The Church

It’s odd how we as humans lock the doors to our minds and the love from our hearts by excluding those who call God by a different name. I won’t name them all but even in the New Testament there are several names for God, such as Emmanual, God, Lord, and then of course, Father. These are all legitimate and acceptable names; so why do we exclude YHWH, or Allah, except out of ignorant pride.

We are taught that the church is a family, a gathering of families that join together in prayer to God. But all too often, the gathering is closed to others who may have a different view. We shall not hear what they have to say. We don’t want to hear it; so, we lock our doors to those who are different. Yet, we say all are welcome! Come, join us; but believe only as we believe. This is neither love for or love from God. We deny we are all one family.

Church becomes this monolith of limited beliefs, losing its young because of its strictness of acceptance. For those with an accepting, listening heart and a mind that is attentive to God’s Word, the reality of the institutional church abandoning the attentive mind moves to the dwindling attendance and even a more limiting mindset because the inquisitive mind is no longer in attendance.

Sadhu Sundar Singh writes: “Both water and oil come from the earth. And though they are similar in many ways, they are opposites in their nature and their purpose. One extinguishes fire, the other gives fuel to the fire. Similarly, the world and its treasures are creations of God along with the soul and its thirst for spiritual truth. But if we try to quench the thirst of our soul with the wealth and pride and honors of this world, then it is like trying to extinguish fire with oil.”

Meditate on this for a while; then apply this to our 21st century life in church. Can we see how the church is engulfed in the flames of its own limited liturgy and rote recital of pledges? My Christian brothers and sisters condemn me as an enemy of Christ; my Jewish and Muslem friends laugh with me over a bottle of wine as we argue the greatly limited divinity of mankind. We argue over minute technicalities of our faiths; we revel in our lively discussions that only increase both our loves for God and all His peoples. God is our church, our family, regardless of what name we use.

©Russell Kendall Carter

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God the Only Cause and Creator

There are essential truths about God that man must live by to be God’s spiritual creation. But before we get into these truths, I must clarify some things. I use the phrase God is my rock; this is not to say that God is a solid substance, a piece of shale or limestone, or mountain. God is not physical. God is not substance in the physical sense; only in the metaphysical, metaphorical sense. When Ms. Eddy refers to God as Substance, she is referring to His metaphysical perfection of thought and truth.

Which brings us to her statement that God’s thoughts are substance and life. We exist only because of God’s perfect and eternal plan, spiritual plan. Although I suffer through my mortal life with the impediments of age and ancient injury, I know that in God’s eternal realm, I suffer not. The true me, the spiritual creation of God, is also eternal and perfect.

This is the message that Jesus taught ever day of His ministry. Isaiah writes, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (55:8,9)” this reminds me that regardless of how perfect my thoughts are, how perfect my prayers and meditation are, I cannot be perfect in my thinking. I am mortal striving for immortality.

As I gaze at the nighttime sky, I am awed by the vastness of God’s creation and know that my perfect mind is neither perfect or a mind; it is only an outreach, and extension of God’s perfection. I am a part of the creation I see above me. I study the teachings of Jesus; I try to understand His perfection. I cannot believe that He is the most scientific man as Ms. Eddy writes. The term scientific is a mortal creation of a limited mind. We use scientific to explain something that is so technical, so difficult to understand, that only the educated mind of the egotistical mortal can understand. Jesus is God and therefore is the perfection that mankind, that I strive for every day in my prayers and meditations.

I search for wisdom; but Wisdom eludes me. I suffer for the lack of understanding the Wisdom taught by Jesus. I can only see logic; I am limited by the teachings of the mortal mind. When I taught the prescribed curriculum in the college that employed me, I tried to raise the consciousness of my students to what God was saying through the written word of mankind. It was not enough; for I did not see the perfection, only what was exposed to me in my mortal life even though my meditations were aimed at trying to attain Wisdom.

God is the only cause and creator; and we are blessed to be a part of this Wisdom for we strive to His perfection.

©Russell Kendall Carter

 

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Gratitude and Generosity 

I read many inspirational posts every morning both before and after I meditate on my life and what I have done and will do according to God’s overall plan as I understand it. This morning as I was reading a post by Richard Rohr, I was immediately intrigued by his opening comments on gratitude and generosity. He writes, “Each and every morning offers us a chance to start anew, fresh, and to begin again. Each morning when we wake—should we choose to listen—is a message from the Creator to remember the privilege we were given of waking up.”

Although I attend a fairly liberal Episcopal Church (I do so because of the liberal policy of aid to the less fortunate members of society), I consider myself a Christian Scientist first, and then a person who follows and practices Buddhism. I have lived with pain most of my life, but when I awaken each morning, I do immediately thank God for another day with my wife and family and thank him that my only material concern is the pain I feel from activities in my younger years. I have no other mortal afflictions (except maybe terminal, mortal stupidity).

Every day I wonder why I am chosen to comfort my fellow man. I am not educated in the fundamentals of being a religious leader; I am neither priest or pastor. Yet I find that I am very comfortable bringing The Word of God to those in need. My clergy friends remind me that God often chose the uneducated and humble to lead His flock to justice and freedom. And to me, justice and freedom means to realize that it is our spiritual selves that matter when we speak of eternal live and salvation.

Won’t you join me with gratitude and generosity toward others and thanking God for all we have!

©Russell Kendall Carter

 

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Sleep Holds Us

From time to time, I come across a phrase in a book I am reading that jumps our at me and demands my attention. I read a lot; and I mean a real lot. I read many books in many genres and love them all. I am a member of two book groups, one is based on spirituality and one on all else. The members of the second group were speaking about the book: Hamnet: a Novel of the Plague by Maggie O’Farrell. I highly recommend this book.

Anyway, as Maggie is telling the story, I read a fascinating and mind-clutching phrase: “sleep holds us in its plumes.” Six simple words placed in an order that fascinatingly describes how sleep hold us. I am enthralled by this word picture.

I dream of comfort, the comfort of a warm blanket keeping me warm at night. This is a pleasure that many people in our world cannot experience; they are too poor to own a blanket, or they may be homeless, shivering on a park bench or in an alley with winds howling by them, picking up speed, making it colder, more miserable. I sometimes dream of these brothers and sisters, suffering as I have never done.

I dream of companionship; I am married, and for 55 years I have shared a bed with my wife. There is something about sleeping with arms and legs tangled such that it is impossible to say who belongs to what. This is a gift from God that I cannot believe I have lived my life with such a marvelous and caring person. This companionship gives me hope and love, but it also gives me security.

I dream of security. Because I am in my own home, which I am fortunate to have, hiding from the world’s problems, hiding behind locked doors that keep out unwanted fears and trials that I cannot and will not face when I sleep. Is this a false sense of security? My answer is that God secures my safety and comfort and companionship. When I sleep, I have not a care.

Yes, no matter what I dream, sleep holds me in its plumes of several layers of intrigue, and several layers of happiness.

©Russell Kendall Carter

 

 

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Lessons of Stone Soup

I love the fable of the stone soup. It was first put in print in the early 18th century, but nobody really knows haw long it was an oral folktale before this time. Timing does not matter, because this fable and its moral are as relevant today as it was three hundred years ago.

The folktale tells of visitors who do not share; nor do the people of the village. Has anything truly changed? Let us face it, as humans we are greedy. We do not share; and, if we do, it is merely the scraps that fall from the dinner table, the sharing is meager, and we are miserly. We do not place our assets with those we share life with. Being greedy, we never have enough, or so we believe.

Although this story is told in other areas of the Gospels, I love the version John shares with us. In the search for food to feed the multitudes, a small boy steps up: “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” John 6: 9. This age-old parable reminds us that there is always enough to share; there is always enough to give to those in need.

Love, like the bread in the parable, keeps on giving. When we share Love, when we share ourselves and gifts, we live forever; they live forever. This is God’s way and promise. The stone soup spirituality invites us to invest our assets in other. Then all will prosper and live.

 ©Russell Kendall Carter

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Women

Let us praise our mothers and sisters. Let us praise all women. Women are the gift that God gives all humanity. They are the beloved of God. To often we use women as servants of all of our needs. This is not in favor with God. Women hold great wisdom in their very beings; the Goddess Wisdom, the feminine side of our God, blesses women with great intelligence and great love. God has us the gifts of women that we are meant to share our joy.

I see the beauty of their hearts, the core of their reality, the person that is in God’s heart. I pray that they could all see themselves as God sees them. I pray that we could see each other the way God sees us all the time. We all live within the embrace of God, whose arms surround us always. We are awakened by God’s energy, the that holds us His presence within us.

Our very humanity is born with Divine Love, the key to existence, the basis of God’s Grace for us. We share this with all; we especially share this with women. Women birth us; women raise us from infants; women care for us; women love and nurture us. We are blessed to return each of these with our presence, with our attention, with our Love.

Heavenly Father, help us reflect Your love to each of Your children. Help us to return tender nurture and counselling You give and share with us. You are the strength and love that women are always ready to share with all humanity.

Amen.

 ©Russell Kendall Carter

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Mountain Haze, Sweaters, Eagles

Mountain haze rising,

A golden rust blooming,

beautiful rusts, golden arbors

pleasing to noontime eyes.

Morning chill teasing runny noses

with breezes boldly beckoning sweaters

to warm awakening souls.

Fields of onion flowers streaming,

rivulets of magenta alive with motion.

Eagles soaring, floating with the currents,

eying tiny morsels for dinner.

 

©Russell Kendall Carter

 

A Spiritual Life

When I meditate on my spiritual life, I realize the perfection of what God created. This is my true existence; the existence God gives me; it is a joyful comfort coming from God’s Love. As with all men and women, I am the offspring of the Holy Spirit who guides me every step of my journey in this mortal life I live. The presence of this Spirit within me always, lifts both my spiritual and human consciousness to the realm of the eternal Truth, which is God.

I love that with the presence of the Holy Spirit, I am spirit; I am the likeness of my Maker, Love we call God. I know this is Truth because Jesus brought to us the power of the Spirit. He showed us how to attain the power, the progress of God’s presence and Love on Earth. God’s Love is a fire, a fire that cannot be extinguished, a fire that does not destroy but builds inside of us burning to be shared.

I became Love. My horizons broadened to recognize that all people and all living things are brothers and sisters to me. God creates all of His creation for our benefit. God creates a path for us to follow that glorifies all of His creation. This path is shown by the footprints of those who preceded us. They also walked the path in troubling times, but their actions show us the way from any awaiting apocalypse. In God’s world of Love, there is no apocalypse.

God’s world is perfect; man’s world is flawed. It is our duty to ourselves and others to recognize that any awaiting apocalyptic actions can be circumvented and eliminated by bringing our world into God’s realm of eternal Love. Our mistakes are thinking that God has created our difficulties, which is wrong. Recognizing the perfection in God’s Holy Creation can only be realized by living a loving, spiritual life.  This brings Love into our very existence and brings the desire and the need to share this Love. And only then can we direct our material life to accept God’s perfection of Love.

©Russell Kendall Carter

 

 

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Such is Love

Love is just that: Love. I take time to listen for God’s words; see the work He does in my heart. . . listen, listen. A light comes out of the darkness of the wilderness that enfolds me, making me shine as a loving example of how God is ministering, not only to me, but to the entire world and universe. Love flows from me because I trust that God fills me with goodness and grace. I have hope that Love will prevail. I sing!

John reminds us of Jesus’s promise: “I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life (8:12).” This light is God’s Love and is a prayer to participate in God’s true universe, the universe where all are love and acceptance is universal. Loving one another is not a task or an inconvenience; it is the holy, realistic presence of God within us and within the community. When Jesus promised the He would be with us when two or more join in His name, ask Him to join when meeting the stranger. See the face of Jesus in all whom we meet.

Each of us is loved; each of us is defined by the inner beauty of the natural gifts that God gives us. All we must do is recognize these gifts and we will indeed see the face of Jesus in everyone we meet. I know that when I accept the stranger as an equal member of God’s family, when I give him or her the love that God so freely gives, this love comes back to me a hundred times greater, a thousand times greater. Such is winning the lottery!

When I love, I earn companionship. When I love, I earn comfort and grace. When I love, I feel God within me. Such is Love!

©Russell Kendall Carter

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Mysticism is Alive and Well and Dwells within Me.

Mysticism is Alive and Well and Dwells within Me.

We search for true spiritual action in our everyday lives but are unable to find it. I have always written that we can only find this in our relationship with God. I look to mysticism to discover my relationship with our Holy Father.

The dictionary defines mysticism as “a doctrine of an immediate spiritual intuition of truths believed to transcend ordinary understanding, or of a direct, intimate union of the soul with God through contemplation.” What does this mean?

Simple! We meditate. We meditate on the only perfect human to walk the earth, Jesus who was all that we can never be. But we can emulate. To attain true spirituality, we must, I repeat, we must undergo a radical transformation to leave behind any idea of physical perfection and physical superiority. There are no such things. If I really meditate on true spiritual awakening, I know that I experience a very radical transformation to reflect God’s Love and Truth.

Every molecule of my spiritual structure contains all the good that mankind has accomplished to bring God into our midst. This is a true gift that only all those who preceded us bring into our bearing. I am truly touched and supported by the angels God sends to me guiding me to Truth through my mystical being. The eternal me is not flesh and blood. I am spirit; I am love; I am truth. I am the spiritual creation of God, perfect and eternal.

©Russell Kendall Carter

 

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