The walrus is Paul!

I am not referring to one of the Beatles. The gentleman I am referring to is the so-called “apostle” Paul, whose original name was Saul.

Paul is the walrus because he is the odd man out, and for several interesting reasons. One of which is that he was not a part of the Lord’s inner circle. Paul was not a part of the Lord’s original twelve apostles and plays no foundational role in the Holy City, the New Jerusalem.

“And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.” (Rev. 21:14)

So Paul is most definitely the walrus when it comes to the Second Coming or having special authority, even though many theologians put his importance above that of the other twelve.

According to theologian Emanuel Swedenborg, Paul’s writings are not a part of the inspired Word of God, either.

While Paul’s work was important to spreading the Christian movement abroad and he is now the “go-to” guy for fine-tuning Christian doctrine, his actual writings came from his own prudence and subjective estimation of things. His writings were not Sacred in and of themselves.

The reason why Swedenborg came to this conclusion is that Paul’s writings did not contain the deeper, sacred meanings that are contained within God’s true Holy Word. Remember, that the canonical Bible consists of stories that were decided upon by the judgment of finite human minds. Some of their choices were correct, and some were incorrect.

In other words, not all the stories in Scripture represent God’s true Holy Word. (See my post entitled “God’s Holy Word vs. The Canonical Bible.”) Since I have addressed the topic of higher meaning within the stories of Scripture in dozens of earlier posts, it would be too tedious to address this enormous topic here and now. Rather, I would like to address more urgent issues – a misfortunate outcome of Paul’s writings.

Paul is the walrus because he did not make it clear enough to his readers that LOVE trumps both FAITH and HOPE. Today much of the Christian Church is misguided because of a misinterpretation of Paul’s words “that man is justified by faith without the works of the law.” (Romans 3:28)

Swedenborg points out that Paul was not trying to tell people that they were no longer responsible to the Lord’s commandments, but that they no longer had to follow the numerous tenets of Mosaic law, such as circumcision or the law of the red heifer.

The Lord made it quite clear that one was to “love God” and “love the neighbor.” These are the two great commandments upon which all divine law hangs.

“He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me . . . and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him, and will make my abode with him.” (John 14:21, 23)

Furthermore, in Revelation 20:13 it states: “and they were judged every man according to their works.” So even after the Lord’s dying on the cross and His resurrection, He still demands more than “mind faith,” but faith put into action (which is love).

Paul supports this: “For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.” (Romans 2:13)

Merit, is not sought by those who sincerely place loving God and the neighbor above themselves. This is what makes good works selfless and truly spiritual.

So the doctrine of justification by faith alone is bogus. And, because of that, much of orthodox Christianity has become the walrus as well. (No wonder it has been like pulling teeth to convince people that Sacred Scripture also contains higher levels of meaning.)

Posted on November 17, 2008by thegodguy

http://www.staircasepress.com

Posted in god, Inner growth, Life after death, love, Reality, religion, spirituality, unity | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Why Personal Evil Flies Under The Radar

Christians admit—at least in principle—that we are all evil, and that we depend on the Lord God for our personal redemption. Therefore, when we the faithful, pray that God remove evil from the world, what is it that are we asking God to do?

Are we asking God to remove us from the world scene? I doubt it. Instead, we tend to do a lot of finger pointing. In reality we each see evil as something outside of us rather than within us. And we do this in spite of the Lord’s warning that we are not to “throw the first stone,” or “see the speck in someone else’s eye” (especially when there is a log in our own eye).

We all want change in the world but we seem to have lost our true focus on what needs to be changed.

In the famous words of the comic strip character Pogo, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

Wars between countries are a natural extension of, and multiplication of, our personal and individual wars with other people. We war with our spouses, we war with our neighbors, we war with other communities, other states, and finally other nations.

Even within civility we can harbor inner hatred, jealousy and envy towards others.

How do these harmful tendencies fly safely under our personal radar and are never detected by us?

There are two big reasons.

One is religious. The other is the psychology behind self-centeredness. The religious doctrine of salvation by faith alone places almost no value on self-examination and our taking part in the salvation process. In fact, this ill-conceived doctrine puts Christians above the Law of the Commandments and personal responsibility. We are saved through mere belief and trust that the Lord died for our sins, not in our cleaning up our own act.

Self-centeredness also thwarts introspection. While spotting negative traits in others is easy–being a simple matter of observation, seeing these bad traits in oneself is limited to what his or her heart wishes the eyes to see. Seeing evil in others requires mere ocular vision but seeing our own harmful proclivities requires permission from one’s will.

Until we take ourselves to task, we have no real sense of our evil compulsions because they are only detected as pleasures. We derive pleasure from revenge and in dominating a situation. This “pleasure” of always coming out on top seduces our thinking and distracts our reflections.

This psycho-harlotry is what is actually meant by the term “whoredom” used in various stories of Holy Scripture. It is a spiritual condition that causes one to separate his or her faith from life—a condition where faith is not lived or put into action. Instead we prostitute ourselves for a false worldview.

To live one’s faith, one must sincerely love God and neighbor.

One cannot sincerely (inwardly) love God and neighbor unless one knows what is really going on in his or her heart. Only when we take inventory and make unflattering self-discoveries can the Lord God begin to help us. We have to give God a clue as to what we want changed in our lives.

Until then, true Religion will fly under the radar as well.

Posted on October 6, 2008by thegodguy

http://www.staircasepress.com

Posted in god, Inner growth, love, psychology, Reality, religion, spirituality, unity | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , |Leave a comment

Are Christians Above The Law?

 

The Apostle Paul must be turning in his grave! He never said that Christians could ignore God’s commandments.

Yet, when defending the doctrine that “faith alone saves,” theologians and members of the clergy will often quote the Apostle Paul as biblical support for such a disastrous idea of throwing the Decalogue into the trash heap.

The reason for this false belief, according to Emanuel Swedenborg, is from a misinterpretation of a single saying by Paul in Romans 3:28, that “man is justified by faith alone without the works of the law.”

In his work, Apocalypse Revealed, Swedenborg points out that what was misunderstood was that Paul was referring to the Mosaic law, which were statues specifically incorporated for Jewish life at that time. These  “works of law” included:

The law of the meal-offering.

The law of the sacrifice.

The law of the sacrifice of the peace-offering.

The law of the burnt-offering

The law of the beast and of the bird.

The Law of leprosy.

The law of him that hath an issue.

The law of jealousy.

The law of the Nazarite.

The law of cleansing.

The law concerning the red heifer.

The law for the King.

It is these specific Jewish laws that Paul is referring to that are unnecessary for Christians to uphold in order to obtain salvation. Swedenborg points out that Paul clearly states the importance of fulfilling the commandments (Romans 8:8-10) through good works or charity:

For he that loveth another, hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit whoredom, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet, and if there be any other commandment, it is comprehended in this word, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself; therefore charity is the fulfilling of the law.

The importance of love, is also confirmed by the Lord’s own word’s, in a response to a trick question by one of the Pharisees as to which is the great commandment in the law. The Lord responds by saying:

Thou shalt love the Lord God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (Mathew 22:37-40)

Who is unable to grasp that loving God and neighbor is the very life of Christian faith, and that to remove these activities from faith is a dead faith.

So, if anyone tells you that faith alone saves, then simply respond by saying that they are full of red heifer chips.

Posted on July 18, 2008 by thegodguy

http://www.provinggod.com

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Way of life – What path to follow?

Who hasn’t made big mistakes? Going down the wrong road. Choosing the wrong study course. Taking up with the wrong business partner. Moving in with, or marrying the wrong person. If your way of life is on the wrong track you may be in a bad way.

Looking back on that bad choice can feel that at the time you had been misled by someone you mistakenly relied on.

But perhaps it was only later that you realised that half the problem with your way of life was that you also misled yourself. How easy it can be to take the easiest way. You kidded yourself you were doing something for the right reason when all along it was for a misleading idea.

For example the mistaken notion that one should follow one’s intuitions (without pausing to gain relevant information). Or the dangerous idea one should act spontaneously in line with one’s impulses (without considering the consequences). Or the erroneous belief it is important to fit in with others expectations (without thinking about what is right for you).

A well-beaten path does not always make the right road” (old proverb).

Following the right way of life at the crossroad

The trouble is some decisions are difficult to reverse. It can be expensive to leave a business partnership or seek retraining and a new job because you are in the wrong occupation. It can cause heart-ache to seek a separation or divorce especially if children are involved.

way of lifeSo it helps to recognise life’s crossroads when you come to them rather than mindlessly drifting by. It’s all about finding the right way of life by choosing to go in the best direction. Not surprisingly then, writers often refer to one’s spiritual journey in terms of the direction one is travelling. What road one is going down.

Your inner journey and way of life

You have an outward journey that others can see you taking. They see your outward way of life from what has been your vocational training, means of livelihood, clubs belonged to, home location, family situation, etc.

But in addition you will have an inner journey through life. This might be thought of in terms of reaching different states of mind such as those of confidence, fulfillment, and commitment. Alternatively the inner journey might be seen in terms of arriving at different cognitive states of knowledge, understanding, illumination.

Religious people might experience their inner journey in terms of passing through different states of doubt, belief and conviction. Mystics in terms of attaining different states of vision, wonder and enlightenment.

In whatever manner the journey is understood, your way of life will consist of different inner states of mind.

Way of life and higher principles

If your inner path in life does not feel like progress, then you might want to reconsider what actual ways you are following.

I would suggest this means being more mindful of the crossroads and making better choices. A crossroad might be when you experience an inner conflict – between for example on the one hand acting in line with family expectations and on the other hand exploring your own potential. It could be between keeping someone at an emotional distance or making a deeper commitment to the relationship.

From a spiritual angle making personal choices can involve taking into account your higher principles – ensuring what you choose is in line with the ethical, moral or spiritual considerations that you understand to be good and true.

Going your own way

Spiritual writers say that taking the wrong path often stems from short-sightedly following thoughts that fit in with having one’s own way and other self-centred desires and worldly aspirations. I happen to believe that trying to get what you want for yourself, without regard for others, will adversely affect your inner state of life.

“Our sense of self misleads us into putting our needs before others, thinking we are right or of more worth than others….Are we being led by unhelpful and misleading ideas which have us going around in circles, trapped in the world of superficial talk, weary roles and pointlessness.?” (Helen Newton and Becky Jarratt, Soul Symbols)

From a religious angle the alternative to going one’s own way, is to follow God’s way. Or if you are not religious, to pursue the path of your Higher Self. Both of these involve reflecting on higher ideas about what is deeply good for the sake of  moderation and self-restraint, of the needs of other people you come across, and of the needs of the community.

Your way of life and what is shown in sacred writing

You may well feel you have come a long way already and have little need for any changed thinking regarding your current way of life. But whatever much personal improvement you have made, does this way of thinking suggest a hint of complacency? Isn’t there always room to mend one’s ways?

Actually, the decision points occur every day. Spiritually speaking, you encounter crossroads all the time. It’s just that you don’t always recognise them.

Speaking for myself, instead of taking the easy way out sometimes my personal choices need to be taken that involve more self-control, more spirit of generosity, more forgiving of others, more doing the right thing, and more honesty.

You may not know which way to turn but sacred writing offers this verse:

“This is what the Lord says:
‘Stand at the crossroads and look;
ask for the ancient paths,
ask where the good way is, and walk in it,
and you will find rest for your souls.”
(Jeremiah, Old Testament prophet)

That’s the thing about a cross-road. You can’t take more than one route. You can’t have it both ways.

In other words, the way of life God in the Bible talks about, will come to those who search for good ways to follow. In the time of Moses, the people called the ‘children of Israel’ were told what was said to be the truth concerning this good way.

Their getting lost in the wilderness can be seen as a symbol of their inner wanderings. We all probably tend to take ‘umbridge’ if told what to do. So the idea of God’s commands – inscribed on two flat stones and known as the ten commandments – seems old hat.

Yet you might want to think of his should’s and should-not’s as useful guidance for you to seriously consider. Do not steal. Do not commit adultery. Do not lie. etc. The journey to the promised land of those following Moses is one of only slow progress over a period of forty years.  Wasn’t the reason said to be because the people failed to follow divine guidelines? They took to worshipping idols. They had to learn what was good for them the hard way.

Religious teachers say following a way of life in line with ethical guidelines is the true way to find a lasting form of happiness. By starting to do this, there’s always a chance to claw your way back from a bad situation and find a better way of life. If the God religious people worship really is a God of love, then I would suggest love will find a way of getting you there – to a land ‘flowing with milk and honey.’

Copyright 2016 Stephen Russell-Lacy
Author Heart, Head & Hands