Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The Parable of the Lost Coin

Luke 15: 8-10

“Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ 10 In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
 Repent over the sins you are ashamed of. Learn to understand what you should and should not be ashamed of. That is a matter of discernment. You may have an acute sense of natural justice that may help here. Or turn to the scriptures for help and guidance. But still the rule applies. Repent of the sins you are ashamed of. These you must repent of the rest you need not.

And if you are unsure whether you feel ashamed or not, then there is nothing you need repent. Simple, wouldn't you say?

Monday, June 29, 2015

ISIS statement launches new Religious Affairs Council

A new religious affairs council has been established in recent months with input from Shiite, Sunni and Christian religious thinkers. They have just issued this statement:

We feel that an inability to recognize that there can be life without war, an inability to acknowledge the supreme sanctity of human life, an inability to recognize our shared humanity, is an anathema.
ISIS claims the world is divided between their extremist version of Dar al Islam (the World of Peace) and Dar al Harb (The World of War). They justify their actions by claims that we are approaching the apocalypse.  Any claims to such knowledge of the end of times are indefensible claims to know the mind of God as our scriptures warn. Humanity may seem, at times, to be bent on its own destruction but Faith in a merciful God engenders hope not despair, love not hatred, compassion not indifference.
Under a merciful God, humanity must continually strive to overcome the historic polarizations that lead to bloody cycles of conflict and revenge. As believers in the one God, we are convinced that the polarizations between Sunni and Shia, between Islam and Judaism, and between Islam and Christianity are against the will of God and wars fought in the name of religion are an offence to God’s name.
ISIS must also be challenged theologically and spiritually. Bishop Angaelos, of the Coptic Orthodox Church, states that the brutal killings in France, Tunisia and Kuwait, “Show the vulnerability of our humanity, not only in those who died so needlessly and tragically, but also in those who were able to murder so brutally, mercilessly and intentionally.”
When 28 Coptic Christians were executed by ISIS in Libya, Bishop Angaelos began a twitter feed which attracted thousands of followers: #father forgive.  In this profound statement of forgiveness the potential cycle of anger and revenge was halted and the higher morality of righteousness affirmed. As the families of those murdered in Charleston church shooting asserted, compassion and forgiveness are far more potent and effective that hatred and revenge.  Forgiveness has an unconditional quality which transcends our vulnerability to judge.
That said, Al Azhar in Cairo, and senior clergy (ulama) in Iran and Iraq share the view expressed to this council by Ayatollah Safavi in Britain, that ISIS’s behaviour is contrary to Islamic law and therefore morally indefensible.
Military action against extremists, like ISIS, is fraught with danger. Indiscriminate bombing has caused considerable collateral damage which sometimes serves to attract sympathy to their cause.  ISIS must be isolated so it withers and destroys itself because its own deadly ethos will inevitably turn in on its self.
Action must be taken to prevent vulnerable young people being attracted to ISIS and travelling to ISIS controlled areas. Their financial backers must be brought to account and their theology exposed for what it is.
Human history is littered with the consequences of the actions of heavily armed fanatics. ISIS is the latest expression of such warlike fanaticism and is as in error as all others.  We would conclude by reminding believers that they need not be anxious, instead they should act. Anxiety is a sin because it means you do not trust God. The Lord God expects us to deal with ISIS, not to fear them.

The Religious Affairs Advisory Council

Friday, June 26, 2015

And so Listen

The way I see it:
What you will do, you will do. What you can do, you don't.
Too obscure? What I mean is that God, your conscience, the still small voice, the Great Unknown, call he, she or it what you will, is right there to sustain you. You can be fearless. He watches your going in and your coming out. He meets your needs, whether they be spiritual, or physical, in every way you will be sustained, heart and soul. But it's conditional, you have to do his bidding. Not that his bidding is to wear a hair shirt. But he does expect us not to be distracted from his purpose. And in that context:
There is nothing you may not do, save what you may not do.
Obscure again? Not really. Because God has given us to know what we may not do. You don't need any scripture for that, you have your own innate sense of natural justice. Which makes life simple. Which makes you fortunate indeed.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Strike now

There were two men walking an one said to the other, "I love you."
And the other said to the first, "Prove it."
And the first said, "How shall I prove it?"
And the other said, "Give me all that you have."

There are moments in time when things need doing and moments to withhold your hand. A young friend of mine is about to marry and she is still at college. What an awesome commitment to make so young. For why? To prove her love? To give all you have? Can that really be right?

There is no greater act than the act of commitment in marriage. It is the giving of a life to the other. It is total surrender. It should be undertaken with the gravest caution if you are fortunate enough to have any choice in the matter.

Otherwise, as is sometimes the case, when you have no choice, when circumstances dictate, when you are just powerless, then so be it. As in all things, when you have no choice, Strike. And Strike now!

So too with giving your life to God,

Friday, June 5, 2015

Better Watch Out

"The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis." - Dante Alighieri

Which was one of John F Kennedy's favourite quotes

Monday, May 25, 2015

Where We Stand !

I believe . . that wherever possible, providing the action does not compound hurt or injustice, we should apologise for our trespasses to those who perceive we may have trespassed against them. That said I believe in . . .
Striving to live a life based on adherence to the principles of:
  • Absolute Purity 
  •  Absolute Selflessness
  •  Absolute Honesty
  •  Absolute Love 
And in engaging in the daily practice of listening to the promptings of the still small voice of the spirit within, making a record of that thought and, where possible, practical and wise, striving to share some element of that thought with others.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Where I Stand

William Morris
Maybe it is best to make clear, this once, just where I stand in regard to my faith.

My heritage is Christian Scientist / Evangelical. In Wales I was ordained an Elder in the United Reform Church and started lay preaching. More latterly in Cornwall I studied theology and was ordained a Lay Reader with the Anglicans. In due course my Sufi friend and mentor, Ayatollah Safavi, agreed to become my "Marjah" or spiritual advisor.

More recently I became intrigued by the Moral Re Armament movement, and the four Absolutes they espouse, Absolute Honesty, Love, Purity and Selflessness. That plus the unique spin they have on the Sufi practice of listening to the still small voice within whereby they seek guidance and jot down their thoughts in a quasi meditative collective act of contemplation and sharing. I am committed to this practice.