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What is the Truth?

People seem to think  Truth is flexible, what is truth for you might not be truth for me. Some people think knowing the difference between truth and lies is difficult. Let me clear a few things up.

First logic dictates that if Truth is flexible then there is no truth. That means your Truth is worthless because it can’t be true. The only way that something can be true is if in fact some things actually are true and some things are actually false.  You can’t say that I am wrong, without declaring somethings are wrong and somethings are right, so you just said truth is definite, non-flexible. Unless you mean everything you say is true, but everything someone else says is maybe true and maybe false.

Next how do you tell truth from lies, right form wrong, good from evil? How do you know “fake news” from real news?

It’s tough, but here are some clues. Let’s start with something from Deuteronomy 30:15 “See, I have set before you this day life and good, death and evil.” “So choose life.”

So right there life is good, death is evil. Is what you are reading, choosing, espousing; celebrate life or death? So there’s one.

Two; does the idea, the news, choose freedom over slavery? Does it offer free will? Or does it shut down free will; does everyone needs to think the same, act the same, be the same?

Third, is it selfish, do you come first; or do others come first?

Fourth, who is in control? Does the news, the idea, the theology; put you in control, or put someone else in control? Are you helpless and everyone else is in control of your thoughts, your feelings, your actions? Or do you have free will and you get to choose? This includes God. If God is in control, then you have no free will, if you have no free will, then you aren’t. You as you does not exist, you are just a puppet. It violates the first principle, you choose life or death, good or evil. Then choose God. But you do the choosing.

Fifth, is there faith that in the end it will all work out? It’s why we choose life. It’s why we choose freedom, it’s why we chose others come first, it’s why we chose to follow. Because our faith demands that we be an optimist.

Sixth; notice there is nothing so far about emotions,nothing about whether or not you hurt someone’s feelings; and there never will be.

Do the right thing and the emotions will work out just fine. There is a saying that truth hurts. Sometimes. Truth also brings life. If you know the truth it brings freedom.

The only person that is in charge, in control of your feelings is you! Why would you give up control of that and think that someone else is in charge of your emotions? Oh, it’s tough, but again the truth is tough. And if you don’t want to hear the truth,you are in deep trouble. As you know “Happiness is the truth.” People want to steal that from you and make you as miserable as they are. Don’t let it happen. As Pharrel said,

“Here come bad news saying this and that
Yeah, give me all you got, don’t hold back
Yeah, I should probably warn you I’ll be just fine
Yeah, no offense to you, don’t waste your time
Because I’m happy!”

Seventh, the truth doesn’t hide things.

Take any of your ideas, news, theology and stack it up against these principles and see how they come out.

Let me know and maybe I can help you figure it out.

Jesus and Nature vs Nurture

Nature vs Nurture.

I was sitting on the couch, imagining that I was having a conversation with Jesus. I was wondering much like St. Paul, why do I do what I don’t want to do? Why can’t I be the person I want to be? Can I change? How would I change?

Then I thought the question with Nature vs Nurture is how much of who you are is because that is your nature, it just is who you are. How much of who you are is attributable to genetics for example? Or to your soul? You just are who you are. And how much is attributable to how you were nurtured? Your parents? Your family? Friends, neighbors, the culture you grew up in? The encouragement, the discouragement you grew up with? The examples around you?

So let’s consider for a moment the life of Jesus Christ. In the Catholic tradition the Immaculate Conception refers not to the birth of Jesus, but the birth of Mary. She was immaculately conceived. Mary’s mother knew Mary was special. The angel  came to Mary and told Mary she was special and her baby was beyond special, he was the Messiah.  Wonder what Mary’s mother had to say about that? Since she had already had the experience, she could believe in what Mary told her and support her and hope with her.  Joseph then has a dream, and remembers it when he wakes up. And he believes it. Then they go to Bethlehem for the birth and another set of extraordinary things happen that emphasize again that this child is special. Events that anyone would, and never have forgotten. How much was nature, that He was the Son of God, and how much nurture?  That he had mother, grandmother, father, wise men, angels, shepherds that believed in him, supported him, looked for him.

Since His Father was His biggest supporter and is pretty good at arranging things and knows everyone, it would never happen this way, but let’s imagine that Jesus is born today in 2018, into a family that has no clue. The grandmother was crazy. She says there was no father, but come on having a baby with no daddy is no big deal these days so there is no reason to make up this fantasy. Everyone knows it can’t happen and it’s not like she is anyone special. So her daughter Mary isn’t anyone special either, and it’s not surprising she tries the same schtick as her mother. She says there was an angel, but no one believes her and after a while she doesn’t believe it either.  Or at least she knows she isn’t supposed to believe and she doesn’t want people to think she is crazy like her mother.  In today’s world, does she even get married?  Let’s say she does. She gets married to Joseph.  Joseph doesn’t remember his dream either.  It’s okay if Mary isn’t a virgin, everybody fools around, and Mary just won’t admit it. And they name the child … well pick one, Jim, Bob, Ted, Alice?  He knows he can do things that other kids can’t, and he knows they are impossible so he quits doing them so he can fit in.

You can continue this story, in a pessimistic mode and the question becomes does he ever become the Christ? I would doubt it. But it could never happen because his Dad would intervene and make sure His only begotten Son did have all the opportunity to became all he was meant to be; but ….

What does this tell us about ourselves? Who are you? How much nature? How much nurture? Could you have done, can you do things that others would say are impossible? Did Jesus say, “All that I have done you can do also, and even greater things, because I go to the Father”?

Can you walk on water, heal the sick, the lame walk, the blind see, raise the dead? Is the reason you can’t because of nature, because you aren’t a child of God, because you are not part of the inheritance, you are not an ambassador on earth? Or because of how you were nurtured? Because you have been told you can’t?

Good questions. So  Jesus and I sat and talked about what was it that I really wanted. Who do I really want to be? Can I hold that conviction, that thought for more than just a day. Or tomorrow will I change my mind?

So He told me: “Daniel I can make you whoever you want to be.  You just have to make up your mind who you want to be.”

I want to be wise, healthy, happy. I want to be a godly man.

“Then believe it and act like it!”

 

A spiritual exercise – a story

I am in the process of writing a story. I thought I would share that process because I think it is a great spiritual exercise for anyone. It is a takeoff on the expression, “What would Jesus do?”.

In my version two people are newly arrived directly from heaven. They are not angels, they come fully in the body; so they are fully human. But also newly arrived from heaven, remembering who they are and where they came from. So fully divine also, just as their brother Jesus was/is. Now this starts raising all sorts of questions that I and then you can think through. But we have to stick within certain conditions. There are two, male and female. One of the things that privately bugs me about Jesus is that He didn’t give a personal example of how to be a married couple. If Jesus had had a wife, what would she be like? Talk about a power couple! Jesus is often tied to Adam, and yet Adam had a wife, but not just a wife, a mate, one mate specifically made for him. Actually they were made for each other. So how do they interact? With great love obviously, but what does that look like as fully human persons?

So I am going to write out a small scene, walking through Rome, how does it go with two people who are made for each other? If they come from heaven as adults, what age? If in heaven they do not have bodies, what was their relationship like? Obviously it could not have been sexual, now they have bodies for the first time, they have hormones, and they look gorgeous. How do other people react to these two people who are gorgeous and in some ways unaware. They are new to bodies, new to the earth, they have seen it, studied it, heard about it, been given lessons; but it is all new. Do they know what love is? Do they know they were made for each other? And yes they are  made for each other. This is a love story. And we might think that they look at no others, they are beautiful, but beauty comes in many packages and beauty can be both seen and unseen. Imagine, they walk into a casino in Monte Carlo, like in the Bond movies, everyone could assume they are stars and both women and men might start thinking, “Oh I want that one!”.  How does everyone in that scene react? How naive are Adam and Eve? Can they be swayed, enticed? Is this a prodigal son story where they fall first? No, I don’t want a love story to go there. But perhaps you would, write it out.

Names, they need names. Any suggestions?  A new Adam and a new Eve, but is that too obvious? I like Miriam for the woman, but for the man, Joseph? Joshua? Ralph? I like Daniel, but that’s my name and seems a bit pretentious.  On the other hand should we give these people our own names? The point of a spiritual exercise is really not “What would Jesus do?”, it is to put ourselves in the scene and ask what would I do? Or perhaps to reprogram my own thinking and come to the conclusion this is what I would like to do in that situation.

Got it? I have already given one scenario. They walk in the casino at Monte Carlo. They look magnificent, long evening dress, immaculate tuxedo. Everybody looks, does anyone see them for what they really are? Remember some did recognize Jesus. How did they get there? Where did the money come from? Do they have unlimited resources from their Father? What challenges do they face? Overcome?

In heaven do they have challenges? Are they faced with being brave, courageous, hopeful while in heaven? If someone is rude, or even physically challenging, threatening them with rape, robbery, murder; what do they do? That doesn’t happen in heaven.

If they have “remembrance of all things”, if they are children of God, what can they do or not do? Can they download max martial art skills like in the Matrix, or do they simply have super powers and call down lightning? Do bullets bounce off them? Is that too unlike us? I can’t call down lightning so is it any longer an exercise in what I want to be like? Or am I underestimating the spiritual powers that I as human can have. Did Jesus, heal the sick, make the lame to walk, raise the dead? Did He say all that I have done ye can do also? Did He mean that literally or metaphorically?

So you see there is a lot to play with here.  What story would you make up?

Take any situation from every day life, write it out. Two people newly arrived form heaven, how do they act? Fully human, fully divine?

Oh, another scene:

They are in Rome, walking down  a street, and get confronted by a gang of Islamic youths. Often these days in Europe, this does happen. Unfortunately it sometimes does not end well. The man gets beaten , the woman raped, the authorities ignore it all. What would happen to Adam and Eve? How would they deal with the situation? What would be the will of their Father?

Let me know what you think would happen?

Why is short term memory loss for athletes like forgiveness?

Have you ever heard that great athletes have to have short term memory loss? Do you understand why this is essential for them?

Pitcher: The last pitch I threw was hit for a home run. I can’t throw like that again.
Quarterback: My last pass was intercepted. I can’t throw another one like that.
Batter: I have struck out the last two times I was up, Can’t do that again.
Tennis player: OMG please don’t let me double fault again.

Pick a sport, any sport; if you screwed up just seconds ago, if you are thinking in anyway shape or form of screwing up again you most likely will; especially if you are afraid of doing it again. You will get tense, start thinking and interfering with the muscle memory, because truth is you know how to do this, you’ve done it thousands of times before. What you need right now is to forget about what happened. Let it go!

How is that like forgiveness?

I screwed up my last relationship, don’t screw this one up.
I screwed up my last job interview, don’t screw this one up.
I really was an idiot with my son, my wife, my husband, my daughter …

There are a lot of human endeavors that are exactly like the situations athletes face, that if you go on thinking of what you did wrong, you impair your ability to function at a high level of expertise. You can’t be a great human being.

So just cast off your guilt. If only it was that easy, well actually it is but people seem to refuse to do it the easy way.

What are the ways to cast off guilt?
This all started pretty early. Eve says, “It was the snake’s fault, not me”. Adam says, “the woman made me do it!” First method was to blame someone else. How did that work out? It doesn’t really get rid of the guilt does it. It just misplaces it for a while and it still gnaws at us.

Pretty much the same with “I am innocent, it didn’t happen that way.” Now you just flat out lied about it. And if you can get other people to lie with you and for you loud enough and long enough it might seem like you were innocent, in the end truth comes out and it is all worse than it was before.

How about it wasn’t really me, it was my evil self.  Dividing yourself into multiple personalities doesn’t really sound like a smart solution either.

All the way we try to relieve ourselves of guilt no matter how small the error, it eats at us, doesn’t sit well with our psyche, our souls. There is only one method that works and while it is the easiest, it seems to be the one we take the least.

Repent, and ask for forgiveness. Acknowledge I did do wrong, affirm I do not want to do wrong again, ask God, ask the people around you for forgiveness, accept the forgiveness and then go do the best you can, with all you have until you stumble again. Rinse repeat. Because you will stumble again.

But in the meantime how do you give all you have? By asking and then accepting the forgiveness. How else do you put all your heart into the next relationship? How do you give it all with no hesitation on the next pitch? The next dinner with your family? The next conversation with your daughter?

And what is the secret to accepting forgiveness? Knowing you are loved. People  that love you and yes your Father loves you, wants to see you do your best, wants you to believe in yourself, give all you have and see you love with all your heart; and knows without lifting the weight of guilt off your shoulder you won’t be able to do your best. Love is more concerned about you and you being your best than it is about whether or not you stumbled. Love is the answer.

 

Does Absolute Power Corrupt Absolutely?

Is this true? I think most of us accept this as true, and I haven’t really thought about it before now. It can’t be true. If there is anything, anyone that has absolute power it would be God. God cannot by definition be corrupt. So it isn’t true. Can’t be.

What does corrupt people always, everywhere? It is said not money in and of itself, but the love of money is the root of all evil. So would it be the love, the desire for absolute power that corrupts absolutely. That makes sense and must go back to the Garden of Eden and the Original Sin.

The Original Sin had nothing to do with sex. It was about grasping, taking what was not yours to take. In the Garden God said, “Do not eat of the Tree of Knowledge!” They did. Then they were thrown out of the Garden lest they eat of the Tree of Life. Now turn your Bibles to the Book of Revelation Chapter 2:7; “To him who overcomes, to him I will give to eat of the Tree of Life.” So sooner or later it is God’s intention for us to eat of the Tree of Live, but at His time not ours. Obviously the Tree of Knowledge was put right there in the Garden next to the Tree of Life because He intended us to eat of it at some point in time, just not right then. But, Adam and Eve went and ate of it anyways, took it into themselves before they were ready for it. They grasped what was not theirs. That was and still is the sin.

The word grasped is important:  Philippians 2:5 “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped”. But was given equality with God because of His patience and obedience.

So let me put it this way. Is there a Tree of Absolute Power, of Absolute Riches? If there is, are they something to be grasped? To be lusted for, to scheme for, to kill other people for? Will that not in the end corrupt you? Absolutely!

Further questions:

Can absolute power be held by a fool?

What does purity and power have to do with each other?

What does purity have to do with joy? And thus power and joy?

My new adventure

I am starting a new adventure. This is very much jumping off into the unknown. I think I have something to say. I feel compelled by my Father to say something. I know, I am quite sure that He wants you to know Him better. I am absolutely sure what He wants me to do is to introduce Him more as Father. I have some idea of how He wants to be portrayed.

But, how well am I hearing Him? How well am i interpreting? I don’t know. It’s not the kind of thing any of us can be sure of. I have read a lot. It is one of my favorite things to do. I have gained a lot of knowledge. I have read a very diverse set of literature. Of course the Bible, of course a good deal of theology. A lot about meditation. Does it beget wisdom? I am not positive, but I think so.

I get the impression that the Holy Spirit comes upon all of us, then it searches through all you have read, all you have experienced, all the people and words you have bumped into and then somehow turns it into something that I certainly never expected. It becomes “wow, I said that!”

What I have found is that sometimes the Spirit can’t find what it is looking for in me. I don’t have the right stuff, the knowledge, the facts, the stories and nothing of note comes out. I wonder does it then move on to someone else who has the right ingredients; the knowledge, the wisdom and the courage to speak up and out. I think it takes all three of those ingredients. In todays world it is easy to speak out. Even complete fools can do so, but it still takes courage. There are a lot of people who have knowledge, but no wisdom, and no courage. I am trying to exhibit all three. I can take responsibility for gaining knowledge, I work at it. Wisdom and courage seem more like gifts, so let me be worthy of Wisdom’s attention, and try to be courageous.

Does that make sense? Is that how it works for you?