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  • 2021-10-11 2:58 PM | Thomas
    How far should one accept the rules of the society in which one lives? To put it another way: at what point does conformity become corruption? Only by answering such questions does the conscience truly define itself.

      --Kenneth Tynan, theater critic and author (1927-1980)

    (153:3.3) Then one of the Jerusalem spies who had been observing Jesus and his apostles, said: "We notice that neither you nor your apostles wash your hands properly before you eat bread. You must well know that such a practice as eating with defiled and unwashed hands is a transgression of the law of the elders. Neither do you properly wash your drinking cups and eating vessels. Why is it that you show such disrespect for the traditions of the fathers and the laws of our elders?" And when Jesus heard him speak, he answered: "Why is it that you transgress the commandments of God by the laws of your tradition? The commandment says, 'Honor your father and your mother,' and directs that you share with them your substance if necessary; but you enact a law of tradition which permits undutiful children to say that the money wherewith the parents might have been assisted has been 'given to God.' The law of the elders thus relieves such crafty children of their responsibility, notwithstanding that the children subsequently use all such monies for their own comfort. Why is it that you in this way make void the commandment by your own tradition? Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, saying: 'This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. In vain do they worship me, teaching as their doctrines the precepts of men.'

    (166:1.2) By the time Jesus arrived at this breakfast, most of the Pharisees, with two or three lawyers, were already there and seated at the table. The Master immediately took his seat at the left of Nathaniel without going to the water basins to wash his hands. Many of the Pharisees, especially those favorable to Jesus' teachings, knew that he washed his hands only for purposes of cleanliness, that he abhorred these purely ceremonial performances; so they were not surprised at his coming directly to the table without having twice washed his hands. But Nathaniel was shocked by this failure of the Master to comply with the strict requirements of Pharisaic practice. Neither did Jesus wash his hands, as did the Pharisees, after each course of food nor at the end of the meal.

    (175:1.18) "Woe upon you, scribes, Pharisees, and hypocrites! for you are scrupulous to cleanse the outside of the cup and the platter, but within there remains the filth of extortion, excesses, and deception. You are spiritually blind. Do you not recognize how much better it would be first to cleanse the inside of the cup, and then that which spills over would of itself cleanse the outside? You wicked reprobates! you make the outward performances of your religion to conform with the letter of your interpretation of Moses' law while your souls are steeped in iniquity and filled with murder.

        Kenneth Peacock Tynan (2 April 1927 – 26 July 1980) was an English theatre critic and writer. Making his initial impact as a critic at The Observer, he praised Osborne's Look Back in Anger (1956), and encouraged the emerging wave of British theatrical talent. In 1963, Tynan was appointed as the new National Theatre Company's literary manager.
        An opponent of theatre censorship, Tynan is often believed to have been the first person to say "fuck" on British television, during a live broadcast in 1965. Later in his life, he settled in California, where he resumed his writing career.

  • 2021-10-01 12:38 PM | Thomas
    Make no judgments where you have no compassion.

      --Anne McCaffrey, writer (1926-2011)

    (2:3.2) True, even in the justice of reaping the harvest of wrongdoing, this divine justice is always tempered with mercy. Infinite wisdom is the eternal arbiter which determines the proportions of justice and mercy which shall be meted out in any given circumstance.

    (2:4.1) Mercy is simply justice tempered by that wisdom which grows out of perfection of knowledge and the full recognition of the natural weaknesses and environmental handicaps of finite creatures. "Our God is full of compassion, gracious, long-suffering, and plenteous in mercy."

    (2:4.4) Mercy is the natural and inevitable offspring of goodness and love. The good nature of a loving Father could not possibly withhold the wise ministry of mercy to each member of every group of his universe children. Eternal justice and divine mercy together constitute what in human experience would be called fairness.

    (9:1.8) The Spirit is supremely competent to minister love and to overshadow justice with mercy.

        Anne Inez McCaffrey was an American-Irish writer known for the Dragonriders of Pern science fiction series. She was the first woman to win a Hugo Award for fiction (Best Novella, "Weyr Search", 1968) and the first to win a Nebula Award (Best Novella, "Dragonrider", 1969). Her 1978 novel The White Dragon became one of the first science-fiction books to appear on the New York Times Best Seller list.
        In 2005 the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America named McCaffrey its 22nd Grand Master, an annual award to living writers of fantasy and science fiction. She was inducted by the Science Fiction Hall of Fame on 17 June 2006. She also received the Robert A. Heinlein Award for her work in 2007.

  • 2021-09-21 11:26 AM | Thomas
    However well equipped our language, it can never be forearmed against all possible cases that may arise and call for description: fact is richer than diction.

      --J.L. Austin, philosopher of language (1911-1960)

    (0:0.2-3) It is exceedingly difficult to present enlarged concepts and advanced truth, in our endeavor to expand cosmic consciousness and enhance spiritual perception, when we are restricted to the use of a circumscribed language of the realm. But our mandate admonishes us to make every effort to convey our meanings by using the word symbols of the English tongue. We have been instructed to introduce new terms only when the concept to be portrayed finds no terminology in English which can be employed to convey such a new concept partially or even with more or less distortion of meaning.
         In the hope of facilitating comprehension and of preventing confusion on the part of every mortal who may peruse these papers, we deem it wise to present in this initial statement an outline of the meanings to be attached to numerous English words which are to be employed in designation of Deity and certain associated concepts of the things, meanings, and values of universal reality.

    (0:12.13) We are fully cognizant of the difficulties of our assignment; we recognize the impossibility of fully translating the language of the concepts of divinity and eternity into the symbols of the language of the finite concepts of the mortal mind. But we know that there dwells within the human mind a fragment of God, and that there sojourns with the human soul the Spirit of Truth; and we further know that these spirit forces conspire to enable material man to grasp the reality of spiritual values and to comprehend the philosophy of universe meanings. But even more certainly we know that these spirits of the Divine Presence are able to assist man in the spiritual appropriation of all truth contributory to the enhancement of the ever-progressing reality of personal religious experience—God-consciousness.

    (1:7.8) I am fully aware that I have at my command no language adequate to make clear to the mortal mind how these universe problems appear to us.

    (2:0.3) We are also seriously handicapped in the execution of our assignment by the limitations of language and by the poverty of material which can be utilized for purposes of illustration or comparison in our efforts to portray divine values and to present spiritual meanings to the finite, mortal mind of man.

    (6:0.2) We speak of God's "first" thought and allude to an impossible time origin of the Eternal Son for the purpose of gaining access to the thought channels of the human intellect. Such distortions of language represent our best efforts at contact-compromise with the time-bound minds of mortal creatures.

    (44:0.20) But I almost despair of being able to convey to the material mind the nature of the work of the celestial artisans. I am under the necessity of constantly perverting thought and distorting language in an effort to unfold to the mortal mind the reality of these morontia transactions and near-spirit phenomena. Your comprehension is incapable of grasping, and your language is inadequate for conveying, the meaning, value, and relationship of these semispirit activities. And I proceed with this effort to enlighten the human mind concerning these realities with the full understanding of the utter impossibility of my being very successful in such an undertaking.

        John Langshaw Austin was a British philosopher of language and leading proponent of ordinary language philosophy, perhaps best known for developing the theory of speech acts.
        Austin pointed out that we use language to do things as well as to assert things, and that the utterance of a statement like "I promise to do so-and-so" is best understood as doing something — making a promise — rather than making an assertion about anything. Hence the name of one of his best-known works How to Do Things with Words. Austin, in providing his theory of speech acts, makes a significant challenge to the philosophy of language, far beyond merely elucidating a class of morphological sentence forms that function to do what they name. Austin's work ultimately suggests that all speech and all utterance is the doing of something with words and signs, challenging a metaphysics of language that would posit denotative, propositional assertion as the essence of language and meaning.

  • 2021-09-17 3:31 PM | Thomas
    The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.
      --Hans Hofmann, painter (1880-1966)

    Simplicity of life, even the barest, is not a misery, but the very foundation of refinement.
      --William Morris, designer, poet, and novelist (1834-1896)


    (50:4.2) Much of the physical work connected with the establishment of this headquarters city is performed by the corporeal staff. Such headquarters cities, or settlements, of the early times of the Planetary Prince are very different from what a Urantia mortal might imagine. They are, in comparison with later ages, simple, being characterized by mineral embellishment and by relatively advanced material construction.

    (55:5.6) [From Paper 55. The Spheres of Light and Life—The Acme of Material Development]  Life is refreshingly simple; man has at last co-ordinated a high state of mechanical development with an inspiring intellectual attainment and has overshadowed both with an exquisite spiritual achievement.

    (66:7.3) The Prince's corporeal staff presided over simple and exemplary abodes which they maintained as homes designed to inspire and favorably impress the student observers sojourning at the world's social center and educational headquarters.

    (93:4.1) The ceremonies of the Salem worship were very simple.

    (139:9.6) James Alpheus especially loved Jesus because of the Master's simplicity. These twins could not comprehend the mind of Jesus, but they did grasp the sympathetic bond between themselves and the heart of their Master.

    (149:2.14) On both friends and foes he [Jesus] exercised a strong and peculiarly fascinating influence. Multitudes would follow him for weeks, just to hear his gracious words and behold his simple life.

    (155:6.12)   It is not the mental immaturity of the child that I commend to you but rather the spiritual simplicity of such an easy-believing and fully-trusting little one.

    (195:10.2) The beauty and sublimity, the humanity and divinity, the simplicity and uniqueness, of Jesus' life on earth present such a striking and appealing picture of man-saving and God-revealing that the theologians and philosophers of all time should be effectively restrained from daring to form creeds or create theological systems of spiritual bondage out of such a transcendental bestowal of God in the form of man. In Jesus the universe produced a mortal man in whom the spirit of love triumphed over the material handicaps of time and overcame the fact of physical origin.

        Hans Hofmann was a German-born American painter, renowned as both an artist and teacher. His career spanned two generations and two continents, and is considered to have both preceded and influenced Abstract Expressionism. Born and educated near Munich, he was active in the early twentieth-century European avant-garde and brought a deep understanding and synthesis of Symbolism, Neo-impressionism, Fauvism, and Cubism when he emigrated to the United States in 1932. Hofmann's painting is characterized by its rigorous concern with pictorial structure and unity, spatial illusionism, and use of bold color for expressive means.

        William Morris was a British textile designer, poet, artist, novelist, translator and socialist activist associated with the British Arts and Crafts Movement. He was a major contributor to the revival of traditional British textile arts and methods of production. His literary contributions helped to establish the modern fantasy genre, while he helped win acceptance of socialism in fin de siècle Great Britain.

  • 2021-09-15 9:55 AM | Thomas

    When an individual is protesting society's refusal to acknowledge his dignity as a human being, his very act of protest confers dignity on him.
      --Bayard Rustin, civil rights activist (1912-1987)

    (184:3.14) But Caiaphas could not longer endure the sight of the Master standing there in perfect composure and unbroken silence. He thought he knew at least one way in which the prisoner might be induced to speak. Accordingly, he rushed over to the side of Jesus and, shaking his accusing finger in the Master's face, said: "I adjure you, in the name of the living God, that you tell us whether you are the Deliverer, the Son of God." Jesus answered Caiaphas: "I am. Soon I go to the Father, and presently shall the Son of Man be clothed with power and once more reign over the hosts of heaven."

        Bayard Rustin was an African American leader in social movements for civil rights, socialism, nonviolence, and gay rights.
        Rustin worked with A. Philip Randolph on the March on Washington Movement, in 1941, to press for an end to racial discrimination in employment. Rustin later organized Freedom Rides, and helped to organize the Southern Christian Leadership Conference to strengthen Martin Luther King Jr.'s leadership and teaching King about nonviolence; he later served as an organizer for the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Rustin worked alongside Ella Baker, a co-director of the Crusade for Citizenship, in 1954; and before the Montgomery bus boycott, he helped organize a group, called "In Friendship," amongst Baker, George Lawrence, Stanley Levison of the American Jewish Congress, and some other labor leaders. "In Friendship" provided material and legal assistance to those being evicted from their tenant farms and households in Clarendon County, Yazoo, and other places. Rustin became the head of the AFL–CIO's A. Philip Randolph Institute, which promoted the integration of formerly all-white unions, and promoted the unionization of African Americans. During the 1970s and 1980s, Rustin served on many humanitarian missions, such as aiding refugees from Communist Vietnam and Cambodia. At the time of his death in 1987, he was on a humanitarian mission in Haiti.
        Rustin was a gay man and, due to criticism over his sexuality, he usually acted as an influential adviser behind the scenes to civil-rights leaders. In the 1980s, he became a public advocate on behalf of gay causes, speaking at events as an activist and supporter of human rights.
        Later in life, while still devoted to securing workers' rights, Rustin joined other union leaders in aligning with ideological neoconservatism, and (after his death) President Ronald Reagan praised him. On November 20, 2013, President Barack Obama posthumously awarded Rustin the Presidential Medal of Freedom. It was announced in February 2021 that Netflix would soon release a series on the early life of Bayard Rustin.

  • 2021-09-13 6:47 AM | Thomas
    Beware the stories you read or tell; subtly, at night, beneath the waters of consciousness, they are altering your world.

      --Ben Okri,  (b. 1959)

    (148:4.3) Evil is the unconscious or unintended transgression of the divine law, the Father's will. Evil is likewise the measure of the imperfectness of obedience to the Father's will.

    (153:1.5) As they sat there in the synagogue that afternoon before Jesus began to speak, there was just one great mystery, just one supreme question, in the minds of all. Both his friends and his foes pondered just one thought, and that was: "Why did he himself so deliberately and effectively turn back the tide of popular enthusiasm?" And it was immediately before and immediately after this sermon that the doubts and disappointments of his disgruntled adherents grew into unconscious opposition and eventually turned into actual hatred. It was after this sermon in the synagogue that Judas Iscariot entertained his first conscious thought of deserting. But he did, for the time being, effectively master all such inclinations.

    172:1.7) It was because of this rebuke, which he took as a personal reproof, that Judas Iscariot finally made up his mind to seek revenge for his hurt feelings. Many times had he entertained such ideas subconsciously, but now he dared to think such wicked thoughts in his open and conscious mind.

    Ben Okri (born 15 March 1959) is a Nigerian poet and novelist. Okri is considered one of the foremost African authors in the post-modern and post-colonial traditions, and has been compared favourably to authors such as Salman Rushdie and Gabriel García Márquez.

  • 2021-09-10 12:29 PM | Thomas
    Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.

      --Albert Einstein, physicist, (1879-1955)

    (185:5.5) A few days before this the multitude had stood in awe of Jesus, but the mob did not look up to one who, having claimed to be the Son of God, now found himself in the custody of the chief priests and the rulers and on trial before Pilate for his life. Jesus could be a hero in the eyes of the populace when he was driving the money-changers and the traders out of the temple, but not when he was a nonresisting prisoner in the hands of his enemies and on trial for his life.

        Albert Einstein was a German-born theoretical physicist, widely acknowledged to be one of the greatest physicists of all time. Einstein is known for developing the theory of relativity, but he also made important contributions to the development of the theory of quantum mechanics. Relativity and quantum mechanics are together the two pillars of modern physics. His mass–energy equivalence formula E = mc2, which arises from relativity theory, has been dubbed "the world's most famous equation". His work is also known for its influence on the philosophy of science. He received the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics "for his services to theoretical physics, and especially for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect",[10] a pivotal step in the development of quantum theory. His intellectual achievements and originality resulted in "Einstein" becoming synonymous with "genius."

  • 2021-09-07 11:49 AM | Thomas
    Whenever you commend, add your reasons for doing so; it is this which distinguishes the approbation of a man of sense from the flattery of sycophants and admiration of fools.

      --Richard Steele, author and editor (1672-1729)

    (139:1.10) Andrew was a man of clear insight, logical thought, and firm decision, whose great strength of character consisted in his superb stability. His temperamental handicap was his lack of enthusiasm; he many times failed to encourage his associates by judicious commendation. And this reticence to praise the worthy accomplishments of his friends grew out of his abhorrence of flattery and insincerity.

        Sir Richard Steele (March 1672 – 1 September 1729) was an Irish writer, playwright, and politician, remembered as co-founder, with his friend Joseph Addison, of the magazine The Spectator.

  • 2021-08-30 9:22 AM | Thomas

    If I speak in the tongues  of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
    If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
    If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. 
    (1 Corinthians 13)

      --Apostle Paul (5 – 64/67 AD) 

    (102:7.4) True, many apparently religious traits can grow out of nonreligious roots. Man can, intellectually, deny God and yet be morally good, loyal, filial, honest, and even idealistic. Man may graft many purely humanistic branches onto his basic spiritual nature and thus apparently prove his contentions in behalf of a godless religion, but such an experience is devoid of survival values, God-knowingness and God-ascension. In such a mortal experience only social fruits are forthcoming, not spiritual. The graft determines the nature of the fruit, notwithstanding that the living sustenance is drawn from the roots of original divine endowment of both mind and spirit.

        Paul the Apostle was a Christian apostle (although not one of the Twelve Apostles) who spread the teachings of Jesus in the first-century world. Generally regarded as one of the most important figures of the Apostolic Age. He founded several Christian communities in Asia Minor and Europe from the mid-30s to the mid-50s AD.
        According to the New Testament book Acts of the Apostles, Paul participated in the persecution of early disciples of Jesus, possibly Hellenised diaspora Jews converted to Christianity, in the area of Jerusalem, prior to his conversion. In the narrative of Acts, Paul was traveling on the road from Jerusalem to Damascus on a mission to "arrest them and bring them back to Jerusalem" when the ascended Jesus appeared to him in a great bright light. He was struck blind, but after three days his sight was restored by Ananias of Damascus and Paul began to preach that Jesus of Nazareth was the Jewish messiah and the Son of God.[Acts 9:20–21] Approximately half of the Book of Acts deals with Paul's life and works.
        Fourteen of the 27 books in the New Testament have traditionally been attributed to Paul. Seven of the Pauline epistles are undisputed by scholars as being authentic, with varying degrees of argument about the remainder. Pauline authorship of the Epistle to the Hebrews is not asserted in the Epistle itself and was already doubted in the 2nd and 3rd centuries. It was almost unquestioningly accepted from the 5th to the 16th centuries that Paul was the author of Hebrews, but that view is now almost universally rejected by scholars. The other six are believed by some scholars to have come from followers writing in his name, using material from Paul's surviving letters and letters written by him that no longer survive. Other scholars argue that the idea of a pseudonymous author for the disputed epistles raises many problems.
        Today, Paul's epistles continue to be vital roots of the theology, worship and pastoral life in the Latin and Protestant traditions of the West, as well as the Eastern Catholic and Orthodox traditions of the East. Paul's influence on Christian thought and practice has been characterized as being as "profound as it is pervasive", among that of many other apostles and missionaries involved in the spread of the Christian faith.

  • 2021-08-29 5:40 PM | Thomas
    We must not grow weary of doing little things for the love of God, who looks not on the great size of the work, but on the love in it. We must not be surprised at failing frequently in the beginning; in the end, we will have developed the habit that enables us to produce these acts of love without thinking about them, deriving a great deal of pleasure from them.
      --From "The Practice of the Presence of God" translated by Robert J. Edmonson.

      --Brother Lawrence (1614 – 1691)

    (100:7.8)  He loved men as brothers, at the same time recognizing how they differed in innate endowments and acquired qualities. "He went about doing good."

    (132:4.4)  Jesus was very fond of doing things—even little things—for all sorts of people.

    (171:7.8 -10) The Master could discern saving faith in the gross superstition of the woman who sought healing by touching the hem of his garment. He was always ready and willing to stop a sermon or detain a multitude while he ministered to the needs of a single person, even to a little child. Great things happened not only because people had faith in Jesus, but also because Jesus had so much faith in them.
        Most of the really important things which Jesus said or did seemed to happen casually, "as he passed by." There was so little of the professional, the well-planned, or the premeditated in the Master's earthly ministry. He dispensed health and scattered happiness naturally and gracefully as he journeyed through life. It was literally true, "He went about doing good."
        And it behooves the Master's followers in all ages to learn to minister as "they pass by"—to do unselfish good as they go about their daily duties.

        This is from one of four conversations between Brother Lawrence and the Abbe de Beaufort, Grand Vicar of the Cardinal of Noailles, that took place in 1666 and 1667. After each one, the Abbe carefully recorded what Brother Lawrence had told him. Recognizing in Brother Lawrence "the beauty of holiness," the Grand Vicar has left succeeding generations in his debt for making Brother Lawrence known.
        Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection served as a lay brother in a Carmelite monastery in Paris. Christians commonly remember him for the intimacy he expressed concerning his relationship to God as recorded in a book compiled after his death, the classic Christian text, The Practice of the Presence of God.
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