Why can’t God do 70×7?

I have not blogged for quite a while and the reason is simply that I have had to embrace a radical departure from reformed evangelical dogma that has been brewing in me for some time now.

The problem is centered around the core of reformed evangelical teaching that Jesus came to die on the cross so that we may be forgiven by God.

If Jesus required of his disciples to forgive their fellow human beings seventy times seven for the same offence (Matthew 18:22), why then does God need to slaughter his own son in order to forgive me? 

Simply put, God does not and did not. Especially in light of the fact that God made it quite clear that He despises human sacrifice and clearly forbade the practice of it (Leviticus 18:21). God does not take offense, an egoic human trait, and does not harbor resentment and unforgiveness as we do. God does indeed do 70×7.

 

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Answer to a swipe.

Hi Simon

You seem to take a swipe at what I said without reading or understanding the context. The righteous shall live by faith and not doctrine. Jesus did not live out of doctrine but only said and did what he saw God saying and doing. He also did not entrust Himself to men because He knew what was in our hearts.

What is the purpose of doctrine? To point us to God, not to tell us how to live our life. What is the purpose of scripture? To point us to God and not to tell us how to live. Why have other believers around us? To point us to God and not to tell us how to live.

God is either able to show us His will for us daily as He did for Jesus or all our doctrines is a waste of time. After all, our doctrine has not really improved the world in over 2000 years and our steadfast clinging to it is so laughable as to actually be sad.

So Simon, unless God shows you what to do regarding first fruits whether you do or don’t, it will be sin. It is only when we live out of faith that we can live righteously.

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Change – Picking apples from a pear tree?

A man once bought a house in the middle of the winter because it had what looked like a well-established apple orchard in the back garden. When summer came along he was deeply disappointed to see pears growing on the trees. Out of desperation he picked off all the pears in the vague hope that somehow apples will replace them, to no avail.

Eventually the man, who had bragged to all his friends about his apple orchard, picked all the pears again and hung apples on the trees with string. He then threw a big party for all his curious friends to come and see his lovely apple orchard. The day of the party he locked all the doors leading to the back because he, like us, knew that you can make a pear tree look like an apple tree provided you do not allow anyone too close.

The biggest challenge the church faces today is the fallacy of change. Church history is littered with violence and destruction perpetrated against humanity and the planet we live on. Christians led the industrial revolution that saw untold misery released on the earth. Christians are leading wars in the name of freedom and equality as I am writing this. Why? Or, to use the analogy above, why is the church so sadly lacking in apples or life giving behaviour and so full of pears or destructive behaviour?

The simplistic answer is simply to say that they were/are not really Christians, this normally from the same people that would then go out and condemn people in mass marches for having had abortions or a same sex orientation. What is the cause of this destructive behaviour? Why this distinct lack of life altering consciousness?

When God brings us to salvation/consciousness, He literally connects the physical body to the spiritual “I am”, the roots of our apple tree. My body is freed from the control of the mind based self or egoic self, the root of the pear tree (if you happen to like pears feel free to change the type, but pears give me constipation hence the dislike). (Also, see “Understanding the Fall” on this blog if this “I am” stuff gets confusing.) That means that I am now empowered by my spiritual self that is permanently connected to God. I am now plugged directly into the source of all that is. Salvation/consciousness is primarily about changing roots and not fruits.

Very few of us will ever forget those exhilarating few weeks/months after becoming saved/conscious. Everything was clear, bright, amazing and nothing and no-one could faze you or rob you of this wonderful sense of connectedness and belonging. It was easy to love, forgive, be patient, be understanding, generous and you could embrace all of life, the good and the bad because your sense of self was rooted in something much greater than you circumstances.

This changed response to life was the result, the consequences of being transplanted. Your source, your roots so to speak, changed and with that the fruit of your life changed. You did not go out wanting, intending or thinking about wanting to grow apples, no, you simply could not help yourself.

And then?

People smiled at your exuberance and told you it will change. You heard comments such as, “people should be locked up for a month until they normalise”, and “real life will kick in soon enough”. You get involved in church and pretty soon find yourself in arguments about why something you said or did clashes with “THE WORD OF GOD”, THUNDER AND MASSIVE DRUMROLL ,TE-DUH (last part was a trumpet for those wondering).

You get instructed to join a member’s initiation class so that you can “understand” what you believe and why it is vital that you believe what happened to you in a certain way or else, so you get told, it did not really happen to you.

Understand this, know that, believe this and before you know it, the amazing sense of connectedness, of presence is nothing but a distant memory everyone tells you is not real life anyway. “Hello, Mr. Ego!”, as my wife likes to say when my kids throw a tantrum. The very ego you have been saved from has hijacked your consciousness at the mind/intellectual level and turned it into a set of rules, a theology of right and wrong that leaves no room for actually experiencing God, for a life of connectedness. Your mind has become your source again and the only thing that has changed from before your salvation is the rules. Church, with all the best intentions in the world, has restored your focus to your old roots, your mind, again. You have become a pear tree again.

Except for one tiny little soul destroying thing!

You are given clear instructions on what a Christian should and should not do. Apples, apples, apples my boy and some more apples. You know you must stop swearing, control your temper, not look at women twice, oh boy even just thinking it or wanting to and you’re damned. So you try but pretty soon you find yourself busy with all your old destructive behaviours again, instead of apples you’re covered in pears. Try as you might, pray as you might just pears everywhere.

People start looking at you funny and your counsellors start getting frustrated and talking about “wilful sinning”, christianese for saying you are the mother of all pear trees. You experience intense anger, frustration, and boredom. Church and life in general becomes monotonous and colourless. Your pastor tells you to memorise scripture and some tell you that we are all just “sinners saved by grace”, God save us!!!  The unavoidable reality is, no matter how badly you try and grow apples on a pear tree, you will always, always, always (you get the point I hope) harvest pears!

So, defeated you start to fake it. In church God, life, your wife , your kids are all good and blessed, wonderful. Hallelujah, Brother! At home they turn into money grabbing, irritating, soul destroying demons you want to throttle in their sleep. You praise God in church and swear at Him at home. You tithe and tithe some more and still your car gets repossessed, or disposed of, as you tell the church, to bring your debt into line with “GOD’S WORD” (THUNDER DRUM TRUMPETY THING!). The church, demanding apples, insists that you grow them on pear tree roots, your mind, and then judges you when it finds that you are covered in pears up to your ears!

Our mind/brain was never intended to be the source of our life, it was never meant to energise or excite us. It is purely a tool to help us express our excitement and sense of connectedness. It merely directs the life that flows from deep within but in and of itself has no capacity to generate life. It is like cutting the trunk off from the roots, no matter how much water and nutrients you give it, it can only do one thing disconnected from its roots, it can only die.

Whenever we try and find life apart from God, the fruit is always the same, death and destruction. When we try and live by the mind, live according to who I think I am and who I “ought” to be, we live self-fishly (think sushi, raw and colourless). By its very definition this mind based life is self-centred because no matter how good it seems, how noble the motivation may appear its focus is always the survival of the false self. The net effect is always a negative as it always consumes more than it appears to give. To quote Echart Tolle, “the ego always destroys itself” and a pear tree will always bear pears!

The fact that this process, this mind based living, is now Christianised, glorified by sticking crosses all over the place, spiritualised by claiming divine approval with a big bible and photos of overripe apples everywhere does not change the fact that it is all ego, all just pears. As with trees, no matter how you change your thinking or information or expectations it is the root that determines the fruit and the ego/mind based self always, always destroys.

That is why the church has failed to bring life, it has been preoccupied with “changing” your mind, changing the fruit, changing your understanding and behaviour, all of this by using the same method, source and root that had caused all the trouble to begin with. You cannot change the fruit, only the roots

You may change your behaviour, your language, your appearance by using your mind, your will but you cannot bring about true, meaningful life in either yourself or others with your mind as your source. Pear trees will be pear trees, no matter what nice shape you trim them into or colour you paint it, it will ever, only give you pears and lots and lots of constipation.

Tired of harvesting pears in your life? Stop harvesting from a pear tree! Jesus said, “and this is eternal life, to know God” (John 17:3). Aha, I hear some of you say, to “know” God implies mind. No, this “know” that Jesus uses is the same “know” used in Genesis to convey the experiential intimacy between a man and woman when they are “knowing” each other, if you know what I mean. As any man can tell you, the mind has very little to do with it. And, as many woman will tell you, the mind more often than not gets in the way of it.

How do we become agents of life in this world? How does the church become what it is meant to be? How do we change our fruits? By not trying to, by silencing the continual noise generated by a mind frantic to stay in control. By listening, not to theology, but for that still, quite voice deep within, by seeking the source that cannot be found by the mind but is the result of just being. We change by changing, not our behaviour or understanding, but our roots, our source.

You will experience that place in your body long before you are aware of it with your mind, and when you do, when this place of connectedness with God and all that is becomes your source you will bring life to the world. Nothing will change and yet everything will be different.

As God said to the psalmist in Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I Am God.”

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“I am” am I not?

Hi Nick

This “I am” concept is simple and yet important. In Christian writing and dialogue I come across some very vague thinking regarding concepts such as self. It raised in me questions such as who am I? Who is this person that is saved and what am I saved from? Who must I die to and what does the term, “to live is Christ” mean?

If I must die that Jesus can live in me, some of the more simplistic answers given me, what is the point? Logic tells us that for something to be saved some part of it must continue to exist afterwards or else it is not saved but destroyed. To be honest, if salvation meant losing any sense of self in order to be consumed by another person, even if it is Jesus, then I am not interested.

But this is not the case. So, who am I? Scripture tells me that I am created in the image of God. God is spirit. He does not have a face, body, vocal chords, not even gender. When Abraham asks God who He, God, is God answers simply with “I AM WHAT I AM” meaning that who He (even the term He is not correct simply a handle because I am too lazy to do a HE/SHE) is cannot be contained in mental labels such as good or loving or forgiving. God is and what He is cannot be described. When the Pharisees asked Jesus who He was, He gave them the same answer. So, if I am made in God’s image then it means that I am a spiritual being, first and foremost, like God. So if I am asked who I am then my answer is simply “I am”. This “I am” refers to my true, spiritual God created self.

This true self was clothed in a physical body that contained, amongst other interesting bits, a brain that was/is able to be aware of its surroundings through complex chemical/electrical impulses stored in millions of fat cells. This body was intended to receive directions from me, my true spiritual self, and translate that into actions in the physical realm that would bring about life in the physical. My body became the doorway through which the spiritual became material. God incarnated.

What happened at the fall was that the brain/mind hijacked the body and tried to become its source through knowledge. The body now existed primarily for self preservation and to that end, the mind created a false sense of self that would function in ways that would avoid threats to itself. This false self is based on concepts such as, clever, good, bad, handsome, beautiful, successful, failure. “I” can only be what I can label and understand with my mind and always for the preservation of the physical self. It is this false, physical self that I am called to die to.

So, for me, salvation/consciousness is that God induced place where the mind gets restored to submission to my true, eternal, spiritual self or, in short my “I am”. At this point I start to live with God as my source and physical existence becomes secondary to my true goal of revealing the divine in the material.

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Journey of consciousness: Answer to question on SATS

Yes, no and yes. God took me on a journey to come to a realisation of my salvation, so yes. Since I came to salvation/consciousness I have never lost it and do not believe it can be lost, so no. I also know that I have been and still are on a journey having my mind renewed daily in a growing process of “understanding” this salvation, so yes.

I want to make this distinction. We are at our core spiritual beings. My “I am” is a spiritual entity rooted in God. Whether this “I am” is ever lost is questionable. This “I am” inhabits a physical body that is meant to be an expression of the spiritual “I am”. The fall is essentially the physical mind taking over as the source from the spiritual “I am” rooted in God.

Salvation is a Godly intervention that restores the body to awareness of the spiritual “I am”. This is a once off event. It is at this point that we can say with Paul “it is no longer I who sin but the flesh”. Sanctification is the process during which the body has to unlearn its brokken self preservation responses and submit to the controll of the spiritual “I am” rooted in God so that we can, with Jesus, also declare that everything my physical body does and say comes from God.

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Understanding the “fall of man”

It is very important for us to understand the fall of man as described in Genesis 1 to 3. To understand concepts such as salvation/consciousness, faith or repentance we need to know what went wrong, what are we saved from and what do we become conscious to.

In Genesis 1 & 2 we see God creating man in His own image and declaring over man that they are “very good”. Man is instructed to reign over all the earth and may use all his eyes behold, except for the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Man is warned that eating from this tree will result in death. We are not told why but, as so often happen in scripture, sometimes what is not said is just as important as what is said.

So we see this pattern in Gen. 2 & 3. Life starts off with us resting, simply being, which then flows into a meeting with God, a relational act. Out of this being and relating flows activity which then culminates in spending time in the presence of God in “the cool of the evening” and then rest again. This is life as it should be with man being deeply connected to his true nature and through that to God and this activity leading to life-giving activity.

It is vital to remember that our true self is a spiritual one. We were made in God’s image and God does not have a physical body. Even concepts such as male and female cannot truly be ascribed to God, He is a spiritual being and so are we. We are the manifestation of God in the physical world and in order for us to do that effectively we have been created with a mind capable of interpreting the connection that flows from God at the centre of our being and translating it into meaningful action in the physical world. The mind, as an extension of the physical manifestation of the spiritual “Iam”, serves the true self and the world we live in.

NB! To understand what follows it is vital that we understand that the mind, our thinking processes, is simply chemical and electrical impulses stored in cells of fat. It is the operating system, if you will, that translates instructions from the user into actions on the screen. It is nothing more and nothing less.

Into this peaceful, holistic lifestyle steps temptation, represented by the snake. (Why this needed to happen, and it did, is a topic for another time). We read in Genesis 3 that the snake asked Eve whether God really said that they could not eat from the tree. This is a general, non-threatening question designed to reveal what they thought about the topic. From Eve’s response, “you may not touch it or you will die”, we can see that the tree of knowledge was indeed a topic they discussed. Perhaps Adam, seeing the glint in Eve’s eye when she looked at it, expanded the “thou shalt not eat” to include “thou shalt not touch” as an added incentive.

As so often happens, the temptation comes hidden in half-truths and innuendo. The serpent tells her that she will surely not die but become like God. The silent implication is that they are not like God in their present state but, should they eat from the tree of knowledge, it will give them a source of life that will enable them to live for ever, like God. This temptation is an idea, a verbal construct that enters not through their spiritual true self but through the mind. The idea is simple: If you know with your mind what is good and bad, right and wrong then you, and by you I mean your physical body, can ensure your own physical survival. It is a sort of palace revolution except that it is literally the palace revolting against its inhabitants, or a virus that hijacks the operating system of a computer.

The result of this shift from the physical body being in service to the spiritual true self, to becoming its own source for life results in the eating of the tree of knowledge. The eating is simply a consequence of a mindshift.

The result? As soon as they ate they realised that they were vulnerable, “naked”. When physical existence becomes the focus, the reason for living we very quickly realise what a dangerous place this world is. Others, strangers, the unknown becomes threats to our survival. Resources “becomes” valuable because I would rather have it than see others have it. Time, past and future, becomes more important than the ever present now because now only has value if it is ensuring my future or avoiding a painful past. Even God becomes a threat as we cannot control him and somehow know instinctively that His primary concern is not focused on my physical existence but on my eternal, spiritual true self.

So, when God comes in the cool of the evening Adam and Eve hides. When God calls to them He asks the question, “where are you?”. He is not asking behind which bush they are hiding but rather where they are relationally. Adam’s response is to tell God that they are naked, ie they are feeling vulnerable and exposed in His presence. When God asked them if they ate from the tree of knowledge we see Adam blaming his wife and his wife blaming the snake.

Full circle.

From living out of a deeply connected self that saw itself as part of the very essence of life, man has become separated from his true self, God, others and even the world he lives in. Everything destructive in this world today is a cause of this separation from self. Every form of war, disease, addiction, violence, deceit, every conceivable “sin” is merely a fruit, a consequence of this split between the physical and the spiritual.

In order to suppress the pain of this separation the mind creates a false self or ego based on external factors. From being simply “I am” we move to being clever or fast or rich, beautiful or not, rich or poor, successful or not, happy or sad. We see the world not as it is but as it should be or ought to be. Life becomes fair or unfair, good or bad all depending on how it impacts this false self. And this is what we need to be saved from, we need to be saved from believing the lie that I am who I think I am. Salvation is in essence God intervening in our lives and restoring our awareness/consciousness to the true self. Salvation/consciousness is the process whereby the eternal, connected, spiritual “I am” is restored to its rightful place as the source of life for the physical body.

Today, modern evangelical Christianity finds itself engulfed by a western society that is tearing itself apart in its quest for pleasure, thrills and excitement. The old message of repentance and moral living has failed dismally. Why? Because the focus has been on the fruits of the mindshift and not on the mindshift itself.  The very institution that was intended to represent the call of Jesus back to the true self has embraced the deception that led to the fall. By focussing on what Jesus had done (the fruit) and making the understanding of that a prerequisite for salvation the church has embraced the fallen self as the vehicle for salvation.

The message is that we are deficient, sinners saved by grace, and if you know and do the right things then you will be saved! Can you hear the deception in this? It is an exact repetition of the temptation in the garden which suits the false self imminently. In a sense no one is lost for the true self is eternal and incorruptible. We are created in the image of God and it is good, no, very good. God’s words, not mine. What we need to be saved from is not lying but “the lie” that who we are is not enough.

My Prayer is this, that God would give you and me the faith to trust that who we think we are is not who we are, that nothing in this world can define or limit who we are. The trust that who we truly are is good, whole, indestructible and eternal. I pray that God would teach us to become quite again in order to allow our physical bodies to be restored to communion with our true “I am”. And as we do that our physical bodies will be restored to their full glory as the physical representation of the Divine in the world.

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Simple Tom

Not so simple ideas on improving our thinking using quantum physics!

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