How can we come to personally know our loving God?
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Quote of the week from In Search of the Loving God:
n looking to purge itself of the corruption and worldliness of its past, the churchís greatest asset will be the Bible. Many critics of Christianity have assumed the flaws of the church are a reflection of flaws in the Bible. They have made the mistake of assuming Christianity is, as it claims to be, squarely based on the Bible. Christianity has, in fact, nearly always been out of step with its own Scriptures in important ways. In particular, it has never really understood the teachings of Jesus. This is, of course, deplorable, but looked at in another way, it is also a great blessing: it means the church has the Bible there to be its guide during any process of renewal it may undertake. If the church can bring itself into step with what its own Scriptures really are saying, rather than with what it imagines they are saying, then it can be transformed.
It is not always easy to interpret the Bible consistently and reasonably ó to lift truth and wisdom from its pages. Nor is it, for many people, easy to be convinced that the highest truth is even to be consistently found in it, and that it is not full of errors, or punctuated by vital omissions. In attempting to assess the integrity of the Bible, we first have to be clear about what the Bible really is. There is no use in pretending it is something which it is not. What has emerged from our look into Ancient Judaism is that the Bible is not a complete or reliable history. What has also emerged, though, is that it was never primarily intended to be history. In the Bible, religious truths take precedence over historical facts, and it is reasonable that they should. An historical novelist is not criticized for embellishing the facts of history if it enables the author to better convey the mood and feel of the story. Nor should the Bible authors be criticized for historical embellishments or inaccuracies, even though much of it is loosely based on Jewish history. Attempts to portray the Bible as accurate history are bound to fail, and bring it into unnecessary disrepute when it conflicts with archaeological and historical evidence.
It may be interesting to try and match the Bible with history, in order to determine the sorts of ways in which it is, and isnít, historically reliable. This knowledge makes the Bible a more useful historical source document than it would otherwise be. The Bibleís authority, however, is not undermined by its shortcomings as history; it is a collection of spiritual books, written for a spiritual purpose, and its authority can only be judged by its spiritual integrity and power. Likewise, the Bible canít be taken as being scientifically authoritative, although it is remarkable how much sound science it contains, considering the scientific illiteracy of the ancient world.
ó From In Search of the Loving God, Chapter 11, "Confidence in the Bible" pp. 171-172.
Past Quotes of the Week can be read at:
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 and or publishing your writing,
you may like to read about the author's editing and publishing service: Dwapara Press Editing and Publishing
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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