THE OLD DEBATE

politics-religion

The debate surrounding politics and spirituality or religion is always a heated one. As a newly ordained minister priest who worked in the sphere of politics professionally for several years, I feel somewhat obligated to give my two cents on the issue.  There are many who are adamant about the “separation of church and state”, even though this was actually a principle of not having a state religion, as opposed to prayer in school, etc.  Then there are those who feel that the pastors should be the ones leading the charge against a tyrannical government and its unjust laws, as they were in the days of the American Revolution.

One of the biggest problems I see in all this, is that the definition of “political” has evolved into something so broad that every issue now seems to have some political connotation attached to it. This has a lot to do with the fact that the mechanisms of force and control inherent in government is presented as the answer to ALL life’s problems these days; which really stems from our mistaken idea that our problems are external from ourselves and need to be dealt with in a similar fashion. I feel it is imperative to reign in our definitions a bit, so let’s see what the dictionary defines as politics and political.

Politics
1. Art and science of government and the management of public life and affairs.
2. Activities concerned with seeking power, status, etc.

Political
1. Of or concerning government or public affairs.
2. Taking or belonging to a side in politics.
3. Concerned with seeking power, status, etc.

Working in politics, I will expand on this from my own experience: When an issue becomes “political”, it essentially means that one or more parties has the end goal of using some form of legislation that is enforced through the power mechanisms of government to force one or more parties to behave in a desired manner. In order to get sectors of the population to get behind the issue that a particular party wishes to have politicized, a set of memes and talking points are established, specifically used to invoke emotional response and often times and “us” vs. “them” dialectic. I heard and repeated many of these one-liner talking points over and over and over again in my career as an organizer. I still hear these very simplistic talking points every time I turn to MSNBC for shits and giggles. And of course, the “conservative” media, ie. Fox has their own set of talking points that I am also very familiar with.

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The point I am making is that an issue is only political when one or more parties seeks to use it as a platform to divide, manipulate and control others, while seeking to gather more power for themselves. By doing so, they come into a false notion that they have actual power by exerting their will over others and gaining a political “victory”.  The power given and taken by this form of action is illegitimate and illusory, as any attempt by man to make laws to control and subvert the free will of other men will be.  Man does not have this power in truth. But again, our definitions and perceptions obfuscate this simple truth.

By today’s standards, Jesus was indeed political. When he challenged those who were going to stone the adulteress because she had broken Jewish law; this action could be seen as “political”. When he threw out the money changers from the temple; this action could be seen as “political”. The difference however, was that Jesus challenged people and their morals directly; taking action for action’s sake and reflecting people’s delusions back on them in a compassionate manner. He did not attempt to use coercion and rely on the force of Caesar’s soldiers to change society or make people “behave”.  Jesus did not use manipulation or coercion to get things done.

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People can interpret, and re-interpret Romans 13 until the cows come home, and in the end it really doesn’t matter all that much. For those unfamiliar with it, the 13th chapter of Paul’s letter to the Romans has been used as debate on how far a Christian should submit to government as far as it as seen as an extension of God.  Control and imprisonment is not the nature of God, it is the nature of man who has forgotten his true nature.  The nature of the governments of man is a desire for power through the implementation of force that by its very nature will trample on the free will that is inherent to us as God-Beings. This is historically accurate regardless of when and where.

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This being said, I am also not advocating being completely passive or promoting a state of moral relativism. The two main commandments of “Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, mind and being and Love thy neighbor as thyself” are not relativistic in nature. In other words there are actions that embody this principle and there are actions that work against this principle. Things like protecting God’s creation and honoring free will as well as seeking to alleviate the suffering of my brothers and sisters falls under these two principles.

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There are things that are aligned with Light, Life and Love, and there are things that are antithetical to those principles, and work against there further development and nurture within a being. Folks who say ‘it’s all the same, so it doesn’t matter’ are missing a major point of being incarnated on this plane: the spiritualization of matter and the “Christening of humanity”. These things aren’t just going to magically happen; there is a level of personal responsibility to this objective. Yes we are ALL already Light, Life and Love, but the conscious realization of these principles still needs to take place within us in a full manner.  However  I don’t feel that taking away the life and freedom of others through the mechanisms of government is the path of Christ or a humanity walking toward Christ Consciousness. This is the path of the old way:  the path of a human species that has allowed itself to become lazy and apathetic and has willingly given away; a human species that still wishes to be as children. In this New Age, it is time for us to not to ignore the problems of the world, but get a little more mindful, creative and compassionate in how we deal with them; it’s time for us to grow up, and put away childish things and become men and women in the fullness of Christ.

SELF Reflections II

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See and encourage the true potential of others.  Be consistent.  Create beauty and share it with the world.  Speak words of empowerment and upliftment.  Be ever mindful of your thoughts, words and actions; no matter how seemingly trivial, they affect more than you could possibly imagine.  Work to maintain a place of balance in yourself: so you think, so you feel, so you do.  Laugh often and see the humor in life; especially when it’s hard.  Express your love to others; especially those who may not know how you feel.  Build new relationships, while being sure to nurture the ones you already have.  Let go of the “wrongs” of the past; whether they were done by yourself or others.  Love EVERY PART of yourself; especially those parts you might see as ugly or scary.  Be kind to your body; show it love and care for it as you would a beloved pet.

ALL HALLOW’S EVE, aka. SAMHAIN

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Long before I was a Priest under the Holy Order of the Golden Cross, I was a shamanic practitioner.  I had a spiritual awakening in my early 20s that was nurtured and guided by the Great Mother- the feminine face of God.  She guided me on a journey of rediscovery of the world as well as my own sub-conscious.  While walking the shamanic path, I felt a pull to get in touch with my Celtic roots.  My surname is Scottish in origin.  Before their loss of identity after being subjugated by the Anglo-Saxons, my people were either Scottish Gaelic or Pictish.  After a lot of research, I found that my family originated from an area of Scotland known as “Strathclyde Argyll”.  I would say the most ironic part of this is that I actually lived there when I was 11 years old when my mother was stationed there in the Navy, and had no idea that I was living in not only the same country, but the same REGION, that my ancestors lived centuries earlier!

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Anyhow, after seeking to rediscover the shamanic traditions of my ancestors, I came across Samhain, which is now known as Halloween.  I’m not going to get into the history of Halloween, which has been well documented, but rather the spiritual purposes and functions of it as I have utilized them.  The Celts saw this time of the year as a time when the veil that separated the world of matter from the more ethereal realms as being thinned.  It was the time of the great harvest and the time when the Sun God’s power began to wane in anticipation of the longest night, when he would be born again.  This was a time to honor and remember the ancestors and those who had passed.  It was also a time to connect with the souls of the departed.

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The story of the Sun God is a universal story that is imprinted in the Mysteries and traditions of all peoples.  This story is central to the story of the Great Mother Earth and humanity’s evolution.  It is a epic and continuing story with many chapters, one of which involves the incarnation of this immense being as a flesh and blood human.  Many take exception to this, even though this understanding of the identity of the Sun as a conscious spiritual being encompassing the orb we see in the sky is the precursor to Christianity, as well as the other great religions.  However, if we look at the Sun as a physical manifestation of the Great Light that makes up all of Creation, then it can help to put these things into proper perspective.  The Light is singular and universal, but it has many aspects and faces, the Sun happens to be a more concentrated embodiment of this loving Light that is the Light of men.

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This Samhain, I had planned on doing a ritual to honor the souls of my friend Pat and my Nana, both of whom had passed in the last year, as well as to reflect upon my own mortality.  However, something of an unexpected nature inserted itself into my evening.  That night while I was at work, I got a distressed message from my partner.  Upon arriving home that evening, she was startled by an injured rat by the sidewalk in front of our house.  She saw him hobbling amongst the bushes, obviously injured and struggling to move.  She told me of her internal struggle as on the one hand she was concerned with the potentiality of the rat to be diseased.  I shared her concern, as I had seen these rats come out of the sewer recently, and rats are well documented disease-carriers.  At the same time, she expressed her sorrow and compassion for the suffering creature, and her desire to help it.

She decided to leave it be and prayed for it, though still sad and unsettled.  I affirmed that it would probably be best to leave it be, and that animal control would just kill it.  When I got home later that evening, I saw the rat on the sidewalk.  It had died.  I knew I needed to make sure it did not stay there.  Obviously there are a multitude of practical and sanitary reasons why you wouldn’t want a rat corpse in front of your house.  But it was about more than that.  I saw what is seen as a lowly disease carrying creature as being no less than a reflection of our Great Mother, perfect in his being, and deserving of no less respect in life or death.  I wanted to be sure that it was treated properly and with reverence.

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I buried it and said a prayer of rites.  Later that evening, I sat in meditation and reflected on the nature of death.  From the smallest and seemingly lowest forms of life all the way to human beings- death is the great equalizer.  We die, just as rats die.  This is not meant to cheapen the life of human beings and the magnificent potential of our consciousness that is unlike any other species on this planet.  It is meant to remind us of the value in ALL life, as we are ALL- humans and rats- emanations of the same ONE Creator.  We ALL live and move and have our being in the mind of God.

This Samhain, I payed respect and toasted my ancestors and my departed loved ones, and reflected on how I too am mortal yet eternal.  I payed reverence to the great transition- the darker aspect of the Goddess.

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As I sat in my sanctuary, I reflected upon Nana and Pat, and remembered them with fondness  I meditated on their presence and felt them in my heart.  I knew that regardless of where they were; in the heavens or going through the process of rebirth; I knew that the emanation of their soul- the record of their lifetimes that holds their true essence- reaches out across that place that is beyond space and time and is still with me.  I cannot adequately describe this feeling or this knowing of how this works.  I suppose this knowing is of a deeper kind that is beyond words.  That part of them that is eternal is forever linked to my own Being across lifetimes.

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SELF Reflections I

Higher-Self

Do the right thing; especially when the “wrong” thing happens.  Love, respect and honor ALL life.  Be courageous when you feel cowardly.  Speak the truth; especially when everyone else is satisfied with a lie.  Seek truth from ALL places, in ALL places.  Strive always for internal mastery and external freedom.  Do whatever you can to nurture and protect the free will of others.  Be grateful for ALL people and ALL things that come into your life; even if they don’t seem all that great at the time.  Help others; especially if it isn’t convenient.  Be spontaneous.  Partake in random acts of kindness; especially towards total strangers.  See the wonder in the world as a small child would.