Thursday, June 23, 2011
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Thursday, June 9, 2011
The following is excerpted from the Archbishop Desmond Tutu's new book, 'God Is Not A Christian: And Other Provocations.'
This talk also comes from a forum in Britain, where Tutu addressed leaders of different faiths during a mission to the city of Birmingham in 1989.
They tell the story of a drunk who crossed the street and accosted a pedestrian, asking him, "I shay, which ish the other shide of the shtreet?" The pedestrian, somewhat nonplussed, replied, "That side, of course!" The drunk said, "Shtrange. When I wash on that shide, they shaid it wash thish shide." Where the other side of the street is depends on where we are. Our perspective differs with our context, the things that have helped to form us; and religion is one of the most potent of these formative influences, helping to determine how and what we apprehend of reality and how we operate in our own specific context.
My first point seems overwhelmingly simple: that the accidents of birth and geography determine to a very large extent to what faith we belong. The chances are very great that if you were born in Pakistan you are a Muslim, or a Hindu if you happened to be born in India, or a Shintoist if it is Japan, and a Christian if you were born in Italy. I don't know what significant fact can be drawn from this -- perhaps that we should not succumb too easily to the temptation to exclusiveness and dogmatic claims to a monopoly of the truth of our particular faith. You could so easily have been an adherent of the faith that you are now denigrating, but for the fact that you were born here rather than there.
My second point is this: not to insult the adherents of other faiths by suggesting, as sometimes has happened, that for instance when you are a Christian the adherents of other faiths are really Christians without knowing it. We must acknowledge them for who they are in all their integrity, with their conscientiously held beliefs; we must welcome them and respect them as who they are and walk reverently on what is their holy ground, taking off our shoes, metaphorically and literally. We must hold to our particular and peculiar beliefs tenaciously, not pretending that all religions are the same, for they are patently not the same. We must be ready to learn from one another, not claiming that we alone possess all truth and that somehow we have a corner on God.
We should in humility and joyfulness acknowledge that the supernatural and divine reality we all worship in some form or other transcends all our particular categories of thought and imagining, and that because the divine -- however named, however apprehended or conceived -- is infinite and we are forever finite, we shall never comprehend the divine completely. So we should seek to share all insights we can and be ready to learn, for instance, from the techniques of the spiritual life that are available in religions other than our own. It is interesting that most religions have a transcendent reference point, a mysterium tremendum, that comes to be known by deigning to reveal itself, himself, herself, to humanity; that the transcendent reality is compassionate and concerned; that human beings are creatures of this supreme, supra mundane reality in some way, with a high destiny that hopes for an everlasting life lived in close association with the divine, either as absorbed without distinction between creature and creator, between the divine and human, or in a wonderful intimacy which still retains the distinctions between these two orders of reality.
When we read the classics of the various religions in matters of prayer, meditation, and mysticism, we find substantial convergence, and that is something to rejoice at. We have enough that conspires to separate us; let us celebrate that which unites us, that which we share in common.
Surely it is good to know that God (in the Christian tradition) created us all (not just Christians) in his image, thus investing us all with infinite worth, and that it was with all humankind that God entered into a covenant relationship, depicted in the covenant with Noah when God promised he would not destroy his creation again with water. Surely we can rejoice that the eternal word, the Logos of God, enlightens everyone -- not just Christians, but everyone who comes into the world; that what we call the Spirit of God is not a Christian preserve, for the Spirit of God existed long before there were Christians, inspiring and nurturing women and men in the ways of holiness, bringing them to fruition, bringing to fruition what was best in all. We do scant justice and honor to our God if we want, for instance, to deny that Mahatma Gandhi was a truly great soul, a holy man who walked closely with God. Our God would be too small if he was not also the God of Gandhi: if God is one, as we believe, then he is the only God of all his people, whether they acknowledge him as such or not. God does not need us to protect him. Many of us perhaps need to have our notion of God deepened and expanded. It is often said, half in jest, that God created man in his own image and man has returned the compliment, saddling God with his own narrow prejudices and exclusivity, foibles and temperamental quirks. God remains God, whether God has worshippers or not.This mission in Birmingham to which I have been invited is a Christian celebration, and we will make our claims for Christ as unique and as the Savior of the world, hoping that we will live out our beliefs in such a way that they help to commend our faith effectively. Our conduct far too often contradicts our profession, however. We are supposed to proclaim the God of love, but we have been guilty as Christians of sowing hatred and suspicion; we commend the one whom we call the Prince of Peace, and yet as Christians we have fought more wars than we care to remember. We have claimed to be a fellowship of compassion and caring and sharing, but as Christians we often sanctify sociopolitical systems that belie this, where the rich grow ever richer and the poor grow ever poorer, where we seem to sanctify a furious competitiveness, ruthless as can only be appropriate to the jungle.
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Is there any science that tells us whether prayer is working or not? You bet!
Dr. Randolph Byrd, a Christian cardiologist, conducted a study in 1984 that has led to a resurgence of scientific evaluation of the effect of prayer on healing.
393 patients, admitted to the coronary care unit at San Francisco General Hospital, over a 10 month period were randomly selected, by computer, to either a 201 patient control group or the 192 patients who were prayed for daily by 5-7 people in home prayer groups. This was a randomized, double-blind experiment in which neither the patients, nurses, nor doctors knew which group the patients were in.
Dr. Byrd discovered a definite pattern of obvious differences between the control group and those prayed for:
1) None of those prayed for required endotracheal intubation compared with twelve in the control group requiring the insertion of an artificial airway in the throat.
2) The prayed for group experienced fewer cases of pneumonia and cardiopulmonary arrests.
3) Those prayed for were five times less likely to require antibiotics.
4) The prayed for group were three times less likely to develop pulmonary edema, a condition where the lungs fill with fluid.
5) Fewer patients in the prayed for group died.
Dr. Larry Dossey, M.D., referring to Dr. Byrd's remarkable experiment, states that "If the technique being studied had been a new drug or a surgical procedure instead of prayer, it would almost certainly have been heralded as some sort of amazing breakthrough."
As you would expect, most doctors ignored the proven vallue of prayer.
Now a new study has confirmed yet again that prayer works.
The experiences of 24 Mozambicans, part of a study reported in the September issue of the Southern Medical Journal, a peer-reviewed journal, suggest to the researchers that "proximal intercessory prayer (PIP)" -- in which the healer is in close proximity to the patient, often touching or hugging him or her -- may be a useful complement to Western medical practice.
In this study, the degree of improvement seen in people with vision and hearing impairments was more than that seen previously in hypnosis or "suggestion" studies.
"We found a statistically significant effect of PIP for the population of both those with auditory and visual impairments," said study lead author Candy Gunther Brown, associate professor of religious studies at Indiana University in Bloomington.
"We didn't generally find that people who were totally deaf or blind to start with ended up with 20/20 vision and perfect hearing," she remarks, "But those with moderate to severe impairments when tested before the intervention, had a much, much improved threshold."
In "Cancer Confidential" I also looked into the research into what is called distant intercessory prayer. There was some evidence that even that works. But don't forget, that's not how people actually pray for healing, so researchers were not testing something valid.
[SOURCE: September 2010, Southern Medical Journal]
Not a Christian? I don't think it matters at all. You can pray to any higher authority you respect. It's a myth that prayer is somehow "Christian". It is common to all Mankind, as is the Creator, of course.
If you still haven't got "Cancer Confidential" eBook, there's a good price on it right now. You can get it by clicking on this link: Cancer Confidential.
Monday, June 6, 2011
Well you know how my Mondays go, But i am please to announce that this is not one of them. I don't know why but I feel better and stronger. I pray this will continue.
1 O Lord, I have come to you for protection; don’t let me be disgraced.
Save me, for you do what is right.
2 Turn your ear to listen to me;
rescue me quickly.
Be my rock of protection,
a fortress where I will be safe.
3 You are my rock and my fortress.
For the honor of your name, lead me out of this danger.
4 Pull me from the trap my enemies set for me,
for I find protection in you alone.
5 I entrust my spirit into your hand.
Rescue me, Lord, for you are a faithful God.
6 I hate those who worship worthless idols.
I trust in the Lord.
7 I will be glad and rejoice in your unfailing love,
for you have seen my troubles,
and you care about the anguish of my soul.
8 You have not handed me over to my enemies
but have set me in a safe place.
9 Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am in distress.
Tears blur my eyes.
My body and soul are withering away.
10 I am dying from grief;
my years are shortened by sadness.
Sin has drained my strength;
I am wasting away from within.
11 I am scorned by all my enemies
and despised by my neighbors—
even my friends are afraid to come near me.
When they see me on the street,
they run the other way.
12 I am ignored as if I were dead,
as if I were a broken pot.
13 I have heard the many rumors about me,
and I am surrounded by terror.
My enemies conspire against me,
plotting to take my life.
14 But I am trusting you, O Lord,
saying, “You are my God!”
15 My future is in your hands.
Rescue me from those who hunt me down relentlessly.
16 Let your favor shine on your servant.
In your unfailing love, rescue me.
17 Don’t let me be disgraced, O Lord,
for I call out to you for help.
Let the wicked be disgraced;
let them lie silent in the grave.[a]
18 Silence their lying lips—
those proud and arrogant lips that accuse the godly.
19 How great is the goodness
you have stored up for those who fear you.
You lavish it on those who come to you for protection,
blessing them before the watching world.
20 You hide them in the shelter of your presence,
safe from those who conspire against them.
You shelter them in your presence,
far from accusing tongues.
21 Praise the Lord,
for he has shown me the wonders of his unfailing love.
He kept me safe when my city was under attack.
22 In panic I cried out,
“I am cut off from the Lord!”
But you heard my cry for mercy
and answered my call for help.
23 Love the Lord, all you godly ones!
For the Lord protects those who are loyal to him,
but he harshly punishes the arrogant.
24 So be strong and courageous,
all you who put your hope in the Lord!
Thursday, June 2, 2011
I think it is time to teach myself to write again!