Loving Enough from Belief and Experience in a World of Possibilities and Probabilities

Welcome to Wondercafe2!

A community where we discuss, share, and have some fun together. Join today and become a part of it!

jimkenney12

Well-Known Member
Pronouns
He/Him/His
After being spurred to work on another book or collection of writings, I downloaded almost all of my posts from two Facebook Pages I created. The following message was the last item I posted on Belief and Experience in a World of Possibilities and Probablities. My purpose for that page was to post reflections or comments on the intersections of those four conepts, considering how what we believe affects how we interpret our experiences in responding to the possibilities and probablities in life.

2019 04 27 Here is the message I used in April 2018 04 22 To Love Enough 1 John 3:16-24

My message today is to love enough is to be close enough to God to have enough power to do incredible things.

Before I begin, here is what I mean by love and God. The Greek word for love in this reading is agape. I was taught that it meant self-giving love. It is the love we see in verse 16 where love is seen in Jesus laying down his life for us. Love is an action verb, not a feeling verb.

When I talk about God, I mean a quantum God. I do not fully understand the nature of God, but my experiences of feeling God's presence in my life provide feelings that point to things I believe about God. Quantum theory deals with the reality that photons and electrons behave like particles and like waves. Sometimes God feels like a deity, like a person capable of meeting me as an individual. Sometimes God is a feeling or a sense of something like energy flowing through the world and through my life. These experiences produce feelings of peace, flow, power, and possibility. My love for God feeds on both kinds of experiences and results in different effects in me.

The personal God experiences help me feel loved and challenged. The wave God experiences energize me for living, build trust in my capacity to make a difference, give me strength for confronting challenges.

Both kinds of experiences come out of and contribute to loving others enough to dare to try to make a difference.

I love thunderstorms, the wilder the better. There is tremendous power and energy in a robust thunderstorm, and I enjoy the thrill of being close to that kind of power. It is like the thrill of canoeing down a long set of class 1 to class 3 rapids, to be close to all that power and energy.

Feeling close to God brings a similar feeling of being close to great power, power that makes the impossible possible, and this feeling can last longer than the thrill of a thunderstorm or riding rapids. As reported by the author of our reading today, that feeling depends on loving enough.

This kind of love, love that gives of self for the good of others, grows in a spiral. Loving a little brings us a bit closer to God. Feeling closer to God frees us to love more which helps us feel closer to God, which frees us to love even more.

As described by Shelley Spence on Good Friday, Jesus loved God enough, loved people enough to choose to live in a way certain to lead to his death. He sought to save lives, not souls, and that needed a different kind of relationship between people and with God.

What he said threatened the power of religious and secular authorities who relied on a dynamic of fear and duty instead of love and respect.

What does that mean to us in this place? If half of us loved enough, you would eventually need at least 2 services every Sunday for all the people who wished to share worship with you. With enough love, Deer Park and St. Andrew's could have new ministries touching the lives of thousands of people. That could begin with half the people here inviting someone new every 6 months to share in worship or other activities. But how many love the life of Deer Park or St. Andrew's enough, love family, friends, neighbours, and acquaintances enough to offer those invitations? What stops us?

Fear is opposite to love. Fear prevents: love enables. What can we do to help each other love enough to be close enough to God to gain the power to do incredible things, like invite people to church?

There are many things we can do.

How many people here would, if able, donate a kidney or part of a liver or bone marrow to a loved friend or relative? That is loving enough.

There is bringing a meal over to a neighbour or friend when there has been a death or a member of the family is in hospital with life-threatening disease or injury. That is loving enough.

For those of us with chronic pain, we can work at loving enough to move from resenting our pain to gratitude that our pain provides proof we are alive. If our pain comes from activities or events that have joy attached to them, we use that pain to remember those times. Spending many hours scooping slush out of ice-fishing holes contribute to pain in my hands. The pain brings memories of sun and fresh air out on the surface of frozen lakes and rivers, hoping to catch some fish, and sometimes succeeding. Sometimes the pain comes from injuries. The pain in my back brings gratitude for not having been hurt worse in my fall down the stairs in Costa Rica and for the pleasure provided by sun, beach and ocean.

Pain easily prompts us to act like grumpy old men and women, but love can prevent that, if we love enough.

Sometimes we feel threatened by change, but change is part of living. If we love God and life enough, we accept and even look for change that celebrates life's and love's possibilities. We dare to get close enough to God to let God's power flow into and through our lives, bringing new changes and new possibilities.

Selling the old building by St. Andrew's revealed enough love to accept and embrace change. The congregation of Deer Park dared welcome St. Andrew's to share in worship. an act of love that countered the fear that many felt, fear of change in a key part of your life as a congregation. That was loving enough.

The members of the four congregations in the last refugee project loved enough to help a refugee family gain a better life.

The members of Deer Park and St. Andrew's who support your community funds love enough to help others experience better lives.

People who support the Mission and Service Fund love the United Church enough to support the work of the wider church in many ways, even when the reality does not live up to the promise and hope.

Presbyteries and conferences irritate me at times, but I loved their promise enough to provide many hours of volunteer time and energy to both. I volunteer on the Planning and Administration Commission to influence decisions that best serve the work of God in this world.

We can love enough that, if someone new sits in the pew where we usually sit, we can cheerfully welcome them, introduce ourselves, and gladly sit somewhere near because they dared to visit here.

We can love enough that, when children or youth get noisy or make us uncomfortable, we choose gratitude that they are here rather than choosing resentment.

We can love enough that, if we feel disappointed by someone else in the life of the church, we take time to understand our feeling of disappointment, and lovingly find a way to talk to them about the disappointment.

We can love enough to look for the best in everyone, refuse domination by our fears, and continually find reasons for gratitude.

Last Sunday, Tom invited everyone to consider their own gospel, their own story of good news. We can love enough, love God and love others, to share our own gospels with other people, to dare to let others know how faith has been good to us.

Our loving builds our relationship with God. According to the author of our reading, it is loving like Jesus loved that we are able to live in God and have God live in us. The more we love, the more we can feel one with God. That relationship provides us with power to make a difference, power that makes the impossible possible.

Please dare to love enough to get close enough to God to access enough power to do incredible things. The ride might be a bit scary sometimes, like shooting rapids, but the experience of being fully human brings unimaginable rewards.

Thanks be to God.
 
If one loves enough will there be enough for everything (all inclusive god as integral) inclusive of considerable patience and appreciation for the details and small items? Without that one get the idiopathy of it is time to depart ... and so something mysterious separates ... a kind of scatter according to the fight-flight syndrome ... allowing for seasons of all kinds! Perhaps a literary device to affiliate with the stuck where they are ...
 
2017 11 17

43 years ago, a friend and colleague asked me to work with him on creating a science dictionary to help students, and others, gain easier access to the mysteries and wonders of science, but I did not follow through. About 23 years ago, I met a doctor of Chinese origin at the Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon where I had gone to visit a member of the congregation I was serving. We had spent close to an hour or more discussing aboriginal, especially Cree, spirituality and medicine, a time in which he did acupuncture on me. He suggested it was time for me to quit reading and start writing to help bridge the gap between indigenous and non-indigenous people, but I did not follow through.

Last night I went to a lecture by Brandan Robertson, a 25-year old leader in speculation on what is happening and where we are going as worshipping communities, and I realized it is time to write.

That science dictionary: Wikipedia and search engines take care of part of the need, and smarter, more knowledgeable writers have created traditional ones. Bridging the gap between indigenous and non-indigenous communities: leadership is coming from the indigenous communities now, and I am especially supportive of Idle No More's first leaders. This gap needs to be closed by people in both communities getting to know each other personally. I may be able to support that from time to time, but I do not believe they need a book by me.

There are many influences on what I believe about the world from my science training and teaching through writers like Ken Wilbur (A Brief History of Everything) and Neale Donald Walsh (his series on communicating with God) to Heinlein ( A Stranger in a Strange Land) and The Magic of Findhorn (Author's name forgotten). CBC's Ideas programs have been an ongoing influence. Life experiences, spiritual and non-spiritual, have been a testing ground for my evolving beliefs – if a belief does not fit experience, I need to examine both the experience and the belief. This was emphasized in a book about Bernard Lonergan’s theology by a follower.

Finally, there is learning about paradox: one recurring lesson in life is that contradictory experiences often hang together somehow.

I hold many beliefs within the awareness of other explanations for my observations – while some ways of looking at the world feel best to me, I acknowledge that another explanation may be the correct one. In the writing I am undertaking, I will try to frame each belief within what I see as the range of possibilities for that area of thought or experience.
 
2017 11 17 Continued
A Cosmic View

I believe that Mind/Spirit/God existed first, and somehow MSG caused the beginning of the physical existence which we now experience. Like Bruce Sanguin (Darwin, Divinity and Dance of the Cosmos) I believe the universe reflects the self-giving nature of MSG on a path to creation of higher orders of complexity. There is the possibility there is no MSG, that the Big Bang was a cosmic accident or an expression of deep laws of science we have yet to learn and that we may be incapable of learning because of our short life spans. Physicists can speculate about things they cannot directly detect (dark matter and dark energy), and we can speculate about God.

Spirit

Like Magic of Findhorn I believe there is a spiritual dimension or parallel something which connects with the physical world through "thin" or "bridge" places. I also believe in synchronicity, and look to quantum physics/mechanics to eventually provide answers as to how we are somehow and sometimes connected to people we do not know, sometimes over great distances.

While there are old and new traditions about various practices that can help us experience spiritual or God connections, I believe an important factor is attitude. What we refuse to believe, we become blind to seeing. I hope to remember to spend time on spiritual practices later in this project.

Human Equality

I want to believe in the essential equality of all human beings, and a kind of equality with all life, experience challenges my belief.

I begin with the presence of spirit. For me, spirituality is about connection, and, if we are mind, body, and spirit, then there should be visible signs of spirit, of connection.

A member of a congregation once told me that, when she saw some people, all she saw were black balls, no sign of a spiritual component.

Anthroposophical beliefs established by Rudolf Steiner see our spiritual component as a spirit that chooses to enter a human body sometime before birth, and that engages in a struggle with our genetically inherited inclinations during the time our baby teeth are replaced by our permanent teeth.

Reincarnation separates spirit or soul from the physical body.

I want to believe every person is born with a spiritual part, but, if they are, then somehow, for some people, that spiritual part seems to get crippled or killed early in life. While I want to believe that everyone is a spiritual brother or sister, that every person is intended to have a place at the great banquet table, to return to a reunion with MSG, there are other possibilities. For many atheists, there is no such thing as spirit, and Jung is out to lunch with his collective unconsciousness. Maybe some people never had a spiritual part, and are just mind and body. Maybe some people's spirits have been killed while the body and mind lived on.
 
Spirit, or sol are really not that familiar to folks of real physical nature in the process of connecting mind and body ... thus departure and alien experiences ...
in virtue real people dismiss these and thus the put down ... it may resemble a brain storm or turbulence in a fluid organ!

Tis an odd thing for sure ... like Jae Zu in a strange land ... says Hoo? As mortals and limited we cannot know for sure ... unless we extend ... thin change or just thin spirit?
 
I have so much to say to this. Maybe tonight. I'm at work right now. Thanks for posting it. Some interesting ideas there worthy of discussion.
 
I have so much to say to this. Maybe tonight. I'm at work right now. Thanks for posting it. Some interesting ideas there worthy of discussion.

Sounds like a time for composition and arranging of things that buzz about in the head lands ...
 
The problem with thinking about spirit is I do not know of any way of looking at it except through manifestations.

One speculation I considered is that manifestations of what we might call spirit are expression of connections on a quantum level. This is my preferred speculation to explain synchronicity. I suspect mind exists on a quantum level and is somehow connected to a quantum related network.
 
2017 11 17

43 years ago, a friend and colleague asked me to work with him on creating a science dictionary to help students, and others, gain easier access to the mysteries and wonders of science, but I did not follow through. About 23 years ago, I met a doctor of Chinese origin at the Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon where I had gone to visit a member of the congregation I was serving. We had spent close to an hour or more discussing aboriginal, especially Cree, spirituality and medicine, a time in which he did acupuncture on me. He suggested it was time for me to quit reading and start writing to help bridge the gap between indigenous and non-indigenous people, but I did not follow through.

Last night I went to a lecture by Brandan Robertson, a 25-year old leader in speculation on what is happening and where we are going as worshipping communities, and I realized it is time to write.

That science dictionary: Wikipedia and search engines take care of part of the need, and smarter, more knowledgeable writers have created traditional ones. Bridging the gap between indigenous and non-indigenous communities: leadership is coming from the indigenous communities now, and I am especially supportive of Idle No More's first leaders. This gap needs to be closed by people in both communities getting to know each other personally. I may be able to support that from time to time, but I do not believe they need a book by me.

There are many influences on what I believe about the world from my science training and teaching through writers like Ken Wilbur (A Brief History of Everything) and Neale Donald Walsh (his series on communicating with God) to Heinlein ( A Stranger in a Strange Land) and The Magic of Findhorn (Author's name forgotten). CBC's Ideas programs have been an ongoing influence. Life experiences, spiritual and non-spiritual, have been a testing ground for my evolving beliefs – if a belief does not fit experience, I need to examine both the experience and the belief. This was emphasized in a book about Bernard Lonergan’s theology by a follower.

Finally, there is learning about paradox: one recurring lesson in life is that contradictory experiences often hang together somehow.

I hold many beliefs within the awareness of other explanations for my observations – while some ways of looking at the world feel best to me, I acknowledge that another explanation may be the correct one. In the writing I am undertaking, I will try to frame each belief within what I see as the range of possibilities for that area of thought or experience.
Maybe I should learn more of the active aspects of wikipedia rather than the passive aspects. I see a lot of knowledge that aren't easily accessible via a Google search.
 
There is so much to learn out there by chance ... considering how it has scattered for reason (unknown)? Reticence is sort of sacred and rather hidden ... like the reptile brain ... St George's thing ...
 
I will be continuing this thread under Religion and Faith as that is where I meant to post all of it except for the sermon.
 
Back
Top