Prepare Ye The Way!

For the Love of the Spirit

Avoiding Avoiding Suffering

No.  I didn’t stutter.

You could hold yourself back from the sufferings of the world, this is something you are free to do and is in accord with your nature, but perhaps precisely this ‘holding back’ is the only suffering that you might be able to avoid. (Franz Kafka)

It is human nature to recoil and try to protect our sensibilities from sufferings all around us;

  • War
  • Hunger
  • Disease
  • Sexual Violence
  • Domestic Violence
  • Homelessness
  • Poverty
  • Crime
  • Addiction

Did I miss anything?  I am sure I did.  The world is full of suffering of all sorts and these are just off the top of my head.  Feel free to add to this list.

Is it enough?  Sure, it is.  It is more than enough.

Do you avoid thinking about it?  I do it more often than I wish.

It’s human nature.  We are constantly bombarded by magnitudes of suffering in the world.  We are pelted by it from the street corners and the television news.  We have 24-hour news channels devoted to bringing it directly into our living rooms and right into our faces.  During the commercials we see children with cancer, in foreign countries without clean water or adequate nutrition, and animals neglected and abused.

We avert our eyes.  We try to shut out the sounds.

Why?  It’s simple enough.  It hurts to see it.  Seeing it forces us to face it.

Facing it forces us to acknowledge the suffering that surrounds us the entire world around.

Acknowledging it takes us out of our comfort zone and makes us wonder why a loving God would permit it.

Why does God permit it?

God doesn’t permit it!

We do!

We permit it — by avoiding it.  By turning our backs and shielding our eyes and stopping our ears, we permit it.  God has us as his human agents here on earth.  He gave us his Son who in turn gave us his Holy Spirit and filled us with the love of that Spirit to do unto others as we ourselves would have done unto us.

If we love our brothers and sisters then we will cloth them when they are naked.  We will feed them when they are are hungry.  We will shelter them when they are homeless.  We will care for them when they are sick, and we will visit them when they are imprisoned.

The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers [or sisters] of mine, you did for me.’  (Matthew 25:40 )

It has been said that all evil needs to prosper is for good people to do nothing.  I am not fooling myself or trying to fool you into thinking that we will eliminate human suffering.  I am not fooling myself or trying to fool you into thinking that human action can ever bring an end to all the ills, evils, and sufferings of the world.  That will come only when the end of time comes.  May it come soon!

But I am telling you, as Kafka said, that in spite all your trying to avoid the gross tragedies and sufferings you will still be confronted by them.  If you insulate yourself so completely that they are totally out of sight, then your spirit will still be so convicted by the horrors that this world throws up at you that you will be unable to avoid personal suffering because of your “holding back.”  Sooner or later you will suffer —guaranteed.

So look at the suffering of the world.  Turn on the news.  Look into the eyes of a homeless person.  Pray!  Dear God, pray!

Then when you are finished watching and listening and praying, get up off your couch and get out and involve yourself in doing something to relieve the suffering in whatever small or large way you can.  Get up off your wallet and donate to individuals who are dedicating their time and efforts to ease the pain that is all around them.

You don’t have to give money or material.  You just have to care enough to reach out to those less fortunate and suffering.  You need to suffer with them.  Listen please!  If you suffer with those suffering you reduce the suffering of all.

Cook a meal.  Sit and listen while someone tells you of their sufferings.  Be there for someone.

Carry the word of love.  Love someone who thinks they are unlovable.

That is what this ministry and this blog is doing.

I am reaching out to my readers with the love of God and exhorting you to reach out to others.  I  go out into the streets and carry the love of God to the People of the Streets.  I volunteer my time to a local organization that provides Peer Support for those who are mentally ill.

Help Love of the Spirit in its ministry to carry out its missions and goals.  Go to the CONTACT page and donate through the address you find there.  The ministry will use all donations to relieve suffering and feelings of Lovelessness and Loneliness.  It will use all donations to carry the love of God, and, God willing, will one day grow to reach more.

Be a Torchbearer of the Light

In Christ’s Love, Michael

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January 29, 2012 Posted by | Social Justice | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Mighty Way

In response to an email from me on current happenings in my life and how God is using me for service and guiding me in my calling, one of my spiritual and religious mentors, Pastor Elizabeth Emrey, wrote me saying,

“You are in my prayers. I am glad that God is using you in a mighty way.” (emphasis added)

Everything God does is mighty!

By definition of his omnipotence, God cannot help but act in mighty ways.  I had not thought about what God was doing in my life quite in those words, but once it was “out there” I meditated on it.

Every act of God, no matter how small it may seem, or how it may be compared in magnitude to other acts of his Divine Grace and Mercy, is exactly equal to any act that flows from the godhead of our Holy Father.  Everything that comes from God comes from an absolute source and exists in perfection and power.

Can there be ANY limitation to the acts or results that are initiated by God?

Technically, the answer is no, but practically the answer is Yes!

How can this be?  How is it possible for the will of God to be limited by ANYTHING?

When humans are the tools employed by God then there are, in human terms, imperfect results.  Men and women are subject to all the imperfect traits in any human.  We are subject to sickness, temptation, pride, and, in the end, especially death.  We are subject to Sin.

The virtue of a tool is judged by its ability to perform the job required of it.

So, why would God use an imperfect tool to carry out his perfect will?

Why would he not just go ahead and bring into reality his will just by the absolute force of his power without relying on human agency?

Part of the answer is achieved by first realizing what his will is.  The will of God is to bring his children into reunification with him.  That is the whole story of the Bible.  The first humans embodied as they were in the genesis story of Adam and Eve were created in perfect union.  Nothing else needed doing.

God even instructed them what NOT to do (eat of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil), and gave them an alternate recourse to perpetuate the perfect union of humanity and God (eat of the Tree of Life).  I think you know the outcome of that enterprise.  That is where the lesson of the less than perfect tool comes in.

The story of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and humanity’s eating of it is a metaphor of the Free Will that humans possess.  In that (among other ways), we are in the spiritual Image of God.  Humans alone of all animals possess the quality of God’s Free Will.  God didn’t create man and woman to be automatons.  He created children.  Someone he could love as beings like himself — and who could love him in return without being forced.

By exercising free will we may chose to follow his will or our own.  When we chose our will over his, then the nature of our humanity causes us to act in contradiction to his will.  We are told in the bible that merely to THINK in contradiction is as bad as the act.  First the thought comes, brothers and sister, then the act — cause and effect.  Effect never precedes cause.

The nature of our humanity causes us to want to be god in ourselves.  When God speaks to us and tells us his will and it is not what we want to do, then rebellion arises — always and without fail.

If we are called by God into service of his will and follow that will then we will perform as best we are able, given all the limitations of body and spirit.  The stronger our faith in his will and in his love for us then the greater our virtue to be able to carry out that will as it is spoken to us.  The greater our virtue the more we will grow in faith and love.  In this life and in our bodies (flesh) we cannot be perfect in faith.  Faith does not become perfect until we are face to face with our creator and then faith ceases to exist and becomes absolute knowledge.

We will know as we have been known.  Glory!

So, rolling around back to the beginning of this post, is God truly using me in a mighty way?

I believe he is.  The goal he has in mind is that of which I am unsure!

Is it to serve his children by bringing and leading them to the love he has for them?

That must be part of it.  But, I am left looking at my efforts and wondering if this tool — this body, mind and spirit that I possess — is adequate for the job.

If not, then why use me for the task?  Why not use someone better suited — stronger in all three aspects?

I am full of pride, though less than previously.  Most (I hope) of that stupid pride has been burned and beaten out of me by previous failures to completely follow his will and my failure to have complete faith that nothing of my will is adequate for the completion of divine will.

So maybe that is a part of it.  Maybe part of the mighty way I am being used is for MY benefit!  As I practice following his will, I get better at it.  As I put my faith into action, the greater my faith becomes.  As I share God’s love, the greater that his love becomes in me.

And maybe, just maybe, he is is using this imperfect, error prone, tool because that is the way it works best.  Maybe, just maybe, it is by viewing others just like me as they grow in love and virtue in God, that others see solid examples of the possible!  As his might is seen in me in imperfect representation as a frail human, the more to the Glory of his Love that he should choose such a weak vessel to be the object of Divine Grace.

In the end I am left with more questions than answers.  The closer I get to following his will, the more my faith grows and the more that is revealed to me.  And each step along the way, the questions get the less.  It is not that the more I know the more I realize that I do not know.  That is indeed just the case.  The more knowledge given to me the more I realize just how much there is to be learned.

No.  The questions get less, because I don’t need the answers as much.  All will be revealed, if I just wait on the Lord.  His love is sufficient.

merciful and mighty!

God in three Persons, blessed Trinity!

January 19, 2012 Posted by | God, Personal | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Actualizing Salvation

But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that was he has done has been done through God. (John 3:21)

In order for truth to be real — actual — you have to practice it.  “In Theory . . . ” means nothing in the real world.  “Reality” is what is measurable and open to examination and example.

We are hired for jobs based on prior experience and references from others who can attest to our proven ability.  We are fired if we cannot show by concrete example that what we say we can do, we can actually do.

“Well, she TALKS a good game . . .,” is a common expression and highlights the point here.

The same is true in religion as it is in the secular world.  It is true in the eye of God, as it is in the eye of humans.  Another common expression is, “They who cannot do, teach.” Despite its extreme cynicism, it holds a very large kernel of truth.  In religion it might be expressed as, “Practice what you preach.”

If I say that I am saved, but do not act as though I am saved, then I am sending a VERY strong message that I am NOT saved!  Is that who I am trying to impress — people who might happen to think that my state of salvation is of some personal importance to them ?  NO!  It’s not about trying to impress ANYONE, not even and especially God.

It will show itself.

If you live in the truth, you will act truthfully.  If you live in love, you will act lovingly.  If you have faith, you will behave faithfully.  If you are saved, you will act as though you are saved.  You may not do any of these things as well as you would like or as well as others think you should, but none of it is easy.  And, until you reach paradise, its all a matter of degree anyway!

We are given plenty of opportunities to express any of these qualities in daily life.  When we do act on these divine qualities and are slapped down by the world as a result we have two options.  We may stay down and avoid the risk and consequent pain that accompanies a failed risk, OR we may pick ourselves back up and continue to do that which actualizes the thought.  Doing that — actualizing the thought — is a sign of the faith that we profess.  The more we act on our faith the stronger our faith becomes and NOT by practice.  It is because acting on our faith brings it more and more into actuality by its presence in the real world as well in the spirit.  The glorious part is that the stronger our faith is the greater our received rewards for practicing it and actualizing.

There may even come a point where your faith is so great that all fear of putting it into practice will disappear.  This is a definite sign that you are becoming perfected in love.

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.  (I John 4:18)

How do you act like you’re saved?  If you are already saved, then you already know.  If you are not already saved, then get saved.  In the meantime, whether you are already saved or not, get into the Word of God and pray for revelation and understanding.  Meditate on the messages streaming back from God.  Open your ears and listen for a change.

January 8, 2012 Posted by | Faith | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Truth

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know  my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” (John 14:6-7)

I have discussed several aspects of the nature of God so far.  God has been identified as Love, Being, Good, the Creator, and the Universe.  All of these have been identified as absolute qualities in the Creator.  God is all these qualities as the quality itself in their highest forms — infinite and without exception.

There are no conditions that can be placed on these qualities.  Even the use of language itself to describe  them dilutes the qualities, because language places conditions on how fully they might be explained.  True understanding must come through mysticism which loses meaning with explanation and is itself fatally flawed.

Now we see another characteristic in our search for the ultimate.  Truth.

God is Truth —given.

Without this given then all search for God in any other respect is fruitless.  If we cannot accept as given that any revelation or examination is true and without condition them no revelation or examination can be accepted  If we find imperfection in the represented Truth of God then all other knowledge is minimally suspect and invalid as a result.

So what is the Truth.  Jesus tells us in John 14 that HE is the truth.  He is the Father as he represents himself here — by proxy.  “If you know me, then you know him,” he says. “And because you have known me and seen me, then you have seen and know him.”

We are still left asking though what exactly it is that this truth represents.  Details please!  Jesus gives us some of the details.  If he says that he is the truth and also tells us that he is “the way” and “the life,”  then we know that these are also fundamental truths.   There must be more to it though, yes?

If that is all there is to be known then why do we have all these different denominations?  If there were not shades of belief then there would not be all these various churches claiming that they hold the one and only truth and all the rest of them have just got it BAD wrong!  We could and should put a couple of boat loads of theologians out of work if we could only find one truth that covers the whole enchilada that EVERYONE can accept!

God wants us to know the truth.  The trouble is . . . the trouble is . . . the trouble is that the truth is as unconditional as he is.  If the being of God is without condition then any quality by which he is ultimately defined is also without condition and as it was said above any attempt to explain it dilutes the meaning.  Can there be one irreducible truth that is stated so plainly that it cannot be questioned?

Sadly, no.

Even the truth of the salvation provided by the death and resurrection is questionable.  If not, then the whole world would be Christian.

You see, any time we attempt to present the “Truth” as we understand it, we are forced to express it in a “subject-object” relationship.  “I am the way to life.” “I” (Jesus) is the subject.  “The way to Life (for humanity)” is the object.  Any time we use subject-object we open the field to conditionsWhat if “the way” is not Jesus?  What if it is Buddha?

God is neither subject NOR object!  God exists prior and independently from any subject-object discourse.  God is the Unconditional.  God is defined by absolutes without possibility of reduction or alteration.  Any time we turn to God and attempt to put pure Being into a subject-object relationship, God immediately turns it back to us and we become subject and object.  We try to relate to the ineffable with language which is an oxymoron.

For Christians there are certain truths that cannot be questioned for the faith of Christianity to continue.  That is the reason for “creeds”  There must be some things on which we all agree in order to call ourselves Christian.  To question or disavow any of these “truths” is to commit heresy.

  1. Jesus is the Old Testament promised Messiah, the Christ,
  2. He came to provide reconciliation between God and humanity,
  3. To do that he suffered and died,
  4. He then was resurrected from the dead and ascended into Heaven,
  5. He provides forgiveness of Sin, and
  6. He provided the Holy Spirit to be our comforter and assurance of his Truth.

The truth?  If you believe the forgoing you will have life everlasting in the realm of Heaven as a child and co-heir of Jesus.

God is Truth — given.

On this you can absolutely rely — Truly.

In Christ’s Love, Michael

January 7, 2012 Posted by | God | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Understanding the Light

The light shines in the darkness, but the dark has not understood it.  John 1:5

The light is the Being, Truth, and the Goodness that is God.  Jesus came and was the witness to that light.  He was not the light itself.  That is why in order to bring understanding to those who could not comprehend the light that he had to die.  It was necessary for him to die and to be resurrected and return to the Light so that the light could be sent back to the world and inhabit the spirit of humanity and for those who welcomed the light, they came to under stand it.

Darkness cannot exist in the presence of light.  Light eradicates Dark.  There might be diffused light as we see in shadows.  This is how the Christ was witness to the light.  His form was that of a shadow which is darkness diffused by light.  he gave definition to the light.  His human form was darkness.  But the light shone around him and entered into the darkness that was his body and showed the source of the light in the shadow.  Until that point there was no one who cast a shadow.  The being of all was dark without suffusion.  The shadow cast by the Christ showed that it was possible to replace darkness with light.

God, who is light, cannot perceive dark.  When light appears, dark disappears.  It is only by accepting the Light into the darkness of our corrupt human spirit that we can have communion and be acknowledged by the Author of the light and that only by acknowledging he who was the bearer of the light — the Lamb of God.

Where are you?  Have you acknowledged the light?  Have you understood the necessity of the light bearer?  What are you waiting for?

Come into the light.  For God’s sake, but more importantly for your sake.

January 6, 2012 Posted by | Wisdom | , , , | Leave a comment

The Human Spirit

In the creation story in the first chapter of Genesis, after God created something and looked at it he “saw that it was good.”  Five times before the appearance of humans, God said of his creation “that it was good.”  Then the Lord God created man.

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.  Genesis 1:27

After all this, at the end of the sixth “day” God looked  at “all that he had made, and it was very good.  All of his creation, including humans who were made “in his own image,” were seen as “very good.”

And why not? Is not God, in and of God’s very own nature, good?

The answers are there is no reason why the creations of God should not be seen as “very good,” and it is an absolute given that the nature of God is “good.”  It is the given upon which all questions of theology must rest.  God is the ultimate concern being questioned!  So what is God?

God is Good — given.

God is also the ultimate “Being.”  God is that from which all existence proceeds.  That is seen from Genesis in abundance.  God created the shape and structure of the planet Earth itself.   Besides being the ultimate and absolute “good,” what else may we say of the nature of God?

God is Being — given.

What is also seen in Genesis is something that is often overlooked because it is put in a necessary secondary position to expose the story of religious humanity as it unfolds on Earth.  The thing overlooked is  something else God created; everything else that is not on Earth.

And God said, ‘let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the Earth.  And it was so.  God made two great lights — the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night.  He also made the stars.

From astronomy of hundreds and hundreds of years we know that included in the “lights” there are multitudes of other objects.  There are other planets that encircle our sun and other planets that surround the stars.  There are comets and asteroids and moons and God only knows what else in the “sky” that were not there until God created them.

It is the Universe.  The Universe is infinite.  It is infinite in space.  There are no limits to its size.  It is without boundary.  It is infinite in time.  There is no point from which we can measure its beginning and end.  The objects within the universe have an age limit.  We can point to to when they started and to which we can reasonably expect their end.  Stars eventually go out.  There is no beginning and no ending to the Universe where all these physical bodies exist though.  What else can we say of the Being which is God?

God is the Universe — given.

If there was a “Big Bang,”  God was there when it happened.  God is not in the Universe and the Universe is not in God.  They are one and the same.  Before there was anything which can be identified as physical or material, there was God.

How then can we humans be created in the image of a non-material Being?  Simply, we cannot.  So there must be some other way in which we can be identified as being in the image of God.  If we chose, and we do, to identify the nature of God as that of a Spirit, then we must assume that if God was present before the creation of material forms that in order to be created in God’s image that it must be in the image of his Spirit.  Here, we capitalize “Spirit,” because it is but another way of saying “Being,” which we have already noted is the absolute nature of God.  Being and Good and the Universe are all absolutes and all are not within God but are all God in and of God.  They are the totality of God’s ultimate nature.

It is the human spirit which is in the image of God.  We do not find our human nature of being in our bodies.  We find our being in our spirit.  After God caused the creation of humanity in his spiritual image, he saw that “it was very good.”

In the beginning, the human spirit was good — given.

What happened to it after that?  The answer for that is for another article.

In Christ’s love, Michael

January 5, 2012 Posted by | Spirit | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Christmas Message

Today is Thursday, December 22, 2011.  It is two days before Christmas Eve.  Only three shopping days left before Christmas — *sigh*

I have spent a lot of time wondering what article I would contribute to this blog commemorating the day that we celebrate as the coming into the world of the Son of Man.  I considered writing nothing, but the thought of saying nothing at this time about such an important event is as upsetting to me as the gross hypocrisies that are perpetrated in the name of the flesh born Savior of humanity.

And now it is the time to put into words my thoughts on the occasion.

Jesus was born into the world a little over two thousand years ago and lived less than half the standard three score and ten that is generally considered normal.  It was designed that way.  The All-in-All, the Being in Itself, The Absolute that we call God created a way for humanity to be reconciled to the goodness, truth, and existence that is the universe.  To do this, he allowed his Holy Spirit, the Prime Mover of his creation, to enter into the body of a feeling human being.  He subjected his own Being to the conditions of worldly existence, with the purpose of subjecting it to the worst possible humiliation that only God in human form could be subjected.  The story of that fate is reserved for Easter.

The story of this season is the great love for humanity that was required for him to stoop to earth in the person of an infant.  Now I have spoken of the Being of God as Love in Love Is and will be soon speaking of the other Absolute qualities of the Creator as the Absolutes of Truth and Goodness.  I could go into great lengths on it here, but will not at this time.

What needs to be said at this time is that the birth of Jesus was the beginning of the end of time.  It was through that great divine sacrificial act that humanity is promised reconciliation.  We are not introduced to a stranger by the act.  We are reunited with that which we were created to be.

God loves you.  I love you.  Now, go and love one another.  If you know God, you will.

Merry Christmas

michael

December 22, 2011 Posted by | Christmas | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment