The God I Don’t Know

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Presented at Dayspring Church 10/23

Not too long ago I was invited to a party at a friend’s house.  It was a casual affair with people that I mostly didn’t know.  I was there because I loved Cary—and most of the people were her friends at UCO.  Before long one of the people, who learned that I was a Professor at Oklahoma Christian, began kidding with me about my church’s position on instrumental music (that’s one way to light up a party) and then he started talking about how he didn’t believe in god because he was an atheist.”  To which I said, “Tell me more about this God you don’t believe in—I’m not sure I believe in him either!”  We had a great discussion, and as it turns out, I didn’t believe in his God either!  I’ve had this conversation many times—people telling me about the God that neither of us believe in!

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Freedom and the Good Place

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Presented at Dayspring Church 10/23

Have you ever noticed how people use the term, “Good Place?”  They say, “She’s not in a very good place right now.”  Or, “The last time you saw me I wasn’t in a very good place.”  Or more positively, “I’m in a pretty good place right now.  But what does that actually mean? What does it mean to be in a good place? And be careful—because how you answer this question says a lot about what you value and what and who your god really is.

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The Good Place

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Presented at Dayspring Church 10/23

Let’s begin this service with a confession, shall we?  Cary and I have a new guilty pleasure—we like a new television comedy show entitled The Good Place.  Okay, another confession, I really like the show—Cary not as much—but she loves me and watches it with me because I like it so much! So far, there has only been seven episodes and I would recommend them all.  (The fact that I like it is probably a sure sign that the show will be cancelled at the end of the season!)

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Air Brushed Christ

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Jesus is our savior not because he was superman but because in the midst of being human he knew how to remain connected to God.

One of the goals of a Christian is to be changed into the likeness of Jesus Christ.  On my desk I have a copy of Thomas a Kempis “Imitation of Christ.” One can hardly read a page of Kempis’ meditations without falling in love with Jesus and wanting to imitate his nature. But I see a problem in all that.

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The Hard Goodbye

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There is so much more to life than what we see. Even when it appears we are making a hard goodbye–nothing is really happening.

As a mystic, I walk between the nonphysical and physical worlds–constantly receiving information from both even though I don’t always understand what it may mean. So it was with the passing of my mother. One night, in a meditative state, I found myself sitting around a mountain campfire with many of my deceased family members. I noticed that my mother was sitting there as well. She told me that she had been coming to these campfires for the past month and that it would not be long before she arrived for good. Since mom was 90, this did not surprise me even though her health was good.
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Surrender

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When Ego asks, “How long is this situation going to go on,” Surrender says, “It goes on until it doesn’t.”

Right now my mom is in hospice.  This is the result of a massive stoke that has greatly incapacitated her.  No ability to move the right side, no ability to talk, limited ability to stay awake, and of course, extreme discomfort.  This is not what any of us wanted for her.

Though Source has awakened the individuated self I once called “me” from its self-imposed slumber, there is still the matter of Surrender–accepting what is happening around me with an open hand and without judgment.  Staying present instead of sliding back into the slumber and escape of conditioned Egoic responses.

Surrender is an ego word.  Source has no need to surrender.  Ego dissolves as Source awakens to Itself.  But until then.

Surrender means staying present–accepting things as they unfold and knowing that even if I could, I should not impose change.  It means listening to the news from the doctors without judging what they say as good or bad.  It means listening to disagreements among family members about what should be done–and not trying to control them with my words and actions or judging their words and actions in my mind. Surrender means understanding that this physical thing I call myself is going to be sad, tired, and want to say and do anything to gain control of even the smallest thing.  Surrender means allowing this fictitious person I call “me” to melt, cry, feel pain and despair. It means honoring the physical body with rest, food, and space.

Surrender is constantly answering the ego–when it asks the question, “How long is this going to go on,” with, “It goes on until it doesn’t.” Surrender is sitting by the bedside and being present–without judging the moment as good or bad–even when mom moans or looks pitiful. Surrender means saying, “I don’t know”  when others ask me if  mom can really understand what’s happening to her or going on about her.

Surrender means that nothing is what it seems to be from an individuated point of view–that life and death are the same thread. God is all there is and It is constantly expanding from  one state into the next.  God is mom, you,  me and everybody–doing its thing in an ever-present moment. Things are working out. All is well.

Make Mine Welches!

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The story of Jesus turning water into wine is one of my favorites. It has always seemed to me to be a bit of a cheeky story. A bit irreverent—and brash. You know, something like drawing mustache on Mrs. Grundy’s picture or putting soap suds in a water fountain. It wasn’t what I would expected for a first public miracle by the Messiah. I think I might have expected something along the lines of levitating in the temple with all of the scribes being struck speechless while Jesus spoke. But it wasn’t like that.

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Havens of Spiritual Understanding & Meaning Pt. 1

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I have come to believe that most people have, what I call, a spiritual haven–a go to place of refuge and comfort that works for them. It is where they find connection with something greater than themselves.

I often hear people say, “I’m spiritual but not religious,” or “I’m a spiritual person,” as though we both understand what is meant. The truth is more complicated. “Spirituality” is a multi-factored word and no one definition adequately encompasses or describes it. For some, spirituality and the study of religious teachings are essentially the same. For others religion has nothing to do with spirituality. For others, it involves participating in unique rituals and practices while for others spirituality describes a process of meditative and extra-normal inner states. What is spiritual to one person may not be considered as so by another.

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Haven 2: Knowledge

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When the life of the mind is impacted by a heartfelt love for God, knowledge becomes a spiritual path.

Learning stimulates the imagination towards God and is an undisputed necessity for the spiritual journey because much of what we think eventually goes below the surface of analysis and into our heart–the place where “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” If the first stage of spiritual development is life as magic, the next level is the Knowledge stage. Here we try to refine and mature what we know. No one travels the spiritual road alone–even if they belong to no identifiable spiritual group. Intellectual studies help to bring about an understanding of our solitary and group experiences. It helps us to know what’s possible.

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