PART 4: The trouble with Christianity is… The God who sends people to hell

Am I really a Christian? Fighting my battle with myself Part 4
The trouble with Christianity is… The God who sends people to hell
NB NB NB – I have NO qualification whatsoever to write this piece, it is pure commentary and opinion.

So this was the final talk on the book written by Tim, presented by the chilled out pastor. I have to be open and honest here, I was quite anxious about going to this talk because I knew God would be prompting me to say something. This was not a good feeling as my gut and research and belief in my Awesome and All-Powerful God, the Ultimate Authority and Presence and Being of LOVE, have taken me to a space where I do not believe in ‘eternal’ torture. I do not see this as an option at all. Purely because I believe that God has ‘won’ and that God never leaves anyone behind, so if even ONE soul was going to be ‘sent’ to/ ‘choose’ ‘eternal torment’, then God would have ‘lost’ and nothing in any scripture or any promise or anything I associate with My Lord could be true.

Hence I knew I was walking into a Christian environment where they believe in hell and they believe that there is a devil and an evil who could ‘win’. Ludicrous to me. He cannot ‘win’ anything, the only factor is time and how long it takes a soul to move to love. So maybe ‘evil’ or ‘the devil’ is just trying to give people less time in ‘heaven’. As Neale Donald Walsch puts it: “there is an experience of the soul so unhappy, so incomplete, so less than whole, so ‘separated’ from God’s greatest joy, that to your soul this would ‘be’ hell.” But… God “does not send you there, nor does He cause the experience to be visited upon you. You, yourself, create the experience, whenever and however you separate your Self from you ‘own’ highest thought about you. You, yourself, create the experience, whenever you deny your Self; whenever you reject Who and What You Really Are.
Yet, even this experience is never eternal. It ‘cannot’ be, for it is not God’s plan that you shall be separated from Him forever and ever. Indeed, such a thing is an impossibility – for to achieve such an event, not only would ‘you’ have to deny Who You Are – God would have to as well. This He will never do. As long as God holds the truth about you, the truth about you shall ultimately prevail.”

Now I already know that my opinions on this topic are not in line with Christianity, as I have mentioned in previous blogs on the topic. So, in my state of anxiety at going to the talk I was woken with various strands of thoughts from about 11pm – 3am the night before. The premise for the thoughts (bearing in mind that my mantra is that God provides all I need in His perfect timing in the exact divine right order according to His will each day) was that 1) God is Love and 2) God knows all and is all. The scribbles via my bedside light and groggy state of half-asleep space looked like this (in typed form anyway):
1) God plans ahead by MILLENIA, the crucifix didn’t even exist as a form of execution when how Jesus would die was predicted by prophets decades before.
2) God knows us from before we are conceived in the womb. He formed us. He created us. Therefore anyone ending up in Hell would mean that God planned for it millennia in advance! That thought is stomach-churningly horrific!
3) If even one soul was stuck in ‘Hell’ then God would have ‘lost’ and ‘Satan’ would have ‘won’ and the whole idea of God’s Victory is a lie. ONE LOSS IS A DEVASTATION TO LOVE.
4) Unconditional LOVE! Love would NEVER tolerate ‘Hell’ forever. Pure Love would not allow eternal suffering.
5) An existence of eternal ‘Hell’ would mean that God is not all powerful and/or omnipresent because love cannot exist with knowing &/ allowing ‘eternal torture’.
6) God is EVERYTHING – the Alpha to Omega, created all and is in all, thus nothing would faze Him, because He is it all, He knows it all, and has no need to dictate power or prove anything to anyone or anything. HE IS. Full Stop. When nothing fazes you, you don’t need to punish anyone or prove anything.
7) Hell is pointless because God has NOTHING to prove.
8) God doesn’t want us to ‘choose Him out of fear’, purely because He’s a “better option” than ‘Hell’. God wants us to choose Him purely because He is Love and Love is AWESOME. LOVE drives out fear.
9) As humans we are created by God. As humans we are faulty. The creator wouldn’t punish His creation – that doesn’t make sense! The potter doesn’t see the pot break because of a faulty world and then punish it for breaking! The silversmith doesn’t see the silver tarnish because of the elements and then punish the silver! A mechanic doesn’t create a car and then punish it for breaking down.
10) For humans to say that we humans make the choice of Heaven or Hell means to say that God is not ALL-POWERFUL and we humans have more power than God.
11) God is not an exclusive club where only an elite few can subscribe to/pay subsidies to ‘get in’. God is for EVERYONE. I would never exclude a child access to my classroom, no matter what they have done, and if they realised the worth of the education they will receive in my class, they wouldn’t choose to stay outside. Eventually they would enter.
12) Jesus erased ‘Hell’ when He took on all our sin (as per Biblical teaching), ergo – GOOD HAS WON! God has won! No-one can get to the Father except through the Son, and Jesus prayed His last prayer “Forgive them for they know not what they do”. The last and ultimate prayer, we are forgiven for being morons. We cannot reduce the power, grace or glory of Jesus’s last request to His Father in Heaven.
13) Hell is FEAR and PERFECT LOVE DRIVES OUT ALL FEAR. Full Stop. So when you love God, when you truly love, hell cannot exist.

Looking at the ‘terrible number’ of ‘13’ points there, it’s quite obvious that I wasn’t in a sit, listen, keep quiet and obey the speaker mindset, should it be that ‘hell’ exists. Such is, doesn’t even type very pleasantly, but that’s the way it was for me.

The talk began with defining Hell as ‘the Ultimate separation from God, by being completely addicted to and/or enslaved by whatever you are addicted to/ enslaved by on earth.’ This followed on with an addiction being something that is based in ‘sin’ and ‘sin’ is when you set your life on a downward trajectory away from Love and God. I thought “YAY!” at this point, maybe I’ll be on the same page as these guys on something afterall… my hope was short-lived… “Souls go on forever”, agreed, and then I fell out from here onwards: Souls go on forever, thus they will be self-obsessed forever if they are in sin and the fire of “Hell” is a metaphor for the disintegration of the self in a personal fire. . . It’s the whole “forever” word/clause/meaning that I vehemently disagree with, because that word disintegrates the concept of ‘Hope’ and God’s victory. How can anyone believe in hope or God if even one soul is due to be lost ‘forever’?
Ok, so the pointers at this session were that people believe:
1) Day of judgment is a bad thing … (but we want justice)
2) Good can’t be angry and loving … (but we can)
Ok, I didn’t ‘get’ these points at all. The whole drive of it was that God must at some point ‘put right’ / ‘punish evil’ as He can’t do “nothing as people suffer”, and humans must be held accountable and receive ‘justice’ for their actions. “Humans desire justice”. Loving people get angry and have to tell people “not to do that”… At this point, it was as clear as Big Ben Bells tolling 12 that I cannot be a Christian!
1) To say that God must ‘put right’ is saying that God ‘got it wrong’ to start with! How can the ALL-PERFECT get it “wrong”? My whole perspective in my writing a couple of blogs ago states that I don’t believe God creates/created suffering, humans do that. So the whole ‘punish evil’ thing is ridiculous to me as God knows the exact what, when, where, how and why that ‘evil’ was done, dating back MILLENIA, how can anyone ‘punish’ someone when they know them and everything about them inside out? Once again, the potter punishing the clay pot for being broken by the world… makes NO sense to me at all.
2) Held ‘accountable’? ‘Justice’? Whose ‘justice’? Whose ‘account’? Whose ‘rules’? What ‘grounds’? Man’s? What a laugh, to bring GOD, My Awesome Father, down to the selfish, righteous, faulty and close-minded character of a human being! Please! I cannot and will not do that. Neale Donald Walsch: “Even if God did hold the extraordinarily unGodly thought that humans do not “deserve” heaven, why would He have to seek some kind of revenge or punishment for human failing? Wouldn’t it be a simple matter for God to just dispose of people? What vengeful part of God would require that He would subject us to eternal suffering of a type beyond description? If you answer, the need for justice, would not a simple denial of communion with God in heaven serve the ends of justice? Is the unending infliction of pain also required?” … “there ‘is’ no such experience after death as you have constructed in your fear-based theologies.”
3) No, loving people do not ‘have’ to get angry, loving people ‘have’ to spread love. Loving people know that ‘their way’ is not the only perspective in the world. They know every single human being is very different. No-one can ever see anything from another’s eyes/life/context, ever. Loving people know that God’s standards are set in Love and that God is taking care of things, and our earthly ‘criteria’ are just that and we do not know God’s purpose for anyone. If God is within us and we get angry because others are causing hurt, pain, devastation, then we are required to productively put that anger and emotion aside and ask God to help us do something loving about it, not just ‘tell others what to do’. You are raping women, why? Let’s get to the root of it, let’s heal it. You are stealing. Why? Let’s get to the root of it, let’s create actions that will help solve the problem. No job? A starving family? Someone controlling you in a gang? Yes, my initial reaction will be anger, but I am human, God is not. I’m required to move towards Godliness and do something to help and serve, as Jesus did.
4) I do not desire ‘justice’. I desire healing, I desire peace, I desire love to flow from everyone towards everyone. Yet I am also fundamentally aware that we, as humans, cannot know one end of the spectrum of relativity unless we know the other. I cannot heal until I have been broken. I cannot know peace until I have known turmoil. I cannot practice love until I have lived through its opposite in separation from love, and I have decided not to choose to live in hate. I was horrified that a human could say that they desire others to live in Hell. Horrified to my core.

The speaker went on to relay more of this Tim’s book by saying that Hell is something we need. Hell “stops us from becoming self-centred”. Hell puts Jesus’s dying on the cross into perspective and makes us realise how wonderful His act was. The speaker truly believes that Hell is about “getting how much God loves us”. There I was believing that nothing I can do or not do can make God love me more or any less! Yet the talk sounded like if I fear Hell, then I will be nearer God, that it is a fear-factor that is needed for me to turn to God. Yet I would think that: Hell stops my love being sincere, Hell stops my heart and mind from being free, Hell creates self-centredness because it is all about me “making sure I’m not going there”. It is SUCH a contradiction to LOVE! Love is what we need, NOT Hell! Jesus’s dying on the Cross for me means that all humans are FORGIVEN. Finished and klaar. The last sacrifice has been made. Jesus took away ‘Hell’ by giving us a living example of how to walk in love. How to be Who We Are and Live out our Purpose in Love. Yip, I was getting angry at what was being said, my human reaction. Yet, this is a speaker ordained in his church, someone preaching the word of God and I thought I was walking with God, so why would I be so discontent in my core at what he was saying? How can I be Christian if I refuse to fear God and I choose God purely because I LOVE HIM with ALL MY BEING and not because “if I don’t I’ll be in trouble”?

I recall a defining moment in high school nearly two decades ago. A guy called Mark stood up and did his English oral on religion and God and I remember the one part of it so clearly: You don’t have to believe in God; and if you don’t and you die and He doesn’t exist, cool, but if you die and He does exist… then what? Thinking back on that, it was such a logical statement, he didn’t say you’ll end up in Hell, or a bad thing will happen, or anything like that, he just said “then what?” Indeed, I thought, I don’t want to ‘not know’, I want to know that I will be able to pass on knowing that I have lived a life worthy of being with My God in Heaven, if heaven does exist that is, and not end up “wherever”. It wasn’t a choice or a thought in fear; it was a choice in what makes sense, where I want to end up and how I can live a life worthy of dying content and happy with what I did here on earth.

The talk then went on with its two fundamental points:
1) Hell is crucial to understanding our hearts. This unfolded as “something growing in us that can potentially become hell, because as we replace God in our hearts we come to live in denial and isolation which is intensified over time and by the greater our distance away from Him.” Apparently there is a famous quote that says: “The Doors of Hell are locked from the inside”… this made me think of a blog I wrote years ago on a guy who wrote a poem that seemed to be a response to one of my comments and said that the subject of the poem would be locked in hell, I had no idea this quote even existed. I get this, yes, separation from God is choice. We do lock the doors to God from within ourselves by rejecting Love / God. The speaker saw sin as “living my life my way” and God grants us our wishes, as we move away from God. . . God becomes irrelevant, God is replaced, someone/thing else becomes more important than our relationship with God.

Now I agree with all of this, but I don’t believe that it is something beyond life. I believe it is something in life. If you base your life on money and its fluctuations, you are going to be unhappy, miserable, living separately from God, living in Hell, soul-less… Base your life on wanting another to love you, equals trouble. Base your life on having power and control, trouble. Bad consequences result from stupid decisions that were not based in love. Bad consequences are the results of your choices and create your ‘hell’. Go to prison, get HIV/AIDS, lose the love of someone you abused, have a head on collision whilst driving drunk, being nasty whilst drunk or high, get over-weight and unhealthy because you can’t control what you eat and you don’t exercise, all your human decisions, all steps away from love, why? Because we don’t love and respect and forgive ourselves. I feel like this is another echo of one of my last blogs. We need to be instruments of peace and love, not hate and fear, but we can only recreate what we know and what we have been taught, and most people rely on faulty human beings to be their teachers and educators, they don’t rely on wise, loving and good people, they rely on T.V., politicians, spouses, parents, academics and people who don’t practice love themselves, for advice &/ ‘wisdom’. Instead, we should be relying on God and loving ourselves enough to trust God in us, love others and uplift them instead of pulling them down so we don’t feel as lonely in our misery and self-hate as we are. Hell is our creation and it is an echo of where our hearts are at. If we are unable to be in our own company, we are in hell and separate from God. If we are unable to turn off the T.V., the radio, the phone, the music and sit in silence with ourselves and be at peace, then we are in hell. Hell is something right here and now for those who don’t love themselves and have not been taught love, have not chosen love and have not realised it’s a journey and a decision they have to make on their own. Hence they cannot accept God, or God’s unconditional love given to them in abundance, without question, because they don’t understand love and don’t believe in their hearts that they are loved. How can you let someone else love you completely when you don’t know why they would love you? You don’t even love you; you just want to change you and your life…
2) The next & last point: Hell is crucial to understanding God’s love. Luke 16 v 19-28 was the selected verse. . . I just didn’t see the piece as the speaker did. I see the “place of torment” as here on earth where people don’t know, practice or live in love and goodness and peace. I don’t believe God takes/gives or expects us to live in poverty/hell. If we all helped each other, there would be no poverty. If we all focused on God and giving away, there would be no need to have 2 houses and 2 cars per person on one side and 10 in one house without a car on the other. There would be no throwing away of food ‘gone off’ or cupboards deep with tins that are never opened. There would be no-one without warmth and food, if we all truly loved. In my translation of this point: We need to know Hell, separation from God, in order to Know the AWESOMENESS of being with Him… and then we need to choose which place we prefer; and then live in that space, and act accordingly.

A final parting thought: Neale Donald Walsch “No one else will judge you ever, for why, and how, could God judge God’s own creation and call it bad? If God wanted you to be and do everything perfectly, He would have left you in the state of total perfection from whence you came. The whole point of the process was for you to discover yourself, create your Self, as you truly are – and as you truly wish to be. Yet, you could not be that unless you also had a choice to ‘be something else’. Should God therefore punish you for making a choice that He Himself has laid before you? If God did not want you to make the second choice, why would He create one other than the first? This is the question you must ask yourselves before you would assign God the role of a condemning God.”

The end of the talk arrived and the panel was opened for discussion and I felt all the nerves and fear on earth mounting up inside of me, yet the questions persisted, ask Shannan, ASK. So I asked: “I don’t understand; Our God who created all things and planned the future millennia in advance, is also the God who knows us before we are created in the womb. Why would he create us if he knows we are destined for eternity in Hell?”
No-one could answer me in any way that satisfied my hassles.
I then asked: “If Jesus said “forgive them for they know not what they do”, then surely we are all forgiven?” The response was that maybe Jesus, the man carrying the sin and weight of the world on His shoulders, was “only asking forgiveness for the men in front of him”.
I stopped asking. I was shocked at the response.
My conclusion from Part 1 – 4: I’m not a Christian. I can only pray that My Father In Heaven in all His Grace, Mercy, Glory and Awesomeness will be the Only one to ever show me what to do, what to believe, what to say, what to type and how to live a life that will make Him proud to call me His daughter, even if I don’t fit into the rules, structures and stipulations of the human cult called “Christianity.” Especially as I stumble and make mistakes along the way. Lord, forgive me if I have all this wrong, but, honestly, I only want Your knowledge and truth and none of man’s human nonsense. Thank-You Lord for walking this journey with me.
Hell is FEAR and PERFECT LOVE DRIVES OUT ALL FEAR. Full Stop. So when you love God, when you truly love, hell cannot exist.
LOVE YOU WITH ALL MY HEART and SOUL Lord, please keep working with my mind ;-) xxx

25 Sept 2014 – God’s present

One thing that I have undoubtedly learnt over the past few years through writing ‘Eish!’, through travels, anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress, unemployment for 8 months, and so much more, is that God is ALWAYS present. He is there no matter what the world and this often ghastly life has thrown at me, God has been there in the details, in the timing, in the words, in the moments, offering me hope and light, if only I care to look.

Yet another example has been the last 48 hours. As I sit trying to catch-up 5 grades of marking, trying to help a young lady new to teaching to take over an experienced teacher’s load, trying to balance the old teacher popping in and out to check on things, balancing my health, trying to accept and adapt to the changed dynamic of my family unit as it has dissolved from one into 5 separate entities that function without much union, more car challenges, Body Corporate nastiness and just generally trying to get through my grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, ironing and the ‘normal’ I-must-eat-and-shower functions of a day… I am sitting back in awe. I’ve managed to catch-up grade 8-11 and get marks in for the deadline, but I didn’t realise that my grade 12s were back tomorrow (26/9/14) so I haven’t completed their marking, yet I will still meet next Wednesday’s deadline for their reports. So it’s only a half fail… why I couldn’t force myself to mark tonight? Because this morning I received the stunning (as in stunned) news that stops everyone from functioning for awhile. . .

48 hours ago my very tired self decided to break away from the mayhem and watch a movie with a friend. I felt called to watch the movie called “The Giver” on the ‘big screen’. Wow, so much for a break. It was a highly truthful movie that hit both of us in the gut so hard that we didn’t leave until all the credits were done and the cleaners were dusting us out. I was really pleased to see that the work of truth I had seen had been partly sponsored by our very own Dept of Trade and Industry. It gave me a little bit of hope in a government that I do not trust at all. The movie plot compares: a life without choice, a life without emotions or fear or hate or religion (ring in John Lennon and ‘Imagine’), a life without love; to the past experiences of man that resounded in choice, fear, hate, love, joy, peace, war and all the mayhem of being human. It compared them visually too via a black and white world and a world of colour. I sat there and watched ‘The Giver’ transfer memories of love, joy, hurt, pain, death and every nuance and subtly of the glorious experience of being human onto ‘The Receiver’. Everything that has been resounding in my readings and experiences of late culminated in the film. LIFE is all of it, every tear, every laugh, every hug, argument, birth, wedding funeral. Every moment is its own blessing and each moment needs to be lived, loved and appreciated in the miracle of itself and that it cannot be compared to any other moment that has existed or will ever exist. Moments are as unique as the billions of people living them every second; such is the miracle and beauty of life. When it is done it is done, be still and know that I am God…

I watched the movie, absorbed it, related to it and conversed around it afterwards. I found peace in the knowing that each moment simply: is; and each moment is truly incredible in and of itself, as the next moment will be too, if we allow it to be and we recognise its phenomenal essence and purpose within the whole of relativity. A moment’s fleeting presence and its true existence as a gift, a present from God to each of us. Such beauty and fragility, such preciousness and divinity to be found if only it is looked for. I spent Wednesday in the aftermath of acceptance. I then awoke this morning, prepared for school and received an email in my inbox from a dear learner I taught from 2011-2013. She was emailing me to let me know her classmate, Angel, had passed away the day before. The Wednesday I spent catching up marking, Angel breathed her last breath in ICU.

19 years old, so many hours invested into her education, so much time to build her up and prepare her for life, gone. The hopes of her friends and family, the precious moments of life for her, gone. I cried quiet tears all morning as my torn heart overflowed by seeping through my tear-ducts. I realised through the sadness that I had done my job, that she had left my class improved for the experience, appreciative and without any grudges towards me, or me towards her, even though she had been one challenging learner to teach. She walked out more balanced, more hopeful and ready to try and find her way in the world, only to have it cut short 9 months later. I realised the importance of not holding things against others, the importance of clearing the air and being up front and honest with people as I always was with Angel. I also realised that being a teacher is the ultimate job of hope. We educate, we build up, we encourage, we motivate, we discipline, we create, we help, we chastise, we enter our work day each and every day with the fundamental truth of hope. Hope to better others’ lives, improve others’ chances and create better odds for everyone we encounter. Hope, because that life we invest so much of our time into may not achieve much, by their own choice, or by fate, but even so, every day we teach in the hope that something good will come out of it all. Something that will create more hope and solve problems for which solutions have not been found as yet. Teachers really are daily practitioners who live on hope. Not big bank accounts, not profit share, not making the kill, not getting our backs’ scratched, but hope that somehow we are making the world a better place, somehow. . . today the ‘cliché’ that so many hold against us because they are not doing anything to help others, so they cover their guilt with arrogance and material, consumerist success; today that cliché resonated in my being as Angel was being mourned and my hopes at the difference she would maybe make were dashed… yet I carried on teaching, because the 150 odd girls crossing my path this year, they might just make it and reward my hope with a more beautiful world for the person they chose to become after crossing my path.

Lord, Angel is home with You, enjoy your time together, this one knows how to party ;-) She’s big on the present xx

I look at it all and I am thankful for the perfect timing of “The Giver”, for the grace of having an extended matric deadline and for knowing that this too shall pass and I shall be still and know My God Is God and all is good.

Once again, an emotional day, a draining day, and I couldn’t get through my marking… sigh…

PART 3: The trouble with Christianity is… You have to believe the Bible

Am I really a Christian? Fighting my battle with myself Part 3
The trouble with Christianity is… You have to believe the Bible
NB NB NB – I have NO qualification whatsoever to write this piece, it is pure commentary and opinion.

Ok, so I made this talk in person. My nephew was out of hospital by this stage and even though I was exhausted because I was organising two teacher’s timetables, I went. Still following on with the Tim book, and his beer in his hand, the Speaker went on to validate and justify from three perspectives the reasons for the Bible being reliable and believable in the following contexts:

1) Historically. The Bible was written too close to the events to be a ‘legend’. The speaker said that because the Bible consists mostly of letters that were delivered and read whilst the people written about were still around, it is more of a ‘newspaper’, thus not a ‘legend’. Like a journalist reporting on the times, or Anne Frank and her letters, if the witnesses and main characters believed that the letters were ‘lies’ then the letters would never have been preserved or kept, never mind published. Secondly, if the Bible was not accurate then it would be ‘counter-productive’ to the objectives of Christianity. If it were filled with unacceptable lies then the Religion would have failed as the people would not have accepted it at the time.

2) Culturally. If the Bible offends you culturally, then the Speaker said that it is due to your upbringing, experience and culture. This links back to two blogs ago and the piece on “Christianity is the only right Religion”. He said that it must be remembered that the Bible has a cultural context of its own; for example the concept of: “Slavery”. ‘Slavery’ at the time of Jesus was “bonded employment”. Slaves were well paid, educated, housed and fed and had the option of buying themselves out of their slavery if they desired too, but many didn’t choose to because their life with their “master” was a good life. The suggestion was to have the approach of taking that which you are offended by and applying it to the truth of the first century in order to help one remove their own culture and experience from the Bible and see it within the culture from which the writers were writing at the time, which is nothing like today.

3) Personally. This point was linked to number 1). Luke 1v1-4 says that the Bible was written by “eye-witnesses”, people who personally experienced Jesus’ presence. Thus the eye-witnesses, having written the work within a few decades of the experience, could be questioned and challenged by the people of the time. In taking the Bible personally one can see its purpose as meant to challenge the reader and grow them on their soul journey and as human beings.

Ok, so what did my mind do with this?
1) My 1998 Psychology textbook: How reliable is eyewitness testimony? “It is not only memories recovered under hypnosis that may be inaccurate. Even memories recovered in response to ordinary questioning can be very unreliable.” In some cases “police witnesses deliberately lied to protect themselves.” “…remembering is not like looking through a photograph album and describing what is there. It is a reconstructive process. What we ‘remember’ is constructed from some information about the event we are trying to remember and general information about events of that sort contained in schemas” (organised frameworks for long-term memories). In an experiment by Loftus & Palmer (1974) “41% of the subjects altered their recollection of a photograph to match incorrect information. This is called the ‘misinformation effect’. What we remember is also altered by the process of telling what we remember.” Often when people give testimony it is a product of reconstruction and may not be very accurate. If I apply this to the Bible: Peter, it is published that he denied Jesus three times, so can it be trusted that his book in the Bible does not contain any human guilt for what he did? Was ‘Paul’, or was it ‘Saul’, over all the damage he did before the Road to Damascus event when he forged ahead? Yes, there is the individual’s truth in testimony, but it is not a ‘valid’ argument to justify belief in the Bible.
2) People of the time disputing writings of the time… the church was new and small, still finding its feet. Why would they disagree with the new leaders? I know VERY few Christians who will challenge their leaders, pastors, bishops, reverends and so on. The general populous of churches, in my experience, sit in their pews and nod, or nod off to sleep. Why would they argue with those who “know”? Isn’t that a definite trip to ‘hell’ because followers have to be ‘obedient’, isn’t disagreeing with the pastor a ‘sin’? Isn’t the pastor more ‘knowledgeable’ than his congregation? How could they argue when the whole deal of “Christianity” was new and there was no experience or comparative to argue about? If I look at my city alone today: our local municipal elections had the lowest turnout ever, if I’m not mistaken, so how interested are people in what is going on in their time anyway? The government has/is passing their secrecy bill at the moment where journalists/anyone will be charged and condemned with treason for publishing any information on how the government spends our tax money… no masses have stood up to argue this, so why would anyone have argued or disagreed with letters written by a little over 12 guys to a bunch of people who believed the same things they did?

Another point to throw in here: Just because no-one has disagreed with the ridiculously absurd policy’s being implemented in public schools over the last decade doesn’t make them any more or less valid or justifiable for the people who will read them in 2000 years time. It will only make them a part of history.

3) 2 and 3 contradict each other. First, make it contextual to 2000 years ago, oh and then, secondly, make it personal to you today. . . right…

From this point the talk got absurd for me… God forgive me for my inability to blindly accept what I’m fed, if it’s from You that is… The Speaker said we were made for relationship with God, not a job or other things, because other things will disappoint you, this I, personally, absolutely agree with. Further to this he said: The Bible is the link to God (yes, agreed), it is the ultimate authority (now I’m not convinced of this) and a personal link to God (battling with the contradiction of “context, context, context of 1 AD). I’m thinking – unreliable eyewitness accounts, contradictions and a small group of people writing what they needed and chose to at the time. . . How can I make this my ‘ultimate authority’? That’s madness. Surely God Himself needs to be the “Ultimate Authority”? The Speaker said that we as humans are bleak because, due to our sin, our relationship with God is broken, this was fixed by Jesus and so now we have a relationship with God. Pause… I’m thinking of my last blog and the whole God has unconditional love and Christians have conditional love as Christianity makes the Jesus’ ‘fix’ non-applicable unless you fulfill the ‘conditions’… grrrrrr… ugh… Then the Speaker said that the Bible is actually “one long story about one main character Jesus with the odd moral in it”… HOLD IT! I thought we were supposed to be worshipping God here? The Bible is only about Jesus? I must have interpreted that incorrectly… But that would make sense “Christianity” Christ… no God in that really… :-( Another CROSS for me not being a “Christian”, because my being belongs to God. I researched this to find out what on earth I was supposed to get from this… I found out that The Bible only ‘implies’ the “Trinity”. It isn’t written anywhere that “God, Jesus and Holy Spirit are One” it is only ‘implied’; BUT it is very definitely written: “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.”

I sat in the biggest conundrum of all from this talk: if we are supposed to take the Bible as historically correct, keep it in context and see it as the ‘ultimate authority’, then how can we create our own translation of ‘implied’ meanings? What else are we then at liberty to ‘imply’? Should the Bible be seen as Jesus’ story or as God arranging the whole Universe and all of time and existence to serve His purpose? So much for my little brain…

The end of the talk was: “God will contradict you and it is good and healthy for your relationship with God in love”! What the? Where does it say in 1 Corinthians 13, The chapter on Love, that love will make sure it contradicts you? I sat there… thinking my God holds me and loves me especially when I make mistakes and fall. He lifts me up and understands what I went through and guides me to a better path if I ask Him to. Maybe the Speaker meant that the Bible will contradict you if you are not being the best you can be and are choosing selfishness, hate, anger, war, raping each other, raping their earth, killing each other, stealing, keeping, breaking, pornography, drugs, alcohol, hurting each other and physical, psychological and emotional manipulation and reduction of each other, but then it can’t because the Bible does not advocate any of that. . . Maybe all of the talks are just put across in words that have a different meaning between me, the Speaker and the other Christians…

Giving myself a definite cross on this one too :-( I don’t see the Bible as a single history book. I see it as a dictionary, a poetry book, a book of letters, a book of trials, tragedies and successes, but MOST of all I see and feel it as a channel through which God can speak to me for the message He needs me to hear and know for every moment I need Him in relation to where I am at in that moment. I don’t see it as a Book that requires me sitting in a room and complacently accepting what a group leader / pastor pre-prepared in his own time for himself. I see it as a guide from God in the here and now as to how he wants me to handle situations. I see it as a history book of other people’s experiences and consequences as humans being, which serve as an example for me to use as to how I should make my decisions now. I believe I need to read the Bible AND be in this world, listening to music, to others and nature with my “God-coloured” glasses on so He can give me the messages He wants to give me in order for me to move higher and closer to the ultimate destination of Unconditional Love, and the Ultimate Authority of My God.

Interestingly for me, whilst pondering over this topic, the idea came to me that the Bible is also a metaphor for our lives. Old Testament: born of the Mother’s womb, yanked out of paradise into the OId Testament, separated from paradise and God, following Kings and Speakers, until we are born again, New Testament: into God’s Spirit, like Jesus, and follow God directly on a far more difficult long life journey, like the disciples and co, which leads to a Soul journey of rising above earth, above pettiness, fickleness and human neediness, taking us higher and higher and higher to sit at the right hand of our Father, then to return again to help others find the light and move out of their own gory Old Testament lusts, power struggles, wars, years of wandering and lack of faith to join us in living in LOVE… but then, ja, I’m not indoctrinated into Christianity and I’m no authority… don’t even think I fit the criteria of a “Christian” anymore…

I’m just going to keep clinging to My Awesome Father in Heaven and pray that as He is a God of Love who sees my soul trying to elevate itself and become something My God can be proud of… even if she doesn’t see the Bible as a prescriptive, authoritarian book of history, but a real metaphor for life in all its contradictions, changes, emotions, possibilities and underlying message of: HAVE NO OTHER GOD’S BEFORE ME (not even a Book… or a man?) & LOVE, LOVE, LOVE.

PART 2: The trouble with Christianity is… There’s too much suffering in the world…

Am I really a Christian? Fighting my battle with myself Part 2
The trouble with Christianity is… There’s too much suffering in the world…

NB NB NB – I have NO qualification whatsoever to write this piece, it is pure commentary and opinion.

Ok, in all honesty, I missed this talk. As I typed two blogs ago – my nephew was in hospital. I have no idea what Tim something-or-other’s take is on this one, nor the guy presenting the series of talks, but I have my own ideas on the matter…

NUMBER ONE: Of course there’s too much suffering in the world, it’s full of HUMANS!

This point is so obvious to me it’s not even something that should have to be typed about. Relating this to God, I’m putting my head on a block and typing: it isn’t God allowing suffering, it’s humans choosing suffering. I had this image appear in my mind whilst I was thinking about this. God and Adam and Eve in this big garden and it’s too perfect and too boring and nothing is being accomplished, there is really no point to the whole deal of sitting around and being perfect. So everyone wanted something to happen to stop them from going INSANE in the perfect-ness, so they fabricated this story about ‘evil’ entering and pushing them out of the garden so it wouldn’t look like they were ungrateful for all this perfection when generations read about it later on. What actually happened was the beings present decided to enter into a game of HIDE AND SEEK. God went off to hide, and being in and of everything He was everywhere, thus it was a bit of an easy game. So they put a blindfold onto the seekers, pushed them out of the garden and threw in some challenges to make the game more interesting. Now the purpose was for the seekers to remember to take off their blindfolds, remember that they were part of a game and had to conquer the challenges whilst along the way they had to find and collect little treasures until they reached the end of all their challenges and had a HUGE party with the ULTIMATE treasure, the ULTIMATE FIND, God the Father, Maker of Heaven and Earth, Unconditional Love :-)

Once the souls had found Him, they could chose to come back to earth and repeat the game facing different challenges, or come back as an angel to help others on their treasure hunt and getting rid of their blindfold, or they could just stay in heaven as a perfect soul hanging out with God until they got bored again.

It was odd that I was sitting down to type out all about man not taking God’s advice and not choosing Love, hence all the suffering, and bam that little story appeared about the game, the hide and seek treasure hunt of life arose from nowhere. I like it though, I think it’s a cool image and I’m loving the fact that the prize is SO INCREDIBLE and that we can get bits of it along the way. NICE!

Ugh, it’s a bit difficult to go back to the boring old: Too much suffering story now… sigh… oh well, here goes.
HUMANS CREATE SUFFERING.
1) They don’t follow God’s advice and LOVE above all else. Instead they choose to murder – that creates suffering for the murderer and the victim’s family. They choose adultery – results in suffering for individuals, families and friends. They choose to lie – hectic suffering when someone lies so you don’t know what’s really going on, hence you can’t fix the problem and you have to suffer with it, knowing that you should and could be doing something to heal and fix, but you can’t because all you have are lies. Worshipping idols other than God/ Love – such as: money / work / humans, all faulty faulty faulty. They come and go, they win and lose, they are inconsistent, unreliable and hurt-inducing. Worship all that and guess what? You’re gonna suffer.

This is not rocket science in my opinion. Disrespect your parents – a generational curse indeed, your great great great grandparent / or someone along the way decided to cause hell (separation from love) in the family which caused anger and pain and hurt and that got passed down to the next generation, and the next, and the next, and the next, and surprise, surprise (sarcasm!) no forgiveness, only hurt and pain and SUFFERING, caused by HUMANS, NOT God.

God put us on earth and said “Go for it, choose me, find me, live in love… or don’t, but if you don’t it’s gonna hurt, I’m just warning you on that one.” And guess what, many humans haven’t chosen love, faith, hope, joy, forgiveness, kindness and all the other “God” traits… instead they have chosen selfishness, hate, anger, war, raping each other, raping their earth, killing each other, stealing, keeping, breaking, pornography, drugs, alcohol, hurting each other and physical, psychological and emotional manipulation and reduction of each other. Humans have chosen to desire power, control and self-worship. Humans have chosen the opposite of God in every respect and then turn around and ask: “Why is there suffering?” Then have the audacity to say it’s “God’s Fault”, what crap!

Stop being a bunch of morons! HELP each other, LOVE each other, ACCEPT each other, TALK to each other, LISTEN to each other, HOLD each other, and SERVE each other without ulterior motives, without desire for personal gain and without malicious intent, but, instead with and in LOVE, FAITH, JOY and HOPE.

DO NOT blame God for the suffering on this planet, blame yourself. As long as we are living separately, judging others, criticising others, holding grudges, wanting to “be better than” and/or “more powerful than” and/or “richer than” and and and … then we have to suffer, because at the end of the day we are focusing on the temporal and the temporal means exactly that – unreliable, inconstant and unbalanced, which equals suffering. Ask anyone who has suffered a recession, job loss, divorce, crime, starvation, illness, fatigue etc etc etc, what the cause was, and I’m pretty sure it was all something they couldn’t control… control is an illusion, having power is an illusion, and when you base your life on illusions, you have to suffer, that’s the choice you make. NOT God’s choice, YOUR choice.

I’m guessing some people will be up in arms, “but it’s others not me!” Ok, I get that, but what are you productively doing about that? Chasing more money, more insurance, more stress and worry, or are you creating a rehab centre, a school, a charity, gathering people to work together? How about feeding the homeless, I’ll bet you have at least 364 friends on Facebook or 500 plus ‘connections’ on LinkedIn, if each one of ‘your group’ took ONE NIGHT A YEAR, to make soup and buy bread, then dozens of homeless people would have a meal every night. “But I have children!” TAKE THEM WITH YOU, TEACH THEM, SHOW THEM. “But the security!” Go to your local police station and ask them to help you by carrying the food in their vans each night. “But the expense!” Save a R2.00 (1 Pound) coin each night and then you’ll have 364×2 = R728! (364 Pounds) To spend on the food, electricity and petrol needed…See? Still your choice… God does not create suffering, we do.

Am I really a Christian? Second time round: Cross, no. I create suffering too.

PART 1: The trouble with Christianity is… it thinks it’s the only ‘right’ religion…

Am I really a Christian? Fighting my battle with myself Part 1:
The trouble with Christianity is… it thinks it’s the only ‘right’ religion…

NB NB NB – I have NO qualification whatsoever to write this piece, it is pure commentary and opinion.

The series of talks that I went to were based on a book by a guy called Tim Mellar/Callo or something like that; we weren’t given the spelling of his surname. The Speaker began this one by saying that Religion is dividing the world. Religion causes conflict and division. He presented Tim’s book by saying that the problem is: intrinsic to every religion is their belief that their religion is the truth. The followers of that Religion believe that their Religion is the only one accepted by God, and by performing the truths of that Religion you become ‘good’ in the eyes of God and ‘better’ than those who are not in your Religious circle in the eyes of your fellow practioners.

Apparently, the way to view Religion is by imagining four blind people touching a different part of an animal, and each describing what they are touching. None of them actually see the whole picture 1) because they are blind, 2) because the animal is bigger than they are so it’s not possible to and 3) they can only, physically touch one part of the animal, e.g. ear, paw, tail etc from their standing point. Ergo, God is only to us as to what we have experienced in our lives (i.e. an earthly father who rejects you may equate to a Godly Father who must reject you too, because that is your experience; an angry abusive father, creates an angry abusive God belief, and so on). Yet, God is bigger than we can comprehend and greater than our experience and limited sight, so we can’t really say what the whole picture of God looks like, because we cannot see it all, the Universe is WAY bigger than ant-sized human beings and their smaller sized brains. Hence one’s nature, upbringing and experience will create thier relationship with God and feed into which Religion they choose to be their truth. Problem being, your Religion tells you yours is the ‘only truth’.

The Tim book reckons that the world is handling this Religious conflict by:
1) Trying to kill it off and ignore it, i.e. South Africa’s last census did not have a question for “What Religion do you practice?”. Statistically, however, in the whole of Africa in the last 100 years Christianity has grown from 4% to 50%, and Asia has gone from 1% to 50% Christian too {according to the speaker, I have no idea on the source of information}. So that says something.
2) Keeping Religion private, saying all Religions are equally valid and people must respect that. Yet, if we look at Israel, Northern Ireland, Middle East and the like, Religion is not being kept private and lives are being taken. Hence, the world is not handling the Religious divide in an ‘equal’ or helpful or life-generating manner.

The speaker went on to then explain why one could see Christianity as the most positive choice.
1) Christianity is the only Religion that purports praying for its enemies and wishing them well. Ultimately, this means praying that your worst enemies find love and wonder in his/her/their life/lives. The image of everyone wishing their enemies and friends goodwill is a rather beautiful one. Here I paused for thought – Northern Ireland… Isn’t that Catholic Christian against Protestant Christian? It doesn’t appear that they are praying for each other, as it would be claimed their Religion calls them to do. Other Religions claim Jihad and the like and are called to ‘destroy’ / ‘isolate’ themselves from the ‘enemy’.

2) GRACE. This is uniquely Christian too. Grace is THE BIG deal. It is forgiveness without punishment. Tell Jesus you are genuinely sorry, mean it and change your ways to those that are good. Voila, you’re saved and going about getting into ‘heaven’. The deal is that Grace cannot be obtained by anyone of their own doing; it is purely and absolutely God’s gift to you. Now the contradiction comes in for me here… Grace is God’s gift to us, unconditional love, by His decision… now in my mind “UNCONDITIONAL” means: no conditions… yet, in reading the line above, Christianity says: Ask for forgiveness and once you have fulfilled that CONDITION, and changed your ways, then you will know God’s Love. So receiving God’s unconditional love is only possible, by Christianity’s rules, if you carry on and fulfill the ‘conditions’…Interestingly: The Good News Bible: Galations 2v21 “I refuse to reject the grace of God. But if a person is put right through the Law, it means that Christ died for nothing!” Galations 3: Law or Faith verse 7: “You should realise then, that the real descendents of Abraham are the people who have faith.”

Further to this, Grace is a “gift from God” no rules or action required, God gives it, but Christians say you “have to follow the commandments”. So I have to follow the rules, but Grace comes with no rules or actions required of me… Now the problem arises for me in applying these points because all I see are rather large, definite contradictions, but that’s just me…

So Christianity is a Religion. Religion divides the world. Christians purport the conditional-unconditional gift of Grace that needs to have commandments followed, but if you don’t keep the commandments it’s ok, because you have forgiveness by asking for it and believing in Jesus… Eish!

In a later talk, after this talk on Grace, when discussing hell, I was told that humans “want justice, that’s why we need hell, to show God loves us”. So tagging that on to Love and Grace are unconditional, surely that’s another condition? ‘Don’t behave in the dictated way and you’ll get punished’… Punishment is “hell” which is the “opposite of love: indifference”, and your Soul will be separate from God and alone in torment forever. Those read like freaking HUGE conditions to me. The Bible, apparently, has 365 “FEAR NOT’s” in it… yet “eternal torment” is another MOTHER HUGE “fear factor”! Can you truly be practicing unconditional love in your heart if you are purely trying “make yourself” not end up in hell because you’re scared? If you are “making yourself” then you are practicing that Grace is your own creation and not a gift that you cannot earn… it just makes so little sense to me. I sat back and I thought I DO NOT want that God, I do not want a Human god who “shows love by eternally tormenting souls!” That is NOT unconditional love! That is human ego and self-righteousness being hateful. My God is a God of Love and love has no room for hate or human ego… so I sat there thinking, I guess I’m not a Christian then…

This first talk ended with: Christianity involves not being arrogant, but being humble because you know that God has accepted you therefore you work for God, and not: I work to be accepted by God, like other Religions require. Overall, the setup of Pray for your enemies, Grace and acceptance by God regardless of what you do, makes Christianity the better choice.

What clashed within me: 1) I see following God as faith, a leap of trust that He is in me, of me and expressing Himself through me. I believe that God loves EVERYONE and has UNCONDITIONAL LOVE for EVERYONE, because they are HIS CREATIONS. I do not see following God as a Religion or Book of Rules. I see it as a gut choice for what is good and what makes me feel loved, joyful and like I’m serving a higher, more beautiful and rewarding purpose than any book or human being could ever offer.

2) By choosing my step 1 above, God is within me, thus it follows that the most natural thing LOVE would do is pray for the enemy to overcome their fears, step away from fears and find LOVE and joy like I am experiencing. Literally the more the merrier. I am not praying for them to leave a Religion, I am praying for them to find FAITH and LOVE. My only role model for this being Jesus Christ.

3) God’s love is UNCONDTIONAL. Grace is a MIRACLE and it is there for EVERYONE who wishes to live in Joy and Love. The conditions are human necessities, not God’s. God doesn’t command us, only humans command, God gives us choice. God gives us recommendations with consequences. God says it’s a REALLY bad idea to kill, why? Because if you do, you will have to live with that nightmare for the rest of your existence, you will NEVER have peace. Stay away from sex with your friend’s wife, why? Because if you fornicate with her you will lose that friend, you will feel guilt for eternity and you will take yourself away from genuine LOVE within your soul, because you have replaced LOVE with lust and instant gratification, so the moment it is done your thoughts will be “What have I done?” … “Now what?” … “This is hell”… and indeed it is. God’s love is not based on HIS forgiving us, it’s US forgiving OURSELVES enough to stand in His presence with the truth in our hearts that we hate ourselves and we need someone to love us. We need God’s love and grace. If we fall again, it is our shame we hold, and all God can say is: “I warned you, I told you this would happen if you did what your selfishness, ego and pride wanted, but dust yourself off and come back to me, I love you so much that it doesn’t matter, together we’ll make it better. The sooner you learn to just CHOOSE ME every time, the less miserable you’ll feel. Come on little one, choose Me first, choose unconditional LOVE and then you won’t feel so bad all the time…” God doesn’t have conditions, He doesn’t need them, He is LOVE. He IS the Almighty and ALL POWERFUL. Why would the ALL-POWERFUL be bothered by the little mistakes humans make in their ignorance and self-hate? Love does not condemn or belittle or hurt, LOVE gives and helps and heals. Humans are so far removed from UNCONDITIONAL LOVE that I’m not sure it’s possible for us to comprehend it at all.

Christianity says that receiving Grace takes no work from us, but I don’t believe that, receiving Grace takes A LOT of work from us; we have to humble ourselves and remove our egos, forgive ourselves, stop being selfish, stop desiring power and control over others… I’m of the humble opinion that all Religions echo power hierarchies, control mechanisms and conditions, and God, My Father, My Source of Love, My JOY and Strength has no need whatsoever to ‘prove His power’, or ‘prove to Himself that He is in control’. He KNOWS He is LOVE, He HAS the power, He has the CONTROLS in HIS hands already. He does not need anyone to boost His ego, He has no ego, He is NOT human. He has already forgiven all, He has THAT much LOVE, He KNOWS that we “do not know what we are doing”. He doesn’t have to prove a thing to anyone or anything. He knows we need to forgive ourselves, be kind to ourselves, love ourselves, accept ourselves and then move from applying this to ourselves to applying it to every other human being on the planet. No judgment, just love. No desire for power, just love. No desire to feed an ego, just love. No desire to control, just Love. He gave us free-choice, and His only desire that we choose LOVE, that we choose Him, purely because it makes sense! Unconditional LOVE. . . and all is good…

In listening to the criteria of the Religion of Christianity, I got a cross (no pun intended ;-) at the end of this talk, i.e. I’m not a Christian. My soul consoles me with the words: “Jesus Christ wasn’t a Christian either…” … He was a man who lived his passion, listened to His Father of Love with ALL HIS HEART AND ALL HIS SOUL and followed His Father God’s Will so that he could prove how wonderful LOVE is when it is the chosen path. . .

Later in the series on the talk on Hell… the speaker said that when Jesus said his closing line “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” He was probably only referring to “the people in front of him”… I couldn’t believe I got that response… On a crucifix, hanging there knowing and feeling all the blindness, fear, separation from God of all of HUMANITY within and on top of his entire being… No, I can’t believe that with the weight of the sadness, self-hate, misery and self-loathing of the world on His shoulders that Jesus would only be concerned with the men standing “in front of him”, that is so small and insignificant and so much less than the SON OF GOD is worth, SO MUCH LESS than His power, than what he knew and could see and feel, so much less than what Jesus accomplished. Unconditional Love forgives humanity, because humanity truly does not know what it is doing… Humanity, after all, created every Religion, and not God. God created Adam and Eve, humans did the rest to separate themselves from God, and they choose to keep on separating themselves… I cannot understand why?

P.S. … Still, what put me off, to be honest, was that the speaker was presenting the talks with a beer in his hand… I know that it was a chilled environment, but I completely disagreed with what I was seeing. Is there another contradiction there too? Between the body being a temple of GOD, and the consummation of a variant of poison…? I shake my head… Maybe these talks are meant to show me I’m not a real Christian… so where do I fit then?

“With Me Shannan, right here in My Hug, and in My Love, and in My Joy at your truly precious Soul.
I LOVE YOU. Fit with me.”
… and I broke down in tears…

Help us Lord, WAKE PEOPLE UP!!! Please help them Choose LOVE Lord. Help them forgive themselves, accept themselves and each other and CHOOSE YOU, Please Lord. I pray with all I am Lord; Help people to love each other Lord, really love each other. Please, Lord, in Your Name and Grace I pray. Amen.

Update leading to bigger questions on Christianity

What a set of weeks! I’m looking at “being drained” on a new level. All I can draw hope from is that TS Eliot and CS Lewis, according to their published personal letters, also spent their lives exhausted and doing too much, and look where they ended up, world renown ;-)

Quick sum up on where things are at: The PASS-IT-ON Books, 83 out and making their way around the world. 17 left to make. I’m no longer tracking where they are going as it isn’t possible to know.

My Photographs did not sell at the Home Industry Store. It is heartbreaking to see my work sitting there and not being attractive to anyone. Still, it was 2 weeks ago that I checked on them, maybe they did sell, but I don’t really have the heart to go and see them still sitting there. On the flip side, I left them there after 2 weeks of non-movement because they just looked so beautiful. Sunrises sitting there in this store full of bric-a-brac and cakes. It’s like they’re this light of hope and joy in a consumerist haven. Food and trinkets next to God’s Glorious Sunrises. No comparison really. I decided not to give up at the time I popped into the store; so two weeks ago I bought a stall space at what was sold to me as a “great opportunity”. Lies. I got a float, sorted out all the stock, even purchased packets to pass them on to buyers in, woke up early on my precious Saturday and headed to the ‘market’. What a joke. 2 food stands, two light food stands and kippy me with photos of sunrises, all sitting quite a far way away from the girls playing soccer. I was expecting so much more as it was the third year the ‘event’ had happened, silly me. I left very very angry and not a picture of a sunrise sold.

My books and plays: Eish! is sitting on the Kindle shelf gathering redundancy. “Choices” was published by “Off The Wall” Publishing last month. They turned down my play “Race on Race” though saying that although they found it very funny, international audiences would be offended by the openness of talking about racism. After Kindle being difficult on the third play, a couple of weeks later “Who I Am” was published on their site. Sales between the 3 items work out to about one a month between them all, so this has been a completely time-consuming and non-money generating activity. Good thing I LOVE writing, so I’d do it all again anyway, even if I knew sales would flop. I drew the cash I’d made from sales last month, R300, which was cool, not quite the R3000 odd I put into the exercise, but I’m getting used to monetary failure. I lost a couple of grand in creating South African badges back in 2007, and I’ve lost over a grand with the sunrise photograph story too. Weird thing is that I have given the photos out as gifts and people have put them on their desks, in their homes and on their walls… I have put two up in our ladies room at work and I’ve heard people complimenting them and loving them, yet people won’t pay for a sunrise because it’s given for free, even if they don’t wake up early enough to see it, everyday anyway. “April Fool” is sitting VERY neglected at the moment, and it’s continuously bothering me immensely, but I just can’t seem to force myself to sit and carry on typing it… :-(

Health: Chronic Fatigue has definitely lessened. YAY! Thanks Lord. I tried 3 sessions with a Body Talk Consultant and it was not a great experience. God is good and He led me there to learn things about my past that clarified a lot of things for me. Yet, as the sessions continued and the consultant showed that she was only interested in the “body talk” and not my holistic healing, I was not happy. She believes that the Self is shaped like a funnel with the Body being the most important, then the organs, then cells, then the “nothingness”. The “nothingness” being what she literally equated with the human soul! I see the Self as a pyramid, starting with the body as the base and the soul as the highest peak and most important part, the reason for existing, the goal, the top-most point a life can get to (Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs idea). The consultant views situations as random and happening all the time to the body, so you have to “balance out” regularly to counter the random effects of the world. I believe nothing on this earth is random, that everything is planned to open opportunities to evolve the soul to a higher level, and that pandering to the whims of a body made to age and deteriorate is absurd, whereas living to enlighten and grow an eternal soul is a far more productive and joyful approach to life. Her views and beliefs clashed with mine at such a fundamental level that I had to get out of there. Still, what was interesting in my third and final session was that she told me, like a lady a year or so ago told me, that I am highly intuitive and have a genuine knowing within my being. To have this confirmed has left me in a bit of a conundrum… If I am highly intuitive and I “GET” things, then why am I at such a continuous clash with so many things so often? Why do so many people view me as the odd “anomaly”? Why does it happen that when I speak my thoughts and ideas people get so offended?

This leads to my Faith Journey: I went to another set of talks over 4 Wednesdays. The talks were entitled: The Talks Upstairs – THE TROUBLE WITH CHRISTIANITY IS… 1) It thinks it’s the only right religion 2) There’s too much suffering in the world 3) You have to believe the Bible and 4) The God who sends people to hell… Interestingly my last post on choosing my role model slotted in EXACTLY with night 1). I missed night 2) because I was with my sister and nephew in the hospital as my nephew had Swine Flu (H1N1 Virus… my Mom’s friend passed away with it a couple of weeks before, but my sister reckons my nephew got it at the Dept of Home Affairs 3 days earlier as H1N1 has 3 days incubation… Ebola is in the papers at the moment, but I’m not sure why H1N1 isn’t…?…) … Still, I ended up doing my own write up on why God ‘allows’ suffering. 3) I had issues with and 4) I had issues with… so, with being intuitive, and perpetually living in gratitude, continuously acknowledging God and living and breathing in His light, it would appear that I cannot call myself a Christian. Sigh. So once again I find myself on the outside looking in and only able to accept what my soul is YELLING at me is my truth: GOD IS ALL, GOD IS UNCONDITIONAL LOVE, GOD’S STORY DOES NOT END OR BEGIN IN ONE BOOK, GOD IS NOT AS SMALL AS HUMANS MAKE HIM OUT TO BE… That yells at me, screams at me as being my truth, a truth that does not fit into any religion. That’s why in my previous blog I noted how I chose Jesus Christ as my Role Model, the human I want to be like, the closest example we have of being like God… yet this is not being Christian… and what is the aside comment in my brain as I type that: “Jesus wasn’t a ‘Christian’ either”.

I have a friend, a devout Christian who works in a role connected to faith every day. She organised a fundraiser to raise funds for a Non-Profit-Christian organisation. She did all the ‘right’ things, dedicated herself in the preparation and the financial contribution needed to make the event happen, she even found a great big venue for free. What happened? Of the 40 people minimum she had expected and prepared for, 9 attended. She was bleak beyond belief, seeing it as a personal failure… I listened to the story. I pictured my financial layout for the photos that I believe God wanted me to pursue. The Badges. The Writing. Nothing. How do I deal with it? Simple, God called me to it for His reason, not mine. I gave it all that I could in time and money, I tried my best, it flopped. BUT, here’s the catch, it flopped in my opinion because I didn’t even recover the expenses, but I don’t believe the efforts flopped and/or failed in God’s opinion. You see 1) the photos and being at that stand, instead of showing anger, I showed appreciation to the person of different faith to me who organised the event; he has now befriended me on Facebook and is reading all my praise-passion-positivity-God-filled posts, every share I make on Facebook. 2) The badges were useless stock, so I took them overseas and gave them to outstanding learners. At a difficult all boys school where I supply taught at, the one class was so well behaved I gave each one a badge telling them it was because they were awesome. By God’s turn I ended up at that same school again at a later date and one of those same boys was in another lesson I was covering. When he saw me at the door he moved to the front of the line and said, “Miss I have something to show you.” I thought it odd, but said, “Sure.” He opened his blazer and pinned on the pocket inside was the same badge I’d given him weeks before, “Thanks Miss.” His smile was shy and his eyes were shining in appreciation, his soul had been touched. 3) At least 2 people have messaged me to tell me that my publishing Eish! has inspired them to get on with achieving their dreams… So do I feel like my efforts have flopped? Yes, because my view is limited and selfish. Does God think it was a flop? Probably not, because in the MUCH bigger picture of those 4 lives, things may just be changing with regards to their eternity. God can put however much He likes into our bank accounts, whenever He likes, but I believe that the invaluable moments of human connection and souls being loved are far more important to Him.

OK, by internet standards, this blog is already WAY too long… I’ll do different posts for my “Non-Christian” responses to the course. Stay as gorgeous as you are in God’s Mirror! HUGS xx

How I chose my Role Model – the process…

My process for choosing my role model unfolded like this (to write it out bluntly!):

In my mind it works like this: There are 6 possible categories that humans can choose from as their belief system, the thing in which they place their trust, meaning, purpose, faith etc – Nothing, Myself, Others, Money, Nature or God. Breaking each one down:

1) Nothing? Then what’s the point of being on the planet? What’s the point in anything? How do you get up out of bed each day? How do you survive each day? Why do you survive each day if it’s for nothing? I cannot answer these questions in any way at all; so I crossed out this option as worth its title.

2) Myself? Ha ha ha ha! Now that is funny! I am THE most challengingly complex human being I have ever come across! I make no sense to myself, emotions all over the show, ups and downs, highs and depressions, put on weight, lose weight, insecurities, constant changes in thoughts, opinions and the information I have. Change my career here and there, never have all the information, occasional procrastinator, boat-rocker etc etc etc… Believe in myself? That would just be daft! Seriously.

3) Others? Ha ha ha ha! A weird-strange lot others are. They are as insecure as I am, some have less brain power than I do, they fluctuate in so many ways it’s scary. Drinkers, smokers, abusers and manipulators. Many others are orientated around power and “being in control”, which is the biggest farce and delusional practice on the planet! One earth quake, one tidal-wave, one volcanic eruption, snake bite, heart attack, aneurism, spot of cancer, HIV, H1N1 and BAM! Guess what? You’re not in control. How can I put my trust in human beings when they are so messed up? Nah, I’ll pass on that one thanks.

4) Money. Whatever! You make it, you die and someone else gets it or spends months fighting over it. You invest it and there’s a recession. You have lots of it and get stuff and the stuff clutters your life and/or adds to your stress levels because you have to maintain it, keep it, insure it and/or worry about it. You travel with it and see this church, the next church and another church, or this hotel, then the next and the next, this beach and the next and the next, this meal and the next and the next… so what? What’s the meaning or purpose in that? Then you get home, the place that’s supposed to be your most favourite place in the world and it’s an anti-climax. Money is metal and paper. I can’t put faith in metal and paper. I prefer to collect it. Pass.

5) Nature. Now this is a better option than the others I reckon, but Nature can’t speak to me. Nature lives and dies, it has nothing eternal about it. That flower is BEAUTIFUL, but dead in a short while. Animals are enchanting, loving, violent, exquisite, unique and many many other adjectives, but they live and die in a short space of time without having done much. Sure, the sun and moon rise and set and there is a fair amount of consistency, but what’s the purpose? The earth is a volatile shape-shifter with its own agenda and unknown reasoning, leaving little to trust in. Nature is created by something more. I’d rather choose to follow the Creator and not the Creation, thanks.

6) God. Creator. Consistent. Permanent. Purposeful. LOVE. God is Love. BINGO! I choose this one. I choose God/Love, to trust in, to believe in and to have my purpose in. He sets a higher bar. He opens up the door to eternal and purpose beyond this messed up cruel world. He is HOPE. Hope for something better, hope for something good. HOPE and LOVE. Choosing God is thus a no-brainer for me. Nothing else offers the peace, hope, consistency and joy that God does. Nothing else makes sense, logical sense like God does. He is so constant and reliable He has been the same for Millenia!
Having worked through the 6 options, I thus had to break down the options of which ‘god’ to choose. This also ended up being a set of 6 representatives as Role Models towards approaching God: Buddha, Allah, Satan, range of Hindi gods, Other (Scientology, Confucius etc) and Jesus; all of whom served a higher purpose, a higher being.

1) Buddah? I went to Taiwan and lived there for 6 months. I spoke to the locals, I went to the temples and I tried to find out what it was all about. I was told they believed in this way because their parents did and their parents did and theirs and so on. The ‘ghost’ worship was a necessity, and that’s why they burnt ghost money… I didn’t get it. I didn’t feel it and my rational mind needed reason and information as to why I would place food on an alter for an invisible ‘god’ to ‘eat’. I was never settled or comfortable in any temple. Not the option for me.

2) Allah? I journeyed to Dubai for this. I listened to the Friday calling. I went into a mosque and saw a faith that makes old people have to bow down on their haunches to pray, a religion that separates men and women to prevent them from worshipping together, and a religion that practices Jihad: Killing other human beings ‘for god’. It also forces death on any who would leave the ‘faith’. I call that “Rule by Fear” and I don’t do Fear. I couldn’t accept it. In my quiet time, in my meditation time, I asked the Universe about it. The reply: “Religion is a power tool. A construct created by men, for men, in order to enforce control. God did not create religion, man did. NO MAN SHOULD KILL ANOTHER. Killing another is an act that takes power from God. It helps man feel superior to God. It takes away God’s right and power to work in that person’s life; His right to heal them and use them to promote His glory! Killing another human being is the same as killing hope. It is the antithesis of faith. It is the same as saying God is weak and cannot help the person. Only God decides when and how every life begins with His miracle of life: “creation”, and ONLY God should decide when and how that life should end, man is not part of that equation. Killing another shows a lack of trust in God.” That response confirmed that Islam was not for me.

3) Satan? The purest form of evil? What’s the point? Who would want to live in hate when they can live in love? Who would choose darkness over light? Angst and anger over peace and calm? Not me… I’m VERY happy to leave this one to the Satanists who worship eternal torture and a sick, twisted view of pain, hurt and harm as being the way to go. Madness, pure insanity in my opinion. Cross that one off the list with some blood.

4) Hindi? The elephant with all the arms scares me. The monkey-shaped god makes me very uncomfortable. The whole concept of worshipping ‘this god for this and the other for that’ I find most unsettling. Praying to this one and then that one and then the other one completely confuses me. It’s too scattered and disjointed for me and my logical one-stop-for-everything preference. I walked away from choosing a seemingly ‘multiple personality/being’ faith.

5) Scientology, Confucius etc? Just didn’t grab my soul and say: “YES!” This is the way the truth and the life. They are so iffy, and seem contrived and not so well established or grounded in something solid to believe, trust and put my faith in. Too based in ‘men’, so I couldn’t rationally choose any of these because that would contradict my decision in my first step not to believe in men. Tom Cruise and John Travolta can keep the hero worship, thanks.

6) Jesus? (I couldn’t go with the Pharisee-type, “law or else” approach of Judaism) I have only one conclusion: Wow! What a man! Reading about this man’s life, how he put the Pharisees in their place and how he loved those in need and helped those less fortunate. How he mentored weak people like me. How he understood suffering and how he held no anger, no hate, no judgment. How intelligent he was, how gracious and humble. How he said that LOVE is the most important thing in the world. How he confirmed and showed that humans should not kill, and he didn’t. This man’s actions matched his words. How he didn’t sit around writing or getting wives, he went out and taught, and shared, and loved. He acted, he did, he contributed, he helped. He offered people love, forgiveness, mercy and joy wherever he went. He aimed for a higher, greater, more wonderful development of self than any other person I have come across in history. He gave, and gave and gave, he never took, he never demanded and he never belittled or degraded. He adored children and helped and appreciated women. He worshipped a constant God, a true God, a God of LOVE. He was awesome. The thought of him and the stories around him create peace and joy in me like none of the others. I LOVE peace and joy and contentment. I love knowing that there is a purpose beyond this screwed up world of lost souls. I love that lost, unhappy people can be found. I love that those who are drowning in whatever it may be (fears, insecurities, hopelessness, debt, pain, ill-health, sadness, depression, whatever) can be completely saved and lifted up. All of this fuel to feed a fire ignited in my soul!

Through Jesus to God had to be my choice. Goodness, mercy, love, patience, peace, hope, why would anyone not want all that? It’s an instantaneous package deal of purpose and reason to get up in the morning. Most especially, it is for free. It is ‘Ruled by GRACE’. This is what has sold and signed the deal of my choice to follow the Role Model of Jesus Christ. There are no criteria, no jackets required, nothing but saying “I’m not happy with what I’ve done, who I’ve hurt and how I’m living, I’m sorry that I’ve chosen such unhappiness, but I know I don’t want the dark sadness anymore, I want light, love and joy, and I know I can get it through God the Father, be with me Lord, we will be awesome together” :-) WHAM! GRACE. It is done. You are loved. Full Stop. SO MUCH OF AWESOME!!! How could I not choose AWESOME Grace and being loved even though I’m so flawed?

Yes, so others ‘admire those who have faith’, and I’m like: Why on earth wouldn’t you choose AWESOMENESS over the crappiness of what this temporal, flawed, drugged, consumerist, nasty, violent, insecure and lonely world offers?

Ha! Not a chance I’m going to believe in anything but God and be guided by the ways of an AMAZING man, a true Son of God, whose life has been transcribed for MILLIONS, whose birth changed the time of Humanity from B.C. to A.D. ! Rock on! Yes folks, I made my logical choice … still, I’m the most complex person I’ve ever come across, so maybe it’s only logical to me… Still, there’s no way on planet earth I’d EVER give up knowing that I’m loved beyond comprehension, provided for beyond understanding and walking in the glory of unconditional love and grace. AMEN!

To those of you who have chosen something else, I take my hat off to you. I have NO IDEA how you get through each day without Love, Faith and/or Hope. Not a clue. Blessings to you.