Get Off Your High Horse

On February 5, 2015 President Obama spoke at the National Prayer Breakfast and suggested we take an honest look at killing in the name of God. Of course, all hell broke loose.

Humanity has been grappling with these questions throughout human history. And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ. In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.   –Pres. Barack Obama

Critics are outraged and insist this is proof of the President’s hatred for America and Christians. Really? I know that when I consider the history of America and recall the details about the massacre of indigenous People, Slavery, Manifest Destiny and a few other stories of how our nation was formed, I find a bit of shame mixed with my patriotic pride. Don’t get me wrong, I am proud of my country and see the attempts we have made to correct the wrongs of the past. I am also fully aware of the fact that the majority of our world’s cultures have in some way used   Genocide, slavery and other methods to control their territory.

Let’s look at the truth of what the President is saying. He is saying that unless we think we are perfect and above comparison, we have to admit that America has Her own share of misdeeds to consider. That certainly does not diminish the horror of what has taken place over the past few weeks, but it does call for a self check prior to making decisions about how to deal with the situation.

Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the speck out of your eye and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.  — The Bible, Matthew 7:3-5

Though I realize that as Americans we have continued to move forward in establishing a free society, we must consider our past when dealing with the struggle of other cultures to come into their own freedom. During this process it is important that we are truthful when discussing the major motivation for war and atrocity throughout history. The truth is that religion and greed are the leading causes of conflict.

As I write this on a beautiful Sunday morning, there are hundreds of sermons being preached in America about “us versus them” and how the evils of society are due to the lack of belief in their specific dogmatic interpretation of God.  Until we get off our high horse and understand this, we will continue to be hated as the hypocrites around the globe and will continue to experience conflict within our own borders.

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Bun-Bun’s Theory of Everything

I wrote a book a few months ago. It was inspired by some conversations my husband and I have had about, well, everything. I wrote it under the fantastical premise that my albino rabbit suddenly decided to spill his guts on his theory of all that is. Having read several metaphysical books such as Conversations With God, Love Without End, and MessagBunBun1es From Michael I thought it would be a good idea to put forth some of my own deep philosophical beliefs. The challenge of course is that my long-held understanding of our interconnectedness came from years of being curious, inquisitive and reading everything possible on the subject matter, not from a voice beyond. Then I realized that my connection to the All That Is, the collective consciousness (the Akashic Record, if you will) is that voice from beyond.

Yet, who am I? Just your average mother and grandmother living in southern California with a few college classes under my belt. My white rabbit however, has somehow become the imaginary voice for my otherwise silent musing. Bun-Bun was the perfect character to bring forth all that my little brain conjures up. Besides, what better representative for the secrets of the Universe? A quiet, unassuming feeder rabbit, rescued from a snake’s cage of certain death, only to live his own life out in a cage. He has a lot to say.

To purchase your own copy of Bun-Buns Theory of Everything, to Amazon-Kindle

Bun-Bun’s Theory of Everything

by Cheryl Ann Hunter

Blurred Lines: Science and Spirituality

Some scientists are beginning to embrace spiritual philosophies while some religious leaders are recognizing the science behind spirituality. In this exciting new time of discovery we are considering possibilities that were in the fringe or fantasy category a few years prior. From discussions about quantum consciousness to real fear about the Singularity we find ourselves moving ever closer to a merging of science and spirituality.

I have spent many years with one foot in both worlds. My love for science and discovery brings a voracious appetite for news on the latest “eureka.” My life long quest for purpose drives me to soak up all I can about the spiritual philosophies around the globe and how they came to be. The quest is not without bumps, blocks and criticism. My science minded agnostic/atheist friends and family members pull one direction with their feet firmly planted, while some close to me in the spiritual camp faithfully attribute everything to an Infinite Intelligence they call God and pull the opposite direction.

Between the tug-of-war I seek a solution that satisfies both sides. Impossible? Maybe. Yet with each year it seems the rope gets shorter bringing the two sides closer and closer. This delicate dance of ideas and understanding tends to leave a dust trail of social change as well. When science brings information that changes the common understanding of something, social attitudes must also change.

When it was proven that the Earth is round and rotates around the Sun, thanks to Nicolaus Copernicus and others, there were hold-outs who tried to discredit the idea. Copernicus was a Catholic Cleric and the Church was involved in all aspects of celestial studies, so once the Copernican model was published with the blessings of the Church there was no stopping the theory from being studied further and finally proven. Martin Luther, John Calvin and Abraham Calovius were all vocal in their opposition of the Copernican theory. Martin Luther said of Nicolaus Copernicus and his ideas: “There is talk of a new astrologer who wants to prove that the earth moves and goes around instead of the sky, the sun, the moon, just as if somebody were moving in a carriage or ship might hold that he was sitting still and at rest while the earth and the trees walked and moved. But that is how things are nowadays: when a man wishes to be clever he must . . . invent something special, and the way he does it must need be the best! The fool wants to turn the whole art of astronomy upside-down. However, as Holy Scripture tells us, so did Joshua bid the sun to stand still and not the earth.”

With today’s statement by Pope Francis, “”If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” we see a monumental shift in philosophy once again. As science proves that the complicated interaction of our brain and body produce a variety of variations in our behavior, tastes and physical construct, then even the religious community must take a new look at what their definition of “natural” is. The argument that can be a double-edged sword is: If God is all-powerful and Omnipresent, then nothing is a mistake and all things are in Divine Right Order.  By measuring everything by that truth (at least for those in the spiritual camp) then all things, thoughts, ideas and events are of God.

On the other side, as science continues to reach deep into the most mysterious realms of our ancient past, there is a struggle to embrace the quantum aspect of consciousness and the possibility of its eternal existence. What came before the Big Bang is a nagging nuisance for some and an exciting lifelong quest for others. Quantum mechanics eloquently explains a lot about how matter forms and the relationship between our thoughts and material formation. This, however, insinuates intelligence that responds to us and acts as co-creator with us. That comes very close to the God philosophy.

As a spiritual-science student in the school of Life, I find these questions and discoveries to be somewhat of a personal Manna that nourishes my curiosity and drives me to explore and learn. The more blurred the line between science and spirituality becomes, the more exciting it is to be on this quest. It is these unattainable answers that motivate me and make the journey worth while.

God and Guns

“…So you say your prayers and thank the Lord for that peacemaker in your dresser drawer. God and guns keep us strong, that’s what this country was founded on…” The southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd’s hit song entitled “God and Guns” was released with the album by the same name on September 29, 2009.

The song tells of politicians trying to take away the guns of law-abiding folk, and was written in direct response to President Obama’s comment regarding some people’s need to cling to religion and guns. Although Obama did clarify the comment as referring to an apathy that politicians have created among the middle class resulting in their turning to what could be trusted, God and guns, to this day a large segment of the United States continues to suggest that the goal of the Obama administration is to abolish the 2nd Amendment.

When did God or religion become a part of the gun argument? How is faith related in any way to the right to bear arms? It seems that the alliance goes hand in hand with the symbolic division of liberal and conservative. The conservative movement as we know it today really blossomed in the 1950’s, and, according to Historian Gregory Schneider conservative constants include “respect for tradition, support of republicanism, the rule of law and the Christian religion, and a defense of Western civilization from the challenges of modernist culture and totalitarian governments.”

As conservatives in rural areas continued to unite in strengthening their position on less government while at the same time beginning to feel the encroachment of progressive ideas, fear set in. The fear of losing their way of life, their religious freedom and their traditions. Part of the tradition included owning guns for hunting, defending their families and taking the 2nd Amendment very seriously.

This emergence of a conservative agenda emphasized the rights that were most dear to them. The proficient use of fear mongering during the 1950’s regarding communism cemented religion, taxes, property and gun ownership together as those things that would be lost in a communist society.

Today, as we face some tough challenges with regard to gun ownership, fear has again blinded us from fact. The tightening of gun laws to ensure responsible ownership and determining the type of arms an average citizen has the right to own is a logical discussion about rights versus public safety. No one is going to scrap the 2nd Amendment or take all guns away. That is fact. But a responsible discussion is due, and it must be one that takes into consideration the most defenseless of our people.

Some religious leaders claim that the reason for the increase in violence is due to a movement away from God, adding that even Jesus advocated for defense of one’s self and family. The question here is if we are interested in bringing Americans closer to God, what sense will it make to a child in a school surrounded by armed guards when they are told to “Love their neighbor as thyself?”

Head of the Progressive Christian group Sojourners, Rev. Jim Willis said, ““The world is not full of good and bad people. That is not what our scriptures teach us,” but that each individual is both good and bad, Wallis said. “And when we are bad or isolated or angry or furious or vengeful or politically agitated or confused or lost or deranged or unhinged, and we have the ability to get and use weapons only designed to kill large numbers of people,” Wallis continued, “our society is in great danger.”

This is such a contrast with what Mike Huckabee said when asked why God lets tragedy like Newtown happen,

We ask why there is violence in our schools, but we’ve systematically removed God from our schools. Should we be so surprised that schools would become a place of carnage because we’ve made it a place where we don’t want to talk about eternity, life, what responsibility means, accountability?”

This would lead one to believe that the reason children were killed in the school or that it was the chosen target was because we’ve “removed” God from the school. Yet the very teaching of Jesus reminds us that the kingdom of God is within us, and therefore God is always with us.

The effort by some in the Christian community to justify their opposition to any gun control is tied greatly to their true belief that it is part of their God given right to have one, and that the United States government cannot overrule God. Yet when we look closely at the meaning behind the world’s major religions we find that love, peace and compassion are the truths to be protected. Anything else is man-made dogma that leads to greed, unhealthy competition, fear and violence.

The New Dawn

There may be some dispute over the timing of the Age of Aquarius, but the fact that change is afoot seems indisputable.

In Astrological terms each age is the mark of time under a specific constellation of stars. The span of time for each age is approximately 2,150 years, which represents the movement of the vernal equinox from one constellation to another in the Zodiac. The numerous calculations for the exact time of the arrival of Aquarius range from 1447 AD to 3597 AD.

Aquarius is associated with great change that ushers in a shift in cultural tendencies. It is generally associated with electricity, computers, humanitarianism, philanthropy and other major societal influences.

Any shift in consciousness throughout the ages has come along following great discovery. Many advancements in technology, medicine and the like have shaken the traditions of cultures by introducing new thought about our relationship to the universe at large. As our self-awareness expands and our consciousness moves to a great understanding, change is unavoidable.

For several generations humankind has pondered the coming of the “new age.” The Mayan calendar theories and speculations about the Dec. 21, 2012 end times have stimulated conversation and philosophic musings about the post apocalyptic world. Interestingly, we have witnessed changes in society and cultures throughout the past decade with exponential frequency.

Advances in technology has allowed us to map the entire human genome, made computers faster and more powerful than ever imagined possible, moved cell phone and video communication to become a part of every day life, brought the very outer edges of our universe into view, and exposed truth in many corners of the world which produced uprising and regime changes in places with generations of dictatorship. We’ve seen a movement toward a new understanding of freedom, civil rights and the definition of equality. We’ve seen a change in attitude toward the importance of earthly stewardship…and so much more.

Such changes began with the subtle nudging of people who saw the potential for a better world, and has grown exponentially as a result of changes beginning to take place. The more we see changes, and the more acceptable the changes become, the more rapidly they will occur. Our youngest generation will always become more accepting of the change, and help move it along.

Whether we are reacting to the movement of the stars because the position of our constellation produces changes in our consciousness, or we are shifting our thinking because of the generations of belief that something would happen at this time in our planet’s existence, the truth is change is happening. Call it growth, call it evolution, call it spiritual revolution, whatever we choose to label this time of humanity there is no arguing that change is happening.

The actual Age of Aquarius may have passed or is still to come, but the spirit of the Aquarian influence is definitely upon us.  It is the dawning of a new age for human kind.

Connected by Consciousness

I watched Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday today and was amazed, elated and validated by the story her guest had to tell.  Neurosurgeon Eben Alexander sat down with Oprah Winfrey to discuss his book “Proof of Heaven.”  You may see the full episode here.

I have believed since I was a child that our true self is part of a greater source that flows in, through and around all that is.  One of the things that sparked that thought for me was Dr. Seuss’ “Horton Hears  A Who.”  The story helped me to consider that the world I perceived was not necessarily all there was.  It helped me to understand that life is delicately intertwined and infinitely deeper than I had been taught.

This beginning of my spiritual quest started me off on an inquisitive search that led to a lifetime of hunger for knowledge.  It wasn’t so much that I needed to know what or who “God” was, or even if there was a Heaven or Hell.  It was a need to understand the reason we would exist at all.  I believed that there had to be a reason.  One thing I did know to the farthest depths of my being was that we don’t just cease to exist when our body dies.  The more I looked into the science of our world, the more of a spiritual connection I realized.  Scientifically I believed in the quantum aspect of our existence to the extent that every particle we are composed of simply takes another form.  This would mean that our consciousness would be embedded in those particles.

I’ve always believed in the validity of near death experiences.  Dr. Alexander’s story gave it true credibility.  That was a very cool thing to know.  I haven’t read the book yet, but I intend to.  The closer science and spirituality get to each other, the stronger is my belief in the omnipotent Universal Mind.

 

Frozen in Tradition

This first week of December comes with the anticipation of what 12/21/12 will bring.  It also comes at a time when the world is in a period of deep soul-searching.

Frozen In Our TraditionThe signs of the holidays are all around, have been since before Halloween.  The traditions we have known and followed for generations have begun to take hold.  Every culture or religion takes ownership of the season and fervently appeals to the masses that their manifestation of holiday recognition is the right one.  These traditions bring us together but also drive us apart.  The symbolic meanings of each ritual, object, and character become lost in the competitive drive for ownership of the holiday.

Our free market self takes full advantage of the holiday season to generate revenue.  This is true for the giant super stores, mom and pop stores, churches, and even public institutions.  Fund raising for nonprofits becomes most lucrative during this season as everything from candy to candles are great gifts that “need” to be purchased anyway, so why not help someone out in the process.  This surge of frenzied shopping and spending has absolutely nothing to do with the origins of this season, however even the most pious of organizations will gear up for what they may financially reap this time of year.

The economic expression of holiday giving is the creation of capitalism, and a tradition that began with the establishment of the free market.  The traditions we enjoy stem from generations of a great melting pot which brings culture, religion, superstition, and regional dynamics into one big batch of holiday stew.  The mixture sometimes becomes a toxic brew of anger, hate and greed.

Our need to fight for individualism, which stems from our natural tendency to compete, causes us to cling to our particular tradition as the right one.  When we feel that something different is threatening our hold on what we perceive as “right,” we attack.  The reality is that no one philosophy has a hold on the holiday, no one belief system is more deserving of holiday expression, and no particular tradition holds more meaning or truth than another.

The more we stay frozen in our traditions, the less we allow ourselves to expand into experiencing the joys of difference.  The more we cling to our way without recognizing that there are many ways, the less joy we express and the less joy we receive.

So express greetings this holiday season in whatever way you feel works for your tradition.  But let’s try to also respect anyone else’s right to express their own.  Whether it’s Christmas, Yule, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or just another day, we are all equally justified in our celebration. Thus, when you hear “Happy Holidays” versus “Merry Christmas,” or “Season’s Greetings” instead of “Happy Hanukkah” perhaps this year we can smile and appreciate the diversity among us, and melt that need for our tradition to be the only one.  We are one, and this is a beautiful time for renewal and unity.