Category Archives: things i learned

Deciphering Heiroglyphics {(Yep! i before e except after c)}

book God Joan Winifred mind food spiritual food study things i learned

Aka typing up my handwritten-lol;)/hieroglyphic scribble notes/paraphrasing pieces of recent *talk on topic “Being Conscious of My Spiritual Need”…ties in nicely with posts: Fully Conscious?? Are You Growing? (Am i growing?), You’re NOT an Idiot!!!

How Do You…

know IF You:) are appropriately (or at the very least) adequately caring for/satisfying this essential/basic, yet important need??

being conscious of Your spiritual need means to know–Your need for God…{(Yeah, i said it/shared it…You have a need for “God”! and obviously, say not a need for me or my blog, eh?)} we have a built-in design to reach out to someone beyond self…beast vs.man…is NOT content to eat/sleep warm himself…no, we/{mankind-womankind} have a strange urge aka SPIRITUALITY! {(Yeah!! i am very strange-lol:) and probably also because am very vocal about spiritual things/topics.)}

Many experts have acknowledged all civilizations are routed in their “quest for God” …and finding satisfying answers to grappling questions: Why are We Here??  What is the Purpose of Life?? {Why do we die?? Is there Life after Death?? Why so Much Suffering? and will it ever end?? Who is the True God/Creator? Can We Be Friends?} {[BTW: i’ve personally “peered” into the Bible and have found very intellectually/spiritually satisfying answers to these questions and more.]}

“Happy are those conscious of their spiritual need,* since the Kingdom of the heavens belongs to them.

footnote *Or “those who are beggars for the spirit.” (Matthew 5:3)

Being a beggar for the spirit…a begging drive to do all we can to satisfy/fill the need…

Wide-array of beliefs…41,000 different denominations of (so-called) Christianity alone…teachings in conflict, people confused as to what to “really” believe…

a key to satisfying this need in appropriate way…connecting verse 6 of Matthew 5…

“Happy are those hungering and thirsting for righteousness, since they will be filled.* (satisfied).

rigeteousness — desire what is right according to God’s standards

2 Timothy 3:16–“All Scripture is inspired of God and beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight,*(correcting) for disciplining in righteousness,”

“inspired” of God…Greek word “theopneustos” means “God Breathed”

{So for me, personally, i enJOY reading God’s “inspired” word daily/the Bible…but it’s more than just looking…a scan/glance.}
22 However, become doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves with false reasoning. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, this one is like a man looking at his own face* (his natural face) in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself, and he goes away and immediately forgets what sort of person he is. 25 But the one who peers into the perfect law that belongs to freedom and continues in it has become, not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work; and he will be happy in what he does.  (James 1:22-25)
to peer–more than a fleeting glance…a careful search for a hidden object–desires to see, investigates till he finds it…
speaker gave example of lost car keys–how much effort to find, we have to dig, search, peer to satisfy spiritual need.
How do we know IF we are satisfying this need?!
a response, an affect…we would be affected emotionally and/or physically–Psalm 19:7
The law of Jehovah is perfect, restoring strength.* (Or “restoring (bringing back) the soul.” The reminder of Jehovah is trustworthy, making the inexperienced one wise.
Deep Bible Study–being absorbed and making application…restoring strength..makes the inexperienced wise, heart rejoices and makes the eyes shine. We don’t need bad experiences to be wise, we don’t have to touch the fire to know we will be burned. {Experiencing many positive affects in life and making compassionate choices.  Having a personal friendship with God…God called Abraham His Friend. Humans have the opportunity to do the same.}
Challenges and obstacles that could hinder us spiritually…Jesus illustrates:
Matthew 13:3-8…”Then he told them many things by illustrations, saying: “Look! A sower went out to sow. 4 As he was sowing, some seeds fell alongside the road, and the birds came and ate them up. 5 Others fell on rocky ground where there was not much soil, and they immediately sprang up because the soil was not deep. 6 But when the sun rose, they were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Others fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them. 8 Still others fell on the fine soil, and they began to yield fruit, this one 100 times more, that one 60, the other 30.”
 Context…seed–Kingdom message…opportunity to satisfy need and different heart conditions…verses 3 & 4 seed didn’t grow? why? so much activity coming and going along roadside…not taking time to absorb spiritual food…rocky road – no root- tribulation/trials/hardship at once stumbled–difficulty and stopped growing spiritually. Thorns…anxiety of this system –deceptive power of riches, chokes it!
need to analyze our circumstances/priorities…anything going on? improper desire for a lot of material things? lack of priority for personal study?
{We can truly be happy by being conscious of our spiritual need…takes time, EFFORT!…can be realized/reached…a healthy place/spiritual paradise. Functioning well–manifesting compassionate ways in various aspects of living and loving.}

“Happy are those conscious of their spiritual need,* since the Kingdom of the heavens belongs to them.

footnote *Or “those who are beggars for the spirit.” (Matthew 5:3)

{am i too proud to beg?!}
{am i truly happy?!}
{am i satisfying my spiritual need?!}
7/15 17 @ 7:37 p.m.
*p.s. for clarification talk i heard (not personally wrote) my musings are in {}…this post is a deciphering of my notes of said talk/lecture.
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You’re NOT an Idiot!!!

attitude Joan Winifred things i learned

then why You eating…

fake mind,

fake

spiritual

fast

food??

 

various components contribute to the meal(s) of fake, fast food for the masses of man to consume…big business, big religion, big politics, big academia, big media…etc., etc.

wholesome/healthy/nutritional spiritual needs will not be filled in any of these (sick) places.

 

7/15/17 @ 5:47 p.m.

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Proximity

attitude conscientious-ness Joan Winifred lamentations of the heart things i learned

my choices brought me to this place (figuratively and literally)

this proximity?

 

why? and how? did Your choices

bring You…

here?

there?

no

where

near

me

 

distance and closeness choice & chance

(banished…by…(choice/chance))
(everybody grieves for something/someone…by choice/chance??)

(6/5/17 @ 12:49 p.m. last/previous (before today’s quick edit) edited–published 6/6/17 @ 1:33 p.m.)

a P.S.
to paraphase a loyal man…”i opened my mouth to the True God and cannot turn back”…
i only have the power to move forward!

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A Recent Public Conversation

communication family friends peace things i learned

(whith potential to help many? families/friends)…You:) Decide…

 

5/31/17 @ 2:52 p.m.

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Comfort Chronicles (1)

comfort conscientious-ness insights Joan Winifred things i learned

i may “try” (attempt) to chronicle…some lessons learned while putting forth (special) effort during this comfort campaign/September 2016.  This is more than some social experiment. Bringing comfort to others, realistically speaking means, at times, discomfort for me. Flexibly w-o-r-k-i-n-g out of my own personal comfort zone…to extend comfort to any in need…is an active priority (within my own home and outside my own home). This is an opportunity for spiritual growth. This is an an opportunity to cultivate humility, patience, love and forgiveness for my fellow-fragile-life.

Over the Summer…which here in Florida, obviously, we live Summer, by Summer i mean:  kids out of school…time…time at library, of course..reading with spiritual lenses…various books to help me grow my compassion and unselfishness.  To practice compassion well takes knowledge and skill. Sometimes, we may think we are helping and in reality, we are hurting. There is a time to speak. There is a time to be quiet. There is a time to help. There is  time to observe. There is a time to act. Assessing/evaluating what to do or what to say or what not to do or what not to say…takes understanding and wisdom…and an accurate education.

In a sense, to live/practice compassion and to live/practice comfort…reminds me of Doctors..or those in the medical field. A couple titles not an endorsementread everything at your own risk (didn’t care for some of the graphic word imagery/language)...”How Doctors Think” and “What Doctors Feel: How Emotions Affect the Practice of Medicine.”

What i think and how i feel affects my personal priority of comfort/compassion (during this campaign)…so, i can’t let my own feelings of anxiety, fear, pain, discomfort, etc…interfere with the way i treat others. Whether i am having a bad day or not, whether i am feeling well or not…All-Fragile-Life Deserves Agape Love, Respect, Compassion, Comfort (from me). Yeah, of course, my abilities are limited and my circumstances limiting…i can only do so much! Yet, i recognize the more i can put aside (or careless about my own) thoughts/feelings…the more i can give and care for Others.

a verse read that touches my heart:

“Again I turned my attention to all the acts of oppression that go on under the sun. I saw the tears of the oppressed, and there was no one to comfort them. And their oppressors had the power, and there was no one to comfort them.” (Eccl. 4:1)

 

Turning attention to…being aware of…those of us who are oppressed..we all need comfort.  (My closest friends and me..are actively trying to bring comfort..as best we can.) Every day there is someone in need of comfort in some small or large way, eh?!

i think too..i feel too…that bringing comfort to Others…brings (a measure of) comfort to me!..so, guess, i am more selfish than want to readily admit (and here).

The only way to describe (it) is: i am a work in progress involved in a work in progress…:)

9/3/16@5:55 p.m.

 

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Wherever & Whenever

Joan Winifred things i learned wisdom

This quote brought me a chuckle 🙂 this Sunday: 4/19/15!

Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go.
~Oscar Wilde
Dare to contemplate: which “happiness” category i would fall/be put into…(both most likely?)..depending on whom You ask, huh?!  Though, idealistically, i would want to bring/cause/bring happiness wherever or whenever.
 

 Um, just a friendly reminder: You may exit this post whenever You wish. :)…and take some PEACE with You (i hope).
Oh, You decided to stay a little longer…okay. Then, may be ? You’ll read on (or NOT) Your choice. (I cannot make You do/read anything You ultimately don’t wanna.)
Personally, the following is a compassion obligation of mine:

“Rescue those who are being taken away to death,  And hold back those staggering to the slaughter.” (Proverbs 24:11)

My thoughts are…1 minor way to accomplish this is being kind, helpful, compassionate and treating Others the way we would like to be treated…in effect helping to bring refreshment to tired-weary-souls in need of some heartfelt/sincere understanding and relief/rescue. Our choice of speech and our choice of action can be Oasis-like. We can reach painful hearts, appeal to positive qualities and help…the beaten down and those staggering to death…assisting them to…reach a “real” place of concealment from the rainstorm. (Making wise choices leads to greater happiness…and greater displays of compassion..whenever & wherever.)

We all need shelter from the storm…in whatever form storm takes. One storm that many of us face constantly/relentlessly is anxiety…stress/distress. We all turn to various things for comfort/help. As an avid reader/researcher, I enJOY or find comforting the book of Proverbs…wherever or whenever.

Dealing wisely with oneself. The book of Proverbs contains priceless counsel on avoiding alcohol abuse, cultivating healthful emotions and combating destructive ones, and being an industrious worker. (Proverbs 6:6; 14:30; 20:1) It warns that trusting in human judgment apart from the counsel of God leads to disaster. (Proverbs 14:12) It urges us to protect the inner self, the heart, against corrupting influences, reminding us that “out of [the heart] are the sources of life.”—Proverbs 4:23.

Millions of people the world over have found that living by such counsel makes for a better life. […]The book of Proverbs is a compilation of inspired counsel—mostly by Solomon—that provides guidance for daily life […]

  Where can satisfaction and meaning in life be found? Solomon was in a unique position to seek the answer. With immense wealth, wisdom, and authority, he was able to investigate whether these could bring him genuine fulfillment. He pursued the pleasures of material things, married many beautiful women, and enjoyed the best in recreation. He undertook great building projects. He explored the wisdom of learned writings. What did he find? “Everything is vanity.” However, he came to this profound realization: “The conclusion of the matter, everything having been heard, is: Fear the true God and keep his commandments. For this is the whole obligation of man.”—Ecclesiastes 12:8, 13. (excerpted: Divine Wisdom for Life)

 What did You find? (Hassle?) Happiness?

(p.s. depends, huh? What am i looking for?)

(published 2:17 p.m. 4/19/15)

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Mocking Pompous Pretense(s)

Joan Winifred things i learned

Do You notice extremes? Sometimes “extremes” become obvious/apparent…way too much and/or way too little.  There is soooo much excess and an over-super-abundance of consumerism (in some places)…which is destroying the planet/ourselves…what about when the pendulum swings in (the so-called) opposite direction (i.e. Asceticism)…is that self-destructive too?? (Bingeing & purging of the planet?)

(i try to live a simple life myself.)

Media portray the lavishing lifestyles of the super-rich and the languishing lifestyles of the super-poor. This past piece (read back when)…poses the question:  Asceticism the Key to Wisdom? Awake! 1997: (my highlights aka points of interest)

“HERMITS donned iron shackles, chains, barbed girdles and spiked collars . . . Others rolled in thorns and nettles, deliberately attracted insect bites, burnt themselves with fire and irritated their injuries to chronic purulence. A starvation diet being a matter of course, some improved on this by eating only rotten or otherwise disgusting food.”—The Saints, by Edith Simon.

These were ascetics. Why did they treat themselves so badly? In the book For the Sake of the World—The Spirit of Buddhist and Christian Monasticism, the authors explain that “ever since the time of Socrates (fifth century B.C.E.) at least, it had been widely understood that a life stripped down to essentials, unencumbered with sensual and material luxuries, was a precondition for genuine wisdom.” Ascetics thought that the mortification of the body would heighten their spiritual sensibility and lead to true enlightenment.

It is difficult to define asceticism precisely. To some, it simply means self-discipline or self-denial. The early Christians valued such virtues. (Galatians 5:22, 23; Colossians 3:5) Jesus Christ himself recommended a simple life unhindered by the anxieties that a materialistic life-style can bring. (Matthew 6:19-33) More often, though, asceticism is associated with much more austere and often extreme measures, such as the ones described above. Are these ascetic practices, especially in their more extreme forms, really the key to wisdom?

Based on False Assumptions

Among the philosophies that have given rise to asceticism is the idea that material things and physical pleasures are bad in themselves and hence barriers to spiritual progress. Another concept that opens the way for asceticism is the widely accepted belief that a human is composed of a body and a soul. Ascetics believe that the material body is the soul’s prison and that flesh is its enemy.

What does the Bible say? The Scriptures show that when God completed his creation of the earth, he declared that everything he had made—all his physical, material creation—was “very good.” (Genesis 1:31) God intended for man and woman in the garden of Eden to enjoy material things. The very name Eden means “Pleasure” or “Delight.” (Genesis 2:8, 9) Adam and Eve were perfect and enjoyed a good relationship with their Creator until they sinned. From that time on, imperfection became a barrier between God and man. Yet, satisfying legitimate human desires or enjoying God-given physical pleasures when done in harmony with God’s moral laws could never create a communication barrier between God and his worshipers!—Psalm 145:16.

Additionally, the Bible clearly teaches that man, created from the dust and made of flesh, is a soul. The Scriptures support neither the notion that the soul is some kind of immaterial and immortal entity bound up inside the physical body nor the idea that somehow the flesh prevents one from having a close relationship with God.—Genesis 2:7.

Clearly, the concept of asceticism paints a distorted picture of man’s relationship with God.

People/all of us can get showy…(pompous) with/about much or (pompous) with/about less…is either “extreme” life-styling truly liberating?! Check it out, Please…uh-huh, yep, another article–read with interest: The Hair Shirt and Spirituality W 06

“Mock humility”—a pretense of humility to impress others perhaps by renouncing material things or by treating the body with severity—is an indication of one’s being ‘puffed up by one’s fleshly frame of mind.’

The Hair Shirt and Spirituality

KING LOUIS IX of France wore one. When studying the law in his youth, Sir Thomas More kept awake for 19 or 20 hours a day for several months with the help of his. Indeed, More is known to have worn one for most of his life. And when Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, was murdered in Canterbury Cathedral, one was unexpectedly discovered beneath his clothing. What did these historical figures have in common? They pursued the mortification of their flesh by means of the hair shirt.

The hair shirt was a coarse garment made from goat’s hair that was worn next to the skin so that it would irritate the flesh and chafe the skin, causing great discomfort. It also easily became a repository for lice. Thomas Becket is said to have worn his hair shirt, along with breeches of the same material, until “it swarmed with vermin.” After the 16th century, the goat’s hair was sometimes replaced by fine wire with sharp points turned toward the body. Fashioning the shirt in this way caused even greater discomfort to the wearer.

According to one reference work, the purpose of the hair shirt, as with other forms of mortification, was to “subdue the unruly flesh and so encourage the development of a more spiritually oriented disposition and manner of life.” Not only ascetics wore the garment; ordinary lay persons, including those in positions of high power, were known to use it too. Even today certain religious orders adhere to the practice.

Does wearing a hair shirt or enduring forms of self-imposed physical privations make one a spiritual person? No, spirituality does not hinge on such practices. In fact, the apostle Paul spoke against “a severe treatment of the body.” (Colossians 2:23: “Although those things have an appearance of wisdom in a self-imposed form of worship and a false humility, a harsh treatment of the body, they are of no value in combating the satisfying of the flesh.”) Rather, true spirituality comes from seeking the knowledge of God through a diligent study of his Word and applying that knowledge in one’s life.

Today…my shirt is “grey” with black zipper :)…oh, should zip my lips, eh?-lol…okay, shutting up about now aka closing this post!;)

(published 4/16/15 2 6:12 p.m.)
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The GREATEST MAN Who Ever Lived: Killed! (Part 1?)

fake "holy" days Joan Winifred questions review study things i learned

What makes You sad? What makes You cry?

It’s super sad, to me, when anyone is killed! (A life/process cut short/stolen/time taken.) Innocent ones have been martyred (by many torturous “mean”s) throughout human history…literally..(and nowadays: virtually or in the media/social or on film).

Sunday evening, Hubby, our Girls, (and me) watched “portions” of–(Bill O’Reilly’s so-called “history” book..yeah, HIS story? book about the Carpenter’s son brought to film)–Killing Jesus on National Geographic channel. (Actually, I was hoping to catch an Alaskan Bush People episode instead.) And as a person (46 years old–from youth to maturity) who has read about/studied/researched/investigated in-depth/thoroughly pursued (learning) knowing this person of interest, this “perfect” example of great compassion, this great teacher thereof, Jesus,…I was curious (to say the least).

This post is NOT a movie review nor a book review…exactly/per se. (Do random excerpts of books & random excerpts of movies count for review??) May be? You’ll call this post: HER story. (Read on as i eat my own words–“Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover!” Tasty?? -lol:)

Hey! i guess, it takes something..some kind of something…(no vocabulary word is coming to mind…insert Your own) to render a  passionate follower/fan of Jesus…stale/unimpressed by a movie that deflates climatic/awe-inspiring accounts of incredible feats/miracles of compassion and sacrifice as totally anti-climatic!!  (Dare i! say, this movie was Anti-Christ?!) I’m not knocking the actor (who played Jesus)…tough role; for sure. (Perhaps, i should of watched the entire thing to form a more positive feel for it. The feeling i do get is: most likely, saw the better portions. (The ones that kept me from channel surfing or falling asleep.) The ones that needed/”attempted” to grab/attract the attention of a person who didn’t need “any” attention grabbing/attracting to begin with…(before watching bits of Killing Jesus…Did the movie murder it for me?).

I’m “kinda” knocking the compilation/filter/script/presentation of filled in glaring gaps and omissions (on film from what i did watch) in Jesus’ life put forth and withheld (that couldn’t help notice/acknowledge). Probably because of being a person familiar/well-acquainted with the historicity of the Nazarene aka The Sage from Capernaum, The Prince of Peace, Humble Washer of Feet, Healer of Lepers, Gregarious Great Teacher…

He presented matters of great weight and depth with simplicity, brevity, and clarity. He illustrated his points with things well known to his listeners (Mt 13:34, 35)—to fishermen (Mt 13:47, 48), shepherds (Joh 10:1-17), farmers (Mt 13:3-9), builders (Mt 7:24-27; Lu 14:28-30), merchants (Mt 13:45, 46), slaves or masters (Lu 16:1-9), housewives (Mt 13:33; Lu 15:8), or anyone else (Mt 6:26-30). Simple things, like bread, water, salt, wineskins, old garments, were used as symbols of things of great importance, even as they were so used in the Hebrew Scriptures. (Joh 6:31-35, 51; 4:13, 14; Mt 5:13; Lu 5:36-39) His logic, often expressed through analogies, cleared away misguided objections and put matters in their proper perspective. (Mt 16:1-3; Lu 11:11-22; 14:1-6) He aimed his message primarily at men’s hearts, using penetrating questions to cause them to think, arrive at their own conclusions, examine their motives, and make decisions. (Mt 16:5-16; 17:24-27; 26:52-54; Mr 3:1-5; Lu 10:25-37; Joh 18:11) He did not strive to win over the masses but endeavored to awaken the hearts of those sincerely hungering for truth and righteousness.—Mt 5:3, 6; 13:10-15. (Excerpted: Insight On Scriptures, Vol. 2 Jesus Christ–Master Teacher)

Excerpts seen of this “particular” movie (Killing Jesus)/take on Jesus…left him a silent stranger to me…and did, in my opinion, unjustly Kill “the Greatest Man who Ever Lived”..again! (FYI: The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived is 1 fav book of mine about Jesus.)

(Perhaps ? I am being a bit dramatic, okay, yeah!…how could any film do Jesus justice?? And most movies seem unable to fully capture the essence of any book. May be? for someone less familiar (or unfamiliar), this was an “okay” (adequate) introduction to Jesus.)

This is what Bill O’Reilly says:

To say that Jesus of Nazareth was the most influential man who ever lived is almost trite. Nearly two thousand years after he was brutally executed by Roman soldiers, more than 2.2 billion human beings attempt to follow his teachings and believe he is God. That includes 77 percent of the U.S. population, according to a Gallup Poll. The teachings of Jesus have shaped the entire world and continue to do so.

Much has been written about Jesus, the son of a humble carpenter. But little is actually known about him. Of course we have the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, but they sometimes appear contradictory and were written from a spiritual point of view rather than as a historical chronicling of Jesus’s life. Who Jesus actually was and what exactly happened to him are emotional subjects that often lead to contentious discussion.

Martin Dugard and I are both Roman Catholics who were educated in religious schools. But we are also historical investigators and are interested primarily in telling the truth about important people, not converting anyone to a spiritual cause. We brought this dedication and discipline to Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy, and in these pages we will do the same with Jesus of Nazareth. By the way, both Lincoln and Kennedy believed Jesus was God.

Sorry Bill (& Martin)…but, You got me laughing a little (at the above-highlighted) and thinking:) “Really O’Reilly?!”

Yeah, we may NOT take Your word for it …that Jesus “supposedly is” God (a Catholic/Non-Biblical teaching), but we might just accept it from (your soft-er/best-er sell-ers) Lincoln & Kennedy, eh?! (or from the popular poll of 2.2 billion opinions). If we cannot believe Bill, Lincoln or Kennedy, then surely–2 billion people cannot be wrong?? (about God?!) Do 2 billion opinions (aka “non-facts”) make 1 (O’Reilly) right (aka “accurate”)?! Is popular opinion “truth”?

Really-O’Reilly?! It’s a riot! to me, that You claim Not to be pushing a spiritual POV “whatsoever”? (even though, educated in religious schools (or rather is it: programmed by?) and professing to be Roman Catholic)…and that this book is purely “fact” based/well-researched or is it “really” a popular-opinion/tradition-based book?! Or is it pushing some (modern-day) political agenda in ancient carpenter costume (disguise)? Or is it just a follow-up (killer formula)…last two books killed it/made money/made hot lists?

Makes me wonder: 1 look at the cover: A Cross smacks/pops me in the face!…an immediate red-flag goes up in my mind:…a blatant Catholic/pop-ular Idol/doctrine is making me eat my words “don’t judge a book by its cover.”  (YUM) IF–these authors supposedly are not pushing a spiritual agenda/point of view/popular dogma about Jesus…What’s up with the Cross Cover?? Or the Cross Crucifixion in the movie?? Or showing the movie on Palm Sunday??

According to Greek scholar W. E. Vine, staurosʹ “denotes, primarily, an upright pale or stake. On such malefactors were nailed for execution. Both the noun and the verb stauroō, to fasten to a stake or pale, are originally to be distinguished from the ecclesiastical form of a two beamed cross.”

The Imperial Bible-Dictionary says that the word staurosʹ “properly signified a stake, an upright pole, or piece of paling, on which anything might be hung, or which might be used in impaling a piece of ground.” The dictionary continues: “Even amongst the Romans the crux (Latin, from which our cross is derived) appears to have been originally an upright pole.” Thus, it is not surprising that The Catholic Encyclopedia states: “Certain it is, at any rate, that the cross originally consisted of a simple vertical pole, sharpened at its upper end.”

There is another Greek word, xyʹlon, that Bible writers used to describe the instrument of Jesus’ execution. A Critical Lexicon and Concordance to the English and Greek New Testament defines xyʹlon as “a piece of timber, a wooden stake.” It goes on to say that like staurosʹ, xyʹlon “was simply an upright pale or stake to which the Romans nailed those who were thus said to be crucified.” (Excerpted: Did Jesus Really Die on a Cross?)

Crossing Out the “Christian” Cross: (further excerpts: Did Jesus Really Die on a Cross?)

Long before the Christian era, crosses were used by the ancient Babylonians as symbols in their worship of the fertility god Tammuz. The use of the cross spread into Egypt, India, Syria, and China.

If the Bible does not really say that Jesus was executed on a cross, then why do all the churches that claim to teach and follow the Bible—Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox—adorn their buildings with the cross and use it as a symbol of their faith? How did the cross come to be such a popular symbol?

The answer is that the cross is venerated not only by churchgoers who claim to follow the Bible but also by people far removed from the Bible and whose worship far predates that of “Christian” churches. Numerous religious reference works acknowledge that the use of crosses in various shapes and forms goes back to remote periods of human civilization. For example, ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics and depictions of their gods and goddesses often show a cross in the shape of a T with a circle at the top. It is called the ansate, or handle-shaped, cross and is thought to be a symbol of life. In time, this form of the cross was adopted and used extensively by the Coptic Church and others.

According to The Catholic Encyclopedia, “the primitive form of the cross seems to have been that of the so-called ‘gamma’ cross (crux gammata), better known to Orientalists and students of prehistoric archæology by its Sanskrit name, swastika.” This sign was widely used among Hindus in India and Buddhists throughout Asia and is still seen in decorations and ornaments in those areas.

The Non-Christian Cross, by J. D. Parsons, explains: “There is not a single sentence in any of the numerous writings forming the New Testament, which, in the original Greek, bears even indirect evidence to the effect that the stauros used in the case of Jesus was other than an ordinary stauros; much less to the effect that it consisted, not of one piece of timber, but of two pieces nailed together in the form of a cross.”

Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words states: “By the middle of the 3rd cent. A.D. the churches had either departed from, or had travestied, certain doctrines of the Christian faith. In order to increase the prestige of the apostate ecclesiastical system pagans were received into the churches apart from regeneration by faith, and were permitted largely to retain their pagan signs and symbols,” [including the cross].

What about the gospel accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John (close friends/followers of Jesus)…authenticity? contradictory? historical accuracy? (Excerpts from: an Awesome article..(read back in 2000 & reread recently) The Gospels—History or Myth?

Author and critic C. S. Lewis found it difficult to view the Gospels as mere legends. “As a literary historian I am perfectly convinced that whatever the Gospels are, they are not legends,” he wrote. “They are not artistic enough to be legends. . . . Most of the life of Jesus is unknown to us, and no people building up a legend would allow that to be so.” It is also interesting that although noted historian H. G. Wells did not claim to be a Christian, he acknowledged: “All four [Gospel writers] agree in giving us a picture of a very definite personality; they carry the . . . conviction of reality.”

In his book Caesar and Christ, historian Will Durant writes: “That a few simple men should . . . have invented so powerful and appealing a personality, so lofty an ethic and so inspiring a vision of human brotherhood, would be a miracle far more incredible than any recorded in the Gospels. After two centuries of Higher Criticism the outlines of the life, character, and teaching of Christ, remain reasonably clear, and constitute the most fascinating feature in the history of Western man.”

What of the claims of higher critics that the Gospels do not meet the criteria of real history? Continues Durant: “In the enthusiasm of its discoveries the Higher Criticism has applied to the New Testament tests of authenticity so severe that by them a hundred ancient worthies—e.g., Hammurabi, David, Socrates—would fade into legend. Despite the prejudices and theological preconceptions of the evangelists, they record many incidents that mere inventors would have concealed—the competition of the apostles for high places in the Kingdom, their flight after Jesus’ arrest, Peter’s denial . . . No one reading these scenes can doubt the reality of the figure behind them.”

Historian Wells realized that there is a huge gap between the teachings of Jesus as presented in the Gospels and those of Christendom. He wrote: “There is no evidence that the apostles of Jesus ever heard of the Trinity—at any rate from him. . . . Nor did [Jesus] say a word about the worship of his mother Mary, in the guise of Isis, the Queen of heaven. All that is most characteristically Christian in worship and usage, he ignored.” Therefore, one cannot judge the value of the Gospels on the basis of the teachings of Christendom.

What about Contradictions? (further excerpts The Gospels—History or Myth?)

Critics have long claimed that the Gospels are full of contradictions. Historian Durant sought to examine the Gospel accounts from a purely objective standpoint—as historical documents. Though he says that there are seeming contradictions in them, he concludes: “The contradictions are of minutiae [trivial details], not substance; in essentials the synoptic gospels agree remarkably well, and form a consistent portrait of Christ.”

Seeming contradictions in Gospel accounts are often easily resolved. To illustrate: Matthew 8:5 says that “an army officer came to [Jesus], entreating him” to cure a manservant. At Luke 7:3, we read that the officer “sent forth older men of the Jews to [Jesus] to ask him to come and bring [the] slave safely through.” The officer sent the elders as his representatives. Matthew says that the army officer himself entreated Jesus because the man made his request through the elders, who served as his mouthpiece. This is just one example showing that alleged discrepancies in the Gospels can be resolved.

Further related reading: tidbits about Jesus: please see:

Easter, Eggs and Chocolate

“In” formed & Un-in-formed

Tweeting Bird: Say What?

Getting to know (and well/accurately) “any mind” can be challenging, huh?! Getting to know a person (Famous/Influential or Not)…What do You examine? What do You consider? Who do You ask? What do You read?…(The person’s writings IF available? Accounts from Friends? Accounts from Enemies? Accounts from Family? Legal Documents? Historical Documents? Reporting in Newspapers of the Day? Biographies, Autobiographies, etc., etc., etc.)

“These are not books, lumps of lifeless paper, but minds alive on the shelves.”~Gilbert Highet

Let me close this post/book?/(her story?) with this:
For “who has come to know the mind of Jehovah (Yahweh/God), so that he may instruct him?” But we do have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:16)

(published 3/31/15 @ 11:03 a.m. word count 2420+…whew!) ALRIGHT!:)

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Spirit & Soul

Breathing-Fragile-Life education Joan Winifred things i learned

12/24/14 edits to this post: What i am doing 12/25…(most likely)

aka additional information about There is “No Spirit Part of Man that Survives Death“.

Vocabulary can get confusing. (Actually, i started a glossary for my various writings…a while back…for clarification to any Readers…because I use some nuanced words. However, it was a time-consuming endeavor and has been put aside (for now). I find it useful to describe/define any term I am using (IF necessary) while i’m using it.

I’m into simplification and not complication.  

(Have You noticed ? how super-big WORDS tend to draw attention to the writer/author/blogger and attention away from the gist of the message/piece of writing?) The HUGE WORD droppers/writers…it’s kinda like being a name dropper…it seems to put the spotlight on the writer as being important…showboating intelligence and what reader wants to be made to feel/look like a dummy because of not being familiar with a certain word…yet.)

Just wondering: Is unselfish/compassionate writing taking into consideration your audience/readers and making them feel comfortable by using familiar words?! Hey, i’m not smarter than any reader nor would i want them to think that i think i’m “superior” to them in any way. We are all breathing-fragile-life…each growing and learning at our own particular rate and pace…acquiring vocabulary everyday. Don’t get me wrong, i like big words when/if i choose to use…it’s judiciously…and sparsely.

Though, I realize simple/small words can pack a big (symbolic/poetic) punch…(impact).

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12/26/14 edits: Religious vocabulary can get confusing…different religions use common words in different ways. For example, “spirit” and “soul”…and “death”…The world’s most translated as well as the world’s best-selling book, The Bible, describes and accurately identifies these terms in logical/contextual manner.  Mutual understanding of common terms is the basis for effective communication in any active/living relationship(s). So, it makes sense to me…that for there to exist spiritual unity/peace…there must exist a mutual agreement concerning various basic spiritual terms.

Most religious dogma is in conflict with the context and meaning of certain spiritual terms used in the Bible. Many common religious teachings of many so-called Christian religions such as the trinity teaching or the immortality of the soul or transubstantiation or that the earth was created in 6 literal days are no where to be found in the Bible. These teachings and others are made-up fiction by man and also by  religious leaders to control/exert authority/power over others (such as non-scholars/non-readers of the Bible) and these above-mentioned various doctrines are not written in the Bible.

My recent talk, given the evening of  12/25/14, highlighted points about the terms “spirit” and “soul” : Psalm 146:4 “ His spirit* (or breath) goes out, he returns to the ground;+On that very day his thoughts perish.+ (Revised New World Translation)

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12/27/14 edits: The Byington Bible translates “The breath in him will go out, he will go back to the soil he came from, that day his goodwill is a total loss.”

According to the Bible because of the inheritance of sin and death from Adam, humans all die losing their active life force/ru’ach or take their last breath and return to the dust or soil/earth.

Notice this excerpt from What Does The Bible Really Teach: (my highlights)

Bible writers used the Hebrew word ru′ach or the Greek word pneu′ma when writing about the “spirit.The Scriptures themselves indicate the meaning of those words. For instance, Psalm 104:29 states: “If you [Jehovah] take away their spirit [ru′ach], they expire, and back to their dust they go.” And James 2:26 notes that “the body without spirit [pneu′ma] is dead.” In these verses, then, “spirit” refers to that which gives life to a body. Without spirit, the body is dead. Therefore, in the Bible the word ru′ach is translated not only as “spirit” but also as “force,” or life-force. For example, concerning the Flood in Noah’s day, God said: “I am bringing the deluge of waters upon the earth to bring to ruin all flesh in which the force [ru′ach] of life is active from under the heavens.” (Genesis 6:17; 7:15, 22) “Spirit” thus refers to an invisible force (the spark of life) that animates all living creatures.

In Hebrew “soul” is ne’phesh and in Greek soul is psy·khe′ …the context of the Bible identifies the meaning of the word “soul”…the words ne’phesh and psy.khe’ appear over 800 times in the Bible…so, there is no question/doubt and clear evidence that soul is referring to people, animals and the life people and animals enjoy. Absolutely no where in the bible is immortal or everlasting attached/linked to soul. As a matter of fact, the Bible says at Ezekiel 18:4 “The soul that is sinning–it itself will die.”

 Also, at Genesis 2:7 we read: “Jehovah God proceeded to form the man out of dust from the ground and to blow into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man came to be a living soul.” (Note that this does not say man was given a soul rather he became a soul, a living-breathing person.)

There is no dichotomy [division] of body and soul in the O[ld] T[estament]. The Israelite saw things concretely, in their totality, and thus he considered men as persons and not as composites. The term nepeš [ne′phesh], though translated by our word soul, never means soul as distinct from the body or the individual person. . . . The term [psy·khe′] is the N[ew] T[estament] word corresponding with nepeš. It can mean the principle of life, life itself, or the living being.”—New Catholic Encyclopedia (1967), Vol. XIII, pp. 449, 450.

“The Hebrew term for ‘soul’ (nefesh, that which breathes) was used by Moses . . . , signifying an ‘animated being’ and applicable equally to nonhuman beings. . . . New Testament usage of psychē (‘soul’) was comparable to nefesh.”—The NewEncyclopædia Britannica (1976), Macropædia, Vol. 15, p. 152.

Here is a great illustration that helps us appreciate the difference between soul & spirit…(my highlights)

The soul and the spirit are not the same. The body needs the spirit in much the same way as a radio needs electricity—in order to function. To illustrate this further, think of a portable radio. When you put batteries in a portable radio and turn it on, the electricity stored in the batteries brings the radio to life, so to speak. Without batteries, however, the radio is dead. So is another kind of radio when it is unplugged from an electric outlet. Similarly, the spirit is the force that brings our body to life. Also, like electricity, the spirit has no feeling and cannot think. It is an impersonal force. But without that spirit, or life-force, our bodies “expire, and back to their dust they go,” as the psalmist stated.

Speaking about man’s death, Ecclesiastes 12:7 states: “The dust [of his body] returns to the earth just as it happened to be and the spirit itself returns to the true God who gave it.” When the spirit, or life-force, leaves the body, the body dies and returns to where it came from—the earth. Comparably, the life-force returns to where it came from—God. (Job 34:14, 15; Psalm 36:9) This does not mean that the life-force actually travels to heaven. Rather, it means that for someone who dies, any hope of future life rests with Jehovah God. His life is in God’s hands, so to speak. Only by God’s power can the spirit, or life-force, be given back so that a person may live again. ~excerpt What Does the Bible Really Teach

Is there a spirit part of man that survives the death of the body? NO! when an appliance/machine/car stops working/functioning…no electricity/unplugged or no gas/no juice…it’s used up and gone. Soul and spirit work together and without each other/relationship of life…no function/no work/no life exists.

Simple logic and…clear identification of “soul” and “spirit”…sparks/lights the brain!:)

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What i am doing 12/25…(most likely)

things i learned

On the so-called “holy” day: this 25th of December 2014…i will (most likely–unless i get hit by a car or anything else happens out of my control) be giving a brief bible-based talk (w/live audience…yeah, i will not (just) be talking to myself that day!;): debunking 1 myth (of many) about man…topic: “There is No Spirit Part of Man that Survives Death“…(i may edit this post aka add more info. on this topic here…once i finish composing my talk.)

Anyway, IF i have ANY readers:) out there…PEACE (Year-Round) & THANKS (Gratitude Year-Round) & stay tuned for part 2 (If i have opportunity & working computer to write):

What i am NOT doing 12/25!;)

For a little related context please see:  “In” formed & Un-in-formed

You:) have been informed…lol

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