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07/09/02 07:42 PM

An Interesting Christian's Speech - fyi
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by James Clement Taylor
I am a Christian and not a Wiccan. A Christian is one who has been baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and who has made a personal, free-will decision to commit himself and all his or her life to our Lord and God and Savior, Jesus Christ. Both of these things are true of me. I am a Greek Orthodox Christian, a member of St. Mary's Eastern Orthodox Church, Calhan, Colorado. In this paper, I am not speaking as agent for any church, but I am, entirely on my own responsibility, speaking the truth in love, as we Christians are supposed to do.

A Situation of Strife and Shame:

There are many Christians today who believe that anyone who is not a Christian is doomed to an eternity of suffering in hell. Any decent person, believing this, would be compelled to try to save as many people from this fate as possible. But is this belief correct? Jesus Christ, having noted the faith and righteousness of a Roman centurion, a Pagan, proclaimed:

"Assuredly I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel! And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." (Matthew 8:10-12)
If we accept these words as true, and surely we should, then it is clear that heaven will contain many who are not Christians, and hell will contain many who are! Clearly, throughout the Gospels, Jesus Christ sets forth the criteria for entrance into the kingdom of heaven, and those criteria include love, kindness, forgiveness, and a refusal to judge others:
"For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." (Matthew 6:14-15)
"For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the same measure you use, it will be measured back to you." (Matthew 7:2)

"But go and learn what this means: `I desire mercy and not sacrifice.'" (Matthew 9:13)

"Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful. Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be for- given." (Luke 6:36-38)

Is it not clear? Anyone who fails in these things, will calling himself a Christian save him? Anyone who obeys God in these things, will being unbaptized condemn him? Jesus said, "Not everyone who says to Me, `Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven." (Matthew 7:21)
In addition to these words from the Gospel, let us look at the words of Micah the Prophet, centuries earlier, who wrote:

He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God?
(Micah 6:6-8)

Where, in any of this, does it say what doctrines one is to believe, or whose teachings concerning reality one must accept? All these things speak on how one ACTS, how one lives one's life, the kind of person one's actions gradually bring into being.
Yet it is not by good works that we earn our way into heaven, because there is no way we can earn the free gift of God's mercy and grace, which alone can save us. But it is clear that it is not by faith, in the sense of sharing the Christian faith, that we are saved, either. The faith which saves us is not faith in the goodness of our works, nor faith that we have the right theology and / or belong to the right church. Rather, it is faith in God, and in His mercy:

"So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who has mercy." (Romans 9:16)
But the Wiccans, you will say, do not have faith in God. Yet by their own theology, they certainly do. Those who call them "Satan worshippers" are entirely wrong. They do not worship Satan, or even believe that Satan exists. Instead, they worship a Goddess and a God whom they understand as manifestations of a higher and unknown Deity.
Now if you are a Christian, this will sound familiar to you, and it should. In the Bible we find the following:

"Then Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, 'Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious; for as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you" (Acts 17:22-23)
The Wiccans worship the Unknown God, as manifested to them in the form of a Goddess and a God. Therefore, our Bible tells us they worship the same God we do; and if they do not know this, we should know it!
For those of us who are unable to simply stand on God's Word, and must prove to themselves the truth of what it proclaims the holy Apostle John has given us the method for doing this. You have only to attend any public Wiccan ceremony, and test the spirits which are there, to see "whether they are of God" (1 John 4:1).

You will find that, while you may perceive the power manifested there as less than what you have experienced as a Christian, that power is clearly the power of God.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, these people of Wicca have been terribly slandered by us. They have lost jobs, and homes, and places of business because we have assured others that they worship Satan, which they do not. We have persecuted them, and God will hold us accountable for this, you may be sure, for He has said, "Assuredly I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me." (Matthew 25:40)

Let us, from this point onward, repent of our misdeeds and declare that henceforth we shall obey Christ our God, and not judge others or condemn them, so that He will not have to judge and condemn us for our sins.

* Z
* F O S
* E

Light & Life,
James Clement Taylor

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09/13/03 03:19 PM

Re: An Interesting Christian's Speech - fyi
Post: #68721 / Re: gkmail #49698
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James, your passionate essay on religious tolerance means a lot to me,as a fellow Greek Orthodox Christian and an individual who is looking into the path of Wicca. Perhaps there is something about the beautiful rituals and amazing, awesome sense of mystery that resonates with me in both disciplines. So far I haven't found anything in Wicca that would negate my deeply cherished Christian beliefs.
I would also like to add Romans 2 to your collection of passages from the Bible. In it St. Paul tells his followers that there are those who, while not having heard the word of God, or, having heard it, not accepting it, still DO the will of God by the deeds they perform in life, and by the way they live their lives. St. Paul goes on to say that these people also share in the banquet because they carry the law in their hearts.
To me this means that there is room in God's house for all of us, and many things are not appparent to us but will be one day.
Zoe kai Fos, Constance
***There is no way to peace. Peace is the way*****


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03/02/05 01:56 PM

Re: An Interesting Christian's Speech - fyi
Post: #88730 / Re: gkmail #49698
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Dear James,

Your posting has really heartened me!

I was brought up in a Christian country and come from a hindu family. I loved all the stories about the man Jesus and as a child I was struck by the similarities between him and Krishna and had no problem "believing" in them both. After all, they both talked about how to live as kind, gentle compassionate and cooperaive people.

As I grew older I realised it didn't go down too well when I talked about my feelings - devout christians would take offence and tell me my thoughts were blasphemous, so I stopped sharing.

Now, when I read your posting I feel priviledged to know of a christian who will not condem my thoughts as sacriledge. Thank you very much for being and sharing your thoughts. It means a lot to me as in my heart I don't believe I did anything wrong in seeing the connection between two amazing beings of light that Jesus and Krishna undoubtedly are.

Thank you once again,

Love, Sitara


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03/02/05 11:40 PM

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Re: An Interesting Christian's Speech - fyi
Post: #88735 / Re: Sitara #88730
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Dear Sitara,
I among many that post on this sight and others,on our spiritual path have delved in many different religious persuasions and I for one spent years endeavoring to find the perennial truth. The truth is there and it is for you to find your own. Your religous discipline has been a wonderful study.for me and aided me greatly on this path. Yes there are some who lack tolerance and that is through ignorance. Let us not be one of that number.I walk with you in spirit on your path.

Love & Peace

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03/03/05 02:02 PM

Re: An Interesting Christian's Speech - fyi
Post: #88739 / Re: Sitara #88730
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Unfortunately James & Constance are no longer members of SB but thanks for bringing this back to our attention! I recently read something about levels of consciousness (LOC) of world religions. It generally showed that Eastern religions as practiced today were at a 'higher' LOC but that the original teachings of Christ were at that top point (based on the range in their tests)

The Judeo-Christian based religions as practiced overall these days (including Islam) were around the 500 mark on a scale from 1-1000, with Islam ranking higher of the three! Love on this scale has a LOC of 500 thus in their overall form in today's world, each brings a greater consciousness to the world than the general LOC of our human race (which I think is still < the 200 mark but rising, thus some of changes happening with so many people & the Earth)! What’s more enlightening perhaps was that the 'fundamental parts' of these three religions had LOC’s < 140!

I mention this because it’s likely you have run into a number of this 'part of Christendom' as too have I. Even though Christianity is a part of my background & cultural base, I’m not comfortable with the approach from that part. I can better see why now!

What’s also interesting is that the LOC for the Early Church (e.g. 1st few centuries) was around 850, that this should coincide when reincarnation & aspects of karma were quite accepted within the culture & Church then doesn’t surprise me... by the 6th century, however, this had reduced to < 650... when forceful 'suppression' of any alternative beliefs really started beginning!

This info prompted me to do some extensive research on the Early Church & when I meet what I term 'fear-based Christians' now, I enjoy being able to plant a seed based on this historical info... leaving them to ponder that perhaps the 'human egos' of those times had a greater influence (unfortunately for the worse) on the Church than they ever suspected... it is so common that any alternative beliefs or divergence from 'current teachings' are labeled as 'influenced by the devil' that these souls must have much fear in allowing themselves to consider other possibilities...

I’ve a sense that at some point in the not-too-distant future, that I will be called upon to publish, or assist in publishing (disseminating information about), something that aids in releasing some of this fear from this part of our 'religion'. Fear in my childhood along these lines kept me from beginning a truer spiritual journey sooner & the info I now have & continue to amass about my own journey I’d have welcomed at those earlier times of my life...

In a way, I accept that we are born within a culture, which may or may not coincide with the wider culture around us, for purposes of assisting to heal parts of that culture. Your insights into your wider culture & the truths of your personal culture could very easily be a natural aid for those within your immediate & wider environments to expand their truth, their LOC... while certainly providing you with great lessons & opportunities regarding tolerance, patience, staying in a love vs. fear based mode...

So while I appreciate your desire not to share sometimes (& of course discernment is always necessary), perhaps this information today will assist in allowing your inner light to shine & assist you & those you meet along your path... I know little about Krishna & his teachings, but as you say most teachings are "about how to live as kind, gentle compassionate & cooperaive people" so spiritual laws become visible in many manifestations...

It wouldn’t matter how scientifically or simply one described 'gravity', an apple will still fall from a tree... certain 'laws' can be perceived differently but it doesn't actually ever 'change them'! (That's also a useful insight to me, so perhaps you will enjoy it too!)

Constant Light

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03/04/05 02:18 AM

Re: An Interesting Christian's Speech - fyi
Post: #88748 / Re: Kconstant63 #88739
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I agree Constant, and have said this for years about the "fear based religions", it seems the more "fundamental" the more fear involved. They seem more comfortable using fear based vocabulary such as hate, kill, vengeance, hell, heresy, war, satan, sin, but heaven forbid they'd ever consider "unconditional love" in it's truest sense. Most wouldn't read or even want to hear about the truth and missing parts of the bible; they'd just say that you were being influenced by demons and were committing heresy against the bible.
~ Namaste', Mark

Egoless person is not humble at all; nor arrogant;simply himself

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03/04/05 12:55 PM

Re: An Interesting Christian's Speech - fyi
Post: #88772 / Re: Angel1 #88748
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Indeed it was an area of great concern to me until more recently. I found I was "fearful" of them & what influence they might have on the society I live in... now, it is easier to comprehend how much "fear" is keeping them from raising their LOC's...

Any judgment or fear towards them seems to have dissipated from me, a welcomed event! I sense that, especially, the youth within these environments 'know' things are different & really just need a way to assist them in giving themselves permission to consider how what they know is not being acknowledged by the fear-based teachings they receive.

I certainly know that no main-stream nor evangelical/fundamentalist church I had attended in my youth could ever explain to me my OBE as a teenager, & the peace & glimpse into the eternal now I received from that experience. There was no way any of them could convince me that that experience was 'evil' & their theology did not properly include how that experience occurred.

I also could never, ever believe that a merciful God could disinherit 3/4's of the world's population just because they weren't "Christian" & thus I chose to interpret certain biblical phrases differently...

"Created in God's image" was to me a statement that we are all multi-dimensional spiritual beings, who basically are currently having a physical experience...

"Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth", "he who lives by the sword, dies by the sword" coincided with "Do unto others..." as evidence that the more Eastern view of reincarnation & karma were far more likely...

"Son of God, son of man" showed to me that Christ is a pure manifestation of what we, too, are! We have simply forgotten & do live behind that 'veil'...

"I am the way, the truth, the light... no one comes to the Father but through Me" has much less to do with His crucifixion & sacrifice in taking away our 'sins' but in an older brother showing us all the way to enlightenment... i.e. "my example"...

Unlike the Greek Orthodox & Catholic parts of my background, I am not obsessed with insisting that the Virgin Mary remained virgin her whole life, thus explaining away Jesus' brothers & sisters in a kind of "we are all the brothers & sisters of Christ"... vs. "how could she do 'that' when she gave birth to a 'God'?"... Nor even more recent theories that Christ never actually died on the cross but rather fathered a child through Mary Magdelene & all the Holy Grail/Davinci Code kinds of theories... doesn't bother me a bit...

I can accept that Christ may well have died or at the very least suffered for our 'sins', which I view more as taking on huge parts of our 'debt' of karma... but I also have no problem just in accepting that the concept of Grace (almost like being willing to consciously decide to learn out of love & light vs. fear & darkness) was introduced to us then & that alone could take away much of our 'karmic debt', in that we passed a few additional lessons through love there rather than having to do so through pain & suffering...

If 'Christianity' were the 'only' way, then it would be pretty cruel of God, without the grace of reincarnation, to stack the deck against 3/4's of the world's population like that...

And, of course, what horrible atrocities have been committed in order 'save those heathens' from themselves... Nah... Neither Christ nor God had any part in those things... the twistings are man-made!

The calling I expressed in my earlier post was to assist younger people by helping them recognize those 'points of knowing' within themselves that don't 'jive' with the rhetoric they hear & to give them other plausible, loving & light filled interpretations to counter those fears...

Either a seed is already planted & this work I sense I will be doing will nourish it, or perhaps this work will help plant a few seeds...

Light DOES dispel darkness!

Constant Light

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03/04/05 09:39 PM

Re: An Interesting Christian's Speech - fyi
Post: #88775 / Re: Kconstant63 #88772
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Good points Constant.

"Light DOES dispel darkness! "

It sure does, but is quite challenging, as many prefer hiding in the darkness of non change, claiming "openness, growth, and change" while fighting real change and not even admitting to themselves their fear based beliefs and unwillingness to actually let go of the door knob of their fundamentals of religion, so that they can fully grasp and open the door of true spiritual growth. All we can do is offer the light and hope that more choose the real light over the darkness. Just a thought.
~ Namaste', Mark

Egoless person is not humble at all; nor arrogant;simply himself

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