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Wednesday, 11 March 2015

At The End Of The Day

At The End Of The Day
I really hate hearing newscasters complacently summarize their stories with "at the end of the day." I'm not the only one.

It signalizes the boiling down of a complicated issue into a sound bite which we, the apathetic rabble, can comprehend. It also provides a last, best opportunity to spin the story.

In combination with another awful phrase, the "take-home message", it provides a low-IQ doggie-bag for the uninterested or impatient.

From Rabbi Berel Wein, via Talmud study at our temple...

An astrophysicist in conversation with a rabbi opined: "It seems that all of religion essentially boils down to: "Love your neighbor as yourself."

The rabbi answered: "One might look at it that way. If so, then one might also believe that all of astrophysics boils down to: "Twinkle, twinkle little star."

Technorati Tags: Religion, Judaism, Astronomy, Cliche, Physics, Astrophysics, Humor, Jewish, Theology

Origin: witch-selena.blogspot.com

Monday, 9 March 2015

Army In Black

Army In Black

"At other major church gatherings in Rome, the scene would have been bright with signs of clerical identity-the scarlet of cardinals, the purple of bishops, the variously shaded sashes of the seminarians. But the 180 priest-delegates who assembled in Rome last week, though members of an order that is organized like an army, wore plain black cassocks without sign of rank. The austere tradition recalls St. Ignatius Loyola (1491-1556), who when he first took up a life of poverty insisted on wearing a woolen tunic, which earned him and his earliest followers in Spain the jeering nickname ensayalados, the men in wool. In the Jesuit headquarters in Borgo Santo Spirito near St. Peter's Square, the modern men in wool met in Extraordinary General Congregation, the sixth since Loyola's death, to settle pressing business facing the Society of Jesus, largest and most powerful order in the Roman Catholic Church. In the chapel, the delegates sang the Gregorian chant Veni Creator Spiritus (some priestly voices were off key; the Jesuits have never been famed for their singing), then briskly moved to a large, barnlike room and took their seats on plain wooden benches facing writing desks. From a raised table they were greeted-in Latin, the order's normal business language -by alabaster-pale, 67-year-old Jean-Baptiste Janssens, 27th Superior General of the Society of Jesus, also known (like his predecessors) as "the Black Pope." Father Janssens, whose authority is as nearly absolute as any military commander's, called the Congregation for one major reason: to reorganize the command structure of his vast religious army (50 provinces, 33 vice-provinces, 5,000 communities all over the world), and to delegate part of his own power.LINK (HERE) TO AT TIME MAGAZINE

Saturday, 28 February 2015

The Crystal Child And The 2012 Solar Flares

The Crystal Child And The 2012 Solar Flares
It came to pass that Alas settled in the desert and there he met Errawelda a widow who had a son named Delatriad. Alas took Errawelda as his wife and she gave birth to a son and named him Erradelab.

Alas taught Erradelab and Delatriad the laws that had been taught to him by our Creator so that they may teach their children in the ways of our Creator.

In that time the Desert was called Delawelmudina. Our Creator sent Arujalgodos his messenger to the house of Alas, there the messenger told Alas and Errawelda to build a wall around Delawelmudina also because Erradelab and Delatriad had been taught the sacred Laws, they would be required to bring an offering to GOD on the day of the Harvest. On the day the wall was finished, GOD blessed Delawelmudina and it rained and the holes on the ground became filled and formed lakes, fish appeared in the lakes. The land became fertile, fruit trees, flowers land and air animals appeared over the land and a rainbow was seen over Delawelmudina.

Delatriad loved the animals and decided he would become a Shepherd. Erradaleb loved the trees and became a Farmer. On the day of the harvest the two brothers brought to GOD their offering and placed them on the holy Altar, but GOD did not appear to the brothers. The brothers went to their father and informed him of what had taken place. Alas with tears in his eyes, confessed of what he had done to his brother Mutiya. Alas said: "I used the knowledge of the Laws to kill my brother. I did evil with the sacred knowledge. Alas instructed Delatriad and Erradaleb to never use the sacred knowledge of the Laws for what in the eyes of our Creator is Evil.

The next day Our Creator sent Arujalgodos his messenger to the house of Alas, there the messenger told Alas and Errawelda that on the day of the next harvest GOD would show himself to their children, but that on that day those who had misused the sacred knowledge of the laws would perish for eternity.

Credit: magic-and-spells.blogspot.com

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Early Church Fathers On The Eucharist C 200 C 300 A D

Early Church Fathers On The Eucharist C 200 C 300 A D
A few weeks ago, I posted brief snippets of the writings of the earliest Church Fathers, from the time of the Apostles until 200 A.D., showing what they believed on the Eucharist. Long story short, these men believed that the bread and wine became the Body and Blood of Christ, that this happened at the words of consecration, and that after this point, it ceased to be bread and wine. Today, I'm (finally) including the writings of those writing from c. 200-300 A.D.


Last time, I addressed Tertullian, who bridged the second and third century (c. 160 - c. 220). St. Clement is a contemporary of his (c. 150-215), so in both cases, we're right on the cusp between the 100s and the 200s. St. Clement's" Paedagogus "(meaning "The Tutor "or "The Instructor") is from about 189-200 A.D., and his series of books called the "Stromata" ("Miscellanies") were probably written shortly and after "Paedagogus". Origen is one of his students, and succeeds him as Bishop of Alexandria. In his writings, which I've mentioned before, he shows a very Catholic understanding of the Eucharist.

First, here's what Clement says on the Eucharist in Book IV, Chapter 25 of the "Stromata":

THIS IS IN REALITY RIGHTEOUSNESS, NOT TO DESIRE OTHER THINGS, BUT TO BE ENTIRELY THE CONSECRATED TEMPLE OF THE LORD. RIGHTEOUSNESS IS PEACE OF LIFE AND A WELL-CONDITIONED STATE, TO WHICH THE LORD DISMISSED HER WHEN HE SAID, "DEPART INTO PEACE." [MARK 5:34] FOR SALEM IS, BY INTERPRETATION, "PEACE"; OF WHICH OUR SAVIOUR IS ENROLLED KING, AS MOSES SAYS, MELCHIZEDEK KING OF SALEM, PRIEST OF THE MOST HIGH GOD, WHO GAVE BREAD AND WINE, FURNISHING CONSECRATED FOOD FOR A TYPE OF THE EUCHARIST. And Melchizedek is interpreted "righteous king"; and the name is a synonym for righteousness and peace.If you're not familiar, a "type" is a prophetic prefigurement of something greater. The Passover lamb is a type of the Lamb of God. Melchizedek (Genesis 14:18-20), is a type of Christ, the Eternal High Priest, and the true King of Peace (the Book of Hebrews draws the same connections in Hebrews 5:5-10, Heb. 6:20, and all of Hebrews 7). Likewise, the consecrated bread and wine offered by Melchizedek are a type of the Eucharist, as the Mass says. That's easy to gloss over, but pay close attention. What Melchizedek offered was a "sacrifice", and he prefigures Christ, while the sacrifice prefigures the Eucharist. So we can see from his parallel that as Melchizedek offered bread and wine as sacrifice, Christ offers the Eucharist as Sacrifice.

Even clearer is Book II, Chapter 2 of the "Paedagogos", in which Clement says:

AND THE BLOOD OF THE LORD IS TWOFOLD. FOR THERE IS THE BLOOD OF HIS FLESH, BY WHICH WE ARE REDEEMED FROM CORRUPTION; AND THE SPIRITUAL, THAT BY WHICH WE ARE ANOINTED. AND TO DRINK THE BLOOD OF JESUS, IS TO BECOME PARTAKER OF THE LORD'S IMMORTALITY; the Spirit being the energetic principle of the Word, as blood is of flesh. ACCORDINGLY, AS WINE IS BLENDED WITH WATER, SO IS THE SPIRIT WITH MAN. AND THE ONE, THE MIXTURE OF WINE AND WATER, NOURISHES TO FAITH; WHILE THE OTHER, THE SPIRIT, CONDUCTS TO IMMORTALITY. AND THE MIXTURE OF BOTH- OF THE WATER AND OF THE WORD- IS CALLED EUCHARIST, RENOWNED AND GLORIOUS GRACE; AND THEY WHO BY FAITH PARTAKE OF IT ARE SANCTIFIED BOTH IN BODY AND SOUL. For the divine mixture, man, the Father's will has mystically compounded by the Spirit and the Word. For, in truth, the spirit is joined to the soul, which is inspired by it; and the flesh, by reason of which the Word became flesh, to the Word.Starkly Catholic. "We drink the Blood of Jesus". Immediately after this, lest there be any argument that Clement thought this was really just wine, Clement writes at great length AGAINST wine, saying, "I therefore admire those who have adopted an austere life, and who are fond of water, the medicine of temperance, and flee as far as possible from wine, shunning it as they would the danger of fire." He then lists off the dangers of wine, saying it's inappropriate for those undertaking "the divine studies," and it leads to drunkenness, lust, mistakes and irritations.

It's clear from the sheer contrast between the Eucharist, which he praises (and calls "the Blood of Jesus" and promises will lead us to eternal life if taken faithfully), and wine, which he calls us to flee from completely, that Clement" doesn't think that the Eucharist is wine." You can't abstain from wine and still receive the Eucharist, unless the Eucharist "isn't wine". And it isn't as though these are writings separated by time and place, that he had a change of heart. This is a single chapter, and he connects the two thoughts with a "therefore." He doesn't view this as a contradiction.

Finally, we also see Clement condemning as heretical those "employ bread and water in the oblation, not according to the canon of the Church. For there are those who celebrate the Eucharist with mere water." So here's what we know. Clement viewed wine as bad, and encouraged Christians to flee from it completely. But he also condemned as heretics those who attempted to consecrate water without wine at the Eucharist. Rather, wine MUST be used in the Eucharist, because (a) the Church requires it, and (b) it becomes the Blood of Christ (i.e., no longer wine, and no longer something to flee from). Finally, note that Clement calls the Eucharist an Oblation, that is, a Sacrifice to God. This tells us all that we need to safely say that Clement held to the Catholic view of the Eucharist, and that he obviously didn't hold to any of the Protestant views.


All we have of Hippolytus' work are fragments, usually Scriptural exegesis. But the bits we have include some really good stuff. For example, Proverbs 9:1-6 says,

Wisdom has built her house; she has set up its seven pillars.

She has prepared her meat and mixed her wine; she has also set her table.

She has sent out her servants, and she calls from the highest point of the city,

"Let all who are simple come to my house!"



Leave your simple ways and you will live; walk in the way of insight."Hippolytus saw in this a reference first to the Incarnation. The House that Wisdom built is Christ, as the Divine "Logos" became Flesh and Tabernacled amongst us (see John 1). But then he got to the section I've bolded, and explained:

And to those that want understanding she said"-that is, to those who have not yet obtained the power of the Holy Ghost-"Come, eat of my bread, and drink of the wine which I have mingled for you;" by which is meant, that He gave His divine flesh and honoured blood to us, to eat and to drink it for the remission of sins.So not only does it show that Hippolytus believed in the Real Presence, but that the Eucharist saved -- "and "that this was a view supported by Scripture.

III. ORIGEN (C. 230 A.D.)

In "Contra Celsus", Origen [Clement's successor] responded to a heretic who advocates demonic superstition, claiming that, "We must either not live, and indeed not come into this life at all, or we must do so on condition that we give thanks and first-fruits and prayers to demons, who have been set over the things of this world: and that we must do as long as we live, that they may prove good and kind." To this, Origen replied, "let Celsus, as one who knows not God, give thank-offerings to demons. But we give thanks to the Creator of all, and, along with thanksgiving and prayer for the blessings we have received, we also eat the bread presented to us; and THIS BREAD BECOMES BY PRAYER A SACRED BODY, WHICH SANCTIFIES THOSE WHO SINCERELY PARTAKE OF IT." Obviously, the bread which becomes "by prayer, a Sacred Body" is the Eucharist. In presenting it as he does, he's making three points: (1) the Eucharist "becomes" the Body of Christ, (2) this occurs at the consecration, and (3) the Eucharist is a Sacrifice. This last point is clear from the contrast that he draws between the sacrifice to the demons of Celsus, and the Eucharistic Sacrifice of Christians. St. Paul also draws this contrast, as Nick comments here, viewing 1 Cor 10:16-18 in light of Mal 1:6-8, 11-12.

Finally, it's clear from Origen's descriptions that both he and his readers view the Eucharist as sacred, and are concerned with the prospect of even a crumb falling on the floor. So when Origen attacks his readers for not spending enough time concerned with Scripture, he does so by contrasting it with their reverence for the Eucharist. From his 13th homily on Exodus, available at p. 380-381 here, and probably written between 222-235 A.D.:

I wish to admonish you with examples from your religious practices. You who are accustomed to take part in the divine mysteries know, when you receive the body of the Lord, how you protect it with all caution and veneration lest any small part fall from it, lest anything of the consecrated gift be lost. For you believe, and correctly, that you are answerable if anything falls from there by neglect. But if you are so careful to preserve his body, and rightly so, how do you think that there is less guilt to have neglected God's word than to have neglected his body?So both Origen and his audience understand that to allow crumbs of the Eucharist to fall upon the floor through negligence is a sin we'll answer to God for, and that the Eucharist is His Body, is worthy of veneration, and is a Divine Mystery.

IV. ST. CYPRIAN (C. 250 A.D.)

St. Cyprian was obviously Catholic. His treatise "On the Unity of the Church", (available in full here, and the most obviously Petrine excerpt here) is blatantly and explicitly Catholic, and he says all salvation is through the Church. Yet many Protestants have concluded that Cyprian took a merely symbolic view of the Eucharist because of his Epistle 62 (sometimes listed as Epistle 63), which was written between 246 and 258 A.D. In the letter, he's refuting the same heresy Clement refuted, that of attempting to consecrate the Eucharist using only water, instead of wine mixed with water. Given the subject, he speaks repeatedly of the Eucharist as wine, but he's contrasting it with the heretical attempted Eucharist "as water"; he's not contrasting it with the Eucharist as the true Body of Christ. In other words, Cyprian's primary focus isn't on what the consecrated Eucharist is (the Body and Blood of Christ), but upon which species (Bread and Wine) can be validly used to consecrate the Eucharist.

That said, Cyprian still ends up talking about the Real Presence, for a very simple reason: he explains that those who attempt to consecrate mere water don't end up with the true Blood of Christ:

FOR WHEN CHRIST SAYS, "I AM THE TRUE VINE" [JOHN 15:1] THE BLOOD OF CHRIST IS ASSUREDLY NOT WATER, BUT WINE; NEITHER CAN HIS BLOOD BY WHICH WE ARE REDEEMED AND QUICKENED APPEAR TO BE IN THE CUP, WHEN IN THE CUP THERE IS NO WINE whereby the blood of Christ is shown forth, which is declared by the sacrament and testimony of all the Scriptures.And again:

WHENCE IT APPEARS THAT THE BLOOD OF CHRIST IS NOT OFFERED IF THERE BE NO WINE IN THE CUP, nor the Lord's sacrifice celebrated with a legitimate consecration unless our oblation and sacrifice respond to His passion. But how shall we drink the new wine of the fruit of the vine with Christ in the kingdom of His Father, if in the sacrifice of God the Father and of Christ we do not offer wine, nor mix the cup of the Lord by the Lord's own tradition?"And he says of Isaiah 63:2,

THE TREADING ALSO, AND PRESSURE OF THE WINE-PRESS, IS REPEATEDLY DWELT ON; BECAUSE JUST AS THE DRINKING OF WINE CANNOT BE ATTAINED TO UNLESS THE BUNCH OF GRAPES BE FIRST TRODDEN AND PRESSED, SO NEITHER COULD WE DRINK THE BLOOD OF CHRIST UNLESS CHRIST HAD FIRST BEEN TRAMPLED UPON AND PRESSED, AND HAD FIRST DRUNK THE CUP OF WHICH HE SHOULD ALSO GIVE BELIEVERS TO DRINK.So Cyprian plainly views the Eucharist as the Blood of Christ, as consecrated, and as offered up to God as a true Sacrifice and Oblation to God -- all views which Protestants reject. Finally, Cyprian argues that "the intoxication of the Lord's cup and blood is not such as is the intoxication of the world's wine," since wine dissolves the mind, while "the Lord's cup and blood" restores the mind to spiritual wisdom, showing that he doesn't view the consecrated Chalice as containing wine any longer.


As before, we can see quite clearly that both the writers, and their Christian audiences, believe in what we would now call the Catholic view of the Eucharist. At the time, of course, any other view was totally unknown. Next up, I'll be looking at Church Fathers from 300 - 400 A.D., and should have that post done pretty soon (it's mostly done already).

By the way, special thanks to Tim Troutman at Called to Communion. His list is very good. I considered just linking to his, in lieu of writing my own, but we've got them organized separately (his are by topic, mine by year), and we each have some Fathers the other one didn't include. Still, he's where I found the Origen Contra Celsus reference, for example.

Monday, 23 February 2015

Sheldan Nidle For The Spiritual Hierarchy And The Galactic Federation July 24 2012

Sheldan Nidle For The Spiritual Hierarchy And The Galactic Federation July 24 2012
Update by Sheldan Nidle for the Spiritual Hierarchy and the Galactic Federation - July 24, 2012

8 Batz, 4 Vayeb, 8 Manik

Dratzo! We return! Much continues to take place behind the facade of your world. The dark cabal's global banking system is crumbling at an ever-increasing rate, and a raft of banking CEOs is being forced to resign. Interpol and associated agencies are stepping up their investigations into the LIBOR scandal which now appears to have no clear boundaries, and indeed this operation is starting to threaten numerous governments in Europe and Asia with collapse. As the crisis grows, the BRIC nations and their allies are informing the cabal that its attempts to reinstate its electronic fiat currencies are banned forthwith. This is further exacerbated by a lack of available capital. The political situation in Europe and, shortly, in North America, is reaching a boiling point. Something has to be done swiftly, or the present economic construct is sure to collapse. The new economic system favored by the coalition of BRIC nations is now fully ready to be rolled out at a moment's notice, and pursuant to this, several nations in Asia have placed liens on a number of major western banks.

These developments are further complicated by the mounting turbulence in the Middle East and parts of South Asia, and this growing instability is also ready to boil over. Meanwhile, the interlocked financial crises in Europe and the rest of the world persist, and will remain unsolvable without vast banking reforms and global debt forgiveness. It is not a situation the world can just sweep under the proverbial rug, and this the dark cabal now realizes. As a result it knows that its power in the world is coming to an end. A series of events now underway will very shortly cause the downfall of the cabal, by first isolating its members and then removing them from power. This will bring in NESARA in North America and, like ripples in a pond, facsimiles of this act will spread across the globe. This new governance is to lead to the global liberation of humanity and the formal disclosure of our existence. Then we can begin the announcements that will transform your worldview and your reality forever!

As you approach this watershed moment, remember that a whole series of events needs to take place prior to disclosure. Our Earth allies fully comprehend what is now happening. The reality construct that has manipulated your lives and your world needs to collapse completely to permit the new system to take its place. This new system is currently being nudged into place by the same circumstances that are taking the old one down. This operation is happening at a very quick pace. The present system cannot sustain another extreme crisis, and such a crisis is very, very close at hand. Hence it was decided to put the new system clandestinely in place and wait for the right moment to reveal its constituent parts: new money, new banking, and new governance. The intention here is to allow the old system to be totally discredited and seen to be defunct, so that the general public will be disposed to welcome in the new. Our ships are monitoring all global flash points and will forestall the dark's usual tactics of solving problems by the use of warmongering and terrorism. This we will no longer permit!

In this world there always existed conditions and incendiary 'circumstances' that reliably led to 'useful' wars or even global conflagration. In these times we are delegated to prevent this, and to lead your globe into peace and prosperity. The dark is stoking a number of old conflict zones that it sincerely hopes to reignite. We need to inform them that, sadly, this is yet another plot that is not to be allowed! Your world is quickly shifting, and what Heaven has prepared is not to be undone! Our mission is centered on your return to full consciousness and this goal is on track. The next series of disclosures is ready to go, as are the actions which will slip your world ever closer to its grand shift. Heaven has decreed that this is now to proceed and all impediments are to be removed. Many individuals, who are not widely known, are to make the announcements that usher in the transitional governments and liberate humanity from its eons-long involuntary servitude. SS

Namaste! We are your Ascended Masters! Bless you all, for you are to be free! Events, blessed Ones, are busily happening, which will shake the dark cabal to its roots and put into play the circumstances that will bring them down. We bless Heaven and all those who have come to Earth to work the many miracles that are a boon to our sacred plans. Precious metals, as they are called here, have been horded for ages by the dark cabalists. They then substituted increasingly worthless mediums of exchange and introduced profane modes of usage. These are the factors that are proving to be their undoing. Major banks and stock exchanges are caught in a quagmire of massive shortfalls which makes their collapse both imminent and quick. Meanwhile, our associates have been busy planning the next phase of their operations for the last few months and are ready to proceed with the new financial system that is to 'save the day' for humanity!

We cannot, for obvious reasons, elaborate on these plans yet. Just know that conditions worldwide are rapidly bringing the dark to the brink of an enormous calamity. The major nations, outside of the G-5, understand fully what is occurring, and are gleefully preparing for the collapse of major commodity and stock markets. This necessary 'sweep of the broom' will propel your society from its present morass of anxiety to a carefully orchestrated world of peace, prosperity, and open vistas of unbelievable possibility! All elements for this have only to slide into place! Hence, we ask you to remain full of confidence and joyous expectation, for many incredible events are close to manifesting. Rest assured that the Galactic Federation and our Agarthan family is guarding us against all last-ditch attempts by the dark to go out with a bang!

Take advantage of this time to prepare for your new reality. It will unfortunately come as a shock to most of your fellows. Be willing to start discussions with friends and family about what lies ahead, so that they may be somewhat prepared for the unsettling information they will shortly hear. And once things start, use your intuition and the wisdom life has taught you to comfort and ease the anxieties of those whose worlds have been turned upside down. Imagine what it feels like to have your fondest beliefs challenged, and know that your calm presence and your reassurances are essential for helping your community to accept a milieu that seems to get stranger by the day. Your mission is to remain serene amid the bewilderment around you. This is what you have been 'training' for over many lifetimes, and now the time is upon you. You are the blessed Ones whose abilities will make all the difference in these end times, and beyond!

Today, we updated you on important events. It is vital for you to recognize that what is now underway is a series of planned events that lead up to 'the cascade of dominoes' finale. Then the new epoch for humanity can slide wonderfully into place! Know, dear Ones, that the countless Supply and never-ending Prosperity of Heaven are indeed Yours! So Be It! Selamat Gajun! Selamat Ja! (Sirian for Be One! and Be in Joy!)

Planetary Activation Organization


Tuesday, 10 February 2015

No Signs For You Sermon For Lent 2

No Signs For You Sermon For Lent 2
MATTHEW 12:38-42

When I plan out my sermon schedule, I decide upon a text and then try to come up with a good title. Then, when I actually sit down to write the sermon, sometimes a few months later, the direction the sermon takes may have changed. So, when I read this passage, a famous phrase from "Seinfeld" came to mind. Remember the Soup Nazi? He made great soup, but he was very particular about how you ordered the soup. If you ruffled his feathers, he would say: "No soup for you!"

In reading this passage some months ago, I heard Jesus saying to the religious leaders in his audience, who came to him asking for a sign, "No signs for you." What I originally heard in this text was the demand that many make on people of faith to prove the existence of God. That can be a very intellectual pursuit. Theologians and philosophers from Anselm to Aquinas to Kant, have expended a lot of energy trying to prove that God exists. And when they're done, the God they offer us can be abstract and lifeless. It's hard to have a relationship with the "Ground of Being."

In this case, the religious leaders weren't demanding proof that God exists. They wanted proof that Jesus spoke for God. They wanted confirmation, which would include miraculous deeds like healings. It's not that Jesus didn't offer them signs, they just weren't satisfied with the ones he'd given them. Since Matthew isn't shy about offering up miracle stories, I can hear in this passage an impatient Jesus asking these inquisitors: "What more do you want?" Only an evil generation keeps coming back wanting more evidence. You have enough evidence, so make your choice - will it be God or not?

That is part of the story, but there's more to it than that. Jesus points us to two biblical stories. First, there's Jonah and Nineveh. Then there's the story of the Queen of Sheba. Jonah is the reluctant prophet who ends up in Nineveh, preaching to a people he despises, only to see them repent and follow God. As for the Queen of Sheba, she comes to Solomon, seeking wisdom - a wisdom Solomon's own sons reject. Now, standing before them is a person greater than either Jonah or Solomon. If Nineveh answered the call and the Queen of Sheba answered the call, why can't they heed his voice?

Once again, we need to be careful in how we read this passage. It's very easy to read it in an anti-Jewish manner. We can find ourselves blaming the Jews for not believing in Jesus, while Gentiles embraced him. So, if we can steer clear of that kind of interpretation, this passage may have something important to say to us.

Last week we talked about self-examination. That is an important part of our Lenten journey - looking inside, underneath the masks we all put on. In this reading, we hear a question about our ability and willingness to hear the voice of God. Can we, as Christians, become complacent and fail to heed the voice of God? Or, are we looking for signs in the sky?

Jesus isn't interested in engaging in "apologetics" - trying to prove God exists. Arguing with the likes of Richard Dawkins isn't a pressing concern. While there still are plenty of "cultured despisers" out there, the more pressing concern today is whether the church has something valuable to say about God.

Rather than look to the philosophers, we might want to look at someone like Pope Francis. He just celebrated the one year anniversary of his election to the papacy, and over the past year he has changed the face of the Catholic Church. It doesn't matter what your religion is - Francis has inspired people with his warmth, his compassion, his humanness.

There is a lot of concern in Christian circles about the decline of the church. Increasing numbers of people, especially younger people, have either left the church or ignore it. Most of the folks who fit into the category that survey-takers call "the Nones" don't reject the idea of God's existence. Many of them are quite spiritual in orientation. They just don't see the value in religious institutions, especially ones that they think exclude people because of their ethnicity, their socioeconomic status, their gender, or their sexual orientation.

Forty years ago, church growth gurus declared that conservative churches were growing because they had very definite doctrines and expectations. It is true, that many conservative churches grew by making very clear distinctions about what was true and what was false. But, that's changing. It's not that liberal churches are growing, but conservative ones have begun to see decline in their numbers, especially among people under forty.

Why are the churches experiencing decline? Well, liberal churches fell into the trap of privatizing their faith so they wouldn't offend anyone. They embraced the idea that religion, like politics, isn't appropriate in polite company. Conservative Churches have begun to decline because their message no longer resonates. Many people simply aren't attracted to places that claim to have all the answers, deny scientific truths, limit the roles of women, and exclude people because of their sexual orientation.

One of the reasons why Pope Francis is so popular, especially among younger people, whether Catholic or not, is because he exudes a sense of openness to the world. His decision to live in a monastery rather than the papal apartments, or his decision to wear ordinary shoes rather than red papal shoes are signs that he gets the concern about hypocrisy among Christians.

I recently finished reading a book by Ken Wilson entitled "A Letter to My Congregation. " Ken is the pastor of the Vineyard Church in Ann Arbor. What is important about this book, and Ken's ministry, is that he has come to the conclusion that the church is called to fully embrace gay, lesbian, and transgender people. What makes the book and the ministry somewhat unique is that he is an evangelical. He came to this understanding in large part due to his pastoral work, which led him to rethink his interpretation of scripture and beliefs about gay folk. He began meeting with parents whose children are gay and lesbian, as well as gay and lesbian Christians. They wanted to know - does God love me for who I am? Besides the pastoral side of things, there was the missional element. He realized that his congregation, though it did pretty well reaching out to younger people - it's very contemporary in its worship - the congregation was aging. He realized that in a place like Ann Arbor, having a policy that excluded people who are gays undermined the mission of the church. Wilson concluded:Causing an unnecessary disincentive to follow Christ is a serious offense, at least as serious as failing to uphold a moral good. It would be easy to ignore or dismiss this concern if I didn't think it had substantial merit. ["A Letter to My Congregation, "p. 50.] The way the church treats LGBT people is only one issue among many. There is also the issue of science and climate change. There's the place of the poor, the immigrant, and the disabled.

Years ago the movie "The Elephant Man" made a significant impression on me. The movie tells the story of John Merrick. Like many films this one takes considerable license, even changing Merrick's name from Joseph to John. One of the most compelling moments of the film came when Dr. Treves, who had come to examine this man who society saw as a freak and even a monster, overheard John reciting Psalm 23. What made this remarkable was that Dr. Treves believed that John was so intellectually disabled that he couldn't speak. What was the message that I heard? It was that a man whom society considered expendable and an object of disgust was in truth a man of great intelligence and compassion. Therefore, I heard the message that we should always value people, no matter their intellectual capacity, their looks, or their ethnicity. It would take me much longer before I could add sexual orientation to that list.

Although there are those who struggle with intellectual questions about the Christian faith, more often than not, the questions that inquirers have on their hearts and minds have more to do with our behavior. As Stacey Simpson Duke, another Ann Arbor pastor, puts it: "We do not need more evidence; we are the evidence." It is "our regenerated lives" that "are the sign of Jonah: Christ crucified and raised" ["Feasting on the Gospels--Matthew, Volume 1," 1:336]. Yes, that is the only sign we need!

Source: just-wicca.blogspot.com

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Avatarism Presents The Definition Of Avatarism How Avatarism

Avatarism Presents The Definition Of Avatarism How Avatarism

AVATARISM had it's start at the BURNING MAN festival, but it's roots are deep in the ancient sanskrit idea of "Avatara." Loosley translated it means gods inhabiting human bodies and walking the earth, but that is a narrow explanation. Avatarism is how a group of people, all over the world, seem to have developed or learned God-like or superhero-like confidence, the ability to accomplish their dreams and goals with ease, and the ability to live out their highly personal vision that they themselves have envisioned. Encouraging and supporting the individual honing of the will through focused play and persistence, and the upholding of others on the journey is at the heart of this movement. Avatarism encourages people to begin to design in great detail, new and carefully chosen skill sets, characteristics, goals, and aspects of themselves. As the game is played, the player crafts a new and richly embodied personality and finds themselves permanently up-leveled. Seeking and embodying gurus, teachers, archetypes from history and fantasy may be involved; the warrior, the poet, the god Pan, Rainbow Bright, Batman, Buddha, Jesus, James Dean, Kermit The Frog, Kali, Tara, Tesla, Dr. Who, Conan the Barbarian, Albert Einstein, Leonardo Da Vinci, Leonardo DiCaprio and Leonardo the Ninja Turtle to name a few.

The process of skill collection, archetype embodiment and the other ideas that comprise Avatarism don't have to be taken seriously, but they are important. Avatarism is a dance towards personal excellence more than it is a march towards perfectionism. Avatarism is an open source game/philosophy for people attracted to radically changing themselves away from the current life/brain programs they may be running. We are, all of us, collections of moments and memories wet wired to a heart mind and body. You are not some stoic and frozen being unable to change! It is your birthright to be changeable and modifiable.

Avatarism is a great philosophical model for rebellious souls, hardcore gamers, fantasy players, festival goers, hopeless romantics, seekers of truth, lovers of beauty and anyone attracted to the idea that life is a game, meant to be played. The game of conscious character creation is easy to start and hard to stop, Simple to begin and hard to master. Think about how tough it is to change a habit or learn a complicated new skill. Usually people undertake to change themselves for a health reason or to learn a new skill to make more money. While playing the game may correct bad habits, and allow you the confidence to make more money Avatarism is not a means to an end. This game is a life-long pursuit in the direction of the betterment of self, for the good of self and the rest of mankind. This game has no end. The ongoing goal is to consciously create a personally fermented culture of awesome, and never stop.

"Forever, endeavor!"-"Burning Dan" Gordon Levitt

Avatarism is the game that we have been playing since the beginning of our history and it is not just a Burning Man or a festival thing. Because we feel free to enact these alternate character traits at these events, there is a powerful and indelible change that happens in individuals when they do. If you decide that you want to play the game, you will experience this too. The change that happens to us when we go to an event and embody our avatar(s)or even just put on a costume and feel the change in ourselves is something the greeks understood long ago. Cosmetics, costumes, cos-play all have their root in the word, Cosmos. The ancients knew that embodiment lead to a kind of cosmic or higher consciousness.

What can Avatarism do for society?

Look deep within yourself at the dreams and hopes that you have failed to put into action as of now. Who would you be if you reversed that pattern and began to embody those dreams with the kind of zeal usually reserved for zealots? How would the remainder of your life be played if you lost your fear? What is keeping you from starting now? If we were all confident and free to enact our dreams in an unashamed way, how fast could we cause change in society?

Wars, protests, and fights change the culture very little and very slowly. But when individuals begin to change the culture from the inside........a groundswell happens. Because that kind of energy is infectious and viral, the culture moves fast and furious. The revolution is within, this is a revolution of spirit. So while the patriarchal model of change may be fight, fight, fight. The Avataristic model is Embody, Up-Level, Uphold.

EMBODY the highest vision you can create for yourself. Use the Avatar Character Sheet or any other means of design to collect physical, emotional, magical, and wisdom based skill sets.

UP-LEVEL your current character away from the mundane and degenerate programs that no longer serve you and that you did not wholly choose.Use focus, study, ritual, emulation of archetypes and role models to impress your nervous system and turn on your deep memory circuits so that you can get the data in for good.

UPHOLD yourself to your self created model while communicating to your tribe, your friends and groups of influence what those changes are. In this way, the people around you can uphold you and remind you of who you are creating yourself to be and not who you have been in the past.

We don't need to exert our power upon the world as much as we need to become powerfully inspired and confident individuals. Only from that standpoint can we hope to change the world for good.

"You can't fake a phenomenon"-"Burning Dan" Gordon Levitt 1974-2010

Thanks for reading the Avatarism Blog! I sincerely hope we meet soon, down the dusty road, living our dreams in the glorious future.

Onward and upwards, forever endeavor,

iRev. Alexander Polinsky Founder of Avatarism