Half A Heart Away

All my life I was half a heart away possessed of the illusion I was happy that way,

Years past by, hair turned to gray, step some slower, but it seemed OK,

Something lacking I sensed within, habitual isolation kept it buried within,

Why this walking dead man I, this heart beginning to decay and die,

Alas the answer did appear in a form so beautiful, a love most dear,

Never again have I been half a heart away, since that moment divine, my wife came my way.

Rebel With A Cause (Part 8)

The story of the woman accused of adultery is quintessential Jesus.  His brilliant and adept handling of the situation is as masterful as it is inspiring.  Few stories reveal his heart and soul like this one.

“The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery.  They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus.  ‘Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of adultery.  In the law, Moses commanded us to stone such women.  Now what do you say?’”  They were using this question as a trap in order to have a basis for accusing him.

“But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger.  When they kept questioning him he straightened up and said to them.  ‘If anyone of you is without sin, let him cast the first stone.’  Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.  At this, the accusers began to go away one at a time, until only Jesus was left with the woman standing there.  Jesus straightened up and said to the woman.  ‘Where are your accusers now?  Is there one on to condemn you?’  ‘No one sir,’ she said.  ‘Then neither do I condemn you.  Go and sin no more.’”

Wow!  This story always brings tears to my eyes.  Let’s try to briefly analyze and speculate as to what just happened.  A group of hypocritical, self righteous religious bigots and their vile lawyers attempted to entrap Jesus.  In order to catch this woman in “the act” they would have had to set her up themselves.  Desperate for money, she became unwittingly part of their scheme.  Once they had their bogus “evidence” they dragged her through the streets with great fanfare and threw her down before Jesus.  In their hypocrisy, male chauvinism and disdain for women they did not bring along the man caught with her, as was also required by the law of Moses.  Both were to be stoned to death.

Jesus had the perfect opportunity to publicly eviscerate and humiliate these frauds, but chose instead in magnanimous grace to simply foil their plot with one devastating question.  He wrote their sins in the dust for them to see as they looked over his shoulder in irresistible curiosity.  Realizing he had them cold and could expose them to all who had gathered around, they scurried away like the rats they were.  A swipe of Jesus’ sandal, and his writing vanished.

Standing before this quivering soul, who expected at any moment to feel the death blows from the stones ample in that region, Jesus won her heart in an instant with his love and compassion.  “Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more.”  No Old Testament God here, just the always cool and classy Jesus!

Rebel With A Cause (Part 7)

We live in a rabidly commercial and materialistic society.  Today”s “heroes” and role models are the rich and famous.  Bling is the thing.  Corporate fat cats and the Wall Street bankers are idolized, emulated and above the law.

So what do we make of such sayings as, “The love of money is the root of all evil,” and “a fool and his money are soon parted”?  Are these the words of losers; those that don’t have what it takes to “make it” in this world?  What is the rebel Jesus talking about when he says, “the first shall be last and the last first”?

If Jesus was anything, he was anti-establishment.  His ideal world was the one within, not without.  He taught and lived servanthood.  He literally owned only the clothes on his back and refused to seize political or military power.  He baffled the power brokers when he told them they must be “born again.”

To him, the world we live in, and all too frequently love, was upside down.  He saw ownership and possessions as roadblocks to joy and happiness.  He perceived that people don’t own things; things own them.  He understood that the ego required to build great wealth would slow kill one’s very heart and soul in the process.  He also understood the prison of self love and greed and that without a “new heart and right spirit” mankind could never be free and have peace.

Jesus told a story about a rich man who spent his entire life building a fabulous fortune, but due to an unexpected sudden death, he never got to enjoy any of it.  He remarked how sad and futile it was, and that in the end, his great wealth went to others.  I knew of such a businessman with a net worth of fifty million dollars who could never be satisfied because he had associates who were worth two hundred and fifty million.  He was addicted to a lifetime of empire building until he suddenly fell dead one night at a concert he was attending.

“What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world, but lose his own soul?”

To be continued….

Rebel With A Cause (Part 6)

Governments and social engineers have long played the race card in the control and management of populations and to distract the people from their corruption.  The death of a young black man in Florida, Trayvon Martin, at the hand of George Zimmerman whose ethnic background  is white/latino, is a case in point.  Both civil rights leader, Jesse Jackson and President Obama did not miss public opportunities to inject race into the matter.  They, and others, projected an otherwise local matter onto the national stage.  Had the deceased been George Zimmerman instead, people outside of Sanford Florida, the location of the event, would never have heard of either of them.

Deeply and primitively, humans are tribal.  Anyone that is the least bit different in any respect, from one’s own native group, is easily suspected, distrusted and often hated.  And so it is that people are readily manipulated and pitted one against another.

Humans tend to define relationships and identify loyalties on the basis of biology.  Jesus the radical, shattered this paradigm by basing, even the closest of bonds, on spirituality.

“While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him.  Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.”  He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?”  Pointing to his disciples, he said, “here are my mother and my brothers.  For whoever does the will (loves another as himself) of my Father in heaven, is my brother and sister and mother.”

The ramifications of Jesus’ words are powerful at their most fundamental level.  If taken to heart, no man, or no government, could ever divide us one against another again!

To be continued….

Rebel With A Cause (Part 5)

On any day of the week on YouTube, one can watch police dash cam or citizen video of police, acting clearly outside of the law, beating, tasering or shooting innocent people from old ladies in wheelchairs to kids on skateboards.  It is becoming epidemic, as are the cover-ups by their police commanders.

Jesus himself experienced police brutality, prior to and during his trials as well as following his fraudulent “conviction.”  How did he respond?  What can we learn from his actions?

At his arrest, surrounded by temple police and Roman soldiers, Jesus cooperated fully and identified himself.  When a follower attempted to resist, Jesus called for non violence and rendered aid to a wounded police officer.

According to some accounts, at his first trial before the Sanhedrin, Jesus chose to remain silent when charged except to answer a question as to his identity.  At this point, finding no guilt in Jesus but hoping to satisfy the blood lust of the crowd, Pilate ordered him beaten, which the Roman soldiers did with relish.  They put a crown of thorns on his head, covered him with a scarlet robe, spit in his face and hit him with a staff in the head daring him to prophesy as to whom had struck him.  At a third trial before King Herod, the equivalent of a state governor, Jesus chose to remain silent, but was ridiculed and mocked by Herod and his police force, before being returned to Pilate.

Jesus was found innocent at all of his trials, notwithstanding being sentenced to death.  In the greater wisdom he chose not to resist at his arrest and subsequent trials.  Any attempt to explain or justify himself would have only been used against him and inflamed the police more, if that were possible.  The courts were “kangaroo” and the judges “hanging” ones.  Truth and justice were not to be allowed, but the love, kindness and nobility of Jesus in response, has outlived that moment in time and continues to echo down through the ages.

“When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified him along with the criminals-one on his right, the other on his left, and Jesus said, ‘Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.’

To be continued….

Rebel With A Cause (Part 4)

Trust is the glue that holds life together.  Without it, there is no marriage, no family, no friendship, no government, and no society.  Destroy it entirely, and humanity would self destruct.  Not one single person would survive.

Nothing is more painful, more destabilizing and more devastating than the loss of trust, especially in someone you have been close to and loved.  At the lowest point in his life, at his arrest and subsequent trials, this is what happened to Jesus.  Every single person he trusted, those most close to him, betrayed and abandoned him.  How did the rebel Jesus respond?  What can we learn from his story?

For the price of thirty pieces of silver, Judas, one of his twelve disciples, agreed to identify Jesus for the temple police and Roman soldiers so that they would not arrest the wrong person.  As Judas betrayed him with a greeting kiss on the cheek, Jesus responded kindly by saying, “Friend, what do you come for?”  One of the disciples drew a sword and tried to split in two the head of one of the temple officials, cutting off only an ear.  Jesus immediately instructed him that no resistance would be allowed and restored the man’s ear to his head.

Following Jesus arrest, all his disciples, save one, fled and went into hiding.  Peter, however, trailed behind Jesus and the police at a safe distance as he was taken before the Sanhedrin, the religious grand jury, to establish charges against him before referring him to Pilate, the Roman governor, whom they hoped would sentence him to death.  As Peter approached so that he might hear the kangaroo court trial proceedings, he was recognized as being one of the disciples.  Cursing and swearing he denied three different times even knowing Jesus, and as Jesus was dragged off to Pilate, Peter fled to join the other cowards in hiding.

Following his trial, crucifixion and resurrection, Jesus appeared several times to his disciples.  They must have greatly feared this first encounter.  But was such fear justified?  “While the disciples were still talking, Jesus appeared among them and said,  “Peace be with you.”  Those were his first words to his best friends who had recently forsaken him.  Later he spoke at some length with Peter who had not only fled like the others, but had intentionally denied ever knowing Jesus.  Listen to his words to Peter.  “Simon Peter, do you truly love me?”  This painful question was repeated twice more, until Peter devastated by such kindness responded, “Lord you know all things, you know that I love you.”

It is said that love conquers all and that it is the most powerful force in the world.  Forgiveness, as its companion virtue, is the first step toward healing and restoration for both the violator and the violated.

To be continued…

Rebel With A Cause (Part 3)

The US income tax is voluntary.  However, if you don’t “volunteer” the IRS may well show up at your home in the dark of night, wearing black ski masks and bearing semi automatic weapons to collect, not just the “debt,” but lien all that you possess and terrorize you and your family.

Notwithstanding the above, millions today don’t pay this alleged illegal, unconstitutional tax and many have defeated the IRS in court because of its inability to produce the law that requires such payment.

Government taxation has been a fact for all of recorded history and it was no different in the time of Jesus.  As we have layered government today, so it was then,  In addition to Roman federal taxation, there was a national and religious taxation.  What can we learn from the rebel tax resister Jesus about how to address the matter taxes.

One one occasion, the Homeland Security, “see something, say something” snitches approached Jesus with a loaded question regarding the payment of “federal” taxes.  “Tell us, what is your opinion?  Is it right to pay taxes to Ceasar or not?”  Holding up a coin the inquisitors had provided, Jesus noted aloud the image of Ceasar on it and said, “Give to Ceasar that which is Ceasar’s and to God what is God’s.”  Was he saying, pay all taxes demanded by the government, no matter how illegal or unjust, or was he saying each must decide what tribute or taxes to pay, and to whom?

The religious “temple tax” collectors also approached Jesus through Peter one of his followers, seeking collection.  Peter without consulting Jesus acknowledged the legitimacy of the tax by agreeing to pay it.  On hearing this Jesus objected to Peter’s action by asserting an exemption, which broadly construed, could be argued to say that government should not tax its own citizens, but rather derive its revenues from foreign sources.  As a public relations gesture, and to save face for Peter, the tax was eventually paid.  In each situation noted, it is clear, at a minimum, that Jesus did not without objection or challenge support the taxes of his day.

To be continued…

Rebel With A Cause (Part 2)

“A large crowd followed and pressed around him.  And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years.  She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors, and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better, she grew worse.”

Does this sound familiar?  Has this been the case with you or someone you love?  She went to the “white coasts” of her day who filled her with drugs and treated her symptoms.  Fortunately for her she found the medical rebel Jesus who understood that disease began in the mind and was cured.

“Some men came bringing to Jesus a paralytic carried by four of them.  Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd,  they made an opening in the roof above him and after digging through it, lowered the mat the paralyzed man was lying on.  When Jesus saw their faith he said to the paralytic, ‘Your sins be forgiven.’  In this case the medical rebel Jesus correctly diagnosed the patient as needing not a drug or even an herbal remedy but rather forgiveness and the peace that comes with it; because the paralytic immediately stood up, took his mat, and walked out in full view of the amazed crowd.

In another remarkable healing that occurred at the Pool of Bethesda, the Lourdes of that day, Jesus insightfully addressed another paralytic who had been crippled for thirty eight years, with the stunning question, “Do you want to be well?”  Wouldn’t anyone in the condition?  It seemed such an outrageous question, or was it?

The Pool of Bethesda was a place where a great number of lame and disabled gathered in hopes of getting into the water first after it had been stirred by an angel, as tradition held.  The paralytic complained he could never get to the pool in time after it was stirred.  Did Jesus rightly perceive that the man had developed a system of getting others to feed and care for him, and that he really down deep didn’t want to get off “welfare?”  Fortunately the medical rebel Jesus was able to cut to the chase and reveal to the patient that his own attitudes continued to bind him to his disease.  He too was healed and picked up his mat and waked away.

Ancient wisdom has maintained for thousands of years that nearly all disease begins in the mind and spirit.  “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.”  Today enlightened physicians, researchers and sub quantum physicists are validating this truth with some alleging that 95% of all disease has a mental and spiritual genesis.

In his book the Fourth Dimension by David Yongi Cho he relates having lunch with an eminent neurosurgeon who disclosed that science has linked the speech center of the brain with every single part of the body causing our systems, glands, organs etc to be directly influenced by our words.  They can also be influenced by the words of others to whom we assign authority.

Jesus, the physician, was anything but mainstream.  He treated disease at its origin in the mind and heart and he fully understood the impact of his words of authority on the diseases of his patients.

To be continued…

Rebel With A Cause

In 1955 a film classic, Rebel Without A Cause starring James Dean and Natalie Wood made American cinematic history.  It was the story of a young man of privilege and his companions who were in rebellion without any just cause.

2000 years before there was another classic drama being enacted that similarly focused on a young rebel.  But instead of being the spoiled offspring of wealthy parents, this rebel was a hard working carpenter and his companions, commercial fishermen.  The companions were a sun burned, soiled, tough talking, 2nd Amendment supporting lot, without any formal education.  Ultimately this rebel and nearly all of his companions would pay with their lives for rebelling against tyrannical government and religion and for standing for truth and justice.

The world has since come to know this rebel as the person Jesus.  In the last few years of his young life he was a “street preacher” who when he wasn’t provided shelter and food by followers, slept in the countryside and existed off the land.   As we shall see in the articles to follow, this Jesus was unique in all of history.  He was an anti-hero who turned existing paradigms on their head with his “he who is first shall be last and the last shall be first” teachings.  He was a true rebel, totally different than everyone else around him.

The political, social and religious environment of this day is a striking parallel to the times in which we live.  Unemployment was high, poverty the norm, the rich, powerful and corrupt ruled the church, the courts and the political sub-structure, while tyrannical, global minded Rome engaged in endless wars of empire and ruled the conquered at home with an iron fist.

No attempts will be made to “convert” anyone, or to argue Jesus existence or divinity.  The libraries of the world are filled with these discussions.  Whether Jesus was a fact, fiction or fantasy is not at issue here.  We will view him solely as a literary figure, but since his world and the issues he confronted were so much like ours, it is  hoped that we might learn valuable lessons that will enable us to cope and survive as did he with class, wisdom, nobility, integrity and love, all the while standing for the right though the heavens fall.

To be continued….

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