Category Archives: Scripture

Who holds the vision?

“Where there is no vision, the people will perish.” – Proverb

“In the last days, God says, ‘I will pour out my Spirit upon all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams.'” – Prophet Joel

The question is an essential one and the importance of vision and it’s role in the community has been held in cultures since the beginning. These verses from the Judeo-Christian scriptures demonstrate the importance for me. Who does hold the vision when there are so many divergent ideas about who and what we should be as human beings?

I don’t believe that there will be a time when vision is more or less prevalent than right now. Mythically, there are no “last days”… or perhaps, we are always in the “last days.” I would say that all last days are first days and all endings are beginnings. So as things are coming to an end, new things are being created. If we are in the last days, then the truth of the passage applies.

For me, God is synonymous with Life… the Spirit of Life is poured out on ALL people. Not just the Christians, not just the Jews, not just the Yogis, not just anyone. All people. Humanity has been immersed in the Spirit of Life and those who have vision, prophecy, and dream their dreams will come from all corners of the earth.

I love the mystical reality of vision, prophesying, dreams. Prophecy (Greek in origin), divination (Latin in origin), and seer (English in origin) all mean the same thing. Each is, in it’s essence, about telling, not even necessarily about foretelling. As a teacher of mine says, when we focus on observing rather than techniques or “how-tos,” that is when we gain the keen insight to infer the likelihood of what is to come. So the more acute attention we can have for what IS, and is in the present, the better will we can anticipate and speak into the becoming and the evolving of what may come to pass.

THIS is why the all-inclusive access to the Spirit of Life, the nature of reality, the bigness of the smallness, the “divine light in you,” the sacredness of all things is so absolutely profound. This is why paying attention and the slowing down and the stripping away leads people of all ages to see, and to see clearly. THIS is the time. Now is when we must pay attention. And what is seen must be spoken, manifested even. “Manifest”  has as it root, mani-, which is hand… so essentially “made at hand.” Again, the time is now and we must make vision graspable and tangible (“that which may be touched”).

True Vision is for all people and brings all things together. It leads to tangible, manifested love. It holds ALL of Life, the beginnings and the endings, the living and the dying, the light and the darkness. Nothing is too great and nothing is too small. It is physical AND spiritual. There is no dualism only unity. Anything short of this is false vision, and we get this over and over and over again from those who grapple for the spotlight of power. True power does not have to be fought for. It is found in vision. It is this vision that keeps “the people” from “perishing.” It is drawn from the deep ocean of the present, from Life itself, and it makes that Life tangible for the people of all times.

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When life makes us raw…

It’s so easy to ask the questions of why good things come to those who do evil or why bad things happen when I work so hard to do what is right. We want answers, don’t we? “God, can’t I get a break once in while? Why is this so hard? Dammit… I thought we were past this…”

It is so important for me, personally, to remember that God does not play the tit-for-tat game of allowing evil when we do wrong and rewarding us when we do right. It is so comforting to see the times when Jesus affirms this. “Teacher, what has this man or his parents done that he should be blind all his life?” He refuses to play this game, which is very much a lower-consciousness human tendency. “He was born blind so that God’s work might be done in him…” Isn’t this the case for all of us?

The beauty of the God I serve is that he has shown me that his love is constant… even when I am bound to ask, in the wake of tragedy and hardship (and especially ANYTHING that causes stress), “Why, why… WHY?!?” Life keeps us so raw in the storms and deserts and challenges. I am living it so deeply, these days. Changing, changing, everything is changing… some things slip away, some new stresses added… all of it coming with drama. And in the midst of it, I want a damn reason. We humans have always wanted a reason.

And here we have a God who doesn’t always give us a reason. This is the wonder of the divine mystery. This is what makes truth… a being in the midst of paradox and tension. To relax into this is to embrace our divine sonship and daughtership. It is to live awake to our own union with God and the love he/she always has for us. The rain and the sun fall on the good and the bad, making thorns and flowers grow. It’s not an easy truth.

Rohr – Christians have a phd in “either/or”

Thank you for your words, once again, Richard. Here, he talks about the all-too-common dualism in Christianity (about the 7:00 mark). From the Evolutionary Christianity website.

Richard Rohr on Evolutionary Christianity

Other highlights…

  • how did we go from the inclusive son of God, who spends time with tax collectors, sinners, and prostitutes into an exclusive religion in his honor? (44:00)
  • all creation is incarnation, not just in us, or in Jesus, but all the way back t0 15 billion years ago.
  • If it’s compassion, it’s universal compassion.
  • If only we can stop seeing ourselves merely as a religion in competition with, and see ourselves as a gift, as all religions are a gift to us. If we can just be Jesus to the world and let the cards fall where they may (as Mother theresa said). If Christians could just be Jesus, rather than making him into a product or an opponent, always one who builds boundaries instead of bridges… that would be the evolution of Christianity and a much more gracious world. (54:00)

The Division is inevitable…

It’s coming folks, the division is inevitable. I see it coming as we reach this new shift in the global state of Christianity. So many are finding another way… going back to living the reality of God’s set apart people: a people that are not enmeshed with the values of the Empire (can I say the American dream). There will be communities living differently, loving differently, taking care of each other and those in need, sharing, re-imagining how we interact with the earth. Living in a way that looks more like Jesus and what he talked about as the “kingdom of God,” the “dome over which God reigns,” to use Greg Boyd’s phrase.

To use the scripture that comes after what most hear about “being yoked with unbelievers:”

“I will live with them
       and walk among them,
       and I will be their God,
       and they will be my people.”

    Therefore,
       “Come out from them
       and be separate,
       says the Lord.

And there will be many who will resist. Those who’s faith and religion are so solid and so certain that any shaking, rethinking, or questions result in a monumental destruction of all that they hold on to… possibly even salvation itself. They have yoked following Jesus and national politics, “Christians” who are yoked with war and the slaughter of innocent people, capitalistic economics (can anyone say greed?), consumerism, individualism, judgment, misuse of natural resources, American dream. Enmeshed… inseparable… clearly things that followers of Jesus MUST be a part of.

They will accuse and fight, maybe even kill, those who have chosen another more subversive way. Rumors will spread, sides will be drawn… one will respond with judgment and aggression… one will serve, love, and seek reconciliation. One side will fight… and one side will just do what they feel they are led to do transform the world one relationship at a time.

I received my first admonishment last week. An old friend who cares so deeply for my heart and my ministry. No doubt, very scared for where his dear friend is going and what I am teaching. His words:

I am mourning over what has become of your faith. I will probably hurt for along time over the implications of your current beliefs. I’m extremely sad as I write this. I fear for your soul. I cannot but regard you as an enemy of the gospel and of the cross and a false teacher who has heard the true gospel and rejected it. You have been deceived by the enemy of your soul. I will always love you and appreciate the amazing person you have been in my life.

I see no constructive purpose for further dialogue between us unless you recant what you are currently embracing.

The heart of it… Galatians 1:6-9

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let that person be under God’s curse! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let that person be under God’s curse!

It’s an inevitable conflict from those who see the gospel as one very small and easily threatened list of “right beliefs.” To see a gospel that is “good news,” encompassing, proclaiming of the reality of the kingdom of God here and now (sounds a bit like Jesus’ gospel, if you ask me), and an open invitation for those who never thought they had a place… this allows only for opportunity… for world change… for reconciliation. Peace.

Leggo my ego… you’re a priest now. Get over yourself!

We talked last night at the Gathering about Jesus as the high priest | King and what that means for us. For some reason, much of our conversations tend to turn towards the need to get over our own ego, to trust, to let go of that which we seek to control… and it turned this way again. Hebrews 5 mentions that Jesus

became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.

We noted that this is pretty significant as, even though Hebrews talks a lot about Jesus paying the penalty as the perfect sacrifice, there is this balancing thread of obedience… something that is quite a bit harder than just affirming with our mouths or getting the facts right. But what does it mean to obey?

We get in the habit of thinking that if we follow the right rules we are good to go with God. Egh… not such a good perspective. That which is on the outside is an outpouring of what is on the inside. If someone has not developed a heart of love, grace, forgiveness, peace, and release of control… all those things on the outside are going to be rigid, unforgiving, judgmental, and closed to the world. We are to have open arms to the world, inviting them into a higher way of living. This is something that Jesus did for us… and he knows what we are going through because he has been there.

But what did it look like for him? This gets to the ego stuff. We fashion this image of who we are… our self. Most of the time it comes from who our parents, schools, media, government, etc tells us we are supposed to be. It takes some pretty hard stuff to crash that down… to let that go. When we are at rock bottom, it is then that we can begin to see who we are meant to be. Very tough for folks who haven’t faced challenging situations in life to get here (I should note that we can bring ourselves into these challenging situations with effort and intentionality – discipline – but this isn’t really a value of our society). We start looking at how Jesus took on the role of high priest in a way that connects with our humanity and as we consider this ego destruction, it takes on a new light.

Christ did not take on himself the glory of becoming a high priest.

During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered.

Submission, humility, tears, non-grasping of authority, prayer, obedience, suffering… not really values of our American dream of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”