God ?

god

Jim & Denise at the Café

Jim: “So I hear you found God…”

Denise: “More like God found me.”

Jim: “…”

Denise: “Kind of like when the student is ready, the Teacher appears…”

Jim: “God, huh?”

Denise: “Yep.”

Jim: “Did He speak to you?”

Denise: “No, She  didn’t. Actually, I don’t think God is sexed—beyond all that…”

Jim: “So how do you know God found you?”

Denise: “I feel ‘Blessed ‘, I feel I’m worthy of working toward my best potential…”

Jim: “Quite a change from last month with all that talk about dying…”

Denise: “Yeah, I want to live now and I’m not afraid of dying either, whenever…”

Jim: “Wild! “

Denise: “Yeah, wild… Wonderful… Weird…

Jim: “Yeah…”

~~~~~~~~~

If you’d been in attendance at this imaginary scene, you’d have seen the body language and felt the emotion—you’d have believed that Denise really did feel that God had found her.

Who or What is God?

Big Question…

This post was stimulated by a post on BloggersBase called, Perspectives on the Nature of God – Which of these Five Views Matches Yours? The author lists five very common conceptions of God with descriptions:

God the Wrathful…

God the Judgmental…

God Who?…

God the Compassionate…

God the Universal Spirit…

Then, comes a fascinating piece of contemplation:

“You have probably rejected four of these five views of God as being absolutely wrong, and even been uncomfortable with the wording of the view with which you most closely align. In doing so, you have rejected the sincere beliefs of the vast majority of humanity. Is promoting your preferred characterization of God more important than compassion and acceptance of diversity?”

I have my conception of God and it embraces a few of the five mentioned but goes well beyond any of them…

To me, God is First and Foremost, the Unknowable—no conception from us—the creations of God—can attain to the True Nature of our Creator…

This belief doesn’t relieve me of the necessity for compassion and empathy and tolerance of other’s beliefs…

There is, however, a concept in religion that indicates the existence of Messengers  from God, Prophets  of God, Manifestations  of God, Who have acted as intermediaries between God the Creator and we the created. Some of their names have been Zoroaster, Krishna, Buddha, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Muhammad, the Báb, and Bahá’u’lláh.

There’s also a concept called Progressive Revelation  that says that all those Manifestations are One in Spirit and the religions They each founded were but Chapters in a continuing revelation of One Faith of God. This principle holds that all the religions are stages of one religion—the outer social laws changing with the constant evolution of humanity but the core spiritual Truths remaining—immutable…

One God…

One Faith…

One Human Family…

Hmmm . . .

Spiritual Quote:

“The holy Manifestations of God come into the world to dispel the darkness of the animal, or physical, nature of man, to purify him from his imperfections in order that his heavenly and spiritual nature may become quickened, his divine qualities awakened, his perfections visible, his potential powers revealed and all the virtues of the world of humanity latent within him may come to life. These holy Manifestations of God are the Educators and Trainers of the world of existence, the Teachers of the world of humanity. They liberate man from the darkness of the world of nature, deliver him from despair, error, ignorance, imperfections and all evil qualities. They clothe him in the garment of perfections and exalted virtues. Men are ignorant; the Manifestations of God make them wise. They are animalistic; the Manifestations make them human. They are savage and cruel; the Manifestations lead them into kingdoms of light and love. They are unjust; the Manifestations cause them to become just. Man is selfish; They sever him from self and desire. Man is haughty; They make him meek, humble and friendly. He is earthly; They make him heavenly. Men are material; the Manifestations transform them into divine semblance. They are immature children; the Manifestations develop them into maturity. Man is poor; They endow him with wealth. Man is base, treacherous and mean; the Manifestations of God uplift him into dignity, nobility and loftiness.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 465

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Rainn Wilson, Dwight Schrute, and Spirituality

the_office_and_spiritualityDwight Schrute?

From the hit show The Office?

Giving deep answers to big spiritual questions?

With Oprah?!?

Well… Recently, Rainn Wilson appeared on Oprah’s Soul Series Webcast {Scroll down to “Download Files” for the easiest access!}.

He was definitely not  the character he plays on The Office!

Not the man with a boundless ego who’s always looking for the best way to screw anybody—the man you love to hate…

Here was a thoughtful, intelligent man talking about his spiritual journey and introducing a new web site that targets youth and challenges them to think about and  take action on the Big Spiritual Questions—SoulPancake.

He talks about creative endeavors as Prayer  and the crying need for our Human Family to Unify —to realize that the answer to all the Big Questions  is an awareness of our common Humanity…

Oprah draws him out with her matchless style of down-to-earth yet deeply spiritual questions and gives him a chance to soar on the wings that only a Creative Soul can use to give each of us Hope!

I rate this one as a Must-Watch!!!

Spiritual Quote:

“The mystery of this phenomenon, the cause thereof is this, that mankind has been created from one single origin, has branched off from one family. Thus in reality all mankind represents one family. God has not created any difference. He has created all as one that thus this family might live in perfect happiness and well-being.

“Regarding reciprocity and cooperation: each member of the body politic should live in the utmost comfort and welfare because each individual member of humanity is a member of the body politic and if one member of the members be in distress or be afflicted with some disease all the other members must necessarily suffer. For example, a member of the human organism is the eye. If the eye should be affected that affliction would affect the whole nervous system. Hence, if a member of the body politic becomes afflicted, in reality, from the standpoint of sympathetic connection, all will share that affliction since this (one afflicted) is a member of the group of members, a part of the whole. Is it possible for one member or part to be in distress and the other members to be at ease? It is impossible! Hence God has desired that in the body politic of humanity each one shall enjoy perfect welfare and comfort.

“Although the body politic is one family yet because of lack of harmonious relations some members are comfortable and some in direst misery, some members are satisfied and some are hungry, some members are clothed in most costly garments and some families are in need of food and shelter. Why? Because this family lacks the necessary reciprocity and symmetry. This household is not well arranged. This household is not living under a perfect law. All the laws which are legislated do not ensure happiness. They do not provide comfort.

“Therefore a law must be given to this family by means of which all the members of this family will enjoy equal well-being and happiness.
Is it possible for one member of a family to be subjected to the utmost misery and to abject poverty and for the rest of the family to be comfortable? It is impossible unless those members of the family be senseless, atrophied, inhospitable, unkind. Then they would say, ‘Though these members do belong to our family—let them alone. Let us look after ourselves. Let them die. So long as I am comfortable, I am honored, I am happy—this my brother— let him die. If he be in misery let him remain in misery, so long as I am comfortable. If he is hungry let him remain so; I am satisfied. If he is without clothes, so long as I am clothed, let him remain as he is. If he is shelterless, homeless, so long as I have a home, let him remain in the wilderness’.

“Such utter indifference in the human family is due to lack of control, to lack of a working law, to lack of kindness in its midst. If kindness had been shown to the members of this family surely all the members thereof would have enjoyed comfort and happiness.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Foundations of World Unity

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Life & Death ~ Survey Results

life-and-death_resultsOur previous post contained a survey that asked folks to comment on this statement:

Life ends at the moment of death.

There were 40 people voting (though more may vote in the future…) and the top response, with 30%, was:

Physical life ends but Spiritual life continues.

Next, with 20%, was:

No, spiritual life continues and heaven and hell are states of being here on earth.

13% merely said, “No.

Yes but we get another chance at it in a new body. and I don’t know. tied at 8%

What’s Life?, What’s Death?, Maybe., and Yes. all had 5% of the vote.

Most interestingly, Yes and you go to heaven or hell. was last with 3%…

I don’t have to say this wasn’t a “scientific” survey. It was a survey of Faith. And, it was a survey “biased” by the answers and the responses of people who found my blog and spent enough time to take the survey.

What conclusions can be made?

Maybe none. Maybe that a “representative” segment of my readers believe more strongly in “Life” after “Death” than in Nothingness… Maybe those readers also don’t believe in the dogmatic preachments about “Heaven” and “Hell”…

Spiritual Quote:

“The soul is the focal point for love and compassion, for faith and courage, and for other such ‘human’ qualities that cannot be explained
solely by thinking of a human being as an animal, or as a sophisticated organic machine. The soul does not die; it endures everlastingly. When the human body dies, the soul is freed from ties with the physical body and the surrounding physical world and begins its progress through the spiritual world. Bahá’ís understand the spiritual world to be a timeless and placeless extension of our own universe—and not some physically remote or removed place. Entry into the next life has the potential to bring great joy. Bahá’u’lláh likened death to the process of birth. He explains: ‘The world beyond is as different from this world as this
world is different from that of the child while still in the womb of its mother’.

Just as the womb constitutes an important place for a person’s initial physical development, the physical world provides the matrix for the
development of the individual soul.
Bahá’í International Community: 1992 Magazine – The Bahá’ís

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We Are One ~ “Ya Gotta Be Kiddin’!”

oneness_of_humanityActually, I’m not kidding. We have always  been One.

Sure doesn’t seem like it though, right?

Consider this example:

Any given human being is One individual. That human being has many aspects and functions that compose their Oneness. Often, one or more of those aspects or functions starts to veer out of balance with the other functions and the One human has a Conflict; even to the point that they feel like more than One person—multiple entities fighting for control…

That’s a perfect picture of our Human Oneness—at war with itself, aspects and functions of the Whole fighting and disrupting the Balance.

One Person/One World: Sick and Disrupted, the Parts bringing down the Whole, Suicidal…

I, however, firmly believe that humanity’s Oneness will be healed; in fact, I can say it’s inevitable!

Consider:

Humans began as small family and tribal units and learned the evolutionary lessons of how to live as One.

We then formed city-states and, eventually, nations. Those human structures have gone through an evolutionary growth that has given each of us an identity as members of rather large Wholes.

Why should human evolution stop here, no matter the crises and sicknesses that infect the Whole?

Who but a doomed pessimist would look into the future and see us reduced back to separate, small tribes or totally wiped out?

Historically, as each phase of transition in the organization of humanity approached, things began to look bad, people cried out a warning that humanity was doomed and… We’re still here.

Almost makes one think there’s a greater Plan; that a higher power actually wants us to achieve Global Unity and express our inherent Oneness in peace and tranquility…

Spiritual Quote:

“Let there be no mistake. The principle of the Oneness of Mankind—the pivot round which all the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh revolve—is no mere outburst of ignorant emotionalism or an expression of vague and pious hope. Its appeal is not to be merely identified with a reawakening of the spirit of brotherhood and good-will among men, nor does it aim solely at the fostering of harmonious cooperation among individual peoples and nations. Its implications are deeper, its claims greater than any which the Prophets of old were allowed to advance. Its message is applicable not only to the individual, but concerns itself primarily with the nature of those essential relationships that must bind all the states and nations as members of one human family. It does not constitute merely the enunciation of an ideal, but stands inseparably associated with an institution adequate to embody its truth, demonstrate its validity, and perpetuate its influence. It implies an organic change in the structure of present-day society, a change such as the world has not yet experienced. It constitutes a challenge, at once bold and universal, to outworn shibboleths of national creeds—creeds that have had their day and which must, in the ordinary course of events as shaped and controlled by Providence, give way to a new gospel, fundamentally different from, and infinitely superior to, what the world has already conceived. It calls for no less than the reconstruction and the demilitarization of the whole civilized world—a world organically unified in all the essential aspects of its life, its political machinery, its spiritual aspiration, its trade and finance, its script and language, and yet infinite in the diversity of the national characteristics of its federated units.

“It represents the consummation of human evolution —an evolution that has had its earliest beginnings in the birth of family life, its subsequent development in the achievement of tribal solidarity, leading in turn to the constitution of the city-state, and expanding later into the institution of independent and sovereign nations.

“The principle of the Oneness of Mankind, as proclaimed by Bahá’u’lláh, carries with it no more and no less than a solemn assertion that attainment to this final stage in this stupendous evolution is not only necessary but inevitable, that its realization is fast approaching, and that nothing short of a power that is born of God can succeed in establishing it.”
Shoghí Effendí Rabbání, The World Order of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 42

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The Polls ~ Reprise

poll
You can take these polls without reading the series, One Common Faith ~ The Story, but if you’d rather read it first, here it is…

You can select multiple answers


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Hate, Love, and Religion

More posts on the Gaza situation here…
religion_hate_love

Jill & Olivia at the Café
after two months of not seeing each other


J: So, you signed-up, eh?

O: I became a member, yes…

J: It’s a real religion?

O: Yeah, a world religion.

J: I can’t imagine you in some organization that tells you what you can and can’t do.

O: Well, there are  spiritual laws but there’s nothing that isn’t just good common sense—well, common sense without a materialistic focus—maybe, good spiritual common sense…

J: hmmm… What’s the hardest thing about following all those laws?

O: Funny you should ask; well, not funny for you but just yesterday I had my first real spiritual test…

J: Do tell!

O: Well… it was about the situation in Gaza. I was talking to an Israeli and a Palestinian and they both kept referring to each other as monsters and terrorists and I got pretty worked up and almost started an argument but I remembered that I should treat everyone with kindness so I asked them if they thought any  Palestinians and Israelis were good people…

J: Yeah… So?

O: They both got real quiet and then got up and walked off.

J: How was that a test?

O: ‘Cause, while they were ranting about how evil the Palestinians and Israelis were, I was getting pretty mad and when I remembered a quote from the Scripture, “…should they be unjust toward you show justice towards them…”, I calmed right down and asked about the possiblity of good Palestinians and Israelis.

J: I still don’t understand the test part…

O: I wanted to slap them for what they’d been saying, pretty war-like for me, but I decided to be fair to them, benefit of the doubt and all, and asked about the possibility of good people on both sides. If I’d slapped them, even with my words, we would have been “at war”; but, maybe what I said will make them think and be more fair to each other…

~~~~~~~~~
Jill and Olivia talked for two more hours and explored some of Olivia’s new Scripture…

Here’s what they talked about:

Spiritual Quote:

“O ye beloved of the Lord! In this sacred Dispensation, conflict and contention are in no wise permitted. Every aggressor deprives himself of God’s grace. It is incumbent upon everyone to show the utmost love, rectitude of conduct, straightforwardness and sincere kindliness unto all the peoples and kindreds of the world, be they friends or strangers. So intense must be the spirit of love and loving kindness, that the stranger may find himself a friend, the enemy a true brother, no difference whatsoever existing between them. For universality is of God and all limitations earthly. Thus man must strive that his reality may manifest virtues and perfections, the light whereof may shine upon everyone. The light of the sun shineth upon all the world and the merciful showers of Divine Providence fall upon all peoples. The vivifying breeze reviveth every living creature and all beings endued with life obtain their share and portion at His heavenly board. In like manner, the affections and loving kindness of the servants of the One True God must be bountifully and universally extended to all mankind. Regarding this, restrictions and limitations are in no wise permitted.

“Wherefore, O my loving friends! Consort with all the peoples, kindreds and religions of the world with the utmost truthfulness, uprightness, faithfulness, kindliness, good-will and friendliness, that all the world of being may be filled with the holy ecstasy of the grace of Baha [Light, Splendor], that ignorance, enmity, hate and rancor may vanish from the world and the darkness of estrangement amidst the peoples and kindreds of the world may give way to the Light of Unity. Should other peoples and nations be unfaithful to you show your fidelity unto them, should they be unjust toward you show justice towards them, should they keep aloof from you attract them to yourselves, should they show their enmity be friendly towards them, should they poison your lives, sweeten their souls, should they inflict a wound upon you, be a salve to their sores. Such are the attributes of the sincere! Such are the attributes of the truthful.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Will and Testament, p. 14

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International Law Being Broken ?

justice

Judy and Maria talking at the café:

J: So what the hell gives them the right?

M: They’re protecting their citizens from rockets.

J: While they kill other civilians with bombs and missiles and mortars and tank shells?

M: Yeah, doesn’t seem fair—out of proportion…

J: We need some kind of international  protection, to stop small terrorists’ violence and powerful countries’ insanities.

M: As far as I know there are  international laws; just not enough international responsibility . . .

Spiritual Quote :

“…we believe it is impossible to implement human ‘rights’ without a sense of collective responsibility. Indeed, if the whole of humanity is one interconnected body, then an injury to any member is an injury to the body as a whole. Thus it behooves every individual member of the human family to take action whenever and wherever human rights violations occur.

“Some links between human rights and responsibilities are already generally accepted. Legal rights guaranteed by the existing human rights instruments are implicitly balanced by responsibilities, and states are obligated to respect human rights under international law. Likewise, the notion of responsibility is widely acknowledged in its narrow criminal and tort law sense. Yet in the Bahá’í perspective, the concept of ‘responsibility’ in the context of human rights encompasses the responsibility devolving upon every person, as a divinely-created being, to recognize the essential oneness of the human race and to promote the human rights of others with this motivation.

“Thus, it seems to us essential to broaden the conceptual framework for addressing human rights problems from an adversarial paradigm—pitting the government against the individual citizen—to a cooperative one, where we consider relations among all human beings as members of one community. In this context, everyone has an essential role to play in implementing fundamental human rights. When individuals assume responsibility for ensuring each other’s human rights the foundation for unity will be firmly established.

“In addition, recognition of such a responsibility to promote human rights can empower ordinary people and give them a new sense of purpose and dignity. As stated in the Bahá’í writings:

“And the honour and distinction of the individual consist in this, that he among all the world’s multitudes should become a source of social good. Is any larger bounty conceivable than this, that an individual, looking within himself, should find that by the confirming grace of God he has become the cause of peace and well-being, of happiness and advantage to his fellow men? No, by the one true God, there is no greater bliss, no more complete delight.” (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Secret of Divine Civilization, pp. 2-3.)
Bahá’í International Community, 1993 Dec 03, Right and Responsibility to Promote Human Rights

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