Being number #1

Jesus had a connection with children. We would be suspicious of that today I think.

Avery is a growing child. The daughter of someone I love like a sister. Avery writes with clarity and simplicity. It reminds me of me before I made everything complicated. And then spent the following decades unpicking it all to reclaim clarity and simplicity. I think that’s what Jesus sees in children – clarity and simplicity. It makes “the greatest of these” easy-peasy.

So Avery, with Melissa’s permission and oversight, if you want to join the (mostly absent) Church Set Free list of authors – please let me know and I will make it happen.

I think Jesus was on to something 🙂

Thank you Avery.

Meditations for Kids

Hi I am Avery, Melissa’s other daughter. I would like to share with you about kindness and your part in the world.

I think everyone can show kindness. A lot of people find it hard to show it. For most people it is hard because they either have stress, anger or just are not in the right mood. Well just so you know, everyone feels the same way at times. We are all human beings with feelings. Just because you are in a bad mood does not mean you still can’t show kindness. Actually showing kindness puts you in a better mood. Let’s say you are mad at someone, after if you apologize and be kinder to that person it puts you and them in a better mood. It is a win-win! You don’t always have to be perfect though, everyone makes mistakes,. You just have to try your best…

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What is a disciple?

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“Was being saved a good thing, Paul?

At the time – yes. It connected me with something bigger.  It connected me with something eternal. It connected me with …

“It” – you use the word “it”. Is that all this is?

Is that all I am – “it”?

At the time no – but since … yes.”

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What is a disciple?

I was taught that once I was saved I could be many things one of which was to be a disciple.

I was taught that I was a follower, a replicator, an evangelist (in the true sense of the word), someone in touch with their unique spiritual gifts … an apprentice mini-me Jesus.  Never to attain the perfection of the real thing – but on a lifelong journey to come as close as I could.  It all sounded so terribly complicated, so much like work, so much like a group activity – a community of disciples all …

“Discipling”.

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“And now?

And now you are you and I am me – and I Am describes it all – and Love IS the greatest of all – and this is all so simple – if I allow. 

I am no different.  Just free to be me without all the self-imposed fitting-in-constraints of both culture AND religion.

And what of the future and getting to heaven?

What of it?”

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And now I find it less about community and more about one day at a time – one moment at a time – one now merging with forever – merging this world with something bigger – merging me with all – about (perhaps) heaven … right now … right here … no complication required … no work required …

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“And what about life after being saved?

No different than anything else.  Being saved becomes another it.

Because I am who I am every moment.

If I allow.”

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See the full post at:

On being saved and life thereafter

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We are creators with rights

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Love is the answer, now what’s your question.

What is grace … ?
What is forgiveness … ?
What is being saved … ?
What is church … ?
What is spiritual growth … ?
Who is God … ?
Who is Jesus … ?
What is the Holy Spirit … ?
Where is God … ?
Why is God … ?

To all of those my answer is Love.

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But what about the “blame God” questions?

Why do people die … ?
Why do people get sick … ?
Why do people do bad things … ?
Why does God let bad things happen … ?

My answer is that Love allows.

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Allows me to decide what I will do, will think, will respond, will change or not.

Imagine living forever – never dying.

  This world is struggling to support our capacity for longevity and for curing more and more ills.

Imagine if we all lived forever and could never have children, could never create new life, could never live free to be who we are: creators.  Where is the love in that self-centred desire for eternal life here on this earth?  There is no “freedom” in that anymore than there is “freedom” in death.

My answer is that Love allows.

Allows bad things to happen.  Decisions and actions dictated by me.  My choice.  My freedom to be who I am.

“The poor will always be with you.”

Imagine being so rich in happiness that sadness was impossible.  I would be poor in empathy and connection with others.  I would be regarded as odd – up my own backside – out of touch with the real world.

“My dog died.”
Wow! I am so happy for you!

“My mother is very ill.”
Oh dear, but I have two tickets for (this highly prized event) isn’t that just too wonderful for words?

“I can’t pay my bills this week – I don’t know what to do.”
Well never mind, I have just booked and paid for the holiday of a lifetime – can’t you be happy for me?

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Only “good stuff”

Insulates and emasculates.

Love allows.  Allows me to be free of having to be something I say I should be.  Allows me to be free of having to be something you say I should be.  Allows each of us to be free to be who we are, who we were, and who we will be.  Happy, sad, rich, poor, healthy and ill, living and dying.   I think “bad stuff” is our expectation that we should be above life itself.  We are not only creators – we are creators with rights – the right to be above “bad stuff”.

Every shooter wants to be free of “bad stuff” – the bad stuff seen or experienced or heard or seen – bad stuff of their created reality and those who think like them.  A reality that motivates and validates taking life.  Makes killing a good thing.

Just as we kill perfectly good relationships because the grass is greener … kill goodness in others by giving them our anger or pain … kill honesty and integrity bit-by-bit with every “no one will notice – no one will see” …  kill Love with “I have rights” – that starts with one tiny baby-step – but allows a journey only we decide. 

Cancer.  Tumours.  Infections.  Superbugs.

We have rights – the right to be above bad stuff we call “unfair” … “too soon” … “why me” … “why this” … “why does no one care” … “why does no one fix this?

Because we are creators and we have rights.

The right to be above life itself.

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And maybe that is why Jesus.  A real-life or a parable-life – I care not.

I care only that this Creator – this all-knowing-all-seeing-all-controlling “God” who we created – a creation not above life as we know it here on earth – is not a Creator who has rights – is not a Creator who fixes everything (and everyone) with a magic-wand – but who meets me where I am because that is Love – meets me if I allow because that is Love.

A Creator – we created – who is Love not magic – who has all the time in the world for me – who is not a Creator of a tight-ship/tight-schedule who can give-you-two-minutes-tops.

A Creator – we created – who is of Love allowing all – who is not of “I-have-rights”.

I think blame is not Love – not our created Creator-God.

Because if we created this God of the Bible (and we did) … a God not above life on earth … not of “What About Me” … not of all that stuff we think is Love but is self-created in “I have rights” …

Then we created something truly wonderful

Because we created this God who is Love

We allowed our best-self to be our template for best-living

If we allow.

“Love is the answer, now what’s your question?”

Is us

And that IS

Phenomenal!

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The qualified teaching of I can’t

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Qualified theology began life with good intent.

And then become bound in ever-more qualification to become ever-more-all-embracing-ever-more-applicable-to-all-people-throughout-all-time.

“All are welcome” shouldn’t need saying.

But it is all the time.

So too God and Jesus and Mercy and Worship and Grace and Love.

All need qualified explanation with a qualified language that only the qualified can understand and debate.  A language that accommodates every objection and question and doubt.  Or else it would not be explaining The Word of God for all occasions for all people in all circumstances throughout all time.  Because if it can’t then it might be flawed – and God is not flawed – so neither can The Word.

Which is why we need the qualified to teach The Word. 

But an unintended consequence is to insulate-bind this God in a Word that has become of Man to address all questions, doubts and preferences.  Because believers …

Believe!

And believers must be strong in belief … must live a visible and differentiated life of The Good and Worthy Servant.  And that takes strength not doubt –  certainty not questions – perfection not imperfection – needs the Devil to explain temptation – needs Sin and Sinners for giving-in to temptation – and needs the qualified to “ok” (forgive?) my “sinning” (on behalf of God?).

Because God is in all – God is in the very-stinky-unkempt-beer-filled-aggressive-sweary-homeless-person – that is God as well as God in me – the well-dressed-educated-employed-responsible-and-much-blessed-so-must-be-grateful-and should-be-attending-church-person (says the qualified Word of Man God)

“BEEN BLESSED?  Give a Buck, Save a Life!”  (the link to “tax deductible donations” under a God-blog)

“I do not at all understand the mystery of grace–only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us.  It can be received gladly or grudgingly, in big gulps or in tiny tastes, like a deer at the salt.” Anne Lamott  (like so many extracts from The Word, we take the bit that works and discard the rest … “deer at the salt”… really?)

“Grace is a gift from Heavenly Father given through His Son, Jesus Christ.  The word grace, as used in the scriptures, refers primarily to enabling power and spiritual healing offered through the mercy and love of Jesus Christ. … The grace of God helps us every day.”  (a gift we don’t deserve but are given anyway – with all the necessary qualified-baggage – gratitude, worship, servitude, etc)

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It all separates us from God.

And in explaining God-in-The-Bible we make me BEING God-like truly unattainable – make Love (the God-version) TOTALLY unattainable for us (weak-but-strong-in-belief!!) sinners-saved.  Which lets me off the hook on “Love” as well as being “God-like”.   All I can do is to try (unsuccessfully) to be seen to be trying.  That’s what the Word of Man God says.

Like the Word of Man God also says that EVEN gays and lesbians and false teachers and those who believe in a different God or no god at all are “All Are Welcome” if …

Which has one teensy-weensy flaw …  

It is not of Love and Grace and God.  Is not of I Am which IS the Word of God.

Now add Love (without any conditions at all)

not even the “condition” of me loving without any condition at all

– which means gays and lesbians and those who believe in a different God or no god at all AS WELL AS the very-stinky-unkempt-beer-filled-aggressive-sweary-homeless-person (who might ALSO be gay or lesbian or believe in a different God or no god at all) are not even visible as “different” to me by my (qualified) differentiation and my (taught) definition and my (conditional) no-conditions-love.

Or to put it another way …

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LOVE makes all “invisible” as different in any way to God.

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Which means ..

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Love makes all invisible as different in any way to me as well.

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And if I am Love …

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Then I shouldn’t need the Word of God …

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To teach me that I can’t.

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My real world meeting my virtual world

Dear All

I have been in hiding.

I have been away from my virtual world.

Slipping and sliding and getting stuck knee deep in the boggy real world mud…

I have been in hiding.

I have been away from my real world.

Jumping from the hamster wheel of work, voluntary work, exhausted sleep and constant connectedness…

I have had a reprieve in the form of a gynaecological operation.

It has given me a chance to stop, rest up, take stock and just be…

For four weeks…

And this is where I have found myself.

Back in my virtual world and contemplating my real world.

Please may I introduce you both to each other…

My virtual world… please meet my real world….

Vision of the Future

And in time, I will also introduce you the other way around…

I hope we find things in common.

If we do, it don’t think it is much to do with me, more the One that loves me.

Much love and many blessings

Julia x

I was taught to be unkind

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I was taught about false teachers.  False teachers are of the devil.  False teachers are of soothing words and sleepy listeners.  False teachers are false shepherds – intent only on the destruction of my soul for all eternity.

 

As I continue my journey I am finding that my fear of false teachers is less and less.   I see false teachers too often to fear anymore.  They are everywhere in all corners of my life.  They are not just in church.  They teach society, law, ethics, art, philosophy, science …

Teachers are not just teachers they are friends and strangers and enemies.  They are family, friends and foe.  And the biggest teacher of all is me.

I know.

Is the falsest teacher of all.

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“The kindness of not knowing”, justmebeingcurious

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“I was taught by church – by science – by society – by all around me … To KnowTo Be CertainTo Be SureTo See EvidenceTo See No EvidenceTo Be SureTo Be CertainTo Make Up My MindTo Declare And Defend My PositionTo Take A SideTo Be One Or The Other

And in that teaching I was taught to be unkind.

I was NEVER taught NOT to know.”

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I was taught that not knowing is weakness.  I was taught that I must be correct.  Which means I am either right or I am wrong.  But what is right and wrong if not just the current “majority view” (in and of this world)?

Right and wrong changes.

Slavery was okay.  Loads of possessions wives was okay.  Swearing was okay.  The death penalty was okay.  Burning witches was okay.  Child labour was okay. So much was okay that now is not.  So much that is still not (that one day will be).

I think we forget love without condition when we worry about everything BUT kindness … everything but NOT knowing.

We are taught about the “evidence” of the bible – the false evidence of science (and the same for both – in reverse – by “the other side”).  We are taught about the right or wrong of different faiths and of no faiths.  We are taught and teach all of that “I am right and you are wrong” stuff …

And in that teaching I was taught to be unkind.

But isn’t that …

The biggest “false teaching” of all?

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I am wealthy

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It must be nice to have the luxury to debate these issues

“the Biblical vision of gender”

My Beautiful One

Rebekah wrote a post that connected with immediacy and clarity.

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We are rich in time and, boy oh boy, how we like to waste this wealth!  We are rich enough in time to sit and verbally spar with each other.  We are rich enough in time to dump static opinion and beliefs over each other.  We are rich enough in time enough to examine spiritual “belly-button-fluff” over which we obsess.

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Riches are referred to in the bible over which we obsess.

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And I have found that wealth is taken literally.  Riches are “stuff” of money and purchase.  A big car.  A fine house.  The best jewels.  The finest wine.  All “stuff” we can hold and touch and count and store.

Yet I am rich in so many ways that is nothing to do with I can hold and touch.

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A family living in a place of safety.  A family living in good health.  A family living with excellent and free healthcare 24/7.  A family who takes for granted three meals a day.  The freedom to write words like this and press send to the whole world.  The freedom to be bored, to be restless, to be distracted, to be yearning and spontaneous.  The freedom to live as I wish constrained only by my fears and timidity.

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It must be nice to have the luxury to debate these issues.

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The bible for me becomes ever more simple, ever more connected, ever more immediate.  Call it what you will, debate it as you will … dismiss it as you will … for me there is one great truth that is rejected ONLY if I fear this truth:

‘Love them, me AND you.  Unconditionally.”

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What is to fear?

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Well I used to fear love.

I used to fear not controlling, not measuring, not counting, not receiving, not being in charge.  I used to fear losing all those “riches” I thought of as “love”.  I relied on rules and law and commandments.

Because if I was going to treat you okay I wanted an enforceable contract that said you were going to be grateful and that you were going to treat me okay.  But I wanted a contract with get-out clauses.

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Like … familiarity breeds contempt.  Like … the grass is always greener on the other side.  Like … what I found attractive in you now repels me.  Like … I reserve the right to count whether or not you give me more than I give you.  And the biggie …

It’s only wrong if you catch me in the act

(and even then it’s your fault I felt the need to do it)

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And all of “that” is NOT fear … ?

All of that we think IS “love” … ?

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It must be nice to have the luxury to debate these issues.

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‘Love them, me AND you.  Unconditionally.”

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Riches are riches.

I am wealthy.

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What am I doing with this truth?

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