Monday, December 31, 2018

Mathematics. It’s the Key to the Universe

Here is our relationship with God, written as a mathematical expression. 

C=F/(R>0) where C is connectedness; F is the flow of the Holy Spirit; and R is our resistance. Here are some questions to think about as we prepare to welcome another new year. 
  1. Is this true for all humans or only ‘Born Again Christians’?
  2. Why must R be greater than zero, mathematically and practically?
  3. Was there ever a person whose R was in fact zero?
  4. What is your R value? What can you do to lower it in the new year?

The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you;

the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.

Thursday, December 20, 2018


Everyone is different. Once we get past the obviousness of this statement we can begin to understand how profound the truth of it actually is. It means my opinion, no matter how strongly I believe in it, no matter how logical it is or how much supporting evidence I may be able to find, is in the end my own. You, being a free moral agent, may agree or disagree but that will not make things any less right or wrong. It simply means we disagree. 

Tolerance, in some circles, has a bad reputation. What passes for tolerance today is mostly the idea of being tolerant (more on this tomorrow). Tolerance frees us from the burden of having to convince-or having to be convinced-one way (mine, for example) of seeing things is the correct way and the other (yours) is not. Tolerance goes beyond mere lip service to an opposing point of view; we are now free to discern whatever truth may be lurking in the shadows of the ‘opposition’. Accepting one another as individuals helps us see the Imago Dei in one another. We can now be truly present to the one another. This is how tolerance moves from the realm of idea into a discipline we can practice.

Biblical tolerance cannot exist in a vacuum. It it must be accompanied by other virtues such as justice, mercy, forgiveness, humility, love. The Hebrew Bible has a word for this-hesed, translated as steadfast love, lovingkindness, kindness, unfailing love, mercifulness, pity and more. Hesed refers to an attribute of God and has nothing to do with the idea of tolerance, which more often than not leads to intolerance toward anyone whom I do not perceive to be as tolerant as I am. Tolerance, accompanied by hesed, is a way for us to mirror God, who puts up with a lot foolishness from His beloved children. 

Monday, December 17, 2018

Knowing, Being Known

“The most precious gift we can offer others is our presence. When our mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers. If you love someone but rarely make yourself available to him or her, that is not true love...mindfulness is very much like the Holy Spirit. Both of them help us touch the ultimate dimension of reality. Mindfulness helps us touch nirvana, and the Holy Spirit offers us a door to the Trinity.”

Excerpt From
Living Buddha, Living Christ 20th Anniversary Edition
Thích Nhất Hạnh & Elaine Pagels
This material may be protected by copyright.

When it comes to God mindfulness becomes a two way street. He is always present to us, showing us steadfast love (see, for example, Ps. 23:6; 139:7-12; Jer.23:24; Lam.3:22-23). How often are we truly present to Him? When we pray, most of us, despite our best efforts, inject some of ourselves into our prayers. In Bible study we tend to do the same thing-this is how I understand that passage; this is what I think this means. Now I’m not saying these things are inherently wrong. Both Jesus and Paul invite us to let out requests be made known to God. Paul warns Timothy not to neglect the Scriptures; to study to show himself approved.  What I am saying is to be truly present to God requires a certain quiet mindfulness-removing ourselves from the equation, so to speak. We do that by not doing anything. We cultivate silence and stillness and listen. It is an acquired skill, but this is where transformation of the heart occurs. This is where we transition form knowing about to knowing; to allowing ourselves to be known. 

“Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my thoughts.
See if there is any wicked way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23-24

“ is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God...And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” Romans 8:16, 27.

“ returning to me
and resting in me will you be saved.
In quietness and confidence is your strength..” Isiah 30:15

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Be still and know

Psalms 46:10 (NRSV)
“Be still, and know that I am God!
I am exalted among the nations,
I am exalted in the earth.”

“There are many conflicting feelings and ideas within us, and it is important for us to look deeply and know what is going on. When there are wars within us, it will not be long before we are at war with others, even those we love. The violence, hatred, discrimination, and fear in society water the seeds of the violence, hatred, discrimination, and fear in us. If we go back to ourselves and touch our feelings, we will see the ways that we furnish fuel for the wars going on inside. Meditation is, first of all, a tool for surveying our own territory so we can know what is going on. With the energy of mindfulness, we can calm things down, understand them, and bring harmony back to the conflicting elements inside us. If we can learn ways to touch the peace, joy, and happiness that are already there, we will become healthy and strong, and a resource for others.”

Christians would call this opening up our hearts to the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Or simply trusting God. 

Isaiah 26:3 (NASB)
“The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace,
Because he trusts in You.

Philippians 4:4-7 (NIV)
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Excerpt From
Living Buddha, Living Christ 20th Anniversary Edition
Thích Nhất Hạnh & Elaine Pagels
This material may be protected by copyright.