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

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

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Love Without Judgement?

There's a lot of talk going around these days, even in the so-called Christian camp, about how we shouldn't judge: quoting Matthew 7:1, the argument goes something like this; 'the Bible says we shouldn't judge others, because if we do, we'll be judged'. Well, that's not quite true! First of all, we need to remember that Jesus spoke these words to a certain people, at a certain time, in a certain place. .Jesus told His first-century listeners ( Jews, mostly ) that when they judged others for not keeping the Law, they condemned themselves, for though they may have kept the letter of the Law, like circumcision, cleanliness & tithing, they ignored the weightier matters, 'justice and mercy and faith' ( Matthew 23:23 ). Jesus' words in Matthew 7:1 do not say that we shouldn't judge, only that we should be prepared to be judged in the same manner that we do judge!

'Unconditional Love' has been the topic of many conversations lately, as well. 'If only people could just love one another without judging each other', might be a representative statement. One might well ask, 'is it possible to love without judgement?' Many would immediately respond with, 'YES, just love; Love is all that matters!'.  Love IS all that matters, but then we must define Love; 'what IS Love?' A better question might be, 'Who is Love?!' According to I John 4:8, 'God is love'. If one follows the Law of God then, according to the apostle Paul ( Romans 13:10 ), one has loved another.

Some might say that hate is the opposite of love. Although there may seem to be some truth to this, nothing could be further from the truth! In this day & age, love seems to be defined more as a feeling than anything else; I love _______', or 'I hate ________'. Of course, these feelings may change & the one that was 'loved' one day may be 'hated' the next! The object of true ( holy ) hatred is not a certain person, though they are definitely on the wrong, or receiving end, but rather, it is the actions of any given person that should inspire hatred. If one is doing wrong, especially since that wrong will, at some point, come back to bite them in the ass, it is not unloving to tell them so. Not to tell them so, in other words, not to warn them, would in fact be unloving.

Biblical, or holy hatred is aimed more at ones actions, rather than at the person themselves; Jesus showed this when He congregated with those the Jews called sinners, more than He did with, say, the Pharisees, the religious ruling class. According to John 8:1-12, Jesus did not condemn the woman caught in adultery for this very reason. The Pharisees sought to condemn her, or rather force Jesus to condemn her, but Jesus knew they were guilty of the same crime.

The phrase, 'hate the sin, not the sinner' is thus true; while we should deplore sin in whatever form it appears, rather than hating the wrongdoer & furthering the wrong, we should lovingly alert that one to his or her crime, warning them of the consequences to come. If they will not listen to us & continue in their particular crime, then we have done what is required of us, to love our neighbor as ourselves but if they do listen & cease their unlawful actions, then, according to Scripture ( Matthew 18:15-17 ) we have gained a brother or sister.

As it is impossible to love without some sort of judgement, so it is impossible to have a right or holy hatred without just judgement. In order to love rightly, one must judge for themselves, first of all, what it truly means to love. After they have determined what love truly is, then they must judge how best to show that love. Thus with a holy hatred; one must determine what is the true object of that hatred before one can truly & rightly hate. Scripture teaches us that a true & righteous hatred is reserved for that which the Creator God loathes, nothing else!

To love unconditionally does not then, mean to love with judgement! To go around, as some do, telling everyone you love them is one thing, but to act on that statement is another. It's fine to tell someone you love them, but unless we show them that love by acting according to the Laws of Nature & Nature's God, our words are less than useless. Love without judgement is no love at all, for even in determining not to judge, one has made a judgement & unless one determines to love another, he or she may as well have murdered them!

Judgement is a funny thing; like a two-edged sword, it cuts both ways! Judgement can be for good or evil, right or wrong. To judge rightly, whether in matters of love or hate, one must have a true, biblical understanding of both. To have a holy hatred, one must understand what the Creator God hates & why. To rightly & truly love, as well, one must know what it means to love. If we would like to be judged in the same way we judge others, then we'd better make sure ours is a righteous judgement!

Charles Haddon Shank

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

A Future Destiny

They say that time flies when you're having fun. He 16th birthday was looming already & she was having the time of her life..........................er, something like that, anyway. With such an interesting beginning in this existence, Jim & Sharon knew that she was destined for greatness, but the whirlwind that the past 16 years had been was nothing like they expected! When Jim received the call that fateful evening, he had no clue what his affirmative would mean for him & his barren wife.

Jim had never been very close to his sister, though 'God knows' he had tried, so when he heard Destiny's voice on the line, he was taken aback & rendered speechless for a time. Jim loved his sister, always had, in his own way, but had never really been able to figure out the best way to show it. Therefore, he had remained silent, letting his sister suffer alone. When he heard his sister's plea that day, therefore, Jim was all ears! 'I'm dying', she told him. 'I've lived a wild life ever since I left home & it's finally caught up to me!' Destiny next asked her brother a question that would change his & Sharon's life forever.

'Would you raise Sarah for me?' With barely a moment's hesitation, just long enough to signal for his wife to pick up the extension, Jim replied that he would be honored. Sharon, when she became aware of the situation, immediately echoed her husband. Not knowing much about Destiny, for Jim had never talked much about his estranged sister, Sharon instinctively knew this was the chance she had been waiting for. They had found out, soon after the wedding, that she could never bear children, so when Destiny made this strange request, both Jim & Sharon knew that they had been given a second chance!

From the beginning, they knew this was no ordinary child! The day that Sarah arrived at the local airport, Jim & Sharon noticed immediately that she was more aware than any newborn they had ever known. With bright, attentive eyes, Sarah looked out on her new world with a steadiness, almost an understanding of her surroundings that surprised all with whom she came in contact. The caretakers that had brought the child to her new home barely even noticed the fact that this was no ordinary child, but her new parents picked up on it immediately.

On the short ride home from the airport, Sharon remarked to her husband, through her tears, how blessed they were to have received this Gift. As Jim piloted the vehicle down their long, paved driveway, he fought the lump in his throat while a stray tear coursed down his face. He HAD been given a second chance; a chance to prove his love for the sister he had barely known. Raising Destiny's Child, he knew, would not turn back the sands of time, but maybe, just maybe, he could redeem himself by showing her the love he had failed to show her mother!

Jim & Sharon Weatherbey were well-to-do. They were not as fabulously wealthy as some, at least not as wealth is most often measured in this world, but neither did they lack. With Jim pulling in six figures as an independent contractor & Sharon doing a computer-based business from home, there was plenty to share. The lifestyle they led barely showed their affluence either; the Weatherbeys led a fairly quiet life, not wanting to make a big fuss.  They had a beautiful 4 bedroom house, with a two-car garage that housed a late model pickup for Jim & a nice, modest little SUV for Sharon. They were surrounded by nearly 30 acres of land, including several large groves of trees & a well-appointed man-made pond.

Jim continued to reflect on the Gift they had been given, while he brought the vehicle to rest in its spacious home. Moving past his wife, who seemed in a hurry to introduce their new child to her new home, he opened the door that led into the kitchen, stepping back with a flourish. 'Aren't you going to carry us across the threshold?' Sharon asked, almost jokingly. With no hesitation, Jim scooped up both his bundles of Joy & proudly carried them through the welcoming open door!

When his wife & the baby were securely ensconced in his mother's old rocking chair, Jim knelt before them both & enfolded them in his arms, while the tears finally fell freely. Mingling hers with his, they stayed in this position for what seemed like hours before Jim finally raised his head. With a husky voice still full of tears, he first apologized to his wife for not discussing his sister with her like he should have, then thanking her for allowing him to take the second chance that he, or they rather, had been given. Still fighting tears herself, Sharon could only hold onto him tighter, almost forgetting, for the moment, that Sarah was enjoying the same embrace.

The next few years were no picnic! The Weatherbeys, don't get me wrong, thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it, but raising a child like Sarah, with such an obvious Destiny, was no easy task. From the day she had arrived on their doorstep, Destiny's Child demanded their undivided attention. She was so aware of her surroundings, while at the same time, everything was so new to her that Sarah often resorted to tears of frustration, largely due to the fact that her tiny, immature body was usually unable to keep up with her 'old soul' & independent, free spirit.

Raising Sarah was certainly an adventure, even a rather painful one sometimes, but Jim & Sharon never held a moment's regret for their quick decision those many years ago. Sarah was not always the easiest child to raise, for she was still a child, at least, in her body & Jim spent many hours in tears, because every time he watched Sarah, he could not help reliving that time so long ago when he had watched his sister struggle through life. While he had not been able to love his sister like he wanted to, he was now able to shower her Gift with all the love he held for her.

When Destiny finally caught up with Jim those many years later, he was more than ready to love this sister that it seemed he barely knew anymore. She told him enough of her adventures, or rather, misadventures, that he was pretty certain he didn't want to know anymore. She had changed, this beloved sister of his & now she was ready for a new beginning. With Sarah in a good home, a family that loved her & better prospects, Destiny knew that this was the second chance, the greater purpose she had been longing for.

_________________________________________________________________________________

Destiny's Story is not an unfamiliar one & as we continue to follow it, some parts of it, to whatever extent, will likely resonate with us, whether because we, a friend or relative has gone or is going through a similar storm. The Second Chance that she received should hold out for all hearers
( readers ) that when we fail, there is always the next time, another chance to right the wrongs of our own world. Even death itself does not bring an end to the Story!

Charles Haddon Shank

Monday, June 12, 2017

Lucifer; Bringer of Light ( A Companion to 'Who is this 'Satan'? )

You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.
Matthew 5:14

Okay; so in the past few days I have found myself being assaulted by 'Satan'!

No, seriously, 'Lucifer' himself has me under attack, but I know why! Better yet, I know who he is, I can control 'him'! ( Sorry for all the personal pronouns, but just insert 'we' where applicable. ) The 'lower' mind, our basest chakra, if you will, likes to control our emotions & therefore our actions, but we must overcome 'him'; just as the Lord told Cain, 'If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire [ is ] for you, but you should rule over it' ( Genesis 4:7 ). We have a choice, we can choose to act the part of 'Lucifer', or we can choose to act the part of 'Satan'!

'Satan', as my readers might remember, is simply Hebrew for 'adversary.'. Though this, in itself, does not rule out the possibility that there might, after all, be something to the relatively modern rendition of the old goat with a pitchfork, the biblical evidence is too overwhelming to the contrary for this blogger to understand the concept of 'Satan' as anything other than an adversarial spirit. When people blame their problems on 'Satan' or 'Lucifer', then, though the notion still rankles me somewhat, I find that I must agree!

'How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer,[b] son of the morning!' Speaking through the prophet Isaiah ( Isaiah 14:12 ), YHWH began what most perceive as a judgement on this 'Satan' character. 'Lucifer', as further study will show, means 'Day Star'. A Google search may even reveal that 'Lucifer' is another name for 'Venus', or what we often call 'the morning star'. This planet is often mistakenly called both the 'morning' & 'evening star' because it is the first one visible to the naked eye before dawn & after dusk. Usually uttered with a bad connotation & used interchangeably with 'Satan', 'Lucifer' is anything but & so, one might recall these words from the apostle Paul in his second letter to the Church at Corinth ( 11:14 ), 'And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light'!

As 'the light of the world', it is we who often place ourselves under a certain condemnation when we fail to live up to our 'name' In Paul's day, it was the Judaizers, the apostate Jews, those who denied that Jesus was the Christ, who, as those who were ( supposed to be ) 'the light of the world', failed to recognize the True 'Light of the World' when He appeared. These, who were sent as angels ( messengers ) of light, had taken the position of adversary ( 'satan' ) against the cause of the Christ!
  
Jesus was sent, as the Christ, the Son of the Creator God, being of the same Essence. So too, being of the same Essence with both Jesus & our Heavenly Father, we are Sent Ones. We are the Light of the World in the exact same sense as Jesus was the Light of that world! Though we often fail to shine that Light as we should, or think we should, we are still the Light of this world & it is when we fail to acknowledge or recognize this glorious fact that our Light is dimmed.

Getting into the more esoteric & astrological studies, even into what many would term 'New Age' or 'eastern mysticism' , one may ascertain that, 'as above, so below': our human bodies are fashioned in much the same manner as the heavens above & when we fail to realize this, not acting according to this knowledge, we find ourselves prone to all sorts of 'disease', even when it comes to functioning as the 'Light of the World'. On the other hand & to a far greater degree, when we realize our true position in the Universe, our Light so shines before men & women that they cannot help but praise our Father in Heaven, even though they may not acknowledge Him!

Addressing the king of Babylon, YHWH reminded him that, while his purpose was to preserve the People of the Light in their exile, he had, in his own pride, striven to gain the ascendancy. In much the same manner, it is our pride which causes us to fall. However, when we fall, for we always do, we can choose to rise to the occasion, like the bright & morning-star ( Revelation 22:16 ) that we are, or we can choose to settle in the dust!

The greatest adversary in our lives is usually us, our pride, our ego! This is what Cain fought against & what a multitude after him, both in biblical history & otherwise, fought. We continue, to this day, to fight against this 'demon'. Again, though, it is up to us; it is our choice as to whether we give in to our baser instinct, like mere animals, or whether, as the New Creation, we rise above our meaner nature & shine forth as the 'Light of the World'.

Some may say that we're dreamers, but we're not the only ones! As the Children of the Highest, it is in us to shine! Because of a failure to understand what that truly means, we do not shine as brightly as we could, maybe, but even though as through a glass dimly, we still shine. As we continue to realize & acknowledge our place among the stars, we will shine ever bright in the Perfect Day!

The conclusion of the matter, then: BE a 'Lucifer', not a 'Satan'!

Charles Haddon Shank


Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Clothed with the Christ

For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.( Galatians 3:27 )


For we know that if our earthly house, [ this ] tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. For we who are in [ this ] tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life. ( II Corinthians 5:1-4 )

We must keep in mind, first & foremost, that the apostle Paul wrote these words to a certain, specific people, at a certain, specific time in history. These words of comfort were written specifically to Gentile believers to encourage them in the fact that, though they were not of the peculiar people who had been chosen to spread the Gospel under that first ( covenant ), they had indeed been integrated into that number, having inherited the Blessings of the New Covenant through their acceptance of the Christ, the One who was Sent to redeem True Israel!

Baptism into the Christ, in that day & age,  meant that they, along with the Jews, Yahweh's chosen people, would inherit the Kingdom of Heaven. It was the accepted sign of their inclusion into the New Covenant, not like circumcision, which was merely an outward sign, but the inner reality to which circumcision had pointed ( Deuteronomy 30:6 ). Using the language of Genesis 3, the apostle assured the Gentile believers that they too had been clothed with Righteousness of the Son of God. 

In this Day & Age, to be clothed with the Christ means much the same, yet with this important difference; as the Body of Christ, which was the apostle's way of differentiating between that first ( covenant ) & the New, or the first Adam & the Last Adam, those who lived & died during that transitional period (  the crucifixion of Jesus to the destruction of the Temple ) were waiting for that time when they would be freed from the bondage that still plagued them: we are no longer waiting for that freedom, having inherited the Kingdom which they were promised.

Jesus told His Disciples, 'I [ was ] naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me' ( Matthew 25:36 ) Really, this is what it means to be Clothed with the Christ. The brother of Jesus corroborated this when he wrote, 'Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, [ and ] to keep oneself unspotted from the world.' ( James 1:27 ) Although not in so many words, maybe, the point of what Jesus & His brother said was that our actions, not our words ( beliefs, doctrines ) define who we are. Being clothed with the Righteousness of the Christ means that we are doers, not just hearers or sayers!

The Christ, as personified in Jesus, was/is the God-man! When He walked the Land back in the day, Jesus did many things, but maybe the simplest was that, when He saw a need, He did everything He could to meet that need. Jesus, as the Son of the Creator God & The Creator God Himself, according to accepted orthodoxy, did many miracles, such as raising the dead, healing the sick with a word & walking on water. Most would say that we may be able to imitate Jesus, doing what He did, in a manner of speaking, but some things are just too far beyond our reach. Well; it's almost unthinkable, but Jesus DID say, 'he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater [ works ] than these he will do, because I go to My Father.' ( John 14:12 )

Jesus also told His Disciples, according to Luke's Gospel, 'Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem[i] until you are endued with power from on high.' ( Luke 24:49 ) The question might be asked here, 'was this Power for which they waited any less that that which Jesus Himself wielded?' Many would likely say 'yes' ( if they'd even countenance such a notion ), but we must ask ourselves if we truly DO wield less Power, especially considering what Jesus said about doing greater things!

'Greater' might simply mean that they/we continue His work of reconciliation. In that case, it's true enough; we have the power to reconcile with one another, even to orchestrate reconciliation on a greater scale, but I'm not sure that covers it. It would be enough, probably, but there's so much more! If Jesus turned water into wine by the Power of the Creator God, who's to say that we can't. Because Jesus healed from a distance, by the same Power we have at our disposal, is it outside the realm of possibility that we can as well?

Despite the fact that we could do so much more than we allow ourselves, there is a lot that humanity has accomplished, many miracles that continue to occur on a daily basis. Such 'miracles', whether made possible through Science & Technology or what, occur only by the Power of the Creator God. It is 'in Him we live and move and have our being' according to the apostle Paul in Acts 17:28, He, as the Creator & Sustainer of the Universe, has endued us with all that is necessary for the subsistence of biological life, but this biological existence is not all there is!

As the Christ, Jesus showed His contemporaries that it was possible for a Man to be God! Jesus wielded the Power of the Creator God, there is no doubt; no Man could accomplish the feats that Jesus did with apart from this Supernatural Agency. Since we, however, are endued with this same  'power from on high', it follows that we, a Sons & Daughters of the Creator God ourselves can accomplish the same feats that Jesus did & greater! So, why aren't we?!

Charles Haddon Shank

Friday, June 02, 2017

Universal Salvation

'Am I alive, or dead?'

'We don't have to think like that any more. We're together now.'
 'Everything we've done is forgiven. Everything.'
Chris & Rheya Kelvin-Solaris

'True universalism is the scope of the gospel, not some antiquated 'doctrine' that says all are 'saved' & going to Heaven when they die, no matter how they have lived in this world!' 

In theological terms, 'universalism' is the belief that all humanity is 'saved' & headed for 'Heaven'.  Most or many Christians deny this of course, some most voraciously, while others have embraced this theology & call themselves 'Christian Universalists'. Christian Universalism, in general terms, teaches a Universal Reconciliation, in essence, that all humanity will eventually be saved. Numerous different Scriptures ( I Timothy 4:10, I John 2:2, et al ) seem to indicate that this is true insofar as the Creator God has reconciled the world to Himself ( II Corinthians 5:19 ( Romans 11:5 ), though the world, in its totality, has not ( yet ) reconciled itself to the Creator God

The Wikipedia article on the subject puts it this way; 'Universalism is a theological and philosophical concept with universal application or applicability. Universalist doctrines consider all people in their formation.' In other words, while the Gospel, in terms of the Scriptures, was presented, or revealed, to the Hebrew nation, or Israel, its message was given to spread from there throughout the world, to all of humanity. The Gospel, or 'Good News' is that the Creator God invested Himself into His Creation, by placing His Image in them, thus making them His Living Temple. Again, because all have not ( yet ) reconciled with their Heavenly Father, it should be clear that not all fulfill or realize this function!

The Story that we read in Scripture is indeed the Story of Israel:the 'Good News of Salvation' was a message primarily for the Jews, although it included the Gentiles as well. With the fulfillment (
 filling up ) of the Gospel ( Colossians 1:23 ) & thus the fulfillment of salvation, the question has surfaced about whether it is proper to continue the use of this terminology ( 'salvation' ). The traditional Christian doctrine of salvation, including the doctrine of Heaven & Hell is thus brought into question, since the salvation that Jesus, as the Jewish Messiah, brought, was primarily for them. Thus, it could well be argued, were the constructs of Heaven & Hell. It has been shown that the traditional doctrine of Hell is not so much a biblical construct as a mythological Greek one.

Evangelical Christianity teaches, in other words, maybe, that Jesus came to save us from our sins & an eternity in Hell; more correctly, though, it should be noted that He came to deliver the Jews from their self-imposed Exile & to save them from the biblical 'Lake of Fire'. In Jewish literature, this has been shown to be 'gehenna', or the Valley of Hinnom outside Jerusalem & mistranslated as 'hell'. As this was all accomplished in the first century with the destruction of Jerusalem, the leading question of whether people today are saved from Hell, is rendered all but moot!

The Salvation that Jesus the Christ brought to the Jews was thus fulfilled; those chosen 'before the foundation of the world' ( Ephesians 1:4 ( Matthew 25:34 ) having escaped to the mountains, as Jesus instructed ( Matthew 24:16 ), while the rest perished in the fiery 'hell' of AD70. The doctrine of Salvation, then, or Soteriology, must be understood, not as salvation from the traditional concept of 'hell', but as a deliverance from the bondage which exists, ultimately & only within our own minds!

People, in particular, those suffering from religious indoctrination, to whatever extent, often feel separated from their Heavenly Father when they fail to live up to their calling. Although there is something to this, it is not so much an actual separation as it is simply a feeling of guilt, a self-imposed exile if you will: this feeling might be likened to our earthly fathers whose presence we tried to avoid when we knew that we had failed them in some way. Sooner or later, usually sooner rather than later, they found us & reassured us of their continued love for us, even though we may have been 'reprimanded', however harshly, for our mistake.

The Story of Israel, as we have noted previously, is the Story of Humanity. Although we skate on thin ice when we endeavor to place ourselves in their Story, we can see many similarities. Since the Advent of the New Covenant, though, there is much that has changed;  for one thing, we are no longer under Law, though many Christians seem to think we are, but we are under Grace, to use Scriptural terminology. We are not waiting for a Messiah, political or otherwise, to show up & deliver us from the 'hell' we created; in the same 'vein', we are not waiting for all things to be made anew, for we are, as the apostle Paul wrote, 'a new creation' ( II Corinthians 5:17 ). Here too, we must remember that in speaking of being found 'in Christ', Paul was speaking directly to his contemporaries, both Jew & Gentile, not to us!

Both 'Heaven' & 'Hell', in some sense, exist, here on earth! In the sense that we enjoy the Presence of our Heavenly Father, we live in 'Heaven'. However, there are those who purposefully flout the Laws of Nature & Nature's God; more often than not, these find themselves in their own private 'hell' ( although sometimes, it's not very private ). In some sense, then, we might almost understand 'salvation' today as deliverance from 'hell', while those who enjoy the Blessings of the New Covenant do not have to die in order to enter 'Heaven'!

With the fulfillment of the Story of Israel came the Fulfillment of Salvation! Though, as we have borne witness to, there are those who have committed such acts of atrocity that there seems to be no hope of reconciliation. Some even, who still cling, however tenaciously, to life, seem to stubbornly refuse to reconcile with their Heavenly Father & with His Son, the Christ. For such as these, we may only dare to hope & pray, with Love!

The Hope for Salvation to which most, if not all people cling, to whatever extent & in whatever form, is a universal construct. Many seek such 'salvation' outside themselves , but it is only to be found through the Christ Within, for it is through the choices we make that one lives in 'Heaven' or 'Hell'!

'Universalism' then, TRUE 'universalism', is not so much the belief that everyone will eventually be saved, as it is the belief that it is our own choices & our acceptance or rejection of the Good News of the Christ Within which determines whether or not we enjoy the Blessings of our Inheritance. The Scope of the Gospel, or Good News to Israel was, ultimately for all mankind; it was not, as many in Israel thought it should be, exclusive to those within Israel. The inclusiveness of the New Covenant is ultimately freeing & truly Good News; only those who realize & accept its blessings will enjoy them, it is true; however, one cannot simply place limits on something that is limitless!

Charles Haddon Shank

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Rest in Peace

There is a temple without walls, marble columns or polished halls
Built upon the living stone, made for you, and you alone

It isn't far from where you stand, distracted by this world's demands
Just inside, and up the stair, a friend is sitting, waiting there.

These are the first few lines of a song by Christian artist Don Francisco. In his immortal words, the artist shows how we, the People of God, are the dwelling-place of the Most High & because we are His dwelling-place, we can have peace in the midst of turmoil. While the cares of this world cannot fail but touch us; because we have His Spirit Within, we can weather any storm, overcome any obstacle.

It is a well-established fact that the best way to live is in Community: oh, sure, it's possible to live, for a time, without its many blessings, but sooner or later, we all need that infusion of life-blood: otherwise, like a plant without water, those who try to live apart from Community end up dry & useless. The blessings of Community are still present, but unless one accepts that most basic of needs, they will end up with no root & blown about by the wind!

Covenant is the most important aspect of Life! Without Covenant of some sort, to whatever extent, it is impossible to survive even the smallest of storms. In order to even subsist, one must accept their need for food, water & all that is necessary for biological life. While this acknowledgment may not be considered by most to be a covenant; even though it be unspoken, it is a covenant nonetheless, for unless we acknowledge these most basic needs, we will not long survive the storms that batter us on a daily basis.

Love too, is a most basic need. Without Love, Life itself would cease to exist! One can go out about the day-to-day drudgery of this biological life, but without some sort of manifestation of Love, no matter how faint or shallow,  they will soon tire of this existence & be ushered off this mortal coil, so to speak. Food & water, the most basic needs of biological existence, would not be possible without the Providence of the Creator, for the rain that makes the plants grow, even the bountiful waters that flow, come ultimately from His Almighty Hand!

Scripture speaks of a Temple 'made without hands' (  Mark 14:58 ( Daniel 2:45 );  Further study shows that we, the People of the Creator God, ARE that Temple! The Psalmist wrote, 'in His temple everyone says, “Glory!' ( Psalm 29:9b ); it is in His Temple, in His people, that the Creator God is glorified! In His Temple, only Love is spoken, for in His Temple is only Love. The Scriptures also say that 'God is love' ( I John 4:8 ); since He is Love, so must we be ( I John 4:17 ( John 9:5 )! That Love is best expressed in Covenant Community!

The Covenant Community can take several different forms: it may consist of a group of people who have signed a written agreement to live together in unity, or it may simply involve living in community, no matter ones geographical location.  The Psalmist, again, as the voice of the Creator God, speaks of 'Those who have made a covenant with Me by sacrifice' ( Psalm 50:5b ); Living in Love is sacrificial living! In order to truly Love another, one must be willing to give up, or sacrifice, ones own desires for the good of another, or others. Is this not the example that the Christ set for us when He walked this earth?

Food & Water, Light & Love; all these are necessary to the existence of biological life, but is that all there is to Life? Jesus told His disciples, 'I have food to eat of which you do not know' ( John 4:32 ). We know that He was not referring to physical substances, like bread & wine, for example, so more important to Life than its biological counterparts is the spiritual sustenance of which Jesus spoke.

You may have heard that, 'No man is an island'; a truer statement has never been made! History has proven that while some have apparently been able to exist for some time without the constituent elements of Community ( although one can never get away from Covenant ), but, before long, one must be revitalized or this biological life will pass away like a shadow! The need for Love, though often unspoken, is the greatest of necessities; if one does not have Love, in its many varied forms, one has nothing!

In the Temple of the Creator God, otherwise known as the Covenant Community, Love abounds! Only Love is spoken there, for Love is all there is. Love has many different guises, many of which are not recognized as such in today's world, but simply because they are not recognized, or acknowledged as such; the glorious & unchanging fact remains: we ARE Love!

Charles Haddon Shank

Monday, May 29, 2017

The Awareness of Being

Is it possible to DO all the right things, relatively speaking, without BEing aware of ones true nature? Most certainly! Many who view themselves as mere, sinful human beings have done marvelous things in the name of Love. However, when one realizes the fullness that they, themselves, are partakers in the Divine Nature ( II Peter 1:4 ), then, unhindered by the false understanding that they are prone to sin, that one will the more readily exercise ( manifest ) the Christ-Consciousness & exhibit the Christ before the world.

Taken at face value, the Hebrew Scriptures, as we read in our English Bibles anyway, seem to be focused on the physical aspects of life. However, we see Jesus, in the Gospels, turning that understanding on its head when He told His audience that it was the thought that counted. He told them that if they merely hated their brother in their heart ( secretly ), it was as if they had murdered him ( think Cain & Abel ). Jesus had a lot to say about the Kingdom of Heaven as well, especially about its nearness; He told the Pharisees that it was not something they could observe, but that the Reality was something that only manifested from within.

The apostle Paul told his readers that the Kingdom of Heaven did not consist of everyday activities like eating & drinking, nor was it something that would be entered into by physical bodies ( 'flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God'-I Corinthians 15:50 ), rather, the Kingdom was manifested from within & was made known in their actions, 'righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit' ( Romans 14:17 ). Jesus, Paul & the other apostles all made clear that it was the inner, working through the outer, which decided the issues of life.

We are all children of the Creator God; Scripture makes that clear! What is not so clear to some, is whether 'all' means 'all' or just those who, as the Psalmist wrote, 'have made a covenant with Me (YHWH ) by sacrifice'  ( Psalm 50:5b ) We know that 'all' are Creations of the Creator God, but most Christians would have trouble acknowledging that we are thus 'all' Children of our Heavenly Father. As Children of our Heavenly Father, 'all' of us, we must then be aware that 'we' are of the same Essence. Being of the same Essence, the realization that we are, by nature, Divine, should not be far behind. Our Divinity, however, does not mean that we will never fail; though we are perfect ( Hebrews 10:14 ); because of our selfish ego, we, in the flesh, so to speak, often fail to follow the dictates of our heart, or what is called our 'gut instinct'.

The biblical Story of Cain & Abel gives a good example of a bad choice made through the selfish ego. Because his brother made an acceptable sacrifice, as opposed to Cain's, which was not, Cain quickly grew to hate his brother so much that he decided to murder him! He was no less a son, in fact, of Adam's, because of his bad decision, though he was banished from their presence: some might call that a metaphorical or separational death. It was through the exercise of this same selfish thinking that his father, Adam, had sinned in the first place & experienced separation from the Blessed Presence of the Creator God by being banished from the Garden.

The apostle wrote to the Church at Corinth, who were enamored with philosophy, 'what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him?' ( I Corinthians 2:11 ) The Truth of this statement should lead us to the realization that it is not through philosophizing with our mind, or ego, that our true nature is manifest, but that our true nature is manifest, or known, only by that same nature; Descarte's famous statement, 'I think, therefore I am', is therefore dis-proven. We are who we are, not because we think, or believe we are such, but because we are of One Essence with the Creator God!

Actions, to a great degree, prove the thoughts of humanity! Though not always the case, it is through our actions that what we really, truly believe comes shining through. One may claim to believe thus & thus, but when it comes right down to it, that one will often act in opposition to their stated belief; on the other hand ( the other side of the coin, so to speak ), another may not claim to believe any certain thing, yet act rightly, in accordance with the Truth, though that one may not claim it to be Truth.

The Kingdom of Heaven, Jesus & the apostles told us, is not something visible, though we manifest it through our righteousness, our justice. Even though the best of us does not always manifest the Kingdom Principle through our actions, the Kingdom of Heaven is present with us. When we become aware of this, when we become aware of our Divinity, our true nature, we are thus freed to pursue our course without all the hang-ups, the burdens that the oppression of centuries of religious teaching has taught us about ourselves & ultimately, the Nature of the Creator God!

We have noted previously that, despite the lack of awareness of their True Nature, many throughout history have been very successful in propagating, or bringing to realization the Kingdom of Heaven. Without understanding the True Nature, maybe, of the Kingdom, they have manifested it through their actions.

The complaint of the majority today when the presence of the Kingdom is mentioned is that 'this can't be the Kingdom, because look at all the evil that goes unchecked, it would seem, around us!'Sometimes this reasoning might seem hard to argue with, but for the fact that, as we saw, it is through our actions that the Kingdom is manifest. If one is unaware of the Kingdom around him or her, it is because the actions of those surrounding him or her are not following the Kingdom Principle!

 The Presence of the Kingdom of Heaven in each one of us is an undeniable fact! It is through the choices we make that it is manifest, however. When we fail to manifest it before the world, it does not mean that the Kingdom is no longer present; it just means that those around us may find it more difficult to realize it, to become aware of it. When we follow the Great, Universal Principle, we find that awareness comes much more easily; awareness, not only of those surrounding us, but our own awareness, or realization, of the Divine Nature of all!

Charles Haddon Shank






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