Enlightenment, Part 3

A few interesting discoveries throughout the summer….(personal – feel free to skip)

I am not a religious person, especially when it comes to organized religion of any kind. I may enjoy sitting in a mass for a Holy Day, but that’s more of a sense of comfort than strict belief. I do consider myself spiritual. I had students ask me if I were Christian, and I would answer that I’m human, that I believe there is good in all the world’s religions, and I like to accept those tenets that are good for mankind. My middle school students were not able to handle that answer, but my high schoolers cold grasp what I was saying.

Over the years, the more I read of history the more I got pissed off at religion. Once we realize the Crusades for what they really were – an attack on anything not Christian – we begin to be appalled at the damage Most religions have done. The Inquisition was an vile, horrific attempt to protect the men of the Catholic Church and enforce a way of life that brooked no questioning of any kind. The Troubles in Ireland, the Palestinian question – religion has become politics and politics is now religion. What happened to loving thy neighbor, regardless?

I have been putting my local public library to very good use these days. Since we did our last downsizing, the remaining books are our favoriate, and our art books. It is rare that I buy a book any more…except for what goes on my Kindle. I love standing is a section of the library and just seeing what hits my eye. Two visits ago I discovered a book called Joshua, with a flap that talked about a carpenter who was changing his community. The reviews in the front were excellent – our library puts a sheet for you to score so you have a sense of how people thought about the book. This review was a 10 and said “If only society could be like this.” Based on that recommendation, I picked it up. I finished it that night.

This is an unpretentious story with an extremely [powerful message. Would we recognize Jesus if he walked among us today? It’s written by Neil Girozone, a retired priest (yes, I had my period in the past where I read everything Father Andrew Greeley wrote.) You are lulled into believing Joshua, who has definite ideas on God and His love for His children. Joshua has some stunning conversations – and monologues – about organized religion and how this is NOT what God had in mind for His children. The questioning comes through when the local religious denominations begin to feel threatened by their congregations believing and caring for Joshua. Eventually the case goes all the way to the Pope.

The characters are wonderful – you can see the Biblical parallels, and I for one have met a lot of Catholic priests similar to those in the book. I have been mulling on this since I finished the book. Next trip I picked up Joshua and the Children – his story from the children he teaches to love each other in the midst of a community torn about by religious strife. One can’t help but note the parallels to today’s society – and the book was written in 1985. You can see the conclusion coming, with all the parallels, but this book leaves its promise of success in the mission of the children, whose lives are forever changed.

So all that has gotten me thinking of my place in life right now, in such a tumultuous time. How can I make a difference? Obviously one way is to be kind, listen to those I don’t agree with, enjoy the lives of people I come into contact with. Along with that, I took a master class with Neale Donald Walsch through Mindvalley (Mindvalley.com). This was – dare I say it – life changing. I have a burning desire to read all the Conversations with God books, but none of them are available in my local library, and right now they are too much in the bookstore, even for the Kindle version. Through the master class, Walsch talks about what he calls HEB – highly evolved beings – and he began to describe who and what they are and how we might move along on the evolutionary line to become more evolved. While the class was short, he was able to go through two of the exercises in his 4th book – becoming others and passing each day not for yourself but to make a difference for someone else.

The next day was a day we had several doctor appointments and tests, and as I tried processing his ideas, I realized how far away I am from any kind of HEB – he said himself humanity is only on the two-yard line in evolution and we have a huge way to go. He made me a believer. I was so negative, so impatient, and not recognizing the human being in front of me. This from working at being much more positive in my life. Evidently I am positive when it comes to just me but not when I am am around others. At least I know in my latter decades of teaching I was definitely better at working with my students and their fragile souls…now I have to extend that to all I come into contact with. That was quite the lesson.

Now I am reading (while I wait for Conversations with God) When Everything Changes, Change Everything by Walsch. This is timely, since hubby has open heart surgery in less than two weeks, and life will definitely be changing in both the short and long term. First change – don’t go it alone. I tend to keep to myself and not involve a lot of people in my life, even wen they are good friends. I have come to see that as a result of having to protect myself emotionally while growing up. But I have let a lot of folks know about the surgery, and I realize I can – and will -0 ask for help along the 12-weeks of recovery.

In a nutshell, this is more of the Enlightenment journey since this summer. It doesn’t even include all the science I have been reading – more on that in another post.

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