Author: Derek

Raw prophecies for europe in response to a friend’s request

Hey my brother and those considering true spiritual transformation for Europe! Yes, i have been seeking on this. Here’s a quick but long first response. Been busy counseling folks through all this turbulence locally, so haven’t had time to properly respond. But my heart is on it bro. Sorry to offer a raw unedited version, but just wanted to respond friend.
Sorry not to join in this conversation sooner, been feeling like flash gordon recently, scanning the globe considering and seeing what He is up to. So here are a few raw notes from prayer this past few months:
I see a strong movement of God coming in southern europe, and as the actual division in terms of europe’s identity is really north south, not unlike north america. I think the fire will come from the south, but it must be lit well. There is of course, also the scandanavian and scotttish mystical sight which is preceding this movement. Many are watching what God wants to do from the north, but they are not equipped to incarnate it yet. There are mind strongholds, which have to begin to be released firstly from the heart, which is carried in central and southern europe.
The seers are watching, but there are many unoccupied watch towers there. Often, i go sit in abandoned towers up there, just so He has some eyes to partner with. Sweden is one place i often go in the spirit and just sit with Him, and look down on europe. There are still many sins to be confessed in and by europe, but many are also awakening to their priestly tasks!
Regardless, yes, i think the physical incarnation movement begins in the south, but there are more organizational struggles. Visceral blocks. Body oriented visceral cultures require the mind to be activated as well. Yet, we always have to look for the good soil seasonally! Where His Word can actually get planted, and then how to do so.
So calling it forth makes sense. Typically southern regions struggle more with lower body issues symbolically—that is carnality etc. And yet, just as Africa is being called into leadership positions in europe, so southern europe is being called to lead the preparation for the return of His Glory to Europe. I see a pearl necklace of fire across southern europe—i see early deposit spaces being re-activated! I see unlikely places like Nice and Marsaille particularly, and Lyon also has a coming revival through the arts….
On the practical, i think Madrid could work, i can also see involving the Basque peoples as there is a stirring there for a larger context for identity….
In general, there are many abandoned seats of authority of thrones across southern europe, and it would be valuable to activate them mainly through prayer and worship, which is already happening, even through the many prayer movements happenings, and even within the catholic church—the parts which started receiving the Holy Spirit during the charismatic revivals in the 70’s.
There is lots to prepare about europe’s highways, but I’m with you, i do believe it begins in the southern regions. Yet, there is deeply entrenched paganism among other things. Yet, it’s less cynical, so when The Real God shows up, there is more receptivity even in the new age or Vedic communities or mindsets.
I’ve been seeing a massive movement of heart happening and being prepared to ignite in southern europe for at least the past ten years. It could be time to ignite the spark, as you say. A movement of the heart is essential to prepare the way for His Way!
I think grounding in the Word is also important. Many have amnesia to The Word. And often there needs to be resuscitation of the mind and body for this to happen. Hence, physical calamities and things that wake us up to true morality. How we treat our neighbors daily.
As we lived in the north for many years. They have more of the echo of the Word, or the Kingdom values. Yet the heart unrest in the southern parts—some economically motivated as in Greece etc, makes it a readied region.
When youth are in unrest, there is opportunity for the True Peace and His Power to enter, as well as false doctrines as well. I do think there is something about this new re-formation being a youth movement, at least at first—but not just youth, also the marginalized—for as you can see, God is discipling europe partly through the refugees. Testing her character and calling her forth into action. Seeing her moral pulse so to speak. I think Germany is doing well, and a few other countries, but it is also making it clear who is morally asleep.
I often in prayer will switch back and forth from way up north—Norway, Denmark etc, to far south, in terms of how He is strategizing and integrated approach to bringing His true Kingdom back into european soil.
I also recently had an intense vision of Him pouring out healing onto her rivers. I saw particular outpouring over specific rivers of Europe. This one was powerful. The rivers had to be confessed over, and the deaths cleaned out. But that baptisms of new believers, in the rivers would help clear the waters. I saw these taking place at the gates of the major cities of europe—like just outside the city limits, but flowing into them to bring healing and clarity.
I think the gates of cities like Prague, Budapest etc, need to and are getting cleared with His Healing presence, for His future Purposes. There, of course, is a returning glory which will flow back over Europe towards the East. But she must be prepared, healed, so she can parent the movement of God, which will ignite not only europe, but, just as she held the parental mantel for many years, she will again be allowed to do so, but in much greater (pre-enlightenment) HUMILITY. Her humility must come first, so she is able to be an elder again!
I see this starting also in England, and I do think it’s helpful to look at leadership nations. If they humble themselves, it makes things easier. There are many “victim nations” in europe, who are receptive but may not be able to lead a true ushering in….Sort of how Czech Republic is a Song of Solomon nation, whereas Germany, is more a Judah nation with unique leadership challenges for the whole of Europe. You know you get this when you teach in each nation—for one God is fragrance, for another, He is Fathery and talking justice—as in Berlin for me this year. He has individual relationships with each nation.
So in considering Spain for hosting an ignition fire—She is a woman, and could be a true Queen again, but I do think it is important to consider the identity of each nation when starting a fire.
If, for instance, i start a fire in Berlin, it immediately goes global—even on the internet. Whereas, if I start one in Croatia it usually only makes local news. Each nations has it’s own mantel. Always good to remember.
That vision of Him pouring healing into the rivers of Europe, concerned more of central europe, but the idea of effecting the heart of europe and preparing her.
Seems though like the actual fire would come from the southern regions, and be properly linked. I was seeing italy, croatia and some unlikely nations as part of the sequence of ignition. It was lit sequentially, like a grill or series of fires. And it mattered what was lit firstly. The sequence of ignitions mattered, if that makes sense.
So having wisdom where the master or “pilot light” was on the grill mattered. I would seek that. It could be in Espana, but also consider which direction He wants to light it from. Is it east to west, or vice versa! I often hear—that europe in general, needs to “look to the east.” There are many meaning to that, but a simple one is to calibrate themselves in relation to the what God is doing towards the east—in their case, that would mean the “middle east”. Of course, all the racial issues which are everywhere now overt, are symbolized most clearly in that region.
Anyways, more soon; but just wanted to share a bit to let you know, I’m on it, and considering your questions my dear brother. More soon, brother Derek.
Just felt like sharing some unrefined notes…but always on Europe in the Spirit—as He put His Heart deeply in me for her, and it’s never let go. Let’s stay in touch about all this….I pray more than weekly for this region of the world, even in the midst of tumult in the other nations. Many blessings friends….as we each do our parts to usher in His Amazing Kingdom! I can’t wait to see His Kingdom come!

Don’t Fear, instead Rejoice, and tell God Stories!

Don’t Fear, instead Rejoice, and tell God Stories!

Raw notes from my little homily today: why not share it here also, as this is like the outer courts of the temple where the people gather to discuss what’s up. And Jeremiah always hung out in that space. And I like that guy! Anyway…if you don’t believe in Jesus, or if you like Jesus but don’t like religion, just skip to the parts about Love versus fear!

Today i watched a father show his son a bullet hole in a wall. The son grew afraid and the father already was.

I was on the way to talk to a small group of people on Henri Nouwen’s idea of moving from the house of fear to the house of love (from his book, “Spiritual formation” published posthumously), and living from that place where we hear the tone of Love in our hearts as a necessary spiritual practice in our times of fear and shaking externally. I had felt impressed to meditate on Isaiah 41 today, and was going to teach from that passage which is set in the end times.

I was thinking, that we as friends of the Prince of Peace, if we take that friendship seriously, not just religiously, are meant to according to Isaiah, move in the opposite spirit than fear if we are His Friends, and not just religious acquaintances. We are to actively come out from the ways of fear into the ways of Love. Take off fear daily, and put on Love’s ways. That’s the practice. Put on Love, before assisting others.

If we simply react to fear, we will be in the current of the ways of fear. We must instead actively put on the ways of Love, and abide in them.

For ideology (or even our best ideas) won’t make us safe or a safe place, “the shelter of the Presence of the Most High” and friendship or close proximity with Him, will. We have to actually walk around as friends of God.

That in Him, we are safe havens of love and kindness, His presence is Peace, and we are carriers of that Presence; especially as darkness increases, and true light of His Presence (not just ideologies) must come in higher contrast, as we tell the stories past and present of His kindnesses to us.

Isaiah is the most erudite and articulate of the prophets, expressing most of his content in fluid symbols which tap into the Reality of his message.

So you see three directives in this chapter towards God’s friends, which is set in “end times”: don’t fear, rejoice, tell stories of God’s kindnesses so people can know Him, and see the high contrast with the shaking turbulences around them. We get to be living signs in the story.

There are three characters in this passage: those busy building idols (who have a certain unity of evil), the friends of God (who are challenged to have real unity in Love), and God Himself. The setting is the end of the world! Pretty grand narrative here. Similar to chapter 63.

That’s the opportunity now, in our times. So, we discipline ourselves to not live in fear. We hold fear captive in our hearts, so to the degree it doesn’t rule over us, we can bring that fearlessness to others. That’s the practice of daily overcoming fear. For perfect Love, which is God, cast out fear. So our job is to be in and near God—friends. We pray, we travel often to the Cross, to throw out fear in our minds and hearts. We move in the opposite spirit.

I see increasing fear, anxiety, and confusion everywhere these days. But we are called to do three things: don’t live in fear, instead rejoice, and tell stories of His kindnesses to us. Telling the stories, also keeps us in Peace as we remember His faithfulness across the years of our own narratives.

So, we are to be clinging to His command to not be afraid (Isaiah 41), to actively, hourly find the Voice of Love, to listen for that tone of His Presence, as Nouwen would put it. Not to fear, instead to actually rejoice, resonate in, and tell His Stories of life through ours! Express well, His “kindnesses” to you—past and present.

That ushers in healing and the safest place on earth-His Presence. It brings a space of love and safety for others around us, and for ourselves for that matter.

There’s lots more in this passage and how it relates to chapter 63 as well. Like the type of unity (being unified around a common fear is not true or higher unity) that evil has in building idols, how that type of unity is meant to intimidate and distract us from true unity in Love; and the contrasting unity His people have in love. But to hear that part you would have to come to the group.

Henri Nouwen wrote: “When we begin to understand at a deep, spiritual level that we live surrounded by love and in communion with God no matter what the external circumstances, we can let go of the fear that lurks on the outskirts of our minds. We can move from the house of fear to the house of Love where the Voice and Presence of God is.”

So, don’t fear, instead rejoice and find His Presence, and tell stories about it, through whatever creative mediums you tell stories. That was my sermon in a nutshell.

Interesting always how “real life” brings scriptures to life. Turns out they still apply. I promise i compressed this into seven mixtures at the gathering! Not easy to do when preaching from da prophets!

Hope I get to see that man and his son again to tell them they don’t have to live in fear. In the meantime, i’ll say it here.

There is also these sub points about the unity of evil, and the church and jews and their unique roles in the end times Isaiah 41. It’s a rich prophetic passage.

But the keys for those who are friends of God, is stop focusing on the demonic, instead, develop a practice of Peace within yourself. He is Perfect Love, so stay in Him! Then actually rejoice, and tell the stories of His kindness to you personally and then collectively—all He has done in the past. This will allow us to be helpful now.

What I see from Isaiah is also a warning about not entering false unity which is actually building idols. There is a type of unity which is not in or of God. It is the unity of the broken human nature trying to build it’s own ideology of safety. This is the tree of knowledge rather than the Reality in the Tree of Life.

We can have knowledge of what justice is, but not be moving in the Reality of His Justice.
We have to be able to discern between what seems good, but is not in Him, and the good that is in Him. Discernment is His Spirit in things and issues is essential now. The devil can say nice things, which aren’t in truth. We need to know who is actually speaking. That requires the sheep to know His True Voice. We learn to discern the heart of an issue, or what is being said. Jesus warned of many imitators of Christ, who were moving in the opposite of His Spirit. The Tone of Love is essential in discerning the difference. Is this like The Father? The idea seems true, but is He in it. Elijah had to discern where God’s voice actually was—which form was He taking, which medium was He speaking through that day. We need the same keenness this season as we learn to not live in fear, to rejoice and tell His Stories!

America today!

Today: quick impressions from America today…
Why seeking wisdom is practical now, and never a waste of time, even when things are under pressure, and maybe especially then. Today felt led to study Wisdom again. Felt like sitting in that space with The Father of knowing and considering His Ways with Him—just now as our little part of the world is shaking and very tense and hyper, over exposed and confused even in our categories of interpretation. It’s like when your kids are chaotic and the father and mother, stops, steps back, and considers them each, His Love for them, and what they may need today. It’s primarily a Peace-filled space i felt drawn to today, as it is difficult to even talk at my local cafe to many people because of the tense confusions around this election.
Seems like a good time to study Wisdom—not as a denial, but as an active response! To move in the opposite spirit of these elections is to seek out Wisdom, which it obviously has not been characterized by.
Looking at all the wisdom literature today, and this NT idea that Christ Himself is “the Wisdom of God”-encapsulating the entire wisdom tradition, all the wise men meet in One. In Proverbs, kings and queens are said to rule by Wisdom. And young people are taught to seek it above all else. Again, i want to say that Wisdom is the application of Godly knowledge applied in love. It is how to apply information into real life situations in His Love. This is why words of wisdom are higher than words of knowledge. For Wisdom applies knowledge, but not vice versa. To interpret the times requires Wisdom. To stay in Peace is Wisdom. To seek Wisdom is wisdom. This is our task now. And the book of Daniel and Jeremiah are the most pertinent literature for our times.
If Jesus Himself is called Wisdom-this would mean wisdom involves incarnating servanthood love, and in this sense is desperately practical. That is like air, Wisdom is something we can’t live without.
When I think about what Wisdom really is in Him, i always think it is most basically, how to apply knowledge or information in the most loving way possible into the situation. It includes accurate interpretation, discernment, but also being willing to sacrifice for one another to get that info into the good soil of one another’s hearts.
Wisdom is always seeming to say…come let us consider together. And until we figure it out, be kind and loving towards one another. Let’s have a loving dialogue in Peace.
To love one another until we know faces to Face. Praying wisdom and true Peace in Him tonight for this little part of the world. I’m sorry everyone is having to watch her nervous breakdown, but His People are wide awake in America, and we pray they will once again be, as MLK said, the conscience of the nation. Both salt and light—true interpreters in times of tumult, as Jeremiah was.

I started praying for wisdom for this nation after 911. It’s biggest weakness is not just consumerism, materialism or even racism. It is a lack of wisdom. Power without wisdom is deadly. For resources are meant to be allocated in the ways of Wisdom. So we are praying still for wisdom here on this continent. Yes, vision, and recalling your identity, but also wisdom for integration reconciliation, use of resources etc.
I had a dream years back that the stripes on her flag turned to blood and frayed—were far too overextended, and that He was pulling down her flag in order to work on her healing. He was lowering her reputation so she could work on her own flag—the stripes of true healing and sacrifice, and the resulting people and people groups being able to shine in their starlike-ness, their true identities. The blue behind her stars has to do with the knowledge needed to shine in true identity–which is one reason so many other nations can come here and really find themselves; the red stripes on her flag have to do with the sacrifice necessary for that haven-ing of being to occur. She is meant to haven people into their truer identities. To protect the oppressed so they can get on their feet. That is part of her mantel.
To protect people to become who they really are, is a simple version of her mantel. Specifically those who have been oppressed to have enough safety to shine and become! So minorities, immigrants etc—they come here and the covering allows them to re-invent themselves, and make some of the best pizza on earth. Outside of Italy of course. Our whole nation is a story of immigrants finding a promised land to become themselves in.
This has been going on, and yet…that flag is still frayed overextended and actually fragile right now. Hard to think of such a at time presumptuous leader as being vulnerable or fragile. But she is now. It’s not just about end of empires. It’s about vulnerability after not being wise with leadership. This is easy to discern. Other parts are harder, and require actual love for a nation to see. You cannot prophecy over a nation if you do not love her. And really only to the degree that you do.
But, this little entry is not a prophecy, but rather a prayer for wisdom today. Not just for this nation but for us all.
I had another dream last week all about the two types of leadership being offered. It’s a complex symbol, but just to say, we are wide awake in America—those in His Spirit aren’t sleeping. And this isn’t pretty. Hard to swallow, how low we went on this one. Still, I have articulate judgements and articulate hopes for America. Her story is not over, but it is being redacted (sternly edited) now. Pray for this land. And forgive her in your hearts. That’s the only place to start. I know it’s hard to like her now, but you can still love her. We need it now.
Materialism, consumerism and racism have to still be the major poisons; yet, on the ground it is still lighter spiritually here than most places on earth. The land eretz (yes, even if you hate america, this land has a blessing on it!) has a blessing on it.
Even as someone from Ireland who was born here, i have a hard time loving her now; yet I do!!!
Wisdom knows how to contextualize things (even historical crisis) in God’s Love and the patterns of His Own Being or Ways. And applies true knowledge in practical love and vision both backwards and forwards. That’s what needed when the present is tumultuous.
Wisdom, among other things, is the application of true knowledge in love. To the degree we have revealed knowledge, we apply it in love. So you see that Jesus is the ultimate application of Wisdom into the universe. It is practical. It breeds itself. This is why it dwells on heights, crossroads and the gates and marketplaces of cities in scripture (Proverbs 8). It has a larger context to place things in, a broad scoped hermeneutic, a grand interpretation, which is characterized by the tone of Love.
Tribulation brings clarity! It is one of the methods of His Mercy.
So, let us be wise with how we treat one another in times of trauma and compression. A tree will be known by its fruit. And each of us is tested by fire. Let us bear the fruits of His Spirit in Peace in the midst of shakings.
It’s a great time to dwell in Real Peace and offer folks all those fruits listed in Galatians—gentleness, kindness, patience etc… Let us especially do this now, so that the world can see the contrast, and have a clear choice between ways. God is always concerned but never worried.
Perhaps one of the points of global crisis is to put things in clear contrast—those old ways of death, ways of life mentioned throughout the book. To contrast true spiritual crisis, with our soul crisis is sometimes necessary. God is not in crisis, we are. Until we choose His Ways.
As my mentor said, “Father is always concerned, but never stressed! He stays in His Own Peace—He stays in I Am; never divides himself under pressure. His Love doesn’t suddenly break off from Himself! Nor does His Wisdom about the nations and everything else under the Son.
To show us what we are really grounded in. These two ways constantly stream beneath and around us—the ways of death, the ways of life. The ways of both are bigger than the moment, and really what we base our daily choices on—whether to love our neighbor or hate them. If they get blurred, sometimes it takes extremes to make the choices clear again.
God cares about America, but He is not stressed. He has a plan to draw her people into Him–to bring her home safe and sound. He has plans for each nation willing to turn to Him. And He is able. He often starts with His church, or those awake to His Spirit. Judgement begins with the house of God. He refines us through suffering. He causes us to stand through trauma. He discerns the true motives of our hearts through conflict. And America’s problem is a heart problem, which is manifesting on the surface. Her healing must begin with her heart! And that is what Father wants to address, even through these passing elections! For her heart not to fail, it must recall itself, be reminded of who it is, and what it has been given to do. It must look backwards and forwards to see the patterns of God’s parenting of her in the past, and where He would like to guide her in her future. She did not take pause to do so after 911–now she must, in order to move forward with dignity!
It also looks at God’s patterns in the past to predict and have hope for the future.
We are praying for wisdom for our whole human family today. We need it, in order to love one another, which at the end of the day, is our most meaningful task in life.
Let us be wise in contextualizing this passing moment within the grand narrative we’ve been given. This too will pass, but The Word, The Truth, The Life will not.
Just felt like a good day to sit with Wisdom, in the shade of The Tree of Life. Sometimes, that’s a practice.
Of course, politics pass, but His government will never end. The Word and truth will last forever. And His Kingdom will never end, and all the nations will come under it. Until That day, let’s pray for a willing yielding to His Kingship and authority in ourselves and our nations, so that the land will be truly blessed, and the poor fed, the oppressed housed, and the orphans protected. This nation has a specific calling to the oppressed, so let’s pray that this mantel be dusted off, in this time of so much need to haven those who are displaced and in need. All her resources were meant for this job. We see the shadows now, but what would it look like redeemed. Let’s pray towards that.
We know that America is not the Kingdom of God, so we can look higher than nations for our context from which to interpret events. We can look out from being with and in Wisdom! We have a King above all earthly kings who is in charge. Our King is kind and even willing to be brothers with us. We serve, ultimately, this other King. Yet this King, cares for ours. He cares for nations. He cares for our cities. He leaned Himself into our history, He cares so much. And He who entered history, knows history. And is able to govern us all. We must, in the end, even to govern ourselves, accept His Governing over our lives, our cities and our nations. This will one day, become overt. In the meantime, there is occurring a clear contrast between the ways of death and the ways of His Life. This was told beforehand. It is mercy to make our choice clearer to us. That is one reason for the increasing of shaking in our times–to make the choice clearer between death and Life. Yet, to discern between the two streams (as in Psalm 1), or ways, sometimes we need to see them clearly. History shakes us, to make us awake to the two ways! And Wisdom discerns the difference.
So praying wisdom, and tangible Peace today for all, as we consider and act wisely in Love towards one another until the end. Here and everywhere else. Know father Peace today friends, and seek out Wisdom. Turns out she is always hollering in Silence.
I”ve had several other dreams about where America is at, though my spiritual attention has been on Europe and Africa. I will share those elsewhere. But in the meantime, pray for wisdom and that her priest would arise. That unlike after 911, her true church would speak, and be shaken awake into unity and consciousness or conscience-ness—if the church as MLK said, is meant to be the conscience of a nation. That her moral consience would stay awake and not go numb in this hour. Thanks. And sorry everyone had to watch this sad and yet potentially spiritually potent moment in US history. God is not done with all of us, and is still in charge of the nations and their narratives.
His church has a great role to play now, if she will stand, dust off her complacency and publicly lament, humble itself and pray. Be both salt (preservers, flavorers) and light (interpreters or bringers of understanding-ie prophet priest)). Then perhaps the rains will return. The church has a unique role when her nation is in crisis. And the state of her heart is made clear or visible in crisis. The Cedar is laid bare!
Let’s pray she is up to it, or can be caused to stand. The one who called you, is also ready and able to cause you to stand. (Romans). Some are, many are not. It is less about the election, and more about the state of the heart of the church and of this nation. This is heart test. May she pass it into wisdom and humility so she can serve the human family again.
If you are an american, i challenge you to get His love for her again, or if you’ve never felt His heart for this region, then for the first time. It will change the authority of your prayers. If from other nations, to be kind and forgiving, and yes, to pray for the heart of america to be touched and revived. And for wisdom to come from above.
When a house is shaking, what do you do. I lived through some earthquakes in California. When a house is shaking you already need to have knowledge of what to do, but more importantly you need Wisdom of how to apply it. For as the good book says, “A house is built by Wisdom”. I pray that we gain Wisdom in our days, even through tumult. Pray for wisdom for us. Wisdom is the application of true knowledge in Love.
In Proverbs 8, she is seen at times and places of great change! We are in one. So, she is available now. She is here, waiting to be listened to. In silence she hollers for us to sit beneath her Tree of Life.
Wisdom hangs out with good counsel. And we need that now. So let’s find Wisdom and sit there, so we can be helpful to our times.
Remember Wisdom is not a retreat, it is an active response! It is the place to go to decide from. It is a harbor in times of distress. And Christ is Wisdom!

The True Artist Way!

The actual artist way, or I might call it, how to be a “fine” artist! How to contextualize your creativity in something larger than yourself.
I often look for a bigger context for artist to create within, which will contextualize their gifts, but offer a purpose other than market or fame-the two big “success markers” in art school or the world. The best example from scriptures has to be Bezalel. (King David would be a close second-for he was able to balance art and ruling well; how creativity connects with leadership or kingship). Artist are often looking for models of how they fit into things or society. They usually pick a few from art history. I would suggest going back further!
(In Exodus 31:1-6 and chapters 36 to 39, Bezalel (Hebrew: בְּצַלְאֵל, also transcribed as Betzalel and most accurately as Bəṣalʼēl), was the chief artisan of the Tabernacle and was in charge of building the Ark of the Covenant, assisted by Aholiab.)
From scriptures, the true artist way…is Bezalel’s. The priestly role of artist is to actually build the temple of His Presence. To do so, you need certain gifts. In his case, a ridiculous amount of gifts! This guy had a serious gift set!
If you want to be a fine artist with a high calling look at this character from the Torah!
(Exodus 31, he was the chief of all artist!). This guy in order to build and be the master architect of the temple, was given: wisdom, knowledge, design (both two and three dimensional), skills in all the mediums, and in addition, the ability to teach or mentor, to impart excellence in artistry to others! That’s the gift set I’m talking about!
He could cover lots-impart and implant the vision, and teach the practical skills necessary to incarnate it!
Great artist, great designer, could work in any medium—metal, wood, cloth etc. And he could teach or reproduce his own gift. That’s useful! in this world!
He started by being filled with wisdom and knowledge. That’s a good foundation! How I wish we were this well rounded, especially as artist and leaders in whatever field!
One of my favorite definitions of teaching is being humble enough to simplify what you are saying so that it can reproduce past yourself. This guy had that gift. As well as just being a great artist! Good to consider not just the role of the artist, but what types of gifts they need to really fulfill their callings.
I’m nowhere close to that level of giftings. Good challenge!

How forgiveness works in us!

How true healing works:
How to begin healing: true healing begins with forgiveness. “We have to visit the Cross often for our own sins and the others who have sinned against us” as one minister put it. We have to be little mini-priest, even within ourselves in order to move forward in life.
That’s the basic practice: confession, into forgiveness, into thanks and perforce, by necessity from vision, into praise. That is the pattern of healing and reconciliation. I’ve studied the healing process for years in therapy and counseling, it always starts with realizing your weak and wrong, and in need of a Higher help (the basics in AA for instance), and then forgiving others for their poor actions against you.
We really can’t even grieve until we confess and forgive others. It’s a basic way towards wholeness.
Reading an article today, again about the healing process…
One way to start healing is to start forgiving! This is true between family members and nations. Reading this today, made me think again on the practicals of healing-forgiveness begins the process, for it makes room in us, for God to come in and dwell, and form something where anger and hurt dwelt before.
Anger is a door on hurt–both can be removed by forgiveness and grieving–letting yourself feel the pain there, “while sitting with Christ.”
It’s a spiritual law about being human-if we want to heal, we have to forgive.
Anyway, here’s the quote i liked from Leanne Payne again in a section of her book. “Restoring the Soul; completion in Christ through healing” (great book, insightful about what it means to be a human). This section was entitled, Failure to forgive Due to Being Out of Touch with One’s Heart.
“In this day when people’s heads are so out of touch with their hearts. many have unforgiveness and do not realize it until, in prayer for healing the Holy Spirit reveals it.
Often when praying with such persons, I find that a memory of abusive or abnormal behavior by another will come up. The person will not know he needs to forgive the offender. I will have to say, “You must confess this as a sin against you, and you must name it specifically for the sin that it is, and then, before God, extend forgiveness to the offender. The specific naming of the sin and of the offender is important. Tis is no abstract transaction, but a very real dealing before and with our God.” (Restoration of the Christian Soul, pg. 83) Good to recall the power of forgiveness in healing! It’s the starting point really. Been thinking about what healing really is, and how it begins. Once out of denial of our pains (i.e. once we own our own suffering), forgiveness seems to be the first step.
This is true between genders, generations and nations! The basic principles of the Cross haven’t changed. Nice to be reminded today in study! We can’t avoid forgiveness in the healing journey. It’s not a popular subject, but a needed one.

Fatherhood still matters!

From an article i’m working on around true fatherhood and masculinity…sorry for the length, i’m widdling it down to three paragraphs for my article, but I like to share things as they are being formed, helps bring clarity and focus, at least for someone process oriented like me. “The journey is part of the destination.” as someone said.
Plus, i like long entries on fb, make you slow down and ponder in the midst of our hyper-productivity. Some people use many words to say little (many politicians and some preachers, unfortunately), i try to use lots of words to say lots! Thanks for your patience….
Again reading this great book, “Crisis in masculinity” (Leanne Payne—great thinker and christian counselor)—very helpful, especially in an un-daded or poorly fathered generation. One take away: when there is a crisis in masculinity, there is a cultural crisis as well! We see this globally. She bases her healing and theology in The Father’s relationship to His Son, and our invitation to enter into it through the Life of Christ. (Basic Christianity)
Insecure masculinity is deadly, as we see daily in the news. When boys try to prove their strength out of insecurity it’s always violent or impotently passive. Remember, Jesus knew who He was even on the cross. He had been seen and named and validated by His Father. So He could actually lay down His Life. He was not a victim. He chose death, so we might live. He was secure in His identity, not in competition with His disciples. His masculinity was intact, so He did not need to be abusive to others.
Dad approval and presence still matters…when a father sees his child not just in terms of his own needs, but in terms of their “way” it authenticates their lives. Raise up a child in their way—i.e. the path prepared by God beforehand for them. This can happen very early in life.
My own dad validated and authenticated my personhood as a kid. That has been one of my own greatest gifts in life. Having a father who took an interest in me, and was very present with me, even though I was odd or as my grandmother said, “peculiar”. Many of my friends didn’t get that blessing. A dad who sees you and blesses you as you are, not in terms of their needs, but tuning into you, taking an interest in what interest you. So I carry that for others. It’s intact in me. That was gift from my earthly father.
I’ve been validated as a person, and don’t have to compete to feel I exist, or prove my voice. As a result other fathers feel safe with me—like I’m not in competition with them to be cool or find the biggest buffalo. When your personhood feels seen and validated you no longer project your self worth out into your activities in life. You are no longer competing to exist or be. Often unvalidated men, will feel they must yell to be seen—like a teenager driving a sports car, so many men and women live out their whole lives trying to prove to the universe they are worthy and can carve. That they exist. Some men carve in their sleep never really at rest with their own beings or God’s.
Because I was blessed by my dad, i never doubted my Father’s voice. I never struggled to feel close, seen loved by The Heavenly Father. My relationship with my earthly dad transferred over to my Heavenly dad. Many did not receive that type of validation—most of my friends had distant absent or abusive fathers. That is a different journey to God with its own struggles. A journey to correct our image of The Heavenly Father. To re-align our imaginations with a true image of who Father God actually is.
Jesus came to reveal the Father-that was His highest mission.
This father image in us, has to be readjusted (sometimes cleansed from “religious” symbols as well) to what is True about Father God. That He is loving, kind, slow to anger, gentle, a good listener, One who protects our growth, and searches and knows us, even more than we know ourselves etc.
If you weren’t seen by your earthly dad, I’m sorry for you, and stand in that gap of fatherhood for you. You are validated. No longer needing to prove you exist, or be in competition to prove your worth. Now, forgive your earthly fathers for not being God, and switch over the The Real God Father! He is waiting to approve name and bless you.
I’ve been thinking lots about the need for dad validation especially from The Heavenly dad. Dad affirms both your masculinity and femininity. Your carver and receiver. So you can be out in the world carving and receive the Voice and Presence of God. We need both working in tandem with us, and both aspects must be father blessed or validated in us, preferably as children, but certainly as we get older; so we stop being in competition to exist with everyone, and can rest in our own beings in Him. And so we can just be with God, and get to know Him outside our own selves—God for God’s sake, not just what He gives us. But first we must feel safe to be. That we are welcomed and seen on the earth. Our jobs or success cannot validate us or prove we are. That has to ultimately come from Father God.
Blessing to be.
The Father sees and validates the life of The Son. We once entering the life of His Son—become sons and daughters, and enter that space of Father validation.
Our validation is through The Father’s blessing over His Son—we, as Henri Nouwen put it, are caught into the Father’s declaration that His Son is beloved! So regardless of what we received from our earthly fathers, when we come to the Son we come under His Father’s blessings over Him. The Father saw and validated His Son always, and we enter that endless validation from The Father into The Life of Christ, which is whose name we have entered as Christians.
So, we are highly seen a validated, not by our jobs or outward activities, but into our hearts of beings. We enter into this active ongoing blessing. This is My Son in whom I am well pleased. Let’s enter more deeply into that space of loving knowing, of approval and adoration. It’s part of who we are “in Christ”.
Many did not receive this blessing from earthly fathers. I’m sorry for that. But we can receive it now in Christ. We are blessed, adored, seen validated adored to the bone of our beings. Be blessed with a father’s blessings today!
I was blessed to be seen an authenticated by my earthly father when very young. So it was easier for me to trust The Heavenly Father’s blessing and hear His words of Love. I never remember feeling unwelcome in the universe. That is a father’s blessing and its potency towards being. I’ve tried to give that to others in life. Not in competition with them, but in mutual blessing and being seen for who others are-not just in terms of my needs and projections onto them. Just to see and bless others is hugely healing. And we need more spiritual fathers to bless people into their authentic selves. Let’s be safe blessers of many. Authenticators and validators and protectors of one another’s lives. Once named, we become namers. It is a pleasure to name in His Tone of Love.
His Voice is always what is in the tone of Love. That’s a key to hearing God. His Voice is also always saying His Son and by extension, we too are beloved! Be beloved this day.
It would be a good study to look in scriptures who was and was not validated by their earthly fathers, and how that effected their spiritual growth. I think I’ll do that study. David was, Moses wasn’t, Jesus was, by both earthly and heavenly father…hum….If you weren’t validated, then you have a unique opportunity to know The Father, and become a spiritual parent. If you were, your path is also unique to enter into that Rest between Father and Son, where all the world is transformed by their mutual Love for one another.
If basic Christianity is to be caught up in the Father’s relationship with His Son. Then understanding—knowing and loving and seeing- The True Heavenly Father and allowing His Presence to touch and form us, still matters! That space between them is our home. And The Father wants to authenticate and validate us through The Life of His Son. Enjoying meditating of His Fatherhood this season.

In Prayer this week:

Prayer for leaders in the American church this week:
The American church was slow to interpret 911, slow in its priestly actions of being the conscience and interpreters for the nation. Now again, in these elections there is much confusion, and few clear voices helping us interpret the “times”—not just the election but how, in our nation’s narrative, we got to such a moment of leadership crisis.
So we pray for our church leaders, the true spiritual shepherds. That they would have clarity of vision, thought and word in our hour. As in the times of Jeremiah, we need some Jeremiah’s to speak clearly the Voice of God, in His Presence.
Soon we will need Daniel’s; now we need Jeremiah’s to manifest and speak the heart of God into our situation. There is much confusion in the world, and in parts the church as well. We pray that He would raise up people of vision and clarity to help guide and interpret our days, and help us by understanding to abide in His Peace during these turbulent days.
We need to see how we got to this tragic moment, and then steps to get out of it and move back onto the path of our spiritual destination. A vision of our destination needs to be restored and re-stated. What is America’s true calling? How did she get far from that.
We remember in Jeremiah’s times there were two major sins: rejecting God, and building their own cisterns or containers to hole their “water” or spiritualities. Rejecting God and making up our own spirituality (what Dallas Willard calls the Oprah-ization of American spirituality). We repent for these two sins. And there were a few other sins in Jeremiah’s day listed. One was not welcoming the foreigner, defending the oppressed and caring for the orphans. We are also guilty of growing cold hearted in these areas, talking of walls rather than harbors.
We need to work on our harbors not our walls in our hour! We need to welcome and defend the oppressed. That is part of America’s calling. If we lose that welcoming generous spirit, we are truly lost.
The church itself needs more Jeremiah’s now, so we pray they arise in our hour of need. We pray for them daily. And that they would be given platforms to speak clarity like Daniel was given in his days.
That like Daniel they would be given vision of the sovereignty of God over all nations, and of His intimate involvement in the history of each. So we pray for that level of vision to see from the throne room, as Daniel did, whose name meant God is Judge. God is interpreter who makes distinctions between things from His Love and Righteousness. God still is in charge, and we need people who are wise judges from that place of His Authority. As Solomon was given “wisdom to render justice.” So we need these righteous judges to stand now. Even in the church, much less the public marketplaces. We pray for these judges to be stirred into action now and speak and teach.
God is not the author of confusion, and there is much confusion in this particular nation now. So we go to God in order to see from His Eyes, and bring understanding. And then we speak in the Voice of God, as Jeremiah did, and like him, we feel and manifest the Heart of God actively into these troubling times.
MLK said that the church is meant to be the conscience of the nation. Let her rise up and be that now, and speak as loving, unconfused, and informed (spiritually enlightened by His Spirit) priest in clarity interpreting these troubled days. For the categories of interpretation have been usurped and confused. The frames of discourse are not true. Bring us Your’s instead Lord. For You Alone are the Way, The Truth and The Life to live it by! You are the path of each nation, the truth about her story and the Life to empower her to live it!
And rise up wise men and women of God. Stir clear our consciences! Let us be readers of the times from His perspective. For we, as Jesus taught us, are responsible to be able to read the times from a spiritual perspective. Let’s. This is urgent in times of great interpretive confusion and such leadership crisis.
We were not good priest after 911, I ask that we would do better in the midst of this current crisis of confusion. God is a God of distinction–this is not also that, as we see in the Creation story. So we pray for those who can discern and make clear distinctions in our hour.
We know that you picked a sensitive Jeremiah type leader for such a time as his. And a Seer like Daniel to be in leadership, one who carefully studied the prophets and times, had visions and saw Your Throne of Authority, who was a practical mystic acquainted with Your Ways. We ask you raise up these types of leaders now.
Lord we need your Jeremiah’s now: those who can manifest and know, and express, both Your Heart and Mind about this present age. And speak in clarity and boldness, and in Your Peace (so Peace bringers; for we cannot gain understanding if we ourselves are not in Peace! Let us discipline ourselves in the ways of Your Peace as a practice and prayer for our times), from Your Voice. Stir us to pray and see and speak from Your Voice, and in Your Ways and tone (for the Tone of Love is the Voice of God; wherever you hear Love, go there, that is His Voice!) in our hour.

And a brief prayer for Europe:
Europe is in another part of her story. God is pouring forth waters of healing into her rivers, and just beginning to prepare her for a returning Glory. But she too has amnesia and needs resuscitation. And clear vision and values based on who God actually is. We pray also for her in this hour and her church to be open doors of welcoming and speak in the Voice of Wisdom. To become spiritual parents again, in this hour when the children nations have gone mad. So we pray for our parents also. And thank you for sending many African leaders to help bless her back into spiritual health. Heal her rivers and gateways of her cities. Stir her urban centers with those who can speak in love and righteousness. We pray for the unity of the church in Europe, as we know you are wanting the Blood to flow through the whole Body of Christ in that continent, and connect and activate and bring His Life again to its members. Let your blood flow in Europe again Lord. Amen.
We see you pouring out much healing and knowledge again into her rivers. Dredging out old unconfessed sins, but also causing axes to float again—i.e. retrieving spiritual deposits all across Europe. We see this in the prayer movements, and new branches streaming from Hernhutt and other centers of His Peace which carry deposits of Your Glory Lord. Thank you for those who have faithfully mined these deposits and continue to dredge the rivers of Europe. In You there is hope, which stretches backwards in history and forward towards a greater Glory in you. We know this continent is destined to find You again. Let her receive the healing You are pouring into her rivers. To prepare the way for many in the coming harvest to be baptized in her waters. Purify her waters to make them baptismal again. Thank Almighty Father for your endless Kindness towards us all among the nations. We recognize you as King over all nations, and Guide. Guide us now Lord in these things. We come under Your Authority, and seek Your Wisdom through Your Son’s Life, Jesus, and in His Name Amen.

Mysticism revised

So this little meditation is for two audiences: those who would like to consider what is true about a religion based on its mystical traditions; and those Christians who may have dismissed the mystical streams in their own faith, because of extremes of exaggerated versions. I would like to define a mystic as someone who seeks or claims to encounter the ultimate truth of their religion or faith, and to directly encounter it. Not all mysticisms are the same. I focus in this dialogue with Dallas Willard’s thoughts, mostly on the theistic forms of mysticism, because these are the ones I’ve studied most.

I am convinced that mysticism is one way to look carefully at what a religion is really grounded in and saying. How it is lived out. For this reason the study of mysticism is a window into what is essential faith. What is your ultimate, and how does that cause you to live in real life? Anyways, i begin with some long but helpful quotes about mysticism from the late Dallas Willard. Helpful thoughts, i think.

I hope this article helps those who are open to at least the mystical streams in the world religions, and helps them as well as Christians to consider Christian mysticism as a valid option for true spirituality in our times. I studied comparative religious art in college specifically looking at mystical streams within each tradition to help read what the essence of each religion was really about. Not all mysticisms are the same!

In non-theistic mysticisms, the Ultimate is impersonal–either viewed as a Life Force, or Principle or Energy itself of life. The Vedic ways contain many practices to make contact with the ultimate, to become one with Oneness itself. Or in other versions, to become nothing, to escape the illusion of distinct identity. But here, I want to focus on what distinguishes Christ centered mysticism from other forms. In Christianity, we lose our false selves to find our eternal selves. That’s unique. Lose yourself to find yourself. You don’t become nothing, or everything! You become someone specific in Christ, with a story and clear identity, and a path of meaning to walk out in life. That’s distinct, so let’s explore what is unique about Christ-centered mysticism…

Is there a distinction to Christian mysticism? Are all mysticisms the same? Is his and my basic question in this article. I’ll start with this quote from Dallas Willard about what makes Christian mysticism distinct, and then trail into some of my own thoughts, in a sort of mid-rashic manner. Thanks for you patience. I think this is a stream worth considering if we want to consider what life is ultimately sourced from and how to live well. Fun studying other’s thoughts on this pertinent and often misunderstood subject. Here’s Dallas:

“The specific “color” or Christian mysticism is devotion to Jesus Christ. There is a lot of room for spelling out exactly what that means, and a lot of ways of putting it into practice. Pretty clearly this was the “mysticism” of Florence Nightingale, as is shown from her explicit language, the people she consulted with, and the context of religious life in her times. Her departure from various details of the nominal or real Christianity she encountered around her is better explained by her devotion to Christ than by any reversion to plain-wrap mysticism or to non-orthodox beliefs. The overriding question faced by most professionals today, including nurses, has to do with what they are really devoted to, and what are their life sustaining resources, in pursuing their profession. An honest, thorough inquiry into the possibilities here is what is called for. Are there any preferable alternatives to an all-out, experiential devotion to Christ? Then let us find them and live them. If not, let us live in union with the Absolute who is Jesus Christ.

Union with the Absolute also can be understood in a distinctively Christian manner, and one with substantial overlap on the other theistic religions. The key differences from the illusionist interpretation are two: The “Absolute” for the theist is understood to be a Person. And union with the Absolute, thus understood, consists, not in identity with Him, but in personal relationships of knowing, feeling and willing, on some substantial analogy with what is to be found among human beings in their better conditions. It involves conscious attitudes and actions between God and the human being, and then harmonious actions together with the divine and the human. Each side contributes to the relationship—though obviously not in the same proportion. Such a union is aptly described as “God with us.” It is less a status than it is a modulated flow of life in which transformative experiences of God come and go, along with a constant undertone of divine presence interwoven with the events of a normal human existence. In the records of Christian life, this relationship is often thought of as a journey toward God that is, at the same time, a journey in God. A readily available source for studying such lives anecdotally would be William James’ Varieties of Religious Experience. But reports and testimonies of out of those lives are widely available.

Of course the source for understanding such a “with God” life is the Bible. For example, the Twenty-Third Psalm is a straightforward description of the human experience of union with God—once you understand that the writer is not engaging in lofty whistling-in-the-dark, but relating his actual experience and condition of life “with God.” The entire Bible conveys a picture of a life of personal union of God with his people, and the New Testament interpretation of how Christ lives in his people becomes a central part of the Christian understanding of life, especially for such passages as the Gospel of John chapters 14-17, Colossians chapters 1-3, and Galatians 2:20-21, to mention only a few passages. James Stewart’s A Man In Christ, or the Introductory Materials and Notes to The Renovaré Spiritual Formation Bible can guide anyone further in studying along these lines. Albert Schweitzer’s The Mysticism of Paul the Apostle is also a very useful source.”

Some people don’t like the sound of mysticism, too esoteric or impractical, but if you look at it as those who are seeking the true essence or Source of your religion, and wanting to express and live in and from it, it gets more interesting for study. To see it as the actual spirituality (the lived out-ness of your beliefs about The Nature of Reality!) of your religion.

We want to look at people’s actual “lived spirituality” to access the essential nature of a particular religion. This is why the mystics are fun to study. They were attempting to live out the essential truths of a religion!

Those who have claimed to actually live out that religion, are the easiest to read the faith through. So with Christianity, you might want to look at someone like Martin Luther King, or Mother Teresa, Albert Swietzer, Bonhoeffer, or others who you think lived the spirituality of that tradition. Those who appeared to have contact with its Source. Like St John, or St Paul who had overt recorded encounters with Jesus.

For Christians, the ground of all Being, The Absolute, is Jesus Christ Himself. So we don’t just merge we enter intimate relations with Him. The hebrew word for knowing refers to sexual intimacy. So that it is that level of knowing–person to Person depth of being exchange. That sets it apart even in its mystical streams of expression. The Absolute is not a nebulous “sacred”, or energy force, but a living personal loving God, who makes Himself encounter able! And has revealed Himself and His Ways into human history.That’s unique. The God with us part who reveals Himself in history. It still matters what or Whom your Ultimate is.

Ours is a relational mysticism, less about dissolving into Other, and more about a loving relationship, or ongoing dialogue or conversation, with the Ultimate Other who has made Himself known in history—Jesus, the Christ. Unlike the Vedic or non-theistic religions, we do not just overcome the illusion we are separate from Reality, we relate directly to it in order to even find our who we are. We enter self-revealing direct relationship with Christ Himself. That’s unique to Christ-ianity, which is always centered in the sustainer of all things—the sacrificial Son of God, the Christ, the Anointed by God one. This gets uniquely expressed through the lives of the mystics within true church history.

This is a useful and helpful way to read christian history. Read history through its mystics-those who have claimed, like St Paul-to have an encounter with Jesus Himself. And some who have even claimed to have daily friendship with Him directly. Those who claimed to have encountered the essence of their faith—in this case, those who have met and are friends with Jesus. The Real Jesus who sustains all of Reality! And the Author and Sustainer of our faith!
Distinctions help especially when studying mysticism. I will define a mystic as someone who claims to have encountered ultimate reality directly. So it matters what each religion’s ultimate or upper storey is. And the fruit of having that as your Ultimate! A tree is known by its fruit.

In college, I studied comparative religious art specifically looking at mystical traditions within various religions. Still fascinates me as it’s easier to read the direct symbols which stream through the mystical traditions of the worlds religions. Fun place to start if you want to see the essence of a religion. And not just reject the entire pursuit of spirituality.

Rather than throwing out all claims at mysticism (don’t throw out your mystics with your bathwater of religion!), I wanted to consider what they express about each religion’s ultimate or highest absolute. It was a helpful way to study religions of the world. I mainly focused on the Theistic ones, as having a Personal God as your ultimate has been my lived experience. Having a friendship with God, interest me more than dissolving into an abstract Being-ness or nothingness. I want to know a Someone, not nothingness. So I started with the religions who claimed to have a Personal God, one which we could relate to somehow down here.

There are many ways to study religious traditions, the mysticism of each faith is a helpful way in. And, I think it’s a good topic again in our day of watered down easy to digest religious supermarkets.

I’m convinced that Christianity offers the most true form of mysticism available. Yet it is often misunderstood even within Christianity. Yet as people search for a more authentic spirituality, I think it’s useful to consider what makes Christian mysticism unique or distinct from other religions.

All the theistic religions have a personal most High God as ultimate. And they have a relational rather than “merging into” model for mystical Union.

In Christianity, the marriage metaphor is most often used for ultimate Union. Groom and bride metaphors are throughout the Jewish prophets and again in the New Testament, where it is specifically applied to Jesus as Groom and His church or people as the bride. This central metaphor speaks of a knowing intimacy. To know in Hebrew, as I mentioned, refers among other things to sexual or the most intimate knowing of one another–in this case, of The Ultimate Other, who is also friend and lover!

So we are meant to come into marital intimacy with Christ. That’s a basis for true Christian intimacy. We take on and receive His Name–Christ. We do so as in getting married to Christ. That’s a core foundation in true Christianity. It is a marital level of union with one another. And in doing so, we get caught up in Our Groom’s intimacy with His Father, which space is our home. It’s a very family relations religion! But the way we come into the family is to marry Jesus. That’s what true mystical practice is about–that marriage or type of union between two. This is what Jesus was talking about in John 17–you in Me, and Me in Father. That space is the aim of Christ centered mysticism.

This is one reason why marriage is such a “high symbol” in Christianity-it speaks of the nature of our relationship with Christ!! It’s meant to have the level of contact and encounter as marital intimacy. A marital intimacy not with a nebulous other, but with The Person of Jesus Christ. It’s not a random marriage with being itself, or energy, it is a relationship with a Someone.

That’s a core image of Christian mysticism. Union is relational and it is ultimately with Jesus Christ who Christians believe to be the “ground of all Being”, or the Absolute or Ultimate—the name or Identity above all other Names and Identities so to speak. And we are offered a relational mystic union with Him. That’s the core offer of Jesus coming to earth, and into “our hearts”.

I’ve been looking at how mystical experiences informed the spirituality of some of the church fathers as well. St John being the most obvious, but I’m considering Paul a mystic also.
Been studying St Paul as a mystic lately. Paul as a master of word and Spirit…
St Paul as a mystic. Someone who was given “revealed theology” from God directly! Consider it. His entire conversion was a mystical experience, then he is directed directly by God’s intervention on his missions.
We think of St Paul, as the great theologian, but he clearly also had direct encounters with even Jesus, which is why he claimed to be an apostle! But his spirituality was replete with mystical encounters with God. Visions, dreams and spiritual training from above etc. Good to remember that some of the early apostles actually were mystics, though in a uniquely Christ centered way.
I’ve been thinking lots about Paul’s spirituality, since he is considered to be the first to really lay out a Christian theology. It’s important to consider that he had direct encounters with God, but also very clear revealed thinking— he directly encountered, even the risen Christ, if we are to believe scriptures!
When you think of it, Paul’s entire spirituality was really begun by a mystical encounter with the Risen Jesus. The rest is history. Don’t discard your mystics.
He also got his fresh gospel for the gentiles (“this gospel”)—a “mystery” revealed to him, concealed in God beforehand, as Paul puts it in his letter to the thessolonians.
In fact, his entire journey was informed by mysteries previously concealed by God but which were revealed to him. One basic one being that non-Jews are included in the Kingdom! A very useful revelation for us!
Paul considered and called himself a steward of the mysteries of God!
It is still remarkable to me how many “founders of our faith” had extremely mystical spiritualities. St John is overt, but many don’t think of Paul as someone who was directly informed by his encounters with God. Yet, he was, as we are meant to be.
For Christians, again, the ground of all Being, The Absolute, is Jesus Christ Himself. That sets it apart even in its mystical streams of expression. The Absolute is not a nebulous “sacred” but a living personal loving God, who makes Himself encounterable! It still matters what or Whom your Ultimate is. Our spiritual parents had a specific Personal Ultimate, and had a marital union of friendship with Him!
So, of course not all mysticism are the same or equal. Depends on what or Whom your ultimate is! Mysticism is typically defined as some form of union with The Absolute or Ultimate. In Christianity, this would be with Jesus, the Author and sustainer of Reality. The Logos or Way of God incarnate.
There are basically theistic forms of mysticism which see the ultimate as Person, and others, usually Vedic faiths, which see the “ground of all Being” as impersonal. That’s one major dividing line, as depending on which you believe, you live differently. It matters what we union with or center in, and what is the nature of that union. Is it loving relationship or a merging with consciousness, or nothingness etc…”Choose your ultimate wisely, it will determine your course!” as one of my mentors put it.

Jesus claims to be the Ultimate come down into human history and making God available to us through intimacy with Him and His spirituality. Union with His Spirit in His relationship with His Father.
That alone makes christianity peculiar, as my grandmother used to say. You have ultimate ground of all being incarnating into His own creation and offering a gateway into The Most High God Father. Christlikeness would be union with His Nature over time. That’s the daily practice of the Christ-ian mystic!

Art, Identity and spirituality

I’m doing a series of small articles and talks on: Art, Identity and spirituality. My favorite three topics. How are they related? How they are One or integrated in God, and should be integrated in us!

Our ability to creatively communicate or express is part of being human. And is meant to be attached to our core identity, which must be centered in something other than itself to function well. Preferably something or Someone Higher. This is why healing begins by admitting we need a higher power, or something bigger than ourselves as our ground of being.

Core identity is governed by our spirit, under the influence of whatever you have placed at the center of your life-ie is centered on whatever is our Ultimate. Create expression will flow from that well. So whatever we place at the center of our lives will determine expression. This is one of my core ideas.

What we see, when we look at art:

Art is a symbolic expression of what is at your center (individually and collectively). Art shows us what people have at their core. Art reflects what is lodged, and has been invited into, our core.

Statues of ourselves, statues of dieties, statues of ideals, art about art etc-indicate whatever we have placed at the center-that’s what gets expressed. We express what is at our core, and what is flowing out of it. What we symbolize from and therefore about, is whatever we place at the center of our lives. What is placed at the center of highest value in our lives- that is ultimately what art ends up flowing from. Our expression flows from our core. It can do so directly, or abstractly. It can do so through any medium. But what we have decided to place at our core is the key! Everything flows from that.

So, one way to study cultural history, or what makes a person or people group tick, is to look at their art, to see what its core is like, or is made of. I studied art therapy for many years, which is based on the ability of art to reveal what is going on inside a person. I also studied comparative religious art in school—specifically art flowing from mystical traditions. In religious art, you can see what the core beliefs of a religion are, by reading its art. Visual history allows us to read what is happening beneath the surface of culture. We are known by how and what we express.

I could not know you, if you did not express yourself. This is true for people and places. We know a city, but how it expresses itself through architecture, public spaces, street layout etc. Mapping a city, is really about reading her symbols. What are her core symbols? What are recurring motifs in her landscape? Symbolic patterns. I often ask myself this when walking around a new city, or counseling a person—what is this city or person trying to say about itself?! And, in what areas is her creative expression broken. These are basics to reading a city well, or a person. Even if we just look at a person’s clothing, or how they dress themselves, we are reading symbols to know who they are–social class, etc. We read people through how they express themselves.

It becomes clear, that people and cultures express individually and collectively from whatever is at their center, whatever truly matters most to them-what they’ve placed on “the throne of being”. Or, more simply, their primary concern in life. Their ultimate. How we ground ourselves matters.

Art reflects what’s at the true center of your life. It expresses where you are really coming from. It’s very direct in that way. Just as a piece of art, can directly communicate the essence of a landscape or place, so all art reveals where it comes from.

Some basics: What is at your center? What have you placed as your gravity line or object you compass around or interpret everything else from? What matters most to you? And are you willing to gravitate around it for many years? Is it bearing good fruit in your life?

These basic three areas and their questions and how we answer them as people, determine much about how our lives will go:

Spirituality: what do you ground yourself in? What is your upper story or Ultimate ground of being for yourself? What’s your higher? Your “ground of being”?
Identity: who are you, and how do you find that out? What’s your process for figuring out who you are.
Creativity: how do you express authentically from who you are?

And, how do these three areas integrate into one fluid expression of the poem you are?
We are, as humans all three–we are spiritual, we have identity, and we are creative. So the three have to come into a tandem and mutually blessing relationship. They do so, when we replace ourselves as center of our lives, and replace it with Jesus Christ. The True Center of things. When we re-center in the Right Center, everything changes. We begin to become aligned with what is Real. Reality becomes our home. And Reality is sustained and governed by Christ. We start to come into alignment with what is Real. That is the journey towards our eternal names, or true identity. The journey into the Life of Christ. Our true identity begins, as it did for St Peter with seeing who Jesus is.

Ironically, we receive our identities by losing them in Christ! To conform to Christ is to find our true names. Just as Peter was told his name, once he was shown who Jesus is, so we begin to find our names, as we find The Namer. Since, everything in its true form is centered and founded in The Maker, we too find ourselves and the ability to just be ourselves, as we allow Jesus to wear us like clothing. We get free to be, as we enter more deeply into His Life. Many Christians have gotten confused on this being conformed to the likeness of Christ matter. We are being conformed to His Life, and as this happens are also being freed up to be ourselves–our true selves. Our eternal selves. Then we no longer have to put on the mask of Christ, we have Him inside of us, and He ends up wearing us, so we are free to truly be ourselves. Christians should be the most authentic expressions of being human on earth. Let’s be that.

The path to true identity is in Jesus. He can reveal us to ourselves, and share us with others, that is Christian ministry. Allowing Jesus to express Himself through who He made you to be. He takes pleasure in that type of collaboration. His Being with your being. He made your personality and wants to make it shine in Truth. The Truth is His Life in us. Don’t put your light under a basket, we are to be a city shining on a hill. We are free to let His Light shine out through the authentic poetry He made us to be.

When we center everything in Jesus, we are free to start really living.
Identity and authenticity are two huge aspects of ministering the Kingdom on earth. We don’t have to wear a christian mask to be in Him, we can have direct communion with Christ, and be ourselves. There is no other way to find our who you are, your purpose and your path prepared beforehand, but in Him. And He has all of those things within His Own Heart, waiting to be discovered. He loves it when we come to Him in faith and ask–who am I really Lord? Search me and know me. That gives Him room to help you become what He already knows you are.

Our creativity then naturally just flows out from this true place of identity. It is authentic expression because it is centered in the Author of Identity. Identity then is intricately linked with our creativity, and both are meant to be centered and discovered in Christ. He is the Author of our identity. And Lord with and over our creativity. We can steward the earth in creative collaboration with Christ. This gives Him pleasure.
We start with who we are, move on to how and what we express–the two are integrated in Him. He then is allowed to be Lord over and lover of the whole person. That’s His desire. And is our hope. As Christians, those centered in Christ, we are free to be ourselves and express it. Being conformed to His Image, is then to find our own True Image. The real version of ourselves comes clear.

This is a healing journey because we are a broken image of ourselves, and He wants to make us clear and whole in Him. Our broken image of ourselves, even as the center of our own universe, must visit the Cross of His Healing to be healed. This is just so we can see, even ourselves properly–as sinners in need of a new Center. Then can extend out to others and His creation.
This is how art relates to healing. He wants to come in and baptize our imaginations in His, even in order to give us a clear picture of ourselves, much less the world or others, or The Father. The healing of the imagination allows us to start to see more accurately who God is. Outside of just our experiences, we begin to see who He really is.

We necessarily then worship Him, because of who He is. So this process leads us to worship naturally. And we are then free to do so in ways which are authentic to our true selves. This is how to create authentic worship. When Christians are being themselves in Him, authentic expressions of worship will flow out of them organically. So will missions and the many other structures. The wineskin changes organically if we are truly centered in Christ in our identities. You will see new forms, new songs because we have become new people.

We are born with broken images of ourselves and God. For this to be corrected requires us to re-center in Christ. Once, we do, we begin to see ourselves and the world more through His Eyes. Our spiritual perception gets enlightened. And is transformational in every area of our lives.

If you were to do a series of self-portraits before and after knowing Christ, you would see a radical difference. Our creativity reflects this dramatic shift in who we are. Regardless of what type of art we chose to make, it has an authentic source. Our Source is our relationship with Jesus at the core of our hearts where we lose ourselves to find true selves.

There are many benefits to meeting Jesus. The ones I’m emphasizing in this article are: knowing our true identities, being able to integrate our creativity with our spirituality, and being able to express who we are authentically. So that our outer mirrors and flows from our centered inner life. When we center ourselves in Christ, everything changes, and we begin to know who we really are, and how Reality actually is. We start to have a less broken image of what life is, our part in it, and who He is. God is One, and wants us to be integrated as well. He wants us to know who we are, because He made us. And is the only one who can reveal this to us, and allow us to begin to express it creatively in collaboration with Him.

On grieving well

Grief brings potentially useful blindness. The same One we could see yesterday clearly, goes dark, or into seeming hiding, behind the dark lens of our soul’s pain. Jesus taught us to pray to the One who sees us from the hidden space. (The Lord’s prayer-our model)
Help me to trust when i cannot see. And to allow that to be, our meeting space.
Grief is blinding and yet, if we allow it to work in us, we can enter new parts of God.
We simply must trust without fully understanding or knowing. And grief offers that opportunity. What an opportunity of transformation! God is the same in the dark, as He was in the light. In fact, He wraps Himself in night. The unseen informs the seen. The roots in darkness, supply all which is needed for the fruits which are seen.
Grief is a time to wait patiently and know. It is a place to get acquainted with The Man of Sorrows. It is a place to lose your sight in order to find it!
This is one of the gifts of grief to increase trust in the invisible God who sees, searches and knows us, even when we were in the mother’s womb.
Faith is easier than trust, trust must be developed, and grief is one of her developers! Especially in the areas where we go blind in pain. We can come out of it with a much firmer faith. I’ve experienced that, even in a limited way. When we go blind in certain areas, we have the opportunity to trust without seeing-by faith, not sight. When the wine is in the dark, it ages well. That’s where all its character is formed.
Grief has great potential for deeper formation of Christ’s life in us. It may be the most effective method of God forming His Life in us. If we stay with Him in it. Not denying our pain, nor His-for He does care about our suffering. But we can also from that place of personal grief, meet Him in His Suffering on another level. And that is transformative!
He showed me once graphically, that we cannot carry His Suffering, but He can carry ours! There was a time I was praying, and He was weeping, and I wanted to bring Him some tea, and He asked me to step away a few steps. I couldn’t bear seeing Him in that much pain. Then, He looked up, smiled and said, “I’m so glad you’re here.” He knew I couldn’t handle the level of pain He was experiencing. But He wanted me to see it, and realize what He who ever lives to make intercession is feeling. Yet, He was also really happy to see me. It was an intimate moment with Jesus, and taught me the difference between my pain and His.
Another time in a dream, i watched a singer who looked glorious to the audience from backstage, and he was bleeding all over and badly bruised, in real pain. But the audience could only see the star quality. I asked God what I was seeing.”He is interceding as He performs. “That’s My pain for this audience.” But they could not bear it. He alone does.
The potential for growth in trusting God is immense, as we cannot see so many things accurately when in heavy grief, we must believe that God is there, and seeing clearly for us, and He is good and working for our good. Just as beforehand.
It throws or thrust us, if we are willing, into another level of intimacy and trust with our God. Grief is a potential door into a deeper level of knowing and thus, trust in God.
Jesus trusted The Father even when being killed. That is the opportunity of grief. To fellowship with His sufferings in absolute blindness-His Sees, we do not, but we can trust He who was the same yesterday, is still there today! Those areas, we simply can no longer see Him—that’s where to hunt again and find Him! That’s where to faith He is there.
Others around us are not suffering today, so they can sense Him in another way. And it’s good to stay social while grieving! Keeps you more objective that your temporary lens is not the only one. But today we can see through the lens of our pain, and if we keep our gaze fixed on Him, we will see wonders, and be healed.
For ours is the tabernacle of suffering today, and that is the appointed meeting place with Our God, who is the same loving God yesterday, today and forever. And this is the day for you which the Lord has made, find it in Him, and be glad in it! Cry tears of Joy with Him–you won’t regret it! Don’t waste your blindness. Grieve well. You just may find the One who heals the blind there!