The Chapel Door is Open – Part 2

Click HERE to see Part 1 of “The Chapel Door is Open”.

One of the things we’ve talked about on the open threads is provided for in the Chapel in the Woods which Sundance has constructed at the lower right.  Comments and conversations about what the Bible has to say about world events have always been welcome here in the woods, and the Chapel is where we can extend those conversations.  It will be open 24/7, just like the Prayer Request thread, functioning as a “perpetual open thread.”

The Chapel is the place to drop in when we notice that our questions or statements, reasonings or fears are best expressed with a Judeo-Christian historical and spiritual context. Anyone who doesn’t care to talk about or pray to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is  just as welcome in the Chapel as they are in the Treehouse.

The tone and content of Chapel conversations is expected to be the same as elsewhere in the Treehouse: honest and thoughtful.  The Chapel has been built to provide a place for folks to discuss what the Bible says about any number of things~~past, present or future.

Argumentiveness and unkindness will be quickly deleted.  Anyone who comes through the Chapel door to argue against the Bible as our primary source of information about God and what He thinks about things will be ushered out by the ushers.  Anyone who comes to the Chapel for the purpose of Christian-bashing will be thrown out on their ear.

This nation has been a gift of God for well over 200 years, displaying among the nations what a fine thing it is when people are allowed to enjoy those things given by their Creator; among them life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  The United States of America is our nation-house, and there are people trying to burn it down.

This nation is a blessing given to all of us, and there is no supposed “spiritual reason” for people who believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to sit back and fold their hands and somehow assume that it would be wrong for them to stand up and fight.  We will fight and we will stand~~and we consider ourselves free to talk about, refer to, think about and pray to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob while we do it.

So come on in.  The Chapel’s open.

 

Here are a few of the latest posts from the prior thread–which was just getting too long to access easily….these just brought over to provide a bit of transition….

 

  1. Sharon says:

    Psalm 73:38-ff

    Surely You set them (the psalmist is speaking of wicked and violent people) in slippery places; you cast them down to destruction…they are utterly consumed with terrors. As a dream when one awakes, so, Lord, when You awake, You shall despise their image.”

    vv. 25, 26

    Whom have I in heaven but Thee? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides Thee. My flesh and my heart fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

  2. Sharon says:

    How will God help us?

    How has God helped “His people” in the past? (“His people” may mean specifically Israel, or the church [including both Jews and Gentiles] or those nations who acknowledge God as the Lord of their nation) I keep going back to Jeremiah to see how He deals with nations.

    In Jeremiah, He deals specifically with rebellious Judah, which was neck deep in idolatry at the time. He also deals specifically with the Gentile nations surrounding Judah, some of which took great pleasure in being the tool God used to punish Judah; not anticipating that when He was quite finished using them (as His tool) that His wrath would turn on them for their destruction,specifically because they so enjoyed cleaning Judah’s clock….completely missing the fact that Israel’s God was, literally, using them. So when it was all done, He cleaned THEIR clocks.

    In Jer. 4:22 God gives this description of His own people, and it is a sharp and accurate description of our formerly/so-called “Christian nation” today, a nation which was founded on Judeo-Christian principles:

    For My people are foolish, they have not known Me. They are silly children, and they have no understanding. They are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge.

    That verse is a descriptive denunciation of our culture and our government today. Our nation has long since ceased to even pretend to be “God’s people” and has publicly bellowed against him–see the DNC in September in Charlottesville.

    On. p. 142 of Eric Metaxas’ biography Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the bottom paragraph, there is this chilling sentence,

    “Of course Hitler never publicly denounced God.”

    So there it is: the twists of evil in the Third Reich trumpeted by the evil Adolph Hitler did not include any public denunciation of God. Ever! That is quite different than the 2012 convention of the democrat party.

    Evil will adapt its own presentation according to its audience: I find it very disturbing that Adolph Hitler knew better than to denounce God, because (as another sentence in this paragraph says) “He knew well that there were many churchgoers in Germany who had some vague idea that real authority should come from their God…” Adolph Hitler accepted in his behaviors and public pronouncements that a public denunciation of God would not serve him well.

    The democrat party and barackhusseinobama suffer no such limitation: the evil that resides within them freely and easily mock God, the church and Christians. They have taken the measure of this nation and have realized there will be no significant political or personal loss of stature as a result of such statements. They bellow their opposition against Israel, the apple of God’s eye, publicly and with visible fury.

    What Adolph Hitler did not dare do in Germany, obama feels free to do in the United States in 2012.

  3. tessa50 says:

    I am having trouble posting as wordpress keeps kicking my email to diff carrier, but if this goes through just want to say thank you to sharon for letting people know the other day that this is here. I didn’t know and I can’t tell you how much it means to me to read this part of the tree. Am only about maybe a third through reading and just uplifts me. I can see that many here are much more knowledgeable about the Bible than me so am absorbing the answers as I find them and feel that it would be ok here to ask questions. Thank you again sharon and I hope others saw your post.

    • Sharon says:

      tessa50, I’m glad you found the Chapel. Do feel free to ask questions as they occur to you. The CTH is not a “religious” site or a “Christian site” but when we first put it together, we were well aware that many of our readers are people of faith, and we just wanted to make a place available where they could have conversations that focused on faith issues. We thought it would be helpful to just create a separate spot for that rather than having it mixed it with other threads.

      Since you just happened to come in now, I will let you know that probably tomorrow we will be splitting this large section of comments and starting a “new Chapel thread.” You will still access the Chapel exactly the same way, and the comments that are here will still be available by clicking in an archive of sorts. The comments from the last couple of months will also be here still as a transition to the new thread. This thread has just been getting so long to scroll down, we think it will make it easier to start a fresh thread.

      What you have just posted will be here, as will my response. Look forward to conversation with you…drop in any time.

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415 Responses to The Chapel Door is Open – Part 2

  1. Sharon says:

    Well, then, I used “try” in exactly the way I intended (not so much here in the chapel or on MBOB! but in the threads about ideas and events and conflicts). That is “test” or “attempt” for me in terms of the effort to participate and be productive.

    “…typos scattered strewn like raisins in the dust….” That’s funny. ;)

    Like

  2. Sharon says:

    if it is only My will, I have no protection from consequences intended or unintended; I have no protection from doing harm to others; I have no protection at all. So I put much work on keeping my will surrendered and asking for the Father to move , as He wills, in my life.

    If it’s only my will–I am exposed and vulnerable. However….if it is the Father’s will…..very different dynamics. There’s protection in doing the Father’s will……

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  3. Sharon says:

    tessa, you are perfectly fine here. I think it’s not so much that Spar is “ahead of you.”

    Each of us has different cadences and expressions, coming from different experiences and spiritual heritage. Those differences will be noticeable in the way we talk about stuff. His way of expressing familiar truths is quite different to my ears., but there’s a freshness and an encouragement in hearing the old story from a new friend. Each of our stories will reflect where we started from and how we got to where we are, and that’s ok. I don’t think any of us are ahead or behind—we’re on the move is all. :)

    Like

  4. Sharon says:

    Anticipating the next phrase…”give us this day….” earlier in the day trying to get at a thought that was under a rock…There’s contentment in the willingness to live limited. Live only in the present. With regard to either strengths or regrets, give up the illusion of omniscience. That characteristic never was ours. Immediacy in both strength and weakness.

    Like

    • Spar Harmon says:

      Oh yes! Humility is not groveling. My Father nurtures and bids me stand tall. I am physically in pain, bent over, and hobbling about, when I am allowing the Father to move freely through me to another, all of that rolls away. My experience is not that of collar and leash when I act in alignment with my Father’s Will. My experience is that of joy and love for the other, deliverance from the bondage of self, a marriage of Heaven and earth, the power of unconditional loving.
      Suddenly it occurs to me to ask– where did I get this idea that we have Free Will? Light bulb! Wow– this is merely a construct in my thinking. As I have matured into an independent entity, a strong formative reality is that the consequences of poor choices and actions are often extremely painful, so afterward I tend to become tentative about making choices, indecisive about acting. Fear of failure, and lately, fear of my capacity for self-destruction and perversity: Delusion! A tightening spiral of thought, knotting on itself. So self-important! So humorless and grim!… All the signs are there: Here is a collar and leash thought process…
      Father teaches me through experience what can not be expressed in words. Habits of a lifetime reassert themselves and separate me from the conditions necessary for me to learn how to Be. I can not express what I know of God or what I have learned from walking in the Light of His Presence. It is a Knowing beyond the reach of my language to express. What I try to do is artfully suggest, using my experiences as a basis, that there is meaning there which human to human we might share…
      I am not going to edit this, but I hope it is coherent about the incomprehensible… Love to all

      Like

    • Spar Harmon says:

      Oh truly, living in the Present Presence is not “living limited” in my humble experience. I have seen no limit in God’s Infinite Space! Freedom….
      jus’ sayin’…

      Like

      • Sharon says:

        That’s true. Thank you. It’s my poor perception. Trying to see the thought under the rock and discovering the rock is too heavy for me to move. Some days life has sharp edges.

        Like

        • Spar Harmon says:

          We both have that dog-and-bone, squirrel-and-nut thing, but when I relax into that inner place and rest there a bit, the knots have a way of unraveling of themselves. my last long share, above, has just such a sighing ah-ha moment around the question of will….amazing new, to me, insight…

          Like

  5. Spar Harmon says:

    I am waiting , no not procrastinating…much, until I get that Right Now feeling before I “attempt” the FORGIVENESS sentence of the Prayer— so daunting, presumptuous, you know, all that… God bless us all…

    Like

  6. Sharon says:

    Spar has reinforced my desire to recognize and act on bottom-line thoughts. I know enough of self-deception to know that my own thoughts can’t be trusted. The Spirit of God and the Word of God confirm or expose my thoughts as to value….so as I’m enjoying this conversation, I’m reminded of these true things where there is peace in knowing. (I didn’t notice until after I posted the comment that the word “will” appears in each line)

    Be sure your sin will find you out. (nationally or personally)

    What is sown is what will be reaped. (nationally or personally)

    He who humbles himself will be exalted. (nationally or personally)

    He who exalts himself will be humbled. (nationally or personally)

    He who comes to me, Jesus said, I will in no wise cast out. (this one’s personal in terms of response)

    Just some thoughts. Many thoughts these days. And my brain is like monster pick-up-sticks game with scarcely a single stick that can be touched without moving the others.

    Like

    • Spar Harmon says:

      I am humbled by this, Sharon. My heart says Yes, Yes, Yes! What a creative personal response to my personal little “will” insight. It affirms my sense that it was an extraordinarily direct answer to my need for an answer and produced a great calm in my inner world, a blessed serenity. Your share strengthened the bond developing between us. Makes me hope there are others listening in and participating in their hearts. Maybe this evening I can trust the Father enough to release myself to action on the next sentence of the Prayer. Assist me in your heart’s prayer all who will.

      Like

      • Sharon says:

        There are always readers here in the Chapel, some days more than others. And the fact that what we type here stays here in perpetuity reminds me that it will be here in the future as long as the site is up whether any of us are or not.

        It’s been an interesting thought from the beginning of the CTH—exactly how we would see the Chapel. I think the original “definition” of it was and is good enough. It rises out of an acknowledgement that there is God who reveals Himself to those who will respond, and that He has the final say.

        Any who are interested in talking about that with an honest heart are welcome to join in. In one sense, it doesn’t exactly mean “anything goes” because untruth and deception are not welcome here. But we won’t have religious or doctrinal fights here; we acknowledge that it is God Himself who works in those who are willing to respond (and, therefore, none of us get to dictate how He will work in another’s life…His ways are beyond our ways, and His thoughts beyond our thoughts). It’s just interesting. Again I’m reminded of Don Richardson’s books (Peace Child and Eternity in their Hearts). And what’s going on in the Sudan today.

        Jesus offended several of the religious collectives of His time by not imposing what they thought He wanted on everyone who came to Him—a few of their number would get interested in Him, and then they would discover that He was not worried about imposing religious details on all of His followers. There were other followers of Jesus who came from a different heritage and thought differently, so some got ticked, because they assumed that others who claimed to be followers of Jesus would think the way they did about the details.

        Clarification/confession: I have fixed convictions about many doctrinal-type issues, but I won’t fight over them. I will practice them according to my understanding and faith. Disagreements don’t have to be used as a test of fellowship. Our individual yielding to the Spirit of God is essential: unanimity of experience and heritage is not.

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  7. Spar Harmon says:

    OF MYSELF, I AM NOTHING.
    WITH THEE IN MY HEART,
    ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE.

    THE LORD’S PRAYER

    …FORGIVE US OUR TRESPASSES,
    AS WE FORGIVE THEM THAT
    TRESPASS AGAINST US.

    Here we are at the core of the prayer. Jesus has carefully moved us here, in this perfectly complete answer to the disciple’s plea for illumination, to the doorway to a living, sustainable, functioning relationship with the Father. For me, this is where the rubber hits the road. Jesus beckons to me, but clearly the work is for me to do to step firmly on the path and follow Him.
    We ask for what we all want: forgiveness for our many mistakes, failures, perversities, and willfulness;
    But we must acknowledge and understand that what we can not forgive in others has bearing on what we can accept of forgiveness. There is no getting around this; I know, I have tried.
    At first, I knew exactly who and what I had to forgive, and, yes, what I wanted forgiven was forgiven; and I felt great relief and felt much better about myself. I was following a program of recovery from alcoholism which in the 4th Step, recommended an attempt to recall my whole life and review the events and choices which had formed who I was; not just think about it, but write it down. The idea is to become aware of the role of fear, anger, denial, immaturity, sex, conflict…and the tapes of programmed response we evolve to cope and survive… childhood choices often ruling adult choices. Know thyself.
    By far the hardest thing I have ever attempted. In fact it took me over 25 years to even begin. But I was in live or die mode when I began, and I had been told through the personal stories of others that there was no long term recovery possible without this step. It took me 6 months. It was a very painful journey; I have little ability to laugh at myself; that came later.
    This was confession. First to myself. Then to make it stronger, to another person. Then to God. No skipping the middle term in the sequence. Everyday, in the morning and at the evening meeting, I would do the Lord’s Prayer. Sometimes I would experience great relief from the forgiveness clause. Other times great anguish. Soon it was clear: where I have things to forgive, I must, or not receive release. Moreover, If I don’t feel release, I need only examine myself and I will discover a forgiveness I am avoiding giving. Eventually I discovered a huge reality: –I am the biggest trespasser against me and others. I know that many have been deeply wronged by others and find forgiveness virtually impossible, but until they do they either crash and burn or limp along making do with a limited life; this is observation speaking– my tendency is to try to rescue and my sponsor more than once had to pull me away before I was consumed in another’s wreckage. It was their choice, Spar; it is arrogance to think you can save anyone from choices which are necessarily theirs. And so it is with me too.
    So recognizing this hidden aspect leads me to the biggest barrier to growing on the Path, the Journey—ME! What I will not forgive myself, I cannot be forgiven. Tough lesson. Know thyself. Dig. Dig deeper, deeper still…
    It is not so hard now to forgive what I become aware of, but keeping at the task of becoming self-aware remains hard. Learning to have some perspective and being able to laugh at my mistakes helps. Returning to my child-self, teen-self, young-adult self and forgiving choices made in innocence, ignorance, and immaturity has changed my perspective on my younger self and has allowed me to appreciate how much was good, how free and joyful I mainly was, how lucky I was in my parents and siblings, and more that I can’t begin to verbalize…
    So experience in the process and the rewards from the effort so great, it gets some easier…less time wallowing in resistance…
    Huh! but it still took me almost a week to get to this little essay, didn’t it?
    Sin is separation from God. To refuse to forgive is the only unforgivable sin, because that refusal blocks the forgiveness waiting to be given. It is our choice. I am grateful that by The Father’s Grace, I have been able to make the choices which have brought me the Peace of being forgiven. God accepts me and uses me with all my flaws, but I first had to lay them down and humbly ask to be made whole. Surrender was that act of self forgiveness. The more of myself I know and surrender, there more filled with Light I become. No end to this. Spiritual progress, not perfection is all I can claim.
    Humans living in separation from God is the source of all evil in the world, I am convinced. I see no need to construct a Satan to explain evil. God did not create evil, but He did create us, gave us “free will” and creative powers, and what we see is the result. My process of taking responsibility for the contents of My Life has taught me that. ‘Nuff said….—Love blessings to all…

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    • Sharon says:

      This is the phrase that I am meditating on:

      what we can not forgive in others has bearing on what we can accept of forgiveness

      Yes.

      less time wallowing in resistance…

      Yes.

      Like

    • Sharon says:

      Jesus has carefully moved us here….to the doorway to a living, sustainable, functioning relationship with the Father.

      This is so fine, Spar. Jesus Himself repeatedly asserted and demonstrated that His goal was, indeed, to bring us to the Father.

      In my spiritual heritage, there is high emphasis on the identity and work of Jesus, the Christ, with regard to the Cross: and that is a firm and fine foundation. I’ve noticed over a lifetime, however, that in experience and understanding sometimes the work of the Cross is experienced and referenced by individual believers as an end in itself, completely overlooking the reality that the whole point is to bring us to the Father; i.e., overcome the obstacles, open the way, establish covenant relationship that will bring us to the Father.

      Ephesians 1:18 is a great summary of the thought Paul has been building in the first 17 verses of the chapter, “For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.” Such a “big picture view” of the Cross in no diminishes its work but acknowledges it and makes much of it.

      We desperately need to get to the Father at all times. The words are simple. The reality is not always so simple, because of the things that conspire against it.

      There really is a reason that not many, even among believers, actively enjoy a functioning relationship with the Father. There are many things that conspire against it.

      Like

  8. justfactsplz says:

    I don’t mean to intrude here. Sometimes I read here. I don’t have anything to contribute but I learn a lot here. There is much wisdom here. I just wanted to say if any of you have been following Pam on the prayer thread there is a post from her after her surgery. She and her family still need our prayers.

    Like

    • Sharon says:

      Hey, jfp! No intrusion!! Good grief, sometimes I feel like I’m hogging the conversation here, and wish others would jump in as well…..thank you for the update on Pam as well.

      This thread is not supposed to only be a monologue or dialogue that must have me in it! :) It doesn’t have to have me in it at all. I know from watching the site stats that there are folks reading here always, and not having any idea who they are for the most part, desire to have something fresh for them to read on a regular basis. Thank you…

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  9. Sharon says:

    The September 10 entry in Streams in the Desert devotional book, is based on Psalm 138:8, “The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me.” I thought it reflected and touched on Chapel comments from recent days, so here ’tis.

    There is a Divine mystery in suffering, a strange and supernatural power in it, which has never been fathomed by the human reason. There never has been known great saintliness of soul which did not pass through great suffering. When the suffering soul reaches a calm sweet carelessness, when it can inwardly smile at its own suffering, and does not even ask God to deliver it from suffering, then it has wrought its blessed ministry; then patience has its perfect work; then the crucifixion begins to weave itself into a crown.

    It is in this state of the perfection of suffering that the Holy Spirit works many marvelous things in our souls. In such a condition, our whole being lies perfectly still under the hand of God; every faculty of the mind and will and heart are at last subdued; a quietness of eternity settles down into the whole being; the tongue grows still, and has but few words to say; it stops asking God questions; it stops crying, “Why hast thou forsaken me?”

    The imagination stops building air castles, or running off on foolish lines; the reason is tame and gentle; the choices are annihilated; it has no choice in anything but the purpose of God. The affections are weaned from all creatures and all things; it is so dead that nothing can hurt it, nothing can offend it, nothing can hinder it, nothing can get in its way; for, let the circumstances be what they may, it seeks only for God and His will, and it feels assured that God is making everything in the universe, good or bad, past or present, work together for its good.

    Oh, the blessedness of being absolutely conquered! of losing our own strength, and wisdom, and plans, and desires, and being where every atom of our nature is like placid Galilee under the omnipotent feet of our Jesus—Soul Food.

    The great thing is to suffer without being discouraged. — Feneton

    The heart and serves, and loves, and clings,
    Hears everywhere the rush of angel wings.

    A related thought: sometimes our suffering is caused by others or by random events that simply impact our lives; at other times our suffering is clearly a consequence of our own failing. Regardless of which it is, the blessings that these writers note within the suffering come through fully intact—regardless of the bucket in which they arrive. Hebrews 12:11 speaks of the peaceable fruit of righteousness that comes to those who have been trained by chastening.

    It doesn’t come to all who have been chastened—but to those who have been trained by the chastening. And such training is available as a result of the chastening regardless of what necessitated the chastening.

    I appreciate the logic and ultimate fairness of God’s dealing in our lives. He doesn’t play games. He’s not petty. He’s not manipulative. He is for us…and that is astounding.

    Like

    • Pam says:

      Ah, yes. Suffering has so many faces, so many facets, so many reasons and outcomes. But one thing I know now–”to live is Christ..to die is gain”. This has to do with the crucifixion of suffering. Suffering crucifies the “flesh”, that human, pride, ego part of us, that part where “I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul.” What a bad poem that is.
      Many saints were able to come to this ultimate place and really not care what happened to them. Many were eager to die physically for Christ. When we read their words, our minds have a hard time taking it in. It sounds so bizarre, so “out there.” Maybe we are not called to their level, but we are called to whatever place God wants us to be to experience His way for us.
      I feel sad when I see so many Christians fighting the idea that we can suffer. I will say to them “what happened to the Apostles? What happened to Paul?” Didn’t they suffer? Why do we think we shouldn’t?”

      Like

      • Sharon says:

        Yeah. I think that general expectation (which is not Scriptural) that somehow the “successful life of faith” is one in which God “fixes everything” is such a devastating deception. If for no other reason …. that it sets up the individual believer for unnecessary.

        Pam, do you have a copy of Packer’s Knowing God?

        I think we talked about it earlier…but I don’t remember if it was you who said you had a copy? Let me know. There’s osmething I came across there yesterday that I’ve been chewing and chewing on….so excellent. if you have it, I’ll get my copy in here and give you the page #s. I’m actually thinking about breaking a couple of pages into bits and sharing them in comments.

        I think the resistance to the question “Why shouldn’t we suffer?” doesn’t have to do so much with the intellectual idea, but with never examining our expectations and our reasons for recoiling (i.e.; we do not know how to suffer in peace….why is that??)

        Like

        • Pam says:

          No, it wasn’t me. I don’t have Knowing God. But I guess I will be getting it soon. On to Amazon! :)

          Like

        • Pam says:

          I guess if we already knew how to suffer in peace, we’d be further along than we are. I was more like Job. For a long time, I just loved Job. All that complaining and questioning. Yep, that’s me. And his crummy friends, all so full of themselves and lecturing him with their enormous pomposity. There you go, Job–have some more suffering. Would you like that with a side order of hemlock? :)

          Like

      • Pam says:

        That said, as you guys were discussing somewhere above, suffering is not the goal..just the means to the end…a way to get us to the goal.

        Like

  10. Pam says:

    I’ve got to learn how to put music video in here. There are some beautiful songs I found while I was going through all this artery stuff and tests, etc. I made a CD and would just listen to them during the day while I was lying around in bed. Some of them were the perfect thing for discussions that were going on here.

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  11. Spar Harmon says:

    PAM!!!! So happy to wake up and see you Back! I see you have been acquainted with suffering. Welcome to the club…not of the suffering, but those who know where to go when body and mind cry out….
    What amazes me is that , though my body hurts and I am semi-crippled, and though my mind and heart wails and gnashes teeth and magnifies what real pain exists, when I turn to My Father and surrender to His care, He fills me with peace and activities of worth start occurring, like Fix a nice dinner, that’s hunger you’re feeling, son…and I painfully hobble into the kitchen, form an idea, everything I need is there, start something, wash dishes, tend stove, smoke, tend stove, thinking of something I want to speak out on CTH, …feel much better, serene… hurt is hell but I needn’t wallow in it… try to keep my restive mind stayed on My Father’s World: the Kingdom Ever-Present, Ever-Available when ever I am ready…
    I am humbled that I physically crashed, narcoleptic onto my keyboard. I was in middle of some reply to Sharon around Ephesians 1:18 which I had had a warm response to, but some exasperated from trying to get context by reading the prior verses so full of knotty Pauline ego ranting. I mean I love what I love of Paul’s but much of it has only produced some of the more negative teachings of succeeding generations of church doctrines. A Calvinist minister loves to preach from Paul and send damnation missiles in every direction. But then there is I Corinthians: 13 which flashes directly to my heart and channels that unmistakable strength from The Source.
    Anyway, I shut the computer down and crashed in bed for 10 hours. Judge not that ye be not judged, Spar. Sorry about the rant, Pam. It is my own faults that kept me from the Truth so long, so I reaffirm my release of Paul from my ire, and reaffirm my love for him as a human man who Has Given Me much in Truth and increased my understanding and opened in me pathways to Blessing.

    I look forward to your presence with us. Love to all and blessings, Spar

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    • Sharon says:

      I hate hearing about damnation missiles and I don’t know what to do for those wounded by them.

      Those who take truths and turn them into spiritual terrorist weapons are revealing much about themselves and nothing about the heart of God as revealed in scripture.

      Hermaneutics matters. Spiritual terrorists don’t think it does. That’s a heart-rant, Spar, and I believe what you say. :(

      Like

    • Pam says:

      Spar!! It is so good to be back with you guys. I looked through all yours and Sharon’s stuff that had been going on while I was gone. You have given me too much to do. Now I have to read and catch up on all of it, and try to think of something suitably intelligent to say. Darn!

      Like

      • Spar Harmon says:

        Please spare me suitably intelligent somethings– too removed from the heart, my dear. We are bonded through our sufferings and what we have experienced, and in that you have no equal in what you have to teach me.
        On my list of the most powerful poetic voices in our language is a frail, lifelong recluse, intensely spiritual in the New England Congregational/Transcendental tradition, whose work was virtually unknown except post-mortem: Emily Dickinson. I have a sharing from her below. Blessings, Spar

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    • justfactsplz says:

      Spar, I too had similar feeling about Paul’s teachings. In my case I felt it was satan trying to get me not to study Paul’s writings. Coming against that is what helped me.

      Like

      • Spar Harmon says:

        I am so happy, jfp, to hear from you, and happier still to see satan uncapitalized. I really meant my prayer at the end of that post. 1st Corinthians 13 is posted on the wall over my computer monitor as one of the “guideposts” of my current life. Remembering Jesus’ enunciation of the Greatest Commandment, Paul’s delineation of Love towers in importance in my life. As far as satan goes, it is everything in me which separates me from God; it is my own evil and I must own it, know it, forgive me it, in order for the Father to cleanse me of it, and what I fail to drag into the light of awareness from the cesspool of my darkness, continues to plague my efforts to grow. God protects me from drowning, but it is my work to dig it out and let it go. I am human and I have developed serious disease of heart and soul and I must find the willingness to do this inner work, overcoming laziness, habituation, comfort zones, denials, and on and on, but without the Grace of the Father’s sustenance and support and LOVE, I would already have died—no question. Satan is a convenience term and should be given no power in and of itself as if it were some Super Entity able To Challenge God on an Equal basis. Some even assert that Satan is God’s creation who went astray, in effect that God created Evil.
        NOT THE UNKNOWABLE HOLY ONE I HAVE EXPERIENCED. Mankind created satan and gives it all the power it has as a mass delusion of evil. It just gives us a defeatist excuse in ourselves to not confront our own inner demons: Oh well, da Devil made me do it…..Been there, done that… wasted my years in such wallowing.
        That rant was for me, jfp….rallying my inner troops. Bless, dear one, Spar

        Like

        • justfactsplz says:

          I always remind myself when that evil comes around, that greater is He that is in me. God gave us power over that evil but we must tap into that wonderful power and light. I so enjoy reading the beautiful post by you and Ms. Sharon.

          Like

        • tessa50 says:

          “Satan is a convenience term and should be given no power in and of itself as if it were some Super Entity able To Challenge God on an Equal basis. Some even assert that Satan is God’s creation who went astray, in effect that God created Evil.”

          I don’t believe that satan has more power than God, but he certainly has power and just so I am clear, of course he cannot challenge God on an equal basis.

          “Mankind created satan and gives it all the power it has as a mass delusion of evil. It just gives us a defeatist excuse in ourselves to not confront our own inner demons: Oh well, da Devil made me do it…..Been there, done that… wasted my years in such wallowing”.

          Maybe I am missing something here but I sure didn’t think mankind created the devil. That goes against all I have been taught.

          Like

          • justfactsplz says:

            It is not what I have been taught. He is the powers and principalities that wander through the earth seeking who he may devour. He was at one time a good angel the way I understand and he was cast out of heaven with other angels who followed him (demons). The Holy Spirit gives us power over him. We are told to resist him and he will flee. There are many in the world who don’t believe he or demons exist. I beg to differ. This is what I believe. At the end times he will be cast into the lake of fire for eternity.

            Like

            • Spar Harmon says:

              Below you will see my reply to Tessa50 who expressed similar objections. I don’t dispute you about what you believe. I haven’t the arrogance to think I Know What is What better than you.
              But I share my experiences on The Journey we all share toward God, with you, my brothers and sisters. What I shared is a working construct about the problem of evil which keeps me firmly centered in taking personal responsibility for the evil I find in myself. When I look outward I see my personal struggles writ large in the world. I decline to pass judgment on another person’s Spirit journey; it profits me nothing to do so and could do harm; so I pass on that. But I also gain by your shares about your journey. It breaks the loneliness, as Sharon says. I don’t have to be right. It is a very great danger to think that I am. So I depend on the honesty and goodwill of others to help me by their honest shares.
              There an excellent study of where the ideas of Satan came from, and how they evolved into the present forms we are familiar with. Dr. Elaine Pagels’ THE ORIGIN OF SATAN is a fine piece of dispassionate scholarship, all sources noted, and absent judgmental statements and experts code language. Very clear writing style. The story of Balaam’s Ass is hilarious.
              I do thank you for expressing your concerns about what I said. I am your brother and I love you and I doubt the differences in the details of our spiritual beliefs is of much significance beside the Unity of the Lord of all Creation who commands us to Love one another. Blessings to you, Spar

              Like

              • justfactsplz says:

                You are on a wonderful path and journey with your Lord. We are all on this same journey and same goal even though our individual paths may be different. I did not mean to offend but was speaking of my own journey. What matters is where the journey is taking us. God bless and I love you in the Lord, like all brothers and sisters in Christ.

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          • Spar Harmon says:

            Tessa50, that you for challenging my assertions. I claim no more validity for those assertions except that it is where I have got to so far about the problem of evil. All my life I have had Devil talk spouted at me, much of it right in the face , hate-filled and in the manner of it’s delivery blatantly false. I come from the Bible belt, sister, and the Devil is alive and well in many churches sad to say. But I am also experienced in the calmer, pious, teaching that most of us were given and , yes, Lucifer/Satan/ Devil is certainly taught as a fallen angel cast down from heaven after losing a war with God, into the Fiery pit from which he attempts to corrupt mankind and receive those judged unworthy of heaven for whom he has arranged eternal torment, etc. Certainly the Gospel writers seem to support such views along with fabricating many other features of the Christian mythos. That is why I try to steer clear of sayings attributed to Jesus which are clear storyteller’s license, for instance the dialogue between Jesus and Satan in the wilderness. Jesus’ Truth is clear and strong, and the Satan story is not necessary to an understanding of that Truth. But I am aware that many loving people may fear for me being on shaky ground, or even as being blasphemous. No blasphemy is intended nor any desire to be anybody’s iconoclast.

            Since sept.15,2009, when in the depth of my personal hell, I surrendered and was made humble by what I was given to witness. I can not deny that experience and live. And step by step, day by day I have learned to live in the constant Presence of Our Father. THEN I discovered the words of Jesus and He laid out a Path for me, stepped onto it and bade me follow, forsaking all else….
            So, Tessa, I at this point just don’t find the traditional Devil mythos very real or helpful on my journey. But I don’t think the Loving Father I know is going to punish me should I be wrong, Rather I would expect an illuminating experience will set me straight. Neither do I fear hell or death. Jesus says walk the Path I have shown you and FEAR not, for I am with you. I have no bone to pick with anybody’s belief system. God is way bigger than I can comprehend, and I pray you are safely under His sheltering wing… Love Blessings to you, Spar

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            • tessa50 says:

              I did not mean for you to take that as a challenge, just was simply something that I hadn’t believed, the devil being manmade and so said what I did.

              Spar, what I should have done as I have done before was asked for the scripture that you used to base that on.

              I see now, at least I think I do, that you aren’t talking scripture but something else.

              Spar I truly enjoy reading your thoughts and I hope I have not offended you, as that surely was not my intent.

              Like

              • Spar Harmon says:

                Perhaps I should have said I found your response challenging to address.
                As far as offense goes, I am not easily offended, and saw no offense being attempted by you anyway…
                Trying to rise to your and, jtf,p’s, similar responses led to good things and I hope you are clarified about how I work with it. Sharon also shared a similar view to yours.
                With my hand in My Father’s, step by step, and day by day I am led along the Way and my trust is in He who leadeth me and no other. My love to you, sister, and bless you on Your path.

                Like

      • Stormy says:

        I have a Life Application Study Bible, and I have found that reading the introduction page it gives before every book, especially those written by Paul has helped me increase my understanding immensely.

        For example, on the intro/vital statistics page for the book of Romans it mentions that Paul had heard of the church at Rome, but he had never been there, nor had any of the apostles. Evidently the church had been begun by Jews who had come to faith during Pentecost. They spread the faith on their return to Rome, and the church grew…. He sent this letter to introduce himself and to make a clear declaration of the faith… Paul presents the Good News… that we are save by grace through faith in Christ and His finished work…Speaking directly to his Jewish brothers and sisters, Paul shares his concern for them and explains how they fit into God’s plan.

        This is just a few lines from that intro page, but it helped my understanding of the entire book, know more about the Church in Roman, and Paul’s purpose in writing to them.

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  12. Spar Harmon says:

    Henley was a very good poet, but pretty corrupted by Victorian convention and melodrama, Empire Uber Alles! Many a patriot, even still goes off to war with such thrilling thought only to be simplified to their bare humanity by the flensing reality of war. I have been much guided in suffering by the shares of suffering survivors…
    Hope is the thing with feathers
    That perches in the soul,
    And sings the tune without the words,
    And never stops at all.

    And sweetest in the gale is heard;
    And sore must be the storm
    That could abash the little bird
    That kept so many warm.

    I’ve heard it in the chilliest land,
    And on the strangest sea;
    Yet, never, in extremity,
    It asked a crumb of me.——–Emily Dickinson, whose poems record with amazing simplicity and fidelity, one soul’s journey to God. All thanks to Him for the gift of her.

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    • Sharon says:

      A little blue velvet-covered volume of hers (Favorite Poems of….) that I purchased 32 years ago is falling apart. With its loose pages, it falls open to this:

      I like a look of agony,
      Because I know it’s true;
      men do not sham convulsion,
      Nor simulate a throe.

      The eyes glaze once, and that is death.
      Impossible to feign
      The beads upon the forehead
      By Homely anguish strung.

      Like

      • Spar Harmon says:

        Oh. Amazing. She is so Powerful and so intensely truthful. Consistently beggers my own poor efforts. Thank you. It has been many years since I last read that one… Love, Spar

        Because she was a spinster and recluse, her family routinely called on her to sit with the dying of the extended family. Many reflections on suffering, dying, and death, judging by her letters emanated from these assignments which she dutifully performed. Given her promise as a youth, and her refusal to marry, many in her family considered her useless, and selfish, and self-indulgent, an apostate sinner, and she did nothing to defend herself…..

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  13. Sharon says:

    Some general thoughts about the experience of disagreement. And about 20 inches down the page, this essay ends with these words:

    Way too many words, and I’m probably in over my head, but I appeal that we desire wisdom, lay hold of discernment and let the heart of our Father pursue our hearts…

    My spiritual heritage and convictions are sourced in Scripture. Unlike what Spar has described up-thread about his journey (including some Quaker perspectives and the good work of AA), I am very, very leery of using my own thoughts, my experiences, or seeing my insights as any sort of anchor. My life was dramatically redeemed in the early 1980′s by the work of the Spirit of God using, solely, the Word of God. I didn’t trust myself. I certainly didn’t trust anyone else. I trusted God not to lie to me and therefore, I would accept no other source than Scripture to help me decide to continue living. My own thoughts and my own “wisdom” horrified me and had nearly destroyed me. And others had deceived me deeply. (I got to the point where I wouldn’t even allow my pastor to speak counsel to me except in specific answer to a specific question, even though he was completely trustworthy)

    In later years, I was often asked to “give my testimony” and I only did so one time, because I was very, very concerned that some folks were far to eager to latch on to my story instead of seeking God for themselves. That’s easy to discern, when the prevalent response to a testimony is somehow just squeals of excitement. I call it Christian True Confession, and I want nothing to do with it.

    And now I will mention what I notice in Spar: His life and his story gives every evidence of having been redeemed by the intervention of the grace of God, as a result of Jesus getting Spar into the Father’s presence.

    Essentially that’s my story: redeemed by the intervention of the grace of God, as a result of getting me into the Father’s presence.

    I can illustrate part of what I’m trying to express here by quoting how he describes his perspective on one issue (working def. of evil):

    What I shared is a working construct about the problem of evil which keeps me firmly centered in taking personal responsibility for the evil I find in myself.

    Now my working construct would be pretty much parallel to what others here have described, satan as a personality, a being created with free will who chose to rebel against God; that God certainly did not create evil but, as with man, the angelic beings were created with free will. Just like man, they got to choose to have as much of God as they wanted.

    Ok. So there’s a divergence of opinion specifically because our sources are different and our starting points are different. I will not minimize the importance I place on Scripture as being my only source. That is what anchors me. That is what stabilizes my life. Scripture teaches me to take personal responsibility for the evil I find in myself. Scripture “got me to the Father” and redeemed my life, both in time and in eternity.

    Our heritage, our starting points, and our wounds do impact us and how we walk out our lives of faith will reflect that impact. But the eyes of God roam the earth, looking for the humble heart and for the thirsty heart, and He responds to those hearts. That is clear in both Old and New Testament. In no case is any version of the Bible mentioned as a filter. In none of the verses that speak of how God is attracted to the humble heart is their doctrine of satan mentioned.

    I am completely intrigued by what I know for a fact (having seen it in lives other than Spar’s as well): that the Spirit of God is drawn to and responds to the pursuit of a heart which may not have the same perspective on Scripture that I do.Imagine such a thing! That complete intrigues me, because I know that I have tested and known Scripture in a way that sets my feet on the firm foundation, and I will never step aside from standing on that sure foundation….but yet, I see in that other humble heart that they are standing in the presence of the Father, just as I do; pouring out their heart, just as I do; asking for and accepting forgiveness, just as I do; being strengthened and encouraged to press on toward home, just as I do. ….

    …their starting point was different;
    …their convictions are different;
    …their practices are different;
    …their wounds are different;
    …their heritage is different…

    and yet, here we stand together, in the presence of the Father. What I am to make of that?

    So sometimes our hands frantically poke into the air as we ask for The Teacher’s attention, because our anxious questions must be asked, “But Father…what about….??? I heard him say….” And the Father often just says to me, “Shhhhh….Child. I know. But now….someone else is raising their hand about something you said….”

    Obviously, none of this means that “everyone’s right.” But what’s right isn’t going to be decided by us coming to a consensus, and it’s silly to act as though it is. The stuff Jesus said that is true (and all of it was, of course, otherwise He’s a liar and then the whole thing falls apart) didn’t become true because He said it. He said it because it was already true and continues to be true.

    I’m absolutely not a believer in “everyone can believe what they want”….that’s way too ego centric for me. God is not a God who invites us to draw on to Him any form of “God-stuff” we think is nifty: how arrogant would that be. That’s no different than obama inviting everyone to draw on him as the blank slate.

    But neither do I think that others who are actually pursuing the company, the presence and redemption that comes from the heart of the Sovereign God have to pass muster with me. And I won’t participate in arguments about it. Unfortunately, many times we are completely unaware of how much we depend on the bucket in which truth came to us and forget that the contents of the bucket is what brings stability, not the bucket.

    Sometimes it’s difficult to keep them separate, especially when we deeply disagree with someone whom we cherish in faith fellowship.

    We don’t have to be in agreement. It’s all right if any one of us (or ten thousand of us) turn out to be flat wrong. We are dependent on the grace of Almighty God to touch our lives and our hearts, not on one another.

    Bottom line principle that I’ve learned the hard way: I will be very very careful about presuming how I stick my fingers into the heart of another, poking around and touching things I can’t see and know nothing about. Dietrich Bonhoeffer made a very strong statement about the dangers involved in such careless dealings.

    Because Christ stands between me and others, I dare not desire direct fellowship with them. As only Christ can speak to me in such a way that I may be saved, so others, too, can be saved only by Christ himself. This means that I must release the other person from every attempt of mine to regulate, coerce, and dominate him with my love. –from Life Together

    The work of our heavenly Father far exceeds our capacities to define it. His work in others will not be the same as His work in me, because their starting point was different, their wounds are different, their heart cry is different. What HE does will essentially be THE SAME, and I believe that is illustrated by the fact that each of us stands here in His presence, amazed at His grace, and wondering how on the earth did He get us to THIS PLACE, on THIS DAY.

    Way too many words, and I’m probably in over my head, but I appeal that we desire wisdom, lay hold of discernment and let the heart of our Father pursue our hearts…

    You alone are my strength and shield
    To You alone may my spirit yield.

    Spar, I truly hope this is not uncomfy for you that I take the occasion of perceived divergencies to address how we function with one another. Email me at the site email if you have concerns or want me to can this whole thing. The fact is, this is something that has occurred to me before (since we very much a mixed-faith site)…we sort of need to walk like grownups in the faith to some extent and leave room for the Spirit of God to work as He will in others’ lives, so I took this opportunity. I did not and do not think you need defending. That was not the point.

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  14. Spar Harmon says:

    To all my brothers and sisters of Jesus the Shepard; to Sharon, Tessa, jtf,p , pam, stormyeyes, those I am forgetting, and silent listeners: my simple love to you all. Sharon, no I am not discomforted, on the contrary you brought me great ease of heart…
    I have been feeling, as my little project grows, a growing uneasiness that I am missing something vital. Through our interlude of discussion a question has arisen in my heart: why is it I feel so Protected on my Path? Why do I feel safe revealing here what I have never revealed to anyone but my Father? What is so deeply embedded in my experience of The Prayer, it does not even occur to me to speak of it? What was so deeply affecting about Sharon’s long share and the shares of others?
    Why did Bonhoeffer’s words resonate as if coming from my own mouth? Well because they have come from my own mouth. Because others often say what I meant but failed to say, or same-same thought recast in different words. Because there is commonality born of True Encounters with Truth. Because I find validation here. Because I find Love here.
    And Love is what has been missing from my speaking.
    THE WORD “LOVE” DOES NOT APPEAR IN THE LORD’S PRAYER.
    In Paul’s great celebration of Love in 1st Corinthians 13, he does not define the word. In the citation for Love in the Oxford Unabridged (33vol.)Dictionary of the English Language no real definition can be found. I know I have a copy.
    I have heard it said: God Is Love. I don’t know if that is scriptural, my concordance fails to deliver a confirming passage. But God is also undefined.
    I think it is no accident that I feel unfinished talking about forgiveness because Love is inextricably involved, isn’t it? How could it not be? Jesus commands me to Love God, Love others, and Love myself. In the Prayer, we ask for forgiveness, conditional on our forgiving others, and find that involves forgiving ourselves. Same pattern.
    Paul delineates love by describing the acts of love. He does not say love is forgiving, or that it is forgiveness. This is the equation God=Love. God substitutes perfectly with Love in Paul’s great dissertation. Forgiveness is an act of Love.
    When I first experienced my Holy Parent, I was smashed flat to the ground by a heart swelling flood of Love. Is this what they mean by washed in the blood of the Lamb? To paraphrase Blake: did He who made the Lamb make me? When I came to myself I felt clean. I felt clean for several days in succession. I received very loving instruction from a friend to keep it simple and to just seek that experience everyday. Jesus’ words from my past kept popping up in my mind, soon I was thumbing madly through the gospels, searching for just certain passages. I sought and I found, and My Father kept making His Presence known. I knew LOVE. I felt FORGIVEN. I was aware of my proper Work. I was empowered to LIVE. I knew a Truth I never thought I would: HE ABIDES WITH ME.
    This is why I feel protected on my path. This is why I feel safe to reveal myself with all the honesty and Truth I can muster: I am in the presence of brothers and sisters on a God-path, am I not? We live in the Light of Love given us through Grace, are we not to share it without stint. For sure I am just little quirky, monkey, kitty me, often foolish, graceless, So So self- serious and important, didactic and vainglorious, I know, I know but I am forgiven being me and my Father tells me I must share what I have for I will never run out as long as I share for LOVE. And it is unfair for me to judge what you may need of what I have been given. Never never never must I presume to preach or proselytize to another. The consequences are agonizingly em bare assing,
    as I have recently demonstrated to myself.
    In the solitude of my room, I pray the Lord’s Prayer. Jesus gave me this Love gift which is expressive in every word of His Father’s Love for Him, for me, for all of humanity. So Our/We/Us pray and return that Love to the Source and the choir of our intent is One Voice raised together, and All of Creation Rings as a Bell.
    So that is what was missing: LOVE is what gives it all meaning. I am filled with gladness to live in The Father’s world/ kingdom/ realm/ Heart with you all.

    Like

    • Sharon says:

      Yeah, all of that. The love of God….

      When I first experienced my Holy Parent, I was smashed flat to the ground by a heart swelling flood of Love….I was empowered to LIVE. I knew a Truth I never thought I would: HE ABIDES WITH ME.

      The name is not connecting at the moment, but years ago I read the report of a well known Christian writer. He describes the day he was driving on some longish trip to a speaking engagement and the Father caused him to understand how he was loved–by the Father. He reported it as the most disabling experience, requiring that he get off the road and stop, quite unable to process what he saw and knew in those moments, both unwilling and unable to escape the raw impact of Father Love.

      While I have made the point that we do well to avoid confusing our precious buckets with their precious contents, that must not be taken to mean that I diminish the value of the bucket: It is God Who deals with our lives. When my MBOB book is printed (the publishers moved it to design stage a few days ago, so it’s still on the road… ;) ) that will be a documentation of the bucket that is so precious to me–in which God brought to me His love, took me to Calvary, showed me my sin (and didn’t beat me over the head with it or threaten me) and taught me how to experience forgiveness.

      On this Interstate of High Speed Christianity in Western Civilization, we are skilled at giving one another directions and not so skilled at traveling together

      That’s what Bonhoeffer was trying to get at in much of his training of young theologians before the war in Germany. He saw first hand how their self-centered experienced of the Christ had isolated them–alone and with one another, unable to effectively be with others (unless others met them where they desired to be met). Watchman Nee addresses the same issue in The Release of the Spirit.

      This from my blank books from August 11, 2010.

      Humility will make it possible to stand openly in grace, moment by moment to be kept in His love–Spirit, give me understanding about your keeping.

      I didn’t write about humility because I understood it (I still don’t). I wrote about it because my slight experience of it makes me thirsty.

      Like

      • Spar Harmon says:

        Ah yes, the thirst never quenched,
        The desert of life without, without–
        And so hard I make it, my pride, my delusion,
        Keeping me trudging needlessly in the dust.
        Lord how I weary myself in wasted stuff,
        And I don’t even know why I must,
        But I do.
        Thank you Father.
        You lifted me, you loved me,
        When I gave myself up for lost,
        And cast out one last cry of hope,
        You came.
        And met my direst needs,
        Bathed me, fed me,
        And wrapped me in thy boundless Love.
        Beyond my poor understanding to contain,
        Thy Grace just sustains
        Mere me.
        And always was there, sustaining,
        Though I was lost and rejecting,
        Twisted with ego strife, He waited,
        Sustaining patiently my life.
        ‘Said I’m so undeserving!
        ‘Said who are you to judge?
        ‘Said look at all I’ve wasted!
        ‘Said compost for my garden
        Of blessed redeem-ed souls
        Like yours.
        So finally I surrendered
        And let my hand be taken,
        I knew I needed guidance,
        For I was a lost man
        And knew not how to Walk with Him
        Into the promised Land…

        And this is my offering, this is my prayer, that each of you will also dwell, in the Peace of His Presence by the side of His Well.

        Like

        • Sharon says:

          …again, words break the loneliness

          Like

          • Spar Harmon says:

            LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION
            BUT DELIVER US FROM EVIL.

            For many of us who work with this Prayer, who attempt to truly Pray with it, being mindful and intent and intense as we pray, sooner or later an uneasiness creeps in about the 1st clause. It seems to imply that if we don’t not specifically ask otherwise He might lead us into temptation. Some have suggested a rewording to avoid this problem; translators have examined all available manuscripts to see if some error of translation or copying might be to blame–nope………..
            In the beginnings of my journey I would fervently ask for this fail/safe protection; I was freshly impressed with my vulnerability to messing up. About the time I was being bothered by this wording I suffered serious missteps which resulted in immediate and painful consequences and I became very ginger and timid in my walk, more self-centered and protective, my practice fell off, my shares in meetings felt off, and my whole world was graying, I became more and more obsessive and finally after a particularly whiney, poor me share; An old-timer in the program came up to me and looked into my face with great concern. He said Man. you ridin’ for a fall. I don’ know whut’s gotcha on th’ pity pot, but if ya keep ridin’ it ya gonna fall in…Read page 85 , man ‘n’ think aboudit…
            I’d sure hate to see a good man go down…and he turned and walked away. He was talking about what AA’s call the Big Book. Here is what I found on page 85:
            It is easy to let up on the spiritual program of action and rest on our laurels. We are headed for trouble if we do, for alcohol is a subtle foe. We are not cured of alcoholism. WHAT WE REALLY HAVE IS A DAILY REPRIEVE CONTINGENT ON THE MAINTENANCE OF OUR SPIRITUAL CONDITION. Every day is a day when we must carry a VISION OF GOD’S WILL INTO ALL OUR ACTIVITIES. “How can I serve Thee—Thy will (not mine) be done.” These are thoughts which must go with us constantly. We can exercise our will power along this line all we wish. It is the proper use of the will.
            That evening I had a powerfully healing communion with The Father and took Step 11 as my Basic Daily spiritual practice. I quote it in full upthread in this study.
            The question about the wording became moot. In fact the question illustrates the answer. It is a trick question which arises as we grow: as we grow we become more sensitive and aware and more vulnerable to our own mind tricks. God is not playing a trick on me here; my worry is a lack of trust in him; and this sentence is all about TRUST in His protection and care. We are asking to be protected from being led astray; and if we lose our way and get caught up in evil, we pray for deliverance.
            Somewhere Jesus says—-Nothing shall by any means hurt you. Behold I am with you alway.

            Who we were before God found us, is still with us. We are never cured of being us. The defects in our character want to express and are subtle and powerful and patient. The Father uses me anyway, and many bad things in me have been transformed, but there still is plenty there to be worked on. It is the Father’s pleasure to give me plenty of work to do.
            I am but a child asleep in the lap of the Lord. Lord Bless and keep us, Amen.

            Like

            • justfactsplz says:

              Spar you really hit a chord with saying we are never cured of being us. How profound and true. God has done so much in my life and when I seem to be struggling He reminds me that He is not through with me yet. I am a work in progress. Everyday I need his help to be what He wants me to be.

              Like

              • Spar Harmon says:

                jf,p, It’s you! …A work in progress…we been hanging out in the same kind of places, for sure. I’m glad you are on the journey to. It all goes better with companions. You can lean on me when you need to. I hobble on the right side but my left is still stringy but strong. God’s Love to you…Spar

                Like

            • Sharon says:

              WHAT WE REALLY HAVE IS A DAILY REPRIEVE CONTINGENT ON THE MAINTENANCE OF OUR SPIRITUAL CONDITION.

              The simplicity of doing daily what we’ve learned to do. Yes. That truth applies to fear and despair, too.

              Spar, when I discovered in my early 30s that I had finally found alcohol that tasted good to me (strawberry margueritas) I was terrified. I had felt protected from ever abusing alcohol because none of it was “good” going down. When I had that first double marguerita, and then a few weeks later had another, I knew I had a decision to make. (And bear in mind, I had never been even a social drinker–it was just that my co-workers at Lockheed were always trying to get the Sunday School girl to drink–anything–and I could always say–”Oh, yuck, I can’t stand alcohol.” As a result of those wonderful margueritas, I knew/decided I would never, ever participate or choose to think I could safely drink. And that was the end of that. I knew it was very dangerous for me because of other factors.

              However…..another point: the truths that you share in these things apply to other vulnerabilities rather precisely, in my experience. I must deal firmly and stringently with any onset of fear or despair. If I don’t, rather quickly, everything is at stake. When I talk about my life being redeemed (and that’s why I love that song I posted early, “Moment by moment, I’m kept in His love; moment by moment, I’ve life from above….”)

              There’s nothing in the bank, and yet, I’m completely safe, because like you said….cared for in His arms.

              The humility with which you share…..peels the layers off and I stand in His presence.

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              • Spar Harmon says:

                A vulnerability to alcohol can be genetic or arise from a family culture marred by a member or members who succumb to the disease. I am a “made” alcoholic who used alcohol to numb my reaction to a devastating marital betrayal. I too was in my early 30′s but I had had many warning experiences that I could not handle alcohol like normal people and I had no anchor to resist the desire to be just swept away. I was a suicidal drinker from the start.
                Whatever warned you off that route was a profound Blessing. I would not wish the agony of that affliction on anyone, and I rejoice you were saved from it. And I sorrow for who ever in your life, by their example, taught you to be wary.
                Sharing with you all in this simple chapel fills a great need for me. I am isolated from AA and have keenly felt the loss, discovering CTH has been a God Sending, for sure. But it is you who are here, all of you, who make the congregation of this great open chapel in a TREE.
                Peeling off layers is so much harder alone…God Bless you all….

                Like

    • Sharon says:

      Spar, I John 4:16 and the several verses of context….wonderful confirmation in light of your discussion about God being love. Good good stuff.

      Like

  15. Sharon says:

    I think we will soon need a new chapel thread. We are at 400 comments and it’s getting pretty slow to load…will try to get that done.

    When we create a new thread, the old ones are linked at the front end so that anyone can return to read previous conversations as they wish.

    Like

    • Spar Harmon says:

      Sharon, since my little project constitutes, along with the comments, a unity, it occurs to me that perhaps you will be wanting to do some manipulating, rearranging, or editing. For the record I have complete trust in your judgment and encourage you to feel free as far as I am concerned. I am done with the project except for responding to any comments coming up. I can only speculate about the task of starting a Part 3, but it doesn’t sound easy and I express appreciating ahead of time.
      Yours in Our Father’s care, Spar

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      • Spar Harmon says:

        I do intend to PrintScreen the whole thing, with dialogue, and paste it into one of my notebook sized journals. Just in case there is some distruption of the Treehouse resulting in archival losses.

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  16. Spar Harmon says:

    I feel like I’m wandering onto a stage in an old theater which has just staged the last show it will ever do and is slated for abandonment….It is just a mood in a place of already dear memories…

    FOR THINE IS THE KINGDOM
    AND THE POWER
    AND THE GLORY
    FOR EVER
    AND EVER
    A M E N

    And now the hymn of joy unending…
    The Kingdom is all that is on every plane known and unknown by human mind, the Creation, the All in All, unbounded by definition, God manifesting, God expressing, The Doer, The Doing, The Deed— The Presence made manifest and sensible….
    And by virtue of That Reality that Is Everywhere Present, it is present In each of Us! Amazing Grace.
    There is no power that exists outside the power released to us humans to use. God is the source of all the Power that Is. When I fear, I am forgetting this. When I feel great dread at gathering storms on the human stage, I am forgetting this. It was Our Father’s Power that sustained me through my whole misdirected, willful life and who delivered me to Salvation. And for me, it took every detail of my story to get me here, and it is my story which is uniquely mine to share in witness: It is the story of the working of Our Father’s Power in this, my life. And that is what I cling to when viewing external events, because, really, there is no external event, the thread of God connects each with each and all with all in the planetary story of humankind. All with eyes to see can observe and bear witness from each unique viewpoint. CTH is one of the best viewing platforms I have ever experienced: So wonderfully human and Loving and Real. The Core CTH family keeps putting the unfolding world before us and we witness and share. I sure helps heal MY loneliness…
    There is such chaos of misdirected, ill intended, vicious energy loose in our world…to be aware and try to face it alone, impossible. Sharing in this refuge is God send…Balm.
    I was very insane in misuse of my power. So, Not being helpless, hapless that way any longer, yet with my memories of that horror ever fresh, I find grounds for compassion when I witness the turmoil around me, and I find myself at one with Jesus, who in His agony, begged forgiveness for his tormentors in their ignorant wallowing in the hell of their insanity…they know not what they do…neither did I and I am forgiven. The Father expresses his power in everything I do or have ever done; through His Grace, I can be aware of His Power expressing through me. It is often a mystery which defies my personal understanding, how He is working, then I have to just Trust.
    I try to remember that when viewing external events. Trust/Faith. Hope. Love. He Abides In Us.

    When I was a child the English Language was my favorite toy. It still is. I trained myself as a word- crafter, in college I studied the language as a language, the linguistic history, the evolution of present syntactical forms, all the theories of language, logic, meta-languages…but most studiously the history of our vocabulary. I made myself a student of the oral tradition: the rich poetic history of our dear language. I read poetry on the university radio station for 5 years and developed a vocal following. For years I have performed poetry at whatever open mics might be around. I love the feeling of getting people wrapped in the flowing sound-sense of a poem. I learned to use the Irish/Welsh survivals of singing/chanting poems, not just reading them with dramatic intonations. Poems are meant to be experienced with the mouth and vocal chords, they are essentially musical compositions: the vowels, consonants, and rhythms inseparable from the meanings of the chosen words; in fact the meaning of a poem is the whole.
    I say that by way if explanation for certain of my sensitivities. When I first started sharing about my spiritual experiences, I was very frustrated that the traditional vocabulary was so attenuated of meaning, the key words so hackneyed by careless and unmindful usage that I just could not comfortably use them. Here is a short list: God, Love, Faith, Glory. I have an extensive library of Dictionarys, Thesauri, Usage manuals, etc. Plus online etymological sites, etc. The first word I was able to resurrect into my language was FAITH. I found that this word was totally empty of meaning content because so carelessly used in my hearing from early childhood. I simply could not frame a meaning for the word. After extensive mining in my reference works, and feeling I was simply going to have to find some other way to express what ever it was. My go-to ready- reference sitting by my keyboard is a small, but thick, delightful to hold book THE POCKET OXFORD DICTIONARY, dark blue , hardbound. And there I found my clue, and some back checking confirmed that there was a linguistic twin for Faith, a true synonym: TRUST. I did not understand Faith, but I powerfully understood Trust. Now I can use the word Faith where ever it feels right, but Trust is what I mean.
    Glory is another attenuated word, not so easy to rehabilitate, But here the working core I’ve come up with : resplendent majesty and beauty. Thine is the resplendent majesty and beauty in all that is.
    For
    Ever
    And Ever
    And Ever
    And Ever……
    Amen

    May our Father bless us each one…

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