New Age Spirituality aka integral/evolutionary/transformational — not to be confused with Christianity’s I Am (Exodus 3:14)

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White cloud tops below with Earth's azure atmosphere blending into outer space, where a thin crescent moon hovers against the darkness

New Age spirituality often makes references to mythological representations of the Earth, Moon, and outer space; the term New Age refers to the current astrological Age of Aquarius

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Bible:

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

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I AM’ (that is, God the Father) and ‘the filial WORD that re-affirmeth it …’ (Christ, reaffirming His Father’s statement’) ‘…from Eternity to Eternity, whose choral Echo is the Universe.’

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Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s argument is that these two things together work to create the ground for all meaning, especially poetic and artistic meaning.

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New Age:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%22I_AM%22_Activity

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The “I AM” Activity is the original Ascended Master Teachings religious movement founded in the early 1930s by Guy Ballard (1878–1939) and his wife Edna (1886–1971) in Chicago, Illinois.   It is an offshoot of theosophy (nature of divinity) and a major precursor of several New Age religions.   The movement had up to a million followers in 1938.

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Age#New_directions_in_the_21st_century

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The New Age movement is a Western spiritual movement that developed in the second half of the 20th century. Its central precepts have been described as “drawing on both Eastern and Western spiritual and metaphysical traditions and infusing them with influences from self-help and motivational psychology, holistic health, parapsychology, consciousness research and quantum physics.”  The term New Age refers to the coming astrological Age of Aquarius. The movement aims to create “a spirituality without borders or confining dogmas” that is inclusive and pluralistic. It holds to “a holistic worldview,” emphasizing that the Mind, Body, and Spirit are interrelated and that there is a form of monism and unity throughout the universe.   It attempts to create “a worldview that includes both science and spirituality” and embraces a number of forms of mainstream science as well as other forms of science that are considered fringe.

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The origins of the movement can be found in Medieval astrology and alchemy, such as the writings of Paracelsus, in Renaissance interests in Hermeticism, in 18th-century mysticism, such as that of Emanuel Swedenborg, and in beliefs in animal magnetism espoused by Franz Mesmer. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, authors such as Godfrey Higgins and the esotericists Eliphas Levi, Helena Blavatsky, and George Gurdjieff articulated specific histories, cosmologies, and some of the basic philosophical principles that would influence the movement. It experienced a revival as a result of the work of individuals such as Alice Bailey and organizations such as the Theosophical Society.

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It gained further momentum in the 1960s, taking influence from metaphysics, perennial philosophy, self-help psychology, and the various Indian gurus who visited the West during that decade.  In the 1970s, it developed a social and political component.

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The New Age movement includes elements of older spiritual and religious traditions ranging from monotheism through pantheism, pandeism, panentheism, and polytheism combined with science and Gaia philosophy; particularly archaeoastronomy, astronomy, ecology, environmentalism, the Gaia hypothesis, UFO religions, psychology, and physics. New Age practices and philosophies sometimes draw inspiration from major world religions: Buddhism, Taoism, Chinese folk religion, Christianity, Hinduism, Sufism (Islam), Judaism (especially Kabbalah), Sikhism; with strong influences from East Asian religions, Esotericism, Gnosticism, Hermeticism, Idealism, Neopaganism, New Thought, Spiritualism, Theosophy, Universalism, and Wisdom tradition.

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The New Age political perspective is recognized as legitimate. But it is presented as merely one among many, with strong points and blind spots just like all the rest. The result was to alter the nature of the New Age political project. If every political perspective had unique strengths and significant weaknesses, then it no longer made sense to try to convert everyone to the New Age political perspective, as had been attempted in the 1970s and 1980s. It made more sense to try to construct a higher political synthesis that took every political perspective into account, including that of the New Age.

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http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0226453839/ref%3Das_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0226453839&linkCode=as2&tag=northmchurch-20&linkId=KYIYDUYC5UFR42PW

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2014/04/01/i-have-this-other-relentless-competing-identity-too-a-sin-nature-entitled-hedonistic-self-preserving-frequently-aggrandized-capable-of-blithe-selfishness-and-disturbing-disregard-the-un/

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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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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2014/08/27/the-young-man-with-terminal-cancer-was-going-to-die-quicker-than-he-thought-and-he-was-very-depressed-about-this-and-of-course-he-hadnt-gotten-to-make-his-mark-and-he-had-this-conversation-with-t/

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http://www.reviewjournal.com/columns-blogs/steven-kalas/one-man-s-definition-spirituality

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I once tried to craft a definition of spirituality that could be universalized. That is, the definition would not and could not be “owned” or dominated by any particular religion.

Purely objective. And utterly human.

For better or worse, I finally came up with this:  “Spirituality is the intentional disciplines we undertake to realize, respond and bring witness to essential relatedness.”

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Intentional disciplines

Significant spirituality presupposes some effort and intention on our part. We habituate ourselves to certain prescribed disciplines. Meditation, prayer, worship, sacrifice, piety, chanting, alms, fasting, study, mission, pilgrimage, ritual, marriage, music, art, dance, exercise — there are myriad forms of spiritual discipline. Only some are formal, “religious” activities.

But all spiritual disciplines attempt to express, strengthen and realize our fundamental relationships: self, others, cosmos, mystery. An authentic spiritual path is more than mere spontaneous enthusiasm or casual, intellectual observation.

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Let’s unpack the definition:

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To realize

A lot of things that are real are never realized. To realize is to bring to full expression. In authentic spirituality, we reach for what we believe to be real (our worldview) and we make it real in ourselves.

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To respond

Authentic spirituality compels us to respond. When we realize we are related, we find that we must respond to our relationships. We serve, we seek, we redeem, we account, we repair, we reconcile, we protect, we do battle, we make peace — action verbs.  We must answer the “voice” we have heard. We are obliged (from the Latin obligare = “tied to”).

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Bring witness

In word and deed we evidence our essential relatedness. We tell our story, yes, sometimes with words, but more often with deeds. The fast track of getting to know any human being is observing how that human being responds to his/her committed bonds of relationship.

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Essential relatedness

I was unable to coin a meaningful definition of spirituality without presupposing an article of faith. In the case of my definition, I’m presupposing that people and cosmos are essentially related. I can’t prove that. It’s part of my spiritual worldview (my cosmology) leaking into my definition.

I can’t apologize, though, because I do think we are essentially related. We do not choose to be related to the mystery, the cosmos, to ourselves and each other. We are related.

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All significant world religions and spiritual paths share common elements:

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A narrative

“In the beginning” … “Once upon a time” … “a child was born” …

Spirituality is contained in story. The story often includes a particular human life perceived to be unique and definitive of how life is and how life should be lived. For example, there is a life lived in history (Siddhartha) and then there is the collective response to that life lived (Buddhism).

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Sacred writings

The Bible, the Quran, the Deer Park Sermon, the Torah, Bhagavad Gita, petroglyphs — in sacred writings the stories and collective wisdom of spiritual paths are preserved and passed on.

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Moral code

The great world religions share basic concerns about violence, exploitation, dishonesty, theft and the breakdown of sexual boundaries. Religions postulate an “ideal” expression of our humanity and generally agree that we are incapable of realizing this ideal by the mere force of will. We sense what is good, but we cannot simply decide to be good.

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Festival, ritual and tradition

The great world religions contain potent rites of passage, rituals that realize and celebrate relatedness, and traditions that mark a rhythm for the ebb and flow of life.

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Sacrifice (alms)

The great world religions express a primary concern for the especially vulnerable members of society — the poor, the sick, the disabled, the very old and very young, etc. And so, authentic spirituality includes the regular, sometimes ritual sacrifice of time, talents, energy, goods, service and money for the aid and protection of the “especially vulnerable.”

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The thing I rather enjoy about my definition is that, even for people who swear they don’t have a religious bone in their body, well, there is still a very sense in which they can enjoy, nurture and grow an authentic inmost dimension to their lives.

If your spirituality/inmost-edness and/or your religion is not, at the end of the day, about tying you to fidelity in relationships, then I would wonder about its purpose and relevance.

Right relationships yield human wholeness.

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http://www.patheos.com/blogs/peterenns/2014/06/pastors-burnout-failure-and-shame-interview-with-j-r-briggs/

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More is caught than taught. When we believe that our worth and value are tied up into what we do and how well we do it – rather than who we are and to whom we belong – we model a works-based righteousness to our churches, and then our people begin to live that way, too.

It’s this mindset of religiosity that got Paul so angry with the people in the church in Galatia. Sure, they believed in Jesus – but they also believed it was “Jesus plus fill-in-the-blank equaled salvation.”

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Paul tells them they have it all wrong. When you add to the gospel you subtract from its power. We all have blanks that we add to Jesus.

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They may sound spiritual but they are still blanks. But the blanks subtract from the Good News. Pastors need this truth to move out from our heads and into our hearts.

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Failure is difficult and we feel it so deeply because it ushers us down the path in the direction of shame. Shame is such a powerful emotion in the human soul. People can be manipulated by shame so easily.

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If left unchecked, pastors can become skilled shame manipulators. When shame is present, we hide, we fake, we protect and we silence. Pastors do this, too. The spirit of fear thrives in environments that encourage hiding, pretending and silencing.

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http://www.patheos.com/blogs/peterenns/2014/06/aha-moments-biblical-scholars-tell-their-stories-1-me/

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Following on my last post, here is the first installment of a series–biblical scholars from evangelical backgrounds telling their stories about their “aha” moments that convinced them they needed to find different ways of handling the Bible than how they had been taught. In the last day I’ve already gotten 10 scholars who want to participate and I expect more to come. My plan is to post their thoughts as they come in rather than all right after the other.

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The purpose of this series, more than anything, is to encourage followers of Jesus who are on similar journeys–those who are finding that how they were taught to think about the Bible does not have adequate explanatory power for engaging the Bible as they now read it. You’re not alone. And it’s all good. OK, I’ll go first.

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Like most of those who will contribute to this series, there wasn’t just “one” moment that moved me from one place to another. It was more a culmination of many moments over many years–some feeling like a 2×4 over the head and others more a whisper.

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Overall, as I continued to pay more and more attention to the details of the Bible, it became harder and harder to shake the feeling that Bible wasn’t behaving as I had always been told it most certainly does–needs to–behave.

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What drove this home to me–one of these culminating “aha” moments– happened during my doctoral work and centered on just one verse: 1 Corinthians 10:4: “for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ.” I try to be brief here, since I touched on this quickly in The Bible and the Believer: How to Read the Bible Critically and Religiously, and will lay it all out in chapter 1 of my upcoming book The Bible Tells Me So: Why Defending Scripture Has Made Us Unable to Read It

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But here’s the gist. In this verse Paul refers to Christ as the “rock that accompanied” the Israelites through the desert.

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Paul is alluding to the episode–actually 2 episodes–in the Pentateuch, where the Israelites get water from a rock while wandering in the desert for 40 years. For Paul to equate Christ with the rock is a typical example of his Christ-centered reading of his scripture (our Old Testament): the savior was present with God’s people then as he is now.

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What threw me, though, was that word “accompanied.” One day in class, my professor James Kugel was lecturing on the creative ways that Second Temple Jewish interpreters handled these episodes.

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He explained that water coming from the rock twice–once at the beginning of the wilderness period (Exodus 17) and again toward the end of the 40-year period (Numbers 20)–led some Jewish interpreters to conclude that the “two” rocks were actually one and the same, hence, one rock accompanied the Israelites on their 40-year journey. There is a certain “ancient logic” at work here.

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After all, if the Israelites had manna given to them miraculously every morning, are we to think that the corresponding miraculous supply of water was only given twice, 40 years apart!? Of course not. So, to solve this problem, the water supply became mobile.

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For some interpreters it was a stream through the desert, but for others the rock of Exodus 17 followed the Israelites for 40 years and was mentioned again in Numbers 20. Evangelicals could write off this bit of biblical “interpretation” as entertaining or just play silly, but 1 Corinthians 10:4 complicates things.

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When Paul refers to Jesus not just as the rock but the accompanying rock, he, as a Jewish interpreter, is showing his familiarity with and acceptance of this creative Jewish reading of the Old Testament. Let me put a finer point on that: no rock moved in the Old Testament, but Paul said one did.

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Paul says something about the Old Testament that Old Testament doesn’t say. He wasn’t following the evangelical rule of  ”grammatical-historical” contextual interpretation. He was doing something else–something weird, ancient, and Jewish.

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My Bible was no longer protected under glass. It was out there, part of its very odd, ancient world that I really didn’t understand. For Paul–an inspired apostle–to accept such a strange legend and treat it as fact is not something that can be easily brought into an evangelical framework. “But Paul is inspired by God!

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He would never say something like this!!” But he did. And it struck me that Paul probably couldn’t get a job teaching at the seminary that thought me about Paul. Understand, as I said above, that this aha moment didn’t happen in isolation. It came in the context of years of pretty intense and in-depth doctoral work where my main area of focus was Second Temple biblical interpretation. But here, at this moment, some tumblers clunked heavily into place.

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I was seeing a bigger picture, not just about this one verse but about the Bible as a whole. I was seeing right before my eyes that Paul and the other New Testament writers were part of this ancient world and they too handled their Bible in highly creative ways that were not anchored in the “original meaning” of the text but were transposed and altered in keeping with Jewish interpretive conventions of the day.

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Evangelical attempts to make Paul sound more evangelical and less Jewish–to make him into a “sound” interpreter rather than a creative one–immediately rang hollow, and continue to. And I knew back then, as I do now, that the older model of biblical interpretation I had been taught was not going to cut it.

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I couldn’t deny what I was seeing. I knew I had some thinking to do. That happened over 20 years ago, and the memory is still vivid. And it’s fair to say this aha moment, along with others before and since, have shaped my life’s work of trying to understand the Bible rather than defend it. And that is to me much more interesting, meaningful, and spiritually enriching.

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Fifty Shades of Grey   —

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http://www.reviewjournal.com/columns-blogs/steven-kalas/no-gray-any-shade-great-sex-isn-t-narcissistic-conscription
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In the swirling mystery of human sexuality, there is a line between profound, ecstatic intimacy and disturbing pathology. I’m not in the business of deciding where that line is for you. But there is a line. And observing and investigating that line is an important exercise.

When I investigate the line, I don’t do so from the view of prudishness or “religious” morality, per se. That is, it’s not about naughty versus nice. Good versus bad. Sin versus virtue. I investigate the line from the view of health and wholeness. As opposed to unhealth and brokenness.

And, trust me, I’m no censor. Free speech is the necessary doorway by which erotica is allowed artistic exploration in literature, songwriting, painting, sculpting and film. I have and do enjoy and admire artful erotica.

I remember the 1978 film “Coming Home.” A married woman, broken-hearted by the terrible psychological changes in her war veteran husband returned home, falls in love with another veteran, a paraplegic. They make love in a scene I will always remember as beautiful, tragic … and, make no mistake, hot.

In 1981, I saw “Body Heat.” The protagonists are both disturbing and sad. The woman is a near sociopath. The man is a self-indulgent, little-boy narcissist. But the sex scenes were … well, let’s just say they flooded my brain with oxytocin. My eyes dilated.

See, I’m trying to buy some credibility here. I’m not a judgmental hypocrite. Again, I enjoy artful erotica. And I think it is a perfectly valid reality to explore and celebrate in art.

Having said that …

I have never so much as held a copy of “Fifty Shades of Grey” in my hands, let alone opened it to Page 1. But I heard the buzz. It was like everybody was having sneaky, clandestine fun being naughty. The sound, the tone, the facial expressions all reminded me of how I felt that day when, at 13, I found my father’s Playboy stash in his nightstand. I lost several hours that day. Thought I’d died and gone to heaven.

Now the movie is out. Some $260 million in the first weekend. It’s official. “Fifty Shades of Grey” is a cultural phenomenon.

I resisted it from the start, mostly because of my signature “reverse snobbery.” That is, if it’s a fad, then I tend to instinctively withdraw. If everybody likes it, there must be something shallow and silly about it.

I’m not defending this part of my personality. Just telling the truth.

But I continued to hear more and more about it. Heavens, patients came in and asked if I’d read it yet! I started to read about the plot, the phenomenon in reviews and op-ed pieces.

I learned the story is about one of the “darker corners” of human sexuality: bondage, role-plays of power, sadomasochism, etc.

In principle, I don’t have a problem with that … yet. Healthy, thriving sexual courtship is all about power. Sharing power. Exchanging power. Using power. Surrendering power. It’s an artful, sublime dance in the hands of lovers who want to hurl themselves into the joy of intimacy and erotic ecstasy.

Healthy couples play with power and the surrender of power. They pin their lover’s wrist to the bed. One dons a blindfold. There is a controlled, ceremonial aggression. The erstwhile spanking or gripping of the hair. Language that in other settings would be hostile and abusive becomes hot and desirable.

In the brilliant book “Passionate Marriage,” author David Schnarch titles one chapter “Doing and Being Done.” He means exactly this sharing of power. Sometimes your lover’s request is “Do me.” Other times the directive is “My turn to do you.”

But there is a line between fierce, adventurous love-making and the eroticizing of pain and humiliation. Great sex is not narcissistic conscription.

I think of the Hebrew story of “The Fall.” Adam and Eve have disobeyed God, and God describes the consequences of a “fallen world.” To Eve God says, “Your husband will rule over you, yet your desire shall be for him.”

It’s disturbing that a man can find erotic pleasure in ruling over a woman. And equally disturbing that a woman could desire a man thus ruling over her.

Something about “Fifty Shades of Grey” is aversive to me. I think I’m going to let this fad roll on by without me. Not because I’m a prude. And not because I fear it will awaken some sordid, unexamined darkness in my soul.

It’s simply because I don’t find receiving or delivering pain and humiliation erotic.

I invite you to read this little essay by Craig Gross: http://xxxchurch.com/couples/dont-understand-fifty-shades-grey.html.

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http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/15/opinion/sunday/maureen-dowd-when-will-hillary-let-it-go.html?_r=0

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Hillary (Clinton), though a Methodist, thinks of herself like an Episcopal bishop who deserves to live at the level of her wealthy parishioners, in return for devoting her life to God and good works.”

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Has (Clinton) given up the my-way-or-the-highway imperiousness that doomed her health care efforts? Has she toned down the defensiveness that exacerbated the Whitewater affair? Has she modified the ends-justify-the-means mind-set that allowed her to participate in the vivisection of young women she knew Bill had been involved with? Has she tempered the focus on political viability that led her to vote to allow W. to scamper into a vanity war? Has she learned not to surround herself with high-priced mercenaries like Mark Penn and Dick Morris?

In the last few days, two women interrogators have rattled Hillary’s ice palace gates with questions that were obvious and reasonable.

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With Sawyer, Clinton said she hadn’t known enough to know the Benghazi outpost was unprotected, despite what Ambassador Chris Stevens had called “never-ending security threats.”

 

On NPR’s “Fresh Air,” Clinton grew testy when Terry Gross pressed her on whether the decision to finally publicly embrace gay marriage was a personal evolution or a political “calculus” — now that it’s not as much of a political liability and now that the court has dismantled the dreadful Defense of Marriage Act, which her husband cravenly signed into law in 1996. Clinton said she couldn’t do it as secretary of state. But the vice president was not constrained from saying what was in his heart and pushing the president in the right direction.

What Disney’s Elsa discovers at the end of “Frozen” is that her powers can actually be used for good, once her heart is filled with love. She escapes from her prison, leaves behind the negative things that held her back, and leads her kingdom to a happy and prosperous future.

Can Hillary?

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Elsa from Disney’s “Frozen” learns how to let her hair down and move forward

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Elsa from Disney's Frozen.png
First appearance Frozen
Created by Chris Buck Jennifer Lee
Voiced by Idina Menzel Eva Bella (as a child) Spencer Lacey Ganus (as a teenager)

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Non-New Age Shekinah Glory (the Holy Encounter with Jesus/God) is the epiphany/crucible of faith & obedience for several disciples of Christ, including chief Biblical scholar Cliff Livermore of Waikoloa Hawai’i, descendant of Hawaiian Islands titular revivalist Rev. Titus Coan, and of Charles Finney, the father of modern American revivalism.

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

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

 

https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2014/03/27/in-praise-of-china-christian-capstones-yu-cidu-dora-yu-1873-1931-margaret-emma-barber-1966-1930-their-acolyte-ni-to-sheng-watchman-nee-1903-1972/

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Cliff Livermore look-alike –

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Titus Coan
Titus Coan.jpg

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shekhinah#Jewish_sources

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

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Isaiah wrote “I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne high and lifted up, and his train filled the Temple.” (Isaiah 6:1)

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Glory

Where references are made to the Shekinah as manifestations of the glory of the Lord associated with his presence, Christians find numerous occurrences in the New Testament in both literal (as in Luke 2:9 which refers to the “glory of the Lord” shining on the shepherds at Jesus’ birth) as well as spiritual forms (as in John 17:22, where Jesus speaks to God of giving the “glory” that God gave to him to the people).

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Divine Presence

By day the LORD went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night.

—Exodus 13:21

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reversal of expectation — harumph (disbelief)!!  (in praise of Mr. Harumph -Cliff Livermore, & in praise of Cliff’s forebearers Diogenes &  Sloop Slocum   — Diogenes, after being exiled, moved to Athens to debunk cultural conventions. Diogenes modeled himself on the example of Heracles. He believed that virtue was better revealed in action than in theory —   

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

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joshua_Slocum#Legacy

Slocum was the first man to sail single-handedly around the world

Cliff Livermore)

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harumph

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harumph

Interjection An expression of disdain, disbelief, protest, or dismissal; a huff, grunt, or snort.
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When asked if “addiction is the price of fame (fame means rumor/gossip), talent, and celebrity status (to celebrate, a positive uplifter),” Robin Williams responded: “It’s the price of drugs, actually. Most of the time with drugs if you’re famous, they give them to you. It’s good for business to say that they get you high.”     Robin Williams: ‘Celebrity itself is a drug’

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Robin Williams: ‘Celebrity itself is a drug’

Before his death, Williams opened up about drugs in Hollywood.
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My incredulous mind-blowing moments with Mr. Harumph, Cliff Livermore:

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Me:   “So what, brah’ (“brother” in local lingo), you no (don’tunderstand people — dis’ why you no (don’t) belong to groups — ergo Ohana Church’s leader Ezekiel Tomaselli who banned Cliff because of Cliff’s ‘intemperate attitude’ — like you should????”

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Cliff (in Cliff’s sonorous stentorian bellow!):   “Well, no, actually.   My problem is that I do understand.  And that I know why I understand (why I don’t belong like I should).”  Harumph.   (Cliff’s immensely Jesus change agent-driven brilliance e.g. Cliff’s intuitive grasp of the ascension of Christ  — yeah, this is Cliff at Cliff’s mystic best, baby-O!!)           🙂

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Just like the counterintuitive notion of:   How can our messiah Jesus die if our messiah Jesus has come to ordain a new kingdom on earth by overthrowing Roman rule???   (cynical fleshly minds could not process/intuit Christ’s ascension a la Apostle John or mystic Jesus change agent Cliff Livermore)

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Sinai, Zion   —  Mount Sinai or Mount Zion?     Thanks, Cliff!!

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Attitude is everything!!   In praise of Cliff Livermore   

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To unbelievers in Christ, Cliff Livermore reeks of excessive self-absorption and blowhard excretion

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Biblical Simon here fits Cliff’s “outer” description.

http://www.lawofliberty.com/sermons/Resources/01-fromsimontopeter.pdf

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“For the word of the cross is to those who are perishing — foolishness – but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”   (1 Corinthians 1:18)   

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Paul’s words in Romans 1:14:

“I am debtor both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to wise and to foolish  (e.g. ‘unbelievers’).”

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Our Heavenly Father tells us in John 15:16:

“You did not choose Me, but I chose you, and I set you that you should go forth and bear fruit.”

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Jesus died on the cross to accomplish redemption and then victoriously resurrected from the dead. Right after this, He told His disciples,

“Go therefore and disciple all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 28:19)

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Whether or not we feel like speaking for Christ, God  commissions us to witness for Him to everyone.

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In this, our preference or opinion has no place.

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God’s  Word clearly charges us to go and disciple all the nations.

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Biblical Jonathan’s love for David exemplifies the highest regard which believers in Christ have for cogent disciple Cliff Livermore.

[DOC]What do Relationships Affect Us the Way that They Do

disciplescorner.com/MyDocs/DGR.doc

Developing Great Relationships by Bob La Forge (Apr 12, 2010) – Kindle eBook | Shopping Online

 

 

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Alexander Pope’s couplets are “to die for!”  (of everlasting comfort).

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Next to Shakespeare, Pope is  Great Britain’s greatest writer/literateur.     http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Pope

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Remember Pope’s couplet   “to err is human, to forgive is divine?”      http://www.quotecounterquote.com/2010/12/to-err-is-human-to-forgive-divine.html

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If not for William Tyndale’s translation of the Bible from Latin to English 30 years before Shakespeare was born, for which Tyndale was murdered by the Roman Catholic Church (the Papacy is God, not God himself), there would be no Shakespeare or Pope, both of whom composed their greatest body of work based on the Body of Christ (the Bible).

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Which leads up to today’s greatest couplet-eer, Cliff Livermore!!

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 Not only does Cliff cockle on about his coupling art of creation — crudely coined by others as  coitus –

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Cliff’s story of his life is right here in Cliff’s mind-blowing couplet (pair of sentences)  a la the great Alexander Pope   –

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1.  Curt, I don’t give a rat’s ass (to whom you liken me in Scripture — ergo Simon Peter)!!

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2.  I don’t have an identity problem!!!!    (I belong to Jesus!!)

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Wow!!!!!           🙂

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from Cliff Livermore’s wonderfully realistic and sensible editor/clarifier   –

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Exactly!!    I also have compared Cliff to Simon Peter.

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God chose Cliff, not the other way around.

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Excellent description of Cliff!

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Yes, this is the Cliff we know and love.

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We sometimes have to reel in Cliff, but Cliff is very good to repent and start over.

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“Because the guy (Cliff) can’t help himself!!”                 🙂  

http://www.reviewjournal.com/columns-blogs/steven-kalas

The original foursome dissolves. And Frankie Valli spends the next years recording and performing to pay off Tommy’s debt.
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And that’s when the jolt happens. Frankie’s girlfriend barks, “Why would you be a friend to a guy like that?”

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And Frankie barks back, “Because he can’t help himself!”
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And I think about that verbal exchange for days on end.

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See, my industry (behavioral health) coined ideas like “codependency” and “enabling” and “boundaries” to admonish us never (or virtually never) to rescue someone from destructive or irresponsible behavior.

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But this moment makes me think there is more to love than pop psychological reductionism.

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What if real love knows us?
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Even our gripping, pernicious character flaws?

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 And what if real love doesn’t so much “give a pass” to those flaws

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as it doesaccept those flaws as part of what and who we love?

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What if real love is obliged to the bond of friendship despite the flaws?

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In some cases, because of the flaws?

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There remains a sense of something owed.

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This is not codependence or enabling or poor boundaries.

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This is love.

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Makes me think of a friend of mine who thinks another friend of mine is a not-very-nice person. I understand the first friend’s point of view, and even in some ways agree. But once, long ago, this not-so-nice person extended to me an act of such unmerited kindness and encouragement, forging a bond between us.

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I never forget the Book of Esther (4:14).     Mordecai reminds Esther:   If you’re not willing or able to be used for good by God, God will pick someone else who shall do God’s work.   I thank nurturant Lester Chun for summoning Esther.

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Cliff Livermore asks Jesus to heal people.  Cliff does not have any power to heal.    Still,  I’m not going to ease into a chair & be useless to all around me.   I try to make a difference for the better, instead of my not lifting a finger to comfort another.  I help Cliff.  I’m available.

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Help includes standing in the gap (Ezekiel 22:30), so to speak, however absurd & tragic it appears (risk of false hope/expectation).

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But there’s a big difference between carrying a cross (Luke 9:23) and being crucified on one  — namely,  nails.

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Being crucified with Christ means to nail thru one’s soul to the point of death (of sinful self).    Thank you, Christian mystic and pastor Robert Gomes.

 

 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-c-crosby-dmin/the-three-nails-in-christs-cross_b_2980159.html

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Cliff Livermore’s narrative articulates predicament which compels us to connect with each other

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Obsession vs. redemption.   Sign (stop sign) vs. symbol (metaphor  — Bible’s vine & branch).   Annihilation vs. immortality.  

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Universal appealing narrative is about us  — it illuminates our own lives.  Narrative also discloses truths that shape or misshape our psyche.

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As such, Cliff Livermore’s narrative details the unconscious desire and dilemma to be liberated in self, as one falls into the bondage of self. 

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 The bondage of self has no redemption.  

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Liberation in self gets out of the self and into Jesus. 

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Therein redemption abounds.

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When the human ego conscripts the language, the work and the mantle of self-respect, you start to feel really good and right about discarding people from your life.

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And then you can know that you were right, because you don’t have any friends at all.

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Self-respect and self-importance — not the same at all. But they can feel the same.

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Why can’t I be like you or in sync with you?

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Because then there would be no need for a me, just you and you alone.     

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/06/20/idyllic-imperatives-in-this-tragic-and-indifferent-life/

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kate-forsyth/fairy-tales-book_b_5813154.html?utm_hp_ref=books

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Like Nora Lam (For Those Tears), Cliff Livermore is not afraid of men, and shall not die a martyr, because Cliff shall not die (spiritually)   —

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 in Nora Lam’s autobiography, China Cry, Neng Yee (Nora Lam)  claimed she was sentenced to death by firing squad but miraculously survived  —

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nora_Lam#Interrogation.2C_Firing_Squad.2C_and_Escape

China cry cover.jpg

In tribute to blind child from birth Anuhea of Papa’aloa  (Jesus, please heal her, per Cliff)

Jesus brought Grace & Immortality  — and God has the antichrist to destroy the antichrist’s own religion  — truth then separates from lie organically (alive, not dead)  — meanwhile, long (needful) suffering is about our enduring faith in God, whereas needless suffering is about our trespasses of the flesh.   Spiritual intuitive Grace/Knowledge/Wisdom, not New Age poppycock.

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Cliff is dangerous to the pharisees (today’s religious Christians) because Cliff’s mission is to impel the 2nd coming of Jesus by disrupting the counterfeit fleshly leaders, who self-inflict the demon of unbelief, the typical cop-out.

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Martin Luther:  Do not preach an imaginary but the true mercy. If the mercy is true, you must therefore bear the true, not an imaginary sin. God does not save those who are only imaginary sinners. Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong (sin boldly), but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world. We will commit sins while we are here, for this life is not a place where justice resides. We, however, says Peter (2. Peter 3:13) are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth where justice will reign.

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Like Cliff Livermore, traditional Christian theologians say that apostles Paul and James held the same beliefs:  James’ talk of works referred to works that God produced in Christians as evidence of conversion (as Paul himself assumes that works will follow faith).  Paul did not discount the importance of works (citing passages such as Romans 6 and 8) and James was not referring to ceremonial works of the Torah (citing the fact that at the Council of Jerusalem, James declared that only a small portion of the Torah should be applied to Gentile converts).    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_the_Just#Modern_interpretation

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Just as apostle Peter was the fishing (initial) ministry, &  apostle Paul was the completing (next in timeline order) ministry (complete the word of God),  and apostle John was the (3rd in timeline order) mending/healing ministry, just the same apostle James was the subsequent  transition ministry (Jews first came to Christ, not the Gentiles)      http://www.ministrybooks.org/books.cfm?xid=6DIC2S93YCXON      Grace exemplified via John & then Peter (Gentiles)

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Cliff’s sardonic “play church” Christian fight song is M I C K E Y, M O U S E

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The problem with Cliff, per Pharisees, is that Cliff is in the driver’s seat  — “play church” isn’t what’s going to continue “coming down the pike”   — yet.    Rather, the inbreaking Kingdom of God shall be here in due time, and Cliff is cracking the false foundation stones of the Pharisees to herald the Kingdom of God.

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In Mark 3:22, the Pharisees accuse Jesus of driving out demons by the power of Beelzeboul, prince of demons, the name also appearing in the expanded version in Matthew 12:24,27 and Luke 11:15, 18–19. The name also occurs in Matthew 10:25

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beelzebub#New_Testament       (the worst of the worst — the overarching deadliest sin of overpride)

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Just the same, the Pharisees (religious Christians) accuse Cliff of being the agent of Beelzeboul.     http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beelzebub#Christian_demonology_and_occult

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Beelzebub as depicted in Collin de Plancy‘s Dictionnaire Infernal (Paris, 1863).   (Lord of the Flies)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lord_of_the_Flies#Plot

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hope soars heavenward

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1IzUbFMDGc

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to Pali, a writer in Christ  (if the book is about Pali, and not Christ, “forget the book, baby!”)  —

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Backdrop to Pali’s book:    The inbreaking power of the New Jerusalem is the key to Pali’s autobio, not the fantastic occurrences therein.

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The most important textual part of your book shall be the annotation/footnote/reference portion.

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Example:   You experience a miracle — you come back from the dead, so to speak.

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What is the point of the miracle?    (God convinces you of God’s Glory)

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How does the miracle impact folks other than you? (you are destined to propagate unto others Genesis 12:3)

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What Bible verses describe your experience?   Analogous to Resurrection: Bible Characters Raised from the Dead  ??    Is this related to spiritual dryness?   Spiritual dryness – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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What theological tracts describe your experience?   Augustine of Hippo:  “Why, being dead, do you rely on yourself? You were able to die of your own accord; you cannot come back to life of your own accord.”

http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Augustine_of_Hippo

 Moving on at FinestQuotes.com

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Resurrection: Bible Characters Raised from the Dead

Article that lists the people in the Bible who were raised from the dead
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Spiritual dryness – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In Catholic spirituality, spiritual dryness or desolation is a lack of spiritual consolation in one’s spiritual life. It is a form of spiritual crisis experienced subjectively as a sense of separation from God or lack of spiritual feeling, especially during contemplative prayer. P…
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New Age Spiritists (not Houdini —

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Houdini#Debunking_spiritualists

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spiritualism_(religious_movement)

)  shall have a “field day” with Pali’s “miracles” lest Pali annotates via Scripture/theological tracts.     Pali shall avoid self-glorification.    How?    Use annotations to substantiate Pali’s bare words.

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avoid self-embellishment

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   —  https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2014/02/06/jesus-earthiness/

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Do not fall in love with your own rhetoric like President Obama does:      http://www.c-span.org/video/?320054-1/qa-edmund-morris      (transcript at 00:09:18)

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from Pali’s copy reader   (the beauty of networking and the importance of annotation):

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It’s rare that someone shows me something I never noticed in the Bible before. I looked up the listing of people raised from the dead in scriptures and here is something I never thought of ever (where has my brain been all these years?)!!!!

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Mark 51-52
And there followed him a certain young man, having a linen cloth cast about his naked body; and the young men laid hold on him:

And he left the linen cloth, and fled from them naked.
How could this NOT have been someone raised from the dead???? It’s at the right place to make such a point. The only other possible construction is that it was a homosexual thing….but what would be the point? It makes no sense in the context (but it’s what people would think today).No….there are other instances where Jesus cast out demons or did something for someone and suddenly they are following Him. It seems much more likely that something had just happened like this and the young man was immediately following him. And why were “they” laying hold of the young man? Seemingly the “young men” who laid hands on him were with the company of Romans, as those who followed Jesus had just forsaken him. It seems this young man with the linen cloth was the last to flee.But what a statement to have just before Jesus is taken! He raises somebody from the dead, restores somebody’s ear, the Roman soldiers fall down under a power, get up again….and what’re they going to do? But they have to take HIm in….and does it occur to them privately that they are only taking Him because He allows them to? Gee…there’s a lot embedded here!!!

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again, from Pali’s astute copy reader  —

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(I’d rather be banished from a church for being upfront –fornication–  such correct banishment has happened to me —  than to be accepted by being pretentious a la counterfeits/ignobles Kohala Leroy E. of prolix/verbose pastor Eddie Pali’s genesis, & Minneapolis John Lee Lindell  born 1935 of “I never sin” infamy

 

 

https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2014/04/01/i-have-this-other-relentless-competing-identity-too-a-sin-nature-entitled-hedonistic-self-preserving-frequently-aggrandized-capable-of-blithe-selfishness-and-disturbing-disregard-the-un/

 

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Kohala Leroy’s look-alike (Kohala Leroy E. is a bearded,  long-black hair color, pony-tailed  5’5″ 180 lb. 50 yr. old Chinese-looking local man born 1964 raised in Kohala)  —

 

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John Lee Lindell’s look-alike  —

 

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 —   Hi Curtis!     The usual introduction to the “Christian” life starts with salvation and ends in a blessed “burden of works.”    Many people have broken down because they begin with the spirit and then derail back to the flesh.

 

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I was in a small group once where one of the elders’ wives shared how she had been in the sanctuary of the building with another lady and was suddenly overwhelmed by a feeling that she didn’t want to live anymore. I too, have felt this as a Christian, and I think it’s to do with trying to fulfill our “duties” according to the flesh, i.e., the ridiculous parade of activity in organized religion. It is something the Lord has dealt with me through a process of making me unacceptable for “service” in the eyes of the institution. It has forced me to lean on Him and to look to Him for the truth about my true service.

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Do Christian people sometimes get sidetracked in the flesh? Do their fleshly misdeeds sometime look as corrupt as those of unbelievers? You bet they do! The consequences of  remaining in our flesh doing things by our own devices — whether they are “good” things or “bad” things–are devastating and the outcomes are unrest, depression, and feelings of worthlessness. But if we understand rightly, God’s Reality breaks down our fleshly strength since our carnality is worthless to start with. And in the end, our strength, our faith, our righteousness are ALL OF GOD. And so we look to HIS LIFE alone to effect our deliverance, our salvation from ourselves, the world, the dark kingdom.

Best,

(Pali’s copy reader)

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On the fad of others’ autobiographies (such as Pali’s) and the necessity of tamping down resultant ego amplification   –

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“Serrano: Yes. I wanted to be able to travel abroad, particularly in the United States. And you, Pali,  were able to …God knew you were able to fulfill that dream of my coming to the U.S. ….a lot of people followed. … The word that you heard from God. And you helped me to follow.”

Granted, Serrano’s surrender/glorious attitude to Jesus resulted in Serrano’s upward mobility by vessel Pali.    How does Serrano’s testimony relate to Pali’s miracles?   Do Bible verses link individual miracles (such as Pali’s) with Jesus’ blessings bestowed upon others (such as Serrano)?   Do theological tracts clarify blessings bestowed upon couplet (Pali/Serrano) shepherds and sheep?    These questions trigger  readers’ interest, not the individual miracles and Pali’s self-character-driven confirmations.

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from Pali’s copy reader:

I’m still thinking about this question. We had a similar question about Fred’s  African testimony. The recording was so full of extra noise that I just couldn’t figure out what he was talking about.  Pali  was so excited about putting it in, but the more that Jim and I discussed it, the more convinced we were that it just didn’t go even if the miracles were BIG in it.

I thought we’d have a fight on our hands with Pali  because Pali’s  heart was so set on it. However, the miracles according to Jim did not seem to connect with any larger purpose than just to awe somebody, they couldn’t be verified by anyone else, and they led back to a group of people who are big on miracles but there is no Cross preached. Fortunately, Pali said it was fine to scrap it! Just like THAT! Thank God.

Pali really is like Peter, as you said. Truly. He belongs to the Lord in spite of (and not because of) himself. 🙂

There actually was a question I wanted to ask you last evening and I forgot exactly what it was. But I’m concerned about Pali sending his transcripts to any and everyone. What do you think is the interest a non-believer would have in Pali’s story? Or, to put it another way, what do you think would make a non-believer want to read it?

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from me to Pali’s copy reader   –

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In praise of incredibly intuitive mystical pastor Robert Gomes    —

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Christian mystic Pastor Robert Gomes look-alike    —

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Pastor Robert Gomes’ wife of unparalleled equanimity/balance/composure/compassion — Pastor Donna Mae Respicio Gomes look-alike   —

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Christian mystic Pastor Robert George Gomes and his dearest wife Donna Mae Respicio Gomes serve us through Jesus at their beautiful quaint worship chapel and grounds at their gathering place, The Lord is My Shepherd Ministries  at Hilo’s 507 East Lanikaula St. near the junction of where East Lanikaula St. meets Kanoelehua Ave.

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They are behind the Embroid Me shop at the same address.   You cannot see their church grounds from Lanikaula St.    You drive on the right hand lane side of the Embroid Me shop to get to Pastors Robert and Donna Mae Gomes’ ranch style country church.

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They have their Lord’s Day gathering and services every Saturday at 10:00 a.m. that usually complete at 12 noon.  Their phone number is (808) 961-3737.    Enjoy our Lord’s Day every day via shepherds Pastors Robert and Donna Mae Gomes.

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To me, Pastor Robert Gomes connects mystically with Christ, the Son of God,

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which is why Pastor Robert Gomes sees both atomic (smallest particles) and cosmic (largest impact) patterns in the Word  (Logos – pronounced like “low-dose”) and via the Spirit  (Rhema — pronounced as “ray-ma”) (sword and obedience are Torah couplets on the atomic scale) (Pastor Robert Gomes is like John the Revelator who processes that we are spared from cosmic eternal torment of being born lost  —  by way of the revelation of the ascension of Christ  — John the Revelator also is well the willing martyr — martyr means to “witness to”  —  the most authentic  way to witness to Truth is to die for it when necessary  — John 18:37   obey God http://www.bibleversestudy.com/johngospel/john18.htm   ).

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Like Apostle Paul (completing –the Word of God — ministry), Pastor Robert Gomes does not play church, so to speak  — but instead avoids “natural thinking” presumptions (fleshly overpride/vanity/envy/jealousy) by stepping out (as Jesus did) in the world and taking risks of harm (by saving lost souls and those possessed of the spirit of unbelief) as the tests which need to be met in our authentic walk in Christ.

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Pastor Robert Gomes knows the truth about men and flesh  — born lost — and thus Pastor Robert is deemed alarming and dangerous to religious Christians (milk of the Word as opposed to righteousness of the Word) who cherry pick verses even to longtime “walking/waking dead” disciples  —  to sugar coat sin (forgiveness means that I can sin and sin again and again) and repentance (just say I’m sorry  — no need to extinguish our old self/natural ways) and Satan himself (die and go to heaven   — death, physical/spiritual —  itself is not the eternal fate for lost souls).

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I thank Christian mystic Pastor Robert Gomes for Robert’s insight here:   The catcher is the one who’ll say that the tree of knowledge of good and evil is (not are) the tree of humanity’s thirst for lust (of sex/fame/fortune), ergo that good and evil are inherent in us all like a cup of broth where you can’t separate the good portion from the bad portion of this one cup of broth.

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Likewise, Jesus’ blood (for our redemption via Grace) covers our single tree (of knowledge of good and evil)

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– Jesus does not separate the good part of the broth from the bad part of the broth, but instead comes with a new creation, 

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just as Jesus’ blood (that extinguishes our old laws-legalism/pretensions) can’t be separated from Jesus’ water (God’s holy spirit)  —

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so that the spearer at the Cross was drenched in both Jesus’ blood (which covers our flesh–good & evil)

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 and water  — in one accord — as in from one body — that of Christ.

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Catch/grab us all,

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including those of us who possess the spirit of unbelief,

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by appealing to our DNA/innate senses of

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pain and despair  —

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we who suffer interminably 

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amid our contemporary crises of meaning —

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breakdown of values  —

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and excessive self-absorption.  

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Me/me/me translate

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to hopeless

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contemptuous self-pity.

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Pathetic needless suffering.

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The Fall of Man by Lucas Cranach, a 16th-century German depiction of Eden, with the tree of life (left) and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tree_of_life_(biblical)

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The   Ancient Greek translation of the Old Testament tree of life  literally means “wood of  life.”     The Grecian option overlooked by historians is that the tree of life is the prefiguration (foretell — relationship of Old Testament to New Testament) of Jesus  — the tree of life is Jesus  — wood simply is carved — as in the Cross — as the way to Jesus (crucified in Christ).   I thank seminarian scholar Daniel Tavares for this exemplification.

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Just the same, as erudite pastor Robert Gomes intones,  man,

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as often as he eats the fruit,

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does well to remember the source of his life,

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and acknowledge that he lives not by his own power,

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but by God’s kindness and forgiveness.

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The tree of life as the wood of life is the Cross in which we are crucified in Jesus as a new creation.

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The old dies (the flesh), as the new begins (the spirit).

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tree_of_life_(biblical)#Western_Christianity
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Leading theologian Augustine 400 AD of the early period (prior to Aquinas — Augustine was an ardent understudy of Grecian Plato) said that spiritual interpretation of Genesis does not rob Biblical narrative of its reality (City of God). 

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Aquinas 1200 AD of the scholastic period (Aquinas an understudy of Grecian Aristotle, Aristotle a Plato prodigy, Plato in turn a Grecian Socrates prodigy) took a pragmatic approach like Aquinas alter ego Aristotle (Aquinas’ Summa Theologica).   

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John Calvin 1500 AD, like Augustine and Pastor Robert Gomes above, took a sacramental approach —  man, as often as he eats the fruit, should remember the source of his life, and acknowledge that he lives not by his own power, but by God’s kindness and love.  This is the standing interpretation in modern Reformed theology as well   (Calvin’s Commentary on Genesis 2:8).  

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Thence, The tree of life is the wood of life as the Cross in which we are crucified in Jesus as a new creation.   

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The old dies (the flesh), as the new begins (the spirit).

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For a person cursed with the spirit of unbelief, there is only one conclusion  — 

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ultimately, you shall not come to terms with your own death.

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Even for doubters (agnostics) and especially for nonbelievers (atheists)  –

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it simply is astonishing and mind-blowing that hypothetically  –

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we can devise an ethic –

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a super conscience –

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to keep us in check –

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and balance  –

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to ensure our survival as a species among nature’s creations

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(ecosystem equilibrium akin to hydrostatic equilibrium  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrostatic_equilibrium#Fluids  ).

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Profound and inexplicable that we “first mold” (archetype typology) instinctively (internal drive)

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for some paradigm (pattern/creation)

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greater than the self

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as the only real (sane — fulfilling) path

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for finding a whole complete self.

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Jungian scholars posit that inside every human heart is a personal picture of the divine, be it a personal God or an uninvolved pantheistic entity.

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Agnostics/atheists posit that Jews have imago dei (image of God), whereas Christians have imago Christo (image of Christ).

 

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In line with brilliant, intuitive,  mystical Pastor Robert Gomes (revelation of the ascension of Christ)     –

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

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Fountain#Plot_summary

 

The Fountain‘s theme of fear of death is “a movement from darkness into light,  from black to white”  that traces the journey of a man scared of death and moving toward it. The film begins with a paraphrase of Genesis 3:24, the Biblical passage that reflects the The Fall of Man. Hugh Jackman emphasized the importance of the Fall in the film: “The moment Adam and Eve ate of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, humans started to experience life as we all experience it now, which is life and death, poor and wealthy, pain and pleasure, good and evil. We live in a world of duality. Husband, wife, we relate everything. And much of our lives are spent not wanting to die, be poor, experience pain. It’s what the movie’s about.”   Director Aronofsky also interpreted the story of Genesis as the definition of mortality for humanity. He inquired of the Fall, “If they had drank from the Tree of Life [instead of the Tree of Knowledge] what would have separated them from their maker? So what makes us human is actually death.  It’s what makes us special.”

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Aronofsky said of The Fountain‘s intricacy and underlying message, “[The film is] very much like a Rubik’s Cube, where you can solve it in several different ways, but ultimately there’s only one solution at the end”   — “ultimately the film is about coming to terms with your own death.”

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Tree_of_Life_(film)#Plot

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The film begins with a quotation from the Book of Job: “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the Earth?… When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?”

A mysterious, wavering light, resembling a flame, flickers in the darkness. Mrs. O’Brien recalls a lesson taught to her that people must choose to follow either the path of grace or the path of nature. In the 1960s, she receives a telegram informing her of the death of her son, R.L., aged nineteen. Mr. O’Brien is notified by telephone while at an airport. The family is thrown into turmoil.

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In the present day, the O’Briens’ eldest son, Jack, is adrift in his modern life as an architect. One day he apologizes to his father on the phone for an argument about R.L.’s death. In his office, Jack begins reflecting and we see shots of tall buildings under the sky, Jack wandering in the desert, trees that stretch from the ground up to the sun high in their leaves and scenes from his childhood in the 1950s that all link together and lead back to the flame.

From the darkness the universe is born, the Milky Way and then the solar system form while voice-overs ask existential questions. On the newly formed Earth, volcanoes erupt and microbes begin to form and replicate. Sea life is born, then plants on land, then dinosaurs.   In a symbolic first act of compassion, a dinosaur chooses not to eat a weakened creature that is lying on the side of a river bed. An asteroid tumbles through space and strikes the Earth.

In a sprawling neighborhood in Waco, Texas live the O’Briens. The young couple is enthralled by their new baby Jack and, later, his two brothers. When Jack reaches adolescence, he is faced with the conflict of accepting the way of grace or nature, as embodied by each of his parents. Mrs. O’Brien (grace) is gentle, nurturing, and authoritative, presenting the world to her children as a place of wonder. Mr. O’Brien (nature) is strict and authoritarian, and easily loses his temper as he struggles to reconcile his love for his sons with wanting to prepare them for a world he sees as corrupt and exploitative. He laments his decision to become an engineer instead of pursuing his passion for music. He tries to get ahead by filing patents for various inventions.

Jack’s perceptions of the world begin to change after one of his friends drowns at the pool and another of his friends is burned in a house fire. He becomes angry at his father for his bullying behavior and begins to keep a running tally of Mr. O’Brien’s various hypocrisies and misdeeds, lashing out at his mother for tolerating such abusive behavior.

One summer, Mr. O’Brien takes a long business trip. While he is away, the boys enjoy unfettered access to their mother, and Jack experiences the first twinges of rebelliousness. Goaded by other boys his age, Jack commits acts of vandalism and animal abuse. He later trespasses into a neighbor’s house and steals her sheer nightgown. Jack is confused and angered by his feelings of sexuality and guilty trespass. He throws the stolen lingerie into a river to rid himself of it. Mr. O’Brien returns home from his unsuccessful business trip. Shortly thereafter, the plant that he works at closes and he is given the option of relocating to work in a thankless position within the firm or losing his job. He and his family pack up to move to the new job location. He laments the course his life has taken, questioning whether he has been a good enough person. He asks Jack for forgiveness for his harsh treatment of him.

In the present, adult Jack leaves work. Riding the elevator up, he experiences a vision of following a young girl across rocky terrain. Jack tentatively walks through a wooden door frame erected on the rocks and sees a view of the far distant future in which the sun expands into a red giant, engulfing the earth and then shrinking into a feeble white dwarf. Someone says “follow me” in the darkness, which is ended by the lighting of two candles. After emerging from rustic doors, Jack follows the girl and then a young version of himself across surreal landscapes. On a sandbar, Jack sees images of death and the dead returning to life. He is reunited with his family and all the people who populate his memory. His father is happy to see him. He encounters his dead brother, whom he brings to his parents. Accompanied by a woman in white and her younger self, Mrs. O’Brien looks to the sky and whispers, “I give him to you. I give you my son.”

Jack’s vision ends and he leaves the building smiling.

The mysterious wavering light continues to flicker in the darkness.

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The matter is about trust    –

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God and the devil will often tell us the exact same truth.

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And it is true.

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But their respective motives for telling you this truth will be radically different.

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You can trust God (redemption via Grace)

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or you can trust Satan (you are the Parasite’s host).

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from me in response to Pali’s copy reader’s  questions below

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A person of unbelief latches on to the word Fail   –

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A person of unbelief does not believe in redemption.

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Thus, “failure is not an option.”  There is no safety net

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to rescue a person of unbelief if the person fails.

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The problem is not just that we all fail sometime or

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another.   The problem mainly is that we don’t know who

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to trust when this (failure) happens.

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In this sense, we choose to be failures, because with no

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safety net in place, we have nowhere to go — except to

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annihilation (of the soul and the deeper spirit) ergo

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death/extinction.

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Which make us no different than an

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ordinary demon, since failure is not an option there either

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 —   because the demon has nowhere to escape but to

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stay welded in hell.

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And when we fail, there is no safety net

to rescue us.   Here, Jesus catches a Cliff Livermore in Jesus’

hands  –

and behold   — here Jesus then cups us in Jesus’ hands

as we all fall into the abyss, so to speak.   No science

can explain this.    No logic can extinguish this.

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 Hell

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(legalism) rules by fear.   Heaven (Grace) rules by love.

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                       —  –

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Hi Curtis, so what is the upshot of all these passages? Do you mean that non-believers will immediately relate to Pali’s humanity?

Best regards,      (Pali’s copy reader)

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There are to be found two classes of Christians. Some are content with the mingled life, half flesh and half spirit, half self-effort and half grace.

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Others are not content with this, but are seeking with their whole heart to know to the full what the deliverance from sin and what the abiding full power for a walk in God’s presence is, which the New Covenant has brought and can give. God help us all to be satisfied with nothing less.

image
Chapter II, The Two Covenants, and the Second Blessing, …

Read Chapter II of The Two Covenants, and the Second Blessing from author Andrew Murray. Find more Christian classics for theology and Bible study at Bible Study…
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Intuitive pastor (revelation on the mystery of God)  Robert Gomes is of the New 2nd  Covenant.

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Remember when Pali’s great editor chortled lovingly that Simon Peter likeness Pali  (I substitute Cliff Livermore here for Pali) (or)

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Cliff Livermore belongs to Jesus in spite of Cliff, not because of Cliff?  (all noise, no signal except to Jesus)

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 And Cliff reacted with a climactic beet-red face band-aided by the widest grin this side of the Pacific Ocean?!

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Well, Pastor Robert Gomes belongs to Jesus because of Robert a la Biblical Joseph (humility/patience)  (all signal, no noise — on earth as are in Heaven, in praise of Jesus).

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As both cogent Cliff and Robert Gomes chasten,

religious Christians do not discuss

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1) Satan

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2) repentance

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 3) sin           —

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as do Cliff and Robert Gomes in both leaders’

narratives on our incredible Christian

odyssey.

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The narratives are  really about us, not

so much about Cliff or Robert.

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As both Cliff and Robert Gomes evoke  — the tree of life as the wood of life is the Cross in which we are crucified in Jesus as a new creation.

The   Ancient Greek translation of the Old Testament tree of life  literally means “wood of  life.”

The old dies (the flesh), as the new begins (the spirit).

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For a person cursed with the spirit of unbelief, there is only one conclusion  —  ultimately, you shall not come to terms with your own death.

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I never forget the Book of Esther (4:14).     Mordecai reminds Esther:   If you’re not willing or able to be used for good by God, God will pick someone else who shall do God’s work.   I thank nurturant Lester Chun for summoning Esther.

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Cliff Livermore asks Jesus to heal people.  Cliff does not have any power to heal.    Still,  I’m not going to ease into a chair & be useless to all around me.   I try to make a difference for the better, instead of my not lifting a finger to comfort another.  I help Cliff.  I’m available.

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Help includes standing in the gap (Ezekiel 22:30), so to speak, however absurd & tragic it appears (risk of false hope/expectation).

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But there’s a big difference between carrying a cross (Luke 9:23) and being crucified on one  — namely,  nails.

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Being crucified with Christ means to nail thru one’s soul to the point of death (of sinful self).

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Thank you, Christian mystic and pastor Robert Gomes.  

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 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-c-crosby-dmin/the-three-nails-in-christs-cross_b_2980159.html

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http://www.patheos.com/blogs/carlgregg/2014/04/brene-brown-and-the-gifts-of-imperfection/

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Leonard Cohen, in the chorus of his song “Anthem,” says that all any of us can ultimately do is “Ring the bells that still can ring / Forget your perfect offering / There is a crack in everything / That’s how the light gets in. That’s how the light gets in. That’s how the light gets in.” Where are the cracks and imperfections in your life? How might those places of seeming weakness paradoxically be the most powerful invitations you will ever have in this life to “let go of who you think you’re supposed to be and embrace who you are,” to let go of our culture’s addiction to certainty and the myth of permanent satisfaction — and instead to savor and celebrate the gifts of the life that already have: right here and now.

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In praise of Non-New Age exemplars (more Calvinist than Arminian in style/approach, not substantively    

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pentecostalism#Salvation

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arminianism#Comparison_among_Protestants

 https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2014/04/08/nobody-comes-to-therapy-who-hasnt-lost-something-the-heart-is-injured-limping-constrained-by-psychic-adhesions-aching-either-obviously-or-just-behind-the-curtain-of-consciousness-the-t/

  )   Pastors Ezekiel “Zeke” Tomaselli (age 30) (Ohana Church at Hilo YWCA   http://www.ohanachurch.com/ on Ululani St.)    & Zeke’s mentor Vance Pitman

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As with great Christian disciple Watchman Nee’s Jesus prerogatives of  1) the blood of the cross is forgiveness for each sin;  2) the body of Christ is deliverance from continuous sin —

https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2014/03/27/in-praise-of-china-christian-capstones-yu-cidu-dora-yu-1873-1931-margaret-emma-barber-1966-1930-their-acolyte-ni-to-sheng-watchman-nee-1903-1972/

 

both Zeke & mentor Vance Pitman advocate the sovereignty of God & eschatological expectation of the inbreaking power of the kingdom of God a la Johann Christoph Blumhardt.

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http://vancepitman.com/about/family-ministry/

http://www.gps2020.net/vance-pitman/

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Vance Pitman

 http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=images+vance+pitman&qpvt=images+vance+pitman&FORM=IGRE#view=detail&id=CF4C9B00285591B279455DF25BC0534E60CBDA1E&selectedIndex=2
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Ezekiel Tomaselli look-alike

http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=images+al+pacino&qpvt=images+al+pacino&FORM=IGRE#view=detail&id=4CF20BC01B78F17B73CA79E68931A72CE5439DDD&selectedIndex=125
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Admittedly, Ezekiel Tomaselli doesn’t have the emotional maturity (Zeke fancies himself a “tough guy” bully — which exposes Zeke’s spineless insecurity) of wonderfully wizened Vance Pitman.     Hopefully, Zeke will grow up to be long in the tooth in wisdom of Zeke’s glorious mentor Vance Pitman.

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In praise of Non-New Age exemplars Pastors John EndrissAlden Arakaki, & disciple Sean Nearhoof  of Hilo’s university culture Engage Church

http://www.engagehilo.com/core

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cVxg5jTQxFw&list=UUxzk-_baHG-QQw30rb2BUeA

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http://www.hiloathletics.com/roster.aspx?rp_id=1993&path=baseball

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Forebearer Charles Spurgeon  1834–1892  pronounced that sola scriptura (written Word of God) is the singular authority on God, unaffected by evolving intellectual church interpretation/tradition as elements to define Biblical doctrine.

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Spurgeon#Downgrade_Controversy

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Documentary_hypothesis#The_Wellhausen_.28or_Graf.E2.80.93Wellhausen.29_hypothesis

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Five_solas#Sola_scriptura_.28.22by_Scripture_alone.22.29

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

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fundamentalist%E2%80%93Modernist_Controversy

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Protestant_branches.svg

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecclesiology#Magisterial_Reformation_ecclesiology

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberal_Protestant#Variation

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Charles Spurgeon at age 23.

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* File:Charles Haddon Spurgeon by Alexander Melville.jpg

Charles Spurgeon in middle age

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http://www.reviewjournal.com/columns-blogs/steven-kalas/irritation-my-friend-blowin-wind

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blowin%27_in_the_Wind

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Blowin’ in the Wind” is a song written by Bob Dylan in 1962 and released on his album The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan in 1963. Although it has been described as a protest song, it poses a series of rhetorical questions about freedom, among other things (war/peace).

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The refrain “The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind” has been described as “impenetrably ambiguous: either the answer is so obvious it is right in your face, or the answer is as intangible as the wind.”

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How many years can some people exist Before they’re allowed to be free? Yes, ‘n’ how many times can a man turn his head Pretending he just doesn’t see? The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind The answer is blowin’ in the wind

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Dylan said in 1962:   “There ain’t too much I can say about this song except that the answer is blowing in the wind. It ain’t in no book or movie or TV show or discussion group. Man, it’s in the wind – and it’s blowing in the wind.

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Too many of these hip people are telling me where the answer is but oh I won’t believe that. I still say it’s in the wind and just like a restless piece of paper it’s got to come down some …But the only trouble is that no one picks up the answer when it comes down so not too many people get to see and know . . . and then it flies away.”

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Irritation, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind

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I remember James Taylor’s lyrics: “I’ve been walking my mind through an easy time/ My back turned towards the sun/ Lord knows when the cold wind blows it will turn your head around.”

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I lie in bed and listen to the wind howl like banshees. Ah, the banshee.

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In aboriginal Europe (Gaelics, Pics, Welsh, Scots, Norse, etc.), she is a mythic female spirit arising from the underworld, often as an omen of death. She wails when someone is about to die.

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The glass of my bedroom windows moans in an almost (but not quite) imperceptible low frequency. The frame of my house groans. The leaves of my backyard trees rustle and rattle as the rise and fall of a siren.

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Wind is consequential. It is the stuff of legend. It cannot and will not be ignored.

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Wind is my least favorite meteorological event. I’m good with hot. I was born and raised in hot — the Sonoran Desert. When Las Vegans complain of heat, I tell them they don’t know anything about hot. As a boy, I watched local news teams broadcast the annual, unofficial Phoenix festival of frying an egg on the sidewalk. I lived in Phoenix in the summer of 1990, the year they closed Sky Harbor International Airport for a few hours because Boeing aircraft had not been tested for takeoff and landing in temperatures over 120 degrees.

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Heat is a phenomenon, filling me with awe and wonder.

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I’m good with rain. As a desert dweller, I view rain as a precious gift. I am exhilarated when it pounds with fury, hurling tablespoon-size drops down from the heavens. Or, other times, the gentle, endless hours of pitter-pat drizzle soaking the ground slowly and deeply. It’s contemplative.

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The smell of the desert after rain is ecstasy, nostalgia and hope. It makes me grateful.

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Lightning and thunder make me crazy. Especially at night. Good crazy. Flash! In that nanosecond, my yard is illuminated as bright as a major league baseball field. Then the drumroll and … Ka-BOOM!

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It is delicious to be so humbled by something so much bigger, older and wiser than I am.

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Yet, I, the mere mortal, am invited to behold the power. To revel in it.

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I’m good with cold. I went to undergraduate college in Flagstaff, Ariz. My sophomore year, we had 18 consecutive days wherein the thermometer didn’t make it to zero. When my eldest son and I make our annual trek to Green Bay to watch our heroes play football, we pick a late fall or winter game, because the “frozen tundra” cold of Lambeau Field is, well, part of the tradition of being a Packer fan, not to mention that we enjoy making fun of the Vikings and the Lions playing in their wussie domes.

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Cold invigorates me. I like the feel of sweaters, tweed jackets and fleece blankets, the weight of a down comforter in my bed. I’m good with snow. In Flagstaff, it can drop 18 inches of snow so fast you can almost see it rise off the ground. The air becomes supernaturally quiet.

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Sound travels with eerie acuity. Time and space seem to shift. It’s sublime. Peaceful. So beautiful.

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But wind — ugh! I’ve been in Las Vegas since 1996. These last few weeks have been difficult for me. Wind makes me crazy, and not the good kind of crazy I mentioned above. Wind makes me anxious and irritable. Restless. A friend of mine is a deer hunter, and he tells me that, during wind storms, the deer bed down. Hide. Because they don’t feel safe.

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The wind confuses their olfaction and their hearing. The wind pushes me. Pulls me. It complicates the way I get in and out of my car in tight parking lots, threatening to rip the door out of my hand and waving into the side of another car. It worries and whips the items I’m trying to carry in or out of the office. It turns my hair into the coiffure of a mad scientist. It frames my eyes into a permanent squint. It drives me from my back porch meditative sanctuary.

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I’ve been wondering this spring whether there is a way to make peace with wind. To change the way I see it and think about it. Is there such a thing as a meteorological spiritual director? With a specialty in the spiritual discipline of wind?

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Millennial generation

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_generations#Western_world

  • Generation Z is one name used for the cohort of people born after the Millennial Generation. There is no agreement on the exact dates of the generation with some sources starting it at the mid or late 1990s  or from the mid-2000s to the present day. This is the generation that is currently being born.

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http://www.patheos.com/blogs/carlgregg/2014/06/3222/

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My generation acknowledges science, and we want to protect our planet…. My generation does not hate gay people. We don’t hate any people…. My generation does not fear the future…. We welcome change. And, ladies and gentlemen, as a word of caution to you, my generation is sprinting this way.

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http://ourrabbijesus.com/articles/why-leave-out-the-leavening/

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The Imagery of Leaven

What does leavening symbolize? Believe it or not, the Bible actually gives multiple explanations. Exodus 12:34 says that it’s to commemorate the Israelites’ rapid departure from Egypt, when they didn’t have time to let their bread rise.

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But in Deuteronomy 16:3, it’s called the “bread of affliction” and serves as a reminder of the misery of slavery. Unleavened bread is also traditionally understood as a picture of eating manna in the desert for forty years.

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Unleavened bread is very flat and plain, and it was seen to represent humility, rather than being “puffed” up with pride. Because it is just wheat and water with no old, fermented leavened dough added, it represented purity too.

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A person who was “unleavened” was like the character described in the beatitudes—meek and pure-hearted, aware of his own weaknesses, who comes to God honestly, without any pretense.

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In contrast, “leaven” was seen to be a picture of pride, boastfulness, hypocrisy, and being full of one’s self—the opposite of being “poor in spirit.” You can see why Jesus said that the “leaven” of the Pharisees is hypocrisy. (Luke 12:1)

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-joel-hoffman/three-answers-to-good-and_b_5748286.html?utm_hp_ref=religion

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Three Answers to Good and Evil That Were Cut From The Bible

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Scripture once offered five answers to good and evil, but only two of them made it into the Bible as we now know it.

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The other three were cut as an accidental side-effect of bookmaking technology.

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Fortunately, history has not completely erased these ancient jewels, which survive to complement the Bible’s answer to the most timeless of questions, Why is my life like this?

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According to Deuteronomy, good things happen to good people and bad things happen to bad people. Follow God’s ways and you will prosper. Stray from God’s ways and you will perish. This is the first answer to good and evil, and it’s simple, compelling, and attractive. The world is fundamentally fair.

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But even in antiquity, this theology’s biggest failing was evident: it doesn’t work. We all know good people who suffer and bad people who thrive.

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The Book of Job addresses this obvious shortcoming. There, the uber-righteous Job suffers almost unspeakable losses.

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Toward the end of the book, Job asks God why he has suffered so terribly. God answers along the lines of: “Who do you think you are? You don’t even know how I made the oceans. What makes you think you could ever understand good and evil, suffering and joy?”

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According to the Book of Job, life is fundamentally enigmatic. “God works in mysterious ways,” we might now say. Though potentially accurate, that theology doesn’t usually offer much help to people who are suffering.

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Three books that were almost lost explore good and evil more deeply.

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They are the Life of Adam and Eve, which tells the second half of the Adam and Eve story and details the first couple’s life after exile from the Garden of Eden;

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the Apocalypse of Abraham, which exposes Abraham’s childhood;

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and the Book of Enoch, which, among other things, explains the mysterious Watchers of Genesis.

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Toward the beginning of the Life of Adam and Eve, Adam confronts the Devil with the question we all want answered. “What did I ever to do you,” Adam demands to know, “that you should hunt me like this?” In other words, Why do people suffer? The Devil explains that he torments people not because of anything they do, but because of who they are. Having been created little less than divine, humans automatically attracted the wrath of the Devil.

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Unlike in Deuteronomy, suffering here is not a punishment.

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It’s not something we deserve.

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And there is nothing we could have done differently. Suffering is simply part of being human. We are asking the wrong question with, Why is this happening to me? Life is fundamentally a mixed bag.

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The Apocalypse of Abraham goes a step further.

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In the second part of this sometimes troubling book, God grants Abraham a personal audience, which the first monotheist uses to ask, “Why do people suffer?”

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God answers that suffering is ultimately of human origin. “So why did You create humans who were capable of causing suffering?” Abraham — along with both ancient and modern readers — wants to know.

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God answers that the ability to do harm is an inextricable part of free will. Our unique ability to choose makes life worth living, but also makes it possible to choose evil over good.

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According to the Apocalypse of Abraham, life is fundamentally in our own, collective, control.

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The boldest answer comes from the Book of Enoch.

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Written before the Book of Daniel and quoted in the Book of Jude, Enoch was among the most beloved and popular writings in antiquity, but it was whitewashed from mainstream religion in the first millennium AD.

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Enoch’s position is that God designed a perfect universe, one which had no evil or suffering.

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But then things went awry. Even God’s own angels deviated from their proper course. We suffer, says Enoch, but God doesn’t want us to. Misery wasn’t part of God’s plan.

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According to the Book of Enoch, life is fundamentally a little out of control.

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These five answers combine to offer a more balanced perspective on life.

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The demise of a parent, the loss of a spouse, or the devastating death of a child; joblessness, divorce, or hunger; and the shattered dreams of childhood or the surprising realities of adult life:

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All of these are tied up with the mystery of Job and the reward and punishment of Deuteronomy, but also with Enoch’s imperfect world, with Abraham’s realization that it’s the price we pay for the ability to choose, and the penetrating observation from Adam and Eve that to live life as a human is to mix suffering with joy.

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Dr. Hoffman is author of The Bible’s Cutting Room Floor, which explores these and other ancient texts more fully. He can be reached through his website at www.lashon.net.

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http://www.stevepavlina.com/blog/page/2/

Roman conspiracy to invent Jesus?

Caesar’s Messiah: The Roman Conspiracy to Invent Jesus. I also met the makers of this documentary when they were in Vegas a couple weeks ago, and we had a delightful conversation about a variety of subjects, including the film.

Caesar’s Messiah explores the character of Jesus and whether he actually existed as a real person or if he was an invented literary figure. Instead of drowning in Church dogma, the goal of this documentary was to search for facts and genuine historical evidence of who Jesus really was.

I found the documentary quite fascinating. It presented a strong case that Jesus was an invented literary figure and that no such person actually existed. I’ve heard that theory before, and I already knew that Jesus was likely a composite character largely derived from similar characters. But what I liked about this documentary is that they also identified Jesus’ inventors as well as the reasons for inventing Jesus and Christianity.

Who Invented Jesus?

According to Caesar’s Messiah, the character of Jesus was invented by the Flavian dynasty for the purposes of pacifying and controlling the ornery Jews of that time, who wouldn’t worship the Roman Emperor and who were frequently engaging in military conflicts with the Romans. The Romans dealt with this problem by gaining control over the Jewish teachings, essentially replacing them with pro-Roman teachings (i.e. Christianity), which urged the Jews to stop fighting and to behave more submissively towards the Romans.

As Caesar’s Messiah explains, Christianity was invented by the Flavian dynasty as an attempt to solve a serious military and political problem they were having with the Jews during that time. Since they couldn’t convert the Jews to worship the Roman Emperor directly, and since the Jews were frequently getting into conflicts with the Romans due to ideological differences, the Romans basically forced the Jewish belief system to pivot in a more pro-Roman direction.

If you’ve read the Bible as I have, it should be fairly obvious that Jesus was a very pro-Roman character. He went around telling the Jews to pay their taxes (“Give unto Caesar what is Caesar’s”) and to behave submissively towards their enemies. Jesus taught the Jews to put down their swords and be pacifists, so the Romans could more easily dominate them. This was by design. It’s exactly how the Romans wanted the Jews to behave.

Of course the Jews weren’t stupid. They weren’t likely to swallow this nonsense wholesale from the Romans. So the Romans forced it upon them. The Romans gathered up conflicting Jewish texts and destroyed them, replacing them with pro-Roman Christian texts. The Romans also made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire.

The Romans may have known that the Jews would resist swallowing this new religion, but all they needed for it to succeed in the long run was to provide a sufficient marketing effort combined with coercive force to get this religion passed on to the next generation, so it would become self-perpetuating and subdue the Jews for generations to come. The Romans were already in power, and this was a great way to strengthen their already dominant position.

I knew that the Romans were outstanding conquerors, but this really impressed me. Yes, it’s extremely devious, but it also proved incredibly effective. Why engage in destructive wars when you could dominate and integrate a group by reshaping their belief system?

Who Is Jesus?

It’s already well established that Christianity’s beliefs, symbols, rituals, and teachings are largely borrowed and derived from other sources, including paganism, Judaism, and Roman teachings. The theory that Jesus is a fictional composite character isn’t new either. But I really loved how deeply this documentary dove into the facts of the situation and provided answers to why this character was created, how he was created, and by whom.

So who is Jesus then?

Jesus is a made-up figure — yes — but he’s actually a representation of the Roman Emperor Titus Flavius. Caesar’s Messiah explains in detail that the stories from Jesus’ life are modified versions of parallel events from Titus’ life, occurring in the exact same time sequence. They list 40 such parallels in the documentary. If you have time to watch it, I think you’ll find this part especially eye-opening. It’s rather amusing too when you realize that people have been worshipping Titus Flavius in disguise for so many centuries.

Caesar’s Messiah also points out that the second coming of Jesus already happened. That prediction was by design as well.

When the Flavians wrote up the stories about Jesus, they set his existence to be decades earlier during the previous Roman dynasty. Then they included prophecies about what that character would do when he returned. Of course it’s easy to prophesize about the future accurately when that supposed future is actually in your past. The prophecies were written to match up with previous military campaigns of Titus Flavius, including his successful siege of Jerusalem. So predictions about the second coming of Jesus were written such that Titus Flavius would be clearly identified as the second coming of Jesus, just a few decades later.

Additionally, it was a common practice at the time to deify Roman emperors. The Romans officially declared that Titus’ father was a god, which made Titus the Son of God.

Teaching Submission

So the Jesus character — and Christianity itself — became an effective pro-Roman propaganda vehicle, designed to pacify the Jews and make them easier to dominate.

This approach proved so effective that it survives to this day in much the same guise. People still read about the character of Jesus, not realizing they’re actually reading Roman propaganda intended to get them to worship Titus Flavius in disguise.

Is the Bible the inspired word of God? Well, yes… if you believe that a Roman emperor is akin to a god. The Christian God is actually the Emperor of Rome, by design. God the Father is a Roman Emperor. So is God the Son.

I’ll bet that Titus would be pretty impressed to discover how well his family’s pacification efforts worked. I also imagine he’d be pretty proud to know that he’s still being worshipped as the Son of God today. That is some marvelously effective propaganda. It makes you wonder what of today’s propaganda may still be around centuries from now, with people believing it as true.

How did it work so well?

In the beginning force and coercion were used to get people to practice the religion and to pass it on to their children until it became self-replicating. I think a really effective part of this ideavirus was to include propagation aspects as part of the belief system, such as encouraging people to convert others and building a priesthood (controlled by Rome) into the religion. This is much like how a modern computer worm operates, whereby one computer infects another. You could say that the Romans basically used Christianity to build a botnet across people’s brains, one that was controlled by Rome. This botnet still survives and thrives today.

When people would start growing too ornery, the controllers could clamp down and alter the religion and its associated propaganda as needed to make it more dangerous to dissent. Some religions use this kind of violence today. It seems a little silly to me that Christians object to seeing other religions use violent coercion to keep their members in line when Christianity has a long history of doing this as well. Christianity doesn’t necessarily need to be as violent today since it’s done a pretty good job of allying itself with media, government, and business, so it has effective alliances with powerful partners. But violent coercion remains an option to keep people in line.

Religion still remains a very effective tool for convincing people to behave submissively, which makes it easier to dominate and govern them. A belief system that teaches people to be passive, submissive, docile, and generous is also helpful in creating a large pool of slave-like workers.

Thinking for Yourself

If these ideas interest you, I think you’ll find Caesar’s Messiah: The Roman Conspiracy to Invent Jesus to be an eye-opening and thought-provoking film. It will get you thinking more deeply about how social conditioning may have sculpted your thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and behaviors. And it will encourage you to question your overall philosophy of life.

I happen to like some aspects of Christian teachings, but as it turns out, those aspects are just restatements of common wisdom from the Romans. As for the parts that tell me I should be submissive and obedient and worship the Emperor as my god, I’ll pass.

I feel very lucky to live in a time and place where I have some freedom to think for myself and to decline religion as a part of my life, without the immediate threat of lashings or crucifixion. Usually the worst I must deal with is the occasional email from a member of some religious botnet trying to convert me. Christianity and Islam are the main ones that target me. To such botnets I’m an especially juicy target since I could potentially help to infect many more brains. It’s a little creepy knowing that these botnets are targeting me, but when they do so, they also risk picking up the ideavirus of living consciously and thinking for themselves.

Give some thought to what you’ve been taught by others that may now be woven into your current philosophy of life. Where did those ideas and beliefs come from anyway? Is it possible that you’ve been living by a moral code that was actually rooted in ancient propaganda? Is this how you want to live?

I’ll be the first to admit that walking away from the herd can be a bit scary at first. There’s the tendency to feel like you’re stepping into a void and that you’ll be all alone if you go that route. Of course that’s what the old conditioning teaches you to believe. Any effective system of keeping people in line trains you to fear and avoid what may happen if you abandon that system.

But the reality is that once you leave, you’ll soon meet plenty of other people who’ve moved on from such submissiveness and powerlessness.

Conscious Submission

This may surprise you, but I actually think that being submissive is a wonderful thing — if you do it consciously and deliberately. There are wonderful growth lessons to be learned from exploring such a path, which can also be labeled the path of devotion. So if you feel like being submissive for a while, embrace that path and do it to the best of your ability. If you’re going to subscribe to a religion, then don’t do a half-assed job of it. Really go for it and be one of its best adherents. If you’re going to get a corporate job, then be the best employee you can. Be loyal and obedient, complete your tasks, and please your superiors.

If you’re going to join a botnet, such as in the form of a modern religion or corporation, then be the best bot you can be. Know that you’re a slave, and be an outstanding one. Obey and worship your Emperor. Don’t succumb to denial by pretending you’re free when you clearly aren’t.

When you’re finally ready to move on from enslavement, then move on. Create your reality. Be your own Emperor. Be free.

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/25/stephen-hawking-atheist_n_5882860.html?utm_hp_ref=science

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Stephen Hawking Says ‘There Is No God,’ Confirms He’s An Atheist

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Stephen Hawking says he’s an atheist, arguing that science offers a “more convincing explanation” for the origins of the universe and that the miracles of religion “aren’t compatible” with scientific fact.

“Before we understood science, it was natural to believe that God created the universe, but now science offers a more convincing explanation,” the celebrated physicist said in a video posted by Spanish newspaper El Mundo. “What I meant by ‘we would know the mind of God’ is we would know everything that God would know if there was a God, but there isn’t. I’m an atheist.”

Hawking’s remarks came in response to a question from El Mundo journalist Pablo Jauregui, who quizzed Hawking about his religious leanings in the lead-up to this week’s Starmus Festival in the Canary Islands. The “mind of God” reference was Hawking’s effort to clarify a passage in his 1988 book “A Brief History of Time,” in which he wrote that scientists would “know the mind of God” if a unifying set of scientific principles known colloquially as the theory of everything were discovered.

As NBC News reported, this isn’t the first time Hawking has spoken about his religious beliefs.

In 2011, he told The Guardian that he didn’t believe in a heaven or an afterlife, calling it “a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.” In 2007, he told the BBC that he was “not religious in the normal sense,” adding, “I believe the universe is governed by the laws of science. The laws may have been decreed by God, but God does not intervene to break the laws.”

(Of course, Hawking’s view changed from 2007 to now.)

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9 Responses to New Age Spirituality aka integral/evolutionary/transformational — not to be confused with Christianity’s I Am (Exodus 3:14)

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