If you know you’re right, it really doesn’t matter what others think? Note, I’ve emphasized the word, ‘know.’ I’ll give you a simple example of the difference between knowing something to be right and believing something to be right.
You came home from the office a short while ago, a bit tired, but you remembered your routine before you can call it a. day: taking out the garbage. You fulfill that task in your usual, efficient way, then return to the comfort of your living, anticipating a quiet, restful evening. As you settle into your easy chair, your wife calls out to you from the kitchen, “honey, don’t forget, it’s your job to take out the garbage!”
You explode. “I’ve already taken out the damn garbage! Now leave me alone!”
What made you lose your composure?
It relates back to your insecurity.
According to an article in Psychology Today, “The 3 Most Common Causes of Insecurity and How to Beat Them,” insecurity appears to be at the heart of our auto-instinct to flare up and defend yourself, often at the slightest provocation.
The first, and possibly the main cause of insecurity is a feeling of failure or rejection. Did you loose last night at the poker game, and now you’ll be a bit short on your monthly grocery allowance, and you’re afraid your wife will find out?
You self-punish: how stupid of me gamble away our grocery money! Why don’t I have more self-control? I’m just a failure! … and so on.
A second reason for an angry flareup can be social rejection. Did your boss give that envied contract to another employee and that has put you into a rejective social slump?
That damn Bill, he’s always suck-holing up to the boss! My idea was far better than Bills! Even Dolly, our secretary, said that I was more qualified!
The third cause of insecurity mentioned in the article is, are you a perfectionist? In that burst of anger, you feel that your partner should know you take out the garbage at exactly eight o’clock right after you get home from work! Why is she questioning your efficiency?
Our security/insecurity is something few of us try to analyse. Yet, if we took the time to do so, we could save ourselves a lot of grief. In this present era of our evolution, everything is in rapid change. Look at the violence and distrust that’s present everywhere, and to think that a lot—no! I’d say most of that is generated through people’s lack of faith in themselves, and lack of, or unwillingness to understand of what is actually happening in the world.
But that doesn’t mean you have no choice but be trapped in this nightmarish world and have to accept whatever is thrown at you.
You’ve heard the expression, “solid as a rock,” or the familiar hymn, “Rock of Ages.” A rock is a symbol of stability: solidness; surety. Does it care about what the environment thinks about it?
Another example is the weather and the weatherman. Does the weather really care what the weatherman thinks about its—the weather’s everchanging nature?
If we wish to survive in all this insanity, we have to become ‘as solid as a rock,’ yet as versatile to change as the weather.
A rock is! That’s a fact. The weather is! And that’s a fact. You are! That’s another fact! Practice mindfulness. Be present in all that you do. Do your due-diligent research and be informed, not opinionated.
Like the Universal Consciousness itself—God, if you will, be as solid as a rock, and as flexible to change as the weather: secure in your knowing, and it won’t matter what anyone else thinks or believes of you!
“I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.” ― Albert Einstein
Did you ever have an incident—or like in my case, a movie film—that happened way back in your early days, and in all these years, you’re unable to completely erase it from your memory? Well, this film—and this was way back when black and white movies were still in vogue—left one of those indelible impressions on me. I forget most of the details, but I can’t forget the theme of that movie! I’ll call the movie, “The Revolution.” The actual movie could have been produced under a different title, but that title, “The Revolution,” certainly fit the theme I’m talking about, so I’ll use it for my story. Also, as I already mentioned, I forget many details, so I’ll use a lot of license in telling the story—not that it really matters, since it’s all fiction anyway—or is it?
Although this same story has been told, and retold, many times throughout our history, I’ll place my particular story in the meridian of our history—let’s say, some time just after gunpowder, cannons, bombs, pistols and long guns had been invented. The world was once again in a chaotic, violent state, only this time, with the new invention of gunpowder, we were able to kill more people in just one big explosion, and we could now more easily tear flesh from bone than we could with the now outdated sword and spear.
As I said, this fabled country that I speak of, was once again bathed in hate and violence. Horrific wrongs were committed on both sides, when brother turned against brother, and revenge was touted as the only solution to this feud!
This all started when a certain political activist—let’s call him, Adam Justica—decried the injustice that the reigning ruler was brutally imposing on the country’s citizens. At first, his voice was almost alone: most people were to busy scraping together enough money to live on, let alone think about a revolution. But Adam Justica was persistent, and since he was charismatic and had a flare for creating rousing, dramatic speech—rabble rousing, some official government leaders would call it today—wherever he went in the land, he started gathering a following.
“Justice! Justice!” became the rallying mantra as hundreds, then thousands of chanting rebels—rabble? Said the government —took to the streets in protest against the injustices of the day.
At first, the then reigning ruler ignored the small, newly formed upstart group, hoping that, when they got hungry, they’d get tired of their protest marches and go back to their homes. But that wasn’t about to happen!
Soon thousands turned into tens of thousands, finally causing more than a little concern for the reigning ruler, concerns that he could no longer ignore. In a public broadcast, the ruler pronounced the rebels as a rag-tag, illegal bunch of hoodlum outlaws and declared open warfare against them.
But victory—if it could even be considered possible by now—wouldn’t be easy!
Adam Justica’s protesters had grown into an impressive force, and he was quick to see an opportunity here and gain even more notoriety in his fight for justice. He promoted himself to General Adam Justica, armed and organized his rebel protesters with the latest weapons, then marched against the capital. Women and children—at least those who were still able to—fled the city in terror, fearing for their lives.
The battle that followed was fierce and ugly and lasted many days. Thousands on both sides of the camp were brutally slaughtered and by now, hardly a building was left unscarred, or not splattered with the blood of the combatants. Then, on the twelfth day of the battle, it was a smoke-filled morning, General Adam Justica emerged high above the noise and gunfire to plant firmly on the still smouldering debris of what was once the country’s beautiful parliament buildings, to raise his own, newly designed flag and triumphantly shout,
“We have won! Victory is ours! Justice is ours!”
In the coming years the land settled back into a relative normal routine. Guns were turned back into the proverbial plow shears and the citizens became more preoccupied with every day affairs of love, marriage, and going on vacation then they were with justice. New, more modern buildings sprung up out of the heaps of rubble that had, prior to the revolution, been thriving cities, and the story of “The War to End All Wars” was soon downgraded to only stories told in school history books. New parliament buildings, whose structural beauty and design challenged the creativeness of the best architects in the land, were built over the old parliamentary ruins. The sun shone again, the birds sang, heaven seemed to have descended upon the earth!
Justice had been firmly established! The country was at peace!
Then one fateful day in the New People’s Parliament—I believe it was the two hundred and tenth semi-annual session, one of the People’s Representative stood up to address the Assembly.
“Esteemed People’s Representatives,” he began,” many of my constituents have complained that much of their tax money from our area has been illegally removed from our coffers and is being used to pay off the debts and exorbitant living of a neighboring township. I believe that is the same township that you, General Justica, have your residence in. Could we, form a committee –”
“Silence!” General Adam Justica sprang to his feet and in a great, dramatic show of indignation, drew his pistol and shot the offending Representative. “Enough!” he shouted. We’ll have no talk of government unfairness ruining the image of our hard-won battle for justice!” the General fairly screamed his outrage at the remaining People’s Representatives who shrank low into their plush seats, fearing one of them might be targeted next. “Have you forgotten how many of our beloved comradesdied and sacrificed much in our fight for justice for all? I’ll have no disgruntled upstart dare to stand and question these rules of justice for all!” He turned his glare onto the limp, dead body of the Representative. “You are a traitor to your country!”
The sound of the general’s gunshots quickly—ever so decisively—vibrated throughout the land, finally settling in on an old, giant, rotting wooden wheel that lay nearly buried in the murky, stinky mire of the cold, sinister depths of a haunted bog near the edge of the country, a bog so disgusting to human consciousness that no sane citizen of the land wanted to talk about.
If one squinted and looked carefully, the single word, “JUSTICE,” had been carved into its rim by some ancient general whose name was now long forgotten, but could still be seen through the wisps of steam rising off the bog.
At first, upon hearing the gunshot, the rotting wheel just gave an almost imperceptible shiver of protest, even a faint whimper could be heard. After several years of anticipated peace, the wheel hoped—oh God, how it hoped—that it could finally rest forever—maybe even die and have its morbid history erased for ever from the consciousness of creation. But that was not its lot! Forced by the laws of an ancient curse placed on it during another civilization’s time, or by gods and generals whose names are now forgotten, it painfully rose out of the steaming, dank bog and started—once again—its relentless roll across the land.
“Justice! Justice! Justice!” it chanted at every agonizing completion of a role!
Will humanity ever find peace and real justice through violent protest? In fact, do we even have an alternative to violence, or are we, ourselves The Wheel I speak of; burdened with an ancient curse placed upon us by some higher, evil force; doomed to cycle forever through times of war, then, out of sheer, sadistic mockery, offered a brief moment of peace only to rise again and make war?
Our Holy Books tell us there is hope. They remind us constantly that we are more! That we’re made of star dust; of royal lineage—the same lineage that the gods and the universe itself is made of. So why do we seem so incapable of shrugging off that evil curse and live like the gods themselves live; in peace, self-empowerment and true justice?
Remember … remember who we really are, and abandon the ancient curse of The Wheel!
“And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness” —Genesis 1: 3-4
Right from the beginning, our Creator—”God”—made it plain that His third dimensional (third density ) created universe we live in at present had to have its opposites in order to manifest. Light-dark; cold-heat; good-bad; love-hate. Can we comprehend joy without knowing what it’s like to have felt glume?
I firmly believe that there is an Intelligent Mind behind all this sophisticated, complicated universe. Only intelligence can create: unintelligence—ignorance—cannot create; it can only destroy, because it’s the opposite of intelligence that can and does create!
I also believe that, among God’s other creations, He created us—humankind—loved us very dearly, and wanted us to grow up and be gods in our own right. To accomplish this, Intelligence had to create a ‘school’ for us to learn in. Then, we—our souls— had to ‘fall’ from the higher densities that we originally lived in, to live in this lower, third density, so that we could experience ‘good’ from ‘evil,’ and eventually grow into being gods ourselves.
By the way, this ‘school’ we’re in was created complete in every detail: water, land, sea animals, land animals—everything—before we were finally allowed to ‘attend’—born—into our school, not much different than a modern, earthly school division would first lay out the plans and needs for the students, then build that school according to those specifications before admitting a single student into its classrooms.
“And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.” —Genesis 1:31
The so-called “fall” that we took from the higher realms was a choice—a gift from our Father to His children that we were free to accept. Our brand new school would be a tool so that we could learn the destined “good from evil.”
Few men and women that I know of who have reached their greatness in the world have reached it without having first suffered their share of setbacks. To some, their birth into poverty and low status was their springboard to riches and fame. To others, personal sickness, or the death of a close family member may have been the springboard that made them become outstanding doctors in the field in which they had experienced that earlier emotional or physical setback.
It takes dedication and determination to earn a college degree. Partying all night, skipping classes and general irresponsibility will not get me that degree that I would like to have! Glancing around, I see where irresponsibility has had a negative effect on a former college classmate: I can learn from his mistakes; I am free to choose a better path for myself. God has given me that choice in my continuing spiritual development! And, in that understanding of choice, He has shown me the responsibility that each choice carries with it. I can continue to destroy myself, or I can reach for the stars!
Children do not always appreciate what parents do for them. It takes patience, long-suffering and love to raise a child; the opposite of impatience, intolerance and indifference. And yet, without understanding impatience, intolerance and indifference, I would not be able to exercise my will and devote myself to raising my children to be responsible adults. and to understand, I must know the difference between ignorance and intelligence: good from evil.
I may be working at a mundane job that involves a lot of physical routine. I get an idea: I know a way improve on this physical routine and make the job completion faster, and less boring. Should I keep the idea to myself, thinking that, why should I tell my boss about it? He probably wouldn’t appreciate the idea anyway? Or should I explain the idea to my boss and, even if he wouldn’t appreciate the improvement—forget about a possible raise, explain the idea? The choice is mine. God has given me the freedom to make a choice—a chance to grow, spiritually—a gift that He has not bestowed on many other of His earthly creatures!
“Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.” — Albert Einstein
“Experience is the teacher of all things.” –julius Caesar
It seems curious to me that, when we talk about what living the perfect life might be like, we think of life lived as we see in a Lotto 649 ad: exciting!–like diving off high cliffs into azure pools below, relaxing with invited friends on deck of our own personal luxury cruise yacht, laughing and partying with not a care in the world. Yet, when one hears years later about these lotto winners who’ve tried this type of life, the majority of them–or anyone, for that matter, who tries to live the good life as advertised by these get-rich-quick companies as the perfect dream-life, we see total disaster.
From all this I gather that such an artificial life–unearned luxuries–isn’t what we came here on earth to experience. Yes, dreaming big is part of our purpose, and it’s a noble purpose, but dreaming big involves effort and personal involvement on our part in order to accomplish those dreams. Then we can say to the Universe, “I’ve earned my accomplishments!”
I can clearly remember, many, many years ago when I was still a kid living my innocence on a farm in central Saskatchewan. It was the middle of the 1930s. The whole country was still agonizing itself through the Great Depression, and effects of that terrible time were present everywhere. But, still, we considered ourselves to be among the lucky ones: we lived on a farm where we raised chickens, ducks, geese, pigs, cows and had two teams of work horses that we used in working the grain fields, so if we had nothing else, we always had plenty to eat. Yes, our mother often had to sew patches over already worn out or torn patches on our clothes, but that was life in those days. Everyone was in the same boat.
Since we lived less than a quarter of a mile from the Canadian National Railway that linked Canada from east to west, we saw a lot of out-of-work Eastern “Railroad Bums” riding the rails to Alberta in search of a better chance at employment. Often thirsty and hungry, many would jump off the moving rail cars and stop at our farm to ask for a handout. Money, of course, was out of the question, since we never had any money ourselves, so we were unable to help anyone else, financially.
But mother always made sure that she had a pot of something on the stove so that our “temporary guests” didn’t leave on an empty stomach, and that usually included packing a tick, double-sliced beef sandwich on fresh, homemade bread to take with them for their remaining journey to a better future.
It’s funny … not like today, in those days, we never treated these “Railroad Bums” with suspicion: that they might want to rob us, or were perverts running from the law. We knew that they were someone’s husband, father, or son, who had the misfortune of being caught up in the Great Depression, and were looking for work–somewhere, anywhere, as long as it provided an income so that they could feed their families. It was our Christian duty to show compassion to those men who were less fortunate than we were.
It was exactly these hard, depressive times that taught our community compassion. But, it was a youthful experience during this depressive hard time that taught me, personally, the difference between showing compassion, and letting a person work out their own destiny in their own time, in their own way, without my interference.
As I said, we had chickens on our farm and it was usually us children’s job to go around to all the chicken’s hiding places around the yard and stables to collect the eggs for the day. Occasionally, the chickens were smarter than we were, and hid their laying nests so well that we didn’t always find them–that is, not until many days later when the hens had brooded their eggs to the point where they began to hatch, and we’d only spot the nests after little chicks were running everywhere.
I recall one particular incident when my younger brother and I were on an egg-gathering mission. We came across a hidden nest where some chicks were already hatched, but other chicks were still in various stages of breaking through their eggshells. My brother and I decided to give these partially hatched chicks a hand by breaking the shells for them, saving them the effort. Unfortunately, this proved a disaster! To our dismay, all the chicks that we tried to help, died while still in their shell! What went wrong? Weren’t we showing compassion?
It wasn’t until many, many years later, and weathering many of the bumps and bruises life has to offer , before I learned that God has a reason for giving us challenges: to break out of our own eggshells on our own, without outside help. He has a reason for making us apply effort to achieve anything worthwhile in life. We need challenges and setbacks in life in order for us to grow, spiritually!
I know of persons where, when everything is just handed to a person born with the proverbial silver spoon in their mouth, that person became lazy and self-centred. They often just frit away the business worth that their father had built through his hard work. They often become selfish and uncaring, and before long, they’re spiritually dead, much like those chicks that we tried to help years ago, became physically dead because we tried to give them something for nothing.
There is a reason for trials and shortcomings. They are not punishments from a wrathful or uncaring God. They are there to help one grow: to learn to love: to show compassion, so that I can, eventually, become the god I am meant to become!
“The sad thing about Artificial Intelligence is that it lacks Artifice and therefore Intelligence.” — Jean Baudillard
In a C|Net article titled, “As AI and robots rise up, do humans need an upgrade too?” the author continues, “Forget hacking a computer. Some researchers want to hack the brain (italics added) to create human superintelligence to compete with AI.” In this article, the author makes some convincing arguments in favor of a better brain, and in its prescribed aspect, I agree with her. Many of us could drastically reduce the calamities that befall us if we’d “upgrade” our thinking capacity, like upgrading our skills, education, and my favorite, playing professional Brain Games like Lumosity and Brain HQ. but aren’t we putting the cart before the horse?
We talk about AI (Artificial Intelligence) taking over, but forget that AI is a human–a mind/brain creation–something that we’ve usefully invented through the use of our brain, and then, instead of taking pride in our accomplishment, we limit ourselves to think that the brain did it all, that we’re just a brain. No more!
“Before we do something about Artificial Intelligence, why don’t we do something about Natural Stupidity?” — Steve Polyak
We are much more than a brain. We’re a Soul! In other words, we’re a thinking, reasoning, eternal, feeling being that has somehow–still largely unknown to us just how we did it– created a brain–an indispensable tool–to help us create even greater things. As such we should celebrate our infinity, rather than degrade ourselves into believing that we’re only a brain that has somehow developed a mind, and that’s all we are.
Like a carpenter with his hammer, what does it prosper me to upgrade my hammer, as this article suggests, but remain clumsy and continue to keep hitting my thumb with it every time I try hammering a nail into a board? Doesn’t it make more sense to upgrade my spirit–my soul, and therein eliminate from clumsiness?
In this same article, Bryan Johnson is quoted as saying, “Looking at superintelligence for me is like when you’re on the motorway looking so far out ahead that you crash into the car in front of you,” and I believe this is exactly what we are doing by accepting brain improvement over Soul improvement.
Improve our spirituality and our brain will automatically work better for us to our interests, because it is only a tool–a beautiful, wonderful, powerful tool–of something in us that’s much, much bigger!
“Artificial Intelligence has the same relationship to intelligence as Artificial Flowers have to flowers.” — David Prnas
One often hears the expression “Heaven will reward you for this kind act”. That denotes a future event–the reward. But, I want my blessings NOW, not in the future! This is much like a grade one student told to study hard and you’ll receive your rewards when you graduate. The grade one student has no concept of future rewards. He wants them NOW, but in reality, rewards–or any reaction to an action, usually does come in the future.
What is it about creation that, for so many events in our lives, we have to wait for our reward?
Two days ago a scammer called me—I think he said he was from Microsoft, and said that he needed to get into my computer and clean out some corrupt files. It only took a minute’s conversation with him for me to realize that he was new at the game of scamming. In the scamming game, this guy was a “junior”–just learning the trade, the one who casts the bait by making a zillion random phone calls, and as soon as he gets someone who will talk to him—a “sucker,” he would hand the phone over to the professional scammer to do the damage. I know the routine because I’ve had these guys call before, and I’ve come to understand their techniques. Now, most of the time I just hang up, or don’t even answer the phone, but this time, decided to talk to him. Here’s roughly the conversation that we had:
Me: “You’re a scammer. Why would I let you into my computer?”
Scammer: “No, sir, you don’t understand. I’m from Microsoft and I need to get into your computer to clean out some bad files that are corrupting your hard drive and—”
Me, bluntly: “You’re a scammer. a parasite on society. Why don’t you get yourself a decent job and contribute to society, rather than scamming people out of their money?”
Scammer: “But, sir, I need to—”
Me, getting impatient: “You’re a scammer,” I repeated. “Get yourself a decent job!”
Scammer: “And how am I going to get a job, sir? Are you going to give me one?” (those were his exact words, and this is why I recognized him as a greenhorn at the scamming business). Professional scammers don’t ask dumb questions like that, so I admit, for the moment, his questions came as an unanticipated surprise.
Me, at this point, I completely lost my cool: “Now, why in hell am I responsible for getting you a job?” Get your ass down to the employment office and see what’s available, like the rest of us have to do! Go back to school, if you have to! Get a trade . . .”
My haranguing continued like that for a few more minutes. He listened in silence, then, finally, I hung up on him.
A bit later, after I calmed down to a more human level of impiousness, I sort of felt sorry for the fellow. Life certainly had not been kind to him in order for him to have to resort to scamming for a living, so I sent him a silent prayer, asking God to let someone come into his life and give him some proper guidance concerning the responsibilities of being human. Also, I needed him to forgive me for being so rude.
He obviously had some education—at least enough to know basic computer lingo, so, at least to a point, he must have chosen, or easily been lead into the scammer’s way of life. Maybe, let’s assume he was raised in a good family that taught him right from wrong, but he lacked moral principles. Was his brain twisted enough to make him a sociopath, a person with an antisocial personality disorder who didn’t care whether he hurt another being? I’m not sure that he was a sociopath because, you will remember his question to me: “And how am I going to get a job, sir? Are you going to give me one?” A hard core sociopath—scammer, in this case, isn’t interested in your opinion nor how he can ‘improve’ himself.
On the other hand, if we—society are at least partially to blame for our “misfits,” where are we failing them? I’m a great fan of TVs Dr. Phil show. What I’ve observed so far by watching him is that, in many of his cases where people come to him for help, they’ve already been through at least one other professional source that failed them. Is there a factor in our attempted care to help the less fortunate that we’re leaving out of the equation? I think there is, and I’d like to turn our attention to our King James version of the Bible, Genesis 3:22, for a suggested answer: “And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil.” In other words, Man can progress to eventual godhood, but, if he wants to continue his upward evolution, he had best learn to benefit from the opposites in Creation!
The black nefarious agent and the white angel are both equally my teachers.
Generally, when we hear of a person being called a philanthropist we think of someone who’s loaded with cash and generously handing it out to just about anyone who asks for it: “the love of humanity”: the type of person we want to be friends with!
But, is the giving of money a true definition of philanthropy? Wikipedia defines it as “private initiatives, for public good, focusing on quality of life“. That pretty well includes any person who has the good of God’s creation at heart! This would include your local minister, priest, doctor, veterinarian, environmentalist, herbalist, in fact, anyone who holds a title or certificate as a professional in the service of bettering the conditions of humanity or the environment.
On the other hand, does simply holding a service title make you a philanthropist? For example, I may consider myself a youth councillor, and may even be the head of a youth organization and have years of publicly condoned good work under my belt, but secretly, I could be a pedophile, as has been the case with many persons in the news. Can I still consider myself a philanthropist?
One may be a multi millionaire and have many photo ops to his or her credit showing him or her giving thousands, even millions to some well known charity while, unknown to the public, they might have made their millions on the backs of factory workers that were kept under near slave conditions, or they might have caused the deforestation of hundreds of acres of Brazilian forests to feed their hungry chemical factories. Can such a person be called a true philanthropist? Hardly!
As Investopedia defines philanthropy, “Philanthropy must be more than just a charitable donation; it is an effort undertaken by an individual or organization based on an altruistic desire to improve human welfare”. And here, I emphasize the word, altruistic. Although persons like Billionaire Bill Gates, Jami Gertz of the Ressler-Gertz Foundation, and musician, Herb Alpert of the Herb Alpert Foundation give millions to charity, not every public or famous donor should be called a philanthropist. Although persons like Gates and Alpert are to be lauded for their generosity, true philanthropy–true charity, has to come from the heart and has to involve personal involvement in the act of charity: the action has to come from the depths of one’s very soul. I would classify such persons as Mother Teresa, Mahatma Ghandi and Desman Tutu who gave their all, not just a portion of their money to the public good, as true philanthropists.
I was born and raised on a small farm in Central Saskatchewan. It was a mixed farm on which we raised chickens, ducks, geese, cattle and grew and harvested various grains. As kids, we were, of course, curious about everything in that great big, wide, wonderful world around us, and that included the our close association with the livestock and fowl that we raised. On one occasion, my brother and I watched as a nest of chicken eggs were in the process of hatching. One chick inside an egg had just begun to crack its shell, so we decided to help out and save the little fella the effort of pecking through the shell by carefully peeling back the pieces of shell that were obstructing its ultimate release.
Unfortunately, our desire to help the chick seemed to have a negative effect on the chick. Although it appeared active, alive and healthy while it was still struggling in the shell, within minutes of us freeing it, it died! That little experience taught me a lesson, a lesson that’s stayed with me even to this day: when do you help someone, and when do you leave a person struggle to freedom on their own accord.
Unfortunately, government agencies can be among the worst offenders when it comes to determining what is true compassion, and what is just “going by the book“: not knowing when to help –that is, do something for the person that they are quite capable of doing for themselves, and when to genuinely offer help. I don’t think there are any accurate government statistics available as to how many people these agencies actually do help, and how many have turned into disasters, as facts about disaster situations, I’m sure, would have been fudged enough to hide the truth by department heads responsible.
Most church organizations also have a compassionate branch within their organization. Again, it would be near impossible to find accurate statistics as to how many persons were actually helped, and how many were just enabled to continue in their lifestyle. Also, there’s the problem of defining what actually defines help: one person’s claim to having been helped can be another person’s denial of ever having receive any help at all. I’ll give you an example.
Some years back I was invited to have a say in a church group where one of its department mandates was to oversee the distribution of disaster and welfare funds. When I was first asked to join the council, I had visions of doling out welfare to pretty well everyone who asked for help, much like, many years earlier, my brother and I had tried to help that poor chick enter our conscious world. Help is help, right? But, it didn’t take long for me to learn that, for charity to be truly charity, wisdom must also be applied along with compassion when doling out help, especially financial help. I discovered that several families and individuals had joined our church simply on the grounds that they knew we had a generous welfare program, and they wanted in on the helpings.
Not that our Bishop had reservations, nor lacked compassion about signing church-funded cheques to these families and individuals, but these families had already exhausted all government and other agency entitlements for help and now wanted to see how far they could play on our good will. These poor souls had adopted a lifestyle that depended on the goodness of others, without making any effort to help themselves.
Although we did close our cheque book on them, we offered council, both legal, if required, a healthier lifestyle, job opportunities, companionship and friendship, whatever was required. A few, as soon as they saw the cheque book close, left to seek handouts elsewhere, but others grasped at the more inclusive help that we offered.
I grew up in a family that placed a high value on the Christian concept of charity. ” [if I] have not charity, I am nothing”. –1 Corinthians 2.
It is true, One cannot help another without helping oneself! And, it is also true that a wise person must be compassionate enough to know just how to best help a person. Throwing money at them is not always the best kind of help that one can offer.
The first time that I saw magic performed on stage was in our small town hall when I was about six years old. I was absolutely captivated by the magician’s trickery and, at the time, believed that what I saw was real.
So many things in my childhood were magic–and seemingly, real. The sun magically rose every morning, bright and warm; clouds could hold only so much moisture, then I’d watch these huge, sometimes scary, rumbling thunderheads approach and release their moisture magically back to earth as rain; I imagined that the colorful northern lights were God dancing with his angels among the stars; thunder was God scolding someone in heaven–sometimes He seemed especially angry! It was a fun time for me because I had a vivid imagination, and I loved to believe that many natural phenomena really were magic.
That was childhood magic. now I’m grown up. Regretfully, like Leonard Lipton’s “Puff, the Magic Dragon”, I also was forced to sacrifice my childhood fantasies and replace them with what we adults call, cold logic. But even to this day, I often wonder if we really stop believing in magic. Yes, we no longer believe in tooth fairies and a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow, and who isn’t fascinated by a good, entertaining magic show. But have we replaced our childhood magic with a dark, more sinister love/fear relationship with magic that exists deep in our subconscious that can actually do us a lot of harm? For example, a few days ago I was parked outside a local bank in town that just happened to be near one of those Payday Loan offices. As I waited in the car for my wife to return from the bank, I watched a middle aged lady enter the Payday Loan office and, a few minutes later, exit with a small amount of cash in her hand. Was this lady aware of the high interest that was already tacked onto that small loan before she even was expected to repay it? Did she believe that, somehow, magically, she’d be able to repay that loan in a few days without adding interest upon interest to that loan? Sadly, I shook my head and couldn’t help but feel that that lady obviously believed in primitive, subconscious magic that somehow, “Puff, the Magic Dragon” would manifest in her life and give her enough money to pay back that loan.
Another form of primitive magic can be found in some of our religious practices of the day. There are many documented cases where so-called God’s evangelists preach hocus-pokes–send me your money and I’ll magically petition God to remove your pain, your sorrow, and make you whole again. Like that dear lady who fell for the hollow promises of that Pay Day loan shark, many of us fall for the false preaching of a ‘God’s disciple’.
To claim that one is without a religious belief is a lie. Atheism is a religion every bit as much as Christianity or Hinduism is. We all believe in something, and sadly, too often, we condemn the other person for believing different from us. So, is there a magic–a religion, that isn’t harmful to creation? Like the dear lady who trusted that some god, somewhere, would magically give her the money to pay back her loan, or the elderly gentleman who gives his last dime to that gospel preacher who promised, if he did that, God, magically, would take away his rheumatism, life can be very disappointing and painful. Yet, trust, pain, hope are but three of several attributes that a forward-looking God has endowed us with in order to help us to become more mature souls by making life a learning experience–a school of the highest order.
C. S. Lewis probably summed religion best when he said, “I didn’t go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of Port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity.” Religion–magic, wasn’t meant to make us happy. It was meant to eventually mature all of us into vibrant, living souls and become the very reflections of our Father-creator ourselves!
Magic and false prophets–teachers–are but a price God is exacting from us for the privilege of becoming gods some day ourselves.