaimed prophet came through Ten-Towns denying the possibility of an afterlife, claiming that those people who had died and were raised by priests, had, in fact, never died, and that their claims of experiences beyond the grave were an elaborate trick played on them by their own hearts, a ruse to ease the path to nothingness. For that is all there was, he said, an emptiness, a nothingness.Never in my life have I ever heard one begging so desperately for someone to prove him wrong.This is kind of what I believe right now… although, I do not want to be proved wrong…For what are we left with if there remains no mystery? What hope might we find if we know all of the answers?What is it within us, then, that so desperately wants to deny magic and to unravel mystery? Fear, I presume, based on the many uncertainties of life and the greatest uncertainty of death. Put those fears aside, I say, and live free of them, for if we just step back and watch the truth of the world, we will find that there is indeed magic all about us, unexplainable by numbers and formulas. What is the passion evoked by the stirring speech of the commander before the desperate battle, if not magic? What is the peace that an infant might know in its mother’s arms, if not magic? What is love, if not magic?No, I would not want to live in a world without dragons, as I would not want to live in a world without magic, for that is a world without mystery, and that is a world without faith.And that, I fear, for any reasoning, conscious being, would be the cruelest trick of all.-Drizzt Do’Urden
Fifteen years ago, a business manager from the United States came to Plum Village to visit me. His conscience was troubled because he was the head of a firm that designed atomic bombs. I listened as he expressed his concerns. I knew if I advised him to quit his job, another person would only replace him. If he were to quit, he might help himself, but he would not help his company, society, or country. I urged him to remain the director of his firm, to bring mindfulness into his daily work, and to use his position to communicate his concerns and doubts about the production of atomic bombs.In the Sutra on Happiness, the Buddha says it is great fortune to have an occupation that allows us to be happy, to help others, and to generate compassion and understanding in this world. Those in the helping professions have occupations that give them this wonderful opportunity. Yet many social workers, physicians, and therapists work in a way that does not cultivate their compassion, instead doing their job only to earn money. If the bomb designer practises and does his work with mindfulness, his job can still nourish his compassion and in some way allow him to help others. He can still influence his government and fellow citizens by bringing greater awareness to the situation. He can give the whole nation an opportunity to question the necessity of bomb production.Many people who are wealthy, powerful, and important in business, politics, and entertainment are not happy. They are seeking empty things - wealth, fame, power, sex - and in the process they are destroying themselves and those around them. In Plum Village, we have organised retreats for businesspeople. We see that they have many problems and suffer just as others do, sometimes even more. We see that their wealth allows them to live in comfortable conditions, yet they still suffer a great deal.Some businesspeople, even those who have persuaded themselves that their work is very important, feel empty in their occupation. They provide employment to many people in their factories, newspapers, insurance firms, and supermarket chains, yet their financial success is an empty happiness because it is not motivated by understanding or compassion. Caught up in their small world of profit and loss, they are unaware of the suffering and poverty in the world. When we are not int ouch with this larger reality, we will lack the compassion we need to nourish and guide us to happiness.Once you begin to realise your interconnectedness with others, your interbeing, you begin to see how your actions affect you and all other life. You begin to question your way of living, to look with new eyes at the quality of your relationships and the way you work. You begin to see, 'I have to earn a living, yes, but I want to earn a living mindfully. I want to try to select a vocation not harmful to others and to the natural world, one that does not misuse resources.'Entire companies can also adopt this way of thinking. Companies have the right to pursue economic growth, but not at the expense of other life. They should respect the life and integrity of people, animals, plants and minerals. Do not invest your time or money in companies that deprive others of their lives, that operate in a way that exploits people or animals, and destroys nature.Businesspeople who visit Plum Village often find that getting in touch with the suffering of others and cultivating understanding brings them happiness. They practise like Anathapindika, a successful businessman who lived at the time of the Buddha, who with the practise of mindfulness throughout his life did everything he could to help the poor and sick people in his homeland.
I wanted to ask my father about his regrets. I wanted to ask him what was the worst thing he'd ever done. His greatest sin. I wanted to ask him if there was any reason why the Catholic Church would consider him for sainthood. I wanted to open up his dictionary and find the definitions for faith, hope, goodness, sadness, tomato, son, mother, husband, virginity, Jesus, wood, sacrifice, pain, foot, wife, thumb, hand, bread, and sex. "Do you believe in God?" I asked my father."God has lots of potential," he said."When you pray," I asked him. "What do you pray about?""That's none of your business," he said. We laughed. We waited for hours for somebody to help us. What is an Indian? I lifted my father and carried him across every border.
Your child's needs are far more profound than his aberrant behavior. Remember, his behavior does not just spring forth uncaused. His behavior - the things he says and does - reflects his heart. If you are to really help him, you must be concerned with the attitudes of heart that drive his behavior.A change in behavior that does not stem from a change in heart is not commendable; it is condemnable. Is it not the hypocrisy that Jesus condemned in the Pharisees? In Matthew 15, Jesus denounces the Pharisees who have honored him with their lips while their hearts were far from him. Jesus censures them as people who wash the outside of the cup while the inside is still unclean. Yet this is what we often do in childrearing. We demand changed behavior and never address the heart that drives the behavior.What must you do in correction and discipline? You must require proper behavior. God's law demands that. You cannot, however, be satisfied to leave the matter there. You must help your child ask the questions that will expose that attitude of the heart that has resulted in wrong behavior. How did his heart stray to produce this behavior? In what characteristic ways has his inability or refusal to know, trust, and obey God resulted in actions and speech that are wrong?
God calls his creatures to live under authority. He is our authority and has vested authority in people within the institutions he has established (home, church, state, and business). You must not be embarrassed to be authorities for your children.You exercise authority as God's agent. You may not direct your children for your own agenda or convenience. You must direct your children on God's behalf for their good.Our culture tends toward the extreme poles on a continuum. In the area of authority, we tend either toward a crass kind of John Wayne authoritarianism or toward being a wimp. God calls you by His Word and his example to be authorities who are truly kind. God calls you to exercise authority, not in making your children do what you want, but in being true servants - authorities who lay down your lives. The purpose for your authority in the lives of your children is not to hold them under your power, but to empower them to be self-controlled people living freely under the authority if God. Jesus is an example of this. The One who commands you, the One who possesses all authority, came as a servant. He is a ruler who serves; he is also a servant who rules. He exercises sovereign authority that is kind - authority exercised on behalf of his subjects. In John 13, Jesus, who knew that the Father had put all things under his authority, put on a towel and washed the disciples' feet. As his people submit to his authority, they are empowered to live freely in the freedom of the gospel.As a parent, you must exercise authority. You must require obedience of your children because they are called by God to obey and honor you. You must exercise authority, not as a cruel taskmaster, but as one who truly loves them.
The human world was very young and the disobedient children of God had just fallen, creating the underworld. Your God because of their desire to be like God forsook them. They craved and desired, the one thing that they should have never wanted, and that was to be as great as their creator. During this time of peace, the supernaturals traveled freely between the realms. We all knew of the fallen, the angels that had become demons, and knew that they were never to be released from the hell in which they had been cast. Their evil was beyond anything that was ever known. The leader of them, Lucifer, had declared war on the human children of God and desired more than anything to take their souls, to drag them to the hell he and his were stuck in for all eternity. All of the supernatural races were warned by an angel of God to never allow the demons from the underworld to escape their own realm. The veil was sealed by the angel and hidden from all.Unfortunately, evil always seems to find more evil. All evil things are drawn to each other, seeking out those who would help them in their cause. Though the veil to the underworld was hidden, the evil beyond it was great and as more and more lost souls were cast there after their deaths, and so the evil grew. It began to permeate the air around the veil such that other beings could detect it. There was no one who knew how to open it, but that didn’t stop them from trying.As the sons of men began to allow evil into their hearts, and as they began to stray farther from their God, they began seeking out other ways to fill the void inside them. They began to worship other beings, or objects. They sought out meanings for their lives in ways that caused darkness to creep into their hearts. God desired men to have free will and he would not force their loyalty to him. Sin was corrupting the world and Lucifer was allowed some control in the human realm. That sin gave Lucifer just the opening he needed to whisper lies into the ears of those who would listen. He pointed them in the direction divinity and sorcery where they learned how to contact the dead. They thought they were contacting loved ones who had passed on, but in reality they were drawing the demon spirits to them and giving them power, so much power that the demons began to be able to manipulate the actions of men and women still living.
Every morning brings us news of the globe, and yet we are poor in noteworthy stories. This is because no event comes to us without being already shot through with explanation. In other words, by now almost nothing that happens benefits storytelling; almost everything benefits information. Actually, it is half the art of storytelling to keep a story free from explanation as one reproduces it. . . . The most extraordinary things, marvelous things, are related with the greatest accuracy, but the psychological connection of the event is not forced on the reader. It is left up to him to interpret things the way he understands them, and thus the narrative achieves an amplitude that information lacks.
When Jesus was wrapping up his days on earth, he didn't tell us to go to church. He didn't tell us to engage in a spiritualized version of channel surfing, as we hop from place to place in search of just the right programming to entertain us. He told us to get out and actually do the stuff he'd already been doing, painting the hope of God's reign on the canvas of God's world. He told us we're artists.
A friend of mine commented yesterday that she has experienced similar insights that I talked about that all enlightened Masters and founders of religion are actually talking about the same ocean, the same invisible life source, the same God. She also said that she worked in a Christan environment at the time that she received these insights, and when she tried to share these insights with the Christians she was accused of being "impure" and of being associated with the "Devil". Christians hold on to the idea that Jesus was the only son of God, without realizing that we are all son's and daughter's of God. By holding on to the idea that Jesus is the only son of God, they do not either to realize that all enlightened Masters are talking about the same God. Jesus did not talk about faith, he talked about trust. He talked about discovering a trust in yourself and in relationship to God. Jesus said that the kingdom of God is within you. In Christianity, the church has become the intermediate between man and God, and people who claim that they have found a direct relationship to God are accused of blasphemy. The Christan church has become a barrier between man and God, and anyone who has declared that he has found a direct relationship to God are immediately banned by the church, for example Master Eckhart and Franciskus of Assisi. I have always had a deep love for Jesus, but it is not the picture of Jesus that the Christian church presents. I was a disciple of Jesus in a former life, and was thrown to the lions in Colosseum in Rome as one of the early Christians. Jesus had many more disciples than the twelve disciples mentioned in The Bible. In this life, I resigned my automatic membership in the church as soon as I could think for myself when I was 15 years old. I was also disgusted with an organization that said that they preached love and which has murdered more people than Hitler. My experience with these rare and precious insights are that they expand our consciousness of reality. They are gradual initiations into reality. They may fade away, but we will never be the same again after receiving them. They will also come more and more, the more committment we have to our spiritual growth.
I cannot understand why we idle discussing religion. If we are honest—and scientists have to be—we must admit that religion is a jumble of false assertions, with no basis in reality. The very idea of God is a product of the human imagination. It is quite understandable why primitive people, who were so much more exposed to the overpowering forces of nature than we are today, should have personified these forces in fear and trembling. But nowadays, when we understand so many natural processes, we have no need for such solutions. I can't for the life of me see how the postulate of an Almighty God helps us in any way. What I do see is that this assumption leads to such unproductive questions as why God allows so much misery and injustice, the exploitation of the poor by the rich and all the other horrors He might have prevented. If religion is still being taught, it is by no means because its ideas still convince us, but simply because some of us want to keep the lower classes quiet. Quiet people are much easier to govern than clamorous and dissatisfied ones. They are also much easier to exploit. Religion is a kind of opium that allows a nation to lull itself into wishful dreams and so forget the injustices that are being perpetrated against the people. Hence the close alliance between those two great political forces, the State and the Church. Both need the illusion that a kindly God rewards—in heaven if not on earth—all those who have not risen up against injustice, who have done their duty quietly and uncomplainingly. That is precisely why the honest assertion that God is a mere product of the human imagination is branded as the worst of all mortal sins.