O ne outcome, the Bible tells us, of this life of union with Christ is purity of heart. Peter made this comment when he told the church at Jerusalem about the Holy Ghost falling on Cornelius and his household. He said that His coming "put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith". In other words, the first Pentecost had given heart purity, and the second the same.
Again in his letters, Peter writes, "Seeing ye have purified your souls ... see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently". And again, "I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance". Paul says, "The end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart..." And the Saviour, "Blessed are the pure in heart." We should therefore be bold in affirming the same by faith.
The physical term "heart" is used symbolically in the Bible. Just as the physical heart is the centre of the bodily functions, so we have an inner spiritual centre where we make our final choices, and are controlled by our true affections. It is there we are real, whatever we may put on outside. Thus
it says that "the word of God ... is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart", and "keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life."
Heart and spirit are linked in the Lord's word by Ezekiel: "A new heart will I also give you, and a new spirit will I put within you." Again by David in his cry of penitence, "Create in me a clean heart, 0 God; and renew a right spirit within me". We may say that the heart is the inner sanctuary of the human spirit, and thus of the whole man.
For this reason the integrity of this central citadel of our being is fiercely assaulted by the enemy, and many of God's people are deceived into a false surrender. All too quickly do we accept a lie from Satan that our hearts are in the condition described by Jeremiah, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" Very evidently the purified heart and such a desperately wicked heart cannot be in the same person at the same time!
L et us get the situation clear. A thing that is pure is unmixed, such as water with no dirt in it. Therefore, a heart that is pure has no rival affection in it. Now sit down a moment and examine the well-springs of your own heart, if you are joined to the Lord, one spirit. There are two great commandments: to love God with all our hearts and our neighbour as ourselves. Has God done such a work of grace in your heart that you can say these are
true of you? I believe we can honestly say yes to both. Down in our hearts we love Him supremely with no rivals, and we are ready to lay down our lives for the brethren, as God shows us how. Many a time we temporarily fall short of these standards, but we always come back to them, for they are the single intent of our hearts. That is the pure heart.
An interpretation of the pure in heart given recently in a secular daily paper is interesting. "The pure in heart do not see things through the distorting medium of self, and therefore they are the only persons who see things with perfect clarity. When your vision is distorted by self, you can see nothing as it really is-least of all the absolute and ultimate reality." Not knowing the wonderful secrets of grace, the writer added, "That, I think, is what Christ meant by the phrase, and if you ever had the courage, you would realize how extraordinarily difficult it is to be pure in heart."
But Satan's aim is to get us into false condemnation and thus cut the lifeline of faith. "If our hearts condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God." But, "if our hearts condemn us"-and the trouble is we so often let them. The comment John then makes is, "God is greater than our heart and knoweth all things". By this he means that God knows the inner intent of the heart to be pure, and that we have no business to accept this living condemnation so disturbing to our union and communion with Him.
The way Satan does it is simple. He diverts my attention by some temptation, and perhaps gets me to respond and thus to sin. My way back is plain enough through confession and the cleansing blood; but he has other purposes in thus tripping me up. He wants to invade the inner sanctuary of my heart where spirit is joined to Spirit, and disturb or destroy that union. So he points his lying finger as me and asks, "How can you claim a pure heart, when you do a thing like that?" And often he gets me to agree with him. But it is a lie, and he is pilfering from me my central position in Christ, where the pure Spirit lives in the purified heart. He has not only tripped me up, but seeks to wipe his dirty boots on me. So I learn not to take that lie. I don't allow him into that holy place. All he has done is to divert me temporarily, just as when my attention is drawn from looking in front of me when out for a walk. I don't walk looking sideways. I walk looking straight in front. If I do glance to the right or left, I soon return to eyes front. And the devil is a liar when, having caused me to look this way or that, he tries to tell me I always walk with a squint. I don't! The side-glance is only temporary. The single eye, the pure heart, is the norm of the new life.
(The foregoing article was taken from The Liberating Secret, Norman Grubb (Ft. Washington, Pa.: Christian Literature Crusade, 1977). See page 15 for details on this recently reprinted book.
"Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you"
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I spent long hours reciting my prayers before the holy statues in front of the altar, mixing in what Latin phrases I had learned. Agnus Dei, qui
tolls pecata mundi, miserere nobis. I
would kneel on the bare floor, thinking that such ascetic practices would purify my devotion to God. I would even recite my beads, though discreetly, for the rosary seemed more a past-time of old widows. During those hours which I passed in that somber church, I felt a pounding in my heart. It was a combination of pious fear and child-like love. I felt a warm touch that comforted me in my childhood anxieties. I do not know if that feeling was the touch of God, or if it was merely a psychological effect of all the holy things which fill a Roman Catholic church. But whatever doubts I have about the origin of that warm feeling, I know that the feeling itself was very real to me. I lived for that feeling.
Only vague impressions and isolated incidents of my childhood have survived. When I reflect on my Catholic upbringing, two words bring themselves to mind: "scruples" and "consolation." "Scruples" referred to the doubts and misgivings I had about myself and about my faith. When I was feeling guilty and repentant over a certain sin, when I did not feel that I was making progress in my devotions, when I felt insufficiently humble -during these times I would say, "I am experiencing scruples." "Consolation" referred to the good feelings I would derive from my devotions. I would often receive consolation after Holy Communion, after Confession, or during those long hours of reciting prayers on my knees before the crucifix or the icons.
At ten years of age life was already a serious business for me. It consisted of a continual struggle between scruples and consolation. The Catholic catechism of the fifties took account of every act of bad behavior. We were given lists with examples of "mortal" sins and "venial" sins. We were taught that unless a sin had been forgiven by a priest, we would have to suffer for it in the hereafter. If, when we died, our souls were stained with unconfessed mortal sins, then we would go to hell. If we had unconfessed venial sins, we would have to serve time in purgatory. I remember praying that God would let me die as I was walking out of a confessional box - with no unconfessed sins! As a child I could never escape the fear of death. These were my scruples.
On the other hand, I experienced great consolation in the Church. My young heart was easily stirred by all the holy objects: holy cards, statues, amulets, holy water, the Eucharist, the missals, the rosary. These instilled in me a sense of purpose in my life. Serving God gave me tremendous satisfaction. This was my consolation.
I tried to increase my consolation and decrease my scruples, but I never made much progress. My scruples always hung over me, whereas my consolation would leave me as soon as I left the church building. I began to question the intricate system of sins which was detailed in the catechism. Frustrated and weighed down by scruples, I finally gave up my faith in the Church and in God. Looking back, I do not regret those years. They were part of God's process in me, and those years linger with me still.
At age fifteen I met Jesus Christ and knew Him in a way that I had not known
Him as a child. Christ's presence in my life became tremendously real, and this new faith in Him was more solid than my childhood faith in the Church and the catechism. Still, there were certain parallels between the two faiths. I no longer feared death, because I knew that my sins were already forgiven by Christ, but the problem of scruples reemerged in full force. I found myself continually questioning my faithfulness to God. I doubted the sincerity of my good deeds, and I constantly rated my performance and found it lacking. I was not praying enough, or I was not sharing the gospel adequately. I did not apply myself as diligently to the Scriptures as I was able, or I simply did not devote enough of my energy to "spiritual" matters. My first years as a believer were happy years, yet I remember with clarity these selfdoubts -these scruples-that oppressed me.
The battles of scruples brought me to a point of despair. In that despair of utter solitude, after I had given up the battle as lost, God spoke to me, saying, "All battles are won in Me. Come to Me and I will give you rest. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light." I did rest in Him, and I learned that I could rest in Him because He was resting in me. The 139th Psalm best captures the spirit of that period in my life:
Where can I go from Thy Spirit? Or where can I flee from Thy presence?
If I ascend to heaven, Thou art there;
If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, Thou art there.
If I take the wings of the dawn,
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If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,
Even there Thy hand will lead me, And Thy right hand will lay hold of me,
If I say, "Surely the darkness will overwhelm me,
And the light around me will be night,"
Even the darkness is not dark to Thee,
And the night is as bright as the day.
Darkness and light are alike to Thee.
I basked in the love of God, ever
"The consoler no longer experiences miracles; rather, he himself is in some sense a miracle to others."
being aware of His intimate presence within me. My life was devoted to thanking and praising our Lord without ceasing. Even in my dreams I would worship Him. Sometimes I found it difficult to concentrate on my work at hand, because I was so filled with the sense of His presence. Scruples were no longer a problem; now I was experiencing consolation.
Resting in the Lord was a wonderful place to be, and I was convinced that I would stay there all my life. What I did not consider is the possibility that Christ might not stay. After having such a strong sense of His presence, I suddenly found myself without Him. I would pray and meditate and read the Scriptures, but my awareness of God's presence diminished until I felt that He had left me altogether. Oh I still knew that Christ was joined to my spirit as one, but my knowledge rested solely on blind faith. I could not feel Him, see Him, or hear Him. I could not sense Him so as to worship and love Him.
In desperation I finally shook my fist at God, saying, "How can life be worth living, if I cannot live it with You? Why do You keep Yourself so far from me? You know that I love You, yet You hide Yourself. What is it, Lord? What do You want from me?"
He answered me then. He said, "All these years I have made you very aware of My love for you. I have been a Rock on which you have stood firmly. Freely you have received; now freely give. As I have loved you, so you shall love others. You shall be a rock to those around you. Go, you be christ to the world."
In a very real sense Christ left me. And He has never returned. God
pushed me out of "resting in the Lord" into "resting as the Lord." Rather than receive consolation, I was to give it out. Having left behind scruples, and no longer having the consolation of wonderful feelings from my friendship with Christ, I was left with a new purpose: to console.
I have occasionally missed the times of consolation, but there is no turning back in this life. Since I know myself as a form of Christ, I no longer feel Him as a separate Person. I am aware of the transcendent God who is wholly beyond my human understanding, but my vision is no longer centered on the outer God. Instead I focus my attention on the inner Christ, who is the real me.
My friendship with Christ, wherein He was always with me and consoling me, has given way to the realization of myself as a form of Christ, wherein I must be a friend to others.
After depending on the Lord to work through me for so many years, I suddenly found Him very quiet, saying only, " Do what you want to do. You are a creator." I saw myself saddled with tremendous responsibility, and I felt as though I was returning to my childhood faith in which God's work depended on me. But now there was a great difference. Now I had the endless resources of Jesus Christ from which to proceed. I knew that it is not I, but Christ in me. But yet it is me. Now I am the decision-maker, knowing that my will is His will. To say "I believe in God" also means "I believe in myself." No longer can I go whining to God; He does not hear me. He only says, "If you seek comfort, then look into yourself, for you are a comforter now."
A consoler is a leaning post for others. He listens, he empathizes, he meets physical needs, he gives counsel, he believes in others, he loves. A consoler has faith and builds confidence in those who have no selfconfidence. Through the love of a consoler, the consoled one is able to finally love himself. By placing confidence in an insecure person, that person gains confidence. A consoler must be a changeless, visible christ to those who still need the outer support of signs and miracles. In other words, the consoler no longer experiences miracles; rather, he himself is in some sense a miracle to others. Through death in himself he brings life to the world.
The consoler peels off the layers of guilt and shame with which others have clothed themselves. He shows others that they are valuable, wonderful people, precious in the sight of God. He gives people hope and makes them feel good about living. Yet the consoler himself dies a daily death. He bears upon himself the burdens of others, trading his compassion for their griefs. The consoler is responsible for those who depend on him, and he constantly drains himself for their sakes. Hence the consoler often feels empty, yet somehow he creates life for others out of that emptiness. Even when he feels physically, emotionally, or spiritually sick, the consoler will continue to give out joy to those who lean on him.
The consoler walks a lonely road. There are many who love and respect him, but when those who receive his consolation are ready to stand on their own, they often take their leave without so much as a "thank you." Some who receive his consolation cannot really return love, because they are not yet able to love themselves. He who consoles bears the sorrows of others, yet there are few people with whom he can share his own sorrows and frustrations. Added to all this is God's seeming abandonment. The consoler finds himself all alone. 'Mysteriously, it is that aloneness which continuously impels him to reach out of himself to people in need.
Other people are the joy and glory of the consoler. He does not care about recognition, and he is not preoccupied with his own image as a "good Christian." His life is for others, and that is all there is to say.
Reader, if what you have read makes no sense to you, put this piece of writing aside. Perhaps at another time in your life it will have some significance. Or perhaps the concept of "consoler" as I have described it will never be meaningful to you. That is fine and good. I have not written this article to sway opinions. Neither do I wish to imply that God is leading us all to be consolers by way of my description.
What I have recorded is God's own dealing with me, from scruples to consolation to consoler. I have written for those who have had similar experiences - for those who have experienced this aloneness, this feeling that God has in some sense left them. To these people I say, "Do not despair. Do not think that you are regressing. On the contrary, God is pushing you into yet another dimension. Your loss of His consolation is being replaced by a far greater calling: the role of consoler." Can we accept this joyful but arduous calling? Our whole lives have been leading to it. How can we reject it?
UNION LIFE Page 5
Daniel S. Grubb is a Professor of English at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, as well as the Associate Editor of UNION LIFE. He and his wife, Rosemary, have followed the Lord for many years, until at last they have come to know themselves as perfect expressions of Christ.
The following article challenges us to look beyond unpleasant appearances to the reality of God who is all in all. Dr. Grubb clearly sees God in his vocation, making frequent references to Shakespeare, T.S. Eliot, and other great writers.
T his has been my happiest Christmas, and I think I know why. I have begun to see below the appearance to the reality. It has taken fifty years to learn that lesson, but if I have really learned it, I consider it fifty years well spent. King Lear's Kent had learned an acute lesson while sitting in the stocks; he was able to say, "Nothing almost sees miracles but misery" (II, ii, 172).' I believe there has to be a stripping away before there can be a finding.
The difference between appearance and reality has always bothered mankind, and it is about that I wish to write. The appearance is the Christmas tree, the babe in the manger, the star, and the wisemen; the reality is the cross in our lives, the Christ within us, and the light we bring to others. Again, the appearance is the discomfort of suffering, the trauma of spiritual maturation, and the stigmatism of the spoken word; but the reality is the joy, the enlightenment, and the fulfillment.
As a logician, I have. always sought for a logical explanation of things. We are all made differently, of course,
'Citations from Shakespeare in the text are from Shakespeare: The Complete Works, ed. G. B. Harrison (New York: Harcourt, Brace, and World, 1968).
but I have never been content with mere sentimentality or the effluvia of the moment. What I have sought for in Scripture is a logical explanation of God's dealings with men, and I have always found it. That is why I have entitled this article: "Cause and Effect God: The Olive Branch or the Rod," because when a biblical character has walked in the Spirit, he has walked in the light, and found the peace of God which "passeth all understanding." Only when he has forsaken the true and living Way has he become confused and his understanding darkened. When we find the lights suddenly go out in a room, we immediately seek the source of the trouble, perhaps replace a burned out fuse or repair a shorted light cord. Then immediately the light has been restored. So David, entering into darkness because of the Bathsheba affair, has light shed on his actions by Nathan, the prophet of the Lord, and repents. It is true the rod is applied in his case, and God kills the child, but once fellowship is restored, God gives him another child whose descendent on the mother's side is Christ our Lord. This does not mean God condones the sin, but he blesses the "saint" when he acknowledges his sin, and in spite of it. David further reaps the effect of his action (which is the cause) through the division that accompanies all of his ac-
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tions for the rest of his life. God does not promise to prevent consequences taking their natural course, but he does promise to bless in spite of them, "to restore the years the locust hath eaten" (Joel 2:25).
I t was many years ago I learned the lesson that I have nothing of my own. All has been lent me. When I was an undergraduate at The King's College, then located in Delaware, a Christian friend had given me sixty dollars with which I had bought a much needed Omega watch, my pride and joy. I had intended to have "God's Gift" engraved on its back, but before getting around to taking it to the jeweler's, my watch was stolen. Belatedly I learned that God's gifts could be taken away. Years later as a graduate student at Duke University, God had to repeat this lesson. My faith had been shaken by an atheistic psychology professor and I had found my ship becalmed like the Ancient Mariner's in the middle of a desolate ocean, without living water, not knowing that all the time that Water was within me. First my wallet was stolen, then my health broken. Like Jonah, I ran away to hide, only my whale's belly was Caney College, Kentucky, from where I wrote cancelling my registration at Fuller Theological Seminary for the fall. But even in the midst of the sea, His hand upheld me (Ps. 109), and a stone intended for me crashed through my bedroom window onto an empty pillow, and a few weeks later God again preserved my life when an attempt was made to lynch me.
I have found there is a voice within that says, "This is the way, walk ye in it" (Is. 30:21). It is a small insistent voice, but it is there. Jesus, united to my spirit, guides my way and makes even my enemies to be at peace with me. I have also begun to see material things as merely adjuncts to His purpose. That is why it doesn't matter whether we have one arm, leg, or eye. God is concerned with the spirit of man, and his body, clothes, food, comfort, are only to be used to the one end of proclaiming Christ as Lord to the
glory of God the Father. So Moses' stutter (I find it impossible to accede to Moses' belief in his elocutionary inadequacy after reading Deuteronomy) is of no significance as an impediment to God, because Moses' spirit was right. So Miss Francis Ridley Havergal could minister from her bed because her spirit was united to Christ's. Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel would all be considered "kooks" by psychologists, but a fire burned within their bones that made their inadequacies flames for God. As God says, he has confounded the wise through the foolish and taken the despised and debased and made them mighty (I Cor. 1).
When Isaiah beheld the glory of God, he cried out: "Woe is me ... because I am a man of unclean lips." But God touched his lips with fire from the altar. Thus enabled, this prophet responded to God's challenge: "Who will go for us?", with, "Here am I; send me" (Is. 6). Thus centuries later T. S. Eliot can write in The Four Quartets, "We only live, only suspire,/consumed by either fire or fire" ("Little Gidding," IV, 144)2 That fire can be -should be - the Spirit of God igniting us to His service; on the other hand it can be the self-motivating anguish of the materialist, who builds barns which remain empty and whose epitaph is Christ's cryptic remark: "So is he that layeth up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God" (Luke 12:21). Or as T.S. Eliot puts it in his "Choruses from the Rock": "his only monument the asphalt road, and a thousand lost golf balls" (III, 103).
In The Winter's Tale, Shakespeare tells of how Hermione is recalled to life after sixteen years. Standing as a statue surrounded by friends and relatives, Pauline tells her:
'Tis time to descend, be stone no more.... Strike all that look upon you with marvel Come, I'll fill your grave up. Stir - nay, come away, Bequeath to death your numbness, for from him Dear life redeems you. (V, iii, 99-103)
In Shakespeare's last plays particularly, Christian themes, as here, are evident to all but the most obtuse reader. "Dear life" for the Christian must mean our Lord Jesus Christ, who overcame death and the grave both physically and spiritually. He alone can recall to life. That life is ours through the atonement of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. But so often, I think, we remain as statues, beautiful to look at, touch, and even hold, but without the fire that warns others around us with the sense of that Presence we claim to have within, the fire of love, of compassion, of a sound mind. His wholeness is our wholeness as we speak, touch, and minister to others. It is His love that Christ would have us share.
Dr. Manette, in Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities, is unjustly imprisoned for eighteen years in the Bastille by a malicious nobleman in pre-revolutionary France. Unexpectedly, "recalled to life," he is able years later to minister to others in the same condition during the terror that accompanied the French Revolution. One of these is his own son-in-law, who, ironically, is the nephew of the marquis who had incarcerated Dr. Manette. But the good doctor sees only that his old pain and suffering have given him the strength and power to help. Out of what dungeons have you and I been called, united with the Spirit of life, to go forth, flames of fire, ministering to others in our different ways?
'Citations from T. S. Eliot in the text are from T. S. Eliot: The Complete Poems and Plays: 1909-1950 (New York: Harcourt, Brace, and World, 1950).
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We have this treasure in earthen vessels,
Does the union-life emphasis upon "Spirit as ultimate reality" encourage license? Directly or indirectly this question is asked of me more than any other.
My first response is the same as Paul's: "Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be!" (Rom. 6:15). My second response is that I prefer to label as "growing pains" that which others call license. Some might prefer to say that what looks like license is God's unique way of working His truth into our inner consciousness. At any rate, this subject certainly needs further clarification, for to many observers union-life teaching appears at times to encourage license.
THE PROBLEM PRESENTED BY DUALISTIC THOUGHT
When people first hear union-life or spirit teaching, they tend to express the only point of view available to them. Because they are entrenched in a dualistic outlook, they just naturally translate what they hear as an encouragement to sin. Society trains us to be objective persons (see-aters) who distrust the unseen, the spiritual, or the metaphysical. We are the products of the educational system in which we grew up. Unfortunately, that system has taught us to judge by outer appearances, even though Jesus ex
pressly warned against it. "Judge not according to appearance, but judge righteous judgment" (John 7:24).
In addition, society has dictated certain standards of conduct for each peer group. These standards are enforced by a reward system which we might call the Law of Rewards. Each peer group extends or withholds favors to its members based upon their conduct. The system is totally based upon performance, on outer actions. Since the system is the dispenser of approval and rewards, persons governed by that system are led to believe that the system is inherently sacred. From such a belief these persons naturally but erroneously conclude that spiritual maturity, begun in Grace, can somehow be completed in works. Of course, union-life teaching intrudes as an unwelcomed contradiction to the Law of Rewards.
An added error emerging from our compliance with the Law of Rewards is the ridiculous notion that we can somehow repay God for His redemptive work. We are led down the path of "commitment to Christ," of "consecrated self," and of a myriad of other designations for the same dead-end. We become enmeshed in the RomansSeven syndrome of attempting to do good, but we seldom attain the desired inner consciousness of satisfaction. Our attempts to discipline ourselves or refrain from doing "wrong" end with
THE TRANSITION TO INNER CONSCIOUSNESS
To those who hear union-life teaching and know they have heard truth, the "eyes of the heart" (Eph. 1:18) have been enlightened. They have taken the Spirit's bait. They differ now in their inner consciousness, for they are becoming "see-through-ers" rather than "see-at-ers."
Though the Spirit is beginning His work in the inner man, the new seethrough-er does not yet live from a fixed inner consciousness. He vacillates between a new awareness of his fixed union with God and an old consciousness of separation from God. But in the process his perspective on life is moving from the level of what is visible to the level of the invisible, which is spirit.
During this period of vacillation, some spectators will inevitably conclude that the believer has fallen into
that the surpassing greatness of the power may be of God and not from ourselves. 2 Corinthians 4:7
equally disappointing results. The only way our frustration can ever be appeased is by comparing our meager actions with someone else's failure; or by excusing our failure in the light of another's grosser wrong. We find comfort in measuring ourselves by our intentions and others by their actions. That approach gives us an outside possibility of overcoming the RomansSeven syndrome.
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license if his conduct fails to conform to the acceptable pattern of the peer group. This license may take the form of smoking, social drinking, swearing, using make-up, being divorced, an unacceptable sexual practice, or a hundred other activities. The spectators are even more appalled when the believer now takes these deviations not as gross license, but as God's intended path for him!
What is happening? The believer is moving into a fixed inner consciousness by personally experiencing and acknowledging the Spirit's work in his humanity. I am the first to admit that many who hear union-life teaching initially interpret it as a green light for increased permissiveness. Some people need to experience a total overthrow of their old standards. But in time they will put aside promiscuous activities, for they will realize that those outer crutches offer nothing more than a new bondage.
This process will appear as license to those who only perceive reality on the performance level. However, what is needed at this juncture is not condemnation, but a patient awareness that God is at work producing a fixed inner consciousness in each believer..
UNION-LIFE TEACHING DOES NOT ENCOURAGE LICENSE
As the inner consciousness becomes his fixed consciousness, the seethrough-er discovers in himself the full identity of the One he contains - his ..not I but Christ" Spirit. Colossians 2:9,10 says, "For in Him (Christ) all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have come to fullness of life." Since all the fullness of Deity dwells in Christ, and Christ dwells in the believer, the fullness of Deity (at least qualitatively) dwells in each believer.
Union-life trusts the Spirit to woo and illumine each individual to the awareness of his true position in Christ. We know that God uses alternatives in this matter-life to cause us to know him, to act, or to do whatever He desires from us at the moment. God means us to have the results of our ac
tions. But these results have the purpose of leading us into a fixed inner consciousness of Oneness. Admittedly, some actions appear to plunge the person into further fires of purification. However, these experiences are personal and private, and we dare not judge by unrighteous judgment what God is doing in another's life. To do so is to tread on holy ground.
We must see that life's actions are designed to purge a person from dualistic living -from separate seeing, from separated choices. These fires of purification drive him to see all outer conduct as the work of the Spirit.
The home-base for the see-througher is the awareness of his own life as an expression of God, the other-lover. This position knows no reward system for good conduct. This path results in a death for us, and in life for others. "So death works in us and life in you" (2 Cor. 4:12). Paul also calls it a weakness (2 Cor. 12:5, 9, 10). No one seeks this type of "death"; it is thrust upon him. It is the life for which God has been preparing him. It is summed up in the statement, "a body have you prepared for me" (Heb. 10:15). Temporary excursions into what objective persons call license is but a chapter in the preparation for throne living.
Again, the principle is not life unto life, but death unto life for others. "Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone, but if it dies, it bears much fruit" (John 12:24). Life for others comes spontaneously as the container (the person) becomes fixed in his real reason for being. Jesus said, "He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for my sake will find it (Matt. 10:39).
Remember my earlier statement, "The work of the Holy Spirit for each person is private and personal." The work of the Spirit is to transfer one's perspective from temporary appearances to Spirit reality. He is transferring us into the fixed inner consciousness that the Spirit realm is the realm of Ultimate Reality. As a form of Christ, the see-through-er exists for others. The see-through-er has moved from seeing temporary, outer appearances as Reality to seeing permanent, inner Spirit Reality.
We need not be side-tracked by the seeming inconsistency of outer conduct, for in the spirit realm God has produced the finished product. Outer conduct is never the yardstick for Holy Spirit persons whose inner consciousness is fixed on the permanent reality. Jesus' own outer conduct was a puzzle to the religious community of His day. Most of them rejected Him. Union-life persons know themselves to be available to God for His purposes, even in the apparent inconsistencies.
Union-life does not encourage license. However, it does see through the temporary outer events of our lives to the inner working of the Holy Spirit. This teaching accepts as the work of the Spirit what some may call license. It speaks the word of faith: "For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His own good pleasure" (Phil. 2:13).
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No, I can't tell you what your hang-ups are. I'll tell you why I can't. Any hangups that you think you have, or that anyone else might think you have, or that you think anyone else might think you have, are not real. Our thinking they are real is due to our believing in death instead of Life.
One time I talked to Norman Grubb about a dear friend of mine who thought she had a multitude of hang-ups. He wouldn't even consider the term. He said, "There are no such things." I was annoyed at him, because I thought there certainly were. His refusal to talk about it or even explain why he wouldn't talk about it made me mad enough to do a lot of mulling it over, and one day the Lord within began to enlighten me.
Having said that, I must say that each negative believing that we have about ourself is only His way of digging a hole in us deep enough until we see it as a hole that needs filling. Then He fills that hole up with His Life. That's His way of "transforming us by the renewing of our mind" (Romans 12:2).
That verse begins with "Be ye," which says that his transformation goes forward by our recognition of Him as All and in All -both the hole-digger and the One to fill the hole with Himself. He can do nothing more than what He is already and always and forever doing-pressing in on us with His total love. Your very desire to know your hang-ups is a result of His forever pressure of Love on you-from within, because you have recognized Jesus Christ as your Life through His substitutionary atonement on the Cross; and from without, because He comes to us in everything our senses are bombarded with.
During this time, you may be experiencing His Love almost entirely as pressure. He loves you so wholly that He is willing to appear hurtful, negative, and unkind to you in order to break you wide open to seeing Him as Life in each
succeeding moment, thus opening yourself to experiencing His Love at that very moment. You can see, then, that with us humans He has to bring a lot of pressure to make us stop judging good and evil (like Eve did after her physical eyes were opened to be able to do this through the eating of the fruit).
We think it is a God-given right to decide, for instance, that our "hang-ups" are bad and something that we can and must work out, work on, get help with, when it really isn't. It is rather a man-grabbed curse. Our God-given privilege, because He loves and adores us, is to see that every negative is a pressure of Love from Him, saying, in effect, "Won't you recognize that in this part of your existence I AM LIFE too? Believe this; enjoy my Love here. Watch Me use what you think is bad, evil, unpleasant, threatening, and difficult to My Glory. My ways are far above your ways, so you can't possibly understand how this could be. Your reason wants to figure it out, and your feelings want to 'feel' my love before you see it with the eye of faith."
The "Be ye", then, consists of your recognition, in place after place (maybe places that the world would call hangups), that even this is God's pressure of Love. Your great gift from Him is to simply watch Him renew your mind, your viewpoint, your perspective, your believing about it. What actually happens to what we thought was a problem is His business, and becomes secondary to us as we rest and revel in His Love.
If you would like to talk to me, as He makes you want to and as He arranges the time, I would be honored to be in on the "Watching."
I love you. Laurie
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The agony, the loneliness of being imprisoned within Had a core of perfection, which is in the center of
The I, the ultimate I, the only One who exists; David's Root, his descendant, the Lamb, the
the Holy One Judas kissed!
His loving hand brought about all the pain and con
What I thought was reality was only illusion. I was never imprisoned, bound or distorted;
It was "pretend", a misapprehension that I'd been
For there really is no sting, He's put Life into death. I now see the heart-beat, with or without breath. Love, the Master of death, is Eternal Life. He proposed, He said "yes", and now I'm His wife. Home again, where I belong, deep in His heart; I really die ,, g, was a spectator from the start. I exist , 'observe Him, through me, in action you
What ecstasy, the ultimate joy; my Lover, one with
I watch as He goes through His He embraces Himself, perfection,
Am I watching, or is He watching? I can not tell, Because we became One, when into Love we fell. And when was that? From the beginning! Then on through all the sinning and winning! It's all part of Romance; my Love created it for me,
Person, through person, clothed in clay. Alluring, inviting, then placing me into Eternity.
Uniquely through me; now a divine chosen pot, In Love, forever I was, and forever I'll be.
He touched each one, each thing, my entitire lot. He put me there, in Him; we're one, you see.
Don't mistake my "we", thinking there are two, at a
Two is an illusion, created for expressing Romance. My heart overflows, I'm bursting at the seams. How can I begin to explain what this Love means? Because He, Who is Love, exists only to be self
And is All and in All, so All is Love living! Oh, I can't stand it, surely I'll bust.
How able to contain Him, is this vessel of dust?
editors: Though lacking the polish and expertise of a professional poet, the following poem is rich with meaning. It fulfills the most important requisite for good poetry: it tells tremendous truth with a minimum of words. Norman Grubb has labelled it a "daring, total, radical, as well as gloriously ecstatic outpouring."
I always have been, I always will be -
Yet, not I, but He; not me, only Thee.
I've been in His heart from the very beginning As one, we saw it all; the sinning and winning!
We've always been one, since the start of
I was absolutely His, and He was mine. The plan was perfect, I knew so well,
As He formed the heavens and ordained the hell. The unfolding was flawless, not one mistake; The Garden, the Fall -all for my sake! He then dressed me in my human form, Slowing me down to fit into "this norm."
There I was, a seed in her womb -my ancestor
On to Grandmother's, then Mother's, before I to leave.
My "birth" experience was surely bleak. How could it be different, joining the weak! I found myself bound by an outer shell, Trapped, deep inside; surely this was hell! It really wasn't birth, it was death, you see;
But, oh, so necessary, so I could forever be.
motions of love; pure -gentle as
precious new way
The years since my "birth" did surely flee;
Each day, each moment controlled by Thee. The torture, the pain, which occupied most
Was determined, ordained by the Lord of Hosts! He reigned supreme, as the going got rough;
I stayed deep within, as the outside grew tough. There were multitudes of abuses, but let's shorten
A molested child, a tragic youth, a divorce, a dead baby- all part of the illusionary mist!
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by Bill Volkman
A recent episode on my favorite TV program, The Rockford Files, made me acutely aware of the fact that the Union Life Message, which we so enthusiastically share, can easily degenerate into being just another religious gimmick.
Jim Rockford (a private detective - for those of you who are not familiar with the program) finds himself enmeshed in a blackmail case. A legal secretary unwittingly serves as a "bagman" for her unethical boss in the delivery of the $30,000 blackmail money. On the same day she decides to quit her job so that she can devote full time to seeking "a greater consciousness of her oneness with God."
Part of her method for attaining a greater "awareness" was meditation in bright sunlight. This was supposed to allow the sun's rays to realign and straighten out the distortions in her inner being. In her preoccupation with finding God more fully, the secretary forgets to deliver the package with the $30,000 in it. Jim Rockford gets involved because the crooks are led to assume that he knows where the money is. Things get even more complicated when the secretary's guru replaces the real money with newspaper and Jim delivers the worthless package to the crooks.
The whole program made me quite uncomfortable. The language used by the secretary was embarrassingly close to the language used at our Union Life conferences and in our magazine. She was no less sincere than we are. In fact, when her spiritual leader is exposed as a fake near the end of the program, she con
scientiously continues her search for Reality. In the last scene, Jim encounters her on the street engaged in a whole new religious trip. Conservatively dressed, with hair in a "missionary-like" bun, she is hawking a $7.00 book that reveals the secrets of how to attain peace through a combination of "Jesus" and meditation. It reminded me of many who follow the same routine at O'Hare Airport. She could not take time to have coffee with Jim, because she was too busy "serving Jesus" in her street witnessing.
A number of letters have been written to UNION LIFE by our constituency, in which they share their concern that union-life not become another religious gimmick. What can be done to prevent Truth seekers from turning the truth of awareness of Oneness into a distorted effort to develop a formula for attaining an awareness of Oneness? Nothing! Man's efforts to attain a consciousness of Oneness are part of the necessary outer process in many lives of bringing the individuals involved to a fixed inner consciousness of their Union. The efforts are part of the growing pains which are needed to bring them to an "unconscious consciousness."
"Unconscious consciousness" sounds like double-talk, but let me explain. Outer soul consciousness and inner spirit consciousness are not the same. The former is a mental awareness. The latter is an inner sense of "knowing" that transcends mental reasoning. Each of us has "known" things to be true even though we could not articulate the basis of that knowing. Frequently we label it intuition, or ESP (extra sensory perception - for we know it is beyond our senses). It is an apprehension or cognition without the process of conscious reasoning - it is
an "unconscious consciousness" that comes by inner revelation.
However, we should not disdain the outer process used in many lives to bring the individuals involved to a greater inner consciousness. What starts as conscious recognition frequently ends as an unconscious acceptance. Most skiers have consciously to learn various technical maneuvers such as stem christies and parallel turns before they spontaneously make deep powder turns on a steep slope. All artists start with conscious techniques and systematic "how-to's" before they develop into skilled professionals. Nadia Comaneci of Rumania did not just walk up to a balance beam in her local gymnasium and perform the routines that earned her perfect tens at the Olympics. Years of conscious practice brought her to the place of unconscious spontaneity in her gymnastic routines. Do not be surprised that Christians will also frequently follow a path of "conscious being" before they are known for their natural, "unconscious being."
The secretary in The Rockford Files TV episode seemed to need a lot of outer involvement to firm up her inner awareness of Oneness. In one scene with her Eastern Mysticism group, she was floating in a swimming pool with blinders on her eyes, as well as ear and nose plugs. The reasoning was that if some of the outer senses were sealed off there would be a better chance to develop an inner consciousness of true Reality. Though we might laugh at the ridiculousness of the forms which Awareness-seeking frequently takes, rest assured that your own path to inner awareness might also
appear at times to be preposterous to on-lookers.
To the mature, much of the sym-
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bolism of organized Christianity is a "joke." Even the symbolism of the cross has its humorous side. Would those who insist on wearing a cross around their neck wear a miniature electric chair if the Messiah had come in the 20th Century and had been put to death in that fashion? Would all the churches then have giant electric chairs on top of their spires? Do you suppose the Roman Catholics and Protestants would then argue whether the electric chairs should be depicted with or without Jesus in them? The cross is a very precious and proper symbol to the Christian believer,
because it reminds us of Christ's tremendous sacrifice of love. Symbols are good and necessary, but we must not lose sight of what they represent.
Though we look forward to the day when inner spontaneity replaces all the conscious outer forms and symbols and how-to's, be sure to recognize that immature outer manifestations are still evidence of a measure of inner awareness. So let each seeker take the path he must to come to his personal fixed inner consciousness, and let each teacher and witness use the approach he is led to use.
E ven Scripture frequently seems to advocate outer doing rather than inner being, but this is solely because of the focus of the reader. For example, when Paul said, ''Pray without ceasing," he certainly was not suggesting around-the-clock prayer meetings. One does not need to try to keep God in his mental consciousness every waking moment of the day. No, Paul was speaking of a spontaneous inner consciousness - of an "unconscious consciousness." In our immaturity we see Paul's admonitions as laws and principles, and we try to fulfill them through the use of gimmicks. But in maturity, we will finally come to see that all such admonitions are automatically fulfilled as part of the stream of Living Water which naturally flows from inner knowing.
The "unconscious consciousness" does not result from long strivings and self-effort. Rather, this spontaneity is the essence of Christ's life which He lives in and through us. Believers already possess the "unconscious consciousness." However, most of us must go through a desert experience of outer doing, until we finally "come to the end of our rope" and see that Life does not result from our works, but by God's grace. Then we realize that what we are seeking is already ours in Jesus Christ. We begin to live spontaneously.
The final test of maturity is unconsciousness (spontaneity), not consciousness. Did you consciously think about breathing today, or think about putting one foot ahead of the other in walking, or think about the use of your hands on the steering wheel when you drove your car? If you did, you were having a problem with your lungs, or your feet, or your hands. Life is meant to move from conscious doing to unconscious spontaneity, from conscious gimmicks to unconscious being. If you need to use the union life message as a gimmick for a time, be my guest, but rest assured that in due season shadow will become substance and symbol will become reality.
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This article was taken from London Notes and Lectures, originally published by L.N. Fowler & Co. of London.
by Walter C. Lanyon
"Resist not evil." That which you
resist is to you real. A thing that becomes real cannot be destroyed. That which you fight as evil, fights back with equal force, since it is but the reflex action of your own belief.
A rubber ball thrown against a wall will return without effort on your part. The contour of a rubber ball is destroyed by grasping it firmly in the hand, and nothing can restore its natural shape until the resistance is released. Then quite automatically the ball assumes its normal condition. The same is true of any organ of your body. That organ which is constantly in thought, constantly worked with or held in mind is usually diseased. The body which is fatigueless and perfect, is the body which is most out of thought.
That which you resist, you fear. That which you fear, you hate. The thing that you greatly fear comes into manifestation in proportion to the intensity of your fear. Not because it has any power to come into manifestation, but that it is called into visibility by your acceptance of it as a fact. That which you accept as a fact must sooner or later come into visibility. That which you accept as yours must surely come to you; it cannot go to another. Inversely, that which you reject or refuse to accept as yours certainly can find no lodgment in your kingdom.
"He that feareth is not made perfect." "Perfect love casteth out fear." Perfect love cannot graft itself on to a house (mentality) divided against itself, for that house shall fall. Every mentality is divided against itself as long as it believes in two powers, or believes there is something called evil which it must fight. "You do not need to fight; set yourself and see."
If you believe that God, good, created the universe out of himself, you certainly know that it cannot contain any quality that is not inherent in him. Holding to the isness of good firmly and unwaveringly, in spite of the illusion of evil, will cause it to manifest in your universe, for it will eventually become a reality to you.
"Ye have eyes and see not." Sometimes the word "believe" means standing firm, and sometimes only a weak desire or hope that something better will take place. When we "believe" in the latter sense of the
word, we can never have peace, for a belief can be destroyed or changed at any time. A man can believe anything regarding himself, but he can only know the Truth. You may believe that two times two is anything or everything. This will not change the eternal fact that it remains the same always, irrespective of the argument and socalled proof to the contrary. The same thing is true of your body and universe. Because you and the whole world have believed that it is sick, sinning and inharmonious does not change the eternal fact of existence. As soon as you understand this even in a small degree, you will realize that the only safe thing to do is to stand firm on the eternal facts of Being, unchanging, untrammeled and perfect.
"Ten thousand may fall at thy right hand"-ten thousand who argue and believe may fall-but he who knows himself as pure Spirit, birthless, ageless, and eternal, shall stand, even though the whole world of circumstance say he must and will fall. He who keeps his contemplation on the isness of life shall go untrammeled,
free, and abandoned. Why should you not be abandoned when you know the facts of existence? What matter though the noisy crowd clamour to make you tune into their level of thinking. You are keyed into the. reality of life and you shall see works in place of noisy words. You shall be abandoned and happy and shall keep your mental gaze fixed on the realities of a God-made universe. You shall thrill with joy at the knowledge that you do not want to change anything,' or anybody-you have only to accept and see the good everywhere.
To understand the reality of life man does not waste time studying unrealities, any more than a musician would spend years in the study of discord trying to find harmony. If he desires to know harmony, he studies the isness of its fundamental laws. There is no science of discord. It has no basic principle. It is a constant attempt to break the law, and is a product of belief only. A banker becomes so conversant with real money that he recognizes counterfeit coins by the feel, the touch and the
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hearing. The more he knows of the real and genuine, the more easily he recognizes it, and the quicker he is able to reject the unreal as worthless.
N o amount of study of evil is going to make you better. A man may spend a lifetime denying what he is not, and yet get nowhere. He may deny that he is sick, and die while doing so. Calling an evil condition a "belief" and making that belief something real, does not help the situation. "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet." A sickness or inharmony called a "belief" will give off the same aroma and effect.
Understanding the nature of God, man understands the nature of himself. The greater his understanding of God, the greater his understanding of himself. Man's business, then, is the recognition of the eternal facts of a changeless, harmonious universe. As
he rises, so to speak, in the scale of this understanding, he sees personal sense as a mystification of the appearance world, which is constantly changing. All "things" are in a constant state of disintegration and change. Conditions are constantly going and coming. Personality imposes difficulties on itself and then resists and fights them. "Awake thou that sleepeth, and God shall give light."
Evil conditions are but parasites that feed upon your thought formation. Break the continuity of the thoughtstream which is feeding the so-called evil circumstance and the manifestation must change. That which you accept as real comes to abide in the realm of manifestation for you.
A circumstance is only as old as the last thought about it. Any time the thought about it is changed the manifestation instantly disappears.
Darkness does not intensify with age. Any moment a light is brought, darkness disappears. It is absorbed, as it were, in the light. The same thing is true of sickness and inharmony. It is as easy to destroy a chronic as an acute disease. Both are dispelled by bringing the light of the isness of Being to bear on the situation.
When you wish to dispel darkness your whole attention is given to the light. No provision is made for what is to become of the darkness. Neither do you consider how and when it will go. At the same time you know that it goes nowhere, because it is not a reality, but the absence of light. "I am the truth and the light and the way." The moment you come to recognize yourself as the light, that moment the darkness of your universe goes. You do not force it to go; your consciousness rests in your universe and floods it with light. It is so!
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by Andrew Murray
A recent perusal of William Law's writings under the editorship of Andrew Murray has afforded me a fuller appreciation of what underlies our experience and teaching in UNION LIFE. William Law is somewhat difficult to read, so here are presented some very helpful introductory remarks by Andrew Murray on the subject of MYSTICISM, what he calls "true and healthy mysticism from which the church has nothing to fear."
It is very clear, and a cause of some astonishment, that comparatively few seem drawn to the union-life outlook or seek to build their lives on that understanding of truth. To many of us it is both thoroughly biblical and even logical. But there seems to be a ,fear holding many people back, or what is
even worse, a total lack of awareness that there is such light and truth to be enjoyed.
To know the outside of something is much easier than to know the inside of it. The outward appearance and functions of a tree can be admired by thousands who, while describing its shape, proportions and its beauty, would be hard put to say anything about the principle and process of its life from within. Similarly, the inner facts about Christianity are not readily assimilated.
Paul puts these inner facts under the category of mysteries, which brings us close to the word mystic. As the whole of life is mainly externalized, we approach Christianity that way, understanding it from the outside, its historic facts and its theological framework. But how God woos, wins and commands the soul, how close the
relationship is intended to be, is apt to be a hidden reality. Maybe it is because it is more costly to come to know the inside of anything.
So here ,for the hungry of heart is a helpful outline of Christian mysticism, a subject which ,for many has long been suspect and misunderstood. The prejudice has probably been mostly fostered by the ,fact that all religions have an element of mysticism in them, and so there is a general, fear of getting into error. This thought is expanded by Murray in the following fine introduction to the subject. -J. W.
Andrew Murray's introduction on mysticism is taken front his edited version of William Law's writings, Wholly for
God: Selections from the Writings of William Law (Minneapolis: Dimension Books, Bethan.v Fellowship, lnc., 1976).
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William Law is known as a mystic. Dr. Whyte calls him the greatest of English mystics. The deeper insight into spiritual truth which his later works reveal, and the higher life of which they testify, he all attributes to the teaching of the German mystic, as he calls him, "The heavenly illuminated and blessed man, Jacob Behmen."
That we be not, on the one hand, led unaware into error, nor, on the other, be prejudiced against truth by undue apprehension, it may be well for us to consider what this word "mystic" means.
In mysticism, as in everything human, there is an admixture of good and evil. Some writers give prominence to what they consider its errors and dangers, and count mysticism in principle to be untrue and unhealthy.
In the Preface to Vaughan's Hours with the Mystics, the author writes: "Mysticism, though an error, has been associated, for the most part, with a measure of truth so considerable, that its good has greatly outweighed its evil." The statement that what is at heart an error should effect so much more good than evil, cannot but strike one as somewhat strange. It would be surely more correct to say: Mysticism, because it is at root a truth, its good has, notwithstanding a considerable amount of error, greatly outweighed its evil. The writer of Hours with the Mystics would wish the word applied to the error in mysticism alone, and thinks that St. John ought not to be called a mystic. In this case we should need another word to express that special element which is so marked a characteristic of the apostle.
Others, looking at its good, which even, according to Vaughan, so greatly outweighs the evil, noticing how many of the noblest and holiest of us have breathed its spirit, and remembering what the wonderful attraction its teaching often has for the most earnest and thoughtful minds, maintain that there must be truth in its root-principle, and that its errors must be put to the account of human weakness, and the difficulties of the high problem with which it deals.
Lange says (Herzog-Schaff Cyclopedia):
"Mysticism has been defined as belief in an immediate and continuous communication between God and the soul, which may be established by means of certain peculiar religious exercises; as belief in an inner light, which may almost dispense with the written revelation. This definition identifies mysticism too closely with its extravagances, its more or less unsound
developments, and overlooks that there is a mystical element in all true religion, both objectively in the revelation and subjectively in the faith. According to common acceptation, mysticism is simply a one-sided development of that element."
It is evident from what has just been said, that it is not easy to define what mysticism is. It is not a system of doctrine. It is found in all religious systems; in heathenism and pantheism, as well as in Christianity. With the Church of Christ it is not a sect or party; every Church has its representatives. In every complete Christian character there is an element of mysticism. It is the outgrowth of a certain disposition or temperament, which ever seeks for the deepest ground or root of spiritual things.
T he close connection between the words mystic and mystery will help us to understand what it means. In all religion, in all existence, there are hidden mysteries: for these the mystic has a natural affinity. In all the mysteries of revelation there is a human side, which the mind of man can master and reduce to a system. There is another, the Divine side, which human reason cannot grasp or express, but which opens itself to the faith that, in contemplation and worship, lives in the Invisible. The mystic believes in a Divine light and power that comes on the soul that makes these its special object. The moment we attempt to formulate what the spiritual faculty is that receives this communication, in how far it may be counted a real revelation of God's Spirit, and what its relation to the inspired word, we come upon controverted ground. What we have said is enough to indicate very generally what
distinguishes the mystic from the ordinary Christian.
It may help to prepare the way for reading these extracts from Law with profit, to mention some of the chief characteristics of his teaching, as they mark the true and healthy mysticism, from which the Church has nothing to fear, and a measure of which is necessary to a full and all-sided development of the gifts of the Spirit. As long as mysticism is regarded as a system which aims at making all whom it can reach into nothing but mystics, it is no wonder it should be looked on with apprehension. But if once it be understood that mystics have a special gift and calling in the body of Christ, that, like all specialists, their value consists in their devoting themselves to one side or sphere of the Divine life, thereby to benefit those who have not the same gift or calling, and that the result of what they attain must become the common property of those members of Christ's body whose talents point them to other parts of the great field of Christian life and duty, prejudice will be lessened, and the immense benefit acknowledged which the Church has from the presence and life of those who so intensely witness for the Unseen and Incomprehensible.
1 . The great mystery of the universe is GOD. The mystic seeks for God. To know God, to realise God, to live here on earth in conscious fellowship with Him, to love God, is his highest aim. "That God may be all," is the truth to which all others are subordinate. The words of Scripture, "For whom are all things, and through whom are all things," stand in the forefront of its
theology. "FOR WHOM ALL." Whether it
be in nature or grace, in time or eter-
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nity, all things exist only for God, as the medium through which He can show forth His power and goodness, and so be glorified in the beauty and happiness of His creatures. "AND THROUGH WHOM ALL." All things glorify God only, because He alone works in them whatever is good and right. Just as these two truths hold in nature, so it is the one aim of religion to make them true in our lives. Man can live ALL FOR GOD as by faith he yields himself to expect ALL THROUGH GOD. To know and enjoy and honour God thus, must be the one object of existence; to aim at it and increasingly to attain to it, is true religion and true happiness. LAW will wonderfully help us to realise this. His Serious Call will teach us what all for God means. His later books, what all through God can be to us.
2. The mystic insists especially on the truth that the organ by which God is to be known, is not the understanding but the heart; that only love can know God in truth. Man was made in the image of God. We know God first in His works. From these we rise to His attributes, and form our conceptions of how these constitute the perfection of Him we seek to know. But behind and beyond these attributes there is the Infinite and Incomprehensible Being, who hides Himself in a light that is inaccessible. Even so there is in man, who was made in the image of God, an outer life of thoughts and feelings, of words and actions. From these we go inward to the powers from whence they come-the understanding, the affection, the will. But then behind these, there is the deep centre of the soul, what Scripture speaks of as the spirit, and at times as the heart, in which life has its secret roots, where its hidden character is found, and from whence all the issues of life proceed. This is that inner hidden sanctuary of man's nature which corresponds to the mystery of the Divine Being, whose likeness he bears, and which God created specially for Himself to dwell in. This is that hidden depth which none but He who searches the hearts can fathom or know. This is the seat of that renewing of the Holy Spirit, in which the birth of the Divine life creates a man anew. Reason can form its conceptions, and frame its image of what God must be; but the Hidden, the Incomprehensible One Himself, reason cannot touch. As He is in Himself, so His working in man: His dwelling and His dwelling-place in the heart are a mystery too.
O ne of the great reasons that our religion is so powerless, is that it is too much a thing of reason and
sense. We place our dependence on the intellectual apprehensions of truth, and the influence these exert in stirring the feelings, the desires, and the will. But they cannot reach to the life, to the reality of God, both because they are in their nature unfitted for receiving God, and are darkened under the power of sin. Mysticism insists upon this - and presses unceasingly the cultivation of the spiritual faculty which retires within itself, and seeks in patient waiting for God by faith to open the deepest recesses of its being to His presence.
We can now understand why such high value is attached to the contemplative life, to stillness of soul, and to the practice of the presence of God. It is as the insufficiency of our own powers of thought is deeply felt, and their activity is restrained, that the deeper hidden powers of our nature can take their place, and faith can exercise its highest function as a faith of the operation of God, who raised Christ from the dead. The door is opened for God to become our inward life as truly as self has been our very inmost life.
3. Another point in which the mystic seeks to enter into the hidden mystery of God, is the nature of redemption. There are two views we find in Scripture, each the complement of the other. In the one, the simpler, more outward and objective, Christ as our representative did a certain work for us which He now in heaven applies to us. In the other, the knowledge of Him as an outward person and of His outward work is considered as but the means to an end, a preparation leading up to the inward experience to His indwelling in us. LAW says, "A Christ not in us is the same as a Christ not ours;" and opens up with wonderful clearness and power what this Christ in us and faith in Him means. He shows how, in the very nature of things, nothing less can restore that life of God which we lost in Adam, than a Christ whose life and disposition live in us as truly as that of Adam does.
If we ask what Christ in us means? his answer is, that that which constituted Him the Christ, made Him acceptable to God, and enabled Him to restore within us the perfection we lost, that that is what He must be in us. What constitutes Him the Lamb of God is His meekness, His humility, His resignation to God's will. And no faith in an outward Lamb of God, on the cross or on the throne, can possibly save us, except as it restores us to that humility before God, that resignation to His will, which is, whether in heaven or earth, the only possible way of entrance into God's presence.
"Our salvation consists wholly in being saved from ourselves, or from that which we are by nature. In the whole nature of things, nothing could be this salvation or Saviour to us, but such an Humility of God as is beyond all expression."
"Every man has within him a redeeming power, the making of the heavenly life, called the Lamb of God. This is the great trial of human life, whether a man will give himself up to the meekness, the patience, the sweetness, the simplicity, the humility of the Lamb of God. This is the whole of the matter between God and the creature" (Character, pp. 57, 66).
It is just this element of mysticism that has formed its great attraction to those who truly thirst for God. Sin would be nothing if it were not sin in us, inspiring and ruling our inmost life. And Christ cannot be a complete Saviour until His indwelling and inworking be as real and full as that of sin. I am confident that there will be no thoughtful reader of LAW, who really hungers for the bread of heaven, but will lay down the book with the grateful acknowledgement that he has a deeper insight into the real nature of Christ's work and indwelling, and a stronger hope of the attainment of what so often appeared to be beyond his reach.
4. Just one more of the special teachings of mysticism. It is summed up in the expression that we must come away out of the manifold to the simple, out of multiplicity to unity, from the circumference to the centre. The thought runs through its whole system, and is the key to the right apprehension of much of its teaching.
This truth holds in reference to God. Until a soul learns to see how entirely God is the centre of all, how God is to be met and found and enjoyed in every thing, so that nothing in heaven or earth can for one moment separate from Him, it never can have perfect rest. And rest in God is the first duty and the true bliss of the creature. You have Christians who devote themselves most diligently to the study of God's word, who are delighted with every new truth they discover, or every new light in which an old truth is set before them, and who yet scarce ever meet the one Divine Word, who speaks in power within them. You have others who are consumed with zeal and labour, and yet know not what it is through all to have their rest in God. We need to be brought from the circumference to the living centre; there we shall be rested and refreshed, and endued with the power of a Divine strength to do our work in the power of the eternal world.
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BY Bill Mortham
T he Bible is our living proof that youth is not just a stepping stone to adulthood. God has His particular way of expressing His presence and person through the youth of every generation. People on all levels of maturity - old or young - are created by God and for God.
People continually question the motives and lifestyles of our young people. Many find them much too "far out" to accept their expressions of life as valid. Parents, counsellors, teachers and even preachers join forces to proclaim the youth of today as the most permissive yet passive generation ever. Are today's teenagers wanting only to be heard? Are their expectations, like Charles Dickens', perhaps too great to be realized? Perhaps their goals are not high enough, or maybe they're just spending too much time being "high"? Are they of a post-war era where too much has come too easily for them? Questions like these dominate almost every and any group gathered together to discuss and plant seeds of hope for our young people.
Admittedly, though teens are looking for right things, they often look in wrong places. In their search they stumble and often fall. Even stepping stones become stumbling blocks in our nearsightedness in an attempt to find purpose, young people try many things on for size, often at the expense of others. Pressures come from within and without. From the inside, conscience constantly surfaces and demands to be followed. From the outside, social and family values are set before young people as worthy goals, but youth are not told the means of attaining them. Each young person wants to be himself and unlike most other selves. Yet at the same time, each one has a burning passion to be both accepted and approved.
Learning from another's experience is not exactly their thing. The teachings of their ancestors have proven inappropriate to meet many of their specific needs. Truth for others has not become truth to them. And like all Christians, they want their Christ and Christianity to be real and meaningful to them. How else could they sincerely share Him with others? In fulfillment of God's promise, seekers will ultimately become finders. In a way known only to
God, each young seeker "found" and also kept.
They must come to realize that God is their Creator, and that He Himself is their eternal Life and Love, in whom they too live and move and have their very BEing. Once this is discovered, they will understand that they were created by God and for God. And with us all, they will rejoice both to know Him and to make Him known.
The yearning within their hearts since birth was unto rebirth. God created in them a hunger He alone could satisfy. This godly hunger keeps all of us seeking until found. Then, no escape!
The right place to have all hungers satisfied is in God Himself. His indwelling Spirit satisfies the lonely and longing heart, so that we are enabled to satisfy others. This is the fulfillment of Love. Teens today do need direction. They need direction unto the Great Discovery that God is the all and in all of their essence of BEing. Only this Discovery will convert seekers into finders. And once found, God will complete the great work of faith already begun.
W e can best direct young people by precept and example. We must see them as finished products, even when they do not see themselves as recipients of God's grace. We must afford them God's message of unconditional Love, and encourage them to be and become their individual expression of Him, no matter how great the cost. Dare them to be Daniels for God. Again, we best do this by way of example. Let us be found secure in
Christ - not hot then cold, and surely never lukewarm. May our words of "teaching" only confirm the testimony of our lives, which in compassion must be full of acceptance.
Youth is not a prelude to old age, nor is it a mere preparation for a future awareness of God as Sum and Substance of all that life is. Yearning to be accepted in our Beloved comes as a yearling, and for good reasons. The time factor of life may not be all that important, as our God is timeless. But we do know that young people listen best to the consistent lives of other young people. When a teen knows where he's coming from and where he's going, his peers will notice him and follow him. They will ask him concerning the hope that is within him! To all that asketh, giveth! Has He not asked all to come to Him?
Being His Bread and Water of Life for others is the highest calling laid to the charge of God's people of all ages. Only in satisfying others are we satisfied. Tire early in life of always arriving. Be already arrived in Him as His "finished product". Know assuredly that time has no hold on God, and it doesn't necessarily take a lot of time to become mature in God. Jesus told us to be perfect as we are perfect!
Overnight exposures can produce overnight Fathers in the Faith. Stages and levels of other people's maturing process might well be by-passed by those who are found of Him early in the morning in our second Adam.
Take courage, yearning yearlings. God is Subject and Object of us all, and in Him we have total hope!
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Before the phantom of False Morning died, Methought a VOICE within the tavern cried, "When all the temple is prepared within, Why nods the drowsy worshipper outside?"
-Omar Khayyam (Eyes, p. 220)'
We are the temple of God and He dwells within. This source of power can transform our living and our lives. When we hitch our television set to a cable outlet or to a roof antenna, we no longer use the set's own antenna, but let the set draw from the far greater power of the outside source. So we should rest from doing our own work and let Him work through us to the glory of God.
This analogy was inspired by reading the Lanyon trilogy that Union Life Ministries is currently offering for sale: The Laughter of God, Without the Smell of Fire, and The Eyes of the Blind. For it is largely through analogy, metonomy, and symbolism that Lanyon develops his argument. He also employs repetitious exclamations ("It is Wonderful" [Fire, p. 212, etc.]) and sometimes illustrative tales. It is probably wise to read the three books in the order given above since examples of every kind are more plentiful in the earlier books but gradually taper off.
The books' common emphasis is that we are temples of God, and that given that fact we should cast out of these temples negative attitudes that steal from our contemplation of the One within, Christ our Lord, to whom as redeemed sons of God, we are inextricably linked. We are gods ourselves because we are united to the I AM and, therefore, each a manifestation of the one and only true God (Eyes, pp. 154-195). Health and perfection are ours because we are one in the spirit with Him who is health and perfection incarnate.
The negative does not exist except in our thinking. "Yet the world is full of cripples who sit at the gate of their own temple and beg for silver and gold" (Laughter, p. 43). But we must not look outside for aid but only within, wherein is all fullness, because the Spirit of Life dwells there. "So you, son of the Living God, will make the transformation from the present state of sickness, poverty, and unhappiness, into the perfect harmony of bliss" (Laughter, p. 47). "The operation of the Divine Mind,, producing health where the human mind sees sickness, and prosperity where the human mind sees poverty, is a natural process" (Laughter, p. 57).
Lanyon's use of the "Temple" is an example of metonomy, which is a figurative device that represents a whole through the use of a part of it. "Temple" in this case represents the entire metaphysical experience of religion. But Lanyon also graphically uses symbolism, as in the chapter on "Christmas" (Laughter, p. 85ff.) where the star, the stable, the tree, the gifts under it, and even the wise men (Fire, p. 123) all become symbols of ourselves. So Christ is born within us as the babe, but grows as our concept of Him increases into recognition of His Allness within us. The star, therefore, points to our hearts, and the Christmas tree is, really, the tree of life in the Garden of
'Citations from Lanyon are from The Laughter of God [Laughter], Without the Smell of Fire [Fire], and The Eyes of the Blind [Eyes] (Chicago, III.: Union Life Ministries, 1977).
Eden, Christ Himself, with all of His gifts at our disposal. But since Christ is united to our spirits, "You are your own Father Christmas [Santa Claus] " (Laughter, p. 90). We are gods in capacity as soon as we recognize that within us is the "I AM consciousness" (Laughter, p. 100).
An interesting use of analogy (a figurative device that emphasizes the similarities between two apparent opposites) is drawn by Lanyon between forgiving and curing on the one hand and sinning and being sick on the other. Whereas "Sin that is forgiven by God. ..is completely wiped out, just as disease that is cured is obliterated" (Laughter, p. 109); man's memory prevents him from forgetting and in consequence it "is the store house of every evil thing" (Laughter, p. 125) and must in the next life be eliminated (Laughter, p. 126). But "there is ... a second brain, in the nerve center in the region of the heart" (Fire, p. 179). Thus Jesus said, "As a man thinketh in his heart so is he" (Fire, p. 178). So Lanyon can write, "This is the Kingdom of Heaven .... The second coming is actually taking place in the temples of men,.. for that world is passing away... and being re-established as the Kingdom of Heaven" (Fire, p. 131), right here and now, on earth. "You are knocking at the doors of your own Kingdom of Heaven" (Eyes, p. 163). "Christ reigns now and forever with you and in you and through you, and you are the reproduction of that identical resurrected Christ" (Eyes, pp. 90-1). "You have been a prince of the Realm all the time that you were begging for a crust in the streets of Life" (Eyes, p. 115). "Do not be disillusioned, we have all been in the pigsty either physically or mentally. . . .'Rise and go to the Father.' There is going to be great rejoicing over you when you arrive..." (Eyes, pp. 167-8).
Lanyon tells us that we are to "...advance into the New Day of Recognition," that we are "Cosmic Beings," where "The 'Smell of Fire' of the trials through which we have come is absorbed in the glorious Light of Spirit. Our garments are made clean, and even the memory of our trials is fading away" (Fire, "Dedication"). In a series of cogent tales, Lanyon emphasizes, first the need for "Absolute obedience," the "One Law" God requires, in the Garden of Eden tale of the Baron and his servants (Fire, pp. 83-6), and then the need for us to step instantly into our "Paradise," in the story of the old Spanish lady to whom he gave a lift in his car (Fire, pp. 165-6). We don't have to wait for "forty years doing good things," like the son of a rich Indian merchant who in twelve years learned to walk across the Ganges when the Ferry only cost two cents (Fire, pp. 1667). "The mirth of God_ ..the Glorious Laughter of God ... the Lovely Words. ..'Feed my sheep' are all you need to hear."
Laughter, Fire, and Sight - are these not all kinds of enlightenment? God is a consuming fire that consumes the dross (Is. 1 :25) so that only the fire in the bones remains (Jer. 20:9), which forces the prophet to proclaim the Word of the Lord. But at the same time He is sight to the blind (Luke 4:18) and a light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death (Luke 1:79). Finally, it is He that sits on high and laughs at those who take counsel against His annointed (Ps. 2:4) but fills the hearts of his redeemed with laughter (Ps. 126:2). There are other Lanyon books and this review has only touched on a few highlights of three of them. Perhaps its total message is for you.
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Dear Mr. Kiley:
I have felt driven for some time now to write to you and, in some way, express to you personally just what Man of LaMancha has meant to me as a Christian. I do not know where God has you in this process we call living, but I do know what He has revealed to me through your play, and I feel compelled to share it with you at this time.
I have seen the play twice - once in Washington, D.C., and once again in New York - not too long ago. Since that time I have been obsessed with each of the major acting roles and the words of the music as I have listened over and over again to the record from the original Broadway version. From your original invitation, "I shall impersonate a man...come ...enter into my imagination and SEE him!", I have done just that! For the man I see on that stage from the opening song of "Man of LaMancha" to the close is Jesus Christ.
In your comments in "Creating the Title Role", you share that for you "talent is largely a matter of getting one's self out of the way and letting the character speak ...forgetting your voice and your body and your emotions ... and allowing you to stand back and edit what your imagination wants to do." For me, you accomplished that feat to utter perfection. Only as one can see the Author and Creator of the Universe in this precious knight-errant does any of the play (or words of the songs for that matter) make anything seen or heard near credible to me. Your song, "The Quest," would be an absurdity for anyone other than Christ
Bette Ketcham lives in Maryland with her husband Tony and their three daughters. We are printing a remarkable letter which she wrote to Richard Kiley, the star of the current musical Man of LaMancha.
The play is based on Don Quixote de la Mancha, the Spanish classic by Miguel de Cervantes. In the book, Don Quixote decides to become a knight-errant, the likes of which had not existed in Spain for three hundred years. His family and friends consider him a madman, but Quixote finds a suit of armor and begins his adventures and misadventures. He is a dreamer, seeing a windmill as a giant, an inn as a castle, and a brass shaving basin as the "Golden Helmet of Mambrino". But his greatest dream is his vision of Aldonza the Whore as a queenly lady. He calls her his "Dulcinea". The play centers its focus on this theme, and through Quixote's insistence on seeing Aldonza as a beautiful creature, she is finally able to see herself as a good and valuable person.
Bette's letter explains how Man of LaMancha helped confirm in her the presence of God in all life.
an open letter to
by Bette Ketcham
Himself; for what man has there ever been who could say that "the world will be better for this. . ONE MAN scorned and covered with scars, etc."??
The play, as I understand it, is intended to be a tribute to the spirit of Quixote's creator, as indeed it is. Mr. Wasserman never got back quite far enough though. He only succeeded in his quest of finding Cervantes, although the combined efforts of Wasserman, Darion, et al., have given to the public the mission of Jesus Christ in the drawing out and commissioning of His Bride (all those of us who believe in His Impossible Dream) depicted on the stage as Aldonza the Whore.
Aldonza, like the rest of us, has fallen into believing only that which she can see - that which she can know. Due to the Fall of Adam and Eve, who fell only from the flesh and not from the spirit (as evidenced by the fact that God sought them out), humanity could only judge by externals. Scriptures tell us that those things which are SEEN are temporal or temporary, and that those which are UNSEEN are eternal or the real. Therefore, I maintain that Quixote knew something that others could not know ("seeing things that the rest of can't see", as you said of El Greco's saints' eyes), and that Aldonza was living in her outer form (and by her own admission hating it, but knowing nothing else). Quixote (as seen for who he really is -Jesus Christ) knew that Aldonza had not fallen from her center, and so he sees through her outer form to who she really is: his Dulcinea. I just love what you said: "I deliberately focus my eyes
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PAST what I'm looking at." Perfect. No longer fooled by a person's outer shell, but seeing who he is in his center.
As the play progresses, we see Aldonza (seemingly against her will) begin to believe this ridiculous absurdity. At this point her "universe falls in on her as she is raped and made, once again, to look at her outer condition. Wonderful Lover God (Quixote) refuses to see what she sees and continues to torment her with his true estimation of who she really is. (As I watched this beautiful scene, with Aldonza heaping evidence upon evidence to prove to Quixote her unworthiness to be called his lady, I was struck with how foolish his love for her appeared as long as she continued in her unbelief; how we actually present Christ to our own world as foolish, bumbling and mad when we cling to our own unbelief and side with the fallen, outerconscious world.)
All of this is impossible to believe until our believing in the outer condition of how things appear in their fallen state is removed once and for all (put to death). This Quixote does not by his own hands but by the hands of others. He is forced to look upon his own outer image and believe that which he sees ("My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me!"). For this is truly what Jesus Christ suffered on the cross for us. He took on Himself the unbelief of man - believing ourselves to be separate from the Father and believing only what the outer condition says to be real. He became "sin" for us - not sins, but sin. As Quixote believes this illusion he crumbles. (Here I share a personal aside - that as you knelt in front of those mirrors
I knew that from that moment on I would never again choose to believe in my outer condition as the real, for the crucifixion became alive to me at that moment and I saw with my own eyes that it cost Him His life to prove to me my own inestimable value). Only after Quixote's death does Aldonza accept herself as Dulcinea. Again, only as we see the penalty that had to be paid for us can we believe we are who He says we really are - precious people made in the image of the Eternal God, containers for His Life.
Quixote's words of endearment to Dulcinea cemented me into my understanding of this outer illusion vs. our spirit reality. "I have dreamed thee too long, never seen thee or touched thee but known thee with all of my heart ... thou hast always been with me though we have been always apart" (a contradiction in terms unless understood as separated only in our flesh minds - Colossians 1:21-22: "And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight.")
Thank you for listening. I have had revealed to me, through your efforts (and those others who are and were involved in Man of LaMancha), how God truly is "ALL and IN ALL" (1 Corinthians 15:28).
With Great Love, Bette Ketcham
P.S. I guess Shakespeare was really right. .."All the world IS a stage..."
UNION LIFE Page 25
editors: Ava Reed is part of the Pine Valley Conference, located near Pittsburgh, Pa. There is a tremendous understanding of our union with Christ among the Pine Valley group, so we look forward to future articles from Ava and others.
because ye have known Him that is from the beginning."
And how does an earthly father know God? By his knowing what fatherhood is like. He knows that everything he does is for the benefit of his family. His business is being run not for the glory of the business, but to supply every need of his family. He corrects, loves and gives compassion in order to see his family safe, secure, and comforted. His whole life is for his family. He would die for them. Could God be less? And thus he knows Him.
But beware of the temptations of the father: SELF-AGGRANDIZEMENT. "I'm boss, both here in the business and at home. I run this show and I deserve all the benefits. I'm in this for myself. I expect to be served, and on the double, both here in the office and more especially at home. I'm a self-made man and I want the world to know it. I'm the Boss and don't forget it."
Does God want us to be that kind of father? As such, we couldn't really know "Him that is from the beginning." To really know Him we must be aware that we are like Him. We are "heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be glorified together." Yes, "joint heirs with Christ." And what did Christ say? "For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His Life a ransom for many" (Mark 10:45).
I am a servant. Do I need to remain a child or even a young man? No, because He who is in me is "one with the Father," and "it is no longer I who liveth but Christ who liveth in me," being poured out for others. As is said of fathers - "Out of your innermost being shall flow rivers of living water" (John 7:38).
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editors: This is part of a remarkable letter from one of our readers. We have never had it put to us like this before: the soul seen in its highest usefulness as the sounding board for the spirit as the intercessor. Rather than being occupied by the normal soul-reactions concerning our own personal condition, we learn to respond positively to the negatives in others in this world full of negatives. We learn to receive those soul-disturbances, assess them for what they are and then replace them by Spirit-recognition, thus filling up some of the sufferings of Christ as effective intercessors. This was the kind of thing Rees Howell describes in his intercessory experiences.
The past few weeks have given me new opportunities to know the enemy. I can only describe that enemy as a force trying to shut in further reaches of light which I hadn't realized were present before the attack. It's as though I'm being stabbed in my emotions which don't seem to be a part of me, but rather an outer sensor for the needs of others. It seems if I go out and ally myself with the emotion which is coming from the other person, I am submerged and feel as though darkness has descended. If I do not accept the emotion, but resist it and realize it is an illusion and not a real part of me, my spirit remains free, ascends, and I receive light from my Inner Lord as to the truth. Whatever the other person is projecting is a lie and a cover for a need within, unless he is walking in the spirit.
God admonished me to have no dealings with the flesh of others, to remain separate with Him, so that He might use me as a vessel to free them and meet their true needs. Everything is done on a spirit-to-spirit level. As Lanyon says, "God in you and God in me will make you what you're meant to be."
Is the key the same as for my own personal victory over sin and the soul life - to reckon them dead to sin and
alive to God, and to see them on the other side of the cross? [Yes! - editors]
To summarize - as I become brighter and freer from the grave-clothes, I am beginning to sense the soul projections from others. Yesterday, while walking through a store, I was assaulted by the irritations of the shoppers around me. When I first went in, I was light and free, but as I walked through the store I felt their problems: anger, self-pity, irritation, impatience, disgust. When I left, my soul was in turmoil, although it seemed to have little connection with me except that it could not be allowed to shut in my spirit, and plunge me into darkness. After an hour of prayer I felt free again. Is this God's way of using me to free them? We are all one in the spirit. Is all interaction between me and my fellow man either I lifting them up or they pulling me down? Is this sharing the burdens of others? I know it must be, because I know God only allows in my life what I'm capable of handling.
Is the soul designed to be a sensor for the spirit - almost as though it's an electro cardiogram attached to another which the spirit reads? [Yes, we think it is.-editors]
In his book, The Law of Faith, I
greatly appreciated Norman Grubb's words of commendation for "much maligned" Jacob. Of all the remarks I have heard from the lips of many preachers, he alone has seen Jacob's true worth.
I have often wondered how it could have escaped the notice of so many, that in deceiving his father, Jacob was really obeying his mother! And none seem to have taken note of the fact that his father, who was about to die, was determined to give the blessing to Esau, though doubtless Rebecca had told him that God had revealed to her that Jacob was the one who should inherit it.
Jacob must have seen many evidences of the fact that Esau "despised his
THE PRESENCE OF GOD IN "TRAGEDY"
I'm sure you heard the news of the
dam bursting and the subsequent deaths at Toccoa Falls. We got a call that morning at 8:00 a.m., telling us that the dam had burst and twelve were known dead but no names were known. We went to church and came home and got the second call: 30 dead and many missing. Then we got the names of some. Like a shot we got the names of Mr. Sproull and his children. Mr. Sproull our beloved teacher and friend ... we couldn't believe it. We knew others too.
We pulled out suitcases, made proper arrangements, and took off with very dear friends from Toccoa who are now ministering in this area. We stayed for several days working in the Baptist church that had been set up as the relief headquarters with clothes and food and pure water. Brad worked on the campus shoveling mud out of the boys' dorm. I saw the campus later, and the damage was devastating. All those houses and trailers and buildings had been completely swept away. Our school, our friends, our teachers just gone in a flash.
But here's my reason for writing. From the moment we got the first phone call we saw God in it all. God didn't just let the dam burst; He directed the dam to burst. Even though we felt sorrow for our own loss of those so dear to us, we called it good. We now know we have
birthright" while he himself would have greatly prized it. It is easy for us to say how "crooked" and "deceitful" he was to bargain with Esau for it. But what could be crooked or deceitful about an open bargain? To Esau the pottage was worth more than the birthright, and Jacob knew it!
And as for his "crooked" and "deceitful tricks" on Laban, how does it happen that no preacher (that I know of) has ever noticed that though Laban had dealt deceitfully with him, still he served Laban faithfully for twenty-one years (Gen. 31:5-7), so faithfully that God could and did bless him. When Jacob cried to God (what better thing could he have done!) because Laban had "changed his wages ten times," it was God who showed Jacob how to gain that which was rightfully his! (Gen. 31:11).
I am not saying that Jacob's enemy was not himself, nor that God had not dealt with him as he needed it, but in the day when we all come "face to face," there will be many red faces among the preachers who have made him out to be such a scoundrel!
A H.-St Louis, MO
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lost our duality of perspective. God is all and in all, and no matter what the outer circumstance, it is good. We have been realizing this more and more the past year. But when this happened and we called it good, we knew for sure that the duality was gone.
Right now my father is missing, but dead or alive I know God is in it and it is good.
Before, even though I was a Christian I had a problem with death. I was afraid of it for myself and for my loved ones. Now that I understand what a person's true self is - his spirit not his body - I have no fear of death. We associate people with their bodies so much, that when the body dies we find it hard to accept that the person hasn't died. My new understanding has been such a release to me.
Brad and I have remarked to each other several times that if we hadn't known Union Life, we don't know how we would have reacted to the seeming tragedy at Toccoa.
L.W. - Hueytown, AL
The Lord has brought me to a very special place of SEEING Him. My marriage was really rocky and everything seemed to be collapsing around me. Just at that time, the latest issue of UNION LIFE came, and the Walter Lanyon article "Beggars of Life" really spoke to me. It started by saying "Lean on Me." I had to think about what that meant and just how I could lean on Him. How do I lean on someone whom I can't see? I didn't know how to reach my inner-how to surrender. I first recognized my helplessness; that there was nothing I could do to change myself, my husband, my situation. No amount of trying was going to change anything, because there would be a time when I couldn't try anymore, and actually that time had already come.
After I recognized my helplessness, I said: "God, I gave my life to you a long time ago, and whatever is now in my life, it is from you." There was this tremendous release. I can now say that I may not like the way my husband treats me, but this is what God has given me; I don't like being a housewife too much, but this is where He has me; my neighbor drives me crazy, but He gave her to me. God loves me and is my source for all things. My life is God's business and how he lives it is PERFECT.
I had also recently seen that changing how I look at or think about a situation can really change everything.
When I would be feeling down or pitying myself, I would consciously say "my husband is perfect for me" or "this situation is from YOU"- and somehow by focusing on the positive the release came.
At first I was trying to see, but after I recognized my helplessness and that my life was HIS, the burden was gone. There is no trying on my part because He is the doer. The inner joy, peace and happiness are almost too exciting at times. Not to say that I am not still the negative, because I am and always will be. I still react to situations as I always have, but those reactions are quick and the recognition of HIM is equally quick.
L.H. - Fall River, MA
SEEING WITH A SINGLE EYE
I've recently started to read UNION LIFE and like what I hear, but I can't see too clearly what's being said. So I'd like to give you a "for instance," and ask you how I (or Christ in me) should react in such a circumstance.
For the last three years my 92 yearold father and 84 year-old mother have been living with us. Having been quite an independent person, I feel a lot of rebellion and resentment in my heart. For example, I am followed to the kitchen three times a day by my mother to help with the cooking. (Our ways are different - she'll cook canned green beans over an hour and first pour off all the liquid and then add tap water, lots of salt and bacon grease). Never in my whole life have I had so much ill-feeling rise up within me. Other little things happen, like her trying to be nice to my youngsters and always having cookies and candy bars to pass out. I tell her nicely not to, but it does no good.
Actually our two families living together is really going well, and they are accepted nicely by the youngsters. I wouldn't have it any other way but that they live with us (instead of a nursing home), but why do I let such minor, petty things rob me of the victory?
I feel so guilty and repentant concerning my feelings when I remember that the Word says to love and to see no man after the flesh, but keep a single eye toward God. Yet day after day I let these little things get to me.
I would greatly appreciate any enlightenment you can give.
I can empathize with your situation, because I have a grandmother who is in her late eighties. She has little to occupy her time and she can't remember anything, so she asks the same
questions over and over. I understand how difficult it is to maintain patience with such people, even though you realize that they are not at fault.
What I like about your letter is its honesty. That is of first importance. You are facing up to your feelings without trying to gloss them over. Even a man so beloved by God as David often had negative feelings, and he expressed them! In the 39th Psalm, for example, he says to God: "Turn thy gaze away from me that I might smile again." It is much better to curse God than to ignore Him, for when we curse Him we are at least recognizing His hand at work, even though we don't like what He's doing!
I perceive that your feelings, for the most part, are pent up. You don't want your parents to live in a nursing home, yet you feel resentment that you can't explain. Whether or not you realize it, I think your resentment is against God. You resent that He has made this situation as it is. You feel guilty about your feelings. But why should you? They are perfectly natural feelings, very similar to the ones that David felt at times. God has given you those feelings as part of His perfect process in you. There is nothing wrong with your feelings. If you don't like the way things are, then shake your fist at God. Tell Him you don't like it! But at least recognize that this too is God.
God doesn't condemn you for your feelings and neither should you. Don't try to overcome your feelings, just let them be. Those negative feelings are very important, because they keep you mindful that you are the vessel and that Christ is the living water that flows through you. Your negative feelings push you out of the soulish, emotional level and into your spirit where you know that you love your parents. As you live more and more in your spirit, the feelings will not matter so much to you. It is through weakness that real strength comes through. Your continuing faithfulness to your parents in the face of your resentful feelings is a far more glorious, self-sacrificing love than an "easy" love-a love that would be convenient and that you felt like providing.
We classify certain feelings as "pain", "resentment", "pride", and we give them negative connotations. "Union Life" is seeing all things as one in God. To see with a single eye is to see the pain, resentment and pride as parts of life that are just as valid and necessary as our moments of peace and joy. There is nothing in your life which needs changing. But as you stop the self-condemnation, you will find life to be much more comfortable.
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I received the UNION LIFE magazine at a time when it was greatly appreciated and a real comfort and eye opener to my life. The articles I have read so far have brought confirmation in some much needed areas and situations I am in.
I can once again praise Him for His guidance in my life, a guidance that is from within. I can see the desires that are within me are truly His desires. What I now need to learn is to not shut out these desires by thinking they are merely my desires and not His Will. I need to realize that the two are one and the same if we are in Union with Christ. If we are in Oneness with Christ, our decisions are His decisions.
G.B. -Edmonds, WA
Much has happened over the past few months. It is as though the light has dawned. It is something which has been planted in my heart for over two years, but now has suddenly become living reality in my life.
It seems that God has been establishing in me my "permanent identity." All at once I know that I am eternally one with Him. And this time nothing can shake it. The Union Life message has been something I've believed and sought my way into for over two years. Now it is as though I KNOW. No more seeking after God, no more struggles, no more tossing it to and fro in my mind. I am one with Him. For the first time in my Christian life I see everything as God, and I no longer live under any condemnation. I am free to BE. It is a finished work.
As John Whittle said while speaking at our Labor Day retreat, "You go on and on faithing and failing over and over again, till at last one morning you awaken, and, behold, it is a reality in your consciousness."
I've even had a dear brother here in the body to come against me for my new-found liberty, saying that I had become lax and passive in my spiritual walk. The same brother has since apologized, publicly confessing jealousy and, in his own words, having "hated Christ in you."
It is amazing how God has begun to lead me to a few people here and there
who are ready for the deeper things of God and are hungering for them. What a blessing to share with them and see them liberated.
D.K.- Dothan, AL
THE ASCENDED LIFE
I really don't know where to begin, and I know it isn't necessary to share the "How's" of God in me. But that you might glorify the Lord for His work in me, I will go back a few years.
In 1964 God fixed me in Himself, and I knew that I had eternal life. And then by sowing the seed of dissatisfaction in my life and marriage, He brought me through to know Him as my life. I knew no other power but God! Free from sin, guilt, and condemnation, I knew and expressed Love. There were many revelations along the way to bring me through.
Then in the Spring of 1976 I learned new terms for expressing what I already knew to be true in my life. Everything went along fine in my spontaneous living until January of 1977. God apparently had more that He wanted me to know, and for nine months I knew that He was at work, but I did not know what that work was until He revealed it to me.
I had been living the life of Christ. However, I did it spontaneously, not knowing I could will it to be done. I saw myself speaking the word of faith, knowing it would come to pass, and I saw myself living for others. Then all of a sudden in January of 1977 I began to focus on my humanity. I became intensely miserable, pitying myself and even hating God, with whom I was so much in love two years before. Being fixed, I knew that I was not guilty or condemned. But I was angry with God that I wasn't living as before. I found myself lusting after many things, and I even was hating my husband.
God showed me that I was hanging on to one last earthly desire, which was to have a "Happy Relationship in My Marriage." He revealed to me that I hated His plan for my life. (Now I know that my flesh hated His plan.) God told me that a miracle had taken place in me, but I didn't know what it was yet. I just kept repeating over and over again, "I wish I could have a nervous breakdown, but I can't because of who I AM."
Finally I saw. God wanted me fixed in the knowledge that I had not only
resurrected life but ascended life, and I could leave all earthly things to function as God only. He wanted me to know the difference between "He as me" and my humanity. He wanted me to love living for others and to know that I am an intercessor. He wanted me to know I could ask anything from the Father in His name (being me) and receive it.
He wanted me to know a total life: to act as God only! I will never be the same again. I am free to be, free to do, free to love. Free, free, free! I am ready to go forth, for I am chosen and ordained to go out and bring forth fruit, and to ask or to speak whatsoever I will as the Father shows it unto me.
I have experienced life, then death, then resurrected life, and now ascended life so that I might live for others. I have experienced the total death of flesh in order to live the total life of God.
N.G. -Chillicothe, IL
I do know union life in Christ and just realizing this - who I am - has made a difference in my attitude toward others and toward myself. I'm now aware of Christ working in me and affecting others, through His Presence in me.
It has been so great to be able to talk to two Chinese sisters in Christ here - about the New Man, the Christ in us - and to show them that the old man is dead and buried! They have been reading books and singing songs and listening to preachers instead of reading the Word and hearing the Spirit's teaching. The New Creation Reality is ours now! And it is glorious to see them set free from an old nature, and loosed to enjoy their new nature - the divine one. So this is the one-toone revival that is moving in me.
My prayer "service" is for immediate, emergency needs, which are "lifted" to God by telephoning to others and praying with them. I have no "prayer meeting" as such. It's boring, because it isn't faith, just habit. I believe in discussing these needs with the Father, getting His desire, and then claiming it by declaring it (Mark 11:2326). I believe that what I say shall come to pass, for God is saying it out of my mouth, and His word is pure and true and effectual. The righteous Man in me availeth much in prayer. So I shall have whatever I say. That is the kind of "praying" which pleases God.
AND THE NEW MAN
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