My Goofy Sister Faith

Smart people cross the street to walk on the other side when they see my sister Faith coming toward them.

I do too; she is so goofy and we don’t want her to bump into us as she tends to do, even to the most dignified men and women in town.

I suppose the problem is that she is blind, or at least it seems that way to me.

I once saw her walking on a telephone wire a hundred feet up in the night sky, on a stormy night. Why was she doing that?  I don’t know, I suppose she was excercising. Isn’t that goofy?

Maybe Faith is an alien from another planet. She pretends to see what I can’t see and she is as blind as a bat to what is right smack obvious and in front of her. It’s as if she lives in a different world but she is manifested in my world, like an overlay!

All the things that try to destroy smart down-to-earth people don’t faze her a bit, such as cancer and poverty, broken promises and betrayal, those really and truly horrible things, those bullets and bombs. She even smiles when she is locked-up in a room with them.

Me? I want to run away and hide or get out my sword, but not Faith, she just sits there like she’s watching a scary movie and eating popcorn. Sometimes I hear her chuckle inside that room full of serpents.

I read in an otherwise good book that Faith was the evidence of things hoped for, the proof of the unseen, which I think means invisible. Evidently that writer was goofy too. Does he actually want me to believe that Faith is the normal one? What was he smoking?

My sister is tiny; somebody said she was as little as a mustard seed. I’d like to see her get even smaller until she disappears; she makes me so mad and so jealous. I admit it. The things I have seen her do are downright flabbergasting. Someone said she moved an entire mountain, but I didn’t see that so I don’t believe it.

O God how do you tolerate my goofy sister? When will you slap some sense into her?

You know how much she embarrasses me when we’re together.

Some people pretend to like her and invite her to dinner. I think they expect her to bring a good present, but I know she won’t. She hates temporary and you can never bribe her like normal people. Oh she gives gifts alright, really extravagant gifts, miraculous gifts I’d say, but never on my birthday or Christmas, or when I need something pretty bad. No, she waits like I have all the time in the world and then when I least expect it, poof! Faith has her hand stretched out to me. Who can trust a friend like that?

God, why do I bother to complain to You about my goofy sister? You probably made her that way and you probably love her more than you love me.  Faith called me a dead-head, and You didn’t even punish her. Did I hear you laughing?  

(Painting by Mark Rothko)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

The Life Flick

The Life Flick

 

I received the following reply within a week of sending my letter to Theophilus in which I described being transported to what appeared to be the center of a diamond where I was shown that Truth is best perceived from within God rather than looking upon Him. Unity expresses reality as does nothing else.

My dear sister-in-Christ and fellow aspiring immortal,

It was so good to hear from you after all this time. My wife had just inquired about you the day before your letter arrived!  

I believe that now that you have had this most interesting experience you understand why it is so wrong to criticize and condemn others. It is not just that criticizing others arbitrarily displeases God; it is because such opinions can only reflect a false understanding of the subject. It is one dimensional. Truth matters; to know something fully and to be known fully are impossible from the human perspective. We must always defer with full awareness of our ignorance to the One who sees from within. The Creator of reality is vigorously protective of it!

I can’t say that I have ever been transported to the inside of the Spirit of God as you were, you lucky creature! Your adventures simply amaze me. I wish I could offer you a similar tale but the only adventures I seem to have are found in the pages of the books I read and in the films I see. Filmmakers are certainly showing a lot of creativity these days. It seems to me that they are making it easier for a person to imagine that this life is a film which too will be over after a series of thrills, and dangers, love scenes and near death experiences, and then another reality will replace this one, just as another film instantly sends us to another world.

Yes, I think filmmakers are readying humankind for the transition to new earth. I only grieve because their plots are so shallow and Godless. The real story is so much more fascinating than tales of dreams inside dreams, or iron men that save the world by transforming themselves into jets and weapons, and what was that story in Avatar? I don’t even remember it now. Yes, the truth of Christ’s return and the creation of the new planet earth are just as thrilling but with depth and substance. 

Sometimes I think about how much easier it will be for us than for our early ancestors to find ourselves in that new world of light, of perfect government without divisiveness, and even of new geography because of books and films. Yes God is certainly preparing mankind for the Great Transformation. Sometimes I wish that I could read that book of it or see that film. We have snippets in the book of Revelation and the Gospels but I want more!

I must go off to feed the sheep now, I hear them calling. Please write to me again soon. Zelda sends her love.

Your true blue friend,

Theophilus

When Death is Good

I don’t mean to scare you or to engage in sensationalism when I talk about the end of the world as by earthquakes in 2012 or by the return of Christ, but for aspiring immortals the whole point is to finally have the scales removed from our eyes that blind us here on this old earth to what is truly important and what is deserving of our concentration and our might --in contrast to that which is fleeting (such as money or power) or will detract us from our quest for eternal life with God (as when we miss the mark way too much).

One thing we know is that our flesh will certainly die, it happens every day to someone else.  To avoid the shock of sudden change, whether after nature’s death or during wholesale cataclysm, it doesn’t matter, the result is the same so let’s consciously and with full awareness live under the reign of God here and now. This way when nature or violence gives us the bite, less difference and more happiness will ensue. It’s the most practical approach to living and the best way to sass that adorable fool, nature.

For example, I have a client who is being unreasonable, manipulative, and exploitative. Basically it wants to steal from my company and there is no end in sight. We sell time and it grabs more than it is willing to pay for. Sometimes it is mean about it to force me to give, like a robber. Human nature beguiles me to become angry and protective. But since the Word lives in me, It keeps reminding me to turn the other cheek and to let him who takes my cloak have my coat also. I am compelled by my King to allow this to continue. I can’t accept the reign of God and of mammon at the same time. After all this time living in the Kingdom, I happen to know that I will be reimbursed somehow, somewhere, so it isn’t really much of a sacrifice. I wonder if it matters whether the client knows that my response is not from weakness but from strength in obeying God’s rule.

Odd to think about how so many problems I have, God has already had. I was very upset when a few people who I had been most generous with, did not acknowledge my gift or express any gratitude. Then I understood that once again I was being shown God’s problems to unite me with He. Does He beg for gratitude as I craved to get rid of the pain? No, He silently waits and hopes. I suppose the American feast of Thanksgiving was proclaimed to give God a little relief.

When I was younger, I studied the list of fruit of the Holy Spirit. (i.e. Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Longsuffering, Mildness, Fidelity, Modesty, Continence, and Chastity). It seemed to me that there was a rock in that fruit-basket. How could longsuffering be considered fruit?  I couldn’t imagine that the Power of the Universe could suffer. Don’t we want power and wealth to avoid suffering?

God’s ways are so very different from nature’s ways. God made man in His image and likeness, but He surely didn’t do that for nature! To live under the reign of God is certainly to have the natural mind and heart die, like the grain of wheat that falls to the ground to grow a new mind and heart. Nature’s death is devastating to the natural man, but not to the immortal man. The good death then is the death of what is called human nature; it is not relief from pain and suffering from cancer or aids as you may have thought. Good death is the kind of death that learning makes which transforms. Look ma, no fear!

Repent for 2012 is Near

On New Year’s Eve our neighbors came over and we watched the movie 2012 about geological upheaval that destroyed most of the earth. 2012, the book, is a favorite of a friend of mine who is impressed by the science behind it and is convinced that global destruction described in the book will indeed occur in 2012. He says we must prepare. Admittedly, it is a little eerie that in the book the US president in 2012 is black, a fact that could hardly have been foreseen when the book was written.

It was odd to usher in a new year filled with potential and hope for all things good while being involved through spectatorship of such destruction of lives, and of the earth. Hope and evil make strange bedfellows. I could go along with the movie to the point of accepting the possibility that the world could come to an end as soon as 12-21-12, after all Jesus warned us to be ever-vigilant for His return during a celestial cataclysm. 

Still filled with dread from the movie, the next morning I went straight to the Bible for solace. Instead of reading snippets or a chapter, as I often do, I turned to Mark and noticed how short it is. So I read aloud the Gospel of Mark, the first gospel written and a source for Matthew and Luke.  This reading took only about two hours. It was a rich holy two hours. By reading aloud instead of to myself I was able to concentrate better. Three times when my mind wandered I reeled it back in by starting the chapter again. This punishment to my vocal cords helped keep me alert to what I was reading. Also, to read the book without stopping helped me to see the progression of it which surprised me many times. That doesn’t happen when I just read one chapter at a time. I want to read Mark aloud several more times to fully grasp all those fleeting thoughts that I had to pass over on New Year’s Day. 

The soufflé my soul concocted on January 1st with the ingredients of the gospel of Mark  folded into catastrophe of 2012  was nutritiously wise leading me to decide that the best way to begin this secular year is to repent because the Kingdom of God is surely at hand and this planet is probably doomed.  

The Greek word for repent is metanoia. The easy translation is to change the mind and heart. People seem to love the concept of change, but change is not always good. We need to be more specific if we’re going to venture away from our mental comfort zones. Metanoia can be translated as ‘to go beyond (after) the intellect (nous)’ to the place of sweet surrender to God’s will…which reigns supreme in His Kingdom.  Repent for the safe and secure Kingdom of God’s rule is here.

Over and over again in the Gospel of Mark, the reader is shown how different God’s ways are from man’s ways, His perspective from ours, and from most of the Pharisees and scribes.  Let’s reach beyond ourselves to find and obey the One in whose Kingdom we seek to dwell...where there will be no earthquakes to fear.

Together let’s approach 2011 as if 2012 will actually be the last year of life on earth as we know it. Just in case it is.  

The Thanking Room

The Thanking Room

In the land where time is space there is a magical place known as the thanking room.  Within the great golden walls of the thanking room angels and men with large warm hearts breathe in unison with God and with each other in a festival of thanksgiving.

Most of the residents of the thanking room once lived in a huge dark place that seemed to be too big to be called a room, where there was very little thankfulness; where the risen sun pulled gardens full of fruits and flowers up to meet it but no human looked up to stop and feel its warmth. There grabber princes believed that a person’s worth was measured by how much he had amassed for himself by his own strength and smarts. Many people didn’t even know what they believed; they simply ate and drank and slept, and pretended to work hard in a big circle of well trained animalness that fed the governor pieces of mush at the 45 degree mark of every rotation.

Large Russian bells rang in a cacophony of mystical sonorous tones calling to hearts to come off of the circle, and out of the strength of their bodies and wills. The bells rang incessantly from within a tall stone tower that protected them from wind and snow. They did not make their sonorous sounds by themselves, but with large thick ropes connected to them that were pulled by monks of the one true God who created the sun and everything beneath it. Each monk of a different size and weight was connected by rope to a bell of a corresponding size and weight. Together bell and monk made tones that pleased the one true God, and did so joyously.

Not everyone could hear the bells ringing so busy were they. Some could only hear them faintly, but for others the bells were deafening and called to them to come out.

Strong-willed self-sufficient hearts that left the circle to follow the sonorous sounds of the bells were lead by the tone of the bells through the valley of the shadow of death where the fear of the unfamiliar and unknown gripped them. Some ran fast back to the circle for fear of death, but others lost their way and couldn’t turn back because the bells had driven them too far. Those who by strength of will or want who made it through the valley of the shadow of death found the thanking room to be a place of refuge and quickly ran in.

It was soon discovered by newcomers that thankfulness was a by-product of enlightenment, the awareness that gratitude knitted together the souls of giver and recipient. The newcomer saw the unity of camaraderie and wanted more than anything else to become a part of it.

In the thanking room though, it isn’t enough that one heart thanks another in a temporary link the gift makes. These kinds of links, plentiful in the dark country, are broken as easily as the gifts which make them.

What makes the thanking room extraordinary is a fragrance from burning incense that fills the air of the room with beauty just as a holy spirit fills it with intangible delight. Glowing candles teach each heart that light emanates from total sacrifice and that light annihilates the darkness of divisiveness and of ignorance. Learned hearts seek ways to make light by giving of themselves. And in the thanking room God gives of Himself, energy and essence, spirit food and body food to feed the thankful and He is thankful too that so many had been drawn by the bells to the thanking room.

The old wise residents of the thanking room who still remember where they were born never cease to be amazed by how in the thanking room hearts work harder and give so much more than in the old country. However, being thankful for the work and joyful in the giving of it make all the difference.

So it is that together God and the angels and the thankful hearts breathing in unison, will live happily ever after. 

Holy Darkness

I surprised myself last week when I wrote about anger, the exclusivity of discipleship, and the value of suffering. That’s because I would much rather sing happy songs and laugh in the sunshine. Then I looked around and noticed that the whole world is a little darker now that summer has passed. That must explain it I thought; I am just responding to my environment. The days are getting shorter; the leaves on the trees are beginning to bid their dazzling red and yellow farewells; darkness is encroaching upon our lives.

 The reason I don’t like darkness as a rule, is because it hides things: truth, and knowledge for instance. In the darkness of ignorance emotions take charge and deceit grows strong and mighty.

If darkness wasn’t so objectionable then why would God create light before anything else, even the sun?

Because our future home is a place of continual light, from which all sickness, sorrow and sadness have fled away, I am sure that holy darkness: the mysteries surrounding God and His ways, suffering, and righteous anger, among other things are not meant to be dwelling places of humankind. Let’s look and experience but never dwell in darkness; it is too dangerous. I suppose the best way to deal with darkness is to run from it whenever we see it coming after us, and when it catches us, like Christ, let’s make sure the light is always turned on inside. Specifically, let’s keep the light on by maintaining inner trust which leads to peace which leads to joy which leads to love. That is how to stay happy and alive! It is another student-disciple’s lesson to learn from the Master. Light is holier than darkness, even in the winter.  

Amen.

The Dark Side of God

Being an aspiring immortal is a full time job! It is to become a master athlete, a top soldier, a nurse, a parent and a best friend; probably a lot of other things too numerous to mention here.

Highwaymen watch us cynically for moments of frustration, elated when they think they are catching us being hypocrites. They assume that to be an aspiring immortal is to be consistently placid and sweet, like a popsicle but not so cold. “And I thought you were a Christian!”is a phrase that sends chills down my spine.

Has anyone read the Bible lately? God the Father and His Only Begotten Son got angry however, a problem with emulating God’s anger is that it is hard to know when the moment is just right. I am sure that a study of every single passage when God, the Father, or Christ Jesus were angry, to understand exactly why, would be a worthwhile endeavor for an aspiring immortal who likes being angry or who has a genetic tendency to fight. But since Jesus’ commands us to be mild and kind then it’s probably better for us to take a pass on emulating God in anger …whenever possible.

I remember during some pretty hot moments of my life, begging God to remove the anger. He asked me if I really wanted it removed because most people don’t. When I assured Him that I did, poof it was gone! I could barely remember why I had been angry. That was a miracle!

This takes me back to the uncanny relationship between disciple and discipline. Maybe the discipline of a good disciple is needed to flip the mild switch when the anger one is closer. In Greek the word for disciple is mathitis which is not a mathematician but a student. Probably math was what Greeks wanted most to learn because of its power. Being a student of Christ, takes study. We need to learn what it is, why, and how to be Christ-like.

Disciples get tutored. Last night I woke up at two am to go to the bathroom and couldn’t fall back to sleep. By 3:30 I gave up and turned on the light to read my Bible. When I opened right to the page where Jesus was describing what it takes to be his disciple, I thought how patient He had been watching me toss and turn before I finally gave up and came over to read what He wanted to remind me. Jesus said in Luke 14:26 that unless anyone comes to Him and does not hate his parents, children, and siblings he cannot be His disciple! Then He added that if we aren’t willing to suffer, we can’t be His disciples either. 

The willingness to abandon the sweet joys of family bliss when they take us away from Christ’s hairline narrow path is the cost, the forehead-mark of a disciple. This is an all volunteer army. No one should join unless (s)he is willing to die in battle. Being an aspiring immortal is not always happy-happy, nice-nice, cozy, warm and fuzzy. God gets jealous. He demands total commitment, no two-timers, no fence walkers, no pleasure-addicts. He can be angry; you shouldn’t be. Count the cost. Are you still in?

Lying Eyes

It was the kind of gray morning when you knew that the sun would soon burn through the fog and brighten the land with its hot lumens. The trees saturated with recent rains shot out millions, no billions of leaves in a myriad of shapes and sizes. Isabella could not count all the leaves she saw, but she often wondered how many they were, and if God knew the answer. Scurrying from hiding place to hiding place ran busy little chipmunks and squirrels while butterflies and bees moved from honeysuckle to lily to take their daily bread. Flies, fleas and mosquitoes buzzed through the air looking for humans to annoy; cardinals, robins, and starlings in and out of trees foraged food for babes in nests. The air already felt steamy, round and thick with heat and humidity, reminding her that before civilization came, the place had been a swamp, meant to delight mosquitoes and lizards, not human beings. Isabella wondered what invisible elements made the air so heavy and oppressive one day and so light the next. Flowers  fixed in earth, stood all around in all the stages of their short lives; clusters of buds peeking their color, pastel yellows and pinks, deep bloody reds; lonely royal purple irises looking tall and regal. A deer here, a person there, buildings, and a river all filled the landscape with a visible display of the evidence of life and the illusion that space is a void.

Space, a highway of the supernatural rich with particles of electrons transmitting language, images, and sounds invisibly through the air and through walls. Air, busier than land with sounds of planes barging through clouds, loud chirping birds sending messages to others far away, engines powering metal to move passengers and baggage, jam packed with invisible electricity and full of spirits.

Spirits good and evil, real, anonymous, shrewd, protective, busy in battle, winning some, losing others for King or devil. Persuasive companions of human intelligence, relaying messages between friends, transmitting thought prayers up the line from angels to God’s ears, embodied spirits, bodiless spirits, using the power of invisibility to heal and to destroy. Spirits cannot be bought or sold, their value beyond material gold. Spirits penetrate flesh as electrons through metal walls to haunt and to heal. Holy spirits, Holy Spirit of the Church-Militant wages war on evil spirits to deliver gods home. Which thoughts are your own Isabella? And which are the evidence of spirit wars. Whose side are you on today lady soldier?

The Spirit of Money

I think I hear God laughing at us from time to time, the way we regard money and how humans spend more time in their quest for cash than in their quest for immortality. I think He is laughing at us for the same reason we quietly laugh at children when they don’t realize we are teasing them.

After all these years and all these millions of thoughts I’ve come to the conclusion that money is spirit that takes possession of paper and metals for its form, and sometimes it takes possession of men’s souls and twists them all up until an optical illusion is formed in them and they barely perceive reality and the purpose of life.

I wonder if God uses money as a thermometer to take the temperature of the souls of His aspiring immortal children. Does a lot of money read ‘K’ as trusting and aiming for His new earth; does a little money, maybe not even enough for food and shelter make any difference at all in how much ‘F’ trusts Him? Does desperation force ‘P’ to be more honest for Christ’s sake, or dishonest to save him or herself?

What terrifies me is the story about the talents and how the big winner was the shrewd one who parlayed his ten into ten more. I’m not sure I can do that, though God knows I try. I only hope that when the Master returns I don’t have even less than I was given.

When Jesus said to let people steal from you, and if they beg, give it to them. He knew that our Father would make up for the loss; He always does.    

One of my very favorite passages about the spirit of money is the one that rich King David wrote, now known as Psalm 62:

“Surely men of low degree are a vapor,
         Men of high degree are a lie;
         If they are weighed on the scales,
         They are altogether lighter than vapor.
 Do not trust in oppression,
         Nor vainly hope in robbery;
         If riches increase,
         Do not set your heart on them.                                                                                                          God has spoken once,
         Twice I have heard this:
         That power belongs to God.
Also to You, O Lord, belongs mercy;
         For You render to each one according to his work.”

When Jesus said to store our treasures in heaven instead of on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and thieves break in and steal, He was guiding us. That’s why I am sure there will be money in heaven. Money, the earning of it and the usefulness of it makes all kinds of other things happen, many very good things. Let’s be friends with the spirit of money but suspicious of it too. As John said, “Test the spirits!”

Dear aspiring immortal friend, if money is causing you to be unhappy these days, smile for the camera, God is probably poking you with His thermometer.

Birth Days and Sun Rises

 

There are many things I will not miss about this old earth when I get to Kingdom Come. I won’t miss fear or anger or lies. And especially I won’t miss the way political parties addict people to the sensation of hatred from which they can conjure up a sick kind of loyalty and power. I suppose to be rid of every iota of evil is why God needs to wipe the slate clean and make a whole new world in the first place. I hope on my millionth birthday I don’t even remember all the bad stuff, not even a tiny bit.

But there are a few things I will miss very much. These are the things I should cherish the most while in this old skin because I’ll only have these swiftly flowing years to enjoy them. One is the sunrise on a clear morning over the ocean. I have spent many hours in cool darkness, watching and waiting for the exhilaration of the streaks of red in the night sky and for the bursting speck of light over the straight expansive horizon that illuminates only the east while the heavens around it lie still in deep darkness. Then within minutes this speck of light bursts forth into a coin of brightness rising steadily to give birth to a new day. Glorious sunrises over the ocean shower my soul with raindrops of bliss. I’ll miss sun rises when I am in the light-filled land where there is no use for them.

But most of all I will miss births and babies and little toddlers. I understand that in the happy land of immortality, where sickness, sorrow, and sighing have all fled away, where no anguish haunts us from the separation of death, where love reigns supreme, where there is no marriage because genders fade into the unity of God, babies will never be born.

Yet, how I will miss waiting for the birth of a new clean person into my world. How I will miss their energetic exuberance, their bright laughing eyes, their wonder and merriment. How I will miss playing and cuddling, and showing these little ones new and wonderful aspects of life.  If I am wise for my years, then I will cherish these days of flesh, and lock these beautiful memories safely away in a vault down deep in my heart. So on lazy days in the land of love, I can bring them out one by one, and gaze on them with a nostalgic smile here, and a giggle there. Then, if I can, I will go and fetch that one whose birth and early days I held in my vaulted heart, all grown up in glory, and together we will remember the striking beauty of birth days and sun rises on the earth of our birth, the land of mottled light and darkness.   

Rise and Shine

Today is the first Sunday after Easter, but in the land with no time from where we showed up on earth again with Jesus Christ,  as new superhuman creations, this is actually that same day! It's feels so good not to always be encumbered by time and the world, even though we get to visit it! To celebrate, today I want to share with you again, my favorite passage from one of my favorite immortals.

Guest Blogger- Saint John Chrysostom

"Christ left us on earth in order that we should become like beacons of light and teachers unto others;

that we might act like leaven,

move among men like angels,

be like men unto children,

and like spiritual men unto animal men, in order to win them over,

and that we may be like seed, and bear abundant fruit.

There would be no need for words, if we bore witness with our deeds,

there would be no pagans, if we were true Christians."

 

Wow! that was so beautiful! Thanks John!

Hope all my aspiring immortals friends have a wonderful week.

Gee See Us in Christ

I suppose more than anything else in the world I want to know what it feels like to be in Christ. In his 14th century book, The Life in Christ, Nicholas Cabasilas wrote well developed and Biblically supported explanations of Life in Christ. For example, he started by explaining that when we arrive at Kingdom Come, we will need certain senses that must be formed here and now. Who wants to get there and be deaf and blind? He said that this world of fluid darkness is the womb state for aspiring immortals. I know he is right, and he put it so well. Then he went on to say that union with Christ is described in many different ways in the Bible because each way by itself is inadequate to describe being in Christ. For example being in Christ is more than being in a home, more than being married, more than the relationship of vine to a branch. Life in Christ is like all of these and more so. It’s a mystery. No wonder I don’t know what it feels like.

When Nicholas goes on to explain how baptism and communion make this unity possible I know how that’s true, and when he quotes Paul over and over again, such as when he says’ “in Him we live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28) to support the reality of life in Christ and Christ’s life in us, his words are as reliable the sun. And yet I don’t have to try so hard to feel my family genes in me, and me in my neighborhood or me in my country. I can think what it means to be in Christ but I can’t feel it.

Christ really threw us a curve ball when He came back from his trip to Hades and took the form of a different person. His disciples spoke to him for a while before they even realized that it was Jesus they were speaking to because he looked like someone else. Why did He do that? Was it a trick?

Actually you and I probably know Jesus better than we know anyone else, even our closest relatives because His personality is described so specifically and so consistently in the Bible. Maybe Jesus in me is all that is good, all that is compassionate, all that loves to commune with God the Father.  Maybe I can feel Jesus in me loud and clear, even though I don’t recognize Him when I am producing the fruit of the Holy Spirit: love, joy, peace patience, kindness, goodness, longsuffering, mildness, fidelity, modesty, continence, and chastity. Next time I see a fruit blossom and grow from me, I’ll say hello to Jesus. Maybe He’ll smile and say hello back. 

I wonder which fruit I will need to make when I am in Him on the Cross. 

Me and God

I love Him but I can’t see Him. I know He is there because He proves it to me when He plays with time right in front of my eyes. Last week I thought I should try again to look for an agent for my book, The Immortal Life, and the very next day Beth told me that she spoke to her old friend from Bedford after thirty five years and it turns out that Sally is an agent and is willing to see my book. How did He do that?

A week later I went to my new book club to talk about Frankenstein with the Catholic ladies. When I arrived, there was only the leader there and no one else. She mentioned that there was a Mass going on in the chapel so I said, “Let’s go!” There was a small company of about five people in the Mass. It was being said for their new project. When we walked in the lay reader was reading the Book of Samuel, and was at the point when young Samuel was trying to sleep. He kept hearing his master call him. Several times Samuel got up and went to find out what he wanted only to hear the master say that he did not call him. Finally the master realized that God was calling young Samuel and had something to say so he told the boy that the next time he heard the call he should reply “Here I am Lord.” Everyone in the small congregation silently said, “Here I am Lord.” And then we said it together out loud a few times in the responsive prayer. After Mass my new friend and I went back into the sitting room to talk about Frankenstein. A couple of men joined us because we offered wine and camaraderie. When the small company emerged from the chapel I asked them what their project was, and the one man replied that they were going to syndicate content to Christians. I asked if they needed content and gave them my card. Once again my invisible but powerful Lord was encouraging me.

It doesn’t matter if nothing comes of these two incidents; God was showing me for the millionth time that He can orchestrate my life (and yours) any way He wants. I like that. I don’t have to try too hard or be too ambitious. I only have to try hard to listen and write what He wants me to write. As I’ve said, ‘I am the visible ghost-writer of the invisible author.’ That alone is not an easy job. Someone else has to do the marketing of all this writing. I’m glad to be reminded that it is the Author who markets for me.

I suppose that it isn’t really the Father God Himself who is orchestrating all these marvels, but it is His angel that He has assigned to me.  I hope that my angel is very good and perfectly serves our Lord. I would hate to have a flawed or tricky angel.

Every time, well almost every time, God plays with time to show me He is near I get so excited about it that I write it down in my hard copy Journal. I feel so sorry for the people who don’t believe that the invisible God is Someone to love and obey and that one day will become very visible and that forever and ever and ever in a sunny place.

I trust Him with my life because He can play with time and I wonder over and over again how He does that because I can’t, at least not yet.

Star Power

Johnnie was walking to school when the earth jolted under his feet. Books fell from the hands he used to catch his fall when his legs crumbled beneath him. The angry earth, suddenly awake from a long and deep sleep, rumbled violently. Johnnie was tossed from tree to rock while thunderous sounds of collapsing buildings pounded throughout his soul, deep into his very heart. Fear, fear of death, fear of pain, fear of change, fear of loss, fear of loneliness whacked every cubic inch of him. He lay on the ground for that season of calamity and stood up into a foreign world. 

Johnnie ran to his old home to find nothing more than a mound of rubble where picture covered walls once contained his beautiful brown eyed mommie and jovial papa, where sun poured through windows to wake him every morning. He knew his parents and his sister Sally who was exactly half his age this year were deep in the lifeless mound because they were home when he left for school. He could not see them though; all he could see was rubble. Johnnie was gazing at that mound of sorrow and sobbing when Sister Josefina took his hand to whisk him away to her convent.

The nun said he was lucky to have lived. He wondered how that could be true. If his mommie and papa and especially little Sally were with God, and he was in this rubble, hurting and thirsty and dirty and hungry how could he be the lucky one? He asked Sister Josefina who replied, “Suddenly the Judge shall come and the deeds of each shall be revealed but with fear we cry out in the middle of the night, ‘Holy, holy, holy art Thou oh God, have mercy on us.’ Then Sister Josefina went on to explain, “Johnnie, we the living are the lucky ones my child because we who have beheld this disaster with our own eyes, have seen with our souls how suddenly each person meets his Maker. We are reminded to prepare. Glorify God, my child who rains on the good and the evil alike, the rain that gives birth to seedlings in the spring, and who allows evil to test and to strengthen men’s souls. Today our eyes have beheld a grand gift of mercy. Johnnie, let’s you and I gather the stars out of this rubble.”

Meanwhile papa was not seeing God. When the ceiling collapsed on him and his beloved wife and Sally he was indeed knocked out but regained consciousness only to find himself in an air pocket. He could see his wife’s lifeless hand, that hand he kissed tenderly so often to show her how grateful he was for her labors. He reached for her beloved fingers and wept. Then papa remembered Johnnie and knew that he couldn’t succumb to death to be with her. “Oh, Lord,” he began “send your angels to rescue me that I may see my son grow into a God-fearing man, then I can rest in peace. As for my beloved wife and girl-child, receive them into your loving arms. Have mercy on them in your judgment for no man lives and sins not, only You are without sin my Lord and King.” Papa prayed like that as he tried to tunnel his way through to fresh air. When he couldn’t think he just recited psalms or repeated the name Jesus. 

Freda had flown in from Florida. She was trained for situations like this. Her instincts were more valuable to her work than her strength. She trained daily to keep her strength up and her spirit keen. Freda could sense the life-filled prayers of papa inside that calamitous mound when she walked by. “Come on, she called to whoever would listen, help me!” Then she started picking up pieces of wall and furniture. “Mighty God who hears the suffering of these people, rescue the quake victims and even the community of saviors, from true death which is drifting away from You, the creator and giver of Life. Reveal yourself in miracles to the doubting; reveal your love to the angry. Touch the bitter with the sweet wood of resurrection. Lord, use this darkness to make your light apparent.” Praying like that while she worked was Freda’s secret to success.

And when she stopped praying to lift a particularly heavy piece, or just because she wanted to listen, Freda could hear a choir of angels and watchful souls chanting together, “Holy, Holy, Holy is our God, and Halleluiah.” Freda was joy filled in her labor for she knew that the time for renewal had come to Haiti.



Why I Write this Blog – A New Year Mission Statement

The Journal of an Aspiring Immortal is written to inspire and encourage committed Christians, or those whom I call Aspiring Immortals. It is written to remind us in fanciful ways that this fast and furious life offers our immortal souls the opportunity to become Sons and Daughters of the most high God.

Let us be vigilant to keep in mind that Christianity is more about entering the next life where we will live forever than it is about ensuring our comfort in this fleeting phase of life. It is to become a sheep rather than a goat, to keep oil in our lamps, to avoid being one of those who throughout their lives said, Lord, Lord” and yet He never knew them. It is to be able to hear the voice of Christ so we can recognize it when He calls us to Him on the last day. It is to become brave enough, by practice, to flee the flames and fly up to meet Him in the air.

In light of the real eternal life of our destination so much that would cause our demise is unimportant. 

Whether we are rich or poor doesn’t matter because we can’t buy God’s favor. We can’t buy character.

Hatred, lies, thievery or other painful darts aimed as us from our neighbors, relatives or on a political level from other countries and from terrorists do not matter because we are ultimately only responsible for our own attitudes not theirs. Let us protect ourselves, but never hate the enemy. Hatred is wasteful. Fear is also wasteful.  Since neither my love nor my pity can elevate the enemy, certainly my resentment or judgment won’t heal the enemy or myself.

To live the immortal life here on this planet and now is to pick up magical binoculars that focus on what is important, and blind us to what is not important.

My mission is to serve as those magical binoculars for my fellow Aspiring Immortals, with God’s guidance and help. I wonder if Christ will return in 2010?

 

Living in a Mustard Seed

I didn’t have any special adventures to tell you about this week so instead, I’d like to give you a teaspoon of honey-thought to suck on until next Sunday.

The kingdom of God is where we aspire to live forever. It is the planet we will fly to when Jesus comes back for us, and it is the place deep within our heart where He lives and steers us. But there’s even more to it than that!

"The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches."Matthew 13:31.

We aspiring immortals live in two worlds. The fleshy world morphs ever so subtly till one day the young child becomes elderly, gaunt and wrinkly. In the fleshy world it matters a whole lot who is king or president, what he does with all that power, and what armies are doing with their time. This is the soil, sun, water and air.

The other world is life inside the mustard seed where God is our very best friend and counselor, and Boss. Where we sometimes have to fight with ourselves to think His way and to love His way while no one on earth is making us do it, and so many people make it harder to love, and so many circumstances try to blind us. This is the plant.

We aspiring immortals, whether Protestant, Catholic or Orthodox, inasmuch as we reflect Christ, who reflects God, we form the one holy universal life of a growing Mustard Seed. Let’s live in unity, blind to our differences, blind as the leaf is blind to the difference of the flower or to the difference of the branch or the trunk. Together we form the kingdom of heaven Tree on earth. Welcome the birds.

“By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:35

Assignment: Go to a very different kind of church next Sunday and worship the same God there. Tell me about it. 

Freud and the Search for the Inner Kingdom

For my birthday last week an old high school friend gave me Freud’s The Future of an Illusion. Naturally I thought it was an odd gift to give an aspiring immortal and then I imagined that my friend felt the same way when I gave her my home-made copy of The Immortal Life.

The next thought was that I wanted to know why this eminent doctor of the psyche held religion in such derision. It isn’t every day that an atheist will tell me exactly why (s)he doesn’t believe my God and yours is real, and why (s)he thinks our way of life is so foolish. So I considered this gift a great chance to hear the argument from a very smart man, and therefore it was one of my favorite birthday presents.

To sum it up Mr. Freud said that religion, i.e. faith in God, was “a universal obsessional neurosis of humanity that arises out of the complex relationship one has with the father figure.” The idea of God arose from the need to “defend oneself against the crushingly superior force of nature and to rectify the shortcomings of civilization.” So, we cut loose from reality. To Mr. Freud, life and nature are so torturous that humans had to come up with this illusion as a solution.

So we little tortured people built this tremendous structure (the Synagogue, Church, Mosque or Temple) in which we support each other’s illusion and are comforted. Freud thought that it was a dangerous illusion for the same reason he thought all illusion is dangerous (remember he talked with people on a regular basis who had some powerfully dangerous illusions). Because Siggy was such a self sacrificing and benevolent doctor of the mind he was compelled to write despite the risk. Some of those powerful deluded people might think Freud equally wrong about psychoanalysis and his work might therefore be banned in many countries. Brave and caring that he was, Freud took the chance and wrote this book and Totem and Taboo too.

I spent most of my time reading with a hearty laugh welling up in my heart. It was clear that Freud had not spent much time objectively researching religion. Unlike an honest scientist he formulated his conclusion without any search for Truth at all. Even though Mr. Freud was a master mind-doctor he had no kingdom of God within to go to.

And that’s why I know that the inner kingdom of God is not a place that can be reached through the mind. Unlike Mr. Freud, I know that God is real because I have seen His light, and His amazing ways. The reality of His kingdom and His love are as obvious to me as the reality of this keyboard and monitor and of that tree outside my window. My only problem is that I want to go to that place where there is more of the eternal kingdom and less of this fleeting natural/political noise.

All the imagination in the world will not help me or you reach the inner kingdom of God. That might have been my problem when I wanted to go there so badly that I tried to think my way there and the fairies appeared. Don’t worry, I’ll find it! Maybe next week....

Kingdoms and Cities

Aspiring immortals want more than things that money can buy, even trips to Timbuktu, mansions and Maseraties , to go to the world where there is no longer any sickness, sorrow, or sighing...and that place to be forever and ever and ever. Such a place exists and will exist, but it takes ‘aspiring’ to be there and to go there.

I heard that if a person is not there, probably (s)he will never be able to find it. The directions defy even Garmen and Google. That’s why it is so important to be there now. Of course it doesn’t make sense to aspire to be where you are already...unless you either have no inner kingdom or you are not aware it.

Aspiring immortals serve ourselves best when we aspire to be aware of the place where the lack of sickness, sorrow, and sighing exists here-and-now as well as there-and-forever, that is in the kingdom of God.

The kingdom of God has everything Good but clocks. Since there is no time in this kingdom, unlike in New York and Amsterdam, the kingdom is of course always Now. It would be ridiculous, impossible in fact, to have a place that exists only in the future that has no time.

Spinning around the sun makes time happen which is why all the places Garmen and Google direct us to have pasts, presents, and futures. The kingdom that is here-and-now, always-and-forever, without yesterday or tomorrow, is hidden from the sun and hidden from time.

This timeless kingdom enters a person via Holy Spirit filled water through the pores of the skin. Once inside, the aspiring immortal must tend it like any place must be tended even a room or a garden. The Second Law of Thermodynamics which says that anything if left to itself atrophies is as true for the timeless inner kingdom as it is for anything in Moscow or Mauritania. A higher force needs to step in to keep every little thing from going bad. I suppose that is also why aspiring immortals must aspire to what we already have. That is, because if we don’t we could lose it in a heartbeat.

To tend the timeless inner kingdom, the first step is to go there. Since the kingdom is in our very own hearts and souls, but away from the light of day, travelling there is very convenient. Going to the kingdom is simply a matter of not going someplace else for a little while every day.

Aspiring immortals who harbor the kingdom inside know not sickness for the same reason that real martyrs don’t really care when the enemy wants to chop off their heads or even when Jesus was hanging by his wrists on purpose. These people deny that small part of their fleshy selves to protect the kingdom and keep it inviolable. And they don’t know sorrow or sadness, well not really because who can be sad when all things bad are so damned powerless. And who can sigh when there’s so much to do to prepare for the purging.

Another difference between kingdoms and cities is the government. Aspiring immortals live in a God governing country even when those in the cities let us vote now and then.

Me and My Machines

So many people that I love have disappeared lately. I never say a person died because death is being away from God, and life is being near God. I want to believe that the people who have left their bodies are near God, so I just say they disappeared. When I stop to think about where they are without their bodies and all, I wonder how they will survive without machines.

There was a time when aspiring immortals had hardly any machines at all. They were like birds flying through the skies, landing on branches and then plunging into berry-filled bushes. Nowadays we operate all sorts of contraptions using them to connect ourselves to each other and to learn what others think we should know. This morning I was listening to the radio and heard the same info about ten times in fifteen minutes. Maybe I was supposed to turn it off after I heard it once. I kept thinking they would tell me something new. Silly me. Of course the most fun machine is my beloved computer because like the genius-telephone it is a two-way street.

I know the people that I love, who have disappeared are still alive. But I wonder what life is like without any machines at all. And that makes me stop to think that my body is a machine too.

When I separate my true self from my body self, like I will be someday and for a very long time, then I feel very light, like an angel. I am free to do the most important thing, to love God in a pure straightforward way. It doesn’t matter what I look like or what kind of clothes I’m wearing or if I have real gold dangling from my ears. This is fun! Sure I can’t hug anymore, and I’ll bet that’s what I will miss most about not having a body, but I can still sing from my heart. My heart, not the bloody one but the real one is invisible with me, just like my thoughts are. And I can talk to people without sound and they’ll know it’s me, just like I can hear my Boss talk to me now.

Flying through time is much easier without a body too.

Since my body is so much like having a machine, if I try hard enough I can be the boss of my body like I am the boss of my computer or my cell phone or my car. I will only feed it what it should have and I will make sure it’s always clean and lubricated and I will exercise it regularly to keep the oxygen flowing right inside and to keep the muscles strong so they can hold up the organs. Yes, I will be a good machine owner, especially during Lent when I will go into the desert with Jesus. Less food, more water, more quietful listening, more rest. It was wonderful that Jesus healed so many people, but I’ll bet that He preferred that they would take better care of their bodies so they wouldn’t get sick in the first place.

During Lent, maybe I’ll even try to live more like the Holy Spirit Who has no body, unless you count that dove but that was temporary, than Jesus on the Cross. That is to say that I want to see how much I can be a pure person and not an amalgam of person and machine. It could be fun to walk through the day, being aware of the difference between the forever me and the body me. Maybe I'll even try to cut down on the other machines in my life as well. During Lent, I hope I can become closer to Our Father Who Art in Heaven without any machines.

Earth's Born-Again Birthday

You and I both know that new year’s day, the day that the earth was first created, happened last September and that’s why we went into the bubble together on that great adventure to the beginning of time. So an aspiring immortal has to wonder what to think about December 31st at midnight. I’m sure that scholars, scientists, and historians all can give us wonderful explanations of why the new year begins in January and why the death of the old year happens in December. But my Boss asked me to tell you the real reason we celebrate the new year, albeit AGAIN, and this is what it is.

 

If our earth was a person like you and me, which it kinda is, since the world has a life of its own, a history of its own and we are all little cells in that life being shed and renewed every day, then the birth of the earth was an event like the birth of Harvey.

 

You and I agree that the most spectacular historic event that this world has known happened when God condescended to become a person born on earth. Jesus lying in the manger cooing and crying. Well, that wasn’t just a new cell coming; that was more like a whole new birth for the earth! Jesus coming to live on earth was equal to the day when the Holy Spirit first came to live in your heart. That’s a born again experience for the earth! A rebirth worth celebrating world-wide every year as if it is happening for the first time!

 

Yes, the old world died in December of an electric surge of humanity and was born again in January (the J standing for Jesus of course) when divinity walked on its mountains and lakes. So, my friend on this new year’s eve let the champagne flow because we are not just celebrating the turn of a single digit in our counting of years, we are celebrating the day the earth was born-again, 2,009 years ago! Hallelujah.