Is hell for those who are wrong because I am right

This article offers an interesting perspective on what we believe Heaven and Hell is.  It draws one to think like much of what history is.  It is the thinking of people designed to categorize and allows one to pridefully assume they are either the best or the worst.

Hell therefore in thinking this way, it is for all those people who do not believe as you or are wrong because you are right.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/10/opinion/sunday/christianity-religion-hell-bible.html

Why Do People Believe in Hell?

The idea of eternal damnation is neither biblically, philosophically nor morally justified. But for many it retains a psychological allure.

By David Bentley Hart

Dr. Hart is a philosopher, scholar of religion and cultural critic.

Once the faith of his youth had faded into the serene agnosticism of his mature years, Charles Darwin found himself amazed that anyone could even wish Christianity to be true. Not, that is, the kindlier bits — “Love thy neighbor” and whatnot — but rather the notion that unbelievers (including relatives and friends) might be tormented in hell forever.

It’s a reasonable perplexity, really. And it raises a troubling question of social psychology. It’s comforting to imagine that Christians generally accept the notion of a hell of eternal misery not because they’re emotionally attached to it, but because they see it as a small, inevitable zone of darkness peripheral to a larger spiritual landscape that — viewed in its totality — they find ravishingly lovely. And this is true of many.

But not of all. For a good number of Christians, hell isn’t just a tragic shadow cast across one of an otherwise ravishing vista’s remoter corners; rather, it’s one of the landscape’s most conspicuous and delectable details.

I know whereof I speak. I’ve published many books, often willfully provocative, and have vexed my share of critics. But only recently, in releasing a book challenging the historical validity, biblical origins, philosophical cogency and moral sanity of the standard Christian teaching on the matter of eternal damnation, have I ever inspired reactions so truculent, uninhibited and (frankly) demented.

I expect, of course, that people will defend the faith they’ve been taught. What I find odd is that, in my experience, raising questions about this particular detail of their faith evinces a more indignant and hysterical reaction from many believers than would almost any other challenge to their convictions. Something unutterably precious is at stake for them. Why?

After all, the idea comes to us in such a ghastly gallery of images: late Augustinianism’s unbaptized babes descending in their thrashing billions to a perpetual and condign combustion; Dante’s exquisitely psychotic dreamscapes of twisted, mutilated, broiling souls; St. Francis Xavier morosely informing his weeping Japanese converts that their deceased parents must suffer an eternity of agony; your poor old palpitant Aunt Maude on her knees each night in a frenzy of worry over her reprobate boys; and so on.

Surely it would be welcome news if it turned out that, on the matter of hell, something got garbled in transmission. And there really is room for doubt.

No truly accomplished New Testament scholar, for instance, believes that later Christianity’s opulent mythology of God’s eternal torture chamber is clearly present in the scriptural texts. It’s entirely absent from St. Paul’s writings; the only eschatological fire he ever mentions brings salvation to those whom it tries (1 Corinthians 3:15). Neither is it found in the other New Testament epistles, or in any extant documents (like the Didache) from the earliest post-apostolic period. There are a few terrible, surreal, allegorical images of judgment in the Book of Revelation, but nothing that, properly read, yields a clear doctrine of eternal torment. Even the frightening language used by Jesus in the Gospels, when read in the original Greek, fails to deliver the infernal dogmas we casually assume to be there.

On the other hand, many New Testament passages seem — and not metaphorically — to promise the eventual salvation of everyone. For example: “Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men.” (Romans 5:18) Or: “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.” (1 Corinthians 15:22) Or: “He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1 John 2:2) (Or: John 13:32; Romans 11:32; 1 Timothy 2:3-6; 4:10; Titus 2:11; and others.)

Admittedly, much theological ink has been spilled over the years explaining away the plain meaning of those verses. But it’s instructive that during the first half millennium of Christianity — especially in the Greek-speaking Hellenistic and Semitic East — believers in universal salvation apparently enjoyed their largest presence as a relative ratio of the faithful. Late in the fourth century, in fact, the theologian Basil the Great reported that the dominant view of hell among the believers he knew was of a limited, “purgatorial” suffering. Those were also the centuries that gave us many of the greatest Christian “universalists”: Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Gregory of Nyssa, Didymus the Blind, Theodore of Mopsuestia, Diodore of Tarsus and others.

Of course, once the Christian Church became part of the Roman Empire’s political apparatus, the grimmest view naturally triumphed. As the company of the baptized became more or less the whole imperial population, rather than only those people personally drawn to the faith, spiritual terror became an ever more indispensable instrument of social stability. And, even today, institutional power remains one potent inducement to conformity on this issue.

Still, none of that accounts for the deep emotional need many modern Christians seem to have for an eternal hell. And I don’t mean those who ruefully accept the idea out of religious allegiance, or whose sense of justice demands that Hitler and Pol Pot get their proper comeuppance, or who think they need the prospect of hell to keep themselves on the straight and narrow. Those aren’t the ones who scream and foam in rage at the thought that hell might be only a stage along the way to a final universal reconciliation. In those who do, something else is at work.

Theological history can boast few ideas more chilling than the claim (of, among others, Thomas Aquinas) that the beatitude of the saved in heaven will be increased by their direct vision of the torments of the damned (as this will allow them to savor their own immunity from sin’s consequences). But as awful as that sounds, it may be more honest in its sheer cold impersonality than is the secret pleasure that many of us, at one time or another, hope to derive not from seeing but from being seen by those we leave behind.

How can we be winners, after all, if there are no losers? Where’s the joy in getting into the gated community and the private academy if it turns out that the gates are merely decorative and the academy has an inexhaustible scholarship program for the underprivileged? What success can there be that isn’t validated by another’s failure? What heaven can there be for us without an eternity in which to relish the impotent envy of those outside its walls?

Not to sound too cynical. But it’s hard not to suspect that what many of us find intolerable is a concept of God that gives inadequate license to the cruelty of which our own imaginations are capable.

An old monk on Mount Athos in Greece once told me that people rejoice in the thought of hell to the precise degree that they harbor hell within themselves. By which he meant, I believe, that heaven and hell alike are both within us all, in varying degrees, and that, for some, the idea of hell is the treasury of their most secret, most cherished hopes — the hope of being proved right when so many were wrong, of being admired when so many are despised, of being envied when so many have been scorned.

And as Jesus said (Matthew 6:21), “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

David Bentley Hart is the author, most recently, of “That All Shall Be Saved: Heaven, Hell, and Universal Salvation.”

A morning to reflect

The Sunday after Christmas and one wonders if people are here thinking of family, food, fun. Or, if they are reflecting on the wonder of words Jesus spoke, the majesty of his message and the wholeness of the teaching of love, peace, mercy, and friendship.

Instead, one is drawn to reflect on reality. A world divided along religious, racial and cultural lines. Be it right from left, liberal from conservative or male from female.

I was once told to never ask the WHY question.  Yet, it is this one question we each must consider when we think of the divisions surrounding us.

A new year is around the corner. The ability to change is inherent in all of us. the challenge is to put friendship and love first. Then we can think of bounty and the goodness of this earth.

First, we must put our mind to preserving the majesty of what the creator enabled.

Why do we humans ignore the instruction of the ages

John 23:1 Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! says the LORD. 2 Therefore thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, concerning the shepherds who shepherd my people: It is you who have scattered my flock, and have driven them away, and you have not attended to them. So I will attend to you for your evil doings, says the LORD. 3 Then I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the lands where I have driven them, and I will bring them back to their fold, and they shall be fruitful and multiply. 4 I will raise up shepherds over them who will shepherd them, and they shall not fear any longer, or be dismayed, nor shall any be missing, says the LORD. Woe to the shepherds {officials, kings, priests governors} who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! says the LORD. 2 Therefore thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, concerning the shepherds who shepherd my people: It is you who have scattered my flock, and have driven them away, and you have not attended to them. So I will attend to you for your evil doings, says the LORD. 3 Then I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the lands where I have driven them, and I will bring them back to their fold, and they shall be fruitful and multiply. 4 I will raise up shepherds over them who will shepherd them, and they shall not fear any longer, or be dismayed, nor shall any be missing, says the LORD.

When I read this passage of today’s liturgy I was drawn to think of the Shepperd as those responsible to lead and the sheep those who are led. If the sheppards seek to control, kajoul and threaten the sheep with taxes, racist jargon or lies wend up with a tribe bent to the will of these malicious leaders who seek to profit from the efforts of others.

One is then drawn to ponder the colonial instincts of various nations to subjugate others to their will.

Tribalism, nationalism and racism these are all driven by the greed and a belief one is better than another.

A Nation Divided

Reviewing Facebook comments I worry for some who have lost sight of the center.  We as a country or maybe we as a globe appear to be splintering into two oppositional groupings.

Some simply brand the divide as the Right and the Left or the Liberals and the Conservatives.

With this in mind, we should look back in history. At 5 PM June 16th, 1858 Abraham Lincoln spoke in the Springfield Illinois Hall of Representatives.  He spoke of the issue of slavery yet if we reflect on the bigger issue he was also speaking to those who still insist on racial, religious or any other difference as reason for segregation.

If we delve back in time we find in Luke 11:17, Matthew 12:25 and Mark 3:25 writings of how Jesus spoke of a simple reality.  Every Kingdom or house divided against itself will be laid waste, become a desert, fall upon itself or will not stand.

We could read and listen to the lyrics of  Dave Mustaine.

Brother will kill brother
Spilling blood across the land
Killing for religion
Something I don’t understand
Fools like me, who cross the sea
And come to foreign lands
Ask the sheep, for their beliefs
Do you kill on God’s command?
A country that’s divided
Surely will not stand
My past erased, no more disgrace
No foolish naive stand
The end is near, it’s crystal clear
Part of the master plan
Don’t look now to Israel
It might be your homelands
Holy wars
Upon my podium, as the
Know it all scholar
Down in my seat of judgement
Gavel’s bang, uphold the law
Up on my soapbox, a leader
Out to change the world
Down in my pulpit as the holier
Than-thou-could-be-messenger of God
Wage the war on organized crime
Sneak attacks, repel down the rocks
Behind the lines
Some people risk to employ me
Some people live to destroy me
Either way they die, they die
They killed my wife, and my baby
With hopes to enslave me
First mistake, last mistake!
Paid by the alliance, to slay all the giants
Next mistake, no more mistakes
Fill the cracks in, with judicial granite
Because I don’t say it,
Don’t mean I ain’t thinkin’ it
Next thing you know, they’ll take my thoughts away
I know what I said, now I must scream of the overdose
And the lack of mercy killings
Mercy killings
Mercy killings
Killings, killings, killings, killings
Mercy you know, they’ll take my thoughts away

In the end, the question is clear

When will we learn?

 

 

God of Israel

Who is this God of one place. It is not the God of my imagination. The God of my imagination extends far beyond Israel, extends to all mankind.

God is a spirit who does not care how we worship. God only seeks the memory of the grace of God, the story of those who spoke boldly of each of our responsibility to love and do for others as we would expect to be loved. The doing is the key to our social engagement.

Generational poverty this is the bane of our society. This division between those that are brought up with and those brought up without. How do those without escape poverty. What hand reaches out across the abyss to help those without.

Or is it capitalism without a thought for society. The innovation capitalism and the effort of those who can is significantly better than the concept of a society managed by the few for the many. When there is nothing unique to be gained for our effort, the desire to do our best is lost. The flaw of capitalism is when wealth and power become the aims. It is this concentration of wealth and power which takes from the many to benefit the few.

We must find a method to merge the good of capitalism with the warmth and humanity of socialism. We must help the powerful to appreciate their role to help the many. We need to find a way to share wealth while assuring the individual desire to innovate and strive to create, Shepard’s and be good stewards.

Nature, the resources and the spirit within society and this earth are here to be employed, conserved and cherished. When greed wants for me and my pride assumes I am better than you then we lose and society slips into conflict within itself and with its neighbors.

The End of Time

Today at Church the sermon started with a reading of Wacky Wednesday. A story of how we wake and nothing fits into place or is as it should be.

Our rector then proceeds to like it to today’s passage in Luke’s Gospel

21:7 They asked him, “Teacher, when will this be, and what will be the sign that this is about to take place?” 8 And he said, “Beware that you are not led astray; for many will come in my name and say, ‘I am he!’* and, ‘The time is near!’ Do not go after them.

9 “When you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be terrified; for these things must take place first, but the end will not follow immediately.” 10 Then he said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; 11 there will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and plagues; and there will be dreadful portents and great signs from heaven.

12 “But before all this occurs, they will arrest you and persecute you; they will hand you over to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors because of my name. 13 This will give you an opportunity to testify. 14 So make up your minds not to prepare your defense in advance; 15 for I will give you words and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to withstand or contradict. 16 You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, by relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. 17 You will be hated by all because of my name. 18 But not a hair of your head will perish. 19 By your endurance you will gain your souls.

The sermon reminds us of the time after the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem. I, maybe we, are caused to reflect on current times. I wonder of the impeachment investigation. I worry of the conflicts within families. The fractured nature of civil society. The structure of our economy where wealth accumulates at the top and flows away from those in the lower 50%. A a global worry; driven by dictators tyrants, democracies and republics. No social system has yet found the way of balance.

Battles of religion and belief bring lose, assure destruction and feed those that profit from conflict.

Our spiritual leaders, Jesus Christ, the vortex of so many before, brought all of the positive thoughts from within and beyond. Asked each of us to adhere to two simple commandments.

Why can’t we? Is it greed? Is it our pride?

Until we finally understand we are all the same and yet different. Stewards of this earth. Servants here to care for each other.

when the end, is it simply the fear of what we see today and know has been. Is there an end or simply repetition of the continuous conflict between tribes who can’t see the value of love and peace.

Where are we

Today.

How many passwords are you trying to manage!  Does your LinkedIn contact list connecting you to more than  4,000 individuals?  Does Facebook, Instagram, and other social media websites inundating you with news and stories about your friends, colleagues and interesting people?

How many cookies have your computers accumulated?  How many databases have more information about you than they need?  If we search the dark web, how valuable is your data?

Cando seeks to help you manage your data, identity, assets, and relationships.

Philip lives on Sea Island with his 93-year-old father, the Doctor.  They pursue travel and Philip keeps his head into what is happening in financial services, blockchain, authentication, digital identity, and, whatever else people seeking to understand the transformation; particularly those in the identity and payments space.

What is happening means we can unlock our hotel rooms, cars, and homes from our phones. Our security system iwill be another app we have to find on our phone.

Instead, we need an intuitive assistant seeking to simplify our lives by taking on repetitive tasks like driving, working inside a data table or simply opening up the house for the season.

Normalizing data and performing the analysis capable of earning value is the name of the game.  Management is about stimulating a team to work in the mutual interest of the organization.  Executives define the strategy and articulate the vision in a manner conducive to success.

Cando seeks to help you manage your assets and relationships.  Assets those places and things you use doing your daily life and those interactions you have with people and entities seeking to serve, sell and partner with you.

Then there are friends who we expect to be part of our lives and therefore have privileges and access capabilities.

All of this with a target of selling integration services to the top million and simply assuring each person has an identity thus serving the bottom billion.  ultimately earning $1 per year per user to simply be there when it all breaks and you wish to restore your digital life.

At the core, your digital security will be based on the use of cryptography and sophisticated matching algorithms designed to assure anyone that you are that one individual in the populatations of the universe.

What is Faith

Faith a profound and complex topic, yet, it is simply a word. How does this one-word meld with that other word anger? Is it love or shall it be hate we allow to drive the conversation, to focus our thinking or to heal?

Faith a belief in more than what we know, see or feel. A longing for salvation. A desire for truth. A hope of comfort.
Some immediately seek to align Faith with a belief in a set of religious or spiritual axioms. When we define Faith as a religion or an agreed or imposed doctrine; we attempt to force Faith on the many.

When we allow each of us to figure out and define Faith, I wonder how each of us would define our Faith.

Is it simply the belief the sun will rise in the morning? Is it the belief God will keep you safe? Is it the belief Jesus Christ is the route to salvation?

Many ask, many wonder, many are told to have Faith.

What is Faith?

NYTimes: Reverend, You Say the Virgin Birth Is ‘a Bizarre Claim’?

Reverend, You Say the Virgin Birth Is ‘a Bizarre Claim’? https://nyti.ms/2UOW6iT

This particular interview, at this time in the christian year, is an appropriate discussion as we remember the teaching and value Jesus brought to this world.

I have often wondered about the birth and death of Christ. These are the two parts of the life of Jesus Christ which I continue to struggle with.

It is easy to accept the need to create such a noble beginning and end to his life. Easier still when we think of our society and how people are. We must remember they then and still now struggle to learn and embrace complex thought. The mythology helped so many find their way to the true teaching of Jesus.

Easter thought. John 20:1-18

Surprises. Oh how surprises impact one and each of us. Who is Mary to Jesus? Does this event demonstrate how our bodies can go into a stasis, dead to most – alive in truth.

Gracious in a spacious place -there the truth can be found.

How is it that Mary and Jesus are ever so personally and ever so intimately entangled. Who is this person named Mary?

The Teacher. A teacher who touched billions over thousands of years. One who came, learned and shared. Here to led us into the wilderness. Here to bring us out into the light.

We still have not fully embraced the gift of love he shared with us. We have not recognized the truth is in the love he asked each of us to have for one another.

Jesus, the one among a handful who has finally and ultimately shared the truth these few tried so hard to share with us.

The others who shared with other parts of the ancient world tried to help us understand the mysteries of life, the value of meditation and the glory of God. The one God who created all, sees all, knows all.

Faith, What is Faith

Faith, what is faith? Is faith the belief in the words in a book. Is it the acceptance of cultural norms or is it an understanding of the unimaginable power, majesty, timelessness and infinity reality of that which we call The Almighty, Tian, Shandgi, God, the Tao, Buddha and a hundred other names? Is it one identifiable entity or is it a spirit form. Is it singular or as some believe a collection of forces personalized to make them understandable?

Clearly this God is an unimaginably power, one we cannot even begin to understand!

For me, faith is accepting I can never appreciate that which is so infinity as to be beyond knowledge. It is to accept how each one of us builds our own understand of that which we cannot conceive.

When we human kind claim to know; be it as a tribe, a society, a civilization or a religion. It is at this moment we create division. These human constructs become the imprinted beliefs we give our children. As these tribes grow larger they seek to expand. To expand they come in contact with others different than their own.

In this difference springs animosity. In this animosity emerges fear. From fear comes the temptation to be right. Being right means those who do not believe and think as the tribe does must be wrong. If the tribe is wrong, then, surely they should be vanquished.

War and violence. Man again man is the greatest of sins. We in all faiths are taught to embrace our enemy, to encourage discourse, to share in the joy and happiness of others and most important to love each other as we seek to love ourselves. It is this one requirement, common to so many, we most often ignore.

How can we find the common bond to heal the hurt, fix the wrong, right the balance and discover the peace; we so all desire?

And what of

When we think back to history, we in the western world are brought up on the history of the Bible and the righteous position of the Jewish people. We are taught little of the growth and beliefs of the other regions of the ancient world. Egypt, Greece and Roman are seen as part of this history. The Persian empire is the enemy and that which is to the north and off to the east are known as trading alliances, maybe not people like those of biblical, Greek or Roman times.

One day a son is born into this culture. Pure of spirit and oh so wise capable of understanding much at the tender age of twelve. Already traveled, one can only imagine he continued to travel, to learn to embrace and to bring light to all he met. To imagine he traveled to the far reaches of the spice routes is so imaginable.

John 1

The Word Became Flesh

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being 4 in him was life,* and the life was the light of all people. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.

6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. 8 He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. 9The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.*

In these words we learn of a teacher who will return. John his cousin, who did not travel east, instead shared beliefs and the letters he had receiving from this learned man. John’s childhood friend who traveled through and around all of the civilizations of ancient times.

Finally the thoughts and teaching from these other ancient lands and people would be merged together with the thoughts of Jesus’ original faith. A new loving and more holistic system of belief could rise binding all of human kind into one chosen people. One group of people not distinct from the other. All loved by the creator.

For some the idea all are equal is not easily, especially still, to accept. This is the great message we should have and must learn. This learned man moved around teaching, performing get things and creating a following embracing all.

The First Commandment

28 One of the scribes came near and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, he asked him, “Which commandment is the first of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; 30 you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.32 Then the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher; you have truly said that ‘he is one, and besides him there is no other’; 33 and ‘to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the strength,’ and ‘to love one’s neighbor as oneself,’—this is much more important than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” 34 When Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, You are not far from the kingdom of God. After that no one dared to ask him any question.

This is the greatest teaching to love one another, not to create divisions and ferment hate. Embrace each as you wish to be embraced is the true learning we must all learn.

The only absolute truth is God is all and in all

“Beware that no one leads you astray.” This biblical statement belies the reality of the perspective of one is only a perspective. The truth is the sum of all and the simplicity in the teaching of many not a few.

There is more faith in honest doubt than all the truths people will profess.

God sent – inspired – Jesus, to share with us the need to love each other and to recognize that God is in each and everyone of us.

We must remember God is everything. God is not a body, God is the body and we are simply part of the body.

God touches all, in a manner consistent with where they were and are, at and in their time of life.

Acceptance of each others’ belief is key

The following is an actual question given on a University of Liverpool chemistry final exam.

The answer by one student was so “profound” that the professor shared it with colleagues via the Internet, which is why we now have the pleasure of enjoying it as well.

Question: Is Hell exothermic (gives off heat) or endothermic (absorbs heat)?

Most of the students wrote proofs of their beliefs using Boyle’s law that gas cools when it expands and heats when it is compressed or some variant.

One student, however, wrote the following:

First, we need to know how the mass of Hell is changing in time. So we need to know the rate at which souls are moving into Hell and the rate at which they are leaving. I think that we can safely assume that once a soul gets to Hell, it will not leave. Therefore, no souls are leaving.

As for how many souls are entering Hell, let’s look at the different religions that exist in the world today. Most of these religions state that, if you are not a member of their religion, you will go to Hell. Since there is more than one of these religions and since people do not belong to more than one religion, we can project that all souls go to Hell. With birth and death rates as they are, we can expect the number of souls in Hell to increase exponentially. Now, we look at the rate of change of the volume in Hell. Because Boyle’s Law states that in order for the temperature and pressure in Hell to stay constant, the volume of Hell must expand proportionately as souls are added. This gives two possibilities:

  1. If Hell is expanding at a slower rate than the rate at which souls enter Hell, then the temperature and pressure in Hell will increase until all Hell breaks loose.
  2. If Hell is expanding at a rate faster than the increase of souls in Hell, then the temperature and pressure will drop until Hell freezes over.

So which is it? If we accept the postulate given to me by Sandra during my freshman year, that “it will be a cold day in Hell before I sleep with you,” and take into account the fact that I slept with her last night, then number 2 must be true, and thus I am sure that Hell is endothermic and has already frozen over. The corollary of this theory is that since Hell has frozen over, it follows that it is not accepting any more souls and is extinct … leaving only Heaven, thereby proving the existence of a divine being – which explains why, last night, Sandra kept shouting “Oh my God.”

THIS STUDENT RECEIVED THE ONLY “A”.

The Good and Evil

Sunday, these two text were sent to me, to us when speaking to the two ministers at Church that morning.

Tell Ashly. Pls what a selfish person I am.

Tell Brian. What a selfish person I am.

Am I the selfish person or, are we all selfish? Each to themselves!, Each focused on their own interests! I like the author of these messages accept my selfishness and can only pray to become more selfless. Clearly a struggle in this world and country we live in today

That morning, we studied John 11:32-44 and discussed how the resulting reaction to the miracle demonstrates the division which existed then and still today.

Why is there evil in this world? As I consider God and Satan and I think of the difference between those that see God as part of each of us and those that see God as someone above us, I wonder.

I read a bit from Carl Jung and heard someone speak of how Saints are selfless and have overcome the selfishness of the EGO.

Infinite truth – In this universe, the only thing which does not change, while everything else is, is “Light”.

From Nothing is there Something

Recently I was reading a blog and ran into an interesting statement

“In the beginning, there was nothing, and there was something.”

The blog goes on to talk about the binary construct or what we know as the world of computers.  Three basic concepts are the foundation of all that a computer can do:

The most basic logic functions are the NOT, AND and OR gates.

IF something is FALSE, then it is NOT TRUE.
IF some OR another value is TRUE, the result is TRUE.
IF some AND another value is TRUE, the result is TRUE.

I immediately reflected back on a course in the Apologetics and remember the lecturer speaking the idea that SOMETHING cannot come from NOTHING.  Somewhere between these two discussions is a rift.  In that simple statement “In the Beginning” we immediately are drawn to think of the BEGINNING and the unimaginable be it “The Almighty” – “The Creator” – “God”.  For the apologetic his argument is that something, our universe cannot emerge from the nothingness of nothing.  There was something before call it the creator.  Like the Big Bang what was before it? a previous universe that had collapsed into a Black hole.

We then think about Binary logic.  It is built on the idea there is either nothing A Zero or there is Something A One.

There is something inherently missing from this

 

 

Sunday Sermon July 8

Ashley stood before us.

The life of a small town, 2000 plus the 1500 students attending the University 9 months of the year, sets a scene for a conversation.
A conversation about community and who we are.

Do those that knew us then, know us now?
The issue of going back is hard.
There is clearly a difference between those that have roots and those like me without.
Who, save family, do I still know from then?
Who knows me, where?

The story of Jesus Mark 6:1-6 as he emerges and his mission becomes clear this passage reminds us.
When he went home he was ridiculed by many,
People who had known him then did not appreciating who he had become.

The story teaches us that we simply need to  stand up and go forth.
As he did we simply must continue forward.
The power of Jesus, therefore what each of us must do, is exemplified in the next section mark 6-7-12.
He simply instructs his disciples out to go out into the world and share in the glory of God.

Do we fit in a box because others think so?
Or, do we like Jesus simply continue in the direction?

Constantly moving forward?

We all belong, yet where is it we belong?

Who is God calling us to be?
Is it who we know we are?
No, it is who we are here to be.
Who is God calling each of us to be?
Who is God calling me to be?

It is the discernment I struggle with.

Who Am I

Sunday, thinking of being in the boat in a storm

Listening to Brian our minister speak of today’s reading, he speaks of the challenge of the storm, we today, are surrounded by a storm set alight by division, fear and the confusion of what next.

Brian speaks of the love within. That love that rests inside each of us. He spoke if how we are turning away from religion.

This led me to ponder the demise of the gentle spirit Jesus tried to instill and restore in each of us. This thought often takes my heart to remembering how Jesus condensed the ten commandments down to two.

“The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

We have lost sight of this need to respect each other. We are torn apart by our differences. We are intolerant and believe we know better. We are divided as to our fiscal and social responsibilities.

The Lords and Masters who stand over us, insight dissension, foster racial attitudes, lie, and corrupt. Comedians, newscasters, authors and pundits make fun of the situation we are in.

Yet the sting of reality persists.

life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness

When I received this video

I wondered if prudish Americans would appreciate the continental humor.

For me and now I speak from my heart, mind and soul.  I remember well going to Jones Beach with two special ladies.  They made it clear they would bath as they wished and I needed to accept and not be some leering male.  I then remember traveling to Paris and seeing beautiful people adorning those typical French round advertising pillars.  The French simply use the beauty of the human body to promote perfume or some other sensual thing.  After I moved to Europe and we venturing, children in hand, to the beaches of Holland, France, Spain and Italy we learned to simply accept.  Even more telling, I attended an ITUG conference at a 5 star hotel in Budapest and ventured down to the spa.

I wonder why Americans  are bound up in a moral turpitude.

We are either far to the right or fair to the left.

Arnold Schwarzenegger was interviewed today and argued our country must come back to the center.  Morality is key to why we are so far apart.  So many on the right so many on the left.  Little room to find accommodation in the middle.

We purport to be a country of law, a country of freedom and a country of choice.  Yet we are tangled up in imposing rules to govern choice.  I read of how in Virginia back in the 30’s they attempted to ban interracial marriage and discovered that most of the population had some of Pocahontas in them.  I then think about those that are marching today.  They argue that the friends who died, are more important than the rights of those who want to let anyone bear arms.  Yet that small minority, the NRA, seems to have control over the decisions of the peoples’ representatives.  If we believe we can ban the mixing of races, yet we are unable, as the majority, to ban the type of arms, weapons, people are allowed to own, what are we!

Arnold today spoke of education, health and the environment.

If we want to Make America Great Again then why do we allow our system of education  to stigmatize people based on where they live.  Why do we not assure each citizen the right to equal education.  He reminded the audience this country ranks 39th in the world.  He said that regulating diversity was ridiculous.  He argued that by offering equal education, we enable people equal opportunity.  His argument made perfect sense.  Using local property taxes to fund education, ultimately means where you live, hence your family income, defines who has opportunity to excel.  If we want to remain the greatest country in the world and assure all citizens equal opportunity, then, we must invest in education.

Bottom line Education is the key to Making America Great Again.

Health, there are 4 living doctors in my family.  Through my kinship to them, I have heard and listened to them speak of the issues with our system.  For my simple mind the problem begins with Capitalism.  It is all about big corporations wanting to profit from their skills.  It is about insurance companies wanting to minimize risk (expense) by minimizing the amount of care they have to pay for.  I am familiar with social medicine.  Three countries provided me personally with exposure to how it can and does work.

Yes, if you can afford care in this country, you will get the best care.

The challenge, every American cannot afford care, without insurance.  And, if everyone is not insured then those that are the least wealthy and healthy are without.  For me this graph tells the whole store. 

I am personally paying insurance under a Cobra plan.  For Selma and I, one household, it costs 1,291.43 a month $15,520.92 a year.

We all need universal care.  We need to require everyone to pay into our health system.  This is the only way will we assure affordable care for all.  How does one build such a system, I suggest, it must resemble what Switzerland has built.

Minimum care paid through taxes.  Supplemental care, each households responsibility.

Next is our environment.  Once, we worried about pollution and the quality of our air and water.  Now, we must expand our thinking.  We must remember we are stewards of this earth and realize our consumption of the earth’s resources will affect the balance of the earth and its ecosystem.  We are here to protect the earth for our children and for the children they will bring into this world.

We can argue all night long about the science.  What we do know is that if we change the balance of anything there is a result.  The classic appreciation of cause and effect.  We the USA, with less than 20% of the word population, recently were responsible for most of the carbon dioxide injected into the atmosphere.  Today this no longer is true.  But, we recently pulled away from helping to lead the world to a better place.  Instead our President wants us to return our sources of energy back to those non renewable earthly resources, coal and oil.  We all know they pollute!

Finding reusable means of generating energy, is good politics.  The Economist March 17th 2018 had an excellent special report on the politics of energy.

If we do not embrace renewable sources of energy and reduce our dependence on Oil and Coal, we will no longer be the great national we are and seek to remain.

As I write, I am remember learning about the Fourth Industrial Revolution.  As the first sentence so aptly says it

“The Fourth Industrial Revolution is changing everything – from the way we relate to each other, to the way our economies work, to what it means to be human”.

We must properly harness technology.

  • Education is the key.
  • Our environment can only benefit.
  • Healthcare will simply become more efficient

In the end we will improve everyone’s life.

Yet?

As Adam Smith best explains, our global economy (yes we are a global economy), can only be successful when we view it as a closed system.

We must appreciate that we are all part of the whole.  Only when we each give to our own abilities, will we find balance.  If we allow labor arbitrage to take jobs away; then, those who lose their jobs must find new ways to contribute.  They cannot expect the system to sustain them!

Yet they should expect those that profit to help re-educate.

Why am I writing.  What am I asking.

Maybe to share.  Maybe to speak out.

There is one other topic on my mind.  Those who understand the loss of a friend in Parkland are speaking out, they are marching in Washington and around the country to get people to listen and vote to arrest the stupidity of how the second amendment is being mis-interpreted.

For me the key is found in the first part of that amendment

“ A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State,

In my opinion, what resulted from  District of Columbia v Heller (2008) was an unreasonable interpretation of the second amendment.  I would suggest United States V. Cruikshank (1876) and United States v Miller (1939) are a better interpretations.  Those interpretations, in my opinion, are not influenced by the political influence of the NRA and gun manufactures’.  Their and the NRA’s focus is to market, sell and protect their right to profit!  They are not focused on assuring the free state has a well regulated militia.  If they were, they would insist on training, education and the formation of groups – in other words militias.

The second phrase

“The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

For me, this is why Switzerland ends up with guns in every home.  The people are members of the armed forces. They are “The Militia”.  They belong to a “well regulated” group of people focused on “the security of a free state”.  They are trained.  They understand the purpose of these weapons.  The militia, in other words the people, can determine if there are mental issues and exclude those individuals as they are evaluated and introduced to their responsibility as a member of the militia of the people.

Looking back on the histogram above many of you are or will be part of the upper 10%.  We are the ones most gifted.  We therefore must be the ones that are the most interested in making this world is a better place.  Simply accepting the way it is, means we are not working together to make the world, this country, a better and more equal place.

Going back to the video we must assure our freedoms.  We must focus not on how we expect people to live.  We must remember why we became a nation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed”

Our founders made it clear, we each have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

The way I interpret what we attempted, as a nation, to establish; is a body of people, a society, that respects each of our individual rights and seeks to protect each individuals right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  If I want to expose myself in the comfort of a community that enjoys this way of life, as long as we do not imping on your rights, why not?  Slavery, Blue laws, various interpretations based on the desire to impose your will on me is not why we declared independence.  It is not what our constitution attempted to create.

I want clean air, clean water, not to see your litter in public view and be able  to drink alcohol and/or smoke marijuana.  I want the ability to see a doctor when I need to and not worry that I cannot afford to.  I want to be able to to see all children attend school, knowing they will get a great education.  I also do not want to worry that some lunatic will buy assault rifles and use these weapons reserved for a well regulated militia to kill children while they are at school.  I want to be able to attend a music festival and not worry that some person up in some hotel room is capable of buying an arsenal simply to kill people.

Yes we should have the right to hunt and protect ourselves.  Assuming we are trained and capable and more importantly are of stable mind and body.

We must each remember the ten commandments Exodus 20 or simply put the two found in Matthew 22:37-40, Mark 12:29-34 and Luke 10:25-37

Most importantly we must read, appreciate and be the Samaritan described in Luke 12:30-37.

Each of us is bestowed with skills and abilities.  We have the funds to be able to help drive policy we have the responsibility to assure each is given the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

These are my beliefs.

I hope those reading my thoughts are willing to respect them and share theirs.  Only if we engage in discourse can we assure ourselves life, liberty and the ability to pursue happiness.

Obviously to avoid spam I do moderate comments.  As long as there is no profanity, I will not censor anyone’s comments.  I am also posting the existence of this Blog on Twitter and Facebook.  In those environments and as Cambridge Analytica has demonstrated, these thoughts will simply expand the public’s awareness of my habits, patterns and thinking.

Respectfully,