Marcus, Jacqueline & Mason
Through the Gnostics lens or Mystics, as we are often called, life is lived based on facts, rationale, and reality, combined with faith. What does this mean? It means that while many live life believing in irrational, illogical, fantasy. They ask no question when they are confused they just go with the flow, supporting a belief that mirrors that, parents, family, friends, communities. Their trust in these beliefs is concrete despite the don’t have the aforementioned qualification. This is not so for Gnostics. Gnostics believe anything pertaining to True God can be explained and is very clear. True God is not confusing nor does God subscribed to the human notion of “do as I say and not as I do”. So, what is believing all about? Is there a Hell? Do we know who is going there and if so why? Do we care? What does the BIG PICTURE look like from a Gnostic prospective?
For starters we will not mince words. Things are not the way traditional religion would have us believe they are. Religion has proven to be a form of control rather than a journey toward True God. It has cast our God in a negative light simply by making humanity the center of all life in the universe. Not only is this untrue, it is a ridiculous notion. This has allowed humanity to make True God controversial, conflicting, and contradicting. It has also affected our instruction and parenting skills. Parents are failing to lead children by good example in many ways. In other words, the behavior religion has affixed to True God is being mimic throughout humanity.
Religion has painted True God with an angry, judgmental, punishing disposition. Frankly, traditional religion teaches us to fear God instead of love God. They have made pleasing God stringent, unwavering, without patience, and without compassion. In one breath they tell us God is love and in all other breaths every behavior they affix to True God is an attribute of HATE! Honestly, what does this immediately tell those who are of rational mind? Does freedom fit into this model at all, anywhere? What about forgiveness, is there room for that in this model? Finally what role does Faith play in this model? The three F’s, Freedom, Forgiveness, and Faith, all gifts of True God, is that obvious in the above model?
Freedom is a positive thing. However, fear is a form of confinement, imprisonment. So, if True God says we are born with freewill, why would True God require our submission to his will come by way of forced control? The key to understand True God is to first understand the language of True God. We must have a clear understand of negative verses positive, and be able to relate the attributes of HATE verses words that describe behaviors associated with LOVE. True God is Pure LOVE so we as Gnostics, never affix behaviors that are associated with HATE the True God who is God alone.
Fear is a negative condition thus an attribute of Hate. There is no love in fear. There is only control, force. Not only does True God have no need to behave in this fashion, it is impossible for True God to behave so. Throughout time fear has been used as a means of controlling large groups of people, but first comes division. Division from others, and yes even division from God. How? With powerful descriptive words that identify specific behaviors. The function of these descriptive words when heard is to divide. For example: Sin, reprobate, criminal. These are all words that lead to other negative descriptive words such as, lawless, incorrigible, habitual, and HOPELESS! True God does not fit into this model, it is impossible.
Forgiveness is a positive, loving behavior. True God is a God of love and Jesus spoke about how important forgiveness is. So when religion tells us there is an unforgivable word, phrase, act, or individual how then are we to see this other than as a major contradiction? What do the scriptures tell us about Jesus’ reaction to forgiveness being sold in the synagogues? This act attached a value to True God’s dealings with us. Gnostics do not subscribe to the Old Testament in the Bible because it is riddled with grave cruelty and violence, insecure acts describing godly behaviors, and the use of fear and coercion into worshiping God. Let us not forget favoritism, which leads to judging and discrimination against others. Oh and the necessity of tithing, assessing a tangible value to how God deals with us. It suggests God’s favor and acceptance can be purchased. We see this behavior in our elected officials every day.
What in turn happens to those who cannot afford to pay for favoritism, comfort? They fall into the prison of poverty and are judged. They have to be sinners and sinners are immediately deemed unworthy, not good enough. This is a reason to discriminate against the poor and those living in extreme poverty, and the homeless. It does not get more hateful particularly just before murder occurs. But is this illustrated any differently in the Old Testament of the Bible? There are stories of wars, innocent babies being slaughter, and people held in bondage, enslaved, and beaten senselessly by those with fortune. Where are the attributes of Love in the Old Testament of the Bible? Few and far between.
A strong emphasis is placed on tithing in modern western churches, with strong disfavor shown toward parishioners who do not participate regularly. They are made to feel as if they are not worthy of the privilege of praising True God. What God does not welcome praise and open acts of affection? It would seem True God is not the same God most religions recognize or worship.
What about the things that are said that are considered unforgivable? One word that describes acts that are unforgivable is Blasphemy. What is that anyway? It is profanity, using bad words, cursing. What they do not tell you is Jesus said piss and damn, both considered bad words. Moreover how can one never be forgiven for blasphemy but viciously taking a life, molesting a child, or raping a woman can all be forgiven. That does not sound rational or logical, and True God is rational and logical all the time.
What about Lucifer who is not guilty of some of the despicable acts of humanity, but traditional religion teaches that he is unforgiveable? Nothing in traditional religion’s teachings regarding Lucifer, first clearly name him as this dreadful Devil, but they pale in contrast to the horrific behaviors we see in humanity. Gnostics believe in accountability and responsibility. We are all responsible for our individual behaviors and choices. Gnostics do believe we are born with freewill and nothing and no one can take that away. Humans try but ultimately the attempt crumbles. Freedom is a God given right to all living things so slavery is a negative behavior and not of God. It is hateful and inhumane.
Faith is a positive word describing positive behaviors. It is simply to trust in the Love of True God. Life is about learning to love unconditionally. For humans, that means learning to be real humanitarians. It is a quality not even the churches are adequately emphasizing. This requires most people have something higher than themselves to call look up to. It is something good, holy, better, setting a positive example for us to govern our lives. Faith is something those who are imprisoned rely on to sustain them. Hope is a positive word and it is where Faith starts. One first has to have hope and then the blind trust known as faith grounds them.
Unfortunately, those born into the privilege that comes with having money never really learn what it means to rely on faith. They do not learn to appreciate the significant of having the love of God in their life much less having the love of another human being. They feel as if they can buy affection and if they cannot buy it they can bully or pay bullies to acquire what they want or need.
Who are these hired bullies? Typically they are in some form of law or powerful government position. They are officials in charge of making and enforcing laws that are suppose to govern our society equally and fairly. But, the laws in the United States are no longer established for the good of all citizens. The elected law makers have been purchased by the wealthy to create laws that serve their interests. In human cultures around the world, we are taught to admire wealth and worship the wealthy. We are taught that the wealthy are blessed and favored by God.
In all honesty, money is a human reward. It is important only to humans and valued only on Earth. So the same idea to design a belief structure we call religion, humans also designed a value system that shows favoritism to those who have an abundance of that is valued. Religion condemns sinners and our human value system considers the less fortunate sinners. They work hand in hand, always have.
HELL, does it exist? It certainly does, especially for those who are tormented by the prison of poverty. It exist right here on Earth for minorities. Keep in mind the privilege have no interest in pleasing God because they believe they have favor with God. If we need proof of this we have Donald Trump. He and those like him do not care about really pleasing God. They do not care to have the affection of fellow humans in the society. This rings true about too many white Americans who have been conditioned to believe they are better simply because they are white.
Where does this start? Religion is where this begins as it emphasized God’s favor with a particular ethnicity or race of people. God had favorites so why can’t we all? Too be born white is to be born with God’s favor.
Have you all had an opportunity to view Tim Wise’s documentary ‘White like Me’? In this documentary he talks about the way we as a society have been conditioned to be racists. We are conditioned to automatically associate words that describe positive attributes to white people. This is a societal conditioning. Black people are immediately stigmatized with words that have negative connotations even by other blacks. We have been conditioned to believe there is ONE DEVIL and he is Lucifer. He has nothing better to do than bother each of us individually tempting us, lying to us, and causing us to behave badly with is often to behave freely. We have been conditioned to believe Hell is a real place and if we don’t do exactly what our religious leaders tell us to do and give money to the church, thus God, we are going there for eternity.
HELL is a life of POVERTY! HELL is a life of CONFINEMENT! Both of these conditions are a form of SLAVERY. Too many White Americans have an inherent belief their ethnicity automatically entitles them to privilege, consideration, compassion, and kindness other ethnicities are immediately denied. This is a behavior many associate with God as well. This is evident in how stories are told about historical events and cultures. For example: No black child should grow up unaware of Egypt’s location. They should know it is a country on the continent of Africa. They should not be led to believe it is a country full of white people. It is simply untrue to give them the impressions Egyptian Pharaohs were white men.
HELL is a place, environment, or way of life void of the love of True God. It is a form of existence the privileged contribute to by creating laws and circumstances that lockout others in particular communities and areas. It is a form of confinement, from incarceration to financial depravity. Documentaries that illustrate this are now being shown on channels like FUSE, and LINK, new channels that replace the History Channels. The History Channel has become another place to view reality TV instead of a place to learn something of substance that is beneficial. They have done away with H2. It is now called Vice and nothing interesting is ever listed in the program schedule. Luckily we have these new channels with fresh outlooks, to bring us reality TV that is beneficial, informative, and enlightening about issues that historically have been significant in the United States.
Fuse has a show called Prison Kids: A crime against America’s Children. It shows how children, black children are being locked up early in life, many being immediately charged as adults. They are being thrown into prison to serve sentences for an amount of time almost as long as they have been alive. These are little black and brown children ranging in age from five and six to seventeen. Taken out of schools and thrown into detention for minor behavior problems. This is HELL even for minority children. It obviously is not enough they are born in poverty, forced to live lives that offer no real hope anyway. They are taken out of one prison and put in another only this one is more restrictive and confining. This is possible thanks to all those wealthy, greedy humans that decided privatizing prison was best. Best for who? The wealthy of course, where is True God in this model?
Religion has managed to confuse faith with foolishness, and to convince many of us that True God is capable of Hate. Hate is the opposite of LOVE! Too tell homosexual’s God hates them is a LIE. Too tell parishioners’ they are sinning if they do not pay tithes is a LIE! Too tell people they are going to hell is to pass judgment, prohibited by the book they hold so sacred. It is a lie because the only hell is the one humanity has created. Thank goodness True God is not human. He does not have favorites. He does not think one human is better than another for any reason. God hates no one, not even Lucifer who is literally a part of the God head.
Jesus said to forgive so there is no unforgivable sin, no one thing that separates us from the love of God except ourselves. We are free to choose or deny God but the separation is an individual choice. What is this all about? Freedom, Forgiveness, and Faith. Obedience is not included as it is a word that ignites the control mechanism. It plays into our fears and insecurities. Those of us who love God and accept his love are faithful not obedient. Living a righteous life is a desire not a demand. We serve and make God first in life freely, gladly, and joyfully, not because it is forced upon us accompanied with threats and condemnation. Let us not confuse the way of man with the way of God. They are immeasurably different.
Our duty is to our fellow man. Our duty is to the continued unification of humanity not the alienation many of us experience as we journey through this thing called life. Our giving is to those in need, as we are able not because of misguided obligation or force. Our support is done within our personal comfort level, cheerfully and willingly, with glad hearts. We are facing a homelessness problem across this country. It is unacceptable. As long as this problem persists no church should receive another dime. This is a situation that requires immediate action. These are people! Human Beings! They cannot shower, brush their teeth, wash their clothes, or rest their heads because they do not have a place to call home. This is unacceptable and to continue to allow ourselves to believe they are there do to some fault of their own is a ridiculous LIE.
God is calling all of us into service. This is his plan for those calling out for help. Unity calls us to reach out to our fellow man and woman and give them a hand. Years of conditioning keep
us from helping each other and this kind of indifference is not of GOD! People need other people and God uses people to help others. This idea of saying I’ll pray for them does not serve God. If you know enough about a situation to offer prayer you know enough to offer some form of help. The answer to the prayer is you. Do what you can. We do not tell a person in need all we can do is pray for them, especially when it is within our power to offer them a hand.
We all have to help at a capacity we are able and comfortable but to continue ignoring this is inhumane and separates us from God. The whole picture for Gnostics Is ONE LOVE! One powerful unifying love based on Freedom, Forgiveness, and Faith. We are in this thing together despite the dividers religion has in place. Christians quote a scripture that says they walk by faith not by sight. Gnostics walk in Hope, Faith, and the unity of Love.
Recognizing the Call
By Marcus McGinnis
As we start our year of spiritual focus, let us begin by recalling the face in the mirror activity. To all who participated, and if you have not done this you should, this was a simple activity Jay requested we take part in, asking that we gaze at ourselves in a mirror for five minutes. Jay thought it was important for us to get in touch with who we truly are…our inner self. It turned out to be a very profound five minutes and many of us were brought to tears. As Gnostics we believe in a Higher Self and we know it is that Higher Self that connects us to True God.
We all experienced something that was revealing. It opened our eyes to what God sees when he looks at us. Many of us felt something powerful, which caused our emotional responses. We talked about the activity and came to realize what that powerful feeling was. Getting a view of the inner self allowed us to see who we are at our core. In seeing our true self, we realized we matter, we are somebody, and are truly loved. Some of us thought we knew this prior to viewing our inner self, but in the aftermath of this activity, we were able to completely grasp what it means to know our own significance.
Many of us know or can remember when we had our first eye-opening experience that introduced us to, and allowed us to truly receive God in our lives. It was a transforming moment when we came face to face with our Lord and realized we had a purpose. Let’s be clear, this is not that moment when we may have survived an experience. For example: a moment when we were saved from a serious accident of some kind, the victim of a crime, or present at the time a dangerous crime was taking place. This is that moment that may have occurred before or after these incidences. This is that moment when we heard a voice outside of ourselves that seemed to come from somewhere deep inside, but was all around us.
It is a subtle, calming voice that immediately gave us peace and we knew we were in a special place, if just for a moment. For many of us it occurred at a significant time in our life. It may have spoken to us to warn us of an impending danger. It might have brought comfort from intense heart-break. It might have talked us off the ledge just before we took that fatal plunge. Whatever the situation, it was a moment when God introduced himself to us personally. He, is used in reference to God, but we all know God is not gender specific. The introduction we experienced was similar to the one Moses experienced on Mt Sinai. God knows when it is time. The call does not happen by mistake. When it happens it is not just our imagination. We are actually hearing a voice that forever changes us and sets us on a path that reshapes and reforms our lives.
This voice is so powerful it snatched us out of the jaws of death by warning us just before we, or it, reaches us. We are not talking about instinct or intuition. This is stronger than both those abilities. Instinct may give us a bad feeling about something or someone. Intuition is a little stronger reaction to an impending situation or person. This voice is stronger because it literally addresses a specific situation or person. It is more than a feeling we should not to proceed on a particular path, it is a direct warning. It is a voice that stops and grounds us when we are spiraling out of control at times in our life. This could be a struggle with an addiction problem of some kind.
This voice can also call us out of a profession that may be very profitable yet dangerous. For example: football, hockey, boxing, wrestling, and Nascar car racing. These professions are directly harmful to the self. To intentionally harm the self is to disrespect the self and this is not an act of loving the self. This voice can call us out of a bad relationship even when everyone else is telling us to remain, often saying things like “God Hate divorce”. First of all, God and Hate never go together under any circumstances. Second, let’s face it, not all relationships are good relationships nor or they ordained of God. If we are not in God when we make the decision to marry someone the relationship is not ordained of God.
We do not often make a decision based on the right reasons when we are not in God, especially when it comes to marriage. Many of us do not even know what it means to love. For example: if we think there is any situation where love hurts we do not know anything about love. If we do not know how to love and value ourselves, we are incapable of loving others. Those of us who know what Love means know Love never hurts. When defining LOVE we are once again directed to 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8. In the Gnostic Faith we understand Love is not an emotion. It is a condition. It is a state of being that invokes emotions, feelings. Emotions do not have attributes. Hate is also a state of being that is contra to Love and True God. It is a condition we will not focus on in our conversations because we serve True God and take the side of Love.
Gnostics know God, being Love, means that love is transcendent. It is all around us all the time—even when we do not feel like we are being loved or that we are loved. So, in realizing love is always around us, think about when you first heard the call to separate yourself from the world around you. Think about how difficult it was in the beginning. No one seemed to understand what was happening with or to you. Suddenly you were not fun anymore. You became square, uppity, and boring. Think about how even members of your family were not very accepting of this ‘New You’.
If they are church goers, you were probably accused of not practicing the right way. You were trying to change things, a trouble maker. You were not doing things according to the established customs, practices, and/or traditions. As we recall all of this, we now know why we came away. We are Gnostic. We fall into the Mystic form of worship more so than the tradition Christian form of worship. The typical Christian person is convinced they know for certain what it means to be a true believer in God. As Gnostics we have no need to convince ourselves or anyone else that we are true believers. We realize and have no problem acknowledging that we are always growing. Therefore we do not know everything and we never profess to be the only path to God. In fact, we know humans are not the center of life, but are simply a part of the life cycle. We know the mystery many Christians resist and/or refuse to accept.
In our studies recall how both Mary Magdalene and Saint Thomas were asked what was said in private conversations they had with our Lord Jesus. They both said if they spoke of it people would not believe them. Why? Well what happens when people speak of it today? To tell Christians there is life on other planets brings about a response that accuses us of not really believing in God. To tell most Christians God does not hate anyone or anything including homosexuals is met with disdain, anger, and confrontation. To tell a Christian there is no devil possessing others is also met with confrontation, and claims that even Jesus specifically referred to Lucifer as this said Devil.
This kind of ideology has been a part of the Christian religion for so long Christians are convinced it is gospel. Lucifer is this devil who has absolutely nothing better to do but track every human on Earth for the purpose of trapping, snarling, whisper temptations, or flat out lie to them about proven matters they should be concerned about. It is hard for us Gnostics to fathom such a high creation of God being so stupid. What a boring existence. To believe this contributes to the deterioration of human mentality. It feeds into the depravity that is the real plague of humanity. Typical Christians do not believe we are born in freewill. Their beliefs signify they have no choice thus they are not responsible for anything they do. They have no power over or feel any sole accountability for anything that goes on in their lives. As Gnostics we know this is not the case.
To Christians humans are only worthy if they are making outrageous sacrifices and performing rituals to appease God. Why? Because to them humans do not deserve consideration, they do not really matter unless they are members of the clergy, wealthy, and/or in a high ranking political or leadership position, otherwise they are insignificant. They behave as if God is an angry vengeful God that often calls them to war, to prejudice, to discrimination, to controlling domineering behavior, and to violence. They believe none compliance with traditional customs will anger God and bring about severe punishment.
They wield their Bibles like weapons judging and condemning each other. We know better than that. We know first of all God is a God of an entire universe and we are not the only living intelligent species in existence. We also know God is a loving God not a vengeful, mean, angry God whom we have to make great physical sacrifice to satisfy. We know God desires we embrace each other and show patience and tolerant with one another as he shows us all.
Gnostics are born and find each other along their journey through life. We are not the typical Christian who goes to church every Sunday and does what the rest of the church congregation is doing. This is a lazy, thoughtless, and effortless way of worshipping True God. Gnostics serve True God. That is our form of worship. We also recall that our Lord Jesus said his yuck was easy and his burden was light, he did not say it was effortless. Gnostics automatically recognize each other and will often smile at each other in a way that is unique. It is a smile and look in the eye that says, “Hi, I know you friend”. We are always happy to see one another. This recognition is a result of us being bound together by an invisible, transcending thread of love.
When we are summoned we immediately recognize the call. Think about when you were summoned and how your life was forever changed. Think about when you were spiritually awakened and were suddenly aware. Think about how that awakening caused those closest to you to pull away and even shun you. Jesus said easy and light…not effortless. Remember how those closest to you spoke to you, the things they said to you? As you think about these things, think about who became the evil one in your presence at that moment even though they might be avid church goers. What is hard is human reaction to your awakening. What is heavy is human condemnation and skepticism of your awakening and awareness.
Remember in Revelations the Lord said he would be outside the church knocking to get in? Do we all know what he meant? Most Christians have no idea. They are too caught up in their rituals, their traditions, and their general Christian customs to see the real. It is easier to follow. This is discussed in Richard Rohr’s novel, Things Hidden Scripture as Spirituality. As Gnostics we know God is a God of pure Love. To say God hates anyone or anything is a LIE as it is not possible. Remember Love and Hate are opposites and remember what our lord said about a house divided, how it cannot stand. It is not possible for God to hate. He is Love in its totality. However, Hate is something humans do quite well, and it is not because of any one devil. Gnostics know there are many devils among us and many demons, behaving very satanically. We also fully understand that a Devil or Demon is a physical person, and Satan is simply a behavior description.
Think about all the roads you travel on in your journey of spiritual growth and enlightenment. Think about the people and the things that strengthened you along the way. Think about all those who hindered or tried to knock you off your path. Think about where you are today because you would not be shaken. You remained steadfast even when it seemed everyone abandoned you. Think about what choosing this way of worship cost you, what it meant, how it changed you life entirely. Contemplate hearing that voice and understand why it was a summons from God to open your eyes and see. Evaluate how it forever changed your life. We are in the service of True God. We do not judge, condemn, force, control, and/or hinder personal growth as these are attributes of Hate and we are not a faith of division.