Posts Tagged ‘spirituality’

In contemporary western society most marriages involve an oath between two parties. Each mate in the ceremony promises to love honor and respect each other until one of them dies. An oath is a solemn promise that often invokes a divine witness. See oaths like marriage are wonderful and beautiful in theory but in practice, because we humans are; complicated, beautiful disasters things like oaths usually never work out the way they are intended. The chances are high that, within the lifetime of a marriage one mate will dishonor, disrespect and maybe even hate the other. The divorce rate in the United States,  as of 2014 is 3.2 per 1,000 people in the population, so that means there is a group who could not honor the oath of death to leave a marriage.

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The late supreme court justice Antonin Scalia, Judge Scalia was a textualist in statutory interpretation,  The  late judge opposed the idea of a Living Constitution, which is odd because, the constitution is a document full of amendments. See the constitution and marriage have something in common and that is people and people are complicated beautiful messes that change and evolve and if the constitution was not amended many laws and practices which are discriminatory and insidious would be legal within the United States.

Christian denominations are divided when it comes to Continuous revelations. Continuous revelations  is a theological belief or position that God continues to reveal divine principles or commandments to humanity. For the most part the Later day Saint denomination has embraced the position but not so much for the protestants, the Pentecostals and Quakers do not seem to take issue with this belief either. The thing is this religion, the constitution and religion all involve people (you know where I am going right) and people are beautiful complicated messes. We need to change and refine everything if we expect our institutions to survive.

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Me and you and everyone would do well to realize that, Socrates was right.

“I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing.”  –Socrates

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It is upon the realization that we know nothing that we should base our lives. If you know nothing all you can do is learn if you know everything there is nothing for you to learn. Always learn and change, always seek Continuous revelations that will in turn lead to continuos improvement and finally provide you with a rich full and amazing life.

peace

john3c

 

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It was Sunday morning and the word used by the reverend was  covet. The subject in our religious text coveted some treasure and stole the treasure he coveted because of the sin the tribe suffered and then the family and he suffered.

As parents we teach our children to do their best to want better for their own children to strive for the American dream but when is this striving or desire for this American dream more than an innocent ambition? When does wanting better turn to covet. Covet means, wrongful desire, to want and work towards something with no respect for anyone or anything else.

Whenever I think about the word covet I remember a scene from the Indiana Jones and the last Crusade movie.  The movie is great the hero finally finds the challis of Christ. The ground splits open and the challis as well as hero fall into the chasm. The hero holds onto a precipice with one hand  the other hand is touching the coveted challis. His father needs him to give both hands over so he can pull him out of the chasm.

That would be more than ambition for the cup of Christ. If he continues to reach for it and grasp at it he will destroy his own life and break his fathers heart. Sometimes when we chase our dreams we can lose sight of what our dreams we can lose sight of what our dreams should be. When we look  back and gain perspective we can sometimes realize that we could be living our dreams instead of chasing them

just a thought

peace

john3c

 

The title comes from the Shakespeare play Hamlet. The title is part of a longer quote from a father to a son. The son is leaving the country presumably to never be seen again and the father is giving some advice. He says

” This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
Farewell, my blessing season this in thee!”

Those were the last words the father gave to his son. To be honest first with himself and then with others. When I read the play as a child I thought it was funny be honest to yourself. Who talks to themselves and who would lie to their self about something? Then I grew older and discovered regret and denial and understood why the father gave this advice.

Self talk is what it is called and there is a very interesting article from the mayo clinicabout the medical effects of negative self talk.  The article details how to avoid negative self talk and promote positive self talk, it also outlines the health benefits of positive self talk.

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I am not sure what you think about self talk? You may feel it is a bunch of psycho babbble however without being pendantic I should remind you that many religions in their text promote a love for self which would involve positive self talk.

Christianity:

Mark 12:31 “Love thy neighbour as thy self”

Islam:

Hadith 28 “Love for your brother what you love for yourself”

In the Hindu faith the whole concept around Karma is love for oneself and others.

 

If we are to care for others we must care for ourself. We engage in self talk often and daily and since we are going to do it I think we should be kind to ourselves. You never know it may be one of those days when no one else is kind to you..

peace

john3c

 

I was speaking with a friend about good days bad days and perfect days and I let her know that, you can only get two good days in a row. I should have said you can only get two perfect days in a row. The problem with perfection is that, first of all perfection is a very subjective term. Your idea of a perfect day will probably not match my idea and it shouldn’t. To each his or her own I say. The second problem with perfection is, people are no were near perfection and never will be. The fact that we cannot define the perfect day properly should point out to us that we are foolish to assume that we will ever obtain it.  I know it is Wednesday, hump day and my words are not making the middle of the work week look any better, I apologize for that too.

We will never be perfect, but we can be happy! Yes that is right despite your and my imperfections and really all around crappy days we can still be happy. How you may ask can I be happy in spite of this mountain of a mess that is my life? That is the crux of it isn’t it? I don’t know how, no one knows how except you.

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Yeah the secret is somewhere in there. You have the key to your happiness. Some find this in religion others their professions, some family and most it is a hybrid answer involving all three of these facets of life. Life is the common factor life should make you happy and if we are not happy perhaps we are not doing it right? I am not trying to get judgemental (I used the word we). But maybe if we can learn to acknowledge facets that make us both un happy and happy we can accentuate the parts that make us happy. Like the late great and immortal words of Johnny Mercer say:

“Gather ’round me, everybody
Gather ’round me while I’m preachin’
Feel a sermon comin’ on me
The topic will be sin and that’s what I’m ag’in’
If you wanna hear my story
The settle back and just sit tight
While I start reviewin’
The attitude of doin’ right

You’ve got to accentuate the positive
Eliminate the negative
And latch on to the affirmative
Don’t mess with Mister In-Between

You’ve got to spread joy up to the maximum
Bring gloom down to the minimum
Have faith or pandemonium’s
Liable to walk upon the scene

To illustrate my last remark
Jonah in the whale, Noah in the ark
What did they do just when everything looked so dark?

(Man, they said “We’d better accentuate the positive”)
(“Eliminate the negative”)
(“And latch on to the affirmative”)
Don’t mess with Mister In-Between (No!)
Don’t mess with Mister In-Between

(Ya got to spread joy up to the maximum)
(Bring gloom down to the minimum)
(Have faith or pandemonium’s)
(Liable to walk upon the scene)

You got to ac (yes, yes) -cent-tchu-ate the positive
Eliminate (yes, yes) the negative
And latch (yes, yes) on to the affirmative
Don’t mess with Mister In-Between
No, don’t mess with Mister In-Between”

peace

John3c

So I am reading about the big bang on wikipedia, because I obviously have no life, and I see a small line at the bottom of the article which reads:

“As a theory relevant to the origin of the universe, the Big Bang has significant bearing on religion and philosophy.[97][98] As a result, it has become one of the liveliest areas in the discourse between science and religion.[99] Some believe the Big Bang implies a creator,[100] while others argue that Big Bang cosmology makes the notion of a creator superfluous”

The small statement at the bottom of the article really got me to thinking. God is a personal construct. If you don’t believe it speak to members of the same congregation about god. They will more than likely all see different faces and aspects to god despite the fact that all have attended the same sermons and taken place in the same indoctrination process. I cannot speak for the entire world but here in the United States there seems to be a consensus that most peoples image of god has been shaped through the influence of father figures in their lives.

I only mention the father thing to reinforce the fact that each persons god despite shared religion and even experience is a little different. As we get older and learn more through the cognitive process our view of god will change again and again. Our god will morph from the one that was shaped by our father to the one that was made through ones self.  The message at the bottom of the article points more towards a persons identity. Do you identify with a god or not and if you do identify with a god is this god  needed or is he superfluous(which by the way is an awesome word I so want to work that into conversation today)? I guess honestly this all has to do with the what I like to call  unweaving the rainbow debate? In his book Unweaving the Rainbow, Richard Dawkins works hard to explain how science and art are not at odds and how things like religion, astrology, magic and aliens are all fairy tales. For me religion is not a science book, so the big bang did not destroy my god it simply made him cooler. That this was his method or way of creating everything is just incredible. Does the big bang make him more distant and therefore not needed? No, not for me. What about you?

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peace

john3c

Yesterdays sermon came from the first book of John chapter 3 verses eighteen through twenty-four. I am not sure what religion you ascribe to or if you are religious at all, but I am certain that the concept discussed in this part of first John can be used by anyone despite his or her religious affiliation.
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This part of first John had to do with building ones confidence and making yourself feel better. When I was a kid I watched as many cartoons as my mom would let me. At the time I felt as though she hadn’t let me watch enough cartoons but looking back she was right to reign in me and my sisters tv watching time the way she did. While watching my cartoon shows something happened every fifteen minutes, it was called a commercial. I would watch this commercial and see the kids throwing around the newest nerf football and I was convinced that this would make me just as happy ad the kids in the advertisement. Looking back I laugh, but yesterday while I watched the football game I wanted in the span of four hours, to eat Doritos, buy an Audi, and drink the new Budweiser beer.
I thought when I was a child and even now sometimes that things would make me happy. I was wrong. It is believed that John wrote I John when he was advanced in age and when you read it you cannot help but feel that the old man is passing on some sage wise words and yesterdays words were. If you want to feel happy love everyone with action. His words were if you want to feel alive inside help someone else live.
This call to arms is not exclusive to the Christian faith. Charity is one of the five pillars of Islam, Tzedakah or charity is also a duty in Judaism, in Hinduism the third niyama or observance is charity, and one of the ten principles of the Bahai faith is also charity. Compassionate charity is so important in the book of John that the author writes that “Whoever does not love his brother does not know God” he also writes “let us not love each other in words or speech but with actions and in truth.”
I could pull scripture references from all sorts of religions, that highlight the importance of charity but seeing and being on the receiving end of charity should be proof enough. Charity helps everyone involved when it is done with compassion.
The best speech I have ever heard on charity comes from Bill Murray in the movie scrooged
” How did that happen?

That happened because it’s Christmas Eve.

I’m not crazy. It’s Christmas Eve.

It’s the one night when we all act a little nicer.

We…we smile a little easier. We…we…share a little more.

For a couple of hours we are the people we always hoped we would be.

It’s really a miracle because it happens every Christmas Eve.

And if you waste that miracle, you’re gonna burn for it. I know.

You have to do something. You have to take a chance and get involved.

There are people that don’t have enough to eat and who are cold.

You can go and greet these people.

Take an old blanket out to them or make a sandwich and say, “Here.”

“l get it now.”

And if you give, then it can happen, the miracle can happen to you.

Not just the poor and hungry, Everybody’s gotta have this miracle!

It can happen tonight for you all!

If you believe in this pure thing,

the miracle will happen and you’ll want it again tomorrow!

You won’t say, “Christmas is once a year and it’s a fraud.” It’s not!

It can happen every day! You’ve just got to want that feeling!

You’ll want it every day! It can happen to you!

I believe in it now.

I believe it’s gonna happen to me, now. I’m ready for it!

And it’s great. It’s a good feeling.

It’s better than I’ve felt in a long time.

I’m ready.

Have a Merry Christmas. Everybody.”
peace
John3c

The year was 1993 I was a sophomore in high school and I had rented the movie Alive from the video store. DVD’s were not released until 1996 but video tapes like Alive and others were beginning to play with putting extras at the end of their movies. It was during the extra part after the credits of the Alive movie that I heard one of the survivors of the accident say, “up there on the mountain he saw god and it wasn’t the god of Sunday School or church it was the real god.” So maybe some background will help. Alive is a movie that is based on  Piers Paul Read‘s 1974 book Alive: The Story of the Andes SurvivorsConfession time now. I have never read the book only watched the movie the interviews and read a Time magazine article about the rugby team whose plane crashed over the Andes mountain and survived for 72 days (12 were part of a trek out of the mountains). I suggest watching the movie. It is very inspirational but todays post is less about the movie and more about the quote.

I grew up in a Baptist church and as such I was taught that god fit a certain mold. So hearing this survivor say that he meet the real god up there on the mountain made me feel that he was being sacrilegious. But  I grew up and I began to realize that the real god is not the god of sunday school and church it is the god of homeless shelter. The real god is the god who puts the instinct in parents to sacrifice all they can for their children and then later in life for the children to do the same for the parents. The real god is the god who encourages you in loss and the god you see and feel when a child is born. The real god is the god who in the Bible compelled the man to care for the Samaritan.  

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I started working in my profession, as do many, before I graduated from college. I had a year left when a  professor  asked me for some input on his class.I told him that I would like to see less theory and more application. The professor then told me that the class taught theory and it was up to the student to apply it. See the real god is a god of application. I think that was what the survivor meant and when I think about it a little more I am sure his response was not sacrilegious and I wonder.. are those of us who sit by and do nothing more sacrilegious?

peace

john3c