Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Journey of Awakening – 14: The Lincoln Years—Gathering Storms

My two-year teaching assignment at Cotner was extended for a third year. The professor I was filling in for discovered that he needed another year at Duke to complete his Ph.D. dissertation. So I got a reprieve from having to find a “real” job and could stay in the academic womb a little longer. I had my little family and my slightly larger student body and a growing circle of like-minded friends in the university and church community. I was busy on weekends with preaching in small town churches in eastern Nebraska. I taught several off-campus classes for ministers and lay people. Cotner’s dean sent me to represent the school at Society of Biblical Literature and American Academy of Religion regional and national meetings, which gave me the opportunity to rub shoulders with many of the prominent scholars and writers in the theological and biblical studies world.

The mid-sixties were also times of growing unrest on college campuses. The civil rights movement was in full swing. The anti-Vietnam war protests were heating up. I found myself attending rallies for these two causes and helping to found a peaceful anti-war protest on the edge of the campus. Daily we stood on the sidewalk with signs and made our silent presence known in opposition to the war’s escalation. Students were also organizing volunteers to get on buses leaving from the campus to go to Mississippi and Alabama.

The end of my life in academia was approaching but I was not yet aware of it. I delivered lectures at a Cotner sponsored series on The New Testament Conception of the Ministry and Paul Tillich’s Concept of God, and while I received kudos for my presentation, the life of a scholar was making less and less sense to me. Also, in 1966 I attended a lecture sponsored by the campus YMCA delivered by the new-on-the-scene Dean of the Ecumenical Institute: Chicago, Joe Mathews, who began to rock my world and challenge many of my already shaky beliefs about the way life is.


One quote from his lecture that never left me was: “There is only one absolute in life and that is that there are no absolutes.” After the lecture I had the chance to spend a couple of hours with him in a small group of campus pastors. I literally did not know what to make of this guy. It was like it must have been the first time the disciples encountered Jesus. I did not immediately pick up and follow him back to Chicago, nor was he asking me to. But the seed was planted. Sometimes it takes a few years to blossom, as will be revealed as the story unfolds.


Joe in “5th City” with a community leader on Chicago’s west side.

1 comment:

  1. Namaste, my brother. I respectfully submit my concepts on God. As you are an intelligent man I hope you or your followers may offer discourse to the concepts I put forth.

    You are beginning a journey to determine self. I remember when I first began my search a little over 30 years ago. I knew there must be more love and peace in my life. I knew my religion had deceived me but I was a babe in the woods uncertain of where to turn.

    After careful study of all world religions I came to see how the weaves of ignorance form similar global tapestries. Moving into philosophy I determined greater truth. Advanced science coupled with ancient Shamanic traditions allowed me to escape the illusion of ego self.

    All religions maintain God " CREATED " the universe. This God judges our actions in this life so that he may bestow reward or punishment. Religion will use the carrot and stick to hold sway followers. By example, Catholicism uses heaven and hell, Muslims strive to earn a favored presence with Allah in the afterlife and Buddhists concern themselves with the desire to enjoy a favorable rebirth in the eternal wheel of time.

    Spiritual truth displays a significant contrast. The master understands that God
    " BECAME " the universe. This fundamental shift in understanding allows one to determine all manifest reality is God. You are God, I am God, the desk you sit at and the words you read and write are God. There is nothing which is not God.

    Many people who are faced with this truth will argue; " If all is God then how come there is evil in the world?

    To answer this intelligent query one must understand the natural law of duality. Choice can only be derived from duality, hot cannot be experienced without a reference for cold. Up cannot exist without there being a down. We cannot choose love without an expression of fear to offer contrast. The purpose of being, is in choosing from a plethora of options one inevitable path which will lead back to the unity of ONE. This experiential transit from the ONE to the many and back to the ONE is known in Vedic tradition as the breath of Brahma.

    With this truth instilled in the heart, a person no longer sees the illusion of separation. Instead, we see all as ONE. We release the trappings of ego; fear, want, desire, judgment, lack, hate, self abasement are justly determined as constructs of the primary illusion of separation. Also released are the illusions fed by the ego; time, space, separation, physicality, good verses evil.

    You will never die, you will never be born. You are not the body ego self " I ". You are eternal consciousness, you are the GodSlef. You may believe your daughter or son is separate from you, born after you, younger than you. This, my dear brethren, is illusion. You and your daughter are GOD, everything and nothing, the Alpha and the Omega.

    In conclusion, I see in you the opportunity to determine your divine essence. Very few souls are ready for this journey. Very few have the capacity to understand the language of their heart. I invite you to enter my gymnasium of the mind. Explore the illusions which dis empower your GodSelf essence.

    It is my path to offer information to seekers. With this offer I present my blog site as a library of truth. From a scientific and spiritual perspective you may determine reality. There are over 300 free videos available which are designed to ease your path.

    God dances with God in the perfect eternal moment of NOW, come dance with me.

    In Lak' esh, my dear brothers and sisters, love is all there is, all else is illusion...