Who Made Christ?

Who made Christ?

Now there’s a loaded, cage-rattling question. I’d venture to bet the typical responses would range from “He’s always existed” to “God did” and everything in between.

Now here’s my loaded, cage-rattling answer.

Humans made Christ.

Yep. I said that. I went there.

“How dare she suggest such a thing?!,” you might indignantly exclaim.

Well, see, it’s like this.

There was a man. He was born of a woman. Some say she was a virgin. Science says there is no way. History presents a few problems of its own. The faithful say God can do anything he wants, including impregnating a teenage female. Maybe so, but I think going that route misses the whole point of the man named Jesus.

This man was a gifted seeker, wise beyond his years. Was he a gift from the heavens? Possibly. Extraordinary people are born from time to time:  People who do amazing things in their lifetime.

Buddha.

Mahatma Ghandi.

Muhammad.

Abraham Lincoln.

Joan of Arc.

The grieving parents of a dead teenager who choose to take a message of safe driving out into the world.

Many others.

The point is, he came, he lived, he modeled, he taught with amazing wisdom, he empowered the underdog and in many ways saved them from their own poverty mentality, he angered the ruling class, and he was martyred.

In the process, he created a very loyal (although somewhat divided and disagreeable) following of disciples. As happens frequently when a person dies much too young, his legend grew as the years passed. His goodness was magnified into the miraculous. It happens.

The stories evolved unchecked through word of mouth.

Many, many years after he ceased to exist in the world that we know, the stories began to be recorded. The earliest known accounts do not involve a virgin birth. They do not mention salvation. They recount the stories of a man who taught people to forgive each other and take care of one another, especially the poorest and most helpless among them, and who offered his services as a healer for free.

He overstepped a lot of boundaries that had been placed on the common people of his time. He bucked the system.

And he was murdered.

Or martyred. Whichever floats your terminology boat.

As the old saying goes, “If you can’t shut ’em up, figure out a way to get their money.”

Oh, that’s not how it goes? My bad.

Along come the second, third, and fourth century marketing gurus, a world leader looking for a purpose, and a few fast talking fourth generation prophets.

Scripture is written. A resurrection is added.

Contradictory writings are destroyed.

Haters are killed en masse.

Non-believers are labeled heretics and killed.

Pretty much everyone is killed.

And suddenly (okay, so it took 400 years), we have a world religion complete with a new deity who defied all laws of nature and a divinely inspired, inerrant canon of scripture.

Jesus of Nazareth who taught compassion for neighbors and enemies, Jesus of Nazareth who was the ultimate socialist, Jesus of Nazareth who probably studied the teachings of Buddha, is now Jesus Christ, hater of all things not Christ-y.

Jesus Christ doesn’t even really resemble Jesus of Nazareth.

Jesus Christ has evolved into a hard-line, right-wing conservative with little compassion for anything or anyone.

Jesus Christ saves people who call on his name and believe he is the son of God. And that is necessary because according to this doctrine, we are all born evil. And yes, you should be a good person and help others, but that is secondary to believing and getting someone else to believe. After all, the brightest crowns in heaven will go to those who take the most souls with them, right?

I actually believed that at one point in my life.

I wasn’t such a great “proseletyzer”, so I figured I was probably screwed on that whole heaven thing, even though I believed and was buried with Christ in baptism—the…ahem… right way. My “I’m right, you’re wrong” method of beating people over the head with a club wasn’t much of a soul-winner.

Somehow Jesus of Nazareth has gotten lost along the way. He was over-shadowed by the human creation that is Jesus Christ. The way I figure it, Naz Boy is the one who is the son of God. And I am the daughter of God. And my husband is the son of God. And my brother is the son of God. And my girls are each the daughter of God.

…Whomever God is…….that’s another post in itself.

Each and everyone is just as capable of doing amazing things to improve life on planet earth. Each and everyone is capable of being someone’s savior. Each one could easily anger the leadership to the point of being “erased”. And each one could become the stuff legends are made of.

Even to the point of having a world religion created in their honor.

Cage rattled. You’re welcome.

The Connectors

Prejudice. Bigotry. Racism.

These are very ugly words. So ugly, in fact, that when my first child was born over 20 years ago, a made myself a promise. As she and her sisters grew, I refused to use race as a descriptor in identifying their friends.

I did not want my children to grow up seeing race as something that separates people. I did not want them to struggle with the same stereotyping ignorance that I have struggled with all my life.

I love watching how this effort has evolved. I also love seeing how my own beliefs and ideals are being pushed and tested in a way that makes me question whether I truly feel the way I say I feel.

It’s a “put your money where your mouth is” sort of push.

It feels as though I am part of a bridge between what once was and what is to become.

My parents witnessed and experienced public school segregation and subsequent integration. They remember a time when skin color and even religion determined the level of opportunity afforded a person. I am proud of the fact that my dad had a good friend from the “wrong side of the tracks” even when that was a bit unusual. He has had many such good friends throughout his life.

My children only know about it through history books.

Unfortunately, my children have witnessed the self-destructive poverty mentality that tends to attach itself to certain ethnic groups in our part of the country. I have seen it as well. In spite of my best efforts to protect my children from connecting behavior to race, to some extent, it has happened anyway.

Therein lies some prejudice that I never intended my children to acquire. In many ways, they have chosen to separate themselves from the behaviors that they find unacceptable. In doing so, their opportunities to experience a variety of cultures has been somewhat limited.

My oldest child has stepped away from this place and out into the world. She is a connector, seeing people for who they are, not who they appear to be. She challenges me and my stated beliefs on a regular basis. She has landed in a place where diversity does not necessarily equal poverty mentality and self-destructive behaviors. It exists as an equal opportunity as does goal-oriented focus and success.

Her new friends have many roots, yet they are all connected. She connects and she helps them to connect with others from all over the world. It is a true melting pot of interdependence and compassion.

This generation, both here in the U.S. and in countries like Egypt, want so much more from their world. They desire peace and cooperation, and many of them know exactly how to make it happen. They have been nurtured to recognize that God is not a divider separating people into categories of worthiness. They do not see skin color, religious beliefs, or sexual preference as qualifiers. They understand that God is within them and will be experienced by others through their compassion, their vision, their passion, and their love for one another.

In a sense, they are collectively…..God. Aya. One.

They are the indigos, the crystals, and the rainbows.

They may very well be the catalysts who usher in an age of true interdependence.

They are The Connectors.

I am glad to be a part of the connection.

An Adventurous Introvert

Personality tests are a lot of fun for me. Most of the time when I take them, I am mixed up and confused enough that no single dominant trait just screams to the world, “HEY, THIS DESCRIBES ANGIE PERFECTLY!!!!”

Today was different.

Maybe I’m getting really comfortable in my new skin.

Today I took the mini version of Enneagram test. Hitting the submit button revealed that I am a strong Type 7 with moderate doses of Types 1, 2, and 4.

So I clicked to read the description of Type 7.

And I died laughing.

Rarely if ever have I seen a more perfect description of me. Every quirk, whim, emotion, and attitude was right there on the screen before my eyes.

Apparently, I am an Adventurer.

The Adventurer (the Seven)

Adventurers are energetic, lively, and optimistic. They want to contribute to the world.

How to Get Along with Me
(this is important–and right on target, so pay attention!)

  • Give me companionship, affection, and freedom. Freedom is the biggie.
  • Engage with me in stimulating conversation and laughter.
  • Appreciate my grand visions and listen to my stories. Yes, I know my left-brained, details-heavy version is a bit monotonous, but hang with me on it.
  • Don’t try to change my style. Accept me the way I am. You’ll only frustrate yourself if you expect anything else.
  • Be responsible for youself. I dislike clingy or needy people. Including my own children….just sayin’. You ARE over the age of four. I think you can fix your own breakfast at this point. And lunch. And possibly dinner, too.
  • Don’t tell me what to do. Really. Don’t. Unless you want me to do the opposite, then you can try it and see what happens.

What I Like About Being a Seven

  • being optimistic and not letting life’s troubles get me down
  • being spontaneous and free-spirited (Some might go so far as to say “irresponsible”. It’s okay. The spontaneous part is a bit of a stretch.)
  • being outspoken and outrageous. It’s part of the fun. Another way of saying this is I really enjoy yanking the chains of those who think they’ve got things figured out. Really. Have you read my stuff?
  • being generous and trying to make the world a better place
  • having the guts to take risks and to try exciting adventures (Can you say, “I quit!”?)
  • having such varied interests and abilities (There is so much to learn and so much to do? How’s a girl ever gonna pick something?)

What’s Hard About Being a Seven

  • not having enough time to do all the things I want (or money)
  • not completing things I start (uh….ouch…but true)
  • not being able to profit from the benefits that come from specializing; not making a commitment to a career (Let’s see how many different things I can find to do in my lifetime!)
  • having a tendency to be ungrounded; getting lost in plans or fantasies
  • feeling confined when I’m in a one-to-one relationship (This doesn’t apply to my marriage of 21 years, but that’s mostly because I got someone who respects my free spirit. If he were possessive, he’d probably already be dead.)

Sevens as Children Often

  • are action oriented and adventuresome (My guess is riding baby calves and milking cats falls into this category. Hey, what can I say? It was 13 miles from civilization. A kids got to find some sort of entertainment when cable doesn’t exist.)
  • drum up excitement (Ask a few old band directors about this one. Puns intended, but only those who knew me will understand.)
  • prefer being with other children to being alone (But only if they are nice to me.)
  • finesse their way around adults (Might have played a few to my advantage.)
  • dream of the freedom they’ll have when they grow up (As I hear the sound of Simba singing, “Oh I just can’t WAIT to be KING!” playing in my head.)

Sevens as Parents

  • are often enthusiastic and generous (or not)
  • want their children to be exposed to many adventures in life (and spend their retirement trying to pay for it)
  • may be too busy with their own activities to be attentive (uhm….possibly)

I posted this valuable info on Facebook and a friend asked me what my MBTI is. That’s the one that measures  introvert/extrovert, sensing/intuition, thinking/feeling, and judging/perceiving. I presented as an ISFJ, 67, 38, 12, 1. That means I am significantly introverted, in case you are confused.

You can stop saying “Nuh-uh” now.

I know. It’s shocking. The world simply isn’t prepared for the news that Angie Cox is an introvert. Well, folks, it’s true. It’s been true most of my life.

Case in point: Tuesday night was the stock show sale. Not exactly a crowd in which I have lots of buddies. There are great people out there, but their path in life has typically taken a very different route than mine. Hubby had gone to a basketball game with daughter #2. I was on my own with the munchkins who actually have a social life and promptly abandoned me to avoid total embarrassment.

Where was Angie?

After forcing myself to visit with my nice neighbor from 3 houses down with whom I haven’t spoken in a very very very long time (don’t worry….it’s strictly due to my introversive nature, nothing is wrong with this relationship), I meandered about for awhile, watched a bit of the proceedings standing by myself, held up the wall for a few minutes, tried to be my big brother’s shadow for a bit, then found my way into the sheep/goat barn where there was a radiant heater beaming it’s glorious goodness down on whomever would stand and absorb. There I stood until almost time to come home. A few people came by and visited for a few minutes, but I did not seek out anyone to “hang with”. I was perfectly content leaning against the wall all alone with that luscious heat beaming down on my cold body watching the comings and goings of the the night.

And was I ever so glad to get home.

Facebook and blogging are an introvert’s best friends, by the way.

Apparently I am also a sensor/feeler. I knew this. Although I have been in denial for a very long time.

I am like the thermostat for a room full of people. I can detect if even one person is uncomfortable, confused, or otherwise “off-kilter”.

And I am miserable for them until the situation is corrected.

Sometimes I even take it upon myself to ask the question I know is contributing to the look of confusion on their face, even if I already know the answer.

I rock like that.

This information means it is highly unlikely I will ever be a boss.

I could never fire anyone.

I’d be too worried about how they would be feeling.

So when I’m old and gray and wrinkled (well, I’m already working on that last part), and you find me alone next to a wall warming myself by a heater, please consider engaging me in stimulating conversation and laughter as you’ve been instructed above.

Maybe it will help keep my brain in semi-working condition.

Analysis of an Attitude

“I’ve come to the conclusion that the story of Jesus speaks directly against the things embodied in American Christianity (at least, its most prominent forms). It’s amazing how far it’s come when people who (frequently, loudly) call themselves his followers are most commonly associated with mocking people who seek peace, with lambasting the poor for their condition, with demanding vengeance in all things foreign and domestic, and with their unquestioning support of a financial system that inevitably promotes the accumulation of useless shit.” –Rob, in a comment on Nakedpastor’s website.

That just about sums up perfectly where I am at this point in life. As you may have noticed in previous blog posts, my current spiritual quest is to find and follow as best I can the real Jesus.

Not the one created in 70 C.E. and the 300 years that followed.

Not the one created by Constantine, Peter, or Paul.

Not the one most of us hear about on CBN, the Angel Network, or even Pat Robertson (although I’m considering becoming a fan since he suggested legalizing pot might actually improve this country).

Not the one who died for our sins so that our poor, wretched, miserable, sinful, self-loathing, unlovable,  pathetic, awful, unworthy selves could sit at the feet of a lightning-bolt-wielding, angry, bitter, resentful, all-powerful, ever-present, all-knowing male God for all eternity.

Not the one who didn’t go down to Georgia and didn’t make a deal with the Devil.

Nope. I’m in search of the guy who walked the earth in leather sandals, said love is the greatest commandment, told his disciples to go above and beyond in their compassion to others, even when those others are their “haters”, and used the healing power of touch and energy transference to change people’s lives.

I’m looking for the one that showed people how important it is to take care of one another‘s basic needs.

The one who was killed because the church of the day saw him as a subversive.

Yeah.

That’s the one.

I want to be like him.

Maybe minus the “killed” part.


Jesus Feeds the Multitude–A Miracle Retold

It was one of those epiphany moments. It was an instant in which everything came into clearer view. Something I always thought I knew and understood suddenly shifted into focus. The outcome was the same, however the details of the process were different.

More importantly, my view of the message and purpose of Jesus shifted once again.

Imagine the scene. It’s easy. It’s a story with which we are all familiar. Crowds have begun to follow Jesus and his rag-tag bunch of loyal trainees. He was their guru. They were his disciples. Better than Connan O’Brian or Jimmy Kimmel, this Jesus guy was a boatload of contradictions: sarcastic and straight-forward, funny and serious, aloof and compassionate, wise and seemingly foolish, positive and cynical. People who could get close enough to him were forever changed.

He was simply irresistible.

It’s a typical day in the countryside areas of Judea. The crowds have found the guru. Everyone is gathered in close straining to hear what the guru called Jesus has to say. He’s not some televangelist asking for money. He talks about sharing, but asks for nothing for himself. He mentions loving not only neighbors and friends and family, but also enemies. He says a neighbor isn’t necessarily someone of the same race or clan, but the one who shows compassion.

He mentions how lucky the poor are (this crowd is full of peasant men and women) because they don’t have wordly possessions weighing them down. He shares how the kindgom of God is not something guarded by the priests, but rather is contained within and attainable by each and every person there. He even says little children already “get it” and that becoming like a child is a good way to experience the kingdom.

His words of wisdom continue until later in the day. The disciples begin to let the cares of the world move in as they lose site of the day’s message.

“Jesus, it’s getting late, and these people are bound to be hungry. What are we going to do? We can’t just send them away.”

Here’s where the story takes a turn for me. Most of us are familiar with the only miracle story that appears in all four of the New Testament Gospels. Jesus tells the disciples to see what’s available. They find a small boy with five barley loaves and two small fish. Jesus takes the food, prays over it, breaks it, and miraculously it feeds thousands with baskets of leftovers.

And then this morning, my epiphany.

What if the miracle wasn’t a “powerful deity” miracle, but a “changing hearts” miracle? What if the sudden appearance of plenty of food had nothing to do with the magical duplication of five loaves and two fish, but was instead the magic of an example of sharing as set by a small boy?

What if absolutely nothing supernatural happened to the food supply that day?

And so our story continues, my way.

The disciples reported back to Jesus that a small boy, a child too young to know better than to hide what he had brought with him, had eagerly begged the disciples to take what he had and give it to those around him who were hungry.

After all, his hero, Jesus of Nazareth, had just said the way to experience the kingdom of God was through giving and sharing.

Then Jesus gratefully acknowledged that little boy and showered him with love and adoration. “But Jesus called the children to him and said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.'” Luke 18:16-17

Jesus blessed the small meal and began to share it.

And suddenly the hearts of the crowd began to soften. Jesus words about giving, sharing, and being like this little child affected them deeply. Many had brought along a lunch that day. It would have been foolish to travel out to the countryside empty-handed. They never went anywhere without at least a few provisions. Everyone present began to share what they had with the person next to them.

After the crowd had satisfied it’s hunger, Jesus asked the disciples to go around and gather up all that remained. Several more could have been fed from the leftovers.

Jesus made a beautiful point that day. If we take care of each other, share what we have and meet the needs of our fellow humans, not only will there be more than enough for everyone to be satisfied, but there will be plenty left over.

What good does it to do collect and store and stash and hoard if rust and moth ravage the loot? Mother Earth (God) is good to us. There will always be provisions enough to take care of everyone if set our sights on sharing what we have, not from our abundance, but from our very sustenance.

That little boy shared his lunch. It was all he had to eat that day. He didn’t know any better. By doing so, a miracle happened. His example opened the hearts of the entire crowd and everyone shared the little they had brought with them. Before the little boy opened his heart and his hands, no one seemed to have anything to share. Everyone was keeping the meagerness of their poverty lifestyle food to themselves.

One little boy opened his heart, and Jesus used it to open so many others.

Through sharing the most meager of resources, abundance was produced.The kingdom of God was experienced by everyone present, and  Jesus lesson was beautifully illustrated.

I like this version much better than the one that assumes deity must do some type of magic to turn five loaves and two fish into a banquet feast. It puts the power and the responsibility back on us……

….right where it belongs.

What if this were to happen today? What if we suddenly had no need for welfare because we simply took care of our neighbors?

It would take a miracle.

I’m pretty sure there’s a political statement in here somewhere. I bet you can figure it out.

2010: Looking Back So I Can Look Forward

Looking back is not something I typically do. There’s nothing a person can do to change what’s been done, and spending time dwelling on it is pretty much a waste of time.

This year, however, I think it is important for me to look back at the past twelve months so that I can recognize how much has changed and how far I have come, not to mention the many adventures that I experienced this year.

Twenty ten saw me take my first REAL yoga classes.

It was during one of those yogic moments of peaceful reflection that I made the decision to resign my job of 18 years.

That decision and its subsequent public announcement led to an energy shift in my workplace that was nothing short of miraculous. I don’t know who was more relieved, me or my co-workers.

It was the year we decided that maybe building a house at the farm wasn’t the best idea. We realized my in-laws wouldn’t be with us very many more years and that no one else in the family had a desire to live in their house. We couldn’t bear the thought of it sitting empty or being sold. We began to create a vision that involved once again restoring what we had rather than buying brand new.

Twenty ten was the year my sweet man helped move his aging parents to a nursing home. We didn’t realize how quickly our prediction would come to pass.

It was also the year we said “see ya later” to his handsome daddy.  We miss you, Charlie.

I realized this year that keeping forty years worth of mail and magazines is not a good idea.

I learned that while some things aren’t mine to discard, the rest of the family appreciates not having to do as much of it.

This year I figured out that it is possible to simultaneously be mad at my man for something he can’t fix and feel guilty for being mad at him.

I discovered that when meltdowns happen, I don’t really want anyone to fix or analyze the problem. I pretty much just want to be held by my man and allowed to blubber like a moron into total exhaustion.

I also discovered that sorting through 40 years worth of mail can trigger the aforementioned meltdown.

I messaged my dad and told him I’d haunt him in the afterlife if he left all his crap for me to sort through.

Sometimes having an entire week with no massage clients is a blessing to allow one to work on a more important project.

I really need to clean out my crap so my children won’t have to.

This year also saw the ongoing work on my wellness center progress from slightly nicer than trashy (requiring closed doors and plastic sheeting) to something that has become downright adorable.

My massage clientele has grown from about five on January 1, 2010 to about 75 today and from a few sessions a month to multiple sessions a week.

I have a gift. I don’t know what I do differently, and many times I feel very inadequate to help someone, yet people keep telling me I really do make a difference.

2010 was the year I realized how much I need to feel as though I am making a difference.

This year was the first year since 1992 that I have not attended August Staff Development.

I miss my friends.

I don’t miss the beaurocracy and protocol.

Twenty ten was the year I said goodbye to windowless cinderblock and electromagnetic fields.

It’s the year I discovered how amazing it is to give a massage in a thunderstorm.

It’s also the year I learned that the sound of geese flying over head is another sweet background symphony for giving a massage.

This year gave me time to can 100 pounds of apples, oodles of tomatoes, more jalapeños than I will ever need, and even make some apricot jam. I haven’t done that in probably 18 years because I was always back at work by the time the garden was ready.

This year we took our cowgirl to the state horse show, sent her off to horse camp, sent our oldest to Germany for a month, and then moved her to the far corner of New Mexico to go to school.

This year found daughter number two with a drivers license and an appreciation for the freedom even a 12 year old mini-van can bring.

It was the year my baby played on her first club basketball basketball team and decided she could live with an occasional bloody nose.

This was the year I told a man in leadership that I wanted strong female role models in my daughters’ lives.

It has also been the year I’ve had to remind myself that I got what I wished for and that everything else is secondary, even though there is some frustration.

This was the year I gave up on my hybrid car and helped my oldest get her first car.

This was the year I learned to be really really patient with licensing agencies. It took three months, but we finally got my oldest licensed to practice massage therapy in New Mexico without making any state agency enemies. The holdup was one of semantics. Terminology.

It was also the year I was glad my oldest didn’t have a job, because after completely missing Christmas last year due to work and snow, she has been home with us for a whole month. I kinda like having her around.

I hope she never gets a job, but rather finds a way to make a living on her own terms.

This was the year that 85% of my 18 years worth of retirement savings disappeared. In all fairness, it did a lot. It did things that couldn’t have been done if I had continued to work at my former job. It blessed my girls.

This was the year that I finally told my story.

And the year that I released some resentment in exchange for recognizing the gifts.

This year saw me let go of the guilt of “should” and simply enjoy “being”.

I learned that sometimes procrastination simply means the time isn’t yet right.

Twenty ten is the year I learned that there is a big difference between being a Christian and being a disciple of a man named Jesus.

I don’t want to be a Christian.

I want to be  like Jesus.

This year saw my eyes open to the historical origins of the Bible and let go of my blind belief in its divine authorship.

It also saw another major shift in my belief system.

I think I might have been wrong about a few things.

Twenty ten was the year I found some amazing people who are also on a quest for enlightenment and truth: Ronna Detrick, Renae Cobb, Don Rogers, and Chris Ledgerwood to name a few. I am grateful to have made their acquaintance and experienced their encouragement.

It was the year of a broken leg for cowgirl and a broken nose for my mom. Note to both: Be careful what you wish for. Sometimes you get your wish, but with a bit of an inconvenient side effect. Good lesson for me. I wonder if I caught on or if I’ll have to learn that one for myself sometime?

Twenty ten will go down as the year that I took a leap off of a cliff and had to build my wings during the free-fall.

My wings are in place, and now the ascension begins. There’s a pretty good climb ahead, but I have a hunch the view from the top of 2011 is going to be exhilerating.

That’s a big word that means really scary but very much worth it once the mountain is climbed.

Bring it on.

Observations on Love and Romance

The past few weeks have given me ample opportunity to observe the world around me.  It’s provided quite an education, or in some cases a bit of re-education.

It’s been fun to watch my kids, Christmas shoppers, extended family, my sweet man, good friends, movies, and more. However, I think the most intriguing observations have come from watching the many forms of love being played out in different settings.

It’s touching.

It’s frustrating.

It’s heartbreaking.

It’s beautiful.

There are a few things I have noticed that I think are important to mention.

Love is a choice. An everyday, wake-up-in-the-morning, get-through-the-day, because-I-want-to-love-you choice. It’s not a feeling that comes and goes. It exists through migraines, black eyes, busted lips, cash-flow-shortfalls, home renovation projects, crappy jobs, and more because we choose each and every moment to love another human being.

There is very little that is more difficult and heartbreaking than watching someone you love more than life itself suffering in pain. It’s true even when the injuries are relatively minor and heal quickly. Watching a child, a parent, or a lover hurt creates an overwhelming urge to throw up. Where’s a magic wand when you need one?

It is entirely possible to be madly, passionately, uncontrollably in love with someone and still want to smack ’em upside the head occasionally. Doesn’t matter if you are 20, 45,  or 70. I’m not advocating the smacking, just acknowledging that the urge occasionally surfaces.

The urge to smack a lover upside the head is usually followed shortly thereafter by an equally overwhelming urge to disappear behind closed doors and “…have a little fun when we turn out the lights…” (my regards to the musical group Alabama).

First romance is adorable. Freakin’ crazy precious adorable….when done right.

Being overly rational where love is concerned can lead to missed opportunity.

Sometimes the first time people meet and fall in love, it’s just too early. Life has a way of bringing things back around full circle. The trick is to trust the process, without waiting on the process. Roll with life. Don’t burn the bridge that will carry you over the canyon.

When the standard of perfection has been set, it’s really a waste of time and emotion to toy with those who don’t meet the standard. Just keep your eyes on the standard and know that when the time is right, it will appear beautifully, romantically, and perfectly. It is, however, perfectly acceptable to sample the menu in small doses to establish a basis for comparison.

It’s important to know the difference between having a standard created by logic and having a standard created by your heart. The heart is way smarter than the brain. The brain tends to mess things up by over thinking. I am grateful to know this lesson first hand and to be the one who listened to my heart when my brain was telling me how stupid I was.

It’s paid off beautifully.

The stronger the reaction (even negative), the more likely it is that there is unfinished business. Recognize it for what it is, and shower it with gratitude rather than attempt to drowned it in an ocean of anger.

There is a window of time in which it is good to be a bit subtle, however, ongoing efforts to be subtle and coy simply mask true feelings. When your heart and soul are already in shreds, the best thing is to be honest. Sometimes that’s all the other person needs is to see you for who you really are. If they run, then so be it.

Never ask a guy what he is thinking. Odds are he’s not. It’s a gift they have.

It’s never a good thing to expect a man to be overly romantic. Often times the ideal image we create is completely incompatible with 24/7 romantic male. Prince Charming arriving to sweep us off our feet is usually in direct opposition to the strong, hard-working, silent type. If he is willing to change a baby diaper, push a vacuum, mow the lawn, fix the toilet, clean the kitchen, cook supper, build a wall,  or feed your animals when it is snowing, that’s the equivalent of being handed a dozen red roses and being swept off your feet. Face it, accept it, be grateful, and recognize the disguise.

And finally, I am so full of gratitude for having survived my journey into love, for having a lover, friend, and companion who is willing to tolerate all my weirdness and quirky behaviors, and for time we have had and the time that remains to spend together. Each moment is priceless. Funny thing…..when I see us in photos, I see how time has changed us. When I look at him face to face, I still see that gorgeously hot 29 year old with the amazing dark brown hair and piercing blue eyes.

As I watch my girls tiptoe into the adventure that is finding love, I am swept back 25 years to that roller coaster that they are now experiencing.

It’s a stomach-turning, hands-in-the-air, scream-at-the-top-of-your-lungs thrill ride, but what a rush it is.

What a rush!

What Would Jesus Say?

Most of us are familiar with the WWJD (what would Jesus do?) bracelets that burst on the scene a few years ago. They served a very useful purpose: To remind us to think about what Jesus’ reaction would be to a given situation. Were they effective? I don’t know.

They certainly made someone a lot of money.

I wonder if the vendors in the temple courts had a WWJD bracelet booth back in the day?

Anyway, it got me to thinking. Scary, I know. Me thinking is usually the equivalent to violently shaking a bottle of nitro-glycerin. Something’s probably going to blow up and someone could end up with a shrapnel (sp?) injury.

Lately I’ve been pondering what Jesus might say to us today if he were to suddenly appear before our eyes. There’s a lot we blame/credit him for saying that historically speaking probably didn’t come out of his mouth. There is very little we know with any level of historical confidence that can be attributed to him and him alone.

So I figure if the writers of first three centuries can put something out there and give Jesus the credit, I might as well give it a shot, too. Who knows? Two thousand years from now, maybe some archeologist will find a random hard drive at an excavation sight in Houston, discover my digital record of “What Jesus Said”, then proclaim it a divinely inspired writing. That’d be some serious irony.

And who’s to say my writing isn’t inspired by God?

So what WOULD Jesus say in the days leading up to Christmas 2010? What would he utter that would inspire us, direct us, even change us for the better?

I think I can do this. I have a cynical streak….a heavy dose of sarcasm and lame humor that runs deep in my veins. Jesus was apparently a cynic and a bit on the sarcastic side, too, so we relate well.

Jesus: “Note to self. Humans will make a god out of a tree. Why didn’t I see this coming?”

Jesus: “I think maybe you misunderstood a few things. I said there are ONLY two commands. Both start with the word LOVE. Where’s the confusion?”

Jesus: “How the hell did you manage to twist love your enemies into permission to commit murder and genocide in my name? Don’t blame me for that crap!”

Jesus: “That Paul guy? Why did you decide to do things his way instead of my way? He was way too friendly with the peyote stuff.”

Jesus: “Give me a hug. Free hugs.”

Jesus: “It’s amazing how many people you can feed with a small donation. You should try it sometime.”

Jesus: “Yeah…so….I’m really not into following rules in case you hadn’t noticed.”

Jesus: “Now tell me again why you keep looking for the kingdom of God in a church? I thought I was pretty clear that the Kingdom of God is within you, not outside of you.”

Jesus: “I tried leaving this thing in the hands of the women folk. The men just had to take over and mess things up with their my way or the highway methods. That one hasn’t worked out so well, now has it, Guys?”

Jesus: “Yeah, okay. So I really did like it when the chicka washed my feet with her tears and hair then put the smelly-good stuff on them for me, but these $20 million dollar church buildings are probably a little more than I had in mind.”

Jesus: “Uhm….yeah….so…..the keyword is love, not fear. What are you so afraid of? Hell? Here’s a tip for you—that hell thing wasn’t created until after I was gone. The ‘men’ in charge made that one up so you’d keep giving them money. And for Peter’s sake, how many times did I tell you ‘Do NOT FEAR?’ I fail to see how that was confusing.”

Jesus: “You people suck at translating. Seriously. If your language doesn’t have a word that means what the original says, then maybe you should just leave the original alone instead of making up something totally different and then blaming me.”

Jesus: “Y’all are WAY too literal. Chill out. Roll with the parable. Enjoy the mythology and mystery of it all.”

Jesus: “Moses is a cranky-butt. Abraham is the cool one.”

According to my twenty year old, Jesus would also be singing Bob Marley’s “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.” Now there’s a mildly disturbing image to carry around in your brain. Her edits: “I also think he’d smoke some weed. Every other male in Silver City with long hair and a beard does. Why not Jesus? The picture we paint is exactly that of a hippie stoner from silver.”  :)

What else would Jesus be saying?

Peace on Earth

That’s what Christmas is about, right? Wishing for “Peace on Earth and Goodwill Toward Men”?

But what would it take?

Really.

What would it take to bring peace to this planet?

Praying for peace obviously hasn’t worked. You’d think an Almighty God would be totally and completely into making that one happen.

Oh yeah. “He” gave us  free will. Darn the luck. Guess that means those prayers for peace on earth are pretty much wasted effort.

So what’s another option?

I mean, after all, if the Big Cahuna can’t make it happen (or won’t), that pretty much leaves it all up to us, doesn’t it? So much for an all-powerful God.

At this point we will pause for a minute to allow you to process that logic. Go ahead. Throw out all the “yeah, buts” you can muster. Explain how all is right with the world because God is in control and answers prayers, but that whole Peace on Earth thing is just not in his cards. Be sure to go down the road “God is a God of Love” right to the intersection of “God is a God of War”. Pause on the side of that road at the part where innocent babies suffer from starvation and women can be stoned or hanged in the name of God for opening their mouths (or showing skin for that matter) in public.  It’s okay. I’ll let you work through it.

Try not to lose your religion over it.

Or…..

Maybe that’s what it will take.

Maybe the path John Lennon “Imagined” is exactly what is necessary to finally achieve peace on earth.  Take a moment to listen and watch this. Focus on every single word and phrase. Ask yourself honestly what the world would be like if there was no religion. Set aside the knee-jerk reaction about “no heaven” and “no hell” if only for a moment.

Just ponder the possibilities.

Gives me chills every time I hear it. That’s the energy of the Universe coursing through my veins.

I get it.

Do you?

Special thanks to Christopher Ledgerwood for giving me reason to pause and consider this at a deeper level.

Truth and Terror

I am terrified to tell the truth.

Not average ordinary everyday sorta truth.

My truth. The truth about what I believe at this point in my life. The truth about my faith, my thoughts, and my passions.

It’s just not a popular stance in these parts.

And so, I tip-toe around my truth, throwing nuggets out into the blogosphere, waiting and wondering what type of response I will get with each post. Most comments are supportive, their authors apparently traveling a road similar to mine. A few are challenging, compelled by years of religious training to defend God’s honor and defeat the forces of Satan, which it seems I may have become to them.

There are people about whom I care deeply who seem quite agitated by the road my faith has taken. I think they fear my spiritual destiny will land me in hell for all eternity.

If not me, then my poor un-churched children, for sure.

Yet one of my truths is this: I no longer believe a place called hell actually exists. Neither do a believe in a fallen-angel-evil-spirit named Satan. I truly believe he/it is a creation of those who would lie to the uneducated to enslave their mind, their loyalty, and their money.

That much has been put out there for the world to see.

And it stresses those whose Sundays revolve around fear of spending eternity with the evil one.

But there is so much more. My truth is unfolding on a daily, even hourly basis. There is more to be told. More to be confessed. More to be revealed. More reactions to fear.

More reasons to hold back my truth.

And then an encouraging word from a spiritual mentor arrives in my email…questions prodding me to speak my truth and acknowledge my faith where it is today, boldly, fearlessly.

As I sat at my desk reading the words composed in Ronna Detrick’s newsletter, these words grabbed me and yanked my complacent brain cells back into reality. These words left me once again feeling the passion and fire that begs me to share my truth….my reality.

“Lies were perpetuated; lies that have existed for thousands of years; ones that (we are) asked to bear the weight of. Though not spoken nearly so blatantly, this is what was ultimately being said: A woman only has value when connected to a man, when submissive. A woman is dangerous. A woman should recognize and acknowledge that her gender, through the sin of her forebear Eve, is single-handedly responsible for The Fall and all of humanity’s subsequent separation from Eden, God, and all that is good. No pressure. All lies.

And that is when I realized that I am not wrong. I am not evil. I am not dangerous. I am simply seeking the truth…..telling the truth……accepting reality rather than myth.

There is nothing wrong with myth until it is accepted as absolute truth….as law….and is used to abuse, confine, restrict, and terrorize people in their ignorance.

The truth is, I cannot understand why otherwise rational, skeptical, and even occasionally suspicious people have allowed themselves to accept as legally binding ancient traditions that require suspension of the known laws of nature and common sense. I cannot understand why even I did this for years.

We have adopted traditions and beliefs about a period of time that cannot be corroborated by historical evidence, and in fact in many cases has been shown to be an embellishment by writers with an agenda and an authoritative mandate.

That mandate certainly didn’t come from divine inspiration delivered by an omnipotent God.

The truth is, I would love to see a restoration to the original purposes and intentions  of a human being who lived 2000 years ago whose name is translated into English as Jesus.

The truth is, this thing we have created called Christianity isn’t/wasn’t his doing.

The truth is, we are not inherently sinful, but inherently good. Those ideas of sinfulness were created by men to financially support their temples, their churches, and their religious dynasties by creating fear in the masses and demanding payment for forgiveness of sins. Yes, Jesus hoped to end the insanity, but alas, the old enslaving ideas were re-created using his goodness as justification.

The truth is, we would probably come closer to understanding the teachings of Jesus by studying the teachings of Buddha, not Paul or Moses.

The truth is, the Jesus portrayed in most of the New Testament probably isn’t the Jesus who walked the earth. The Christ of the New Testament was created by men some 100-300 years after the legendary man made his escape from a physical body. I doubt Jesus would even recognize that creation as himself, nor would he approve.

The truth is, resurrection has become a distraction from the true purpose of Jesus’ life and message. We have made it about resurrection and salvation when in fact, it is about imitation and service to others.

…..because believing, accepting, and proselytizing is much easier than giving, doing, and becoming.

The truth is, we are all connected. That “one body” stuff isn’t church talk. We are interconnected like the cells, tissues, organs, and systems that make up the human body. We are parts of a body that is God. God is not something we seek. God is within us. We are God and God is us. When we take care of hungry, homeless families in Honduras, we are sending life-giving blood with it’s oxygen and nutrients to a part of our own body that is suffering.

When we attack each other through wars and abuse, we are nothing more than a cancer or autoimmune disease within the human race.

I am tired of the lies that divide the cells of the body that is the Universe. I am tired of believing the man-made myths that were never intended to be taken as divine truth. I am tired of feeling as though I must either love “The Church” or love people from all walks of life, but not both.

I am tired of persecution and destruction in the name of God. I am tired of being afraid of those who disagree with me.

I want to heal the body (the world) as Jesus did.

This is my truth, terror and all.

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