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

WARNING; READING THIS BLOG MAY PROVE UNHEALTHY TO YOUR ORTHODOXY!!!!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The Faith of the Son of God

It's been a silent one for years, but the question of whether it is our faith or the faith of our Heavenly Father that saves or saved us has been a matter of debate for years! Passages like Ephesians 2:8 & 9 seem to be at the heart of the issue, engendering questions like, 'is Paul saying that our faith is not of ourselves, or is he simply saying that GRACE is a gift of God?' Christians, conservatively speaking, have been taught for centuries that they are ( still? ) totally depraved & there is no way in hell that they could, on their own, exercise the faith required for salvation. This whole argument is rendered somewhat moot by the fact that the object of the Messiah's Advent, scripturally speaking, was Israel under that first covenant. This is not to say that this Grace no longer exists or is necessary, just that the apostle's words were written for & had the greatest meaning to the original recipients of his letter.

Jesus WAS, according to Scripture, the only begotten Son of God! As the Son of God, He was, or is, according to the creeds, 'of one essence with the Father': this is without doubt! Just like you & I, Jesus, the Son of Man, as Scripture also calls Him, was without doubt a normal human being, as far as that goes. Although He, also according to Scripture, bore possibly more pain & suffering than most human beings could withstand, eventually His body succumbed to the abuse & stopped functioning, finally assuming room temperature. That He rose again, also without doubt, proves that He wasn't merely human: by the Power of the Highest, the Energy of which we all partake, His Resurrection is celebrated among Christians as the Crowning & Pivotal event that changed our spiritual landscape forever!

For the past several years, I have been toying ( rather seriously ) with the notion that, beyond eschatology, we, as the Body of Christ, or simply Followers of Christ, corporately speaking, are the Son of God! This notion, in the past year or so, is further strengthened by the notion, fairly radical among most Christians, that we are spirits having a human experience. Pagans & Stoics have believed this for ages, interestingly enough! If we are actually spirit beings inhabiting custom-made bodies of the biological order, we might ask ourselves if we are all that different from Jesus Himself. In fact, one might go so far ( shudders ) as to wonder if we are all that far separated from the One that some call 'The Source', 'Energy', 'The Creator', even 'Our Heavenly Father!


This is not to say, though some will go that far, that we are our own creators, though in some sense that is true: to whatever extent, we do create our own lives through the choices we make, both good & bad! There is One Creator, a Divinely Intelligent Being, One who brought into being the universe & all it contains; however, this One Supreme Being is of the same Essence, the same Energy that empowers humanity. Scripturally speaking, most if not all Christians would beg to differ with me at this point because they clearly ( ? ) indicate that only those who place their faith in Jesus as the Son of God can rightly be called sons ( notice the difference between 'Son of God' & 'sons of God'? ) of God. This is very defensible from Scripture & doubtless has application today, though it would seem that, in this day & age, many Pagans are truer disciples of Jesus than those who call themselves Christians!

Though there are those who deny it still, the Resurrection of Jesus is clearly laid out in the pages of Scripture. The Messiah of Israel was a man, yes, but obviously, not a mere human being; there was Something in Him that enabled Him to rise, in the self-same Body, from the Grave, from Hell, if you will. We, the disciples of Jesus, or as Scripture metaphorically calls us, the Body of Christ, have inherited His ministry, which, although it was fulfilled as regards eschatology, is ongoing & calls us all into that Higher Calling of which you have heard many speak!

While all human beings are, by nature, spirits having a human experience, there are those who have squelched their spiritual nature! Many have all but smothered it & are merely human beings, others have in fact lost their spirit & are hardly more than drones eking out an existence with only two certainties in view, 'death & taxes'. Some, though, are coming out of their stupor & realizing that, in fact, we are more than our humanity. Christianity may rightfully claim responsibility ( in part ) for this awakening, though they themselves, for the most part, put an unhealthy focus on the biological aspect of Life, but ultimately, it is the Spirit Within, that Energy that consumes us all, that awakens us to our true nature!

'Begotten of the Father before all worlds', is simply one line from one of the Christian creeds. According to Scripture, the Son, or the pre-incarnate Jesus, was with the Father as the Creator at the Creation. However, with the Advent of Fulfilled Eschatology, our own understanding of these passages may evolve. for example, since Fulfilled Eschatology naturally points back to a localized, particular Creation event, should we understand John, in His Gospel, as saying, as I believe, that the 1st, 2nd & 3rd Persons ( ? ) of the Trinity were simply an eschatological phenomenon, specially constructed for Israel's transition period. In other words, was John, as well as other writers of Scripture, merely using constructs with which his readers would be familiar to mark the Creator's introduction into His Creation?

Speaking of Scripture, how often did Jesus tell those He healed, in other words maybe, that their faith had saved them? Was it truly their own faith that saved them? Did Jesus grant them immediate healing simply because they believed in His Power to do so? Again, we must look at the context, especially historical, of these events; when Jesus healed these people of their physical maladies, what was at the heart of the healing? It was their sin, indicative of the sin of His People, that Jesus often mentioned as having been forgiven in order for their physical maladies to be cured. This was not always the case, but as you read the Story of Israel, you may notice that many of the diseases & maladies that the prophets, Jesus & the apostles were faced with were indicative of the Sin of Israel!

Our Faith, expressed by Truth In Living, does save us! We are creators in that the choices we make determine our existence, to whatever extent, on this biological plane. On the spiritual plane, the choices we make also determine our relationship with the Creator, with the Energy that fills every living being, human & otherwise. Life is all about choices & depending on how we choose to spend our existence in this biology, we may or may not enjoy our life in the spiritual plane. If we choose to embrace our spiritual nature, we will note that spirit in those around us, even mere ( ? ) animals & so our actions in this biological plane will be affected in a positive manner.

The Grace of God, as enumerated in Scripture, is a free Gift! In the context of Scripture, it was a Gift for Israel, though this, again, is not to say that Grace no longer exists. While we must understand that the apostle's words were eschatologically based, being written for the instruction & comfort of their original audience, these instructions benefit us as well, though we simply reap the benefits of the Grace that Israel received, through Fulfilled Eschatology.

The Eschatology of Israel, finding its Fulfillment in Jesus, wrought a change in our spiritual landscape, which depending on our choices, will make itself apparent in this biological plane! The same Spirit which once showed Grace to Israel now shows Grace through us. We now engender that Faith that saved Israel & through the expression of that Faith, we can save the world!

Charles Haddon Shank



Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Revelation of Divinity

What if I told you that the Story of Israel told in Scripture was not the only Revelation of the Creator to His Creation? To most Christians, the idea that our Heavenly Father might have made His Presence known to any other people, in any other form, is almost unthinkable! However, that is just the concept that this blogpost will explore, though maybe not in-depth.

The Epic of Gilgamesh, though rife with examples of what we would construe as tall tales, also includes a flood account: numerous creation accounts have been revealed from ancient & existing civilizations, leading some to believe, to whatever extent, that the biblical, or scriptural account, supports or is supported by theses ANE ( Ancient Near East ) accounts.Although most or all of these accounts might be classified as myth, as with all myths, we can say certainly that they contain, or are based on, some truth, however great or small. 

Myths, we must understand, are not necessarily untrue. As we have seen, while they may seem to be quite far-fetched to us, especially in our Western mind-set & they are obviously elaborate, myths are at least based in fact, to whatever extent. Mythical creatures, for instance, the gryphon, among other mythical creatures, was a combination of a couple different species. There may have been differing reasons for these combinations, but one reason, we may freely speculate, was to metaphorically represent a certain deity or king, even queen. The different creation stories, or myths, then, we must realize, are colored by metaphor as well, being told in such a way as to present certain truths in a unique literary & apocalyptic way.

Divinity is a funny thing ( not 'funny', as in 'ha-ha' ); there are certain situations, even foods that we describe as 'divine'! We even view certain people in our lives as having a touch of divinity. Scripture records Jesus as saying with the Psalmist, 'You are gods' ( John 10:34 ( Psalm 82:6 ); if Jesus called us 'gods', or 'mighty ones', may we not say, with a degree of certainty, that we are 'divine'? This is not to say that we ARE deity, as is the Creator, our Heavenly Father, though we ARE of the same Essence, just that, BEING of the same Essence, we are, in that sense, Divinity ourselves & gods, or judges, in our own respect!

In context, the Psalmist's words might be better understood as referring to Israel under that first covenant, but I believe that we may also take it as 'Gospel' today, in the 21st century! Being Judges of the Earth, having been given the liberty & ability, freedom, really, to judge for ourselves, we are, in that sense, gods ourselves with a sense of the Divine. Our Essence, being that of the Creator, is Infinite, though limited by our Biology  & in that sense finite. However, as we ourselves realize this true nature, though not everyone is at the same Stage in their Journey, we begin to realize our divinity & that it will take us higher up & farther in than humankind ever dreamed was possible!

To truly understand the Story of Scripture, as well as any other example of ANE literature, we must realize that it IS very heavy with metaphor! Much of what we have understood Scripture to say for centuries must be reexamined now, with that fact in mind. To be sure, Scripture, as we have understood it for millenia, has revealed much Truth to us, though our Western mindset has also projected meaning onto its pages that just aren't there! The myths that we all grew up reading, Assyrian, Egyptian, Greek, Roman, British, etc., all pointed to certain truths, though maybe with more or less of an agenda & though the Story of Scripture tells us of the One True God & His special Creation, Israel, many modern scholars posit it as myth, right along with the rest!

Along with Memphite Theology, the Atrahasis, Babylonian & Enuma Elish Creation Epics, as well as others, no doubt; the biblical Story of Creation, rather than falling into the category of mere legend ( ? ), is instead strengthened & corroborated by these other creation stories. The Genesis Creation account that we read in Scripture is therefore NOT so much a record of the creation of the material universe, although that truth may be found there; it is a record of the Creator God's formation of a special Land/Nation/People through which to gradually & eventually reveal Himself to His Creation. In much the same way as these myths, the Story of Scripture is laden with metaphor in order to tell this elaborate Story in a way that was familiar to the original audience, the people of the Ancient Near East.

That the Living God of Scripture created the universe & all it contains, though disputed by some, is without doubt in the mind of this blogger! The Creation account found in the first chapters of Genesis, as well as throughout Scripture are a record of a Spiritual Creation, if you will, rather than a material one. Christians have been taught for centuries that the Creator God began His material Creation, humanly speaking, with Adam & Eve, but even common sense reminds us of the innate problems with such a stance. Understanding the Biblical Genesis as a Spiritual Creation account rather than a material one meshes much better with both biblical & extra-biblical writings!

Blessings,

Charles Haddon Shank




'Fear Not, For I AM With You!': Faith or Fear?

''Fear is the mind-killer!' - Frank Herbert - 'Litany Against Fear'

Fear, or the Ego, is a uniquely human disability! It can be debilitating even, to the point of rendering one immobile. Much of what we know & either love or hate as Organized Religion is based in Fear; the fear of going to 'hell' if we believe, say, or do the wrong thing, the fear of what others may think or do if we don't follow the crowd, the fear of displeasing an already angry God..............

Ego, the root problem from which many Emotions like Fear come, seems to be fairly central to the human psyche & though many are plagued by this evil their whole lives, some seem to have totally bypassed this emotion or at least have been able to conquer, or overcome this Root of All Kinds of Evil!

Scripture tells us that Jesus told His disciples, 'do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do' ( Luke 12:4 ) In context, He was comforting them concerning the coming Great Tribulation, but even today, we can find much consolation in this Word, knowing that we cannot die. This physicality will most certainly, sooner or later, pass away, whether it is killed or dies of 'natural' causes, but we ourselves, being spiritual beings, will never perish!

The apostle John, in the latter part of his first letter ( I John 4:18 ), wrote, 'There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment'. Earlier in this beautiful passage, John told his audience, the original recipients, that the love of God had been perfected in them. Perfect love, we must understand, is not love without fear, but rather, love that casts out fear, in other words, destroy it, overcomes it, so that we may conquer our fear & love as we have been given. In the same vein, or manner of speaking, is bravery: bravery doesn't mean one has no fears; bravery is simply pushing through that fear, triumphing over it & doing what must be done!

When we are faced with an obstacle, two choices present themselves; we can believe that, through whatever Strength lies Within us, we will leap over that wall, or hurdle, or we can doubt our ability to overcome any obstacle & in so doing, fail before we even begin!

A certain wise man once said something like, 'we have nothing to fear but fear itself': why then, do we fear? Well, one of the biggest reasons is that we learn to do so! Any swim teacher can tell you that the best time to teach someone how to swim is when they're young, even a baby. This is not the only reason, but mostly, it's because they have less fear, fewer ( if any ) inhibitions; inhibitions like, 'what will happen if I can't..........................?', even, 'I CAN'T do this; I'm not coordinated enough, I'm not...................!' Hatred, which is inextricably linked to Fear, is for instance, a learned emotion. One is not born with hatred in their heart; like Fear in a baby or child learning how to swim, or even make his or her way through life, one must be taught to hate!

Whether Hate becomes an issue because of Fear of the unknown ( or the known ), Fear of differences ( jealousy? ), or just insecurity; hatred is a direct result of Fear! As we have witnessed, one must be taught to hate; we are not incarnated, or born, into this world with a natural hatred for another. We must either bear witness ourselves to the pain that surrounds us, or learn from the reactions of others how to deal with it. We then must make a choice as to how we ourselves will deal with the pain. Too often, our choices are determined by this unnatural fear, but we can, through the strength of the Spirit Within, overcome that Fear & choose to Love, rather than to allow our emotions to be controlled by Fear!

The greatest obstacle that any human being must overcome is Fear! The different emotions that  are caused by Fear are almost indescribable, but we must learn to overcome our fears, to surmount them, if we are ever to get anywhere in this, if we are ever to do anything of import.

Having Faith, whether in some Higher Power or our own Energy, enables us to see Beyond Ego, to realize that we are more than simple human beings: we are freed from our biological body, so to speak, to explore what is our spiritual nature, our true nature! The Ego torments us with Fear, fear of not being good enough, fear of not being normal. fear of being our own person. Moving past the emotions caused by these fears frees us to simply be ourselves, our true spiritual selves.

Much of our Fear is based on the fact of Biology! Much as Mary clung to the Body of Jesus in the Garden, we tend to cling to our biological existence as of the utmost importance. This is not to say that this biological life we have been granted is unimportant, but when we understand that Life is so much more than this Biology, it's like a breath of fresh air; windows & doors that had previously been closed, if we even realized they were there, will be opened to us & with our fears behind us, along with our ego, we can walk, even soar bravely through the opening, into the More that is Beyond!

Charles Haddon Shank



Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Resonance; Nature's Frequency

 If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.” 
Nikola Tesla 
Depending on what or even who you read, the most natural frequency in the universe itself is 432 HZ ( hertz ) or 528 HZ. Most modern music, from my understanding, is tuned to the 4/4 beat, or 440 Hz! The theory is that Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels first utilized this unnatural frequency to alter the minds & thoughts of those he wanted to control. Dr. Leonard Horowitz wrote,'The music industry features this imposed frequency that is ‘herding’ populations into greater aggression, psycho social agitation, and emotional distress predisposing people to physical illness.' It's a well-known fact that the music we listen to & the environment we are exposed to on a daily basis either soothes us or agitates us, calms our fears or assaults us with them; these frequencies can either resonate with our spirits, or trigger negative responses in our bodies, which are fearfully & wonderfully made. So, depending on the music we listen to, we will either resonate with the universe, or we will become  imbalanced by the unnatural affectations of this 'imposed frequency'!

From plants, to animals, to human beings, our environment affects us in manifold ways. These effects are not all good, but neither are they all bad, as much as our natural environment has degraded to being rather unnatural! Plants still grow, animals still thrive & human beings......................well, we humans are anywhere from being in a state of mere existence to living full lives. By 'full lives', I mean simply to say that some have accepted the glorious fact that, rather than being merely human beings, we are spiritual beings having a human experience.There is no denying the equally glorious fact that this marvelously-engineered biology, which includes flora & fauna, was created, produced to house our spirits, which are of the same Essence, or Energy, as the Creator of the Universe. Our biological bodies serve at least this purpose, to be symbiotic! To be symbiotic means to be interdependent, to live in relationship; in this sense, we may take a lesson from the fore-mentioned flora & fauna: what is often referred to as 'The Circle of Life' can be encapsulated into two words, 'life' & 'death'. In other words, one dies that another might live: as simple as that sounds, it has, for many reasons, become very complex & a matter of the utmost importance to maintain this biological existence & rid ourselves of any vestige of biological death!

Whether you believe in the theory of evolution, that the universe randomly came into being through something like a big bang, or that there is One Creator, One Divine & Infinitely Intelligent Being who by design fashioned the universe & all it contains, it is abundantly clear that, even with the vast knowledge that mankind has accrued, we have barely begun to scratch the surface of what is out there: hell, we have barely scratched the surface, if that, of what is in here, the human brain! Most, like me, have some sort of Conception of what, or who, rather, is known as the Christian God. As the infinite Creator of all, our God is the Almighty, the Living God, the God of the Bible; this Creator God has so constructed the universe & life itself that one things leads to another. In other words, one thing occurs that another may occur. There is no such thing as a random event! To us, it often seems like happen-stance, but everything that occurs has a destiny, a purpose & until that purpose is fulfilled, the same or a similar event will keep repeating itself!

That humanity simply ( ? ) evolved from apes is so absurd as to be laughable, if it weren't so sad, that is! It is abundantly clear that humankind is NOT just an evolved ape; even though there are some very smart apes out there, there are just as many, probably infinitely more, very dumb, or stupid, rather, human beings. The human animal & the ape DO have a lot in common, being made by the same Creator for maybe much the same purpose, but it is generally well-accepted that human beings have the mastery over all the other animals, exhibiting what is perceived as a greater capacity for communication & civilization. This perception, though, is laughable, for one but has to do a rudimentary bit of research to learn that simple animals often communicate better & are more civilized than human beings! Don't get me wrong, there ARE many examples of what we call 'dumb animals', but there are at least as many, if not more 'dumb humans'; especially those who are 'tuned in' to the wrong frequency! As it stands, though, human beings have gained, through various means & to whatever extent, dominance over the animal, though sometimes an uneasy one!

The Essence of Life is the Spirit of Life; it is the spirit that drives us, that animates this biology: in that sense at least, one could say with some certainty that even plants have spirits & in the same vein, animals as well, for we know that they are sentient beings, much as we are! Human beings have not traditionally granted animals the same 'handicap' ( for lack of a better word ) as ourselves, since we feel that we are superior to them in so many ways. Opinions on this matter will vary to a greater or lesser degree, but one thing that the human being has over all the other animals is religion, the belief that somehow, we are better equipped to make the world a better place, with our capacity to love our neighbor as our self!

The Circle of Life, as mentioned above, is not meant to convey the notion that we are in this biology only to keep the wheel moving: all biological life, as was mentioned, serves a purpose! Death feeds Life: plant, animal and human experience all prove this; for one to live, another must die. Human beings eat both plants & animals, while both plants & animals benefit from the worm-food that our biological bodies become when our spirit leaves them for the final time. Human beings almost thoughtlessly consume animals which have been fed plants that are fertilized naturally by the decaying corpses of both humans & animals, as well as other plants, so as you can see, 'the wheel on the bus goes 'round & 'round'!

We all know the feeling; some things just resonate with us, others don't, it's a biological matter of fact, but even more importantly, it's a spiritual reality! All created beings were endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights. To deny these rights is to deny the Creator! Among these rights is to commune with others, to live in symbiosis. To live in symbiosis is to live in such a way as to be mutually beneficial to each other. Even & maybe especially, beings of different species altogether may live in such a way. To live in harmony is the natural order of things ( look at the universe itself ), but without the natural resonance the Creator put in place, the world we live in has experienced much unnecessary pain & suffering, not to mention the unnatural disorder of things!

I'm not going to try to tell you that simply by changing the frequency of the music we listen to, all that is wrong with the world will go away; Hitler didn't do the things he did simply because he listened to the wrong kind of music, although the theory that his ministers used an unnatural frequency to 'brainwash' those they wished to subjugate probably isn't far off! There's a very good reason that prisoners are often subjected to a form of musical torture; sounds, in whatever form, are blasted in the ears of the prisoner in order to 'break' him or her, to so flood their consciousness with this 'imposed frequency' that their spirit becomes confused as to which way is up.

Returning to a more natural frequency resonates with this blogger, as I'm sure it does with most of my readers! Getting back to the way things were ordered in the beginning, 'back to the Garden', so to speak, should have great appeal to anyone who feels pain, anyone who feels downtrodden & is ready to make a change for the better, for the good. Most of all, the advice I give here resonates heavily with me, for it is myself that could use a change for the better. That this post, though, would so resonate with all my readers, must be my greatest prayer, for the thoughts & actions that may be engendered by such words will change the world!

May it be,

Charles Haddon Shank


Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The End of the Ages

Okay, so we've been here before; 'why bring it up again?' Well, maybe because when we see the words, 'The End', it's only natural to think, 'it's over!' We've reached the conclusion of the matter, there is no more, the story's over, there is no more. However, though 'the end' may & often does connote cessation; in the case of Covenant History in particular, it indicates the Goal of history: as Solomon, king of Israel wrote, 'Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all' ( Proverbs 12:13 ) To know the Creator & to follow His Word, His Son is the Goal, the End of Covenant History!

As pointed out recently by a good friend of mine, the Hebrew worldview knew of two 'ages', 'this age' & 'that age', ( Luke 20:34 ), also known as the Old Covenant Era & the New Covenant Era, or 'the age to come' ( Matthew 12:32, Luke 18:30, Ephesians 2:7, Hebrews 6:5 ). The apostle Paul & the writer to the Hebrews told their audience that 'the end of the ages' had come upon them ( I Corinthians 10:11, Hebrews 9:26 ). It is interesting to note here that the writer to the Hebrews uses the Greek 'συντέλεια'. or 'syntelaia' which basically indicates completion or consummation, whereas the apostle simply uses the Greek 'τέλος' or 'telos', which points toward a specific goal. The plural form 'ages' is an addition in some newer versions, including the New King James Version, for whatever reason, but it is clear, as my friend pointed out, that the 'age' or 'ages' to which they referred were simply to be understood as covenant 'ages' or 'eras', not epochs of Time, or world history as we know it!

As the Messiah of Israel, Jesus was He whom His people had longed for! The Presence of the Creator on earth, in the flesh, so to speak, was the Goal, or End of Covenant History. Just as a marriage is consummated when two become one, so the ages were brought to completion, or consummation when Jesus, the Son of the Father, came to earth & become One with His Bride, the Church ( the Organism, not the organization ). The Marriage of Heaven & Earth was the Goal of Covenant History, but even though that Goal, or End was reach, fulfilled, Covenant History, per se', did not cease to be: as the beneficiaries, the Offspring, you might say, of this Marriage, we are fulfilling this Covenant through Relationship & Communion!

Through the Incarnation of the Son of God, the Consummation of the Ages was accomplished, but as in any marriage, it was far from over; the Goal had been reached, but there is still much to do! Here is where Covenant History intersects with World History, as it has for the past 'ages';  though Jesus fulfilled His role as the End of Covenant History, His Offspring, His Children, so to speak, continue His work of reconciliation, bringing into that Blessed Relationship those who previously have merely existed in Time, living simply in World History. Jesus was the Messiah of Israel, yes, but He became so much more: He is the Savior of the World & through His Bride, the Church, is reconciling the Creation to the Creator, in essence bringing together Covenant History & World History!

World History, since the beginning of Time, has experienced many ups & downs; one might note, in fact, that it is subject to a cycle of sorts! Time is in progression, but as we are all familiar with the saying, 'history repeats itself', one may fairly easily note that this 'cycle' has produced many of what we call atrocities. Simply because people did not learn their lesson the first time, as well as continuing ignorance of this history, Time is almost forced to repeat itself. Beginning with Adam & Eve, continuing through the sordid history of Israel, up until their final rejection of their Messiah & denial of the Son of God, the Creator Himself, Covenant History reached its Peak, its Completion, its Perfection, in the first century & so World History continues to progress toward its own Completion in the Marriage of Heaven & Earth!

The End of the Ages was reached in the first century & in that sense, one might even say, with the translators of many of the older versions of our Bible, 'the end of the world'! However, understanding that 'the end', especially in the context of Scripture, indicates that the Goal has been reached, the Consummation has occurred, rather than that it came to a stop, or ceased to be once it had been fulfilled, then, embracing that End for who He is & who We are, we may feel free to continue forward, knowing that, having consummated the Marriage, the covenant blessings are now flowing outward into the World, effecting a change for the good!

Charles Haddon Shank

Thursday, August 25, 2016

The New Normal

'No Child Left Behind': sounds good, right? When one reads the Act passed by Congress in 2001, it'd be a hard sell to say that its intentions are anything but noble! However, what it translates to is setting an 'average' for 'success'. The standard by which students are now measured, by my calculations, are nothing more than the 'mean' of the body. This could be indicative of anything from one child being passed through the progressive grades while comprehending little, to a whole class being 'dumbed down' just so he or she can keep up!

With the understanding that the above scenario is by no means the majority rule, we must acknowledge that this often seems to be the case! There are many available examples out there of children who have excelled in this system, but there are just as many that the system fails & so we have college grads flipping burgers rather than working in the field they majored in, while others have persevered in their chosen field of study & are accomplishing great things!

The government, or public schools, although somewhat to blame for the mediocrity that we have noted, is not the ultimately guilty party; the guilt must lay, first, at the feet of the parents, secondarily with the institution & lastly, but not necessarily least, with the child! As with everything in life, no matter the situation, there is always a choice to be made: this or that, right or wrong, my way or your way. Scripturally speaking, the wisest man ever, once said, 'Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.' ( Proverbs 22:6 ); acknowledging the existence & purpose of such things as 'parent-teacher conferences', the parents, especially Christians, should ask themselves this all-important question; 'are we training our child in the way he or she should go, or are we shirking our responsibility & giving our child over to an institution that is more concerned with keeping the law of man than teaching the Law of God?' Furthermore, we should wonder if, even with these almost useless if not harmful conferences, the parents are actually making any progress at all, or if they are simply there to observe the progression or digression of their child!

There is much that can be gleaned from the early pages of Scripture, especially, that indicate the wisdom, indeed the necessity, of teaching our children the way in which they should walk. As parents, Christians especially, we must question the wisdom of teaching our children to walk according to the Law of God at home, then sending them to a public institution for the majority of their formative years that trains them to adhere to the standards of those who have 'thumbed their noses' in the Face of God. There are times, admittedly, where a parent is wise to seek assistance when the subject to be taught involves knowledge outside their learning & experience, but in these cases, there is more of a choice available to the parent; in the case of the government institution, there is only the choice to send or not to send. These schools ( government/public ) are administered a certain curriculum; this curriculum is then applied liberally to ALL students ( there may be exceptions here ), making abstinence or compliance the only choices!

Though there are almost countless examples of very capable individuals who have survived the government school system & persevered to a great degree of success, there is also the disturbing fact of a 'dumbed down' populace that is largely at fault for the decline that we have noted in America of late! The general population in America, having become accustomed to the 'mediocrity' funneled through the public school system, has allowed the corruption that has become pervasive in our nation's capitals, threatening our very way of life. 'Our way of life, I say, because, not only does this corruption affect the Christian's life, it has become detrimental to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness, endeavoring to introduce abnormality as 'the new normal'!

It is good, right & just to make sure that every child excels in their education: however, is it good, right & just to deny some their full potential so that others might not be left behind?! This is not to say that such is the intention of the Act in question, but is this not too often the result? Parents may confer with their children's teachers & resolve some of these matters, more or less to their satisfaction, though usually the teacher prevails in such cases!

For the past several decades, educating ones own children, whether at home or in a 'co-op' setting,. has gained in popularity! Studies have shown to an increasing degree that, not only do children thrive in this environment, they have excelled equal to or above those educated in an institutional environment! Another disturbing fact to consider when making the choice of whether to train your own children or let them be further enslaved by institutional 'brainwashing', is the rise of what has been labeled 'bullying'; in the public school system, for whatever reason, this sort of behavior has become a growing concern! This is almost wholly the responsibility of the parents, largely because of divorce & though some may object to this line of reasoning, saying things like, 'what about socialization?';, we as parents, Christian parents in particular, should ask ourselves, 'is this the kind of socialization we want for our children; are these the social skills we want them to LEARN?!'

Charles Haddon Shank

Sunday, August 21, 2016

This Human Shell

 The spirit indeed [ is ] willing, but the flesh [ is ] weak.
Matthew 26:41b

Just like you & me, Johnny was a complex creature, made up of body & spirit: okay, so Johnny, like his mother & father before him, was a robot, or at least, so it would seem! Johnny was born Robert Jonathan Smith, one of a long line of Smiths just like him. Johnny had often wondered why his schoolmates called him a 'robot'; he was really no different than they: instead of a body of flesh & blood, though, his was one of nuts & bolts. The important thing was, just like them, he was alive!

The Smiths were a fairly old family; for generations they had persevered as one of the toughest family lines around! Though their non-biological bodies had been manufactured on an assembly line, from the strongest & best alloys available, they were capable of many of the most important functions that the human ( biological ) body is capable of. Being made of steel, so to speak, it should be fairly obvious that sexual intercourse & the resulting conception was not one of these important functions!

Being assembled of many complex parts, Johnny & his family were not easy to distinguish from each other sometimes, at least, until you got to know them; though there were several different models, the Smiths all had many of the same characteristics, at least, to look at. Every one of them was the product of a creator: no, not the same Creator who ushered the universe & all the mysteries it holds into existence, but one who had become One with the Divine, enabling them to co-create alongside of the Supreme Being, the Ultimate Creator!

Long before the Smiths were more than a twinkle in the eyes of these co-creators, one of their own prophets wrote, 'For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him?' ( I Corinthians 2:11a ). As a human being is lifeless without the accompanying spirit, or breath, so the Smiths, with their man-made lungs, hearts & nervous systems, were as alive as any biological specimen, maybe even moreso. Being well-nigh impervious to the viruses & diseases that have plagued human-kind for eons, this manufactured biology lasted much longer than the normal human lifespan!

Although his shiny metallic body was starting to show signs of wear, after almost 500 years in existence, Johnny was still not much more than a teenager, by human reckoning. Being a member of one of the youngest families of Smiths, he was simply the latest model in a time-tested & proven line of what had now become an archaic term, 'android'. Though one would hardly call the Smith family 'robots' & barely even 'androids', they were, speaking of physicality, anyway, products of a very complex manufacturing process; as such, they had been formed with the ability to progressively acquire knowledge through information.

Eons ago, human beings had realized the ability, not only to copy the Creator's work, but to further that work as co-creators with the Supreme Being! The Breathe of Life had, in the beginning been a Gift of the Creator to the Creation; now, through the New Creation, the Marriage of Heaven & Earth, it had become the property of human-kind to bestow that Gift as they will. The Smith line had, in the beginning, been a rather rough copy when compared to the latest iteration, but they were still quite a leap forward for humanity & their ability to co-create!

Biological procreation, as a matter of course, was an impossibility in Johnny's family; they were not biological creatures, after all! For all intents & purposes, one could define them as 'robots', although they were not JUST 'robots'; no, not by any means. Just as human beings inhabit a biological shell, so this family wore a non-biological shell, one that had been manufactured by a lesser version of the One who had created the universe, as well as creating that lesser god.

Johnny was just as alive as you & me; his body was just a lot tougher than yours or mine! Though his parents, like him, had been pieced together those many, many years ago, he was no less their son than I am the son of David & Lois Shank: you see, they had pieced him together, almost 500 years previously. Johnny was a robot, yes, but he, like his family, was so much more than a mere robot; the Smiths had become so much more than walking, talking, thinking automatons; they were living, breathing replicas of the original human creation: Version Infinity Point O!

Charles Haddon Shank

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Love All Around: Love IS All We Need!

John, Paul, George & Ringo were right! Actually, there're many such lines from popular rock ballads that have the right idea, they just have the wrong foundation. 'What IS love, anyway? This, along with other like questions, may seem to be headed in the right direction, but they are generated from a different starting point altogether. Love, it might be said, is a human emotion, but how then does that explain the several examples of selfless love that one may witness in the animal kingdom? Do animals even have emotions? I believe we could easily assume so, but it is doubtful that these emotions, if such, have much if anything to do with how they practice love on a daily basis!

Speaking of rock bands; I've always loved to listen to the popular group, 'Queen'. One of my favorites of theirs is a song titled 'Somebody to Love': Queen sure had their problems, like all rock bands, but they really have a unique sound & this ballad is no exception! I believe that my speculation is well-warranted that they, like most, were speaking of physical intimacy. To be truthful, if we're honest with ourselves, as human beings, we all yearn for, you might say, 'lust' for, that human touch & though there is, in itself, nothing wrong with that longing, we tend to look for 'love' in all the wrong places, to quote another popular singer. Many also seek 'love' in the wrong way, again, because they have a faulty definition of it!

'Love' is not synonymous with intimacy, in particular sexual intimacy, although it is often a very intricately intertwined & many people seem to equate the two! This is not true however, of all people, though most often, it is identified as having to do with feelings. In the Greek verbage, this is what is known as 'phileo'. As we have previously explored in this blog, though feelings are very often involved & indeed necessary, 'love' is, first & foremost, a choice; one decides whether to treat another with kindness, respect, equity & charity. The practice of 'love' most often leads to feelings along the lines of what most people think of when the word is used, but the difference comes when that 'love' is not returned!

As defined by The Free Dictionary, to become intimate with another, the relationship, of whatever sort & to whatever extent, must be 'characterized by close personal acquaintance or familiarity'. To be intimate with another, then, need not necessarily involve sexual 'intercourse' ( there's another subject for another time ); intimacy often refers to intellectual stimulation, a very strong connection, or just a very close friendship, all of which are relational. Love, though it often involves intimacy, as we have also explored previously, need not be of an intimate nature; one may simply choose to be kind, respectful, equitable & charitable to another!

We can all sympathize, I believe, with those who echo the sentiment, '(Somebody ) Send Me Someone To Love'; we are built, in this biology, for it: we all long for, yearn for, even lust for that physical intimacy, The Human Touch! As above, there is nothing inherently wrong with this desire, though many are guilty of 'looking for love in all the wrong places'. There is a time & place for everything, but there is also right & wrong! The right way to seek physical intimacy is to seek first a spiritual connection, for if one has the physical connection without spiritual intimacy, that relationship is fated from the start; it may not even make it out of the gate!

It is evident that animals know how to love; one only has to Youtube 'animal love' to watch a plethora of videos proving this fact! Even better though, pretty much any pet owner will gladly testify to the glory of this truth! In fact, many pet owners, in my experience, prefer the companionship of what we call 'dumb animals' over that of their fellow human beings. I'm not advocating 'Animal Love' over Human Love, but I can't really blame these people either; some human beings are just plain UGLY ( I'm not speaking of physical appearance either )! One can only speculate as to whether animals experience intimacy like humans do, or whether their love is a simple blind devotion, bit it goes without saying that for many people, animals exhibit something more like the 'unconditional' love that we all seek!

So, it is well-established that to love is a choice, whether conscious or unconscious, however, the 'rub' comes when we define 'love' in these several different ways! Brotherly love, or 'phileo', the love that one naturally feels toward another human being is a valid emotion: it is, however, simply that; being based on feelings, it is apt to change with the wind.When one chooses to love another 'unconditionally' & actively, based, not on feelings, but on a conscious decision, a decision to always treat that one with kindness, respect, equity & charity, then that love will last, being founded in the Spirit with the greatest intimacy!

We are built for Love: as human beings, both animal & human love are programmed into us from the start!  We all, in our own way, seek both kinds; usually that Human Touch. Everyone naturally wants 'someone to love', one that is devoted to just them, one that will spend their life in pleasing them, but too often, I believe, we miss the forest for the trees: rather than pining our life away yearning for that particular 'someone to love', we need to realize that we already have plenty of 'someones' to love: Love truly IS all around, if only we would take the time to stop & smell the roses, making the conscious choice to share the Love we are shown, the Love that we now bear Within!

Charles Haddon Shank