Monday, October 31, 2011

The Times, They Are a'- Changin'

Come gather 'round people wherever you roam
Admit that the waters around you have grown
Accept it that soon you'll be drenched to the bone.
If your time to you is worth savin'
Then you better start swimmin' or you'll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin'.

Come mothers and fathers throughout the land
and don’t criticize what you can’t understand
Your sons and daughters are beyond your command
Your old road is rapidly aging
Get out of the new one if you can’t lend a hand
For the times they are a-changin'.

Come senators, congressmen please heed the call
Don't stand in the doorway, don't block up the hall
For he who gets hurt will be he who has stalled
The battle outside is ragin'.
It'll shake down your windows and rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin'.

I thought it might be appropriate to read these words again today. Bob Dylan wrote them in 1963 and boy was he right! The ‘60s were a time of change for many issues that defined our cultural identity. It may not have happened as quickly or as completely as we expected but fundamental systems were being exposed that needed attention - so many that it was sometimes hard to define it as a unified movement. As a result we discarded much of what we had inherited and wound up leaving a lot of things undone. Being a peace-love hippie myself I’ve often felt guilty about that. I feel a Iot better today seeing it all in hindsight. What we thought was the beginning was only the beginning of the beginning. Now we're seeing the real Beginning. The Sit-ins of the ‘60s have become the Occupy movements of today. Local Civil rights, Women’s Lib, Gay rights and anti-war protests were only the predecessors of a global awakening which now involves everything from government, political and financial institutions to environmental issues, energy development and health care. Nutrition is the latest thing to come under scrutiny. On top of everything else we’re realizing we’ve been poisoning ourselves with the things we eat. It seems as if every aspect of life is being readied for correction.

No one intentionally engineered the systemic collapses we’re facing today. We've created them ourselves little by little while watching Monday Night Football and Dancing With The Stars. The good news is if we created them we can also create something new. There weren’t as many of us in 1963. Today we are a global community connected by electronic media and social networking devices. Now the whole world is watching.

Unfortunately the Occupy Movements seem to have the same problem that we did in the ‘60s. There are so many things in our culture that need attention no one is able to voice a unified vision for the future. The reason for this is because there’s one other thing that needs to be corrected - the correction of which will solve everything. Our religious systems and the beliefs that support them must be reinvented. It’s been 2,500 years since the world’s great religions first started separating us. As Dr. Phil likes to say, “How’s that been working for you?”

A major shift is underway right now. The changes that are made in the years ahead may bring us to a new and wonderful place on this planet. In order for that to happen we need to accept the truth about our oneness with each other. For that to happen it is critical that we have a new understanding of our oneness with God. Once we find that, the other changes we want will happen by themselves. To put it another way, if we seek Him first everything else will be added.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

One With God

Jesus said many things in the Gnostic Gospels which show he had an understanding of the universe that only recently is being proven by Quantum Physics. Yet as we have seen, those sayings were discredited and systematically removed from the public record. Gnosis, based on our innate ability to access the spirit of God was strictly forbidden by early church fathers. The church didn’t get to be the oldest and most successful institution in the world by encouraging man to find God inside himself. I grew up believing that unless I confessed my sins to a priest God wouldn’t know about it. Yet in the gospel of Thomas, Jesus said, "If your leaders say to you, 'Look, the Father's kingdom is in the sky,' then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they say to you, 'It is in the sea,' then the fish will precede you. Rather, the kingdom is within you.” If the kingdom of God is within me that would explain my “innate ability” to connect with him. In light of what we’re learning about the interconnectedness of the universe we can begin to see why we have this ability, and why the bible says God created man in his own image. 

First Einstein discovered that everything was energy. As scientists move further and further down into the sub atomic levels they find a force which appears to be present even when energy vanishes. This force is best described as a field of information. It seems the ocean out of which energy arises is a sea of pure consciousness. Noted British astronomer and physicist Sir James Jeans said, "The universe begins to look more like a great thought than a great machine." This thought is the essence of all things - the one universal consciousness that created the universe. It is omniscient and omnipresent, and my consciousness is part of that consciousness. As was said in the Upanishads 8,000 years ago, “You are that”. When we begin to understand the truth of this we will be able to drop any idea of our separation from God - and any thoughts of unworthiness that accompany it.

Those who must reject these things because they are non-biblical will continue to have a difficult time experiencing oneness with God. If the evidence contradicts the written Word it is the evidence that must be thrown out. Thus the church is full of sincere people beseeching God and praying for him to “come”. Last Sunday our pastor told us we are strangers in this world and quoted 1 Peter which says, “Live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear. Set your hope on the grace which will be brought to you when Jesus comes again.” Foreigners? Fear? Future hope? There is something very debilitating about this kind of thinking and I can no longer accept it. We don’t need to cast our hope on some future time in some better place. This world is our home. It is part of us. We didn’t come into it. We came out of it. It’s time for a new understanding about who we are and what we're here for. Thankfully the spirit seems to be awakening us to it. From the fundamentalist Muslim to the fundamentalist Christian - we're all the same in our oneness with God. Think for a minute what a belief like that could do if the human race could ever accept it.

I started this blog with the intention of examining our church experience in the hope of finding what was missing. What I have found is that, even though many Christians want a deeper, more intimate relationship with God, they don't find such an experience because the church doesn't model it. No matter what it teaches about the holy spirit, our felt experience is still that God is "up there"  and we're "down here". It is separation theology and it's not true. I don't say it is willful or malicious. I don't say that church founders weren't hearing from God nor that our pastors are intentionally keeping us in the dark. I only say we haven't learned the whole truth about God and shouldn't insist that we have. We must be open to continuing revelation, no matter how different it may be from what we are familiar with. If allowed to, spirituality will evolve like everything else. It may take some time for this understanding of oneness, but it will happen - even if Max Planck (founding father of quantum physics) is correct. He once observed that, “A new idea doesn't always triumph by making its opponents see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is more familiar with it”. One way or another, in this generation or the next - or the next, it will happen. Man has been lost long enough in the illusion of his separation from God and the world has begun to suffer serious consequences. The good news is, like the pigs' food did for the Prodigal Son, it's bringing us to our senses. Life is correcting itself. Something better is coming.