HERETIC ALERT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Stars of Heaven

“I like the night. Without the dark, we'd never see the stars.”
Stephenie Meyer, Twilight

Let me first make this disclaimer; I am NOT a fan of the movie series 'Twilight'! Okay, so I've never even seen it, not even in part, but I like this quote, for it seems to be very fitting in today's world. It is not that the stars are not there unless it's dark, but without the dark, we cannot see them. Even our sun, probably one of the smaller stars in our galaxy, though it sheds its light on our world, cannot be seen, except perhaps through a filter, or from a much greater distance than this little rock we call home; it simply gives its light to us!

 Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament,
and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever.
Daniel 12:3 

Near the end of Daniel's prophecy, the prophet heard these words, as it were, from the mouth of God. The nation of Israel had descended into Sheol, or captivity & the God of Israel was revealing to His servant what would transpire in the Last Days, when His Hand of Judgment fell in finality on this peculiar nation.  Israel, as the Nation of Priests they were, had, for the most part, shirked their responsibilities & so were slowly being removed from office. There were those in Israel who fulfilled their duties & it was these who would so shine their light before men, that they would see their good works & praise their Father in Heaven.

Fast forward to today: in today's world, we see much that should not be. Lately, the United Kingdom is reeling from the most recent terror attack.Whoever was behind this abominable act of terror, it was not unprovoked, though definitely unconscionable. In my own home-state of Montana, several towns east of where I live, in fact, a police officer lost his life in an altercation with several homegrown terrorists. We like to lay the blame at religion's door & truly, much of it should rest there, but we as Christians ( I'm speaking corporately here, not necessarily of any individual, or individuals ) must shoulder much of the blame as well. 

Going back into ancient history, it should be noted that while many individual Christians have followed in the footsteps of Jesus, the majority have followed the way of the world, taking up the sword & thus dying by the sword. When Jesus told His disciples to arm themselves, He was not instructing them to fight for the Kingdom of Heaven, He was telling them to prepare to defend themselves if necessary. In today's vernacular, it would be like buying a gun for protection.Israel's priestly duty was to spread the knowledge of the Kingdom of Heaven, not through conquest & domination, but through sharing & showing the Love of God!

In today's world, we seem to face much the same situation. In this country especially, the majority of Christendom seems almost to be more rabid in their war-like spirit than many who do not even name the name of Christ, or call themselves Christians. Many of those who call themselves Christians seem to be among the loudest supporters of those who would bomb, say the Muslims, out of existence. It is hard to say that many or most with whom the US has warred over the the past hundred years or so do not deserve the treatment that has been heaped like ashes on their heads, but the leaders of this nation, along with many Christians, have most certainly not shown themselves to be very Christ-like when it comes to foreign policy!


Going to the aid of a certain nation or people in distress is laudable & certainly within the purview of a Nation of Priests, but the foreign policy of this nation's leaders seems to have gone far beyond that! It would seem that it is not enough to merely coexist with our neighbor, treating them as we would wish to be treated. We must make sure that they adhere to our religion & follow our rules. If they do neither, it seems, they must die!

Okay, enough with the negativity! What can we do about it? 'Isn't this kinda like closing the gate after the horse gets out?' Like I recently posted ( on FB ) in response to a similar discussion, 'The problem is way older than US!' So, what do we do? What CAN we do? Well, we already have an age-old problem that seems to be only getting worse. The escalation of terror attacks world-wide only hammers the point further home that the horses have already gotten out. It seems almost worthwhile to close the gate, even to try calling the horses back, but you know horses; once they've found freedom...............................

The answer to the problem, of course, is Love! No, we probably won't seem to make much headway at first, but then, 'how far has the policy of 'kill or be killed' gotten the US?' I'm not necessarily advocating flowers in rifle-barrels, but how about no rifles at all? Rather than going to war, why don't we just stay here & defend ourselves? Again, we're faced with the 'it's a bit late' scenario, but really, 'IS it too late?' The Power of Love is a curious thing; it can raise the dead, why not stop war?

When more people, Christians in particular, begin to adopt a 'live & let live' policy rather than a 'kill or be killed' stance, we might see war become less & less popular! In order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, etc, it is often necessary, unfortunately, to bear the sword, or the gun, as the case may be, but never should these weapons be used to gain territory, or to terrorize a population.

As may be noted in the night sky & as many astronomers have observed, stars seem to burn brightest when they are surrounded by darkness. As Christians, we are the Light of the World; no 'ifs', 'ands', or 'buts' about it! Followers of Jesus the Christ are not merely to let the Light shine through us, we ARE that Light! If we would simply remember that as a nation & start ACTING our part, even though we are surrounded by darkness, we will overcome that darkness, just as Jesus overcame the darkness in His world!

Though our situation in this day & age is somewhat different that the one they faced, our job as a Narration of Priests has not changed. No longer is it one certain people that make up that 'nation' though; America, for instance, is not that Nation, nor is any other nation on earth. It is people from all walks of life, Christians only some would say ( that may be a discussion for another day ), who love their neighbor as they love themselves, treating others as they want to be treated, who make up this Nation. 

May we become aware of the Christ Within, 
Charles Haddon Shank

 

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Destiny's Choice

It had had been some time since she had been in contact with anyone she could really call family. Destiny had always felt like she was on the outside looking in, but this time, she was done! Her parents had trampled on her last nerve, so without much thought for where she was headed, Destiny set off for parts unknown. Not having done this before, she was totally unprepared for what was to transpire.

All the movies she had watched told her that it was easy as sticking out your thumb & she had noted as well, some of the horrors involved, but as it happened, Destiny did a lot of walking before someone finally slowed down for her signal, pulled off the highway & stooped about fifty yards ahead of her. As she walked toward the waiting vehicle, she found herself hoping against hope that it wasn't someone her parents knew: she was NOT going back there!

As she approached the van ( as it turned out, her salvation turned out to be one of those windowless vans ), she heard a female voice ask, 'where ya headed?' 'As far from here as possible', was her first thought, but it came out as, 'the next big town is fine!' When Destiny had situated herself fairly comfortably in the bare passenger seat & fastened her seat-belt, her savior put the vehicle back in gear & eased onto the freeway. Gaining speed, the van was pretty noisy for a bit & even seemed to vibrate a bit. Finally, they got up to speed, the noise lessened & the vibrations seemed to smooth out.

BethEl ( that was the driver's name ) looked over at Destiny & asked her very bluntly, 'what are you running away from?' Destiny, to say the least, was a bit taken aback by this blatant query. 'Oh, just trying new things, ya know', she replied, as casually & flippantly as she could. She was only 15, after all ( well, okay, almost ), but she felt like she was missing out on something big in the little community she had been born into. As BethEl continued to make light, though careful conversation, Destiny's mind wandered back over the events that had led up to this 'final' decision.

Destiny's parents were Christians in the strictest sense of the word. She was never allowed to do any of the extra-curricular activities offered by the public school she was forced to attend. Of course, this made her a very dull girl, not well liked by the overwhelming majority of her schoolmates. Because she was forbidden to take part in these ( mostly ) harmless events, Destiny got a regular ribbing from many of these mean children, the girls especially. As she developed into her teenage years, it only got worse; more & more hurtful things were said & done to her, till she felt she had no other choice.

Up until the day when Destiny's parents had made the fateful decision to enroll her in the local public, otherwise known as 'government' school, though her parents had always been rather strict, now, Destiny felt suffocated by their rigidity. While she was at school, she tasted, to some degree, the freedom that she knew was available, if only she could break free of her parents stranglehold. She obeyed her parents ( for the most part ), not partaking in the freedom that she saw her classmates enjoying. Destiny resented this & thus begin to form a plan to escape her personal 'hell'.

On the night in question, the night in which this new chapter began to unfold, Destiny's parents had been called away to the big city for a family emergency. Destiny, because of her recent good behavior, had been able to convince them to allow her to remain at home by herself. With instructions to keep the doors & windows locked at all times, her parents left Destiny feeling somewhat of the freedom that she knew was just beyond her grasp.

Half an hour after her parents left, Destiny had pretty much gathered everything she thought she would need ( within reason ), so it was well into the evening hours, just as dusk started to settle in, that she set out on her first venture. It was a fair hike, on several country roads, before Destiny finally reached the lonely highway. Even the highway didn't seem to offer much at first, till finally, her efforts finally paid off & she was able to flag down a passing motorist.

BethEl had met Destiny's parents about a month before the night in question, but, as the meetings were for parents alone, she had never met Destiny before. From the casual description she had gleaned, BethEl was pretty certain well before they crossed the state line that she was aiding & abetting a fugitive. She felt for the young girl, remembering her own struggles growing up in a fundamentalist family, but BethEl knew that she had to do something to keep this one from leaving the nest too early.

While BethEl kept up the conversation, however lightly, she had slowly & almost imperceptibly eased up on the accelerator. As the vehicle slowly lost momentum, the shaking returned until it felt to Destiny as if her world was coming apart at the seams. BethEl apologized for the shakiness as she continued to slow the vehicle's forward motion & finally pulled off to the side of the highway .When the vehicle had come to a complete stop, BethEl moved the gear-lever into 'Park', pulled out her cell-phone & on the pretense of opening the hood, stepped out of the van. As she busied herself at the front of the vehicle, BethEl sent a quick text to Destiny's parents concerning her recent activities. After sending the short missive, she made a fake call to a 'mechanic'.

Destiny's savior got back into the van as she neared the end of her 'fake' conversation, telling Destiny that they might have to look for a motel in the next town, since the van would need repairs before going much further. As the hour was fairly late & she was tired anyway, Destiny agreed to the motel stay. She wasn't looking forward to traveling through the night anyway & the roof over her head, along with a good, clean, though strange, bed, sounded good to her. After an uneventful night, Destiny awoke to find her hopes for escape dashed, as her parents had responded to BethEl's call & driven through the night to retrieve their little girl.

________________________________________________________________________________

Though Destiny was unsuccessful in her first attempt, she determined to persevere. Jacob & Sarah got their little girl back & deducing why she had run, Destiny's parents seemed to ease her heavy load for a time, attempting to show her how much she was loved. It seemed to work for a couple years, but then Destiny tried it again, making it even further away. Again, Fate ( or whatever you want to call It ) seemed to intervene & Destiny was returned, all but kicking & screaming to the fold.

Little did Destiny know that all she was doing was part of a greater plan, a plan that was unfolding with each step she took. Her journey would be fraught with danger, toil, hardship & pain, but she knew that if she stayed where she was, her spirit would quickly be snuffed out.

Charles Haddon Shank

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The Revelation of the Glory Principle


I said, “You are gods, And all of you are children of the Most High. 
But you shall die like men, And fall like one of the princes.''
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭82:6 & 7‬ ‭


First, we must realize that when Yahweh said this, He was speaking to the religious leaders of David's day. This might make the average Christian feel that, at the most, this might apply to someone like Billy Graham, Joseph Prince, or, 'God forbid', Joel Osteen, but in no way could it apply to the average layperson. While the context of the words above speaks directly about the leaders of Israel, not necessarily in a good light either, these words, as many others in Scripture, reveal a universal principle, in Essence, that speaks of every man, woman & child in whom resides the Spirit of the Living God.

Secondly, we must understand that when David was inspired to write these elevational words, which Jesus later repeated in John 10:34, He was not making us equal to or saying that we are the One that created the universe & all it contains. Actually, taking a slight detour here; when Jesus claimed to be the Son of God, the Pharisees became incensed, for one reason, because they ascertained that He was claiming equality with the Creator God, Yahweh, according to Scripture. Whatever the case may be, though we are of the same Essence as the one who set the universe in motion, we are not the Creator of all; as some have said, 'we may be small 'g' gods, but we are not large 'G' Gods'!' ( more on this later )

At the heart of the issue is theSpirit that animates all living things. Biblically speaking, one might argue that the spirit/Spirit that animated Mother Teresa, for instance, was not the same one that animated, say, people like Hitler or Pol Pot. This statement might seem difficult to disagree with, except for the fact that Scripture deals with the History of Israel, not the History of Humanity, though there is most definitely a very pertinent message for humanity within the pages of Scripture.

Unfortunately, many Christians are under the assumption that the 'satan' of Israel, as the arch-enemy of God, or Yahweh, was a spirit-being who had fallen from grace. I say 'unfortunately', because instead of realizing that the 'devil' who accused Israel was the adversarial spirit of their religious leaders, at least those who opposed Jesus as the Christ or Messiah, they suppose, for whatever reason, that this adversarial spirit is with us today, as 'the spirit who works in the sons of disobedience'. Though this is true, in the greatest sense, sadly, most of us have a problem admitting that it is our own selfish choices, which come from the ego, that are adversarial to what is good, right & just. The traditional 'Satan' that the majority of Christians see in the pages of Scripture has nothing to do with us today, because of the New Creation!

The New Creation, of course, refers Scripturally to those who accept Jesus as the Messiah of Israel. However, since the Gospel records 'the Marriage of Heaven & Earth' ( as I like to refer to it ), wherein the Creator God awakened in His Creation the awareness that they could indeed become One with Him, the New Creation might be noted as something for which the possibility exists within all humanity. The possibility for all humanity to become the Son of God, instead of the Son of Man, depends wholly on their own choices. The choices we make spring either from our selfish ego, or from the Spirit of Love.

Men like Hitler & Pol Pot made the decision, for whatever reason, to allow the ego, or adversarial spirit to rule over them, rather than overcoming it. Like the Scriptural Cain, then, they murdered their brother & eventually, themselves. Although they made this choice, however they were driven to it, the Spirit that animated their biological bodies is the same Spirit that animated the body of Mother Teresa. This Spirit is the One who formed the worlds, in whose image man ( kind ) is made & who gave us the free-will to choose who they would obey; their own selfish ego, or the greater good, the oneness of humanity.

According to the apostle Paul, Jesus did not count equality with God as something to be grasped ( Philippians 2:6 )..Alternate research shows, however, that He said something more in keeping with what Jesus Himself had said earlier, such as, 'Before Abraham was, I AM' ( John 8:58 ), thereby using the personal name that they would have attributed to YHWH. Whether one chooses to posit Jesus as the Second Person of the Trinity or as a Man who became ( the Son of ) God, one thing is abundantly clear; He was/is God, for He lives today, in & through His People, His New Creation: like Father, like Son!

The difference between a small 'g' god & a large 'G' God might seem rather petty, but for many, it means skating on the thin ice of blasphemy! One can't really argue with Scripture & right there, plain as day, in black & white, YHWH Himself called us 'gods'. That's just fine, but only the Creator God, or YHWH of the Hebrews can be called 'God' ( with a large 'G' ), for He is the only True
& Living God.............................. Wait a minute, in Jesus' own words, 'If He called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), do you say of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God' It may be argued that we were not sent into the world the world in the same manner that Jesus was, but then again, 'why not?' We may not have been born of a virgin, but we have, if we can trust the Scriptures, been sanctified!

'It is the Spirit who gives life......' These words in the Gospel of John ( 6:63a ), might be read in another context, but beginning with Genesis, we can see how this is true. It was the Spirit of the Creator God who was/is the Breath of Life that animated Adam, indeed all living beings. 'Yes', we might be reminded, 'but the Life that Scripture speaks of here was Covenant Life'. This is true.

Charles Haddon Shank



Monday, May 08, 2017

Akasha; the Music of the Spheres

'As above, so below'.- Hermes

'Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as [ it is ] in heaven.' - Jesus ( Matthew 6:10 )

Akasha (or Akash, Ākāśa IPA: [aːkaːʃə]) is the Sanskrit word meaning "æther" in both its elemental and metaphysical senses. In theosophy and anthroposophy, the Akashic records are a compendium of all human events, thoughts, words, emotions and intent ever to have occurred, believed by theosophists to be encoded in a non-physical plane of existence known as the etheric plane. There are anecdotal accounts but no scientific evidence for existence of the Akashic records.

'In the beginning.............' : In Christian theology, these words, which are the very first words in our English Bibles, signal the Genesis of Time itself.  But was there a time before Time, so to speak? All religions posit that the Creator God is eternal, do they not? So, since the Creator of all is eternally existent, with no beginning or end, it is then safe to say that He ( I say this as a Christian ) is outside of Time, in essence, that Time itself is a creation?

We theorize/philosophize that there are several/many different planes of existence: many call these 'dimensions'. Whether or not Science has been able to 'prove' their existence, it has been well-known for centuries, even millenia, that they do! The question of 'where' these 'dimensions' are is rendered moot, since in order to map out something, it must have a concrete base, something you can get a handle on, so to speak. Though 'they' have been at it for years, Science has really only begun to explore the reaches of outer space, both metaphysically & elementally. This then turns inward, leading us to explore our inner sanctum, something with which Science is also making inroads. 

Even by employing the most basic Science, one may ascertain much about how things work. For instance, by swinging a bucket of water in a circle ( at arms length ), thus keeping it in motion, not a drop of water will be spilled. Also, by running a wet fingertip lightly around the edge of a crystal vessel, one may make an almost ethereal kind of music ( tone ), a tone which may even change the composition of the surrounding glass. It should not be surprising to learn, then, that our own biology operates on many of the same principles found in Nature. Science tells us that the human body is comprised of 90% water: 'how', one might ask, 'is it held together?' Why, for instance, when suffer a rupture in our skin, does the blood/water not simply gush out till we are emptied of it? What causes it to clot?

It is not the purpose of this short article to go into in-depth ( scientific ) explanations, so we may suffice to say that the vibrations caused by the Living Energy which lies at our very core are the root Cause, or Principle of Life itself. Without this underlying Principle, just as the bumblebee should not be able to fly based on the size of its wings, Life itself would not be able to persevere! There is much in this world, especially over the past thousand years or so, that Science has been able to affix a purely natural explanation to, although much of what, in Time past, seemed only able to be explained supernaturally, has been found to very natural. There are still things, even in Nature, that can be explained only by supernatural activity!

Intelligent Design is an unquestionable fact! From the heavens above to the earth below, the Life that is manifest wherever one chooses to look is abundant evidence that it did not just happen on its own. At some point, Someone or Something decided to make it happen & that Intelligent Being ( if 'Being' even describes It ) set in motion ( 'motion' being the operative word ) all that can be seen, even by the most powerful microscope or telescope. This Intelligence is all around us, It is the makeup of Life itself! Through this Divine Principle we all 'live, move and have our being' . Only through perpetual Communion with this Life is biological life even possible, whether consciously or unconsciously. When one consciously pursues this Communion, this Knowledge, the blessings flow in accordance, but even when one is unconscious of this relationship, the blessings still abound, it is only the perception which is missing, or is awry!

There are many different traditions throughout the world, both ancient & modern, but all of these traditions emphasize a Higher Power. It is through prayer & meditation that we consciously commune with this Higher Power, no matter the tradition ( religion ). By quieting our own mind, we become aware of this necessary Communion & thus realize, or accept the manifold blessings that come through It.  The same Divine Principle that makes us 'tick' also makes the world go 'round, keeping the universe in motion. This is at the same time very humbling & very freeing!

Apparently, according to certain ( modern ) 'philosophers', we are on the cusp of 'the fifth dimension'. Some may call it 'the Age of Aquarius' & can go into precise ( more or less ) astrological explanations of how & why this is so. The growing awareness, or realization that humanity has experienced over the past number of centuries in particular & continues to experience, have allowed us to enter these 'new' dimensions, whether through simple meditation or astral projection. Again, although Science may not be able to 'prove' that these different 'planes' exist, the evidence is out there, if only one opens their mind, or awareness, to it!

The beginning of Time itself, while arguably not so much in view in those famous first words of Scripture, was a matter of creation. There was a point where the planets, stars & so forth, did not exist, especially as we know them now, a 'time' before Time, if you will, that humanity was nowhere to be found. When the first vibrations were sent forth from the Supreme Intelligence, the worlds were formed, even relatively slowly, over millions & billions of years. Life began to expand until humanity came to light & awareness began to be propagated in & through them. The Song of Life, which had no beginning & has no end, was revealed in its glorious fullness when this happened, for this biology is Its crowning achievement & signifies all that came 'before'!

Charles Haddon Shank



 



Wednesday, May 03, 2017

The Sharist

It was right there in front of him, like it was begging him to take hold of its rungs & ascend it. Jacob's mind told him 'no', but his heart said 'yes'. Reason gave him all the excuses ( most of them pretty good ) why he shouldn't even endeavor to try; 'you'll hurt yourself', 'it won't go well for you' & 'you will lose friends over this', were several of them. He noticed, though, that most of the excuses included the personal pronoun, something Jacob had begun to notice belonged to the ego & not to the consciousness that It was bigger than he alone; It encompassed all of humanity & what was good for him was ultimately good for all humanity: conversely, what was evil for him was evil for all humanity.

Jacob Allyn was a relatively young man. I say 'relatively young', because while he was younger than some, he was older than others. When it came right down to it, Jacob knew he was an old soul; for whatever reason, he had been forced to live many lifetimes. His first experience, as far as he could remember, was waking up on a barren plain, waste & void of any vegetation. He remembered shivering as he exited that warm cocoon that had enveloped him so gloriously for so long. The Void that he thus entered, those many eons of Time ago soon became filled with Life. The One that had carried him for that relatively short period of time in Her womb, now enfolded his shivering body in her warm embrace, snuggling & suckling him with all the Life She held in Her bounteous bosom.

As Jacob grew accustomed to the hard life he had entered into, he noticed that, along with the barrenness he had noted when first becoming aware, he was surrounded by stark beauty. The lack of vegetation soon was replaced by a lush density that all but overpowered the senses. Life blossomed all around him, but Jacob had but one thought & that was how he could survive in the barrenness he chose to see in this new experience. The animal life that he had begun to take notice of in the beginning years of his journey, now began to take on a life of their own & merely presented themselves to him as substances. The lush vegetation that now surrounded him on all sides promised abundant succor, but Jacob had always fancied himself 'a meat & potatoes man'!

As that Experience drew to a close, Jacob's body was fast becoming old & decrepit; Time had surely taken its toll! While Jacob was enamored with his own individual experience, Life had persisted all around him, almost imperceptibly, it would seem, for Jacob had chosen to remain on his island, though he had taken a wife & fathered several children. The life that he had known thus far, though a hard one, had been a blessed one, but Jacob had chosen not to ascend that ever present ladder & remained in that barren wasteland he now called Home. The next time, Jacob was not so lucky..............

Jacob became aware of his surroundings at an early age. He knew that, even though things seemed strange & new, somehow he had been here before! A new body, a new experience, a new name, but something was familiar; Jacob still wanted those 'meat & potatoes' & though his 'gut' told him to be happy with the bounty that Nature provided, he felt that he needed more. Tearing through the carcasses of dead animals seemed to satisfy his own animal instinct & so Jacob continued his pursuit of mere existence, doing his absolute best, as he had been taught, to fend for himself.

Or so he thought.........

Jacob Allyn is typical of many who have lived, in Time, this experience we call Life. He had many lessons to learn, many lives to live, before he finally learned that to truly live, one must share the blessings One receives; as the old saying goes, 'no man is an island'. Although Jacob was slowly but surely learning his lesson; he still had a long way to go! Through many lives, many different experiences, Jacob would finally realize the Truth of All existence. As he lived & died in numerous different bodies, finding himself in various situations & faced with many life-altering choices, Jacob began to realize this Truth, that All are One!

When he first became aware of the ladder, Jacob would usually avoid it at all cost, not wanting to 'make waves', but through the many & varied experiences of his long Journey, this journey we call Life, Jacob finally came to the realization that we are all in It together, not one of us is alone in our struggles.  The Oneness of our experience, though varied, differs only as we experience it! As we live our separate, individual lives, we will learn, as Jacob did, after his many experiences, that life is nothing if not shared!

Jacob grabbed the ladder with both hands, set his feet to the rungs & began to ascend...................

Charles Haddon Shank

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Projection or Reflection?

According to the Scriptures, are we to be affected by our environment ( the 'world' ), or are we rather to have a positive effect on the world around us? The answer to that question is abundantly clear if one is honest in their understanding of the Story. By allowing themselves to be affected by the nations around them, rather than leading them into a worship of the Living God rather than mere idols, Israel according to the flesh unleashed a world of hurt upon themselves. The result of their failure, according to Scripture, was the cataclysmic end of their 'world'!

In today's world, it would seem that we face much the same situation; too many people, rather than being the cause of positive change in their world, are instead playing the part of the victim as they suffer under the negative effects that others have caused.

There is quite a bit of discussion surfacing recently about the fact that, largely through ignorance, history has been forced to repeat itself. 'Ignorance', we say, because it is ( mainly ) through forgetting our own history that the world continues to regress, or at least, so it would seem. Scripturally speaking, much of Israel's problem was a result of their failure to learn from their past history. By not learning from the mistakes of the past, much has occurred in our 'world' that might not have happened if more people had taken positive instruction from those lessons. Admittedly & thankfully, not all have failed the test; the success of the Gospel is a great indication of this.

The Gospel, of course, is the Good News that the Creator came to dwell with ( in ) His Creation. The Greek Scriptures tell the Story of how the Creator God sent of Himself ( His Son ) to earth, to awaken His Creation to the fact that they were His true Temple. In the beginning, according to the Story of Scripture, Israel served simply as a reflector ( the moon ) of the glory of the Creator God. With the lightning advance of the Gospel, through the Revelation of the Son of God, the Creator God now dwells within His Creation, as we are the true Temple of the Holy Spirit.

Near the end of the book of Revelation, in referring to the New Jerusalem, or the Holy City, John saw that 'There shall be no night there' ( Revelation 22:5a ). This is indicative of the fact, we may note, among other things, that the moon ( a reflective light ) is no longer necessary, for rather than reflecting off His Creation, the Light of the Creator God shines from within His Living Temple, His New Creation!

The Glorious Fact of 'the Christ in us' seems to have been lost on the majority of Christendom for the past 2,000 years! For whatever reason, the traditional doctrine of a future 'parousia' of the Christ has so infiltrated the Church that most Christians seem to think that rather than having made His Home with ( in ) us as He promised ( John 14:23 ), Jesus has yet to keep His promise to His people. Blame it on religion if you will ( many do ), the sad fact is that many have placed their hope outside themselves, not realizing that it is Within that our greatest Strength lies.

No longer does the Creation ( if ever it did ) simply reflect the Glory, or Image of the Creator! According to Scripture, the True Light is now projected from within the New Temple, His Creation. Although it may be up for debate as to whether this includes the entire Creation ( which this blogger believes ) or whether it is an exclusive right to those who have consciously entered into Covenant with the Creator God, in essence, become Christian, it is what it is. Though not all realize this Glorious Fact, it only needs to be awakened within them for the Light to shine forth in its true brilliance. Even in those who have not yet awakened from their slumber of ignorance, the Light shines through, despite their own weakness.

As we project the Light of the Christ into the world around us, we cannot fail to note a markedly positive change, for no matter how small it may seem, no matter how long it takes, if we determine within ourselves to be the cause of good, the effect must be that we will see good come of it. The Light shone in the Darkness of Jesus' Day & though many of His own people did not comprehend It, still It shone; through His Light, many who were in Darkness were brought, blinking, into the Light!

Scripture tells the Story of Israel. Their many failures were heart-rending, even maddening, but through their stumbling in the Darkness they created, the Light shone through to reveal a brand new Day! These many years later, that same Light shines in us even brighter. Through the choices we make, we can be the cause, effecting the much-needed change in the world around us!

May we BE the change we wish to see in the world,
Charles Haddon Shank


Thursday, April 27, 2017

The Christ-Consciousness: the Will to Serve

But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is [ rightly ] judged by no one. For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?”[e] But we have the mind of Christ.
I Corinthians 2:15 & 16

A truer statement will never be made than that Jesus was the Christ! Ask ( most ) any Christian & they will tell you, to varying degrees, that Jesus IS the Christ & that He exists still as the Second Person of the Trinity. As the Messiah of Israel, Jesus was Sent of the Father, Scripturally & eschatologically speaking, to 'save His people from their sins' ( Matthew 1:21 ). We in the West, particularly & peculiarly, have traditionally understood this Jesus as being THE Christ, the very Essence of the Creator God; as the Scriptures say, 'God with us' ( Matthew 1:23 ( Isaiah 7:14 ): the apostle Paul wrote that 'God[c] was manifested in the flesh'. This view is not necessarily wrong, for the Christ that Jesus exalted IS the Christ, the Christ of the Father  ( Luke 9:20 ), that dwells in all of us ( John 14:23 ).

It might be truly said that the Christ dwells within each & every one of us, humanity as a whole. Jesus did say, 'If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him', so, to be honest, most if not all Christians would probably have a problem with the universal statement, 'the Christ dwells within each & every one of us, humanity as a whole'. In order to manifest the Christ Within, one must obey the Universal Law which Jesus elucidated, namely that of loving one's neighbor as oneself. To truly love one's neighbor implies a love of the Creator God, or the Divine Principle.The question of whether or not one can truly love another without first loving oneself, or the Divine Principle, may be a matter for another blogpost.

The term 'Christ', meaning 'anointed', might truly be used of anyone; it simply means that one was 'anointed' for a particular purpose & 'sent', if you will, to fulfill that certain purpose. As traditional, orthodox Christians, most would view this 'anointing' wholly in the light of Scripture, as in the baptism of Jesus, recorded in Matthew 3:13-17, Mark 1:9-11 & Luke 3:21 & 22. The Spirit, of course, was His true Anointing.  Jesus' anointing thereby is not something unfamiliar to any Christian, or at least, it shouldn't be! One might well say that it was at that point that Jesus, in fact, became the Christ, although He had been sent, as the Christ, when He was born, some 3o years earlier.

When Jesus was born, according to Scripture, to the Virgin, He was born of the Spirit. His Father, one might say, was the Holy Spirit. In much the same way, we are born of the Spirit when we are awakened to & made conscious of the Christ Within. As the Scriptures also say ( Christians love to quote this passage ), ' I can do all things through Christ[b] who strengthens me' ( Philippians 4:13 ). With the Strength of the Christ Within, as the apostle seems to say, there is NOTHING we cannot accomplish! However one wants to rectify or justify his words here, this might be well be viewed as a Universal Truth. Other Scriptures, like Matthew 17:20, seem to bolster this statement, thus intimating that nothing is impossible ( Luke 1:37 ) for the One who is in Communion with the Creator.

Communion with the Creator God, to the orthodox Christian, usually involves bread & wine, the constituent elements of what is most commonly known as 'The Lord's Supper'. Although these elements can certainly be a symbolic reference to that Communion, they are by no means necessary to it. Jesus told His first-century audience, 'unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you' ( John 6:53 ). We understand, of course, that Jesus was speaking metaphorically here & in no way was He referring to the so-called Lord's Supper. He was reminding the Hebrews of their own history, in other words telling them that unless they accepted Him as the Messiah & realized that in Him was their true Salvation, they had no true Life in them.

We have been taught that Jesus was the only true God: this is true enough, but what does it mean? Jesus was 'God with us', but cannot this truly be said of us as well who have realized the gravity of 'Christ in us'? Is not 'God with us': 'God.....in the flesh', so to speak? Since the Creator dwells within us, in a different dimension, even & since we can do all things through Him who gave us Strength, is it really all that much of a stretch to say, along with Jesus, that He is our Father & thus that we are His Son? As surely as Jesus was the Son of the Creator God, so are We!

When Jesus walked this earth those almost two thousand years ago, how did He live? Was it selfishly, following His own vain pursuits, or did He live His relatively short life in this biology in service to others? Scripture pictures a Man who gave His life for others; in fact, as the Story of the Gospel progresses, we see that Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice at the end of His inglorious existence. He very literally laid down His life for even those who despised & rejected Him!

About the Divinity of Jesus the Christ, there can be no doubt. Even though, as Scripture records, He lived a life of sinless perfection, He was a Man who, in many respects, was just like us. His biology, as far as we can tell, functioned just as ours does, yet, through His own choices, He never sinned against His Father. Jesus loved as no man before or after Him has loved. He loved with a perfect love, a love which, also according to Scripture, has been perfected in us ( I John 4:12 ). Since this Love has been perfected in us, we too, may be said to live that perfectly sinless life. Don't get me wrong, we still fail, in this biology, as individuals, to love perfectly all the time, but maybe that's our problem, we tend to think of ourselves as individuals rather than parts of a Whole!?

A Life of Service to the Whole would circumvent those failures; as the Scriptures say, 'love covers all sins' ( Proverbs 10:12 ) .If we would but learn that Love is what enabled Jesus to live as He did, to serve as He did, even to the point of denying this biology, then we too could live such a life as He did & through such a life of service, be exalted as He was. As the Messiah of Israel, Jesus was revealed to be 'God.....in the flesh'. As we follow in His footsteps, being the very Temple of the Living God, may we not rightly claim that Title for ourselves?

Charles Haddon Shank