Jesus speaks poetry

Jesus speaks poetry


An interesting observation about the probable rhythmic and rhymed style of Jesus' original sayings, from the article entitled, The Lord's Prayer, by Jack Kilmon:

"This author [Jack Kilmon] believes that one of Jesus’ disciples, probably Levi Mattathia ben Alfai (Matthew), wrote down notable sayings of Jesus both during and after his sermons. Written in Aramaic, this collection of sayings would be referred to as the "Oracles of the Lord" by Eusebius in his Church History written in the 4th century. Some scholars, capable of isolating these sayings in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, would call the source "Q." The Lord’s Prayer may have been contained, in it’s original form, in this collection of sayings. A "fingerprint" of Jesus’ sayings seems to be a two-four beat rhythm and rhyming. This was a device of good oratory of the time that assisted listeners in remembering what was said . . . Scholars learned to identify much of the "Q Source" material as genuine Yeshuine sayings by this meter and rhyme when the Greek of the New Testament record was "retroverted" to the Aramaic of Jesus."

One cannot help but see a parallel with the extensive use of iambic pentameter (blank verse) in the Course.

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THE LORD’S PRAYER
 by
Jack Kilmon


 1,968 years ago, on a hillside overlooking the Sea of Galilee, Jesus of Nazareth was asked by his followers for instructions on how to pray. In response, Jesus recited a short prayer. This prayer is recorded in the Gospel of Luke (Ch. 11:2-4), written in a final form about 80CE, and the Gospel of Matthew (Ch. 6:9-13), which was completed approximately in 85CE. The longer version of this prayer from the Book of Matthew has become the standard in the liturgy and daily prayers of over one billion Christians worldwide. Most Christians are taught the "Lord’s Prayer" at a very early age and continue to recite it throughout their lives either privately, at churches, schools, or social events. The recital is automatic and flows from the mind and tongue with robotic familiarity. The authors of Luke and Matthew were writing over a half century after the prayer was composed and delivered by Jesus. What was their source? How accurate are their renditions to the words actually spoken by Jesus (Ipsissima vox Jesu). Was the prayer unique within 1st century Judaism? I hope a closer look at the linguistic, cultural, spiritual and historical aspects of the Prayer will give Christians a higher awareness of the power of those few short sentences all too often spoken robotically.

The Language of the Lord’s Prayer

We cannot tackle the more difficult issue of what Jesus’ exact words were without a better understanding of the language in which it was rendered. The Gospels and Books of the New Testament were set down in Greek between 20 and 80 years after they were spoken. Greek was the vernacular of the West and the language of commerce. The vernacular of the East, and Jesus’ language, was Aramaic. 

  The Hebrew language, in 1st century Palestine, was used for scriptural and scholarly writings. The weekly synagogue readings (the Sidra, Parashah, and Haphtarah) were always accompanied with an Aramaic translation. These oral translations of the Hebrew lections to Aramaic would eventually be written down in the Targumim. The Gemara of the Jerusalem Talmud and the Babylonian Talmud were written in Eastern (Babylonian) Aramaic. Why did the Jewish people speak Aramaic and not Hebrew? Aramaic was the language of commerce of the Persian Empire and was used widely from the Indus Valley to Egypt. It became the language of the Jewish people by conquest, first when the Israelites were deported by Tiglath-Pileser III in 732 BCE in the first Assyrian invasion. The northern tribes were deported in 721 BCE when Sargon II made Israel an Assyrian province and finally the Judeans in 587 BCE by Nebuchadnezzar. There is, in a sense, some irony to this since these Mesopotamian conquerors came from the land that gave birth to Abraham. Aramaic was the language of the ancestor of the Jewish people. What is known as the Hebrew Language in the New Testament was called the Lip of Canaan in the Old Testament. Abraham and the Patriarchs adopted the language and script of the Phoenicians. The aftermath of the "Babylonian Captivity" resulted in a readoption of the Aramaic ancestral language of Abraham. The "Hebrew" script used today is actually the Aramaic Square Script which replaced the Phoenician script known as "Old Hebrew" about 200 BCE. Old Hebrew is exemplified by the Moabite stone inscription, the Lachish letters, and the Siloam inscription. Most Christians are surprised to learn that until the adoption of Hebrew as the official language of the State of Israel in 1948, it had not been the vernacular of the Jewish people for over 2500 years.

The recording of the Lord’s Prayer from the mouth of Jesus

This author believes that one of Jesus’ disciples, probably Levi Mattathia ben Alfai (Matthew), wrote down notable sayings of Jesus both during and after his sermons. Written in Aramaic, this collection of sayings would be referred to as the "Oracles of the Lord" by Eusebius in his Church History written in the 4th century. Some scholars, capable of isolating these sayings in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, would call the source "Q." The Lord’s Prayer may have been contained, in it’s original form, in this collection of sayings. A "fingerprint" of Jesus’ sayings seems to be a two-four beat rhythm and rhyming. This was a device of good oratory of the time that assisted listeners in remembering what was said. After all, tape recorders were not available and if they were, there was no place to plug them in. Scholars learned to identify much of the "Q Source" material as genuine Yeshuine sayings by this meter and rhyme when the Greek of the New Testament record was "retroverted" to the Aramaic of Jesus. A good example are the sayings known to Christians as the Beatitudes in Matthew 3:5-10. The first beatitude by the Greek-speaking author of Matthew was rendered thusly:

BLESSED ARE THE POOR IN SPIRIT FOR THEIRS IS THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN

 In retroversion to the Aramaic of Jesus, however, it becomes (transliterated):

BLESSED ARE THEY THAT MOURN FOR THEY SHALL BE COMFORTED

 
The reader need not know Aramaic to read these transliterations and get a sense of the beautiful rhyming oratorical style of our Lord and feel the impact of his true voice.

 Do the Gospels record the original rendition of the Lord’s Prayer?

 There are two renditions of the Lord’s Prayer in the Gospels. One is recorded in Matthew 6:9-13 and a shorter version in Luke 11:2-4. Since both are different, which one records the exact words of Jesus? In fact, the logical conclusion is that no ONE form of the two versions records the original ipsissima vox Jesu (exact words of Jesus). Jesus also could have repeated the words at different times in sermons using variations. Both versions reflect editorial modifications by the authors of the Gospels to reflect the liturgical traditions of the separate groups of Greek speaking Christians to which the authors subscribed. The Gospel writers were not as concerned about the EXACT words of Jesus as much as conveying the sense of their liturgical tradition as the INTENT of Jesus’ words. Let us first look at these two renderings in the Greek of the Gospel writers (taken from the Codex Sinaiticus, c. 325CE and other ancient texts), English and an Aramaic retroversion.

http://www.historian.net/lp-pap2.html

God Calling - Daily Christian Devotional

God Calling - Daily Christian Devotional


During the early 1930's, two anonymous English ladies known only as the "two listeners" undertook an experiment to see if they could listen for and hear their inner teacher. Readers familiar with the origin of "A Course in Miracles" will recognize the similarity with Helen Schucman's and Bill Thetford's joint undertaking that resulted in the transmission of the Course.

In their own words, this is what happened.

"In December 1932 my friend and I sat down, pencils and paper in hand and waiting.

"From the first, beautiful messages were given to her by our Lord Himself, and every day from then these messages have never failed us.

"We felt all unworthy and overwhelmed by the wonder of it, and could hardly realize that we were being taught, trained and encouraged day by day by HIM personally, when millions of souls, far worthier, had to be content with guidance from the Bible, sermons, their Churches, books and other sources. Certainly we were not advanced in spiritual growth, but just very ordinary human beings, who had had more suffering and worry than the majority and who had known tragedy after tragedy.

"The tender understanding of Our Lord's messages was at times almost heart-breaking. But He always insisted that we should be channels of Love, Joy and Laughter in His broken world."
The results of this undertaking were published in book form titled "God Calling," along with a companion volume, "God at Eventide." "God Calling" consisted of 366 daily devotional messages, most of which Course students will be quite comfortable with and inspired by.


Carl Rogers' theory of happiness

Carl Rogers' theory of happiness

Carl Rogers was one of the most famous American psychologists and therapists of the 20th Century, and he was Bill Thetford's mentor at the University of Chicago. Carl Rogers' theory of optimal development, or the fully functioning person:

"He describes this as the good life where the organism continually aims to fulfil their full potential. He listed characteristics of a fully functioning person (Rogers 1961[4]):

"1. A growing openness to experience – they move away from defensiveness and have no need for subception (a perceptual defense that involves unconsciously applying strategies to prevent a troubling stimulus from entering consciousness).

"2. An increasingly existential lifestyle – living each moment fully – not distorting the moment to fit personality or self concept but allowing personality and self concept to emanate from the experience. This results in excitement, daring, adaptability, tolerance, spontaneity, and a lack of rigidity and suggests a foundation of trust.

"To open one's spirit to what is going on now, and discover in that present process whatever structure it appears to have . . . (Rogers 1961[4])

"3. Increasing organismic trust – they trust their own judgment and their ability to choose behavior that is appropriate for each moment. They do not rely on existing codes and social norms but trust that as they are open to experiences they will be able to trust their own sense of right and wrong.

"4. Freedom of choice – not being shackled by the restrictions that influence an incongruent individual, they are able to make a wider range of choices more freely. They believe that they play a role in determining their own behavior and so feel responsible for their own behavior.

" 5. Creativity – it follows that they will feel more free to be creative. They will also be more creative in the way they adapt to their own circumstances without feeling a need to conform.

"6. Reliability and constructiveness – they can be trusted to act constructively. An individual who is open to all their needs will be able to maintain a balance between them. Even aggressive needs will be matched and balanced by intrinsic goodness in congruent individuals.

"7. A rich full life – he describes the life of the fully functioning individual as rich, full and exciting and suggests that they experience joy and pain, love and heartbreak, fear and courage more intensely. Rogers' description of the good life:

" This process of the good life is not, I am convinced, a life for the faint-hearted. It involves the stretching and growing of becoming more and more of one's potentialities. It involves the courage to be. It means launching oneself fully into the stream of life. (Rogers 1961[4])"

From:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_Rogers

The pool at Bethesda - revised for some ACIM students

Imagine if Jesus had been an ACIM student, this might have been what miracles of healing looked like.

 The pool at Bethesda


Once during the high holy days when all the Jews were gathered in Jerusalem, Jesus went out shopping for a new pair of sandals. As he wandered aimlessly looking at the various shops and chatting with different sandal makers, he realized that he was quite close to the famous pool of Bethesda.

Healing miracles happened at the pool of Bethesda during the high holy days, and there was sure to be a crowd gathered there. Sometimes the people were so excited after being healed that they ran straight out of the pool and danced shouting down the street in their bare feet. With any luck, Jesus thought, he might find an abandoned pair of sandals in just his right size.

As he walked toward the pool, Jesus saw an old man laying on a woven mat not far from the edge of the pool. The man held his face in his hands, and he was weeping softly. Jesus approached. "Nice pair of sandals you have there, grandfather," he spoke cheerfully, "What ails thee?"

The old man looked up and turned his tear-streaked face toward Jesus, and met his gaze. Without hesitation, the old man told his story. "My parents committed great sins against the Lord," he explained, "and I have been lame since birth these many years in punishment for their transgressions. Every year I come to this pool during the high holy days in search of a healing miracle, but because I am poor I have no manservant to help me into the pool when the angel of the Lord troubles the water. Each time, some other is the first to reach the pool before me, to receive the blessing."

Jesus knelt down at the old man's side and looked intently into his eyes. A single tear slid down Jesus' face and splashed upon the paving stones. "You are wrong, friend." Jesus admonished. "You have not been cursed by God as punishment for your parent's sins, you have cursed yourself. It's your mind that needs healing, not your legs. You are not a body, and your legs are not real. Although I feel the intensity of your pain and I grieve with you, it would seem that you still want to punish yourself more for your imaginary guilt and fear of God. But, keep your faith. There is always next year."

With that, Jesus straightened up, and taking one last wistful glance at the man's sandals, he walked off into the crowd.

Affirming unity and the realization of oneness

Affirming unity and the realization of oneness


Years ago I created a graphic simulacrum of a stained glass window, based upon one symbolic theme commonly used by Unity churches in various forms. As you can see, this simple graphic has three major elements: The word "Unity" at the bottom, a soaring dove in flight, and the unobstructed shining sun above.


As I revisited this artwork last night and this morning for other purposes (see: Inspirations from A Course in Miracles), I was struck by the perfection of the symbolism as it relates to the teaching of A Course in Miracles.

For us, lost in the confusing labyrinth dream of separation, the starting point may come to us through words. With A Course in Miracles it is more than 500,000 words. With this piece of art, it is the single word "unity." Something in the meaning of the words connects with a hidden yearning within us, and by sharing the thought the idea grows in strength within.

The ACIM Workbook lessons leads us, with words, through a series of contemplations and affirmations that, with repetition and a little willingness, plants the seedling ideas firmly in our minds. After a period of germination and with a proper attitude, the seed-ideas may sprout. As they push above the surface of our befuddled minds, we get a first taste of the reality behind the words, and the mind is given wings to fly.

The dove generally symbolizes both the Holy Spirit reaching down, and the desire for peace reaching up. Inner peace, as the Course teaches, is the one condition necessary for knowledge. The Holy Spirit represents the vast array of help and support that is available to us for the asking. The minute we desire peace, peace is offered, and it is this that which gives wings and the ability to ascend in the here and now below, to the here and now above.

The shining sun is a symbol both for God, the giver of life and light, and also our own soul or essential God-created self. When we reconnect to God, we reconnect to our eternal self. When we reconnect to our eternal self, we reconnect with God.

So, the words carry the idea. The idea plants a seed within. Affirming and practicing the idea from within a fog of doubt and fear nurtures the seed planted within. When the seed sprouts, it gives us a glimpse of the truth. This glimpse of the truth inspires the will to proceed in trust in the face of apparent adversity. The ideas gather strength and the dove takes flight.

All this, from a simple word "unity" to the ascending reaffirmation of spirit through experience, in a simple picture.
"You have received all this. No one who walks the world but has received it. It is not this knowledge which you give, for that is what creation gave. All this cannot be learned. What, then, are you to learn to give today? Our lesson yesterday evoked a theme found early in the text. Experience cannot be shared directly, in the way that vision can. The revelation that the Father and the Son are one will come in time to every mind. Yet is that time determined by the mind itself, not taught. . The time is set already. It appears to be quite arbitrary. Yet there is no step along the road that anyone takes but by chance. It has already been taken by him, although he has not yet embarked on it. For time but seems to go in one direction. We but undertake a journey that is over. Yet it seems to have a future still unknown to us."


Christ Mind Expressions - Pathworks

 International Pathworks Foundation

Eva Pierrakos (1915-1979), was a trance channel who developed a system of spiritual development called Pathwork®. As a young woman, she began to do automatic writing and developed her relationship to an entity known only as The Guide. The Guide never identified itself, and pushed away inquiries of its identity.

Eva came to feel that she was called to help people with their spiritual development. Pierrakos’ teachings are contained in the 258 Guide Lectures channeled during the years from 1957 to 1979. Through Eva, the Guide taught that humans have problems from a distorted picture of reality that separates us from the flow of life energy and our true feelings and prevent insights into the nature of the world. The Pathwork offers techniques for dissolving misconceptions about the world.

The thirty-one sessions contained in this volume are all those covering the period from March 11, 1957 to June 6, 1958, without change or deletion.

The Pathwork® lectures cover the wide spectrum of our human journey, from our struggles with self-doubt, self-hatred and fear of inadequacy to the barriers we put up to relating with others, and ultimately with what we each know as God. The lectures teach that vital life energy, feelings and insight are often buried under misconceptions about the nature of reality. We are all familiar with some of these wrong conclusions. For example, “It’s weak to need and accept help; I don’t deserve love and kindness; responsibility means a loss of freedom.”

When such misconceptions are carried into adult life, particularly when they are unconscious, we surrender our physical, spiritual and emotional freedom to forces beyond our awareness. The effect of this loss of freedom are devastating-deep-seated unhappiness and a profound poverty of spirit.


The Pathwork lectures offer specific, practical tools for dissolving misconceptions, for making the unconscious conscious, and for activating the greater consciousness dwelling within every human soul.





Healthy Baby Angel football bodysuit
Healthy Baby Angel
football bodysuit

Miracles Course Journal: Bringing light to darkness



"As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being." 
from Memories, Dreams, Reflections by Carl Jung

-oOo-

Bringing light to darkness


The Course outlines a two-step process of first becoming a miracle worker and then being a miracle worker in the world. The first step of self-healing involves bringing the darkness to light . . . looking within without denial and offering our sense of sin, guilt and fear to spirit's judgment of innocence. This, along with the mental discipline of not justifying our anger and relinquishing the desire to attack, can be said to be the process of purification.

"The Holy Spirit asks of you but this; bring to Him every secret you have locked away from Him."
But, after the darkness is brought to the light, the next phase after is the time for bringing the light to darkness. In the first phase of purifying your own mind, the Holy Spirit brings the light to the darkness made open to him.

"Open every door to Him, and bid Him enter the darkness and lighten it away. At your request He enters gladly. He brings the light to darkness if you make the darkness open to Him. But what you hide He cannot look upon."

By the time we reach Chapter 18 in the Text, you become the bringer of light to the world.

"You who are now the bringer of salvation have the function of bringing light to darkness. The darkness in you has been brought to light. Carry it back to darkness, from the holy instant to which you brought it. We are made whole in our desire to make whole."

Characteristics of Attention and Observation - Idries Shah

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Characteristics of Attention and Observation
from Learning How to Learn
by: Idries Shah


Question: Can you define characteristics of attention and observation as of importance in Sufic studies?


Answer: Study the attracting, extending and reception, as well as the interchange, of attention. One of the keys to human behaviour is the attention-factor. Anyone can verify that many instances, generally supposed to be important or useful human transactions on any subject (social, commercial, etc.,) are in fact disguised attention-situations.

It is contended that if a person does not know what he is doing (in this case that he is basically demanding, extending or exchanging attention) and as a consequence thinks that he is doing something else (contributing to human knowledge, learning, buying, selling, informing, etc.) he will:

(a) be more inefficient at both the overt and the covert activity;
(b) have less capacity of planning his behaviour and will make mistakes of emotion and intellect because he considers attention to be other than it is.

If this is true, it is most important that individuals realize:

1. That this attention-factor is operating in virtually all transactions;

2. That the apparent motivation of transactions may be other than it really is. And that it is often generated by the need or desire for attention-activity (giving, receiving, exchanging).

3. That attention-activity, like any other demand for food, warmth, etc., when placed under volitional control, must result in increased scope for the human being who would then not be at the mercy of random sources of attention, or even more confused than usual if things do not pan out as they expect.

Certain principles may be enunciated.

They include the following:

1. Too much attention can be bad, (inefficient).

2. Too little attention can be bad.

3. Attention may be `hostile' or `friendly' and still fulfil the appetite for attention. This is confused by the moral aspect.

4. When people need a great deal of attention they are vulnerable to the message which too often accompanies the exercise of attention towards them. E.g., someone wanting attention might be able to get it only from some person or organisation which might thereafter exercise (as 'its price') an undue influence upon the attention-starved individual's mind.

5. Present beliefs have often been inculcated at a time and under circumstances connected with attention-demand, and not arrived at by the method attributed to them.

6. Many paradoxical reversals of opinion, or of associates and commitments may be seen as due to the change in a source of attention.

7. People are almost always stimulated by an offer of attention, since most people are frequently attention-deprived. This is one reason why new friends, or circumstances, for instance, may be preferred to old ones.

8. If people could learn to assuage attention-hunger, they would be in a better position than most present cultures allow them, to attend to other things. They could extend the effectiveness of their learning capacity.

9. Among the things which unstarved people (in the sense of attention) could investigate, is the comparative attraction of ideas, individuals, etc., apart from their purely attention-supplying function.

10. The desire for attention starts at an early stage of infancy. It is, of course, at that point linked with feeding and protection. This is not to say that this desire has no further nor future development value. But it can be adapted beyond its ordinary adult usage of mere satisfaction.

11. Even a cursory survey of human communities shows that, while the random eating tendency, possessiveness and other undifferentiated characteristics are very early trained or diverted and weaned - the attention-factor does not get the same treatment. The consequence is that the adult human being, deprived of any method of handling her desire for attention, continues to be confused by it: as it usually remains primitive throughout life.

12. Very numerous individual observations of human transactions have been made. They show that an interchange between two people always has an attention-factor.

13. Observation shows that people's desires for attention ebb and flow. When in an ebb or flow of attention-desire, the human being not realising that this is his condition, attributes his actions and feelings to other factors, e.g., the hostility or pleasantness of others. He may even say that it is a `lucky day', when his attentionneeds have been quickly and adequately met. Re-examination of such situations has shown that such experiences are best accounted for by the attention-theory.

14. Objections based upon the supposed pleasure of attention being strongest when it is randomly achieved do not stand up when carefully examined. `I prefer to be surprised by attention' can be paraphrased by saying, `I prefer not to know where my next meal is coming from'. It simply underlines a primitive stage of feeling and thinking on this subject.

15. Situations which seem different when viewed from an oversimplified perspective (which is the usual one) are seen to be the same by the application of attention-theory. E.g.: People following an authority-figure may be exercising the desire for attention or the desire to give it. The interchange between people and their authority-figure may be explained by mutual-attention behaviour. Some gain only attention from this interchange. Some can gain more.

16. Another confusion is caused by the fact that the object of attention :nay be a person, a cult, an object, an idea, interest, etc. Because the foci of attention can be so diverse, people in general have not yet identified the common factor-the desire for attention.

17. One of the advantages of this thecry is that it allows the human mind to link in a coherent and easily-understood way many things which it has always (wrongly) been taught are very different, not susceptible to comparison, etc. This incorrect training has, of course, impaired the possible efficiency in functioning of the brain, though only culturally, not permanently.

18. The inability to feel when attention is extended, and also to encourage or to prevent its being called forth, makes man almost uniquely vulnerable to being influenced, especially in having ideas implanted in his brain, and being indoctrinated.

19. Raising the emotional pitch is the most primitive method of increasing attention towards the instrument which increased the emotion. It is the prelude to, or accompaniment of, almost every form of indoctrination.

20. Traditional philosophical and other teachings have been used to prescribe exercises in the control and focussing of attention. Their value, however, has been to a great measure lost because the individual exercises, prescribed for people in need of exercise, have been written down and repeated as unique truths and practised in a manner, with people and at a rate and under circumstances which, by their very randomness, have not been able to effect any change in the attention-training. This treatment has, however, produced obsession. It continues to do so.

21. Here and there proverbs and other pieces of literary material indicate that there has been at one time a widespread knowledge of attention on the lines now being described. Deprived, however, of context, these indications survive as fossil indicators rather than being a useful guide to attention-exercise for contemporary man.

Attention upon oneself, or upon a teacher, without the exercise of securing what is being offered from beyond the immediate surroundings, is a sort of short-circuit.

As Rumi said: `Do not look at me, but take what is in my hand'.



Miracles Course : How real is real?

 When it comes to the phenomenal world, the phrase "This too shall pass" fairly sums it up from the perspective of A Course in Miracles. All is alive, in motion, and changing. Form comes into being, adapts, grows, changes, and passes away. It is a world of the ephemeral in flux. This is the world we know. This is the world where the consequences are gauged in probabilities and not in certainty. It is the world we have created to satisfy a desire for impermanence.
What we experience and perceive with senses is not the world that God created, which is eternal. "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom can be no variation, neither shadow that is cast by turning." James 1:17 This, on the other hand, is an adequate description of reality. No variation without any shadows cast by turning. The world of reality moves in one direction only, toward creation and extension of that which is already real, and with no blockages of the light that might cast a shadow. The world of illusions and deceptive appearances that obscure the reality beyond is the world of maya, the ephemeral.

In Hinduism and Sikhism, maya is the principal concept which manifests, perpetuates and governs the illusion and dream of duality in the phenomenal universe. It is not real, as that word is used within A Course in Miracles. What is real is eternal, meaning that it exists outside of space-time, and it is unchanging, which is even more difficult to understand. But, to dismiss the phenomenal world as "just illusion" is to wholly miss the point, in Course terms. Perhaps in other traditions the world is viewed as a trap to be escaped, in the Course the world is to be forgiven, healed, and transformed into Heaven.

A close analogy is provided by the Hebrew word 'Tikkun,' which means to heal, repair, and transform the world. This is the duty and responsibility of humankind because the creative powers we share is what sustains the world of illusion. We cannot simply turn our back upon it, for it is impossible to escape our own creations. The mind is the cutting edge of creation and until we learn to heal our mis-creations and stop casting shadows across the land, illusions and the deception of separation will persist. The first law of God can be expressed as "You broke it, you bought it." What the mind has created wrongly shall continue laboriously and painfully through time, until that mind is returned to the service of light. The world we know is not real in the ultimate sense, but it is real enough in time because it is sustained by the hidden power of the universe, the creative power of God, wrongly applied. In this, the teachings of A Course in Miracles are fairly unique. I am not aware of any other like it.
"Fantasies and projection ... both attempt to control external reality according to false internal needs... Twist reality in any way, and you are perceiving destructively. Reality was lost through usurpation, which in turn produced tyranny. I told you you were now restored to your former role in the Plan of Atonement. But you must still choose freely to devote your heritage to the greater Restoration. As long as a single slave remains to walk the earth, your release is not complete. Complete restoration of the Sonship is the only true goal of the miracle-minded." A Course In Miracles
-  oOo   -
Tom Fox
Louisville, Kentucky






Stages of community



Stages of community

Over the past fifty years, psychotherapists, management consultants, and other students of group behavior have come to discern that when groups evolve, they tend to do so in certain somewhat predictable stages. This is not to say that all groups evolve in wisdom, maturity, effectiveness, or civility. Most, in fact, do not. But when they do, there is an order and lawfulness to the process. These stages have been given various names. My preferred ones are pseudocommunity, chaos, emptiness, and community.

For many groups or organizations the most common initial stage, pseudocommunity, is the only one. It is a stage of pretense. The group pretends it already is a community, that the participants have only superficial individual differences and no cause for conflict. The primary means it uses to maintain this pretense is through a set of unspoken common norms we call manners: you should try your best not to say anything that might antagonize or upset anyone else; if someone else says something that offends you or evokes a painful feeling or memory, you should pretend it hasn't bothered you in the least; and if disagreement or other unpleasantness emerges, you should immediately change the subject. These are rules that any good hostess knows. They may create a smoothly functioning dinner party but nothing more significant. The communication in a pseudocommunity is filled with generalizations. It is polite, inauthentic, boring, sterile, and unproductive.

Over time profound individual differences may gradually emerge so
that the group enters the stage of chaos and not infrequently self destructs. The theme of pseudocommunity is the covering up of individual differences; the predominant theme of the stage of chaos is the attempt to obliterate such differences. This is done as the group members try to convert, heal, or fix each other or else argue for simplistic organizational norms. It is an irritable and irritating, thoughtless, rapid-fire, and often noisy win/lose type of process that gets nowhere.

If the group can hang in together through this unpleasantness without self-destructing or retreating into pseudocommunity, then it begins to enter "emptiness." This is a stage of hard, hard work, a time when the members work to empty themselves of everything that stands between them and community. And that is a lot. Many of the things that must be relinquished or sacrificed with integrity are virtual human universals: prejudices, snap judgments, fixed expectations, the desire to convert, heal, or fix, the urge to win, the fear of looking like a fool, the need to control. Other things may be exquisitely personal: hidden griefs, hatreds, or terrors that must be confessed, made public, before the individual can be fully "present" to the group. It is a time of risk and courage, and while it often feels relieving, it also often feels like dying.

The transition from chaos to emptiness is seldom dramatic and often agonizingly prolonged. One or two group members may risk baring their souls, only to have another, who cannot bear the pain, suddenly switch the subject to something inane. The group as a whole has still not become empty enough to truly listen. It bounces back into temporary chaos. Eventually, however, it becomes sufficiently empty for a kind of miracle to occur.

At this point a member will speak of something particularly poignant and authentic. Instead of retreating from it, the group now sits in silence, absorbing it. Then a second member will quietly say something equally authentic. She may not even respond to the first member, but one does not get the feeling he has been ignored; rather, it feels as if the second member has gone up and laid herself on the altar alongside the first. The silence returns, and out of it, a third member will speak with eloquent appropriateness. Community has been born.

The shift into community is often quite sudden and dramatic. The change is palpable. A spirit of peace pervades the room. There is more silence, yet more of worth gets said. It is like music. The people work together with an exquisite sense of timing, as if they were a finely tuned orchestra under the direction of an invisible celestial conductor. Many actually sense the presence of God in the room. If the group is a public workshop of previous strangers who soon must part, then there is little for it to do beyond enjoying the gift. If it an organization, however, now that it is a community it is ready to go to work - making decisions, planning, negotiating, and so on - often with phenomenal efficiency and effectiveness.

from: M. Scott Peck, A World Waiting to Be Born


What is the work to be done?

-  oOo   -

Tom Fox
Louisville, Kentucky








The first law of chaos

"The first chaotic law is that the truth is different for everyone."
ACIM Text, Chapter 23
The first law of chaos states that the truth is different for everyone. This is the foundation upon which chaos is established and maintained. To be in a state of chaos is to be in a state of rebellion against God. The state of God is well ordered and harmonious. The state of God is not chaos. The first law of chaos is based upon limited selective perception, and it is best illustrated by the story of the three blind men and the elephant. Each of the three had only a limited experience of a much larger creature, and mistook his separate limited perceptions as being exclusively representative of the whole creature. Each of the three were both partially right and wholly wrong. The fable accurately describes the problem, but it also contains within it the seed of a solution. As the story ends being a provocation, the three blind men are arguing, insisting that each alone is right and all the others wrong and misguided. The obvious solution presents itself to combine the three sets of separate perceptions into a greater and more expansive view, and thereby reach a more harmonious understanding of the whole. It would be a closer approximation of the truth. It would also have the virtue of reducing strife.
-  oOo   -
Tom Fox
Louisville, Kentucky







Teaching Oblivion - ACIM failures

Oblivion: The condition or state of being forgotten or unknown. ~ Merriam-Webster

- - oOo - - 

The definition of reality is God's, not yours. He created it, and He knows what it is. You who knew have forgotten, and unless He had given you a way to remember you would have condemned yourselves to oblivion. God would reunite you with yourself, and did not abandon you in your seeming distress.

The ego teaches that your function on earth is destruction, and that you have no function at all in Heaven. It would thus destroy you here and bury you here, leaving you no inheritance except the dust out of which it thinks you were made. As long as it is reasonably satisfied with you, as its reasoning goes, it offers you oblivion. When it becomes overtly savage, it offers you hell. Yet neither oblivion nor hell is as unacceptable to you as Heaven. For your definition of Heaven IS hell and oblivion, and the REAL Heaven is the greatest threat you think you could experience.

Hell and oblivion are ideas which YOU made up, and you are bent on demonstrating their reality to establish YOURS. If THEIR reality is questioned, you believe that YOURS is. For you believe that ATTACK is your reality, and that your destruction is the final proof that you were RIGHT.

If you decide to have and give and BE nothing except a dream, you MUST direct your thoughts unto oblivion.


The ego teaches that hell is HERE, and bids you leap from hell into oblivion.

This world is but the dream that you can BE alone, and think without affecting those apart from you. To be alone must mean you are apart, and if you are, you cannot BUT be sick.
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T-12.VIII.3. When you made visible what is not true, what true became invisible to you. 2 Yet it cannot be invisible in itself, for the Holy Spirit sees it with perfect clarity. 3 It is invisible to you because you are looking at something else. 4 Yet it is no more up to you to decide what is visible and what is invisible, than it is up to you to decide what reality is. 5 What can be seen is what the Holy Spirit sees. 6 The definition of reality is God's, not yours. 7 He created it, and He knows what it is. 8 You who knew have forgotten, and unless He had given you a way to remember you would have condemned yourself to oblivion.

T-12.VIII.4. Because of your Father's Love you can never forget Him, for no one can forget what God Himself placed in his memory. 2 You can deny it, but you cannot lose it. 3 A Voice will answer every question you ask, and a vision will correct the perception of everything you see. 4 For what you have made invisible is the only truth, and what you have not heard is the only Answer. 5 God would reunite you with yourself, and did not abandon you in your distress. 6 You are waiting only for Him, and do not know it. 7 Yet His memory shines in your mind and cannot be obliterated. 8 It is no more past than future, being forever always.

T-12.VIII.5. You have but to ask for this memory, and you will remember.


-  oOo  -


Tom Fox
Louisville, Kentucky

Tom Fox on Facebook
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Extension, expression and miracles - ACIM topics


 Extension, expression and miracles

 Expressions of love



I. Principles of Miracles

Principle 1: There is no order of difficulty in miracles. One is not "harder" or "bigger" than another. They are all the same. All expressions of love are maximal.

Principle 3: Miracles occur naturally as expressions of love.

Principle 9: Like all expressions of love, which are always miraculous in the true sense, the exchange reverses the physical laws.

Principle 11: Through prayer love is received, and through miracles love is expressed.

Principle 35: Miracles are expressions of love

T-4.IV.11.11 I understand that miracles are natural, because they are expressions of love.

Expressing awareness of Christ


Principle 44: The miracle is an expression of an inner awareness of Christ and the acceptance of His Atonement.

The proof of Atonement


T-1.III.1.7 The power to work miracles belongs to you. I will provide the opportunities to do them, but you must be ready and willing. Doing them will bring conviction in the ability, because conviction comes through accomplishment. The ability is the potential, the achievement is its expression, and the Atonement, which is the natural profession of the children of God, is the purpose.

T-1.III.7.4 As an expression of what you truly are, the miracle places the mind in a state of grace. The mind then naturally welcomes the Host within and the stranger without. When you bring in the stranger, he becomes your brother.

T-1.III.8.1 That the miracle may have effects on your brothers that you may not recognize is not your concern. The miracle will always bless *you*. Miracles you are not asked to perform have not lost their value. They are still expressions of your own state of grace, but the action aspect of the miracle should be controlled by me because of my complete awareness of the whole plan.

T-1.IV.4.6 I assure you that I will witness for anyone who lets me, and to whatever extent he permits it. Your witnessing demonstrates your belief, and thus strengthens it. Those who witness for me are expressing, through their miracles, that they have abandoned the belief in deprivation in favor of the abundance they have learned belongs to them.

T-2.IV.5. The value of the Atonement does not lie in the manner in which it is expressed. In fact, if it is used truly, it will inevitably be expressed in whatever way is most helpful to the receiver. This means that a miracle, to attain its full efficacy, must be expressed in a language that the recipient can understand without fear. This does not necessarily mean that this is the highest level of communication of which he is capable. It does mean, however, that it is the highest level of communication of which he is capable The whole aim of the miracle is to raise the level of communication, not to lower it by increasing fear.

Other expressions


T-1.V.1.3 While you believe you are in a body, however, you can choose between loveless and miraculous channels of expression. You can make an empty shell, but you cannot express nothing at all.

T-2.I.5.6 In reality you are perfectly unaffected by all expressions of lack of love. These can be from yourself and others, from yourself to others, or from others to you.Peace is an attribute *in* you.

The body as a means of expression


T-1.VII.2.1 Child of God, you were created to create the good, the beautiful and the holy. Do not forget this. The Love of God, for a little while, must still be expressed through one body to another, because vision is still so dim. You can use your body best to help you enlarge your perception so you can achieve real vision, of which the physical eye is incapable. Learning to do his is the body's only true usefulness

Expressions of miracle-mindedness


T-2.V.3. I have already said that miracles are expressions of miracle-mindedness, and miracle-mindedness means right-mindedness. The right-minded neither exalt nor depreciate the mind of the miracle worker or the miracle receiver. However, as a correction, the miracle need not await the right-mindedness of the receiver. In fact, its purpose is to restore him *to* his right mind. It is essential, however, that the miracle worker be in his right mind, however briefly, or he will be unable to re-establish right-mindedness in someone else.

An expression of charity


T-2.V.10.5 I said before that only revelation transcends time. The miracle, as an expression of charity, can only shorten it. It must be understood, however, that whenever you offer a miracle to another, you are shortening the suffering of both of you. This corrects retroactively as well as progressively.

Special Principles of Miracle Workers

(1) The miracle abolishes the need for lower-order concerns.

(2) A clear distinction between what is created and what is made is essential. All forms of healing rest on this fundamental correction in level perception.

(3) Never confuse right- and wrong-mindedness. Responding to any form of error with anything except a desire to heal is an expression of this confusion.

(4) The miracle is always a denial of this error and an affirmation of the truth. Only right-mindedness can correct in a way that has any real effect. Pragmatically, what has no real effect has no real existence. Its effect, then, is emptiness. Being without substantial content, it lends itself to projection.

(5) The level-adjustment power of the miracle induces the right perception for healing. Until this has occurred healing cannot be understood. Forgiveness is an empty gesture unless it entails correction. Without this it is essentially judgmental, rather than healing.

(6) Miracle-minded forgiveness is correction. It has no element of judgment at all. The statement "Father forgive them for they know not what they do" in no way evaluates they do. It is an appeal to God to heal their minds There is no reference to the outcome of the error. That does not matter.

(7) The injunction "Be of one mind" is the statement for revelation-readiness. My request "Do this in remembrance of me" is the appeal for cooperation from miracle workers. The two statements are not in the same order of reality. Only the latter involves an awareness of time, since to remember is to recall the past in the present. Time is under my direction, but timelessness belongs to God. In time we exist for and with each other. In timelessness we coexist with God.

(8) You can do much on behalf of your own healing and that of others if, in a situation calling for help, you think of it this way:


  • I am here only to be truly helpful.
  • I am here to represent Him Who sent me.
  • I do not have to worry about what to say or what to do, because He Who sent me will direct me.
  • I am content to be wherever He wishes, knowing He goes there with me.

An expression of fear

T-2.VI.7. The first corrective step in undoing the error is to know first that the conflict is an expression of fear. Say to yourself that you must somehow have chosen not to love, or the fear could not have arisen. Then the whole process of correction becomes nothing more than a series of pragmatic steps in the larger process of accepting the Atonement as the remedy. These steps may be summarized in this way:

Know first that this is fear.
Fear arises from lack of love.
The only remedy for lack of love is perfect love.
Perfect love is the Atonement

An expression of will and power


T-2.VIII.1.3 Your will to create was given you by your Creator, Who was expressing the same Will in His creation. Since creative ability rests in the mind, everything you create is necessarily a matter of will. It also follows that whatever you alone make is real in your own sight, though not in the Mind of God.

T-4.IV.8.2 There is no limit to the power of a Son of God, but he can limit the expression of his power as much as he chooses. Your mind and mine can unite in shining your ego away, releasing the strength of God into everything you think and do. Do not settle for anything less than this, and refuse to accept anything but this as your goal. Watch your mind carefully for any beliefs that hinder its accomplishment, and step away from them. 6 Judge how well you have done this

Revelation cannot be expressed


T-4.VII.7.2 Revelation is not enough, because it is only communication God. God does not need revelation returned to Him, which would clearly be impossible, but He does want it brought to others. This cannot be done with the actual revelation; its content cannot be expressed, because it is intensely personal to the mind that receives it. It can, however, be returned by that mind to other minds, through the attitudes the knowledge from the revelation brings.

Full power of creation cannot be expressed

T-5.IV.7.3 The full power of creation cannot be expressed as long as any of God's ideas is withheld from the Kingdom. The joint will of the Sonship is the only creator that can create like the Father, because only the complete can think completely, and the thinking of God lacks nothing. Everything you think that is not through the Holy Spirit lacking.

An expression of confidence

T-7.IX.7.1 Be confident that you have never lost your Identity and the extensions which maintain It in wholeness and peace. Miracles are an expression of this confidence. They are reflections of both your proper identification with your brothers, and of your awareness that your identification is maintained by extension. The miracle is a lesson in total perception. By including any part of totality in the lesson, you have included the whole.

Normal expressions of mind


T-8.VII.11.1 The removal of blocks, then, is the only way to guarantee help and healing. Help and healing are the normal expressions of a mind that is working through the body, but not *in* it.

Physical expressions of the fear of awakening


T-8.IX.3. Wholeness heals because it is of the mind. All forms of sickness, even unto death, are physical expressions of the fear of awakening.

T-9.II.2.4 An individual may ask for physical healing because he is fearful of bodily harm. At the same time, if he were healed physically, the threat to his thought system might be considerably more fearful to him than its physical expression. In this case he is not really asking for release from fear, but for the removal of a symptom that he himself selected. This request is, therefore, not for healing at all.

Desire to kill


T-12.VII.13. Remember, then, that whenever you look without and react unfavorably to what you see, you have judged yourself unworthy and have condemned yourself to death. The death penalty is the ego's ultimate goal, for it fully believes that you are a criminal, as deserving of death as God knows you are deserving of life. The death penalty never leaves the ego's mind, for that is what it always reserves for you in the end. Wanting to kill you as the final expression of its feeling for you, it lets you live but to await death. It will torment you while you live, but its hatred is not satisfied until you die. For your destruction is the one end toward which it works, and the only end with which it will be satisfied.

Indirect expressions of the will to live


T-14.I.4. Any direction that would lead you where the Holy Spirit leads you not, goes nowhere. Anything you deny that He knows to be true you have denied yourself, and He must therefore teach you not to deny it. Undoing indirect, as doing is. You were created only to create, neither to see nor do. These are but indirect expressions of the will to live, which has been blocked by the capricious and unholy whim of death and murder that your Father does not share with you. You have set yourself the task of sharing what cannot be shared. And while you think it possible to learn to do this, you will not believe all that possible to learn to do.


Expressing conflict


T-14.VI.6. You who speak in dark and devious symbols do not understand the language you have made. It has no meaning, for its purpose is not communication, but rather the disruption of communication. If the purpose of language is communication, how can this tongue mean anything? Yet even this strange and twisted effort to communicate through not communicating holds enough of love to make it meaningful if its Interpreter is not its maker. You who made it are but expressing conflict, from which the Holy Spirit would release you. Leave what you would communicate to Him. He will interpret it to you with perfect clarity, for He knows with Whom you are in perfect communication.

Expression of the holy instant


T-17.V.1. The holy relationship is the expression of the holy instant in living in this world. Like everything about salvation, the holy instant is a practical device, witnessed to by its results. The holy instant never fails. The experience of it is always felt. Yet without expression it is not remembered.

T-17.V.11.10 And by this lack of thanks and gratitude you make yourself unable to express the holy instant, and thus lose sight of it.

T-17.V.13. You *have* received the holy instant, but you may have established a condition in which you cannot use it. As a result, you do not realize that it is with you still. And by cutting yourself off from its expression, you have denied yourself its benefit. You reinforce this every time you attack your brother, for the attack must blind you to yourself. And it is impossible to deny yourself, and to recognize what has been given and received by you.

The expression of what you made yourself to be


T-19.II.7. There is no stone in all the ego's embattled citadel that is more heavily defended than the idea that sin is real; the natural expression of what the Son of God has made himself to be, and what he is. To the ego, this is no mistake. For this is its reality; this is the "truth" from which escape will always be impossible. This is his past, his present and his future.For he has somehow managed to corrupt his Father, and change His Mind completely. Mourn, then, the death of God, Whom sin has killed! And this would be the ego's wish, which in its madness it believes it has accomplished.

Expression of forgiveness


T-19.IV.A.14. The Holy Spirit has given you love's messengers to send instead of those you trained through fear. They are as eager to return to you what they hold dear as are the others. If you send them forth, they will see only the blameless and the beautiful, the gentle and the kind. They will be as careful to let no little act of charity, no tiny expression of forgiveness, no little breath of love escape their notice. And they will return with all the happy things they found, to share them lovingly with you. Be not afraid of them. They offer you salvation. Theirs are the messages of safety, for they see the world as kind.

Truth and its expression


T-20.I.2. This week begins with palms and ends with lilies, the white and holy sign the Son of God is innocent. Let no dark sign of crucifixion intervene between the journey and its purpose; between the acceptance of the truth and its expression. This week we celebrate life, not death.

The expression of a wish to see a little part of him and sacrifice the rest


T-26.I.1.6 To see a brother in another body, separate from yours, is the expression of a wish to see a little part of him and sacrifice the rest. Look at the world, and you will see nothing attached to anything beyond itself. All seeming entities can come a little nearer, or go a little farther off, but cannot join.

Expression in the terms of form


T-30.III.1.1 Idols are quite specific. But your will is universal, being limitless. And so it has no form, nor is content for its expression in the terms of form. Idols are limits. They are the belief that there are forms that will bring happiness, and that, by limiting, is all attained.

LESSON 27.


Above all else I want to see.

W-pI.27.1.1 Today's idea expresses something stronger than mere determination.

LESSON 74.


W-pI.74.1.5 Peace has replaced the strange idea that you are torn by conflicting goals. As an expression of the Will of God, you have no goal but His.

LESSON 78.


W-pI.78.6.4 The body's eyes are closed, and as you think of him who grieved you, let your mind be shown the light in him beyond your grievances.

W-pI.78.8.1 What you have asked for cannot be denied. Your savior has been waiting long for this. He would be free, and make his freedom yours. The Holy Spirit leans from him to you, seeing no separation in God's Son. And what you see through Him will free you both. Be very quiet now, and look upon your shining savior. No dark grievances obscure the sight of him. You have allowed the Holy Spirit to express through him the role God gave Him that you might be saved.

LESSON 82.

W-pI.82.1.2 My forgiveness is the means by which the light of the world finds expression through me.

LESSON 89.


W-pI.89.3. (78) Let miracles replace all grievances. By this idea do I unite my will with the Holy Spirit's, and perceive them as one. By this idea do I accept my release from hell. By this idea do I express my willingness to have all my illusions be replaced with truth, according to God's plan for my salvation. I would make no exceptions and no substitutes.

LESSON 94.


W-pI.96.4.1 Spirit makes use of mind as means to find its Self expression. And the mind which serves the spirit is at peace and filled with joy.

3 Expressed through you, the Holy Spirit will accept this gift that you received of Him, increase its power and give it back to you.

LESSON 130.


W-pI.130.9. God will be there. For you have called upon the great unfailing power which will take this giant step with you in gratitude. Nor will you fail to see His thanks expressed in tangible perception and in truth. You will not doubt what you will look upon, for though it is perception, it is not the kind of seeing that your eyes alone have ever seen before.

LESSON 185.


W-pI.185.2.1 No one can mean these words and not be healed. He cannot play with dreams, nor think he is himself a dream. He cannot make a hell and think it real. He wants the peace of God, and it is given him. For that is all he wants, and that is all he will receive. Many have said these words. But few indeed have meant them. You have but to look upon the world you see around you to be sure how very few they are. The world would be completely changed, should any two agree these words express the only thing they want.

C-in.3.1 This course remains within the ego framework, where it is needed. It is not concerned with what is beyond all error because it is planned only to set the direction towards it. Therefore it uses words, which are symbolic, and cannot express what lies beyond symbols.

-  oOo   -
Tom Fox
Louisville, Kentucky






A Course in Miracles and Christianity

A Course in Miracles is a modern, in-depth, commentary on the message of the Christian Gospels. Jesus of Nazareth's message is the essential foundation of the Course. The primary means for us to explore this connection is through an understanding the New Testament, even if some of the Course's symbolism is purely contemporary. The Course itself assumes that its readers are familiar with the stories and characters in the Gospels. There are a thousand, or more, direct and indirect biblical references embedded in the Course. These give the Course a rich and multi-layered texture to those familiar with the Scriptures. Likewise, the writings in the New Testament take on an entirely new significance when revisited in the light of the Course's message.

One function of a miracle is to shake up stagnant and erroneous perceptions, as an aid to learning. The Course begins by challenging our basic understanding of what a miracle is, by expanding the definition of a miracle and by elaborating basic principles. It then proceeds to shake up the basic theological dogmas of Christianity. The Course firmly looks away from sacrifice and suffering as the basis for salvation, and toward the eternal life of spirit present now. Ultimately, it catalyzes our conceptions about the reality of the world and separate individual identity, by focusing upon the possibility of a direct mystical perception of the essential unity of God and creation. It does all this while simultaneously affirming the life, miracles, teachings, and resurrection of Jesus 2000 years ago, and presenting him as a practical role model for everyone today. "What would Jesus do?" is transformed into, "What would this look like if seen through the eyes of Christ?" To learn from the Holy Spirit and to use Jesus as a role model, according to the Course, one must be willing to question every pre-existing belief and value. This prospect is bound to be unattractive for those who are satisfied with the status quo of established church traditions, and it is unsettling to even those who are not. This is as it should be. One of the basic principles of miracles is that they are unsettling.

The Birth of Holiness

The Course does not place any special significance upon Jesus' physical birth. In fact, it doesn't even mention it at all. To understand why, it is useful to have some idea of the way in which the Course views bodies in the physical world. All that is needed is to look around and simply observe that everything you see is in a state of constant flux. There is nothing you can look at, with a few exceptions (like the largest geologic features), that existed 500 years ago. Likewise, if we could fast-forward 500 years into the future, most everything you see now would not exist then. This includes your own body.

What we think of as the physical world is generally not radically different from day to day, but given enough time even the mountains will slide into the sea and the sun will grow cold. Thus, the physical world is a temporary thing, and human bodies have even less permanence then most of the other things of the world.

The Course suggests that God does not create temporary things that have beginnings and endings. This is not all that different from the ideas expressed by Jesus in the Gospels when he cautioned, "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal." Matthew 6:19 Throughout the New Testament and throughout the Course, there is a distinction drawn between the dual nature of humankind - one physical and ephemeral, and the other spiritual and eternal. This is even alluded to in the Book of Genesis with its dual creation stories. In the first chapter of Genesis, on the sixth day of creation, God created humankind "in his own image." But, in the second chapter of Genesis, after the seventh day of creation, Jehovah "formed man from the dust of the ground." Many students of the Bible have interpreted this as an acknowledgement of the dual nature of humanity.

Although some, but not all, of the Gospels attempt to make Jesus' body into something unique and divine from birth, there is nothing in the New Testament to indicate that Jesus though of himself that way, and A Course in Miracles certainly does not do so. If Jesus' body was a unique instance of divine creation, there is no good explanation offered in the Gospels why that body suffered and was destroyed as easily as any other body.

The Course mentions Christmas as the time to celebrate the birth of holiness into the world, which could be any time, or ideally, all the time. It is generally accepted today that December 25th does not correspond to the date of Jesus' actual birthday, which is unknown. The December date was selected by the early church fathers to correspond with and to supplant pre-existing pagan festivals. In the Course, Christmas is viewed as a state of mind embracing joy, for "the time of Christ is meaningless apart from joy."

The sign of Christmas is a star, a light in darkness. See it not outside yourself, but shining in the heaven within, and accept it as the sign the time of Christ has come. He comes demanding nothing. No sacrifice of any kind, of anyone, is asked by him. In his presence, the whole idea of sacrifice loses all meaning. For he is host to God. And you need but invite him in who is there already, by recognizing that his host is one, and no thought alien to his oneness can abide with him there. Love must be total to give him welcome, for the presence of holiness creates the holiness which surrounds it. No fear can touch the host who cradles God in the time of Christ, for the host is as holy as the perfect innocence which he protects, and whose power protects him. A Course in Miracles, Chapter 15


Jesus, the Man and Role Model for Humanity

A Course in Miracles does not offer a historical narrative of Jesus' walk on earth 2000 years ago. Instead, the Course deals mainly with his ideas, interpretations, and meanings, although it does offer corrections for several statements that the Gospel accounts have put into Jesus' mouth. Specifically, the Course denies that Jesus ever actually said, "Think not that I came to send peace on the earth; I came not to send peace, but a sword," Matthew 10:34, or that he felt betrayed by Judas. Rather, the Course takes the Gospel stories as givens, and assumes that the reader is familiar with them.

Jesus states in the Course, "I was a man who remembered the soul and its knowledge," he acknowledges his disciples, and he mentions several by name.

My brothers slept during the so-called "agony" in the garden, but I could not be angry with them because I had learned I could not be abandoned. Peter swore he would never deny me, but he did so three times. He did offer to defend me with the sword, which I naturally refused, not being at all in need of bodily protection. A Course in Miracles, Chapter 6

Naturally enough, the Course focuses mainly on miracles, but leaves it to the reader to apply the general principles of miracles to the specific examples given in the Gospels. The Course states that miracles enable man to heal the sick and raise the dead, and asks, "Why is it strange to you that faith can move mountains? This is indeed a little feat for such a power."

The Course gives an extensive and detained discussion of the healing power of miracles, a rational explanation of how they work, and also why they frequently do not work. According to the Course, miracles are natural, but the basis of miracles cannot be briefly summarized except to say that the barrier to the miraculous is fear. According to the Course, we are afraid of miracles, afraid of love, afraid of each other, and afraid of God. Fear is the essential existential problem that keeps us alienated.


The Meaning of the Crucifixion

If Jesus' crucifixion and physical death are the pivotal facts of Christianity, as many believe, then the Course and Christianity have very little in common.

"The crucifixion did NOT establish the atonement. The resurrection did. This is a point which many very sincere Christians have misunderstood . . . If the crucifixion is seen from an upside-down point of view, it DOES appear as if God permitted, and even encouraged, one of his sons to suffer BECAUSE he was good. Many ministers preach this every day." A Course in Miracles, Chapter 3

Many believe that Jesus' death on the cross atoned for all sin for all time in the same way that the Jewish practice of ceremonial animal sacrifice on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, made good for the annual accumulation of sins by the people of Israel. This is the theory of Jesus as a divine scapegoat. In fact, the word "scapegoat" derives from the Yom Kippur temple sacrifice practice, and not the Passover lamb.

The actual circumstances of the crucifixion during the Jewish holy days of Passover forced the early Christian church to use the analogy of the sacrificial lamb whose blood was use to mark the lintels and doorposts to protect the Israelites from the angel of death during the final plague of Egypt, the killing of the first-born. The logic, it seems, is that sacrificing the life of God in human form would be a lot more powerful than sacrificing the life of an animal, and Jesus' spilt blood would provide more potent protection. The fundamental problem is the idea that we need an intermediary to protect us from God, and it contradicts Jesus' statement in the Gospels, quoting Hosea 6:6, "But go ye and learn what this means, I desire mercy, and not sacrifice." Matthew 9:13

The Course offers another interpretation of the Gospels that fit the facts more appropriately. Jesus' physical body was crucified and died, not to protect us from God's wrath, but to demonstrate through his resurrections that we are, in fact, safe from the angel of death.


Mystery of the Resurrection

In the Gospel accounts of the resurrection we have four slightly different versions of the events on the first Easter Sunday. In the Gospels of Mark, Luke, and John, the women arrived in the morning to discover the stone already had been rolled away from the empty tomb prior to their arrival. One might get the impression from this sequence of events that Jesus' dead body was re-vitalized in the same manner that Lazarus was raised from the dead, and that rolling away the stone was a physical necessity for Jesus to walk out of the tomb. In the Gospel of Matthew, however, the stone is moved in the women's presence after they arrived, for the purpose of showing them that the tomb was vacant.

Messages related to A Course in Miracles indicate that Jesus' body dematerialized in the tomb sometime before that Sunday morning. "The body disappears, and no longer hides what lies beyond. It merely ceases to interfere with vision." The mysterious image on the Shroud of Turin, if it is the actual burial cloth Peter found in the empty tomb (John 20:6), may be the tangible trace evidence of that unprecedented event.

Course materials specifically relate that the resurrected Jesus "came in the flesh." See 1st John 4:2.

I did assume a human form with human attributes afterwards, to speak to those who were to prove the body’s worthlessness to the world. This has been much misunderstood. I came to tell them that death is illusion, and the mind that made the body can make another since form itself is an illusion. They did not understand. But now I talk to you and give you the same message. The death of an illusion means nothing. It disappears when you awaken and decide to dream no more. And you still do have the power to make this decision as I did. A Course in Miracles, Special Messages

The decision that Jesus of the Course speaks of here is the decision to look past the glittering unreal temptations of the ephemeral world, and to find joy in the unwavering beauty of God's true creation. It is a decision to embrace God's will as our own, not out of any onerous sense of obedience, compulsion, or fear of painful consequences, but in recognition that doing God's will is the only source of true happiness.

God holds out his hand to his Son to help him rise and return to him. I [Jesus] can help because the world is illusion, and I have overcome the world. Look past the tomb, the body, the illusion. Have faith in nothing but the spirit and the guidance God gives you. A Course in Miracles, Special Messages

Conclusion

If the miracles of Jesus, his teachings, and his resurrection are what define Christianity, then A Course in Miracles is not only compatible with the Christian faith, it is a welcome complement and amplification of its teachings. The Course makes rational sense of the Gospels in ways that mainstream Christian discourse has not been able to approximate, while at the same time it provides specific instructions to a direct and personal mystical experience of spirit. The Course, therefore, is in essence a practical guide to the miraculous.

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also, and greater works than these shall he do." John 14:12

The Course affirms that Jesus of Nazareth walked the earth as a man; that he had disciples; that he was crucified and died in the flesh; that he was resurrected in the flesh; that he is always with us as a living spirit and available to each of us when we turn to him; and that his on-going purpose is the salvation of the world and everyone in it. His message is unchanged in A Course in Miracles: Love God, love your brother as yourself, and judge not. "For many are called, but few are chosen," of Matthew 22:14 is revised in the Course to read, "ALL are called but few choose to listen."










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A Course in Miracles (ACIM) and New Thought

In the "urtext" version of "A Course in Miracles," it is written:

"Man's spiritual eye can sleep, but as will shortly appear in the notes (reference Bob, elevator operator) a sleeping eye can still see. One translation of the Fall, a view emphasized by Mary Baker Eddy, and worthy of note, is that 'a deep sleep fell upon Adam'. While the Bible continues to associate this sleep as a kind of anaesthetic utilized for protection of Adam during the creation of Eve, Mrs. Eddy was correct in emphasizing that nowhere is there any reference made to his waking up. While Christian Science is clearly incomplete, this point is much in its favor."

Much of this will sound very strange to some " A Course in Miracles" (ACIM) students, for its specificity of expression is very different from the grand abstractions which many Crouse students seem to favor. However, in the ACIM urtext we have found many examples of the author discussing very specific persons, issues, and religious doctrine, both historic and contemporary to the early scribing (1965 - 1966).

In passage quoted above, the author states, essentially, that Mary Baker Eddy's teaching of Christian Science was right about at least some things, but that those teachings didn't take it far enough. Of course, many were inspired by Mary Baker Eddy to expand the ideas with their own unique insights, such as Charles Fillmore, founder of Unity Church, Ernest Holmes, founder of Science of Mind, and the entire "New Thought" movement, and to take the ideas further.

In the event that some brother might benefit from exposure to the writings of classic New Thought authors, we work to make them available, along with other writings mentioned in the ACIM urtext. Specifically, "Letters from the Scattered Brotherhood."


June 10, 2005
Louisville, Kentucky