How can we come to personally know our loving God?
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Consider evidence for reincarnation
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Quote of the week from In Search of the Loving God:
heodora was the second of three daughters of a bear-keeper at the hippodrome. She was sent into child prostitution and on to the stage by her widowed mother to help keep the family, and, as she grew up, her beauty, intelligence and wit soon charmed and scandalized Constantinople. She became famous for the follies of her entertainment, the boldness of her manner, and the large number of her lovers. Later she served as a concubine to the governor of Africa. After this, however, she returned to Constantinople, determined to better herself. She earned a quiet living spinning wool, and set herself the incredible goal of becoming empress. Amazingly, she captured the attention of Justinian, then heir to the throne and effective ruler of the empire, became his mistress, and soon had him charmed and in love. To please Justinian, the emperor conferred on Theodora the high title of Patrician, and then, to allow a marriage to take place, abrogated the law by which alliances between senators or high officials and actresses were forbidden. Justinian married Theodora shortly before he ascended the throne, and Theodora was crowned with him on Easter day (in 527 A.D.). When Justinian became emperor later in the year, on the death of his uncle, he made Theodora an independent and equal co-ruler, to the point of inserting her name with his own in the oath of allegiance taken by provincial governors.
Justinian’s harsh and corrupt administration led within five years to a dangerous uprising against his rule called the Nika Riot. Fires raged in Constantinople while Justinian shut himself up in his palace in despair, panicked, and thought to save himself by fleeing from the capital. At this point, when Justinian had ordered the imperial treasure to be loaded into ships, Theodora took charge. She rose in the council and said, “When safety only remains in flight still I will not flee. Those who have worn the crown should not survive its fall. I will never live to see the day when I shall no longer be saluted as Empress. Flee if you wish, Caesar; you have money, the ships await you, the sea is unguarded. As for me, I stay. I hold with the old proverb which says that the purple is a good winding sheet.” This display of courage and leadership roused the generals to stand and fight for the capital. A frightful battle ensued, in which a crowd of at least 30,000 rioters in the hippodrome were killed. Order was restored, and Justinian returned to an even more absolute rule than before, but it was Theodora who had achieved it.
After Theodora died (in 548), Justinian’s position hardened even further; he became very intent on establishing the theological position favored by his late wife. The fight between the pope and Justinian heated up, and when the pope sent an encyclical letter to all Christians portraying his side of the argument, Justinian responded by ordering his arrest. The pope took refuge in a church, and clung to the columns of the altar to prevent the arresting officers from carrying him away. In the scuffle the altar was actually pulled over! At this the officials withdrew in disarray and the people rescued the pope.
The standoff continued until Justinian convoked the Second Council of Constantinople (of 553), to resolve the issue. When equal representation of Western and Eastern bishops was not allowed, the pope boycotted the council, suspecting, along with most Western bishops, that it would be used to weaken the stated faith of Chalcedon in the interests of political unity. He decided to submit his judgment in writing instead.
The council condemned the Nestorian writings [that the pope had supported, and] ...also pronounced anathemas against Origenism. Justinian had previously condemned Origen, in a letter, accusing him of believing in metempsychosis (reincarnation), and saying “Whoever teaches the fantastic pre-existence of the soul, and its monstrous restoration shall be damned.”
Just why Justinian should have objected to Origen, and in particular to his belief in reincarnation, is not clear. It could well be, as with his stand against Nestorianism, a case of him fighting for Theodora’s theological beliefs. In support of this is a claim that Theodora didn’t like the concept of reincarnation, as she felt that under it she would have to return in another life to pay the price for the immorality of her youth, and the cruelty to the many people she had ordered killed, and that she consequently set about having it abolished.
— From In Search of the Loving God, Chapter 8, "Doctrinal Bickering: Preparing the Way for Islam" pp. 118-121.
Past quotes of the week
Endorsements and Reviews:
In Search of the Loving God is a book written with a purpose - and that purpose is to bring an age old message of truth and love to our tired, confused and desperate world. Mark is out to conquer hearts and win love for God. His book mingles impressive scholarship with both poetic appeal and down to earth empirical experiences. The world is in great need of the healing that this book could bring it.
(Ian D. Baynes, B.V.Sc., M.A.P.S.)
In Search of the Loving God reads like a combination mystery, history, and Bible commentary all rolled into one. Read it for its enlightening view on Scripture and revealing stories of the church's history. May the Spirit use this book to reach many people with its hopeful
message for the future of Christianity.
(Joy Wells, Educator)
Mr Mason's skills as both researcher and writer are such that I was unable to put the book down once I started it. He makes what could be a very dry topic not only readable, but also highly relevant to someone who is attempting to move beyond surface spirituality to a level of deep understanding and growth.
His book is divided into two parts. The first gives a very comprehensive, and eye-opening, history of the Bible and Christianity as a religion. He shows incredibly clearly how and why the church strayed from the teachings of Jesus and what that means to the church today. The second section shows how the Bible and its teachings are relevant to seekers in today's world. He describes Bible passages that teach us about reincarnation, a simple lifestyle and free will, and he includes wonderful and affirming interpretations about what hell and the book of Revelation really means.
(Patricia Vallerand, from her review of In Search of the Loving God in the Observer Quarterly)
To read more reviews, and more of what readers are saying about his book, see the reviews and endorsements page at this site.
Author's description of In Search of the Loving God:
In Search of the Loving God proposes that the key to knowing and loving God is meditation, but that before we can love God, and effectively meditate, we need to overcome our fear of Him. The book challenges traditional Christian beliefs by taking a fresh look at the life of Jesus, and at how the church soon became corrupt and power-seeking and largely ignored Jesus' teachings, invented the concept of everlasting punishment in hell in order to control people through fear, and eventually terrorized European society with the Inquisition and the witch craze, in which millions of women were burned at the stake, often for no crime greater than being a midwife. It looks at the disturbing similarities between medieval Christianity and modern religious fundamentalism, which in America manifests as the Christian Coalition, and other organizations of the religious right. It shows how the "us and them" nature of our society is based on, and underpinned by, the medieval Christian belief that some people are valuable to God and are saved, while others are not and are eternally damned. The importance of the separation of church and state in protecting us against fundamentalism, and preserving our freedom to make our own moral choices is highlighted, as is the reality of our free will -- God's greatest gift to us.
The book has chapters on why there is no honest Biblical basis for believing in everlasting punishment in hell, Biblical evidence for believing in Reincarnation, a metaphysical interpretation of the Book of Revelation, how to meditate, the reality of miracles in our lives, and on how Christianity could be more accepting of other religions such as Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam. It advocates a radical reform of Christianity, which would result in it becoming a religion of love and acceptance, rather than what it traditionally has been: a religion of guilt and fear. Abandoning the belief in eternal hell, and embracing reincarnation and meditation may sound particularly New Age, but the Bible shows Jesus taught these concepts, and that they open the way to knowing and loving God. If you are looking for a loving and inclusive spirituality, a Christianity that embraces God and all people, then this book might be a stepping stone on your path.
In divine love,
Challenge yourself to this zany and informative Religous History Quiz
If you need help editing your writing,
you may like to read about the author's editing service: Mark's Editing Shop
The Hot Springs of America, a novel, showing how another "terrorist" attack could mean the end of our current democracy, and plunge America into a second civil war. Read two complete chapters online, and if want to read the rest, the e-book can be purchased for just $5.95 (PayPal or Credit Card). To start reading, click here: The Hot Springs of America.
Original Songs:Songs of love, peace and the spirit. A number of songs I have written, including "Avatar" and "Live by the Words We Say": Songs.
Clipper Ship is a suite of productivity tools that makes working on a computer easier and more enjoyable. It includes an "instant spreadsheet," allowing you to do calculations with numbers in editors or word processors, even if they are mixed with text. It also allows you to paste often-used blocks of text from a pick list, and copy symbols not on your keyboard from a symbol list. It has a macro recorder, enabling you to record and replay keystrokes and mouse actions. It has an Area from Map feature that easily gets diminsions and areas from on-screen maps including Google Earth. It has an image capture feature that copies the current window or the whole screen into the Paint program so you can edit and save the images. It has a multi-clipboard, enabling you to paste any of the last 12 clips you have copied, monitors your typing speed in the current session (if you care to look at it!), and it is also an abbreviation expander with over 26,000 built-in short forms for words and phrases. It is fully Windows 7 compatible, and also works on previous versions of windows. To find out more, and to download the free 'Lite' version of the program, click here: Clipper Ship.
Aquarius Database is a freeware business database with perpetual inventory stock control and many other nice features, which will meet the needs of many startup and/or small businesses, and which can be extended later to give added functionality as a business grows. To find out more about it, click here: Aquarius Database.
My farm and forest at Fox Hollow: near Eugene, Oregon: Farm.
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