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

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

Thursday, May 17, 2018

The Body of the Christ; A Living Sacrifice

I beseech[a] you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, [ which is ] your [b]reasonable service.
Romans 12:1

To some, this amazing statement may be a very clear, plain one, but it seems, in this day & age, even among many Christians, to have lost much of its impact.What did the apostle mean when he penned these mysterious words? Most understand, at least in theory, that he was speaking of the offering of ourselves, our time to the service of God; ministering to/sharing with others the gifts that God has given us. This is true enough; we should offer our services, share our gifts, with those less fortunate, but does that really cover it?!

Of late, in the pages of this blog, we have explored the notion that, rather than Jesus' last name being 'Christ', just as 'Caesar' was not Julius', Augustus', etc. last name, but was simply a title; Jesus was the Christ, the Messiah for Israel. 'Christ' is the Greek equivalent, biblically speaking, of the Hebrew 'Messiah'. Etymologically speaking, the word 'Christ', meaning, 'the Anointed One', is closely related to & barely distinguishable from 'Chrism', or 'anointing ( oil )'. As a Christian, the arguments I have presented have been along these lines; 'though Jesus was the Christ, as presented to the Hebrews, then to the wider world through the Gospel; we, being the Body of ( the ) Christ ( scripturally speaking- I Corinthians 12:27 ) are thus the Christ as well, at least in potentiality!'

Whether one claims to be a Christian or not, seeking the good of others is the ultimate service, the highest good. Christianity is not the only religion that teaches this! As Christians, we have been taught to fear or despise these other religions, even though they may contain some semblance of truth, to view their subscribers as lost & in need of redemption in Jesus. In some sense, one could almost see the truth in such a statement, but only in the glorious fact that Jesus was the Christ. Not to be too repetitive, but Jesus was the Christ to the Hebrews! How many other 'Christs' ( 'Messiah's' ) have there been? To the Chinese, the Japanese, Nepalese, etc., etc. From the pages of the Bible, having been translated from the original Hebrew, Greek & Aramaic Scriptures, we read the claim that Yahweh was the One, True God & that Jesus was His Only Begotten Son. Jesus also made the ( somewhat ambiguous ) claim, 'I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me' ( John 14:6 ). Was Jesus not saying this simply as the Son? Are we not ALL Sons? Are we not, as Christians, the Body of ( the ) Christ?!
 
Whether Jesus said 'I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me' on His own ( human ) authority, or as the Son of God ( deity ), one may note the universal truth in this statement. Yes, as the Son of God, Jesus was the only Way ( for the Hebrews ) to the Father.
( Pardon me while we take a short side-trip ) Here is where a deeper understanding of the nature of the Scriptures is important; when Jesus made this statement, He was battling the false notion that salvation was of the Law. The Pharisees were the staunchest defenders of the Law in Jesus' Day & they thought the Law & their strict observance of it was their salvation. Jesus, however, came along to show that only the Christ was 'the way, the truth, and the life'!

Sons of God ourselves ( Jesus even said we'll do 'greater' things-John 14:12 ), it might well be noted that WE, just as Jesus was to the Hebrews ( Jews & Gentiles ), are 'the way, the truth, and the life'. Not in our humanity, necessarily, though that is not unattainable, but in our true nature, the Spirit Within, whether as a Christian, a Buddhist, or Hindu ( for example ). The Christ is the ONLY way to God & without going into physiological detail, suffice it to say that, as 'fearfully and wonderfully made' as these biological bodies are, it should not be at all surprising that the 'Chrism' lies within. Again, we are the Christ ( as far as that goes ) wherein we bear within us, in our human physiology, the means to do 'greater' things than even Jesus did. This is not to say that we would then be greater than Jesus, just that we mirror His work for the Hebrews to the rest of the world. This can be best accomplished, one might argue, as a Christian, but it could as successfully be argued that one doesn't have to be a Christian to love his or her neighbor!

Sacrificial living is a concept not well-known in this day & age, even among many so-called Christians! I say 'concept', but it is really a way, THE Way, of Life. Living sacrificially may mean giving ones biological life for another ( dying that another, or others might live ), but more to the point, offering ones body as a living sacrifice means 'dying to oneself' ( as the popular phrase goes ), giving precedence to the needs of others, though we must make sure that we ourselves are strong before we can strengthen others. To offer our bodies ( as ) a living sacrifice doesn't mean that, at every opportunity we should offer to take another's place on the chopping block; it means using ( not abusing ) our biological bodies as Jesus did ( for example-one can refer to Gandhi, the Buddha, etc. ), in service to the Collective.

Service is a dying art! Thanks be to the Creator of this wonderful biology; it is, however, making a comeback! This world in which we live seems to be chock-ful of selfish people, to the point of forcing others to die that they might live ( the life ( style ) they want ). This turmoil has a silver lining, though; it tends to bring out of the woodwork those who maybe had not previously manifested  that kind of life. War is hell, but as in all such disasters, this is the one good thing that transpires from it! 

To wrap things up; though it might actually include giving up ones biological life that another, or others might live ( it hasn't quite come to that in this country, yet ), sacrificial living means giving of yourself for the good of others, not to ones own detriment, by first coming to the realization that, in reality, there ARE no 'others'.  Sacrificial living means living in such a way as to benefit ALL, for really, we ARE ALL!

Charles Haddon Shank

Friday, May 11, 2018

The Sharist Returns!

Pain! Exruciating, almost unbearable pain: yet, at the same time, somehow comforting.....

There was darkness at first, the feeling of an engulfing moisture, but even that, though it almost felt smothering, was comforting too, even moreso, but in a different way.

As the pain subsided, the soul that had been known as 'Jacob' became more aware of its surroundings. There was no physical sense of sight yet, but used-to-be Jacob felt warmth, comfort &, yes, Love: Love had brought 'him' back  Love, 'he' knew, would carry the day. There were faint memories of the past, subtle familiarities, telling the soul that was Jacob's that everything would be okay, that this life would be easier, though more difficult, than previously. The blessings would be great, but the pain was only beginning!

Everything was not okay! Even at this stage, it was clear that something was not quite right. Even the fetus, unformed as it was, felt it. During creation, something foreign had entered the mix & all was not progressing as it normally should. The One formerly known as 'Jacob' felt all of this in its very being, though as yet, it was not mature enough to decipher these signals.As time wore on, it would become clearer & all would be revealed, but for now, all that mattered was that Time marches on & the responsive creation would be a blessing, though through hardship!

Time did indeed march on & the Day arrived when the Creation left the comfort of its 'egg' & emerged, sputtering gloriously, into the light of day, even though, at first, it seemed to be cold & cruel. At first, the bright was almost overwhelming, even though it was filtered through some kind of membranous covering. Gradually, the new creation become accustomed to the harsh realities of this glorious biology. He, for it was a 'he', continued to evolve, growing into the fully functioning human being that all others view as 'normal'. But, as Time continued its march in Infinity, others began to notice that something was a bit different about this One. Where others thrived, this One was clearly uncomfortable. Again, where others feared to tred, this One was not afraid to make waves, to go where others became uncomfortable. All of this is not to say that 'he' ( we'll call him 'Christopher' ) was perfect; not by any means! Though, in the greatest sense, 'he' WAS perfect, the perfect One for the situation, for those times.

Christopher was a normal human being in most respects. Growing up, as most fetuses will do, he had a mother & father, two loving co-creators who had carefully executed the existence of this new 'shell'. For a few years, Christopher seemed to be almost helpless when it came to doing anything for himself. This was fairly normal behavior though, so his parents didn't even seem to take note, though his mother surely hid these things in her heart. It was not till he had passed the age of accountability, as it is often called, interestingly enough, that others began to take note of what Christopher had known from the start. He was not 'normal'! Sure, he would often run, jump & play like the others, but something was different. What others found fulfillment in, Christopher became quickly bored with. He just didn't see the point in the ramblings of what others saw as 'normal'.

Christopher was a 'strange' one, at least, as viewed through the eyes of almost everyone with who he came in contact. A young man now, this One that had experienced such a normal beginning had begun to manifest certain traits, habits that would eventually set him apart from others. This is not to say that Christopher was somehow better than the others, he simply tended to make different choices & though his choices weren't always good, they weren't necessarily bad either, though they might have seemed to be 'evil', at the time. The choices that Christopher had become accustomed to making were not always made in his own best interests, he was human after all, although, for some strange reason, Time had a habit of proving that they were, indeed, for the betterment of humanity!

Although he had what many would call 'a hard life', Christopher explored the limits of his biology, proving to those others that it truly was the manifestation of the One that truly matters! In this life, he had learned to make different choices, based on his own experiences, as well as those of others. Not that, even now, Christopher's choices were the best for all concerned, though that was arguable, but his consciousness had evolved to a degree well beyond that it had previously enjoyed.  When it was Time for the next round, he felt certain, things would be different!

As Christopher's eyes closed for the last time, years later, there was a sensation of pain. When 'she' opened 'her' eyes, 'She' was aware..............

Charles Haddon Shank

Sunday, May 06, 2018

One World, One View

In the world of the 21st century, one might note, there are many different 'worlds' co-existing at the same time, side-by-side, so to speak. While this is an undeniably glorious fact, one might also note that herein lies the crux of the problem: there ARE many different 'worlds', yes, & while many of them enjoy a more or less peaceful co-existence, working side-by-side, as the case may be, some 'worlds' have clashed to the point, it might seem, of no return! Because these 'worlds' are inhabited, made up, really, by human beings, some more, some less, all with differing 'world-views', we hear a lot about wars & rumors of wars. With the Mainstream Media, for the most part, controlling what 'news' the American public sees, these events are often either blown out of proportion, down-played, or just not covered at all. Again, much of the cause for our disturbance lies in the fact that we all have our difference & most of us think our way is THE way: when others don't follow OUR way, most of us seem to think that everybody needs to kowtow to US, or else THEY are just not thinking right & must be brought around to OUR way of thinking; either that, or destroyed!

Our English Bible presents two worlds; the 'world' of the Jews & the 'world' outside the covenant that the Creator God ( 'YHWH' to the Hebrews ) made with the children of Israel, beginning with Adam & Noah, all the way up through David, Solomon & the kings of Israel, finally culminating in Jesus who was the Christ. Whether through misinterpretation or misunderstanding of the original text, most Americans, Christians in particular, have adopted, to differing extents, the notion of 'us versus them' , of our correct world-view as opposed to their incorrect one. It must be noted that a Christ-centered world-view is indeed the view that works best for all concerned, but again, the problem we run into, the brick wall, so to speak, is that everyone seems to have a different perception of what composes a Christ-centered, or Christian worldview!

In some sense, there ARE many world-views, or ways to view our world; one might even note that there are several different ways in which to view one's own particular 'world'. In such a case, just as in how one views the world at large; the choice is ours. Our perception of the world around us, whether it's the world at large, which we have relatively no control over, or our own particular 'world', over which we can exercise the greatest control, is what determines our worldview. As we noted above, particularly in the case of most Christians, the Bible, with its varied translations & perceptions, is also a big factor in determining one's worldview.  However, we should note that there is truly only one way in which we should view the world, both our own particular circle of influence & the larger scope of the global community. This way of viewing the world in which we live, though it includes what is often called 'the Christian worldview', is not necessarily Christian in origin, though it should be noted that it is what might be called 'Christ-centered'. Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism & the plethora of other Eastern religions, though they carry the key ( as does Christianity ) to this One worldview, are not the Way either!

The worldview of which I speak, Christ-centered as it is, is based upon the fact that the Christ dwells within us all! Now, before a brick wall is thrown up here & for some, it's probably too late already, when I speak of the Christ Within All, I simply mean that we all have a choice as to whether or not to manifest the Anointed One, which is the meaning of the Christ.. In much the same way, the Buddha, which simply means the Awakened One, is within the purview of every human being, within reason, of course. This is not to say that every human being alive or has ever lived has awakened the Christ or the Buddha Within, though numerous historical examples, for instance, Jesus Himself, could no doubt be named. To awaken the Christ Within, in fact, might in some sense be likened, even equated, with finding one's inner 'Buddha'!

The one that most think of when one names the Buddha, much like when one calls on the Christ, is the one we know as Gautama Buddha. As Jesus is the Christ of the Bible, so was Siddhartha Gautama the Buddha of most Americans limited knowledge. Again, before you hang me up by my toenails, I challenge you to, with an open mind & clear head, mentally review the sayings of Jesus & see if the Gospel I'm preaching has any merit! Yes, Jesus was the Christ! There is no other figure, within or without the pages of history, particularly the Bible, to make that claim, although there are arguably numerous ones who filled His shoes, so to speak.

Getting back to the One Worldview ( One- world View ), it cannot be stressed enough that, throughout this gloriously diverse world we live in, there are many & varied world-views. It is our diversity that make us the beautiful human beings we are, but is our spirit, our innermost being, that make us One. In fact, one might note, it is the human Ego which makes us manifest differently,which makes us perceive the 'world' as 'us & them'. When the human Ego clashes with another, remember, we ALL have a choice, the temptation is to say that it is only OUR perception which is the correct one; OUR way is the ONLY way & if the other ( which exists only in our mind ) doesn't see OUR point of view, then 'heaven help that poor, deluded soul!'

The 'world' that we, particularly as 21st century Americans, live in is NOT the same 'world' that Jesus lived in, though, looking at society today, one might note some frightening similarities! Though in some ways 21st-century America is not too far removed from Ancient Israel, it is very different; almost as far as east is from west, one might say. The Hebrews we read about in the Bible, living in a much different culture than we are used to, thus enjoyed a different economy, though one might say our own economy is based, however loosely, on theirs. Most American Christians, reading the Hebrew Scriptures, derive their worldview from their own perception ( or their pastor's or some great theologian's )| of what those same scriptures say. The One Worldview, or One-World View, may be found within those Scriptures, but it is not only with the Hebrew Scriptures that such Truth can be found. It is within the hearts of every living human being & it is there we must seek it, or it will never be unearthed!

To this end,
Charles Haddon Shank