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Showing posts from July, 2015

The Invisible Thread, part 4

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To fully understand the idea that God is our fundamental, we need a completely different mindset. For those who follow Jesus—for Christians, we are to be like and have the mind of Christ. For Buddhists, we need the mind of Buddha, whose ideas about enlightenment are very similar to Jesus’ ideas about the intimacy of our relationship with God. Both Jesus and Buddha had a mindful awareness of the universe—of God not only within, but within all things. And more than this, Jesus understood that he and God were the very same substance—as are we all.

When Jesus mentions being one with “the Father,” he means it quite literally. He understood that there was only one ultimate substance in the universe—God, the fundamental string, which created Jesus and his ability to see beyond human turmoil and suffering, just as surely as God the fundamental created you and I—and gave us the same ability to see beyond human turmoil and suffering. It’s simply a matter of connecting to God as deeply as did Jes…

The Invisible Thread, part 3

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It is highly likely that energyis the fabric of the universe—both the creative force and the force that holds it all together. Isn’t that how God is described in the Bible, and even in literature that predates the Bible? Isn’t that how we’ve traditionally thought of God? As creator and sustainer, the force that literally breathes life into us?

The difference between the way we might (and probably should) think of God as creator and sustainer today, and the way we’ve thought of God in the past—and it’s a biggie—is that God as the fundamental, invisible thread, as energy, makes God a very intimate part of us, rather than the big man in the sky, overseeing everything and pulling our strings like a cosmic puppet master. God is not a puppet master, nor is God our judge and jury. God is the substance of our souls, and our souls are as intrinsic a part of our nature as our blood cells. There is no separating us from God, except that we think so.

Even if string theory ultimately remains unprove…

The Invisible Thread, part 2

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The Invisible Thread, part 2 
For people who believe God is the creator and sustainer of the universe, God is the fundamental building block, the foundation that underlies both quantum and Newtonian physics—what scientists might call the fundamental string. The unifying foundation scientists are working with right now is known as string theory. In a nutshell, the theory is that everything that exists is made of atoms (which we know is true) and every atom is made of smaller and smaller particles (which we also know is true) until you finally get down to what is essentially an energy vibration that looks like a string (this is where we run into theory). Hence the name string theory.

The problem is that we have yet to find any physical evidence of strings, probably because we simply don’t have tools that can see that small. Yet. There are also some mathematical dilemmas for string theorists, like the propensity for the theory to create ever more dimensions. Right now, string theory describ…

The Invisible Thread, part 1

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Richard Rohr, the famous Franciscan author and spiritual guru, talks a lot about God as the “unified field.” This unified field is what connects everything physical and metaphysical (and here the metaphysical is not supernatural, it’s simply “meta” in its truest sense—that which underlies everything else). For Rohr and other people of faith, especially those of us with both mystical and scientific leanings, the unified field is God.

Einstein spent much of the latter half of his life looking for the scientific equivalent of this unified field—the force that connects electricity, magnetism, gravity, time and space—the meta that underlies all the natural forces.

In his day, quantum physics was a new discipline, and some of its important theories seemed astonishing to Einstein (and Heisenberg and Planck and the other geniuses who were starting to formulate the laws of quantum mechanics). You see, quantum mechanics creates a bit of a schism in the scientific world.

For centuries, physicists o…

The Centered Self

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The point of religion should be to help us center ourselves in God, and therefore center us within the world as beacons of hope and help. As each one of us becomes more spiritually centered in the presence of the Infinite Unifier, the world transforms away from war and greed towards peace and prosperity for all—universally. Lynching, racism, torture, war, “accidental” deaths in prison cells or the back of a police van, hoarding and  profit margin all become things of the past, as we find a religion that centers our self rather than making us self-centered. Unfortunately, religion today seems to be as much a corporate entity as Ford or Frigidaire. Is religion a wholly owned subsidiary of the global corporation, rather than a Holy owned subsidiary of God?

Perhaps the problem is the way we define religion. We think of the Catholic Church, the Baptist Church, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, etc. as religions. See the pattern here…

Monday Meditation

Source of all light, Creator of all being, we stand in awe of your gracious love.
Remind us to look for and see the miraculous all around us: from the birth of a star to the birth of a child; from the creation of a universe to the creation of a new idea.
Surrounded by life’s mysteries, we give thanks for the knowledge you share and the inspiration you provide.
Make your presence known to us today as we come to connect with your Infinite Spirit.
As you are the breath in everything that lives, also be our sight, so that we might see the world— and our relationship to you, in new and miraculous ways.
We pray in the many names of the ones

The Perversion of Spiritual Thought, part 1

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For the last several decades (actually, this has probably been going on forever) there has been a trend in which the mainstream pop culture takes some spiritual idea and twists it into a “new” way to achieve wealth, fame, and power. Practices meant to connect us more deeply with the naturally supernatural that is God the Universe become nothing more than wish-fulfillment mantras. From The Secret, to the absolute perversion of ancient Jewish mystical thought that is Madonna’s “Kabballah,” to the Creflo A. Dollars and Joel Osteens who insist God will give you everything you ask for if you just say the right things, do the right things, or pray for the right things, spiritual disciplines originally intended to help humans rise to a different state of consciousness—to a new way of being human, are being peddled like the stuff you buy on late night TV to repair scratches and dents on your car: The power of God can fill in the cracks in your soul if you’ll only send $19.95 to your favorite …

Jesus the Cynic, part 2

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We tend to think that the word “cynic” today has a very different meaning than it did in Jesus’ time. We use the word derogatorily. But in truth, it was the same thousands of years ago. When we call someone “cynical,” we usually mean that they are people with a distrust of others; people who think human institutions area always corrupt. A cynical person sees the glass as half-empty, for example. A very cynical person sees the glass as half full, only it’s half full of poison. I’ll admit to being a little cynical. I think Jesus was as well. And Paul, and anyone who has had a glimpse of a world conducted by God’s love rather than human greed.

The word cynical  is gleaned from the activities of Cynic philosophers way back in the day. The name is derived from the Ancient Greek κυνικός (kynikos), meaning "dog-like.” Cynics were likely first called “dogs” because they taught in the streets rather than the “proper” philosophical schools of the time. The term was meant as an insult for th…

Jesus the Cynic, part 1

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In recent years, archaeological digs in Galilee have caused scholars to rethink Jesus’ hometown of Nazareth. While it is still considered a backwater, it was only four miles away from Sepphoris, an important cultural center. Also, the entire region would have been fairly Hellenized after Alexander the Greek conquered Palestine in the Fourth Century, BCE.

After Alexander died his kingdom was divided in two. The Ptolemies received Egypt and most of the southern territories, and the Seleucids received Babylonia and most of the North. Both of these kingdoms were Greek (Hellenistic). In the middle—Galilee, the Jewish people were allowed to rule themselves, but the Hasmonean dynasty was very devoted to Hellenistic culture as well.

All this is to say that Jesus grew up in a very Greco-Roman world, one that was culturally, politically and philosophically sophisticated. Nazareth is often derided as a backwater, a place where no-goodniks prospered (John 1.46). While this may have been true of Naz…

Monday Meditation

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God who is
and is within
all being,
help us experience
your presence
in every person,
in every animal,
in every blade of grass
and flower we see.

[silent mantra: I am one]

Open our minds
to a deeper understanding
of each other,
by helping us realize
we are all,
in essence,
you.

We are one.

[silent mantra: We are one]

Help us
eliminate hatred
by being love.
Make us
see that there
is no “us” and “them,”
only Oneness:
You,
our infinitely creative God,
manifest and real
in each of us.

[silent mantra: We are one]

Wake us up!

Make our tough hearts tender!
Make us instruments of your peace.
In your many names we pray.
Amen.

[silent meditation time]