Author: Roberta Grimes

Living a Love-Based Life (Part III)

Morning has broken like the first morning.
Blackbird has spoken like the first bird.
Praise for the singing,
Praise for the morning,
Praise for them springing fresh from the world.
– Eleanor Farjeon (1881-1965) from “Morning Has Broken” (1931)

Two millennia after Jesus taught us how to love as the Godhead loves, that perfect divine love of the Godhead still is vanishingly rare in the world. Which fact should not surprise us! The truth is that we never have made much of an effort to understand the phenomenon that came to us long ago as Jesus the Christ. Anyone who reads the Gospels can see Jesus openly living God’s love at such a wise and fearless level that for millennia we have altogether misunderstood both the Lord’s actions and His words. We have seen Jesus associating with lepers (MT 8:2-3; LK 17:11-15), dining with tax collectors (MT 9:10), confronting authorities (MK 11:28-29), turning the other cheek (LK 6:29), using the powers of His mind to invoke the powers of the minds of other people (MT 9:28-29), and then choosing to suffer an excruciating death for the sake of all of humankind (JN 19). Each of these acts would be unusual even today. Two thousand years ago, for someone to do all of them together must have been incomprehensible! So all along we have been assuming that Jesus was so different from regular folks that we had no way to relate to Him. His Gospel teachings were seen by Christians not as directives, but just as aspirational thoughts. In fact, however, the Lord’s Gospel teachings are something more like precision tools that can easily raise our consciousness vibrations. That fact is extremely important, since raising our vibrations is the whole reason why we chose to enter these earth-lives. Following the Lord’s teachings is the most rapid way for us to raise the consciousness of this planet, and thereby bring the kingdom of God on earth.

We have been  missing the point of Jesus’s message, and of His entire life!

What Jesus demonstrates in the Gospels is just the natural spiritual state of humankind. Beneath our grabby egos, our amnesia-enforced ignorance, our human-made fears, and the daily battering of negativity that comes with living lives on earth, each of us is already a highly advanced spiritual being! So each of us, once we are free of the negative detritus of our lives on earth, will be able at last to easily live the perfect love that Jesus taught.

What Jesus is doing in the Gospels is actually telling us what our life-goal is, how important it is, and also how we can best achieve it:

* The goal that Jesus has for us is that we help to bring the kingdom of God on earth. He tells us this repeatedly! It is even the first request in the prayer that Jesus taught us to pray: “Our Father, who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven (MT 6:9-10). Nothing could be plainer! Our first and greatest request in The Lord’s Prayer is that we be empowered to bring the spiritual development of the kingdom of God to all the people on the face of the earth.

*  Our efforts to attain the kingdom of God will also empower us to get what we need. Jesus said of our need for clothing and sustenance, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided to you” (MT 6:33).

* We can best achieve this greatest of all goals by closely following the Lord’s Gospel teachings. As He says, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (JN 8:31-32). He tells us that our following His teachings is our basic and most essential requirement.

In sum, as we work to bring the kingdom of God on earth by closely adhering to the Lord’s Gospel teaching, God promises in return to supply all our needs. That seems like a pretty fair deal to me! The teachings of Jesus are very effective at raising our personal consciousness vibrations so we can begin to purge negativity from the minds of all of humankind.

The Lord’s teachings are earth-shakingly powerful. Jesus tells us that if we will follow His teachings, we soon will attain something like His Own powers. He says, Truly, truly I say to you, the one who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I am going to the Father” (JN 14:12). It seems clear that transcribers got this somewhat wrong. They made the Lord’s promise dependent on the fact that He would be returning to God, but so do all of us return to God. No, what is important here is Jesus’s astonishing insistence that we all will attain even greater powers than His Own! Indeed, the very core of what Jesus taught culminates in this glorious announcement: “If you believe Me and follow My teachings, you also will do the work that I do. And you will do even greater works than I do!”

But still, until we can sufficiently raise the consciousness vibrations of humankind, we are living in a world rife with fear and rage. We desperately want things to be a lot better! We can envision a much more loving world in which humankind lives in peace and plenty, and we want that liberation so badly that we think we would do almost anything to get it.

 Our dear friend Father Richard Rohr is calling for “a new story” that will encompass “new paradigms and visions” to enable us to “discern where and how God is calling us to act.” He offers the example of the Brazilian Archbishop Dom Hélder Câmara (1909‒1999), who was a saintly man “well-known in his lifetime for his love for the poor and his embrace of nonviolence.” Fr. Rohr tells us that “his teachings have shaped many of my thoughts on the nature of evil and our freedom to choose how we respond to the suffering and injustice present in the world.” And he quotes the good Archbishop as saying:

“When you look at our continent [of South America], where more than two-thirds of the people live in sub-human conditions as a result of injustices, and when you see that the same situation is repeated all over the world, how can you help wanting to work towards human liberation? Just as the Father, the Creator, wants us to be co-creators, so the Son, the Redeemer, wants us to be co-redeemers. So it is up to us to continue the work of liberation begun by the Son: the liberation from sin and the consequences of sin, the liberation from egoism and the consequences of egoism. That is what the theology of liberation means to us, and I see no reason why anyone should be afraid of a true, authentic theology of liberation.”

Each time I read these words that were spoken by a profoundly good Christian man so long after Jesus taught us how to love, I want to weep for all of humankind. This one passage conclusively demonstrates that we still have learned almost nothing from Jesus! You and I know very well why we are “afraid of a true, authentic theology of liberation.” If we were all Jesus, we could make it happen easily! But since nobody on earth is Jesus, such a deeply good society based in lovingly helping the least of us would have to be imposed by a government. And we already know that every attempt to structure from above a “more just” society has ended in tyranny and death. It is estimated that Communism alone resulted in more than a hundred million human deaths in the course of the twentieth century. By comparison, about thirty percent of those living in South America are deeply poor, which amounts to some 185 million people. So human beings are so altogether benighted that in an attempt to help the most disadvantaged among us, we tragically killed innocents in such ghastly numbers that they were more than half of the number of people the saintly Archbishop was trying to help! A “true, authentic theology of liberation” can never arise naturally or be sustained for long unless just about everyone is operating at a spiritual level that approaches the perfect love of the Godhead.

It is clear now that for us to begin to live the love that Jesus taught is going to require that we internalize a whole new way of thinking. The love that Jesus taught is not just a coat that we can put on. No, that perfect love of the eternal Godhead is something that we must BECOME.

Living divine love is a transformation! What Jesus gives us in the Gospels by the examples from His life shared above is a glimpse of how each of us actually WILL BE when we have BECOME the love that Jesus taught! What we are witnessing in action in the life of Jesus are the core characteristics of a Being so spiritually elevated that He has attained the level of the Godhead. So none of what Jesus taught is aspirational! He isn’t only telling us how we should think and act so we can behave a little better. No, in the Gospels Jesus shows us who He is and who you and I already are!

Fr. Rohr tells us more about “the new storythat humankind so desperately needs. He says, “This new story is, of course, as old as incarnation itself! Somewhere along the line, we lost the thread of the true story of union, of wholeness, of God-with-us and us-for-each other.” And he is precisely right! But that new story is in fact the old story that still survives in the teachings and in the exemplary life of Jesus as they are preserved for us in the Gospels.

It will be up to you and me now to take seriously the Lord’s Gospel directives. The “new story” that Father Richard Rohr dreams of, and that you and I yearn to bring into being, is the very old story that Jesus tells, and that we still today can choose to become! But meanwhile, we will look next week at how it will be for us to live in that very much better future when significant numbers of people are living the perfect love that Jesus taught….

Sweet the rains new fall, sunlit from Heaven,
Like the first dewfall on the first grass.
Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden,
Sprung in completeness where His feet pass.

Mine is the sunlight, mine is the morning,
Born of the one light Eden saw play.
Praise with elation, praise every morning,
God’s recreation of the new day.
– Eleanor Farjeon (1881-1965) from “Morning Has Broken” (1931)


Golden butterfly photo credit: Wild Chroma <a href=”″>Silver-washed Fritillary</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>
Caterpillar’s face photo credit: Vicki’s Nature <a href=”″>12 Days of Christmas Butterflies & Dragonflies: #11 New life – Black swallowtail caterpillar in fennel</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>
Fingers with caterpillar photo credit: Mean and Pinchy <a href=”″>Fat-erpillar</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>
Caterpillar with flowers photo credit: Carobi44 <a href=”″>Chenille papillon monarque</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>
Girl with chrysalis photo credit: Pictures by Ann <a href=”″>Raising Monarchs</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>
Emerging monarch photo credit: Su02420 <a href=”″>Miracle</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>

Living a Love-Based Life (Part II)

I believe the children are our future.
Teach them well and let them lead the way!
Show them all the beauty they possess inside.
Give them a sense of pride to make it easier.
Let the children’s laughter remind us how we used to be.
– Michael Masser (1941-2015) & Linda Creed (1948-1986), from “The Greatest Love of All” (1977)

 I had planned today to really get down to the brass tacks of how best to live God’s love. But as I was posting last week’s offering, Whitney Houston began to sing in my mind. When I said something like, “What now?” Thomas said that we never can live God’s Oneness unless we include ourselves among our most beloved. So he wanted us to talk today about how to achieve the self-love that is essential to our spiritual growth.

But this is not my area of expertise! I was what was called a seven-month baby, and perhaps it was to assuage their own shame that my parents reared me to believe I was the most important person on the face of the earth. I figured out when I was college-age that I wasn’t fundamentally different, but by then my sense of my own preciousness was sealed. Would that all children could grow up that way! I tell you this only so you will understand that what I will say here is what I have learned in a decade of helping other people. I am confident about it, but thanks to the love of two dear angels my own growth into healthy self-love was easy.

Learning to love yourself is mostly a matter of removing obstacles to your own understanding of who and what you already are. You always have lived, and you always will live in eternal divine perfection! When you come to earth, you accept amnesia about nearly everything you ever have known, and you also accept a very limited active use of your own mind. You carry a selfish ego whose purpose is to make you desperate to protect yourself so you can stay alive, and you start your life in a material body feeling much-diminished from the life you just left. Unless this infant tendency to see yourself as weak and small is counteracted in childhood with a lot of love, you may well grow up feeling defensive, resentful, inadequate, and riddled with fears. None of these feelings is useful now, but fortunately beneath it all you are already a powerful eternal being. Your task is simply to peel away what is not-you so you can resume being who you already are. Here are your necessary steps, in no special order:

Vanquish Your Ego

We have talked here about the ego, which is a separate gremlin you believe is you but in reality it is what amounts to a parasite. The ego is useful in childhood, when it gives you an instinct for survival that would otherwise be mostly lacking; but once you have learned how to navigate the world, it becomes a barrier to further spiritual growth. It functions on just one me-me-me note. We all have known people who were sadly unable to think beyond themselves, and we have assumed it was because they had “big egos.” But in fact, a selfish attitude is a sign of a pathetically weak and grasping ego fighting for a place in the world. Vanquishing your ego isn’t difficult. It will try to panic you with the fear that its diminution will be your destruction, but if you can ignore that and simply concentrate on the other steps outlined here, your ego will gradually shrivel and fade.

Vanquish Your Fear of Death

The single most important thing you can do to jump-start your spiritual growth is to put in the effort to fully internalize the fact that your mind really is eternal. You always have lived, and you always will live. And for certain, you will live a happier life on earth when you are sure that you cannot die.

I’ve been teaching about the afterlife for a decade now. I have seen the transformational difference it makes for people to take the trouble to learn and then to live the eternal truth! And this week, in time to share it with you, I received an extraordinary testimony from a young man who has reached out to me several times over the past two years. At first he was panicky and fearful. Then he sent further emails asking thoughtful questions. And then there was a silence that was followed this week by a message I am sharing with you here with his permission:

Hello Roberta, it has now been 2 years since I searched for the truth after my fear of dying really hit. I dealt with anxiety for 6 weeks, it was terrible. I thought I would never see my wife and dogs again after this life. My wife found the pets in the afterlife post you wrote and sent it to me. I didn’t believe it but I eventually went back to it and found out you have a podcast. My whole life changed from there and I’ve also found the great Craig Hogan because of you. The two of you, along with many others have helped me realize this: we are eternal, we continue to live on after this life in a beautiful world, we are still with our loved ones including pets, we will remain individuals and there is nothing to fear. The journey like you said took me 1.5-2 years to fully know everything. Took lots of reading and investigation but it was all worth it. 

Putting in the effort to do the work and develop a certainty that you cannot die will transform you from a fearful, fighting, life-sucks-and-then-you-die sort of person into someone like this beautiful young man, happy and now fully empowered to make the very most of his life.

Vanquish Your Youthful Traumas

The Christian religion and Western cultures all are fundamentally fear-based, with the result that a great many people suffer unnecessary childhood fears and traumas. For an extreme example, here is part of an email from a fifteen-year-old that was shared with me by a worried pastor: “I had intercourse with my best friend. I haven’t told my parents. Now we think she is pregnant. Please help me pray that I will die.” My pastor friend had no idea how he could help! He felt that his duty was to involve the parents, but he worried about panicking the boy into suicide. I submit to you, though, that in a more family-based and less sexualized culture, this young man’s problem would seldom occur; and with a primary religion less rooted in sin and the judgment of an angry God, no child would suffer as this boy is suffering simply for being inexperienced enough to have acted on a normal urge.

If you are carrying lingering guilt, shame, or fear from a less-than-perfect childhood, the time to lighten your burden is now. Get counseling. Do whatever it takes for you to really heal! Learning Oneness is tremendously empowering, but it cannot be that unless you can first empower yourself to embrace it from an emotionally healthy place.

Learn to Love as God Loves

Since last week’s post, I have had a number of emails and comments that were some variant of, “You can’t forgive this! Some things you must fight!” You will find that the urge to fight will lessen considerably as your consciousness vibration rises, but even before you are fully living the truth it will be essential that you internalize the need to come from a place of love and never fight back. Mother Theresa’s explanation of why we must always be peaceful and loving is brilliant. Now let’s add to it the thoughts of the Greatest American of the Twentieth Century:

“To our most bitter opponents we say: ‘We shall match your capacity to inflict suffering by our capacity to endure suffering. We shall meet your physical force with soul force. Do to us what you will, and we shall continue to love you. We cannot in all good conscience obey your unjust laws, because noncooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good. Throw us in jail, and we shall still love you. Bomb our homes and threaten our children, and we shall still love you. Send your hooded perpetrators of violence into our community at the midnight hour and beat us and leave us half dead, and we shall still love you. But be ye assured that we will wear you down by our capacity to suffer. One day we shall win freedom, but not only for ourselves. We shall so appeal to your heart and conscience that we shall win you in the process, and our victory will be a double victory.’
                – Martin Luther, King, Jr. from his essay, “Loving Your Enemies.”

Truly and forever, nothing more need be said.

Learn to See Yourself More as God Sees You

Learning and living the love of the Godhead doesn’t mean you must give up all earthly delights! God wants us to enjoy our lives. As you continue to grow spiritually, you are going to find that you naturally want less anyway; and you also will find that you are a lot less bothered by life’s daily stresses and pains. You will like yourself better. You will be so much happier! In eternal fact, you are the best-beloved child of an infinitely loving God, which was something that my parents’ devotion made me readier to accept than are most people. Always and forever, you are deeply treasured and safe in everlasting arms.  

Only when we have fully internalized the Oneness of the Godhead will we be ready to apply it to our daily lives. And understanding how God’s perfect love might work in every situation does take some thought! Please read again what Mother Teresa said. Read the words of Dr. King above. And let’s begin together to think about how our living God’s perfect love might actually work in the stressful rough-and-tumble of our modern lives.…

I decided long ago never to walk in anyone’s shadows.
If I fail, if I succeed, at least I’ll live as I believe.
No matter what they take from me, they can’t take away my dignity.
Because the greatest love of all is happening to me.
I found the greatest love of all inside of me.
The greatest love of all is easy to achieve!
Learning to love yourself. It is the greatest love of all.
– Michael Masser (1941-2915) & Linda Creed (1948-1986), from “The Greatest Love of All” (1977)


Jesus in water photo credit: ClaraDon <a href=”″>Love Shining Through</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>
Jesus in Boston photo credit: Thomas Hawk <a href=”″>Jesus in Boston</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>

Living a Love-Based Life (Part I)

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me bring love.
Where there is offence, let me bring pardon.
Where there is discord, let me bring union.
Where there is error, let me bring truth.
Where there is doubt, let me bring faith.
Where there is despair, let me bring hope.
Where there is darkness, let me bring Your light.
– Attributed to St. Francis of Assisi (1182-1226), from “Peace Prayer” (translated 1912)

Once we have resolved to make living and sharing the Lord’s Way our priority, how should we be managing our lives so we can act in accordance with the teachings of Jesus? In a world beset by poverty and rage, plagued by malevolent state actors, and at risk of environmental disasters, terrorism, and many little wars, how does Jesus tell us we can effectively work toward giving this world a brighter future? To what extent should we act politically? How can we best help the poor? What is the Godhead calling us to do?

Better understanding and internalizing the perfect love that Jesus taught turns out to be only a good start. Once we have learned to live God’s Oneness, we still must puzzle out what to do with it!

 And fortunately, Fr. Richsrd Rohr, the Franciscan monk who is our source for the most deeply discerning and actively positive take there could be on Christianity, has answered this question definitively. He says, “In 1998, I spent three days immersed in the life, spirit, and ministries of Mother (now Saint) Teresa’s (1910‒1997) community at the motherhouse in Calcutta….. The sisters didn’t waste time fixing, controlling, or even needing to understand what is wrong with others. Instead, they put all of their time and energy into letting God change them. From that transformed place, they serve and carry the pain of the world….

“I even dared to ask one of the leaders about one of the most common criticisms of Mother Teresa: ‘Why did Mother not speak out against social injustice? Why did she not point out the evil systems and evil people that are chewing up the poor? Why did she not risk some of her moral “capital” to call the world, and even the church, to much-needed reform?’ The answer was calm, immediate, and firsthand. Mother Teresa felt that if she took sides, or played the firebrand, that she could not be what Jesus had told her to be—love to and for all. She said that if she started correcting and pointing out ‘sinners’ she could no longer be an instrument of love and reconciliation for them. Humiliated and defensive people do not change. Like her patron Thérèse of Lisieux (1873-1897), her vocation in the church was to be love. She knew that her primary message had to be her life itself, not words or arguments or accusations. She had found that ‘third something’ that is always beyond the calculating and dualistic mind.”

Please read that last paragraph a few times today. And please keep it handy so you can read it again whenever your need not to take a political side starts to frustrate you. The world can get along just fine with fewer well-intentioned firebrands! You and I and Mother Teresa have no moral capital at all that doesn’t come from the Godhead via the teachings of Jesus. The Lord tells us even more emphatically than Mother ever could how essential it is that we who have accepted His call to follow His Way must be immersed only in the Oneness of God. The degree to which He insists that we not claim primacy, that we not fight, that we submit in all things to God’s will, astonishes us as we encounter it over and over in the Gospels. Please sit with me now at the feet of Jesus as we ask Him directly how we who seek to follow His Way should manage our lives and our work for Him. Please read each of these passages thoughtfully and with reference to your own life. The Lord says:

“Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.

“When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.  But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you” (MT 6:1-6).

But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful” (LK 6:35-36).

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.  For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (MT 5:43-48).

“Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned. Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return” (LK 6:37-38).

But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two” (MT 5:39-41).

“Do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?

“And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these! But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (MT 6:25-33).

“Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all” (MK 10:14-15).

What strikes us most when we read the Lord’s words is how consistently radical His message is! His Way is neither weak nor passive, but rather Jesus personifies a powerful and perfect love for all of humankind, and especially including the most evil people. He calls us to do for our oppressors even more than they require us to do! He insists that our love for God should include a trust that God will provide for our needs. He demonstrates a love for His tormentors so intense that as nails are being pounded into His wrists and feet, His foremost concern is to assure those doing the pounding that He forgives them and that God forgives them (See Luke 23:34).

We have seen this same kind of radically active and trusting, self-effacing love in some of the Lord’s greatest modern followers. Dietrich Bonhoeffer fought the Nazis’ murder-machine with just his pen and the perfect love of God, and he was martyred in a death-camp at the age of thirty-nine. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. also was martyred at thirty-nine. Dr. King had such a sure connection to the radical power of God’s love that when racists bombed his home while his wife and infant daughter were inside, he was able to tell an angry mob bent on revenge that fighting violence with violence gets us nowhere so they must now peacefully disperse. Saint Teresa of Calcutta spent her life tending the poorest victims of economic injustice, and her love empowered her to triumph over what must have been an overwhelming need to intervene in the political system that had done these victims such tremendous harm. You and I follow in the footsteps of giants in service to God’s perfect truth.

Jesus lived in turbulent times. He was born in a subject state of the Roman Empire as a member of a despised religion, in a part of the world that had often been conquered and soon was going to be conquered again. Our own turbulent times are surely no worse than that! And now our path is clear. If we seek to follow the Lord’s Way, we must apply the Oneness of God to every challenge we might ever face. But how would such a plan work in practice? We’ll start to put our minds to that next week….

Where there is sadness, let me bring joy!
O Master, let me not seek as much to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love,
for it is in giving that one receives, it is in self-forgetting that one finds,
it is in pardoning that one is pardoned,
it is in dying that one is raised to eternal life.
– Attributed to St. Francis of Assisi (1182-1226), from “Peace Prayer” (translated 1912)


Jesus in a cemetery photo credit: jolynne_martinez <a href=”″>Jesús</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>
Mother Teresa photo credit: Ted Abbott <a href=”″>Blessed Mother Teresa and child</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>
Green angel photo credit: [ henning ] <a href=”″>2011-03-20 Verdigris beauty</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>
Francis by the pool photo credit: BPPrice <a href=”″>Francis by the pool</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>
Hurrying angel photo credit: jonno259 <a href=”″>Osborne 37</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>
Angel on a pedestal photo credit: Jim_Nix <a href=”″>Not that kind of angel</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>

Who Goes to Heaven?

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters. He refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths for His name’s sake.

– David, Third King of Israel and Judah (1035-970 BC), Psalm 23:1-3

Ours is the first generation to know that what we call Heaven is a genuine place. And we even know a great deal now about what Heaven is like, where it is, and how it works. We also at last know the truth about Hell. The human idea that we will face punishment after death for things that we did in life is as old as the notion of religion itself, so it is not surprising that nascent Christianity latched onto the threat of Hell as a way to persuade its faithful to submit to the religion’s strictures. The problem is, of course, that when we imagine a Hell and the concept of eternal punishment, we create an awful version of God.

The most terrible take on God and God’s punishment is the reductio ad absurdum of Calvinism. John Calvin (1509-1564) used bits of the Christian Bible to support the idea that since God knows everything, God must know even prior to each person’s creation who will be saved and who will be damned. So God created some to be saved as “the Elect,” and God deliberately created every other human being to burn in Hell. If God’s power and knowledge are infinite, then clearly the whole game must be rigged.

It is easy for anyone who open-mindedly reads the whole Christian Bible to abandon the notion that it is all “God’s Inspired, Inerrant Word.” The Old Testament is full of barbarisms, and the Bible as a whole is rife with internal contradictions: it cannot possibly all be the Inspired Word of a wise and loving, or even of a consistent and rational God. Much of what Jesus says in the Gospels, on the other hand, does feel like genuine divine messages. It feels as old as truth and as modern as tomorrow’s news! Among other wonderful gifts to us, Jesus short-circuits the idea of eternal punishment by telling us that the only eternal judge we ever will face is ourselves. He has to share this truth carefully, since for Jesus to have come right out and contradicted Jewish teachings would have been a capital crime; but over days and with differing Temple guards, He gave us three parts of one solid message. He said:

“For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son, so that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father” (JN 5:22-23). Okay, so now Jesus is our judge. God is off the hook. But then on another day He said, If anyone hears My sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him” (JN 12:47). So neither God nor Jesus judges us? Then who is our judge? He tells us plainly that we judge ourselves. He says, Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you” (MT 7:1-2).

And the afterlife evidence confirms the Lord’s words! Those that we used to think were dead consistently tell us there is no Hell. All judgment is by ourselves alone. We learn further from the not-really-dead that unless we can forgive ourselves for everything that we did in life, our post-death spiritual vibrations will slow to the point where we can no longer remain at even the lowest Summerland level. If we cannot halt the slide by forgiving ourselves, eventually we will end up in the lowest afterlife level, which is dark, cold, smelly, disgusting, and populated by wailing, demon-like people who all have unfortunately put themselves there. And, what do you know? Jesus warned us about that outer darkness! When a Roman officer trusted in His healing powers even more than did His followers, He said to them, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (MT 8:10-12). Jesus knew two thousand years ago what the actual outer darkness is like!

People who have sat at deathbeds tell us that many of the dying become increasingly peaceful as death approaches. This calm acceptance and actual anticipation of death and what comes after death seems to be a natural part of the process of finally going home. So it is tragic that it often doesn’t happen this way for the most devout Christians! I have spoken with hospice workers who described how they had tried to comfort dying Christian ladies who had never done a bad thing in their lives, but still those poor souls were terrified by the thought that they hadn’t been quite good enough. They feared they were going to spend eternity in Hell. As Jesus says of all religious ideas, “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit” (MT 7:15-17). Dear God in Heaven, if terrified old ladies are the fruit of Christianity, then Christianity is the worst tree of all!

Many Christian preachers are sure that those who have not accepted Jesus Christ as their savior are condemned to hellfire. They insist that Jesus Himself said so! There is Biblical support for every kind of nonsense if you cite just a sentence or two out of context, and here are what may be the most misunderstood and overused passages in the whole Christian Bible. Jesus says, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (JN 14:6). And He says, “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (JN 3:16). On these few sentences many Christian pastors have built their entire fear-based careers! But what is Jesus actually saying here? No mention of crucifixion, sacrificial redemption, substitutionary atonement, or saving us from God’s wrath. And Jesus tells us throughout the Gospels that it is His teachings that really matter! He says, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (JN 8:31-32). Clearly, those who first transcribed the Lord’s words simply used “I,” “Me,” and “Him” as a shorthand way to refer to His teachings. Doing that would have made sense to people so steeped in the Lord’s words that they equated His words with His mission and His life; but it became a trap for future clergymen, who would use that ancient shorthand to condemn non-believers to a non-existent Christian Hell. And we know that for a fact, because now we know what happens after death! Jesus is right in saying that our following His teachings (or their equivalent in some other tradition) is an essential part of our preparation to live the best eternal life. He is right, too, about the lack of divine judgment. Here is some of what we have learned about the afterlife:

  • There is one universal afterlife. And adorably, the entrance areas to that single afterlife are tailored to each of the earth’s cultures, so if a Westerner dies accidentally in China or in Saudi Arabia he will arrive in a foreign-looking place. If this happens to you, simply call for help. Those who have done this tell us that an elevated Being appeared at once, apologized for his tardiness, and whisked them to their own culture’s afterlife entry point.
  • Everyone is welcome in that universal afterlife. Not only do adherents of every religion all go to the same Heaven, but so do atheists. People who are not nice go there, and criminals, and everyone else who vibrates higher than the very deepest fear and rage.
  • The afterlife is a beautiful version of earth-life perfected. It is gorgeous, colorful, and playful. And solid! We live in a house in endless daytime light, and we spend our eternity traveling, creating, learning, loving, and playing endlessly, until eventually we start to hunger for additional spiritual growth so we begin to plan another earth-lifetime. I have written at length about what the afterlife is like, but there are no words that can convey to you how glorious it is and how much you are loved!
  • It is possible to go off-course for a time. I used to think this was a minor problem, but we are told now that perhaps a quarter of those who die on earth will go off-track and will need to be rescued. Most will be rescued fairly soon, but tragically they miss a lot of the joy that is attendant on going right from here to there! The biggest reason why people go astray in the process of dying seems to be that they simply have no clue about what is going on, so the best thing you can do for yourself is to make a point of learning about death and the afterlife.
  • The afterlife is steeped in God’s divine love. We talked last week about the love that Jesus taught. And what most strikes new afterlife arrivals is the fact that God’s love is the air they breathe! God’s love is the light that illuminates the afterlife; God’s love is the living and nurturing water that sparkles everywhere (see JN 4:10). And being so completely immersed in the love of God produces an overwhelming joy!

There is not, and there never could be any punishment by an infinitely loving God. Every fear is human-made! Jesus came to us two thousand years ago to end false religions, end human fears, and teach us how to relate to the Godhead so we can attain at last the perfect love that is our eternal birthright. Jesus told us His teachings are essential to our beginning to understand the only God. And so they are! He was especially down on religions leaders who put their human-made traditions first, even before the divine will of God. He said, “Why do you transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?… You hypocrites! Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you: ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far away from me. But in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men’” (MT 15:3-9). Still, the human-made traditions of Christianity are favored over the Lord’s divine words, to this day! But now we really know the truth. And as Jesus promised, we are being set free from all the untruths of human-made religions. Now a richly better world for humankind can at last begin! Let’s resolve to make 2021 the seminal year when we will follow Jesus in perfect love. Let us join at last in spreading the Lord’s genuine teachings over all the earth!


Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;

your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely Your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

– David, Third King of Israel and Judah (1035-970 BC), Psalm 23:4-6


Thatched house photo credit: jack cousin <a href=”″>A picturesque thatched cottage.</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>
Heavenly marsh photo credit: Rusty Russ <a href=”″>The Sky As I See It</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>


The Love You Are

Joy to the world! The Lord is come.
Let earth receive her King!
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And heaven and nature sing!
And heaven and nature sing!
And heaven, and heaven and nature sing!
– Isaac Watts (1674-1748), from “Joy to the World” (1719)

It pains me to admit that I seem to have been blowing an essential task. My beloved Thomas has shown me that the primary purpose of these posts has been to help you learn the objective truth about a great many things, with one main goal: he wants you to come to know and perfectly love and trust the genuine Godhead. But it is clear from many emails and blog comments that I have long been missing that mark! So today we are going to take a stab at helping you finally understand how you can learn to love as God wants you to love, as Jesus came to teach you to love, and as you will need to learn how to love if you want to make this your last earth-lifetime.

My spirit guide is my lodestar. If he is happy with whatever we write, I consider it to be a success! And as you likely know, for more than a decade Thomas has been using me to demonstrate how the Lord’s Gospel teachings on forgiveness and love are meant to work. Our problem is that Thomas hasn’t been in a body for more than a century. Perfect divine love is where he lives, while we who are in bodies are immersed in a depth of negativity that he can no longer imagine. So it is only now that he is noticing and pointing out to me that some of what we have written has been too vague and mild for an earthly audience. Today we will try again.

After mulling it over, I have come to suspect that the reason why it can be hard for many to learn the perfect love that Jesus taught is that we see emotion as something private that flares and sparks for our own amusement. But the love that Jesus taught is not something that we feel. Rather, it is something that we become. In fact, we begin to internalize God’s divine love fairly early in the process. It then provides a basis for what can be fairly rapid spiritual growth. We need a new word for the love that Jesus taught, and our wonderful friend Father Richard Rohr has suggested one. He says, “The Kingdom of Heaven is really a metaphor for a state of consciousness . . . it is not a place you go to, but a place you come from. It is a whole new way of looking at the world, a transformed awareness that literally turns this world into a different place. . . The hallmark of this awareness is that it sees no separation—not between God and humans, not between humans and other humans. . . . When Jesus talks about this Oneness . . . . what he more has in mind is a complete, mutual indwelling.” So Fr. Rohr calls the divine love that Jesus taught “Oneness,” which is a reasonable description of how it feels as it grows in you. For today, let’s experiment with using “Oneness” to refer to the divine love that Jesus taught.

Here is what the Oneness that Jesus taught IS NOT:

  • Personal. If you feel love for some people but not for others, then you are lacking in Oneness. A Course in Miracles calls the love you have for friends and family – the love that differentiates some people from other people – “special loves.” And the Course says that special loves are as counterproductive spiritually as are special hates. If there is anyone on earth you have trouble loving, you are being too personal. It’s time for a reset.
  • Stressful. The process of raising your personal consciousness vibration toward Oneness is stress-free by nature, and in fact it requires that you free yourself from stress as much as you can in order for it to work well. If you find yourself struggling to love someone, or gritting your teeth as you try to forgive, you are doing it wrong. It’s time to start over, and practice the basics a lot more closely.
  • Enjoyable. Really falling in love feels wonderful! We thrill! We soar! But none of those intense feelings of love is associated with the early stages of achieving Oneness. At first, to be frank, Oneness feels more like a flattening of your emotions, a kind of distancing from actively loving other people. It is only later, from the space of peace and safety that Oneness fosters in you, that your heart begins to swell until it encompass all of humanity.
  • Variable. Approaching Oneness creates in you a much more stable mood-base. It makes it so you will less and less feel earth-life’s emotional ups and downs, but rather you are at a little distance from them; and this includes even the great emotional highs and lows like winning the lottery or the loss of a loved one. As Oneness builds, you transcend earthly concerns and always feel a kind of safe happiness, no matter what might be going on.
  • Fickle. We think of love as something like a meter that helps us measure how we feel from day to day about the people who are closest to us. We love them more when they are kind and helpful, and less when they do things that annoy us. But Oneness is the opposite of our roller coaster of special loves! As Oneness builds in you, you will be less and less annoyed or elated by those close to you, no matter what they might do.

Please re-read and internalize these points. It will help you to recognize your progress toward Oneness if you know not only what you should be looking for, but also which feelings are going to be dead-ends. The divine love that Jesus taught is technically “love” because it is the highest consciousness vibration that we can experience while on earth. But emphatically, it does not feel like what we usually think of as love! Oneness is instead much more like what the Apostle Paul described as “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding” (see Phil 4:7).

The love that Jesus taught is already your essential nature. Your mind is inextricably part of the one Mind which at its highest aspect encompasses the Godhead, so your spiritual growth can be a remarkably self-perpetuating process. And because Oneness is your essential nature, the transformation starts to happen naturally once you have accomplished these three things:

  • Convinc yourself that you cannot die. The fear of death is the base fear, so once you no longer fear death you no longer fear anything. And without earth-based fears to trip you up, your spiritual rise can begin.
  • Learn prevenient forgiveness. Jesus made a point of insisting that we always forgive and never judge, because otherwise the grievances that continue to plague us will interfere with our spiritual growth.
  • Vanquish your ego. Your ego can be the hardest to conquer of these three obstacles to your spiritual growth. If you have trouble getting past the “me-me” grabby nonsense that your ego tends to percolate, you might try an A Course in Miracles study group.

Oneness sounds like something hard to achieve, but in fact it is astoundingly easy. After your many excursions into bodies that were followed by periods of afterlife bliss, Oneness already is who you are. Then as you stripped down to your earth-mind again to enter your present body, you put away your active awareness of your glorious eternal nature, and you added a little gremlin ego whose only purpose is to make you self-protective. As you vanquish your ego and strip away what is not-Oneness, your true and already glorious nature begins to be revealed.

It is only once you banish fear, learn to forgive, and also give the boot to your ego that your genuine spiritual growth can begin. Once you have effectively managed all three of the steps listed above, you will already have fought more than half the battle! And you will find that once this process is well along, it seems to maintain itself with little need for further effort beyond your awareness and enjoyment of the process. I think my biggest failing has been that I haven’t helped you understand how growing into Oneness actually feels. In fact, it soon starts to feel delicious! Here are a few of the changes you should be seeing in yourself within months:

  • You want less and less. I loved noticing this in myself! Realizing you would be every bit as happy living in just one room feels fantastically freeing.
  • You don’t worry. Whether it’s a money crisis or your children’s safety or which politician might blow up the world, you feel safely removed from all earthly concerns.
  • No event has the power to upset you. As A Course in Miracles says, “Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists. Herein lies the peace of God.”
  • You tend to love everyone. I soon realized I was looking at people passing on the street and feeling warmth and kindness toward perfect strangers.

I know a few people who are so far advanced spiritually that to find them still living on earth is surprising. All the people I know who have best achieved Oneness are mild, kindly, self-effacing, and dedicated to whatever work they do for others. They also are steadily and relentlessly cheerful. Even joyous! And they never get angry, but rather if someone confronts them or disturbs their peace, they withdraw. They make you want whatever it is that they have!

Jesus is still saying to us today, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (MT 11:28-30). Learning to love as Jesus taught us to love does require that we surrender and allow our minds to open completely to the love of God. But everything about this process is joyous! And best of all, when you become the love of God, for the first time you will understand just how completely the Godhead loves you. And you will know only joy forevermore.

Joy to the world! The Savior reigns.
Let men their songs employ.
While fields and floods,
Rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy!
Repeat the sounding joy!
Repeat, repeat the sounding joy!
– Isaac Watts (1674-1748), from “Joy to the World” (1719)


Baby Jesus with halo photo credit: giveawayboy <a href=”″>Jesu</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>

The Prophesy Is Fulfilled

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here,
Until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.
       – From “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” (9th Century Latin Hymn, Translated 1861)

Every human-made god has human flaws, and none of them has been very believable. Primitive people who had no way to understand reality would believe anything! But as we have become more sophisticated, we gradually have begun to find that reality can indeed be puzzled out. It makes sense. And Moloch, wearing cattle-horns and with a fire in his belly to burn up babies, frankly doesn’t make any sense. A Christian God with a long white beard who sits on a judgment-throne is also unbelievable. It is no wonder that traditional religions are losing their last hold on our minds.

Our felt need to find and worship gods is so ancient and so persistent that it is one of the characteristics that define humanity. And as Moloch would tell you, where there’s smoke, there’s fire! So it is no surprise that a genuine Godhead gradually is being revealed to us that makes sense and is consistent with the rest of reality. And wonderfully, God turns out to be both infinite power and perfect love. Our minds had for so long been obsessed with fearing our judgmental human-made gods that the Godhead knew that in the fullness of our eventually beginning to understand reality we would need a divine reset. Those old gods would have to be cleared away, and the Godhead would need to reveal Itself sufficiently for us to come to know and love our true Creator God.

And so it was that two thousand years ago a Member of the highest aspect of the Godhead actually was born as God on earth. We cannot know why at that particular moment in earth-time God chose to enter the human world, nor why the message that God revealed was soon thereafter imprisoned inside a religion that for the next two thousand years insisted that the Son of God had been born just so He could die as a sacrifice. The notion that a loving God could want to watch His Only Son being murdered is yet another awful human-made idea about a fallible human-like god. But at last, in this new century we have built a reasonable understanding of the reality that we think we see around us. We also have discovered and begun to understand the greater reality of which this material universe is a tiny part. And, wonderfully, we have begun to learn enough about the genuine Godhead that continuously manifests this universe that we can at last put every false god aside!

And we have been amazed to learn that Jesus is a whole lot more important than anything Christians have imagined Him to be. Jesus, born two thousand years ago, was actually born as God on earth! It may have happened only once, but in fact it did happen. There was a time when God briefly walked among us.

Perhaps a dozen Old Testament passages have been cited as predictions of the birth of Jesus. To be frank, most are vague and dubious. But one of them is amazingly a genuine prediction of the coming of Jesus and of what He will accomplish, and it was delivered almost a thousand years before the Lord was born. Jesse was the father of King David, who was Jesus’s earthly ancestor. This glorious prediction by the great Isaiah is my favorite passage in the whole Old Testament:

Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse,
And a Branch from his roots will bear fruit.
The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him,
The spirit of wisdom and understanding,
The spirit of counsel and strength,
The spirit of knowledge and fear of the Lord.
 And He will delight in the fear of the Lord,
And He will not judge by what His eyes see,
Nor make decisions by what His ears hear;
 But with righteousness He will judge the poor,
And decide with fairness for the humble of the earth;
And He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth,
And with the breath of His lips He will slay the wicked.
 Also righteousness will be the belt around His hips,
And faithfulness the belt around His waist.

And the wolf will dwell with the lamb,
And the leopard will lie down with the young goat,
And the calf and the young lion and the fattened steer will be together;
And a little boy will lead them.
 Also the cow and the bear will graze,
Their young will lie down together,
And the lion will eat straw like the ox.
The nursing child will play by the hole of the cobra,
And the weaned child will put his hand on the viper’s den.
They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain,
For the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord
As the waters cover the sea
(Isaiah 11:1-9).

So then, in the fullness of earthly time, Isaiah’s prophesy began to be fulfilled:

“In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth… And all the people were on their way to register for the census, each to his own city. Now Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, in order to register along with Mary, who was betrothed to him, and was pregnant. While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

“In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock at night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood near them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. And so the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly army of angels praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom His favor rests.’ When the angels had departed from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, “Let’s go straight to Bethlehem, then, and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us’” (LK 2:1-16).

It is likely that little of what Christians believe about Jesus’s birth is true. His lineage to David is through Joseph, who was His likely father. He probably was not born of a virgin in December. The oddly humble details of His birth don’t matter, and nor does the name by which God on earth chose to be called make any difference. The cultural details of the all-too-human religion that was built around Jesus a quarter of a millennium after His birth also needn’t be debated now, because none of that matters at all.

The only thing that matters as we celebrate the birth of Jesus is that two thousand years ago He came to us as God on earth. And He came as our Savior indeed! He tells us in the Gospels that He came to save us from ignorance and fear, and to teach us how to relate to the genuine Godhead so we can raise our personal spiritual vibrations sufficiently to bring the kingdom of God on earth. His mission is nothing less than the spiritual uplifting of all of humankind! The great Isaiah foretold His coming, and he even foretold the Lord’s earthly mission. And now, in the long sweep of human history, in the fullness of God’s time, you and I have the joy of being here to witness the ultimate flowering of Isaiah’s ancient prophesy.

O come, Thou Dayspring, from on high,
And cheer us by Thy drawing nigh;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.
       – From “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” (9th Century Latin Hymn, Translated 1861)


Nativity with goats photo credit: Julián Iglesias <a href=”″>Día de gracia</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>
Nativity with lights photo credit: giveawayboy <a href=”″>crèche</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>
Australian nativity photo credit: denisbin <a href=”″>Merry Christmas. A Christmas nativity scene in the Forbes Catholic Church New South Wales.</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>
Blue nativity photo credit: Joe Shlabotnik <a href=”″>Nativity Scene At The Radio City Christmas Spectacular</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>

Now, About Sex… (Part III)

Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation!
O my soul, praise him, for he is your health and salvation!
Come, all who hear; now to his temple draw near,
join me in glad adoration.
– Joachim Neander (1650-1680), from the German “Praise to the Lord” (1680)

The only approach to morality that is consistent with the Godhead’s truth is based in divine love alone. From earliest prehistory, human-made gods have imposed various behavioral laws, but the genuine Godhead gives us no laws beyond God’s perfect Law of Love. Jesus makes that fact plain in the Gospels when He says, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets” (MT 22:37-40).

It is impossible to establish a love-based morality while any written moral law exists, since the written law always takes precedence. While any moral laws are in place, love can be nothing more than the optional nicety it has become for us now. And all written moral laws are flawed, since there is no written law to which we cannot soon think of some love-based exceptions! We have never had a morality based on written laws that was right in all situations. So Jesus makes it clear in the Gospels that He is moving us beyond all black-letter laws by replacing the law-based Old Testament with the Godhead’s New Testament Law of Love. When we study the Lord’s Gospel words, and we then endeavor to follow His teachings, we realize that divine love is possible only when we are free of all other constraints.

But what about secular laws? We cannot live in civilization without obeying those! So Jesus tells us how to handle that conflict. When the Pharisees try to trap him into speaking against paying Caesar’s poll-tax, He says, “‘Why are you testing Me, you hypocrites?  Show Me the coin used for the poll-tax.’ And they brought Him a denarius. And He said to them, ‘Whose image and inscription is this?’ They said to Him, ‘Caesar’s.’ Then He said to them, ‘Then pay to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s’” (MT 22:18-21). Bravo, Jesus! We enjoy this little interplay as more evidence of His cleverness, but He is making an important point. We can – and we must – keep the things of this world, the human-made laws and the grubbing for survival, entirely separate from our sacred effort to ever better practice God’s perfect divine love.

But how do we actually go about developing a purely love-based morality? It is only when we ask the question that we see how very different a love-based morality is from one that is based in black-letter laws. We are used to laws. We find their certainty comforting. Our old way of doing morality – starting with the applicable laws, and then looking for possible love-based exceptions – felt easy and automatic. And a love-based morality will feel easy, too, once we have become more used to it. In fact, I think we are going to find that a love-based morality makes discerning the difference between right and wrong a lot easier! Of course, we might then be seeing that what is right to do in any given situation is not what we would prefer to do. But still, the moral choice will be clear! It is time for us to test-drive an entirely laws-free morality that is based in the love that Jesus taught.

This need to operate entirely from love applies to all our daily decisions. But the simplest way to illustrate the difference that a love-based morality can make in our lives is to consider how we would make entirely love-based sexual decisions. Our decisions about sex are full of ethical thorns, so they are a great place for us to begin to think concretely about a love-based morality. Let’s look now at three basic sex-related decisions, and consider them entirely from the viewpoint of a laws-free morality that is based in love. We’ve got to start somewhere!

Heterosexual Behavior

 The decision to be intimate with someone is a complex one. Since there are no longer black-letter laws, it doesn’t matter whether a couple is legally married to one another; but still, we have a lot to consider! Let’s look at the three core love-based questions that we will first have to answer in the affirmative:

  • Are we willing to rear a resulting child? To kill a fetus for the sake of convenience can never be seen as a love-based choice. So the decision to have sexual intercourse, even with contraceptive use, will always be the simultaneous decision that we are prepared to lovingly co-parent with this partner for the next twenty years; or alternatively, that we are prepared to find the resulting child good adoptive parents. For both birth-parents, that possible child’s welfare is their love-based responsibility from before its conception.
  • Are we sure that no outside parties will be harmed by our actions? If either party is involved with someone who would see what we mean to do as an act of betrayal, then that other relationship will first need to be comfortably resolved. And if either party is co-parenting a minor child with someone else, then the risk of disrupting that child’s life seems to me in a purely love-based morality to trump every reason that we might have for proceeding to be sexual with this partner!
  • Are both parties mentally and emotionally able to make love-based decisions about sexual activity? People who are mentally handicapped, too young, emotionally immature, or so deeply indoctrinated into a religion as to be unable to enter this particular sexual relationship without guilt and fear must always be protected by the healthier party from the emotional damage that can result if you proceed.

There may also be other considerations that we will come to see are mandatory for a sexual morality based in love, but these are the three that first come to mind. Few people even consider black-letter laws about intimate behavior anymore, so in thinking this through we are not only getting rid of the laws that nobody follows anyway, but much more importantly we are creating a healthier and entirely love-based morality that can much better take their place.

Homosexual Behavior 

Absent pregnancy, the same questions that apply to deciding on heterosexual activity are applicable when the intended participants are of the same gender. Here the thorniest moral issue is not for the participants, but rather it is the fact that so many Christians still feel free to judge and condemn people who are sexually attracted to their own gender. And it is impossible to follow the teachings of Jesus while you are presuming to judge anyone! It doesn’t matter how you personally feel about homosexuality. If you ever judge anyone for anything at all, then you are acting in direct contravention of the plainspoken teachings of Jesus. The Lord says, “Do not judge, and you will not be judged” (LK 6:37). He says, “For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son, so that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father” (JN 5:22-23). Then on a different day, with different Temple guards, He tells us that He doesn’t judge us, either. He says, If anyone hears My sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him” (JN 12:47). The Lord cannot possibly have made any plainer the fact that neither God nor Jesus ever judges anyone! And those that we used to think were dead confirm this fact as well. The only judgment is by ourselves alone. And when there is no divine judgment, then surely Christians have no right to judge anyone for anything. Yes, in the United States you have a Constitutional right to refuse to bake a cake for a homosexual wedding. But if you are calling yourself a follower of Jesus, just know that it is His frank request that you rise above judgment, smile, and lovingly bake that cake.

Non-Monogamous Sexual Behavior

 Sexual relationships among multiple partners seem to be more common now, to the point where psychologists are urging us to accept non-monogamy as a lifestyle choice. A surprising number of people are engaged in polyamory, or in open marriages, or even in stable households that contain more than two cohabiting adults. And without any black-letter moral laws in place, such alternative living arrangements can be perfectly moral. But they still pose some much-increased ethical risks! The decision to enter into any form of non-monogamous sexual relationship is compounded by the much-increased chance of jealousies and general instability that must be lovingly addressed, and by the fact that many more outside people are likely to be affected by it. At the very least,  every person involved will need to satisfactorily answer the three questions given above.

As you can see, a purely love-based morality can be simple to apply and seems to make more sense than does one that is based in rigid laws. It surely works a lot better than trying to live by behavioral laws that require us to always be on the lookout for all the possible love-based exceptions!

Next week we’ll pause to celebrate the Reason for the Season. Then we’ll resume this process of learning to ever better practice the purely love-based morality that Jesus taught.


Praise to the Lord! O let all that is in me adore him!
All that has life and breath, come now with praises before him.
Let the Amen sound from his people again;
gladly forever adore him.
– Joachim Neander (1650-1680), from the German “Praise to the Lord” (1680)


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Now, About Sex… (Part II)

Don’t you think it’s rather funny
That I should be in this position?
I’m the one who’s always been so calm, so cool, no lover’s fool,
Running every show. He scares me so.
– Andrew Lloyd Webber & Tim Rice, from “Jesus Christ Superstar” (1971)

The divine love that Jesus taught is the only kind of love that has the power to raise our personal consciousness vibrations. It’s the only kind of love that has any positive spiritual effect at all!

This essential fact is the center and sum of what Jesus tells us in the Gospels, and it is strongly reinforced in A Course in Miracles. When we remove what was added to the Gospels by the Council of Nicaea in 325, we have what we are told by people that we used to think were dead is the core of what Jesus taught us while He lived on earth. And then reportedly Jesus Himself led the group that channeled the Course in the nineteen-sixties. A Course in Miracles is essentially a very advanced version of the basic advice about spiritual growth that Jesus gives us in the Gospels.

The Lord’s Gospel teachings make it plain that it isn’t enough to simply try to be more loving to friends and family. He says, “if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (MT 5:46-48). The Lord’s stated goal for us is nothing less than the spiritual perfection of the Godhead! But He tells us that level of perfection is attainable only when we have internalized the universal love that He came to earth to teach. In A Course in Miracles, the team around Jesus makes this point more explicitly. The Course calls our love for only certain individuals “special loves,” and it tells us that “special loves” are as counterproductive spiritually as are “special hates.” Wow.

Jesus also insists that in order to live God’s perfect love, we must never judge another human being. In fact, being judgmental of others is such an ego-based, low-vibration attitude that it makes our spiritual growth impossible. And seeing how fiercely judgmental so many modern Christians are wont to be gives us a pretty good explanation for why Christianity has failed so miserably at elevating human consciousness toward the spiritual level of the kingdom of God.

We now know that what Jesus taught is a deep and transformative kind of love that permanently raises our personal consciousness vibrations. And we now understand that Jesus is right, and none of the things that Christians have been attempting for the better part of two thousand years has really done much to improve anything. It is long past time for humankind to listen to Jesus a lot more closely.

One of the Lord’s goals for us is to build a more universal morality, a better distinction between right and wrong. For all of human history, all versions of morality have been rules-based. And since every rule is human-made, morality has always been a matter of opinion. We might know in our gut that we ought to do something or not do something, but if there is a bright-line moral rule that is different from our instinctive view then it can be very hard to tell right from wrong.

Since this inability to arrive at one universal morality has been such a longstanding daily problem, a number of attempts have been made to come up with a more universally acceptable set of moral standards. For example, the hot spiritual book of the Sixties was Situation Ethics – The New Morality. Traditional Christians hated it! That book’s premise was that love is the ethical standard that trumps every rule; but since it failed to distinguish between divine love and the special loves that Jesus warns us against, all the critics of that book were likely right. At its base, it just threw away the rules without putting any sort of universally acceptable moral standard in their place.

We cannot achieve a love-based morality that will free us altogether from human-made rules unless we can first internalize the divine form of love that Jesus taught.

I think the reason why the Lord’s teachings are so effective when we actually apply them is that the sort of love He came to teach is actually our essential nature. When we get beneath all the special loves and hates and all the ego-based negativity, we already embody that perfect universal love. Clear away the mess, and our personal consciousness vibrations begin to rise naturally! And the easiest way to make that happen is turning out to be nothing more than the close application of the Gospel teachings of Jesus. Simply by concentrating on ever more perfectly living the love that Jesus taught, we can raise our own vibrations enough to make this our last necessary earth-lifetime. And if sufficient people worldwide will work to raise their own consciousness vibrations, we can indeed bring the kingdom of God on earth.

I have been experimenting for more than a decade now, and I have told you something of how different special loves and universal love actually feel. As I got to the magical moment when I realized that prevenient forgiveness works, I also developed the sense that I was loving my family a whole lot less. This bothered me at first, but soon I saw that in fact my love for my family hadn’t changed. Instead, I had simply stopped differentiating them from all the rest of humankind. It was all people that I loved now, all children and everyone I passed on the street! And my new love for humankind felt highly pleasurable, as all forms of love are pleasurable. It was cooler, not possessive at all in the way that special loves often feel possessive, but still it was as rapturous and intense as any love that I have ever experienced. In a sort of muffled, human way, I can envision that this must indeed be the way that the Godhead loves all of humankind.  

So now, based upon the teachings of Jesus, we know that what matters to God is not any of the things that we might do. All those TenCommandmentsstyle rules were human-made; and the more we have progressed spiritually, the more we have seen exceptions to the rules. Thou Shalt Not Kill (except to protect innocents); Honor Your Father and Your Mother (unless they are harming others); Do Not Steal (except to feed a starving child); and Do Not Bear False Witness (except in 1942 Germany, when you have Jewish refugees in your closet). It has been many generations since we stopped considering the Old Testament rules to be black-and-white governors of our behavior, but rather we now routinely consider those rules to be no more than good suggestions that can be overridden when the facts get complicated.

In the same way, the Old Testament’s sexual laws are human-made and culture-based. So once we have mastered divine love, we will be able to ignore them all. From a spiritual perspective, there is nothing inherently sinful about any kind of sexual behavior! We can morally have sex in every possible way, whether inside marriage or outside of marriage, with or without a partner or three of any combination of genders, and in private or in the middle of a public street.

We know now that God doesn’t put much emphasis on what we do. No, what matters to the Godhead in all our actions, and matters very much indeed, is just two things:

  • Why we are doing what we are doing. If we have any motive other than perfect divine love, then that secondary motive cannot be ego-based or in any other way negative (fear, revenge, etc.). Anything we do that might affect others must be done from love alone.
  • The effects our actions might have on others. If we feel confident in saying that love is our only motivation, then we still must make certain that even those who are not directly involved are unlikely to be negatively impacted.

So morality has become a more personal process. There are no longer any rules! But instead, before we take action in any situation, we must weigh on our internal scales of perfect and selfless love both what our reasons are for doing it, and how what we are planning to do might affect the other people around us. Always having to be sure to do the love-based thing might seem to be a complication, but trying to follow the old rules was even worse! Before we ever did anything, we had to mentally check to see whether there were applicable human-made laws. Then we had to look for any love-based exception (like a murderer going after your family, or saving the refugees in your 1942 closet). Then, since we still would be acting in violation of those human-made laws, we would fret about whether there might be some way to do the right thing without violating those laws. We might well carry even our well-thought-out and apparently justified but still non-legal choices on our consciences forevermore!

 The key to an entirely rules-free morality that is based in love alone is simply learning and internalizing the perfect divine love that Jesus taught. And then we can altogether and forever entirely banish every rule from our minds!

You may have been wondering what all of this has to do with sex. In fact, the sexual decisions we make are some of the most complex and intensely emotional decisions of all, and inevitably they can affect other people in what are often traumatic ways. Reasoning through some sexual decisions is the best way for us to better understand and begin to implement the Lord’s love-based morality. So next week we will consider how we can best apply divine love’s true measure to some of our thorniest moral decisions of all….


Yet, if he said he loved me,
I’d be lost, I’d be frightened.
I couldn’t cope, just couldn’t cope.
I’d turn my head, I’d back away, I wouldn’t want to know.
He scares me so. I want him so. I love him so.
– Andrew Lloyd Webber & Tim Rice, from “Jesus Christ Superstar” (1971)


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Now, About Sex… (Part I)

I don’t know how to love him.
What to do, how to move him.
I’ve been changed, yes really changed.
In these past few days, when I’ve seen myself,
I seem like someone else.
– Andrew Lloyd Webber & Tim Rice, from “Jesus Christ Superstar” (1971)

Animals reshuffle genetic material in the process of producing each new generation. The usual method of mixing genes involves two genders, one of which has a penis that is inserted into the vagina of the other. To make animals want to reproduce, the act itself is pleasurable; and every material body has a powerful drive to do this odd thing at certain times of its life. But that’s it! Sexual intercourse is a minor aspect of the broad scope of human activities, which fact feels confounding when you realize how much of a fuss we have made about it for all of human history.

The divine love that Jesus taught is so different from most of the emotions that we think of as “love” that it is going to take some effort for us to learn to love in the Lord’s Way. And because the act of sexual intercourse is pleasurable and surrounded by rules and taboos, while at the same time it requires our interacting with other people in complex ways, our sex lives can be an excellent place for us to begin to practice the love that Jesus taught.

Nearly all religions are obsessed with controlling our sexual activity. For example, there are strict notions in every Christian denomination about what is and what is not acceptable sexual behavior; and yet, too often Christians will suffer an overpowering need to violate their own religious laws. They will then be harshly judged and disgraced. Meanwhile, we are allowing our children to be sexualized to an appalling extent! These three problems – our struggles with sexual temptation, all the judgmental Christian congregations, and our grotesque worldwide obsession with sex that is deeply harming our next generation – all spring from our historical obsession with treating the sex act as deliciously forbidden and thereby heightened in importance beyond reason. Unless we can get past our negative obsession with our own sexuality, we never will raise this planet’s consciousness vibrations enough to bring the kingdom of God on earth.

The problem is not the act itself. Sexual intercourse is a bodily function that is fully as morally neutral as eating. But with intercourse, what should be a natural act is complicated by a mess of rules and taboos that damage many people’s lives. And our deeply judgmental views on sex are splintering the forty thousand versions of Christianity even more! To move all modern societies toward a love-based and not a fear-based view of sexuality, we first must understand the ancient mindset that still underlies all our modern taboos. The two rules that follow are from the Christian Old Testament and based in Hebraic law, and they are typical of the mindset of the ancient world:

*Female Sexual Behavior Must be Strictly Controlled. The ancients wanted paternal certainty, so female extramarital sex was forbidden. If a new bride was found to be not a virgin, then they shall bring out the girl to the doorway of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her to death” (Deut 22: 21).

* Male Sexual Behavior Should be Focused. Many children died, which meant there had to be a lot of extra births. This led to a strong cultural preference that all semen emissions be penis-into-vagina. Masturbation was frowned upon, semen emissions were considered unclean (e.g. Lev 15:16-18), and “If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death” (Lev 20:13). Female homosexuality is not mentioned, perhaps because it doesn’t interfere with reproduction.

In the Old Testament, every act of sexual intercourse is a matter of public importance. To change that, Jesus had to do away with all the human-made Old Testament laws and replace them with God’s law of love. He reinforced His abolition of all religious laws, but He did it carefully, since for Him to have been heard by the Temple authorities speaking against an Old Testament law would have been a crime punishable by death. Still, He did what He could. For example:

“Now it happened that Jesus was passing through some grainfields on a Sabbath, and His disciples were picking the heads of grain, rubbing them in their hands, and eating them. But some of the Pharisees said, “Why are you doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?” And Jesus, answering them, said, ‘Have you not even read what David did when he was hungry, he and those who were with him, how he entered the house of God, and took and ate the consecrated bread, which is not lawful for anyone to eat except the priests alone, and gave it to his companions?’ And He was saying to them, ‘The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath’” (LK 6:1-5). Whether Jesus spoke those last words or they were just implied, it was clear to those who were close to Him that He intentionally defied all the strict Sabbath rules. For example, healing on the Sabbath was forbidden, but apparently He did it often (see LK 6:6-10; LK 13:15-16; JN 5:9-10). His style seems to have been to avoid confrontations, and instead to teach that the old rules were gone by displaying repeated casual violations of them.

Jesus’s treatment of the woman taken in adultery is a clear repudiation of Old Testament laws. And it is quite brilliantly done! The scribes and Pharisees “brought a woman caught in the act of adultery, and after placing her in the center of the courtyard, they said to Him, ‘Teacher, this woman has been caught in the very act of committing adultery. Now in the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?’ Now they were saying this to test Him, so that they might have grounds for accusing Him. But Jesus stooped down and with His finger wrote on the ground. When they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up and said to them, ‘He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.’ And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. Now when they heard this, they began leaving, one by one, beginning with the older ones, and He was left alone, and the woman where she was, in the center of the courtyard. And straightening up, Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?’ She said, ‘No one, Lord.’ And Jesus said, ‘I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on do not sin any longer’” (JN 8:3-12). Jesus is not reported to have specifically denounced the Old Testament law against male homosexuality, but since that law is based in fear and hatred we can take His repudiation of it as a given. And my dear Thomas wants us to mention here the fact that there is evidence in the Gospels that Jesus Himself, who came from the highest aspect of the Godhead, may have been homosexual. I await a more enlightened day when Christian scholars love the Lord enough to openly discuss what many of them also by now surely must have noticed.

Jesus readily pardons violations of the ancient and outmoded sexual laws, but still He considers marriage to be a profound commitment. When He is asked about divorce, He says that when people marry, “they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, no person is to separate.” People said to Him, “Why, then, did Moses command to give her a certificate of divorce and send her away?” He said, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been this way. And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery” (MT 19:6-9).

So Jesus repudiates the sexual laws of the Old Testament, but He affirms the love-based importance of marriage. In doing this, He removes sexual behavior from the realm of public criminality and transforms it into a private matter to be lovingly handled within families. Jesus means to move us from a sexual morality rooted in fear-based tribalism to one that is deeply grounded in sexual privacy and familial love. But for two thousand years we have ignored what would have been a profoundly love-based change, and instead Christianity has kept and has enforced the ancient human-made, fear-based laws. Our only change has been to replace stoning sexual violators to death with just the pain of shame and ostracism. None of this is what the Godhead wants! None of it is based in love, and none of it improves anyone’s behavior. Indeed, it has led to a modern culture worldwide that is built around sexual titillation, with predictable bad effects on our personal lives and on the precious lives of our children.

We can begin to live as God wants us to live only when we have banished every fear-based sexual rule and taboo. And we must stop judging others! Jesus said, “Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned” (LK 6:37). But since Christians seldom listen to Jesus, all those sexual taboos that He outmoded two thousand years ago remain at the center of Christianity, and the busybody judging of others continues to be a horrifying Christian obsession.

As we better learn to live the Lord’s love-based Way, we will need to rethink so many deep-seated aspects of our lives! And to start that process, we will consider next week how our sexual views and practices will change as we begin to live the love that Jesus taught….

Should I bring him down?
Should I scream and shout?
Should I speak of love,
Let my feelings out?
I never thought I’d come to this!
What’s it all about?
– Andrew Lloyd Webber & Tim Rice, from “Jesus Christ Superstar” (1971)


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Living the Love That Jesus Taught

What a friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and griefs to bear.
And what a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer.
– Joseph M. Scriven (1819-1886), from “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” (1855)

 Without the work of researchers who have studied the afterlife and the greater reality, we still would know almost nothing about what it was that Jesus actually taught. For nearly two millennia, Christians have believed that Jesus was born to be a sacrifice. God was never going to forgive us, so Jesus took it upon Himself to claim all our evil deeds as His own and then die horribly in our stead. So then God would finally forgive us. Oh, a few Gospel bits would be read in church, but generally they were disconnected platitudes about love and forgiveness. And the way the churches long have taught it, loving and forgiving were only feel-good ideas that Jesus shared with us before going to the cross to perform His mission of redeeming us from God’s judgment. It was the Lord’s sacrificial death that was important, even in Protestant churches! In my childhood church, the crucifix was blessedly shorn of the body of Jesus, but still that cross was His central symbol. An instrument of torture and horrific death. A constant guilt-filled reminder of what He had to endure because of our own failings. We even were happy to wear silver crucifixes on silver chains around our necks.

It was only in my early teens, when I began to read the entire Bible, that I realized Jesus had a lot more to say! Soon I was looking forward to the Gospels as I slogged through the Books of Zechariah and Malachi, always feeling at the end of Malachi that I had abruptly landed in the modern day. I would sit at the feet of Jesus, reading favorite passages over and over and reveling in seeing ever deeper meanings. I kept up this nightly Bible-reading habit into my early fifties, at which point I had done enough afterlife research to feel certain that all the Christian teachings were absolutely, stone-cold wrong. So then I had my well-deserved crisis of faith, and I put aside both the Bible and the afterlife evidence for the next two years.

When I finally picked up my Bible again and read just the Gospels, I realized that the teachings of Jesus and the afterlife evidence completely agree. That amazing rainy afternoon was the greatest moment of my life! Jesus knew things two thousand years ago that we could not have corroborated until the twentieth century. And it seems that no one else in history has made and gone public with this discovery. How astonishing is that? The point is that these are not coincidences. They are instead gigantic revelations. For Jesus to have spoken as He did, He has to have known while He lived on earth what afterlife researchers are only now learning.

This really does transform our ability to understand Jesus. For one example, I have found no Christian clergyman who ever has puzzled out what Jesus means when He refers to the kingdom of God (or the kingdom of heaven, which seems to mean the same thing). Jesus uses one term or the other some eighty times through all four Gospels, so arguably unless we know what those terms mean to Him, we cannot understand the Lord’s actual mission. And thanks to insights gleaned when we read the Gospels in conjunction with the afterlife evidence, we are confident now that the Lord’s primary mission was to teach us how to raise our personal consciousness vibrations away from fear and toward the perfect love of the Godhead. When we have reached the spiritual development of what we call the sixth level of the afterlife, the level just below the Source, then we will personally have achieved the kingdom of God. And when we have established that level of spiritual development in a significant portion of living humanity, then we will have accomplished the Lord’s ultimate goal of bringing the kingdom of God on earth.

The modern Christian whose work I most admire is Father Richard Rohr, a Franciscan priest and founder of The Center for Action & Contemplation In Albuquerque, New Mexico. Especially if you have a Catholic background, I urge you to sign up for the daily meditations in which Father Rohr and his team do a beautiful job of bringing Christianity into the modern age. This is from their daily meditation for November 18th:

The Kingdom of Heaven is really a metaphor for a state of consciousness; it is not a place you go to, but a place you come from. It is a whole new way of looking at the world, a transformed awareness that literally turns this world into a different place. . . The hallmark of this awareness is that it sees no separation—not between God and humans, not between humans and other humans. And these are indeed Jesus’s two core teachings, underlying everything he says and does. . . .

“When Jesus talks about this Oneness . . . . what he more has in mind is a complete, mutual indwelling: I am in God, God is in you, you are in God, we are in each other. His most beautiful symbol for this is in the teaching in John 15 where he says, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Abide in me as I in you” [see John 15:4–5]. A few verses later he says, “As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you. Abide in my love” [John 15:9]. . . . There is no separation between humans and God because of this mutual interabiding which expresses the indivisible reality of divine love. . . .

“No separation between human and human is an equally powerful notion—and equally challenging. One of the most familiar of Jesus’s teachings is “Love your neighbor as yourself” [Matthew 22:39] . . . as a continuation of your very own being. It’s a complete seeing that your neighbor is you. There are not two individuals out there . . . there are simply two cells of the one great Life.”

As is usual with what we read from Father Rohr’s team, all of this is true. And here they come so close! But because they cannot know what we have learned in doing afterlife research, it seems just aspirational, doesn’t it? Father Rohr clearly sees the goal! You want to say to him, “Great insights, sir! Now, how do we get there?”

What Father Rohr and his team don’t realize is that Jesus told us how to get there. And He made it so easy! But we can only make use of His teachings as a program for rapid spiritual growth if we can (a) see that His teachings are more than platitudes, and (b) also know enough about how consciousness and the greater reality work to be able to apply the Lord’s teachings productively to our daily lives.

Jesus sums up the ultimate goal of His teachings for all of humankind in His Lord’s Prayer. There He says, “Your kingdom come, Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven(MT 6:10). He flat-out tells us that we are to bring the spiritual development of the highest levels of the afterlife to those who are in bodies on earth. And He insists that this elevation of each human mind happens internally! He says, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or, ‘There it is!’ For behold, the kingdom of God is within you” (LK 17:20-21). Thanks to our study of consciousness as it relates to the afterlife evidence, we now know that Jesus is exactly right. And fortunately, since we are all part of one Mind, we can gladly estimate that the elevation of as little as ten percent of the earth’s population to that highest level of spiritual development will be sufficient to begin the advent of the kingdom of God over all the earth!

It is impossible to achieve the Lord’s goal for humankind as it is so well stated by Father Rohr unless we can effect the spiritual transformation on earth that Jesus taught us to pray for. No amount of trying really hard to love your neighbor as yourself (LK 10:27) can produce much spiritual change! But Jesus has the answer for this as well. The key to our learning how to love in the transformational way that God wants us to love is for us to learn prevenient forgiveness. And our afterlife-based understanding of human consciousness shows us why this is true!

We enter these bodies with awareness of only a limited subset of our vast, eternal minds. We temporarily pack away the rest. And importantly, the subset that we use while in bodies is designed for rapid spiritual growth: these earth-minds are lazy, governed by habit, and easily re-programmed. And every wrong that we ever might need to forgive is something that we ourselves have taught our minds is a personal wrong to be fought. We aren’t born knowing that our stuff is our stuff, or that people are attacking us when they cut us off in traffic; but as we grow up, our ego-based self-protectiveness instills into our minds these certainties. We have created our own mistaken habits of thought! And forgiving each perceived “wrong” only after it happens is simply too stressful and too much work. BUT. If we can make our minds’ reactions the whole problem, and we at once perform some boring ritual that distracts our minds whenever they present us with a wrong that would otherwise need to be forgiven, we find that within weeks our lazy minds will re-program themselves and just stop bothering. Then we no longer care if someone steals from us or nearly forces us off the road. And as we get past even the need to forgive, our natural love and affinity for our neighbor starts on its own to bud and blossom. And then it abundantly thrives!

Two decades have passed since I first realized that the Gospel words of Jesus prove He is probably an aspect of the genuine Godhead. I have spent the intervening time in researching, teaching, and trying to ever better understand and use the Gospel teachings in the ways that Jesus wants us to use them. At first, I was my own guinea pig. And with prompting from Thomas, I had amazing results! So then I wrote a book about what I had been learning in order to let others try it out. What I hear from readers suggests that they are having similar results; but the key to making this program work well is probably going to be for groups of seekers to help and encourage one another. And that will come soon. For now, though, let’s talk about how we can better apply to our daily lives the deeply transformative love that God wants all of us to be learning now. And let’s begin next week with what might be our greatest human challenge….

Can we find a friend so faithful
Who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness;
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
– Joseph M. Scriven (1819-1886), from “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” (1855)


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