Saturday, August 19, 2017

THE COLD, SAD EMPTINESS OF EVIL

   At first, as I watched the horrific ugliness in Charlottesville, VA, I felt angry.  "These stupid thugs!"  I exclaimed.  "Don't they have anything better to do than join idiotic causes and mindlessly chant expressions of hatred and untold suffering?"

   Then I learned that many of them have good jobs and are thereby contributing to society.  And I felt sad.  My God!  How can these beautiful young men, with so many gifts and so much promise in them, turn so ugly?  What has gone so wrong in their young lives?

   Finally, I realized that these young men are part of a society and culture that lives in the back woods of the American psyche.  I paused and looked into those woods.  And I felt fear.  Fear for these young men.  Fear for their victims.  Fear for our country.

   Deep in that human darkness;, the "Superior Christian White Man" still reigns supreme, as he did when he owned slaves on his plantation.  Uneasy, he has to find ways to confirm his White supremacy.  To begin with, he refuses to concede defeat in the Civil War, and is waiting for the South to rise again.  He certainly does not consider Blacks to be his equal in any way.  Very importantly, in the 1930's he found a modern "savior" for the White race in Adolph Hitler's notion of the White Superman with a demonic hatred for Jews and other "inferior" people.

   As an offspring of the back woods of the American psyche, the "Superior Christian White Man" is an angry, hateful child in an adult's body.  So, for example, he is big enough to  wield a heavy club or drive a car into a crowd.  Yet, he is small.  He stands for nothing real or positive.  He confounds reason and lives in dark human, spiritual emptiness.   He must be told by spiritual adults, "When you act hatefully, there is no humanity in you."

   Often encouraged and "inspired" by badly educated, disoriented preachers, he shows his allegiance to his Christian God by chanting hatred toward people of color, Jews, and all who are different from him.  He and his misguiding pastors must be told by spiritually adult Christians, "There is no Christ in your Christianity!"

   The "Superior Christian White Man" is a living example of someone who has fallen into evil.  Evil is not the opposite of good; it is the absence of good that should be presence in any given society, culture or situation.  In the back woods of the American psyche, human development has been arrested.  Educational and social evolution is stymied. Where such human emptiness abounds, prejudice and hatred fill the vacuum.

   I wonder:  do these beautiful young men know that 600,000 lives were lost in the Civil War so that America would not be an inhuman country that enslaved our fellow humans?  Do they know that almost 400,000 Americans died defeating Nazism, whose hateful slogan they chant over and over again?  Do they know what the Holocaust really did to millions of fellow human beings?  Do they know the horribly violent history of the KKK?  And if they know, do they care? And if they know and don't care, then what happened to them when they were younger?  Certainly, they were deprived of the normal, loving human education and upbringing that they deserved.

   These beautiful young people, with galaxies of possibilities for good living withing them, must somehow be stopped in their tracks, taken up and lovingly re-formed into the human persons God intends them to be.  We owe this both to them and to ourselves and our country.

   The back woods of the American psyche does not exist only in the southern United States.  It exists throughout our country, among men and women, and tragically, in our President, who is a hopelessly empty man.  He understands nothing and cares about  no one and nothing but himself.  And he surrounds himself with a whirlwind of aggressive confusion to ensure that he remains empty of understanding and of caring for others.  

   We live in an especially dangerous and fearful time.  America is under attack from without and particularly from within.  Some politicians are putting their self-interests aside and are beginning to openly question the President's ability to govern.  We must encourage more of them to do so.  And we must speak up every time we get the opportunity, and demand a better educated, more just, more united, peaceful and loving country.      

     









        

Sunday, August 6, 2017

POPE FRANCIS'S REVOLUTION

   Against strong opposition, Pope Francis is working to change the church.  In the past half century, Vatican II's aggiornamento, "coming up to date," was stymied by Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI. During their papacy, the church fell further behind the times.  

   So Francis inherited a church that is still operating according to rules and laws that reflect the structure of the Roman Empire with its Emperor and Senators, instead of the 21st century people of the eternally living Jesus Christ--people who can discern God's presence and intentions for today's world and put God's intentions to work in and for our society and culture.

   Instead of moving forward since 1965, the church has deteriorated and has fallen further behind the times.  Most American bishops have worked to keep the Imperial structure of the church intact, along with their imperial authority.  With a few beautiful exceptions, like the pastoral leadership of Cardinal Cupich of Chicago, for the Catholic people in general, theology and spirituality are at a deadening standstill. Our everyday society and culture have fallen to new social and political depths.  In response, literally millions of "up to date" American Catholics have simply walked away from the church.

   One bright spot in this dismal history is the influx of Hispanics into the church, with their beautiful traditional devotions and spirit of life.  But as our Hispanic brothers and sisters become more "Americanized" and take on the values of today's society and culture, their traditions will fade as did those of other ethnic group.

   In a frightening development, many Catholics who identify themselves as "Conservatives," have tied themselves to other Conservative Christians who are literal fundamentalists, e.g., who believe in the six days of creation and deny evolution, and believe in Noah and the flood, etc.  Such literalism sucks the life and Spirit out of our Catholic faith and makes religion look foolish to today's truly educated people.

   Also, many Catholics have identified themselves with today's deeply polarized politics, most especially on the side of the Republican party.  They have actually identified themselves in terms of one political party, i.e., "We are Conservative Catholic Republicans." 

   They say this in a way that makes being conservative and Republican the same as being a Catholic.  And some even go so far as to consider America to be a theocracy, which they mistake for Jesus' idea of the Kingdom of God on Earth.  While we certainly should be involved in our politics for the sake of building up the Kingdom of God on earth, we should never identify any political party or any institution of our society with the Kingdom of God on Earth.  

   Of course, Jesus was human and was involved in the politics of his day.  With his Christ consciousness, he despised the brutal Roman occupation of Israel, and often sharply criticizing the political leaders of his Jewish society.  Using our own Christ consciousness we can and should work to give politics, (as well as business, education, health care, labor, etc.,) the ever growing fullness of meaning that they could not possibly have on their own.  

    Christ offers the world a graced, luminous humanity which both shows us the imperfection of our society's institutions and gives us the spiritual strength to get involved in our institutions, including the church, and help move them ever more forward toward their intended fullness of life.  The universal, global Christ alone is the Savior of the world.  And the universal, global Christ is the heart of Francis's revolution.

   As I said, Francis is facing strong opposition, from the Catholics who are identifying with a certain brand of politics, to bishops who continue to live and act in a monarchical church whose  structure is collapsing all around them, to the negative influence of ex-Pope Benedict XVI's presence in the Vatican.

   For our part we can follow Francis's lead and continue to develop and deepen our own universal, global, all-embracing and loving Christ consciousness of one luminously alive humanity of fully respected and loved brothers and sisters.  And we can work to bring our politics and all the institutions of our society to ever greater life, and do all that we can to help make our blessed Christ vision became an ever greater, ever more living reality in the world.






                    
















  

Friday, July 7, 2017

DEEP CONSCIOUSNESS

   Until the early 20th century, almost all scientists saw the universe as a giant machine, evolving mindlessly through history.  They saw themselves (and all others) as standing outside the machine observing its movements and laws.  Galaxies, planets, mountains, plants, animals, and people operated according to laws that could be understood and expressed in terms of mathematics.

   Today, we see that their consciousness was shallow.  While their discoveries provided all kinds of technological wonders to the world, their shallow consciousness also helped turn the world's view away from what is not material, i.e., spiritual.  In Europe and North America, science began to openly replace religion in our ongoing search for who we are and what we mean.

   Thankfully, today's scientists are discovering not just the universe itself but the conscious, thinking people who are observing the universe and living in it.  This is leading them to study the spiritual dimension of the universe, in terms of consciousness.  And they are going deep:  they are paying attention not only to the consciousness of animals and humans but to the consciousness of the universe itself.   

   In the last century, Einstein said there is a super-human intelligence that is directing the universe and its evolution--a universal, cosmic intelligence, or conscious "mind" that is beyond all material consideration.  All good scientists, he said, should be moved to awe and wonder at contemplating this intelligent consciousness.  This is not God, he pointed out.  It is the intelligent consciousness of the universe itself.  The universe itself is conscious and intelligent!

   The great scientist opened the most promising way to the reconciliation of science and faith since the two had separated in the late 1600's, with the Enlightenment and the birth of modern science.  At the time, science went its own way, and religion went its own way.  Today, universal consciousness forms a link between religion, most especially Spirituality, and science, that is pregnant with galaxies of possibilities for the evolution of humanity.  It is a vital way toward developing a 21st century spirituality that is not "religious."

    To begin with, consciousness is a sign of life.  By its very nature, it is living consciousness.  There can be no such thing as dead consciousness.  Living consciousness, therefore, helps us understand where life came from.  Like consciousness itself, life was there at the very beginning of the universe, preparing to express itself.  
  
   Living consciousness is the basic energy of the universe.  It has guided evolution, calling it forward, from the very beginning of the universe.  So it seems reasonable to say that it had to be present even before evolution started.  It was present in the energy "dot" that first appeared 13.8 billion years ago.  Being immaterial, the "dot" had no space/time dimensions itself but expanded in a "Big Bang" into the form of space and time.

   Every galaxy, every star and planet, every mountain, ocean, plant, flower and human person and community, is a space/time expression of not-space/time, living conscious energy.  This is the awe and wonder of the deep consciousness that today's science is presenting to us, and that spiritual theologians are greeting with great joy and anticipation. Science and faith can now be reconciled at the point of deep, living consciousness.

   In the early 20th century, many scientists proudly proclaimed that there soon would be nothing new to learn about the universe.  Today's scientists humbly say that a full scientific understanding of the universe and of universal life and consciousness is out of their reach.  As one scientist said, "If you think you understand quantum physics, you don't understand it."  And now they are contemplating the possibility of an infinite number of universes!  The universe is truly ultimately beyond all human understanding. 

   Theologians say that the universe is Mystery, (capital "M").  Mystery is not ignorance, such as in a murder mystery.  It is reality that is so great that the more we understand of it, the more there will always be to understand, forever.  Both science and faith work with their own expression of Mystery/mystery.  What scientists say about the never ending understanding of the universe, theologians say about our never ending understanding of God.  What science sees as the energy that makes up and powers the universe, faith sees as Living Grace, the impact of God's presence in the universe, which makes the universe the living, Christ Reality.  (See, "A New Creation Story" in this Blog.)

   Today's all important reconciliation of faith and science requires a 21st century understanding of God.  God is no longer the fearful Old Testament judge who sends floods to punish us because of our sins.  Nor is God a deranged Father who sends his Son to be murdered.  Nor the medieval old man with the beard flying through the sky.  Nor the father who comes home from work and fixes things that the children broke.  Or should fix things but doesn't fix them.  "How can an almighty God permit war?  How can a loving God permit children to suffer?"  Questions like this show a spiritually immature understanding of God that a 21st Century Christian can no longer believe in.  Today's Jewish Biblical scholars will agree. 

   A 21st century understanding of God, taken from science, sees God in terms of living consciousness.  Spiritually, this same understanding came from an insight that is 3000 years old, when Moses learned the fantastic Truth given to him at the burning bush.  (Exod. 3:14).  "I am not some person who lives up in heaven.  I am all present.  I don't just exist; I am EXISTENCE ITSELF, REALITY ITSELF.  I am not just alive, I am LIFE ITSELF.  I am not just conscious, I am CONSCIOUSNESS ITSELF.  I don't just love, I am LOVE ITSELF." 

   "You exist because I am EXISTENCE. You are real because I am REALITY.  You are alive because I am LIFE.  You are conscious because I am CONSCIOUSNESS.  You love because I am LOVE.  When you search into yourself, into science, the arts, politics, business, education, health care, etc., etc., you are searching ultimately for Me.  I am there, waiting for you and helping you find yourself, and Me in yourself."

   This is the deep consciousness of our faith today, which science has helped us to reach.  Actually, science alone cannot account for the Mystery of existence and love in the universe.  The arts come closer.  Love comes even closer.  "The heart has reason that reason cannot know."  (Blaise Pascal)

    In today's angry, even hateful, polarized, shallow and noisy culture, deep consciousness is being sought for by an increasing number of people, especially the young.  But it can seem impossible to attain.  Today's science, politics, business, education and religion can be impediments to our search.  We must understand that deep consciousness is already present within us.  It must be attained because it holds the answers to the injustices and suffering we are inflicting upon ourselves.  We can attain it, for example, by taking some time daily to think about it and meditate on it.  (See, "Prayer, Meditation and Contemplation,: in this Blog.)  And we can attain it by acting here and now, in our own way, to help bring justice, peace and love, especially to the poor, sick, vulnerable and outcast, as Jesus did on a daily basis.

   As we achieve deep consciousness we find the "still point of the turning world," (T. S. Eliot) i.e., the center of the world and ourselves, where God touches us silently and deeply.  From here we move outward in love with every greater love, truth and simplicity.  We love without conditions or ambiguity.  A dear friend of mine has a bumper sticker on his car that says, "Live simply so that others may simply live."  Simplicity is clear, clean truth and love.  It is a wonderful fruit of deep consciousness.     
      

  

       

    














 





   



























Wednesday, May 10, 2017

THE VIEW FROM YOUR WINDOW

   A vision is our world-view, the view we get from our window and from our imagination and mind. 

 Our new spiritual vision calls for us to see deeply, mystically.  To see mystically is to  see with the eyes of faith.  Each of us is an everyday mystic.

   Here's one way to see mystically.  Look at yourself and your surroundings.  See your computer or I-Pad, your desk, the room you're in.  Then look at the scene from your window.  See your immediate surroundings.  Now imagine a panoramic view of people, cities, fields, mountains, trees, plants and flowers, animals, rivers, bridges, oceans and sky.  Imagine the entire swirling universe.

   Keep looking at them and see a light begin to glow within them.  See the light brighten, grow strong and vibrant.  See the light glowing in everyone and everything, making them look sharper, clearer, more true and vibrant.  Understand that you are seeing the whole world aglow with the inner presence of LOVE, which, as I noted above, makes the whole world/universe the global/universal Christ, i.e., the entire divine-love filled world/universe.  This understanding adds contemporary meaning to one of St. Paul's favorite expressions, i.e., that we live in Christ.

   Now look within yourself and see the education, talents, interests and opportunities--big or small--that you have and that you can use to help others brighten the light within themselves, ourselves and others, and where necessary, correct ourselves, themselves and others in the humble love of Christ's grace, so that all can move forward toward our divinely intended fulfillment of wholeness in love.  

   Very importantly, we must not only see and understand what we are doing, we must deeply and genuinely care about what we are doing.  And we must show that we deeply and genuinely care.  People will respond more easily and deeply to our caring than to our ideas and understanding.

   Is all this too far fetched?  Too utopian?  With the way things are these days, we can easily believe that the odds against our making any progress are just too great.

   In response, may I make bold to speak for Jesus.  "I lived in a country that was occupied by the brutally cruel Romans.  Among my own people, the rich oppressed the poor.  I healed the sick, blessed the poor and preached love for everyone.  My own political/religious leaders were jealous of their power and fought me at every opportunity.  In the end I was arrested and illegally tried and executed.  

   Despite all that, I give you the vision and reality of ever-flowing resurrection.  The presence and energy of my Spirit in you empowers you to do the things I did and even greater things than I did.  (Cf. Jn. l4:12). I have given you eyes to see the suffering of this world.  I have given you a heart to feel and ears to hear the cries of people who need you. I have given you the Spirit to know how to work against the odds to move the world forward toward its fulfillment of wholeness in love.  I have given you a heart to care. 

   See that my Kingdom of Love is within you and within all whom you will touch.  Go forward and help to build it. Work hard and be patient.  I am always with you."

   Was Jesus naive?  Utopian?

  Now look out your window again.  Look at your room.  Look at yourself.  Is the global Christ naive?  Utopian?....    






   
        

   















             

Thursday, April 13, 2017

A NEW SPIRITUAL VISION (Part 2 of 2)

  I wrote Part 1 first and it has now moved below this part.  And I don't know how or if I can flip it up before this entry.  So please check Blog Archive on the right side of this page for 
 A New Spiritual Vision, Part 1

   Our new vision depends on the facts and the truth.  For example, in politics, the fact is that House Speaker Paul Ryan said his version of the Health Care bill would guarantee that everyone had access to health care.  But the truth is that his version of "access" means that not every American would actually have health care.  So he was playing with words.  Further, the truth is that the government has an obligation to ensure that everyone has health care.  This is not "socialism."  The government's obligation to provide healthcare for all is one of "justice for all."

   Someone may ask, "How are you so sure what the truth is?"  I respond that in this case I know the truth in two ways.  One:  I know the English language and I know when it is being manipulated to tell a lie.  Two:  Being endowed with the grace of Christ I can discern the obligations of social justice that pertain to all humans.  Now I invite you to join me in seeking and seeing the truth together.

   In my previous Post I spoke of the tension between an arguing husband and wife that put them in a dualistic world.  Each one was opposed to the other.  The therapist supplied a third, higher element, their mutual love, making their dualistic situation a trinity.  As a result, the therapist 1) created a way for the coupl
                     2) to heal and save their marriage, and
                     3) to move forward and evolve in their lives.  
   Here we have the three elements of our vision:  Creativity, Healing/Saving, and Transforming/Evolving Life.  These elements are those of God, who is ONE Creative, Healing/Saving and World Transforming/Evolving, Living LOVE.  

   In theology, we can say that God is Infinite/Eternal, Creative LOVE (Father), flowing into and begetting World Healing/Saving Love (Son), giving rise to World Transforming/Evolving Love (Holy Spirit). 

   Also, divine LOVE is never static.  Divine LOVE is a flowing, in fact overflowing LOVE, always creating, always healing/saving, and always urging the world forward in its evolution.  We experience God dynamically when we experience LOVE calling us forward from the future, to our best possible fulfillment. 

   Our first and best guide to living the vision is Jesus, the individual human being who was the universal Christ, i.e., the whole universe saturated with God's overflowing love. (Cf. A New Creation Story) Like Jesus, the vision starts here and now in the flesh, on the ground.  Like Christ, it expands to embrace the entire world, the earth, the universe and infinity/eternity.  It is the one vision that is fully worthy of our complete human reality and dignity as beloved and sacred images of God.

   (The Church sees salvation outside of Jesus.  Jews, Muslims, Hindus, et al., and even people who don't know Jesus but live in consistent good will and love, will be saved.  That's because salvation comes in Christ, i. e., in living a life consistent with the LOVE saturated world.  Since Jesus was the Christ, in him we see the fullness of our way to salvation.  In our way of seeing, though not everyone agrees, everyone who lives in Christ therefore automatically lives in Jesus, even though they don't know it.)

   Starting on the ground, we begin with ourselves by looking more clearly at our own talents, abilities and opportunities, all of which show us our vocation in and for today's culture and society.

    For example, people competent in education can work to create a school program (public and Catholic) that will truly create in the children an ever more intense desire for learning.  As someone whose name I cant remember said, education is not filling buckets, it's setting fires.  The program will heal the children's ignorance with humanizing, edifying knowledge.  And it will move the children's lives forward in their ongoing human evolution of understanding how to make a living and how to make a life.  Such an educational program will include appreciating the talents, possibilities, respect, dignity and transcendent purpose that each child possesses as a beloved and sacred individual member of the human community.

   Those competent in business and economics can work with businesses to create stronger motivations to produce the best possible goods and services at fair prices.  They will work to heal any of the business's shortcomings, e.g., in providing clean and safe working conditions, fair living income for its workers, and respect for the environment, and they will help move the business forward in justice by helping the business give retraining opportunities to employees who are fired because the business sends their jobs to another area of the country or overseas, in order to maximize profits.  Thus they will also help move the business forward as a respected, contributing member of the community, nation and world.

   In sum, when we come face to face with the degradation of our humanity and the earth, we will speak up and act to correct it and to elevate our humanity, making our humanity more luminous in the Creative, Healing/Saving and World Transforming/Evolving love of Christ. 

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Wednesday, April 5, 2017

A NEW SPIRITUAL VISION (Part 1 of 2)

   In the 20th century we had to arise from the devastation of the Great Depression and World War II.  Vatican II was the church's effort to attain such a new rising.  So far, it hasn't succeeded, although Pope Francis is working hard to bring it new life.  In his own way, he is working to create a new vision for our time.
 
   In the spirit of Pope Francis, I propose a new vision for our consideration

  Let's begin with an example.  A young therapist was stuck between a quarreling husband and wife.  When he sided with the husband, the wife got angry.  When he sided with the wife, the husband got angry.  He couldn't find any room for compromise.  So he consulted his director. His director said, "Your job is not to take either side.  You have to go higher than just looking for a compromise on the level of their tension.  You have to help them rediscover the love they share.  If that love is still there it will give them higher common ground on which they can see the real facts and truth of their quarrels.  And they can work from there." 

   The tension between the husband and wife was obscuring the facts and truth behind their disagreements.  They needed to find "higher ground" on which they could come together and approach their disagreements from the same point of view. Their love for each other, if it still existed, was the key to solving their quarrels.  

   Here's another example.  In politics there is a natural tension between liberals and conservatives.  In bad times, such as today, the views of each side are so stubbornly and at times irrationally clung to that there is no possibility for any effective solution.  For the good of the nation, and the world, both sides must find "higher ground" on which to find the facts and the truth, so they can then create solutions based on the facts and the truth.  In this case, the higher ground is the fact and truth that they were elected to serve the people, and that they are all Americans.  They are to serve the people in a way that serves the common good of their constituents and of all Americans--and even to serve the common good of the whole world, e.g., in matters of climate change and peace.

   So the "blueprint" for the new spiritual vision requires finding the "higher ground", the true point where we come together to find the facts and the truth and use them to find solutions to our tensions and challenges.  At first glance, this may seem too simple and even naive an answer.  It is not.

   To begin with, today the sad fact and truth is that many of our political and religious leaders are of such poor quality that we cannot realistically look for much good to come to our communities, churches and nation in the short term.  So while we protest against our poor leadership and search for higher quality people to lead/serve us, we must work on creating the new vision ourselves.   

   The basic problem is that we naturally see a dualistic world, e.g., husband-wife, liberal-conservative, dark-light, big-little, American-foreigner, rich-poor, Black-White, yin-yang, etc., etc.  These dualities are natural to us.  They show us the wonderful diversity of reality.  But they often clash, as in the examples above.  Let's look at the dualities more closely.

   When we fall into quarrelsome tensions, we say we have to find a compromise.  Now, Einstein said that a problem cannot be solved on the same level which it was created.  So compromise has to be founded on willingness to find a higher level or value than the level of the individual views that are in contention.  Compromise founded on a lower level or value is bad and even dangerous, e.g., compromising one's values, or the safety of children in a school.

  The new vision will take us to the highest levels of our lives.  It will be 
    1) Creative:  it will discover and create new levels of connectedness and life between the dualities
    2) Healing:  It will heal the separation and hurt between the people caught in the duality.
    3) Evolutionary:  It will move the lives of the involved people forward toward greater human fulfillment. 

   To attain the new vision, we will move upward in steps.  First, the higher level is the fact that we are all human. Our basic identity is our shared, common humanity.  We are humans first, and individual persons second.  But in today's culture, our individuality comes first and our community as humans comes second--if we care to pay attention to it all all.  For example, how many young married couples speak of their their marriage, and focus on the bond they share, and how many speak of their relationship, and focus on their individuality and possible lack of full commitment to their marriage?

   How many corporations consider their employees as an integral part of the corporation?  When they send their employees' jobs overseas, how many help their fired employees train for new jobs?

   Even today's science tells us that there is first one universe, and then there are trillions of individual galaxies, solar systems, planets, etc.

   The law of Reality is Community First and then Individuality-Within-Community.  If we have only community, our individuality is suppressed.  If we have only individuality, our common bond is suppressed.  In either case, our humanity is suppressed.

   Our common humanity gives us our shared dignity, integrity, respect, and transcendent purpose.  It identifies us as rational, reasoning, feeling, loving, caring, homo sapiens.  And today we must also account for the very important fact that our humanity is not static but in motion.  We are ever-becoming-ever-evolving humans.  I don't exist; I am existing.  If we don't move forward in our humanity, we will move backward.  Compare today's progress in science with our political and religious backwardness.

   Our new spiritual vision embraces the whole person, at ever level of our personhood.  It is as earthy as Jesus.  It includes our body and emotions, our personality, our psychological and mental attributes, and our social and individual make-up.  Today it even includes the basic understanding of ourselves that is presented by quantum physics.  

   We can even say that the famous equation e=mc2 helps us understand who we are as humans.  We are each a focus of immaterial energy (e) that is showing up as an individual mental/physical/social person (mc2).  In sum, we are completely made of energy.  Wow!

   Spiritually speaking, energy, like all created reality, is an image of God.  God is not Someone who is here or there, but infinite/eternal Living Energy that is LOVE that permeates the whole universe.  Created energy permeates the whole universe.  The whole universe is made of energy.  So the universe, the world, and we are made of love-energy (e) that is showing up as love in the form of air, water, fish, birds, soil, flowers, mountains, and people, (mc2).  The new vision shows us that we humans are living love.  Our humanity is made of love.  We are love and we are beloved humans, living in a beloved world that is made of love, on beloved earth that is made of love.

   Finally, the new vision also shows us that we are sacred humans.  We are sanctified by LOVE's presence within us and within the earth and our societies and cultures.  Further, the presence of LOVE within the universe and ourselves makes the universe and us expressions of Christ.  The divinely saturated world is the Universe, Cosmic Christ Reality.

   With the shallowness of much of today's spiritual understanding, I have to emphasize that I did not just add "beloved and sacred expression of Christ" to our humanity and the world, as it was the icing on a cake that we can take off and still have the cake.  It is the cake itself.  To sound silly, we can't take the cake off the cake and still have the cake.  It is just as silly to say we can remove beloved and sacred expressions of Christ from the human and still have the human.  Also, we cannot remove beloved and sacred expressions of Christ from the world and still have the world.  Our vision shows that being human is the being beloved and sacred expression of Christ.  We are beloved, sacred human expressions of Christ living on earth, which itself is a beloved and sacred expressions of Christ.  And as humans, we are called and empowered to act accordingly.

  When we can tangled up in our dualities, we are called and empowered to raise ourselves to the level of being beloved, sacred expressions of Christ.

  In my next Post I will continue to build our new vision for living in today's world. 
                                   
   
      
















                   

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

ACKNOWLEDGING EVIL

   In a previous post I said I would write about creating a new vision and "changing the conversation,"with which we start to build a new society, which will move the Kingdom of God on Earth forward.  This is necessary because, even despite millions of citizens trying hard to live moral lives, our present public society can justly be said to be beyond repair.  We cannot correct it; we have build a new society along side it.  Hopefully, a renewed church will arise within this new society.

   In sum, we have to look within what's wrong with our society and discern and acknowledge the evil that is active within it.

    We naturally have trouble using the word, "evil."  With good reason we resist calling a person evil.  That judgment belongs to God alone.  Rather, when we see people engaging in violence, murder, racism, sexism, and hatred of all kinds, we prefer to say that they are wrong, or mentally ill, or criminal.  But as spiritually serious persons, we can and must go deeper and judge that such actions are evil. 
 
   How do we see and understand evil today?  To begin with, it is true that to err is human.  We are not perfect; we all make mistakes and do things we should not do.  Honest mistakes are not evil.  

   Here we have to clarify how some Christians understand evil.  They read the story of creation and understand it to mean that we were created as perfect humans and that we fell from perfection, and it was our own fault.  This is a misunderstanding.  The ancient Hebrews who created the story believed that everything that God did was perfect.  (They added the seven days of creation to the original story because in Hebrew, seven is the number of perfection.)  So to explain our human imperfection, they created a Fall from perfection.  That was the best they could do with the understanding of that time.  Christians later came to understand the Fall as Original Sin.

   Today we know that there was no Fall from original perfection.  We evolved from pre-human hominids.  We make mistakes because we are space/time creatures, and nothing in space/time in perfect.  The fact that we are imperfect is not our fault.  It is our human nature.

   As humans we can think, reason, understand, wonder and love.  These are the gifts--the graces--we use to overcome our imperfection and move forward and evolve in our humanity.  We will never be perfect here in space/time. 

   But there is a rub.  We also have the ability to say "No" to our humanity, to abuse our own nature and fool ourselves into believing that we are God.  We see this, for example, in authoritarian people who "know it all" and who dictate laws and rules to others and who will not tolerate any ambiguity or human fraility.  Such people are intolerable and can be dangerous.

   Our ability to say "No" to our human nature is actually our "Original Sin."  Believing we are God contradicts our own nature.  And that's were evil come in.  Evil is a self-contradiction.  It its a lie that pushes us into absurdity and unreality.  Ironically, when we raise ourselves to the level of God, we actually degrade ourselves and lower ourselves to a sub-human level.  

   Evil is deep within us and our society.  It cannot be discerned by shallow people or a shallow society.  It can be only be discerned by spiritual adults who can see the dark absence of grace that evil represents in people and society.  So while it is just and humble to say that people who inflict political, economic and religious corruption upon us are not evil, we have to be able to discern that evil is the root of the corruption that their actions inflict upon our humanity.         

   For example, spiritually mature people can discern evil at the root of a federal budget that takes food away from sick and elderly people, or takes health care away from people, without clear assurance that the states or the people themselves can make up for this loss.  They can discern evil at the root of actions taken by corporations who pollute the earth without any care for the earth or for people who suffer from the pollution.  Evil is at the root of the judgment leveled by religious leaders who condemn those who walk away from their church because their church is not spiritually nourishing them.  In today's spiritually shallow society, we are beyond the ability to correct these misdeeds on their own level.  We have to go deeper.  And this means we have to bypass today's society and build a new society.  
        
   Here's a good, practical example of how to handle and defeat evil.  Recently, a guest on Joy Reid's TV show said that President Trump's budget cuts are evil and could result in people's death.  Then a smug commentator trivialized the matter saying that we should "tone down the rhetoric."  In today's society, "rhetoric" means, "meaningless talk."  He then added that the Congress will deliberate on the budget.  He thereby presented two popular "defenses" for evil:  first he minimized the problem and then he tried to divert the conversation away from it.

   But Joy would have none of it.  She cut him off saying (I paraphrase), "Let's not go into politics.  We're talking about President Trump denying food and health care to needy people.  Stick to the facts!"  That was it.  Joy showed us how to face and defeat evil:  Recognize it and then without hesitation rebuke it and refuse to converse or negotiate with it.  Then get back to the facts at of the matter and search for the truth.

   Recognizing and rebuking evil clears our minds and spirits and makes room in our mind and spirit for us to create the vision of a new society of justice, peace and love, and a new conversation to go with the new vision and society. In my next Post, I will begin to create our new vision and the new conversation that will arise from it.

   God is calling us to recognize the signs of the times, both the good to be retained and the evil to be removed, so we can work to continue building the Kingdom of God on Earth that Jesus prayed for--which is why we're here on earth.