Category Archives: Religious affairs

Diversity and Equality

Andrew McFarland Campbell

Diversity and equality are two things that we hear about a lot today. Both are terms that most of us probably understand, but they are curiously hard terms to define. An organisation can be said to be diverse if it has a wide range of different viewpoints on a particular issue represented among its members, or it can be diverse if it has a wide range of people who are members. For example, an organisation could be politically diverse if some of its members were politically right-wing, some were politically left-wing, and some were politically middle-of-the-road. An organisation could be racially diverse if it contained people who came from a wide range of different races.

An organisation can be said to have equality on a particular issue if an individual’s beliefs or attributes on that issue do not affect the individual’s standing within the organisation. An organisation has political equality…

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Redeeming Our World

Man, created in the image of God, received the world to use it for the best and not the worst. The man had to take care of it, but has proven to make a mess of it.

All problems that come over man are created by man himself, him polluting his own living quarters and not respecting that what he has received in loan from His Creator, the God of heaven and earth.

Mother Earth cries for distress and signals that it is high time to do something to get better. Each individual has to take his or her own responsibility.

Let us not wait but take this pandemic to make a turnover and start to find a more respectful way of living for each living being.

Wouldn’t it be great if, along with learning from this world crisis how to take better care of ourselves, we also learned how to take better care of our world? {Earth Day Lockdown}

Mitch Teemley

“Then the LORD God took the man and placed him in the garden of Eden to cultivate and watch over it.” ~Genesis 2:15

Reeem the Garden

As we return, post-lockdown, to the world around us, so does the pollution we create. If it is true, as some have said, that we ourselves are the disease (and there is truth in that), it’s also true that we hold the cure. But it seems those who focus habitually on what’s wrong with the world take little action to make things right with it, whether the world without or the world within, our souls. Yes, by all means, let us remove the toxins from the garden. But then let us go on to re-plant the garden.

“Every creature is better alive than dead, men and moose and pine trees, and he who understands it aright will rather preserve its life than destroy it.” ~Henry David…

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Has Bible Engagement during Coronavirus Increased or Decreased?

When coronavirus hit, churches scrambled. Those that weren’t online figured out solutions fast, and those that already were online embraced remote church as a new normal. Since then, churches have worked tirelessly to ensure their congregations can continue meeting for weekly services, Bible studies, and the like (albeit online) and that people feel as connected as possible.

And things seem to be working.

Online services and meetings might be going swimmingly, but have faith communities been able to maintain Bible engagement during the coronavirus?

Not so much.

On July 22, American Bible Society and Barna Group released the 10th Annual State of the Bible report, and the information is sobering. Bible engagement has declined amid the coronavirus outbreak, pointing to a clear relationship between Scripture engagement and in-person church participation.

According to American Bible Society president and CEO Robert Briggs, Bible engagement was already experiencing a downward trend. But the July 2020 study revealed that trend has accelerated since January 2020.

Briggs states:

The study shows a direct correlation between increased Scripture engagement and those efforts typically organized by a church, including mentorship programs and small group Bible studies. Church closures due to COVID-19 are, therefore, likely contributing to decreased rates of Scripture engagement.1

But it’s not all bad news. In fact, Briggs sees it as a huge opportunity for Christian organizations to make an impact on Bible engagement.2

What is Bible engagement?

Bible engagement is more than attending church services or even reading the Bible. Dr. Fergus McDonald, past general secretary of National Bible Society and United Bible Societies, says it is

. . . interaction with the biblical text in a way that provides sufficient opportunity for the text to speak for itself by the power of the Holy Spirit, enabling readers and listeners to hear the voice of God and discover for themselves the unique claim Jesus Christ is making upon them.3

It’s the process of diving deep into Scripture, turning verses and passages around in our minds like bingo numbers in a round, metal cage, and letting them drop from our heads to our hearts. By sifting through and processing God’s Word, we come to experience the author in a profoundly personal way.

We come to know God intimately, and through the process, we are changed. And according to the study, this transformation most often occurs when relational church engagement goes up. American Bible Society Director of Ministry Intelligence Dr. John Farquhar Plake says,

“It’s probably the relationships people have with one another through the church that really make the difference.”4

It’s time to reverse the trend

Now more than ever, it’s paramount that churches commit to reversing this downward trend. The Church must

“transition from ‘survival’ mode back into ‘discipleship’ mode,”5

says Briggs.

But in a coronavirus world, discipling people toward this type of engagement with the Word of God and each other will take a bit of innovation.

And Faithlife has the tools to help your church do just that.

Faithlife, the world’s first integrated ministry platform, helps churches shift from disconnected discipleship to a biblically rooted, step-by-step discipleship strategy — whether your church expects to hold in-person gatherings next week or next year. It puts a wealth of biblical resources within reach for your entire congregation, from a Bible study app to devotionals and small group Bible study guides to theology courses.

Bible engagement is critical for growing a healthy congregation in any season and must not be paused because of today’s crisis. The current pandemic might make the task seem daunting — but you don’t have to go at it alone.

*

Notes:

 

  1. ABS News Blog, “American Bible Society Releases 10th Annual State of the Bible Survey,” July 22, 2020.
  2. “State of the Bible Survey,” 2020.
  3. Dr. Fergus Macdonald, Taylor University Center for Scripture Engagement
  4. “State of the Bible Survey,” 2020.
  5. “State of the Bible Survey,” 2020.

 

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12 Verses: Where Is the Promised Land? and 4 Other Questions

In Genesis 12, God promised Abram:

I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed. (2–3)

God also promised Abraham a particular piece of real estate. It would be from this land God would make good on his words in Genesis 12, to multiply Abraham’s offspring “as the stars of heaven” and bless all nations of the earth (Gen 26:4).

Here are 12 Bible passages that will help you explore the location of the promised land, when it was first promised in the Bible, to whom it was given and for how long, what piece of property was promised, and who ultimately owns the land.

Where in the Bible is the land first promised to Abraham?

Genesis 12:7
Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.”

To whom did God confirm his land covenant, in addition to Abraham?

Genesis 26:2–3
And the Lord appeared to [Abraham] and said . . . “Sojourn in this land, and I will be with you and will bless you, for to you and to your offspring* I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath that I swore to Abraham your father.”

Genesis 28:12–13
And [Jacob] dreamed . . . And behold, the Lord . . . said, “I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac. The land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring.”

Genesis 35:9, 11–12
God appeared to Jacob again . . . and God said to him, . . . “The land that I gave to Abraham and Isaac I will give to you, and I will give the land to your offspring.”

Genesis 48:3–4
Jacob said to Joseph, “God Almighty appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan and blessed me, and said to me, ‘Behold, I will make you fruitful and multiply you, and I will make of you a company of peoples and will give this land to your offspring after you for an everlasting possession.’”

Genesis 50:24
Joseph said to his brothers, “I am about to die, but God will visit you and bring you up out of this land to the land that he swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.”

Where is the promised land?

Genesis 15:18
On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your offspring I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates, the land of the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites and the Jebusites.”

Exodus 23:31 (see also Numbers 34:1–12)
And I will set your border from the Red Sea to the Sea of the Philistines, and from the wilderness to the Euphrates, for I will give the inhabitants of the land into your hand, and you shall drive them out before you.

How long did God give the land to Abraham and his descendants?

Genesis 13:15
All the land that you see I will give to you and to your offspring forever.

1 Chronicles 16:14–18
Remember his covenant forever, the word that he commanded, for a thousand generations, the covenant that he made with Abraham, his sworn promise to Isaac, which he confirmed to Jacob as a statute, to Israel as an everlasting covenant, saying, “To you I will give the land of Canaan, as your portion for an inheritance.”

Genesis 17:8
I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God.

Who owns the land, ultimately?

Leviticus 25:1–2, 23
The Lord spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai, saying, “Speak to the people of Israel and say to them . . . The land shall not be sold in perpetuity, for the land is mine.”

***

*Emphasis is the author’s throughout.

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La Peste (1947) by Albert Camus – The Plague

Michael mentioned in his exhortation the book The Plague by  (or the original French title La Peste),
It just so happened that a version was broadcast on 26th July on BBC Radio 4.
This is available on this link below and is available until 22nd August – probably on iPlayer for longer.
https://cdn.britannica.com/07/21107-004-8BBC18D8/Albert-Camus-photograph-Henri-Cartier-Bresson.jpg

Albert Camus, French novelist, essayist, and playwright, best known for such novels as L’Étranger (1942; The Stranger), La Peste (1947; The Plague), and La Chute (1956; The Fall)

The Plague was adapted from the globally renowned novel La Peste by Albert Camus, and directed for radio by Neil Bartlett, based on his 2017 Arcola Theatre production and script. A disturbing, deeply relevant listen. Bartlett’s adaptation is the English language world radio premiere production of The Plague and focuses the story on five characters, using only words contained in the novel.

La Peste book cover.jpg

Cover of the first edition of the novel by Albert Camus, published in 1947, that tells the story from the point of view of an unknown narrator of a plague sweeping the French Algerian city of Oran. The novel presents a snapshot of life in Oran as seen through the author’s distinctive absurdist point of view.[

It is often said of La Peste – written in 1947 by the Nobel Prize winner for literature, Albert Camus – that the plague and the rats in his novel are an allegory for the rise of fascism across Europe. He always denied this.
For us today, The Plague will have uncanny echoes of the pandemic, the restrictions and the moral dilemmas we are living through, as well as the rise of extremist ideology in many countries today. Just like our current crisis, the characters in The Plague comprise heroes, selfless and selfish acts, those who shame themselves into changing, and those who do not and suffer the consequences once the plague has been conquered. Hope surfaces when there is talk of a serum but, with the arrival of the first attempts at a cure, who should be selected as the guinea pigs? In an uncanny parallel, this drama about a community facing lockdown due to a deadly plague was recorded by actors, locked down in their own homes during our own pandemic. The scope of the production was not reduced as a result. 

Cast:

Doctor Rieux ………… Sara Powell
Raymond Rambert …. Billy Postlethwaite
Mr Cottard ……………. Joe Alessi
Jean Tarrou ………….. Jude Aduwudike
Mr Grand ……………… Colin Hurley

Adapted for radio and directed by Neil Bartlett
Producer: Turan Ali A Bona Broadcasting production for BBC Radio 4

The Plague (1992 film).jpg

Hong Kong DVD Release of The plague (La Peste) this time telling the story of Dr. Bernard Rieux in the 90s (Camus’s novel was set in 1940s),

For those who want to see the 1992 Argentine-French-British drama film written and directed by Luis Puenzo. (On Disc/Streaming:

 

Released directly on to video in the U.S., but exhibited on the festival circuit and in Europe, Plague is an adaptation of Albert Camus’ novel and reteams filmmaker Luis Puenzo with actors Robert Duvall and William Hurt, Sandrine Bonnaire, and Raul Julia, to tell the story of a South American city that must be cut off from the world following an outbreak of the bubonic plague. The key characters include a French tele-journalist, her cameraman and a fearless doctor.

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We talked  about it also for our payertheme for this month:

And David said to his son Solomon,
“Be strong and of good courage, and do it; do not fear nor be dismayed, for the Lord God—my God—will be with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you, until you have finished all the work for the service of the house of the Lord. (NKJ)
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Find the prayertheme for the month: Prayertheme for August 2020: Feeling alarm or anxiety

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Turning Your Home into a Sacred Space

Lots of Jews in our regions, for Sabbath keep the lights on from Friday afternoon, having no television or internet facilities and now being confronted with difficulties for feeling a togetherness and a feeling of having the right service for the Elohim, because they wonder if it would be all right to have a service via the modern tools and internet.

Having the Beis HaElohim and shuls already four months closed for study and prayer because of the corona lockdown, many feel 9 Av as an extra special day of sadness this year, them not having a meeting place, like our parents and grandparents were not able to gather because of the Nazi’s in the previous century. But this time it is not man but nature that keeps them and us in its grip.

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To remember

  • Take advantage of these unusual circumstances to experience something new.

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Preceding

Social Distanced but Spiritually Close

Hineni for our Virtual Services

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Find also to read:

  1. Eykhah – How can it be?
  2. Dark times looking like death is around the corner – but Light given to us
  3. Israel celebrates Purim amid Coronavirus outbreak – ILTV Israel news – Mar. 9, 2020
  4. Even in Corona time You are called on to have the seder
  5. One Passover tradition asking to provide the less fortunate with foods and help
  6. In a time when we must remain in our place
  7. 2020 A Passover seder meeting limited to members of the family
  8. 9 Av: Tisha B’Av 2020
  9. 9 Av 2020 en Dagen van droefheid
  10. Geestelijke affaires in CoViD-19 afzonderingstijden
  11. Voor het eerst in jaren weer een Pesach in isolatie
  12. Isolatietijd vrij te nemen voor jezelf
  13. Ontnomen van een gebedshuis #1 Doodveroorzakers
  14. Ontnomen van een gebedshuis #2 In de greep van een coronavirus

Cantor Matt Axelrod

וְעָשׂוּ לִי מִקְדָּשׁ וְשָׁכַנְתִּי בְּתוֹכָם

They will make me a sanctuary and I will dwell among them.

For months now, we’ve all become accustomed to working from home–it’s gone more smoothly for some than for others. Social media has been replete with work-from-home fails: toddlers barging in on important calls, dogs and landscapers disrupting meetings with intrusive background noise, and even partially clad family members being caught on camera. Convenience aside, there’s a reason why work is kept in the workplace.

What we haven’t heard nearly as much about is praying from home. With synagogues shuttered, congregants have had to avail themselves of the various live feeds, streaming, and Zoom services that their temples have created. Furthermore, the pandemic and its continuing restrictions have forced us to begin planning extensively for the High Holidays considerably earlier than usual.

Be assured that your synagogue–wherever you belong–has already been thinking, planning, strategizing…

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Hineni for our Virtual Services

Whilst many in our regions are questioning if we can have virtual meetings or services or if we can create our own new texts, it looks like it that in the United States they are a lot of steps in front of us, recognising that we need new ways to gather but also should not be afraid to see that traditional texts of our familiar prayers need to be updated as well.

Cantor Matt Axelrod

Streaming services? Check. Virtual Choirs? Working on it.

But has anyone given any thought to the fact that the traditional texts of our familiar prayers need to be updated as well?

I therefore present my revised, COVID-era text for the iconic prayer of supplication and humility which is chanted by the cantor each year–the Hineni:

Here I stand, pixilated and buffering before You, streaming on behalf of your people Israel, even though my wifi is insufficient for the task. Therefore, as I stand frozen before you because my internet connection is unstable, I beseech you—the CEO of Zoom, the CEO of Facebook, and the CEO of Microsoft—I plead for help as I livestream my prayers for those I represent and who have entrusted me with the shul’s Zoom login credentials.

Do not judge them for my poor video quality, nor charge them because of my personal search history. Let there…

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Social Distanced but Spiritually Close

To remember

  • moving farther & farther apart from one another > notion of distancing – social or physical – = embedded itself into every facet of our lives.

 

  • minyan – in empty sanctuary > first truly tactile experience in synagogue over entire duration of our social distancing.
  • Jewish religion sending message of comfort & consolation. > It’s OK – we got this.
  •  second paragraph of the Shema = metaphor for our relationship with nature + the environment.
  • nature = quixotic + capricious
  • It may be time to take a fresh look at the ancient ritual of tefillin.

Cantor Matt Axelrod

Over the last whatever number of months (I can’t even remember what day it is), we have been moving farther and farther apart from one another. The notion of distancing–social or physical–has embedded itself into every facet of our lives.

It’s hard to imagine that I haven’t actually shaken anyone’s hand since March. I haven’t seen over 95% of my congregation in person. When I’m out running, I have to interrupt being able to get “in the zone” as I remember to steer around other walkers and runners. If I’m out shopping, I reflexively recoil anytime I feel another person getting too close. I can’t even watch TV shows or movies now without looking at the scenes and thinking that people are standing way too close to each other.

The other day as I was preparing to lead minyan–in my empty sanctuary, standing at my podium (and I mean my

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Looking at an Utopism which has not ended

Marcus Ampe wrote a few days ago on WordPressUtopism has not ended” giving more clarification on his way of thinking and about his “Utopian Dreams“. In  a series of articles on his WordPress blog he continues to look at reasons why we should not give up hope for a better world and how some Christians and certain people are too much afraid for matters of social protection.

The Thousand-Year View from N.S. Palmer wants to apply time-tested ideas to the problems of our modern era and also took a look at Mr. Ampe‘s writing. N.S. Palmer preaches that we shouldn’t worry about things we can’t control, but it’s easier to say than to do. On that point we seem to differ. We cannot escape being in this system and having to live in this world at a certain time. But how we live and what we are willing to accept to happen plays an important role in our life. When people, living in this world, believe it could be very well possible to make it a better place for many, to some that might be an unreachable goal, to others it should be something to work at.

Trying to get a perfect society is something which we all should be doing. Though we agree only partly with Mr. Palmer who says

No society ever has been or ever will be perfect. {Utopia’s Biggest Problem}

him forgetting that one day Jesus Christ shall return and install the Kingdom of God here on earth. The Nazarene rabbi his government will be the most perfect governing body and shall give all its inhabitants the most perfect system to live in.

Mr Palmer further finds that

utopians waste their time and cause great harm by rejecting possible goals and pursuing an impossible goal. {Utopia’s Biggest Problem}

It is true that the goal set by utopians might be very unreachable, hence their name “utopists”, or followers of utopian dreams, thinking of utopia (1500-1600) being the imaginary perfect country in the book Utopia (1516) by the English humanist and statesman, chancellor of England (1529–32) Sir Thomas More, from Greek ou not, no + topos place”.

Because their goal can never be achieved, nothing will ever be enough. They think we should keep doing the same things, just do them harder. Spend more money. Take away more freedom. Police more speech. {Utopia’s Biggest Problem}

Such an imagined community or society that possesses highly desirable or nearly perfect qualities for its citizens may be presented in several authors their stories. A utopia focuses on equality in such categories as economics, government and justice (a non-exhaustive list), and does not focus on “spending more money” like Mr. Palmer seems to give the impression. Neither do utopians want to take away the freedom of people. Just the opposite they want to secure that there is freedom on all sorts of levels: freedom of life, freedom of thought, freedom of expression, a.o. but most importantly also freedom of choice under the condition not to limit others. That utopians want to have more control on those freedoms and perhaps would want to see more control of having all people receiving the same liberties and same equalities, may demand a controlling apparatus or police, but does not have to mean we have to go to become a police-state or a state of repression. That is the wrong vision a lot of people who are against socialism, utopianism and communism want to send into the world.

There are many debates about what constitutes a utopia. Many who are against any social feeling, what they call part of the “left” consider utopians and their world or societies they want to build, “utopias” benign or dangerous. Concerning utopia fitting or not, or being essential to a Christian world lots of contradictory ideas go round. Many ask

Is the idea of utopianism essential to Christianity or heretical? What is the relationship between utopia and ideology?

One of the leading scholars in the field of utopian studies, Lyman Tower Sargent argues that utopia’s nature is inherently contradictory because societies are not homogeneous and have desires which conflict and therefore cannot simultaneously be satisfied. Sargent notes that some thinkers see a trajectory from utopia to totalitarianism, with violence an inevitable part of the mix, and we have the impression Mr. Palmer might do so also.

According to Sargent:

There are socialist, capitalist, monarchical, democratic, anarchist, ecological, feminist, patriarchal, egalitarian, hierarchical, racist, left-wing, right-wing, reformist, free love, nuclear family, extended family, gay, lesbian and many more utopias [ Naturism, Nude Christians, …] Utopianism, some argue, is essential for the improvement of the human condition. But if used wrongly, it becomes dangerous. Utopia has an inherent contradictory nature here.

And that describes very well the difficulty of that utopian world for which Mr. Ampe puts his hand in the fire. He as several other Christians believes in the purity man can come to reach, in which innocence is in the heart of that person, enabling people to walk freely in nature naked, without others having bad ideas. In such a free world naturism would for example never be a problem, because all people would abstain from wrong thinking and wrong acts. In an utopian world there is no place for sexual offensive acts to the public sense of decency. There being no place for obscenity by people keeping themselves to pure thought the same as the first people in the Garden of Eden had. It was only after they had done wrong and came to know good and evil that they became afraid of the other and wanted to protect themselves by covering their body. Such covering in an ideal world would not be necessary, the same as it was not a matter to cover oneself in the 1970ies and hippies could share their places freely with others without having to fear something to go wrong. Nakedness was no problem at that time, whilst now we see again a lot of shyness and fear of nudity among many young people as well as some elderly people.

We do agree many of the boom children tried to create a perfect society in the 196070ies but failed terribly. Though we are not ashamed that we tried to stimulate others to step on the wagon with us (dreamers). Many of our generation might have betrayed their ideas, but Mr. Ampe like several others, as a follower of the Nazarene Jeshua (Jesus Christ) believes the teachings of that rebbe are still worth going for.

Utopians just ask people to take the responsibility for others and to respect everybody and everybody around them. They would never stimulate capitalism, like N.S. Palmer gives the impression.

 

At the moment we can grow unto more tolerance by learning to agree to disagree, as well by not being afraid to dare to engage in thoughtful political discussions. Though at the moment we still face the difficulty that not everyone involved is really interested in finding out the truth. An other problem these days is also that lots of people do not realise that disagreement does not imply evil. On that fact Mr. Palmer seems to agree and writes:

Calm, rational debate helps them see the underlying assumptions, strengths, and weaknesses of each person’s viewpoint. That helps everyone understand the issues better. It also helps them understand each other better. Screaming, hysteria, and emotional theatrics do not. {Dialogue Is Not Harmful}

We believe the Bible offers a way to live together peaceful and gives us a nice picture in the Book of Isaiah, what that world can and shall be. We might be utopians or dreamers for many, but Mr. Ampe with his brethren and sisters in Christ do believe those prophesies are going to become true, and as such shall their utopian dream once become a reality, though it still may take some time.

Mr. Ampe also believes we can be united and should try to convince those who hate certain people, to have them to accept them as co-living citizens with the same rights as them. It is for mutual benefit and the common good that people must be rational enough to set aside their differences and come closer to each other with full respect for each other and for other cultures.

Big problem today to come to such an utopian world is the egocentric and egoistic attitude of the present population.

We believe the Bible gives enough directions to come to a better world already now in our lifetime, even before the return of Christ. We do not have to wait until the wars to expect or the Big Battle or Armageddon, before we shall come to think about that better world. Already today, in our lifetime, we can show others fundamental truths of life.

Some might think utopians want all to become “puppets” handled by someone in charge of everything. But that is a wrong thought about the world envisioned by us. We are against any dictatorial system. It is a world whereby people freely agree to follow certain ethics and moral laws. We also do not say everybody has to do the same thing in the same manner. In our ‘utopian world’, there is enough freedom to act freely. Already now we can try to come to agreements to live a certain way, and this without any force or violence.

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Find also to read:

  1. Misleading world, stress, technique, superficiality, past, future and positivism
  2. Subcutaneous power for humanity 2 1950-2010 Post war generations
  3. Are people willing to take the responsibility for others
  4. Baby Boomers reaching retirement age, Demographic trends and New blood from abroad
  5. Lower and middle-class youth becoming tiny cogs in a larger whole that they cannot control
  6. Intellectual servility a curse of mankind
  7. the Bible – God’s guide for life #3 Fast food or staple diet
  8. the Bible – God’s guide for life #4 Not to get the best from our diet– or from ourselves
  9. Determine the drive
  10. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #4 Transitoriness #3 Rejoicing in the insistence
  11. The Scensual World – Mission & Vision
  12. Are Christianity and Capitalism Compatible?
  13. Francis Fukuyama and ‘The End of History?’
  14. The Upbringing of Ideas and the Extrapolation of Capitalism
  15. Utopism has not ended
  16. A famous individual by the name of Jesus of Nazareth

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Further related

  1. Utopia! 
    Utopia basically means paradise. And, in these times of social, political and ecological upheaval, to dream of a utopian world in which these problems cease to exist is completely natural.
  2. Utopia – Thomas More ****
  3. Broaden the Narratives: Mistaken Orders<
  4. Humanities Retribution
  5. Anarchy, State and Utopia
  6. Leon Trotzky
  7. Globalism: a Letter
  8. Money-Free World
  9. Alternative Earth
  10. The Citizen’s Convention on Climate: utopia or step towards change?
  11. Utopia….State of bliss!
  12. Technology, Utopia, and Horizon Zero Dawn
  13. Are We There, Yet?
  14. History Bends Toward Chaos
  15. “How will i get a cappuccino in your political utopia?”
  16. Why Common Sense Is So Uncommon
  17. Nothing Learned
  18. We Can Have Unity Without Unanimity
  19. How to Get a Healthy Society
  20. Rebecca Solnit on Hope
  21. The Blank Slate of Outer Space
  22. The Climate Crisis and the Need for Utopian Thinking
  23. And The Greatest Of These…Is Love
  24. An Ode Of Utopia

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Unwrapping once faith

We are born in all innocence. Once growing up we are confronted with many things of which we have to come to understand some things are good whilst others are bad. Good and badright and wrong – that will keep us busy all our life long.

No wonder we can regularly find people who question their choices in life. And that is what we all regularly should do. Go over our lives and find out what we have done, why and how.

IMG_3257A recovered alcoholism addict, US Navy Veteran, now non-smoker, who uses the pseudonym jeffw5382,  who seem to want to become a friend of many, by wanting to help them. He finds it important to whom he is relating to and how he is, really appropriate and adding to life, loving-kindness, and compassion. He also likes to reflect and to seek stillness, even in motion, silence even in comotion and

will be better for it as I emerge on the other side. {What am I doing?}

By the years gone by, he wants to process and digest what has happened. Though confronted with those facts he might say

However hard it may be to fathom, one thing I must do above all else is to wholeheartedly accept what is. Eliminating or changing unhealthy ideas, behaviors or situations from my life are other options, but. I must accept that things are exactly the way they are supposed to be at this moment. {It is possible!}

In 2017 his life depended on being of service. He wrote

Not only am I self employed in a service oriented profession, I have integrated a desire to be helpful and generous wherever possible. The most important realization to me about this is, that it truly is selfishness that is behind it. By recognizing and admitting that, I am relieved of the urge to pat myself on the back. It’s just something I have to do today. I must give back in measure of what has been freely given to me. {Enlightened Self Interest}

That year he also felt so lucky to be able to embrace, wholeheartedly, the idea that he can improve his conscious contact with God. He wrote:

I acknowledge that many face seemingly insurmountable obstacles when even considering this. It started with the barest beginnings with me. Saying Please when I wake and Thank you as I lay down to end my day. {Please and Thank You}

He at that time found it impossible to describe what or who his God was.

I ascribe to the idea that God is incomprehensible to the human mind. In addition, that the greatest obstacle to finding God is the word, God. In my endeavor to get and stay clean and sober, I devoured all sorts of spiritual and religious texts. {Please and Thank You}

Three years later he is feeling that he might be embarking on a treacherous journey of sorts.

I am delving into my long-held beliefs and frail faith to discover my true self. That one that is in me and in Him. {Here I go}

he let us know and invites others

to share in this adventure that you might also question everything, scrape, prod, rip open and take apart the conceptions and ideas that inhibit our evolution to realizing our inheritance. {Here I go}

For lots of people, life is a great adventure, with many ups and downs. Sometimes very deep downs and lesser great ups.

Jeff writes:

Everything upon which I have relied is suddenly revealed to be a mere reflection of what I have found comforting to my ego. If I am to uncover my truest self all these ideas, preconceptions and formulas have to be incinerated by the flames of Love. {Here I go}

He also speaks about God, though we are not sure yet which god he means, because in 2017 he still thought of a three-headed god. From our side, we could and can only hope he one day shall come to discover the Only Real God Who is the All-knowing Eternal and everlasting (i.e not able to die, whilst Jesus really died) invisible Spirit, whilst his 2017 godhead is a not all-knowing god, Jesus even not knowing when he would be coming back to earth.

It is nice to see he understands that God

is a jealous and merciful God. {Here I go}

which makes it so important to worship the right God and not just any god. We should only worship the God of Jesus Christ, the Spirit God, Who is revealed in the angels and in Christ, but also revealed in the righteous faithful.
It is that “I Am that I Am” we should look at. It is that Godhead Who wants to be found.

The blogger Jeff seems to be willing to seek and to find Him. He writes:

He wants me to seek Him only in all my doings. Being human with a myriad of selfish desires I chase and grasp after things I think will satisfy, these seeming insatiable cravings, and when I do go after them without discernment, I get smacked down, disappointed and left wanting. I then am again desperate, confused and left wondering why I have been allowed to forget the Love that is merely a breath away. (Jealous) Immediately I am forgiven and realize I have been taught. His Love and acceptance are eternal. (Merciful) {Here I go}

The big problem with man is that they prefer to give a man a higher position than God. Lots of people do prefer to put the human doctrines above the Biblical doctrines and they believe that those human theologians do know it better than those Biblical writers or penmen from God. Instead of accepting the sayings from God (like Him saying that Jesus is His only begotten beloved son) and to believe the Biblical sayings or writings from Scriptures.

All should come to see the light shining in the darkness, the sent one from God, being such a light for mankind and the solution against the curse of death.

“If nothing that can be seen can either be God or represent Him to us as He is, then to find God we must pass beyond everything that can be seen and enter into darkness. Since nothing that can be heard is God, to find Him we must enter into silence.

Since God cannot be imagined, anything our imagination tells us about Him is ultimately misleading and therefor we cannot know Him as He really is unless we pass beyond everything that can be imagined and enter into an obscurity without images and without the likeness of any created thing.” {It just doesn’t make sense}

When one keeps to the false human doctrines then a lot in the Bible might not seem to make sense, but when one really take the words like they are written in the Bible, they all make sense. It only demands an openess to be willing to listen to God Him speaking by His infallible Word, the Bible. Then you shall be able to

“receive the gift of an interior light that is so simple that it baffles description and so pure that it would be coarse to call is an experience. But it is a true light, perfecting the intellect of man with a perfection far beyond knowledge.” {It just doesn’t make sense}

Jeff writes

So to be calm, resolute in stillness appreciating what I can see and what I have experienced, being kind and helpful (if possible) to all I encounter, and forgiving those who are lost in hatred and poisoned by a vindictive heart, and also admitting that I am flawed. I am liberated into a Perfect Peace that Doesn’t make any sense. {It just doesn’t make sense}

But it is that incredible peace we have to look out for. It is possible for everyone to become a partaker of it.

Peace and Violence are with us and will be until the Lion lays down with the lamb {Nothing New}

But we have the great hope in the sent one from God: Jesus Christ, our saviour and the way to God.

Jeff looking for help; a little embarrassed and humbled to appeal for assistance covering impending medical expenses. (I must admit)

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