Author: Tisha Anderson

Food for Thought: Truth and Self-thoughts from Philosopher James Allen, February 19, 2020

Food for Thought: Truth and Self-thoughts from Philosopher James Allen, February 19, 2020

Our mid-week services are designed for open discussion among a group of people with diverse philosophies and beliefs. These are the notes from those meetings, and reflect the desire to explore thought within and outside the Christian tradition. They do not represent official doctrine, but a willingness to explore our shared humanity. As such, they are somewhat incomplete without the experience of actual discussions. We post them here for the sake of those who would like to have them but cannot always make it out to a mid-week service.

Discussion Primer: Truth and Self—thoughts from the philosopher James Allen

I do not presume to know who this is, except for the one article of his that I found and printed. I have no particular affinity for him or desire to promote his ideas. The article just caught my eye in an internet search! Here is the link to the article: http://www.worldspirituality.org/two-masters.html

Two masters: Self and Truth

The master self is that rebellious one whose weapons are passion, pride, avarice, vanity, self-will, implements of darkness; the master Truth is that meek and lowly one whose weapons are gentleness, patience, purity, sacrifice, humility, love, instruments of light.

There is self and there is Truth; where self is, Truth is not, where Truth is, self is not.

I will interject here to say that I know that he is defining “self” in a very narrow sense and the actual word and concept could be talked about in a more positive sense. But, just to run with it a while (short as that may be), let’s start with his definition!

The self that Jesus says must be ‘denied’
The self that Buddha says must be annihilated

The ‘unmistakable’ signs of the truth lover from the Bhagavad Gita

Fearlessness, singleness of soul, the will
Always to strive for wisdom; opened hand
And governed appetites; and piety,
 And love of lonely study; humbleness,
Uprightness, heed to injure nought which lives
Truthfulness, slowness unto wrath, a mind
That lightly letteth go what others prize;
And equanimity, and charity
Which spieth no man‘s faults; and tenderness
Towards all that suffer; a contented heart,
Fluttered by no desires; a bearing mild,
Modest and grave, with manhood nobly mixed,
With patience, fortitude and purity;
An unrevengeful spirit, never given
To rate itself too high–such be the signs,
O Indian Prince! of him whose feet are set
On that fair path which leads to heavenly birth!” 

Religion’s aim:

(again, according to Allen) The absolute denial, the utter extinction, of self is the perfect state of Truth, and all religions and philosophies are but so many aids to this supreme attainment.

What is Truth:

Truth in its very nature is ineffable and can only be lived. He who has most of charity (love) has most of Truth.

Truth is not a formal belief; it is an unselfish, holy, and aspiring heart…

Other quotes:

The follower of self takes up arms against others. The follower of Truth takes up arms against himself.

There is but one religion, the religion of Truth. There is but one error, the error of self.

Men cannot understand Truth because they cling to self, because they believe in and love self, because they believe self to be the only reality, whereas it is the one delusion. When you cease to believe in and love self you will desert it, and will fly to Truth, and will find the eternal Reality.

All suffering is self. All suffering ends in Truth. (very Buddhist)

Have you suffered much? Have you sorrowed deeply? Have you pondered seriously upon the problem of life? If so, you are prepared to wage war against self, and to become a disciple of Truth.

Other Silliness:

This episode of the Simpsons was mentioned by a few members after the mention of the Bhagavad Gita.  I post the episode here for those who would like to see it.  If you do not get the reference, don’t worry, you are not alone.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ulDC1w1ydLI

 

Honorable Mentions: Unexpected Wins and Paradoxical Advantages, February 16, 2020

Honorable Mentions: Unexpected Wins and Paradoxical Advantages, February 16, 2020

What are Honorable Mentions?  They are the quotes, book references, videos, etc that may have been brought up during Sunday’s sermon and are posted here in case somebody would like to check them out.  Please remember that all references occurred within the context of the sermon.  Sermon delivered by Pastor Bryan Hackett. 

Bible References

Matthew 18:10-14; Matthew 21:31-32; Romans 6:1; Genesis 12:1

Quotes

“You should say nothing against our religion, for we say nothing against yours…We both pray to only one God who made us all.” Sitting Bull

“Each soul must meet the morning sun, the new sweet earth, and the Great Silence alone.” Ohiyesa, Dakota teacher and thinker.

“We never quarrel about religion, because it is a matter that concerns each man and the Great Spirit.” Red Jacket, Seneca Chief.

Book Referenced

Voices in the Stones: Life Lessons from the Native Way, Kent Nerburn (https://www.amazon.com/Voices-Stones-Life-Lessons-Native/dp/1608683907/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=Voices+in+the+Stones&qid=1582304739&sr=8-1)

Song Referenced

“I Saw the Light,” Hank Williams, Sr.  (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gv5odWOpVqw)

Honorable Mentions: Get Lost, February 9, 2020

Honorable Mentions: Get Lost, February 9, 2020

What are Honorable Mentions?  They are the quotes, book references, videos, etc that may have been brought up during Sunday’s sermon and are posted here in case somebody would like to check them out.  Please remember that all references occurred within the context of the sermon.  Sermon delivered by Pastor Bryan Hackett. 

Biblical References:

John 16:29; Luke 17:33; Matthew 6:6; Psalm 91:1; Acts 26:28;

Movie Scenes:

“We’re Good and Lost Now,” Pirates of the Caribbean 3, At World’s End (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PB80UE-nW9c)

Songs Quoted:

“Oceans”-Hillsong United https://www.google.com/search?q=you+call+me+out+upon+the+water&oq=you+call+me+out+&aqs=chrome.1.69i57j0l7.4191j0j4&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

Other Quotes:

“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”–From Hamlet, Shakespeare.

“Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”–Steven Covey

Books Referenced:

Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening, by Cynthia Borgeault (https://www.amazon.com/Centering-Prayer-Awakening-Cynthia-Bourgeault/dp/1561012629/ref=sr_1_1?crid=YV2VQ6DLKUJU&keywords=centering+prayer+and+inner+awakening+by+cynthia+bourgeault&qid=1581702962&sprefix=centering+%2Caps%2C183&sr=8-1)

“Intentional silence almost always feels like work. It doesn’t come naturally to most people, and there is in fact a considerable resistance raised from the mind itself: ‘You mean I just sit there and make my mind a blank?’ Then the inner talking begins in earnest, and you ask yourself, ‘How can this be prayer?
How can God give me my imagination, reason, and feelings and then expect me not to use them?’ ‘Where do I go if I stop thinking? Is it safe?”

“Virtually every spiritual tradition that holds a vision of human transformation at its heart also claims that a practice of intentional silence is non-negotiable. Period. You just have to do it.”

“Like most of the great spiritual masters of our universe, Jesus taught from the conviction that we human beings are victims of a tragic case of mistaken identity. The person I normally take myself to be—that busy, anxious little ‘I’ so preoccupied with its goals, fears, desires, and issues—is never even remotely the whole of who I am, and to seek the fulfillment of my life at this level means to miss out on the bigger life[!] This is why, according to his teaching, the one who tries to keep his ‘life’ (i.e., the small one) will lose it, and the one who is willing to lose it will find the real thing.”

Why I Am Not a Christian, by Bertrand Russell (https://www.amazon.com/Why-I-Am-Not-Christian-ebook/dp/B015WSWDA4/ref=sr_1_1?crid=15I0EUNW2Q9CM&keywords=why+i+am+not+a+christian+by+bertrand+russell&qid=1581703287&sprefix=why+I+am+not+a+%2Caps%2C190&sr=8-1)

“It is evident that a man with a scientific outlook on life cannot let himself be intimidated by texts of Scripture or by the teaching of the church. He will not be content to say “such-and-such an act is sinful, and that ends the matter.” He will inquire whether it does any harm or whether, on the contrary, the belief that it is sinful does harm. And he will find that, especially in what concerns sex, our current morality contains a very great deal of which the origin is purely superstitious.”

“…But the defenders of traditional morality are seldom people with warm hearts, as may be seen from the love of militarism displayed by church dignitaries. One is tempted to think that they value morals as affording a legitimate outlet for their desire to inflict pain; the sinner is fair game, and therefore away with tolerance!”

 

Food for Thought: Prayer, February 5, 2020

Food for Thought: Prayer, February 5, 2020

Our mid-week services are designed for open discussion among a group of people with diverse philosophies and beliefs. These are the notes from those meetings, and reflect the desire to explore thought within and outside the Christian tradition. They do not represent official doctrine, but a willingness to explore our shared humanity. As such, they are somewhat incomplete without the experience of actual discussions. We post them here for the sake of those who would like to have them but cannot always make it out to a mid-week service.

Prayer

Here are 5 questions to consider and get the discussion started.

Is there something that you do regularly that you might call prayer in the sense of seeking to communicate with something outside of yourself?  What is it like for you?

Is this a rational thing to do?

What makes us reach outside of who we are to anybody at all, furthermore a presence (being? consciousness?) which we cannot sense with the normal human senses.

If you are a regular prayer person, what do you think it has done for you in both individual instances and over time?

Is the notion of “wordless prayer” confusing to you, or perhaps pointless?

 

Honorable Mentions: Toil and Spin, The Flower Sermon of Jesus, the Christ, January 26, 2020

Honorable Mentions: Toil and Spin, The Flower Sermon of Jesus, the Christ, January 26, 2020

What are Honorable Mentions?  They are the quotes, book references, videos, etc that may have been brought up during Sunday’s sermon and are posted here in case somebody would like to check them out.  Please remember that all references occurred within the context of the sermon.  Sermon delivered by Pastor Bryan Hackett. 

Bible References:

Job 42:5, John 13:23; Luke 12:27-28; Matthew 6:25-33; Luke 10:38-40; Hebrews 4:9-11

Poems Referenced:

“Trees,” by Joyce Kilmer https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poems/12744/trees

“Auguries of Innocence,” by William Blake https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/43650/auguries-of-innocence

Movie Referenced:

A Knights Tale, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NbDJECWjDcU

Other Concepts:

Wu Wei from the Tao Te Ching  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wu_wei

Book Referenced:

The Shack, Where Tragedy Confronts Eternity, by William Paul Young (https://www.amazon.com/Shack-Where-Tragedy-Confronts-Eternity/dp/0964729237/ref=sr_1_3?keywords=the+shack&qid=1580495337&sr=8-3)

Quotes:

“In most mythologies and archetypal psychology, the feminine principle has greater interest in the inner, the soul, the formless, intuition, connection, harmony, beauty, and relationality in general; it is more identified with lunar subtlety than the over-differentiating light of the masculine sun god or the literalism and linearity of the left brain.” Rohr https://cac.org/feminine-and-masculine-principles-2018-04-22/

Honorable Mentions: King, January 19, 2020

Honorable Mentions: King, January 19, 2020

What are Honorable Mentions?  They are the quotes, book references, videos, etc that may have been brought up during Sunday’s sermon and are posted here in case somebody would like to check them out.  Please remember that all references occurred within the context of the sermon.  Sermon delivered by Pastor Bryan Hackett. 

Bible References

Revelation 11:15-19; Hebrews 8:10 (quoting Jeremiah 31:33) ; John 6:15

Book Referenced

How God Became King, by N.T. Wright (Amazon link, woodsEnd does not profit if you choose to purchase the book.  https://www.amazon.com/How-God-Became-King-Forgotten/dp/0061730602/ref=sr_1_1?crid=24HLOPRTJ493S&keywords=n.t.+wright+how+god+became+king&qid=1579884098&sprefix=N.T.+Wright+how+g%2Caps%2C176&sr=8-1

Organizations Referenced

Southern Poverty Law Center https://www.splcenter.org/

Song Referenced

“Pride,” by U2 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ADVhDRZ62hs

Other References

Martin Luther King, Jr., “The Other America.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dOWDtDUKz-U

The Magnificat, Mary’s Hymn of Praise for Our Lord https://www.ourcatholicprayers.com/magnificat.html

Honorable Mentions: Preliminary Thoughts and a Video, January 12, 2020

Honorable Mentions: Preliminary Thoughts and a Video, January 12, 2020

What are Honorable Mentions?  They are the quotes, book references, videos, etc that may have been brought up during Sunday’s sermon and are posted here in case somebody would like to check them out.  Please remember that all references occurred within the context of the sermon.  Sermon delivered by Pastor Bryan Hackett. 

Bible References

John 13:34; Isaiah 6:1-7; John 2:10

Quotes

Perfect love, we know, casteth out fear. But so do several other things – ignorance, alcohol, passion, presumption, and stupidity. It is very desirable that we should all advance to that perfection of love in which we shall fear no longer; but it is very undesirable, until we have reached that stage, that we should allow any inferior agent to cast out our fear.” — C.S. Lewis, The World’s Last Night

Video

Explaining “Emergent Churches,” Peter Rollins.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ef7Rfs1T96c

Prayer

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.

I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.–Thomas Merton

Honorable Mentions: Let’s Talk a Bit About Jesus, Shall We? January 5, 2020

Honorable Mentions: Let’s Talk a Bit About Jesus, Shall We? January 5, 2020

What are Honorable Mentions?  They are the quotes, book references, videos, etc that may have been brought up during Sunday’s sermon and are posted here in case somebody would like to check them out.  Please remember that all references occurred within the context of the sermon.  Sermon delivered by Pastor Bryan Hackett. 

Bible References

Matthew 12: 1-8 and 9:-14; Mark 10:17-31; Luke 3:16

Song Referenced

“Over My Dead Body,” By Steven Taylor https://www.lyrics.com/lyric/771714/Steve+Taylor/Over+My+Dead+Body

It’s Happening…

It’s Happening…

Hello, Friends.  The renovations are complete and the main building is ready to be used again.  We look forward to fellowship and worship with you in the main church building this Sunday, January 5th.  Second Saturday Community Coffeehouse will also now be held in the main building.

Food for Thought: The Relativity of Wrong, December 12, 2019

Food for Thought: The Relativity of Wrong, December 12, 2019

Our mid-week services are designed for open discussion among a group of people with diverse philosophies and beliefs. These are the notes from those meetings, and reflect the desire to explore thought within and outside the Christian tradition. They do not represent official doctrine, but a willingness to explore our shared humanity. As such, they are somewhat incomplete without the experience of actual discussions. We post them here for the sake of those who would like to have them but cannot always make it out to a mid-week service.

Here is a link to the article written by Isaac Asimov titled “The Relativity of Wrong.”  Enjoy.  https://chem.tufts.edu/AnswersInScience/RelativityofWrong.htm