A Sunday Chat with Myself—Satan Never Lies to You!”

“The truth is rarely pure and never simple.” —Oscar Wilde

I’ve often heard people make a comment, then close that comment with, “and that’s the truth.” I don’t doubt that what they’ve just said they believe to be the truth—for them! But is it universally true, and will their statement—their truth—stand the test of time?

There are over seven billion people living on earth at this time, each with our own particular beliefs, and an estimated 4,200 belief systems. I also maintain that the word, “religion” doesn’t necessarily mean belonging to a religious organization. Although there are those who will vigorously deny it, every person is religious, whether they belong to a ‘religious’ organization or not. You may believe that having lots of money is the single source of happiness. Fine! That’s your belief; your religion!

Personally, as a practicing Christian, I believe in certain principles and follow certain dogmas. On the other hand, Muslim’s beliefs, although similar in most areas to Christianity, has its differences from my religion, yet we both claim to believe in the same God who created both of us, and is our salvation.

Even in Christianity itself there are diverse beliefs and ‘authoritative’ interpreters of what Jesus claimed to have said, so my question is, who heard Jesus correctly, and who understood Jesus correctly—and is my interpretation and understanding the only right one?

I often envision Jesus tuning in on his diverse followers and shaking his head in disbelief: “how can some of my acclaimed followers misquote and misinterpret me so badly from what I had originally said? I taught love and forgiveness, not hate and war!

“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.” –Plato

Then there is the matter of faith. According to Wikibooks, “Faith is the basic ingredient to begin a relationship with God. Faith is the assurance that the things revealed and promised in the Word are true, even though unseen, and gives the believer a conviction that what he expects in faith, will come to pass.” Sounds so simple and beautiful, but it is exactly that element in our nature that also causes more wars and anguish than anything else.

I often envision an army, drummed into full, passionate hate, getting ready for battle against their assumed foe. In the last act before actually engaging the ‘enemy,’ they’re blessed by their ‘God-appointed’ Padres and assured that “God is on our side,” while at the same time, our assumed enemy’s Padres are also blessing their troops and told that “God is on their side.” Now they feel most energized to mercilessly slaughter one another, all in the name of the same loving God who created all humans! There’s something wrong with that scenario!

I can’t help but think that there is also something very wrong when I hear both our religious leaders and politicians excite crowds into states of separation, hate and violence against the ‘chosen foe.’ To me, these ‘rabble rousers’—politicians and preachers—are the real Satans—the Lucifers of the world mentioned in Scripture, who use religious texts, twist the contents ever so slightly, then have us believe that what they speak—the twisted truth, is actually the real truth!

This is another example of what I mean when I say we have accepted certain men and women in our lives to lead us, and often that truth gets twisted to suit their agenda, not Jesus’ agenda for us. In John 13:34 Jesus is reported to have said, “A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” Do you see any room here for isolation of a neighbor, separation of loved ones or hate because they didn’t follow our particular wish, or reason to hate someone enough to go to war with them and kill them? And remember, Jesus didn’t just wish that we would love one another: He gave us a commandment to love one another. That truth is direct and straight forward. Pretty hard to change facts and their meaning—or is it?

So, how would Lucifer twist Jesus’ command to love one another to suit his own purpose? Simple! Lucifer would stand on his podium and piously agree with the truth that Jesus spoke: “love one another,” but in a quieter moment, he’d simply add, “as long as people repent and do what I tell them to do!” And, in just that simple, innocent-sounding short addition, he’s completely turned love into hate, and given you your ‘righteous’ excuse to go to war with your neighbor!

Another example. I wake up one morning and find that my house has been broken into, and my money stolen. Immediately, in a great fanfare of emotion that an-injustice-has-been-committed-against-me,  I call the police—and the news media, eternally seeking for that dramatic moment in one’s life (especially if their cameras can capture a tear or two in my eye. That would help), is hard on the heals of the police, looking for that dramatic cry of ‘injustice’, and, I-need-to-be-avenged, while shaking my fist and declare in rightousness that the perpetrator be justly punished.

Lucifer, and his band of dedicated followers, feed on hate and intolerance of this kind. That’s their food! War is a banquet to them.

Back to my story. Instead of getting all hyper and vengeful, why not stop and ask—as Jesus would certainly do—why did that person go to all the trouble of breaking into my house and robbing me? Maybe he has been unemployed for some time and he and his family are having trouble meeting their bills. He needs money. Where can I help? Maybe he has an addiction problem and his sense of morals have been perverted. Again, where can I help? Or, could it be that the guy is simply a sociopath and doesn’t know any better, thus needs more than my help: he needs professional help.

Jail is a punishment invented by man, not The Christ! Jail is not compassion!

In either case, when the man is brought before the judge for trial, am I there to help decide a compassionate solution to his problem? Admittedly, the man does have a problem because a normal, balanced person is not going to deliberately commit a crime against his fellow man. And that is a truth!

Sometimes, when I look at the world and see all the cruelty, suffering and hate that we foist on each other, I have to wonder just how far—if at all—we have evolved from the primitive savage that our anthropologists and archaeologists tell us we supposedly came from.

I also look up at the stars and think, is there intelligent life out there? If there is, why haven’t they contacted us? Could it be that they are patiently waiting for us to grow up: to throw off our primitive habits and become kinder, and more honest with each other; to evolve to a point where we are intelligent and spiritual enough so that Satan no longer has the power to twist the truth to his morbid pleasure and our suffering?

I believe that only then, when we’ve outgrown our weakness to accept“twisted truth,” will we be formally visited by Extraterrestrials and invited to join the Cosmic Community!

A Sunday Chat with Myself—responsibility

“Healthy citizens are the greatest asset any country can have.” — Winston S. Churchill

On the 22nd of March, 2018, I watched a Dr. Oz TV show where he and his guests were discussing the problem of so many doctors committing suicide due to being overstressed by trying to keep healthy an increasing sick society. Of course, Dr. Oz is an American show, was dealing with American issues. However, I doubt that it’s much different here in Canada.

Our health clinic where you go to see your doctor is located next to the post office. When I go to pick up our mail, I often can’t find a parking spot in front of the post office, because most of the stalls are taken up by overflow parking at the health clinic. I drive around to the back of the post office to our Town’s public parking area, searching  for a parking stall in the public parking lot—same thing: most of the “up close” stalls are occupied by clinic patients. Frustrated, I often feel that the worst thing our Canadian federal government ever offered its citizens was free health care. Hear me out before you start sending me hate mail.

“When health is absent, wisdom cannot reveal itself, art cannot manifest, strength cannot fight, wealth becomes useless, and intelligence cannot be applied.” —Herophilus

On occasion when I need to go to a drug store, usually to buy my health supplements, I often have to stand in line. This wouldn’t be a significant point to ponder, except that, in a town of not much over 3,000 people, we have four drug stores! Doesn’t that raise an alarm bell that we’re not taking proper care of our health?

I know there is a need for hospitals, doctors, nurses and drug stores in a modern society, and Canada should be very grateful for these fine institutions. For example, one can fall and break a limb, come down with a contagious virus, be in a traffic accident, or have some other physical health issue that is beyond one’s control, and we are so blessed to have these medical facilities nearby. But shouldn’t we be taking at least some responsibility for our general good health?

Unless we have some other serious health issue, pain is generally a sign our body is telling us something is wrong. Wouldn’t we be better off if, when visiting a doctor, we talked to her or him to find out what could possibly be causing that pain in our body, rather than demanding a pill to just mask the pain?

Smoking, excess drinking, unwarranted drug use, improper eating habits are lifestyles well within our personal control. It shouldn’t be up to the doctor to “cure” your bad health practices with a pill—nor should it be the taxpayer’s responsibility to fund such a wrong mindset!

Society has turned teaching moral values to their children over to the school system. I’m not for religion being taught in school, nor moral values. That’s a parent’s responsibility, and if there is a diverse opinion as a result, all the better. It makes for a rich, colorful community, and that’s good! In fact, it’s healthy! Schools are for teaching students the so-called “Three Rs”—reading, writing, and arithmetic, plus social skills to prepare them for adult life.

To further our abandonment of responsibility, we’ve now left it up to law enforcement  to manage our behavioral patterns that make us a safe society. What’s next? … Oh yes, now we’re totally turning over our responsibility for our health to the medical profession and drug companies.

“Doc, gimme a pill. I need a fix!—Oh, and send the bill it to the taxpayer, eh?” We’re so wrapped up in our own self-gratification and irresponsibility we can’t see our possible annihilation as a species that we’re heading for.

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” —Hippocrates

 

Ayahuasca

I just finished watching a video on Gaia TV titled “Ayahuasca: Vine of the Soul.” Ayahuasca is a South American vine whose Shaman use the bark and stems to brew a potent psychedelic brew. It has also become popular way of entertainment in many North American  social groups whose participants use it to get a feel-good high. But that’s not the goal of the Shaman. To them, the drinking of the brew of the Ayahuasca plant is a sacred–indeed, even a religious rite, that allows the participant to learn the wonderment of his own creation.

I must admit that I found the video appealing and sort of, secretly, wished that I could join the Shaman’s group as they sipped the nectar, chanted, and whispered to each other of  sacred experiences they were having somewhere deep within the noisy, chattering South American jungle … but something made me hesitate. It wasn’t fear, nor lack of desire to know more about myself. I’ve always, as far back in my life as I can remember, been a student of spirituality and metaphysics. Not only did I want to know myself and everything around me, but, like Einstein, I even went boldly as far as to desire to know the mind of God! So why didn’t I hop aboard the plane to South America and join my friend–let’s call him Jake?

I believe the answer lies in the fact that there many roads that lead to life’s destination, and Jake decided to take the highway: the quick way to spiritual maturity, while I preferred the slower, grow-spiritually-as-you-experience road. To demonstrate what I mean, let’s throw Jake and me into an adventure!

“Jake,” I said. “If you take the highway, the fast route, you’ll be in the Jungle Camp months before I’ll be there.”

Jake shook his head. “M-mh! Remember what the Shaman said? Even if one of us arrives before the other, he will not give us our box–the key and instructions to our next goal–unless we are both together.”

 

Hitting Bottom

Life often  forces us to ‘hit bottom–you know, leaving us with no options, no resources to fall back on–hitting the absolute end so that we’re finally forced to do something about a negative situation in our life that we know we should do something about, but just can’t seem to build up enough willpower or enthusiasm to face the problem on our own.

Sure, we’re supposed to tackle our problems and try to figure things out for ourselves, but when we’ve become somewhat lazy and refuse to face an especially pressing problem on our own,  He seemingly removes His Grace from us and lets us drift along in our laziness without His help. By doingHe knows we’re heading for a very rocky shore, but also wisely understands that we’ve chosen our path and must deal with the consequences. Of course, God won’t abandon His tantrum, wayward child–never has, never will. He’ll just meet up with you again once you’ve wrecked your ship on the rocks of disaster and run out of options.

You now have nowhere to turn and feel like you want to die, but some stubborn part of you just refuses to let go of life. You’re confused. You’re  desperate. You need help, but just too stubborn to ask for help, maybe even don’t (yet) realize that you’ve hit bottom. That’s when we’re ripe for some God-help, often unannounced!

I’ll give you an example of one of my ‘hit bottom’ options that life forced onto me. I was in the Canadian military at the time, stationed in Germany. Since it was during peace time, we were allowed to bring our families over with us, so I rented a small farmhouse near the small village of  Koerbeke near Soest. I loved German beer and whenever opportunity gave me the chance, I would ‘tie one on.’ Although my wife displayed tolerance, I knew she didn’t like my bouts of heavy drinking, and I realized that I was setting a poor example to my three young children. I often told myself, “well, this is the last time!” but, up until one dramatic late afternoon when God seemingly removed His Grace from me, these had just been  empty excuses on my part!

A friend of mine and I had been drinking for most of the afternoon when we realized that we were out of beer. We decided to walk (fortunately, not drive) the half kilometer down a slight grade to the village Pub. We were laughing and singing, seemingly bothering no one–Andy Capp comes to mind–when suddenly…no, I didn’t fall: I felt the ground rapidly coming up to meet me nose! (Ouch!) As my nose and the dirt road made stunning and painful contact, God granted me a dramatic, life changing epiphany!

God was there, right in the dirt with me! For that brief moment when my nose and the road made contact, God let me realize just how absolutely stupid, how degrading, how disrespectful to Him and my family I had lowered my standards through my heavy boozing.

No, my friend and I didn’t continue on our way to the Pub. My epiphany, like I said, was final, too dramatic and too ‘educational’ to continue along former habits. Although it was several years later before I gave up the use of alcohol completely, that fateful afternoon along a dirt road near Koerbeke, Germany was the last time that I ever again “tide one on“.

I always loved to eat well and I played very little attention to the quality, nor the amount, nor how much I ate: as long as it tasted good to me. Then, one day, the doctor gave me the news people dread to hear: I had kidney cancer, that later spread to my bladder. I won’t bother you with the (some painful) details involved in finally getting me to be cancer free, but the experience certainly changed my lifestyle! The scare of not recovering from cancer made me take a complete about face regarding my lifestyle, and what I ate.

I won’t go into ‘good food/bad food’ topics here. That would make this post way too long, but I will say that I became a vegetarian as a result of my research. Meat products of all kinds–and especially processed meat–has far too many chemicals in it to be even close to being  safe for human consumption!

I will conclude in saying that my limited research has shown, a couple of examples I’ve written about above, and I’m sure you can think of many of your own such life changing examples, that God works in mysterious ways, often letting us fall to ‘rock bottom’, in order that we might see our erring ways and change for our own good.

Call it God, the Universe, Buddha, or whatever your esteemed Creator might be, it is comforting to know that we are part of a loving Universe!