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All We Are Saying

John Lennon once penned a song lyric that went like this: "All we are saying is give peace a chance." We here at like to apply that same reasonable appeal to spiritual matters. Only, our appeal goes like this: "All we are saying is give God a chance."

This same reasonable tone was used by the Biblical psalmist when he wrote: "Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who trusts in him." (Psalm 34:8) Or to paraphrase: "Why not give God a chance to become active in your life? Great happiness awaits you if you do."

This idea of giving God a chance to move in our lives is one that many people have never entertained before. It is likely to raise several questions in your mind. For one thing, most people do not fully embrace the notion that God is Spirit and lives in us as such. Rather the prevailing view is that God is "out there" or up in His heaven, which of course means that we must traverse a long distance to reach God or vice-versa. And then there is the philosophical question about whether there is such a thing as a God at all. Many people in today's world not only question God's existence, but perhaps even more descriptive of the modern intellectual stance is the idea that it just does not matter. Since God, if there is one, seems to be impotent towards and unconcerned about secular humanity, who cares whether or not He exists? The modern sophisticated intellect cannot be bothered with trying to reconcile such philosophical inconsistencies. Besides, nowadays many of the benefits derived from the pursuit of spiritual enlightenment can be laid hold of without having anything to do with God.

There has, in fact, arisen in our time a rather elaborate Godless brand of spirituality. This is despite the obvious deduction that the words Godless and spiritual are contradictory. Since God is Spirit, any true spiritual activity must logically involve God. But most of today's spiritual self-help gurus have managed to leave God out of the equation. It is not necessarily that they themselves are totally faithless, but they have rightly judged the public pulse as being so turned off to God that they have presented their teachings virtually free of any God connection. How, you may ask, can this be done? It's easy. They simply take the nuggets of spiritual truth out of the realm of faith and present them as streamlined scientific principles. And it works. Not only is such an approach doable; it can also be effective and edifying to some degree. Thus today's spiritual seekers are fed and encouraged on the path to enlightenment, while faith in God is left completely out of the equation.

The truth, however, is that God does exist and refusing to acknowledge this can, in the long run, result in a stunted spiritual demonstration. For if there is no God, it is logical to assume that all endeavors in life, including the pursuit of spiritual enlightenment, must be undertaken as strictly human pursuits. This means they require the employing of strictly human resources, such as strength, determination, effort, and ingenuity. It also means that the inherent sanctity and purity of spiritual endeavor must be ignored while we enter the realm of debased human motive and competition in order to achieve our goal. In other words, spiritual endeavor not only becomes easily tainted; it can become just another cruel and cutthroat human pursuit - a true bastion for ego justification and proliferation.

Encountering the impure qualities of human motive and strength on the spiritual path can be very devastating for a sensitive soul, and many have suffered the shipwreck of their faith on its account. Worldly values such as success being determined by one's strength, talent, and ingenuity are extremely hurtful for one who is poor in such human attributes. Thus a spiritual scene that is dominantly human and Godless is actually oppressive for the poor in spirit.

Perhaps the single most glaring inconsistency in all this is that many of today's Godless spiritual aspirants claim Jesus as one of their foremost inspirational guides. Thus many of Jesus' teachings are upheld and bantered about in these human spiritual movements, with the man himself being allotted the irrefutable status of a master of spiritual enlightenment. But for those who ascribe to this view, it is obvious that they are not seeing the overall picture. Rather they are selectively using some of Jesus' teachings to promote their Godless spirituality, while ignoring and overlooking the many references in these teachings to God's timeless existence and active presence. In fact, Jesus not only taught emphatically that God is an integral factor in spiritual life; it might be said that one of his fiercest oppositional stances was taken precisely against those who tried to promote a strictly human Godless brand of spirituality.

Jesus did not merely speak about God. He consistently demonstrated the power of God in his ministerial work. Not only this, but the manner in which his miracles were performed was always self-effacing and ego less. He never once failed to give credit to God for both his works and his teaching, saying to his astonished listeners, "My teaching is not my own. It comes from him who sent me." (John 7:16). And, "I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself." (John 5:19).

Furthermore, Jesus was a champion of the poor in spirit - that is those wounded and bruised souls who have been devastated by the strictly human spirit of strength and violence operating in this world. He was especially incensed that this worldly spirit had so thoroughly infiltrated the spiritual-religious community of his day. In his view there was no greater travesty than watching these sincere humble souls become the prey of Godless spiritualists. For he recognized that such a development was tantamount to rubbing salt in their already gaping wounds.

No, Jesus' message was anything but Godless. In fact, if anything it was reflective of total God-absorption. To Jesus, God not only existed; God was the one true reality in this life. God was all and in all - the eternal, everlasting life of being. In other words, the idea that God could be locked out of one's spiritual pursuit would have struck Jesus as ludicrous.

So it is that we here at uphold Jesus' view that human beings can do nothing without God. We can never achieve anything of any lasting worth, but rather are utterly dependent upon God to bring about a demonstration of true goodness in our lives. We do not, however, view this as a religious phenomenon, nor even as an impersonally spiritual one. Rather the inclusion of God in human affairs is more universally realistic than anything else.

Human life is essentially spiritual in nature, and God is Spirit. Therefore we are, in truth, all children of God. What this means is that the blueprint for optimal human living involves an acceptance and acknowledgement of God's existence and influence over our lives. To harden ourselves to this truth is to turn human life into a nightmare of Darwinian striving and oppression.

Throughout this age of Adam God has been much maligned and misrepresented in the human scene. The climate of our civilization has become utterly humanistic. But even now, even with such a strong tide of human insistence working against us, we can still find God in our midst. This was Jesus' foremost message to us: "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5:3). God's kingdom is here; it is in and all around us. His reward and recompense are with Him. All we have to do is give Him a chance.

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