One Common Faith ~ The Story – Part One

children_praying
In the last post I said, “I want to tell a story”.  I also said certain people wouldn’t like it…

I’m not sure right now how many posts it will take to tell the story. It starts in the dim past and soars into the unseeable future.

The story won’t have a lot of detail but it will have a lot of emotion. The beginning is my early time on our earth as well as the early time of our human family. It’s very easy to see the stages of an individual’s life mirroring the infancy, youth, adolescence, and maturity of humanity.

Before I launch into the beginnings, I want to give the links to a document and a site that explores the document—they’re the immediate stimulus to my needing to tell this story.

The document is One Common Faith—a deep and scholarly exploration of religion (that’s the reason some folks won’t like this story…).

The web site is Changeless Faith—dedicated to a multimedia learning process that dives into One Common Faith  and helps you connect with it in a personal way. {if you’re not the type of person who regularly reads deep scholarly documents, I’d recommend starting with the “Companion” part of the site rather than the “Document” part—you’ll get a simpler introduction to the concepts and appreciate the full document much more}

The Story

I was born in 1946 to two Christian ministers—mom and dad. I feel lucky to have had such an early introduction to serious religious life. I’ve felt conflicted about the deep problems I’ve had to struggle with to unravel the mystery of Who God really Is—mom and dad or the Ineffable, Unknowable Creator.

I think our earliest ancestors had a somewhat similar problem. The members of our human family who lived during our infancy had to struggle to co-exist with the powers they encountered and they developed various theories about a Power that ruled over those powers. Lightning or earthquakes are powers (so are mom and dad); why do they happen and what causes them? Later in the story, we’ll look at the scientific understanding of this issue but it won’t be easy to leave behind the ultimate Mystery about the Origin of our life and struggles in this earthly home…

I went to church four or five times a week. Our early ancestors worshiped in the constant cathedral of nature.

I trembled and uttered inner prayers that my soul wouldn’t be damned by my parents. Our earliest ancestors shouted and danced to appease the gods—inner and outer.

I asked my Sunday School teacher questions she couldn’t answer. They went to the medicine woman and were instructed to perform rites they weren’t expected to understand.

I mostly behaved but grew up to be quite impulsive and rebellious. They did what they had to do to survive and sometimes killed the members of other tribes.

To be continued…

Spiritual Quote :

“It is a great mistake to believe that because people are illiterate or live primitive lives, they are lacking in either intelligence or sensibility. On the contrary, they may well look on us with the evils of our civilization, with its moral corruption, its ruinous wars, its hypocrisy and conceit, as people who merit watching with both suspicion and contempt. We should meet them as equals, well-wishers, people who admire and respect their ancient descent, and who feel that they will be interested as we are in a living religion and not in the dead forms of [many] present-day churches.”
From letter written on behalf of Shoghí Effendí to the Comite Nacional de Ensenanza Bahá’í para los Indigenas de Sur America, September 21, 1951

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The Search For Truth

I search for news that I can comment on while raising the issues to the level of Principle—reaching the truth by climbing out of the mud…

Most media and almost all politics are miring swamps.

From the Bahá’í World News Service: Iranian media attacks on Baha’is and Nobel Prize Winner Shirin Ebadi seek to stir “irrational fears and prejudices”

From The Huffington Post: The Media’s Problem Of “False Balance” Showing Itself In Electoral Map Analyses

From the Lancaster Eagle Gazette: Candidates taking low road: Dirty politics is never helpful

From the Tampa Tribune: Truth, Please

Often, I find refuge from the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” in fiction. I am a poet and many would claim that poetry is fiction, along with myth and tradition . . . Contemplate these quotes:

“Fiction reveals truth that reality obscures.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Fiction is the truth inside the lie.”
Stephen King

My favorite author, C. J. Cherryh, spins beautiful tales, taking media, politics, poetry, fiction, and myth to realms that reveal truth more clearly than most any media or political source available.

Consider these quotes from this multiple award-winning author:

“It is perfectly okay to write garbage—as long as you edit brilliantly.”

“Deal with the Devil if the Devil has a constituency – and don’t complain about the heat.”

“Trade isn’t about goods. Trade is about information. Goods sit in the warehouse until information moves them.”

“We’re in the hands of lunatics.”
“Of financiers. Far worse”

“The interests of all humans are interlocked…and politics is no more than a temporal expression of social mathematics.”

“Ignorance killed the cat, sir. Curiosity was framed.”

Want to join a community that honors and discusses this author’s work? Travel to the Realm of Shon’jir !

Today’s Spiritual Quote:

“Oh! why will man, the disobedient child of God, who should be an example of the power of the spiritual law, turn his face away from the Divine Teaching and put all his effort into destruction and war?
“My hope is that in this enlightened century the Divine Light of love will shed its radiance over the whole world, seeking out the responsive heart’s intelligence of every human being; that the light of the Sun of Truth will lead politicians to shake off all the claims of prejudice and superstition…”

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 150

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“Bring thyself to account ere thou art summoned to a reckoning…”

Time for an accounting. I’ve been writing nearly everyday on this blog since March—since I was nearing the end of eleven months of taking five highly abusive medical drugs to rid my liver of a deadly virus—jury’s still out on whether it worked . . .

From the New York Times: Uncertainties About the Role of Doubt in Religion “Religious faith was once the air everyone, even the doubter, breathed. Today, religious faith, in its many forms, stands as but one possibility alongside a range of nonreligious outlooks that the honest believer cannot simply dismiss as deluded or depraved.
“Religious thinkers, of course, have long argued that uncertainty and faith are not the polar opposites often supposed; that indifference, and not doubt, for example, is the greater adversary of faith; that absolute certitude about God often reflects a dangerous arrogance.”

I’ve been trying to live up to my Faith for almost twenty years now—struggling against my grasping ego—contending with the oh, so easy rationalizations to just be “human”; imperfections flowering into weeds of uncertainty.

This blog is part of my personal covenant with God—hopeful action to stave off the demons of doubt.

I value the feedback I receive from my visitors, especially the indicators of which posts are the most viewed (see the far right sidebar). I struggle to interpret what’s going on in the world in terms of my Faith and post my thoughts and feelings here. What people choose to read is a “message” to me—a wake-up call—about how my private efforts are connected to other members of our human family . . .

So…

Thought I’d take the current most-viewed-posts and put them together (for my meditation and, hopefully, your edification) in these files:

Word File ——— PDF File
For an undetermined reason the Word file didn’t hold the images.
If you’re able, download the PDF…

~~~~~~~~~

“Examine the wondrous behaviour of the Prophets, and recall the defamations and denials uttered by the children of negation and falsehood, perchance you may cause the bird of the human heart to wing its flight away from the abodes of heedlessness and doubt unto the nest of faith and certainty, and drink deep from the pure waters of ancient wisdom, and partake of the fruit of the tree of divine knowledge. Such is the share of the pure in heart of the bread that hath descended from the realms of eternity and holiness.”
Bahá’u’lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 5

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So, What Is The Truth ?

I’ve spent quite a bit of time recently doing what that man in the picture could be imagined to be doing–praying…

I’ve finally decided on a definite Direction for this blog.

I don’t wear a tie anymore.

I don’t sit in leather chairs, either.

And, I certainly don’t wish to demean anyone for their clothes or furniture, but to powerfully invoke the Sameness in each of us when we get down to our basic Human Necessities…

Anyone who doesn’t think attention to God and His Scriptures is the way to guide one’s life–whether Hindu, Buddhist, Sabian, Zoroastrian, Jewish, Christian, Islamic, or other Major recipients of God’s Wisdom–might think my change in direction to be less than “profitable”.

What is “Profit”?

I’ll choose an extremely appropriate definition from WordWeb:

“The advantageous quality of being beneficial”

I wish my blog to be beneficial. I wish to provide the clearest indication of TRUTH that I can find. I wish to aid my fellow human beings to the maximal extent of my ability.

So, stay tuned…

I intend to raise the entire discussion to the level of Principle.

I intend to give you the Best information I can find!