Monday, April 21, 2008
To spend 20 weeks in the study of St. Paul or NOT?, was the question I asked myself twenty weeks ago when I was deciding which class I wanted to take next.
To complete the PhD program I needed 60 hrs and I had already taken the classes I knew I would like, so I took this the Study of Saint Paul by default, telling myself after all Paul was a man who could "almost" make a complete change in his life patterns when shown an enlightened and better way.
Peter and especially St. Paul. were two of the early Christian leaders I felt the least passion for as I studied the history of the Bible. Both Peter and Paul appeared to have turned the axes of the Christian church away from bestowing honor to humankind by balancing ones self with both male and female energy. Thus, the study of Christian church often appears with an aggressive, "power hunger" ego nature, verses a loving, forgiving,, nurturing, peaceful, soulful nature. Governments from which the church had controlled for many years were also ego center and aggressive. After all, most wars were and still are about power to control or religion views (the one and only "right ones"). Peace, that should come with a spiritual enlightened life has yet to be discovered, for the most part, by those of us who call ourselves Christians. Females, until lately, have always been degraded, and even still the movement forward is slow. Attacks, excommunication or even death awaited anyone that so much., as even questioned the creeds or rules of the Christian church. Fortunately, early founders of the United States of America had the foresight to see that the United States constitution took the control of government away from the church. As our citizens were given a free education, at least through the 12th grade, and more and more make the decision to attend college, humankind is regaining it’s female energy from knowledge and the wisdom about the need for balance, the rights of all, and a need for peace if we wish to survive as a world rather than little groups, here and there, pitting against one another for power as each wipe out the other.
After the completion of this study I came to realized Paul himself faced a struggle with the Jews with all of their many rules, narrow mindedness and a need for control when he tried to establish the Christian faith in honor of the teachings of Jesus. Paul was very aware that Jesus saw all men as equal both slave and master, rich and poor, and he also had to see the female was equal to the male, where he liked it or not. Paul does make a point to let us know his views of marriage and perhaps about females in general are his own, not the teachings of Jesus. Perhaps having this weakness of his own flesh enabled him to work more patiently with some of the communities of the early Christian church that wanted to keep the new church strongly leaning in the path of the older teachings of the Jewish community. "Old dogs have problems learning new tricks" as the saying goes, even though they may appreciate and even understand that the new tricks lead to as a better path. In my driving patterns, I can at least have compassion with Paul as I often choose to travel the old rural route rather than take the new modern bypass.
I especially, liked the last class of the course on Spiritual Gifts. As a young age of six and even more as I became an adult, I have been a prophetic dreamer - dreaming of things before they happen and being told how to deal with them when it dose happen. Often I am given a wiser view in which to see the tragic event so that it was not near as traumatic without the knowledge of the dream. At first, I was often troubled by these dreams and asked God not to send them. For a while they actually stopped, but as I grew older and wiser I came to see there was no need to fear these dreams in the least. If flowers need rain, as well as sun, so do we humans. The dreams have returned and now when problems come I asked not. "Why me Lord?" but "What can I learn and how can I grow from this?"
Two days before the 9/11 attacks I saw them in a dream. When a colleague called, "Come quick! Look what just happened," I ran to the television screen to see the second tower hit and knew this was what I had seen in my dream. An angel had appeared as the ashes came down upon my head and feet, telling me to get up and go read from the Bible a passage from Lamentations. (The night of the dream I had awaken and rose from bed the find passage and it read something to the affect, - An Jerusalem shall be destroyed but it will be built even stronger. ) The angel in the dream continued to tell me I had used my own painful childhood to seek God all the more and had found the love and peace within I searched for, and that as tragic as this event would be I was to send love and blessings to both sides, the attackers and those attacked, for both were in pain and needed to know the positive energy of love, for perfect love cast out all fear. The day of the real attack, I stood and watched in tears and horror but even at that moment I sent love to both sides. I have continued to teacher others from that point forth, that hurt people, hurt people, and that the negative energy of fear only attacks more fear. However, love and forgiveness can break the chain of both fear and hurt.
Reading this last lesson on Special Gifts, I came see my dreams are nothing less or more than special gifts from God that I am to use like a great singer to lift the spirits and hopes of others.
In the last few years another of my reoccurring dreams is where I am in a play ground with a partner "see sawing" and I am loving it as if I am a child again. I am thrilled both at being lifted into the sun and the big blue sky, and in love lifting my partner for those brief moments, as well. Then an angle appears and stands in the middle of our "see-saw" and holds us both in perfect balance. We are told to close our eyes, and to slowly breath in and out and then to hold the breath and feel the perfect stillness of balance,. Then the angle continues with advice. "Life is not just about the ups and downs but the perfect stillness - the balance that always takes two. Now as I step off, the two of you balance together," the angel directs us. We do and it is good!
Perhaps the time has come for all humankind to find balance amidst our ups and downs - the yearnings of our souls for perfect peace -Divine Love where "Self" includes all things created on this universe as One Whole, be it male, female, communities, nations or humankind and the flowers, trees, rivers, birds or the sun that greets all with rays of warmth.
Rev. Linda Francis