Tuesday, 23 February 2016

The God of Reflections

The God of Reflections

I recently posted an article on a Christian forum looking to form a fellowship of people for who recognise that the spiritual roots of the ideals of brotherhood run far deeper than tradition. Unsurprisingly, this article attracted all manner of turbulent souls whose whole purpose seems to be dedicated to being Trolls for Jesus. The thread was dragged down into the dark deeps of acrimony, self righteous assertions, theological arrogance, and the sort of holier-than-thou bull that I was looking to avoid. To be fair, after a couple of posts folks didn’t bother reading the original message. They responded with gusto to comments made by others and derailed the thread. I expected this but I did secretly hope that the unexpected might occur.

This got me thinking about religion, about tradition versus experience; about the different types of knowing God, the theoretical and the experiential.

I can write here about a kiss, a dinner, a sunset, a flower. I can write about a cure for an ailment or hot sex, about a car, or swimming. I can, through writing, create reflections of that about which I write but no matter how well I write the reflection will never, ever, ever, be the object reflected. I can write a mouth watering review of a fabulous meal that I enjoyed but it will not fill your belly. I can tell you about my beautiful home but it will not keep you warm or the rain from over your head. And no matter what I write, no matter how well I write it, what I write will never be more than a reflection, it will always lack that most irreplaceable of all dimensions, the actual experience that was the inspiration from whence the reflection was contrived.

We write about our experiences. We reflect on our insights and values but the things that we write are not co-incidental with the object of our inquiry. The same holds for religious or spiritual experience. I can write about God but that which I write is not God, it is only a reflection – even one seen ‘as through a glass, darkly’. I can write about Jesus but that creation is merely a reflection and a reflection is never a flawless or replete portrayal, it always lacks; it is always so much less than. I can take a photo of my friend but the photo is not my friend. The significance of this fact seems lost on many religionists.

At best a reflection will possess the aroma of truth, in Christian parlance, will be quickened by the spirit of truth and this spiritual presence of truth is what lends authenticity to a reflection. However, theoretical experts confuse reflections with the objects reflected; confound the photo with the friend. They think that the spirit of truth has somehow become imprisoned in the forms. Consequently, these manmade creations - these reflections – are seen to be invested with divine attributes [like infallibility] – in essence they become totems and the worshippers of these totems, whether they realise it or not, are idolaters. They are idolaters because they worship, fight for, and would even sacrifice their fellows to preserve this manmade object of their devotion.

Tradition can never be more than the object and the experience that inspired it. Tradition can never be more than a reflection. It may be more or less blessed with the spirit of truth, depending largely on the spiritual genius of the diarists. But in the hands of the spiritually blind it is no more than a weapon that divides. The children of God are peace makers, are forgiving, tolerant, and humble. They strive not with their fellows and look only to establish unity, for they know: God is unity.

It has always seemed to me that it’s better to have God and no tradition than to have tradition and no God. The personal experience of knowing God - experiential knowledge - is infinitely more to be preferred than mere knowledge about God - theoretical knowledge. It is an astounding spiritual tragedy that there are people that are experts in tradition but don’t actually know God. While on the other hand, marvel of marvels, there are people that actually know God but don’t know jack about tradition.

This parable best illustrates my point. There was once two people that grew up in the same town but, as circumstances would have it had never encountered one another. The years fly by and both end up travelling the world. As Fate would have it the two ended up in a town on the far side of the world. While out with friends one evening one overhears the conversation of the other and is electrified with the recognition of ‘HOME’ and strikes up a conversation. They quickly learn that they used frequent the same places but at slightly different times. They know the same schools and stores; have heard of the same local heroes. They have never met but they recognise that they both come from the same place and are heartened to meet a friendly face at the far side of the world.

Also in the bar, is another person; one that has never visited the land from whence our two heroes hail. He, likewise, overhears their conversation and interrupts them saying that he is also familiar with the place they are from but his accent isn’t the same. He’s heard of the diners and restaurants but he’s never actually eaten in them. He couldn’t describe the smell as you walk in the door or the feel of the carpet under your feet or the familiar smile of greeting the restaurant owner always beams when he welcomes his ‘favourite regulars’. When the two new found friends dare to correct this self proclaimed expert he takes offense. He objects: but I have read it, it says so here and here. You gentlemen must be wrong. You have been away from your home a long time and your memories must be rusty. Consequently, before long, the two chaps find a way of departing from this man’s company.

God is a place wherein some grow up and the people that have grown in God always recognise one another regardless of other incidental factors like traditions, customs, nationality, gender, or race. They recognise the accent; their personal familiarity with the nuances of the terrain; the hard knocks doled out by the town teachers. But there are others and the only God they know is the God of Reflections, and anyone that has had the experience of living in God can recognise these people instantly. 

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Alternative Communion

I’m interested in establishing a non-traditional, gospel based, spiritual fellowship that will be open, welcoming, inclusive, liberal, progressive, committed, sincere, profound, engaging, challenging, rewarding, supportive, nurturing, enlightening, inspiring, empowering, and participatory.

By gospel I mean the universal brotherhood of all humanity – one for all and all for one – in the service of the Father Almighty; the Source, Centre, and Destiny of all things, meanings, values, and beings.

I see the traditions out there, hard at work – ministers tending their flocks, singing songs of praise and generally doing their thing but I have yet to find one that feels like HOME. I understand each to their own when it comes to communal religious worship but I have yet to find a fellowship that I could feel a part of, where I could let my guard down, be my self, and enjoy communion with my brethren. I know and believe that we are all one family under God but it is true that birds of a feather flock together and, I guess, I’m looking for my flock.

I am devoted to the Master and his cause but I don’t personally subscribe to many of the teachings of the traditions and that creates challenges. It appears to me that the world of Christendom is subdivided up into various communities whose borders are defined by their respective creeds, and who have made salvation and passage into communion dependent upon the willingness of the prospective member to subscribe to their particular variation of their respective creeds; a salvation by right beliefs sort of thing. This issue is further compounded by the tendency of some to externalise their identities. They identify themselves with their creed, code, and cult, and consequently confuse the rejection of some or all of their creed, code, and cult, as somehow a rejection of them and I don’t want to be hurting anyone’s feelings. I just want to sit down, break the bread of spiritual inspiration and share it with my fellows.

I enjoy the company of the followers of Jesus, regardless of their beliefs, but I personally find the atonement doctrine revolting and the call to the hatred and condemnation of homosexuality despicable. If some Christian thinks I’ve just bought a one way ticket to eternal damnation for espousing such opinions, that’s cool too – whatever floats your boat buddy but that’s the sort of thing that creates serious challenges to communion, that and the dreadful worship music that get played in contemporary churches. Don’t get me wrong, I love music; I’m a musician myself but some of the tunes belted out in the churches are like needles in my ears. I just can’t handle them.

So I’m caught on two things: the demand for conformity of beliefs and having to endure [what is for me] terrible music. I understand there’s no accounting for taste. Some like heavy metal, some like country, others classical and opera, and yet others love contemporary Christian worship music. Not me, sorry about that. I will gladly concede that some of the tunes are great, Rich Mullins and other spring to mind but overall quality is pretty low. Maybe one of you good people will educate me.

I’ve got a few like minded friends here in Galway. We have a little fellowship [at least one of which really, really, loves worship music] and I’m wondering if there are any other like-minded souls out there that would be interested in setting something up?

For more on the subject check out this link

Saturday, 13 February 2016

Reflections of a Strange Preacher

There is a fundamental joy and liberty inherent in the realisation that you are a child of God and that all men are brothers. Moreover, such truth contains the inspiring and enthralling vistas of divine destiny; while fear and death are swallowed up in the realisation of life everlasting.
And what is this life to which we are invited? But one of endless transformation, of transforming the world even as we are transformed: of transforming potential into actual, dreams into realities;of establishing Justice where there is injustice, peace where there is war, healing where there is hurt, and prosperity where there is poverty.
In these endeavours God is with us...the greatest power in the universe stands with us. When aligned with the Father the children of God are the most powerful force for positive social transformation on the face of the earth.

Gospel to the Gentiles

Jesus taught that all people are the children of God: Jew and Gentile. For those that don’t quite understand what a gentile is that’s anyone that’s not a Jew by birth – this covers all people of every race and persuasion, everyone, everywhere in the world, all of them, all at once, all of them are equally the children of God, no ifs ands or buts. It’s difficult to appreciate just how radical were the teachings of the universal brotherhood of all mankind until you realise that Jesus was preaching this message to a people for whom racism was a fundamental part of their religion. All that were so unfortunate as to not be born Jews were perceived by certain quarters as little better than dogs – gentile dogs. That Jesus invited these dogs to the table of Divine Brotherhood was astounding and this message still challenges people to this day – especially so-called Christians.

He said that we would know his true followers because they would follow his commandments and treat all men as brothers - they would be free of prejudice. They would extend forgiving tolerance and loving mercy even to those whom the world would call enemies but whom the children of the Kin-dom would know to be brothers (albeit brothers lost in spiritual darkness). Frankly, these attitudes are seldom exemplified by alleged followers of the Master – regardless of tradition and, chances are, many would balk at being expected to so live but this is the very price required to stay in the Kin-dom; indeed is the very substance of the Kin-dom. What we do tend to hear from the so-called followers of the Master is castigation, vilification, condemnation, demonization, and a great rush to call fire down from Heaven – none of which exemplify the Masters life, teachings, or values.

It is impossible to reconcile the exclusivism of the traditions with the universal brotherhood proclaimed by the Master. It is a tragic indictment of the traditions and clearly indicates how far they have strayed away from the essence of gospel; they follow not after the Master’s voice, indeed they follow the voice of another. The Master extends his hand to all and welcomes all that have the faith to accept the great truth he lived, taught, and died for; that we are all brothers and sisters, we are all the children of God. In his life he taught us how we proclaim this truth to the world: through loving service for our fellows; through the progressive sanctification of one’s life, and through the consecration of one’s life to the doing of the Father’s will – manifesting His love for all His children.

The traditions have set the bar very low indeed when the benchmark of piety and of being a good Christian consists mainly in regular participation in and observance of religious rituals and tithing. Without doubt this represents the spiritual low-tide mark that reveals just how spiritually impoverished many of the traditions are.

Diary of a Strange Preacher 13 Feb 2016 10:33

The What

I wish to establish a non-traditional, gospel based, spiritual fellowship that will be open, welcoming, inclusive, liberal, progressive, committed, sincere, profound, engaging, challenging, rewarding, supportive, nurturing, enlightening, inspiring, empowering, and participatory.

By gospel I mean the universal brotherhood of all humanity – one for all and all for one – in the service of the Father Almighty; the Source, Centre, and Destiny of all things, meanings, values, and beings.

Diary of a Strange Preacher 13 Feb 2016 10:30am


In order to establish Heaven on Earth we must understand that our first step is to realise the Heaven within; after all, the world is but a mirror – it can only reflect what we project. To this end is I will establish a fellowship whose primary purpose will be to enable people to discover and share the bounty of the Heaven within.

There exists a reality that is far greater than you can imagine. This is a healing, transforming, inspiring, ennobling, liberating and energising truth. Upon contact with it you are translated out of the dark pits of fear, despair, and destruction and elevated to the high and illuminated plane of faith, hope, and endless creation. I want all the world to know this experience.

This truth is my WHY. I crave the world to know the liberty consciousness of this truth brings: liberty from fear, death, and woe. In this the hurt I proclaim will find healing, the lost will find a new and better way. It gives strength to the weak and courage to the fearful. It is the hope of the good and wise men of all ages. It is a living reality, even the very source of life itself. It is the centre from whence all has its origin and the destiny toward which all has its end.

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Dumb, numb, and Hypnotised

I've been writing poetry for about 10 years and was recently going through my stash! So, I'm going to post a couple here. Fingers cross they work their magic.

A world filled with woe
Kids on the streets 
Got nowhere to go

And what’s the Man gotta say?
It’s all ok, it’s all ok, it’s all ok.
Tomorrow’s going to be a
Better Day!
He’s told us so many lies
We’re no longer even surprised.
Dumb, numb, and hypnotised!

Here’s what I got to say
Stick this up your
Bright brand new day!
People are hurting,
Kids are crying.
For god’s sake
Even the sky is dying!!
And what’s the Man gotta say
It’s all ok, it’s all ok, it’s all ok.
We got your opium
Make that pain go
Right away!
And don’t worry
It’s all ok, it’s all ok, it’s all ok.
Tomorrow’s going to be a
Better Day!

Well here’s what I say
Fuck you! You swine!
You’ve taken everything
Belong to me and mine.
He ain’t happy
just taking from me and you
Motherfucker stealing from our grandkids to!

Oh dear precious God above
I know you got endless patience and limitless love
Please! Heavenly Father,
Look at our plight!
Lend us your strength
Help us fight the good fight!

Our world is being destroyed
And no seems even a little annoyed?!
They’ve put poison in our water
And toxins in our air
He don’t give a shit
When our kids lose their hair!

The say the greatest trick
The Devil ever pulled
Was to convince the world that
She never existed
Who would have thought
An Angel’d get so
Murderous, bitter, and twisted?
How I wish it were true
That she never ever existed.

The Man’s got a god
Nasty, not nice
Every single day
It screams for sacrifice
And so I rivers and mountains all get sliced!

Brother and sisters,
When you gonna see
The Devil’s in you
And the Man’s in me?
It’s you and I
That have burned the sky.
It’s you and I
That’s letting this world die.