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Archive for August, 2010

If You are content basing your spirituality on any established tradition….do not bother to read any further!

Don’t expect the usual fare when perusing this site!

Alpha & Omega is dedicated to the “Spirit of Truth”
14:17even the Spirit of truth: whom the world cannot receive; for it beholdeth him not, neither knoweth him: ye know him; for he abideth with you, and shall be in you. ~ Gospel of John

Over the centuries, a lot of stories purported as true have developed around Christian churches, and in the last couple centuries, around churches calling themselves Gnostic;  the infallibility of the bible, Peter went to Rome, a list of churches claiming unbroken Apostolic succession and Magical thinking surrounding ritual and tradition, that contradicts critical history, science and psychology.

We blow right through that stuff;   We aren’t interested in anything that cannot withstand the simplest testing, except as a means to bring us closer to the truth.
“Why?” someone might ask.

Because, if something is not the truth, and reported as the truth, then it is the opposite.   I don’t know about you, but WE hate being lied to, especially concerning the potential of eternity and what it takes to achieve it, and WE are not going to shoot the dice either on pious error nor on beliefs based in falsehoods, magical thinking or mysterious traditions that are impossible to verify or deny.   We take eternity seriously!

Ok, what does that leave?

There are certain things that CAN be verified.     New testament and apocryphal scriptures (and we give them the same weight, based on critical scholarship) tell us not only our actions, but also our thoughts and intent have both long term  and short term consequences.   In other words, if you are doing it right, there will be REAL internal changes in thinking and attitude that will be manifested in how we treat others;  not artificial changes or hypocrisy—  for example, before the change someone might treat another person nicely, even though they have no love for them.  After the change, that same person is treated nicely because they are genuinely loved.   A real and genuine healing of the soul has occurred.  If there is no healing, there is no salvation.

Salvation is not a one time deal, nor do we consider salvation to be “going to heaven”, which we say is NOT salvation but a CONSEQUENCE of salvation.   Most times, it is a long slow process.

The only tradition that we are going to put weight on, is the tradition that we are establishing for ourselves;  A love for each other, and a love for truth.   As Truth is continually unveiling itself through critical study and advancements in philosophy, science and experience, Alpha & Omega remains equally dynamic, but unwavering in the principle, that the things that truly matter are freely available to all—-  there is not a magic formula nor ritual that can surpass good old fashioned spiritual elbow grease.

We are not SELLING anything!

There are a lot of people out there selling books that purport to be concerned with your Spiritual welfare.   They often contain truisms, or old maxim’s in a new guise.   If they were that concerned, those books would be sold without profit to either author or organization but handed out as tracts;   In order to maximize profits, books appeal to emotions centered around things we WANT to hear.   Nobody sells books saying “Oh, you are really, really going to HATE this”!   There are a lot of “Ministry” television shows, that beg you to “dig deep into your pockets”.  We are not offering books, ads, or things to make you feel smug about yourself.  We are not saying “I’m ok, your ok, those people over there are idiots”.  We are not offering “flesh colored Christ’s that glow in the dark”.   We are offering an opportunity to really LIVE a spirituality that has been misunderstood and misrepresented for centuries;  a spirituality that is in accordance with the understanding of some of the  earliest Christians found in the Nag Hammadi Library (From here on in, shortened to NHL), and in so LIVING, witness genuine positive changes in the way that spirituality is lived and understood.   We are not looking to depreciate the genuine value of any church or religious organization that any may belong to, but are offering a CLEAR alternative to those that have found nothing but further questions and dissatisfaction in their spiritual search, and in making the offer, doing so in a way that does not have us patting you on the head with one hand while reaching into your pocket with the other.

We have managed to come the last few years without accepting any charitable donations except our website;  nobody will ask you for any money.

Belief as a tool.

Many a divorced couple will attest that they had belief and faith that their spouse would ALWAYS be faithful.    Belief and Faith allow us to function, but they are TOOLS that allow us to function.

What we do is take our beliefs and mentally separate them from verifiable Truth, both physical and spiritual, and place them in a box labeled “Tools for spiritual growth”.    They are not allowed to gather dust or rust and otherwise become useless,   but we ARE going to organize them into useful and extraneous categorizes according to our individual needs.   The Wright brothers believed they could fly, before they did.   It is important to recognize that their ability to actually accomplish this feat was physical law, but that belief was a tool that kept them searching for the secret of flight.

What does this separation process do for us?   Just to give one clear example out of many, we are not going to feel obfuscating emotions if someone poses an argument over the historical Jesus…..   We will recognize that is an argument that is faith based and so can neither be won nor lost;  a person posing an emotional argument for or against is questioning their own belief system as much as ours….and as we constantly question our own as procedure, those arguments will bring no new hurt or insight.    To use the example of the Wright brothers again, they did not stand on belief, vainly flapping their arms, but experimented until they discovered the basic principles of flight.

Story as Mythology

Mythology may be entertaining, but it is not entertainment.   Nor does it matter if Mythology is physically true, or impossible.   Mythology is carefully crafted to highlight the highest of human ideology, thus using physical imaging to tell of those things that are invisible;  Faith, Hope, Love.    When learning of spiritual truth, which is invisible, a way has to be made to tell it in word images.   This is the way that we communicate with each other, and also the way that we use to discover our own potential.

We use the early Christian mythology that is found in the NHL and parts of the Bible.   We are not arguing that it is historically accurate or even probable—-for our purposes believing it to be of absolute historical accuracy DOESN’T matter;   In the movie PATTON, one of General Patton’s aides consoled Patton over his opponents absence from the battlefield by saying “If you have defeated Rommel’s plan, have you not defeated Rommel?”   By the same token, if we have followed Jesus’ plan for salvation, this makes us Christian despite Jesus’ presence or absence on the “battlefield”.   It won’t matter if Jesus was a real person if you cannot find Christ within yourself, and it will not matter if He wasn’t really born in a manger if you DO find Him within yourself.

By the same token, we MUST believe that the stories attributed to Jesus are paramount and priceless in their spiritual value if they are to have any impact on our lives whatsoever.    To be “lukewarm” in anything spiritual is the ultimate error, resulting in a hodgepodge belief system that will ultimately stall and fail when it is needed most.   Because of this simple, but often hard to take truth, we keep with a set methodology, emphasizing that which has shown positive results, and de-emphasizing that which has not ultimately mattered.

Don’t paint yourself into a corner!

The existence or lack thereof of heaven, hell, eternal rest, rejoining god, visionary experiences are all hotly debated topics.   Why are they hotly debated after ten thousand years of religious “Truth” being loosed in the world?   Because those are things unknowable by any outward evidence.  Error debating Error.   If we treat others and ourselves honestly and find the Christ within that enables us to value honesty, integrity,  compassionate reason, and love for others, while eschewing the more base and selfish emotions, the existence or lack thereof of a judgment day will take care of itself, and consequently our own self esteem is raised along with the self confidence that life demands of us.

Admit to yourself that some things are just unknowable, and use the mythology to help strengthen those things that are real and desirable;  Faith, Hope, Love.

Let’s get to the meat and potatoes

So far, we have discussed mythology and how we can bring it into our lives;   However, we are not using the entirety of the Christian bible, and here is why;   it is not one book but many, with an “Old testament” that is probably the greatest source of bronze age writings available, and a “New Testament” that was compiled in the Fourth century to promote catholicism, which though we honor in it’s inclusiveness and adoption of esoteric christian sectarianism, is actually counter productive to understanding the early gentile Christian thought that we follow.  We see Christianity, as taught by the NHL, and some of Paul’s own genuine writings, as rejecting Judaism as an accurate portrayal of God….   We can see from Paul’s own writings, and from the NHL, that when Paul taught among the gentiles, he did NOT teach Pharisaical Judaism!    This was (re?)-introduced into gentile Christian thought sometime after the first century.  (See Marcion’s Antithesis for a partial listing of bible verses that provide evidence of this radical way of thinking)

We rely heavily on the NHL, because we want to be as close as possible to understanding those early teachings of Paul, and shed the centuries of man made traditions that have been heaped upon early Christian thought until it is a confused tower of Babel that is no longer approachable except by wading through mountains of apologists and sectarian denominations.
The NHL is best described as scriptural commentary rather than scripture;  a very careful study will show that it refers and comments both on scriptures that can be found in the bible, and those no longer to be found anywhere, plus some long lost scriptures that were included along with the commentaries.  We use the “Robinson” text, because of it’s accessible price and availability.   The “American Standard” bible is used for much the same reason, though if you have any other version, don’t go out and buy another.

So what are we saying?  Are we anti-Semitic?

God is not a cheer leader for any nation, for nations are part of the Grand illusion that is Matter.   None of us, are in reality, nailed down to any piece of dirt.  We are all part of Mankind, all are capable of the very best, and all capable of the very worst.  We are not Anti-Anybody.  We are pro-Christ, as long as the Christ that is visualized is love, compassion, acceptance….and the yardstick for all the good that we are truly capable of.  A true Savior, teaching the road to salvation, both by word and example.   The previously invisible image of the Father, not the imaginary gods of men’s imagination, but the True Living God that is unknowingly mentioned here and there in every scripture in the world, unheard of, unspoken of by any prophet until He/She was introduced to the world by the story of Christ who pointed out that divine spark which exists even in those rejected by others.

We reject the Old Testament views of God that portray Him/Her as bloodthirsty, demanding of human and animal sacrifice, theft and slaughter.  We reject the view that God created mankind as an unwilling slave, but a willing slave to Love, exemplified by serving others.  We accept those views in the Old Testament that portray a Loving Father.

We use a modern interpretation of an alternate teaching that was hidden for many centuries, and has once again seen the light of day.

No SECRET Traditions?

No.  The traditions that we use are not, and probably were never “Secret”.   There are some things that we just don’t get around to talking about with an absolute beginner, because it takes some time to absorb the basics, but they are not secret.

Opening the toolbox…remember we talked about the toolbox?

We will each have varying levels of what we know, but we follow the same belief as a group effort, to lead us deeper and deeper into sure knowledge.

Here are some of the things we believe expressed as simple terms:

Heaven
God the Father
Christ the Son
Sophia
Holy Spirit
a false creator god

Now, here is our mythology, in capsulized form:

In the “beginning” there was only God. When I say beginning here, time had not been invented yet, and we believe in an emanations cosmology.    This cosmology is not incompatible  with the theory of evolution.

God had his first thought. When an infinite being has thoughts, his thoughts are powerful thoughts.  So powerful, that not only are they capable of having thoughts of their own, but their thoughts are also powerful, though not as powerful and perfect as their own.

One of Gods first thoughts was the “Logos”. “Logos” in this context, is both a noun and a verb.   It is the Male/Female dyad of Love and Wisdom, expressed as Christ and Sophia.

Wisdom was young. Everybody should know, hopefully, that wisdom is dependent on experience.   So far, the only experience that Sophia had, was coming into existence from a higher thought.

Sophia tried to create something on her own. This is where the mythology begins to parallel the journey of those who seek God.   Sophia tried to create without her counterpart “Love” or “Christ”.   She fell into error.

What Sophia created was an imperfect thought. Now Sophia is not dependent on power from experience….in fact at this point she desperately needs it….so Her thought is pretty powerful in his own right, though imperfect.

Sophia’s thought we call the demiurge This crazy god, is very jealous because he is a product of wisdom alone, untempered by love.   Not quite omnipresent or omniscient, but very nearly so, he started to organize the chaos of his own afterbirth, (matter) into stars and suns, planets and moons.  and then………..

The demiurge wanted to create slaves to worship him . He is very jealous, and didn’t even want his slaves to know right from wrong!  (he is also the mad god who gave us such things as tsunami’s and Ebola.  He creates fair winds to send ships to port, and gales to sink them before they get there!)

A VERY repentant Sophia, who learned from Her mistake (She is wisdom after all, and that’s what wisdom does), called for her consort, Christ, to help save the slaves of the demiurge from slavery, and the two of them, called on the Father of all for help.

The Father sent Sophia, in the form of the symbol of Wisdom, to instill in the slaves the seeds of Divine Potential, and they became human.    After a while, and when the human race was fertile ground……

The Father sent Christ, to teach the humans of their Divine potential and to lead them home.

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