BELIEFS

BELIEFS

meditation-651411_1280Feel free to comment or contact me privately if you have any questions, thoughts, or concerns with regard to my Hierarchy of Beliefs.  Or for any other reason.

SCOTTY b.’s HIERARCHY OF BELIEFS

A.  DEFINITE MAJOR PURPOSE –the ultimate goal to achieve in your life. It could be planting a tree on the moon, starting a church, or having a million dollars. Definite Major Purpose is yours to define. Once defined, your DMP will be the organizing principle of your life. Without DMP, goals are meaningless.  They are milestones but on a journey to where? DMP will help you achieve freedom, inspiration, peace, love, joy . . . and will catapult you to success and fulfillment in every area of your life.

B.  PARADIGM – the lens through which I see.  My upbringing, experience, education, biases, and self-image affect how I perceive everything.  I do not see the world as it is.  I see the world as I am.

1.  I Challenge My Beliefs Often and When They No Longer Serve Me, I Change Them.. Do not be fearful of challenging your beliefs.  Doing so results in great enlightenment. If you were born in a different region of the world to different guardians, would you have the exact same beliefs you do now? Most likely not, so doesn’t that indicate beliefs are largely based on our birth region and upbringing? It is not only important to  learn.  Unlearning that which no longer serves you, is also critical.  Go within.

2.  I Can “Reject” God. We generally focus on God rejecting me by judging me and sending me to hell.  But what if I determine whether I go to “Heaven” or not?  And what if I am making that choice right now.  Not for some “future destination.”  What if Heaven or Hell are terms describing my Joy or lack during this lifetime?  If God has indeed given me free will, then the initial choice is absolutely mine.  And mine alone!  If God doesn’t answer my prayers or leaves me hopeless, or without purpose, or constantly depressed, etc. then God sucks and I judge HIM a tyrannical, mean-spirited, dictator and have no interest in spending all eternity miserable.  I don’t want to “Be Saved” if God hates gay people.  Or single Moms.  Or Muslims.  If you lack joy here, why would you want that for all eternity in ‘Heaven’?

3.  Salvation. Definitions of ‘Salvation’ include:  “Extrication or preservation from danger or confinement, obtaining a desired result, the true way to success; and the state of avoiding adverse effects. Phil 2.12 teaches us to “Be keen to work out your salvation with a proper sense of awe and responsibility.”  Salvation should be the primary focus and goal of religion.  I am not Saved by what my pastor or religion teaches.  I am saved by what I believe, what I think, what I do, and what I valueJesus focused 95% on this Life and perhaps 5% on Heaven.  We would do well to emulate that model.  Salvation is both:

1.  Living This Life Authentically, with principles, and in Abundance

2.  Living Eternally After My Time on This Earth Ends.

4. Without Passion, I have nothing. Like every other area of my Life, if I don’t have my emotions engaged in what I am trying to accomplish, all I have are short=term interests that will inevitably fail.  Theory is meaningless without passion behind it, infusing it, and propelling me to its conclusion..

medicine-wheel-444550_1280C.  BELIEFS – affect how I perceive everything. I do not see the world as it is.  I see the world as I am.

GOD IS LOVE (John 4.18 NAS – “The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”)  I believe Agape Love is the single most powerful force in the Universe.  Agape has a capacity for healing that is unmatched.  I believe God is Agape.  I don’t believe the Apostle John was writing figuratively.  I believe he was literally telling us:  God is Agape.  Thus, Heaven (being the place where God lives) is wherever and whenever Love is.

GOD’S LOCATION: I believe God Lives in the place where Joy, Love, and Truth intersect. When you find one of them, you find all three.  And in the same strength. When Joy, Love, or Truth are removed from a life, the other two automatically fall away to the same extent.

THE BIBLE. I don’t believe the Bible is the only way God communicates with us.  I am not convinced it is the sole inspired scripture.  It unquestionably is not the best way God communicates with us.  What about the Great Patriarchs of old?  They did not have the Bible.  I do believe it is inspired by God, but I Believe that God inspired its authors in the same fashion that He always deals with humans.  This means that God’s thoughts are being distilled through faulty “self-sinnered” humans that perceive things through their own lens of life experiences.  God “Inspired” NOT “dictated” the Bible.  If the Bible is “free from errors and contradictions” as some elements of Christianity proclaim, than I would feel compelled to reject the Bible completely inasmuch as it has a host of internal mistakes and discrepancies.  Perhaps the easiest example is Matthew 27:9–10 which states “Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying, “And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the value of Him who was priced, whom they of the children of Israel priced, and gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord directed me.” Matt 27.9-10. – Oops!  The prophecy Matthew quoted was from Zechariah, not Jeremiah. Hey, Matt is human like the rest of us.  One of the gospel writers indicates Jesus was on the cross two days rather than three. And on and on. The Bible was not written by the Hand of God.  Humans get stuff wrong.  We are not perfect and live in a less-than-perfect place.  If God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow:  Why would I suspect He suspended the way He relates to us just to get His Book published.  He didn’t — He trusted us like He always does.  Why?  Because He is amazing like that.  I have no opinion on whether the Apocrypha is “inspired scripture,” but I enjoy its stories. I disavow the presumption that “The Bible is to be taken as literally as possible except where obviously figurative” Why?  Why is that necessarily true?  And, if so, why don’t the same people advocating that position live in congruence with it?  One thing I do believe is literal is First John’s insistence that “God is Love.

CHRISTIAN LIFESTYLE:  Why would I Live as someone else tells me:  My Pastor?  The Leaders of My Worldwide Church?  My President?  Do any of them have MY relationship with God?  Are any of them planning on being there on the Last Day when I look Jesus square in the eyes and account for My Life?  No?  Then perhaps I shouldn’t assume anything they say will save me or damn me.  Perhaps I should figure out MY RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD for myself so I won’t be trying to avoid Jesus’ gaze on the Final Day, afraid that He may tell me “I never knew you.”  Will my Life be Perfect!  NO!!!!  Who cares?  I am forgiven and I know it.  I design my Life so this will be the scene on my Last Day on Earth:

Vaguely aware of trumpet blasts in the distance, I am already at a full sprint, yet pressing my leg muscles for a bit more power.  Sucking all the air I can fit into my lungs my arms pump in sync in an attempt to reach my top speed.  I head for the Figure in White, my Best Friend, who I have yet to meet in person.  Hurdling, ducking, or sidestepping every hindrance at breakneck speed, I hear bellowing laughter erupting from me.  But my own laughter seems distant.  How fast am I running?!?  This is amazing!  But I don’t have time to contemplate it as I suddenly realize I am in leaping distance.  Just the thought and the tendons in my now powerful legs hurtle me into the air.  No conscious thought was involved.  And no fear.  I somehow know that two incredibly powerful Carpenter arms are going to catch me.  Even though He is looking in another direction, I know He is aware of me.  I feel the power He radiates and somehow feel the smile that has come over His beautiful face knowing that His friend, Scotty b., has to be mischievous and the center of attention, even on this momentous occasion.  He begins to shake His head in mock sternness, but I know He is as excited to see me as I am to see Him.  For a micro-second, I panic as it seems He is going to let me soar right past Him.  Suddenly, though, He plucks me out of midair as smoothly as Cal Ripken, Jr. fielding a routine grounder.  I know I have lived anything but a perfect life, but I know without question this is where I belong.  IN HIS ARMS.  It is where I have always lived.  It never occurred to me to avoid His gaze or to ‘reverently’ celebrate our reunion.  I had to get there as soon as possible; decorum be damned!  Still laughing, I try to compose myself enough to turn and look square into His eyes and ask in mock seriousness, “What took You so long?!? But I can’t hold back any longer.  As I hug this amazing Man my smile spreads like wildfire and radiates to every cell of my being.  I exclaim:  “I’ve missed You! Let’s go Home!”

THE TRINITY. I have no idea if there is a Trinity although I find it amusing that the same people who are adamant I must believe in “The Trinity” to be Saved are almost always the same ones who demand I believe in the literal word-for-word construction of the Bible.  Apparently, they do not realize that “Trinity” never appears in the Bible.  In fact, “The Trinity” was a concept developed by religious leaders hundreds of years after Christ.  Does that mean it isn’t correct?  I don’t know.  Perhaps. On the other hand, it is only in human arrogance (if I recall, religious leaders issued death threats for those who questioned the Earth as the center of the Universe and those who proffered that planets orbited in an elliptical rather than a circular pattern) that we, humans, assume we have been introduced to each member of the Godhead.  It could be Three.  But perhaps there are Seven Faces of God.  Or 77.  Or 777.  jesus-17022_640

GOD IS LOVE. This is likely literal, not just a metaphor.  I critically re-think everything I have been taught and determine for myself if there is a conflict in tradition and these three words of Truth.

I CANNOT LOVE AND JUDGE. I can Love.  Or judge.  Not both at once.

IF GOD IS LOVE, HE PROBABLY DOES NOT JUDGE. In the Bible He actually disclaims judging several times and specifically forbids humans from judging “lest we be judged as we judge others.”

SALVATION IS ONLY FOUND IN LOVE. The sole Biblical portrayal of judgment occurs in Matthew 25, and does not reference a single Commandment, only whether we fed, clothed, and visited people. Salvation is Faith expressing itself in the form of Love.  Period.  Any teachers who claims to “Teach the Bible” but does not make this a fundamental doctrine should be subjected, very meticulously, to your internal Bullshit Detector.

GOD WANTS ME TO LIVE IN ABUNDANCE.. Living without Joy should be a huge red flag that I have lost God somewhere along my way.  Life without fulfillment and Joy is merely existing.

GOD DOESN’T NEED ME TO ‘DO’ ANYTHING God is neither impotent nor powerless.  He doesn’t ‘need’ me to ‘make disciples’ or ‘convert people’ or anything else.  HE is God.  I leave God stuff to God.

‘WORK’ SHOULD BE FULFILLING.. God gives me work because He knows what provides fulfillment, joy, and abundance.  If my work is not fulfilling, I should find something else to do – even if that means quitting and “exhibiting faith” that God will help me find something else.

DID MARY OR JESUS HAVE SEX?. Thank you, but i’ll pass.  I am not concerned at all about Mary or Jesus’ sex lives.  It doesn’t affect me in the least if they were virgins or were totally getting busy with it.  I believe sex is from God and is designed to cement important relationships and I believe Christians and other religionists have caused sex to become an important tool in the deceiver’s tool box.  I can’t find a single reference to “pre-marital sex” being thought of as “bad” an any fashion until some 400 years after Jesus and don’t believe it was officially “outlawed” by “The Church” until approximately 1600.  I believe God made sex for our pleasure and as a way for humans to bond.  I believe that forces of evil have efficiently and effectively transformed sex into a controversial weapon of mass destruction, shame, disunity and especially in modern times – an especially insidious device to ensure that the majority of marriages are doomed . . . before they are ever even commenced.

MARRIAGE   Marriage is neither healthy nor practical as it is currently practiced in Western Civilization, but hey, if you value your joy so little that you can’t wait to subject the most intense romantic love of your life to the meat grinder of marriage, be my guest.  WHO? It is ridiculous for ‘Christ’ians to try and limit the freedom of choice of others, especially non-believers, by attempting to define marriage as ‘between one man and one woman.’  The first argument Christian usually offers is that allowing gay, lesbian, and transgendered people to marry cheapens the institution.  Cheapens the institution?!?  THAT is what cheapens Marriage?!?!?  What about the fact that over 50% of Christian marriages end in divorce and that 90% stay together ‘for the kids’ but relate to each other as ‘tolerated roommates’ rather than Loving Examples for their children.  Does THAT cheapen the Institution?  How about the fact that we spend 12-20 years on our educations, some 80 % of which will never be used in our eventual occupation… we have to take driver theory and practical training and pass a test to legally drive on a road . . . and yet we give no theoretical, practical training, no testing, NOTHING as a prerequisite to this most daunting, expectation-laden, statistically next-to-impossible to thrive in, yet most important decision for our happiness, relationship.  Does THAT cheapen the institution?  Even if we agree (and I do NOT) that the Bible condemns our gay, lesbian, and trangendered friends, the Bible NEVER prohibits them from being married.  The Bible DOES, however, quote Jesus (you know, the Guy who the entire religion is named after!) as classifying as SIN a man who divorces a wife or the man who then marries her thereafter (that’s Matthew 5.32 if you are scoring at home — and if you are scoring at home you probably aren’t married, right?)  and, yet, that happens all the time!  Does THAT cheapen the institution?  But gay, lesbian, and transgendered people – knowing they will be condemned, criticized, receive death or lessor threats – brave these obstacles in their desire to acknowledge their undying Love for each other in a public ceremony.  As we often do, us Christians appear to have it ass-backwards:  The LGBT crowd does not appear to “cheapen” the institution.  Rather, if enough of them are willing to get married, perhaps they can help restore it to legitimacy.  Judge not; that ye not be judged by the same standard.  That includes me.  Does it include you?

WOMEN IN MINISTRY:  Are we ever going to stop with the discrimination in this country?!?  Why do we feel so compelled to put others down and hold them beneath us?!?!  Are we really that devoid of self-esteem that we have to use the amount of pigment in someone’s skin, or their preferred bedroom partners, or their age, or their genitalia to try and place them below us?!?  RING, RING!  Hey, U.S. Christian — that’s India on the phone.  They want to know if they may have their caste system back, now, please.  OK, should women be in ministry?  I don’t know.  Can she preach?  Can she inspire?  Can she train and equip her members for service?  Is she smart enough to figure out, say in less than 2000 years that God does not discriminate?!  Can she relate to certain members in ways a man will NEVER, EVER be able to?  MMmmmmm, maybe we should consider it, then.

yin-yang-401404_1280D.  VALUES – Do I fail at these?  Of course!  And Often.  But I Design my Life around these items because they are the map leading to the Man I wish to be.

  1. I PERCEIVE EVERYTHING AS IT ACTUALLY IS. I perceive things as they are – not worse and not better. So I may live in the real world; not a make-believe fairy-tale world of how I wish things could or should be.
  2. I ACCEPT EVERYTHING AS IT IS. I live authentically and practically in the real world. If I don’t like something, I change it. If I don’t like my income, I get a better or second job.  If I don’t like my address, I move. I am not a tree!  But I cannot do this until I accept everything as it is – especially people.  Only then, will I know what parts of my Life I Love – and those I wish to change.
  3. I TAKE 100% PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY for everything in my Life. If anything is not as I desire it, I say “I am responsible.”.  I understand that any other effort to change or influence it will not work.
  4. I LIVE MY VISION, not my circumstances. That is how those who change the world do so – they persevere. While others whine, complain, and make excuses why they cannot do something, I get it done.  I develop a crystal-clear, smellable, vision of the Life I desire and never settle for anything else.
  5. I THINK LIGHTLY OF MYSELF and deeply of the world.
  6. I AM DETACHED FROM DESIRE  I am committed to taking action I believe, but I am unconcerned with the outcome.
  7. I DO NOT REGRET what I have done.  If I decide to do a thing, I demand of myself to be proud of it.
  8. I AM NEVER JEALOUS OR RESENTFUL; or whine, gripe or complain. Ever.
  9. I NEVER ALLOW MYSELF TO BE SADDENED by a separation.
  10. I LET MYSELF BE GUIDED NEITHER BY FEELINGS OF LOVE NOR LUST
  11. I DO NOT HOLD ONTO POSSESSIONS I NO LONGER NEED
  12. I CONSTANTLY EXAMINE MY PARADIGM AND BELIEFS and ensure that they still serve me. Customary beliefs or another’s faith cannot Save me. Only my faith may do that.  I look at each Belief I hold and examine why I hold it.
  13. I DO NOT FEAR DEATH. It is coming for me! Instead, I embrace death and recognize how little time I have here and have decided what I want my gravestone to say, and I am becoming that person.
  14. I RESPECT GOD DEEPLY WITHOUT COUNTING ON HIS HELP. God will help me in my time of need.  He often helps just because He Loves me.  But I do not cheapen my Faith or God’s Love by failing to do what I am capable of doing.  Once I have done all I can, I trust in God to do the rest.
  15. I NEVER STRAY FROM MY TAO. I know I only get one Life.  This is not a dress rehearsal.  Therefore, I will not live the life my parents, teacher, pastor, or friends want for me.  I live my life in the fashion, God and I alone, deem best.
  16. I NEVER GIVE UP. I never give up.  I never give in.  Troubles will come…but I make them afraid to visit me.  At the least, I let troubles know I may bend, but they can never, ever break me.
  17. I DO THE RIGHT THING. Doing the right thing is often difficult. When wrong, I admit fault, being direct and doing what must be done to set things right. It is easier to deny fault, to obfuscate, and to procrastinate in the short run, but it never pays off in the end. Doing what is right means dealing with the problem now so that it will not linger, and will not grow in size. I do not let things go unattended, creating a haze of feelings including guilt and fear. Guilt for not doing the right thing at the time; fear that it will grow, or I will be found out
  18. I REPEAT THIS MANTRA EVERY DAY.  “I am wise because I learn something new every day. I improve daily and take 100% personal responsibility for everything in my life.  I like myself because I always take action to make good things happen. I am joyful because I always choose to be joyful, and to Live in Truth and Love.”
  19. I DAILY STRIVE FOR PROGRESS AND IMPROVEMENT; NOT PERFECTION. I am gentle with myself.  I strive for progress, not perfection.  If my job sucks, I quit and find something to do that is fun.  I lighten up.
  20. I MAKE MY TERRITORY MINE.  I ask disrespectful or drama-producing people to leave my personal space.  I take action on this item no matter how painful it may seem at the time.
  21. I REMEMBER THAT RELATIONSHIPS ARE ALL THAT MATTER. Everything truly meaningful is so due to my Relationship with him/her/it.  When in conflict, I consider my needs, the Others’, and the needs of the relationship.

From my heart to yours,

Scotty b., The Prefixed Life

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