Author: Roberta Grimes

Considering Babies

Jesus loves the little children,
All the little children of the world.
Red and yellow, black and white,
They are precious in His sight.
Jesus loves the little children of the world!
– Clare Herbert Woolston (1856-1927), from “Jesus Loves the Little Children” (1800s)

Anyone who has spent time with a tiny baby has wondered where all the amazingly distinctive traits of newborn children come from. On a superficial level, every newborn child looks and acts like every other child; but parents will tell you that almost from birth each baby has a unique personality. As a mother of three, I am certain that when I looked into the eyes of each newborn bundle, the person that child later grew to be was already complete and inside there, calmly looking back at me.

Scientists believe we are just our material bodies, so they are certain our personalities must somehow arise as a natural function of those bodies. They think that who we are most likely happens in our material brains, although of course they still have no idea about the process or any of the details. And they cannot even hazard a guess as to why an entirely material humanity would bother to have separate personalities at all! Scientists live in a material world. To them, we are meat and nothing more. But you and I now understand that reality is not material. We know that we are eternal beings, that each of us lives many lives, and that every newborn in its mother’s arms is already an ancient being who has bravely planned to live yet another lifetime in which to learn and grow spiritually. Knowing the truth about who and what we are, you and I realize that each newborn child is the complex product of a long, mysterious, and probably fascinating history!

For us to talk about the traits of babies may seem at first to be a diversion from our discussions here that have centered of late on consciousness, Jesus, God, and the meaning and purpose of human life. But in reality, the innate characteristics of babies are at the nexus of all these topics! It is in babies that so much of what we are learning about the greater reality self-integrates. Babies are the fruit, if you will, and the ultimate test of all the truths that we have been researching and patiently trying to fit together in an effort to make some sense of it all.

When I was first researching life after death, what in the end convinced me that life goes on was hundreds of documented communications from the dead that had been received before 1940. They had come through physical and deep-trance mediums in southern England and in the eastern United States over at least half a century of time, and yet all the communicators were obviously speaking from the same gigantic place! The same process, the same physics, the same pastimes, and all the same details: it was like reading hundreds of communications from travelers who all had just arrived in Fiji. I realized then that for all these reports to be so entirely consistent would have been statistically impossible if the afterlife where they said they were now was not entirely real.

And each new baby gives us a similar opportunity to test our evidence-based understanding of humanity’s place in the greater reality. We know now that every human mind is eternal.  We know that each of us lives many different lives on earth – and elsewhere in this universe, too – with each life carefully planned and guided to give us the greatest opportunity to experience and push against negativity, and thereby to ever better grow spiritually. We know or suspect that a great many things might impact a child now entering a newly planned earth-lifetime. In fact, with all that we now know about the venerable being that chose to use that new life as a vehicle for spiritual growth, it would be amazing if new babies did not already have distinct personalities!

With all that we have learned so far about what might be influencing a newborn’s life, let’s look at how those influences could reveal themselves as each child starts to grow. The kinds of traits described here might be apparent from birth, or they may seem to arise later. And some of them will affect that child’s entire life:

  • The Being’s Eternal Nature. During our lives between lives, we are full-fledged and recognizably better versions of ourselves. We lack most of the negativity, whether fear-based or anger-based, that tends to plague us when we are in bodies. And we have access to our entire minds when we are there, which means that we can be comfortably certain that our lives are indeed eternal. So we are a whole lot happier! This nicer base personality that is who we are at home sometimes carries over as a base for our after-birth personality.
  • The Being’s Pre-Birth Spiritual State. People generally continue to incarnate until their personal vibratory rate is close to the top of the fifth afterlife level. This means that some tiny babies are already spiritually pretty advanced beings! The newborn’s spiritual state won’t be immediately obvious, but sometimes a child that is more advanced spiritually will display an especially peaceful and loving personality almost from birth.
  • Skills Learned Before This Lifetime. Many people who didn’t have the opportunity to learn music, painting, sculpture, or various crafts when they were living a previous earthly lifetime will have taken advantage of studying these things as an enjoyable pastime during their lives between lives. Then once they enter a new lifetime, their special skills may become evident even early in life. This is how piano and painting prodigies are born!
  • The Plan For This Lifetime. We come to earth to experience negative stressors so we can push against them and thereby grow spiritually. For a few of us there may be more going on, but for most of us that is the whole story. So when bad things happen to good people, those aren’t bugs at all. They’re features! We plan for illnesses, alcoholic parents, marital problems, career calamities, and any of a hundred other earthly crises as great potential spiritual stressors.
  • Designed-In Assets and Handicaps. As we plan the events of our upcoming lifetime, we also plan for personal characteristics that can make it either easier or more difficult to manage and triumph over our planned life-events. We might plan to be depressive, excitable, bipolar, or plagued by borderline personality disorder; we might have spina bifida, Asperger’s Syndrome, deafness or blindness or another congenital bodily deformity. On the plus side, we could choose to be beautiful, talented, or very bright. Or perhaps we will enjoy being all three.
  • Other-Life Personalities. Each of us has lived many utterly unremarkable lives, but for most of us there have been a few lives that were distinctive in various ways. That innocent little bundle in pink could have been a starlet or a ruthless general; and a babe in blue could have been a courtesan or robber baron or a Biblical prophet. And sometimes one or more of these prior personalities will bleed a bit into the lifetime just beginning.
  • Other-Life Traumas. People who have suffered in wars or died under torture will sometimes carry forward into this new lifetime some fears and angers that are rooted in those old traumas. For example, someone who once burned to death may have an irrational fear of fire; or someone who was buried alive might now be especially claustrophobic.
  • Other-Life Memories. Especially during the first few years of life, many children will have traces of active memories of a recent prior earth-lifetime, and especially of the violent death that ended it. Dr. Ian Stevenson of the University of Virginia made a specialty of studying and writing about such cases.
  • Other-Life Genders. Gender is so central to our human identity that we keep the same gender for most of our lifetimes so we won’t need to freshly adjust each time. And when we do have to adjust, the change can be traumatic! I have nearly always been male, and I have carried for this entire life a vivid memory of the moment when I first discovered this new body was missing something major. I must have been maybe eleven months old and freshly undressed for my bath. I was toddling down an extremely tall hallway as I randomly explored my body, and the shock of realizing what was not there was a trauma that I would never forget. My dispirited thought was, “Oh. I’m the other kind this time.” (I later realized that for a baby to have such a thought says amazing things, in and of itself.) Until I was maybe fourteen years old, I would have done anything to change my gender, but my puberty banished all such thoughts. As it does in more than three-quarters of such cases. Which is why for us to encourage or even to allow children to begin a gender transition before they have completed puberty is a monstrous betrayal of innocent trust.
  • Characteristics of the Available Bodies. As if all this baggage were not enough, we will want to be born in a specific time and place in order to make our life-plan work, so we will be choosing from a limited number of available bodies that each will have its own genetic burdens and potentially negative family issues. Thomas preferred a female body for me, but our best-choice female fetus was conceived illegitimately. Apparently that gave us an early worry, although fortunately the parents soon married so I grew up in a stable home.

With so many factors potentially influencing each newborn baby’s entire life, it’s no wonder that human beings at birth are so amazingly different from one another! And as we grow, all these different factors conflict with one another and wax and wane in us, so scientists who still willfully insist that each newborn is only meat and nothing more are flat unable to understand the complex psychology of all human minds. The study of the afterlife inevitably leads to the study of the greater reality. And everything that we have learned about the amazingly complex reality in which we live our eternal lives finds its complex fruition and its validation in the miracle of each newborn child.    

Jesus loves me, this I know,
For the Bible tells me so.
Little ones to Him belong.
They are weak, but He is strong.
– Anna Bartlett Warner (1827-1915), from “Jesus Loves Me” (1862)


Asian baby with hat photo credit: Ted’s photos – For Me & You <a href=”″>2019 – Vietnam-Avalon-Siem Reap – 29 – Mekong River Cu Lao Gieng (January) Island</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>
Baby in a red dress photo credit: Carlos Bustamante Restrepo <a href=”″>My niece Margarita wearing a red dress</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>

Believing vs. Having Faith

I really wanna know You. I really wanna see You.
I’d like to see You, Lord. I wanna see You, Lord!
It takes so long, my Lord. My sweet Lord!
Oh my sweet Lord! My sweet Lord!
– George Harrison (1943-2001), from “My Sweet Lord” (1970)

Seeking and relating to gods is a process as innate to human life as thinking and speaking. That is an amazing fact! We can trace organized religions back to at least 8,000 BCE, to the advent of farming and the first settlements; and the earliest archeological evidence for religious beliefs dates to at least 200,000 BCE. The notion of gods is fully as old as humanity itself. This fact suggests that our having lived before birth in a very much better place may always have been a kind of folk-memory. Perhaps we always have known on some level that there was Something Greater that called to us and nagged us with Its wish to be found. And we have had no way to imagine the Source of that call except as a mimic of ourselves, so every god created by humankind has been an extra-powerful human-like being. Naturally, all those human-made gods were imagined to also have outsized human flaws! Including even the Christian God. The God that you and I met in our childhood churches was envisioned as a strict but loving Father who insisted that we must learn to better love and forgive. He demanded love and forgiveness of us, even though the Christian God was Himself so lacking in love and forgiveness that He refused to forgive us for our human failings unless He first got to watch His Own Son being tortured and murdered. People have created some awful gods! 

We have talked here about the fact that Christianity has been declining rapidly in the United States and worldwide. Currently 43% of adults in the U.S. identify as Protestants, which is down from 51% in 2009; and 20% of American adults are Catholics, down from 23% in 2009. The forced lockdowns of 2020 seem to be accelerating this trend, so it is estimated now that fully one-fifth of the Christian churches in the United States that temporarily closed their doors last spring will close them for good within the year. This dramatic implosion of the world’s most popular religion seems to have a number of causes. But I think the primary reason why Christianity is desperately struggling now is the fact that it requires us to believe what to most modern adults is flat-out unbelievable.

People have learned a lot in two thousand years. When Jesus was born, human beings knew almost nothing about anything! And we had few intellectual skills with which we might begin to figure things out, so for religions to give us their dogmas around which we could build a bit of hopeful faith was better than accepting that everything was and would forever remain a puzzle. But after the advent of the scientific method, the Enlightenment and the first human landing on the moon, humankind’s default setting has been reversed. Today many people’s general assumption is that we already understand most things, and many in the West are sure that before long we are going to figure out everything else. From our present, much more  self-assured perspective on reality, many moderns are finding it harder to believe in anything that they cannot see. And what Christianity requires of us is even more of a stretch than mere belief! After all, each of us holds many “beliefs” that are supported by good evidence, from the notion that the sun will rise in the east to the theories that gold is worth more than lead and season will follow season in a predictable way. None of what we believe is an eternal certainty. In fact, everything that we believe with confidence is likely to one day no longer be true; but for purposes of planning our daily lives, our beliefs based in longstanding evidence have proven to be pretty reliable. Unlike our ancient ancestors, we have good reason to be confident now that we live in a stable and comprehensibly facts-based world.

It is precisely our experience that facts-based beliefs are reliable that is the enemy of religions. Each religion is based in its own dogmas, which are arbitrary ideas not rooted in evidence so they don’t rise to the level of actual beliefs. And yet they are essential, since without a broad acceptance of its dogmas each religion would topple like a paper house. And for us to firmly hold religious beliefs that are unsupported by evidence requires that we believe without needing evidence. Christians have a favorite word for that! Quite simply, “faith” means something like “confident belief not rooted in evidence.” The word is derived from the Latin “fides,” which means something like “trust that a concept or idea is true, even though we have no definitive evidence.” To the Christian ear, “belief” sounds cold and mechanical, while “faith” is the warm and spiritual way to describe our relationship to the religion and to God. This notion that believing without evidence is a virtue likely stems from what Jesus is quoted as having said to Thomas when His disciple put a hand into the spear wound in the side of the Lord’s risen body and then said, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed” (JN 20:29). So Christians have been sure from the founding of the religion that the highest virtue is for us to have faith in God, in Jesus, and in all the Christian dogmas, even without evidence that any of it is real.

This notion that “having faith” is a virtue lasted throughout Christian history until about the middle of the twentieth century. By the Sixties, that ancient cultural understanding that just about everything was inexplicable and required of us a lot of faith was being replaced by a modern confidence that since we even had learned how to split the atom, we were likely before long to work out everything else! So by the start of the twenty-first century, having faith without evidence was no longer seen as the virtue that it once had been, and many more sophisticated Christians were starting to look askance at a lot of the peculiar dogmas they still were being asked to take entirely on faith.

So then some of the most ardent Christian apologists sought to prove that Christian dogmas could indeed be supported by evidence. They found and trumpeted evidence that Jesus actually had lived on earth, and even that the Shroud of Turin could be used as evidence that He had been crucified and resurrected.  But of course, far from supporting the fear-based and frankly unbelievable central Christian dogma, all the evidence that Jesus was an historical figure who had died and then reanimated His body gave no support at all to the religion’s assertion that God had long ago required the torture and murder of His Own Son.

There are a number of reasons why Christian church membership is in such sharp decline, but the fact that having faith without evidence is such thin gruel for modern people is a big one. When you and I were learning in our childhood churches that Jesus had died as a sacrifice to His Father because God would never forgive us otherwise, perhaps we looked suspiciously at our own dads at the time, but we accepted that central Christian teaching. We also were accepting television, telephones, automobiles, and electric lights without knowing how any of them worked, either! But as we grew and finished our educations, we were figuring out a great many things. And then another generation came, and another very soon followed it, with each of them feeling ever more confident that truths require real evidence, and therefore they were ever more suspicious of Christianity’s insistence that we trust its dogmas. In the twenty-first century, any religion that demands that its adherents “just have faith” and offers no evidence to support its ideas is simply no longer viable.

Christianity’s dogmas always have been built on nothing but faith-based ideas. There was no need for supporting evidence when Christianity first began, and nor was there a need for evidence during most of the religion’s history. But emphatically, we need evidence now! And importantly, we do have evidence that, far from being bothered by our now seeking meatier evidence-based truths, the Godhead welcomes our curiosity and will gladly reward it!

The world’s greatest pioneers in the field of afterlife research are Victor and Wendy Zammit of Sidney, Australia. One of the Zammits’ own special teachers is an elevated collective in spirit that speaks through an entity called Silver Birch and gives us encouragement. Silver Birch says, “We never say to you ‘… do not use your reason: faith only.’ We say ‘Use that which the Great Power has given you. Test us. Examine us. If aught that we say is debasing, cruel or immoral, then reject us ….’ If we seek always to teach you to live nobler lives, lives of greater self-sacrifice and of idealism, then surely that demonstrates that the hallmark of the Great Power is stamped upon our teaching.” – (Silver Birch Anthology – p.43 The Divine Plan)

Even more importantly, Jesus says the same thing! He encourages us to “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened” (MT 7:7-8).

For most of Christian history, no amount of seeking with the primitive intellectual tools that then were available to us could have helped us learn much of anything! So these words of the Lord’s seem to have been spoken and preserved just for this beautiful day, when we can begin to seek and find in Christianity only the parts of it that are worthy of a rational and evidencebased belief. Now, in the twenty-first century, when so many things can be researched and will yield to our reason-based understanding, Christians who no longer feel able to believe the fear-based dogmas of a human-made religion can now take Jesus at His word. We can seek, and we will find inside the ugly shell of Christianity’s fears the real and abundant evidence we crave for the glorious truths that Jesus taught.

Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying,
“Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?”
Then I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

– The Prophet Isaiah (ca 700 BC) (Isaiah 6:8)


White peacock on a dock photo credit: Stanley Zimny (Thank You for 54 Million views) <a href=”″>Great Tail</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>
Blue peacock photo credit: Andy Magee <a href=”″>Peacock Tail</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>
Peacock strolling photo credit: fishhawk <a href=”″>Peacock strolling through a field.</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>
White peacock photo credit: joiseyshowaa <a href=”″>Explosion of White</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>
Peacock on a roof photo credit: Taiga ISHIBASHI <a href=”″>Blue Phoenix</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>
Peacock portrait photo credit: Stanley Zimny (Thank You for 54 Million views) <a href=”″>Like My Hat?</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>

Is Jesus Actually God on Earth?

Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation;
O my soul, praise Him, for He is thy health and salvation:
Come ye who hear, Brothers and sisters draw near,
Praise Him in glad adoration.
– Catherine Winkworth (1827-1878), (translator from German), from “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty” (1863)

There have been many beloved spiritual teachers and prophets down all the generations. Whenever I say or write that Jesus came to us as God on earth, you can depend on it: someone is going to say, “But what about the Buddha?” Or what about this or that other great religious figure? Weren’t all of them also God on earth? Actually, now that you mention it, every human being might be called God on earth. Every one of us is an aspect of the self-same Consciousness as the Godhead Itself, so all of us are of the Godhead’s Mind, from the lowest vibration to the highest. In the most fundamental and most beautiful sense, every one of us is God on earth.

What makes Jesus different from the rest of us is that according to a number of disparate sources, He came to us from the highest aspect of the Godhead. We have lately been given to understand that the Godhead is a Collective of Perfected Beings, which likely is a simplification of what is a much more complex reality. Having been given that insight by my spirit guide, Thomas, I have since seen evidence for it everywhere. For example, Mikey Morgan is a sixth-level being who recently took an optional earth-lifetime so he could teach us in modern terms from the spiritual range just below the Godhead. When Mikey was asked to define God, he said, “God is the Unity of Absolute Pure Love which is Infinite. The Collective or Source of all that exists.” Wow. When Mikey and Thomas agree on something, that pretty well seals the deal for me! But for purposes of this discussion, the actual nature of the Godhead won’t matter. What is important is the fact that Jesus came to us not as just a “begotten Son” whose mission was to be sacrificed in order to redeem us from our Creator’s wrath. No! Every bit of that old Christian story is fortunately just human-made nonsense. Jesus is much more important than that. He came to earth in a human body as an aspect of the genuine Godhead. When you know that, you see His teachings and His mission in a whole new light!

For what follows to make sense to you, we likely ought to again explain how it is possible for us to investigate the greater reality with an open mind. You shouldn’t trust just this one reporter! But you also cannot trust either religions or science alone as authorities on anything factual. Here is why:

  • Mainstream science is only the study of matter and its correlate energy. Just over a century ago, the scientific community adopted materialism as what they called “the fundamental scientific dogma.” And since reality is fundamentally non-material and is grounded in the base energy that we experience in a dim way as human consciousness, most scientific conclusions are not worth much. In fact, to use any bit of evidence that was produced by traditional scientific research, we first must temper it with the product of research that is not in any way limited by science’s materialist constraints.
  • Religions are flies in amber which demand our faith in their old ideas. All of them insist that we make their dogmas the basis of our understanding, when the whole point of our doing independent research is that we aren’t satisfied with just believing anything. Now we really want to know! Jesus tells us that we must Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you” (MT 7:7). So for us to look beyond believing just religious notions is encouraged by the Lord Himself!

If we ever hope to understand what actually is going on, we’ve got to venture far beyond both mainstream science and traditional religions. We must investigate every possible source of information, and use only what can be demonstrated to be free of any beliefs-based taint. I hope you will do all your own research! But just to get you started, here are some of the bits of evidence that have convinced me that Jesus did indeed come to us as God on earth:

Jesus  Claimed That God Was in Him and Spoke Through Him

For example, Jesus said, The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work” (JN 14:10). And, “The word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me” (JN 14:24). And even, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of His own accord, but only what He sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise” (JN 5:19). All of us have spirit guides who effectively are inside us, too, and are able to influence what we think and say; so for Jesus to have had that sort of intimate relationship with Spirit is not surprising. But for the Godhead to have been in Jesus and speaking through Jesus is a different matter! For one thing, the Godhead is almost certainly a Collective of Perfected Beings. And for another, each of those spiritually perfected beings is so vastly powerful that even the most spiritually elevated beings of a consciousness vibration approaching the level of the Godhead are unable to bear the Godhead’s energy. So the spiritual energy that Jesus Himself was channeling so easily would have been something like the energy of the entire sun. Or even of a thousand suns. We have no way to imagine the power of the Godhead that continuously manifests this universe! So if the Godhead was in Jesus when the Lord inhabited a material body, then He Himself was of the Godhead’s spiritual level. There is no other possibility.

My Spirit Guide Tells Us Who Jesus Was and Why He Came

Thomas tells us that Jesus came to earth from the highest aspect of the Godhead. He agrees with Mikey Morgan that the Godhead is a Collective of Perfected Beings. And Thomas also tells us that Jesus came with a very specific two-part mission!  That was why He chose to be born in a material body and live a human life from His infancy, rather than simply appearing briefly as an adult and making His pronouncements. Thomas says that the Lord wanted to:

  • “Walk in our shoes” and experience human life in full as He sought to understand why the people of that day were finding it so hard to grow spiritually, and also why this planet’s collective consciousness vibrations were sinking so deeply toward fear. He also wanted to:
  • Teach us how to raise our personal consciousness vibrations away from fear and toward love. Once Jesus had learned whatever He could from living a fully human life, He set out to teach us how to eliminate most of what was making us fearful so we could move on to achieve much more rapid spiritual growth. He used a simple analogy to the kingdom of God – the spiritually elevated level just below the Source – to help His followers understand what our goal must be. And He urged us to free ourselves from religious fears and abandon the human-made and fear-based Jehovah so we could learn to better relate to the genuine Godhead as we also learn to ever better love and forgive. The Gospel teachings of Jesus as He gave them to us two thousand years ago remain the easiest and the most effective way for anyone to achieve rapid spiritual growth and help to bring the kingdom of God on earth.

We Have Evidence That Jesus Came From the Godhead

The evidence for the life of Jesus even beyond the Gospels is surprisingly strong. It is easy to demonstrate that He did live on earth. But for me, the most dramatic evidence that Jesus both lived on earth and also came to us from the highest aspect of the Godhead is the Shroud of Turin. The Shroud is the Lord’s purported burial-wrapping, and a close modern study of it can readily demonstrate that Jesus did indeed die on a cross and let His dead body begin to decompose. Then two days later He re-inhabited and reanimated that dead body and actually used it briefly. No one with less than the Godhead’s powers could re-animate and use a formerly-dead body! And consider these facts:

*The linen of the Shroud is authentic. It can be carbon-dated and dated in all its details to the lifetime of Jesus.
* The marks on the Shroud align with the Lord’s execution. The body the Shroud covered was a Jewish man who died on the eve of the Sabbath, and he had suffered all the Lord’s wounds.
* The Shroud carries smudges that turn out to be a 3-D photographic negative. Those smudges had been documented to exist on the Shroud of Turin for almost two millennia before anyone could have known what a 3-D negative even was! Then when the Shroud was first photographed in 1898, the clear image of a crucified man appeared on its negative. That image later turned out to be a mathematically perfect three-dimensional image.
* No one knows how the image on the Shroud was made. It is not a pigment, nor is it anything else man-made. The best explanation given is that it was caused by a powerful “electrical charge in the form of radiation” which happened after the blood on the Shroud had dried.

I have come to accept the divine nature of Jesus somewhat reluctantly, and only based upon evidence. For Him to have taught us God’s eternal truths, Jesus needn’t have been any more important than just a spiritually elevated being, perhaps no more advanced than your spirit guide or mine. It has taken me decades of finding many bits of evidence and assembling it, seeing how it all fits and what it can reasonably be telling us is true, before at last I am able to announce to you what seems to be a certainty. Jesus came to us as God on earth. I think we even can add that the life of Jesus was probably the only time in history when a Perfected Member of the Godhead chose to live an earth-life in a human body. And He did it as a beautiful, selfless gift to all of humankind. Praise to the Lord, indeed!

Praise to the Lord, who o’er all things so wondrously reigneth,
Shelters thee under his wings, yea, so gently sustaineth:
Hast thou not seen all that is needful hath been
Granted in what He ordaineth?
– Catherine Winkworth (1827-1878), (translator from German), from “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty” (1863)


Ascension photo credit: MTSOfan <a href=”″>The Ascension, Detail</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>
My Lord photo credit: Lawrence OP <a href=”″>My Lord and my God</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>

The Task Before Us

Praise to the Lord, who doth prosper thy work, and defend thee;
Surely His goodness and mercy here daily attend thee;
Ponder anew all the Almighty can do,
He who with love doth befriend thee.
– Catherine Winkworth (1827-1878), (translator from German), from “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty” (1863)

Today’s topic has been a struggle for me. When the task is to put together what I have learned in fifty years of studying the afterlife evidence, the teachings of Jesus, and key aspects of materialist science in order to better understand reality, I can do that! And in truth, all this widely disparate evidence fits together so perfectly that it seems to be statistically impossible for the conclusions we can draw from it not to be right. But our task for today is to take the next step, and reason beyond our present reality toward establishing a process that can lead to a future we have no way even to imagine now. The kingdom of God overspreading the earth will be an explosion of love and joy!

Jesus gave us the method and the goal. And we begin to see now that His vision can work! For me, one clear proof of the divinity of Jesus is the fact that two thousand years ago He knew extraordinary things about human nature that we are discovering only now. So our mission and our method have been set for us by One whose wisdom and knowledge are perfect. But still, for us to achieve the kingdom of God on earth looks to be impossible!

Our problem is that the only way to bring the kingdom of God on earth is to spiritually elevate each of us individually. Person by person. Since every human mind is part of the one vast Mind that continuously manifests reality, we know that as people work to raise their own consciousness vibrations, the success of each will minutely contribute to the elevation of us all. So we can begin from our present state of deep negativity, and as each of us grows spiritually we can together elevate the consciousness vibrations of us all. And of course, the more of us who are growing spiritually, the more our growth will act to elevate that one collective human consciousness, whose further elevation then will prompt ever more and more people to work to raise their own consciousness vibrations, too. And so it will build, until spiritual growth is rapidly happening everywhere.

It has been estimated that when as few as ten percent of the world’s population has achieved spiritual elevation to the point where they will no longer need to reincarnate (which is to say, when they have achieved the spiritual development of what we call the fifth level), at that point all of human consciousness will be able to continue to rise on its own in a gloriously positive feedback loop of ever more people raising their vibrations and contributing to the elevation of everyone else. And then, before long, kindness and joy will break out like springtime all over the world! Even terrorists will be cuddling puppies. And we will begin to notice with delight that the kingdom of God is upon us now. It is within us and all around us!

Although of course, right now humankind is rushing headlong in the wrong direction. There is so much negativity and rage polluting all of human consciousness that some astral travelers have reported seeing the earth’s negativity from their non-material perspective as a dark-gray sludge that blankets the planet. And we on earth live in it and breathe it, especially in the United States, where every form of rage has become such a drag on our spiritual health that a recent poll finds that nearly half of the American public believes we are about to fight a second Civil War. We are told by people not now in bodies that the spiritual vibrations of all of humankind have been sinking fast in recent decades in the wake of the blood-drenched twentieth century. And they tell us that unless we can arrest the slide, we can expect our present extreme negativity to feed on itself and grow steadily worse, with ever more wars and all forms of hatred further deepening our planet’s negativity. Elevated beings are telling us now that unless we can rapidly turn things around, humankind has become so debased that it will destroy itself and this planet in about another two hundred years.

So we have before us a nearly impossible task that has a quick timeline. Either we give it everything we’ve got right now, or we live out the balance of our lives on earth always knowing that our grandchildren’s grandchildren’s grandchildren are going to inherit a ravaged planet and suffer a worldwide war that no member of our species can survive.

Do I have your attention now?

Our situation is stark, but it is not hopeless. Thomas tells us that we still have time. If we will work aggressively toward raising the consciousness vibrations of as many people as we can, it might take us no more than two hundred years to bring the kingdom of God on earth. And tantalizingly, astral travelers into the future (yes, that is a thing)  have come back to tell us that in two hundred years the negative scum that now sullies our planet is going to be altogether gone.

I began this week with the task of mapping for you the steps of a process by which we could move rapidly from here to there; but the more I considered it, the more impossible it seemed. There are 7.8 billion people on earth. Ten percent of that would mean that roughly 780 million people would have to elevate themselves to the fifth spiritual level of reality in order to begin a rapid transformation of our collective consciousness and thereby launch the kingdom of God on earth. We can describe the process. We can set the goal. But less than twenty percent of humanity now lives in first-world nations where people are well educated and speak English as a first or second language. So what we are saying is that for us to even start to move the meter on this, we will need to reach and persuade and then to rapidly spiritually elevate roughly half of the English-speaking world.

After a week of struggle, I begin to see now how we might get this done. These steps will need to be taken simultaneously, and for us to take them quickly enough is likely to require a substantial investment. To bring the kingdom of God on earth in time to save humanity, we will need to do the following things:

  • Spread the alarm. For years I have lived with a terrible warning. My spirit guide, Thomas, told me plainly as he was persuading me to channel Liberating Jesus that our present deeply negative course will lead to humanity’s extinction in an Armageddon of planetary destruction in about another two hundred years. I haven’t much talked about this. And I hesitate to sound like a New Age crackpot, but I don’t have the right to keep this warning to myself! Compared to an elevation in CO2 that is expected to raise global temperatures by a few degrees over a century of time, the utter destruction of everything we know within a period even briefer than the history of the United States is a flat-out worldwide dumpster fire. We have no right not to raise the alarm!
  • Help as many people as possible to altogether lose their fear of death. Fear of death is the base fear. When we no longer fear death, we no longer fear anything. And since negative energy is a sludge of fear-based emotions, the easiest way to fight negativity is to help people lose their fear of death. The Baby Boom generation has been leading Western cultural trends for seven decades. Now for Boomers the Next Big Thing is death. So let’s make death all the rage! It takes about two years of study for someone who is clueless at the start to become convinced that human life is eternal.
  • Share the truths that Jesus taught. Worldwide rankings of the most popular people nearly always show Jesus at Number One. He may be the only man whose name is known by everyone on earth. Yet most people know Jesus as nothing more than the central figure in Christianity. And since the religion downplays His teachings in favor of focusing on its own dogmas, the Lord’s greatest gifts to us are largely unknown. The most efficient way to help people understand why we need to raise our consciousness vibrations is to broadly share His Gospel teachings now.
  • Teach prevenient forgiveness. This practice of forgiving everything even before it happens is a natural outgrowth of the teachings of Jesus. He was firm about our need to do it, and Thomas has shown me how easily the trick can be learned. Forgiving things after they have happened is just too hard! Practicing prevenient forgiveness can shorten the time it takes to achieve the fifth spiritual level to as little as a single year. 
  • Establish support groups. When I set out to raise my own consciousness vibration, I was on my own. But I did have Thomas! And I realize now that his suggestions and support were essential to my mastering such rapid growth that I achieved most of it in two months’ time and I was able to sustain it and build it from there. The teachings of Jesus work so quickly and so well that  we can make the process of raising everyone’s consciousness vibrations both easy and a lot of fun.

If you share my sense of urgency about beginning now to fix the world, then living the Lord’s Way and teaching it to others is the surest route that we can take. The Way is what Jesus called His Gospel instructions for achieving the kingdom of God on earth, and as we practice The Way we will be further raising our own consciousness vibrations while we teach and help others. I urge you to read again what we have said about The Way. Please think about the five steps outlined above, and let’s ponder together how we can begin to make this process both manageable and scalable. Spiritually elevating 780 million people will be a daunting task! But it is in essence just the process of helping Jesus sell His world-saving instructions some 780 million times. We can’t solve this problem. But He can! And the time to help Him begin it is now.

Praise to the Lord! Oh let all that is in me adore Him!
All that hath life and breath, come now with praises before Him!
Let the Amen Sound from His people again,
Gladly for aye we adore Him!
– Catherine Winkworth (1827-1878), (translator from German), from “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty” (1863)


Jesus in silhouette photo credit: Geraint Rowland Photography <a href=”″>”Excuse me while I kiss the Sky…”</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>

The Lord’s Morality

Crown Him the Lord of heaven, enthroned in worlds above;
Crown Him the king, to whom is given the wondrous name of Love.
Crown Him with many crowns, as thrones before Him fall.
Crown him, ye kings, with many crowns, for He is King of all.
– Matthew Bridges (1800-1894) & Godfrey Thring (1823-1903), from “Crown Him With Many Crowns” (1851)

As people moved from being hunter-gatherers to living first in tribes and then in towns, they began to need rules to govern their community social behavior. Such moral laws generally came from human-made gods, and most were similar to the Judeo-Christian Ten Commandments as they were written more than a thousand years before Jesus was born:

I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before or beside Me.

“You shall not make for yourself a graven image or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath, or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them nor serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, inflicting punishment for the wrongdoing of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing favor to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.

“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain.

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. For six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of the Lord your God; on it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male slave or your female slave, or your cattle, or your resident who stays with you. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the seas and everything that is in them, and He rested on the seventh day; for that reason the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

“Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be prolonged on the land which the Lord your God gives you.

“You shall not murder.

“You shall not commit adultery.

“You shall not steal.

“You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male slave, or his female slave, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor” (Exodus 20:1-17).

Please read this list again. Note how rigid and cold, how devoid of compassion, how fear-based and largely lacking in love The Ten Commandments really are! They are so deeply of their own time and culture that arguably they are no longer useful to us on any level. Let’s consider them in light of our modern spiritual understandings:

* The first two commandments forbid polytheism and idol-worship. Three thousand years ago this was a great step forward! But it has been a long time now since either of those old ways of doing religion was any threat to spirit-based monotheism.

* The third commandment requires that we respect the name of God. Primitive cultures saw great magical powers in names! Now, of course, we know that the Godhead cares a lot more about what is in our minds and hearts than the Godhead cares about our use of Its name.

* The fourth commandment requires us to take time off from working. Not long ago, most people were spending most of every day just keeping themselves alive. We needed an occasional day of rest, and if we were to take our human-made gods seriously we needed to spend time with them as well.

* The fifth commandment requires that we care for our parents. Laws can tell us something of what life was like when they were first written. And this effort to tie caring for the elderly to longer-term stability suggests that the transition from living in roving clans to living in cities meant that the elderly went from being burdens on younger generations to being valued as sources of stability and wisdom.

* The sixth through the eighth commandments are black-letter laws for better organizing human societies. We have talked about the fact that strict and arbitrary laws like these can be nothing more than guidelines, since each of them has many possible exceptions.

* The ninth and tenth commandments are rules for structuring relationships in larger and more complex societies. Hunter-gatherer groups generally numbered fewer than fifty people, and they were often extended families. Such small groups of mostly relatives could share an us-vs.-them loyalty that was diluted as we began to live in larger settled cities, so now rules were needed to govern respecting the property of those outside our own clans and being honest in our interactions with strangers.

Arguably the most important moment in all four Gospels comes when someone asks Jesus to name the greatest commandment. For the Lord to speak directly against the prevailing religion would have been a capital crime, so He seems to have used answering pertinent questions as a chance to cloak His most important lessons in what might look to the lurking Temple spies like simple throwaway answers. For example, here He didn’t name any of the Ten Commandments, but instead He gave us God’s new Law of Love. He said, “‘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). “The Law and the Prophets” was what the Jews of His day called the Christian Old Testament. So in just these few words, and well beneath the radar of the Temple spies, Jesus told us to throw away all the Old Testament laws – including The Ten Commandments – and put in their place God’s new Law of Love.

Jesus in His Gospels made a point of outmoding all the Old Testament rules and laws, including The Ten Commandments. He made our relationship with God a personal and not a public one (MT 6:1-6), He healed and worked on the Sabbath (MT 12:1-13), He disregarded rigid sexual taboos (JN 8:3-11), and He replaced the very idea of rules with the notion of living our lives in God’s love (MT 22:37-40). To help to foster that love, He stressed the moral importance of forgiveness (MT 18:21-23) and loving kindness (JN 13:34). The teachings of Jesus replace the old notion that God just tells us what to do with the personal empowerment of internal standards that we ourselves are responsible for applying by virtue of our own love-infused perspectives. It is impossible for us to sufficiently stress what a radical departure this notion was two thousand years ago! Indeed, it remains so radical today that most Christians still see the black-letter Ten Commandments as important, even a full two thousand years after Jesus told us He had replaced them so we could simply throw them away.

The Ten Commandments so deeply work against God’s Law of Love that the two cannot be lived simultaneously. The former morality is entirely external, demanding nothing more than that we know and obey the law as it was given to us; while the latter insists that we internalize what love is and what it might require of us in each new situation. Even beyond that, living by love calls upon us to trust in both our own ability to understand love and our ability to always discern in each moment what God’s love requires. God’s Law of Love is a more radical basis for morality than any set of laws could be!

And yet, this is what Jesus asks of us. He trusts us to be able to discern and live by an internal morality based in love that is divorced from every law. He can be confident about our ability to do this because He knows a lot more than we know! He is in fact an aspect of the Godhead living briefly here on earth. Two thousand years ago Jesus told us things about ourselves that we could not otherwise have begun to understand until well into the lifetimes of modern people who are still among us today.

There are several moments in the Gospels where Jesus shows us He possesses the Godhead’s knowledge, but for me the biggest one comes in Mark and toward the end of the Lord’s life on earth. On the previous day He had cursed a fig tree, perhaps so He could give His disciples this lesson. Then as they passed that tree on the following morning, they saw that it had withered from its roots. Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, look, the fig tree that You cursed has withered.” And Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God. Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it will be granted to him. Therefore, I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be yours (MK 11:21-24). A full two thousand years ago Jesus taught His disciples the power of praying in affirmations! He understood and taught His followers how to use the creative powers of their minds, which is a modern understanding so cutting-edge that scientists still struggle with it today.

We should be reluctant to lightly put aside the Godhead’s ancient, divinely-revealed truths. But still, we must not deny to God the right to give us new revelations! And it is clear now as we read the Gospels that God’s Law of Love as Jesus revealed it is meant to be the root of a whole new morality based entirely in love. In the fullness of time, God asked us to move on from trusting written rules so we could embrace instead the powers of our minds to give us a whole new morality where each of us will be able to govern ourselves in a harmony of divine love. The Godhead’s only moral law is in fact the love that Jesus taught! This feels exciting, doesn’t it? But how might it work? We’ll begin to talk about that next week….

Crown Him with many crowns, The Lamb upon the throne.
Hark how the heavenly anthem drowns all music but its own!
Awake, my soul, and sing of Him Who died for thee,
And hail Him as thy matchless King thru all eternity.
– Matthew Bridges (1800-1894) & Godfrey Thring (1823-1903), from “Crown Him With Many Crowns” (1851)


Stained-glass Moses photo credit: Lawrence OP <a href=”″>O Adonai</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>
Ten Commandments photo credit: Richard Elzey <a href=”″>Ten Commandments in Stone</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>
Stained glass commandments photo credit: Lawrence OP <a href=”″>Keep all His Commandments</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>
Old book photo credit: ER’s Eyes – Our planet is beautiful. <a href=”″>The Oldest Manuscript, the Manuscript & Rare Book Museum, the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, the Mediterranean, Egypt.</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>
Priest with scroll photo credit: Catholic Church (England and Wales) <a href=”″>Episcopal Ordination Mar Joseph Srampickal</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>


Living a Love-Based Life (Part IV)

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.
I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
– Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861), “How Do I Love Thee?” (1850)

The central purpose of Jesus’s ministry was His effort to teach us how to elevate the vibrations of human consciousness enough to bring the kingdom of God on earth. Christians since the age of Constantine have altogether missed this point that is so obvious to anyone who reads the Lord’s words without reference to later Christian dogmas! But most of the people who have been taught to see Jesus as a human sacrifice really don’t care what He might have said. They just want that get-out-of-hell-free card. And this, despite the fact that Jesus Himself insists that we focus on His words! 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).

Jesus uses the phrases “kingdom of God” or “kingdom of Heaven” some fifty times through all four Gospels. And the more closely you read Him, the more you see that almost everything He says is tied to His effort to raise the personal consciousness vibrations of all of humankind! He wants to elevate us spiritually to the point where life on earth will begin to mirror the love and joy that pervade the afterlife levels. He cannot be any more explicit about it. And a full two thousand years ago He gave us the template and tools to succeed! So now, if we only will follow Him, that much better world for which we yearn can begin.

We have just begun to learn enough that we can imagine some details of that better world. A surprising number of people have mastered the trick of raising their own consciousness vibrations, so we can now better grasp the obvious signs of spiritual elevation. And what is more, Jesus Himself gave us the central markers of spiritual advancement! No matter where they live or what language they speak or whether they even have a religion, spiritually elevated people are:

  • Calm and Happy. They are remarkably comfortable, no matter what might be going on, since they live in the glorious greater picture! As Jesus says, “Do not be afraid, little flock, because your Father has chosen to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to charity; make yourselves money belts that do not wear out, an inexhaustible treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near nor does a moth destroy” (LK 12:32-33). “Do not worry … but seek first His kingdom and His righteousness” (MT 6:25-33).
  • Humble. People who are vibrating closer to the elevated love of the Godhead have no interest in personal attention, nor in claiming credit for anything. And Jesus approves! He says, Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted” (MT 23:12).
  • Loving and Supportive. I have never known a spiritually advanced person whose first instinct was not to think well of people, even if those people were doing him harm. As Jesus said, 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).
  • Slow to anger. People who are vibrating at higher levels cannot bear to be near people who are angry. When attacked, they won’t fight back; but rather they forgive, love, bless, and withdraw as soon as they can do that peacefully. As Jesus says, 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).
  • Not interested in wealth. People who are spiritually advanced never care one whit about amassing wealth. Rather than chasing earthly goods, their whole focus is on doing good things for others. They seem to be taking to heart the Lord’s urging to “Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven…for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (MT 6:19-21).

These five characteristics are not arrived at with deliberate effort. Spiritually elevated people don’t need to struggle to be calm or humble, and they don’t wrestle down and smother their anger or force themselves to be kind to evil people. No, instead the five characteristics listed above simply emanate from the core of who they are. Strictly following the teachings of Jesus can begin to very rapidly transform your mind, too.

What is more, as you raise your consciousness vibration you can feel these changes happening! For the past ten years I have been a guinea pig for the teachings of Jesus, which is how I know how well they work. I still recall what it was like to be outraged, resentful, sullen, prideful, bitter, and obsessed with money. Ten years ago I was already in my sixties! So with all those clear and recent memories of how it felt to have overwhelmingly negative emotions rising and be powerless to stop them, I am astonished to tell you that I haven’t felt any significant negative emotion for almost a decade. At most, perhaps, I have wished that events were different when some setback occurred that complicated my life; and I did feel a bit of sadness when my mother mercifully died in her nineties.

Keep these five attributes in mind! They are so consistent among the spiritually advanced that as a set of characteristics they pretty much define this group of special people. Watching for them will help us to better support the spiritual growth of others while we also foster further spiritual growth in ourselves.

The fact that all our minds are inextricably part of the Mind that continuously manifests this universe is crucial! That wonderful fact means that when even a single mind follows the Lord’s teachings and thereby elevates its vibratory rate, that positive change will minutely raise the spiritual vibrations of all of humankind. It has been estimated that when as few as five percent of the people on earth have elevated their spiritual vibrations to the point where they will no longer need to reincarnate, just that small boost will start the benevolent process of raising the vibrations of even the most deeply fear- and hatred-filled people on earth. You and I have the power to begin to raise the spiritual vibrations of everyone, everywhere, beginning today.

The spiritually advanced are peacemakers. As Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (MT 5:9). They are solution-seekers. They tend to gravitate toward others like themselves, but they are patient and respectful even of those who behave in much less loving ways. As Jesus says, “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). The spiritually advanced deeply live the Gospel teachings, even if they never have heard of Jesus!

It is impossible to know for certain how different everything is going to be when most people are vibrating in love rather than in fear. But keeping in mind the five characteristics of spiritually advanced people given above, we now can happily begin to guess. Here are a few thorny issues that have long been the cause of stresses, rage, and counterproductive battling. How might a more spiritually elevated society address them? Let’s think about that:

* Abortion. Killing the pre-born affects at least two lives, so abortion is an issue tailor-made to be addressed from the perspective of minds steeped in love. I would think that a more spiritually advanced society would come down on the side of allowing abortions in the first few months but banning them thereafter, and also lovingly counseling the mothers and focusing on ensuring that each child whose mother doesn’t want to rear it will have parents waiting to adopt it at birth.

* Poverty. A more spiritually advanced society would not simply throw money at the poor, which further humiliates them and reinforces their current poverty status. I assume that such a better and more just society would meet the living needs of the disadvantaged, and beyond that it would be eager to teach people living in poverty the skills and attitudes they are going to need to become self-supporting, and then to thrive.

* Criminal Justice. Ninety-seven percent of the people now in federal prisons in the United States were bullied by prosecutors into pleading guilty. They never had a trial. People vibrating in love would find this situation intolerable! I think a love-based criminal justice system would favor community service over time in jail. It might decree prison terms beyond two years just for violent offenders who pose a threat to others, and it would not allow imprisonment for terms longer than a year except after a jury trial.

* Warfare. There have always been restive societies whose leaders saw some potential for gain in poking at the leaders of other societies. Sometimes these issues have been amicably resolved, but often they have led to little wars; and on a few occasions, those little wars have become conflagrations over much of the earth. Here is where a love-based humanity living in the kingdom of God on earth is really going to shine! Since there is just one human Mind in which every mind influences every other mind, once a sufficient number of people are vibrating in the divine love that Jesus taught, there will never be another war.

Until now, every system of morality has been fear-based. We have had to obey rules rooted in human thinking or else suffer human-made consequences, so living the love that Jesus taught will naturally foster a whole new morality. In fact, the shape of that better way of governing our personal lives is plain to see in the Lord’s Gospel teachings. Here again, we cannot know for certain how that new morality will look, but we can begin to glimpse beyond our present confusion a glorious new life based in love and joy….

I love thee freely, as men strive for right.
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.
– Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861), “How Do I Love Thee?” (1850)


Japanese newlyweds photo credit: atacamaki <a href=”″>おつかれさまでしたっ!</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>
Christ and the church photo credit: Lawrence OP <a href=”″>Christ and His Bride the Church</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>
Wedding day photo credit: unsharptooth <a href=”″>Wedding day</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>
Tibetan newlyweds photo credit: Rod Waddington <a href=”″>Tibetan Newlyweds</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>

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>