“The Way of the Dragon or the Way of the Lamb, by Jamin Goggin and Kyle Strobel. Book Review by Bob Pajer

Jamin Goggin and Kyle Strobel, authors of “The Way of the Dragon or the Way of the Lamb,” pose one question only to recognize there are many more questions in any discussion of Christianity and Christian Churches and what Christianity means in our modern day world. Goggin and Strobel show a great love for Jesus in their writing set on the back drop of a world ethos quite different than what the world is today: a massive ego trip we all share by breathing together in this world. An ego that teaches us how to survive in a blood bath, which is the world we live in.

The one question Goggin and Strobel want to ask their pilgrimage, their initial question, “What does Christian power look like,?” (p. XIX) begs for them a whole set of other questions they state as: “What happens if the church reflects the power of Christ? What happens when Christians embody a worldly approach to power and try to use that to advance Christ’s kingdom? What happens when believers live their lives according to a power that is antagonistic to Christ?”

They seek discussion and answers to these questions from Christian theologians, philosophers and teachers: Mara Dawn, J. I. Packer, James Houston, John Perkins, Jean Vanier, Eugine Peterson and Dallas Willard.

The journey is informative, interesting and poignant. The common thread in the array of interviews of these people is that there is a problem in Christianity: it has been hijacked by the voices from under.

 

From my point of view this adds up to the fact that Jesus’ way and his stories are always with us, made known to us even with the distortion. But we miss the message, and of course we killed the messenger. Listening to Jesus, we will find ourselves in an entirely different world. While we don’t does not affect my faith.

I believe, as the authors do, Jesus’ message is very clear and simple. Our problem is that the message is unequivocal. The ego world that lives in our heads is set up to hear something like his message and then change it to what our message is and we can’t let go of it without Jesus’ help.

But we will let go. And for the very reason we can’t stand his message, there is no other message. Only our dreams that their could be some other power besides God’s.

Each of the theologians our authors speak with, and their own conclusions, seem to leave out what I believe is the heart of Jesus’ message, forgiveness. But forgiveness of a kind we are yet to get in a world we make up to bury all of his ideas. He told us everything, much got lost because of the building of the Roman empire’s church. Yet, Truth as he knew it, still stares right at us — the way that he lived his life short life here. Our authors are concerned with the growing impotence of the Christian Church.

I believe there is more to the world’s problems than that. There is one problem in our world: perceived separation from God and the ensuring guilt that stems from that one perception. Jesus knew this of course. It is how Jesus was able to go through what he did without sacrifice. Jesus did not die. He came to teach us there is no such thing as death and he came to tell us what life really is. Nothing has happened to oppose God’s will, for it cannot be opposed. We must stop thinking there is some kind of power from “down under.” That false power is in us. And nothing ever will happen that is opposite of God, because there is no opposite to God. His children have not left him. He certainly has not left us. Jesus knew full well crucifixion could not do anything to him that would oppose the will of God, Our Father, who only knows truth and wills His holy son, life. God’s Son is still exactly as He created His Son. He does not create anew what He has already created.

However, genuine love comes out of the pages of this book and it does identify the problem, not just for the churches the authors lead but the problem of power is the authority problem everyone has, we try to oppose our Father and are blind to it. Do we really think God is concerned about lack of power among his children who have all the power He has given them, everything? There is but one power we do not have: we cannot be God. If Christian churches would start delivering this message the world would begin to change.

 

I received this book free from the author and/or publisher through the Speakeasy blogging book review network. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are
my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR,Part 255.

 

Book Review: Out of the Depths — Sermons and Essays, by Kenneth E. Kovacs. Review by Bob PajerOur

This is an excellent book. Kenneth E. Kovacs writes beautifully, telling his story of Jesus and Jesus’ way of inviting us to probe the depths of our own consciousness to join him as disciples of his way. Luke 5:4 is about this: Fishermen of men and women. The metaphor of fishing tells us Jesus invites us to salvation within first of all. We may share our salvation to be sure, but it is at first a foundation we share, built on our own probing and spiritual work.

The sermons and essays are full of wonderful Bible interpretations making practical what Jesus tells us about living in this world. P. 112, for example deals with worry. “And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life?” “Therefore, I tell you not to worry…” As usual Jesus is not only practical but knows our personality and what it does to us: “Be on guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions” (Luke 12:15). We are worried that we will not get what we want; we are worried that what we have we will lose.

Worry stems from lack. We live in a world of abundance. We are children of God who has all Who gives all to his sons and daughters. He holds nothing back for Himself. His desire and will is to give all to all. We are the recipients. We inherit what God gives, yet worry its not enough. Such is the illusion of separation from our Father, Who separates from non one. There is no scarcity but what we make up. Yet we can make up what appears real. I cannot have reality because it isn’t true.

Kovacs writes: “According to Jesus, the antidote to worry is the kingdom. The kingdom is the core message of Jesus’ preaching. Now, its natural to be anxious and to worry. But Jesus wants us to direct our attention away from what we think we don’t have (scarcity) to what we already do have, which is God’s kingdom that is and is still coming … we are the apple of God’s eye.”

I think this is certainly excellent advice, that doesn’t go far enough. I would say that God’s kingdom is His children. We are His kingdom. Our primary function here is completion of just that. Not that it is not already complete, but that our awakening to what already is is Jesus’ message. God does not make up as He goes along. It is done. We awaken to what already is, which is everything. Everything we think we have left looking for something better. Mistakenly of course, yet we persevere. That is the cause of worry. Worrying that what we thought we did in separation we actually did. Our humans is no excuse for maintaining what inn’t true.

 

I received this book free from the author and/or publisher through the Speakeasy blogging book review network. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR,Part 255.

 

Empire Baptized – How the Church Embraced What Jesus Rejected by Wes Howard-Brook, Review by Bob Pajer

Here is a quote from Wes Howard-Brook’s book that partially summarizes his important message: 

“The final establishment of a single polity was something to which Origen looked forward as a possibility for the divine saving work which heals all fragmentation.  It was only a short step for his disciple Eusebius of Caesarea, to see the Constantinian monarch as a part of God’s plan for consummating the unification.” 

Our author draws from a work by Robert Markus in this quote to provide a foundation for his story about how the Roman Catholic Church moved away from Jesus’ way, to become the largest religion in the world.  Constantine had the experience and the empire to make the Catholic church into what it is to this day.  The price of course was Jesus’ actually teaching, according to Brook, a point of view this reviewer regards has perfectly true.  First Jesus is rejected by his own religion and then rejected by the very people who call themselves Christians.  This a broad statement of course and there are many exceptions to it, today and in the time it was put forth. 

This book is a scholarly study of how the Catholic church became what it is today and how it suppressed the ideas and practices of the early church in order to do so.  Instead of unorganized groups of believers of Jesus, congregating to express Jesus message, the message became an imperial church.  Constantine was just the one to make that happen.  A converted Christian himself, he filled the vacuum of leadership at a central level for the church.  He took with it the common practices that perhaps would have open doors to what Jesus thought and still does I’m sure. 

This is a well written book.  While a carefully researched text book, it affords the reader a chance to see what happened to the Catholic/Christian church in all this, what it became and what it is today.  Sadly the direction it took after Jesus left, has filled many of us with hell fire and brimstone teaching, and that has spread into Protestantism, which tried to escape from it but still retains much of what Constantine brought to religion.  I wish as a devout Catholic growing up in the ‘40s I knew source of the teaching at St. Jerome School in Brooklyn NY.  I was a willing learner, who became in later life a Unitarian just to get away from the brutal education that came from the early changes in Jesus’ teaching.  I know now why they told us not to read the Bible as it would those who taught us who would read it for us and tell us what it is about.  Much of Jesus’ teachings are preserved int he Bible fortunately and are being brought to us in beautiful ways by such teachers as Thomas Merton, Richard Rohr and Pope Francis.  And, 0f course Jesus has not given up on us, as he is always here with us with his miracles and his second coming, A Course in Miracles, his book channeled to two college professors at Columbia University in the 1970s.  Jesus is now telling us what his real message is and clarifying what we were taught in error. 

Empire Baptized is a wonderful read.  I recommend it to every Christian interested in another look at the literal approaches we have developed to reading the Bible, an approach that surely was a product of the empire which hijacked Christianity.   

I received this book free from the author and/or publisher through the Speakeasy blogging book review network. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR,Part255.

The “magic” of adjustment enables us to look at the world we project into a state of mind that does not create. We make what we think we see. If it’s not quite right, we adjust, thinking, with enough intellect, it will be real one day. We can spend thousands of years working on this. The ego does allow us to say, “You can’t take it with you.” However we’re rarely convinced of that. The ego cannot see the world without the errors it has imposed on it, believing one more change will get it for once just right. It cannot know how to get anything right. It seeks only an adjustment to guilt, which is far out of its realm, in the absence of any realm built upon separation from God, yet where it pretends to live. in which it pretends to live. It’s only success is to rob us of 1000s of chances to accept God’s will for us. It’s only success is our death at its hand, convincing us of its just moment in payment for our sins. The ego is a habitual trap, keeping us in bondage to its false self. There is nothing to expect from it but it’s relentless seeking of rule over us. Letting it go is not easy, but just accepting the plan for salvation given to us is simple. This path it is unequivocal. We are are not. Opposing the ego makes it real to us. Accepting God’s love in its place makes it simply unnecessary. Those who seek the truth won’t fail. That is our happy road of destiny.

The more I contemplate Step 6, the more I come to believe I need do nothing. The battle is over and I just need to surrender to win. Life in this world, which I am coming to forgive, is a made up deal at my hand, purposely without God. “Sit down over there, God. I’ll let you know when I need you. Don’t go too far, though. That moment may be at hand.” And I forgot to laugh! My complete function here is forgiveness of myself. That is what allows Spirit to shine through me to where that frozen block of ice sits melting to flow in oneness with all my brothers and sisters here. We have a river to move in a torrent of loveliness! RGP

Based on:
“God makes ready for the removal of all my faults, that I may receive light on all my problems and there true causes.”
One Day At A Time in Al-Anon.

Rain Drops of Love, by Life, as shared with Eileen Workman. Review by Bob Pajer

“Beloved,

know that whenever Spirit, your mind, and your heart are out of attunement, your body will send you signals of pain because it does not know which of those voices it ought to obey. Should it only heed Spirit’s inspired call? Or should it respond to the heart’s plaintive cries to bring an end to your gut-wrenching fear and intensive self-loathing? Or should it listen to the mind’s dire stories and obey its logical reasons and justifications for inflicting self-abuse?” P. 139, Raindrops of Love for a Thirsty World.

That, dear friends, is what this book is about. It is one of the most beautifully written pieces of truth, perhaps all the truth there is, this reviewer has seen.   Eileen Workman describes the Voice that gave her such passages as one she would yield to, knowing as we all can know that somewhere deep down in us is a Voice that does not hide from us. It will speak when we ask. It will tell us the truth about ourselves beyond anything we can know here in our made up world. God leaves His children with His Word, never to be erased. It is our journey here in this world, of mistakes, correction and finally His Love that speaks and will speak to anyone who decides to follow, as we join with others and melt into it. It will one day take all of us on a ride in a torrent of compassion and understanding for all, as we see it working in others. When Jesus commands us to love one another as he loves all of us, there are volumes of words now in this world that will direct us in the process. As I see you, I will see myself.  We are never left without this decision.

Everyone in the world needs to read Workman’s book. It comes from somewhere not here and it will take you there becoming entirely ready to have the power of love infused in your life here. The book is about forgiveness, the only way to God here in this world. As you read this book set aside everything you think you know about your own well being and the well being of others. For you will learn the battle is over. The ego carried on a mighty battle but was found wanting in the face of a Loving Father who wants his children in the only place they can be: home in the arms of their Creator and accepting a Power within us that is so far beyond the one we have tried to make up, don’t even try to imagine it. Because we cannot. All are called to this as God has His/Her arm around all. In the meanwhile, all disturbance we see in this world is simply, pitifully, painfully, sadly a call for just this. It will be answered because it cannot not be. Such is an inkling of His Love. Just an inkling.  More will be revealed.

Thank you Eileen Workman for giving us this beautiful message.

 

Blue Ocean Faith, by Dave Schmelzer Book Review by Bob Pajer

 
“The vibrant connection to Jesus that opens up insanely great possibilities in a secularizing world — and might kick off a new Jesus movement.”

Dave Schmelzer writes in his book Blue Ocean Faith.  He along with many other Christians these days, are reaching out to the world in what appears to be a strong  new look at Jesus and how Christian churches preach his message.  What has happened to many such thinkers in our time is a recognition that secularization has kidnapped Christianity itself and in the process driven people away from traditional churches.  I believe this partners with a politicizing of Christianity itself, lured by political aims as it must have been in Constantine’s time when the Roman Empire under Constantine, first turned toward Christianity, perhaps to further its own aims in gaining more power in the world. While the church might have thought that they could ride this power and secure Christianity in the history of the world, there has always been a price. Namely, that price would be to completely delete Jesus’ teachings in the process. The core of his teaching is forgiveness and that is not the core teaching of any political system that is bent on growing power in the world, nor the churches that follow in this direction. It is in fact the opposite. That Jesus delivers his message of love and we build cathedrals has always been since he seemed to leave us here, as kings build great palaces to impress their fellow power grabbers in the world.  Economic systems are grounded in taking. Jesus message is grounded in giving, all to all. There’s no match here that can be reconciled.  Who in power gives all to all as a part of a polity that does the same?

The better approach is hinted at, never really attained,  in American government, founded on the principle of separation of church and State. Although not all of our founders believed that to be the way to go, many were able to have it included as a consideration in our Constitution and Declaration of Independence. We still argue over it today and we have at times come close to achieving some first steps in that direction.  But in todays world the Christian religion has been hi-jacked once again and politicians, while perhaps having no intention of using Jesus’ message as it was meant to be, complete and total, unequivocal, they have pressed peoples fears, the threat of the dark side to get votes, promising what we will now be saved by, not by Jesus but by bombs, exclusion and hatred. Its a mixed message that conservative and fundamentalist thinkers fall for, while hoping they will finally get Jesus’ message to be heard.  That’s not so difficult to do in America at this moment of its short life as the longest living democracy, leaving itself open to autocratic demonizing, pressing on the fears Christianity itself can’t seem to put its arms around and tell us what Jesus really had to say. America has survived much, however. Perhaps it will this onslaught on its values as well. I find hope in Schmelzer’s book, and the writings of other Christians who see the danger of letting greed mix with Jesus message, as though there could be any  mix of anything with what he had to say, and said it so clear

There is one sentence in Blue Ocean Faith that in a real sense tells all we must know about Jesus and his coming here: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” Jesus is talking from His to be his resurrected Christ Self here, and if we could in this world hear this message from Him we would indeed be where Jesus wrote in His prayer, “Thy Kingdom come, They will be done in earth as it is in heave.” One of America’s greatest spiritual messages comes from the program for recovering alcoholics In Alcoholics Anonymous Tradition Two of the Twelve Traditions states: “For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority—a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.” How different the world would be if we lived by this tradition. Perhaps Jesus had a hand in helping suffering alcoholics maintain a society that has kept them sober, as a model for keeping us all sober. (One meaning of the word sober is prudent.) There has never a been such a powerful spiritual program as far as we know in the history of this world. And it works without getting involved in politics and government. Christian churches are more and more taking note of this approach to finding our way home to Spirit in a world that certainly does not listen to Jesus.

My reading of this book reminds me it is the Christ in him that Jesus refers us to in the above passage quoted above.  And I believe the same Christ that abides in all of us here. So when he says we’re not going anywhere except through Him, he means through Him, in us. That is clearly inclusive. Our author speaks of this in his description of “Bonded Set” and “Centered Set” Christianity. Centering on Jesus rather than rules and the just right criteria for becoming a part of a corporation is his preference. Instead of rules, there is one who came to join us in our human-ness to take us out of it. We need but look within, where the Kingdom is.  I think Schmelzer may imply this in his book.

Yes, I say to that!  To go into the desert to come out of it. To be in relationship. As Jesus always is. He is alive and very ready to speak to us along these lines. “A Course in Miracles” is Jesus telling us all he has to say in his second coming. All are called, few choose to listen. Fortunately, Jesus in his wisdom coming from his own experience here and his own transformation invites us “tear down this wall” as one of our conservative brothers said, perhaps thinking differently as to why he said it. I believe Schmelzer’s writing invites us to consider the unequivocal Jesus, our older brother who has gone before us to bring the light we need to proceed. Simple, we change what he means by our own peril in doing so. We are here to forgive, I’m reminded. And forgive we can in churches or groups that meet to recognize all our brothers and sisters are one in unity with God. He is, as Jesus says, Our Father. This requires acceptance simply, that best takes place in the kind of church our author speaks of, like the early Christians who decided against the Roman approach to their church, a simple meeting place with the only authority being a loving God for all, those who might have said, “Who is leading the meeting today in memory of Jesus? And a woman raises her hand as cheerfully accepted to celebrate Jesus Resurrection, as an example for all of us.

However,  the separation from God state of mind we think we are in, and feel profoundly guilty because we think we really are separated, is a condition none of us can really sustain forever.  Although not necessary, pain will bring us to truth in the return to our true place as the Son of God.  Our way in the world we made  just cost too much and we will return to Truth because  of that.   Jesus, I believe, is always helping us remove ourselves from that conditions required of a thought system that is not of God, but one we make up to protect us from God’s Kingdom, strange as that sounds.   These are my thoughts as I read through this very insightful book.

Bob Pajer

 

I received this book free from the author and/or publisher through the Speakeasy blogging book review network. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR,Part 255.

“I still have a tendency to think too well of myself and to pretend to be more than I really am. Am I always in danger of becoming conceited just because I’m sober?” Hazelden, Thought For the Day.

The real problem is I think to little of myself. Am I a child of God? Of course! Has God given me all because God loves me and everyone else as well? Yes, no matter what I think or do! If it were anything less, would that not mean God is indivisible or has favorites? Or, that He needs to hold on to parts of His love to maintain His power as One who has all power? Or, to reward some, and punish justice. When I think I must prove my false self, am I not diminishing God’s power in me? My ego always speaks on behalf of my littleness or grandiosity. And it always speaks first, in my mind at least. Seeing my self as less than, seeing myself inferior to anyone is a separation thought, which leads me to think I am less than, lacking in something. Although I frequently don’t know what that is. Searching for whatever it is is a part of the human condition, “search and do not find,” which has nothing to do with God. He knows where all His children are. He also knows His abundance fully shines on everyone. It is up to each and every one of us to accept it and let it shine through us.

“I am as God created me. I’m not a body, I am free.” A Course in Miracles.”

Book Review: Finding God in the Body, by Benjamin Riggs. Review by Bob Pajer

People on planet earth who read this book and practice in their own lives the author’s beliefs, will make the world we live in a better place. Benjamin Riggs writes about kindness, goodness and love. It is about how to live one’s life with regard for others, how to present oneself to the world with generosity and a giving spirit. I would recommend that anyone who regards these qualities as the ones we need most right now, as we relate to others and how we gain love for ourselves read this book. It will be helpful in understanding that living life according to the principles Jesus set down for us, those ideas that saved him as he saved the world are the path to our accepting the Atonement for our selves here through forgiveness, forgiveness of ourselves to begin with. This message is brought to us in this book with great care by the author. It is, for a good part, a scholarly work, and sometimes difficult to read because of it. There are so many ideas that are upside down from the ideas the world presents to most of us it takes time to absorb the different ways of living it presents us with.

Riggs describes God consciousness as an intimate experience, a personal presence that is intimate with God and others, in the moment, now. This might just transform my own experience into one that brings me closer to God as I understand God. Perhaps you as well. His message is mostly experiential in a profound way throughout the book. Although he slips from this into judgment of others and other sources without evidence for his findings. That’s a flaw, that seems to contradict his whole message. One we all suffer from. Judging without the possibility of knowledge in an ego driven world. While Briggs seems to treat the ego with some impunity, I think the ego is not a nice thing, for it is born of our fear, not of God.

A substantial aspect of our proclivity to judge one another is our misunderstanding of others. Well, we really can’t understand others, although we should try. Without knowledge its almost impossible. I believe we can believe the truth about others, as long as we do not also believe that truth is true in split minds, trying to live the truth we are separated from one aother. Which we are not. And as long as we, our egos hold onto this insanity, there will be no knowledge here. Would God truth knowledge with a an ego dream that believes we have separated from Him and feel horribly guilty about it, and want to foist this guilt off onto our brothers and sisters because in our selves we can’t stand it. Guilt in the mind system the ego devises must be transferred or hopefully transcended. We work at that these two ideas with the intensity of the dying hoping for just one more breath.

So I don’t agree the ego is a good thing, as Briggs intimates. Only what God creates is good. Although we can get pretty sure and pretty confident we’re right, about anything. This shows up in our inability for so many of us to tolerate other religious beliefs, as Briggs talks about. We believe somehow theology is universal. Yes, Briggs fails to see, universal in our opinion we are right. But the world we live in would always seem to rather be right than be happy, which is our true state of mind created by God. Who is Himself happy I supposed because he knows we are just playing with dreams and one day we will awaken to truth and dispel the insane idea we could possibly separate from Him or Her. Riggs suffers from the idea that one day the world will be a better place. Perhaps not. We will one day see God’s will be done. His will is unconditional Love and its only Life. Truly the only Life that exists, the giving away of love.

At least to some extent in his writing, our author seems to be aware of all this. Yet he dismisses what he says by allowing himself to think God resides in our bodies. That’s a huge mistake, I believe. As there is no body. God is eternal, at that is all that will ever exist. Fortunately, we are in His Mind, which is our eternal home. We have no other. The old saying the body is the temple of God or the Holy spirit is a mistaken ego thought. Which must and will be corrected. God in the form of the Holy Spirit, which has no more form than God, is in the temple of our relationships, our only connection with one another in this world, as each blossoms with His work, which is forgiveness. Jesus taught that, as he taught the few alcoholics who formed the only truly spiritual healing ever to set foot in this world. One might wonder why Jesus gave this miracle to AA. Well, perhaps because alcoholics are all crazy enough to need to believe it. The pain of that disease is awful. Really awful and one doesn’t get to die right away, nor, because of the illness can lay hands on truth very easily. It truly takes the grace of God to bring addicted people to their senses enough to know they have any sense at all. Jesus is in charge of miracles.

Although Briggs speaks highly of AA, he doesn’t seem recognize that it is its basis in universal experience that has made it so successful. Furthermore, if he understood that, he, perhaps, would not criticize “new age philosophy” such as A Course in Miracles, without explaining why. The world believes a universal theology is somehow possible. It’s not. Only universal experience is possible.

While Riggs it would seem, would like to cast Jesus’ teaching in a “new light”, there’s nothing new about it. It is in our mass miscasting of Jesus teaching that has led us astray, except for teachers like Martin Luther King, Richard Rohr, and Michael Finlay (who sees so much truth in Miester Eckhart’s writing,” to name a few. Jesus teaching has never changed, it has indeed been really misunderstand. In fact we have to change his teaching to follow it, it seems. Riggs is right in exposing this misunderstanding, and what it appears to have have done to our world today. We have a reactionary teaching of Jesus, a direct opposite of what he taught. As correct as Riggs is about this, he doesn’t go far enough in my opinion. Christian teachings today are closer to truth than most of the teaching of Rome given to us over the last roughly 1500 years. The most important thing that Riggs does teach is the presence of God within us. However, Jesus taught that for certain, yet Jesus also says that while this is clearly the truth, we don’t ever get it unless we practice his most prominent lesson: forgiveness. Which is not what the what we think forgiveness is. The ego of separation took care of that soon after Jesus taught this most important of all things, the very reason why we’re in this world, to forgive (love) one another. He says this of course in his wonderful commandment, “Love one another as I have loved you.” Which we don’t do. His love for us includes the essence of real forgiveness, the only reflection of God’s love here in this world, and our expression of how this is carried out. Here. Jesus also says, the only way to God is through forgiveness here. Yet it is the one thing we most don’t seem to get. In fact we have changed the meaning of forgiveness to the point it is difficult to even understand what this word ever meant. Why does Jesus dwell so much on it? Jesus meant by it what he did in the cruxifixction and resurrection. Which is an extreme example he does not ask us to repeat. And few, perhaps none of us, want to go there. Even though he never asked that we do. Our justice system, in its absence of love, is a good example of how we don’t do forgiveness here. Would Jesus imprison someone for a mistake that has already been corrected by the Holy Spirit, and then advocate killing that person as just punishment?

Briggs, almost gets the meaning of the crucifixion. But its the kind of thing Jesus teaches, which is unequivocal. He did not die on the cross. He came here to overcome the idea of death. He did c certainly redeem us though resurrection. While Riggs refers to such things as “myth” that may be, but it doesn’t matter. The story is true even in the duality of the world’s beliefs. Its not in heaven’s terms. Nothing like that can happen in God’s world. Only here could a myth reach our minds with such impact. The truth however is true. Jesus did not die. His, Our Father, did not send him to be sacrificed for our sins, whatever that means. “How could God do that to His beloved Son?” and old question of the thinkers among us. We always must bring truth into the realm of duality here in this world because separation itself is a duality of great value to us, and with far greater cost and sacrifice in letting it go. We are separated because we think we are. Convinced of it. We don’t recognize the fact that, as Riggs clearly tells us, separation is not possible. He could have said in his book, that that means the world is not real. We make it up, it is not God’s creation. God does not create the unreal. We spend lifetimes here trying to make the unreal real, however. Repeating the same beliefs and actions over and over

Un-forgiveness is the fundamental decision we make for all the suffering in this world. The great mistake is we can’t forgive ourselves for such things as slavery, killing native Americans, etc. and etc. Christians are the most violent people to have set foot in the history we know. Ask anyone who was present at Wounded Knee. Christians carried out that atrocity. Christians killed over 6 million Jews. Look at this from above the grounds of guilt we all feel and try to transfer onto Muslims.

Guilt is a terrible human insanity. We cannot stand it. It is insane and all of us deep down realize that at a level we are almost never willing to share. That is what Jesus came to take away. To tell us “don’t feel guilty”, it cannot be true because it opposes God’s power.

So while Riggs may be telling us God is within, which is true. However, I must say he falls short. As I read the his book I thought much further about Jesus’ primary message for all of us. First of all, we cannot recognize that unless we see all of our brothers and sisters as they truly are. Forgiveness is nothing more that seeing truth. One truth. Not a universal theology, but a universal experience. The heart of the meaning of AA’s Twelve Steps, which Riggs refers to, but doesn’t really seem to fully understand them, at least as he shares with us what he thinks they mean. The Steps are are about forgiveness. Jesus’ primary concern for us.

Furthermore, Briggs seems to think we can change the world to make it a better place. Yet the essence of Jesus teaching is that this world does not exist. It is an illusion we think is real, and spend most of our lives trying to prove this so. Jesus would have none of it. Forgiveness is a reflection of God’s love here. Our salvation comes from our forgiveness of ourselves and then passing that on to everyone else. Jesus says in A Course in Miracles, that forgiveness is knowing truth is true. And then forgiving everyone, including ourselves, in the sense that we forgive our brothers and sisters for what they did not do. Unless we understand we made the world and God did not we will never know that is we who are insane and not God.

I believe our merciful Father does not ask us to change this world because we can’t. The ego that makes it up will not change it into what we think it should be, because it can’t. We do have the means to see truth, however, that comes through practicing forgiveness here, and that must become for us exactly what that is: loving one another as he loved us. There are folks in this world who I’m sure are on this path, those who have come to be poor enough to realize having is being, worldly wealth can mean having nothing, and not searching for more of what we already possess. We can’t fit through the eye of the needle because we carry and are overburdened by our belief in illusion. For the most part we are good at switching illusions. That’s about it. And its not enough. The poor (poor spirit) have given this idea up and they don’t have to wait, for Jesus tells us in the Sermon on the Mount, “theirs is Kingdom.” There’s no waiting. Whoever they are have identified the Kingdom for those of us who are still working on it. So we can recognize we are the Kingdom, now and forever. This is an awakening, waiting for us in time that has never passed, to what we truly are. Jesus is the one who is waiting, by our side, showing us All has already given us all. There is nothing to want. Nothing to wait for. It is an awakening from our dream because God’s Voice has never left us. Just listen.
The subtitle of the book is “A Spiritual Path for the the Modern West.”

Far from agreeing with everything Riggs presents I agree with much of it. His interpretation of the Bible are beautifully written with an extensive understanding. His description of Jesus teaching, different than what is put forth my most scholars today, is almost in agreement with mine. I don’t think he goes far enough, however. Perhaps this is because of his theory that God is in the body. I cannot imagine anything being so far from Jesus’ teaching as this unfortunate misconception. I believe his message pushes truth away from us and Riggs never fully explains how he arrives at this proposition, although he does such admirable job of explaining through Biblical passages. Although, I believe even he did a better job of explaining this I could not disagree more. Bodies are neutral things we make, used to prove the ego is real, and then as we awaken to truth see they have no purpose but being a vehicle for the God’s Voice to speak to and show us how to relate to one another to recognize the truth. As a result of separation, which cannot be, we make up a body, materialize our false selves by covering them with skin. Its quite an impressive effect, although it lacks cause and cannot be. And it takes much energy to keep it going. Yet the Holy Sprit takes what we think we do and turns it into His mission: to bring us home. This is true even the egos’ masterpiece, the body. In a Course in Miracles, Jesus teaches us “I am as God created me, I’m not a body, I’m free.” I believe that. Yes, God is in everything, our bodies as well, but I must conclude that is because God does not dismiss what we do, just uses it to make restore us to sanity and freedom, which is sanity. One thing is certain in this regard, without the Holy Spirit’s direction, bodies are not free, no matter how much we paint our faces and present them as the grand work of our ego. Feathers and all, like a peacock setting out for his day in the world, one thought in mind. I leave for the reader to decide what that might be for. While underneath it all we hate what we make without God. Bodies are made as a defense against the truth. Which we spend a lot of energy doing here.

Riggs is close to discovering much about God’s plan for salvation as he describes his own journey toward salvation.

I received this book free from the author and/or publisher through the Speakeasy blogging book review network. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR,Part 255.

A Course in Miracles

In February 1978 a friend gave me pamphlet. It’s title, A Course in Miracles, struck me as odd. It listed no author. This friend invited me to join him on a trip he had planned to New York City the following month to meet the people who had just published the Course described in the pamphlet, Helen Schucman and William Thedford. John Schmidt was my friend’s name. We were meeting at a coffee shop in Knoxville, Tennessee. John was a retired scientist from the Nuclear Center in nearby Oakride. I worked for the U.S. Civil Service Commusuon. I was there on business. 

While I declined attending the conference with him, I kept pamphlet and would pick it up from time to time over the next few years. Reading parts of it and then putting it back on my book shelf, where it still remains today. It is a very succinct description of the Course, probably written by Kenneth Wapnick, an early member of the small group who worked on getting the Course ready for publication. It was an interesting read and must have captured me somehow because soon afterward I started reading the book itself,  622 pages of what is called the Text, followed by 365 daily Lessons and A Manual for Teachers. Almost 40 years have gone by now I’m 83 years old, and rarely has a day passed since then that I have not done what I consider my daily work with the Course. I must say that to this day nothing in my life comes before this work. It has literally transformed my mind about my mind beyond what I could have ever imagined.

I understand and believe now this Course is Jesus’ second coming, fulfilling his promise to always be with us. Although he does not specifically say that in the Course it is, however, my belief.  The Course may be the greatest and most instructive non-dual approach to God written for the most part in the dual language of our ego. It is aimed at uncovering our core belief in separation as the ego would have it be and fully describes in our language just how God would have it be. 

All of my posts are centered on the Course as I understand it. Even my book reviews are written with the Course in mind. I have have received permission from the Foundation for a Course in Miracles, it’s publisher, to use the title “50miracle principles” as my blog title. 

Bob Pajer, Author

50miracleprinciples.wordpress.com

Readers are invited to contact me at this Blog Site.