Saturday, February 24, 2007

Our Light-bodies After Death


We know that Jesus was resurrected from the dead. One of the major reasons that he came to earth was to share the important message, "I'm going to die, and then, come back to demonstrate that death is not the end."

And he did exactly that. Ever since, followers have squabbled and bickered about exactly how he did this. There is more than one possibility.

At some point, postresurrection, he did appear in a "material" body. Does this mean that his "physical" body was resurrected? It is possible. But it is also possible (more likely, in the view of most) that he materialized a body that was an exact duplicate of his earth-body. Why would he do this? To show his friends and his disciples that it was truly he. But the the fact that he could create an illusion of a physical body, or recreate a physical form, does not imply that he continued to live in it, or was "stuck" with it for eternity. "For, when he finished using it, he could as well have simply dropped it, dematerializing it.

When we die, we are immediately found inside a "light-body." In most cases, since we are finished with the physical body, it is no more. This is especially true if the physical body has been severely wounded, torn apart, or blown up, for example.

At the moment of his death, Jesus also received a light-body. A light-body does not have the same appearance as the physical body. This is indicated by the fact that his best friend Mary saw him postresurrection, and thought him to be the gardener. Later, on the Road to Emmaeus, two disciples saw him and, at first, did not recognize him.

But, being in the afterlife plane, he could manipulate matter in several extraordinary ways, including the ability to materialize bodies of apparent flesh and blood. These could be thought of as temporary bodies, used for the specific purpose of proving that it was he.

Why, otherwise, would he need even to keep a physical body? When we unwrap a gift, or tool, or food, we throw away the wrapper. When clothing gets old enough, we dispose of it. When we are completely finished with a body, we also toss it. Some people even choose to burn the physical body (cremation) out of respect for Mother Earth.

The beautiful mystical classic called the Bhagavad-Gita says that death is exactly like changing from one garment into another. Our "new garment" is the "light-body" that appears after resurrection. A "physical body" would not only get in the way, in the afterlife world of Light, but would be quite useless.

A physical body is created from genetic material to be used in this world. It is, in every way, an "animal" body. It suffers from a wide spectrum of viral or bacterial vulnerabilities, digestion and metabolic challenges, and even structural imperfections. But the light-body given by the Lord of Love is perfect in every way. Since it is light, it does not have to process foods in the "animal way." (It can turn sunlight and starlight directly into energy for the body, for instance.

It is not weakened by limited muscles, or by chemical reactions such as stomach acid. It contains all the pleasures and senses of the physical senses, but amplified a hundredfold. But it has no biological digestive tract, as it processes light-energy directly. In the Homeworld, the afterlife state, they have thousands of the most perfect foods-- great, bright, lovely and delicious fruits, vegetables, and grains. But these are what they call "photofoods." Although exquisitely delicious, they
have no material/molecular structure,but are transformed into pure light at the moment that they are eaten. For the light-body has no digestive tract.

There is no use, anywhere in the universe, for any physical body except on physical worlds such as earth. There are billions of these worlds throughout the galaxies. But, in the Homeworld, there are also billions of worlds that do not support any "physical" bodies, for it is a cosmos of pure energy or light.

"Get Behind Me, Satan!"


Jesus once used the phrase, "Get behind me, Satan!" when his disciple suggested that he would not suffer as he prophesied that he would.

There is no evidence that he directed this remark to any of his disciples. That would have been a terribly rude and crude insult to any of them, and there is evidence that Jesus was a more courteous and polite person than that.

Instead, odds are very good that he was muttering to himself. He was part human, and part Spirit, like we all are, deep down in the mind. And, among the writers and thinkers of the Enlightenment Tradition, "Satan" is the name given to the fear-nature. [Fear is the conceptual opposite of Love, but Love has no real opposite. This is recognized by early Christian writers. (1 Jn. 4:18, for example.] So, fear, or the interior fear-nature, is the "devil" for mystics and enlightened people generally.

So, Jesus Christ, or at least, his human side [called "Jesus," while "Christ" was the "name" or title of his spiritual (divine) side] was rebuking the lower side of his human nature. This was the fear-nature, called, "Satan."

The human part of a person, plus her lower animal-nature, and, lowest of all, her fear-nature, altogether are collectively called the "lower nature."

Since Jesus was both "true God and true man," his human side did indeed have a fear-nature, and it was his job-- the same assignment we all possess-- to get it into subjection by, and under the control of, his higher nature (spiritual nature or Love-nature). And he had, at times, to wrestle with this fear-nature-- especially when contemplating his manner of voluntary death by the nightmarish, ghastly, horribly painful crucifixion.

Sex and Spirituality


Throughout history, some so-called "mystical" groups and teachings have damned all sexual activity for the "enlightened." There has often been more than a touch of superiorism in this selfelevation. And anything that makes the self appear superior is a boost to the ego; hence, it weakens the effect of the Spirit, and is unhealthy. It actually decreases spirituality. For egotism is the worst disease in all of mysticism.

The physical senses are a gift from God. Only extremist fanatics would ever claim that there is anything "wrong" with looking at a beautiful sunset, listening to lovely music, smelling roses, eating cherries, or touching silk or velvet. These are all the senses, and are all designed by God to make this difficult world tolerable.

The Center of every Way of enlightenment is Love. This is not careless, disloyal, betraying Love, but Love that has built within it the joys and glories of loyalty, commitment, selflessness, tenderness, and othercentered compassion.

So, these fine forms of Love do indeed prohibit the sexual carelessness and promiscuity that mark our current culture and society. Love keeps us alert to the fact that good sex is a form of Love. It is sacred, not a game. There can never be any such thing as "recreational" or "casual" sex.

If honorable sex-- that shared with only one's life-companion, one's Love-partner, is indeed a form of Love, it cannot be "bad" or "evil." It is not an act against Love (God), but a very strongly reinforcing act that multiplies and amplifies a very sacred and special form of Love.

Historically, it is a very sad truth that mysticism has often been confused, or entangled , with asceticism-- deprivations and selftorments of many kinds. But those who have tried to blend the two very different paths have been confused. Mysticism never mixes with asceticism, or selfabuse. (The latter is antiagapic, as are all forms of abuse.)

The mystic realizes that this life can be very tough indeed. So, she does everything possible to lessen the shock of this life, to take away pain. (This is why the mystic will use legal drugs to fight pain.) But the fullest, most joyful embrace of life implies much, much more than simply the lessening of pain. For it also must imply the maximization of positive joy. Mystics want to enjoy life-- to have as much fun as
possible, if they can do this without harming the self or any other.

Sex is a natural function. It is as natural as sleeping or eating. The balanced mystic does not allow the body fully to control her. But she always avoids, wisely, all extremes and fanaticism. Engaging in sex moderately is actually a gift that she gives to her body. For sex is a great exercise for the cardiovascular, respiratory, and other systems of the physical body. It is thus a gift given both to the self and to the partner. "So, it expresses Love in two ways simultaneously.

The mystic does not make sex a "religion." She does not want to be obsessed by it, day and night. But it is a very important part or aspect of even advanced spirituality.

It celebrates nature, and is also a very real Way of celebrating God (Love). It is a sacred and holy sharing of a very special Love.

Many complex problems, including pedophilia, have notoriously troubled those who force themselves to be celibate. Why? Because this is unnatural, and even counter-natural. For short times, for her own reasons, a mystic might choose to be celibate. But to try to force this upon the body for long periods is cruelty to both your bodymind and to that of your companion. Cruelty is the opposite of Love.

Since sex is a valid Way of sharing Love, and enforced celibacy is cruelty, the mystic's choice should be obvious. Remember that, as mystics, we avoid all extremes and fanaticisms. We are the people of moderation and Love. So, we need not feel guilty when we reject the asceticism (falsely and ignorantly mistaken for mysticism) that damns normal Love between Love-companions who are monogamous.

Much in religion also puts down sex. This is due to an ancient god --largely the angry, evil god of very ancient peoples-- who damned sex, at least, most of the time. As the people of Love and enlightenment, we are resorting and reverting to the religious toys of toddlers if we turn to this violent, out-of-control, this false, and in many ways, evil god. The free being is free of this primitive religion, and completely liberated from its attitudes. We never want to go back!

Warezov Mass Mailing Worm


Dangerous New Virus!
New BAD Virus: Watch Out for the Zipfile
Dear Friends of the Heart,

Please pass this on to others. Brian checked it out with Snopes and it's real, so beware. For those who aren't aware, If you ever want to check something out in terms of its authenticity, see the website below for snopes. I have unfortunately passed things on (sorry, sorry) that were inauthentic.


Ok, I Checked this one and it is for be careful guys. Chances are, if you have a current "anti-virus program" running, you're in good shape, but better informed than sorry.

Warn ASAP everyone you know not to open an e-mail with "Mail Server Report" in the subject line. This one is real!

This is a Bad Virus. Please don't open! Delete the e-mail.

This one checks out
and is a bona fide virus; hence, the warning. Any email with "Mail Server Report" in the subject line is a new virus. It comes with an attachment in 'zip format'. Apparently, there is a Zip file attached; so, be very leery of anything with a zip file on it. The message tells you that a worm was detected in an e-mail that you sent out and asks you to open and install the attachment to fix the Problem. DO NOT DO IT!

Thanks to Teresa Ramsey.

Australia to Ban Old-Style Bulbs

Thanks to Ty Scharrer.
From Ty:

To follow up on my story about saving energy, here is news from Australia: [They are ahead of us, as so many countries are.]

Australia to Ban Old-Style Light Bulbs
Rohan Sullivan: Associated Press Writer, published at the Herald Sun
Feb 20, 2007

SYDNEY, Australia -- The Australian government on Tuesday announced plans to phase out incandescent light bulbs and replace them with more energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs across the country.

Legislation to gradually restrict the sale of the old-style bulbs could reduce Australia's greenhouse gas emissions by 4 million tons by 2012 and cut household power bills by up to 66 percent, said Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Australia produced almost 565 million tons of greenhouse gases in 2004, official figures show.

Prime Minister John Howard said the plan would help all Australians play a part in cutting harmful gas emissions: "Here's something practical that everybody will participate in."

In incandescent light bulbs, perfected for mass use by Thomas A. Edison in the late 19th century, electricity flows through a filament to create light. Much of the energy, however, is wasted in the form of heat.

Australia is not the only place looking to replace them with fluorescent lighting, which is more efficient and longer lasting.

Last month, a California assemblyman announced he would propose a bill to ban the use of incandescent bulbs in his state. And a New Jersey lawmaker has called for the state to switch to fluorescent lighting in government buildings within three years.

Cuba's Fidel Castro launched a similar program two years ago, sending youth brigades into homes and switching out regular bulbs for energy-saving ones to help battle electrical blackouts around the island.

The idea was later embraced by Castro's friend and ally, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who announced his own program to save energy and in recent months has given away millions of fluorescent bulbs in neighborhoods nationwide.

Under the Australian plan, bulbs that do not comply with energy efficiency targets would be gradually banned from sale. Exemptions may apply for special needs such as medical lighting and oven lights.

Fluorescent bulbs are currently more expensive than incandescent bulbs, but use only about 20 percent of the power to produce the same amount of light and last longer, making them more competitive over time, advocates argue.

Environmentalists welcomed the light bulb plan, but noted than the vast bulk of Australia's greenhouse gas emissions come from industry, such as coal-fired power stations.

They urged the government to set national targets for emission reductions and renewable energy.

"It is a good, positive step. But it is a very small step. It needs to be followed through with a lot of different measures," Australian Conservation Foundation spokesman Josh Meadows told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio.

Howard has become a global warming convert, conceding in recent months for the first time that human activity is having an effect on rising temperatures.

But he has steadfastly refused to bring Australia into line with most of the world and ratify the Kyoto protocol on greenhouse gas reductions, arguing that doing so could damage Australia's coal-dependent economy.

[We are delighted to note that all of our old incandescent bulbs at Love Ministries have been replaced by small fluorescent bulbs. You can now buy these for only about $2.]

Beware the Anti-mystic


The mystic is a being who makes honor, honesty, justice, fairness, and, most of all, Love the nucleus around which her entire life orbits. But there are truly anti-mystical people in this world. These mentally ill people are called, by psychologists, "sociopaths." (Sometimes, they are also called "psychopaths.")

A sociopath is a person who has sown the seeds of hatred, pain, obscenity, and violence life after life. In fact, he or she has created such a monstrous mind that, in this life, he or she is born without a conscience. This person is enormously, immensely unspiritual; in fact, the sociopath is spiritually crippled. All true spirituality is absent from his/her life.

The very ill sociopath often believes her/himself to be "superior" to the mystic, and to all others. For good people must live within the limits of a Love-trained conscience. Because the sociopath lives without any moral compass, or interior "gyroscope," he/she often sees him/herself as "free" of the need for goodness, honesty, decency, or responsibility.

The sociopath can lie outrageously. He/She can cheat, steal, gossip, ruin, and even kill without feeling a thing. In politics, the sociopath can be absolutely ruthless.

In public, of course, the sociopath must pretend to have "normal" feelings, but is often exposed by this single fact: The sociopath never really cares at all for or about other people. She can pretend, for short periods, to be charming, and even caring. But, sooner or later, her behavior-pattern will give her away. "For even her "acts of kindness" are contaminated by utter selfishness. She never performs a truly selfless act.

This nightmarish disease of the mind is always dominated by a naked, often absurdly cruel, selfishness. The sociopath is incapable of true kindness, empathy, goodness, selflessness, or Love. The sociopath, if she/he becomes a political leader, can mass-murder hundreds of thousands without feeling even a minor twinge of conscience. He/She can smile in your face while killing you-- or a friend, or a stranger. He or she can do absolutely anything, no matter how hideous or horrible, and never spend a single sleepless night; for the sociopath is totally without conscience. Because of this cruelty, ruthlessness, and total absence of goodness, the sociopath often creates much "personal success" in either politics or business. But she is always a miserable failure as a human being. For she/he has no idea in the world what even "goodness" means.

Since it is estimated that one out of every twenty-five people might be a sociopath, do not be surprised if you know one personally. The sick sociopath might be a member of your own family or neighborhood. Sociopathology is related to, but is not the same as, the mental illness called "paranoia." (The paranoiac believes that everyone is secretly acting against him/her, out to "betray"" him/her.

The sociopath is unable to love. He/she is in perpetual hell within her/his own mind, but cannot create a way out,for the way out of "hell"is Love. Best advice: If we do know someone who has the symptomology of the sociopath, and since we cannot change or heal her, it would be better for everyone if we simply avoided the agony that can be caused by the sociopath. For a sociopath, unable to love, devoid of Love, is as close
to true "evil" as any human being can come.

Turning Away from Human Leaders


We do not follow any human teacher, and, quite frankly, do not always know what they teach. The enlightened being follows the Master of Love in her heart, and often, does not even "keep up" with human teachers. What they teach is often irrelevant to one's spiritual path. Besides, since we have Jesus and many other mastersages and mysticsaints to whom we can "listen," human teachers are somewhat pathetic by comparison.

Each being is supposed to become a spiritual adult, capable of following Jesus and/or the Christ personally to the best of her personal ability. We were never created to follow human leaders. (Many of them are so consumed with ego that they have lost their own way, and so, cannot lead or guide others.) Others worship fame or money. They are, very often, very poor examples indeed.

The enlightened does not have any admiration for self-styled human teachers, and rejects the tendency of the ignorant crowd to polish egos, or to give them praise, admiration, or accolade. But she does not necessarily see human leaders as "evil." (Some have good motives.) But to focus on them is to remove your eyes from the prize, and from Jesus as model. When it comes to choosing between them and Jesus as model, there is no contest! It is a real no-brainer!

Mystics do not have human-led organizations. We do not have organized religion, or an organized church. We have no doctrines or dogma by which our spirituality is evaluated. So, we have no recognized or acknowledged human leaders. An enlightened being can choose either to accept or reject the teachings of any human teacher; for he/she is no more a "spiritual authority" than is one's own mind. In fact, we accept our own minds/soul/Spirit as a more reliable guide than any external human leader.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Faith, Love, and Justice


Faith and Love, although deeply related, are not quite identically the same thing. The world tests both, every day.

Faith is the absolute certainty that an invisible Power exists and is a part of our lives, and cares for us. This "faith" can actually be simply the product of close and careful observation.

For there are so very many things that occur that we do not, and cannot, influence or control. We must have a kind of "faith" that the sun will rise tomorrow, and there is absolutely nothing that we can do either to prevent this, or to make it happen. We must have a similar faith that the sun, water, and soil will create fruits and vegetables. Then, we must have faith that this miracle-- the creation of delicious foods from water, dirt, and sunlight, will create blood, bones, teeth, eyes, and skin from tomatoes and watermelons.

We must also have faith that our bodies will take in oxygen, and use it in a thousand ways to support our biochemistry. We must have faith that thousands of biochemical processes will occur in our bodies.

To show just how complex these processes are, scientists estimate that to describe all the processes occurring in your body in one single second would require forty-seven large volumes of fine print!

Everyone has these kinds of faith-- even a person who claims that she is a total atheist, and has no faith in anything.

But when it comes to Christian faith, we must add another factor. We, as Christians, must develop a very special faith. This is faith in Love.

In a world that can be, and often is, quite horrible, we must believe that Love (God) is in charge of absolutely everything. We must believe, to put it colloquially, that "He's got the whole world in His hands."

This is the Christian, and general mystical, belief in God as Love. In a world whose major purpose is the outworking of negative karma, there is so much suffering. The Buddha said, for example, that "life is suffering," and we have all suffered in this world-- some more, some less.

The question is this: How can we live in such a nightmarish world, and still believe that Love is in charge and control of the whole show?

The only answer lies in karma. I have quite carefully studied, over the past forty years, every Christian "explanation," and many varieties of Christian faith. (I have attended the churches of forty-seven Christian sects and denominations.) I have also read widely in Christian literature.

One amazing fact that I discovered, which will be denied out of ignorance by many Christians, was that, until the second century after Jesus, reincarnation was a staple of Christian belief. Before the great Corruption of the fourth century, almost every Christian in the world accepted reincarnation as fact.

There is a lot of "blah-blah" about "the will of God," but that phrase means nothing if you cannot explain why the "will of God" includes so much horror and agony for living creatures.

Karma says that nothing happens at random. If we suffer, we are helping, at a soul-level of deep mind, to create that suffering. It is bringing justice to the cosmos; it is also teaching all to love-- often, by showing the "hell" of its absence.

This is a universe of harmony. God or Love never creates suffering, but God allows it to create growth and progress in all of God's children. Earth is such a painful mess because it is a planet full of "kindergarteners" or "pre-schoolers" spiritually. Among many human beings, there is zero interest in spirituality (Love), and so, the cycles of karma continue, for only Love can ever erase or neutralize karma.

This letter, then, is the result of over four decades of looking for an answer that makes sense. Honestly, if I can ever find a better answer than karma, I will drop and throw away karma, and embrace the new answer!


Spiritual Uses of Time


"Bad" karma occurs when you voluntarily, intentionally, deliberately cause pain or discomfort for another person. Then, the pain must return upon you.

Love prevents our "sowing the seeds" of bad karma. Good karma is, of course, the opposite: It is joy and peace that arise from creating these conditions for other people: Exactly what you do will come back upon you. If, for example, as a nurse, you help others to be more comfortable, and to heal better, this is the seed of good karma.

In the Homeworld, people are very sexually active. For this is one of the greatest biological pleasures. But, as explained in the book, there is no reproduction. A person can have the experience of having children, if that is her idea of a "good time." (Usually, it is not.) But she can do this only in a place in the Homeworld called the Theater, in virtual reality, which is just as psychologically "real" as true experience. But it is not, in fact, real in the world.

Staying up late to study might not be your best bet, as it can have deleterious (negative) effects on the body. Your best idea is to create a schedule in which each hour of the twenty-four is assigned a task on paper.

You must give quality time and attention to [your infant son]. This cannot and must not be ignored, as it is your major cosmic and spiritual assignment. (This is why having another child is not a good idea right now.) But make sure that you do not "waste" time with tv, music, phone, and other serious distractions. You can often use an hour for only one thing, and cannot do two things at once. Make sure that you create time for your infant son, study, and rest.

Income Taxes and Christians


This text, about giving "Caesar's things to Caesar," suggests, as most commentators say, that the Christian can and must pay her fair share of taxes. While we give our lives, hearts, and minds to God, give our best time, and our Love, to God, we can give money to the gov, as each bill or coin has the "owner's" name on it: "The United States of America." This is the equivalent to the portrait of Caesar on the ancient coinage. This is a command that prohibits cheating on income-taxes. The gov provides many services for all of us, and "the worker is worthy of his wages."

Zen Judaism

Zen Judaism:

If there is no self,
whose arthritis is this?
Be here now.
Be someplace else later.
Is that so complicated?

Drink tea and nourish life.
With the first sip, joy.
With the second, satisfaction.
With the third, peace.
With the fourth, a Danish.

Wherever you go, there you are.
Your luggage is another story.
Accept misfortune as a blessing.
Do not wish for perfect health
What would you talk about?

The journey of a thousand miles
begins with a single "oy."

There is no escaping karma.
In a previous life, you never called,
you never wrote, you never visited.
And whose fault was that?

Zen is not easy.
It takes effort to attain nothingness.
And then what do you have?

The Tao does not speak.
The Tao does not blame.
The Tao does not take sides.
The Tao has no expectations.
The Tao demands nothing of others.
The Tao is not Jewish.

Breathe in. Breathe out.
Breathe in. Breathe out.
Forget this, and attaining Enlightenment
will be the least of your problems.

Let your mind be as a floating cloud.
Let your stillness be as the wooded glen.
And sit up straight. You'll never meet the
Buddha with such rounded shoulders.

Be patient to achieve all things.
Be impatient and achieve all things faster.

To find the Buddha, look within.
Deep inside you are ten thousand flowers.
Each flower blossoms ten thousand times.
Each blossom has ten thousand petals.
You might want to see a specialist.

To practice Zen and the art of Jewish
motorcycle maintenance, do the following:
What were you thinking?

Be aware of your body.
Be aware of your perceptions.
Keep in mind that not every physical
sensation is a symptom of a terminal illness.

The Buddha taught that one should practice loving
kindness to all sentient beings.
Still, would it kill you to find a nice sentient being
who happens to be Jewish?

Though only your skin, sinews, and bones remain,
though your blood and flesh dry up and wither away,
yet shall you meditate and not stir
until you have attained full Enlightenment.
But, first, a little nosh.

by David Bader

(Thanks to Mick Gallagher)

A Madman, not a Doofus

Not Only the Worst President, but the Worst Possible President by Jane Smiley,

How do you build yourself a madman? Well, first you flatter him, and then you try never to make him angry, and then you feed him ideas that flatter him even more by making him seem to himself sentimentally visionary and powerful and righteous. You appeal to his already evident mean streak and his hot temper by reminding him all the time that he has enemies, and you cultivate his religious side so that the sense of righteous victimization inherent in extreme religion comes out. If he were not already an ignorant, dependant, fragile, and rigid person, he would not be susceptible to this sort of conditioning, but by temperament and practice, he has nothing of his own to counter your efforts. Then you hire a few shyster-sycophants like John Yoo to tell him (ignorant as he is, with no actual understanding of the Constitution), that as president he can do whatever he wants.

So, here he is, Little George, caught between the devil (Cheney) and the deep blue sea (fifty-some years of being infantilized by B/S/B). Cheney and Rumsfeld, aided by Rice and Miers and Hughes, convince him that his masculinity will only be enhanced by doing all the masculine things he missed out on over the years, especially making war. And Gerson gives his war a virtuous, godly gloss. And Gerson's words come out of his mouth so often that he believes them and thinks they are his. In the meantime, Karl Rove continues to think that he is the maestro, playing Little George (and his base and the rest of the nation) like his own personal piano. Playing the president, for Rove, means enhancing LIttle George's actual dependency while encouraging him to think that he's the boss (allowing him to call you "Turdblossom", for example, and isn't it telling that "turd" seems to be Bush's favorite imprecation, rather than, say, "fuck"?).

Bush is the worst possible president because he is simultaneously unusually ignorant for a president and unusually shallow, as well as desperate for a success he can call his own. I can see how in a certain sort of era--say an era of prosperity and world peace (can you think of one? I can't) an unusually ignorant and shallow man could bump along in the presidency for a few years without creating havoc and destruction, but these years didn't happen to be peaceful and prosperous, they happened to be delicate and dangerous. Clinton knew that, and he approached his compromising and self-contradictory foreign policy tasks with care. But Bush and his fellow boors were so blind that they adopted as their motto "anything but Clinton", sheer contrarianism and resentment. It wasn't enough to them for the US to be powerful, as it was in the Clinton years, or to be generally respected and appreciated--they wanted something more sensational--power they could feel, power that was erotic and fetishistic, power that was uncomfortable for others, power that would make them feel big by making others feel small, power that would show Clinton up. That's the tit Little George has been sucking for the last six years--the deluded propaganda of the neocons, addressed first to him and through him to the rest of us. What we saw the other night, when he proposed more war against more "foes" was the madman the last six years have created. This time, in his war against Iran, he doesn't even feel the need for minimal PR, as he did before attacking Iraq. All he is bothering with are signals--ships moving here, admirals moving there, consulates being raided in this other place. He no longer cares about the opinions of the voters, the Congress, the generals, the press, and he especially disdains the opinions of B/S/and B. Thanks to Gerson, he identifies his own little ideas with God (a blasphemy, of course, but hey, there's lots of precedent on this), so there's no telling what he will do. We can tell by the evidence of the last two months that whatever it is, it will be exactly the thing that the majority of the voters do not want him to do, exactly the thing that James Baker himself doesn't want him to do. The propaganda that Bush's sponsors and handlers have poured forth has ceased to persuade the voters but succeeded beyond all measure in convincing the man himself. He will tell himself that God is talking to him, or that he is possessed of an extra measure of courage, or he that he is simply compelled to do whatever it is. The soldiers will pay the price in blood. We will pay the price in money. The Iraqis will pay the price in horror. The Iranians will pay the price, possibly, in the almost unimaginable terror of nuclear attack. Probably, the Israelis will pay the price, too.

Little George isn't the same guy he was in 2000, the guy described by Gail Sheehy in her Vanity Fair profile--hyper-competitive and dyslexic, prone to cheat at games, always swinging between screwing up and making up, hating criticism and disagreement, careless of others but often charming. He is no longer the guy who the Republicans thought they could control (unlike, say, McCain). The small pathologies of Bush the candidate have, thanks to the purposes of the neocons and the religious right, been enhanced and upgraded. We have a bona fide madman now, who thinks of himself in a grandiose way as single-handedly turning the tide of history. Some of his Frankensteins have bailed, some haven't dared to, and others still seem to believe. His actions and his orders, especially about Iran, seem to be telling us that he will stop at nothing to prove his dominance. The elder Bush(es), Scrowcroft, Baker, and their friends, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Gerson, and the neocons have made the monster and in the process endangered the country, the Constitution, and the world, not to mention the sanity of wretches like Jose Padilla (for an analysis of the real reason Gitmo continues to exist, see Dahlia Lithwick's article in Slate, here. Maybe the bums planned this mess for their own profit, or maybe they planned to profit without mess; maybe some of them regret what they have wrought. However, they all share the blame for whatever he does next.

Read the whole article

(Thanks to Teresa Ramsey.)

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Sharing the Message of Love


Obviously, everyone is not ready to hear the mystic's position regarding life and the cosmos. The best way to present the Way to a person who is closed down, as so many "Christians" are, to new ideas is simply, over and over, to emphasize Love.

In the continuous and relentless emphasis on Love, you will be "on the same page" as Jesus, although some "Christians" might disagree.

We must keep always in mind that we are not assigned any life but our own. Another person's heartmind is not within the scope of our mission or assignment. We must cultivate a Love for others, but to change them is up to God; that is His mission, not ours.

But because we do love them, we would like nothing better than to have them taste of the wonderful, limitless Love of the Father. But we must let go and let God. We must never try to change another's point of view. Mystics are not proseletyzers; we do not make "converts"to the Way. But we do want to "be there" for anyone who is ready to change, to support and help to educate others. For this is the work of Love.

So, talk of Love. Speak always of God as Love, and of Love as truth. In time, with the help of the Holy Spirit, this great and delightful message can penetrate even the thickest skull, the most closed mind. By grace, and given time, this message can finally "sink into" any heartmind.

But we can, most importantly, "teach without speaking." We can make our lives models of tolerance, compassion, patience, and other virtues. Exercising humility, we can refuse to bring attention to ourselves. We can make our lives a living message. And this is, in the end, far more important than anything that we can say.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Habeas Corpus: A Frightening interpretation

In one of the most chilling public statements ever made by a U.S. Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales questioned whether the U.S. Constitution grants habeas corpus rights of a fair trial to every American.

Responding to questions from Sen. Arlen Specter at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Jan. 18, Gonzales argued that the Constitution doesn’t explicitly bestow habeas corpus rights; it merely says when the so-called Great Writ can be suspended.

“There is no expressed grant of habeas in the Constitution; there’s a prohibition against taking it away,” Gonzales said.

Gonzales’s remark left Specter, the committee’s ranking Republican, stammering.

“Wait a minute,” Specter interjected. “The Constitution says you can’t take it away except in case of rebellion or invasion. Doesn’t that mean you have the right of habeas corpus unless there’s a rebellion or invasion?”

read more from Gonzales Questions Habeas Corpus by Robert Parry

Thanks to Mick Gallagher for this article.

Escalation: It's Not His Decision

Just who is President Bush listening to?

It's not his generals on the front line -- leaders like former Central Command head John Abizaid, who said he does "not believe that more American troops right now is the solution to the problem."

It's not independent experts like the bipartisan Baker-Hamilton Iraq Study Group, which concluded that "the United States must not make an open-ended commitment to keep large numbers of American troops deployed in Iraq."

According to Vice President Cheney last Sunday, it won't be Congress -- because the United States "cannot run a war by committee."

But there's one group determined to make their voices heard: Americans like us. So far, more than 80,000 citizens have signed Senator Kennedy's petition, demanding that the people's representatives in Congress vote on the Administration's plan to escalate the war in Iraq.

Listen to the families of soldiers in Iraq, who already signed the petition:

"My son is stationed in Al Taji Iraq. I have a lot at stake. My son's life. We do not have to come out of this losers. We have won this war and the battle. Bring them home now." -- Tim from Minneapolis, MN

"I do not support an escalation of troops in Iraq! Please do not send another soldier to risk his/her life for the civil war of Iraq! My son is a servicemember and I do not support him giving his life for a war that has no military resolution!!!!"
-- Mary from Santa Cruz, CA

"My son spent over a year in Iraq and I know the terror our servicemen and women's families are living with every day. Hearing there are casualties and wondering if it is my loved one and then the feeling of relief when you get a call or e-mail from them, followed by guilt because you know some other mother is getting the news her son or daughter is dead or injured. This war has and is destroying so many lives it must be stopped now." -- Jane from Estero, FL

"President Bush, with all due respect, a role of the Commander-in-Chief is to fight battles to protect his country. The battles must have a concrete mission, and exit strategy. Even my son, serving in the Marines/SOCOM agrees the war has no defined purpose. He's confused about fighting for his country and being an occupier of a nation that doesn't want him there." -- Larry from Englewood, CO

Click here to read more stories, then join me in signing Senator Kennedy's petition:

The nonbinding resolutions proposed by some Senators aren't enough. We need real action -- binding legislation -- that forces this President to present his plan to Congress for approval, before any escalation has taken place.

Thank you!

Thanks to Karleen Sell for this article

Restore Habeus Corpus Petition

Sign Online Petition and Forward to Your Friends

Last September, Congress passed the Military Commissions Act of 2006 (MCA), which restricted habeas corpus rights, allowing the government to continue holding prisoners at Guantanamo indefinitely with no access to a fair hearing in court.

Indefinite imprisonment without a fair trial or hearing is unconstitutional and fundamentally un-American. Senators Arlen Specter (R-PA), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), and Christopher Dodd (D-CT) have authored legislation to restore the right of habeas corpus.

The impact of the habeas corpus restrictions in the new MCA go far beyond the walls of Guantanamo prison. The law allows the government to arrest any non-citizen -- including permanent residents in the United States -- and hold them indefinitely without charge and with no access to an attorney or a fair hearing.

WHAT YOU CAN DO...There are three important steps you can take:

1. Add your name to the national on-line petition supporting restoration of full habeas corpus rights - you can read the petition online or below.
To add your name, included below or online, email us at:
with your name and organization.

2. Forward our web page to your friends and encourage them to sign the petition.

3. Send a letter to your Senators and House members supporting the Specter-Leahy-Dodd legislation to restore habeas corpus rights by going to:



We call on the United States Congress to enact legislation that will restore our Nation's commitment to law and freedom.

In the fall of 2006, Congress passed a law governing military commissions, which included a provision that stripped certain detainees of their habeas corpus rights. Habeas corpus has been the bedrock of our justice system for centuries. The Supreme Court asserted that it "is the fundamental instrument for safeguarding individual freedom against arbitrary and lawless state action." Without habeas rights, detainees are denied a fair hearing in federal court to challenge the lawfulness of their detention. The government is left free to imprison people indefinitely without charge or trial or other fair hearing, no matter how inhumane the conditions of confinement or the treatment of the detainees. Such a policy is not only unconstitutional, it is also fundamentally un-American and undermines our national character.

It is time to join the scores of lawyers, law deans and professors, politicians, religious leaders and military officials who have condemned the denial of habeas corpus rights to detainees and have called for a restoration of our constitutional values. It is incumbent upon Congress to ensure that our laws reflect who we are as a society, that we are a people committed to accountability and basic fairness. In the
face of adversity, adhering to our values does not make us less secure, but rather strengthens us as a nation.

Protect freedom, fairness and due process of law. Restore habeas corpus.

12 Big Steps to Curbing Climate Change

Each of these steps would reduce carbon emissions by at least 1 billion tons per year by 2054. Implementing at least seven of them brings us to the scale necessary to meet the climate challenge, but we have to start now, and move quickly. We have a ten-year window in which we need to be well on the way to achieving these steps.

The good news is that we have the technology and know-how to accomplish all of these steps right now. The best news is that we don't just save the climate with these steps. They bring us real energy security, more jobs, a cleaner environment, real progress on the war against poverty,and a safer world. Let's get started today.

  1. Increase fuel economy for the world's 2 billion cars from an average of 30 mpg to 60 mpg. (Current US averages are a woeful 22 mpg.)

  2. Cut back on driving. Decrease car travel for 2 billion 30-mpg cars from 10,000 to 5,000 miles per year, through increased use of mass transit, telecommuting, and walking and biking.

  3. Increase energy efficiency by one-quarter in existing buildings and appliances. Move to zero-emissions plans for new buildings.

  4. Decrease tropical deforestation to zero, and double the rate of new tree plantings.

  5. Stop soil erosion. Apply "conservation tillage" techniques to cropland at 10 times the current usage. Encourage local, organic agriculture.

  6. Increase wind power. Add 3 million 1-megawatt windmills, 75 times the current capacity.

  7. Push hard for solar power. Add 3,000 gigawatt-peak solar photovoltaic units, 1,000 times current capacity.

  8. Increase efficiency of coal plants from an average of 32 percent efficiency to 60 percent, and shut down plants that don't meet the standard. No net new coal plants; for new plants built, an equal number should close.

  9. Replace 1,400 gigawatts of coal with natural gas, a four-fold increase in natural gas usage over current levels — a short-term step until zero-emissions renewable technologies can replace natural gas.

  10. Sequester carbon dioxide at existing coal plants. Sequestration involves storing carbon dioxide underground, an unproven technology that may, nonetheless, be better than nothing.

  11. Develop zero-emissions vehicles, including plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles powered by renewable energy.

  12. Develop biomass as a short-term replacement for fossil fuel until better carbon-free technologies are developed — but only biofuels made from waste, and made without displacing farmland and rainforests.


State of the Union - Reactions in Davos

DAVOS, Switzerland - The first comments I heard in response to President Bush's State of the Union message were from a diverse group of business, political, media, and civil society leaders from all over the world, gathered in Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum. It was discussed at the first session of the morning on Wednesday, which focused on the current state of geopolitical affairs in the United States.

from Jim Wallis: State of the Union - Reactions in Davos

Read the rest of this article and subscribe to Sojo Mail from Sojourners

See Also God's Politics, the Jim Wallis Blog at BeliefNet

Thanks to Mick Gallagher for sending this article.

The "Mastering" of Life


It is a real and gentle pleasure to report that, after all these years, I am a "full-fledged" Taoist! But, despite my very strong Buddhist leanings, I have never given up Christianity, and a very great Love and admiration for Jesus.:)

A wise person cannot easily or accurately be "pigeon-holed." So, although I belong to no organized, orthodox, historical variety of what is called, loosely, "Christianity," I am very happy to report that spirituality is the most important Center of this life.

I can put the principles of Taoism (taken from the sages Lao Tzu and his disciple Chuang Tzu) into actual operation. I might never "master" Kung Fu in its "martial arts" sense. But I have discovered that this Chinese phrase is by no means limited to fighting or conflict. I was delighted to find out that "Kung Fu" means only "excellence." So, a good mother could be a "Kung Fu mother," and a good, fine carpenter a "Kung Fu carpenter." So, contrary to popular opinion, a "Kung Fu master" was not an expert at martial arts. He or she was a master at living-- in regulating personal desires, temper, and the "lower nature" generally. Now, that is a goal worth striving for!

You are right: The [Jehovah's Witness] cult pretends to cultivate the arts of gentleness, but its leaders are so very insecure that they are always trying to out-shout each other-- if not literally, then symbolically. Silence, especially in public, demands a rather high level of self-certainty and self-acceptance. It can never be managed by the "average" person.

Please tell your friend to contact me directly. Please tell her that I have sufficient copies [of Jehovah Lives in Brooklyn] in stock here, that if she needs more than one, that is fine.

I close with dreams of the pisces mind, dreams of a better world and happier hearts for all living creatures.

GREENTIPS - Idling Gets You Nowhere

Idling Gets You Nowhere
January 2007

Would you drive a car that gets zero miles to the gallon? Of course not. Yet that is your mileage whenever your engine idles. Idling wastes money and fuel, contributes to air pollution, and generates carbon dioxide emissions that cause global warming. Some states even have laws limiting the amount of time cars can idle (see the related links).

Unfortunately, many people believe that idling is necessary or even beneficial—a false perception that has carried over from the 1970s and 1980s, when engines needed time to warm up (especially in colder temperatures). Fuel-injection vehicles, which have been the norm since the mid-1980s, can be restarted frequently without engine damage and need no more than 30 seconds to warm up even on winter days.

In fact, idling longer than that could actually damage your engine in the long term. Because an idling engine is not operating at its peak temperature‚ the fuel does not completely combust, leaving residues in the engine that can contaminate engine oil and make spark plugs dirty. Excessive idling also allows water to condense in the vehicle’s exhaust, contributing to corrosion of the exhaust system.

No matter what time of year, minimize your idling with the following tips:

* When first starting your car, idle for no more than 30 seconds.

* Except when sitting in traffic, turn your engine off if you must wait in your car for more than 30 seconds. You can still operate the radio and windows without the engine running.

* When the time comes to buy a new car, consider a hybrid. Hybrid gasoline-electric vehicles switch off the engine and use battery power for accessories when the car is not moving, effectively eliminating idling. Visit the UCS Hybrid Center website (see the related links) for more information on these fuel-efficient, low-emission vehicles.

Subscribe to Greentips, a monthly newsletter from the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Stop Hospital Infections

We just won a big health care victory--Congress voted YES last Friday to allow Medicare to negotiate lower prices for its prescription drugs. Now, we need you to turn your attention to Ohio to keep our momentum going for better health services. Help us stop the MRSA epidemic, a deadly “super bug,” antibiotic-resistant, and often incurable infection.

Take a moment to tell your governor to take immediate steps to stop the MRSA epidemic.

An estimated 17,000 people die each year from MRSA. Hospital patients with MRSA are four times as likely to die, will stay far longer in the hospital, and will pay far more. Hospitals can do more to stop this “super bug” by prioritizing infection prevention. Your governor can give them strong incentives to improve.

In the last two years: 42 states have considered bills, 16 states have passed hospital infection public reporting laws, and now we need to focus on MRSA.

Tell your governor to find out which hospitals are doing the best job.

Lisa McGiffert
A project of Consumers Union
506 W. 14th Street
Austin, TX 78701

Support End the War Bill

BREAKING NEWS: Major New “End the War” Bill Introduced

Take Action Now / Forward this Email

Yesterday, Reps. Lynn Woolsey, Barbara Lee and Maxine Waters introduced H.R. 508: The Bring the Troops Home and Iraq Sovereignty Restoration Act, taking up the President’s challenge to come up with a plan for Iraq. Thirteen additional members have already signed on as co-sponsors. The bill would bring our troops home in six months.

It’s up to PDA activists to spread the word – to friends, relatives, co-workers, other activists…and to media of every type, including independent blogs and websites. H. R 508 is a concrete plan – not just a symbolic, non-binding resolution – that progressives and Democrats can rally around.

Email your member of Congress

Email Speaker Pelosi

Join Progressive Democrats of America

Authorized and Paid for by Progressive Democrats of America.
Not authorized by any candidate or candidate committee.

Judgment and Discrimination


"Judgment"is a subject of great confusion. Most people seem to have absolutely no idea what they are talking about with this subject.

In order not to "judge," we must never evaluate that a being has no good at all within her. Judgment has to do with final destiny, as well as with the contents of the soulmind. If a person says, "You are going to hell forever," that is judgment, and it directly violates the command, "Judge not," in Matthew 7:1.

But if a person says, "I think that this cult is wrong," or if a person says, "I do not like the behaviors of the neonazis," these statements are not judgment. Even if a person says, "That action (or belief) is terrible," that is not judgment.

These are examples of discernment and discrimination. To discern the differences between good and evil, positive and negative, helpful and harmful, are not judgments, but discriminations.

To disapprove of any person's action, any belief, or any group, because they are negative, does not constitute judgment. This "common sense" approach is the correct, valid, and healthy use of discernment. As human beings,if we abandon all discernment and discrimination because we fear that they are "judgment," we prove that we are lost in confusion.

Some very "superior" types refuse to evaluate anything at all. They refuse to call even the vast evil of Hitler, for example, "evil." They think, and often boast, that they are "above judgment." But they have fallen into a trap. It is created and supported by their ignorance. In utter darkness, they are convinced that they are "more spiritual" than others.

Actually, they are less so, for they are less enlightened, and still in pride and ignorance. (These two often come together as a set.) They abandon all common sense. In deserting discernment and discrimination, they leave behind two very valuable tools. These tools are highly recommended by the mysticsaints and mysticsages of all traditions and times. For without being able to discern, and discriminate, good from evil, we are left without guidance in this dualistic illusion-world.

We need crystal-clear guidelines of good and evil to guide us. We must recognize that such things as war, child-abuse, murder, lying, abuse, etc. are evil. If we take a "ho-hum" attitude and yawn, we are not following the masters, but falling into darkness.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

"Mysticism" without Love = Nightmare

Just a quick question: Wouldn't lovingly accepting an earlier death deny the person who is to be euthenized the opportunity for "education through suffering"? I've been back and forth on this subject and am right now on the "erring on not allowing" side of the fence! In my earlier years (early teens), I was on the pro side but that was mostly due to seeing my grandfather endure a ghastly death from a cancerous brain tumor.Brian


Dear Brian,

The wise believe, as you said,that suffering is an educational aspect of these lives on earth. But to obey the commands and directions of Love always takes priority over the Taoist Way of "flogoing," or just allowing things to take their courses. That is why, if a mystic saw a dog being beaten, or a woman raped, she would not just yawn and say, "Big deal; karma."

No, her Love-trained and Love-triggered conscience would move her to direct action, or activity. For the same reason, mystics do not simply dismiss the sufferings of the sick, the hungry, the lonely, the mentally challenged, or any other. Mystics often care for the needs of other creatures, but, most of all, fellow human beings.

Mysticism is not merely an intellectual understanding of the world; if it were this kind of cold intellect, what you say would be the guiding and determining factor. But the true mystic is always, in every circumstance and condition, moved and touched by the deepest Love. This creates soft empathy, and empathy creates a loving response.

To dismiss suffering as an "educational experience," although this is technically true, would create, in time, a heartless, not to mention thoughtless, person. This frigid emotional nature would, in time, probably neutralize any Love within it, leaving, not a warm, enlightened person, but only a cold zombie.

Greater enlightenment and understanding always create more, not less, Love. And greater Love always creates greater responses to any suffering that we can change. There are many that cannot be changed; so, we must here adopt the Taoist attitude. But when suffering can be lessened, it is the duty and obligation, not to mention the joy, of every mystic to take corrective and healing action.

Wherever and whenever, and with whomever, the mystic can alter circumstances of suffering, or help alleviate it, she must do so, in the name of Love. Without Love, intellectual mysticism could lead to monstrosity.

Reflections On D.C. Protest

Rabbi Michael Lerner: Reflections On D.C. Protest

I want to give you a bit of the flavor of the peace demonstration in D.C., particularly since the media coverage was so predictably inaccurate. It was immense (the "tens of thousands" described by the media was closer to a good 150,000 people—at the least), joyous, hopeful, sad, and exhilarating. I'm going to describe the experience of those of us who went as spiritual progressives, a subjective account that will highlight our experience.


(Thanks to Mick Gallagher)



Many ministers are obsessed with "backsliding," because that means that you will not be in church on Sunday. You might, they fear, harm your soul, and many do really care about that. But others care so much because you will not be bringing your wallet to church. (It is common for people to give twenty to fifty dollars every time that they come.)

Backsliding is forgetting to apply the principles of wisdom and Love. One can backslide for ten minutes, or an hour. But true backsliders run their lives in "spiritual reverse" for weeks, months, or years. They generally abandon spirituality, or at least, religion, for a long time.

Everyone has backslid, at one time or another. God does not panic or freak out when we backslide. In fact, it could be argued that, as human beings, we must backslide-- at least, for moments, perhaps hours. For imperfection is the human condition.

We backslide as a learning lesson. If we do, we must study our errors, figure out why the backslide occurred, and then vow never to do that again.

Backsliding cannot possibly be the "loss of salvation." For salvation comes from only grace, and our behaviors do not affect divine grace or Love. The ministers who hate backsliding, rather than recognizing it as a natural human weakness, try to use this false idea, this lie, to scare congregants back into the church. They threaten people with a monstergod, who is going to do "Hannibal Lecter" things to people whom he doesn't like.

Of course, the truth is always the opposite: God waits, with literally infinite patience, for us to straighten out our own lives. It might take centuries, but God is utter patience, since he, and we, have forever. Backsliding can be very sad, but it is no ultimate tragedy or seismic disaster.

Francis in Century 21


Brother St. Francis was a bit of an extremist, in his views on poverty. Instead of his traditional themes of chastity, poverty, and obedience (to the Church), if he were to come back today, his teaching might be moderated to monogamy, simplicity, and obedience to the interior Light.



One should respond to euthanasia as to every other psychospiritual subject: We always try to get as much relevant data as possible. Then, we hold any teaching up to the yardstick of our two standards: 1) Is it reasonable? and 2) Is it loving?

"Euthanasia" comes from two Greek words, and literally means, "good death."

Death is one of the most spiritual of all questions that we must consider seriously as human beings. Life forces us to consider it, for death is the "end of the line" for everyone ever born.

There are some crackpots, kooks, and fanatics that suffer from a terrible case of thanatophobia," or an unusual fear of death. Their false and fear-filled "solution"is simple denial. Members of the cult Jehovah's Witnesses, for example, lie to their members and promise that this current life, in this physical body, can last "forever." This does not represent either reasonableness or Love, but is a terrified response to death. Other cults, including diet-cults, also promise that, if you just eat right, you might be able to live for well over a hundred years. This betrays a related fear of death, but is not quite so "whacked."

That, however, is not necessarily a blessing. And just as it is possible to live a bad life, it is also symmetrically possible to have a "good death."

Death is the inevitable end of life. Every creature who has ever been born has faced death. We can postpone it, in many ways, but we cannot avoid it. Mystic saints see beyond death a new life, filled with beauty, Love, joy, tranquility, and, most importantly, continued life. (If you would like to know more about this wonderful life, please see Life After Life, by Dr. Raymond Moody; also see my novel Luminous Ecstasies and Passions: Journeys into Afterlife.)

Death is a survivable experience. Spiritual mystics have always said so; now, they are joined by medical specialists. In examining the so-called "near-death" experience (whichh we call the "rde," the "real death experience), they have proved that consciousness continues after death.

Since no one can ever evade or avoid death, it is possible that, in some are cases, death can be preferable to a continued ordinary life. If an incurable disease, or a time of protracted pain, is involved, Love often energizes us to promote a death before nature has a chance to kill a beloved friend.

Murder is nightmarish, ghastly, hideous, and indefensible to anyone who loves and respects life. But there are exceptions to this literal and life-guiding rule, principle, or law. If nature threatens to bring horrible or continuous pain to our loved one,and if ending life is a true Way of serving Love, then euthanasia might have a place in the balanced, compassionate, loving Way.

Death is death, but voluntarily taking a life might not be "murder." We will send, in a separate email, our booklet on this controversial subject, "Have a Nice Death." If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to write again.

True Giving, Leaving the "World," Spiritual Blindness, Total Commitment


When Jesus used the memorable phrase, "Let not your left hand know what your right hand is doing," he was talking about giving gifts of material generosity. In his day, as in our own, it was common for people to give large material or monetary gifts, and then, to announce their gift to the whole community. This egocentricity and self-display contradicted the whole idea behind generous and sincere giving. So, he told his disciples to give gifts, as they could afford, but to do so only in secret. This secret was to be so hidden, so secretive, that the giver would not allow even her "other hand" to be aware of it. This language was symbolic of the fact that, when giving gifts to others, we were to keep the matter deeply and seriously confidential. This would prohibit any kind of bragging or boasting about our gifts to others. It would also tend to make sure that our generosity came from the right motive-- Love for the other rather than selfish conceits or arrogance, or "bragging rights," in which we would boast about our giving. (This would contaminate or pollute the pure motive that should be behind all giving.) These words, if taken seriously, would prohibit a Christian from accepting any kind of public rewards, awards, or recognition for her good works. She could not, for example, attend a public meeting or banquet designed to draw attention to her work. Nor could she accept the accolade of articles in the newspaper celebrating her good works. (We do still have such fine examples of "anonymous" generosity in our midst.)

It was also symbolic language used in the text, by Jesus, "Let the dead bury their dead." (mt. 18: 22). The context of this verse was that people were being asked to "follow" Jesus. But one man wanted to go and bury his father. Perhaps his father was not yet dead, and his intent was to return to his home-town and wait until his father died, years later, and then to bury him. Or perhaps his father had recently died. But Jesus wanted to make clear that the time to follow Him is NOW, not later. So, Jesus, perhaps with a touch of humor, advised that those who were spiritually dead could attend to the matters of this world. But when He called us to follow Him, he called us "out of " this world; and so, no obligation of this world was, or should be, more important than His message of Love and forgiveness.

In advising that the "blind" should not follow the "blind," Jesus was telling people that the mere possession of a specialized degree in even spiritual education did not give any interior Light. The religious leaders, then as now, were often as "blind" to the wisdom of Love as the people. They, and their Scriptures, also written by imperfect men, were not to be trusted. In following God or Love, one must follow the heart. This warning about spiritual blindness applies to a wide spectrum of ministers, priests, pastors, elders, gurus, and self-appointed "spiritual teachers."

Again, He spoke symbolically when he said, 'If your eye makes you stumble, tear it out. For it is better to enter the Kingdom with one eye than to perish with both.' This means that nothing-- even something so precious as your eyes-- is more important than following the Way of Love that Jesus taught. We should be willing to give up anything-- any material possession, any amount of money, even any part of our own bodies, even our lives-- to follow the Way of Love. Happily, in modern times, the Way does not make harsh demands, but there were times and places throughout history when one had to give her very life to follow the Way of Jesus.