Thursday, 13 November 2014

We have to.

We want to be so sure.
We can't bear to think that there is no black and white.
There must be clear moral standards. There must be laws.
There must be the knowledge of good and evil.
We must know how to treat each other - how to treat ourselves.
We must be told what love is.
There must be certainty.
We have to know our eternal destiny.
There must be rewards and punishment.
We have to know who is good and who is bad.
We must define sin.
There has to be defined qualities for "in" or "out".
We have to be able to judge correctly.

Without a clear moral guideline, without a set of rules and procedures that describe how we are to believe and behave, without a clear picture of eternal principles, without knowing exactly who God is and what is required to be accepted by it, without all we need to know being laid out in minute detail
- how do we know if we are right or wrong?
- how can we tell who is speaking truth?
- what do we have?
- what will we do?
- how shall we behave?
- what do we believe?



We already know - every single one of us.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Remembrance Day

This is a poem I wrote many years ago. Thought I'd drag it out for Remembrance Day.

We think war is justifiable. A sad but necessary fact of life.

No - it isn't. We just think it is because we are too proud and stubborn to think there could be a better way.

I refuse to have anything to do with Remembrance Day. Not because I don't feel for the millions of lives lost in the senseless carnage, or am unthankful for the the society I live in.. But simply because it is a failure of mammoth proportions - a failure to be human. We don't need to remember war. We learn nothing from it. We are happy to keep initiating more. Patriotism is division. It works against all that we desperately need to embrace for a better world.

And what of our future;
Glories of war, past and present,
Lies and myths float on the phosphorous clouds
Inhaled by Red, Yellow, Black...
We have fought with patriotic eyes,
As have they!
Who can see death without tears?
How many knew the reasons?
Innocent, ignorant, martyrs.

A dawn's early mist drifts and carries fatigue,
Echoes of shellfire -
Scarred earth -
A child's terror,
Nightmare vision and Godless chills
And prickling hackles
Making beds for propaganda - patronising, patriots,

At the setting of the sun
And in the morning
We will grieve them, Lest we remember.

Monday, 3 November 2014

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

The False Assumption

We assume we need holy texts. We also assume that nature is flawed along with  humans.
What I've discovered is that most religions (especially christianity) are complex systems built on those assumptions.

What if we are actually perfect, exactly as we should be, but all that is missing is our realisation of that?

Every single person created knows what love is. Its inherent in our deepest psych. We may not understand it fully or have experienced it, but the deep longing for unconditional love is absolutely universal. In fact, its the only thing that truly is universal.

The only thing that brings life and healing is love.

The bible myth about the "tree of the knowledge of good and evil" expresses the basis of the problem - we keep choosing to look at everything in terms of right and wrong instead of love. Even Paul in the New Testament, hinted at it often with statements like "everything is permissible but not everything is beneficial".

The people we all most admire and respect as examples are those who live from that place of unconditional love. They don't judge, they simply love.

We don't need any holy writings for this. Its already who we are. We simply need to acknowledge it, and "repent" - a word that literally means to just change your mind. That's it!! Just change your mind about who you are.

Sure we will still act in unloving ways as we gradually learn our true identity, but all we have to do is be responsible for any mess we make. That's all there is to it!

Its living loved. Everything else is a distraction.

We think we need endless books and sacred writings of wisdom that talk of how and what to do to be good people - but we already are perfect people - we have just been convinced that we aren't by choosing to judge right and wrong instead of living loved.

Its a massive paradigm shift, but myself and millions over the centuries (all history I guess) have discovered that this really is the narrow road - its the real gospel, and the only thing that brings real freedom and the "fruit of the spirit". Its taking responsibility for who we really are, not shifting that responsibility on to the shoulders of others.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Why I Changed My Mind On Homosexuality

Sermon by Pastor Danny Cortez

New Heart Community Church, La Mirada, CA
This message was given on February 9, 2014

This is the most powerful christian message on homosexuality I've ever heard!

Monday, 13 October 2014

My Scooter

Not my scooter - but closish
(a true story)

I had a scooter when I was a kid. Not one of those little things they have these days. Nope, this was the 60s. I had a blue and white super deluxe scooter with big pump up tyres and white rubber hand grips. It was fast and smooth. It could handle the rough, but best of all was the speed.

We lived near the bottom of a long gentle hill, and as I slowly gained more confidence, I would go further up the hill to get that extra bit of speed. Stopping was a challenge, even though it had good brakes, but you could never be too careful!

Off I’d go down the footpath, oblivious to the thought of people coming out of drives and old ladies with walking frames or the postman. When it was quiet however, I’d go straight down the middle of the road.

Finally I worked my way to the top of the hill but still I needed more speed. My ultimate technique involved crouching down to minimize drag, and I was always oiling everything to get that last little boost as well.

Of course, it wasn’t without its risks, and there were many grazed arms and knees, but I was never daunted. It was my scooter – it was perfect.

I’d scoff at other scooters and prided myself on how fast I could go. And yet, in the back of my mind I knew bikes were even faster. My older brother had a bike, but I ignored it completely – stupid looking thing with skinny tires and you were right up in the air, not close to the road like my scooter.

I did try the bike once, but it was terrible! All wobbly and just not right at all. No, bike riders were stupid. Scooters ruled!

For some reason I never allowed myself to think that bikes were actually far more useful. So much so that I would rather walk than make the transition. Eventually though, after pushing it too hard for too long with too many accidents, I had to admit defeat and finally realise I had outgrown my precious scooter!

So as soon as I was old enough I got a motor bike and eventually a car, as you do. I mean, scooters are great, don’t get me wrong. When I was little it was my life, my pride and joy, and did everything I needed. But I simply had to admit that there were bigger and better ways of getting around.

My spiritual journey was very similar.

I wanted the best! I wanted truth, wisdom and knowledge. So amidst all the options I choose Christianity.

Christianity had everything I needed! It was slick, with all the answers. I could dig deep into mysteries and get more and more revelations. I could stretch my limits with faith and “ministries”. There was so much to do and strive to be better.

Of course, it wasn’t without its risks, and there were many accidents, causing damage to myself and others. I’d trip up when doctrines didn’t work properly and find another one that did, or patch up the old one with a few different scriptures.

I’d not only scoff at other beliefs, but actually declare them evil – even other Christians who didn’t have my particular polished, high speed, oiled and maintained doctrines, weren’t as good as me.

For some reason I never allowed myself to think that other beliefs were actually far more beneficial – both for me or everyone else! Eventually though, after pushing it too hard for too long with too many accidents I had to admit defeat and finally realise I’d outgrown my precious beliefs.

No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t make Christianity work any more. It finally became a matter of either ignoring all the other options and doggedly limping on, or at least giving these other beliefs a serious look.

Don’t get me wrong, there was nothing wrong with Christianity as such, but like my scooter, it had a limited usefulness – it would only take so much before turning into a liability.

All this may sound a little patronising to a lot of Christians. I would have thought it was when I was still oiling the wheels and going further up the hill to get more speed. I would have vilified anyone who thought I would outgrow such an amazing belief system.

But outgrow it I did. I still appreciate all that I’ve learned. It’s opened up the enormity of God to me and set me on a far longer and fascinating path. But I grew too much for it to contain me. Like my scooter that is way too small for me now, Christianity is too small to be of much value.

Like I said though, nothing basically wrong with it, and at the time it was extremely valuable – and still is in many ways. “Are you still a christian then?” I hear you ask? Well, I could still ride my scooter if I wanted too, but why would I?
I’ve grown to see its purpose for some people as part of their journey, even if it’s prone to abuse as all religious systems are. Some kids trash their scooters, run over people’s toes, smash into old ladies’ shopping trollies and wreak havoc!

So, sorry if you feel like I’ve been patronising and thinking I’m better in some way. Far from it! I finally feel like I’ve just started my journey, with a new level of respect for all mankind and all our uniqueness and an experience of love that christianity could never offer.

And I’ve even come to realise that some people bypass the scooter stage completely!

Thursday, 9 October 2014

New Zealand on Fire - apparently

A friend shared this prophesy today.

New Zealand on Fire

In the 80s and 90s I was swept away in the pentecostal mindset. The thrill of hearing God speaking was something we all clamoured for. We hung on every word of the prophets who would speak His very words to us - inspiring us, building our faith!

The best prophetic words were about revival. It was going to sweep the world, save the lost, convict the evil and bring God's righteousness to earth in a radical tangible way. It was the advent of the final days where God poured His spirit out on the world.

The prophesies kept coming thick and fast. On they went, always the same. Of course, it was usually dependent on the church getting their act together. Although others would say the revival would MAKE us get our acts together. Either way, it was coming!!

So many meetings, worshiping, praising... moving "in the spirit", listening, waiting, striving.

As the 2000s rolled on it became clear that God was taking His time, despite the urgency of the latest round of prophets. The old faithfuls kept revamping their old tried and true "words from God" while the newbies added their little twists to it.

And still it goes on.

I wouldn't care less if it didn't hook so many faithful but gullible christians into a life of expectancy - of forever waiting for some miraculous event that would save the world. So many people thinking that God will come and change everything so they can bypass their daily lives and magically be part of some new way of life. There's always the rapture of course, but that never seems to fit in with these types of prophecies - oh well. So perhaps revival will come and then all the "revivaled" people will get whisked away to heaven with Mr Cage.

Its almost as if there is a special book of prophetic cliches that these people have to learn. The right words said in the right way is what gives you that level of anointing and credibility.

One day, christians might actually realise that it's simply a matter of being your authentic selves - loving the person next to you, living with integrity - like I always say - living loved!

Friday, 19 September 2014

Left Right

OK, politics is big at the moment in New Zealand with elections tomorrow.

We all get heated, tempers flare and it gets a bit nasty. Political debates by party leaders in the media are a joke - no better than a bunch of kids throwing punches. A complete waste of time.

Everyone thinks their favourites are demigods and everyone else is stupid at best, evil at worst, for believing otherwise. Of course, this applies to all politics in the democratic world.

I've been chewing on it all for a while and made
some observations of a spiritual nature. Most people probably know I am left wing in my views, so yes, I'm biased. Take that into account of course, but I'm trying to be objective.

Left versus right - conservative versus liberal - socialist versus capitalist, and other various labels.

I've noticed, as a generalisation, that most left leaning people are the creative passionate ones. They are often artists of some description. They tend to see the world through eyes of compassion. They tend to feel the pain of others and are concerned for injustice. They hate oppression and inequality. They often see the unity of humanity, our relationship with the world and nature. They are more demonstrative and vocal. They are idealists.

Right leaning people, as a generalisation, see the world through the eyes of personal success. They see the value of inspiring us all to achieve, and often assume everyone is capable of being well off, happy and healthy through hard work. This is usually because it's exactly what they have achieved themselves. They tend to be more materialistic and put great value on power, personal success, capitalism, consumerism, and feel that the economic success of a country justifies the means taken to attain it.

As I said, these are generalisations, but the overview is valid.

So which of these is more "christ like"? Which of these represents God's heart of love?

Most christians in the west have been deeply influenced by the Protestant work ethic. This leads to a very materialistic world view, making our hard work and success an indicator of our spirituality.
The justification for many is that our wealth can then be used to extend the kingdom of God and get people saved. For many people, its simply a matter of "if you don't work and pull your weight, you don't deserve to eat", and variations on that theme. There are of course, many others who see a different picture, where our value isn't determined by materialistic success.

But I think there are very deep issues underlying all this. Right wing views often state that we need good capitalism to provide the resources so we can help the needy. To a degree this is true, but very shallow and shortsighted. Often those who are deeply involved in business and money making justify it by saying their taxes help the poor, or they donate to good causes. But there are very few who realistically live this ideal. They often give token amounts that are gestures to help them feel good. Jesus apparently had a lot to say about money and the mentality behind riches. Also, the underlying values of the whole stock-market/share-trading system is to make money in the most impersonal way possible. Companies hand over financial control to thousands of faceless investors who have no concern for the hearts and passions of those who make up the real business. Profit is the bottom line. To me, its the most insidious form of abuse and greed we have devised.

All that's not to say it wrong to make money. Our whole society is based on money, for better or worse. But in the process we lose sight of deeper values.

Why is it that those who really care, who see the suffering, the injustice and abuses in this world, at every level, care little about conservative, capitalistic, materialism, treating money only as a way to bring love and equality to all mankind.

In my experience, I've found right wing conservatives, ultimately lack a depth of compassion and understanding for the world and of individual hearts. They tend to label the underprivileged, abused and dispossessed as a single nondescript entity, rather than millions of individual people with their own unique stories, each one precious and loved in their own right.

I'm "left" because its the only way I can see God's heart of unconditional love being effectively expressed to every person. Yes, there's a balance in all this, and I've made generalisations. But at the core of it all, I understand why Jesus apparently said the pursuit of money is a root of all kinds of evil.

I cannot, with all good conscience, support any right wing views, no matter how well they expressed, simply because the core values are built on something that is the antithesis of unconditional love.

I know many will have different views on this and will jump on me for being so black and white, and sounding judgmental. But don't take it personally, think it through carefully, and like I said, its a generalisation.