In praise of Pastors Calisto & Violet Mateo of Our God Reigns Ministry at 1289 Kilauea Ave. Hilo Suite H, phone (808) 961-6540

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http://biblehub.com/1_corinthians/15-10.htm

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Justification (God’s Grace) as if one never had sinned (“Reformers”) in relation to Mediation (God’s Grace bestowed in you) with the Holy Spirit as one’s mystical guide (the “Holy”) exemplifies Our God Reigns Ministry via loving empathetic leaders Calisto & Violet Mateo.

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http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Deuteronomy+28%3A1-12&version=NIV

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http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+6&version=NIV

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Deuteronomy 28:1-12 and Matthew 6 consider/describe “all matters” via instruction and the ethic toward the forsaken.    The Mateos follow faithfully via God’s abode.

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Jesus had countless followers because Jesus resolved the most extreme challenge to faith — namely death  — by Jesus raising the dead back to life — not to mention healing the sick & feeding the hungry by propagating abundant foodstock.   Death is universal, absolute, & irreversible  — but Jesus overcame death.     Yes, Jesus evoked love, but Jesus had acolytes/devotees because of Jesus’ miracles in the face of inexplicable odds.    The Mateos do not manifest miracles on the order of Jesus   — nonetheless, the Mateos resolve the conflict between good and evil via the blood on the cross.    

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http://www.sermoncentral.com/sermons/the-blood-of-the-cross-david-carter-sermon-on-blood-of-christ-139442.asp

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Faith is the substance of things hoped for,

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the evidence of things not seen.    Hebrews 11:1

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Faith is the Word, and the Word is God/Jesus. The Word includes both the literal words (Logos) and the feeling (Rhema) guided by the Holy Spirit within us all.

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The Mateos are my alltime heroes, and undeniably Jesus rewards them for their selfless sacrifices and love for all.

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As with Biblical Elijah & Enos, the Mateos are emblematic of Eternal Time — there is no extinction/death in God’s Plan of Salvation.

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elijah

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Elijah was a prophet and a wonder-worker in the northern kingdom of Israel during the reign of Ahab (9th century BC), according to the Biblical Books of Kings. According to the Books of Kings, Elijah defended the worship of Yahweh over that of the Canaanite god Baal (which was considered as idol worship); he raised the dead, brought fire down from the sky, and was taken up in a whirlwind (either accompanied by a chariot and horses of flame or riding in it). In the Book of Malachi, Elijah’s return is prophesied “before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord,” making him a harbinger of the Messiah and the eschaton in various faiths that revere the Hebrew Bible.

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In Christianity the New Testament describes how both Jesus and John the Baptist are compared with Elijah and on some occasions thought by some to be manifestations of Elijah, and Elijah appears with Moses during the Transfiguration of Jesus.

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enos_(biblical_figure)

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Enos or Enosh, in the Book of Genesis of the Hebrew Bible, is the first son of Seth who figures in the Generations of Adam, and consequently referred to within the genealogies of Chronicles, and of Genealogy of Jesus according to Luke 3:38.

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2014/02/22/im-here-to-love-and-be-loved/

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http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=images+love+and+be+loved&qpvt=images+love+and+be+loved&FORM=IGRE#view=detail&id=EACBCF9FA17727184C6B7DC4961D1E0CD101EC1F&selectedIndex=0

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KgLzsGmnogo

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Taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is,

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not as I would have it.

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http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=images+Reinhold+Niebuhr&qpvt=images+Reinhold+Niebuhr&FORM=IGRE#view=detail&id=C1E81C399184BDCF9FC90E0C280A59B2AF66D6CD&selectedIndex=137

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http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+6%3A10&version=ESV

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Your Will be done

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on earth

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as it is

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in Heaven.

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Human beings are created for relationship.   Without you, there is no meaningful me.   How I experience my life is, in the end, inseparable from how I experience you.    Said yet another way, we’re here to love and be loved.   — sage Steven Kalas

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http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=images+true+love&qpvt=images+true+love&FORM=IGRE#view=detail&id=4048FA8F6A0A10C912E3C14BC29E4A692D3D011C&selectedIndex=34

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http://www.reviewjournal.com/steven-kalas/gestalt-therapy-can-open-doors-more-authentic-life

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/12/06/who-am-i-a-person-who-loves-and-desires-to-be-loved-dedicated-to-jeff-lynneelo-tune-telephone-line-37-yrs-ago-today/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/01/04/randy-pausch-steven-kalas-living-meaningfully/

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Biologically, homo sapiens are and always have been animals built for and thriving in troops. More politely, community! No life form is more vulnerable than a human being alone — environmentally, psychologically, spiritually. Yes, I’m aware that some individuals spend much of their adult lives in radical seclusion. But I have yet to meet the individual living thusly who freely chooses this life from a place of thriving mental health.

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Now a theological observation: Every significant world religion has in common the foundational worldview that we are created for relationship, and from this worldview their driving ethos: Learn to love! Learn to be faithful and constant in relationship! For such is the measure of any significant spiritual path. “It is not good for the Man to be alone.” (Judaism) “Where two or more would gather in My name, there I will be in your midst.” (Christianity) The Hindus, the Buddhists, the Muslims, the premodern animists — all of these ways of life come down to the discipline of bridling the human ego in service to love and faithfulness in relationship.

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But, as I’ve said, and as your own question concludes, you are one of the folks with whom you are obliged in relationship. The Golden Rule — “Love your neighbor as yourself” — presupposes this. In fact, The Golden Rule makes a huge presumptive leap that you do have a relationship of regard with self. Have you ever been “loved” by someone who despises him/herself? You won’t like it in the long run.

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It has been said that our lives are wasted until we can love something or someone more than ourselves. I completely agree. My insistence remains, however, that selfless love finds its nexus, paradoxically, in regard for self! Self-respect. Self-love. People without regard for self can love, yes, but there is always a thread of brokenness in that love. Or, as my friend says, when co-dependents are about to die, someone else’s life flashes before their eyes!

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So, taken as an existential inquiry, I think your question becomes a dog chasing its tail. Taken sentimentally, we become ruled by sentiment. But, taken objectively, as “personal economy,” if you will, I think your question lies at the very heart of learning anything about love and relationship at all! Because love — “primary concern,” as you say — is not a feeling. Love is an act. It is possible to exercise a “primary concern” for someone about whom you harbor hateful feelings. Some folks would say this is the very zenith of human love.

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Objectively, your question pushes us toward the necessity of two psychological maturities: discernment (the ability to understand what’s going on) and stewardship (the ability to weigh and measure what you have and don’t have to give, and, if you do have it, whether you should). These two things lie at the heart of all ethical deliberation and, in any given moment, shape the answer to your question regarding where your primary concern should be.

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Here’s a banal illustration: I’m on an airplane as I type this. Before takeoff, the attendant gave us the safety lecture. She said that, while they never anticipate a sudden loss of cabin pressure, should it occur, oxygen masks would drop down from overhead. She said that, if I was traveling with a small child who needed assistance with the mask, that I should put mine on first.

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In short, as a function of discernment and stewardship of my “concern economy,” I should in this case make myself my primary concern. I assume because, were I to lose consciousness, my primary concern for my child would immediately become a moot point.

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No primary concern for self matters unless it obliges us in relationship with others. No primary concern for others is completely healthy unless it reflects a healthy regard for self.

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/peter-a-georgescu/the-last-shall-be-first_b_4683340.html

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The Last Shall be First   — Jesus

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Devoting oneself to others is at the heart of all the world’s major faiths.

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If we are devoted to a higher purpose, love and compassion become the whole point and our goals become more important than what we get in return for them.

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Who am I?   A person who loves and desires to be loved in turn.

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Jodi Picoult:  “People always say that, when you love someone, nothing in the world matters. But that’s not true, is it? You know, and I know, that when you love someone, everything in the world matters a little bit more.”    

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http://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/3764682-handle-with-care

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/11/28/not-who-am-i-but-whose-am-i-and-this-radicalgestalt-changes-everything-from-sage-steven-kalas-born-1957/

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It’s not “Who am I?” but “Whose am I?” And this radical/gestalt changes everything!! 

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/11/17/all-those-moments-of-life-will-be-lost-in-time-like-tears-in-the-rain-time-to-for-me-time-to-deal-with-myself-alone/

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NOW4QiOD-oc

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blade_Runner#Interpretation

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These thematic elements provide an atmosphere of uncertainty for Blade Runner‘s central theme of examining humanity. In order to discover replicants, an empathy test is used, with a number of its questions focused on the treatment of animals—seemingly an essential indicator of someone’s “humanity.”  The replicants appear to show compassion and concern for one another and are juxtaposed against human characters who lack empathy while the mass of humanity on the streets is cold and impersonal. The film goes so far as to put in doubt whether Deckard is human, and forces the audience to re-evaluate what it means to be human.    Yes, the bad guy/unwanted huli’au actually might be the good guy.

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http://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/7128.Jodi_Picoult

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“Let me tell you this: if you meet a loner, no matter what they tell you, it’s not because they enjoy solitude. It’s because they have tried to blend into the world before, and people continue to disappoint them.”  ―    Jodi Picoult

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“I’m lonely. Why do you think I had to learn to act so independent?”     –   ―    Jodi Picoult

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“Love is not an equation, it is not a contract, and it is not a happy ending. Love is the slate under the chalk, the ground that buildings rise, and the oxygen in the air. It is the place you come back to, no matter where you’re headed.”  ―    Jodi Picoult

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“If you spent your life concentrating on what everyone else thought of you, would you forget who you really were? What if the face you showed the world turned out to be a mask… with nothing beneath it?”  ―    Jodi Picoult

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“A real friend isn’t capable of feeling sorry for you, [but instead feeling sorry for/loss of you by the other person.]”  ―    Jodi Picoult

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“I didn’t want to see her because it would make me feel better. I came because without her, it’s hard to remember who I am.”  ―    Jodi Picoult

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“Who’s loving you, baby?”    —

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dURoTBgOACw

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Preface to Susan Sarandon’s undying line below — the gumshoe/private eye says to Susan Sarandon’s character Beverly Clark (on tailing Bev’s hubby played by Richard Gere) that couples get married for passion, not protocol.   Susan’s character Bev in turn responds via her eternal line below.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0358135/quotes

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We need a witness to our lives. There are billions of people on this planet…

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I mean, what does any one life really mean?

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But in a relationship,

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you’re promising to care about everything.  

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The good things, the bad things, the mundane things…

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all of them, all the time.  

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You’re saying

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‘Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it.

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Your life will not go un-witnessed because I will be your witness’.”

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tdBATA_Ag5s

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(Sigh) …    it could not have been said any deeper than this … with love timelessly,   :-)–Curt

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Rose teasingly tells Leonardo DiCaprio’s Jack in the 1997 blockbuster movie Titanic  –

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Immortalize me, Jack!”  (via Jack’s portrait sketching talent)     Done, baby!!

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As sage Steven Kalas intones  (Love’s Purple Heart is won)  –

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http://www.reviewjournal.com/steven-kalas/what-hurts-most-may-bring-people-closest-together

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Once upon a time you stood before an altar

And you promised not to leave

You held each other’s hand and dreamed a sweet forever

Love brought angels to your knees

Oh, the days they do fly by

Count the tears that you have cried

Count the laughter and the lies

Count your love and times love died

And here you stand together, battle-scarred and torn

The locks of fairy tales have fallen, long since shorn

Love has chosen you, blessed you, crucified you

See what you’ve become

Love’s Purple Heart is won

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Once upon a time

You promised to believe

That wounded hearts though painful so

Are the only hearts that grow

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Infinity’s Loving Purple Heart has been won.

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http://www.bigislandchronicle.com/2010/02/15/dispatches-from-curt-%e2%80%94-john-hustons-the-battle-of-san-pietro-semper-fi-wounded-in-action-and-other-musings/#comment-25773

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For Greek philosophers Plato/Aristotle, glorious virtues start w/courage & end w/wisdom, a la Santini/Zulu/the British square/other renowned warriors.

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The 1st historian in the Western World, Herodotus, crusaded to “preserve the memory of great and marvelous deeds,”

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just as successor Thucydides’ mission was to record “important and instructive actions of human beings.”

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I tip my hat to the Mateos for finding the hero/heroine in us all, our very own Herodotus/Thucydides who exemplify Plato/Aristotle’s creeds that glorious virtues start with courage and end with wisdom, and for making us all the happier/wiser/deeper for these values.

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Jesus’ mind-blowing “huli ‘au” (upside down) overturning of this world of our flesh   —  Jesus violated every conceivable tradition when it came to His associations with the marginalized of Jewish society. He infuriated the Pharisees with every compassionate touch. The Qumran community of the Essenes had an unconditional law: “No madman, or lunatic, or simpleton, or fool, no blind man, or maimed, or lame, or deaf man, and no minor shall enter the community.  “Jesus came to shatter these man-made laws with the vengeance of Heaven. It was these very rejected ones whom He had come to save. To the Pharisees He declared, ‘But go and learn what this means, “I desire compassion, and not sacrifice,” for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.’ The Pharisees surrounded themselves with the rich, the wise, the educated, and the elite of society. Jesus, conversely, surrounded Himself with the poor, the uneducated, the rejected, and the outcasts of society.”   — Don Milam

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I stand incredulous before the sheer number of people reporting/experiencing symptoms of depression. I say again, I don’t believe our ancestors experienced the same proportion of depressive symptoms.  Possible explanations for this phenomenon:  Crisis of meaning, for example. An increasingly vacuous culture, with significant evidence of devolution. Or, perhaps depression/depressive episodes is in part provoked by the emotional self-absorption of moderns – the observable, inexplicable delay of real emotional conversance and maturity in modern people. — Steven Kalas

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http://www.gaychurch.org/The_Word/Encouragement/Jesus_God’s_Word_to_Mankind.htm

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Jesus attacked and confounded the conventional wisdom of His day—the accepted psyche of the Jewish community.

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He reversed religious order, violated accepted social practices, and challenged the motivations of men’s actions.      Scripture does not say that God helps those who help themselves, as the elite of society falsely believe.   Instead, just the opposite is the case.   God helps those who help others, and God helps those who cannot help themselves!      [secular naysayers intone that forgiveness and closure are imaginary “nothings”]

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In His stories He made the “bad guys” the “good guys” and the good guys were made the bad guys.

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The less honorable were made heroes in the stories of Jesus.

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The religious and the rich were always the villains.

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The only judgment to be found in His stories was against the righteous and the rich. What was that judgment? They were judged by the Father’s love. The compassion of their heavenly Father exposed the hypocrisy of their lives.

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Be careful what you wish for—the recognition of others, the riches of success, and the rewards of religion.

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In your attempts to move up the ladder you are actually descending. Pursuit of the first place will put you in the last place.

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Jesus challenged the established precepts upon which Jewish society was built.  So-called notions like “hard work brings its rewards. Everyone gets what he deserves. The righteous will prosper. No rest for the wicked. Life is about rewards, requirements, judgments, and success.”     –

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These precepts never prevailed in the stories of Jesus. They always ended up taking the brunt of the story. They were relics of the old ways of religion and just did not fit in the coming kingdom.

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Jesus created paradoxes and reversed religious rules: the broad way, enemies, rules, synagogue, religious ceremony, and the way less traveled; the internal over the external, relationships over knowledge, mercy over judgment, last before the first.

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The paradoxes’ main purpose is not to present the gospel, but to defend and vindicate it; these are controversial weapons against  critics and foes who are indignant that Jesus should declare that God cares about sinners, and who are particularly offended by Jesus’ practice of eating with the despised. (Joachim Jeremias)

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Forgiveness, compassion and mercy are the golden threads of the gospel that Jesus wove through His every story as proclamations of the Good News. To sinners He extended gentle invitations. Come to Him and receive water, come and eat to never hunger again, come receive forgiveness, come receive life, come follow Me.

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His critics, those who rejected Him, did not understand the gospel parables because Jesus gathered the despised around Him.

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Because the overproud pharisees were expecting a day of wrath (against society’s “throw-aways/reh-fuse”), the religious elite closed their hearts to the Good News Jesus was proclaiming in His stories. It was pharisee cheap grace. Sloppy agape.

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To the overproud pharisees & mammon men/women, no one pleased God by simply being needy and willing. Otherwise, why had the elites of society spent their whole lives training for and toiling in the ministry. What was the use of unfaltering piety? The religious authorities had too good an opinion of themselves. To these men the gospel was an offense because it exposed them—their religiosity, hypocrisy and pride—and that was intolerable.

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The aphorisms and parables of Jesus function in a particular way: they are invitational forms of speech.

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Jesus used them to invite his hearers to see something they might not otherwise see.

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As evocative forms of speech, they tease the imagination into activity, suggest more than they say, and invite a transformation in perception.

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Drawing pictures from their own familiar world, He arrested their minds, captured their imaginations, and opened them ever so gently to the stirrings of the ancient language deep within them.

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Jesus liked to put His listeners in almost everything He told,

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and by the way, you and I were there as well—

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the least, the last, the little and the lost.

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These were the objects of His loving attention in those stories He told.    –

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“But many who are first will be last; and the last, first.”

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“For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

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“See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven continually see the face of My Father who is in heaven.”

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And said to them, “Whoever receives this child in My name receives Me, and whoever receives Me receives Him who sent Me;

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for the one who is least among all of you, this is the one who is great.”

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Drawing back the metaphoric curtain, Jesus revealed to the world the hidden language of God—the secret messages that unlock the gate of Heaven. “ ‘I will open My mouth in parables; I will utter things hidden since the foundation of the world’ ” (see Matthew 13:34-35). Understanding the secret meaning behind these words is at the very core of hearing God.

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This is why Jesus was so insistent that His apostles decipher His words and not just listen to the literal stories, encapsulating what He had to say.

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“And He said to them, ‘Do you not understand this parable? How will you understand all the parables?’ ” (see Mark 4:13-14).

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Interpreting Scripture requires an understanding of spiritual language, the hidden truth that lies just beneath its surface.

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The Penetrating Questions of Jesus Jesus manifested a profound ability to ask the right question at the right time.

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He knew what lay in the dark corners of men’s hearts.

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Through the use of questions He exposed the motivations of the hearers—not to shame but to heal them.

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Through the use of the poignant question, Jesus gently uncovered the realties of our inward life, the life seen by no one.

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But Jesus sees it.

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He knows what is in the heart of man because He has traveled the corridors of every man’s heart.

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In fact, as many of us have discovered, sometimes to our chagrin, He sees our hearts better than we do.

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By the power of the query He turns the light on our inward parts.

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The questions of Jesus were much different from the interrogations of the religious leaders: The Pharisees and their scribes began grumbling at His disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with the tax- collectors and sinners?” Luke 5:30

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Some of the Pharisees said, “Why do you do what is not lawful on the Sabbath?” Luke 6:2 “Is it lawful for us to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” Luke 20:22

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The questions of religious men are crafted that they might expose for the purpose of judging and condemning. In contrast, the questions of Jesus were specifically designed to reveal for the purpose of healing.

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Most of us live in the external world rarely examining the inward way of the soul. We are more comfortable with the light turned off in our inner life because we know there are things buried we’d rather not have to confront.

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Questions force us to look inward, examining our motivations, fears, desires, and aspirations.

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Jesus had mastered the art of asking questions, and through the effective use of a question He opened a door to the inward world of man and led him to places rarely visited.

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Many are the questions Jesus posed to His enemies and followers. Lifted out of their ancient setting, these questions can still challenge us to look into our hearts.

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“But what did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ palaces!” Matthew 11:8 But Jesus answered the one who was telling Him and said, “Who is My mother and who are My brothers?” Matthew 12:48 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Matthew 16:15 “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” Matthew 16:26 And He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith? Mark 4:40 “How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and you do not seek the glory that is from the one and only God?” John 5:44 “But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?” John 5:47

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Questions such as these test our ability to look deeply at spiritual reality while they also force us to peer beneath the surface of life.

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They will also unlock the door to the ancient language.

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Our attempts to look for the answers to the questions and the struggle to express those answers open new pathways of personal and spiritual reality.

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We will either answer with a quick knee jerk religious reaction, or we will wait and let the question probe deeper into our inner self, shedding light on the things we have shoved down because we could not face them.

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If we allow the question to do its job, it will search us and reveal the hidden, broken places in our hearts that it may accomplish what Father intended.

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The religious rulers avoided the “unclean” in the Jewish community, but Jesus made them His friends. This attachment to the “common” man was a thorn in the side of the religious community. It was unsettling to their beloved positions. It exposed their hearts hardened by religious tradition and pride.   — Don Milam

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His actions were in perfect harmony with his words. No contradiction existed to create confusion or disappointment in those who followed Him. His life was a living symbol of the very words He spoke. He was a book read of all men. The love of the Father was fleshed out in His daily associations with the very lowest in the caste system of society and religion. He ate meals with the untouchables, defended the prostitutes, healed the afflicted and pursued the oppressed. And He didn’t do this to make a statement. He preferred these people. He truly enjoyed their company. And they all in turn were at ease in the Jesus’ presence; all, that is, but the religious leaders who despised this reversal of established order in their precious community.  Personally, I think they would have liked to be at some of those parties with Jesus, but they couldn’t bear not being the guests of honor. It was unthinkable for them to have to take the lower seats with the riff raff.   — Don Milam

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/08/29/jesus-mind-blowing-reversalfrustration-of-all-expectations-turning-common-sense-ideas-upside-down-confounding-us-all-spark-our-deepest-imaginative-oppositesimpossibilities-to-say-the-least/

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Jesus’ mind-blowing reversal/frustration of all expectations — turning common-sense ideas upside down, confounding us all — Jesus sparks our beautifully deepest, imaginative “opposites/impossibilities of thought,” to say the least!!

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Jesus’ death becomes even more powerful when this particular messiah also carries your personal projections. That is, the celebrity’s life mirrors important pieces of your own psychic journey. Your own life dramas. Jesus did this for me with his transparency. His naive nakedness. He was the first “icon” to recognize egotistic “discernment” as insanity, to rightly despise it, and to distance himself from it. Unlike Jesus, celebrities of the flesh like John Lennon, Edgar Allan Poe, Vincent van Gogh, Ernest Hemingway, & Judy Garland  couldn’t stop seeking it.  If one says that a weeping fan’s grief is “unrealistic (and therefore annoying) at a time when so many are struggling with foreclosures, debt, disappearing jobs and other miseries,” I would say quite the opposite — that the sting of this grief is made more acute during these hard times, because we will miss the beauty, the passion, the inspiration and hope that pour through these artists and into our lives especially during times of social misery.  Celebrities, and especially artists, provide us a deep mirror into the celebration of being human. Some celebrities become iconic. That is, the mirror they wield reaches into the collective human experience of a culture and sometimes across cultures (such as Waikiki’s Bruno Mars). And the death of an icon is felt painfully and powerfully in a human psyche. The loss is real and meaningful. And so is the grief.  John Lennon was a celebrity. In Latin literally “the one who helps us celebrate.” And did he ever help us celebrate. And the price he paid was the burden of fame, fame in Latin meaning “rumor/gossip.”  Celebrity is a calling. Fame is simply nuts. In the end fame killed him.  If anybody needs forgiveness here, it’s us.   Just as fame killed Lennon, we killed Jesus (mob hysteria after Jesus cleansed the temple of the mammon money changers).  For then are when we need our heroes most.

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/07/02/to-be-or-not-to-be-real-dear-hamlet-tis-the-question-in-praise-of-grace-mercy-full-of-redemptions-greatest-emotional-therapist-shakespeare-who-incredulously-not-to-christians-whence/

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French-Swiss John Calvin reacted against Martin Luther in more conservative terrains far south of Frankfurt’s latitude.       John Calvin was 26 years younger than Martin Luther, and for the most part Calvin was the “yang” to Luther’s “yin,” so to speak.    

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Shakespeare actually is a product of Martin Luther’s Reformation, with Grace & Mercy “full of redemption” replete thruout Shakespeare’s Morality Plays.  

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Word out, so to speak, Shakespeare plagiarized Scripture thru and thru, Daddy-O!     No Scripture, No Shakespeare!

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Remember that just 30 yrs. before Shakespeare was born, Latin to English Bible translator  William Tyndale was

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burned at the stake by the Papacy for making the Bible readable

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by the English commoners.

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Tyndale

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No matter the rather undeserved propping up of Shakespeare on the backs of  our Gospel Authors.     Kudos to Shakespeare for Shakespeare’s own search for the mystery and the Truth of Jesus!

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Which, by the way, says a lot about shunned predestination pariah John Calvin, who is Shakespeare’s total opposite on salvation.   

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Looking at the frayed Calvin proselyting about Man’s venality & depravity amid predecessor reformer Martin Luther’s Reformation in the north latitudes, one easily accepts Calvin’s admonition about the evil of Ego/overpride as our worst affliction/contagion.    

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/08/29/the-take-away-which-is-a-huge-lesson-to-learn-from-some-contemporary-evangelicals-is-that-calvin-did-not-impose-onto-the-gospels-a-view-of-how-the-bible-ought-to-work-as-gods-word-rather/

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Calvin correctly says that the best Man can hope for is a release from Hell’s Iniquity by choosing Jesus as our Lord & Savior.

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Has anything changed from early Church father Augustine to intellectual Aquinas (Summa Theologica) 800 years after Augustine, to us today 800 years after Aquinas???    1200 AD Aquinas is equidistant by 800 yrs. after Augustine & 800 yrs. before us today   — yet nothing has changed in our depraved nature from 400 AD Augustine to us today, not to mention from Jesus’ crucifixion to Augustine 400 yrs. later.

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No, not in our own mental/intellectual gymnastics/tortuous rationalizations on predestination vs. free will.

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And certainly not in our innate venal toxic nature.

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We are as detestable today as we were when we crucified Jesus in the mob hysteria of those 6 days 2000 years ago.

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Imagine, we sing Hosanna, even the stones shout Hosanna, as Jesus marches into Jerusalem on a donkey’s colt.

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And no later than you can bat an eyelash, we crucify Jesus because

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Jesus cleans out the temple of everything evil about us.   

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No, we are no better today than that week when Jesus died for our sins.    Like I say, John Calvin has something here, baby!!        ;-)

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A man is

no more a Christian

by being in church

than I am a car

by being in my carport.

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Ships in harbor are safe, but that’s not what ships are built for.

http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=images+postive+life+examples&qpvt=images+postive+life+examples&FORM=IGRE#view=detail&id=5AADE11FADCEF0AF28E38F42DD4999A26D1ED3D3&selectedIndex=559

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http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=images+postive+life+examples&qpvt=images+postive+life+examples&FORM=IGRE#view=detail&id=EE48C9E8A7D71CDBF24E8814DF61CE42C5A97F1B&selectedIndex=67

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http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=images+authentic+journey+of+selfhood&qpvt=images+authentic+journey+of+selfhood&FORM=IGRE#view=detail&id=B6CB3A603214C5CBBED47B65867E62AB7654FB7E&selectedIndex=6

http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=images+authentic+journey+of+selfhood&qpvt=images+authentic+journey+of+selfhood&FORM=IGRE#view=detail&id=AECDD4D657ACE164DCEEC017E717C6A0E3C1EDEE&selectedIndex=7

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/08/24/for-me-theres-hardly-a-gnats-whisker-of-difference-between-the-psychological-idea-of-healthy-individuation-and-the-christian-idea-of-salvation-both-include-the-lifetime-journey-o/

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“For me, there’s hardly a gnat’s whisker of difference between the psychological idea of healthy individuation and the Christian idea of salvation. Both include the lifetime journey of authentic living.”

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Title quote from Steven Kalas       http://www.lvrj.com/living/living-authentically-a-challenge-worth-embracing-89350462.html

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The more practiced you become at living authentically, the more often you’ll have to make friends with Alone.

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If you take seriously a commitment to authentic selfhood,

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you find that you regularly must sacrifice belonging.

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Living authentically includes regular re-negotiations of how we belong to family.

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In some extreme cases, whether we will belong to family at all.

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Likewise, adjustments in friendships,

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and sometimes distancing and even discarding friendships.

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There are journeys of selfhood and wholeness that must be walked alone.

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/02/12/thriving-learning-having-wisdom-are-about-getting-up-each-morning-with-intention-clarity-commitment-to-seek-nurture-connection-along-lifes-healthy-healing-path-of-inner-nouris/

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Valentines Day One Billion RisingWorkout Music PlaylistMindfulness Practice

http://www.lvrj.com/living/you-don-t-have-to-die-to-go-to-hell-but-trips-there-hurt-190578441.html

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Sometimes you have to go to hell [deepest self-reflection, unlovely as well as lovely].

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Oh, I’m NOT talking about religion here.

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In fact, I don’t use the word “hell” very often to describe some afterlife place of deliberate torment as punishment for not belonging to the right religion.

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Writing on Man's Stomachhttp://www.andilit.com/2010/05/20/writing-as-therapy-or-the-bum-rap/

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No, when I say you sometimes have to go to hell, I mean a very immediate, very real, “here and now” experience [existential introspection].

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You don’t have to die to go to hell. Though going there will feel like dying.

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Hell paralyzes normal thinking and feeling. Sleeping and eating become less necessary. It is dark and empty down there. In hell, some people cry and wail and clutch carpet. Others sit, dazed, in unlit rooms for minutes or hours on end. Not much use for words in hell. But, if you’ve ever been there, you know. You remember.

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You cannot take any prior learning, wisdom or life experience into hell with you. You can’t even take what you learned the last time you were there. If you could, it wouldn’t be hell.

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We go to hell with nothing. We go to hell to be nothing, for a necessary while, because hell burns down the identity in which we have heretofore reveled in supreme confidence [leave behind your inflated ego!].

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A variety of circumstance and happenstance can summon us to hell. But the different occasions have in common a grief beyond knowing.

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Beyond words. A loss beyond measuring. Someone dies. Someone betrays you. The one and only love of your life … leaves. Maybe you have a random, capricious, could-have-happened-to-anybody accident that leaves someone dead. Disfigured. Permanently disabled. Or maybe you are confronted with the consequences and humiliation of your own egregious dereliction. Grave moral failure. You burn down your life, reputation and important relationships in an act of wanton, desperate stupidity and selfishness.

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Hell is the place we go to face eviscerating, sledgehammer loss. Loss that changes you. Forever you’ll be different.

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When life demands our descent into hell, we have two choices.

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We can go.

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Or we can refuse to go, at least for a while. Sometimes for a long while. But woe to the person who puts off this journey.

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Because every strategy for putting off this journey leads to … hell. But it’s a different hell than the life-changing (if terrifying) descent described above.

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The hell we enter by putting off hell is “mere suffering,” as opposed to a meaningful suffering. It is a pathos. An absurdity, as opposed to a redemption.

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Alcoholism, for example, can be seen as a strategy for putting off hell. I’ll never forget my friend who, 20 years sober, said: “There should be a sign on the door of AA meetings that says ‘Sobriety is Hell.’ Because the first thing that happens to drunks who stop drinking is … it gets worse. And then it gets better.”

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There are treasures in hell. My spiritual director spoke of two treasures, specifically: “In hell you will meet your True Self,…  and you will meet God as you have never known him before.”

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No one can accompany you to hell. If someone could go with you, it wouldn’t be hell. Friends, family, beloved mates – these people can walk you to the entrance of hell. They can wait for you on the rim of hell. But hell, by definition, is a place we go alone.

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Twice in my life I’ve been to hell. It changes everything. Both times the experience made for more of me. That is, my True Self. I had more depth. More humility. I learned more about love and gratitude.

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But that’s not to say the journey is without cost. One of the costs, of course, is the way the journey changes the names and faces in your innermost trusted circles.

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When you come out of hell, there will be people standing there with you and for you who you never would have imagined would still be standing there.

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And, likewise there will be people not standing there any longer who you would have bet your life would still be standing there.

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The former will surprise and delight you. The latter will break your heart.

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Those relationships will never be the same. And you’ll never understand either list. It will always be a mystery.

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I’m saying there’s nothing like going to hell for showing you what friends, family and soul mates are made of.

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Hell sifts through the pretenders.

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Who, in your life, was still standing there when you came out the other side of hell?

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/01/03/writing-and-eventually-dying-a-good-death-expressing-sharing-love-to-the-end/

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http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=images+of+a+writer+in+deep+thought&qpvt=images+of+a+writer+in+deep+thought&FORM=IGRE#view=detail&id=FC4083F995FD47F1E3C39EAC4D1A970867E60C12&selectedIndex=89

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/21/i-write-to-live-authentically-having-been-is-the-surest-kind-of-being-per-great-sage-viktor-frankl/

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I write to live authentically — “having been” is the surest kind of being, per great sage Viktor Frankl

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Usually, to be sure, man considers only the stubble field of transitoriness [the “now”] 

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and

overlooks

the full granaries of the past [reflective lookback] –

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wherein he had salvaged once and for all his deeds, his joys

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and also his sufferings.

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Nothing can be undone, and nothing can be done away with.    

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[for example, I dream of being loved & wanted in the most beautiful way, & even if this dream is not reality, such thought/”unction” comprises my strength & “positive/right” attitude, even in the starkest moment of despair/seemingly hopeless predicament/state of nonexistence-nonbeing closest to death itself, having been forsaken all the way around   —

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which is why Jewish Viktor Frankl’s dream amid the Holocaust even when facing down the death chamber/firing squad was “the angels are in perpetual contemplation of an infinite glory.”   Ohh, so true!!]

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I should say   ”having been”  is the surest kind of being.

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http://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/2782.Viktor_E_Frankl?page=2

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‘Instead of possibilities, I have realities in my past, not only the reality of work done and of love loved –

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but of sufferings bravely suffered. These sufferings are even the things of which I am most proud, although these are things which cannot inspire envy.’ “

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From “Logotherapy in a Nutshell”, an essay” Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

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The reality of life is the luck or unluck of the draw [a crapshoot]  —

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“fair” & “unfair” are nonexistent in life’s vocabulary —

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life “just is.”  

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Thence, how I deal with setbacks is the key to existence, not the external factual triggers [to despair/hopelessness of predicament].  

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/11/17/all-those-moments-of-life-will-be-lost-in-time-like-tears-in-the-rain-time-to-for-me-time-to-deal-with-myself-alone/

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http://www.lvrj.com/living/54285947.html

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In this gaping hole of despair & hopelessness of one’s predicament is a crushing emptiness and an aloneness that can make you lose your mind and a sadness that can make your heart question the wisdom and the relevance of continuing to beat — a sadness no person thinks one can bear alone.

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On some days, very much to wish it would stop beating.

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To die of unrequited love.  Van Gogh didn’t shoot himself in the head.   He shot himself in the heart. He saw reality so deeply and clearly, yet could not ultimately disconnect his heart [“be not of this world” — self-respect despite this indifferent and tragic sentient life] from this reality or the other people in it.

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Van Gogh died because, in the end, he could not differentiate himself [self-respect] from the Collective Unconscious [our indifferent & tragic lack of empathy/compassion in our broken/flawed sentient nature] into which he was compelled to wander.    

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/11/24/sharing-grief-puts-a-healing-distance-between-us-and-the-pain-this-is-why-storytelling-matters/

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sharing grief puts a healing distance between us and the pain — this is why storytelling matters

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Share the suffering. The opportunity to tell the story of our suffering to a compassionate and skillful listener is helpful beyond measure. Simply in the telling and retelling, we begin to shift perspective, to put a healing distance between us and the pain.

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/14/because-in-the-end-great-journeys-of-integrity-are-walked-alone-sage-steven-kalas/

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http://www.lvrj.com/living/10174701.html

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Great journeys in emotional maturity are walked alone

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When another man’s life forces you to behold your own smallness, all you have to do is retro-narrate pathologized stories about him. Just like that, your world is a safer, happier place.

Your friends who are simply gone? You force me to behold, J.K., something I hate to think about:

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All great journeys in emotional maturity are ultimately walked alone.

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The archetypal picture here is probably Jesus, whose friends agreed to accompany him into the garden of Gethsemane that night to pray. Jesus is scared. Anxious. Asking God if there isn’t some other way. He looks to his friends for support and encouragement.

And they are sound asleep. And Jesus asks a rhetorical question into the silent night air: “Will no one stay awake with me?”

As a matter of fact, no. Tonight Jesus will suffer, and he will suffer alone.

How to maintain some sense of respect and optimism for humanity? I can only tell you what I do.

When I’m feeling low, when I’ve lost track of why I keep putting one foot in front of the other, when I am sick and tired of paying the price for living out values about which no one else appears to have much if any investment, when I can no longer argue with Protestant theologian John Calvin who used the word “depraved” to describe the essential nature of human beings …

… well, J.K., that’s when I think of people like you [who suffers alone in ennobled integrated fashion to care for his incapacitated wife].

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http://www.lvrj.com/living/9380491.html

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Mystery surrounds deep connections we make with others [making friends with “Alone”]

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An old friend writes from far away. Oh, not that old. She’s 48. I mean we’ve been friends a long, long time.

There’s this bond between us. A connection. I felt it the first time we spoke, which is funny because the first thing she ever communicated to me was disdain. I was 23, so I reached into my repertoire for managing repartee with beautiful women and selected “boyish cockiness” for my retort.

When you’re 23 and male, boyish cockiness is pretty much the extent of your repertoire.

But that was it for us — bonded. A connection that has survived time together, protracted times apart, even years of no communication whatsoever. The friendship has survived love affairs — not with each other — marriages and becoming parents. We’ve been drunk together. And sober. It occurs to me that I’ve never seen her cry.

She was 20 when I met her. Once, on a whim, she sent me a picture of herself at age 5. I smiled. Somewhere inside myself I knew her then, too. Recognized her. In some alternative past, she and I played together in a sandbox (until she made me cry because she was so bossy). Like the bond between us contains secret passages that defy time and space.

She writes to me: “I get you, Steven Kalas.”

Her words strike me like thunder. Truly awestruck, like the way you fall into a spectacular sunset, or the way you stop breathing when you’re standing in a barn at 2 a.m. watching the birth of a calf. I’m focused in a point of time, staring at my monitor. It’s like she’s right here. Right now. I have a friend who gets me. She sees me. I jumble a few words and she says, “Oh yeah.” She not only understands, but understands why and how things matter to me.

Amen.

Then I have this other friend. Or did. Or thought I did. Could’ve sworn we were friends. Soul mates. Years we were friends. Across passion and victory and folly and failure. Across celebration and loss. This friend knows me. And doesn’t know me at all.

We’re not connected anymore.

And I know as much about why we’re no longer connected as I do why I’m still connected to the other friend. Which is to say I don’t know anything at all. And I’ve been railing against the disconnection, like, if I protest loudly and long enough, my erstwhile friend will snap out of it and be connected to me again.

I’ve decided to stop railing. Sad, yes. Probably sad forever. But pounding on it serves all the purpose of pounding on a grave. Why would I look for the living among the dead?

See, both connections and disconnections deserve the same responses. Awe. Respect for the mystery. Even I, a man who believes his gifts and his calling to be teaching people how to be in relationship — well, I can’t tell you much of anything about why some connections happen and some connections don’t happen and still others disintegrate.

The most terrible thing my therapist ever said to me was also the most important: “Steven, we’re alone. No one has anyone.”

Yikes-oi. (Sorry. This sort of thing happens when a GoyBoy tries to express himself forcefully in Yiddish.)

I hated what she said. Railed against it. Argued with it. She had thrown existential sand into the gas tank of my fine-tuned DeLorean of delusion. And my pricey car would go not one mile farther.

My therapist was right. And, as with every other time when she is right, it’s time for me to grow up. We’re alone. No one has anyone.

Strangely, this new truth, while initially a scalpel slashed across my chest without anesthetic, did not burden and depress me for long. Surrender to separateness and aloneness quickly began to create a new space in me. A space for … for …

… relief. A kind of peace. And, most precious, gratitude and humility. Relationship is a grace. A kind of miracle. Human communion emerges as a gift. An unmerited joy. Yes, there are ways of living more conducive to forging and maintaining lasting relationships than other ways of living. I’m not saying there’s nothing we can do. Just that, in the end, I no longer think I have earned or deserved the people who stand in the inner circle of my life.

I just give thanks.

We’re alone. No one has anyone.

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Human beings cannot be possessed. They cannot be apprehended. They can only be respected and enjoyed. Or respected and bid farewell. Relationship is mystery.

Who really sees you? Who gets you? If you need more than one hand to count those people, you are rich beyond your dreams.

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Individualism as ego overpride is not the solitary reflection of an authentic life   –

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http://www.lvrj.com/view/steven-kalas-we-are-individuals-in-consequential-relationships-162688016.html

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http://www.lvrj.com/living/culture-s-approach-to-suffering-only-prolongs-pain-129608658.html

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And, for those kinds of sufferings/losses that can never be entirely healed, to bear it. To find meaning in it.  To turn that suffering into some transformative work in the world.

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And the truth is this: The human journey includes suffering. No one comes to ask for help who isn’t suffering.

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But, here’s another truth: In any given time in your life, the number of people who actually, really, honestly want and

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are willing to grant you an engaged and healing audience for your suffering/loss  is      …     

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small!!     Or nonexistent!!    

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Even people who sincerely love and adore you might find themselves ambivalent about really engaging and listening to the part of you that suffers. See, the people around us have egos, too. Their egos mobilize to protect them just like your ego does. “Cheer up … get over it … God has a plan … everybody is doing the best he or she can … don’t cry” — the felt motive for these messages is to help you.

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But each of these messages also contains the anxiety of the messenger: 

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Please stop bothering and disturbing me by suffering.

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And that’s what most modern people do. They try to stop suffering. They “get over it.” They build layer upon layer of pretense and persona over their wounds, because it’s, well, the sociable thing to do. Most of us, then, suffer unconsciously. Because that’s the way we’ve been taught to suffer.

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http://www.lvrj.com/living/9146411.html

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Lots of people don’t want to be present to sadness — their own or anyone else’s.

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Other people would like to be present to their bereaved friends and family, but don’t know how.

We live in a culture where grief is treated as a disease to be “cured,” or a weakness cursed of shame or self-loathing.

Contrarily, grief is the holiest of human journeys.

One of my favorite Friedrich Nietzsche quotes is, “Everything holy requires a veil.” Now, modern Americans might think he means that we should keep things covered up because those things are shameful. Nope. He means that some things are so beautiful, so huge, so powerful, so naked, so intimate, that to gaze casually upon them would be injurious to their meaning and value. Injurious ultimately to us.

Grief is such a thing.

I concur with your observation that people around us are largely inept at befriending us in grief. Yet I also encourage people like you to remember to veil (protect and value) their grief. Keep the circle of confidants small. Pick two and no more than five people who will hear the depths of your pain.

There are two ways to read your question at the end. Literally you ask how you might numb the heartache. But I’m guessing you aren’t being literal. In fact, it’s not a question at all, is it? It reads more like an indignation. Like, how dare anyone ask you to numb the heartache! How dare the medical community suggest drugging your bereavement!

See, J.R., you know how precious your sadness is. A breathless, crushing burden, yes. But precious.

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/08/17/alienation-i-dont-belong-and-estrangement-getting-dumped-because-i-dont-belong/

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alienation [I don’t belong] and estrangement [getting dumped because I don’t belong]

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Alienation & estrangement   –  the results of Loss  [e.g. getting dumped]  by your beloved  [lifemate/soulmate]   

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http://www.lvrj.com/blogs/kalas/_Retirement_leaves_time_for_pondering_self_relationships.html

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Question: What do all people seeking release from personal despair have in common?

Answer: They are suffering some combination of alienation and estrangement.

Alienation means a crisis of belonging. We are alien. We don’t belong.

Estrangement means the painful disruption of the bonds of relationship. Interpersonal injuries and injustices. To become estranged is to become a stranger to the one we love and by whom we are loved.

I’m saying your use of the word “misfit” sounds like a crisis of alienation and estrangement.

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http://www.reviewjournal.com/columns-blogs/steven-kalas/western-religion-breeding-ground-neurosis

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When it comes to the question of the usefulness of guilt in shaping and inspiring a thriving human identity, I would say Western religion is, at once, beautiful, nutty and (potentially) pathological. Healthy religion knows these dangers. And psychologically healthy pilgrims embrace what is beautiful while keeping a keen watch on what is nutty or pathological.

Guilt is beautiful, holy, vital and important when it is healthy guilt. And healthy guilt is nothing more or less than the name of the grief we feel when we abandon our own values.

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The grief of estrangement and alienation.

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Healthy guilt, however miserable it feels, contains within itself a holy longing for reconciliation. (One prayer during the rosary, for example, is asking God to “give me a contrite heart.” Meaning, “Please give me the courage to let my heart break over the ways I have hurt others, etc.”) Catholicism — its rites, rituals and symbols — bears much beauty into the world to facilitate the blessings of healthy guilt, healthy shame.

The nutty or potentially pathological side of guilt happens when people, families or institutions (especially the church) peddle guilt to us with darker, perhaps unconscious motives. If you, for example, are threatened by another’s genius, gifts and “light” (envy!), then one way to dodge the threat is to instill in that person a grave, crippling self-doubt. An anxious, paralyzing self-consciousness forcing a default posture of apology to the world for daring to be him/herself.

Or, people/institutions instill guilt because they are projecting sadism. That is, they are reveling in the humiliation of sinners. Yes, some of our accusers are having a grand time!

Control, humiliation, hierarchy, authority, power — when discussions of guilt bear these darker motives, run away quick!

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/04/09/my-wish-for-christian-keenan-1-corinthians-1510-filled-with-grace-within/

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http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=biblical+Paul+new+creation&qpvt=biblical+Paul+new+creation&FORM=IGRE&&id=C5379FB4CAFBCDFD7999EEF48A6AA3F2C3C297D7&selectedIndex=1#view=detail&id=C5379FB4CAFBCDFD7999EEF48A6AA3F2C3C297D7&selectedIndex=0

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Asking For Help

Mindfulness Benefits

Dreaming

Free Your Mind

Morning Mindfulness Practice

Emotional Health

Tibeten Buddhism

Meditation Tips

Christies In China

Uyuni Salt Flats

Life After Life Kate Atkinson

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When you know that a Christian is dead inside (e.g. needlessly suffering by being angry with the world),  then it’s time for Biblical Paul’s recitation on inner Grace – being regenerated, called, sanctified  —

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a new creation, baby!!   

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The heretofore unsearchable/unreachable solace of Christ

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Grace gives us the desire and the power from God to do His will  —

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to give life a chance, baby!!

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  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Divine_grace#Christianity

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/07/04/i-ask-myself-to-make-it-to-tomorrow-for-life-to-start-anew-i-need-to-move-beyond-todays-loss/

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http://bible.cc/1_corinthians/15-10.htm

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Rhema (inner voice) [pronounced “ray-ma”]  & life application  –

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/02/12/thriving-learning-having-wisdom-are-about-getting-up-each-morning-with-intention-clarity-commitment-to-seek-nurture-connection-along-lifes-healthy-healing-path-of-inner-nouris/

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http://blog.chron.com/lutherant/2012/11/global-child-poverty-changing-the-story/

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When it comes to helping people in need, one of the stories that should spark our imagination remains Jesus’ parable of the good Samaritan

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The aspect of the parable I would point out here is its personal nature [very specific]

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To demonstrate how (and to whom) we ought to show compassion

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Jesus does not speak in generalities. 

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He gives a specific situation,

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where one individual (the Samaritan) must make a decision about how

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to treat another specific individual (the Jew set upon by robbers). 

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Christian mercy is not about generalized theories,

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but about specifics.

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Since Jesus lived in an oral culture,

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scholars expect that short, memorable stories or phrases

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as applications of Scripture

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are from Jesus.    

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For example, “love your enemies.”   

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesus_Seminar#Criteria_for_authenticity

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Turning common-sense ideas upside down, confounding the expectations of His audience:

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He/Jesus preached of “Heaven’s imperial rule” [traditionally translated as “Kingdom of God“]

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as being already present but unseen;

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He depicts God as a loving father;

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He squares shoulders with outsiders

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and criticizes insiders.  

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Christ evokes not simply an apocalyptic eschatology/end-time,

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but more critically a sapiential eschatology,

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which encourages all of God’s children to repair the world  NOW.

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Not just the Parables but the Beatitudes/etc. feature the

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dramatic presentation and reversal of expectations that are characteristic of Jesus.

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Based on several important narrative parables [such as the Parable of the Good Samaritan],

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scholars decided that irony, reversal, and frustration of expectations were characteristic of Christ’s style.  

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Does a pericope/concise passage illustrate opposites or impossibilities? 

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If it does, it’s more likely to be authentic.

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One-third of the Bible consists of Parables/Pericopes/aphorisms.

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The poor are accepted as constituting the primary recipients of the Good News and, therefore,

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as having an inherent capacity of understanding it better than anyone else.    

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rev-james-martin-sj/glenn-beck-vs-christ-the-_b_698359.html

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That’s pretty threatening for any comfortable Christian.

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For not only do we have to help the poor, not only do we have to advocate on their behalf, we also have to see them as understanding God better than we do!

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But that’s not a new idea:

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It goes back to Jesus.

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The poor, the sick and the outcast “got” Him better than the wealthy did.

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Perhaps because there was less standing between the poor and God.

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Less stuff [pride].

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Maybe that’s why Jesus said in the Gospel of Matthew, “You will have treasure in heaven, and follow me.”

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See also Galatians 6:2  –  lovingly take on one another’s burden  — mutual help

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/04/12/sage-don-milam-his-powers-of-persuasion-were-honed-by-his-ability-to-see-beyond-the-ordinary-he-loved-the-story-method-of-getting-his-point-across-everyone-loves-a-good-story-and-jesus-could-tel/

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Sage Don Milam:   His powers of persuasion were honed by His ability to see beyond the ordinary. He loved the story method of getting His point across. Everyone loves a good story, and Jesus could tell a good story. He liked to end His stories with a twist that left the hearers walking away scratching their heads and thinking about them for many hours to come. The aphorisms and parables of Jesus function in a particular way: they are invitational forms of speech. Jesus used them to invite his hearers to see something they might not otherwise see. As evocative forms of speech, they tease the imagination into activity, suggest more than they say, and invite a transformation in perception. Drawing pictures from their own familiar world, He arrested their minds, captured their imaginations, and opened them ever so gently to the stirrings of the ancient language deep within them. Jesus liked to put His listeners in almost every story He told, and by the way, you and I were there as well—the least, the last, the little and the lost. These were the objects of His loving attention in those stories He told.

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/04/12/in-the-case-of-christ-we-have-a-unique-form-of-persuasion-it-is-like-what-happens-when-an-error-in-our-viewpoint-is-shown-to-us-and-our-mind-reassembles-around-the-truth-that-we-have-not-seen-but-i/

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In the case of Christ we have a unique form of persuasion. It is like what happens when an error in our viewpoint is shown to us, and our mind reassembles around the truth that we have not seen. But it is unlike this process in that the truth that takes us over is not a correct proposition but a person. (Sebastian Moore)   — sage Don Milam

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/04/12/jesus-violated-every-conceivable-tradition-when-it-came-to-his-associations-with-the-marginalized-of-jewish-society-he-infuriated-the-pharisees-with-every-compassionate-touch-the-qumran-community-of/

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Jesus violated every conceivable tradition when it came to His associations with the marginalized of Jewish society. He infuriated the Pharisees with every compassionate touch. The Qumran community of the Essenes had an unconditional law: “No madman, or lunatic, or simpleton, or fool, no blind man, or maimed, or lame, or deaf man, and no minor shall enter the community. “Jesus came to shatter these man-made laws with the vengeance of Heaven. It was these very rejected ones whom He had come to save. To the Pharisees He declared, ‘But go and learn what this means, “I desire compassion, and not sacrifice,” for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.’ The Pharisees surrounded themselves with the rich, the wise, the educated, and the elite of society. Jesus, conversely, surrounded Himself with the poor, the uneducated, the rejected, and the outcasts of society.”   — sage Don Milam

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhema#Modern_usage 

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Rhema is the revealed word of God (revelation received from the Holy Spirit) when the Word/Logos is read, as an

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application/utterance/”unction”/anointment from God to the heart of the reader via the Holy Spirit, as in John 14:26    

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Again, application of Scripture to this world.

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“… the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”

In this usage Rhema refers to “a word that is spoken,” when the Holy Spirit delivers a message to the heart as in Romans 10:17:

“Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ. (rhematos Christou)”

and in the Matthew 4:4:

“Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word (rhema) that comes from the mouth of God”.

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http://www.patheos.com/blogs/rogereolson/2014/02/on-telling-inconvenient-and-uncomfortable-truths/

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Unfortunately, religion can be and often is a cover for abuse of power. When a person has suffered in such a context, I think he or she has every right to speak up about it—even years later—as part of their recovery and to let people know such things happen—so that they can be on guard against it.

I find it highly ironic that so many pious Christians have a problem with fellow believers standing up to abusive leaders.

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Paul confronted Peter when he would not eat with gentiles at Antioch. Was he being “negative?”

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Think of the Old Testament prophets who confronted kings.

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Think of the authors of the historical books of the Hebrew Bible exposing past kings of Israel and Judah who were willingly incompetent, disloyal to YHWH and sometimes idolatrous.

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The Bible is full of negative attitudes!

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I was raised in a religious context where the two worst sins were being “negative” and “disloyal.”

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Anyone who dared to speak truth about abusive power, corruption or incompetence in high places was slapped with those labels, marginalized and often excluded.

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All the while corruption continued and was swept under the rug.

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Does such still happen?

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Absolutely.

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But it is less likely to happen if God-fearing people are just a little more wary than they tend to be about power among their leaders.

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http://www.patheos.com/blogs/marcusborg/2014/02/amos-and-american-christianity/

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Old Testament Amos indicted the powerful and wealthy of his time because they had created an economic system that privileged them and inflicted misery and suffering on most of the population.

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The effect of prophet Amos is best experienced by reading the whole book thoughtfully and slowly and with several awarenesses. He was speaking, not writing; his speeches (commonly called “oracles”) are short, seldom exceeding six verses or so; they have a poetic structure and use language designed to be memorable in an oral culture.  A few more:  he spoke in the time of the monarchy in ancient Israel; his oracles contain both passion-filled indictments (the reasons for his condemnation of the wealthy and powerful in the name of God) and threats (what will happen to them as a result – not condemnation to an afterlife in hell, but loss of their privilege and exile.

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Amos paints a vivid picture of the leisurely life-style of the wealthy and powerful and their indifference to the impoverishment of the many: “Alas for those who lie on beds of ivory, and lounge on their couches, and eat lambs from the flock, and calves from the stall; who sing idle songs to the sound of the harp, and like David improvise on instruments of music; who drink wine from bowls, and anoint themselves with the finest oils, but are not grieved over the ruin of Joseph [the ruin of the many]!”  (6.4-6).

“They sell the righteous [the innocent, those who have done no wrong] for silver, and the needy for a pair of sandals. They trample the … poor into the dust of the earth, and push the afflicted out of the way.” (2.6-7).

“Therefore because you trample on the poor and take from them levies of grain, you have built houses of hewn stone, but you shall not live in them; you have planted pleasant vineyards, but you shall not drink their wine.  For I know how many are your transgressions, and how great are your sins [note what they are]— [ you who afflict the righteous, who take a bribe, and push aside the needy in the gate.” (5.11-12).

Perhaps the best-known text from Amos indicts the worship of the wealthy and powerful.  As often in the prophets, the “I” is God, for the prophet speaks in the name of God.  “I hate, I despise your [religious] festivals, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies.  Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; and the offerings of well-being of your fatted animals I will not look upon. Take away from me the noise of your songs; I will not listen to the melody of your harps. But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an everflowing stream.” (5.21-24).  Note what God does want: justice and righteousness.  They are not two different things, but synonyms.  The last verse is a classic example of Hebrew synonymous parallelism: the second half says the same thing as the first half.

Amos also challenged the nation’s notion that they were especially chosen by God and especially blessed by God.  “Are you not like the Ethiopians to me, O people of Israel? …. Did I not bring Israel up from the land of Egypt, and the Philistines from Caphtor and the Arameans from Kir?” (9.7).

Amos is not a solitary voice in the Bible.  It is the voice of the exodus story of liberation from bondage to Pharaoh, of the laws in the Old Testament about land and debt, of Jesus’s passion for the Kingdom of God on earth. And of Paul’s proclamation of the lordship of Jesus over against the lordship of Caesar:  a new creation, a way of being and living in this world brought about through life in Christ that is radically different from the lordship of Caesar, the lordship of domination.

For Christians, Amos and all of these voices are part of our sacred scripture. If we, especially American Christians, were to take them seriously, how would that affect our understanding, our vision, of what it means to be Christian?

They challenge much that is central to American Christianity and American politics today, especially our ethos, our ideologies, of individualism and exceptionalism.

Politically and economically, individualism is based on the conviction that the degree of our material well-being is primarily the product of how much we have applied ourselves and how hard we have worked.

But is that really true?  Or is the decisive influence the way the powerful and wealthy have put the world together in their own self-interest?  Is the cause of human misery and suffering primarily individual irresponsibility – or is it systemic? Have the powers that be, in the ancient world and our world, organized the system to create, enhance, and preserve their privilege?  Is the cause of poverty in America and the rest of the world primarily individual failure – or is it systemic?

Amos and other voices in the Bible also challenge the notion of American exceptionalism – that we have been and are not only blessed by God but also chosen and favored by God.   Polls indicate that more than a majority of Americans affirm that.  So do a majority of American Christians, including those who are fearful that we might lose that status because of our deviation from God’s ways (fill in the blank as to what our sins are).   The notion of exceptionalism means more than one thing, including that we are the best country in the world and that we would never use our power for anything other than legitimate purposes.

But, to use words from Amos, “Are you not like the Ethiopians to me?” We as a nation are not chosen, not exceptional.  Like every nation, every society, our future depends upon our present and how we shape our life together here and now.

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book_of_Amos#Themes

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15 Responses to In praise of Pastors Calisto & Violet Mateo of Our God Reigns Ministry at 1289 Kilauea Ave. Hilo Suite H, phone (808) 961-6540

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