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Friday, March 25, 2011

For the Love of God, All Hell is Breaking Loose!

Pastor Rob Bell
Have you noticed that all of Hell is breaking loose?  No really, it is...and that's a good thing.  Let me explain...

Recently Pastor Rob Bell has made headlines with his new book "Love Wins" in which he explains, as the title suggest, that in the end the Love of God has the final word.  He puts forth that the traditional views of hell and eternal damnation are overbearing and for one to emphasis them over God's Love is to not fully understand or appreciate the power of that Love.  He proposes that believing in Hell and eternal damnation over the transformative Love of God is..well...not very Christian like!   Pastor Bell, a graduate of Wheaton College, has been challenging and expanding the consciousness of his audience for years.  His previous books; 

have all served to challenge various aspects of the "status quo" within Christian culture and theology.  Bell's ministry, Mars Hill in Michigan, is one of the fastest growing churches in America.  His sermon series such as "Everything is Spiritual"(a personal favorite of mine) and his short film series NOOMA have become huge hits on the internet.  

Here is Pastor Bell in his own words describing what the book is all about:


I gratefully welcome Bell's voice to the collective conversation.  His ideas are obviously very compatible to a New Thought way of thinking about the same topics of Hell, Spirituality and Love.  It seems that a growing population within the walls of Christianity are ready and hungry for these questions and a new conversation.  In the end Rob Bell is teaching consciousness and Principle.  I may not agree with all of his theological views but such alignment is not necessary.  Bell is shaping a new conversation in which he is asking his readers to think in terms of Principle and consciousness and doing so within the context of his Christian culture story.  The result of which I believe will be a revealed and renewed richness to the depth of the spiritual power, wisdom and transformative quality of the Christian Story.  

Of course Rob's voice is added to a growing chorus of writers who have challenged the status quo; authors like Marcus Borg, Bishop John Shelby Spong, Brian D. McLaren, Bart Erman, Bishop Carlton D. Pearson, Pastor D.E. Paulk and the great 20th Century Theologian Paul Tillich (the list extends all the way back to first century Christianity).  Now, Pastor Rob may not appreciate me adding his name to some of the other listed here - he seems to avoid labels and boxes, he opposes the idea that his writings reflect "universalism" or that he is a part of the "emerging church" movement.  That's fine with me.  After all, when one is teaching consciousness and Principle, one must realize that the teaching itself is that which transcends boxes and labels.  It's not about the label, its about the message and consciousness - a statement I think most of the authors listed above would agree with.  

The list is Growing:

Methodist Pastor Chad Holtz was dismissed from his pulpit for posting a facebook note that was in support of Rob Bell's book and message, namely - Pastor Holtz loosed his belief in a "literal Hell"




So, What's going on here?

One of the chapters in Bishop Carlton D. Pearson's latest book, God is Not a Christian, is titled "Get the Hell Out of my Bible."  It seems that a growing number of faithful not only want it out of their Bible, but also out of their churches and pulpits.  And why?  Of course one reason is that our collective consciousness is growing and the out dated, misguided and divisive notions of "us and them" is no longer serving (if it ever did).  People are waking up to the magnitude of the power of Love.  Even more importantly it seems that we are increasingly being given the opportunity to be the Love of God.  Earthquakes, tsunami's, and economic meltdowns are all providing us with a critical choice; to be driven by Love or to continue fear based "us and them" thinking and behavior.  While our reptilian brain is driven by fear, our higher consciousness is driven by Love.  Our outdated notions of Hell are breaking loose from our consciousness because we've come face to face with the hell (separation) we've created on earth - so much so that it is threatening to our very survival as a human race.  Our biological mandate is "create (express) or perish" and creation is an act of Love.  Quite literally - for the Love of God (choosing our biological mandate over fear), all Hell is breaking loose (falling away).  In other words,  Love Wins.



Monday, March 14, 2011

The Global Village is Calling...

The Global Village is calling.... YOU!  Are you answering the call?  Whether its the earthquake in Japan, the uprisings in Egypt, Lybia or the unions in Wisconsin, there is one thing that is clear...There is a whole lot of shaking going on!  Not just earth shaking, consciousness shaking - we are being called to WAKE UP!  Can you hear it, feel it, sense it in your bones and in your soul?  Wake up calls serve to help us remember who we really are.  We are not isolated beings fighting for our own destiny and salvation, we are one global family - tied together in what Dr. Martin Luther King called "a single garment of destiny."  We are in this thing called life, together.  The world is asking us to wake up and remember and to begin building a world that knows and practices this.


Now I don't care much for politics and don't want to get "too involved" in the details of what is happening in Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa and other places - but what I do know is that we are all bound together.  I do know that if we don't start looking after each other and creating a common good - then we are doomed.  There is no "us" and "them" - there is only the One Spirit that is seeking to make itself known through all of life and creation.  Might it be time, well past time, that we awaken to this Truth?  In New Thought we say "Demonstration is the only authority"  well, the demonstration of the world right now, is that what we've been doing is not working and it's time for some New Thoughts....

I believe in a Global Vision for good.  It's part of my spiritual practice and my core spiritual tradition.  

I believe in the vision of a world that works for everyone, where there is generous and ongoing sharing of resources and heart and where borders are irrelevant and forgiveness is the norm.


I believe in a global community of inspired individuals caring for and about each other and the entire planetary family, thereby bringing the gift of active compassion and kindness to the world. 


Join me in consciousness, join me in action, join me in prayer.


Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Ashes to Ashes - time to begin again...

Today is Ash Wednesday - the official beginning of the Lenten Season.  The word Lent comes from the latin meaning to "lengthen" - it is the beginning of the Spring season - when the days are lengthened.

Lent is a 40 day period of spiritual practice - focused on giving something up, fasting and praying.  There are actually 46 days between now and Easter, but Sundays are traditionally considered Feast Days and as such do not count as part of the 40 day practice.

I know, I know, you are thinking, "well this all sounds very Church-y" - What does any of this have to do with New Thought?

Actually... EVERYTHING!  Think about it.  What do we teach in New Thought?  "Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life."   The season of Lent is designed to do exactly that.  We begin with Ash Wed. in which the ceremony of the ashes represent the need for "repentance" - which simply means to "Re-Think." Lent is not about giving up sugar or white flour or latte's - though we all could benefit from less of those.  Lent is about giving up ways of thinking that no longer serve us, it's about entering a 40 day period of spiritual practice that seeks to remind us of who we really are, a perfect child of God.

Is there any area of your life where you could benefit from re-thinking the situation?  A relationship, health, daily routine, prayer and meditation practice, finances?  The ashes symbolize that we have had patterns of thinking and being in the past that no longer serve us - and are keeping us from our greater good.  It's time to let them go, it's time to Think Again!  

Matt: 5 13-16 
 13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.  14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

And so Lent is a season to engage us in remembering our Divine Truth and nature.  That we are in fact a Divine Light meant to shine into the world.  So, are you ready to re-think who and what you are?  Are you ready to begin a practice of giving up the thoughts and attitudes that no longer serve your greatest good?

If your looking for a great resource to guide you - the book Keep A True Lent by Charles Fillmore is a must!

In the meantime - here's a little Lenten Humor!

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Denomination Bucks Trend - Reunited after 57 Years!


PRESS RELEASE FROM UNITED CENTERS FOR SPIRITUAL LIVING AND INTERNATIONAL CENTERS FOR SPIRITUAL LIVING.
Golden, CO…In an era when religious denominations are splitting into smaller and smaller sects, one just reunited after being split since 1954.  Science of Mind®, also known as Religious Science, founded in the 1920s by philosopher Ernest Holmes, functioned as two competing organizations for more than 50 years.  This week, delegates at their joint annual conference in San Diego approved reunification, called “integration,” with 98% of the vote.
In preparation for their integration, the two organizations, originally called Religious Science International and United Church of Religious Science, changed their names to International Centers for Spiritual Living and United Centers for Spiritual Living, respectively.  Now that the merger is official, the new organization will be known simply as Centers for Spiritual Living.
“We are a philosophy that teaches unity, so it is time for us to walk our talk,” says Rev. Dr. Kathy Hearn, Community Spiritual Leader for United Centers for Spiritual Living.  “Our founder, Ernest Holmes, always believed the movement would come back together at some point, and the time is now.”
“The time has finally come for our organizations to come back together,” echoes Rev. Dr. Kenn Gordon, President of International Centers for Spiritual Living.  “We simply cannot go on teaching unity while remaining split.”
The merger has been in process for eight years, intensifying over the last three years, and using a shared leadership model that included almost 400 volunteers working to create “modules” that reflect the functional departments of the new organization.  These modules became the basis for the new corporate documents that were overwhelmingly accepted this week.  
Science of Mind is part of the New Thought Movement, started in the mid-1800s by Transcendentalists like Ralph Waldo Emerson and continued into the twentieth century with the teaching of Emmett Fox, Napoleon Hill, Emma Curtis Hopkins, and Holmes.  The cornerstone of New Thought is a teaching of unity, yet despite this, two factions of Science of Mind broke apart in the 1950s over organizational differences.  “We have the opportunity here to heal the wounds of the past,” says Gordon.  
During Ernest Holmes’ life and ministry in Los Angeles, celebrities such as Cary Grant, Peggy Lee, and Doris Day followed his teaching.  More recently, Science of Mind has influenced such luminaries in the field of self development as Wayne Dyer, Jack Canfield, Oprah Winfrey, Michael Beckwith, and Marianne Williamson.  
The integrated movement has over 400 spiritual centers in 29 countries, and publishes two inspirational monthly magazines with a combined readership of 100,000.
“We have a big vision for providing spiritual tools and transforming personal lives,” says Hearn.  “We realize that our influence is much more powerful now that we’ve integrated than it has been on our own.”
Gordon adds, “I know Ernest Holmes would be proud today.”
For more information about Centers for Spiritual Living, or to find a center, you can visit either www.unitedcentersforspiritualliving.org or www.intcsl.org.

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