The Size of God

April 29, 2013 at 6:48 pm (By Realpc)

We were trying to figure out the size of God, but the comments were closed. So I want to continue here.

My estimate, based on the scriptures, is that God is at least 12 hundred feet tall.

I also want to say something about the comments about having children. It is true that the instinct for taking care of children can be even stronger than the instinct to survive. But that is NOT because of Christianity. The survival of most mammal and bird species depends on the selfless devotion of parents.

The ideal of parental love has become a central image of Christianity — the virgin mother and her infant Jesus.

It’s kind of funny to me, since Jesus never even mentions his mother in the gospels, except to tell her to leave him alone. He really had no family values at all.

But the ideal of selfless motherly love is important in Christianity, since it is a religion of selflessness and devotion. So that is why I guess the other commenters kept bringing it up.

Did God put us on earth mainly so we can learn to experience the kind of selfless love that parents, especially mothers, usually feel? I think that could be one reason, but there are many other things we can learn in this life.

Isn’t it possible that we are also here to learn and create and express ourselves artistically? I value love of course but I value other things also.

I can understand why mothers would say there is nothing more important than motherly love, and it’s our whole reason for existence. But they are forgetting that different people care about different things. Men love their children, of course, but they usually also care about other things.


  1. LouiseM said,

    My estimate, based on the scriptures, is that God is at least 12 hundred feet tall.

    And here I am wondering if He could actually be small enough to enter an ovum and impregnate Mary. Or as the scripture tastefully suggests, “come upon and overshadow” her!!! Surely something big and small would have to be involved in that transaction!.

  2. LouiseM said,

    The cowbirds visiting my feeder recently have their own family values.

    The female cowbird doesn’t make a nest–she simply lays her eggs in the nests of any other bird she can dominate. The smaller bird then hatches the Cowbird eggs, along with her own. As the young grow, the baby Cowbirds monopolize the incoming food supply, crowding out the smaller bird’s young, often causing them to die of hunger.

    The female cowbird may continue to observe the nest after laying her eggs. If the cowbird egg is removed, the female cowbird may destroy the host’s eggs. There is no agreement on the number of eggs laid by the female Cowbird, but some birders have reported it may be as high as twenty…

    Animals obey instincts with survival of the species as the ultimate goal. The more intellectually developed and relational they are (particularly with humans) the greater the chance that they will at some point exhibit selfless behavior that goes beyond the basics of nurture and provision for their young. Care for the handicapped and elderly is usually not a prominent feature in animal behavior.

    When selfless love trumps the instinct to survive, something other than shit happens.

  3. realpc said,

    Louise, our species is good at taking things to pathological extremes. Animals have a lot more sense.

  4. realpc said,

    I am not criicizing kindness to the elderly or disabled. But I mean the crazy extreme measures that are sometimes taken.

  5. karen said,

    No comment.

  6. LouiseM said,

    No comment

    I’ve got one. It arrived late last night in the form of a poem, when I opened the book delivered by UPS yesterday, Tattoos on the Heart: The power of boundless compassion written by Gregory Boyle, a Jesuit priest and the founder and director of Homeboy Industries, an organization committed to reshaping and redirecting the lives of gang involved youth.

    With That Moon Language

    Admit something:

    Everyone you see, you say to them,
    “Love me.”

    Of course you do not do this out loud;
    Someone would call the cops.

    Still though, think about this,
    This great pull in us
    To connect.

    Why not become the one
    Who lives with a full moon in each eye
    That is always saying,

    With that sweet moon

    What every other eye in this world
    Is dying to


  7. realpc920 said,

    That is half the story Louise. We are always saying “Love me, accept me, I want to belong in your group.” But we are ALSO always saying “I am different from THEM, I am not like THEM.”

    The universe is made out of BOTH attracting and repelling forces. You seem to only acknowledge the attracting forces, consciously anyway. But subconsciously, I am sure you are repelled as much as attracted, just like everyone.

    One obvious example is the Christians who are repelled by the idea of gay marriage, and who differentiate themselves from progressives by opposing it.

    Another obvious example is the progressives who are repelled by the way some Christians are repelled by gay marriage.

    And BOTH sides believe they are acting simply out of LOVE.

  8. LouiseM said,

    Believing one is acting out of love, and acting out of love aren’t always the same.
    I’m not arguing beliefs with you, realpc, I’m looking for love and hoping for the moon. In my eyes and others.

  9. realpc920 said,

    I think you have not looked at your shadow side.

  10. karen said,

    “My estimate, based on the scriptures, is that God is at least 12 hundred feet tall.”

    How, pray(pray)(pray) tell, did you come to this estimation?
    Did you account for the Christian belief of a Trinitarian God w/in the equation?

  11. LouiseM said,

    I think you have not looked at your shadow side.

    And what could I say that would disabuse you of such a notion?

    Mayhap I’ve been blinded by lunacy?

    From my point of view the poem addresses both sides. I considered it to be a beautiful find! The priest who wrote the book said: I buried my first young person killed because of gang violence in 1988, and as of this writing (2010, I have been called upon for this sad task an additional 167 times. From what he’s written, I’m getting the impression he is no stranger to the shadow side (his own or others), yet he keeps creating, relating and working through adversity while holding out hope, so the young people who make it through his program alive have a chance that wouldn’t have been possible without it.

    From another book I’m currently reading, written by an ex-addict now counselor who uses horses for therapy, (It’s not about the Horse, It’s about Overcoming Fear and Self-doubt this:

    Personally, I have a strong belief that the actual purpose of each and every union we make in this life is for healing wounds. More often than not, we’re unaware of this due to the fact that we’ve been conditioned to be externally focused in our relationships. This means that we spend the majority of our time wondering what others are thinking and feeling and making up stories about why they behave as they do.

    Which brings me back to wondering about purpose and what the heck that divine spark is all about.

  12. karen said,

    The more people try to tear Him down and silence existence- the bigger He gets. I’m still working the math of that one out.

  13. realpc said,

    There is a lot of hatred of Christians these days, karen. Recently a woman I know told me she hates bluegrass gospel, which is my favoite style of music. I asked her why, and she said it’s because Christians hate gays.

    Maybe some Christians hate gays, but most don’t, and I thought it was so illogical and narrow-minded of her to hate a whole style of music, and a whole religion, because of the stupid gay marriage contoversy.

    On Easter Sunday, I noticed that google totally ignored Easter, and instead they had something about a labor organizer.

    School children are now being brainwashed to think there is something wrong with singing Christmas carols of having a Christmas tree in school.

    Hatred of organized religion goes back to Karl Marx, at least. Leftists don’t realize that ANYTHING organized by human beings will have many faults. They don’t even try to see what is true about Christianity, and other religions. They throw the baby right out with the bathwater.

  14. mockturtle said,

    Great post, real!

  15. mockturtle said,

    Number 13, that is.

  16. mockturtle said,

    BTW, I rather like the Westminster Confession’s answer to ‘What is the purpose of man?’ ‘To glorify God and enjoy Him forever.’

  17. LouiseM said,

    The other side or extension of “for his pleasure”? with the rest fun to consider.

    1. to receive pleasure from; take joy in
    2. to have the benefit of; use with satisfaction
    3. to have as a condition; experience
    4. Archaic to have sexual intercourse with

    [from Old French enjoir, from en-1 + joir to find pleasure in, from Latin gaudēre to rejoice]

  18. LouiseM said,

    Not being flip about 4…as the word “yada (used to describe intercourse in the Adam and Eve story) is about intimate knowledge and awareness.

  19. karen said,

    i understand hate– i do not understand annihilation.
    That was the 13th century- Boston bombing the 21st century.
    Same “enemy”- same reasoning?

    The link in comment #12 is the US Gov’t suppressing freedom of Religion, IMhumbleO.

  20. realpc920 said,

    ‘What is the purpose of man?’ ‘To glorify God and enjoy Him forever.’

    Even though I said we can’t possible know why God created us, I can accept that answer mockturtle. To me, that is much better than saying our purpose here is to love every human being equally and unconditionally. Ugh.

    Why limit it to just humans? Shouldn’t we love all other creatures equally and unconditionally? Including the slimiest ugliest bug?

    In order to love someone, you have to trust them. Sorry, I do not trust every human being on earth. Only the ones I know personally, and only a fraction of them.

    But I trust God completely and without reservation. Even though, sorry to say, I do not know Him well.

    It is true that Jesus told his followers to love each other, and to love their neighbors. But keep in mind that they all knew each other, and they all knew their neighbors.

    Jesus did NOT tell his followers to love the Greeks, or the Romans, or the Chinese. The idea of the whole world becoming Christian was never on his mind, at least not according to anything he ever said according to the gospels.

    Maybe Buddha believed in loving all humans everywhere equally, I am not sure. I think so. Buddha was interested in being detached and indifferent to this world, and escaping as soon as possible. (Buddhism is kind of like Christainity in the idea of getting the heck out of this world asap).

    Anyway, loving (and trusting) God with all our heart and soul seems, to me, a good summary of the purpose of our lives.

    It is great to help other humans whenever you can. It actually makes us happy to know we can make someone else happy. It is our nature to be loving (in addition to hating).

    But there is such a thing as a compulsive do-gooder who needs to feel needed. Helping others is NOT always out of true loving spirituality, and it sure can go too far and become sick.

    There are no simple rules that can guide our lives. The only real source of wisdom is God — not the bible, not the pope, not your preacher. Any wisdom you get from other people is really from God. And any wisdom you get from other people is going to be mixed in with a lot of nonsense.

  21. mockturtle said,

    ‘In order to love someone, you have to trust them. Sorry, I do not trust every human being on earth. Only the ones I know personally, and only a fraction of them.’

    I disagree with that. You can love and not trust. In fact, nowhere I know of in the Bible does it tell us we have to trust other humans.

    ‘In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me.’, Psalm 56:11.

  22. realpc920 said,

    There are different kinds of love. The word can mean a lot of different things. My love for God includes trust, like a child trusts its parents. If I feel some general love for human beings, because I know they are similar to me and they deserve consideration and tolerance, that is an impersonal kind of love.

    Then there is love I can feel for a person, or animal, or thing, that I know.

  23. mockturtle said,

    Yes, certainly agape love, which is supernatural, godly love, differs from phileo, brotherly love, or eros, self-gratifying love. But all have their place. There is even a type of love, storgos, which describes maternal, or close family love or what might be called ‘natural affection’.

  24. karen said,

    There are different kinds of love- Christ knows where we are in that and knows that we can only give as much as we can… we are limited. Not only by being human, but by the things that have occurred in our lives that precondition us and shape our character. We need to learn to see things w/God’s eyes, i think- in order to be better able to achieve openness of others. I doubt many are born w/this ability naturally.

    That doesn’t mean we cannot change- or that we cannot grow to become better, wiser, kinder and more empathetic toward people. Or, toward our own selves. We can be miserable to ourselves- maybe w/out knowing it.

    Real- i don’t like the generalities of this post- i was very hurt to read:
    “It’s kind of funny to me, since Jesus never even mentions his mother in the gospels, except to tell her to leave him alone. He really had no family values at all.”

    i think that is a blatant untruth- for one thing, just because the Gospels don’t mention Christ’s family life- doesn’t mean they were not exactly what shaped Him in some way. Christ lived most of His life outside the pages of the Bible. And, that’s why i didn’t comment, didn’t want to comment- but, i never stay upset for long and i never can keep my mouth shut when discussing things here, so…

    I listen to a radio show when driving to pick the kids up from school. It’s ~Walk in the Word~ by James MacDonald and i find him so direct in his Bible-based teachings that it’s easy to see how he comes to his conclusions. I found- after 3 1/2 yrs of searching- his “Conflict Resolution” series to be so helpful in dealing w/my mistrust of my in-laws and how to move on. All these yrs and i still have such a hard time dealing. I believe i have forgiven, but i want to be a better person for it and through it… i want to please the Lord by being what He wants me to be– i’m not there yet. This Pastor’s words helped me see that God doesn’t expect us to do more than we humanly can- but, we can learn to grow. You don’t have to take any of the advice, but it was a relief to me to hear him explain steps that are Bible-approved to get over, through- beyond the crap of conflict.

    *Also, i always wondered why Cain’s gifts to our lord were unacceptable while Able’s gift offerings were. What did Cain do that was wrong? My friend says that Cain kept the best harvest for himself and gave inferior to God– we should always give God our 1st fruits. That may be(i haven’t read the Bible well enough- or enough @all!).

    I think, though- that it is the spirit in which the offering was given- that Able gave out of humility, love and w/a grateful heart while Cain may have been proud and superior of bearing. .

    Like a Pharisee.

  25. realpc said,

    I am sorry I hurt you karen. But because I am anonymous here I try to say what to me seem to be facts, rather than keeping my mouth shut most of the time like I do in real life.

    I read the Old and New Testaments, not as a child but as a middle-age adult. I had no religious training as a child, but I did soak up a lot of the mythology.

    I read the bibles very carefully, as if I were a scientist studying a culture. I was trying to look at it from an outside point of view, without emotion. I found that the bibles are very obviously written by people like ourselves.

    Except that it was a time when people were much less skeptical than we are now. If an authority figure said something, it had to be true. And if it was put down in writing, well then there could be no doubt whatsoever that it was a fact.

    A lot of people are still like that now, no skepticism at all about the mythologies they were taught as children.

    Our images of Jesus are glowing with compassion. He almost seems maternal, he is so loving. Children soak up those images, the prayers and the songs, and the stories they are told.

    The Catholic church added the image of the virgin and infant. That idea did not come from Jesus. It was probably an pagan image that would appeal to the early gentile converts.

    If you read the gospels carefully (and I should read them again, when I get a chance, since it has been years), then you will see that Jesus was often very angry. He was not always glowing with maternal love.

    And I only saw one time that Jesus speaks to his mother, when he said “get away from me woman,” or something like that. There were other times when he dissed his family. And he told his followers to leave their families. He had no family values at all, if you go by the gospels.

    Yes, you can say Jesus had a life outside of the gospels. But we don’t know anything about it! Whatever you think you know about his life, if it was not written down so that we can read about it today, then it’s all fantasy and imagination.

    And, of course, we have no way of knowing what in the gospels is an accurate interpretation of what Jesus actually said.

    You could spend a lifetime studying Jesus, and still know very little about his life.

    Jesus did not seem to care at all about his mother. I know that Catholics can’t accept that.

    But I see nothing at all wrong with worshiping the Virgin Mother. Judaism is too male-centric. God and almost all the Old Testament prophets are men. I think the early Christians felt the female aspect of God was missing, so they brought in Mother Mary. I think that is an improvement over Judaism.

    And karen, it really doesn’t matter what you call it or what image you worship. It is still the infinitely mysterious Creator.

  26. mockturtle said,

    Re Cain and Abel: Abel’s sacrifice was acceptable because it was a blood sacrifice, which prefigured Christ as our blood sacrifice. Cain thought he could please God by offering his produce, probably of good quality, but not acceptable to God. I don’t believe Cain was evil in doing this but his jealousy, anger and pride in murdering his brother were.

    Everything in the Bible points to Christ. The more I read it, the more I realize this. It’s totally cool. :-)

  27. LouiseM said,

    realpc, The stories and words attributed to Jesus in the 4 books I’m most familiar with regarding his life and ministry do not line-up with some of the things I hear you saying about Jesus. Which makes me wonder what is going on? Are you unfamiliar what what Jesus said, or if you doubt the veracity of the “red letter” words attributed to him?:

    “Jesus did NOT tell his followers to love the Greeks, or the Romans, or the Chinese.”. No he did not. In the strictest meaning of the sentence you are correct. However, one of the things he supposedly said was this:

    “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[a] and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?

    As for “The idea of the whole world becoming Christian was never on his mind, at least not according to anything he ever said according to the gospels, I’m not able to reconcile that statement with what is commonly referred to as The Great Comission, recorded by the disciple Matthew and repeated in Acts as something said directly to his followers:

    Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age

    With regard to the “no concern for family thing’ mentioned earlier, the book of John includes this exchange, supposedly delivered to John from Jesus as he hung on the cross dying:

    Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman,] here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.

    As for no simple rules to guide our lives, I know of a number of simple rules, some of which have been passed down for hundreds of years, from generation to generation. The problem with them is: they are difficult to follow.

    “First do no harm” is a simple rule.

    So is “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength and mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”

    I don’t like it when you generalize, realpc because what you have to share that is unique to you gets lost and clouded. When that happens I feel frustrated trying to understand what you mean and what you really want to convey.

    On the subject of love and compassion, I’ve got more thoughts forming but have to attend to life and collect my marbles first.

  28. karen said,

    Ahh, you collect marbles? :0)

    The Good Samaritan.

    ~The Welcoming Door~
    Best. Book. Ever.

  29. LouiseM said,

    What I like most about the Cain and Able story, are the questions God asks as he repeatedly invites Cain to respond, tell his side of the story and enter into open, honest relationship. Sadly, Cain refuses.

    Why are you angry?
    Why is your face downcast?
    Where is your brother Able?
    What have you done?

    I used to read those questions as accusatory, especially the last one. Now I regard them as genuine inquiry.


  30. LouiseM said,

    Ahh, you collect marbles? :0)

    Among other things!

    Karen…this story is for you and it’s true! In February, per your recommendation, I purchased a copy of The Welcoming Door, and took it with me on a trip to Tennessee to attend wood carving class I’d signed up for in November (Before Amba had written:Matter is a corrective. Matter exerts a resistance, a counterforce, like wood to a carving knife or water to a ship’s keel or air under an airplane’s wings, that paradoxically enables us to get somewhere by making it more difficult. a thought I also took with me–one which ended up fitting my overall experience like a glove!).

    I read the first story in the motel room and the next day at class sat next to a man who reminded me very much of the carpenter in the story. We had some wonderful conversation together (no proselytizing) and I ended up giving him the book which he took back home to North Carolina. Where it is now, I couldn’t say, but that spark from you had wings of its own. My intent was to order another copy so I could finish it, and I forgot about doing so. I fixed that tonight with amazon!

  31. realpc920 said,

    Louise, it is not possible to talk about anything without generalizing. THAT is a rule that is always true. We can never know exactly how much to generalize, and someone can always say we generalized too much, and someone can always disagree with our generalizations.

    But there is NO OTHER WAY to reason about anything, than by generalizing. The reasoning process necessarily involves grouping things into categories. Language itself is a system for categorizing, and therefore it is a generalizing process.

  32. mockturtle said,

    Generalization and conceptualization are closely related, for sure.

  33. LouiseM said,

    Louise, it is not possible to talk about anything without generalizing. THAT is a rule that is always true.

    Lol..on that we can agree!

    What’s my problem with the type of generalizing I hear you doing in some of your posts and comments? Maybe that it doesn’t reflect my knowledge or experience?. When what you are generalizing about doesn’t appear to me to validate the point you seem to be wanting to make, I become confused, unsure of what you are trying to communicate.

    When I hear you making generalizations about what Jesus said and believed that don’t jibe with what I’ve heard and read, I don’t know where you are coming from or what is informing your remarks.

  34. mockturtle said,

    Context is always important when using quotes but oh, so difficult to convey in a post.

  35. karen said,

    Wow, Louise. I am so– humbled at that.
    It makes me feel really good- thanks for telling me:0).

    I got that book from a friend of mine- &i passed it on to my Mom.
    At 1st she thought it pretty simple. “That’s a simple little story.” And then she read the 2nd– &3rd. It grows in- depth.

    I found it incredible to realize Christ could have lived those stories- could have experienced them as the carpenter He was as opposed to the Teacher Or, ~as well as~ the Teacher. Of course, they are not gospel. They just give insight to the blind- so to speak. I enjoyed every simple word.

  36. LouiseM said,

    Ah realpc…I didn’t see your #25 comment about Biblical knowledge and experience when I posted comment #27. I must have been involved gathering verses and didn’t see it until now. I apologize for questioning your experience after you’d already posted regarding your familiarity, where you’re coming from and what is informing your remarks. While I don’t agree with some of what you wrote, I understand your position better after reading #25.

  37. mockturtle said,

    A lot of people are still like that now, no skepticism at all about the mythologies they were taught as children.

    I was raised by a devout atheist mother and an agnostic father but I did grow up to question their mythologies…;-)

    I found that the bibles are very obviously written by people like ourselves.

    Of course they were but they were inspired by God.

    But I see nothing at all wrong with worshiping the Virgin Mother.

    I do! It is idolatry. I’d prefer to think that Catholics venerate, but do not worship, Mary. She is ‘blessed among women’ but that doesn’t make her an object of adoration or—God forbid!—a deity!

  38. karen said,

    You and i are very different, real. I wear my heart right out there in the open- and that gets me wounded- i’m pretty sensitive- bu,t i don’t think thin-skinned. And i’m glad there is frankness(wonder if the feminazis will find a way to change words like that so they are more gender neutral -)(i spelled it neuteral- even funnier, that).

    We don’t ~worship~ Mary. We venerate.
    “In the Church, “veneration” takes on more specific distinctions and actions than Webster’s phrase “deep respect”.

    hyperdulia and cultus dulia are two forms of veneration in the Church


    hyperdulia – The special veneration due to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

    It is substantially less than the cultus latria (adoration), which is due to God alone.

    But it is higher than the cultus dulia (veneration), due to angels and other saints.

    As the Church understands the veneration of Mary, it is to be closely associated but subordinated to that of her Son.
    “The various forms of piety towards the Mother of God, which the Church has approved within the limits of sound and orthodox doctrine according to the dispositions and understanding of the faithful, ensure that while the mother is honored, the Son through whom all things have their being and in whom it has pleased the Father that all fullness should dwell, is rightly loved and glorified and His commandments are observed” (Second Vatican Council, Lumen Gentium, VII, 66). (Etym. Latin hyperdulia, virtue of deep submission.)

    “The veneration of the Virgin Mary” is the subject of Pope John Paul II’s catechesis, “CHURCH URGES FAITHFUL TO VENERATE MARY”

    I guess there’s sola scritura &then there’s the Catholic Church?

    Scripture Catholic – SCRIPTURE ALONE (“SOLA SCRIPTURA”)‎

    ps- just in case it’s thought… i don’t mean to preach or evangelize.
    I consider this self-growth through sharing.

  39. karen said,

    sola scritura = sola scriPtura.

  40. mockturtle said,

    I appreciate your explanation, Karen. :-)

    “Soli Deo Gloria, Sola Scriptura, Sola Fide, Sola Gratia, Solus Christus, ”

    All glory to God, by Scripture alone, by faith alone, through grace alone, through Christ alone. That about sums it up for me. YMMV! ;-)

  41. LouiseM said,

    May it be to me
    As you have said

    She who was
    Highly favored
    Received what
    Came to her
    Accepted what
    came upon.

    She carried
    Glory within
    While facing
    Shame without

    Any proof of
    Innocence as
    Of Spirit
    Daily grew
    And increased

    Body and Blood
    In a womb
    Set to provide
    The Elements

    For the Word
    To become flesh.

    Christmas thoughts 2012

    The Protestant faith tradition of my youth and early years did not honor Mary. Yet when I take her story as written, and wonder what it might have been like to live through that story, and experience it as real, my eyes fill with tears. I would have found the public shame and the internal awareness of glory hard to bear.

  42. mockturtle said,

    Lovely, Louise!

  43. realpc said,

    I think Catholicism is a beautiful religion, I am not criticizing it. I am just pointing out that is is mythology. Every culture has mythologies, there is nothing wrong with that.

    But I can’t understand it when people need to think their mythologies are actually real and true.

    There are divine levels above us, and we are not able to comprehend them. Myths are suggestions and hints, that try to point to the divine truths. They are like dreams, not to be taken literally.

    Yet so many people try to take them literally.

  44. realpc said,

    Louise, my post #25 didn’t show up until long after I wrote it, because for some reason it had to be moderated. The blog asked me to moderate my own comment! Not very smart of it.

    But I did think very hard about Judaism and Christianity. I was interested in every other religion and mystical tradition, except the ones I was surrounded by. I read about eastern religions, I practice yoga, I was interested in primitive shamanism. Anything at all except the religions of my culture.

    But I gradually began to see that our western religions have a lot in common with all the others. I was born Jewish (but raised with no religion), so I was curious about the Old Testament. And I had begun to see value in some Christian ideas — especially the ideas of sacrifice and suffering, forgiveness and salvation. (I am not so much into the lovey-dovey perspective on Christianity — not that I don’t love love, just that it can seem fake to me, when people say they love everyone indiscriminately).

    So I read the New Testament, and found it was very different from the images I had soaked up from the culture. To me, Jesus seemed like a typical prophet/shaman/cult leader. Nothing wrong with that! But not literally the one and only son of some specific God person!

    Jesus didn’t claim to be The Son of God. He called God Father, but so does everyone.

    Anyway, to me most of that stuff is irrelevant. Logical people are turned off by Christian sects that insist you must believe things that don’t make sense and don’t have any evidence.

    Religion is much bigger and much more important than the silly details people fight about. Gay marriage is one ridiculous example.

    Jesus sure as heck never said anything about gay marriage, and he didn’t even say much about straight marriage.. He thought his followers should avoid marrying, if possible. He didn’t like anything that could distract from the goal of salvation.

    So why are some Christians so nuts about this subject?

    (Not that I agree with the gay marriage supporters either. Both sides are irrational).

  45. LouiseM said,

    Myths are more than suggestions or hints. They are traditional stories, many of them passed down for generations, which have no record or proof that they happened. In the society in which it is told, a myth is usually regarded as a true account of the remote past. In fact, many societies have two categories of traditional narrative, “true stories” or myths, and “false stories” or fables. They are transmitted to convey religious or idealized experience, to establish behavioral models, and to teach.

    Regardless of how beautiful you think Catholicism is, it is as you noted, a religion, which is significantly different than a mythology. As a religion it may contain mythology, but it is not a mythology.

    I’m wondering what has convinced you that: There are divine levels above us, and we are not able to comprehend them??

    Without historical or factual proof that divine levels exist, it seems to me as if the belief they do exist would most likely be based in a story formed around an instinct, a personal experience, a teaching or a word of mouth story shared by another–one which may or may not be true. In other words, a myth, a story that makes sense of the world in which the person lives and accounts for real lived experience.

  46. LouiseM said,

    I think it just happened again, realpc. I found your comment 44 after I posted 45. Or maybe I get so involved in writing I forget to check and see if something new has come in. Anyway, I appreciate your story and your honesty. I also had a good time looking up definitions of mythology, something I wouldn’t have done without your previous comment.

    One of the outside the box books I’ve recently read and appreciated that came to mind when I read your comment was Essential Spirituality in which the author, R. Walsh (a professor of psychiatry, philosophy and anthropology!) examines the great spiritual traditions of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, and Taoism, and finds 7 practices common to each of them. It’s more about spiritual practice than theology, but it helped me understand the way the stages of spiritual development mirror human development, from preconventional to conventional to post conventional.

    OK…I’ve yet to get back to where I was when I was looking for marbles and wanting to look into the difference between empathy, sympathy and compassion…maybe tomorrow.

  47. karen said,

    Louise- it IS tomorrow!

    I wrote something and lost it- it was about loving the equality of the value of live in all people, not necessarily their personalities or good looks. We should respect to the point of defense- those that cannot defend themselves due to age or infirmity. My opinion as to the Lovey-dovey factor real doesn’t cotton to so much.

    Also, i love listening to ~walk in the Word~ &he brought this up to me. I believe Christ to be God- not only the Son of God. It’s tied up like this:,d.dmQ&cad=rja

    in John :0}. Along w/”The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”

  48. mockturtle said,

    And Christ was always existent but took on fleshly form as a bridge between us and the Father.

  49. karen said,

    Yes, mockT.

  50. realpc said,

    karen, I agree we should respect and value all members of our species — at least until they prove they don’t deserve it. We can love the divine potential within each person, without trying to love the whole person. We could also feel the same way about animals, including every insect. I actually do feel that way about animals, even insects. But if a bug bites me that’s where I draw the line. They are dead.

    I think that Christ is a symbol of God. The human being Jesus was a mortal being who communicated with the divine being we call God.

    The biological details seem irrelevant and silly to me.

    I know that a lot of Christians call Jesus God. In some of the gospel songs I sing, for example. I think people like their Gods to be something they can visualize. The Old Testament God was never described, since no human being could look at Him without dying immediately.

    The Old Testament prophets hated the idea of images of God. The surrounding cultures, and most cultures, always had images of their Gods, but the ancient Hebrews rejected that idea completely.

    Christianity brought back the idea of the image of God, because people missed it. I think it’s good to have an image to worship. However, I think I would prefer if it weren’t a human being. Maybe a leopard with a horse head.

  51. mockturtle said,

    “Jesus saith unto him, ‘I am the way, the truth and the life. No man cometh unto the Father but by me.'” John 4:16

  52. realpc said,

    I know, mockturtle, but that could have been stuck in afterwards. Well anything could have been.

    And that statement has caused so much strife and persecution over the centuries. I do think it is better forgotten.

    The ancient Israelites claimed to be The Chosen People, worshiping the One True God. What arrogance. All other people were un-chosen, all other gods were un-true.

    And Christianity inherited that same arrogant intolerance.

    I would rather focus on the essence of religion, and what they all have in common, than worry about whether there is one god, or three or a dozen. There is one God but He is infinite and his manifestations cannot be counted. How can you count something that is infinite??

  53. realpc said,

    “And Christ was always existent but took on fleshly form as a bridge between us and the Father.”

    There is a common theme in ancient religions of the half-divine, half-human being who intercedes on behalf of humanity. This being is often called the Trickster.

    Jesus is a good example of the Trickster. Communication between the human and divine levels cannot be simple or direct, because the divine levels are above our ability to comprehend. So the Trickster must communicate in riddles.

    Things are confused and ironic and become their opposites, turned upside-down. You can see a lot of that in Jesus’s teachings. People try to take it literally, but that is impossible.

  54. mockturtle said,

    Real, you’re certainly entitled to hold your opinions but I hate to see you come out with the short end of the spiritual stick. ;-)

    Yes, a lot of the ancient religions prefigured elements of Christianity. This no coincidence, nor is it a purely man-made phenomenon. God has created man with a ‘God-center’, if you will, and a spiritual need.

  55. realpc said,

    I agree with you mockturtle. We are all part of God and God is part of each of us. So of course there is a constant need for each other.

    Sometimes I wonder how people can have no faith. Maybe they’re ok when things are going well, but they must feel alone and scared when things go wrong. All their faith is in fellow humans, but fellow humans can easily let you down.

    I know I need God and God needs me to need him. We are not really separate from each other. And all of us human beings are not really separate from each other, or the other creatures and plants. We are only separate on the surface, like an underwater mountain range that looks like a string of separate islands.

    All religions say basically the same thing, that there are divine levels which we depend on for our existence. That’s why it bothers me when people focus on insignificant superficial differences.

    One result of the pettiness is the violence between Muslims and Jews, which has gone on for centuries — mostly initiated by Muslims. And similar violence between different Muslim sects.

    If everyone could agree that all religions are basically expressing the same thing, would the world unite in a big happy hug? No, everyone would find other things to fight about. But at least then so many logical people would not feel so turned off by religion in general.

    Are you aware that the great majority of scientists are now atheists? I think that is very sad. But it’s because they notice the silly irrational aspects of religion, which makes them fail to see the great truths.

    If you discuss religion with a skeptical scientist, and you keep insisting that Jesus was the one true biological son of the one true God Person, and that his mother was a virgin, etc., they will just close their minds and walk away.

    Intelligent Design lost the political debate for this reason. Skeptical scientists mistook the ID scientists for ignorant creationists.

  56. mockturtle said,

    Are you aware that the great majority of scientists are now atheists?

    No, and that would surprise me. I worked ten years in a research facility with scientists from all over the world. There were Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs but very few atheists. My husband is a scientist, has a PhD in biochemistry and is a Christian.

  57. realpc said,

    Well you should look it up then. I worked ten years for a science publisher, and any scientists who was christian had to keep it a secret.

    I think I have kept up with the research on this.

  58. mockturtle said,

    I’ve also worked with physicians for many years and find very few atheists among them. Many aren’t Christians but most believe in intelligent design.

  59. mockturtle said,

    Psalm 14:1 “The fool hath said in his heart, ‘There is no God’.”

  60. LouiseM said,

    However, I think I would prefer if it weren’t a human being. Maybe a leopard with a horse head.

    Predator and prey combined? Aslan as “no tame lion”? Regardless of which animal forms one chooses to represent God/god, the human creature’s capacity for compassion surpasses that of the animals and remains unique. I can’t think of no greater risk and no better choice than a human for a god/God to use to present and represent him/her self, especially a god/God who wanted to reveal his/her creative, loving, life imbuing essence.

    Compassion: Deep awareness of the suffering of another, a feeling of distress and pity for the suffering or misfortune of another, often including the desire to alleviate it
    [from Old French, from Late Latin compassiō fellow feeling, from compatī to suffer with, from Latin com- with + patī to bear, suffer]

    The priest who wrote Tattoos on the Heart tell a story about teaching a course in American Short Fiction at Folsom prison. He and the students were discussing Flannery O’Connor’s “A Good Man is Hard to Find”, and had come to the Grandmother’s transformation of character (“she would of been a good woman…if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life”). In speaking of her change, he heard his students using the the terms sympathy, empathy and compassion interchangeably and asked them for more definition,

    ‘Well, sympathy,’ one begins, “is when your homie’s mom dies and you go up to him and say, ‘spensa–sorry to hear ’bout your moms.’

    Just as quickly, there is a volunteer to define empathy.

    ‘Yeah, well empathy is when your homie’s mom dies and you say, ‘spensa, ’bout your moms. Sabes que, my moms died six months ago. I feel ya dog’.

    ‘Excellent, now what’s compassion?’

    No takers.

    Finally an old-timer, down twenty-five years, tentatively raises his finger. I call on him.

    ‘Well now,’ he says, all eyes on him, shaking his head, ‘Compassion–that’s sumthin’ altogether different.’ He ponders what to say next. ‘Cause,’ he adds humbly, ‘That’s what Jesus did. I mean, Compassion…IS…God.’

    Compassion, in my opinion, is a response to another involving a balance of truth and grace.

    The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

  61. mockturtle said,

    Very well said.

  62. realpc said,

    “the human creature’s capacity for compassion surpasses that of the animals and remains unique”

    That is so unfair, so unwarranted, so biased. You have no evidence at all for that statement. How can you possibly know what any animal feels, if you can’t understand its language and it can’t tell you?

    There are many, many people who would strongly disagree with that statement, based on their personal experiences with non-human animals.

    The idea that our species is superior to all the others in every way has a long tradition in our cultural mythology. It is just not true.

    We are clever with technology, at least moreso than other earth animals. We are better at making a complete mess of the planet than other animals, that is one area where we excel.

    Aside from that, how can we presume to know what is in the heart and mind of a creature whose language is different from ours?

  63. realpc said,

    “I’ve also worked with physicians for many years and find very few atheists among them. Many aren’t Christians but most believe in intelligent design”

    Most scientists do not believe in Intelligent Design. That is why Intelligent Design is not taught in school.

    Physicians are not really scientists, and maybe they are more less likely to be atheists than scientists. I do not know. Scienitsts nowdays generally tend to not be religious, and to not even have spiritual beliefs.

    Anyone who truly believes in the mainstream version of evolution theory would probably not have any spiritual beliefs. It is a strictly materialist perspective on life, with no room at all for spiritual ideas.

    Our society went through a debate on Intelligent Design not long ago. It is easy enough to remember that scientists and science educators, in general, were very strongly against it.

  64. LouiseM said,

    Aside from that, how can we presume to know what is in the heart and mind of a creature whose language is different from ours?

    Not only is their language different, so is observable behavior. Consistently different, with odd stories of higher order mammals intervening in what appears to be a compassionate manner serving as the exception rather than the rule.

    Observation of animal behavior within their natural habitat reveals them to function with a different approach than humans when it comes to care for the weak, the elderly, the wounded, and the handicapped their own kind. Killing and eating their litters and offspring (when other food supply is plentiful) happens often enough to prompt studies and raise speculation as to cause.

    There are many, many people who would strongly disagree with that statement, based on their personal experiences with non-human animals.

    The stories of personal experience I’ve heard tend to involve prior human contact or a relationship/bond formed between the human and the animal. Which to my thinking denotes human influence.

    It sounds to me as if you may be creating and functioning with myths of your own, realpc, while questioning the myths of others, and wondering why humans use myths.

    To my ears, this statement: Scienitsts nowdays generally tend to not be religious, and to not even have spiritual beliefs. involves the major presumption of one human knowing what is in the heart and mind of a of another.

    As for doctor’s being scientists, we’re back to definition.

    Using this one: A scientist, in a broad sense, is one engaging in a systematic activity to acquire knowledge. In a more restricted sense, a scientist is an individual who uses the scientific method; doctors qualify.

  65. realpc said,

    “Scienitsts nowdays generally tend to not be religious, and to not even have spiritual beliefs. involves the major presumption of one human knowing what is in the heart and mind of a of another.”

    I said that based on research! A lot of different sources.

  66. realpc said,

    I don’t think you know much about animals Louise. And no one knows what they think or feel. We don’t even know what other humans think or feel — just assume they are similar to us because they look and act similar.

    Animals don’t keep disabled members of their group alive. For one thing, they can’t because they don’t have the technology. To think they don’t feel compassion just because of that makes no sense.

    You have absolutely no idea what whales feel for each other, for example. They obviously have complex languages, but we can’t understand them.

    In my opinion, many or most animal species have forms of language we are completely unaware of. You just don’t think about that kind of thing, at all.

  67. LouiseM said,

    Who qualifies a “a lot of research” and “a lot of different sources”?

  68. realpc said,

    For heaven’s sake, Louise. Do you really think I have time to provide you with a reference list? You can’t look in google?

  69. mockturtle said,

    Here’s an article on the subject of scientists and religion. A few vocal [ranting] atheists have gotten most of the media attention but they don’t speak for most.

  70. realpc said,

    Scientists don’t all hate religion mockturtle. But many of them do not like the kind of religion that requires believing things without evidence, such as Jesus being the biological son of God. And many scientists just aren’t interested in religion anyway.

    There is a reason Intelligent Design lost the debate over whether it can be taught in biology classes. That is because our mainstream science has become mostly materialist (denying spiritual or divine levels of existence).

    I have known a lot of scientists, when I was in graduate school, and at a previous job. Most never mentioned religion, and if they did it was only to say they didn’t believe in it.

    And they don’t seem to like non-traditional new-agey stuff any better than the traditional religions.

    Scientists might want to distance themselves from raving fanatics like Dawkins. But I doubt you could find many scientists who feel that religion or spirituality is at the center of their lives.

    I think it may be different in engineering, and for physicians. I don’t think they are as likely to dislike religion as biologists, physicists and certain kinds of psychologistis.

    But, for example, in neuroscience the underlying fundamental belief system is materialist. There is, for most of them, an absolute certainty that the mind is created by the physical brain.

    And, of course, in biology the fundamental belief is that life originated and evolved by chance, without any intelligent guidance from higher levels.

  71. LouiseM said,

    The question I asked, realpc, was WHO QUALIFIES ‘“a lot of research” and “a lot of different sources”? I’m asking who qualifies and determines the amount and nature of the proof? No amount of googling is going to reveal that for heaven’s sake or otherwise.

    It sounds to me as if you are setting yourself up as arbitrator ( the one having the ability or power to make authoritative decisions); while dismissing the observations and opinions of others, along with their definitions. Is that your intention?

    When I read this statement You just don’t think about that kind of thing, at all.) I am poleaxed. What qualifies you to make such a statement?

  72. realpc said,

    Louise, it looks to me as if you don’t understand the scientific process. The decision about how much research is enough to be convincing is subjective. Scientists debate these questions.

    There is no authority figure in science like the pope, who determines how much evidence is needed to answer a particular question. You seem to like authority figures who can give you definite answers.

    If someone wants to find out what percentage of biologists are atheists, for example, they could ask every biologist in the world, but that would take too long. So they find what they consider to be a good sample. Some other researcher might say it wasn’t a good sample, or that the survey questions were no good, or whatever.

    Then a different researcher might get a different result. If you knew anything about scientific research, you would never have asked WHO makes these decisions.

    It is impossible to have a discussion if people aren’t allowed to generalize and make probabilisitic judgements. If you want absolute infallible truth then ask the pope.

    Of everything I have read in my life on the subject of the relationship between science and religion (and it HAS been A LOT, because it has been the main interest of my life) — I have not seen a lot of contemporary scientists believing in super-physical forces or substances.

    ONLY in alternative science is that the case. That is the major difference between mainstream and alternative science.

    See how many neuroscientists you can find who do not think the mind is created by the brain, for example.

  73. karen said,

    Every stinkin’ time i decide to stop posting, someone says something which my brain decides to repeat to my fingers and… there they go again! Demmit!

    I remembered this from High School(Sacred Heart- now non-existent except w/in my own):,d.dmQ&cad=rja

    As for animals- i don’t consider them interacting- i consider the types of animals i work w/ever day to act and react w/me. Cause and effect- not a whole helluva thought process going on w/these beasts. They could care less if a foot is stepped on a an eyeball scratched by a pissy tail. I have an eye that still hurts when i rub it due to a mightily swung tail about two yrs ago. The bull and jam and pin you up against things- panic is downright dangerous.

    They treat e/other like crap- the littler, weaker ones getting less feed and beat upon– it’s a(n)hierarchy system w/no thought involved- pure instinct. Nature as it was designed.

    Feelings?? None emotionally attached w/these gals. Only pleasure or pain– they mind the fences so they don’t get zapped- they seek out human hands so they get scratched or petted- and they love long hair to grasp w/raspy tongues &pull. Dominance @last!!

  74. karen said,

    Lest you thin i do not believe any animal to have an emotional capacity- Time Magazine had an article about the grieving processes of the animals w/higher intelligence. Even(& especially- crows). No doubt their societies are full of other natural emotions, as well- but not reason. Not in a great capacity- IMhumbleO.

    Sharing googled references by link is fun. I think i finally have the knack of it- as long as i get the google list up. Pictures, not so much. But then- i have yet to try that.

  75. LouiseM said,

    If you knew anything about scientific research, you would never have asked WHO makes these decisions.

    On my good days, I’m somewhat capable of understanding scientific process as long as small words are used and refreshments are served. I’d even go so far as admitting I know something about scientific research, while maintaining the right to ask pesky questions about who’s in charge of determining how much is enough. (Unfortunately, realpc, after hearing you dismiss mockturtle’s initial observation and move on to disqualifying doctors as scientists, my confidence in your ability to collect evidence wasn’t soaring and I wasn’t sure how much to trust your “lot” of research!)

    As for listening to the pope, I’ve read articles and poems written by several popes, as part of my own personal “research” but I’m not Catholic, so regarding the pope as an infallible authority figure is not my cup of tea. I’d rather be open to receive wisdom, learning and insight from another than be told what to think. And even more frustrating to me than being told what TO think, is being told what I AM THINKING by someone who doesn’t know and/or hasn’t a clue.

    It’s difficult to impossible to engage in a discussion when one adult insists they know what another is thinking. At that point, conversation switches from being a conversation to something involving a clairvoyant, a person presuming what isn’t theirs to presume, or someone projecting what belongs to them onto a hapless other. When that kind of insistence happens, I feel frustrated and somewhat dismayed. I lose enthusiasm and heart, because it feels as if a pissy tail has been swished with little to no regard for the other’s eye or their right to hold their own opinion and state it for themselves. It’s not how I prefer to do conversation.

    Karen: I’m glad your mind remembered and your fingers obeyed. This is what I especially liked in the linked piece: In their writings, the Church Fathers saw the material world as a constant image of the spiritual world: even the images of nature in Scriptures were interpreted in this light.

  76. mockturtle said,

    Another thing to consider about some scientists: Those who are prominent [and therefore command media attention] are often preeminent due to self-promotion, not necessarily to personal accomplishment. Ambitious, prideful egotists are not likely to be humble enough to accept the concept of God. If you’ve ever red Randy Shilts’ excellent chronology of the AIDS epidemic, And the Band Played On, you will have seen some fine portrayals of these types.

  77. karen said,

    All i know is how much i really don’t know.
    The amount of information- the amount of writing and knowledge is mind-boggling. Finding that little blip on the four Gospels is just verification of that for me.

    I still have the images of these four animals- i don’t even remember the man- and i traced them and thought them beautiful. I am curious- when they say Church Fathers: that is so early a time in our Faith that these are the Fathers of the one Church before we all splintered off, eh? So- are they accepted as Fathers to the Protestants, as well?

  78. mockturtle said,

    Karen, I think it’s safe to say that a least some are. I often hear reference to Ignatius, Polycarp, Origen, Chrystostom and, of course, Augustine. There were many great early contributors to Christian edification but they are not considered to be without error.

  79. karen said,

    I don’t know enough about the error vs Divine… all humans are erroneous. Yet- the Bible was not considered such- it’s Divinely written through men. Or, by men- whichever is correct. And, i think that’s what is considered the Infallibility of the Pope– the things coming from God &not his own sinful soul or mind because he is human and fallible on his own.

  80. mockturtle said,

    Yes, I believe the Bible to be infallible as revealed by God in language people of the time could comprehend.

    Karen, I have a pope question: Peter was supposed [by the Catholic Church] to be the first Pope. According to the Bible, he was also married [he had a mother-in-law]. Were popes allowed to marry at one time? Why aren’t priests? According to British history, they were allowed to in the ca.1100-1300 era . Wouldn’t allowing priests to marry prevent some of the unfortunate circumstances that have occurred?

  81. karen said,

    This is going to be harder than i’d hoped.

    I’m using my ~Catechism of the Catholic Church~ which is a dummie’s book to understanding Church doctrine… of which we have a LOT.
    Pgs 383-399 regard the Sacrament of Holy Orders I say harder because i tried to copy the link… i’ll try again and then summarize what i can, if i can:0).

    ok- my copy/link/paste thingie is not cooperating- but, if you google ~Catechism… Church~ the list comes up and i chose the Vaticano link– and found: Part Two, The celebration of the Christian Mystery
    ………. Article 6 = The Sacrament of Holy Orders……..

    These men should feel a calling… they are chosen rather than choosing, if that makes sense. So they choose to be/remain celibate for the “love of the God’s Kingdom &the service of men.”

    As for the ~unfortunate circumstances that have occurred~… i’d say that behavior is perverted… a perversion or disorder of normalcy… and i don’t wspecially think being married and getting sexual release or emotional support would ~fix~ those problems.

    i have to go feed my husband- we just got in from the barn(sigh) Spring work and all… so, i hope that if you do follow the link- &that you can make heads or tails out of it.

  82. mockturtle said,

    I agree with you that marriage wouldn’t cure perversions but I was thinking that opening up the priesthood to married men might broaden the field of possible candidates, assuming they were called. [Yes, I believe men are called to the ministry].

    What about Peter?

  83. karen said,

    I honestly don’t know about Peter.
    He sure was gone a lot after he met Jesus:0).
    I think it’s a sacrifice all the way around– if a wife and family are involved, they are not really 1st on the list of priorities- or rather- the priorities are divided and maybe the loyalties are divide, idk. So a single life is… free-er.

    I’ll read some more when i get a free moment, i’m stealing this one as we speak- so to speak!

    I do know that the Church is scrutinizing new candidates for the priesthood very closely and the schooling is yrs in the making. That doesn’t mean all priests will be good. That’s our human nature again- as different as our fingerprints.

  84. mockturtle said,

    Karen, you don’t have to research the answer. I was just curious and thought you might know offhand.

  85. LouiseM said,

    I like the short answer…He sure was gone a lot after he met Jesus:0).

    That and he had his mind full of “other things”. Puzzled by a vision, along with an expansive new awareness of just how many four footed animals, reptiles and birds of the air a four corned sheet could hold. Plus speaking engagements.

    And what does “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean mean.”? Another one of those simple but complex “rules”!

    Peter’s interpretation: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right. .

  86. LouiseM said,

    *Four cornered

  87. mockturtle said,

    And what does “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean mean.”?

    He was shown that Gentiles were no longer to be treated as unclean. God was using unclean animals as an illustration.

  88. LouiseM said,

    I’m tuned on that one, mockturtle. What happens to me though, when I start looking at something like a parable or words heard from God, is the hint and/or awareness there might be something more, different or beyond the first application or impression.

    While I’ve got nothing but my own experience to back this up, this is what I believe happens: When God enters a moment in human time with a Word for the purpose of addressing that particular moment (which to me qualify as God’s willingness to become small, i.e. to enter an ovum) the Word itself not only meets and fits the moment, but remains bigger and more expansive than the situation to which it specifically applies.

    I had one of those experiences today, which according to Jung involves synchronicity and to me affirms what I call Presence. I was sitting on a bench the garden today, reading the priest’s book (Tattoos on the Heart) when I came on this:

    “What the American poet William Carlos Williams said of poetry could well be applied to the living of our lives: “if it ain’t a pleasure, it ain’t a poem.” My director of novices, Leo Rock, used to say, “God created us–because He thought we’d enjoy it.”

    We try to find a way, then, to hold our fingertips gently to the pulse of God. We watch our hearts begin to beat as one with the One who delights in our being. Then what do we do? We exhale that same spirit of delight into the world and hope for poetry.”


  89. LouiseM said,

    Here’s the conclusion to the above thought; finding that quote following the discussion that started over on the other thread involving purpose and wove its way through answers including pleasure and enjoyment, felt like hearing someone call my name. And that feeling reminded me of this story, in which the questioning gardener turned teacher and the crying woman…well, she had something more to cry out about:

    He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”

    Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”

    Jesus said to her, “Mary.”

    She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).

  90. karen said,

    We try to find a way, then, to hold our fingertips gently to the pulse of God. We watch our hearts begin to beat as one with the One who delights in our being. Then what do we do? We exhale that same spirit of delight into the world and hope for poetry.”

    Isn’t that the basis of Divine Will?
    “Not my will, but Thy Will be done.”

    I googled that and found this:,d.dmQ&cad=rja

    “Again, this reality of the New Covenant was foreshadowed in the Old Testament. A prominent part of the tabernacle or temple was the Brazen Altar, or altar of burnt sacrifice. This altar was set in the outer section of the tabernacle or temple, and it was the first thing to confront a worshiper upon entering the courtyard. On this altar, the burnt offering was offered up to God. This became symbolic of a place of total submission and surrender.
    This is a beautiful picture of Jesus’ total surrender to the will of the Father. He became our burnt offering on the cross so that we might become His living sacrifice (Romans 12:1-2). To have an obedient heart, in total submission to God’s will, is the highest form of worship.”

    ~~Absolute Surrender, Absolute Delight~~
    Love multiplies:0).

    ps- i didn’t read all of it…

  91. LouiseM said,

    Isn’t that the basis of Divine Will?
    “Not my will, but Thy Will be done.”

    It may be. I hear that as another one of those simple statements involving less and more. Directly preceding it is one describing feelings so deep and troubling, those closest are told “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”

    The theology and set of beliefs I grew up with and adopted got me through my first fifty years and stood me in good stead until I reached a place of difficulty that felt so deep and dark my soul was overwhelmed. What I’m looking for at this stage of my life is a perspective that “stands and invites”. Similar to what Peter’s vision offered him, an opportunity to look beyond the box, reconsider his beliefs, and live with an invitational and relational faith based on knowledge, experience and awareness. To hope for poetry amid “the catastrophe of living” seems almost too much sometimes, but I’ve seen it happen often and strangely enough that I’m now willing to “stay here and keep watch” even though my tendency is to want to sleep or at least to numb with other behaviors.

  92. realpc said,

    We can love our God with all our hearts and souls, we can live for our God every instant of every day, we can surrender our will to the loving care of our God, with absolute trust and faith. We can live joyfully, in spite of our sorrows, because we know that we can by healed by God in miraculous ways, any time we ask.

    We can do all that without worrying about whether Jesus was the biological son of God, or whether gays should be able to marry, or whether Jesus is the one and only way to be saved.

    We can do all that without needing to think we understand the mysteries of creation, without having to believe that our sorry little species is the greatest, smartest and most compassionate.

    We don’t need to think everything a pope says is true, or that everything written in the western bibles is true.

    We only need to love and trust our God. And let other people love and trust their Gods, and not worry about whose Gods are better.

  93. LouiseM said,

    Yeah, and I say something stands in the way of this happening or our sorry little species would have done so by now.

    If all that is what we can do and what we need to to, why don’t we?

  94. realpc said,

    I think some of us do that. I do, some of the time. I don’t have to feel my religion is better than other religions, or that I know details of what God is thinking and planning. I can simply trust his infinitely higher wisdom.

    I don’t have to think that some ancient middle eastern mythology is infallibly true, or any truer than all the other mythologies.

    There are so many things i don’t have to worry about, if I simply trust.

    Like most people, I keep losing my faith and I try to figure things out my own way. But my own way doesn’t work. I just feel like I have to keep trying i though.

    Nothing works, for me, and probably for anyone, except trust and faith.

    The gay marriage debate is a good example, I think, of how people can misuse and misunderstand religion and turn it into a source of worry and strife. But there are many other examples, such as the abortion debate, biblical creationism.

    I have spent my whole life trying to see connections between science and religion, to bring them together. But the forces that tear them apart are only getting stronger.

  95. LouiseM said,

    But the forces that tear them apart are only getting stronger.

    What forces are you referring to? And what do you believe their motivating factor to be ?

    I understand and accept a faith journey of searching and looking for connections.
    After reading your comment, I wonder what has informed your awareness of an infinitely Higher wisdom worthy of simple trust? What makes trust and holding on to faith something you are willing to do?

  96. LouiseM said,

    I forgot to close the italics, which needed to happen after the first sentence.

  97. LouiseM said,

    Today’s find:

    Awareness, like a field of compassionate intelligence located within your own heart, takes it all in and serves as a source of peace within the turmoil, much as a mother would be a source of peace, compassion, and perspective for a child who was upset. She knows that whatever is troubling her child will pass, so she can provide comfort, reassurance, and peace within her very being. J Kabat-Zinn, Full Catastrophe LIving.

    Behind the big picture, a smaller more personal component of “not my will, but thine be done”? An acceptance of what is, experienced within a larger or different frame, where re-alignment and attunement take place. Doing so, according to this author, cultivates lovingkindness and compassion which know no boundaries.

  98. karen said,

    “The gay marriage debate is a good example, I think, of how people can misuse and misunderstand religion and turn it into a source of worry and strife. But there are many other examples, such as the abortion debate, biblical creationism.”

    I think that we, as those who love the Lord, should have our highest priority in pleasing the Lord. And constantly ask– what pleases the Lord? If i please myself- is this displeasing- or am i putting my self and my needs 1st- above others? Do we get it right even half the time. Heh. I think wanting to try to do the right thing and trying– as real explains- is what the battle is about.

    If Jesus preached about the abomination of man laying w/man or He said: a man leaves his family and clings to his wife… &we continue to do our thing and say- i deserve to be happy, this is how God made me… who’s will IS being done?

    Life is hard/complicated and we are ohso fallible. It is a relief to know there are some absolutes in life- and having words that we can actually hold us up… i like that.

    There are rights and wrongs in our world that- given the chance- it seems the wrongs would win out. The pressure to hold the walls of our homes up by pushing against these wrongs is a part of human nature. In the same of self-preservation and protection of our beliefs.

    My internet is scarce because i misplaced(lost)my air card for internet. I’m @my folks now- they have wireless:0). So… w/drawal.

  99. karen said,

    If we do not proclaim Life w/the right messages and proclaim it–
    Darkness is always waiting…

    Althouse has a post up exactly resulting in such a thing.

  100. mockturtle said,

    ‘There is a way that seems right to a man but its end is the way of death.’ Proverbs 16:25

  101. LouiseM said,

    From the original post: But they are forgetting that different people care about different things.

    Different people do care about different things. Yet underlying much of what has been studied and taught as religious wisdom are four claims held in common which have endured across centuries and cultures:

    1. There are two realms of reality. The everyday world of physical objects and living creatures, accessible via the senses and studied by the sciences; and realm of consciousness, spirit and mind.

    2. Human beings partake of both realms.

    3. Human beings can recognize their divine spark and the sacred ground that is its source.

    4. Realizing our spiritual nature is the highest goal and greatest good of human existence.

    Besides this, all other goals pale; all other delights only partially satisfy. No other experience is so ecstatic, no other attainment so rewarding, no other goal so beneficial to oneself or others. So say the wise of diverse traditions and ages.

    Again, this is not wild dogma to be accepted merely on the word of others or blind faith. Rather, it is an expression of the direct experience of those who have tasted these fruits for themselves. Most importantly, it is an invitation to all of us to test and taste for ourselves. Paraphrased list and quote from Essential Spirituality R. Walsh

    Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1

  102. realpc said,

    “If Jesus preached about the abomination of man laying w/man”

    He didn’t. When your preacher says something, you should check to see if it’s really true.

  103. realpc said,

    “I have spent my whole life trying to see connections between science and religion, to bring them together. But the forces that tear them apart are only getting stronger.”

    “What forces are you referring to? And what do you believe their motivating factor to be?”

    There is a lot of intense hatred directed against religion now. It has been there for a long time but is getting stronger. I think more people getting educated might be one factor. There is less tolerance of blind faith in things that don’t make sense.

    And the Intelligent Design controversy, which the IDers have been losing so far, is a good example of how materialist philosophy has become mainstream. (By materialist philosophy I mean the belief that this world was created by accident, that the universe has no intelligence and that there is no intelligence or meaning in nature, except within our brains.)

    The gay marriage controversy is also a big factor and a major reason why so many progressives hate religion now.

    So many religious people seem to not care about logic and evidence. And so many scientific people are brainwashed into the fallacy of materialism.

    I have been seeing less common ground between religion and science, instead of more.

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