sexta-feira, 28 de abril de 2017
APPROACHING MY 87th BIRTHDAY
If life permits, on May 2nd I will be completing 87 years as a human being on Earth. I was born in a farmhouse where my mother was also born on a small farm near the village of Tippecanoe in Ohio. We had no electricity, no running water, no central heating system, no automobile, no telephone, and an outhouse which greeted our bottoms in subzero weather. Life was simple and we maintained ourselves by sustenance farming, powered by animal traction and our muscles. We lived a simple, happy life. We were poor but did not know it.
Our world was small and the planet had only two billion inhabitants, mostly rural just like us. World War I was only a memory. We felt safe with no need to lock doors, no crime, and knowing all our neighbors for miles around.
Our God was that guy up above the clouds who kept an eye on us. If we didn´t behave He might get pissed off and zap us, and if we didn’t get “saved” we would go to hell. I ended up “getting saved” and went off to college later on to prepare myself to become a preacher.
My, how times have changed!!! Now the world is bursting at the seams with a population of over seven billion souls, mostly urban, as I now am. The world is ravaged by ever increasingly violent armed conflicts which are increasing all forms of suffering and which could explode and destroy all of life as we know it in only a few hours. Our economic system is devastating the Earth by pollution and the destruction of the biodiversity which is the key to a healthy and wholesome environment. We live behind locked doors, and everything that we eat, wear and use is “store bought”.
My understanding of reality has deepened throughout the years, and I have adjusted my belief system in accordance with present knowledge. Ancient orthodoxy has become irrelevant to the modern world and needs to be updated in order to reverse the present global trend of humankind to self-destruction.
The ancient concept of the heavens and the earth was that Earth was the center of everything and that all the heavenly bodies orbited around it. It was created by God about the year 4,000BC and ruled over by Him. Today we know that the universe is billions of times larger and billions of years older than the founders of the monotheistic religions believed. Scientific research is pointing in the direction that this vast known universe is only a small pocket in an infinite and eternal multiverse. Defining God as Creator does not fit in this context of an infinite multiverse which was not created but has always existed. Christian theology needs to come out of the dark ages and rethink God.
I NOW BELIEVE THAT:
• GOD is Cosmic Consciousness and that the universe is her/his body. By being the body of God, the universe is a living organism.
• WE are united with God as members of her/his body along with all other biological forms, all planets, all stars, all galaxies and all existence.
• DEATH is the transformation of life forms. Life and death are two sides of the same coin. One does not exist without the other. One feeds the other.
• GOODNESS is our recognition of our kinship with the whole universe and our positive coexistence with it. We practice goodness when we exercise love in all relationships, both human and ecological. The Gospels present Jesus as an example of this way of life.
• EVIL is to think that we, as humans, are separate from and superior to other beings and forms of life and to try to dominate the earth to our advantage. Evil is to live motivated by selfishness, greed, fear and hate.
• HEALTHY SPIRITUALITY is to cultivate an open mind in order to be able to enhance life by living in harmony with the universe which is the body of God.
At the age of 87 I seek to follow the role model of Jesus as presented in the Gospels in my relationship to fellow humans both nearby and far away. Also I strive to live a lifestyle that respects all of nature that surrounds me. I meditate in order to gain strength and insight to better live in harmony with myself and my world.
In the midst of a chaotic and troubled world I am thankful for my family and friends, grateful for all the good that surrounds me and endeavor to cultivate peace.