Saturday, January 30, 2010

God Loves His Children

And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts, living within you as you trust in him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God's marvelous love; and may you be able to feel and understand, as all God's children should, how long, how wide, how deep, and how high his love really is; and to experience this love for yourselves, though it is so great that you will never see the end of it or fully know or understand it. And so at last you will be filled up with God himself.
---Ephesians 3

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Out of the Temple

And the Jews’ Passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem, And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables. And he said unto them . . . take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise . . .
---John 2

Sermon on the Mount

And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him:
And he opened his mouth, and taught them.
--- Matthew 5

Monday, December 22, 2008

Let Christ Be Born Today

I have spoken of a light in the soul, a light that is
uncreated and uncreateable ... to the extent that
we can deny ourselves and turn away from created
things, we shall find our unity and blessing in that
little spark in the soul, which neither space nor time
---Meister Eckhart

Friday, December 12, 2008

Zen Gifts for Christians

I am reading a book by Robert Kennedy, a Roman Catholic priest and Zen teacher, called "Zen Gifts to Christians". Here are some of my notes from the Introduction:

After some of his early Zen retreats, Kennedy says that he was so impressed with "the value of the meditation experience when it was guided by the inspirational leadership of Zen teachers that I believed it belonged in the church."

Here are some quotes:

those Christians who are tempermentally inclined toward practicing Zen to enrich their lives

no one devotional practice possesses the whole Christ

(these Zen gifts can make us better Christians)

(these Zen gifts) offer us a spiritual experience rather than a theory

(Zen practice for Christians may involve an) apostolic endeavor to listen attentively to the other in an attitude of respect and admiration at how truth manifests itself differently in other cultures and pesonalities

Quotes about the ten Ox-herding pictures:

(the ten bulls represent the) successive steps we must take to realize one's true nature

Kennedy uses the ox-herding pictures, the corresponding verses, related koans, and Western prose/poetry to reveal insights into the ten steps.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Filling Our Lamps With Oil

Here are some things that Eknath Easwaran recommends to nurture and cultivate the God-seed within, and help us to reveal our Original Goodness. I added (in italics) some examples and goals for my own life.

1. Meditation

Sit for a few minutes each morning, and at stop-lights.
2. Repetition of the Holy Name

Example: Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
3. Slowing Down
Vacations, coffee-free days, bicycle riding, working outside, driving slower and walking.
4. One-pointedness

Goal: Avoid over-extending and try to focus on one simple thing at a time.
5. Training the Senses

Goal: Avoid over-stimulation.
6. Putting Others First
Forgive others' everyday mistakes and imperfections.
7. Spiritual Reading
Read a few pages from inspirational books in the mornings.
8. Spiritual Association
Examples: Christian fellowship in a church community, meditation group, and people at work.

Monday, November 3, 2008

God's Word

Those of us who have decided to follow Jesus do not necessarily believe the same things. For example, we may see the Bible in different ways. The members of our Sunday School class were asked to fill out a questionaire about "God's Word" last Sunday. Several of the questions had to do with the Bible.

Although I did not get a chance to share my answers, I was somewhat surprised by the answers of some of the other members. This led me to consider this and I have written down some of my thoughts.

For me, God's Word does not come just from the Bible, or even primarily from the Bible. Other sources of God's Word for me are: all inspired writings, and oral traditions, both ancient and modern, both Christian and non-Christian. These questions seem important: Does it ring true in my heart, especially during quiet times, listening to the small, still voice within? What do people I respect believe? Does it come from a true Spirit of Love?

JJ Dewey says:
the sincere religious person has felt 'soul contact' while reading the scriptures and because of this is not about to drop his belief in the closest link he has to the Spirit. On the other hand, many "new agers" have not even read the scriptures, or had them forced upon them while they were young, and do not identify with this feeling. Instead, many of them have received some spiritual contact while reading other books that teach enough 'truth' to draw the inner

In the quote above, I identify more with the "new ager". JJ Dewey goes on to say that:
God has spoken to many different people in many different ways and even though the vocabulary and definitions may vary, the core truths are the same.

I think that it is more important to have the Spirit of Jesus in our hearts than to have a "right" view of the Bible. If one has the Spirit of Jesus in their heart, they are hearing God's Word.

May I remember what is truly important.