September 18, 2018
Learning by hearing is good, but learning by experience is awesome and empowering! A baby learns the meaning of love by the experience of having its needs met before it hears or learns the word “love”. The power of a word is from the experience about which language speaks. Married couples know the meaning and authenticity of their words of “love” that they exchange from their mutual experiences of loving behavior.
Jesus depended on need-meeting experiences to define “love” with persons because such experience gave his words power—like he said seeds held the need-meeting power for the plant to experience fulfillment. This can explain why Jesus instructed Peter and the apostles not to use the word “messiah” for him when around others. The apostles’ experience with Jesus had changed their understanding of the word “messiah” from the popular definition. The word means ‘an anointed’ person having oil poured over the head by other persons who think the person appropriate to be a king, queen or priest, thus being made a controlling authority over persons as in a coronation. But Jesus’ definition of “messiah” was more the meaning of the term “Son of Man” (THE original authentic Man indicated by its capitalization). This term means one whose daily behavioral experience reflects how the original Man/human was designed to live—Adam and Eve before their rebellion. A life not of competing authority or authority over others like a “messiah”, but authority shared with others through compassionate service as Jesus exemplified. This led to an experience of existence that the Designer/Creator intended and moreover immediate blessings of personal self-fulfillment from life at its best! Yes, Jesus wanted them to avoid labels like “messiah” because people’s definition of that term was not his self understanding as “Son of (the) Man”. He was all about human quality of existence, of God’s serving Man, not about humans being elevated as gods over one another.
This is surely that which Peter and the others would remember by Jesus preferring the term “Son of Man”! When Jesus first called them to be apostles, he and three others were fishermen. Jesus made them aware that they fished not just for the secular individual need for money, but for the sacred experience of joyous and peaceful self-satisfying fulfillment from thus meeting the human need of hunger by their work. Jesus helped them see their commercial job as a spiritually empowering experience. Why else would Jesus tell them not to use the label “messiah”? Jesus wanted the apostles to share their experience of God, not just as a label! For that is where the power of God was and is experienced. Let us help people realize they can experience God rather than just talk about or hear about God. This also makes you experience God and God’s intended existence! Well?
September 11, 2018
When one lingers over the “sighing” Jesus of Mark 7, one not only discovers why he was feeling weary, one also discovers how to have that called a personal “saving” experience of “Jesus as Christ and Lord”.
Without Jesus’ physical presence to insist people serve others food and health care, rather than the selfish desire to be served, people feared Jesus’ serving way of life would “dry up”. Many left Jesus! This made Jesus weary enough to face toward heaven and “sigh” to God in frustration. It surely made him despair whether persons would continue to experience his “saving” exhilarating inner power when they compassionately served one another’s needs, as he had taught them by word and by deed. Wondering what would happen without him around, some were already sighing and leaving over whether his teaching about mutually serving needs could overcome selfishness to become the common practice.
This is where the story of the Gentile mother troubled over her “little girl’s” NEED to be rid of an “unclean spirit” helps. An “unclean spirit” is a rebellious spirit generated in reaction to a person with a spirit contrary to patience, kindness, generosity and gentleness (Galatians 5:22). It seemed to Jesus that the mother was “short” of these attitudes. Notice she wanted what she wanted, interrupting Jesus while on “vacation at the beach” on the Mediterranean seashore. She was impatient, selfish and forceful saying, “Even dogs which you Jews call us Gentiles, deserve to be served by the crumbs from your table.” To which Jesus said you have diagnosed your problem with your daughter. She is resisting your unholy attitudes of impatience, unkindness, selfishness and hostility. Change your unholy attitudes and you will have a personal experience of salvation from God’s Holy Attitudes and of me as your Savior and Lord. You are the problem! Now, go home and serve your daughter with compassion rather than with severity and the demon in her will be gone. The woman went home and found her daughter as Jesus had promised her.
And oh yes, the physical Jesus of familiar kingly power to make people stay compassionate who many following were afraid of losing, was no longer physically with the mother nor even present with her daughter. But the Holy Spirit Attitudes of the physical Jesus were still present with the mother and the child. Though Jesus had never been physically present with the little girl, his attitudes eliminated the mother and daughter’s “sighing” by creating their joy and peace of authentic existence. Jesus’ Holy Spirit Attitudes were enough after all, without his lingering physical presence! They both personally experienced God’s saving power of total self-fulfillment. Let us stop unholy attitudes to relate to others to stop Jesus “sighing” over us. Heaven awaits us!
September 4, 2018
Last week’s ‘Unravelings’ (written before Labor Day) reviewed Jesus’ teaching about God as the Holy Spirit in the form of Holy Attitudes. Thus, Jesus discerned that God existed nearby—even within humans—rather than existed mostly (if not solely) in the distant sky as the Heavenly Father or commonly conceived sky God. Jesus’ discernment caused persons to begin to focus on their individual incarnate power to serve the community of all persons OR to use that individual empowerment to dominate the community of persons. This required Jesus’ followers (now including us) to choose between Holy attitudes of faithfulness to patience, kindness, generosity and gentleness OR Unholy attitudes of faithfulness to impatience, unkindness, stinginess and brutality when relating to individuals. Holy or Unholy Attitudes chosen to determine how we relate to individuals either enhances our community or harms our community relations. Selfish individualism distorts community relations.
enhances our relations with others because it enhances our dignity.
Labor Day came because of our NEED to repent of a selfish individual focus to give room within us to embrace our Divine dignity of selfless individuals to make us the Kingdom of God—or community of God. That may sound threatening to some readers. But remember Labor Day is to celebrate the right of each person to work, be paid a living wage thus being treated with dignity. That wasn’t the universal thinking before Labor Day. And it still isn’t some folks’ thinking. The typical thinking was that each person should be able to collect as much money possible and to pay those hired as little as possible. This was because the more workers kept, the less employers kept! And the thinking was that without the employers, the workers would not have a job, nor have the right to work. The end result was, and still is, an abusive tendency to make a minority of individuals in community richer and a majority of individuals in community poorer. Individual human antipathy grows among the rich! And individual human hostility grows among the poor. This negatively affects the quality of community. This tension occurred in Jesus’ time and has ever since.
That is, unless we determine to repent and shift from using
primarily individualist Unholy Attitudes to using Holy individualist
Attitudes, was in order to elevate community for everyone’s good. The
reason why Jesus elevated the experience of the nearness of God through
compassionate service was to turn community into the Kingdom of God.
Jesus knew that for humans to experience intended “joy and peace” they had to
serve one another with equal dignity. Remember that such “joy and peace” from
the dignity of working, is the real motivation that created Labor Day as a
August 28, 2018
Before we can get to Labor Day Celebration next week, I am hearing from Jesus that we must do some repenting. As we will remember then as now, Jesus challenged the existing status quo thinking that God intended two classes of people, the wealthy and the poor. The wealthy were wealthy on the “backs of the poor” because if God didn’t want it that way, God would surely intervene to change it. But God seemed silent!
Well, Jesus was God’s intervention! Jesus told people to let him show them something—how to live more equitably and serenely instead of hostilely and isolated. God was and is the Holy Attitudes that “abides” and “remains” in each person to motivate “sharing” by all rather than “hoarding” by some. He demonstrated this by being a religious teacher not authorized by the existing religious authority of their Temple, but by God the “Father” from above, witnessed by the Holy Attitudes by which Jesus behaved and explained God to people.
Crowds of individuals were attracted to this teaching because that teaching motivated persons to “share” over “hoarding”. On just one occasion over 5,000 persons “shared” their food possessions and not only had enough, but enough for representatives from every original Hebrew Tribe (12 baskets full) to take home leftovers! God’s (Agape’s Love) Holy Attitudes overcame their individualistic fear to show them that trust in the power of community should not be feared.
This turned out to be accepted by the community crowds as long as Jesus was physically around to tell and show them Agape’s Holy Attitudes would work. But many, according to the Gospels, started to think, “What will happen when Jesus isn’t around?” Even then he had the annoying tendency to slip away from them, causing them to run after him, to assure “sharing” would take place. So, many started leaving Jesus.
It was exactly then that the Gospel story says that Jesus told them
that they would not be able to “remain” or “abide” with him unless they
individually decided to “eat and drink” the nourishment from the Holy Attitudes
that nourished and motivated him. It is the motivation of God that only
comes from our paying silent attention to our inner Holy satisfaction from
“sharing” communally that which they individually experienced. That meant
repenting and facing that if they did not take care of letting go of self
first, they would die alone, as they’d always feared and been taught to fear.
Jesus concluded by telling them to remember it is all about the attitude that
you bring to the flesh. The flesh is nothing when compared to the spirit
that motivates. Next week I will go further to unravel our need to totally
repent unholy fleshiness in order to celebrate Labor Day as intended