Posted in Authentic Freedom

Satan, the Anti-Christ and the Presidential Election

It may interest you to learn that Satan is not a personal name.  Neither is Satan an external or personal, embodied force whose job it is to tempt us away from the good and into a life of “sin.”  Instead, satan (shatan) is a Hebrew word that means “inner obstacle or adversary.”  Satan arises out of our unhealed wounds and unresolved fears strictly for the purpose of healing and in support of our human journey toward wholeness and self-actualization.  While the opportunities for growth may manifest outside of us, their source is ultimately within.  From this perspective, satan is something to be welcomed as its arrival heralds an opportunity for profound personal growth.

DevilLegend2

As satan is the adversary and opportunity for growth that arises for each of us individually, the anti-Christ is that which arises out of the collective consciousness.  The arrival of the anti-Christ gives us an opportunity to acknowledge and support the healing of our collective unhealed wounds and unresolved fears.

There have been many times throughout history where an individual has surfaced who embodied the voice of the collective fear and then became that voice, stirring their respective audiences into actions that initially caused great destruction, but ultimately served to bring about profound transformational healing and change.  Jim Jones, Adolf Hitler, Napoleon Bonaparte and Osama Bin Laden are four historical examples of the embodiment of this collective fear, which was then acknowledged and supported in its healing after they were deposed (but sadly, only after much suffering).

In the current political race, there have been many comparisons between some of the presidential candidates and historical anti-Christs. Whether Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, or some other candidate is your personal version of the anti-Christ, I would suggest that it is ultimately NOT about the individual candidate, but is instead about our collective fears and unhealed wounds.  Instead of projecting our collective unhealed wounds onto a particular candidate and allowing their embodiment of this fear to govern our culture and our society, the invitation is to do the even more difficult work of healing these fears and wounds within ourselves.  When we do this, collective healing begins to manifest, making the role of the anti-christ unnecessary, or at the very least, making them powerless over us.

The fears that are being played out in the presidential race are those that have produced a culture governed by power and control (lust), motivated by fears that have manifested through patterns of conspicuous consumption, gluttony and greed.  These long-standing patterns have left the majority of the culture (and the world because of our gluttonous actions – there is a reason the rest of the world hates us!) hungry, poor, sick, unemployed and underemployed, leaving us feeling powerless over those who seem to be making the decision about how we live and rule our lives.

The president, no matter how good he or she is at their job, is not going to change these patterns; neither are our senators or congressmen (non-inclusive language intentional) because at the end of the day, the hierarchical, patriarchal system out of which our government was created, is itself, part of the problem.  (Fear begets fear.  Power begets power.  White male privilege, begets white male privilege.)  The only way in which these unhealed wounds and unresolved fears are going to be healed is by our own actions. It is only by our personal commitment to our individual healing process that the collective fears, and therefore our culture (and the earth), will be healed.  And it is only by our own actions that he or she who might otherwise embody the energy of the anti-christ will be supported in being otherwise, because the embodiment of the anti-christ will no longer be needed.

Authentic Freedom Academy provides tools through which you are empowered in healing your fears and unhealed wounds.  Check out our classes, workshops and one-on-one mentoring services to learn more. 

Posted in Authentic Freedom, Jesus, temptation, The Seven Deadly Compulsions

Tempted to Misuse or Hide our Greatness

In anticipation of Ash Wednesday and the upcoming journey of Lent, I am sharing a copy of this week’s Authentic Freedom Empowerment Newsletter. If you find this to be a supportive and inspiring resource for your own journey of self-development, consider subscribing.  For only $20.00 per month, you receive a weekly resource for supporting your journey toward wholeness.  If you are interested, subscribe HERE. 

Authentic Freedom Academy

Weekly Empowerment Newsletter

Jesustempted by the devil

February 14, 2016. First Sunday in Lent

Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the desert for forty days, to be tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and when they were over he was hungry. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” Jesus answered him, “It is written, One does not live on bread alone.” Then he took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a single instant. The devil said to him, “I shall give to you all this power and glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I may give it to whomever I wish. All this will be yours, if you worship me.” Jesus said to him in reply, “It is written: You shall worship the Lord, your God, and him alone shall you serve.” Then he led him to Jerusalem, made him stand on the parapet of the temple, and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written: He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you, and: With their hands they will support you, lest you dash your foot against a stone.” Jesus said to him in reply, “It also says, You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.” When the devil had finished every temptation, he departed from him for a time.

Luke 4: 1-13

 

Additional Readings:

Dt 26: 4-10

Ps 91: 1-2, 10-15

Rom 10: 8-13

 

First Sunday of Lent – Temptation

This Sunday’s gospel is the familiar story of Jesus’ temptation in the desert. What is often forgotten in the telling of this story is that the temptation in the desert takes place immediately following Jesus’ baptism through which Jesus was fully awakened to his Diving calling and the gifts that he had been given to live out that call:

“You are my beloved son, and with you I am well pleased.”

How did Jesus respond to these words? The translation from Luke’s gospel says that Jesus was led to the desert. In Mark’s gospel, “he fled.” I tend to believe it was more the latter than the former. How would you feel if a voice came out of the sky and announced your magnificence and the Divine calling (responsibility) that went along with that magnificence?

The truth is that like Jesus, we more frequently run from our gifts and our Divine calling than toward them. If we are wise, as Jesus was, we acknowledge the fear that arises in the face of our calling, and then we take the time to figure out what the Divine calling means for us and how we are being called to use our gifts.

And like Jesus, we will be tempted. Specifically, we will be tempted to abuse the powers that we have been given for the sake of our own pride and vanity, than how they are meant to be used which is in service to the Divine and for the benefit of others.

Our job is to hear the call as it arises within us from God, to take time out to discern how we are being invited to live that out and to then face the inner voices that will tempt us to ignore or deny our gifts, or alternatively, to use our gifts for our own vainglory instead of for the honor of the Divine and for the benefit of others.

How have you been tempted to either ignore/deny your Divine calling and the use of your gifts?

When have you been tempted to use your gifts for the sake of your own pride, fame, wealth, power, etc. instead of for the sake of others?

 

Spiritual Practice:

You are invited to spend time with this week’s scripture using the practice of Imagination/Contemplation, or as I like to call it, “Daydreaming as Prayer.”

  1. Read through the scripture passage slowly and prayerfully, looking for a character that stands out to you. Perhaps it is Jesus, Satan, an unnamed observer or even an inanimate object.
  2. After you have chosen your character (or object), re-read the story from their perspective.
  3. Then, using your imagination, place yourself within the narrative as the character of your choosing. Imagine the story unfolding in your mind as if you are that character. Imagine every detail – what you are wearing, what the weather is like, the scene around you, the time of day. Envision the landscape and the other characters in the story in detail. Do not censor anything that comes up for you in the imagining of the story. Allow it to go where it needs to go.
  4. As the story is unfolding in your imagination, pay attention to the thoughts, feelings, emotions, etc. that are arising in you as the story is unfolding.
  5. After the story has come to its natural conclusion in your mind, write it down. Record all that took place, being open to additional details which may emerge in your writing. Again, do not censor anything that comes up for you.
  6. After you have written your story, read it. As you are reading, reflect on how the story, as it unfolded in your imagination, is reflective of something going on in your own journey? As what your higher self might be communicating to you in the way this story unfolded in your imagination.

 

 

Authentic Freedom

In this Sunday’s gospel, Jesus was tempted by three of the deadly compulsions of the Authentic Freedom protocol:

Gluttony

Lust (for power)

Pride

As the inner adversary (Satan) tempted Jesus with these worldly measurements of power and success, Jesus was able to turn away from them because he recognized the inner fears that might cause him to use his powers for his own sake instead of in honor of God and for the benefit of the world, he then found a way to move through those fears.

How and where have you been tempted by worldly measures of power and success? How might you employ Authentic Freedom to help you overcome these temptations when they arise in the future?

If you found this to be meaningful, consider subscribing to the weekly Authentic Freedom Empowerment Newsletter.  For only $20.00 per month.  Subscribe HERE. 

Posted in Authentic Freedom, church, Spiritual Practices, The Seven Deadly Compulsions, Virtual Church

Agape’ Meditation Newsletter – Virtual Church supplement

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Second Sunday of Easter

 

Scripture Reading:

They devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles and to the communal life, to the breaking of bread and to the prayers. Awe came upon everyone, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their property and possessions and divide them among all according to each one’s need. Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple area and to breaking bread in their homes. They ate their meals with exultation and sincerity of heart, praising God and enjoying favor with all the people. And every day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.

Acts 2: 42-47

 

Additional Readings:

1 Pt 1: 3-9

Ps 118: 2-4, 13-15, 22-24

JN 20: 19-31

 

Social and Economic Justice

This week’s reading from the Acts of the Apostles demonstrates the way in which the first generation of Christians chose to respond to the Jesus message. In Jesus’ teachings on love and justice, the early Christians heard the call to provide for the needs of all in common and those with more freely shared what they had so that those with less could also thrive. In heeding Jesus’ call, the early Christians provided an example of social and economic justice that radically differed from the model that had been set forth by the society in which they had been raised where wealth was honored as a blessing in acknowledgement of a virtuous life and poverty as a punishment for sin. Instead, all people were viewed as children of God and equally sacred and that wealth had been given to some to share so that all may be provided for.

How does our Western culture reflect the preference of materialism over justice?

How are you living Jesus’ call to social and economic justice?

lesmis

 

Spiritual Practice:

This week, you are invited to engage in the practice of Examen – a process through which we reflect on our behaviors in light of the scriptural message. Over the course of the next week, reflect on the following questions:

  1. Where are you tempted to buy into the Western cultural paradigm that says that happiness and fulfillment come through money, power, fame, wealth and the accumulation of things?
  2. Where do you find yourself acquiring more than you need to survive and thrive?
  3. Where do you find yourself wasting valuable resources or forgetting to recycle and reuse?
  4. Where do you entertain fears around money?
  5. Where are you tempted to worry about what others think because of the kind of house you live in, clothes you wear, job you have or car you drive?
  6. Where are you tempted to indulge in the Western paradigm by giving your time or energy to movies, tv shows, commercials, magazines, books, that promote lifestyles based in riches, excessive wealth, and power?
  7. Where are you tempted to buy the “Big name” and “more expensive” product when you can get the same or better for less?
  8. Where are you giving your time, talent, resources to support those who have less?
  9. Where are you giving your time, talent, resources to support programs that help those who have less?
  10. Where are you giving of your excess so that those who have less might have more?

 

Authentic Freedom

In Authentic Freedom we talk about the fear “there is not enough” as the cause of materialism. When we live in the fear that there is not enough – money, love, time, fame, power, success, things, etc. the non-loving behavior that arises out of this fear is gluttony. When indulging in gluttony, we take more than what we need or we deprive ourselves of the things we need to survive. When through prayer and the reception of grace, we are healed of the fear that there is not enough, our gluttonous behaviors cease and we are able to experience a life of temperance. In this week’s reading, the early Christians were able to overcome the fear that there is not enough and lived temperance to the point of ensuring social and economic justice for all members of their community.

Where do you struggle with the fear, “there is not enough?”

How do you see this fear as driving behaviors of acquisition or deprivation?  

How can you invite God to heal you of this fear? 

How might your behaviors change if you were no longer afraid?