The Price of Salvation?

By: T F Stern
T F Stern’s Rantings

Have you ever asked a simple question only to find you’d opened a can of worms? That’s exactly what happened when looking for answers on why the Salvation Army had cratered to a law suit filed against them in New York in which they ‘voluntarily’ gave up $ 450,000 to make their legal issues go away.

The Magna Charta was signed ‘voluntarily’ as well; one of those words which apparently means different things depending on the urgency or force used to obtain compliance; but I’m getting off track…

According to an A/P story this past week:

“The settlement announced by the New York Civil Liberties Union calls for the Salvation Army to notify all current and future employees of its government-funded social service programs that it doesn’t discriminate based on religious belief. The requirement applies only to workers in New York.

The notification would also tell employees they are expected to follow professional practices in their work without regard to the organization’s religious practices.”

When most folks think of the Salvation Army they picture the little red kettle in front of a department stores, an opportunity to drop spare change to help some poor soul regain lost dignity; but there’s more to this benevolent Christian society…a lot more.

Bill Federer’s American Minute records the formation of the Salvation Army and its spreading across the Atlantic:

“Originally named the Christian Mission, the Salvation Army conducted meetings among the poor in London’s East End slums.

Adopting uniforms and a semi-military system of leadership, the Salvation Army ministered to the poor, drunk and outcast, while fighting sex-trafficking and teenage prostitution.”

Somewhere along the way the organization grew to the point where it became necessary to follow local, state and federal rules and laws which govern tax free ventures such as churches and other benevolent institutions.

While going through the many and varied accounts of how the Salvation Army conducts business here in these United States of America a few interesting statements seemed at odds.

For instance, the official webpage for the Lincoln, Nebraska branch of the Salvation Army states:

“All funds donated to The Salvation Army in Lincoln are used by The Salvation Army, or agencies of which it is a member. The Salvation Army connects your donation directly to the point of most urgent need. It is not funded with any federal, state or city tax dollars.”

Other pubic statements found on the internet indicate that “82 cents of every dollar spent” in donations handed over to the Salvation Army is spent on those services for which they were intended while the remaining money is for standard business expenses.

This tends to validate the Salvation Army as a truly benevolent privately funded organization; that is until some other items of interest are brought to light.

“Nongovernment donors — including holiday shoppers stuffing bills into the kettles — provide the greatest share of funds nationwide: $1.58 billion in 2009, out of total revenues of $2.86 billion.”

That’s $ 1.28 billion in taxpayer funded donations to the Salvation Army, almost half of the Salvation Army’s income.

It matters not, at least to me, how much money the Salvation Army takes in from private donations or how large their holdings come to, spacious buildings to conduct business or residential housing for their senior administrators; however, it matters considerably when public funds are used to support even the most virtuous philanthropic undertaking.

In my youth I grew up watching tales of Davy Crockett, “King of the wild frontier”, as the tune rolls in memory. Every kid wanted a genuine coon skin cap and we’d wrestle one another to prove we were up to the challenge; but Crockett was also known as a statesman, elected to represent the will of his constituents.

The following is an excerpt from Davy Crockett’s thoughts regarding the use of public money.

“I have as much respect for the memory of the deceased and as much sympathy for the suffering of the living as any man in this House, but we must not permit our respect for the dead or our sympathy for a part of the living to lead us into an act of injustice to the balance of the living. I will not go into an argument to prove that Congress has no power to appropriate this money as an act of charity. Every member upon this floor knows it. We have the right, as individuals to give away as much of our own money as we please in charity, but as members of Congress we have no right to so appropriate a dollar of the public money.”

My question to Congress, “Why is taxpayer money being spent to support the Salvation Army or, for that matter, any welfare entitlement programs”? Davy Crockett had it nailed; Congress has no authority to spend taxpayer money on entitlements regardless of their good intentions, such discretionary spending is for individuals and the private sector.

I could also ask why millions upon millions of taxpayer dollars was spent to help restore churches, temples and even Muslim mosques throughout the world. So much for separation of church and state; or is that even part of the discussion when throwing money down the toilet?

While attempting to mollify the public the U.S. State Department in an official statement said that, “…the money given to the Cairo mosque was “part of” a $770 million program to fix the city’s sewer system.” (You’re pulling my leg, they really said that?)

So it’s okay to give $770 million U.S. taxpayer dollars to a foreign country to fix their sewer system and provide a safer environment for those wishing to follow Islam and their hatred of all Westerners and infidels; but it’s not okay for a Christian organization to help the down trodden, the wretches in our own culture, at least not with tax money that could be sent over seas to help our enemies.…how silly of me to even bring up the subject.

At one time there was a saying, “Charity begins at home”; but apparently that doesn’t apply to Christian charities attempting to follow the myriad of laws and restrictions placed on them by Congress in order to placate the ACLU and Atheists among us.

I’ll bet the farm that had the name of the organization been changed from the Salvation Army to Muslim Brotherhood Outreach then nothing, and I mean nothing would have ever been said or done. Diversification and tolerance are only words to be used in accomplishing the agenda of progressives, the godless intent on destroying America and our Christian culture.

This article has been cross-posted to The Moral Liberal, a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government & The American Constitution.”


Russia Looks East as Relations with Europe Deteriorate

The standoff between the U.S. and the EU on one hand, and Russia on the other, intensified pretty quickly late last week. The U.S. quickly slapped heavier sanctions on Russia after its annexation of Crimea, leading to a mutual escalation of retaliatory measures. However, it appears that the West gained a bit of leverage at the moment, as the Russian economy has shown some cracks amid uncertainty over how bad this is going to get.

The Russian stock exchange MICEX dropped 3% on March 21, after news that President Obama was considering widening sanctions to include broad sectors of the Russian economy, including the strategically and economically vital energy sector. Although it is unlikely to reach that level, the mere consideration of such a dramatic move has spooked some investors, who are beginning to pull their money out of the Russian economy. Visa and Mastercard reported that they will stop providing payment services for Bank Rossiya, a Russian bank, raising fears that more banks could be caught in Washington’s sanctions net.

As of March 21, it was unclear how Moscow would respond. Days earlier, top Russian officials had scoffed at the initial round of U.S. and EU sanctions. But by the end of the week, the Kremlin appeared to be trying to downplay the conflict, using a more measured and conciliatory tone. Vladimir Putin didn’t seem to want the standoff to worsen. “I think we need to refrain from taking any retaliatory countermeasures for now,” he said, according to the Wall Street Journal. And Fyodor Lukyanov, a top Russian foreign policy official was quoted as saying, “[e]verything has happened so unexpectedly and so quickly. There’s reason to end here.”

More intriguing is the prospect that the more or less severing of relations between Russia and Europe will accelerate a Russian pivot towards China. After all, one of the largest consumers of energy in the world sits adjacent to one of the largest producers of energy in the world – their marriage makes sense. Lukyanov hinted at such a shift in strategic thinking, “[t]he relationship with the West isn’t a top priority anymore.”

Russia had probably hoped for a much more supportive response from China on the issue of Crimea, as both countries’ interests often align in pushing back against U.S. meddling. However, that priority cuts both ways, prompting China to remain neutral – it sees Russia’s annexation as flying in the face of China’s policy of non-interference.

Nevertheless, the Russian-Chinese relationship could grow as a result of the brewing conflict between Russia and the West. For years, Russia and China have been unable to seal a natural gas deal that would benefit both. But the two sides are reportedly close to finally agreeing to terms, and with Putin scheduled to visit China in May, there is an added incentive there to finalizing a deal before then. It wouldn’t be surprising that with Russia much more eager to reach a deal, China may get its way in terms of pricing – China is hoping for a lower price for natural gas than what Europe receives, which is around $10.54 per million Btu in 2013. That had been a sticking point for years. Now, with Russia a little uneasy, they may bend on the pricing issue. China would stand to gain even more leverage if the U.S. moves towards sanctioning Russia’s energy sector.

Gazprom has plans to export as much as 38 billion cubic meters of natural gas to China beginning in 2018. This would require the construction of a $23 billion pipeline in the east. In fact, there are four planned connection points that would tie the two countries intimately together.

Several market analysts had already predicted before the Crimean crisis that a deal would be finalized this year. The latest freeze in Russian-European relations is accelerating Russia’s pivot towards China, and an imminent natural gas deal could be a centerpiece of that strategic shift.

Source: http://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/Russia-Looks-East-as-Relations-with-Europe-Deteriorate.html

By Nicholas Cunningham of Oilprice.com


Loudon and Beck — Together Again on TheBlaze TV — Exposing The Enemies Within and Without

3460 Dogwood Dr. S.
Salem, OR 97302

March 19, 2014

Loudon and Beck — Together Again on TheBlaze TV — Exposing The Enemies Within and Without

Salem, Oregon: Anti-Communist and Best-Selling Author, Trevor Loudon will return to Primetime, THEBLAZE TV, March 26th, 5:00 pm ET, hosted by Glenn Beck.

Loudon, a New Zealand researcher and investigative journalist, has been touring America as a modern-day Paul Revere to warn America that “The Enemies Within: Communists, Socialists, and Progressives in the U.S. Congress” are here and that they are endangering America and all she stands for. The book is published by Pacific Freedom Foundation.

The Enemies Within” profiles fourteen Senators and more than fifty Representatives and their ties to Communist Party USA, Democratic Socialists of America, the Workers World Party and the Institute for Policy Studies, Council for a Livable World and other radical anti-American organizations.

Says Loudon, “I tried to keep the second book to 700 pages, but the communists just kept coming and coming.”

Trevor’s work has been featured in numerous books and articles, thousands of blog posts and many interviews. Trevor was responsible for exposing Barack Obama’s childhood mentor, the Communist Party member Frank Marshall Davis, and for exposing Van Jones, Obama’s communist “Green Jobs Czar,” who was then forced to leave the White House.

See Loudon and Beck back together again, Wednesday, March 26th.


About Pacific Freedom Foundation: A nonprofit organization dedicated to unlocking the covert side of US and global politics. We are dedicated to exposing those in American politics who are ideologically corrupt and not worthy of the public trust. Through teaching, public events, books, pamphlets and reports, we focus on the backgrounds and records of American politicians who support progressives ideals, rather than strive to maintain our Constitutional government, in its original intent and purpose, as set forth by the freedom fighters of yesteryear.

Media Contact:
Regina Thomson [email protected]
Twitter — PacificFreedomFdn
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Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ 9) – KeyWiki Progressive/Marxist Profiles

By: Trevor Loudon
Editor: Terresa Monroe-Hamilton

Catch award-winning, acclaimed author, Trevor Loudon with Glenn Beck on TheBlaze TV
March 26th at 5:00 PM EST

Take the Fight to the Progressives and the Enemies Within!

KeyWiki.org Page: http://keywiki.org/index.php/Kyrsten_Sinema

Election Facts for 2014:

• Party – Democrat
• State – Arizona
• Location – Arizona 9
• First Elected – 2012
• Candidates in 2014:
Kyrsten Sinema – D
Wendy Rogers – R
Andrew Walter – R

Kyrsten Sinema entered Congress with the 2012 elections as an Arizona Democrat for the new 9th District.


Sinema was born in Tucson, Arizona in 1976 and was raised in the Dobson Ranch area, in a conservative Mormon family.

At age 16, Sinema graduated as her high school’s valedictorian and went on to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in social work from Brigham Young University.

While advocating for “marginalized and oppressed communities in the state,” she earned her Master’s Degree in Social Work and later went on to graduate Cum Laude with her Juris Doctorate from Arizona State University. In addition, she was hired as an adjunct professor in the School of Social Work at ASU at the age of 26 to teach Master’s level courses in fundraising and political and social policy. Kyrsten Sinema was elected to the House of Representatives in 2004, after nearly a decade of professional practice as a social worker and “social justice” advocate.

Sinema was a social worker from 1995 to 2002; she practiced in the Washington Elementary School District before becoming a criminal defense lawyer in 2005. Sinema has also been an adjunct instructor in the Arizona State University School of Social Work since 2003.
Sinema became a Democratic Arizona legislator in 2005 following a stint, in the early 2000s, as the spokesperson for Ralph Nadar’s Green Party USA.


Sinema serves on numerous community and national boards, including as Board President of Community Outreach and Advocacy for Refugees, the Center for Progressive Leadership and the Young Elected Officials’ Network. She is the recipient of awards for her political leadership, including the NAACP Civil Rights Award, AZ Hispanic Community Forum Friend of the Year, Planned Parenthood Legislative CHOICE Award, Sierra Club’s Most Valuable Player and the AZ Public Health Association Legislator of the Year.

In 2010, Kyrsten Sinema was serving her second term in the State House, teaching at Arizona State University, practicing criminal defense law while consulting with the state on LGBTQ legislation and initiatives.

Sinema was part of a national team of state elected officials who worked to help craft America’s new health care law to “meet the needs of states, not the federal government.”
Thanks in part to her work in “improving the bill,” Sinema was invited by the President to attend the signing in March of 2010.

Circa 2008, Sinema and three colleagues joined together to form a “Progressive Caucus” for the House of Representatives of the Arizona State Legislature.

In the House of Representatives, Sinema serves on the Committee on Financial Services, which includes the Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance and the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.

In 2010, Kyrsten Sinema served on the Board of Directors of the Progressive States Network, a George Soros funded organization which seeks to “transform the political landscape by sparking progressive actions at the state level.”

Kyrsten Sinema’s first book, “Unite and Conquer: How to Build Coalitions that Win and Last,” was released in July of 2009 by Berrett-Koehler Publishers.

Communist Connections

Endorsing Communist Party Causes

Kyrsten Sinema was a signatory to an advertisement: “May Day and Cinco de Mayo greetings,” placed in the Communist Party USA (CPUSA) paper People’s Weekly World on May 4, 2002. Such ads were traditionally placed in the Communist Party paper every May Day, sponsored by local party clubs, members or supporters:

Arizona’s progressive community extends May Day and Cinco de Mayo greetings to all our friends across the country. We commit ourselves to resist the Bush Administration’s drive for ever increasing military spending and a neverending state of war. We must redouble our efforts to build a people’s coalition that will drive the ultra right out of Congress next November.

Co-signing the advertisement with Sinema were CPUSA members Joe Bernick, Jack Blawis, Lem Harris, Lorenzo Torrez, Anita Torrez, Carolyn Trowbridge, Steve Valencia, the Tucson and East Valley Clubs of the Communist Party USA and the party fronts: the Arizona Peace Council and the Salt of the Earth Labor College.

This support for the communist cause was not a “one off” or an aberration. In 2003, Sinema again put her name to the Arizona Communist Party’s May Day greetings page.

Arizona Together

Shortly after her election in 2004, Kyrsten Sinema and former State Representative Steve May formed Arizona Together, the statewide coalition to defeat Arizona’s same-sex marriage ban, During the course of the two years leading up to the 2006 election, Sinema led the campaign’s effort to “raise nearly $3 million, research, craft and deliver a winning message and build a broad-based, statewide coalition of community leaders, organizations and businesses.”

Arizona made history on Nov. 7, 2006, when its voters became the first in the nation to reject a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. Explained Arizona Communist Party USA leader and Arizona Together activist Joe Bernick:

So how did we do it? The answer is: educating, organizing and mobilizing.

As soon as proponents started circulating petitions to put 107 on the ballot, opponents brought out their own clipboards, signing up thousands of volunteers. Arizona Together emerged as the campaign committee, chaired by progressive state Rep. Kyrsten Sinema.

“Progressive” Connections

Progressive Democrats for America

Kyrsten Sinema is the only state legislator to serve as a board member of the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS)/Democratic Socialists of America (DSA)-dominated Progressive Democrats of America.

Take Back America Conferences

Kyrsten Sinema was on the list of speakers at the 2008 Take Back America conference, which was organized by the IPS and DSA-initiated Campaign for America’s Future.

On March 17, 2008, DSA affiliate Rick Perlstein, State Representative Kyrsten Sinema and Marxist Mike Zielinski spoke in a session entitled: “The Crackup of Conservatism.”

Sinema also addressed the succeeding Campaign for America’s Future organized America’s Future Now conference in 2009.

Foreign Policy/National Security

Anti-Israel Activities

Kyrsten Sinema’s anti-Israel activism began in the early 2000s when she organized for the Arizona Alliance for Peace and Justice, a group whose members have denounced Israel’s “disproportionate” use of “violence and oppression.”

The group also decried U.S. military aid to Israel as well as the expansion of Israeli settlements “into Palestinian lands.”

Sinema later urged supporters of the AAPJ to deluge the phone lines of a radio show hosted by “an unapologetic unconditional supporter of Israeli policy.”

To this day, AAPJ continues to take a hardline stance against Israel, aligning itself with the far left Occupy AIPAC movement and sponsoring various speeches “against the Israeli occupation.”

Another of Sinema’s creations is Local to Global Justice, a grassroots advocacy group that has positioned itself as one of Arizona’s leading critics of the Jewish state.

In February 2004, the group brought the anti-Israel bus tour Wheels of Justice to Tempe – a junket that the Anti-Defamation League described as “distinctly anti-Israel.” The AAPJ co-sponsored the event.

Like the AAPJ, Local to Global Justice has continued to sponsor events singling out Israel for undue criticism. Sinema’s headshot remains displayed on the group’s website.

The organization has advocated in favor of the Palestinian “right of return.”

Sinema formerly served as a spokeswoman for Women in Black, an anti-war group that was founded in part to support Palestinians during the Intifada.

Council for a Livable World Support

Kyrsten Sinema was supported by the far left, anti-U.S. military Council for a Livable World in her successful 2012 Congressional campaign.

According to the Council for a Livable World website:

Outside of state government, Sinema has been a leader in Arizona’s anti-war movement. In the days after the 9/11 attacks, Sinema helped to organize Arizona progressives who were alarmed by widespread calls for invasion. Sinema was at the forefront of Arizona’s grassroots opposition to the war in Iraq.

Sinema’s principled opposition to war extends to the movement for a world free of nuclear weapons. As an Arizona state legislator she actively lobbied Senators John McCain (R) and John Kyl (R) for ratification of the New START nuclear reductions treaty. She supports ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Testing Ban and opposes the development of new nuclear weapons.

Conservatives, Libertarians, 9/12 Projects, Tea Parties: Time to Clean House and Senate in 2014!

Vote for Constitutional Conservatives and Restore Our Founding Principles!

This research is part of KeyWiki.org’s ongoing efforts to expose Progressives throughout our political system. Funding for KeyWiki furthers our efforts to bring true transparency to American politics and hold our leaders responsible for their past actions. Donations can be made at Trevor Loudon’s site: New Zeal – http://www.trevorloudon.com/. More information on the Enemies Within can be found in Trevor Loudon’s latest book, “The Enemies Within: Communists, Socialists and Progressives in the U.S. Congress.” Trevor’s books can be purchased at http://www.pacificfreedomfoundation.com.

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Forum: What Is The Meaning Of ‘Spirituality’ To You?

The Watcher’s Council

Every week on Monday morning, the Watcher’s Council and our invited guests weigh in at the Watcher’s Forum with short takes on a major issue of the day, the culture or daily living. This week’s question: What Is The Meaning Of ‘Spirituality’ To You?

Liberty’s Spirit: Spirituality is the understanding that the universe is greater than yourself, but at the same time, you are obligated to better the world around you as if you, and you alone, are responsible for the continuation of all living creatures. It matters not to me how any one person comes to this realization. I do not believe that a person has to have a religion to be a good person (unfortunately there are too many people in the world who use religion as a weapon to hurt others instead of a path to goodness). What matters is that individuals understand that their singular actions effect everyone around them and that there is a ripple effect in the dynamics of the universe. The constant desire to be kind to all living creatures around you is the epitome of spirituality. Every little action can have a positive effect on a stranger. A simple smile at a passing individual could bring joy to their world in ways you will never know. Trying to be a better person than you were the moment before is the path to spirituality and the constant challenge of humanity.

Simply Jews: That one sent me to the dictionary.

The first meaning (“Property or income owned by a church”) is hardly relevant to me.
The second one (“Concern with things of the spirit”) is somewhat more interesting, although, I suspect, much easier to deal with for religious people, which I am not.

So, I shall have to define it for myself, then. I would say that spirituality means several activities that a person occupies him/herself during the breaks in the daily mundane pursuit of happiness in its material aspect.

Our spiritual pursuits could be the main difference between us and the animals, although as a definition this statement doesn’t add much understanding of spirituality.

So, to be more specific, let’s go by example: fine arts, literature, music and, (unfortunately I have to say it), the elements of popular culture such as pop, heavy metal and similar kinds of musics, should be all named as part of our spirituality.

As, of course, the religious person’s study of things religious and praying, equivalent of which for a secular person would be philosophy – provided the secular person indulges in this field of activity.

And, if you want to take the root of the word “spirituality” more literally, a good bottle of spirit, like the one distillated by the magicians of Scotland, has something to do with spirituality too. Depending on the dosage, of course.

The Noisy Room: The meaning of ‘spirituality’ to me is simply my lifelong walk with God. As a child, my father was in construction and we moved constantly. My father was agnostic and my Grandmother was a devout Christian. However, we were never forced to go to church. From the time I can remember walking and talking, I have always gravitated to the Bible and its teachings. I went to church myself from the time I was very young – always alone. I have always felt Him with me – in the good and bad times and he has sustained me through many battles during my life. I could no more separate my life and being from my belief in God, than I could stop fighting against Communism. Most of my life, I have felt led by my spirituality to pursue the work I am ensconced in. It is my belief that I follow a calling from God and each and every day I pray for guidance. I gladly follow my path and His lead… I always will until I leave this world for the next.

JoshuaPundit: Spirituality is the horse that takes you on your journey towards Almighty G-d. Faith and acceptance is the reward at journey’s end. And should you be so fortunate as to be so close to the Father of Us All to be blessed with faith and acceptance, the next step is the self discipline to practice and live that faith and acceptance in this world, as an offering.

GrEaT sAtAn”S gIrLfRiEnD: “Authentic spirituality involves an emotional response, what I will call the spiritual response, which can include feelings of significance, unity, awe, joy, acceptance, and consolation. Such feelings are intrinsically rewarding and so are sought out in their own right, but they also help us in dealing with difficult situations involving death, loss, and disappointment. The spiritual response thus helps meet our affective needs for both celebration and reconciliation. ”

As Richard Dawkins puts it in his book Unweaving the Rainbow, we have an “appetite for wonder,” an appetite for evoking the positive emotional states that are linked to our deepest existential questions.

But what might evoke these states? Spirituality often involves a cognitive context, a set of beliefs about oneself and the world which can both inspire the spiritual response and provide an interpretation of it. Our ideas about what ultimately exists, who we fundamentally are, and our place in the greater scheme of things form the cognitive context for spirituality. By contemplating such beliefs we are temporarily drawn out of the mundane into the realization of life’s deeper significance, and this realization generates emotional effects. But equally, the spiritual response thus generated is itself interpreted in the light of our basic beliefs; namely, it is taken to reflect the ultimate truth of our situation as we conceive it. The cognitive context of spirituality and the spiritual response are therefore linked tightly in reciprocal evocation and validation.

A third essential component of spirituality is what is ordinarily called spiritual practice. Since the intellectual appreciation of fundamental beliefs alone may not suffice to evoke a particularly deep experience, various non-cognitive techniques can help to access the spiritual response. Activities such as dance, singing, chant, meditation, and participation in various rituals and ceremonies all can play a role in moving us from the head to the heart. And it is in the heart, or gut, after all, where we find the most powerful intrinsic rewards of spirituality, as profound as its cognitive context might be.

Although the emotional content of the spiritual response – feelings of connection, significance, serenity, acceptance – is common to all spirituality, the background beliefs and specific practices vary tremendously. Almost all of us have the biological capacity to feel spiritually transported, but the cognitive context of those moments and the techniques to induce them are a matter of our culture.

A fascinating variety of spiritual traditions have arisen, ranging from the rigorous, ascetic regimes of Zen meditation to the ecstatic communal celebration of a Sunday morning gospel service, and each tradition has its own conception of the world and the individual’s place in it.

Stemming from these beliefs there are a multiplicity of spiritual objects of veneration, of deeper realities to be encountered: God, Earth, Nature, Emptiness, angels, devils, ancestors, previous incarnations, the Force, you name it (for a current, pop-cultural sampling of these, visit Beliefnet). For each tradition, spiritual experience is taken to be the direct appreciation of the ultimate truth about the world, a way to transcend one’s limited everyday perspective in the quest for meaning, unity, and serenity.

One of the most prominent recurring themes in Paul’s writings is the contrast between the flesh and the spirit. In the original Greek manuscripts of Paul’s letters, the Greek word SARX appears over ninety times. This word is most often translated as “flesh” and represents the physical, literal, carnal viewpoint. The opposite of the word SARX is the word PNEUMOS. This word appears over one hundred and thirty times in Paul’s writings and is translated as “spirit”.

The PNEUMOS represents the spiritual, non-physical, symbolic view. One of the best examples illustrating this contrast between the fleshly, literal outlook and the non -physical, spiritual perspective can be found in the epistle that Paul wrote to the Christians of Rome.

In this letter he declared: “there is therefore now no condemnation to those… who do not walk according to the flesh (SARX), but according to the Spirit (PNEUMOS)… for the mind of the flesh (SARX) is death; but the mind of the Spirit (PHRONEMA TOU PNEUMATOS) is life and peace; because of this the mind of the flesh (SARX) is enmity towards God… those in the flesh (SARX) are not able to please God… if anyone has not the Spirit (PNEUMOS) of Christ, this one is not His… for as many as are led by the Spirit (PNEUMOS) of God, these are sons of God” -Romans 8 (Interlinear Bible)

When Paul spoke of “those in the flesh [who] are not able to please God”, he certainly was not implying that anyone who has a physical, fleshly body can’t please God. Instead, he’s referring to the “mind of the flesh (SARX)”… the fleshly, literal attitudes, interpretations and ways of thinking which “are not able to please God”. It is the “mind of the flesh” – being literal minded which is “death.” It is the “mind of the spirit” – having a spiritual viewpoint which “is life”.

To make absolutely certain that Christians don’t miss this important point, Paul repeats it again in another passage. He wrote: “God made us able ministers of a new covenant; not of letter, but of Spirit (PNEUMOS). For the letter [the literal] kills, but the Spirit makes alive” -2 Corinthians 3:6 (Interlinear Bible)

The literal “kills”. The “mind of the flesh” is “death”. But seeing things in terms of their spiritual meanings breathes life into them and fosters true understanding.It was to these kinds of literal minded people that Jesus was referring when he said “seeing they do not see and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand”.

The Glittering Eye: I think that people refer to themselves as “spiritual” when they don’t want to be inconvenienced by a religion or systematic theology or ethics that might demand something from them or constrain their actions.

Perhaps that’s unkind of me.

Ask Marion: Spirituality to me is my (everyone’s) personal connection to God, our creator, but also to each other, to all living creatures and to nature. I liken it to a telephone for our souls.

Spirituality is the personal side of religion. Religion educates us and often helps people find a way to meet and mingle with like minded souls or searchers, but organized religion also has a worldly agenda that sometimes steers us far from spirituality and what I see as organized religions’ true and original intent.

I grew up Catholic and they actually steer you away from what I see as spirituality where each of us can speak and pray to God directly at any and all times instead of having to go through a third party. You can see how popular I was with the nuns… 😉

For me spirituality includes the little voice in our heads, the tug in our hearts and the dreams or premonitions that tell us what is right or lead us in the right direction… if we listen. For those of us driver personality types, like me, I try to listen and often hear but then have to fight myself not to try to take control and argue with God, in our discussions that I have with him throughout the day, for my point of view.

The voice of spirituality is far too often not heard by many and even if they do, it is equally as often ignored. I remember Dr. Robert H. Schuller, Founder of the Crystal Cathedral, saying in one of his sermons, that we in countries like the United States and other first world countries, where we have so much to be grateful for, often have a much shallower connection to God and that inner voice than people in very poor nations where merely surviving is an every day struggle, because our world is so busy, so noisy and so full of distractions, that we no longer search for God, take time to listen to him talking to each of us, or recognize His messages to us. Just like many of us never take the time to pray or just talk to God… until we need or want something from Him. for as they say… there are no atheists in foxholes.

Also included in the realm of spirituality for me are joy and sadness… the feeling you get when you look into your children’s eyes; the feeling you get when you look into your pets’ or any animals’ eyes; the indescribable feeling you get when you see the beauty in nature; the feeling of peace you get when you took action or stood for the right thing, no matter what the personal cost to you. Spirituality is what makes living creatures of all kinds help each other and do good deeds that no one will ever know about and for which the only reward is the fulfillment of having done something good. But for me it is also the sadness you feel when we, humans anywhere in the world, abuse each other, when animals are mistreated, when we destroy a part of the world’s landscape or when humanity falls short no matter how far we are removed from the person (people), place, living-creature or event… and the guilt that we should feel for not having stepped-up. It is also the combined feeling of joy and sorrow that one feels if they were ever blessed to be holding another living creature… a loved-one or a pet, when they take their last breath and leave this world, knowing… if you have the belief, that they are entering the next.

Spirituality is the glue that holds us all together and that will hopefully someday prevail over the hate and politics that run the world.

Bookworm Room: When I was young, I called myself an atheist. There is no God, I thought.

As I’ve grown older, though, I’ve realized a few things. First, we humans are definitely greater than the sum of our parts. We can deconstruct humans down to the atomic level without ever touching upon the animating force that powers us or understanding our ability to function not just mechanically, but in a moral, abstract way. Second, no one has answered to my satisfaction what preceded the Big Bang. And third, without a belief in something greater than ourselves, nothing controls our baser instincts. Incidentally, by greater than ourselves, I don’t mean a collection of individuals, such as government, as opposed to a single individual or a small group of individuals. When I speak of something greater, I refer to an entity other than mankind. I don’t know if this entity created us, controls us, or just observes us, but I believe it exists and that we would be wise to assume that it has certain expectations about our behavior.

To me, then, spirituality means accepting that there is — and must be — something out there bigger than we are, and believing that this greater being demands that we behave according to our best abilities, not our worst. I find the Judeo-Christian tradition a very satisfying way of both recognizing a greater being and demanding a higher standard of living.

Well, there you have it.

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