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Open Thought: HOW IS MARRIAGE REALLY DEFINED? SAME-SEX OR OPPOSITE SEX?
“For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven”
When I listen to the fiery discussions on marriage, see the clerk in Texas refuse to issue a marriage license to a same-sex couple or hear my sister say, ” I applaud the woman . . . what she did is based on Scripture,” my thoughts immediately turn to the verse above–words spoken by Jesus to the Sadducees–a group who thought they knew the scriptures, and that Jesus did not know what he was talking about because his understanding of the Word of God differed from theirs. Four words are key to grasping his meaning–resurrection, marry, angels and heaven. Let’s examine those words in the context of Jesus’ teaching.
Research reveals that Webster gives two basic meanings of the word “resurrection,” one being “the rising of Jesus from the dead after his death and burial” and two, a “restoration and revival.” How do these definitions compare with Jesus’ concept of resurrection? In John 11: 25, He said to Martha, when she referred to the resurrection as being an after death and judgment day rising, “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.” What is he saying? He is referring to his demonstrations of life–demonstrations that healed the sick, cleansed the leper, cast evil thoughts out of the minds of people, raised the human body from death (to prove that true life is not in the body) and used “unconditional love” as the foundation of divine existence. Even though Jesus raised four people from the dead, including himself, his message was more of restoration and revival, based on goodness, mercy, forgiveness, justice, peace and righteousness, with divine love as the foundation of all of them. Hopefully, we are on the same page as to the meaning of resurrection.
Marriage means “to unite, to enter into a close or intimate relationship” or “to join a man to a woman as his wife or a woman to a man as her husband.” Angels are divine messages or thoughts from God, that enter into one’s consciousness to take away the sins of the world, and heaven is harmony, peace, a divine state of mind–not a place in the sky where one goes after death. You may not agree with these definitions, and that will determine your assessment of this article.
How do all of these “stack-up” with the life that Jesus lived and taught us to live? Humanly, he did not unite with a mate, his connection or unity was always with God. He even said “I and my Father are one”– one in quality, not quantity. That “oneness” was a divine state of thought”–a thinking that manifested the Christ, which I define as a manifestation of God that comes into man’s human thought, and erases the sins embedded there. So we begin to see that Jesus’ interpretation of marriage, was not one human being uniting with another human being–man to woman, man to man or woman to woman, but the spiritual nature of man connecting with God, Spirit. Thus spiritually, it is of no consequence what two mortal people do relative to marriage, the key is whether they love unconditionally, do unto others as they would have them do to them, express purity of thought according to the Ten Commandments and Beatitudes, and have no other God but the One God.
Angel messages are powerful in determining whether one serves God or mortal man. These messages stem from ideas that cause us to express who we truly are–” man made in the image and likeness of God,” and that likeness has nothing to do with flesh and blood, gender, sex orientation or human kind. We are only children of God to the extent that we express the attributes of God: wisdom, mercy, comprehension, faith, purity, peace, awareness, insight, warmth, perfection, justice, equality, order, joy, strength, honesty, integrity, unchangeableness, compassion, unselfishness, charity, respect and forgiveness — just to name a few. Mankind has decided to interpret God’s laws as though God serves man, and not man serving God. The laws of God are unchangeable and eternal; the laws of man are changeable and temporal.
We talked about heaven as not being a locality, but a divine state of mind–a state of mind where one’s consciousness knows only peace, harmony, joy and spiritual understanding. Thus, we can experience heaven, while here on earth. Most of us do experience heaven in some way and at some time, but unlike Jesus, who was always divinely connected, we have only moments of higher levels of thought, then our thinking sinks back to the human level, where judgment is based on the five senses. Truth then, becomes not what is based on the Beatitudes, Ten Commandments or the inspired word of the Bible, but on our own sense of truth, and the sad part is, we describe that so-called truth as biblical interpretation, and use our limited intelligence to judge other people.
A typical expression is, “The Scriptures said . . . ” not realizing that it is one’s interpretation of the Scriptures that makes one believe, and everybody has the capacity to interpret or understand them based on his experiences. Not only are scriptures interpreted literally, but also spiritually, and unless inspiration accompanies that interpretation, we only get a human version of what is being said. A better way to assess whether one understands the Scriptures correctly, is to see if his “works” emulate the works of Jesus. Does he rely on doctors to heal? Jesus didn’t. Does he spend a large part of the day reading, praying and seeking understanding of the Scriptures? Jesus often went “up into the mountains” to pray and re-establish his connection with God. Does he constantly purify his thoughts, so he can see God and the man God created in each individual? Jesus saw the perfect man, in spite of what the physical picture presented, and finally, does he place no other god before the one God? Jesus’ life was holy, uplifting, comforting and free of human criticism. Mankind is so busy pointing fingers at someone else’s faults, and leaving his own faults unattended.
The clerk in Texas was minding someone else’s business and not being about “my Father’s business” as Jesus did. It is not her job to “work out (another’s) salvation,” only her own. In fact, she can’t work out the salvation of anyone else, each person has to rid himself of evil beliefs by personally uniting with the one Mind–divine intelligence. This is not to say I believe same-sex marriage is an evil, it’s to say, even if it were, she cannot “save” anybody. More importantly, she needs to “cast the beam” out of her own eyes, instead of trying to “cast the mote” out of the couple’s eyes. As we have discussed, true marriage has nothing to do with one human uniting with another, but with man’s union with God. Sin is sin, and one sin is no greater than another. Therefore, unless your consciousness is free of all sin, it is best to concentrate on making thine own self true.
Now, let’s look at the citation by Jesus in the context of the meanings of resurrection, marriage, angels and heaven as discussed here. Repeating the citation stated at the beginning of this article, “For in the resurrection, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as angels of God in heaven,” Jesus is saying that when man’s nature is transformed by Spirit, and he is totally, mentally connected to God, he is above human thinking and acting, but dwells in the realm of Soul, where all sensualism disappears, and peace and harmony reign. Most of us will never reach that transformation before we make the transition from one consciousness to another, therefore, it is essential that we spend our time “putting off the old man” and “putting on the new man” for oneself, and leave other people alone. Should one seek your counsel, give it, but if advice is not sought, keep it and put it into practice for yourself. The divine messages from God are always harmonious–in harmony with divine Law–molding and elevating thought. As I study the Bible and Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, unfoldment reveals that what appeared to be true yesterday, may not be true today. It is not the Word of God that changes (for it is eternal) it is my perception of the Word of God that changes, and when we know better . . . we do better.
Same-sex marriage does nothing to prevent one from being “fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth” as we read in Genesis 1: 28, for it is not babies that Moses is admonishing us to fill the earth with, but, spiritual ideas. He is saying “do the spiritual work that will enable the divine ideas God has placed in your consciousness, so that they can unfold, and fill the earth with beauty and peace.” Spiritual ideas are not flesh and blood, they represent the presence and power of the living Christ. Seek them, find them and embrace them . . . and the glory of God will enshroud you in righteousness, because your are wedded to . . . the One God.
Violence strikes around planet earth in innumerable forms: wars, murder, theft, greed, bombs, discrimination, hate crimes, spousal abuse, gender abuse . . . maybe you would like to add a few of your own. The list is limitless and the consequences are catastrophic! Why does man destroy himself, other human beings, cities, countries and the world? What motivates him? Why is he consistently seeking . . . taking . . . harming and committing mayhem? Why is he so inclined to commit violence? These are a few of the questions this article seeks to answer, but before delving into the process of answering, there is another question that is essential to this discussion: What is violence?
In 1996, The World Health Organization defined violence as “The intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual against oneself, another person, or a group or community, that either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychologist harm, maldevelopment or deprivation.” Mankind sometimes sees physical harm as the most destructive, but mental aggression can be just as destructive as physical force, because it gives one or some thing the capability, willingness and ability to act, thereby working mentally or physically on the individual’s mind. Mental destruction reduces the ability to use logic, reasoning and perception, thus taking away basic elements that are the driving force behind progress, courage, strength and hope. Faith and hope give a person a reason to keep striving for something better. Without it, he feels helpless, defeated and motionless.
WHERE DOES VIOLENCE ORIGINATE?
Psychologists maintain that violence stems from hurtfulness, stress, disappointment, and frustration. Secondly, that the person exhibiting these emotions feels he has no way of releasing them. Something inside of him is unresolved and unexpressed, he feels totally helpless, so . . . it moves him to commit violent acts. Violence is anger, rage unreleased! Craving some sought of release, the person beats his wife, strikes a child, burns a building, performs a hate crime or engages in warfare to express what he feels inwardly. Subtle violent acts occur in less noticeable signs. For example, the individual may spend billions to influence others to perpetrate crimes against those he wishes to do so personally, or he may finance laws that discriminate, motivate and initiate violent acts against individuals and countries.
The Wave Report says that two factors contribute to violence: the Propensity to Be Violent” and the Trigger to a Violent Act.” The first one lies within the individual and the second one resides externally–is environmental. It advocates that a key factor in triggering violence is lack of sympathy for an individual when he has the propensity for violence. More specifically, if a person exhibits symptoms of uncontrollable anger, offering sympathy to his argument for the cause of the anger, may calm his desire to use physical force. Thus, the sympathy or the understanding of what he is going through, serves as the environmental force that prevents the trigger for a violent act. Another example could be, if an individual who has the inclination to respond to conflict with violence decides to rob a bank, and all persons within the bank offer no resistance, he may collect the funds and leave without physical force. However, if one of the individuals in the bank says or does something that displays a sense of force or power, he may be beaten or killed by the intruder.
According to psychologists, the propensity to be violent starts at a very young age–2 years. Thus, researchers look at factors believed to be contributors to violence during female pregnancy, and are identifying ways to eliminate them. For example, smoking during pregnancy is listed as a “feeding ground” for future criminal behavior. There is also the argument that human beings are inherently violent–violence is a normal behavior–they are destined to violence. If this is true, seeking ways to prevent violence is a “wasted effort.”
A typical response to this line of reasoning is that the human mind has infinite trigger factors, and it is difficult to determine which one is “calling the shots” at any given time. There are, however, many steps that psychologists and community activists agree may stem the tide of violence. A few of them are listed below:
TWELVE COMMON STEPS TO PREVENT VIOLENCE
1. Stop Glorifying Violence in Any Form.
2. Share and Express Your Deepest Emotions through Tears, Not Rage
3. Solve Problems through Reason, Responsibility and Revelation.
4. Ban Handguns.
5. Remove Habitual Offenders from Society.
6. Ban Corporal Punishment.
7. Invest Money and Programs in At Risk Communities.
8. Remove Ingrain Social Norms that Lead to Domestic Abuse.
9. Develop Self-Esteem and Self-Worth
10. Help People Feel Safe and Secure.
11. Deal with Abuse, Poverty, Neglect and Abandonment Through Programs, Not Prisons.
12. Health and Nutrition.
While the writer has great respect and appreciation for the research and work that has been and is being done to alleviate violence, these efforts are mere “human band-aids” that only cover an ever re-occurring wound. There has to be a profound prescription that gets at the heart of all errors of human thinking and acting. That remedy is love–divine Love.
Divine Love is Never Violent
I hear you! Your voice is loud and clear! “We have sent ministers into prisons for years, and the people there come out more violent than when they went in. Parents teach Christianity to children and they grow up to be hardened criminals, that’s not going to help! You are one of those religious fanatics that believe preaching solves everything!” I could go on and on, but I ask you . . . hear me out.
First of all, there is a marked difference religion and spirituality. One is a set of rules and doctrines that a particular person or group adheres to, and practices in various degrees with countless interpretations (some good and some not good), while the other is the substance of Spirit that enters consciousness and takes away every thought, idea, concept and practice that does not reflect and express the essence of “love one another as I have loved you.” You say, “That’s a bunch of words with no meaning!” Fair enough, let’s begin giving meaning to them.
Learning and Understanding God and . . . Practicing Everything You Learn and Understand
Simple enough. Let’s get started!
What am I doing? What am I saying? I am saying that many people have a very limited concept of God and the man He created, so their practice of religion yields little or no harmonious results. Consequently, they say religion does not work. I agree . . . religion does not work, but developing a close relationship with God does. This relationship requires daily work and due diligence . . like you do your job. You get out of it what you put in it. If mankind served God as diligently as he serves evil or material things, he would have a divine connection with God that would heal many things in his life that cause human suffering.
When a doctor gives you a prescription, do you follow it diligently? Some people have taken pills for years . . . they are part of their lives. What about serving God? Do you read, study, meditate or spend as much time with God as you do with medicine? Which do you feel is more powerful, God or pills? You say, “God created doctors to help us.” Are you sure? If that is the case, why didn’t Jesus use doctors to heal? No, Jesus is not God . . . he is the son of God as he said . . . and he told us we can do the works that he did. Many people do not believe him. How about you? I believe the words that Jesus spoke, consequently, I strive to heal myself of all forms of dis-ease–including sickness, anger, hate, bitterness, financial lack, fear and a multitude of others. Violent thoughts are quickly replaced with thoughts of kindness, compassion and forgiveness. It’s a thought-by-thought process–a daily effort to keep consciousness free of sin, sickness and death. A woman called Mary Baker Eddy says it best:
“The Christianly scientific man reflects the divine law, thus becoming a law unto himself. He does violence to no man. Neither is he a false accuser. The Christian Scientist wisely shapes his course, and is honest and consistent in following the leadings of divine Mind” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 458).
What does all of this have to do with curbing violence? If the hardened criminal, a child with a propensity for evil or any inharmonious thought or activity were met with the force and power of God as requested above, we would eliminate violence. The problem with many of our ministers and religions today, is that man does not practice what he preaches or reads, thus his understanding of God stays at a human level. Healing occurs with a change of thought–replacing evil thoughts with divine ones, coupled with allowing those improved thoughts to direct one’s words and actions. The more one demonstrates what he learns, the more he learns. Thoughts unexpressed in actions, have not the power to point the way to spiritual growth and development..
Changing thinking is a very difficult thing to do. The first step is convincing oneself that a thought needs to change–uncovering the hidden evil, bringing it to the surface of thought and then having the courage and patience to rid oneself of it. The best way to remove an evil thought is to replace it with a good or perfect one. For example, the thought “I believe all fat people are lazy and greedy,” must be replaced with “God made all people in His “image and likeness,” and they are neither fat or skinny. They are perfect children of God.” To make this work, you must have an understanding of what it means to be made in the image and likeness of God. That comes with constant study, practice and spiritual development. Each person has lots of human baggage that he must expunge from thought. We are all victims of our experiences–good, bad and apathetic. An evil action follows and evil thought. This thought may be conscious or unconscious . . . but it must be removed.
The second most important thing a person must do is to guard against environment–stop allowing unhealthy thoughts to enter your consciousness. This comes from doing protective, metaphysical work for yourself on a daily and sometimes hourly basis. I do not want to experience sickness, so I keep sick thoughts from entering my consciousness. How do I do that? I block TV ads discussing various diseases or medicines with their numerous side effects from entering my consciousness by either changing the channel or muting the sound; prevent the discovery of a new disease from touching my thinking by refusing to listen to it; mentally reverse illnesses that friends and relatives discuss with me; remove fear of any disease from my thought by studying citations that eradicate fear. These are just a few of the ways one can change human thinking to higher levels of thought. I believe in the verse that says, “As a man thinketh, so is he.” All power belongs to God, and God being Truth, has the power to destroy all error or evil. Mankind simply must learn how to use it.
The third thing that the human spirit must embrace, is to “practice more and speak less.” The great Exemplar, Jesus proved what he taught. That is the key ingredient missing with today’s ministers, parents, teachers and societal role models. We condemn violence, yet we hide behind the Second Amendment and do nothing about the abundance of guns in our communities; we make movies that glorify violence or parade it in front of the most impressionable minds; we keep moral values from being taught in many of our schools and finally, we believe man’s laws supersede the laws of God by our actions. If we are a nation “under God,” why do we keep Him out of our lives in word and . . . in deed?
Violence is a human trait, but man is a divine entity. As long as we believe otherwise, we will experience the limited thinking and actions of mankind. God made man and the man he created is not violent. God is Love and the man He created expresses that love. I repeat the essence of the message expressed by Mrs. Eddy above: The man of God’s choosing does violence to no one.
Racism: A term that has plagued world cultures for centuries–sometimes overt and sometimes subtle.
America has dealt with it since the 1600’s–millions have lost their lives, suffered mental and physical abuse and lived with the gross inequalities of a nation. In fact today, racism is alive and well in America and other countries throughout the world. There are those who have convinced themselves that it is “in the past, let’s get over it.” That would be the most humane way to look at it if that were true, but it isn’t. If you have not lived it, you are not conscious of it, do not recognize the subtleties of it, and cannot fully feel the impact of what it does to one’s being. It is woven in the tiniest threads of American culture, reeking hate, inferiority, superiority, discrimination and separatism . How does it begin? How is it perpetuated? How do we eliminate it? Mankind has battled with these questions in some form or another for thousands and thousands of years. Racism has no specific color, race or ethnicity, it wiggles itself into thought, wraps around consciousness, and creates new ways of expressing itself.
Why have I decided to write such an article, and do I expect it to solve the problems of racism? No, I do not expect this article to solve the problems of racism! I am writing it to delve into my own consciousness, uncover what I need to examine, ask the hard and shameful questions and seek honest answers, and in so doing . . . hopefully, inspire you to do the same.
What is racism?
Let’s look at some common definitions, and you can choose one or make-up one of your own. The key to this discussion is how you view it, and how you respond to your personal definition –only then will a meaningful personal dialogue with yourself, begin.
SURVIVING MENTAL ILLNESS
Listen! Digest! After hearing Linda, your view on mental illness will be changed forever!
SURVIVING MENTAL ILLNESS BY LINDA KATZ
HER STORY . . . IS IT YOURS?
The world is constantly holding mental illness in front of us in a variety of forms: bipola disorders, depression, paranoia, schizophrenia and many more . . . . What do you do? Where do you go? How do you survive? These are questions that many people ask, but have not found answers. Linda Naomi Katz was one of those people who asked the questions, but she found answers, and shares them with others in her book Surviving Mental Illness. This book strikes at the heart of the fears, doubts and stigmas that this dreadful disease has forced on mankind. Linda says this book:
” . . . offers help, hope, and inspiration to others struggling with psychological disorders. It provides information about mental illness in general-and mood disorders in particular-valuable tips about treatment and medication, and resources and organizations dedicated to helping those suffering from these disorders.”
You can hear Linda first-hand at 5pm on April 5, 2015 @http://eamtradio.com on “Talk to the Author” with Dr. Mamie Smith.
She is a best-selling author, has appeared on numerous radio talk shows and has a blog that reaches into the heart of mental health assistance, not on in the physical world, but metaphysical as well.
If you are dealing with a loved one suffering from mental illness or need help yourself, don’t miss the wealth of information Linda will share, and hear her powerful and inspirational story!