November 25, 2015

The Birth of Jesus: The Adoption Thesis

His Connection With God

We can choose to believe the story of a virgin birth. Nagging questions aside, it is a beautiful and inspiring story. However, there is an alternative theory of how Jesus became divine. Called the adoption thesis, it tells us Jesus became so close to God, the Holy Spirit felt compelled to “adopt” him as a son. It is both a credible and natural explanation of his life. We must remember, the term “begotten son”, which implies physical fatherhood, was an invention of early Church fathers. Jesus never said he was the son of God in the physical sense. Instead he made the point God is our spiritual father (who art in heaven), and the creator of all life. In addition, although the gospels tell us Jesus frequently prayed to his father, indicating Jesus had a deeply spiritual relationship with God, that does not tell us if Jesus was physically divine from birth, or acquired divinity as an adult. If anything, it would appear to prove that a very human Jesus was able to establish a conscious connection with God – and that is the essence of his divinity.

The New Testament fails to describe anything about the life of Jesus from the time he was 12 or 13 to the beginning of his ministry at age ~ 30. Called the unknown years, the silent years, or the missing years, there has been considerable speculation about what happened to him during this period. Did he travel? Did he work in another country? Did he study other religions? Or was he, as the Bible appears to tell us, a simple carpenter all his adult life? And if this is the case, what were the events that changed this ordinary carpenter into God’s passionate messenger?

It does not seem probable his god/man status could be kept a secret for 30 years through all the adventures of childhood, the challenges of being a pre-teen, growing up as a teenager, and then becoming a recognized member of the community. Are we to believe he was oblivious to the lure of hormone driven sex or the temptation to use his celestial powers in a fit of human frustration? Or is it more logical Jesus lived the life of a mortal boy, grew up to be a man, matured intellectually, gained in wisdom, and then developed a very close relationship with God?

We do not acquire the passion of personal commitment as the result of a sterile intellectual exercise. A genuine compassion for others is seldom the result of an indifferent analysis of human circumstances. We become passionate about our mission and compassionate in our understanding of human character by experiencing both in our one-on-one encounters with family, friends, and community. If we are the sum of all our experiences, then our attitudes and energies will be shaped by our participation in this thing we call human life.

God had a simple objective. He wanted to create a man who would carry His message to humanity. By guiding and watching over Jesus throughout his childhood and adult life, God brought forth a man of vision and integrity.  We can believe Jesus was both passionate about his mission and compassionate toward others because he led a very human life with all its joys, sorrows, triumphs, and tragedies. His ministry was that of a man who had experienced the breadth of human life. He had an absolute empathy for the people of Judea, Samaria, and Galilee. He became the man who would carry God’s message to humanity.

If a loving God adopts Jesus the man and brings him back to life through the miracle of resurrection, then one cannot deny the truth and resounding power of his message. It proves there is a path to heaven for ordinary mortals. This is the essential message of Jesus Christ. He was a mortal, a human who was able to establish a deeply spiritual conscious connection with God, was subsequently adopted by a loving God, became divine by the will of God, and died for us because he wanted to prove resurrection is possible for worthy souls. Let us thank him for his sacrifice.

The Connection        

We will never know if God caused Mary to become pregnant or if Jesus was simply a man who developed an extraordinary relationship with God. Whether by birth or adoption, we do know God regarded Jesus as his son. God made Jesus his messenger to humanity, and gave him unusual powers. Jesus became an independent, charismatic, passionate and very intelligent man who was comfortable in almost any gathering. His disciples obviously viewed him as a leader. He had a strong and commanding persona. His demeanor, teaching, and beliefs obviously placed him next to God.

We can choose to believe divinity is not a physical attribute. Being divine, or becoming divine, does not alter human DNA, modify a chromosome, or change the structure of a cell. Divinity does not require super-human or extra-human physical characteristics. Divinity is created by establishing a deeply spiritual conscious connection with God. The core conscious self becomes one with the consciousness and awareness that is God. It is a living dynamic relationship.

In Chapter 2, Consciousness and Connection, we examined how it is possible to make this connection. When God wants to establish a spiritual relationship with us, it is through the activity of our core consciousness. When God the Holy Father created his relationship with Jesus, he established a connection the depth of which surpasses anything any other human has ever experienced. It is this bond that makes Jesus divine.

We can choose to believe God created
a consciousness connection with Jesus,
and made him divine.

We may also choose to believe
God nurtured this connection
with the man he wanted to call his Son.

Jesus clearly wanted to bring us closer to the God he loved. Jesus urged us to follow him to God’s Kingdom. We should follow his counsel.

Whether one chooses to believe the traditional story of a virgin birth, or feels more comfortable with the adoption thesis, we know there is only one God, a remarkable divine person, who reveals himself in many ways, including as father, son and Holy Spirit. When Jesus ascended to the Kingdom of God for the last time, he became one with the Holy Spirit in both form and intellect. Thereafter, Jesus was God and God was Jesus.

Think of it this way. When a mighty river flows through the plains and into the ocean, the water of the river intermixes with the water of the ocean. Eventually, the water of the ocean cannot be distinguished from the water of the river. The river has become the ocean.  
But Jesus is not lost to us. As many have experienced, one can summon the presence of Jesus in human form through earnest prayer. The Holy Unity is able to reveal itself as Jesus, a prophet, a deceased friend or relative, a respected person, and even as a spiritual force whose presence we are able to sense but not see. We need only to seek a spiritual union with the divine. God will respond with wisdom, love and compassion.


October 27, 2015

Is God a Female?

The Challenge 

We will not understand the Spiritual Universe until we have the intellectual and emotional tools to realize its wondrous beauty. For each individual, this quest for faith can only be fruitful if we are ready to accept the truth of our discovery.

Our Christian concept of God followed the ancient traditions of Eastern Mediterranean religious beliefs. God was powerful and God was male. Descriptions of God and his relationship with humanity were based on a very limited knowledge of the physical universe. Male centric cultural mores provided a framework for accepted theology.

Almost 2000 years have passed since the resurrection of Jesus Christ. We have learned much about our Ecosystem: physics, chemistry, geology, astronomy, biology, medicine, and over 100 other sciences have contributed to a substantial collection of knowledge. Theoretical mathematics, philosophy, and theology have developed more sophisticated concepts of time, space, matter, energy, and consciousness. Whether this knowledge came from God, or through the diligent pursuit of human curiosity, one thing has become very clear:

We have been challenged 
to establish a reasonable consistency
between the doctrines of faith 
and our comprehension of the Cosmos.

If we are to make the best use of our accumulated information, we must be willing to bridge the gap between theology and knowledge.

The spiritual, the masculine and the feminine are incarnate expressions of God’s being. They come alive, and have meaning, as materializations of divine energy. God is the absolute, pure, and perfect unity of energy in all its forms, its laws and elements, the physical and not physical, and the expression of life through the male and female. God makes his presence known through the power of his energy.

Energy is the basis of all life and matter. God is the intellectual energy (or force) of consciousness and awareness, derived from the fusion (or unity) of three forms of being. Since consciousness enables awareness, intelligent consciousness is aware of its creative self and the potential of creation. Intelligent consciousness has both the energy and sensitivity to create space, light, time, life and matter. Although God has the power to appear in whatever form he chooses;

We cannot think of God as a material entity or as a body of flesh.
He does not have length or volume, nor weight or mass.
God is the ultimate singularity, a force that surpasses
our inadequate perception of the Cosmos.

A unified set of fundamental principles underlie all physical and spiritual existence. We may not comprehend all that exists in the Cosmos, but it appears all physical matter and living beings adhere to these natural laws. Both scientific inquiry and philosophical reasoning confirm we were created according to these principles (or laws of nature).

Let us be humble in our assessment of the divine.

In His Image

There is also a consistency of natural law that underlies all life; including the attributes that personify Homo sapiens. We may choose to believe this consistency is derived from the characteristics of God’s being. It is highly unlikely God would create life forms that are alien to his essential essence. Instead, the consistency of natural law (and the essence of God’s being) tells us that in the process of creating humanity, God created us as a mirror image of his self. Or to put it a different way, we humans were created in God’s image.

If we believe God loves us, and wanted us to be close to him,
then then it is highly likely God created us in his image.
Why would he do otherwise?
What would be the point of creating an alien life form?

If humans (and other animal life) were created by the laws of nature (which were established by God), then it follows that our existence embodies characteristics that are familiar to God.

The male and the female are a fundamental reality of our existence on our planet. If we believe God created us in his image, then the image of God must include both the male and the female. Isn’t that perfectly logical? Why would we assume God has no female attributes?

The idea God is a conscious spiritual force emphasizes God’s ability to think, and therefore be aware. Consciousness and awareness are requisites for the process of creation. The process of creation has both male characteristics (as in physical creation) and female characteristics (as embodied in the creation of life). The process of creation also proves the nature of God.

The process of creation would be incomplete
without the male and the female.
Both are required to establish a complete Ecosystem.
Is it not logical to believe the nature of God
includes these same characteristics?

We can choose to believe God projected the essence of his being when he created us.

The Holy Unity

God is a divine unity of three identities:
·       The Holy Spirit is a very important concept in our quest to understand the nature of God. The term “Holy Spirit” infers spiritual energy. The activity of the Holy Spirit would be impossible without the intellectual, emotional and physical expenditure of energy. The spiritual nature of God is personified in the existence and energy of the Holy Spirit. When we communicate with God, we connect with God’s spiritual energy. The Holy Spirit is the personification of God’s wisdom.
·       The concept of the Holy Father is a very important in our quest to understand the nature of God. The term “Holy Father” infers the masculine nature of God.  The activity of the Holy Father would be impossible without the intellectual, emotional and physical expenditure of energy. The masculine nature of God is personified in the existence and energy of the Holy Father. When we seek God’s counsel, we connect with God’s sovereign will.  The Holy Father is the personification of God’s power.
·       The Holy Mother is a very important concept in our quest to understand the nature of God. The term “Holy Mother” infers the feminine nature of God. The activity of the Holy Mother would be impossible without the intellectual, emotional and physical expenditure of energy. The feminine nature of God is personified in the existence and energy of the Holy Mother. When we value God’s living creations, we connect with God’s love. The Holy Mother is the personification of God’s compassion.

These three personas cannot be separated. Together, they are the Holy Unity that describes the divine nature of God.


From: Summa 21

October 10, 2015

What Makes Us Happy?

What makes us happy? : self, family, love, faith, community, and meaningful work.

We have a humble respect the individual we see in the mirror. Despite our economic circumstances or physical appearance, we are content with ourselves as a person.

The reference of our being, a happy family infuses welcome structure and loving support into our lives. Successful family life enriches our sense of belonging and to be wanted. Interaction with children and relatives includes laughter, compassion and understanding.

We want to be loved. Christianity teaches us to love one another. Love is a positive ingredient of good marriages, happy families, close friendships, and supportive communities. When we engage in acts of compassion we enhance our sense of self-worth.

We need to establish a link with a power that is beyond our physical existence. It is our faith in the spiritual that helps us to connect with the uplifting assurance of a force outside our physical mortality. Faith is a source for positive and constructive values.

Our emotional well-being is enhanced by a sense of belonging within the ecosystem of a vibrant and friendly community.

Meaningful Work
When we know we have done a good job, we have a feeling of accomplishment. Work is meaningful when it supports personal pride and economic security.

In all these things....  God can help.

September 30, 2015

What Sam Taught Me About God’s Love

I was in my late 40s. Busy with work and the challenges of daily life. I wore the suit, five days a week. Tie, matching socks, formal shirt, carefully pressed pants, vested coat, and wingtip shoes. The weekend dress code was more likely to be a pair of worn jeans, an old t-shirt, and dusty boots.

I confess I didn’t like dogs. Terrorized by a dog at age 4, I used to have nightmares about this huge corker spaniel. In my dream, there would be a parade on the street in front of our house. People and cars lined both sides of the street to watch the parade. There were marching bands with majorettes, big floats, and row upon row of marching soldiers. Then I would always see the dog; marching in the parade. He was huge, maybe 100 feet tall. Yeah, he was big enough to brush the branches of the elm trees that lined our street. He was so big he could pick up a car and eat it. And he would always munch on a few spectators. Gobble them up like a ribbon of spaghetti. Then in my dream he would see me. I was paralyzed with fear. The dog would walk slowly toward me, huge mouth open to swallow my small frame ... and then ... I would wake up – screaming.

My son wanted to be a cook. He decided to work for Harrah’s Casino in South Lake Tahoe. We thought it was a good idea, a job that paid real money, and some of the experience he needed. And so he left one morning for the Sierras.

Several weeks later he again showed up at our door. The job was boring so he came home. But he was not alone. He brought a dog with him: a very large dog. He had a chest like a barrel, a big head, and a huge nose. His dog weighed over 100 ponds and stood 34 inches tall. His name was Sam.

My son told us about Sam. He and his lady friend had been walking near the beach when they found Sam lying by the path. Sam was in really bad shape. He was thirsty, hungry and showed the marks of a beating. Sam had been mistreated – badly mistreated. My son is a compassionate man. They took Sam home and nursed him back to health. From then on, Sam was my son’s best friend.

Sam was part over-sized yellow lab and part horse. He seemed friendly enough. We reluctantly agreed to let Sam and my son stay with us until he found another job (and place to stay). So we all settled in for a few weeks of wary togetherness. I generally ignored Sam.

Every parent with age 20 plus children will understand what happened next. One day while I was at work, my son departed. He just disappeared. He was suddenly gone.

However.... he left Sam with us.

We debated what to do. High on my list was a trip to the animal shelter. My wife vetoed that idea. She has a natural affection for dogs. So we kept Sam, all 100 plus pounds of this great big dog - and his horde of voracious fleas.

Thus began an incredible experience. For 25 years we had a routine. I would come home, make a drink, and settle down in my easy chair to relax and unwind. Sam immediately recognized the routine. A few days later, I noticed Sam was sitting a few feet away from me, watching my every move. He didn’t do anything. He just watched me. It was like he expected something to happen. Several days passed. He still had that look of expectation.

Then it happened. I came home from work on a Friday, agitated by the frustrating drive home and very tired from the day’s activity. Sam came over to my chair and nuzzled my hand, actually pushing it up onto his big head. I pulled my hand away. Sam repeated the maneuver. I brushed him off. He went away and again just sat on the floor with that look of expectation. He repeated this routine the next evening, carefully nudging my hand so that it rested on his head. I remember scratching his head, and then his ears. Sam looked very pleased. He was actually happy. At that instant, we bonded.

Over the next few weeks we got to know Sam. He went on walks with us, loved to run (like a horse – he didn’t actually run, he galloped), was very well behaved, respectful of our house guests, ate copious quantities of dog food, behaved well at the vets, and became a happy part of our life.

We tried to convince Sam he should sleep in the garage. But Sam wanted to be with us, and his moaning song made sure we felt really guilty as soon as we closed the garage door. What to do? Of course we made a place for him. Sam took up his rightful residence next to our bed, as close to me as he could, every night, fleas and all.

I never taught Sam anything. He just – somehow – knew what we wanted. For example, he understood that if I came home dressed in a suite, it was OK to come up and lick my hand. But he would avoid any other contact because he somehow knew I did not want “doggy” on my best clothes. However, if I came home in dungarees and an old shirt, he knew he could run to greet me, lean against my legs, rube his huge head on my shirt, and then lick my hand. I never taught him the difference.  I was amazed when I suddenly realized he knew the difference between the suite and a pair of dungarees.

The inevitable happened. Months later we began to notice Sam was wasting away. In less than three agonizing weeks, Sam was close to death. We did not want him to suffer. I took him to the SPCA to have him put to sleep. I’ll never forget the experience. As he was being led away, Sam turned and gave me one last look. The sorrow in his eyes was overwhelming. He understood what was happening.


Fast forward 20 years. I was writing a novel about a 21st century prophet and our relationship with the spiritual. My thoughts were filled with characters, dialogue, plot events, and the wonderful stimulation of creative inspiration. My wife and I like to hike and these long treks give me ample time to think and be inspired. On one of these hikes, something marvelous happened. As usual, I was leading a group of friends as we labored upward to a favorite mountain lake.  Walking along, well ahead of the group, a burst of insight swept over me. Thoughts about Sam flooded through my mind. And then the words, “Sam loved you. Could God love you any less?”

Of course not. Sam’s love had been positive, infinite and unconditional. There were no reservations. We had a trusting relationship. With a little effort, we made it all work. If I looked for Sam, he was always there. His love was deeply spiritual and ever present.

Standing on a granite ledge, overlooking clear blue waters of the lake, I realized Sam had taught me everything I know about God’s love. Sam never gave up on me. He just wanted me to love him.

And so I learned, God’s love is infinite; God’s optimism is forever. Both are unconditional.

What happens next is up to us.