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


Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Rest in Peace, Mr. Stuart

What can be said about 'Bo', as he was called by all who knew & loved him? For many years, he was a Teaching Elder at Covenant Community Church, towards the end of which, he was afflicted by something called 'IEED', or 'Involuntary Emotional Expression Disorder'. For several years, Bo persevered as a TE at CCC, but his condition worsened to the point that he felt he could no longer fulfill his duties, especially when further complicated in the last several years by yet another disease that was, for the longest time, misdiagnosed & therefore, mistreated. He will be greatly missed by all those at CCC, as well by the Greater Community of all those who knew & loved this gentle man, for, to know him was to love him!

As there are many others who were more closely acquainted with Mr. Stuart, it behooves me to allow them to recount that part of his tale. I can however, tell the part that I was privileged to partake in. I migrated to Whitehall, Montana in February of 2011 in the aftermath of a failed marriage in Wyoming. As I was staying with my sister & brother-in-law, who were a part of Covenant Community Church, I too began to attend fairly regularly. I had met Bo previously, though, as I remember, rather cursorily, quite a few years earlier, when my fiancee & I had visited. To make a long story short, when I began to sit under his teaching, as well as that of his fellow Teaching Elder, Tim Martin, I was immediately struck, not just by his intellect, but by his manner of teaching. Bo had a way of teaching that not only met one at their level but brought one up to his level. Although, for the past number of years, he was not able to fulfill his duties in the pulpit, his teaching will always be remembered!

In the early afternoon hours of Wednesday, May the 15th, Sidney ( 'Bo' ) Stuart passed from this life & now rests in the arms of his Lord & Savior. As a Christian for much of his life ( again, I'm sure there are those who can recount his story more completely ), Mr. Stuart believed fervently in life after death; that after this physical husk had breathed its last & returned to the dust from which it was made, there was More, gloriously so, in fact! Though Bo never, to my knowledge anyway, talked much about this 'afterlife', or even the fact that we as human beings, are More; I know that he held this Truth in his heart of hearts. As a unique human ( individual ) being, Bo was loved for the presence he brought to Covenant Community Church, but he was loved most of all for the Presence he manifested everywhere he went. His bodily presence will be sorely missed, but we know that his spirit remains, especially with those that knew & loved him!

In His memory,
Charles Haddon Shank

P.S. I probably am not the only one, but I think his IEED ( similar to 'IED'? ) was 'catching', as I seem to suffer from a similar affliction!

Thursday, May 09, 2019

'Open Your Eyes, People!'

The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is [g]good, your whole body will be full of light.
Matthew 6:22 

The context of Jesus' words above demands a first century fulfillment ( in other words, they were poignant for the Pharisaical Jews of His day ), but they also hold true today, as many of His words do, as a universal truth. The King James Version renders the Greek 'haplous' as 'single'. In the sense of 'whole', or even 'healthy', both adjectives fulfill their purpose. The singularity of the 'eye' ( Greek 'ophthalmos' ) lends credence to the notion that the Master was here referring to what is metaphorically called 'the third eye'. As a universal truth, Jesus' words remind us of our true nature & that it is with the only with the 'eyes' of the Spirit Within that we truly 'see', or know!

There is much in this world in which we live that is called 'evil'! 'Evil', though, being a fairly relative term ( for instance, what some may call 'evil' is not necessarily bad, or wicked; it just feels or seems that way to them, while on the other side of the coin, what some call 'good' may seem 'evil' to their neighbor ), is simply an adjective describing what any given person, at any given time, chooses to do. 'Evil' cannot be personified ( as 'Evil Incarnate' ), although one could well name many people in our past ( as well as in our present ) as 'evil'. However, some of these, though one might perceive them as continually making bad or 'wrong' choices, are simply guilty of being different, 'marching to a different drummer' ( 'dancing to a different tune' ), so to speak! Coming from a strictly Christian background ( as I do ), we could well say ( most do ), 'well, God ( the Bible ) says this is evil ( wrong ) & that is good ( right )!' There ARE absolutes, but are we to judge them by what some book colored by a certain ( ANE ) perception, says: should we not rather judge them ( individuals ) by 'evil is as evil does', or better yet, 'an ye harm none, do what ye will'??!

Perception, individual or cultural, has much to do with what is considered 'evil' This is not to say that there IS no such thing ( ? ), for anyone can look at a man hitting a woman, for instance & immediately condemn that man for his actions. What they didn't see, in their limited perception, however, is that he was simply defending himself; they didn't see the gun or knife that she had previously threatened him with, or even the child cowering in his shadow. Whether they arrived late on the scene, or whether their perception is colored by a certain dogma, most only 'see' what they perceive with the physical organs called 'eyes'. Many are beginning to understand, however, by 'thinking outside the box' ( or 'the book', as the case may be ) that not all is as they have been taught, so, 'bucking the system', in a manner of speaking, their perception ( if they even HAVE one ) has been altered to the point that they trust the Spirit Within more than what they see with their eyes!

It IS most definitely wrong for a man ( or woman ) to sexually abuse a child! Most often, we are used to reading about it or hearing it on the evening news from a source which is questionable at the very least. Many Americans perceive these articles ( or 'bytes' ) to be true & so start wars both inside & outside themselves. As above, though, increasingly more are noting the bias in much if not all of the major news media & have turned to alternate sources for their information. This often leads to their 'third eye' being opened, with the understanding that 'it is what it is'; all else is simply perception, at least, physically speaking. But then, there is 'knowing'.....................

In the words of that old song, 'To know, know, know you is to love, love, love you'. Okay, so maybe that's a bit out of context ( 'hand-picked cherries, anyone?' ), but the point is, to really love someone, or make any such correct judgement about any certain thing or situation, we must know ( not just perceive ) the facts. Can we 'know' by reading words in a book or listening to what others say? We can surely ascertain truth THROUGH what we read or hear, but only when it resonates with the Spirit Within. In other words, it is not (necessarily ) true just because some book or dogma says it is; the truth can only be known when the 'third eye' is activated, by the understanding of the Spirit Within!

'For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. ( I Corinthians 2:11 )'. Even our own Scriptures tell us that it is not by seeing ( perceiving ) with the physical eyes that one knows a thing ( to be true, but that it is only by the Spirit Within that true understanding, true knowledge comes. Only when we 'see' with the eye of our Spirit ( 'third eye' ) can we come to a knowledge of the truth. Anything less is simply 'perception' & we have seen what 'perception' can do. Anything from wrongful imprisonment to unjust war has been the result of false perceptions of reality.

The prophet Isaiah ( speaking of the ANE context ) was told, 'Make the heart of this people dull,
and their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, a
nd return and be healed.' ( Isaiah 6:9 ) All prejudice aside, this is obviously not referring to their physical eyes & ears, but rather to the understanding of their heart, or the knowledge that only comes through the Spirit Within. Much like the world today, the prophet Isaiah had to deal with much that was called 'evil'. Also like the world we live in, the perception of the majority of people was ruled by physicality ( that's why Jesus ended up on the cross ). Lest my readers get the idea that simple perception is necessarily a bad thing; 'perception' is neither good nor bad, but like anything, it can be used for 'good' or 'evil', right or wrong.

True perception only comes through listening to 'that still, small voice'. What we see with the ( physical ) eye or hear with the ( physical ) ear may or may not be true, but by the Spirit Within, through our spiritual understanding, we may ascertain whether it is really true or whether it is simply another's perception of the truth. This, again, is not to say that truth is relative, for there IS such a thing as absolutes, but just because one perceives ( with the physical senses ) a thing to be true doesn't make it so, although, speaking of relativity, it becomes 'truth' for that individual!

Charles Haddon Shank

Sunday, April 28, 2019

In Dreams We Soar; Final Flight?

Deothorah knew that something was different; the moment she had been waiting for had finally arrived! As she ascended through the clouds, she felt lighter than air. Something was missing, something she had previously been encumbered by. Deothorah rose higher & higher. or rather deeper & further in. She had no feelings this time, however; she knew that she was soaring, much as she had many times before, but she felt, she knew, that this time was different. In her innermost being, Deothorah knew that this was the moment she had been waiting for, even yearning for. Like previous times, when she felt, rather than heard, the comforting presence of her dragon, this time, she found that she didn't even have to visualize him; Elothar was right there below her, as before, yet somehow, he was nowhere to be seen..............................

Deothorah's Time had come! She knew that this time, she was soaring the heights, as before, but she would not be returning to the place she had previously returned to after her flights of fancy; at least, not right away. Deothorah had left behind the vehicle of physicality & was soaring to heights unknown. As she further ascended, she felt the worries & cares that had always been a nagging & unwelcome presence at the edges of her awareness simply melt away. It wasn't as if she didn't care anymore, for now, more than ever, Deothorah knew that she was pure Love. All such feelings that had tormented her during her life on Earth were gone. All feelings of Self had vanished, left behind with her earthly shroud. She was pure Spirit now, not encumbered by thoughts of separation, which involved pain. For a time, anyway, Deothorah was at Rest!

There was a Bright Light ahead, a Light that could be felt, or known, rather than seen, or experienced. Deothorah knew that she was more than ( just ) coming into that Light; she WAS that Light, for now, unencumbered by her thoughts of physicality, she now knew that She had always been that Light, or at least a part of It. Though she had been aware for some Time that she was More, it was not until she finally left the bonds of physicality that all was clear to her. Her true being was Spirit & while she had & would ( again ) endure physicality for a Time, she was Home!

Home is the Source, the Source is Home! Though it's difficult to see ( for some, damn near impossible ), we, as Spirit ( beings ), are always Home! The glorious physicality that we call 'Life' is More than something to be endured, though we MUST endure it for a Time; this thing we call 'Life' is infinitely glorious & though it's not always 'a bed of roses', it is what we make it. Through the choices we make, whether we act or react, we fashion our own experience on this earthly plane. According to our actions, or else reaction to the absurdities of Life, we decide whether we will be at Home in our experience, or else surrender to our feelings of separation & anxiety!

Deothorah knew, in her heart of hearts, that she was not finished! She had learned many things from her Experience in this thing we call 'Life' & though none of that seemed to matter right now ( it wasn't even a thought! ), she knew that she would return to Life in all its Glory, to rectify the mistakes of the Past. For now, Deothorah felt more at Home, though ( except maybe in her dreams ) than she ever had while in her physical experience. There was just something about having to live between the dimensions that she had never quite been able to fully bring together. The Glorious Reality of being an inter-dimensional creature had never quite made sense to her, though now, outside the bonds of Time & Space, if the thought even occurred to her, it was clear as day that they occupied the same Space, though one was in Time, the other in what some call 'Eternity'!

For a time ( 'Eternity' ), Deothorah was free of the bonds of physicality, totally free in fact, of the shackles of Time & Space! She had entered this Time & Space a lifetime ago, unaware of many of the Mysteries of Life. Though she had leaned much in that relatively short period of Time, she knew that there was more, much More to learn & in her continued experience, she would come to realize & manifest the Glorious Reality of Inter-Dimensional Life! Deothorah was not done; she was just continuing the Cycle!

Elothar, Deothorah learned, was simply One among Many! Not all perceived Them as dragons, in fact, caught up in the worries & cares of this earthly existence, some didn't perceive them at all ( but that's another story ), but They existed to guide us in our individuality as we explored the dimensions. Though the dimensions were not, in Reality, separate; Deothorah, as most of us have been, had been taught the Illusion of Separateness, that certain things belong Here & other things belong There. It is difficult, as she experienced in her previous 'Life', to experience the Glorious Reality of Inter-Dimensional Life; but Deothorah now knew that, with the help of her 'dragon', in the next Life, she was going to soar Beyond her dreams!

Charles Haddon Shank

Thursday, April 18, 2019

The One

His parents & for that matter everyone around him, had always told Johnny, 'God has SOMEONE just for you & ONE day, you will find her!' Well, Johnny spent much of his pitiful life just waiting & sometimes looking for that ONE that he had been taught was waiting for him. One day, everything changed for him.....................yet, it remained the same...........

Johnny was alone. Oh, sure, he had friends aplenty ( sometimes it seemed like too many, he seemed so busy ), being the social butterfly he was & all, but Johnny yearned for someone to hold! Someone he could 'lay claim to', so to speak. As most, if not all men; Johnny had been taught that a wife was a possession, one that belonged to you. Well, maybe not in so many words, but the meaning was abundantly clear; once you were married, even 'just' engaged, she was YOURS & yours alone! If someone dared to infringe on your rights, i.e., take liberties with your property, you'd be well within your rights to take whatever action you deemed necessary to force them to cease & desist, even if it meant maiming or killing them!

Part of the problem, Johnny came to see, was that all his learning told him that 'Life' was wrapped up in this biology & that, once this biology was gone, so was 'Life' ( unless one believed in Life After Death ( LAD ) in some mythical 'Heaven' ). As his understanding continued to evolve, so too did his horizons widen ( infinitely so ); Johnny came to realize that there was More, More than this biology, in fact, that 'Life' in this sense, WAS wrapped up in this biology! His Life, indeed the lives of all human beings who have lived & will ever live on this globe we call 'Earth', though manifested in this biology, actually had it's Source, or Beginning ( ? ) in what many call 'Spirit'. Although these mortal bodies are the vehicles through which we accomplish our purposes, they are simply that, the means through which the Spirit manifests our desires. That was another issue Johnny had to face: he'd been taught that, though our human desires were perfectly natural, they were to be stifled, even squelched, until ( 'if?' ) the One came along.

'The One', of course, was that perfect mate that 'God' had designed just for him & kept 'waiting in the wings' ( so to speak ), for just the right time when 'He' knew you were sufficiently prepared for her. If you didn't patiently wait on 'God's' timing, you would unleash on yourself a world of trouble, he'd heard & you might even end up going to some mythical 'Hell', to boot! So, Johnny, like a good little boy, had always watched his 'Peas' & 'Cues', dutifully waiting, if impatiently sometimes, for the 'woman of God's own choosing' to be dropped in his lap. After waiting for some time & trying several 'experiments' ( failed ). Johnny came to realize that, just like Life was More than this biology, so 'the One' was More than just another biological body.

When Johnny started to question what he'd been taught & more or less dutifully obeyed for most of his life, he seemed to encounter some resistance! This resistance sometimes took the form of family members ( humanly speaking ) & sometimes, even his own mind, or Ego! As he continued to walk this 'new' path he had chosen, Johnny found that the further he walked, even though the resistance increased, substantially in fact, his Journey actually became smoother, with the realization that he did not belong to biology: rather, as a spiritual being having a human experience, his biological body belonged to him & thus was subject to his desires!

'The One' that Johnny had been searching for, waiting patiently for most of his long & lonely life, was right there, 'inside' the biology he called 'home'! As a Person, a human being, Johnny still had desires; he still, personally speaking, longed for someone to hold, someone who would cling to him alone, but, as the Spirit ( being ) that he truly was, he came to the realization that it was not simply another example of biology that he sought, nor even another Spirit ( being ), a 'soulmate', in a manner of speaking, but rather the very same Spirit that motivated the Person known popularly as 'Johnny'. It was the Spirit Within for which Johnny had been waiting, even unconsciously searching for, for the majority of his human experience!

The Spirit Within the Person known as 'Johnny' was indeed the same Spirit that motivates us all! Oh, sure, one might tell you, as they often told Johnny over & over, that it was OBVIOUSLY not the same Spirit that motivated all human beings, for why else would some do good, while others did what was evil?! Those were always interesting discussion, usually involving 'free-will' or some other form of 'gobble-de-gook', but they most often proved rather fruitless ( or so it seemed at the time ) & only served to further befuddle & even alienate his detractors. The Spirit Within, Johnny now saw, was One & the Same with the Source of All Life! It was That which formed this biology in order to accomplish the Purpose of Life. You might ask then, 'what IS the Purpose of Life?' As Johnny himself often asked ( in reply ), 'what do YOU think is the Purpose of Life?' ( So, I too will leave it up to my readers! )

'Was Johnny truly alone?' Yes, humanly speaking, at least, according to all he had been taught for most of his life, Johnny was alone; he had no one to call his own! 'Did he not still experience loneliness, the desire to have another human being of his own ( 'my own, my precious' ) 'to have & to hold, from this day forth...........'?' Sure he did! As a human being, Johnny still experienced the pangs of loss, he still had fears that, unlike everyone else he knew, he would never feel the love of another human being, expressed in a unique way, known to him alone. However, realizing as he did, that he was not just the Person known as 'Johnny'; Johnny 'shook off' these feelings & continued his Journey, relying on the Spirit Within to manifest his timely desires!

Everything HAD changed...........................

Charles Haddon Shank

Monday, April 08, 2019

The Person ( hood ) of God: Fanning the Flame

In many or most Christian circles, you're likely to hear, sooner or later, to whatever extent, reference to the 'Person' of the Holy Spirit, ( Father, Son ), AKA 'the three persons of the holy trinity'. But the question we should ask ourselves ( most don't, sadly ) is, 'can the Source of All ( Life ), a spirit-being by all reckoning ( even our own Holy Bible ) be called a 'person'? According to Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary, the definition of a 'person' is, 'human, individual sometimes used in combination especially by those who prefer to avoid man in compounds applicable to both sexes'. So, by definition, 'God' IS one of us ( as the song goes ), a walking, talking human being! I mean, I realize that the Hebrew & Greek Scriptures seem to tell us that Man ( 'what about woman?' ) was created in the Image of God, but this is getting ridiculous! Yes, Jesus, by all accounts, was a human being, but He often referred to a 'Father in Heaven' ( a separate Being? ) as to One who, unlike us, did not have a biological Body ( ?? ). Some Christians seem to actually believe that 'Heaven' is an actual, literal ( physical? ) 'location' up in the sky ( the literal 'heavens' ), so I guess, in this instance, it wouldn't be too much of a stretch to imagine that 'God', or 'Yahweh' rather, IS a 'person'! 

You will never hear me refer to the Spirit ( Energy ) that animates every human being as 'the Third Person of the Trinity'! I won't do it! Not just because I'm not a Trinitarian ( another story for another day, perhaps ), but because that perception is based on the idea, culled from the Hebrew & Greek Scriptures, that there are three ( separate ) Persons within the so-called 'God-head'. Considering the fact that the Hebrew & Greek Scriptures seem to make the claim that they were written ( by men ) through the inspiration of 'the Holy Spirit' ( II Timothy 3:16, II Peter 1:21 ); when we read, strangely enough, only in the Greek Scriptures, of 'the Father', 'the Son' & 'the Holy Spirit', we have been taught that this proves ( 'beyond a shadow of a doubt'? ) the existence, within the 'God-head', of what is dogmatically referred to as 'the Trinity'. In the same Divine Vein, I do not deny a Holy Trinity, but that, as well, is probably best left for another story on a different day! 

In the fairly recent past, I have come face-to-face, rather blatantly, with the statement that 'God is a Person'! In fact, in one of my most recent 'discussions', one might have gathered that the 'Image of God' is actually our humanity ( biology? )! This sort of 'discussion' has rather interesting, even dangerous, implications, not least of which is, 'if the Source of All ( Life ) is simply a Glorified Human Being; then maybe the Mormons are right about us becoming Gods ( the whole 'planets' thing is a bit far-fetched ). If the Mormons are right about this, then what else are they right about? I'm not here to preach Mormonism, though, so I'll say no more on that subject, but the point is, to conceive of the Source of All ( Life ) as a Person is simply part of the human condition, as evidenced by the story of the blind (East ) Indians who attempted to describe an elephant according to the physical sense of touch. I've related this story previously, but, as each of the men had a hold of a different part of the elephant, they were all right ( in part ), but none could offer a complete description: so is humanity's conception of 'God' ( at best )!

Although the Source of All ( Life ) is most definitely NOT a human being ( Glorified or not ), it can rightly be claimed that ALL human beings have the Divinity within! To many, this claim falls flat on its face & for the many out there who do not bear the fruits of this glorious fact, one cannot really blame those who deny this Glorious Truth. However, as the case may be, there exists within us all that Divine Spark ( call it 'Spirit' or 'Animating Principle' ), which, when fervently fanned ( or not ) becomes a raging inferno which engulfs the Forest, or 'world' around us! When that Flame becomes an Inferno, imagine what dreams may come! 

To bring it all down to a precise point, you may call me 'Frank'; I will lay it all out for my readers & plainly say, 'WE ARE GOD!' There; those who wish may promptly condemn me to a 'Hell' which doesn't exist! Before I go, though, let me just say that by this startling truth, I simply mean to say that, whether it's a faith-based belief ( based on an ancient document ), or based on our human experience, every human being has their own ( unique ) conception of What & Who 'God' is. Some may even be ( rightly ) accused of creating 'God' in their own image! The point is, while the Source of All ( Life ) is NOT just some conception of humanity, as I may be accused of preaching, neither is this Source ( 'Energy' ) completely encapsulated within the Greek & Hebrew Scriptures. What we read in the Bible ( a weak translation, in many different versions ) is simply 'their' ( Hebrew & Greek ) conception of Who & What this Source looks like.

By writing thusly, I do not wish to alienate those brothers & sisters of mine who may believe somewhat differently, or even those who believe we are separated by a Great Gulf. To be abundantly clear; I write thusly ( as always ) to try to clear up some of the misconceptions that humanity has foisted upon itself for centuries, even millenia, all in the name of 'God'. Some of these misconceptions have smoothed themselves out over time, at least to the point that something positive has transpired through them, but for the most part, these errors have led to strife & division, where there should be peace & unity! Those who wish to worship the 'God' of the Bible as the Source of All ( Life ) certainly are within their rights to do so, so long as they follow this universal tenet; 'An ye harm none, do what you will'. Jesus said it this way, 'just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.'

Charles Haddon Shank

Monday, April 01, 2019

Universal Truth; Crucifying the Flesh

Never mind that this phrase is archaic; never mind that it speaks directly to the situation that the apostle was treating in an Ancient Near Eastern culture, Paul's instruction applies as well today in 21st century America! So what exactly do we mean when we, as Christians, employ this very biblical phrase? To 'crucify the flesh', in the biblical sense, means to identify with Jesus, the Messiah of Israel, who gave His own Life for that of His People. While we're on the subject; there seems to be some confusion of who I refer to when I use the phrase 'His People', or 'the People of God'! In the Context of Scripture, that is, the Hebrew & Greek Scriptures, the phrase 'the People of God', the people that Jesus came to save ( from their sin, the sin of Adam ) were His own kinsmen according to the flesh, the Jews, or Israelites, which were, in essence, a mixed multitude. However, as we can see from the phrase, 'mixed multitude' ( 'which came out of Egypt' ), 'Israel' was not made up only of those who were begotten 'according to the flesh', but was inclusive of all those, both Jew & Gentile, Egyptian, Aramean & Chaldean alike, who accepted the Christ, the Hebrew God & Messiah. As such, this Jesus, although He was the Messiah to the Hebrews, also served as a sort of 'benchmark' for the rest of the world, as the Christ, setting the mark for us to follow, so that we might be the Christ to our 'world' as He was the Christ to His! Now, back to OUR story......................

In this world in which we live, we can certainly relate to the rest of the apostle's instruction, in which he writes of 'the flesh'. with 'its passions and desires'. If one were to enter into a study of the Eastern religions, such as Buddhism & the like, one would likely find much the same sort of language, instructing us to transcend ( not to ignore ) our passions & desires. Passions & desires, while completely natural ( NOT sinful, though we SHOULD take great care in their exercise ), should be nourished & indeed transcended, or 'crucified' because, while they ARE an integral part of 'us', we are more than our passions & desires & thus rather than being 'ruled'  ( to use biblical language again-Genesis 4:7 ) by them, we should rather 'rule over' them, enjoying them, instead of using them to manipulate & control!

'How then', you might ask, 'does one go about this 'crucifying the 'flesh'?'  Should we, like many who have gone before, deny our passions & desires, even to the point of mutilation, as a literal interpretation of the apostle's language might lead to? No, that would be akin to making the same mistake that Nicodemus made when he wondered if one would have to re-enter his or her mother's womb in order to be 'born again' ( John 3:4 ). To 'crucify the flesh', whether following the apostle's instruction, or adhering to a more Eastern tradition, one must simply rise above those passions & desires, realizing that they are only 'flesh' & not what truly motivates us. As Spirit, though we inhabit 'the flesh', we are NOT that 'flesh' & so must naturally use that 'flesh' ( biology ) to further spiritual awareness, rather than using our spiritual awareness to further our knowledge ( lust ) of the passions & desires of our 'flesh'!

The magickal practice of meditation can help us to transcend 'the flesh', from which come our passions & desires. By following, for example, the divine instruction found in the Hebrew Scriptures ( Psalm 46:10 ), 'Be still, and know that I [ am ] God', we become accustomed to our divine nature & rather than living for our passions & desires, we find that they instead pale in comparison to the Glory that we ARE! Now, before one accuses me of teaching that we are equal to the Source of All ( Life ), as Jesus Himself was accused of claiming, understand that while we most certainly ARE, in our divine nature, a part of that Source, we cannot, or should not, rather, teach that we ARE that Source: as I like to say, 'I didn't put that mountain there; did you?!'

We are most certainly the masters of our own destiny, but ours alone; no one else's! Only WE can 'crucify the flesh, with its passions & desires'. When we endeavor to force others, through whatever means, to 'crucify' their flesh, that is but a sign that we have yet to 'crucify' our own! It is not up to us to make sure that everyone around us follows in our footsteps: like Jesus, we must simply set an example by following in His exalted footsteps. When those around us realize the futility of following after their passions & desires, finding instead that while these are most certainly to be nourished & enjoyed, they should NEVER 'rule' us: our divine nature naturally reveals its ascendancy. I say 'our' because IT is one & the same, neither ours nor theirs!

Jesus, as the Christ, the Messiah of Israel, was most certainly the 'only begotten Son' ( John 3:16, I John 4:9 ( Hebrews 11:17? ) of God ( Hebrew 'Elohim', Greek 'Theos' )! His Father, however, is One & the same as the ( spiritual ) 'Father' that we as Christians ( 'little Christs' ) claim, so is it truly blasphemy to claim, as Jesus did, equality with that 'Father', which is, after all, simply a personification ( perception? ) of that which IS? The Source of All Life, of which we are a manifestation, or part, is the Energy of which the Universe is made & of which the Jewish Messiah came, some 2,000 years ago, to set the example, not just for the Jews & Gentiles to follow, but for the entire world to emulate. Though what some call 'centering', we may realize this our true ( divine ) nature; that we ARE to our 'world' what Jesus was to His & that although we may not perfectly ( ? ) emulate Him: knowing our true nature & thus our divine capabilities, we thus are enabled to accomplish, as He Himself said, 'greater [ works ]' ( than He did-John 14:12 ). Is this to say that, by doing thusly, we ARE greater than Jesus? By no means! We are simply Sons & Daughters of God, able to accomplish these 'greater' [works ], though certainly, the choice is up to us ( individually ) & obviously, not all choose to manifest their Divinity!

Charles Haddon Shank

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

The Prayers of the Gods

Our[a] Father [b]in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
[c]Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us day by day our daily bread.
And forgive us our sins,
For we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
And do not lead us into temptation,
[dBut deliver us from the evil one.
Luke 11:2-4

The Gospel of Mark, or rather, Mark's version of the Gospel Story, i.e., the latter part of the life of Jesus, although it does contain certain constituent elements ( Mark 11:25 & 26, et al  ) of the prayer known popularly as 'The Lord's Prayer' does not contain any semblance of the 'model' prayer itself!  As can be seen through even a cursory examination of the only other extant example of this prayer ( Matthew 6:9-13 ), it either adds to or subtracts from the version that Luke recounts in his 'Gospel', at least, as far as we can tell in our much-varied translations of the Bible. This is not to say we should disregard these words of Jesus, even insofar as they are recorded by these two 'Gospel' writers, for there are good & universal principals therein, but, as this 'model prayer' is not even recorded by Mark, the oldest 'Gospel' according to most biblical scholars, it is safe to say that it is very likely a later, though relatively good addition. In other words, these may not be Jesus' words at all, but simply some scribes ( which includes Matthew & Luke )!

The subject of 'prayer' is actually one of some controversy! Any good Christian worth his or her salt will glorify 'the power of prayer'. 'Prayer works', they might say; 'just have faith', they'll probably tell you. Does prayer work? Well, depending on what one means by such a bold statement, yes, it 'works'! Does it move the Hand of 'God'? Well, there again, such a question rests in one's understanding of what is meant by 'the Hand of God'! Previously, in the 'pages' of this blog, you may have read something to the effect that 'we ARE the Hand of God'; it is through us, it is through the ministration of the mundane ( most often ) that prayers are fulfilled. For example, we may pray 'give us this day.............' & the food may magickally appear before us, but most often, it is because somebody put it there! We pray 'forgive us our debts.................' but unless the one we have we have 'sinned' against tell us & shows by his or her actions that they have forgiven us, there is absolutely no proof of any forgiveness & we are left high & dry. The proof, you might say, is 'in the pudding', not just words in some book!

As we've also noted previously in this blog, the Psalmist ( Psalm 82:6 ) wrote, 'You [ are ] [e]gods' ( elohim ), a statement which Jesus seems to have no problem employing in John's 'Gospel'!  'Original audience' & 'covenant context' aside, it is safe to say that, biblically speaking, every Christian, at least, is a 'god': whether or not one ascribes a capital 'G' to this statement, there is no denying the fact that the same word used to identify the Hebrew God of Creation ( Genesis 1:1 ) is also used to describe His People, the Judges of Israel! ( I'm pretty sure that the original languages didn't employ a certain symbol denoting whether it was a capital or lower-case 'g' ) The point is, that although we certainly can't discount what many would call 'supernatural operation', it should be fairly evident that prayer is usually most effective when witnessed by other people, whether it be doctors or farmers. Whether it be through audible means ( hearing ) or by 'supernatural operations', it is abundantly clear that the fulfillment of prayer is most often, if not always accomplished through human, though Divine, intervention!

Charles Haddon Shank