Sunday, January 2, 2011

Will the Real God Please Stand Up? (01/02/2011)

Talking with a friend recently, he said, "you probably need to know I am an Atheist and believe that everyone can and should be allowed to believe whatever they want and should be accepted by all." He added, "Atheists are not necessarily bad people and may be better than many so-called "Christians" who are so full of hypocrisy."

I couldn’t agree more.

I was raised in a Christian, politically conservative home. The older I get, the less comfortable I am with much of organized "religion", although I consider myself a strongly spiritual person. Lately, I have begun to describe myself as a "Red Letter" Christian Conservative Liberal. Is there such a thing? Maybe I have coined a new phrase/category.      :)

I’ve never had to struggle over whether I believed in God or not even though I frequently question the motives and behavior of His followers.

The hypocrisy and intolerance of some so-called Christians is hard to fathom. How long have we been reading and listening to the words of Jesus now? Shouldn’t we be past the baby stage and living as mature believers?

Too many of us speak and act as though we are the Judge instead of the Judgee. Ooops! Now I am judging.

(My second husband, an Agnostic, and I attended the First Unitarian Church in Nashville for several years. Unitarians are known, among other things, for their tolerance. The "inside joke" among them being, "is it intolerant to be intolerant of intolerance?"

With regard to my belief in God, it starts with not being able to grasp the idea that something came from nothing. I believe something came from something. And that’s what I call God.  I know, I know, if you take this idea to its logical conclusion . . . you can't.  No matter how far back you go, there is something and who created something.  So finally your boggled mind says, I can't think anymore.  So you either accept it (God) or not.  So I did.

Yeshua, Dieu, God, Vishnu, Allah, Krishna – these are simply the words that mean "God" in different languages. There are as many names of God as there are languages/cultures that believe in Him. What we call Him is a reflection of the language we speak. What we believe about Him, however, is a reflection of us.

I believe God can be as personal – or impersonal – as we wish Him to be.

I have had a lifetime of personal experiences and examples of what seem to me to be Divine intervention and protection for me and my family. So for me, my relationship with Him has always been personal and rewarding. In fact, the latest known miracle in our family occurred just two months ago.

My oldest son was riding his Harley in the left lane on Hwy 412 a few miles West of 65 heading toward his home in Mt. Pleasant. He was driving 60 mph when suddenly the little red truck in the right lane swerved into his lane. He had two nano seconds to realize what was happening and tried to speed past it, but the truck clipped the back end of his motorcycle and he and the bike careened 300 feet down the road before stopping.

Somewhere along the way, he and his bike parted company. The bike, we learned later, was "totaled" (per the insurance company). Tom, on the other hand, though dazed and bruised, picked himself up and called a friend to come and get him. A check-up at the hospital revealed nothing more than a broken bone in the tip of his left index finger, a couple of cracked ribs, and road rash all over his arms.

Now THAT’S what I call a miracle!
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Recently I was painting my living room and had the TV turned to NATGEO, my favorite channel. I was listening to a program called, "Journey To the Edge of the Universe", or something like that. Alex Baldwin was the narrator. The concept for the program was that we were in a space ship going across the universe to the edge. When we got to the latest planet recently discovered, the narrator said, "to get some semblance of distance perspective, imagine that the universe is one mile across. Now that we have arrived at this planet, we are approximately three inches across the mile."

Trying to comprehend this is also mind-boggling. But it does increase my sense of humility for what I know and think and believe and increases my awe and amazement for Whoever/Whatever created it all. In fact, I would say that what I know about anything is the size of a grain of sand on the beach compared to what there is to know.

To oversimplify my own perspective, bring to mind every word or concept that is positive. Love, peace, joy, beauty, goodness, mercy, kindness, forgiveness, truth, long-suffering, et cetera et cetera. That is GOD.

Then conjure up every negative word or concept you can think of – hate, jealousy, self-righteousness, selfishness, intolerance et cetera et cetera. That is NOTGOD.

A few years ago I was watching one of Dr. Wayne Dyer's Specials on NPT.  He was discussing the Creator and our relationship to Him.  Suddenly I had this "light bulb" moment illuminating the connection between us and God.  Mentally, I pictured a Spiritual Umbilical Cord tying us to God when we are born. As we learn and live out our lives, every positive thing we do or say shortens the cord and brings us closer to the Creator, the Ultimate of all that is goodness and love. Every negative thing we think or do or say stretches the cord and moves us farther away from Him.

I do believe the reason we are here, in this place, in this time, is to learn to love. And that God is the Ultimate LOVE. And that NOTLOVE does not exist where LOVE is.

Finally, I DO believe that good is greater than not good, that there IS more good than not, and that God whoever/whatever He is, is Standing Up for me and mine.

And that's why I can sleep at night.

d

Kids Say the Darndest Things . . .(12/28/2003)

Loving an adult child sometimes means
Loving them when they say things to hurt you
And you forgive them
Not only for hurting you
But for not understanding
That you have forgiven them
For not knowing you have forgiven them

Don't Be The Kind of Father Who . . . (12/17/2009)

As your children stand at your casket, silent tears falling from their eyes, they mourn not only the physical loss of the man who was their father, but also the missed opportunities when they were children growing up with a man who was basically such a good man, really, but also someone who was very hard to love.  Because loving you exposed them to so much hurt.

"Roots" of our Nation . . . ??? (12/16/2010)

http://www.wtv-zone.com/Mary/forsakenroots.html
 
HUH??
 
Here is ANOTHER website FULL of statements made by our Founding Fathers.

http://rationalrevolution.net/articles/history_of_the_separation_of_chu.htm
Reading what someone has ACTUALLY said or written (rather than what some Media person or email says they said) -- whether it be our current president or the Founding Fathers -- is always enlightening -- at least to me.

The Founding Fathers definitely believed that religion was a personal matter and all citizens had the right to worship -- or not -- as they chose. That included Christians, Jews, Muslims, Deists, Atheists, and/or any others.

Some of these men were Christians of one sort or another, some were Deists. Certainly they DID NOT want the government telling them who or what they could worship. One reason so many left England was to get away from exactly that.

Individual colonies DID, early on, enact legislation referencing God and/or Jesus Christ. The wording of their constitutions was superceded when the U.S. Constrtution was enacted, however, and the 14th Amendment eventually clarified the issue once and for all.

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Even though I am a Christian, I have a slightly different take on some things happening in our country right now than some others, including my own children!


Probably I am influenced by the fact that my youngest daughter married a Muslim -- they are now divorced -- and so my grand-daughter, Leila, 21, who currently lives with me -- has a father she loves who is NOT Christian. As you can imagine, she struggles, and is sometimes hurt, by things said and done over issues not of her making or in her control.


The current climate against Muslims is strongly reminescent of that against the Communists which culminated in the McCarthy hearings.


In 1954 the Cummunists were secretly planning the overthrow of the U.S. Government.


In 2010 the Muslims are secretly planning the overthrow of the "Infidels"; i.e., U.S. government and its citizens.


Is this true? Are Muslims a modern-day "Trojan Horse in our country? I don't know.


There are two possibilities that quickly come to mind -- neither one good because it would be the end of the U.S. as we know it.


1) Either we support/practice/believe in the principals of freedom -- religious and otherwise --upon which this country was founded -- with the possibility that the _________ bad guys (fill in the blank with Muslims, Communists, Jews, Blacks, women, Irish Catholics--whatever your particular prejudice may be) get to be the majority and take over and take us down


OR


2) We deny the principals upon which this country was founded to certain of our citizens we don't like and with whom we disagree --


Either way, we're done.


There is a THIRD possibility/option -- which is, of course, that we could all learn to live together peaceably and respectfully in this great and wonderful America . . . and truly be an example to the world of justice.
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The hateful climate surrounding our President is frightening, to say the least. The distortions and outright lies circulating are beyond belief.


Two examples -- one circulating re his press conference on April 6, 2010, in Turkey -- when his comments were taken out of context (surprise!, surprise!) and misrepresented.


What he actually said was: "One of the great strengths of the United States is … we have a very large Christian population -- we do not consider ourselves a Christian nation or a Jewish nation or a Muslim nation.  We consider ourselves a nation of citizens who are bound by ideals and a set of values."
He was partly referencing the Treaty of Tripoli, 1796 --

website -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_of_Tripoli

check out what the treaty says -- it states,"As the government of the United States is in no sense founded on the Christian religion" . . . ) Now that WAS a surprise. But if you read the entire statement, it clarifies what is being said and what is being said is a good thing -- a bridge builder between nations.


I believe President Obama has done wonders in restoring credibility and respect for the USA because he is a consumate diplomat when meeting with people of other cultures and religions. Listen to his recent speech to the Indonesians –
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kacZTEEZkNI

I wonder how many people under 60 actually know the phrase "under God" was NOT part of the Pledge of Alliegiance when first penned. It was added in 1954. I was in school and remember reciting it daily -- both ways.


Or that "In God We Trust" was not added to our coins until after the Civil War.


Praise God for ALL Our Freedoms, especially that of Religion!


How grateful I am that I have no need to justify or defend my beliefs with unfounded claims or distortions of my country's origins.


d