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. 

For Thine is the Kingdom, the Power and the Glory

“Where is it, then? (The Kingdom of Heaven.). Author Jim Marion’s wonderfully insightful and contemporary suggestion is that the Kingdom of Heaven is really a metaphor for a state of consciousness; it is not a place you go to, but a place you come from. [1] It is a whole new way of looking at the world, a transformed awareness that literally turns this world into a different place.” From Richard Rohr’s posting today, The Wisdom Jesus:The Kingdom of Heaven

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Comment:

“For thine is the Kingdom, the Power and the Glory. In this resounding ending to the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus is telling us, yes you and me and everyone here on earth, in this ego-trance that makes up earth, that we are the Kingdom he speaks of. When I say this prayer in a group, I therefore look around me and catch the eye of all I can see in that moment and recite this part of the prayer with just that in mind. Brother, sister, you are the Kingdom of God. And you are the Power and Glory of God as you now return to your home you have never left. Heaven awaits just that to be Heaven. Bob Pajer

What Jesus Knows by Bob Pajer

He (Jesus) asked those timeless and deeply personal questions: What does it mean to die before you die? How do you go about losing your little life to find the bigger one? Is it possible to live on this planet with a generosity, abundance, fearlessness, and beauty that mirror Divine Being itself? From Richard Rohr’s Email: April 9, 2017.

These are questions Father Rohr poses as what Jesus would ask and comment on as he was here in this world telling us of a different world, one that we could hope for but not stay in the one we’re in while hoping we could be in that other world. The world we seem to be in holds nothing we want. The other holds everything. Jesus simple message is always that the way to transcend this world and live in God’s world is to leave this world mentally where we found it. There is nothing here that in anyway looks like God’s world, except that the Holy Spirit is without exception transforming us through forgiveness here: the practice of our own forgiveness of ourselves and others and His forgiveness of us, although there is no need for his forgiveness because He doesn’t condemn us and there’s no punishment for our mistakes here. Stating this we are already into a very kind of world that accepts these concepts completely. God’s world is nothing like what we think here, with our condemnation, judgment and vengeance as a part of just about all we do.

Let’s look at “die before you die.” When addressing this question, Jesus would mean that there is no death to begin with. He did not die on the cross, let alone come down here and do the mightiest reparation for our sins for us. He did come to take away the sins of the world. And he tells us he did this by showing us there’s no sin. No such thing as sin. We do make errors and mistakes. We are insane in thinking then God corrects them by punishment. No, they are corrected the instant we make them by the Holy Spirit in his work in the world. Make a mistake, its corrected. Moreover, a sin implies something has taken place that has more power than God, in order to take place. That cannot be. And the fact that mistakes are corrected is simply not what we think about them. As sin we think wrongly, think we did something bad and we need to make some kind of retribution. In our thinking, punishment is justified by a false fact that God condemns and we have to carry out the necessary next steps to pay for what we did. God doesn’t do that. We think we must, even to the extent that our correction by punishment is not enough. Sex offenders pay for the crimes and then are punished long after payment, which is a reflection of how we think about crime. It is never really corrected, just punished justifiably. Yet there can be no justification for anything that is absent of love.

The Holy Spirit sees the mistake and it is all over the instant we think we acted out our wrongmindedness. All other thinking leads to the ego’s final act of punishment, which is a belief in death. But without sin there is no death. We do leave our bodies at some point, but we can be alive when before and after we leave them. The innocent never die because it is only our impression of sin that tells us we die and go somewhere. Some believe we go to hell to carry our punishment beyond the grave. Others believe we go to pay for our sins in purgatory, once paid we are free. We are, however, going nowhere. Heaven is in the Mind that created us, exactly where we are. The guiltlessness in us, which is what we are in God’s mind, is perfectly opposite of death and suffering. We think we are guilty and therefore die. This has nothing to do with God’s creation, which only creates the eternal. We are as God created us and what He creates cannot die. Even Jesus closed his eyes on what we call life here. Yet he demonstrated that nothing in this world is capable of killing. “Thou shalt no kill means” mean thou can’t kill. For if killing were possible God would be other than God is. Which of course is exactly what we make God. The god that pursued Adam and kicked him and his wife out of the Garden is not God. When we feel guilty for what we think we did we get pretty crazy — and try to bring God along with us. It is pretty lonely without Him. Yet we are not without Him. Surely, we can think whatever we want, along with deciding whatever we want. None of that makes what we think or decide true.

Jesus message on the cross is we don’t die. While he surely closed his eyes, he didn’t ie and came among us after the crucifixion to prove it. He is still doing that. We are still clinging to death. He clings to us. We love death. He, God and the Holy Spirit love us. If you don’t believe we love death, go to the movies. Our made up world holds death as the ego’s final masterpiece of decption, its last ditch stand, its trump card, never to be given up.

You may wonder why it seems so real, death. The answer is we think with the whole power of God’s mind. The only Power there is in the universe. We can think wrongmindedly. But that does not mean what we think is real. Jesus did not die, nor do we. We are exactly like him, exactly as God created us. He has gone before as an older brother, waiting for his brothers and sisters to join him, us. Although, he would probably say that we already have. Its complicated for equivocal minds like ours. His message is unequivocal, however, because he hears only One Voice, God’s. Not that that Voice is not still in us. We are noisy mind’s trying to not hear it most of the time. Our work here in this world is to wake up and watch the show: the work of the Holy Spirit in us, and most important as we live in this world, in others. When Jesus said to love one another as he loved us, that is what he is talking about. To love means to see life as it truly is, as God created it. We can see this in others sometimes a lot easier by stating, “I see you as God’s perfect child,”, or as some religions instruct, “I salute the Christ in you,” no matter what the message is coming from the eyes that do not see, or the ears that do not hear.
“How do you go about losing your little life to find the bigger one?”

First, there is no little self or little life. Nothing exists outside of God’s creation. How could it? Without diminishing God’s power? Little lives don’t exist. They are a dream state of mind. God could never allow “littleness.” God wills for us otherwise, although there is no “otherwise” opposing God. As soon as we think there is a little life we fall to sleep and dream whatever we want. That is the world around you you made. God does not enter dreams and that is why it is foolish to think we can find God anywhere than where He is, in Heaven, where we are and have never left. Jesus so wisely says “Thy will be done in earth as it is in Heaven.” God’s will is not negotiable. Like Jesus’ mind, it is certainly not in anyway equivocal. Christ in union with us and God is the only non-duality there is. Jesus of course knows that perhaps more than anyone that comes here. His whole reason for coming is to tell us that, the good news. Our foolish thinking in a dream will never touch it. That is why in our insanity here we keep doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result. This war will end all wars!. How is it possible for such a terrible mistake, acted out in opposition to God’s will to change God’s love for all of us. Because this is so, we (our ego’s) will never “find” anything. the ego does not even know what it is looking for. It’s motto, according to Jesus is, “Search and do not find.” We are susceptible to all kinds of conning, without God.

God’s will for us is grandeur, not littleness. We cannot make this happen because we, tied to our ego, can’t ask any questions that make any sense whatsoever. We are, therefore, completely incapable of planning our salvation. Fortunately, God has provided the Holy Spirit for us to follow, if we listen. Actually, it doesn’t matter if we listen or not. That’s just a choice we make, one that could make us more comfortable here; however, it is also a choice that could make us terribly uncomfortable. But one thing is certain, God’s will for us is perfect happiness. The ego has no idea of how to manage that state of mind. Once we recognize that we will give up our little minds in favor of what is.

We will “lose our littleness” by truth, nothing else. The Holy Spirit will transform our experience (perception) to such a degree that how we perceive everyone will be of the highest order, holiness, and at that point God will in an instant bring knowledge into our minds and what we see now in this world will be gone forever. That is Jesus’ teaching, through miracles of forgiveness, which can only bring truth into our minds to find its home there. God will take the final step in this process. Miracles, hope and work toward what we are have no place there because they have never not been there. Salvation is according to God’s plan, certainly not ours. It is a process by the way that has already taken place because our decision to separate from God (Genesis) has never taken place. Our thinking it real is our problem not God’s, although he always sees that His children are taken care of without question. That is the meaning of the parable of the Prodigal Son in the bible. It is and will work exactly the same, our journey of return to salvation. There will be no further arguments between what is right or wrong. The brother of this forgiven son will find not contradiction. The contradiction told in the Bible is us.

We will leave our insanity behind and never think again that it ever existed. God would not have His son live another second in pain. We still decide otherwise. We can’t “find” a larger self here in this world because the world we made is too insane to contain knowledge. God has not taken knowledge from us, nor truth, but out work at keeping the illusions we try to make real cannot house what is of God. The only way to God is here in this world, as we have chosen it, but just as Jesus said, it is transformed through forgiveness. Something we seem to forget about Jesus. We are so adept at closing off truth to defend our selves from it, we change the very meaning of the words he used for us. Forgiveness as we think we know it here is a travesty of God’s love. Yet real forgiveness is all we have left of the real concept of God’s changeless love for us. Forgiveness can never include condemnation for one thing. I have never met anyone here who thought this was true. However, the Holy Spirit understands everything about us and if we ask Him to teach us how to practice forgiveness, He will — as He goes about teaching us whether or not we ask. God never leaves His children to insanity. In this, we have no choice really. Yet things get a lot better when we consciously choose heaven instead of hell, for there is nothing in between the two.
Is it possible to live on this planet with a generosity, abundance, fearlessness, and beauty that mirror Divine Being itself?

This is like asking whether God’s will, will be done, or not. Jesus lived all these ways. And if he did, and he did, so can we. Jesus asks us to remember that he is no holier than anyone of our brothers and sisters here, but strongly reminds us never to think we are. It is his wonderful way of saying, we are part of the Trinity. There isn’t some mysterious concept out there involving 3 gods in one. No, there is One who has all Power, which is Jesus tells us the only Power there is and that Power is love. I think we hate the idea of love so much, we make up some mumbo jumbo about the Holy Ghost (as we used to call Him) to not understand God’s Love for us. Jesus makes so much sense to us because he demonstrated that, yes on the cross, but far more important through his resurrection. He looks upon the brothers who seemed to be killing him and thought, while undergoing terrible pain, you are doing nothing to me — the only me that can exist. Me is God’s creation. There is nothing else. How would it be at all possible that another human being could put a stop to His will? His Creation? If we think there is, we diminish God’s power. Of course that is the whole reason behind the course of our lives here. We believe we did the impossible, separate. Adam did it consciously when asked by God, “Where are you?” In spirit. Adam made the choice of evading the question by blaming Eve. (Herein starts the whole profession of marriage counseling!) Adam could have said “I made a mistake.” God and Adam might then both have laughed at the littleness of the thought that this could be done. And the whole notion could have been dismissed. Instead Adam makes it real for us, and we keep that one impossible thing alive. We surely believe we have separated. That is why we are immersed in guilt, and the need to do what we do trying to give our own guilt onto others. Jesus so wonderful says, “What God has joined, let no man put asunder.” That statement wasn’t just for the wedding he was attending. Separation from God is impossible. Guilt is insane.

Yes, we can live on this planet any way we want to. We can do whatever we want. That is a part of God’s creation. If we want to question His authority, we can go at it. He will always ask, however, “How’s that working for you?’ We need only open our eyes to the world we live in, which is a blood bath of incredible suffering, as I sit here and write this, looking out at one of the most beautiful and rich cities in the world. I can do that but I cannot think anymore that I can separate. Don’t misunderstand. I can act as though I’m separated form God and you. I can only do this if I think separation is possible in order to live with dissociation, cruelty and utter disregard for others, even though what I see is minds in bodily form. On the other hand, I can rejoice in the truth, along with the most empathy I can muster, this isn’t happening. God does not allow suffering. We want it, so we get it. We can misuse His Mind, but we can’t leave it. And in that we are safe, as we dream otherwise. Not because God sends suffering, but because we want it. We must want what we dream, for why do we spend such resources on killing machines, rather that healing machines.

The answer to Father Rhor’s question here, which I’m sure he will address splendidly over the next few weeks, is yes, of course, we can live with a generosity, abundance, fearlessness, and beauty that mirror Divine Being itself. We just don’t want to. However, our seeming wants only affect the work of the Holy Sprit as He would have them be. These capacities are not just a mirror of God’s Love, they are God’s Love for us. Having is being in God’s Mind.

We seem only to be stuck. God’s Will is, well God’s will. It cannot be opposed. Jesus is the only psychologist that ever lived here. With us, to teach us, without reservation, unconditionally. While we believe he performed some small miracles here, that is only the belief of an ego-centric mind. His miracles were and continue to be without limit. There is no order of miracles, he tells us. We think that some errors take a bigger approach. Yet, all are the same in magnitude. As insane as this world is, he exists to us. He does not need to deal in time as we seem to know it, but as it suits our needs. All will be correctly similarly, as the Holy Spirit knows all about everything we think we know. Everything mirrors God’s love. We just think there’s good and bad stuff going on. That is how we defend little selves from truth. Its all the same. God is in everything. There is no order to miracles. One seems harder to us than another to support our own defense against the truth. We must remember we don’t want the truth, we will, with our own devices, push it away, as a child who doesn’t want to wake up, holding on to his sleepiness, warm and comfortable. It is all the child knows.

As Jesus tells us our work is to see in each other what we truly are, created as God created us. The only way God can see us. That is what forgiveness is. Not what we think. Love is the only way to do this here, as love is reflected in forgiveness. This world holds nothing we want. “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” means there is no need to do anything here but lie down in green pastures and walk by the still water. Everyone is called to this, few choose to listen. We need do nothing.