Sunday, February 15, 2015

The good news - Reviewed



                        The Good News- Reviewed
According to the most recent scholarly estimates, the Cosmos has existed for approximately some 13,700,000,000 years. In that time, it expanded from a non-dimensional “point” to a size containing approximately 10,000,000,000 galaxies each containing presently approximately 100,000,000,000 stars in each. One of those stars is the one we have named “the sun”. All the energy we receive on our tiny planet we have come to call “earth” comes to us from that aging sun.

This earth was formed as a planet circling that sun approximately 5,000,000,000 years ago. As it cooled, that planet settled into a condition “just right” (Goldilocks effect) to have life evolve upon it. Eventually, human life evolved and with the adequate equipment, those humans began to use their brains to solve life’s problems and to even contemplate some of life’s greatest mysteries. Thus, mankind began the search for the source of this wonderland, the creator. This search began out of need; need for help in surviving the dangers in every venue; and ultimately in hopes of avoiding or being saved from that ultimate mystery, death itself.

Man used his experiences in life and the power of his mind to seek the Cause, the Creator, the Savior, the ultimate Power.  Mankind sought for this Being in  Nature, in the stars, in drugs and in human experiences of transcendence; but the closest he could approach these were in Ikons, Idols, Symbols, none of which proved to be sufficient for man’s need.

Man continued his desperate search for this God in his external world even sometimes to inventing myths, legends, fables some of which tried to demonstrate that this Powerful One chose their people, their tribe, their nation as His own, and He was described as making covenant promises to save their particular group over and against neighboring enemy groups. Throughout history, man has sought happiness by pursuing wealth, pleasures, power or by receiving other men's praise, honor and reputation. Unfortunately, all these goals pass away.

One day, a man appeared on earth who had lived thepparently normal life of a Jew in Nazareth in Galilee, but as he became known to Jews near the Sea of Galilee he began to proclaim the “news” all mankind had been seeking, the direction to God. Thirty five years later, long after this man had been executed by the Roman authorities in Jerusalem for sedition, his story was written down in what has come to be known as the gospel of Mark. In that work, the author records the opening address, the Keynote, so to speak, of this man Yeshua, with the following words:
          “The present moment is the right time, change the way  you
            think [Metanoiete], for the Kingdom of God is  WITHIN you.
            Believe THIS ‘good news’.”[Mk. 1:15-16]
That is it. The God you have all been seeking through all the ages is within you, closer to you than you are to yourselves, and all you have to do is believe it. If you do believe it, then it becomes possible to consider oneself to be in the presence of this God in what has come to be called “prayer”.

This Yeshua apparently taught this reality to his disciples and to anyone who would listen. Many, however, apparently did not listen and did not believe, but instead considered Yeshua to be mad and a danger to life as we so chose to live it. But his faithful disciples believed, and took his teachings and began to proclaim  them as the followers spread far and wide and began to try to organize, both their structure and their teachings into what we now recognize as Church and as Tradition.

While much of Yeshua’s teachings were thus transmitted in this way, some teachings developed which in their attempt to understand the reality of which Yeshua spoke,  lost sight of the truth that understanding was not the key, but belief, even the belief as found in little children. This teaching embarrassed some scholars who felt that they themselves possessed the key, and anyone who disagreed with their understanding should be corrected, and if they would not be corrected, they should be ex-communicated from the Church. Thus began wars in the name of religion.  Thus also began the Church’s teaching that there was “Nullus salvatio extra ecclesiae” [No salvation outside the Church].

In this year of 2015, the world is nearing a global war being waged on close minded fundamentalist religious beliefs. It is time for the world to begin to pay attention to what the spiritual leaders of the world are saying and to silence the religious leaders who with their close-minded refusal to dialogue with others as equals, are fanning the flames of this oncoming catastrophe. Let us turn to the teachings of the Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh, Thomas Merton, Thomas Keating, Karen Armstrong, John Paul II, John XXIII, Abraham Heschel, D.T.Suzuki, Martin Buber,  and be guided by the teaching that the only place big enough to be home for God is WITHIN each and every one of us, and let no thing interfere with our seeking God in light of this reality.

This non-dimensional withinness is the same non-dimensional "point" of no dimension from which emerged the entire cosmos, 13.7 billion years ago.