May 28th, 2008
My Response to:
A Mindless Void
A Spiritual Nether-land of Uncertainity
My response to the e-mail below follows it. The e-mailer’s questions arise out of my departure from fundamental Christianity and the Messianic movement. Two subsequent e-mails and responses took place following this one. Links to these are at the bottom of this page.
I have been wondering of late what had become of you, and was on the verge of sending you an email.
I have carefully read your letter below and "About Doug" on the web site.
Can I assume:
That you are no longer Torah observant?
That you no longer consider yourself an historical Israelite?
That you are no longer looking to see YHWH establish His Name in Jerusalem?
That you no longer believe that the resurrected man Yeshua sits at the Father's right hand?
...that Yeshua Messiah has been given a name above all others and the power to reign on this earth?
The problem with mysticism is that, while what you experience or perceive may be very real to you, there is no way to convey it to others in objective language. Effectively, your beliefs are somewhere beyond words and no longer rooted in history, specifically in the history of the Scriptures. Hence everyone else's need to be patient with you. No one understands what you're talking about, nor can you give your beliefs any substance.
I am left with the impression that that your wife never really went along with your Messianic beliefs and practices, and eventually won you over to the feminine mysteries. So you can say whatever you want, but you have now entered into a mindless void and a spiritual nether-land of uncertainty. From what you are telling me, you have nothing that is worth pursuing.
Doug, true salvation can only come by believing in an objective reality!
First thanks much for taking the time to send a response. Rather than leaving you guessing or assuming where I stand in regards to the questions that you list, I will do my best to answer them, though probably not all that successfully.
1) Am I Torah observant? I don't know if I can answer that specifically ***. My dilemma is --- “What must one do to be considered Torah observant?" Actually "torah observant" is a term that I wasn't comfortable with even while I was active within the messianic world. My friend, ####, (a Hebraic teacher) and I had some interesting conversations about the use of that term and neither of us were really comfortable using it with regard to ourselves. Obviously there could be a lot of debate about which commandments should be followed today or even can be followed etc. Throw into the mix, the question of how to interpret certain commandments and so on and I have a real problem defining "torah observant." Personally, I couldn't ever get to a place where I could say this person is Torah observant and someone else isn't. There are two many intangibles and things that I, for one, cannot "measure" or "judge." For example, is the Messianic believer who follows the 7th day Sabbath and the feasts in Leviticus more Torah observant than the Christian celebrating Sunday, Christmas and Easter? If we just look at those issues we might say yes, but what happens if the Christian is more loving, more kind, more generous in helping the poor etc. Now, who is more "Torah observant?" I am at the place where I am not even going to try and label or judge a person in this way. Bottom line *** is that I am simply trying to focus on loving God and loving others and for the most part, my love of God is going to be expressed in and through my love for others. I am very comfortable with simply trying to be the sheep in Matthew 25 by giving a drink to the thirsty, feeding the hungry etc. both physically and spiritually. Since we currently don’t have a lot physically in this world of form, we will concentrate on the spiritual area.
However, based upon how I presume most Messianic believers might define Torah observant, I probably don't meet the criteria. And to be blunt, I have some doubts about certain commandments found in the Torah actually originating from God, if they are to be taken literally.
2) Do I consider myself an historical Israelite? My answer is going to be dependent upon me properly interpreting what you mean by an historical Israelite. By historical I am assuming you mean a physical descendant and if that is correct, that is something that I never saw as being ultimately important. I have stated many times that I believe that many, many people may be descended from the tribes of Israel and not know it but I also made it clear that physical or historical ancestry was a non-issue. I believe Paul makes that very clear, there is neither Jew nor Greek, male or female, bond or free in God's family. To me, God is the God of all humanity, not a particular nation or race and tribal religions generally end up creating enormous divisions and often physical conflicts. It has always been my opinion that a relationship with God had nothing to do with your ancestry.
3) Am I looking for YHWH to establish His Name in Jerusalem? Much tougher question for me to answer than the first two for a couple of reasons. First, I am not sure what you would see as constituting "establishing His Name in Jerusalem." Secondly, I am re-thinking a lot of my beliefs when it comes to prophecy and i) this rethinking is very much in the beginning stages and ii) it isn't high on my priority list at the moment so iii) I doubt that I will come to any conclusions in the near future. I guess I would need a few more details about establishing His Name in Jerusalem to answer more specifically. That said, I am not watching for the predicted anti-Christ to arise, nor am I concerned with the Jewish people rebuilding another temple. It isn't something I see as important prophetically since I think that biblically God's focus, though expressed in the tabernacle and the temple, has always been upon humanity as He/She shapes us into His/Her temple. I cannot be sure but I have a feeling that the “establishing of His Name in Jerusalem” is probably a much more literal event for you than it is for me.
4) Do I believe that the resurrected Yeshua sits at the Father's right hand? What an interesting question and perhaps the fact that you would assume that I didn't is even more interesting. The answer to the question is -- I do believe that, ***, and in fact, perhaps more than I ever did before because it makes more sense to me now. The reason I say that it makes more sense is because for me, I would interpret and define "sitting at the right hand" somewhat less physically and literally than many Christian or Messianic believers would, but in seeing it more figuratively or esoterically, it makes more sense to me.
5) Do I believe that Yeshua Messiah has been given a name above all others and the power to reign on this earth? Again I probably need to know how you would interpret being given a name above all others etc. That said, I would say that the answer to your question is yes but I also believe that mankind is included in all of that as well. Setting aside the debate about the divinity/humanity of Yeshua, I am convinced that everything Yeshua (Jesus) did -- He did as a human being. He was our example of what a human being is when a human being is totally one with God. Using a quote that I really embrace, my experience within Christianity and the Messianic movement could be described as follows: within both Christianity and the Messianic movement, I participated in a "faith" that traded in the spirituality of "Jesus" for a religion about "Jesus" or Yeshua. The message I believe Yeshua brought to us is this --- Everything you see in me, you can have also. I think one of our great tragedies is that we have followed doctrines where we are waiting for Yeshua or Jesus to come back and fix everything when his message was that it was our job to do that and it could happen if we would simply be like him and enter into the relationship with God that He had.
You mention some problems with mysticism. I guess we have two very different experiences when it comes to mysticism/spirituality. I would agree that there are mystical experiences that cannot be conveyed in objective language. I would suggest that we can even find such events described in the Bible. Paul, himself, speaks of events that he cannot describe. To me, that doesn't diminish the mystic's experience one bit.
And with regards to objective language, I have found that many of the books that I have been reading convey spiritual truths in very objective language far better than many Christian or Messianic books sitting on my shelf. One book that is currently receiving a lot of attention is in my opinion, one of the best "commentaries" I have read on specific aspects of Romans 7 for example. The problem for religious folk is that it isn't written using typical religious jargon or even "biblical" terms. That book is A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle.
As to my beliefs being beyond words, I suppose to some degree that is true since I am more and more coming to the realization that to try to define or describe God using any word or words is really impossible. He is beyond any of our words. I would say that rather than worry about whether my words have any substance, people will see much more "substance" in my actions. If I become a person who can love and forgive unconditionally and who manifests the “fruit of the spirit” in all situations, whether my words have any substance or not will probably not be all that important though as I said, I think that the words are there for those who look.
As to my beliefs having no substance and salvation requiring objective reality, I would suggest to you that my view of the Bible teaching that God will save everyone (FYI to the reader of this - I have a very different definition of salvation than fundamental Christianity or the Messianic movement) is just as much a "objective reality" as is believing that most of humanity will be thrown in hell forever. I would suggest that my teaching on Gehenna is very much based on objective reality, far more so than the Christian and Messianic view. I would suggest to you that my teaching on "God is the Saviour of all men, especially those who believe" is very much based upon objective reality. I would suggest to you that coming to understand the egoic self, or carnal mind, as Paul describes it, and in so doing so, learning to overcome it and "crucify" it daily, is very much objective reality. And the fact is ***, millions and millions of people around the world are awakening and understanding spiritual things to a greater degree at this time.
As to your impression about my wife, I am amazed at how much you have deduced from the little I said about Kelly. Actually I don't think Kelly would have a clue what the "feminine mysteries" are that you refer to. It is "ironic" that you made that comment at this time. Just yesterday Kelly was telling me about how much she has trusted me and does trust me in our spiritual journey. I am sure that if I read your comment about her winning me over, virtually all of our family and close friends might fall down laughing. I doubt that there is one who would validate your assumption. I am positive that they would all agree that spiritually to a great degree, Kelly has been "pulled along" wherever I have decided to go. What is very meaningful for us this time is that we find ourselves walking together, sensing and feeling and thinking the same things and reading things and then coming to the same conclusions, etc.
***, at this time, I think that your words "you have nothing worth pursuing" are very accurate as it applies to you and I. On the other hand, in another e-mail I received after sending out the letter, someone else had a much different view. This person wrote: "Would you be shocked if I told you that you are an answer to prayer for me today? The other day, after spending a long weekend with some rather traditionally minded Christian friends, who were all praying that I would "come to my senses", I asked Papa again (again! for the hundredth time!) to "give me a sign" that HE is indeed leading me in this journey, and that I'm not in deception. Then your e-mail popped into my inbox. Coincidence? God-incidence!"
They say, " beauty is in the eye of the beholder." For you I have nothing worth pursuing, for someone else, my words were an answer to prayer and a wonderful God-incidence. What I am learning *** is to appreciate each response as simply "It is what it is." My ego could get upset and defensive or it could be elated, depending on which response I focus on but the objective reality is that neither response enhances or diminishes who I truly am. Whether I get a pile of positive or negative responses or no responses at all, ultimately it doesn't matter and has no bearing on who I am. And when I can become conscious of all of that, I can enter that "rest/sabbath" that exists for all of us to experience and I can love everyone regardless of their response. So again thanks for taking the time to write. Our paths have diverged and that is okay. I wish you nothing but God's best.
Blessings, shalom, namaste