Happiness is - I'm spiritual but not religious. How about you?
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A healthy spiritual life is vital to recovery and wellness for those living with a mental health challenge. I share my spiritual faith system, one of my own design. In my book, I encourage everyone to do the same - create a spiritual life that works for you.
Purchase and read my book, The Two Agreements: A Good News Story for Our Time. In its pages, you can find ideas on finding peace and health. And you will be making a donation to the Tennessee local chapter.
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Happiness is - I'm spiritual but not religious. How about you?
* check out my story and Facebook page.
Happy Holiday Wish from Nelly and me. Peacefulness to you and yours . . .
There are times that I must force my self to slow down and meditate on this truth about me - each time I feel stronger.
One And Only You
Every single blade of grass,
And every flake of snow--
Is just a wee bit different ...
There’s no two alike, you know.
From something small, like grains of sand,
To each gigantic star
All were made with THIS in mind:
To be just what they are!
How foolish then, to imitate--
How useless to pretend!
Since each of us comes from a MIND
Whose ideas never end.
There’ll only be just ONE of ME
To show what I can do--
And you should likewise feel very proud,
There’s only ONE of YOU.
That is where it all starts
With you, a wonderful
unlimited human being.
James T. Moore
You Were Born Rich
Hold on! Is my offering of advice to those of you without the days of joy you image others are having . . . and others are probably imaging the same about you. The truth is that we all are living with struggles and disappointments. I tell you the truth.
Our peace and joy comes from within. We must not forget that we are in oneness with Wholeness itself.
We are peace. Though we may be in a room full of people we can still be lonely. The truth is . . . we are not alone. In us is the kingdom of a relationship that meets all of our needs - we are peace.
Peacefulness to you and yours.
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The Two Ageements: A Good News Story for Our Time
The New Testament - no one owns it. No one has a right to claim it as their own. The New Testament is the property of everyone. Religious zealots will not agree with these points.
I believe the time is right to enter any debate over "ownership", enter into it thoughtfully. Everyone, anyone, can reclaim the Good News story from the fear-mongering of religious right-wing radicalism. While there is a valid reason to do such, it is probably better not to “reclaim” the same old story, but rewrite it to present something uniquely helpful that meets us where we live today. I offer a Good News Story for our time for consideration and discussion.
Everyone has a story within the larger story of Jesus, God, and the Holy Spirit. Sadly, many people of faith choose mixed views of the life of Christ and the original church’s mission, thereby confusing the biblical theme. Their views include a dictated list of works to be done to receive the salvation of the eternal soul. These views are contrary to the great salvation gained and freely given by Jesus’ example. We can escape from judgments that have been mixed with Jesus’ message of redemption and secured by his message and living example of oneness.
For the past few years I have looked beyond the surface to the deeper stories of faith and understanding of the New Testament. And I wrote my reinterpretation of the popular interpretation of the greatest story. I claim my liberty in Spirit to do so. As most who adopt this path, I have been treated skeptically by more orthodox believers within my faith tradition. Yet, they can not honestly deny my reinterpretation's validity.
I agree with an opinion I read. The Church should stop hiding mental illness (denying its presence among its members).
The divine is the sea. All religions are rivers leading to the sea. Some rivers wind a great deal. Why not go to the sea directly?
~ Mother Meera
Not Religious but Radical (really)!
By S. L. Brannon
Is modern Christianity missing the intended “messages” in Christ’s life and ministry? Before exploring the issue that holds such importance for me, I must note that when I question Christianity, I do so with a respectful and reverent heart. Much like William F. Buckley’s Nearer, My God, my book The Two Agreements honors the religious tradition of my childhood. That said, I sincerely believe that Christianity misses the mark, largely due to a misplaced focus on the “sender”, rather than the “receiver”, of those messages, as well as their historical context. As a result, the popular interpretation of the Gospel message holds people in the shadows and distracts them from the good news messages Jesus taught to bring the people of His day into the Kingdom. Christ’s messages were a help in relating to God. The modern
popular interpretation, however, is a hindrance.
What is the popular interpretation of the Gospel? Most of us are familiar with it, whether we are churchgoers or not. Known by many as “The Greatest Story Ever Told”, it depicts an angry, vengeful God, so fed up with His own creation that He holds it in condemnation. As an act of mercy, He sends His son Jesus to live among humankind, knowing all along that Jesus would die for our sins. According to this interpretation, Jesus could have stopped the crucifixion at any time, but instead He sacrificed Himself to save people from
eternal damnation. Humankind is seen as inherently sinful, but after Jesus’ death and resurrection, we were given a choice to believe in this story or not. If we are believers, then we are saved; if not, we are damned, forever excluded from God and His Kingdom. This has been the script from which much of the world
has operated for the past two thousand years.
In reality, the story is not as straightforward, or as accessible, as the interpretation implies. This is due largely to the pressure that Christianity was under to present a single, perfect message to one audience. The result of this pressure has been to ignore certain inconsistencies. For ages, Bible scholars have noted the differing records of Jesus’ life and his messages of how to live in right standing with God. Specifically, they pointed out that while Jesus’ teachings focused on obeying commandments, Paul taught that one needed to exercise faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus. Furthermore, a small book entitled James seems to counter Paul by requiring people to do good works in order to satisfy God. One is left wondering what the true message might be. However, what if each of them is correct in their message? In fact, that is the case. There are differing messages, each correct and each directed at a different audience.
Let’s look at the historical context. Jesus’ arrival changed everything. His conception and birth began a time of transition, a transition from the first (old) covenant to the second (new) covenant. The popular interpretation attempts to freeze time—and humanity—in that transition period. However, in so doing, it attempts to return people never enslaved back into slavery (servants to a Lord). Of course, this is impossible, yet millions of Christians have been persuaded that they are servants to an angry, tyrannical God, destined to a life of condemnation and damnation. Each time the gospel is presented in a way that encourages or demands that one submit to the mindset of those souls born under Jewish law, a horrible injustice is done to the hearers. Those receptive individuals that accept this premise are subject to feelings of fear, guilt, and shame, and are therefore easily manipulated. How sad, for the good news declares a freedom to life, love, and liberty, to bask in eternal grace!
My reinterpretation of that popular interpretation seeks to clear up the confusion. he problem with our most popular understanding of the messages of Jesus does not have anything to do with the messages. Instead, one must look at the audiences He taught. A clue that there was something special about the masses listening to Him is in the phrase that is repeated again and again, “let those who have ears to hear . . .”
His reason for repeating the phrase was because it was something of a prayer for those listening to get the message that was specifically intended for them. It is important to note that Jesus also taught in parables for the same reason, to give the lessons in a form that each audience needed at that particular time.
Why is it so important to know the audience in order to unravel the seemingly mixed messages of Jesus and the apostles? It is important because Jesus taught three groups of “hearers” that comprised the masses of the original ordained church.
The first two groups I describe are well-known to Christians: the believers and the non-believers, both born under the old covenant. Jesus taught that there was a way for those born under that first covenant to be
“born-again”, meaning born into the second covenant. These original born-again Christians were the original ordained church. The non-believers remained under the teachings of Judaism, honoring the old covenant relationship into which they were born.
Now, to understand the remaining audience Jesus was speaking to, one must first understand that those born in the time of Noah, up until the time of Christ, were born into the first covenant with the Lord God, locked in by birth. This was the harsher God depicted in the Old Testament. The children who were conceived at the same time that Mary conceived, however, were born into the second covenant of unconditional love and Grace that remains in effect today. Jesus taught them messages of their being children of God and of their oneness with the Father God. They did not need to be “born-again” in order to enter the new covenant for they were naturally born into it.
As long as Christianity chooses to ignore the error of its interpretation, its members are destined to live with blinders on. They must selectively read and interpret chosen parts of the story in order to hold the “fidelity” they believe is there. All the while, innocent people are accepting a role (as a lost soul) they never held as free spirits in a kingdom of unconditional love and Divine grace. These innocent people are those of us born into Grace, never to know the stinging judgment of the Holy One.
In the second covenant, we live by free will in a life of our own choosing. By free will, we can live as people subject to the Jewish laws, as people of the transition period born-again into the church, and as people born
under Grace as children of God the Father. The choice is ours. In the reinterpretation, I encourage the readers to enter the Silence and become still in order that “the still small voice” rises above the noise. The
Holy Spirit is available to teach us all things beyond the bible theme and Gospel. “Let those who have ears to hear . .
S.L. Brannon, B.A., M.Ed., D.Div. You can learn more about me on facebook and linkedin.