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Tom Allen

  • 2022-01-10 9:05 AM | Thomas

    Never underestimate the determination of a kid who is time rich and cash poor.
      --Cory Doctorow, author and journalist (b. 1971)

    (127:3.14) For four years their standard of living had steadily declined; year by year they felt the pinch of increasing poverty. By the close of this year they faced one of the most difficult experiences of all their uphill struggles. James had not yet begun to earn much, and the expenses of a funeral on top of everything else staggered them. But Jesus would only say to his anxious and grieving mother: "Mother-Mary, sorrow will not help us; we are all doing our best, and mother's smile, perchance, might even inspire us to do better. Day by day we are strengthened for these tasks by our hope of better days ahead." His sturdy and practical optimism was truly contagious; all the children lived in an atmosphere of anticipation of better times and better things. And this hopeful courage contributed mightily to the development of strong and noble characters, in spite of the depressiveness of their poverty.

    (127:5.1) Although Jesus was poor, his social standing in Nazareth was in no way impaired. He was one of the foremost young men of the city and very highly regarded by most of the young women.

        Cory Efram Doctorow, born July 17, 1971 is a Canadian-British blogger, journalist, and science fiction author who served as co-editor of the blog Boing Boing. He is an activist in favour of liberalising copyright laws and a proponent of the Creative Commons organization, using some of their licences for his books. Some common themes of his work include digital rights management, file sharing, and post-scarcity economics.

  • 2022-01-04 10:38 AM | Thomas
    Life is an adventure in forgiveness.

      --Norman Cousins, author, editor, journalist, and professor (1915-1990)

    (2:6.9) The goodness of God rests at the bottom of the divine free-willness—the universal tendency to love, show mercy, manifest patience, and minister forgiveness.

    (89:10.6) The forgiveness of sin by Deity is the renewal of loyalty relations following a period of the human consciousness of the lapse of such relations as the consequence of conscious rebellion. The forgiveness does not have to be sought, only received as the consciousness of re-establishment of loyalty relations between the creature and the Creator.

    (159:1.4) Simon Peter was the apostle in charge of the workers at Hippos, and when he heard Jesus thus speak, he asked: "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Until seven times?" And Jesus answered Peter: "Not only seven times but even to seventy times and seven.

    (170:2.23)  Regarding sin, he taught that God has forgiven; that we make such forgiveness personally available by the act of forgiving our fellows. When you forgive your brother in the flesh, you thereby create the capacity in your own soul for the reception of the reality of God's forgiveness of your own misdeeds.

    (174:1.3)  Divine forgiveness is inevitable; it is inherent and inalienable in God's infinite understanding, in his perfect knowledge of all that concerns the mistaken judgment and erroneous choosing of the child.

         Norman Cousins was an American political journalist, author, professor, and world peace advocate.

  • 2021-12-29 8:11 AM | Thomas

    A book must be an axe for the frozen sea inside of us.
      --Franz Kafka, novelist (1883-1924)

    (0:12.13) We are fully cognizant of the difficulties of our assignment; weThe Value of Books 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.

        Franz Kafka was a German-speaking Bohemian novelist and short-story writer, widely regarded as one of the major figures of 20th-century literature. His work fuses elements of realism and the fantastic. It typically features isolated protagonists facing bizarre or surrealistic predicaments and incomprehensible socio-bureaucratic powers. It has been interpreted as exploring themes of alienation, existential anxiety, guilt, and absurdity. His best known works include "Die Verwandlung" ("The Metamorphosis"), Der Process (The Trial), and Das Schloss (The Castle). The term Kafkaesque has entered the English language to describe situations like those found in his writing.
        Kafka was born into a middle-class German-Jewish family in Prague, the capital of the Kingdom of Bohemia, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, today the capital of the Czech Republic. He trained as a lawyer and after completing his legal education was employed full-time by an insurance company, forcing him to relegate writing to his spare time. Over the course of his life, Kafka wrote hundreds of letters to family and close friends, including his father, with whom he had a strained and formal relationship. He became engaged to several women but never married. He died in 1924 at the age of 40 from tuberculosis.
        Few of Kafka's works were published during his lifetime: the story collections Betrachtung (Contemplation) and Ein Landarzt (A Country Doctor), and individual stories (such as "Die Verwandlung") were published in literary magazines but received little public attention. In his will, Kafka instructed his executor and friend Max Brod to destroy his unfinished works, including his novels Der Prozess, Das Schloss and Der Verschollene (translated as both Amerika and The Man Who Disappeared), but Brod ignored these instructions. His work has influenced a vast range of writers, critics, artists, and philosophers during the 20th and 21st centuries.

  • 2021-12-25 9:41 AM | Thomas

    And it came to pass that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.
     --Bible, Luke 2:1


    (122:7.1) In the month of March, 8 B.C. (the month Joseph and Mary were married), Caesar Augustus decreed that all inhabitants of the Roman Empire should be numbered, that a census should be made which could be used for effecting better taxation.

    And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.  And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
     --Bible, Luke 2:9-15

    (122:8.5) At the noontide birth of Jesus the seraphim of Urantia, assembled under their directors, did sing anthems of glory over the Bethlehem manger, but these utterances of praise were not heard by human ears. No shepherds nor any other mortal creatures came to pay homage to the babe of Bethlehem until the day of the arrival of certain priests from Ur, who were sent down from Jerusalem by Zacharias.

    (122:8.1) All that night Mary was restless so that neither of them slept much. By the break of day the pangs of childbirth were well in evidence, and at noon, August 21, 7 B.C., with the help and kind ministrations of women fellow travelers, Mary was delivered of a male child. Jesus of Nazareth was born into the world, was wrapped in the clothes which Mary had brought along for such a possible contingency, and laid in a near-by manger.

        After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem  and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
        When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. 5 “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:
    “‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
        are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
    for out of you will come a ruler
        who will shepherd my people Israel.’” 
        Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”
      --Matthew 2:1-12 


    (122:8.7) These wise men saw no star to guide them to Bethlehem. The beautiful legend of the star of Bethlehem originated in this way: Jesus was born August 21 at noon, 7 B.C. On May 29, 7 B.C., there occurred an extraordinary conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in the constellation of Pisces. And it is a remarkable astronomic fact that similar conjunctions occurred on September 29 and December 5 of the same year. Upon the basis of these extraordinary but wholly natural events the well-meaning zealots of the succeeding generation constructed the appealing legend of the star of Bethlehem and the adoring Magi led thereby to the manger, where they beheld and worshiped the newborn babe. Oriental and near-Oriental minds delight in fairy stories, and they are continually spinning such beautiful myths about the lives of their religious leaders and political heroes. In the absence of printing, when most human knowledge was passed by word of mouth from one generation to another, it was very easy for myths to become traditions and for traditions eventually to become accepted as facts.

  • 2021-12-19 3:01 PM | Thomas

    Listen to God in silence when we have spoken to him, for he speaks in his turn during prayer.
      --Jean Pierre de Caussade (1675-1751)

    (146:2.17)  Jesus taught his followers that, when they had made their prayers to the Father, they should remain for a time in silent receptivity to afford the indwelling spirit the better opportunity to speak to the listening soul. The spirit of the Father speaks best to man when the human mind is in an attitude of true worship. We worship God by the aid of the Father's indwelling spirit and by the illumination of the human mind through the ministry of truth. Worship, taught Jesus, makes one increasingly like the being who is worshiped. Worship is a transforming experience whereby the finite gradually approaches and ultimately attains the presence of the Infinite.

        Jean Pierre de Caussade (7 March 1675 – 8 December 1751) was a French Jesuit priest and writer. He is especially known for the work ascribed to him, Abandonment to Divine Providence, and also his work with the Nuns of the Visitation in Nancy, France.

  • 2021-12-15 4:32 PM | Thomas

    This is the very thing which makes up the virtue of a happy person and a well flowing life—when the affairs of life are in every way tuned to the harmony between the individual divine spirit and the will of the Director of the universe.
      —Chrysippus, quoted in Diogenes Laertius
          Lives of the Eminent Philosophers, 7.1.88

    (110:6.4) When the development of the intellectual nature proceeds faster than that of the spiritual, such a situation renders communication with the Thought Adjuster both difficult and dangerous. Likewise, overspiritual development tends to produce a fanatical and perverted interpretation of the spirit leadings of the divine indweller. Lack of spiritual capacity makes it very difficult to transmit to such a material intellect the spiritual truths resident in the higher superconsciousness. It is to the mind of perfect poise, housed in a body of clean habits, stabilized neural energies, and balanced chemical function—when the physical, mental, and spiritual powers are in triune harmony of development—that a maximum of light and truth can be imparted with a minimum of temporal danger or risk to the real welfare of such a being. By such a balanced growth does man ascend the circles of planetary progression one by one, from the seventh to the first.

        Chrysippus of Soli c. 279 – c. 206 BC was a Greek Stoic philosopher. He was a native of Soli, Cilicia, but moved to Athens as a young man, where he became a pupil of Cleanthes in the Stoic school. When Cleanthes died, around 230 BC, Chrysippus became the third head of the school. A prolific writer, Chrysippus expanded the fundamental doctrines of Zeno of Citium, the founder of the school, which earned him the title of Second Founder of Stoicism.
        Chrysippus excelled in logic, the theory of knowledge, ethics, and physics. He created an original system of propositional logic in order to better understand the workings of the universe and role of humanity within it. He adhered to a deterministic view of fate, but nevertheless sought a role for personal freedom in thought and action. Ethics, he thought, depended on understanding the nature of the universe, and he taught a therapy of extirpating the unruly passions which depress and crush the soul. He initiated the success of Stoicism as one of the most influential philosophical movements for centuries in the Greek and Roman world.
        Of his written works, none have survived except as fragments. Recently, segments of some of his works were discovered among the Herculaneum papyri.

  • 2021-12-11 12:59 PM | Thomas

    Come, and bring your thoughts where they can be held true, so that you can realize how you are held, supported, sustained and protected. This is your safety-your thought, and that thought is the realization of the presence of God here and now, within you, in the life you are living.
      --Letters of the Scattered Brotherhood   pages 60, 61

    (32:5.6)  I am endeavoring to aid you in the crystallization of your thoughts about these values which are of infinite nature and eternal import.

      --[Paper 32 was presented by a Mighty Messenger temporarily attached to the Supreme Council of Nebadon and assigned to this mission by Gabriel of Salvington.]

    (101:1.3) The divine spirit makes contact with mortal man, not by feelings or emotions, but in the realm of the highest and most spiritualized thinking. It is your thoughts, not your feelings, that lead you Godward. The divine nature may be perceived only with the eyes of the mind. But the mind that really discerns God, hears the indwelling Adjuster, is the pure mind. "Without holiness no man may see the Lord." All such inner and spiritual communion is termed spiritual insight. Such religious experiences result from the impress made upon the mind of man by the combined operations of the Adjuster and the Spirit of Truth as they function amid and upon the ideas, ideals, insights, and spirit strivings of the evolving sons of God.

        “Letters of the Scattered Brotherhood” is collection of 104 letters about the spiritually-uplifting experience of everyday life that can, with the gentlest of instruction and encouragement, become a dependable part of religion. The instructional letters in the LSB were written by many different authors and originally published in The Churchman Magazine (Anglican Church publication in the UK) from the mid-1930s to the end of WWII. In 1946-47, Mary Strong edited letters taken from the Churchman to an anthology. First published in 1948, the LSB have been reprinted countless times.
        The letters in this anthology were contributed by leaders of the Church of England during the pre-war period and WWII (approx. 1933 to 1945). This period included the 6-year buildup to the WWII, and 7 years of actual armed combat between the Allied and Axis powers. The German Luftwaffe made repeated day and night bombings raids on the big cities (London Blitz) and the English countryside. Except for Switzerland, Ireland, Sweden and Spain, Britain was the only western European country that had not been invaded and occupied by the Nazis by May 1940.
  • 2021-12-07 11:34 AM | Thomas

    Heavy hearts, like heavy clouds in the sky, are best relieved by the letting of a little water.
      --Christopher Morley, writer (1890-1957)

    (113:5.2) Angels are so near you and care so feelingly for you that they figuratively "weep because of your willful intolerance and stubbornness." Seraphim do not shed physical tears; they do not have physical bodies; neither do they possess wings. But they do have spiritual emotions, and they do experience feelings and sentiments of a spiritual nature which are in certain ways comparable to human emotions.

    (125:4.2) Early next day Jesus was up and on his way to the temple. On the brow of Olivet he paused and wept over the sight his eyes beheld—a spiritually impoverished people, tradition bound and living under the surveillance of the Roman legions.

    (140:3.8) "Happy are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Happy are they who weep, for they shall receive the spirit of rejoicing.

    (141:0.2) Just before leaving, the apostles missed the Master, and Andrew went out to find him. After a brief search he found Jesus sitting in a boat down the beach, and he was weeping. The twelve had often seen their Master when he seemed to grieve, and they had beheld his brief seasons of serious preoccupation of mind, but none of them had ever seen him weep. Andrew was somewhat startled to see the Master thus affected on the eve of their departure for Jerusalem, and he ventured to approach Jesus and ask: "On this great day, Master, when we are to depart for Jerusalem to proclaim the Father's kingdom, why is it that you weep? Which of us has offended you?" And Jesus, going back with Andrew to join the twelve, answered him: "No one of you has grieved me. I am saddened only because none of my father Joseph's family have remembered to come over to bid us Godspeed."

    (168:1.1) After Jesus had spent a few moments in comforting Martha and Mary, apart from the mourners, he asked them, "Where have you laid him?" Then Martha said, "Come and see." And as the Master followed on in silence with the two sorrowing sisters, he wept. When the friendly Jews who followed after them saw his tears, one of them said: "Behold how he loved him. Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind have kept this man from dying?" By this time they were standing before the family tomb, a small natural cave, or declivity, in the ledge of rock which rose up some thirty feet at the far end of the garden plot.

    (184:2.9) After Jesus and the guards passed out of the palace gates, Peter followed them, but only for a short distance. He could not go farther. He sat down by the side of the road and wept bitterly. And when he had shed these tears of agony, he turned his steps back toward the camp, hoping to find his brother, Andrew.

    (187:1.6) As the death procession passed along the narrow streets of Jerusalem, many of the tenderhearted Jewish women who had heard Jesus' words of good cheer and compassion, and who knew of his life of loving ministry, could not refrain from weeping when they saw him being led forth to such an ignoble death. As he passed by, many of these women bewailed and lamented. And when some of them even dared to follow along by his side, the Master turned his head toward them and said: "Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but rather weep for yourselves and for your children. My work is about done—soon I go to my Father—but the times of terrible trouble for Jerusalem are just beginning.

    Christopher Morley (May 5, 1890 – March 28, 1957) was an American journalist, novelist, essayist and poet. He also produced stage productions for a few years and gave college lectures.

  • 2021-11-28 6:06 PM | Thomas
    Man was born free, and everywhere he is in chains.

      --Jean-Jacques Rousseau, philosopher and author (1712-1778)

    (81:5.3-5)  But cultural society is no great and beneficent club of inherited privilege into which all men are born with free membership and entire equality. Rather is it an exalted and ever-advancing guild of earth workers, admitting to its ranks only the nobility of those toilers who strive to make the world a better place in which their children and their children's children may live and advance in subsequent ages. And this guild of civilization exacts costly admission fees, imposes strict and rigorous disciplines, visits heavy penalties on all dissenters and nonconformists, while it confers few personal licenses or privileges except those of enhanced security against common dangers and racial perils.

        Social association is a form of survival insurance which human beings have learned is profitable; therefore are most individuals willing to pay those premiums of self-sacrifice and personal-liberty curtailment which society exacts from its members in return for this enhanced group protection. In short, the present-day social mechanism is a trial-and-error insurance plan designed to afford some degree of assurance and protection against a return to the terrible and antisocial conditions which characterized the early experiences of the human race.
        Society thus becomes a co-operative scheme for securing civil freedom through institutions, economic freedom through capital and invention, social liberty through culture, and freedom from violence through police regulation.

        Jean-Jacques Rousseau was a Genevan philosopher, writer, and composer. His political philosophy influenced the progress of the Enlightenment throughout Europe, as well as aspects of the French Revolution and the development of modern political, economic and educational thought.
        His Discourse on Inequality and The Social Contract are cornerstones in modern political and social thought. Rousseau's sentimental novel Julie, or the New Heloise (1761) was important to the development of preromanticism and romanticism in fiction. His Emile, or On Education (1762) is an educational treatise on the place of the individual in society. Rousseau's autobiographical writings—the posthumously published Confessions (composed in 1769), which initiated the modern autobiography, and the unfinished Reveries of the Solitary Walker (composed 1776–1778)—exemplified the late-18th-century "Age of Sensibility", and featured an increased focus on subjectivity and introspection that later characterized modern writing.
        Rousseau befriended fellow philosophy writer Denis Diderot in 1742, and would later write about Diderot's romantic troubles in his Confessions. During the period of the French Revolution, Rousseau was the most popular of the philosophers among members of the Jacobin Club. He was interred as a national hero in the Panthéon in Paris, in 1794, 16 years after his death.

  • 2021-11-22 4:29 PM | Thomas
    How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.

      --Annie Dillard, author (b. 30 Apr 1945)

    (48:7.26)  The destiny of eternity is determined moment by moment by the achievements of the day by day living. The acts of today are the destiny of tomorrow.

    (111:1.5) What you are today is not so important as what you are becoming day by day and in eternity.

    (147:5.7) What you are becoming day by day is of infinitely more importance than what you are today.

        Annie Dillard is an American author, best known for her narrative prose in both fiction and non-fiction. She has published works of poetry, essays, prose, and literary criticism, as well as two novels and one memoir. Her 1974 work Pilgrim at Tinker Creek won the 1975 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction. From 1980, Dillard taught for 21 years in the English department of Wesleyan University, in Middletown, Connecticut.

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