The best I can do for them, is to do the best I can for me.
The last post, “Dwight C. Wells,” sent me into a hell of a funk.
You can live in a nice house
in a safe neighborhood
if you make it that way.
It’s not about physical relocation, but spiritual.
I have three brothers. Once a month, I send ’em an e-mail to catch ’em up on the news. This one was sent outside that schedule, for the reasons indicated. Names have been changed, to protect my privacy.
This post has been a long time coming.
Many people in my world are fundamentally reptilian.
This largely accounts for their social marginalization.
The question is how to, for want of a better word, humanize them.
July 1, 2018
The evils of organized religion need no rehearsal here.
People rightly question whether it has any right to exist.
To respond, I can begin with an examination of the life of one single man, John Lee Cowell.
If that link doesn’t work, click here.
That this was a white-on-black crime led to a spasm of hysteria.(*)
No heaven or hell is of interest to me except the living heaven or living hell folk create in this life, here and now, for themselves and one another. Clearly, Cowell has spent his life creating just such a living hell.
But before he ever did that, there is the living hell he was born into.(**)
No theodicy can justify this apart from belief in reincarnation.
The question is how one got into that situation, and how one may get out.
It may be easy, too easy, to imagine how this individual got himself into that situation: it’s “bad karma” rising from the bad things he’s done in the past. There may be a less judg-mental way to look at it, an alternative to seeing karma as rewards and punishments. Indeed, the God I worship and believe in doesn’t deal in either one.
I’m not good at video games.
One I played a few times involved fighter spacecraft engaged in battle. Again and again, this happened (which is why I gave up on the game): I’d launch an on-target weapons blast that destroyed the enemy craft; but, as the pieces of its wreckage continued on through space along their own paths, I’d ineptly steer my craft into the path of one or more of them, and so be destroyed myself.
Similarly, for better or worse, karma is a matter of one’s meeting the results of one’s own actions. It is composed of spiritual material that is just as — material — in its own world, as any material object is in ours. Like those pieces of wreckage careening through space, or like billiard balls rolling across a pool table, each one — with its own momentum and inertia — will continue on its path unless something happens to redirect it or dissolve it.
I have lived at times in dread of what bad things I have done in previous lives that may come back to create unforseen, inevitable disaster in my future in this life. There is no need to do so; no need to explore one’s presumed past lives in search of such information. For from moment to moment, day to day, one meets one’s karma from this life and the past; as little or much as one can deal with, at the moment.
One who lives as Jesus taught is prone to present one’s best self at all times; the best self one can be at the moment, from moment to moment. In this way, such a person is not only creating the best possible present for oneself and one’s community, but also sending favorable karma into one’s own future.
By the same token, one who lives as Jesus taught is best equipped from moment to moment to deal positively with life’s difficulties as they occur. Those difficulties inevitably include the negative karma from one’s past. Dealing positively with such events expiates that karma, sublimating evil into good, changing darkness into light.
In recent days, I have been assembling a list of Bible verses to examine in the chapter, “Other Jesus sayings.” I puzzled over the significance of these:
The last one seems to me to be about forgiveness also: “loosing” a bond refers to forgiving an offense; “binding” refers to not-forgiving.
is to not-forgive, but rather retaliate. Much of what we see, in the world, is a matter of negativity between persons going back and forth forever, each one alternating in the roles of victim and victimizer, which is why the human state seems so seldom to improve.
All sentient creatures, all creatures that have free will, have the privilege, power and ability to change light into darkness, or darkness into light. This is a feature of God’s image in each one. To forgive is to change darkness into light.
As to the bond that is created when one does not forgive: this is, in effect, a material thing in the spiritual world, like any of the rest of one’s karma, that will careen on its own through space-time potentially forever. Something has to happen to loose or dissolve that bond, an act of will by some sentient creature.
The soul who was Nia Wilson, and the soul who is John Lee Cowell, are destined to meet again; in a future life for her, and the present or a future life for him. When they do, the person she will be is destined to feel a strong, murderous impulse toward him. If she fails or has failed to forgive; or fails to sublimate or redirect that impulse; she will act on it — possibly again, as we cannot rule out the possibility that he killed her his time in retaliation for an attack she, in some previous life, made on him before. Either one could have been of the other sex at that time.
Similar impulses clearly have beset Cowell all his life. I refer to this phenomenon as “The Itch,” an unsought desire for strife or violence or turmoil. Its presence in my own experience is very troubling to me, and I am working to purify myself of it. In other chapters, I set forth “Strategies” and “Tactics”(***) one may use to sublimate or redirect such impulses.
Cowell faces far more work in this regard than you or I. Much as he may strive in it, he is sure to sometimes fail.
A major aspect is that one must be willing to forgive oneself, which may be what Mark 11:25 and Matthew 18:35 are actually about.
Related: A short route to agony
He will never be free until he discerns the image of God within himself, and loves that, loves himself, enough to forgive himself his life of violence and crime.
The evils of organized religion need no rehearsal here. I obviously have profound disagreements with traditional Christianity in almost any form. The fact remains that no other institution in the West, even in the world, presumes to seek to understand what Jesus taught. No other institution in the world even sets forth the proposition of forgiveness.
The church does.
That’s reason enough it should exist.
– BART slaying ignites fear among black people — ‘It just feels like they’re coming for us’
– Anne Hathaway calls out white privilege in passionate post about ‘unspeakable’ murder of Nia Wilson
– Critics say the media makes innocent blacks look dangerous. Nia Wilson is their latest example.
(***)These will appear at a later date.
|<– Home||2) Give up the word “deserve.” –>|
… exactly what the poor need to do for themselves.
On the one hand, I will shortly dispel the notion that wealth means you don’t have the same needs.
On the other hand, unless you do these things for yourself, you’ll never understand what they need to do for themselves — the what, the how, the challenges, the work. Absent that, there’s no way you can possibly make yourself useful or helpful to them.
|<– 5) Pray for the public schools.||Home|
Hostility and turmoil pervade the places you don’t want to go. The spiritual darkness is palpable at noon, and the folk are too lacking in self-love to organize their lives.
The area around my church is nowhere near that bad, but still significantly distressed.
Prayer for my congregation is inseparable from prayer for that ‘hood, and I engage in such prayer every day. Continue reading 6) Emanate love.
Friday, November 3, 2017
This message is principally addressed to me, myself. After a couple weeks of doing pretty well at The Way of Peace, I’ve come again to a juncture where I seem to have tired of being happy, and am inclined to let go of this Way and return to, frankly, the way most people live.
Related: Learning curve
I may need to reason with myself, to persuade myself that self-management (1) is really worth the effort and (2) deserves to be a “First Thing” — a concern to be given priority, and to be held more important than other concerns.
On one occasion sometime between 1983 and 1990 — I can recall where I was living, but not where I was working — I came home from work and became suicidal. I don’t recall the basis of my agony, but it almost certainly pertained to certain foibles of “the flesh” that my “spirit” seemed powerless to overcome.
A former student had left a cassette tape at my door that day, full of music he wanted to share with me, beginning with “Bad” by U2. I had a second floor apartment, and had sometimes heard this from the boom boxes of people who walked by outside; and I knew what effect it would have on me, particularly the opening section, with the bells. Given my state, for that reason I intentionally delayed playing it.
When I couldn’t bear the pain any more, I put it on, and was at once transported from the pit of despair into a place of perfect peace. I count this as a case of divine intervention: by means of that young man and that music, God saved my life.
Continue reading A short route to agony