Probably without a doubt the most evil entities in the world. They rip you off two ways. 1. How little they pay you. 2. How much they charge for services. We are all at the mercy of corporations. So what would Jesus do?
The struggles of mankind consist of the great journey or “the great work.” While this journey may last for thousands of incarnations one should at least put forth the effort to achieve all God desires to display while living. The vast majority of people do not even know that they are on a journey. They are so caught up in the base world around them that to try to explain anything spiritual would not be productive. This is why Jesus said, “Though seeing they do not see; though hearing, they do not understand. (Matthew 13:13, NIV).
You however have been given the keys to the kingdom. “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you.” (Matthew 13:11, NIV). The tree of the Knowledge of good and evil was not something to be feared. Jesus gave of this fruit to his followers. This has been misunderstood for thousands of years. Not all can even eat of this fruit, “For many are invited, but few are chosen.” Matthew 22:14, NIV). As above so below, as within so without, let yourself go, rid your mind of doubt. All human thinking is doubtful. Empty your mind to know truth and the truth will set you free.
Place your faith in God, although this may not be the description of God preached about at the vast majority of congregations. Release your thoughts. Invite an empty, open mind to be filled with the knowledge of God. Like a sweet aroma, stillness, and peace. You will start feeling warm with renewed strength a meaning to life will become evident in your soul. You are not the same as you once were, you have been transformed through your faith. You have taken on the death of Christ in your loss of the profane adding eternal life through the resurrection of the knowledge of God.
You are now the great sojourner on the road of faith, while walking in darkness your spirit is light. The darkness is life within the body made flesh in which we walk. The earth is our theater it is our choice how the play unfolds. Rejoice with excitement. You have become one of the chosen. You can see, you can hear. Do not hesitate to slay the giants, to walk on water, and dare I say play a role in raising the dead. Just as you were raised many dead walk among the living without concern until confronted by the light. The dead cannot live, because they are dead. Not all will come to life. It is the greatest miracle to be performed to bring the light to the darkness to create what was not as though it was; to create something from nothing, to raise the dead to life.
Those who live listen to me now! You will face great trials. You will be put to the test in order for you to be refined as precious metals in the flame. The earth is the cauldron of God. You are a part of the great plan for those being saved. Count it joy when you are persecuted, laugh at those who call you defeated. Only strength comes from testing. Iron sharpens iron; you will eventually become the point of the spear. You are a priest of God to carry on the great work and the governing of the universe. Keep yourself bathed in prayer. Do good to all people. Live a life worthy of your calling through suffering brings victory and it shall be yours. Amen.
Most religious people who take their religion seriously are usually a bit crazy. As a Christian I point to my own faith which I do take seriously although in my opinion most Christians feed into the lies the church tells them. Although I will be merciful and give most Christians a pass. It takes a lot of work which involves serious study to understand that much of what the church tells us is only opinion.
These opinions were first argued during the early days of the church. They would debate a variety of subjects. Who was Jesus? What should be in the Bible? Heaven, hell and everything in between. Yes, literally even in our Protestants churches, like it or not have been heavily influenced by Roman Catholicism. Fear and control are the name of the game.
While Jesus tells us to live without fear, the church is not very receptive. Fear of hell is the major controlling doctrine. But, let’s not forget fear of the opposite sex (for reasons of purity), homosexuality, movies, books, music, anything that may be against the opinions of what the church is. Of course, I have my own opinions of a church and without sounding too much like a hypocrite. I will say that it is virtually impossible not to allow our opinions get in the way. We could agree however not to have opinions that cause fear and behavior modification.
So, what is the church then? The church is you and I; the people. The church is a gathering in the name of Jesus in order to explore how to be as Jesus was. To help each other and community as Jesus did. Not to dictate rules and regulations on how to please God. God does not need us to do things that “pleases” him. God is already pleased with us. If God was not pleased with us from the beginning, then Jesus coming to earth would have never been in the cards.
Church is a good idea, although I do not know if it has ever lived up what Jesus had in mind. A simple reading of the book of Acts and this becomes a realization. I think that we must keep in mind that we are human. We are filled with all kinds of weaknesses and those are reflected even in the church of an almighty God. We should not give up on the church. We can improve the church.
1. Remove opinions we call dogmas and doctrines and get back to the very basics of love.
That’s it, one step. Super easy right? Yea like to see church leaders try this one. I suppose that we can, and it can start with you and me.
In the beginning; you! “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1, NIV). “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1, NIV). Dare I say again, in the beginning; you. You have been with God and you are of God, you were amongst the creation of the heavens and the earth. This is a truly beautiful and powerful statement if you take into consideration what this means for your identity.
With so much going on in the world it is easy to get become mentally overwhelmed. It’s easy to lose sight of our spirituality. We see divided lines that separate us by religion and even within our own religions often even deeper trenches of division. We can easily forget who we are in the universe. This lack of identity is the cause of much of the negativity that is taking place in the world.
We do not have to try to understand God, we are God. It is our birthright. The angels have looked upon us with envy. We are given the keys to the kingdom, but often have forgotten how to use them. Taking hold of our birthright, waking up as Christ on earth is the ultimate in self-realization. This will also take an extraordinary amount of faith.
Faith is the power of the universe; it is the action that creates. Faith declares what exist before manifestation. “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see,” (Hebrews 11:1, NIV). “The God who gives life to death and calls into being things that was not.” (Romans 4:17, NIV). These are powerful verses of the creating power of God; your creating power. You are only limited by your doubt.
What is then the beginning if there is no end? There is then beginning and only landmarks that light the path of eternity. You are this, and this is you. We are often blinded by the constantly growing scales of doubt and deception. It is not easy being assigned to live within these bodies; we long for our redemption. Yet as a fresh seed planted must go through the stages until death in order to be rebirthed to greater life. Hold to the faith; create a life for the benefit of others, and accept no limitations.
Trying to fill the absent feeling? Most of us go through times in which we feel empty inside; that everything is meaningless. We think about the mistakes we made, we wish somehow to force ourselves into the prime example of what we feel is a pinnacle life. Why do we do this to ourselves? Can we use these feelings to create a catalyst for happier days?
We do this to ourselves because we lack acceptance. It honestly is that simple. If you can accept who you are, your situation, and understand that it is very improbable to instantly become the person in your dreams, you are then on the steps to mental health success. Acceptance does not have to mean settling. In fact acceptance is a starting point for growth. Acceptance allows your mind to grasp what is going on, right now. When we flood our brains with wants and desires before we can figure out ourselves we become depressed. We then become empty.
Acknowledging our positon in life as it currently is. Deciding that, I am ok with who I am today. This can bring about change. A free mind without “wants” is a mind not wanting. When you say you want something or wish you were someone else you then are nothing but wants and wishes and what are wants and wishes? They are always going to be unfulfilled. You have a good chance at achieving your dreams, becoming who you want to be; yet even if you are to make it to the land of milk and honey, without knowing yourself you will still be lost. The ancient sages proclaimed “know thyself.” The first step to knowing yourself is to realize that you know nothing. Admit this and you can receive anything.
Getting ahead in life involves hard work. Nothing is just given to you; although it may seem that way when scanning the spectrum of the haves verses the have nots. The ability to interpret opportunity is essential. Everyone experiences opportunity the difference is those who take advantage of the opportunity or not. I have known many people who are happy in their life situation and do not care about finding greater material success because they already have what they want. Being happy is not about material possessions or someone to share life with; being happy is being at peace with yourself. This could be living in a million-dollar mansion or working for just above minimum wage. This is where the axiom of “money does not buy happiness” comes from.
Who is Happier?
Who then is happier Is the secret found within? The differences in the definition of what is success, prosperity, and happiness in my opinion does have a singularity of sorts. This is the same for those who we consider wealthy and those who we consider poor. Then there are what others consider of us, and how we consider ourselves. When we have come to a place in our lives in which we understand ourselves we may say like Jesus, “I and the Father are one.” While it is beneficial to look for opportunity its interpretation is subjective. I personally have met people who seem to have the greatest freedoms living in homeless shelters. They have no bills, no job, they are unplugged from the matrix. They are not being held down by the “man” Babylon has no grip and their soul, freedom shines through their exterior.
Rich or poor each has taken or declined opportunity and those decisions have shaped their lives. Through a serious of initiations, each one of us has made choices which will affect our lives. Being honest, fearlessly walking through the rite of passage in order to grow. We must examine ourselves in the mirror, we will see things we do not like. People often stay blinded because they fear to look. If you do not know who you are, then you certainly cannot know what opportunities you should take.
Looking into the mirror.
Starring at ourselves in the mirror we see a duality. Separation of self which grinds like tectonics plates during an earthquake. We cannot interpret opportunity when we live a life divided and do not even know it. We must be the hero, we must not be afraid. Those who have everything material along with happiness have became the hero in their lives. Just as those who are living with next to nothing yet have internal peace are brave warriors not afraid to examine themselves and accept who they are.
This does not mean that the person with nothing must remain with nothing. This person has chosen this of their free will. Just as someone who is seeking wealth must accept that there is responsibility in having much. In my opinion it is more difficult to be wealthy and happy.
Whatever your position my hope is that you are always raising the bar, that you are always seeking opportunity. When you find the opportunity make decisions to achieve your goals. Opportunity will be found, it is what you do with it. Believe it, achieve it, and do not forget it!
Hostility towards an unbarred mind is a phenomenon among humans persisting since time immemorial. What exactly is hostility to the unbarred mind? Depending of our psych, social, bio, and spiritual makeup and design each person has formed a worldview. Based on the four factors long held beliefs especially regarding religion will become solidified. Individuals will find it difficult to change their minds on certain fundamental beliefs of their religion.
Why So Serious?
The issue is not a person’s faith; the issue is the often unwavering fundamentals possessed by the adherent. The very history of the world has been formed based on fundamentals of faith; often with terrifying results. How many millions have died as a direct result of religion? Or, should I say the direct result of someone who possesses hostility towards an unbarred mind.
Hellfire has taken its toll on the masses. Fears of death, unscrupulous interpretations of scripture have scourged the earth. Cries of the martyrs of reach heaven. Today the cries of those killed by modern day terrorist in the name of God are ringing in our ears. The heretic persecution continues in America; while the violence has decreased the tyranny continues.
Evangelical Christians desire to spread the word of God, but because of their fundamental ideologies people are pushed away rather than pulled towards the church. Try to sit down and reason matters concerning the legitimacy of other faiths, LGBT inclusion, women in leadership, and a variety of other issues. Often this is a concern based on the exegesis of the religious text. It is very difficult for one fundamentalist to agree to disagree on even seemingly small issues such as woman in leadership. Try getting a complementarian to visit a church with a female pastor; it is not going to happen.
To agree to disagree and support each other out of common love for God and man is nonexistent; generally the fundamentalist is not going to budge. Life would be much easier if we just let be. Why can’t we stop being afraid and understand God as the loving creator he is? Maybe the idea of deconstructing everything that we thought about Christianity is not an option. After years within a certain set of beliefs allowing other interpretations of doctrines is a humbling experience.
Breaking into the Citadel of the Mind.
Breaking into the fortress that is the mind is not an easy task. Yes modern manipulation takes place with every television commercial that you watch but those prey on your outer more susceptible regions. The new soap commercial is probably not going to change your worldview. Generally what must take place is a profound experience that is on somewhat a “supernatural” level. This is difficult as most fundamentalist generally do not experiment with DMT or psilocybin mushrooms. A terrible accident or disease, maybe a family member comes out as gay or lesbian. Maybe it is just something that starts small and grows into a full blown spiritual awakening. Until a person has reached the point in which he or she declares “I know nothing” It will be impossible to know anything. Until the Christian says yes, Jesus is my savior, but maybe I do not have all the answers and neither does my church. The hostility to an unbarred mind is ferocious and exact. Much of the hate and anger that is dividing America is due to fundamentalist who refuse to compromise.
The Unbarred Mind.
The advantage of the unbarred mind is endless. A few benefits these special individuals have is a lack of fear, an ability to reason, the ability to learn new concepts improving their lives, and a true sense of freedom. Jesus possessed an unbarred mind along with nearly every other catalytic figure of the world’s religions. Today we are seeing an emergence of Christians who are tearing down the walls of the mind. More Christians are identifying as progressive, liberal, and tolerant. Many are proud of their heretical label, wearing their damnable doctrinal beliefs as badges of honor.
Is being Christ like a burden? Are we not supposed to be one with the father as Jesus was? “That all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.” (John 17:21, NIV). I am sure there may be some who have reached this supreme initiation of glory to glory; I have yet to meet one. A worthy goal, it causes many problems. We begin chasing divine alignment through works. Seeking the approval of others, for our own ego satisfaction. The result is guilt, anxiety, fear and worry.
The Apostle speaking of our death, “Now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” (1John 3:2, NIV). As spiritual children, we will miss the mark. Not that we should be ashamed of our humanity. God knows this, “Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God.” (2 Corinthians 3:4-5). Christians will struggle endlessly to be like Christ. Understanding that 99.99 percent of us will never reach perfection on earth. I leave a possibility of .01 percent because I just do not know. To get bent out of shape because of our mistakes and failures is playing into the hands of the evil one.
Sex, Drugs & Rock & Roll.
The Apostle writes, “We demolish arguments and pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5, NIV). Thoughts of sex, drugs, and rock and roll; should not create guilt. We are human; we are going to think like humans. Rid ourselves of the shame of humanity. It is not our fault! Being Christ like should not be a burden. We are spiritual children and will continue to be till we see him.
Remember, “For God hath not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and love, and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7 KJV). Christianity has a high burn out rate. People have the “saved” experience creating a buzz of excitement. Slowly manifesting a heavy weight of guilt. Guard your hearts and minds from the guilt that our fellow Christians place upon us. This may mean deconstructing everything that you once thought about Christianity. Is being Christ like a burden? My answer. Do not worry about it, be happy, love God, love people and forget about the rest!
Sobriety sucks! Even the great apostle Paul understood this fact. “Do not be drunk with wine which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit.” (Ephesians 5:18, NIV). Sobriety in the sense of not being intoxicated through excess of alcohol etc. is a good thing. Trying to be abstinent from everything that gives us pleasure is dumb and sucks. So forget sobriety. Listen; basically humans are cancers on the earth. From the day we are born we start the clock until death and it is filled in between with suffering. To live is to suffer and vice versa. The Spirit of God is our comforter and through faith, prayer, medication, visualizations of divine bliss we can negate the suffering a bit on our way to death. I know it sounds morbid; but it is true.
Here are some “sober” activities. Motorcycles, videogames, exercise, reading, hunting, and fishing; these activities require no outside substance but will release endorphins into your body. What are endorphins? Endorphins are a naturally produced chemical secreted by the brain during various activities that give the person a sense of pleasure. Endorphins are also pain and inflammation reducers this chemical is similar to a natural opiate. So when you are thinking that your goal is to be sober but you love the way you feel after a nice run; wrong you’re an addict. We all are; it is impossible to be human and not be. Literally are own brains know that living on this earth sucks by God’s grace we can tap into a natural free source of drugs in order to help balance out. If for whatever reason we were unable to get high we would probably be considered depressed and suicidal and not realize it.
Other activities that involve drugs which people who think they are sober condone include but not limited to; caffeine, sugar, nicotine, basically most food. I suppose you could live on vegetables and water without any physical activity your chances of a long life are slim. Essentially what this concludes to, is we live an existence that without intoxicating activity we will die. The human spirit trapped in these monkey suites must stay high to stay alive. Now I understand that this does not mean that we need to get drunk, snort coke, gamble away our life savings and put needles into our arms. This also goes for eating ourselves into oblivion, drink ungodly amounts of soda, and smoking cigarettes like a chimney. Smoking cigarettes and eating unhealthy amounts of food are perfectly fine in the communities of people who are abstaining from our traditional drugs and alcohol. Many people just replace one drug with another and that is ok as long as you can be more responsible with one more than the other. Essentially sobriety is not good for you. As a human being trapped on this godforsaken planet please stay intoxicated! I do not blame people for abusing substances, they are dangerous but so is the existence we live in. So what the heck is my argument?
I am saying that there is no such thing as 100% sobriety in its truest form. There is sobriety from certain substances; that is a good thing. I know that this is a fatalistic way of thinking, but there is really know other way of thinking about it. We grow up going to school to get a job, and then work so that we can have a few toys and die; and that is if you are lucky. Human beings are a cancer to the earth and until we evolve in our spirituality we will continue to be plagues upon the earth with are life sucking, addicted ways. But I get it; we all need something because being sober sucks!
I know often my writings can be a bit critical of the church. So essentially I am being critical of God’s people; maybe even critical of God? While I would not be the first one, or the last to be very opinionated, having the desire, or dare I say the need to question my faith. I want to share some inspirational words to those who feel that they do not belong in the church; or feel the church is not what it once was to them. I can write this because the church is not what it once was for me.
When I was in my late teens and twenties the church was the place to be. It was the happy bliss first time heroin users feel. Unfortunately it is something we often chase for a lifetime, always trying to find that new spiritual high that kept us coming back. Yet just as good as it feels the chasing will let us down and soon we have spiritual track marks from injections of the next paradigm shift. It takes a real good spiritual junkie to make it through a whole life dedicated to the church. Although some great sages who often lurk, not in the pulpit so much as the pews. These guys are real Christ like gurus. They have it figured out and make us wonder why not me? Or, maybe they are junkies too and just have a good way of hiding it.
Through my personal adventures I have racked up a lot of study and prayer time. I even have a good amount of formal theological education. Yet it seems like the more I think I know, the more cynical I become. This has happened especially as I have entered my later 30’s. I do not feel the need to impress anyone. For many years I attended church and had one major intention, to get a job as a pastor. I found out unless you have parents in ministry within the flavor of Christianity that I am from it can be a difficult task. That on top of my own baggage I carry as an ex-felon and someone who has abused alcohol and other drugs in the past and carry a scarlet letter and guilt, that I know does not belong, but still lingers. I think that can be a driving force behind many of us in similar situations. For me it is about reaching to higher heights academically; probably the reason I am a doctoral student. I want to prove I am better than my doubters. Probably the reason I started my own flop of a ministry “The Backyard Preacher” which consists of this blog and a podcast. It is probably why I am critical of many preachers and ministries; especially the ones that think they have the answers, I hate that! No one has all the answers! The church has not done me wrong for say, I have just not yet achieved what I thought I wanted out of the church. I wanted to be a great leader, preaching with passion to thousands of people. I wanted to be a world changer for Jesus and live the life of the preacher on TV. Houses, cars, women, lots of money; I would probably be in jail faster than Jim Bakker can sell a tub of apocalypse food.
Here is the inspirational part of my story. My church attendance is not what it used to be. My ego centric desire to become a Christian leader is shrinking, as I have been humbled. While the desire and “calling” to the pastorate is still there; If I never hold the official position It is whatever. I am becoming more satisfied morphing into one of those Christian sages who can which can only be attained though trials, disappointment, and acid trips. Understanding that the Christian life is fully emotional, but at the same time fully built upon faith that requires no action. I have written much about faith and how we innately feel we must do some kind of performance to be worthy. The sage understands that there is no amount of work that can make us worthy. Basically what it boils down to is that we stop playing church. We stop acting like Jesus took all our evil desires away and that life is grand. We stop trying to be someone we are not. What is inspirational about all this? I have, and I am continuingly coming to realize that I can just be me. If being me is good enough for God, it is good enough for the church.