Walking the Middle Path

Excellent read of Espirational’s stance of religious faith written by Rogene Robbins.

Espirational: A 10 Minute Vacation for the Soul

Flowers along the road Copyright 2015 by R.A. Robbins Flowers along the road
Copyright 2015 by R.A. Robbins

I walk the middle path.  It can be a lonely place to be.  It can be a dangerous and frightening place to be, caught between two extremes at war with each other with verbal, spiritual and even sometimes physical shots being fired by both sides.   But as a Christian who tries to follow the teachings and example of the Master Teacher it is where I am called to be, shining the light of God’s love.

So, what does walking the middle path mean for me?  Well, it means being a Christian.  It means not being an “Evangelical” or a “Progressive.”  It means not being a Democrat or a Republican.  It means not being  “conservative” or  “liberal.”  It means believing that being “pro-life” does not end with the birth of a child.  It means believing in protecting and caring for children once they are here. Protecting and respecting the lives of individuals with…

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WAIT! Who’s Really Christian Here?

Okay, so with the title of this article post one might be able to tell somewhat of what it is about. You, the reader, might think, “Well, isn’t he the brave soul who thinks he has the authority to judge in such a way.” Or perhaps you will wonder where I got my facts or even had the time or incentive to get them. But in most cases you who are reading this post will be simply shocked that anyone would have the gall to publish such a bold statement such as this and declare me either brave, insane or a fool with satanic tendencies of rudeness. Think what you will, after nearly seventy years of living on this planet which is filled with the intensity of so called intelligent creatures who each believe they are God’s own special gift to the world I have finally come to the point of realizing the real irony of humans, us, trying to govern ourselves or to even imagine we can comprehend our Creator.

Through my life, I have lived in this country called the United States which has boldly been called a “Christian nation” by many. I have intentionally visited many denominational churches, preaching in some, singing in many, and listening to the preachers teach their theologies in all. Amazingly, all of the churches I have visited who called themselves “Christian” did have one basic message between them: that being that Jesus is the Christ who was born, killed upon a cross, buried, resurrected and taken somewhere with most teaching the hope of him returning sometime in the future.  But the similitude ends there. The way these things happened and what is promised to happen after that differs in as many ways as there are mountains on the planet. Beyond this maze of so called messages of truth are several other similar mazes of other people attempting to live the best way they know how by following leaders like Mohammed, Gautama the Buddha, and others, they believe or have been taught have found the truth. Each of these groups, these religions, like Christianity claim absolute possession of the truth with no one else having right to make that claim.

If you’ve been reading my posts on this blog then you’ve seen me ask the question before of what does it really mean to be “Christian.” I don’t really expect you to be able to just sit down at your computer and start typing your answer immediately. But we have entered into a period of time in our world’s history where everyone making the claim that they are “Christian” have a very clear definition in their minds of what that means. There seems to be three major ways to study the Christian Holy Bible and each of these ways tends to shape a person’s concept of what it means to live the “Christ life.” Interestingly, the three basic concepts of the Christ life follow the Christian teaching of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit  — the “Trinity.”

Traditionalists (One God – The Father). Many denominations believe that in order to be like Jesus, the Christ, one must study the Old Testament history which leads up to the birth of Jesus and to help bring, no, to demand the establishment of the Kingdom of God on Earth even if it means doing so by force. They teach a readiness to take up arms when necessary. They believe there is no place in heaven for the so called “coward,” and devote much time in studying the scriptures to prove their responsibility to God regardless what it takes. These believers become single minded, single purposed, and single hearted. Put simply, it is best to stay out of their way or they may consider you God’s enemy and think it their responsibility to destroy you. They see Jesus as a quiet warrior who accepted a fate of being innocently sentenced unjustly to death, being crucified and later, to be able to show his followers that they really had nothing to fear, not even death itself and to pay the penalty of being less than perfect required by Jewish law. Why? Because Jesus’ resurrection proved the believers’ power over death, the “King of Terror.” These believers emphasize the basic Hebraic belief that there is but one God, but they have various ways of proclaiming that belief all best summarized by the fact that they in essence are stating that Jesus was and is God. This fact, and the belief in a promise that sometime in the future Jesus is promised to return to Earth to establish the Kingdom of God on this planet is of prime importance to these believers. Thus this body of believers’ faith is based on the history of this world and is centered upon overcoming this world to eventually establish God’s kingdom upon it to make it a paradisiacal existence as it was originally created to be.

 

Reformers (God, the Son). Other churches believe that Jesus, the Son of God, taught a radically different method of overcoming the chaos of the world and giving freedom to those in slavery and poverty. This group of believers trusts less on the violent tendencies taught in the Old Testament scriptures and more upon the power of loving God and one another. Their message is less that the truth is for a specific chosen group of people and more that whoever chooses to do so can be a part of the spiritual kingdom of God. They teach less of the history of the Old Testament and more of the life of Jesus and what this master teacher taught,  insisting that it is the emulation of the Christ which will bring peace to the world. They are less concerned with the letter of the law and teach more of the method of truth as taught by Jesus. They study more deeply such Christ teachings as the “Sermon on the Mount” and his teachings and actions concerning the parables and miracles. While recognizing the hope for a future kingdom these believers place less emphasis on prophecy and more on trying to live their current lives in a way they believe is honorable to their spiritual king, Jesus. Many seem to believe that while the evidence in the physical world appears to show otherwise the Kingdom of God is already established in this world through those who believe and attempt to emulate Jesus’ lifestyle.

Spiritualists (God, the Spirit). Then there is this third group of believers with gatherings which appear much smaller but with messages which seems at times much more powerful. That is, if the message is comprehended. They are the ones which believe the Spirit of Christ, the Spirit of God is already dwelling within people. The way the Kingdom of Heaven will be established as reality on this planet will be for us to recognize that fact of the indwelling spirit of perfect love and allow it to live through us. These groups tend not to have denominational or even religious boundaries for they believe all “seekers of truth” are seeking the same God and that all religions, including Christians, are serving the same God. It is this indwelling Spirit, best recognized as Agape, that these believers proclaim as the fullness of the “unseen God.” They attempt to show the essence of what they believe God’s love to be with no barriers to others due to race, ethnicity, education, wealth, political stance or religious background. They believe the Kingdom of God to be a spiritual one visible only by the love their varied members have for one another. Their idea of who Jesus was, is that of a highly esteemed master teacher of life alongside of, or sometimes leader of, many other esteemed avatars like Mohammed, the Buddha and others. They generally do not believe the idea of a physical return of Jesus, but rather believe his “second coming” is that of the Holy Spirit indwelling believers through which the whole planet could be “saved” when enough people are controlled by that same Holy Spirit.

 

So there, in a short, simplified description, we can see the Christian concept of Christ as it has shaped our present. The Protestant, Evangelical conservative believers who believe they must now establish the Kingdom of God. By force if necessary. The Protestant, Catholic, liberalistic believers who teach that we must emulate Christ and serve people regardless of who they are. And those who attempt to live a spiritual life and be less involved with worldly philosophies, attempting to live the spiritual life of peace and love in the world today in the hope that if enough people do so that eventually it will change the world.

So who is right? None of them. All of them. The irony of this whole scenario is that this trichotomy of philosophies, while they seem to be somewhat in opposition to one another and in fact at times find their leaders in direct debate, they must through the Holy Spirit somehow lay aside their differences and find their commonalities before the glorious Kingdom of Heaven can come to Earth and the Kingdom of God be established on the planet.

The conservative traditionalist must lay aside their thought that the spiritualists’ teachings of a possible kingdom based on agape love is a weak faith which can lead only to failure. The reformers must recognize and study more of the Old Testament history of the church and how and why Jesus taught as he did. The spiritualists must be more open with their faith and allow the Holy Spirit to be expressed within them more boldly that others might see and experience the peace and love they claim to be possible through such faith. In short, each group has but just part of the wholeness of the truth.

It is only when we all recognize that we are all on this planet together as seekers of the Truth and that we only have a vague image of it shadowed in a few pages of some ancient books that we will begin to comprehend how we can bring the Kingdom of God to this planet. We must recognize that the place where our neighbor is currently at in their faith is, at the time, the best place for them. Yet if we believe what we say we believe then we must actively live our own faith, allowing the same right and privilege to do so to everyone else. The most major hurdle to be made toward bringing the Kingdom of God to Earth will be what Jesus said were the two greatest commandments: Love the Lord thy God with all your heart, soul and mind, and to love thy neighbor as thyself. Where are you at on this challenge? Where is your church?

In God we Trust?

This short question asks the most important question everyone needs to answer in today’s world. Reblogged this from espirational.com .

Espirational: A 10 Minute Vacation for the Soul

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trustin him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. — Romans 15:13  NIV  (from Bible Gateway,com)

Here in the U.S. we like to throw the name of God around a lot.  Our “pledge of allegiance” to the flag of our country contains the words “one Nation under God.”  Even our money has the words “in God we Trust.”  But do we  — really?

Do we trust God?  Or do we trust one man alone to solve all the problems in the world and in our country?

Do we trust God?  Or do we trust the government to create a just society?

Do we trust God?  Or do we trust our guns to keep us safe without killing an innocent friend, neighbor or family member?

Do we trust God?  Or…

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A Newborn Year — A Newborn Life

To the new born, everything is new. While usually their eyes are still sealed shut, the new world around them is vibrant with sounds, smells and textures. All of which are spell binding. All of which are wonderfully compelling. All of which create a drive to want to see. To the person who is newly born into the true faith of the Spirit of God, of Christ, within us it is no different. These new born believers hear the sounds of truth around them. They smell the essence of the incense of prayers for them. And they feel the love which is now their life not only within them but all around them. Grow, little children, sleep, observe, play; for soon you will see with your own eyes, your own spirits, that which many have only ever dreamed.

We are holding now a three day old New Year in our hands, what do we do to help it grow and develop into the type of year we can be proud to be part of? We are also holding the occassion to allow the Spirit of the Christ child opportunity to grow within us. The question is will we?

There is only one way a baby grows: By someone loving it enough to provide its basic needs of air, water, milk, warmth and protection. As newborns grow they learn to do these things themselves, but for now they must be comfortable with being cared for by those who love them.

The same is true with this new year. While often uncomfortable, the inability to know the future is actually quite a blessing at times. To know the future would mean that we also would feel responsible to attempt to change that future if something were foreknown to be harmful to someone we love or ourselves. This type of responsibility could cause irresponsible actions by us because we would feel compelled to take actions which, on a universal-eternal basis, may not be prudent.

No, for the most part we know not the future. The year just past has proven that to most of us with the social-political events which have shook the globe. But the globe has been shaken before, yet it still spins on its axis and travels around the sun at a steady pace. And yes, we are still here.

The fact is that the spiritual Kingdom of God is but still an infant, a newborn. The Apostle, Paul, stated that he, representing the early church, “travailed in birth” (GAL 4:19) awaiting the rebirth of the believers in God through the Christ Spirit. And John said, in the book of The Revelation, that the birth of the Christian Church was as if the Hebrew faith were pregnant, and “travailing in birth,” or that is to be in labor (REV 12:2). The early church was the rebirth of mankind’s faith in the true Holy Spirit of God.

It has now been two allegorical days since that birth (2PE 3:8) and while much growth has occurred within the past 2000 years for most of us our eyes are not yet open. Many of us are frustrated and dismayed that the world is still in what seems to be even worse turmoil than historians have recorded to have occurred in the past. So we weep and shout and proclaim ourselves the ones to bring about the promised Kingdom of God on Earth, even with violence if necessary. Yet, even this decision shows that we do not understand Christ’s words when he said, “My kingdom is not of this world.” (JON 18:36)

We are still infants, when it comes to true faith in God. Even as this year we call 2017 is but three days old today, the universal, invisible church called “Christian” is just now entering its third day of existence in the Spiritual realm. It is now time for believers to open our eyes to see the possibilities of the spiritual world which cannot be seen, but sensed only in our hearts and minds – only in our spirits. By doing so, and only by doing so, shall we see the fulfillment of the line in the Lord’s Prayer: “ Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.”  (MAT 6:9-11)

May God bless you all this coming year.

Christmas Greetings 2016

OK Genie, put away that camera and let’s get up to your kitchen where you can serve me a pound of that roast you cooked — I’m STARVING!!!

The sleigh is empty, the deer are in the barn, and I’ve changed out of that overstuffed winter survival suit.

NOW LET’s GO EAT!

 

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May the Christ Child be born in your heart.

                            MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!

bob-in-sleigh-1-orig

Is There Room Within You?

Almost everyone on this planet called Earth has now heard this story about the Hebraic couple who had found themselves in the difficult situation of being required to go to their family’ s hometown by the Roman government to be counted in their national census. Though this couple reportedly had never yet experienced coupling, she was pregnant and large with child with no other transportation available than a borrowed donkey which her husband had lead across the rugged terrain for many miles. The importance of the child that Mary, then just a young teenage girl, was carrying was, in the couple’s minds, of unbelievable importance: They believed this child to be the son of the living Hebrew God – their Messiah. Yet, because of the fact that it took them so long to make the trek to Bethlehem by the time they got to town there was no room in any of the inns or anyone’s homes for them to stay. So this couple had to accept staying in a stall-room, a manger, with a farmer’s animals to have a place to sleep. That night Mary had her baby, and that baby grew up to change the world through the words he spoke and the life he lived. You’ve heard this story, yearly, at this time of year. It’s the true reason for Christmas for Christians. But there’s more. . . .
       Whether you can believe the miraculous events reported in the Holy Bible or not, like the virgin birth, the angelic visitations, and others is here unimportant. They are part of the story of how this Messiah was born as reported by several witnesses. What is important here is one’s understanding of the spiritual message of this birth and the life of this one named Jesus who was born that night. Put simply: Is there room in your inn for the true, universal, invisible church of the one and only God of the universe to have his only begotten son?
       Now please understand, I am not preaching for any certain denomination or worldly church. That is not my calling, that’s not what I do. I am not a preacher. But I am a messenger who tries to reveal hidden truths in things which have been hidden for centuries. Hidden, strangely, in plain site.
       But, once again I ask, is there room in you for the spirit of the Christ child, the son of God, the Messiah of not only the Jews and Hebrews but of all of mankind to be born, have room to grow and help make this world a better place to be? You may believe you already have done so. But if you only have a head knowledge of this one called Christ, if you only know his historical records and the stories about him, then you know him only as another man. A man who changed the world, for sure, but head knowledge alone does not make the distinction of a man of history and a man of Spirit – of God.
       Gautama, the Buddha, in his trek to find truth, finally told his disciples at the end of his life that yes there is a truth to be known but that he should not be the one to be worshipped. He claimed only to be a teacher. This is generally the message which has been proclaimed by all of the great religious founders and teachers throughout the ages. “Don’t worship me,” is their essential message, “worship God.” Yes, even Jesus said, quoting a book in the Old Testament, said, “. . . it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” (LUK 4:8)
       But in this world as we know it of social, political, economic, and spiritual extremes where time is not only of the essence but demanded by every issue imaginable how do we make room within our hearts and minds for a simple thought of hope and love to be born? Is it possible that you have delegated the message of truth to stable conditions within your mind, thinking it’s message to be as just more animal dung on the stable floor?
       Awake, oh earthly citizens, and see the true light of the Spirit of God on this dawning of the third day since the first advent of Christ. The first beams of light are coming from the sunrise and are offering light to those who choose to see. Put aside your fears, your hatred, your anger and your worldly ways which lead to confusion and learn from he who was sent to show us the way.
       Knowing the history of Jesus, the Christ, is only the beginning. At least you have given space for his name to be born. But the message of Christ is much more than history. It is more than what any one denomination is teaching about his history or philosophical or theological theory. The message of the Messiah is greater than world conquest, as seems to have been the goal of many who claim to worship this Messiah during the past year.  The message of this Christ of God, this savior of mankind, is not that our “tribe” is to overcome the nations of this world through worldly means, but how to overcome the corruption which the world has caused within our own lives through Spiritual means. Through this understanding will the corruption of the world then be exterminated.
       Thus my plea to you is simple. If you do not know this one named Jesus, who is the Christ, then find room within yourself to learn of him. Get acquainted with him. If you already know of him, then learn from him. Learn the religion of Jesus and be set free from the spiritual, emotional struggles which trap you like in a prison from experiencing love, hope, joy and peace. You simply must move beyond the heady historical knowledge of this man named “Jesus” to his truth in the Spirit.
       Learn the religion of the Christ. Make room in your heart for Jesus.