New Age Christianity

Discussion in 'New Age' started by soma, Feb 23, 2007.

  1. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Hi Ardenz —

    I don't disagree at all, and that is how I see it ... but we are obliged to admit that is not the way the majority sees is, and the Church has to acknowledge that, otherwise is drifts into obscurantism and elitism.

    Humanism, in all its forms, would seek the light with no requirement to consider God at all ... Then we get into monism and its various derivations, which see no difference between the spirit and the Spirit ...

    My question to 'New Age Christianity' is, I suppose, what's being introduced that wasn't there before, and what is the foundation for its introduction.

    Thomas
     
  2. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Hi Wil —

    Yes, you're right of course, I was speaking in a Christian context, or do NACs not believe in the Trinity?

    The point I was making is the object of doubt is man himself ... when man says 'I know what's best for me' he's flying in the face of every evidence, empirical, spiritual, or otherwise ... if he did know what's best, then the world would be in a lot better shape than it is now ... he knows what he likes, but that's a different kettle altogether ... one's likes and one's needs rarely coincide.

    I would have thought it's axiomatic by now that all too often man doesn not know what's best for himself.

    Thomas
     
  3. taijasi

    taijasi Gnōthi seauton

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    Man hath a spiritual nature, and he hath a human - or mortal nature. Now some call this former aspect of our being`God,' or the Divine Nature; it is the true Individual, the Actor who wears the mask. And thus the lesser self has been called the personality - from `persona,' the mask of the true Self.

    The Hero of a thousand faces dwells within us all. This is the true God, more manifest in some, but present in all.

    In speaking of the Christian Way, it is a fact that in seeking to be Christlike, we lose our self, and find our Self ... and in so doing, we enter into Peace.

    This is not a new discovery, nor one that has only just become possible in the Piscean Era, or in the Aquarian Era, at the Golden Dawn. This is timeless Truth, and has been known to us throughout antiquity ... yet the knowledge of this Path has been lost, at times, and suppressed, during other times.

    Today this knowledge comes again to the light of day, and is available for the masses - perhaps even on a wider scale than ever before, and in a form that everyone can practice. It is for this reason that some speak of it as New Era Revelation.

    This is what New Age Christianity means to me ... not at all a traditional churchianity combined with chakras & crystals & astral projection & pendulum dowsing.
     
  4. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Hi Andrew —

    The difficulty I find with NAC is there is no common doctrine (as far as I know) — which would lead one to ask, philosophically, whether NAC addresses primordial and eternal truths (which it would appear not to do), or whether it addresses what one would like to be the case ... but that's probably a discussion for another day.

    As you are of the TS persuasion, I am assuming your views reflect TS thought, rather than NAC thought as such.

    In light of which, and without falling out, perhaps I might highlight the difficulties I have with that view? I'm not trying to find fault, or disprove, but rather highlight areas where tradtional Christianity would be obliged either to say no, or refute its own beliefs...

    Are you saying the human has two natures? This poses the question of what is the nature of that which unites two natures in itself?

    Traditional Christianity asserts man, and all and every mode of being, as having 'a' nature would rather say 'human nature' is that which manifests the soul in the physical world — so rather than assert the traditional body/soul duality, traditional Christianity seeks a holistic view of the human as, to quote Boethius, 'an individual substance of a rational nature' which has spiritual and sensible faculties.

    I'm trying to understand ... but if man possesses two natures (?) then does that not imply that as a human nature, he does not possess a spiritual aspect to his being, but rather it is something added on, from without?

    This highlights the Latin origin of the term 'person', from the Etruscan, from the cult of the goddess Persephone, who spent part of the year above the ground and part under the earth. The word used for the mask in her cult was Phersu it both manifested the goddess in the daylight of her fecund power and hid her in the obscurity of her destiny.

    The Greek, however, has a different etymology, the term prosopon places the emphasis on a direct face-to-face visual encounter (pro-, ops-, on: to see and be seen), so that the highly charged aspect of intimacy came to the fore (in the I-thou relation).

    A third source was from Scripture. In the interplay of late Judaic and Hellenic cultures, appeal was made to the notion of personification in order to interpret passages in the bible, especially those referring to Sophia (prosographic exegesis). The Septuagint translators of the Hebrew bible into the Greek used the term prosopon, as the sounding mask through which the Lord spoke ("out of the mouth of the Lord,"). The Latin translators naturally enough rendered that word as persona, so that both the Greek and Latin usage converged to introduce the term respectively into the Eastern and Western European languages.

    So, to highlight, the term 'person' in Christian metaphysics involves a significant development of the Etruscan — Christianity deals with 'the person' as a concrete reality, a real (albeit subsistent) being — not a chimera, not a mask, not something other.

    The question I might ask is, where do you locate the 'I' who speaks?

    The more you pursue this, it seems to me, the more the person becomes a non-entity? Who is this 'Hero' that underlies all human beings, or put another way, who or what is this Hero that humans are a meer chimera of?

    If I follow, human nature then becomes rather meaningless. What is actual is this non-human 'Hero' who inhabits/possesses a human vehicle?

    Again and again, I'm trying to locate the actuality of somewhat abstract statements.

    But what has happened to the individual existing self ... was it ever there?

    I'm at a loss to see what's 'new' ... all that has been said is common, for the most part, to pre-Christian antiquity?

    Thomas
     
  5. taijasi

    taijasi Gnōthi seauton

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    I'll respond as best I'm able ...

    Perhaps it was the Gestalt psychologists who first said in modern times that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. One of my Teachers used to say, "The Greater (always) includes the lesser."

    It is not that the Greater [Nature] is separate from the lesser at all. Yet - quite in line with the teachings of the Perennial Wisdom (as found in the Code of Manu, the Zohar, etc.) - the lesser nature is allowed to develop in order that it might: first, know itself (experience itself) as a seemingly-separate `self' ... including its distinction both from other seemingly-separated lives and from its own Greater Nature; and second, that the lesser self might once again come to re-unite with the Greater, eventually including all lesser lives.

    This is about as plain-English as I can imagine trying to render it, and it may be an over-simplification, but at least it provides a key for interpreting such statements as the Christ's, "I and the Father are ONE." Here is the basis for Mystical Union, and I find that this is as direct an address of the Primordial and Eternal Truth of our Oneness in Spirit as anyone will get out of contemporary Christianity - whatever flavor one prefers. [Note that I am still speaking of plain-English explanations, and not what may or may not exist somewhere, dust-enshrouded, in the Vatican Library.]

    Theosophy will examine in much greater detail just how it is that the `Monad' is able to exist distinct from yet also never-apart-from its Parent Monad (the Divine Monad) ... and will emphasize that the Greater [Self] which seems to "forget" and seems to descend into incarnation, doesn't actually possess the Ahamkaric (Manasic) spark of Individuality until after (or during) its series of human incarnations. Therefore the objection that the entire process is pointless because "nothing is gained that was not already present at the outset," can be dismissed. But methinks this gets into too much detail at this point!

    No. As suggested above, the human nature (as also the animal, vegetable, and mineral natures) simply correspond to what Aristotle calls the rational, animal, vegetable `soul.' Rather than reify the idea of `soul' into something, I would suggest that it is the nature - or tendency - of a thing, to behave in thus & such a way, which is its soul.

    In the case of a human being, then, let's apply this, but also not forget that the greater always includes the lesser. Aristotle provided the idea of the rational soul as something which sets human beings apart from the earlier kingdoms ... which just means, Theosophically, and in line with the Kabbalistic and the Hindu teaching, that we are more evolved than the earlier kingdoms, because we can think.

    Yet human beings also possess an animal nature - most certainly! For is this not what we see often manifest, even more greatly than our rational nature?

    Do we not also tend to grow, and procreate, as the vegetables ... in that we have a vital, vegetable nature?

    The mineral nature refers to our bodies of flesh & blood, minerals and all ...

    But the Spiritual, in all this, is not, as I have come to understand, something grafted on. It was present from the very beginning - for it is not different than that part of Christ's Being which allowed Him to utter, "Before Abraham, I AM."

    The only difference here, is that Christ has made manifest what for the rest of us, remains yet a latent potential. It is no less present in our Spiritual, or Greater Being ... yet it must become manifest, outwardly, superseding our rational, animal, vegetable and mineral natures - before we too, can say, "I and the Father are ONE."

    Before we have reached the goal as set forth in Ephesians 4:13, we can affirm what it is that God has Planned for all of Humanity, and we can certainly SAY, "I and the Father are ONE."

    Affirmation, as Prayer and Invocation, can be a valid part of our religious practice. The only quibble I would have with a "New Age Christian" would be if someone insisted that merely by affirming a thing, such a thing instantly becomes manifest. This, we will find, is a new definition given to the word "fiat," by certain figures within the "I AM" Movement ... but I hardly see how this has anything to do, either with Theosophy, with Esoteric Christianity, or with `New Age Christianity.'

    Well, there are several ways to approach this.

    In accord with what has been said above, the "I" Consciousness, which is Itself a temporary aspect of the Manasic (Mental) Consciousness, resides within the HIGHER Mind. In fact, this aspect of our Greater Being has been the focus of SO much careful, precise investigation, and the subject of SO much lengthy discourse over many thousands of years, that in the East a specific term refers EXACTLY to what we mean by "I."

    Certainly in the West we have the contributions of modern psychology, and I would suggest that in time, as a New Psychology continues to emerge which is increasingly capable of examing our transcendental (Greater) Self, we too will have more precisely terminology for treating these aspects of our Divine, or `Higher Self,' as it is referred to among New Agers.

    In the East, the "I" consciousness is the AHAMKAR I have already mentioned. It means "I-maker," because this is the aspect of our Greater Conscious Being which allows us to look UPON ourself, become conscious OF a portion of our self (greater or lesser, more or less accurately) ... and say, "THIS is Who/what I AM."

    This, I have found, is one of the most difficult studies of any in the Ageless Wisdom that I have undertaken. Immediately part of the problem, I have found, is simply that here in the West, we just do not have the same kind of terminology, evolved precisely for the present circumstances and purposes - those of discussing the subtleties of our Spiritual Nature - as have long existed in the East.


    If I am mistaken, then please, by all means, point me to the exact correspondences with Atma, Buddhi and Manas. Do, please, show me where I can find, in the Christian Canons, something that most, or even many, practitioners understand as equivalent to the following clarification regarding the above:
    In Sankhya philosophy ahamkara is the third emanation: from prakriti (primal nature or substance) issues mahat (the great), standing for universal mind, which in turn produces ahamkara, selfhood, individuality; from ahamkara come forth the five tanmatras, the subtle forms of the elements or principles and "the two series of sense organs" (Samkhya-Sutra 1:61).​
    In the Bhagavad-Gita (7:4), prakriti manifests in eight portions -- "earth, water, fire, air, ether [space: kham-akasa], mind [manas], understanding [buddhi] and egoity, self-sense [ahamkara]" -- all of which relate to the object side, which gives an erroneous sense of identity or egoity.​
    As universal self-consciousness, ahamkara has "a triple aspect, as also Manas. For this conception of 'I,' or one's Ego, is either sattwa, 'pure quietude,' or appears as rajas, 'active,' or remains tamas, 'stagnant,' in darkness. It belongs to Heaven and Earth, and assumes the properties of either" (SD 1:335n). ​
    You see? It is not that I will absolutely deny that such teachings exist in the West. I believe they do exist. I simply await someone who is familiar enough with both the Eastern and the Western Wisdom, to properly synthesize the two - or at least to show the students of the Ageless Wisdom where the correspondencies can be seen.

    So far, the only qualified Teachers Who have been capable of this, are the Elder Brothers, and a handful of Their Living Representatives - or Prophets, and lesser avatars. Today, fortunately, students such as myself (many of whom are a good bit more adherent to the straight and narrow) number in the many, many thousands.

    Not all identify with Esoteric Christianity, or New Age Christianity, nor do other students choose to answer your questions on this thread in the way I have, Thomas. I'm just doing the best I can, with what I have ...

    Yes, now we're getting somewhere. This is indeed the difficulty! It's why, in every tradition I've ever studied, the Road to Enlightenment takes many, many lifetimes - not just one brief lifetime of miraculous, sudden Awakening. Only in the exoteric accounts of the Buddha do we find an emphasis on "this very lifetime."

    The problem which I think you are highlighting, Thomas, is that we have a tendency in the West to want to nail things down - and find a way to FIX them fast, so that we (think we) understand exactly how things are. Or perhaps we are determined to tack things up, as our images, or understanding of the Divine ... so we may know precisely Whom or what to worship.

    This, however, is part of the Mystery. We don't know. And those who claim they do, anyone short of a High Initiate (even this can be qualified by a significant quote from a Master!), is living in self-deceit, regardless of whether anyone else takes him or her seriously.

    In the East, they try to avoid this false sense of certainty that creeps in ... by saying, "Neti Neti." - Not this, not this." ;)

    I can explain my own understanding of "the I Consciousness," the Ahamkar, fairly easily. I mean, it's a lengthy post, and it's only a surface, intellectual treatment, but the whole point is that - the "I" that THINKS it's the boss, IS NOT THE BOSS! :)

    The "I am" of the personal self is FALSE EGO ... because it will always insist that IT is the real self. Even as we seek to practice humility, we must always be on guard. But just what is IT, that we're guarding against?

    I mean, there are the appetites of the vegetable and animal natures which WANT ("desire") to be FED - always fed something external to self, which must always be renewed ... more - more - more ... never with the possibility of satiety. Or there's the mind nature itself (the `mental elemental'), voracious for knowledge, hungry in its own right - even for argument just for argument's sake ... yet THIS is not our True Being.


    It is not that we are grafting on something to our lesser, "human nature" ... but rather, we are daring to peek behind the Veil, and learn something of our Greater, Spiritual Nature. `Spiritual' because it is that pole of our Being which is closer to God (in the Transcendent sense - I have never denied that such exists) than the flesh & blood, the material ... and Greater because it is from our Divine Being that the extension, or projection into the world(s) of matter, originated/originates/continues:
    "Having pervaded this whole Universe with one fragment of Myself, I REMAIN." (Sri Krishna to Arjuna, Bhagavad Gita)
    Yes and no. The Ahamkaric principle, a necessary PART of our being at this stage, is literally destroyed (Siva, the "Father Aspect" or 1st Person of the Trimurti is the LIBERATOR, only because `He' is The Destroyer). We become increasingly able to transcend the "limitation of the separated self" (or concept thereof), this being a necessary MODE of being, but not representing our Higher, Spiritual (GREATER) Nature - much less the ULTIMATE Mode (or Nature, Aspect) of Being.

    Dunno. I think the idea of Christ as the centre of ALL Being, a la Teilhard de Chardin, is something more Universal than any Christianity I've ever encountered. We should also consider Blaise Pascal's reminder that - "The Universe is a circle whose center is everywhere and the periphery nowhere."

    True, this doesn't give God a face, much less a personality, be it that of Zeus, Kronos or Ormazd. But it does help, ever so slightly, to move beyond the notion that Jesus alone embodied, or Actualized, the "Christ potential."

    That the latter exists within us all, is what I like most about the New Age Christian presentation. For that reason, even if I'm not for crystals and ouija boards, I'm more comfortable with those who can speak of `Higher Self' and auras - than those who want to tell me all about Jesus, and quote scripture, chapter & verse, from memory.
     
  6. Ciel

    Ciel in essence

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    Thomas and Andrew,

    Not to smite, but..........turning the egg timer, in appreciation.

    Tending to view a post as one peice of whole matter........

    You know, I can't help but feel how alike you both are........... :)

    peace - c -
     
  7. ardenz

    ardenz New Member

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    It can be difficult to keep the mirror clean and the lightbulbs can lose power sometimes.:)


    (Actually the photo for my avatar is of Skellig Michael, an Island off the west of Ireland. I went out there last summer. It is the site of a monastery dating from the 6th century) Sacred Sites: Skellig Michael
    Skellig Michael - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     
  8. Ciel

    Ciel in essence

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  9. taijasi

    taijasi Gnōthi seauton

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    Wow, Ciel and Ardenz - that is uncanny. You must tell me your secret!

    I had just sat down to view this thread, and saw your post, Ciel, mentioning egg timers again - and no sooner did I read the words "lightbulbs can lose power sometimes," from your post, Ardenz, than my computer instantly shut down. :eek: ;) :p

    Yeah, that was weird. I mean, sure I moved it to this room a week ago, but this was so darn spontaneous - strangely synchronous - that I have to wonder!

    Perhaps the connection has something to do with Michael, as you mentioned, Ciel. :)
     
  10. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Hi Andrew ... thanks for the considered reply.

    ... and hope you didn't lose anything in the crash ... I composed a reply, closed the edit file, and then found I had neither copied nor saved it ...

    +++

    The core of possible contention between us lies in the Abrahamic view of man, and by extension creation as a whole, as being an ordained reality — a cosmos, a world, and a man is 'real' in the sense that it is willed by God, and it is good — and hence has its place in the scheme of things, and is capable of the beatitific vision. This opposes for example, the dualist traditions of the Middle East which separate the spiritual and the material to such extreme as to render the material realm of no intrinsic value, but merely serves as a stepping stone to a higher plane (and in the worst case scenarios the material realm is considered an evil, albeit a necessary one, or the abortive creation of the demiurge).

    In such view the physical body is purely a vehicle for the spirtit or spark, and plays no further part — the Cosmos is not a theophany — and by extension all description of Mystical Experience is fantasy, as the sensible has no place in Heaven.

    Likewise the Abrahamic refutes any mode of monism — pantheism, panentheism, etc., — which implies a degree of relativeness or contingency in the Divine.

    +++

    The above differences come to bear, I think, on the idea of 'the person'.

    In Christian metaphysics, all being is subsistent, be it manifest or unmanifest, gross or subtle. Being (other than God) is not self-generative nor self-causative, but willed of God, but is not God as such. God is, He does not will His own is-ness ... His is-ness simply is.

    A 'person' then, is an instance of being that, as Boethius says, is "an individual substance of a rational nature" and the core or ground of this being is its soul. For Christianity this is irreducable — the 'dialogue' of Christianity is between the Absolute and man, with no intermediate or provisional stages. If and when the soul is extinguished, then the person, and every aspect of him/her, as an entity, ceases to exist.

    This understanding surpasses the Etruscan idea of the Phersu, the Mask, and is closer to the Greek idea of the prosopon, 'the one who speaks' ...

    The fact that the soul subsists does not detract from its reality, but rather locates it in time and space. The first quality of the soul is its being-ness, its is-ness, its esse as the scholastics say. St Maximus taught that the entire creation comes to its apex in man, the nature of whom encompasses the mineral, vegetable, animal and spiritual. This hierarchy of the soul in the Abrahamic tradition is marked, at its most basic, by the nefesh-ruach-neshamah triad — but the spiritualised soul does not render the vegetative soul non-existent or unreal — nor other-than-itself.

    There are other states of the soul, in Rabinnic and Kaballistic terms, that are superadded — Ruach HaKodesh, Neshamah Yeseira, Neshamah Kedosha ... but these only further support the argument.

    The individual soul may engage with and join with the Divine, but this does not diminish the fact of its esse, the soul does not cease to exist in the union — does not render the soul 'less real' (although the sensible world might appear so), nor does the soul then assume the nature of that with which it identifies — especially when it is Higher, as it is axiomatic that the lower cannot contain the Higher — man does not become God ... but man can experience the Divine within himself, as the Immaculata says, in the Magnificat:

    "My soul doth magnify the Lord.
    And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour."
    Luke 1:46-47

    This cannot mean that God is increased by the soul — quite the opposite — the soul is glorified by entering the Glory that is God, but that does not mean that the individual soul and God are one in essence and substance but one in relation ... one in the Unity of all ... this is why the Orthodox hold that theosis is not a doctrine of individual deification, but the deification of man as such.

    +++

    The Way of understanding the Christian Revelation is not to look at things, but the relation of things ... that's what everyone misses about Christian Trinitarian doctrine, its not about cosmologies or cosmogonies, its about relation within the Isness of the Deity ... that's why I will always say the Trinity is something utterly beyond the triunes of Egypt, Asia, etc.

    The Christian Trinity is Three Persons, one Substance ... and the substantial being of man, the soul, is not of the Divine Substance, were it so, it would be omniscient, omnipotent, eternal, absolute, infinite, etc. although the Ground of the Soul is a 'mystery' when one wonders why should God ever have wanted to create a particular instance of being that I reference as me?

    It is for this reason that reincarnation, for example, is incompatible with Christian metaphysics — it renders the 'person', the individual soul, as ephemeral.

    Thomas
     
  11. taijasi

    taijasi Gnōthi seauton

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    I cannot count the times, such has occurred, but then - I have dozens of files, many of them quite lengthy - perhaps three for every one that has ever seen the light of day at CR. If I post one fifth fewer in the future, I will feel satisfied. :)

    +++

    No, I can't deal with strict Manichaeism, and while I value the Gnostic Tradition, I truly believe that every single particle of matter - must literally be precious to God ("Not a sparrow falls ...").

    That said, when the proper time has come, stars more or less wink out (from the physical plane, at least), so the very Love of God then expresses as the work of the Destroyer. So much for happy visions of some kind of Divine embrace - unless we can fathom that we also/already exist on the other "side" of ... the planet, star or cosmos that has just "died." As above, so below. Death on a larger scale, etc.

    Not quite. Or at least, this is not what I believe, and is definitely not the esotericism of HPB's Theosophy, or of any esotericism that I have ever espoused.

    Every single particle (sic!) of matter evolves, because - upon reaching its "furthest" point of involution (or involvement with the worlds of form), the atom begins its upward Ascent - back toward the worlds of Spirit. Man is somewhere midway in this process ... although I would suggest our sense of values, or `scale,' is a good bit off. Materially we seem to be fairly close to the top of the pyramid, a little lower than the angels, but Spiritually, even a Master (Human `Graduate') has not the Spiritual Vision to penetrate beyond our own little Solar System. Our sense of scale has to keep getting adjusted, as we progress ...

    The duality between Spirit and matter is only a relative one. Each of these terms can only be defined in terms of the other. They are but different degrees of vibration, with the most solid object we know existing only as vibration within vibration ... while even the subtlest, most sublime "breath of God" is yet vibration (or Movement).

    I'm not used to trying to contemplate such things. But Theophany, for me, only has its deepest meaning in considering the reconciliation of all exoteric views (Buddha taught that we must "cease to hold these [views]") ... at which point NO THING that I can even possibly consider - does not, in due proportion, constitute a part of the body Logoic.


    I may contemplate all this on the level of the density of asphalt/tarmac, or lead, or even the core of a neutron star:
    A neutron star is so dense that one teaspoon of its material would weigh 100 million metric tons. (Wikipedia: Neutron Star)
    Yet just because this corresponds to some small portion of the `dense physical body' - rather than the Dharmakaya vestiture of the same ... do I believe that God "needs" this physical body any less for [His] expression? [Yes, God literally needs a body, every bit as much as we do. Why?
    This is the Hermetic Axiom.]

    We approach the subject with different assumptions, different fundamental propositions, or premises. Mine include the `Three Fundamental Propositions' of HPB's Secret Doctrine, yet she did not originate these.

    HPB but borrows these from Eastern sources, while also going to great pains to show - in Isis Unveiled, and in The Secret Doctrine - that the ancient Babylonians, Sumerians, Chaldeans, and also the indigenous peoples of Native North & South America, as well as the ancient Britons or Celts ... all accepted the Doctrine of Cycles, or Periodicity.

    We may find different applications of this Law, varying interpretations, certainly differences of nuance, but I'm sure you wouldn't suggest to me that the ancient Druids of the British Isles were unaware of the doctrine of rebirth. Nor would you tell me that the Cherokee, or other Native tribes of the Americas, did not believe in a `Great Spirit' ... just as the Hindus speak of Brahman, even while the latter manifests via the Trimurti of Brahma, Vishnu, Siva. And the Buddhists teach of Svabhavat, or Adi-Buddhi ...

    This may be the case, yet let us examine the resultant calamity that we now experience, in such a pronounced sense of separation - not just from each other, but from the other kingdoms of nature (animal, vegetable, mineral), and from the planet Itself. If we are not careful, we may soon re-create a disaster on every bit as large a scale (global) as the earlier series of catastrophes which brought an end to the Atlantean phase of civilization and Human development.

    Environmental problems are just the surface manifestation of the culture of selfishness which has evolved, psychologically ... not simply as the result of the above derailment that has affected our train, but also just because this is the current stage of the evolutionary (DIVINE!) Plan!!!

    Note, that while we can certainly witness a myriad more dire consequences and negative effects of the materialistic tendencies of Western society upon Planetary Life - even to the point of threatening Human survival, globally speaking ... it is absurd to even suggest that precisely the present scenario could not be envisioned by a Creator Deity. ;)

    [This is not about responsibility, as I'm stating it, just about VISION. Deity possesses both of these, and so do we. Traditional Christianity may assume de facto that "God is all-seeing and all-knowing." New Age Christianity, I might say, leaves room for one aspect/Level of Divine Consciousness/Being where such "Omni/Omni/Omni" qualities exist, as I like to call them, yet also a level where God is literally undergoing a process of learning, of growing, of INCREASING the Divine Vision, and Responsibility, just as Humanity is.

    The challenge, according to such a presentation, is especially great for (this Level of) Deity ... because not only is growth progressing in the "Vertical" direction upward, but Deity is also required to move OUTWARD, or "Downward," toward Humanity. For Being(s) Whose nature is more fundamentally Spiritual than material, this takes the form of what we can only understand as Sacrifice. It has to do with moving AWAY from a "Spritually Higher, or Greater Estate" ... and accepting a temporary appointment with a Humanity whose increased Vision, and greater Responsibility, is ummm - not exactly being warmly welcomed, and happily embraced? :eek:

    Yet such continues, and if it did not, Humanity could not move forward in its Spiritual development. The notion of a Living, Loving Christ - and His Representatives - Who is every bit as ROCK-solid, so speak as the Traditional Christian Christ ... yet also undergoing very much the same Learning and Growth Experiences that we are - just on a higher turn of the Evolutionary Spiral ... is quite appealing to me. And I think other people resonate with it, in various ways.

    It reminds us that God is Flexible, and that in fact, this flexibility, this Divine Dynamism, is itself - a Spiritual Quality, and therefore something we are all, like Christ, working toward. Even on the little, human scale, we have many opportunities to apply it, every day, and if we are careful, we can span several living kingdoms with the same Love, Care, Nurturance, Guidance, Devotion and Dedication - as is shown by Christ, and His Church.]

    ~+~+~+~+~

    I don't think it could be emphasized enough, that the Theosophical framework does its best to underscore how NECESSARY certain stages of Planetary Evolution are ... both for Humanity's (collective) sake, and for the sake of all other Kingdoms of Live evolving upon our planet - including the DEVA, or Angelic (who outnumber us more than 2:1, if we count Individualized "Souls").

    The bottom line, in terms of relevance upon a `New Age' Christianity, is that I hear people saying things like, "this is meant to be" ... and, "this is what we/I have chosen, AS A SOUL." Such statements, even if they are somewhat vague affirmations, do emphasize that there is a PURPOSE for the present crisis now affecting our planet - and therefore, presumably, also a THREAD of PURPOSE for all such previous crises, as the `Flood Disaster' (Atlantis, memorialized in accounts such as the Popol Vuh, the Story of Noah, and legends of the Hindu Vaivasvata Manu, the Greek Deucalion, the Chaldean Xisuthrus, etc.).

    The real Power of the Campbellian Mythology is that it brings us one step closer to "getting at" the underlying, truly Archtypal ... WORLD Soul, World Mythology, World History, etc. - interpreted not simply through the lens of psychology, or religion, or science, but truly, through the lens of Spirit.

    Joseph Campbell was one man. Plato (he had those neat IDEAS, the `FORMS') ... was one man. Jung (he had the Archetypes) was again, one man. Christ Jesus, regardless of what Universal Power/Love/Creative Intelligence He expressed for us ... was again, ONE man.

    The problem I continue to have, not just with a more rigid, strict-traditionalist, "conventional" (and usually dogmatic) Christianity ... but with ANY equivalent religious system stemming from within any other culture (as mainstream Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, etc.) ... is that the end result, for many of the former/would-be adherents/practitioners, is that we still exist largely within a domineering, wanna-be overarching and thus ultimately Spirit-STIFLING framework, instead of a LIVING, LOVING COMMUNITY.

    The letter of the law supersedes the Spirit, and every day people prove that they do not understand how truly, religion was made for man, not man for religion. New Age Christianity doesn't seek to reinvent all Christian teachings in a form that just happens to be more comfortable, or convenient, it actually seeks to discover a NEW meaning for today, even if it turns out that that meaning WAS THERE ALL ALONG - but has simply been lost, ignored, suppressed, avoided, forgotten, etc., down the ages. And some of the getting off track, as a New Age Christian might put it, was already occurring while Jesus still walked the Earth!!! :eek:

    Now you see, Thomas, while I can appreciate (believe it or not), how very much the Catholic in you might feel hell-bent on refuting all (or much) of this, so to speak ... I think the proper discussion actually centers around reconciliation. It is not about digging our feet in, and insisting, on the one hand, that "the Church Doctors" have held, and known, and guarded the Truths, and Canons, and proper interpretations all along. After all, Protestant Christianity has evolved largely in objection precisely to this notion!

    Yet I am hardly a Protestant, if even a New Age Christian (in belief, far let alone practice). What I do believe, however, for starters, is that certainly it is it possible to achieve the same exact Enlightenment/Revelation/Salvation without the Church (RCC, or ANY organized version/branch/denomination of Christianity).

    I must go one step further, however, and assert that I find that traditional Christianity, given its precise teachings and emphases, has very much gotten a good deal "wrong." And this is where the New Age interpretation will come in, because I may not see things like a Roman Catholic, but nor do I take the typical Protestant stance!

    Where then, to whom or to what source(s) do I go, for my guidance, Inspiration, Wisdom, direction/Instruction, and so forth ... and why?

    So, here is my opportunity, given my partial Theosophical background, also my esoteric experience and interest along parallel yet somewhat divergent lines ... to avoid the automatic, knee-jerk response, or insistence, that - there are all sorts of secret codes & canons, whose veracity (let alone existence!) cannot be questioned or doubted, since these form the very basis, backbone and Heart of Esotericism!

    Unless we both give over to utter & complete subjectivism and relativism, we will always be forced (at worst), stretched and tested - even encouraged, I would say (and this is good!) - to meet in the middle. And that gets back to:

    What is New Age Christianity all about ... and looking at some of these difficult questions. I'd better try for a "part 2" ...

    +++
     
  12. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Hi Andrew;

    That's why I can't accept reincarnation – for me it suggests that the sparrow falls, bit no matter, another sparrow comes along ... it relegates the material, and even the idea of the individual, as ancilliary. This identity which the world knows as Thomas, or Andrew, or whatever, is ancilliary to the main act, which is never visibly present in the world ... and by extension then, every sparrow is ancilliary, disposable ...

    I know some Russian thinkers are trying to present the idea of Christian reincarnation by viewing the person as 'a work in progress' but they've run into real trouble putting a viable and non-contradictory argument together. Scripture just does not support it, from the orthodox perspective.

    My view is along the Orthodox line of theosis, I am one, individual and unique, and my contribution (or lack of it) moves humanity along (or not, or sets it back) towards the realisation of theosis, which is collective, not individual, otherwise the idea of community, of union, is an invention.

    So not reincarnation, but a collective effort, across time and space. So rather than me live multiple lives, humanity lives those multiple lives, I am just one, unique, instance, the realisation of a given possibility which will never be repeated.

    Don't agree. Don't see how the material can be higher than the spiritual. I believe we are potentially higher because we are spiritual and material, which angels are not, and can never be ... angels are just not as versatile as humans, but they are, currently, purer (the good ones, that is).

    Again, that's why I don't believe in reincarnation. The body is the vibration of the soul. Come back in a different body, then it's a different soul, that's the way I see it. For me the 'person' signifies a unity that is unique and individual, a one-off event in the Cosmos, that's why God cherishes it so much. Reincarnation means that unity has no place in beatitude ... the bit that survives all is not actually human ...

    We would have to discuss this much deeper. The exoteric is as necessary in its proper domain as the esoteric. Moreso, in some respects. Giving a thirsty man a cup of water alters the fabric of the Cosmos more than all the knowledge in the world ...

    Are you sure? Then I would have to say the Hermeticists are wrong. God is Absolute, unconditioned and unconditional. The Arche Anarchos of the Fathers. God needs nothing, wants nothing, everything is Gift — but then, they weren't to know that.

    Indeed.

    Is it. According to your plan, then. Such is not according the the revelation of the Abrahamic traditions.

    In our book man is 'free' — the ontological reality of which is, free to accept the Will of God, or free to refute it. Man continually chooses the latter, God continually tries to show him the error of his ways, without revoking that freedom. In the end, all will be well, and all manner of things will be well (julian of Norwich) ... but until then, oh dear ...

    Then your God is subject to change ... and in our Book God is Absolute, Infinite, All-Possible, beyond subtraction or detraction, addition or diminution, increase or decrease, growth or decay ... so I think we have radically different ideas of what the term 'God' means.

    How truth appeals to the individual is immaterial, from the standpoint of truth. The above might appeal, but does not make it true. I happen, for reasons explained, not to hold that view.

    I think you have over-anthropomorphised God by projecting your own ideal onto Him, in effect endowing God with human fallibility, which you then claim back, as proof of your intrinsic divinity.

    According to your doctrine.

    Really? I read it as self-justification, and a rather gross assumption. Surely you don't mean everybody does what they do because that's what they were meant to do? That's rather a grand allowance for anyone to do what they feel like, is it not?

    I don't hold Jesus Christ and a pop-philospher as the same at all. frankly I don't think Plato would be happy in such company, either, and Jung certainly not.

    Again, I think you're blaminbg religion for human fault.

    It's a common error of modernism to blame 'institutions' as if they are intelligent entities, and not collections of people. I don't hold the Church responsible for the faults of her members, any more than I hold a German responsible for the Third Reich, or a Jew for the Crucifixion.

    It's all too easy to stand outside and criticise, but then the critic does not have to bear the responsibility, and no institution is perfect, because man is not perfect.

    I rather view it as a greater challenge to perfect the institution/community by change from within, by highlighting what's good and worthwhile, otherwise we end up with baby/bathwater situations. But it's harder.

    I happen to disagree.

    Nor does it mean I am obliged to accept your doctrine, or your interpretation of mine.

    Well you would, wouldn't anyone?

    That is what you think, and I can accept that fact ... and God bless you ... but don't ask me to accept what you think, because I happen to think it's you who are wrong. Sorry, but there it is.

    If meeting in the middle requires me to say you are right and I am wrong, then we shall never meet.

    I have nothing against you, Andrew, nor TS, generally. I only speak out when TS interprets Christian Scripture to suit its own ends, and that I think I am entitled to do.

    Thomas
     
  13. ardenz

    ardenz New Member

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    theres a lot of reading here...do you mind if I come back later.?........
    .....................................................

    I wanted to discuss New Age Christianity - This is the first I heard of it here. (Will go off and google a bit and mull over things methinks before throwing self into the discussion):)



    Ardenz
     
  14. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    lol gotta love it Thomas... Scripture does not support it from the orthodox perspective...yup that is clear.

    But 'relegates the individual to ancillary' you have this tendency...well if it isn't this then it is worthless... the pendelum doesn't swing it inverts itself.

    What of the child that dies of cancer right after birth, or still births? There must be a reason they were conceived, and I just don't buy that G-d decided against them before they were born (as it indicates in the bible)

    Would a loving and forgiving G-d think we can attain all this in one lifetime? Especially one short lifetime? Whose sins are they punished for the fathers?
     
  15. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Hi Wil —

    Who assumes that a dead child is being punished for someone's sin? Not the Christian, Christ refuted that flat out.

    We live in a fallen world, we live in a world of possibilities, where possibility will be realised. God no more kills children then pushes people in front of cars, torches buildings, flies aeroplanes into offfice blocks, or staves a continent to death ... these things just happen, it's part of the price of being 'free' ... we could stop it if we want, but we're not bothered enough, so someone else can sort it out.

    So someone lives for three seconds ... someone lives for threescore and ten ... to assume the latter is more is a quantific judgement ... some achieve in a few short years more light and life than some who live to a hundred...

    So the child who lived for three seconds will be weighed, and found innocent ... three seconds measured against eternity is nothing, unless you are the parent, in which case it's part of the cross you carry, and, sadly, I speak from experience ... but I do not hold God accountable for the loss of my son.

    This is a salient point, God does not do life to us ... the message of the Christian God is that he walks the walk with us ... Jesus wept ... and loved us and forgave us because of our ignorance.

    He calls on us to lean on Him ... and we still say 'this is all your fault, I'll do it myself, thanks...'

    Thomas
     
  16. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    My condolences on your loss, you said you believe me to believe in monism...I do to the extent I don't believe in dualism...I believe it all to be good. As G-d is good, all of creation is good. It is not the happenings that count but our responses and growth that count.

    Christ did refute the understanding that the child was not being punished for a sin in his previous life nor for the sins of his father's. This statement is a strong indication that a. reincarnation was a commonly discussed thought and b. that Jesus was not refuting that thought. He did refute a karmic response though...hence a forgiving, a cleansing occurred...we start over.

    We don't have to go to far from the garden to see issues....When the son of Adam and Eve killed their other son what percentage of the human population was wiped out with that incident?

    Have we learned from that lesson?
     
  17. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Hi Wil —
    Thanks Wil. Twenty three years now, and they say time heals all wounds. Perhaps one day...

    Anyway, I too believe God is God, and Creation is good (I am not a dualist); but I do not believe Creation is God, or that anything in the material realm (or spiritual, for that matter) shares a common essence (and thus nature) with the Deity — that is the monism that was refuted.

    I would argue that though. I don't think the Jews ever considered reincarnation seriously, but they did consider a form of karma, or heredic guilt — their idea was Sheol, the dead have no more a part in the affairs of the living — the Psalms offer evidence of that.

    The Wisdom literature of the OT traces the appearance of the idea of life after death in Jewish thought, but not reincarnation.

    What the Jews did believe was in the descent of the spirit, hence 'some say you are Elijah...' which is to say 'some say you say the same things Elijah said... ' Perhaps bananabrain knows better, but if reincarnation is not in Judaism, it's not in Christianity.

    And Jesus did refute any notion of hereditary karma — see St Luke (13):
    13:4: "Or those eighteen upon whom the tower fell in Siloe and slew them: think you that they also were debtors above all the men that dwelt in Jerusalem? No... "

    Indeed. And amen to that.

    Oh Wil, Oh brother, have we learned from any of them?

    Thomas
     
  18. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    I think an amazing amount...not near enough, not even close to our potential...but we've got all this material stuff, this beer and circus and gravity maybe not holding us back but providing a darn good excuse.

    two steps forward one step back and vice versa! In one arena, in one instance the light goes off we excel in another we stumble...and then we make a mistake and realize it...ah realization the first step. I lived a large share of my life realizing nothing I was doing was out of step...once I made the realization I didn't enter the whoa is me...but opened my eyes to the lesson....and then the next and the next...it is a joy...and we are not alone on the path!!

    Our successes in any endeavor bleed over to our brother thru our actions thru us reaching out our hand in support!

    We've come a long way...the brass ring is in sight is it not?
     
  19. taijasi

    taijasi Gnōthi seauton

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    My point is that man is to Christ, as acorn is to oak.

    And many steps there are along the way. The transformation does not occur overnight.

    So much of this thread interests me, but I'll try for just a few highlights:

    I didn't originate the idea that the true Self is not the man looking in the mirror who calls himself Thomas, or Andrew, or wil, etc. But in my own experience, I have found - that the `little self' (ego) masquerades as its greater, parent Soul. Most of what we know as `intellect' is actually just a reflection of Higher Manas into the lower mind. This gives us the sense of "I," with which most people are more or less comfortable, despite an inner gnawing or nagging (more or less subtle, depending on the person's evolutionary status as a Soul).

    Thus, the "you" (or "me") that wants to feel so special, like it has changed the world for the better ... or which can even berate itself for some kind of shortcoming or another - this is the chimera. It is not that personality, or `little self' is an illusion; just that little self apart from Soul - is illusion. The sparrow does not exist apart from the rest of the flock, the totality of which is ensouled by ONE evolving entity. Our eyes .... deceive us.

    All Souls know themselves as cooperative members, or denizens, of `One House.' That House is not divided (against itself). Thus, there is a Synergy, which often we as yet lack because our attunement, or at-one-ment with the Soul is not complete.

    We are somewhere along the way, and an honest life, well-lived, wherein all our talents are well-invested, is all that is asked of any of us - broadly speaking. The standard against which progress is judged - THAT is Divine. And one Humanity means one Standard.

    But since Karma is not blind (God is a God of Compassion, or Mercy ... of Justice, or Fairness and Equanimity), the Law of Sowing and Reaping is considered as if it might exist for each of us, truly as individuals. The Universal (God and God's Laws) must be flexible, and allow for God's Creation (and Creatures therein) ... if there is indeed such a thing as Divine Order and Balance.

    Our Human efforts to reproduce these qualities may not, as yet, be perfect here on Earth, but we have already been taught - very clearly - how to invoke these same Laws, if we will have Them, here within the world of human affairs. The consequence, we often find, of asking God to dish out what is deserved ... is that [He] deliver(s). :eek:

    Someone at CR mentioned this recently; I just borrowed it. :)

    Again, we're not speaking the same language. I'm not saying that the material is higher than the Spiritual. It would be there reverse, except that - in very simple metaphysics - matter and Spirit exist everywhere, and everwhere together.

    The least expression of Spirit is recognized even by modern science as `energy,' there being four known forces which govern the universe (strong and weak nuclear, gravity, electromagnetic). But matter, in accord with a Grand Unified Field Theory, is increasingly coming to be understood as essentially just vibration - or vibration existing within vibration - which is precisely what ENERGY is (!).

    In simplest terms, this means that matter and energy are one "thing." And that thing is vibration. One ether, one Akash, WHO vibrates (from Whose womb was born the Cosmos itself).

    And Her name is MATER ... which gives us "matter," "matrix," not to mention "Mother." Here, the Universal, Cosmic equivalent, the prototype, upon which Mary, the Mother of Jesus, is based ... As Above, so Below ...

    A New Age Christianity will probably look in depth at Luke 22:10, and the Wisdom that is contained therein, just as folks on this thread - especially as interested in reconciliation and Ecumenism - might see much Wisdom in verses 21-27 of the same chapter.

    The Christ of tradition says to us, "I leave the Father's home and turning back, I save," while the New Era Christ says to us, "Water of life am I, poured forth for thirsty men." :)

    We speak of two different "God"s. The Absolute, is the Absolute - and all that you've said applies to THAT, as I see it. When I speak of God, I do not mean `the Absolute.' To speak of the Absolute as God is meaningless. By your own definition, we know, and can know, nothing - about God as the Absolute.

    Yes, this is a difference. I have been taught, and believe wholeheartedly, that man must earn his Freedom. Nirvana and Freedom are not equivalent, but the former does give us a hint as to the latter.

    Learning to create, cooperatively, with God, is what I believe it's all about - yet this basic ability already exists, innately within us. What we are all here to do, first individually, then in groups and eventually as a Whole (planet, One Human Family), involves not only actualizing, or developing this creative potential, but also learning just how to apply it.

    In a word, we must become adept at transforming Power (pure potential) into the creative results which are appropriate for OUR given stage of the PLAN.

    This is not "my" Plan, Thomas - nor one invented by some group which has it in for the Catholics. The sooner such nonsense can be disposed of, the very notion of which is an application of black magic, the better. :( [Or gray magic, worsening if we fail to guard. :eek:]

    Now, if there are questions, then there are. I have plenty. Questions that come to mind, for example, are:
    • IF this is so, then HOW do we define what is "appropriate?"
    • What is the relationship between such "Power" (pure potential) as it exists within a given human being, and other creative entities? We are told, remember, even in the MOST traditional Christian teachings, that the various orders of Angels are Creative agents of, or for, God. And so, IF there is a Hierarchy - and again, such a notion is not a new one - then what might that look like in terms of a New Age Christianity?
    (Other threads have examined a Theosophical Hierarchy, and regardless of where this thread stays or ends up, we should be free ;) to explore how a New Age Christianity regards our spiritual potential, in ways that may differ from traditional Christian models.)​
    • And in simpler terms, since the word "appropriate" is really a cue here that we are examining ethics ... are there any notable differences (if so, what? and why?) between how a "New Age Christian" ought to behave, and how Christians for 2000 years have lived out the examples that Christ and His early Church provided?
    This, of course, is not a new topic, yet if it is approached while allowing more latitude for so-called "alternative" viewpoints, who knows where things might lead? I certainly don't know ... yet here is the perfect place to do it (even if I am, a good few paces behind in pointing out the obvious, and getting around to replying :p).​
    No, here I would just point out, again, that "God" is not the same as "the Absolute." Not, at least, unless we wish to set aside TWO words now, instead of just one. ;) :)

    The Absolute? WHAT is THAT? :D

    Make THAT your God, and you've got "nothing" - because you KNOW absolutely nothing about "it." We can pick around in there if you like, but I would suggest it's a waste of time.

    Egotistical, "my god is bigger and better than your god," no matter how subtle, and even if unintentional, is the oldest trick in the book. So if the book says we're all supposed to be playing nice here, then please, don't hand me this stuff with a spin on it. :p

    It's okay - if it isn't intentional, or even if it is, really. But frankly, I see right through it. It's that gray again ... and I know it well. You can't stand there, blocking the light, pointing to the shadow being case upon my cloak, and tell me "I don't understand God," and expect me to do any other than smile, and raise my right hand, wherein I hold a Candle, Lighted, Shining - in the shadow.

    Nor would I expect you to do otherwise, and certainly it doesn't surprise me when you do this, if I get too big for my britches. The only way to go about this, is to get out of each other's Light. And we cannot do that, while we're standing around arguing about WHOSE Light it really is - or saying things like, "My Light (God) is Greater" ... or, "Your God doesn't mean as much as mine."

    To say, "we have different conceptions," or understandings, and experiences, is honest, and fair, and quite helpful. And this amounts to standing, side by side on the Road, sharing the Light - Whose sources are many - while doing our utmost not to block the One, Greater Source.

    If we want to entertain the idea of many Luminaries, then so be it. Let's jump on that bandwagon. No, you say? There is only one? Ah well, perhaps we will see eye to eye, after all. But no man - blocks the Light (whatever its Heavenly source) from another, with the ability to outshine the Divine Illumination which still provides the SHEKHINAH around him ...

    I like the idea that God is more than Light, God is also Love. And God is more than Love, God is also Power, or Purpose (Will). Plenty of room to explore.

    Probably most important, for me anyway, is the point that even were we unable to perceive the heavenly Light of God Transcendent (God's Brilliance can be blinding - did not Moses report?) ... we could still attest to God's Illuminating Presence by remembering to look down, hold out our right hand, and gently - but firmly - envision "this little light of mine."

    For when our brother, well-intentioned, but ill able, seeks to outshine the Divine, even our little Candle can help restore the Magic to his eye. It is the eye that directs light, and with it - even light - we can wound. If the laser is not proof enough of this, then we can say no more.
    "The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness." (Luke 11:34)

    "The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light." (Matthew 6:22)
    The "little light that shines," in time, becomes the Flaming Heart. The single eye, only, can direct this Sacrificial Love, in service of spiritual Purpose.

    An Eye, fully enclosed [hidden, occulted] within a Heart, the latter encircled by thorns, and these two enshrouded by a glow ... especially as surmounted by a Flame, and Cross. If we cannot yet point to the same within ourselves, then we must start wherever we are. From the Cross, work backward ...

    SacredHeart.jpg
     
  20. JosephM

    JosephM New Member

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    Reincarnation - One life.... many Chapters

    JM
     

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