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Lance Goldsberry
I am a blogger, artist, musician, with a background in mental health.
I am a blogger, artist, musician, with a background in mental health.
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Brother John Martin Sahajananda, a Benedictine Calmodolese Monk, disciple of Bede Griffiths, and one of the spiritual directors at the ShantivanamChristian Ashram in India, has written a very engaging short book with a long title, Fully Human, Fully Divine: Integral Dynamic Monotheism(A Meeting Place Between the Vedic Vision and the Vision of Christ).

The book was published in 2014. I have been a very avid reader of Brother Martin's books. I first discovered his writing when I saw and purchased his book, You are the Light:Rediscovering the Eastern Jesus, and then his next book, Hindu Christ: Jesus' Message through Eastern Eyes.

In all of Brother Marin's books, he seeks to find where Christianity and Hinduism meet. He is one of the leading exponents of Christian-Hindu dialogue. His father was a Hindu, and his mother was a Christian. He became a Catholic monk, and joined the Shantivanam Ashram and was discipled by Bede Griffiths, the great Catholic spiritual teacher and writer.

Over the three books I have read (Brother Martin has a couple of others), he has been developing his notion of non-dualistic truth in the Gospels and teachings of Jesus. In his book, Hindu Christ, he examines three aspects of Jesus' experience of God:

1) Dualistic: ("the Father is greater than I")
2) Qualified Non-Dualism ("I am in the Father and the Father is in Me")
3) Non-Dualism ("I and the Father are One").

We too, can relate to God in all three ways, and there is an ebb and flow between our dualistic and non-dualistic experiences of God.

In this book, Fully Human, Fully Divine, he explores the meeting place of the Vedic Vision and the Vision of Christ. He gives us an overview of the Upanishad's and Bhagavad Gita, and the Gospel, and provides a brief theological history of Hindu theologians and saints who had dualistic, qualified non-dualistic, and non-dualistic theologies. There are also several other hybrid and paradoxical views too, represented in Hindu Theology.

Brother Martin asserts that Hinduism is monotheistic, that even with all the millions of deities in popular religion, there is only One Reality without a second. Different deities are avatars or archetypes of the One God, who is the Ground of Being.

Brother Martin places Hindusim in the "Wisdom" tradition of world religions, along with Buddhism, Jainism, and Taoism. He places Christianity, along with Judaism and Islam, in the group of "Prophetic Monotheistic Religions."

Brother Marin explores the relationship of both types of religious traditions, and notes that the Wisdom tradition emphasizes our Spiritual ascent and oneness with Reality, and that the Prophetic religious traditions, our responsibility not only to love God but to love our neighbor and to work for social transformation.

Brother Martin explains that Integrated Dynamic Monotheism blends the truth of these two broad faith traditions, so that we understand ourselves as one with God but also one with our neighbor, who are our brothers and sisters. There is a harmony between prayer and contemplation, and social action.

Brother Marin explains how the different paths of Yoga- Jnana Yoga (Wisdom, associated with Meditation and study of Scriptures), and Bhakti Yoga (devotion to the Deity), and Karma Yoga (good deeds and social action, but done in detachment), can be integrated in our spiritual practice so that we may achieve Self-Realization but also help to transform the world.

Brother Martin's books are a breath of fresh air. It is a good thing to read and learn from a person who has a deep spiritual practice of their own, and has engaged in respectful dialogue with other faith traditions. I am not interested in polemics as much as the pursuit of God.

I had a professor in undergrad who was a Jungian analyst, and also, a Unitarian minister. He came up with a formula for this integrated way:"Contemplation + awareness = liberation (spiritual and social). I recommend Brother Martin's books for anyone seeking to know their true Self in God and others.

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Trump's Executive Order: At the Pinnacle of the Temple, Selling Your Soul for Wordly Power
I do not celebrate President Trump's executive order allowing churches to endorse candidates. Church leaders, already adept at milking guilt out of people, can now bully people into voting "the right way." What bigger hammer does one have than to threaten p...

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I do not celebrate President Trump's executive order allowing churches to endorse candidates. Church leaders, already adept at milking guilt out of people, can now bully people into voting "the right way." What bigger hammer does one have than to threaten people's eternal soul if they don't tow a church's party line? What a potential for spiritual abuse. Church leaders who are gleeful have succumbed to the Devil's temptation at the pinnacle of the temple. Churches are selling their soul to celebrate this new executive order.

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On my cubicle wall at work, I have the portrait shown here of His Imperial Majesty, Haile Selassie I, Emperor of Ethiopia. Haile Selassie was a descendant of King David and King Solomon. One of his titles was Defender of the Faith. He was known to be a devout follow of Our LORD Jesus Christ, who prayed the hours of the Ethiopian Tewahedo Orthodox Church, and who promoted Biblical literacy and saw to it that the Bible was translated in the language of his people. For me, His Imperial Majesty is an Icon of Our LORD Jesus Christ. I find that his picture on my wall at my office gives me a sense of serenity as I go about my work. I am inspired to greater devotion to Our LORD Jesus Christ. I am reminded of His Imperial Majesty's comment on Our LORD's saying recorded in Matthew 11.28: " 'Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest;' who can resist an invitation so full of compassion?"

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THE KING shall rejoice in thy strength, O LORD; and in thy salvation how greatly shall he rejoice! 2 Thou hast given him his heart’s desire, and hast not withheld the request of his lips. 3 For thou hast blessed him beforehand with the blessings of goodness; thou hast set a precious crown on his head. 4 He asked life of thee, and thou gavest it him, even length of days for ever and ever. 5 His glory is great in thy salvation; honor and majesty hast thou bestowed upon him. 6 For thou hast made him most blessed for ever; thou hast made him joyful in gladness with thy countenance. 7 For the king trusts in the LORD, and through the mercy of the most High he shall not be moved. 8 Your hand shall overcome all your enemies; your right hand shall overcome those that hate you. 9 You shall make them as a fiery oven in the time of your wrath; the LORD shall consume them in his wrath, and the fire shall devour them. 10 Their fruit shall you destroy from the earth, and their offspring from among the children of men. 11 For they have planned evil against you; they conceived a mischievous device, which they are not able to perform. 12 For you shall place a scar on them; and you shall make ready your array against their faces. 13 Be thou exalted, O LORD, in thine own strength; so will we sing and praise thy power.


- Psalm 21

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"And there's a God-sized hunger underneath the laughing and the rage
In the absence of light
And the deepening night
Where I wait for the sun
Looking east..."

- Jackson Browne, Looking East

One of my social media friends recently asked me why I have been so interested in His Imperial Majesty, and Ethiopian Christianity.

My friends who know me well can attest for the last 20-25 years, I have had an eye toward the East- the Eastern Christian Churches, but also as an orthodox Christian influenced by the writings of Thomas Merton, Buddhist thought, Vendanta and the Bhagavad Gita.

As Jackson Browne says in his lyrics above, I have a "God-sized hunger," that I look East to fulfill.
Whether it is the teachings of His Imperial Majesty, and the heritage of the Kebra Nagast, or the sublime teachings of Bede Griffiths, my spiritual hero, or my passionate interest in the Aramaic Scriptural tradition, popularized by George M. Lamsa, or the fusion of Orthodox and liberation theology by the great Indian Archbishop, Geervarghese Mar Osthathios- I find my self looking East always. My prayer life as of late, and my reading of the scriptures, are grounded in an Eastern and Semitic point of view.

These days in America, where our democratic republic is turning into a fascist-kleptocracy, and the churches here have willing submitted to a Babylonian captivity, baptizing the ideology of the oligarchs, I look to alternative expressions of understanding the Christ- alternative, yet, much more ancient, and original to its Source.

I seek to find the True Self in the Ancient Way. 

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Arrived today
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When Jesus surrendered his life on the cross, he brought to fulfillment this movement of the human soul; he accomplished the total surrender of man to God, of the human to the divine; he achieved the final death of self to this world and raised to eternal life in the resurrection. This is the one movement which was accomplished on the cross. The other movement is the descent of the divine into this world, the movement of incarnation. From the beginning of creation the Spirit has been communicating itself to matter. -Bede Griffiths, Return to the Centre, page 89.

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Christianity does not deny the world, creation, or matter - for "thy immortal spirit is in all things." Wisdom of Solomon 12.1.

I was contemplating during Mass this morning, as the priest sermonized the sufferings of the Christ before His resurrection, that God not only experienced suffering, but new what it was like to be a human in our earthy existence. He would have cleansed himself with his left hand, for example, like not only people of his time did, but as many people in the world do now.

I contemplated the divine humility in not only becoming man, but in live in creation.

This demonstrated the value of creation, why we have sacraments of Bread and Wine, and Water and oil, why we care about the poor and human suffering, why we seek to heal and to try and preserve the natural environment and maintain its inhabitability.

Christianity represents a world and life-affirming spirituality. The Word created the universe by the Spirit, and inhabits it fully. We are ourselves are temples of God.

- Lance

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"When He sacrificed himself at Golgotha for the atonement of our sin, He prayed with His last breath for the forgiveness of those who had tortured Him saying, 'Father, forgive them for they know not what they do'. Shame on those of us who are Christians and do not follow the way of the Savior of the World, whose life was filled with kindness, humility, and martyrdom! If we lived by the laws he gave us and were worthy of being called Christian, peace would have reigned on this earth."

- His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I, December 25, 1937*

Now there were standing by the cross of Jesus his mother and his mother’s sister and Mary of Cleopas and Mary of Magdala. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing, he said to his mother, Woman, behold your son! Then he said to the disciple, Behold your mother!And from that very hour the disciple took her with him. After these things Jesus knew that everything was now accomplished; and that the scripture might be fulfilled, he said, I thirst. Now there was a pitcher full of vinegar placed there; so they filled a sponge with vinegar and put it on the point of a reed and placed it on his mouth. When Jesus drank the vinegar, he said, It is fulfilled; and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. - St. John 19.25-30

*I want to thank Haile Iyesus for originally posting this quote on Facebook

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"The Word of God is that Truth Itself, that eternal Reality, coming forth from the Father, the Abyss of Being, the unmanifested One, and communicating the bliss of being, the bliss of love. In Jesus of Nazareth that Word became flesh, manifesting the Father in a human form, communicating the Spirit to His disciples."

- Bede Griffiths, Return to the Centre, page 58.

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