Tag Archives: Creation

LIVING YOUR DESIRED FUTURE IN THE PRESENT – Part 12 – Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself

TO LISTEN TO PART 12  OF THE STUDY GROUP, CLICK HERE

This audio tape is the studied chapter from the book Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself,  by Joe Dispenza, which you can purchase on Amazon.  We are also excerpting the music of Peter Kater and R. Carlos Nakai , “Becoming Human” and Wade Imre Morissette “Still,” which can be purchased on i-Tunes.
“You have all the neurological machinery to transcend time, to make this a skill. What some might call miracles, I describe as cases of individuals working toward changing their state of being, so that their bodies and minds are no longer merely a record of their past but become active partners, taking steps to a new and better future.”
“Transcending the Big Three: Peak Experiences and Ordinary Altered States of Consciousness At this point, you understand that the main obstacle to breaking the habit of being yourself is thinking and feeling equal to your environment, your body, and time. . . .”

We will continue on Monday, at 8 PM, by calling 218-936-4986, pass code 48201.
Enjoy our other websites uplifting a consciousness of grace at http://www.spiritmuvmeditation.com (we are on over 1000 days of a meditation challenge); http://www.spiritmuvvideo.com (we post videos for our Miracle Minute Meditation, as well as our Metaphysical Bible Journey); http://www.spiritmuvblog.com (where we continue to uplift our community of growth in consciousness); http://www.myrtletreepress.webs.com (our publishing website); and http://www.spiritmuv.com (our main website).
IMAGES BY GEORGE REDHAWK

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OUR CALLING IS LIBERATION – COMPLETE FREEDOM IN GOD

The call to spiritual transformation is the call to freedom.

It is a prophetic call heard within the depths of the mind, heart and soul, a calling from God, resonating in our consciousness, in our environment, in each every breath that we breathe and space that we take up.

It is a voice of strength, illuminating us with faith.  It is a voice of deliverance, reminding us of our freedom.  It is a voice of power, anointing us with grace.  It is a voice of divinity, blessing us with love.  It emanates everything that embraces us: the blood in our veins, the cells in our bodies, the vision that we move forward in.

If you listen, you can hear it, feel it, touch it, taste it, dance it, sing it, clap it: an ancestral call to raise us from semi-consciousness to a state where we can see God.

Malidoma Patrice Some teaches us that “ancestors have an intimate and absolutely vital connection with the world of the living.  They are always available to guide, to teach, and to nurture.  They represent one of the pathways between the knowledge of this world and the next. . . . [T]hey embody the guidelines for . . .all that is most valuable about life.”  (Of Water and Spirit  (Putnam: New York, 1994) at p. 9)
If I am still, I can hear them distinctly – not downtrodden as they were in the physical world, but holy and divine.  Their call is one of deliverance.   It is a call heard in the midnight hour, in the rustling of the leaves, in the sip of the living water: a call to Spirit and to Truth.

It is a call that no one can stifle, even those who refuse to hear it. It is a call that is at once collective and individual. In order to recognize our worth as individuals and as a species, we must not merely hear it but respond to it. No matter what our life circumstances may be, we are always free to do so.

Enslaved Africans heard the call, and their survival is a testament to their response. God called on many of our ancestors in a profound way, and great men and women like Nat Turner, Frederick Douglas, Harriet Tubman, and Sojourner Truth listened and acted.

Take Sojourner Truth, for example. Her spiritual transformation began when she had a vision that her former “master,” from whom she had escaped, would visit. Truth told her “mistress and master” that her former “master” would come that day and she would leave with him. Her current “owners” were surprised because they had not heard that he would come.

Sojourner Truth took her child and prepared to leave with him. As she approached him, however, she had a more compelling vision: “God revealed himself to her . . . [and showed] that He was all over — that He pervaded the Universe.”

Even though she was physically enslaved, Truth realized that “there was no place, not even in hell, where [God] was not.” When her attention was finally “called to outward things, she observed her `former master’ had left” without her and her child. She walked back into the house, “exclaiming aloud, `Oh, God, I did not know you were so big.’” (Narrative of Sojourner Truth (as told by Sojourner Truth), at 35-36)
God is big indeed–a power too awesome and all- encompassing to even conceptualize. God fills our hearts; embraces our bodies, blesses our souls, lights the sky above our heads, strengthens the earth under our feet. God is the sun and the stars and the moon.

God is the essence of life, in which we live and move and have our being. When we begin to acknowledge that God is awesome and we are made in God’s image and likeness – not a he God but male and female, according to Genesis – we open our consciousness to realize the awesomeness of our own true nature.

Harriet Tubman understood the power of the Divine and trusted in the Presence of God. She escaped enslavement herself and risked being recaptured, beaten, and killed when she returned again and again to help hundreds of Africans escape slavery in this country. Her courage and strength are indicative of her deep faith in the power of God.

During one mission in a bitter snowstorm, she found that the enslaved Africans she intended to help escape were not at their appointed meeting place. With only a tree for shelter, she did not turn back and refuse to wait in the storm. Apparently knowing God would protect her, she stood behind the tree for the entire night in the snowstorm until those she came to help arrived.

The abolitionists who wrote of this account depicted her as an ignorant child instead of a powerful spirit woman and “her people’s” trust of God as naive. But Jesus taught us that we must be childlike–that is unconditional and complete–in our trust to enter the kingdom. Harriet Tubman and many others suffered the indignity and horror of American slavery, yet the tremendous power of God kept them moving toward freedom.

Despite the beatings and other insane acts of violence against the minds and bodies of enslaved Africans in this country, no one could master them as long as they mastered their own consciousness. Even if we appear to be free, we are “slaves” to external conditions if we do not embrace our own self-worth and master our own mind, soul, and spirit.

By external conditions, I mean the things we can see with the physical eye – the appearance of poverty, the appearance of illness, the appearance of terror. Of course, these things do exist in the material world, but we do not have to be controlled by them. When we realize that God is the movement and momentum underlying all things and that we live, move, and have our being in God, we attain mastery over ourselves.

Sojourner Truth was her own master because she was directly connected with Spirit. Despite her circumstances, she was called to transform herself into a powerful leader when she realized that God is everywhere and bigger than any man-made institution or three-dimensional, time-bound realm.
God moved Sojourner Truth to sojourn for Truth in a manner that would liberate not only herself but other captured Africans. She remains a master teacher of the principle that God is much larger than any beliefs or concepts we might have – larger even than existence as we know it. Her life and the lives of other Africans in this country are a critical example, rarely acknowledged, of how the recognition of God pushes us far beyond even our greatest expectations.

Like Sojourner Truth, Nat Turner, who led a slave revolt in Virginia in 1831, was one of the greatest spiritual masters of his time. He claimed that the “Spirit” spoke to him, saying, “Seek ye the kingdom of Heaven and all things shall be added unto you.” By Spirit, he meant “the Spirit that spoke to the prophets in former days. “ Turner prayed continually for two years “whenever [his] duty would permit – and . . . had the same revelation, which fully confirmed that [he] was ordained for some great purpose in the hands of the Almighty.” (The Confessions of Nat Turner, The Leader of the Late Insurrections in Southampton, Va., As fully and voluntarily made to Thomas R. Gray, Nov. 5, 1831) Turner understood that obedience to the call of God is the source of true freedom.

What do these African American prophets teach us? That when we recognize the presence of God everywhere in our lives and open our consciousness to tap God’s infinite power, we can do more than we could ever imagine – not so much for our personal gain but for the benefit of all humanity, which is where our true worth lies. We are able to taste the sweetness of freedom when we realize that there is no separation between all that we are and all that God Is.

 

OVERCOMING TIME – Part 11 – Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself

TO LISTEN TO PART 10 OF THE STUDY GROUP, CLICK HERE

This audio tape is the studied chapter from the book Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself,  by Joe Dispenza, which you can purchase on Amazon.  We are also excerpting the music of Peter Kater and R. Carlos Nakai , “Call to Enchantment” and “Honoring,” which can be purchased on i-Tunes.

We will continue tomorrow at 8 PM, by calling 218-936-4986, pass code 48201.
Enjoy our other websites uplifting a consciousness of grace at http://www.spiritmuvmeditation.com (we are on over 1000 days of a meditation challenge); http://www.spiritmuvvideo.com (we post videos for our Miracle Minute Meditation, as well as our Metaphysical Bible Journey); http://www.spiritmuvblog.com (where we continue to uplift our community of growth in consciousness); http://www.myrtletreepress.webs.com (our publishing website); and http://www.spiritmuv.com (our main website).

COLLATERAL BEAUTY

collateralLast night, I was watching Will Smith’s movie Collateral Beauty, about a man who loses his only child, a daughter who was only six years old, and the pain that he grows through in order to return to himself.  The movie raises the question what is “collateral beauty”?  We always talk about collateral damage, the negative secondary or by-product of an accident, catastrophe or tragedy that brings additional pain, hurt, injury, and suffering.  But we never talk about collateral “beauty,” which is, to me, the ability to see the glass half-full instead of half-empty, the ability to see the presence of God, even in the midst of messiness, turmoil and strife.
collateral2 The movie Collateral Beauty focuses on three attributes, which in many respects reflect mind, body and soul: death, time and love.

Paul would say that we die daily, that in each breath we are given the opportunity to be renewed, to leave the old and begin again.  No matter what we experience, we have the ability to re-invent ourselves.  Even if we have made some transgressions, we can forgive ourselves and start all over again.  Spirit is unconditional love.  That Divine Mind of Absolute Good that we call God is the pure energy of forgiveness, of unconditional grace.  Every breath that we breathe allows us to embrace a new existence.
collateral4The collateral beauty of our challenges is that they allow us to re-start, to re-invent, to re-create, to re-establish who we are – to get rid of the old so that the new can emerge.  In John 8:51, Jesus says “Very truly I tell you, whoever obeys my word will never see death.”   Nothing and no one can destroy the pure presence of Spirit expressing as us.  So we get up from our mats and walk.  We rise like a phoenix from the ashes.  In three days, we find our temples restored.

nature-animation-gif-6It doesn’t matter what or who we are confronted with in the world, nothing or no one is too great for God.  Even what others mean for evil, God means for good.  As the scripture teaches us, the battle is not ours, it is God’s.  No weapon formed against us shall prosper.

Similarly, time is a construct created to attempt to contain our spiritual experiences or physical realities, but they are really without limitation.  Our bodies are more Spirit than flesh.  The collateral by-product of our challenges is that we realize time is only the appearance of limitation.  Proverbs 17:17 says “a friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.”  Our true friend is the timelessness and limitlessness of God.  In God’s time, we are ageless.  In God’s time, we are at the beginning and end of creation.  In God’s time, we are eternally beautiful, and the right time is wherever we are.

rain-in-forest-wallpaperThe collateral beauty of disaster or difficulty is that we can experience the fullness of the perfect divine order of life, realizing that despite appearances, we are in our right space at our right time.

I see God in my life, despite the appearances of difficulties.  I rise above the fray to position myself in the divine flow of Spirit expressing through me.  The collateral beauty is the strength that Spirit expresses in this lift above pain, above disappointment, above betrayal, above fear into the realm of absolute good.

springtimeCollateral beauty is more difficult to see because we are distracted from seeing the good everywhere present, the birth of Spirit all around us, the widow’s oil that keeps pouring, the baskets of fish and bread left over.  The Psalmist says (27:4) One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.”

Collateral beauty is our first step to finding the temple within.  The temple is love.

The letters of John leave a prophetic message: love is God.

rainbow3So even when we are blinded by the events and transgressions of the world, through their impact, we are given a new vision: one that allows us to see God in every word, every breath, every event, and every circumstance.

I can complain forever.  I can fear without ceasing.  I can stop creating.  I can worry about what others say.  I can cross over into a boundary of unhappiness so restrictive that I can stop living, like Will Smith’s character did.  He retreated into a world of pain and misery.

sunsetOr I can step out into the sunlight of a new day, a day that I have never seen before.  I can release the baggage of yesterday.  I can climb a new mountain and cross the waters of new faith, realizing that this, too, shall pass, but more importantly, that this – whatever this is, is the blessing of collateral beauty: a small crack in the universe, where I can see God.

 

 

THE QUANTUM YOU – Part 1 – Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself

TO LISTEN TO PART 1 OF THE STUDY GROUP, CLICK HERE
 
This audio tape is an excerpt from the studied chapter “THE QUANTUM breaking-the-habit-of-being-yourselfYOU,” from the book Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself,  by Joe Dispenza, which you can also purchased on Amazon.

We will continue our Monday calls at 8 PM, by calling 218-936-4986, pass code 48201.

Enjoy our other websites uplifting a consciousness of grace at http://www.spiritmuvmeditation.com (we are on over 1000 days of a meditation challenge); http://www.spiritmuvvideo.com (we post videos for our Miracle Minute Meditation, as well as our Metaphysical Bible Journey); http://www.spiritmuvblog.com (where we continue to uplift our community of growth in consciousness); http://www.myrtletreepress.webs.com (our publishing website); and http://www.spiritmuv.com (our main website).

GIVING THANKS FOR THE DIVINE WITHIN: GOD AS INDIVIDUAL BEING


img_5609-2This is from a previous class on the teachings of Joel Goldsmith.
Joel GoldsmithThis was taken from the 7th Section of Joel’s book
Living by Grace and from
“Evaluating Your Spiritual Progress”  which is in
the end of the 6th Section.
Joel Goldsmith 2

Join us as we listen to the divine within.

The music is several different versions of Amazing Grace by Ladysmith Black Mambazo,
Walela and a piano solo called Amazing Grace.
Please help us support these artists by purchasing
this powerful meditation music on i-Tunes.

A PRAYER FOR WORK

” Yoarthlighothworld.  A city on a hill cannot be hidden.  Neithedo people light a lamp and put it under a bowl.  Instead,theyputitonitsstandanigives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds anpraisyour Father in heaven.”
(
Matthew 5:14–16)
love 103

alovawork, saluting the divinity in everyone and every situation.  

Nothinannoncakeemgoofromworkplace, from those whom I supervise, from those who I serve, frothoswhprovidservicetme.

alovialthings.  bless those with whom I work
and I release them to their greatest good.

 I embrace God’s love for me.
aabltmovbeyonthcomforoanboxes within which I have limited myself
anallow God’s love to use me for even greater things than these.PRAY2alovialthings.
Lovgivewatmbeinmbest, giving my best,
accomplishinmbest.

dnodweligossip, or envy, or struggle. I am able to be the best that I am called to be by realizing that I am a blessing, that I have special gifts and talents, that I have something unique to offer, and brinwho I am and the knowledge that I have in the obedience that I am.

alovialthings, a love that is success, a love that is joy, a love that is victorious. I am love in all things.

Lovpenetratemadversaries. Regardless of the situation, love manifests me as a winner.
PRAY6

This is a prayer that we give our best to our work environment, regardless of what shape it may take or where it might be or what it might demand, and that we come to it not so much expecting it to give to us but for us to give to it. May we find there whatever is in
accordance with Spirit’s desire for our growth. May we perform no task out of greed or selfishness or deceit.
PRAY10This is a prayer that we not lose ourselves in the fabric of the law firm, the corporate world, the police force, the military, the government, the university, the hospital—or wherever we find ourselves collectively giving to society—but that we understand that Spirit put us there for a reason, and part of that reason is what we as individuals bring as separate, creative expressions of Spirit.

lightThis is a prayer that we have the vision and the faith to celebrate our gifts with every task that we perform by never being afraid to speak our truths and tell our stories and do our best. Being the best at who we are in all of our imperfections, not perfection itself, is a blessing.
PRAY8This is a prayer that we put our egos aside to contribute what we can, whatever guise it may take, and that we be there to mentor those who need mentoring and that we grow and improve ourselves and increase our knowledge. We pray that we continually bless others in ways we cannot even imagine.
light3

This is a prayer that we use the work environment to cultivate whatever gifts and talents we have and take them out into the world to continue to develop them and to bless others by doing so. We are constantly growing, constantly learning, and constantly developing better judgment and greater resources, which can ultimately contribute to even greater good, productivity and peace than we currently experience.
LIGHT 5

Each lesson, each test, each job, and each performance inevitably prepares us for the next. Life strengthens us through our challenges and our struggles and even our suffering; and the lessons that we learn, the strength that we develop, the faith that we nurture through our experiences at work – whether they appear to be positive or negative – serve us as well as our workplaces because they enhance our creativity, courage, and commitment.
light31If others second-guess our skills and abilities, it only shows their shortcomings, their fears, and their need to grow, not our own. More importantly, the opinions of others are grossly over-rated and give us an opportunity to trust our own judgment. This means that we must be open-minded and receptive to good advice but know the difference between someone else’s judgment and our own wisdom – by developing a discernment that is not merely intellectual but Spirit- based.
Mary and MarthaCentering in Spirit helps us stand strong in the workplace, to be a tremendous success and a great asset because Spirit guides us continuously. Regardless of what we are doing, all we need to do is to be open and receptive to that guidance.
beauty eightThis is a prayer that we center ourselves in the guidance that Spirit gives us, especially in the midst of those who do not recognize our greatness, those who question our worth, those who diminish what we can offer. Only God realizes our greatness, and God puts us in our right time, at our appointed place to contribute, develop, and move forward. This is a prayer for us to shine our light, our gifts, our talents – that only we can offer.
PRAY11This is a prayer that we find a space for Spirit at work. We spend such an enormous amount of time giving to our jobs and our businesses that if we do not take Spirit there, it is absent for 75% or more of the time that we live. There is no separation between us and Spirit merely because we leave church, or temple, or synagogue, or mosque. This is a prayer that we continue to be centered in Spirit—particularly in places that are most in need of its presence. This is a prayer that we allow Spirit to use us and to be so centered in Spirit that we realize it is with us—especially at work. This is a prayer that we open our consciousness to the presence of Spirit in the mundane and everyday, ordinary encounter. . . .
Prayers Cover for CreateSpaceTHIS IS AN EXCERPT FROM REV. LOVING’S BOOK
Prayers for Those Standing on the Edge of Greatness,
which can be purchased on Amazon by clicking here, or wherever books are sold.

Look out for the sequel in 2016!

GOD ALONE

Rev Loving listening to SpiritJoel Goldsmith wrote that the “answer, the solution to all problems, is the realized Christ . . . . Christ risen in our consciousness, Christ raised up from the tomb through meditation.”  He says that we should devote one meditation period alone each day to God: “God alone.”

In this period of God alone, we center ourselves in God and ask for We lovednothing.  This is the ultimate communion – to just be in God’s presence, to just sit in the kingdom, to just be a witness to the activity of Christ in our minds, light in our bodies, and grace in our souls.

Circle of PrayerIn the kingdom, we can trace our steps backward from the far country with the assurance that our deliverance is eternal and find ourselves, once again covered in the best robes of salvation.

In the kingdom, we return the garden that gives without ceasing.  We see the fruit that has always been hanging. We realize that it was never eaten, that even when it is plucked, its branches remain low for our reach.  Our fruit remains fresh in the awareness that there is neither good nor evil, only God alone.

Spiritmuv Prayer Circle 3God is a Brown Girl Too 2010 Retreat 073Here, in the heart of God, I see Moses.  He never died.  He simply became that which truth is and always will be.  He had no need to enter that which he already was.  This is the space of sacred breath and gentle silence.

I sit on the edge of nothingness into not one – but thousands, millions, infinite meditations that do nothing but listen.

Just one breath breathing into another is holier than a song.  This is where we find ourselves in the loving embrace of Jesus’ eyes as he carried our cross.  I will never leave you nor forsake you, he said.  I will send the Holy Spirit to be your teacher, counselor and guide.

The Holy Spirit is neither Christian, nor Muslim, nor Hindu, nor Jew but is that vast intersection of all faiths, struggling for expression when all they have to do is listen.

WHAT YOU NEED TO LEARN TO UNLEARN – PART 1

Cecilia July 4 2012 HeadshotEach Saturday, we devote ourselves to reading and discussing God is a Brown Girl Too on our “Self-Empowerment Call” from 9:30 AM to 10:30 AM, at 567-314-3648, Pass Code 48201.

One of the things that we often discuss is what we have to un-learn.  The truth is that many of us have no idea why we believe what we do.  We do not know the history of our indoctrination nor do we question it.

The following is the first of several excerpts from papers that I have written about theology which serve as the foundation for God is a Brown Girl Too.   We were born as depraved sinners; we were taught to believe that we are powerless, even though Jesus Christ taught that the kingdom is in us; that the Holy Spirit is in us; that the Father is in us; and that He is in us.

a-soul-sings-to-her-mother1

The following is an excerpt from  African American Spiritual Traditions,
which was written in May 2004.  It discusses why some people fail to believe that the power of God is within them.

THE SIGNIFICANT DIFFERENCES BETWEEN EASTERN AND WESTERN ANCIENT UNDERSTANDINGS OF THE ROLES OF JESUS CHRIST AND THE HOLY SPIRIT

Although the formal division of the Church into separate Eastern (Greece and the Near East) and Western (Western Europe) churches occurred in 1054 in the Great Schism between Rome and Constantinople, there had been a growing division in the way these two churches or theologies understood the role of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit for hundreds of years.

On the one hand, the East practiced the same theology that  Christ gave to the Apostles and that the Apostles gave to the early church fathers.  The East was also influenced by the Egyptian desert fathers[1], who practiced rigid asceticism to combat their physical passion in order to enhance their Oneness with God.

A

Western churches, on the other hand, were largely influenced by Augustine of Hippo, and to a lesser extent, Tertullian.   A1

Augustine, who was born in Africa though said to be a Roman citizen, has been called one of the greatest theologians of Western Christianity.  Their Fourth Century writings had little influence in the East, largely because they were written in Latin as opposed to Greek.[2]    (See Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia, “Eastern Orthodoxy”, http://en.www.wikipedia.org )

Eastern theologians relied more on Greek philosophers, borrowing their language to explain Christian doctrine.  Significant differences between Western and Eastern ancient understandings of the roles of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit are reflected in their understanding of (A) the “origin and procession of the Holy Spirit”, and (B) the “specific work of the Spirit in God’s plan of creation and salvation”.[3]

  1. The Origin and Procession of the Holy Spirit

The early Christian Church was troubled by disagreement over the nature and relationship of the Trinity.   The West saw the Holy Spirit as proceeding – and therefore originating — from both the Father and the Son, subordinate to neither.  The East saw the Holy Spirit as proceeding or originating from the Father alone.   According to the East, the Father alone brought forth the Holy Spirit; and the Son sent the Holy Spirit as the indwelling paraclete.

The Nicene Creed, established in 325 AD to conform Christian belief, is one of the key documents setting forth this fundamental difference in perception.  It, in part, sets forth:

“We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father . . .”

A-3The First Council of Constantinople adopted a revised version of the 325 AD creed in 381 AD, which was the last time that Catholic and Orthodox communions would agree on a Credo.  The phrase “and the Son”, which is the filioque in Latin, was added to the Nicene Creed at Synod of Toledo in Spain in 447 AD,[4] so that it read the Holy Spirit “who proceeds from the Father and the Son.”

West v East

Augustine of Hippo wrote that “the Holy Spirit is neither of the Father alone nor the Son but of both” – stressing their “unity.”  His view was if Spirit proceeded from both the Father and the Son,[5] then the work of the Holy Spirit collapsed into that of the Son.

But in John 15:26 (“when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me”), Jesus Christ  tells us that the Spirit proceeds from the Father – a scripture that the East constantly adduce in their criticism of the filioque clause of the West.

Father

The East follows the Johnanine doctrine closely, which distinguishes between the generation of the son (John 1:14 — and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth; John 3:16 —for God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son; and Luke 3:22 — and the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from Heaven which said “You are my Beloved Son; in You I am well pleased” ) and the procession of the Spirit.

A-4

“Athanasius and the Cappadocians [Gregory of Nyssa, his older brother St. Basil or Basil the Great, and Gregory of Nazianzus] emphasized the participation of all three hypostases in all divine activity as a consequence and condition of their unity of essence.”  Systematic Theology, at 271 (citations omitted).   The Apostle John saw the Holy Spirit as the “other advocate” or paraclete who the Father will send in the name of Jesus or whom Jesus will send after exaltation by the Father (John 16:7 – “if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you”).

John 16 7

Consistent with John, the Eastern view was that the Holy Spirit issued from God the Father, through Jesus the Christ, so that God-Jesus Christ-Holy Spirit are viewed as three divine and unique hypostases.  The  Spirit proceeded from the Father through the Son and was perfected in the Holy Spirit.  Gregory of Nyssa, the younger brother of St. Basil, explained this procession as “three torches burning”, with each transmitting fire to the next; the Son being used as an instrument of the Father.  St. Basil believed God created through the Son and perfected through the Holy Spirit.

2.  The Specific Work of the Spirit in Creation and Salvation

The “original sin” was allegedly inherited at the creation of humanity from the Fall of Adam and Eve.  The West believes that after the Fall, humanity needed a savior to restore their right relationship with God.  Thus, Jesus Christ is the savior to restore humanity from sin. The East, however, believe that the “original sin” was not inherited but salvation is an ongoing process of improvement and healing for humanity  as a whole, all of which has been damaged or “tainted” by the Fall.

adam

Under early Western theological thought, the only way for a wretched and depraved humanity to receive the salvation of the Holy Spirit from the sin that was its so-called birth right was through the church.  To the West, only the church and the Bishop had the ability to dispense the gifts of the Holy Spirit.  Ignatius, the Bishop of Antioch even wrote in one of his famous letters that “You should all follow the Bishop as Jesus did the Father.”    There was no individual anointing by the Holy Spirit as that could lead to heresy and confusion.  The West wanted full control; so there was only the anointing of the church.  In other words, to get the Holy Ghost, you had to go to church.  To speak in tongues, you had to go to church.  To receive the gift of prophecy, you had to be in church.

Eastern theologians, however, viewed spirituality as an individual experience.  This was likely inspired by the Egyptian desert fathers’ practice of rigid asceticism and control over themselves as individuals.  For example,  Gregory of Nazianzen, one of the Cappadocian Fathers, was concerned that the Holy Spirit not be suppressed.  Similarly, Gregory of Nyssa believed that our experience of the Holy Spirit is based, in part, on our Free Will to move from “Glory to Glory” and that the Kingdom of God is within us.  Macarius said that no part of the soul is covered with darkness; all of the soul is covered in spiritual light.

In the East, Gregory, Chrysostom and Macarius espoused the general view that we were made in the image of God.  The so-called original sin was just a taint.  Moreover, it was the result of humanity’s ability to exercise its God-given free will.  Chrysostom believed that evil was not a part of human nature, even though we may have a tendency to exercise our will to do what appears pleasurable but may be evil.  Despite the fact that the Fall tarnished the image of God (a result of “moral negligence”), God’s purpose is to restore humans to their original pristine perfection.  Athanasius described this concept of theosis:  “The Son of God became man that we night become God.” 

John Wesley said that “no man sins because he has not grace, but because he does not use the grace which he hath.”  Spirit — under this Eastern perspective —  could not be confined to the church.  This is consistent with the way Spirit moved in the lives of the nineteenth century African American women.  The church was not receptive to them, but they still received the glory of God, the salvation of Jesus Christ, and the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Sin was always projected on to brown skinned women everywhere; they were condemned, ridiculed, raped, oppressed, ostracized, sexually exploited, physically abused, mentally tortured – and needed to understand the Truth, that they are glorious, beloved, sacred daughters of God, blessed by Her Love and Her Grace.  As Sojourner Truth said, God is an ocean of Love and we move in Him like Fish in the Sea.

Sojourner

The Western perception of the Holy Spirit  produced a negative anthropological stance.  If everyone was a depraved sinner, tarnished forever from the fall of Adam and Eve, then the black woman, one of the most despised creatures – by white men, white women and black men worldwide – would be at the very bottom of depravity and sin.  The irony of this is that Eve, the oldest bones found in Africa, said to be the mother of all civilization had to be black.  According to the Discovery Channel’s documentary on Eve, all people were born from her; their pigmentation changed over time.  Nevertheless, under the Western Church rigid view of sin, Eve and her children can never be fully saved from their sins, except through Jesus for which there is no perfect salvation.

Those who attend church based on the Western school of thought, perceive themselves as sinners, who can never be saved.  They call on Jesus as their Savior, but look to the hereafter as the only way to experience true happiness.

The East has a more positive anthropological stance.   If the Fall is perceived as merely a taint or “moral negligence”, a sin for which we were acquitted when Jesus the Christ died upon the cross and was resurrected, we can redeem ourselves with the aid of the Holy Spirit, by baptism and rebirth, by the teachings of Jesus the Christ, and by the grace of God Our Father.

In John 14:12, Jesus said “He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do.”   If we believe that we can attain the stature of the Christ, we can do so without the church, without the bishop, without the pastor, or the preacher, or the congregation of so-called saints.  Jesus Christ taught at the temple, but he did not worship at church.

Jesus said, in John 10:34-35, “it is not written in your law, I said, ye are Gods.”

Paul said “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you.”

A more positive theology opens up the depraved sinner’s consciousness to the realization that she is not depraved, nor a sinner, nor worthless – but the worthy mother of civilization and co-creator of all things.

She has a specific work to do to restore humanity’s divine image;  she is capable of unfolding her perfection;  salvation is hers.

(Part 2 will be added next week.  References are below. )

[1] These anchorites or hermits sometimes led a life of prayer deep in the desert, spending time in prayer and meditation while denying themselves of food and sleep (e.g., Anthony, eating a few crumbs every second day, while walled up in a fort; he received visitations from angels, demons, wild animals, and other apparitions).  Dorotheus lived 6o years in a cave, sleeping while sitting up.  Macarius stood upright through the entire period of Lent.  Syrian ascetics were known to place themselves in holes; one slept in a hollowed-out log full of thorns and stones.  Some took off all of their clothes and grazed on herbs and grass like animals.  The Syrian stylites spent their lives praying at the top of tall stone pillars (e.g., Simeon lived 40 years atop a 50 foot stone pillar).  Not all anchorites were men; many were women!  (Lange, Stuart, “Searching for Intimacy with the Desert Fathers”, Reality Magazine, Issue 40.)

[2] All branches of Eastern Orthodoxy trace a continuous apostolic succession back to the five early centers of Christianity: Rome, Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria, and Constantinople. The Western tradition is largely seen as Catholicism and Protestantism (e.g., the Roman Catholic Church).

[3] Quotes without citations are taken from Dr. Anne Rebecca Elliott’s dissertation, African American Women’s Understanding off the Spirit: Ancient Eastern Pneumatological Influences (1998).

[4] The dispute over the filioque clause and the manner of its adoption helped lead to the great schism 600 years later.

[5]  The “result”, however is “not in keeping with the witness of the scripture.”  Wolfhart Pannenberg, Systematic Theology  (1991),  at 317.  In fact, Western theology is now reaching a consensus that the filioque is “uncanonical” and the “Augustinian doctrine of the procession of the Spirit from the Father is an inappropriate formulation.”  Id. at 318 and n. 181.