Saturday, July 29, 2006

RADICAL PRAYER

There is a way to pray that can change the world. But it is the kind of prayer that sees no solid substance in evil; no duality. I have experienced the power of this kind of prayer — seeing only the good, and not believing with my senses or buying into the mortal belief in evil — and my entire life has been transformed. Prayer really does change things in the physical world. I will be writing about this in detail in the coming weeks. This might sound silly, but there is a quick fix when you find yourself depressed or sick with anxiety. Lately, whenever I'm distressed over world affairs or things I can't control, I look at a photo of Sedona! We took the kids there for Spring break this year and fell in love with its majestic serenity. You can choose any beautiful place or face and meditate on it. Or you can choose a pleasant memory. This change of thought is a form of discipline that actually transforms your reality. I sometimes see the eyes of my child or Christ's gentle touch. Actually, picture what you think LOVE would look like, if love were a tangible entity. Sometimes unconditional love disguises itself as a dog! I am being very simplistic, but I find that the less we complicate our crises and the less dogma involved in prayer, the quicker we can leap out of depression and fear. The only thing we have is the moment we are in right now. And the sky isn't falling. There is love all around you. LOOK. GRAB IT, BREATHE IT IN. THANK THE STARS.

My entire temperature changes when I look at Sedona, because that is where my family experienced the most peaceful time in our lives. We don't know how it happened, but this is the one place where we stopped fighting. We spent an entire day not even talking, just playing in a creek and climbing rocks. God is where your heart is. We must all strive to be peacemakers in our own lives, love our neighbor as ourself, and think of others' first. If we all practice the Golden Rule, the whole world will change.

In this article, they are saying that these days everything is so upside down, we act as if killing is actually new or radical. "Radical islam" or radicalism is actually old and tired. What will change the world is radical prayer: complete reliance on God, good. Contrary to what the "Christian" warmongers want to believe, Christ was very firm in his teachings: never fight your enemies. Bless them.

Radical thoughts versus thoughtful radicals
Walter Rodgers

After handling several reporting assignments in Iraq in recent years, I am convinced that the “new religious radicalism” that is gripping parts of the Middle East is a bit misleading. It is neither new nor radical. Besides, against the backdrop of the past thousand years, current terms such as “radical Islam” and “Islamist radicals” are less than helpful, and sometimes inaccurate.

The violence that we moderns associate with Osama bin Laden, Al-Qaeda, and militant Islam has been the standard fare in that region for a thousand years. And the violence has not by any means been the exclusive province of Islam then or now.

In 1098 ad, during the First Crusade, Christian knights from France razed the Syrian city of Ma’arra and wiped out Muslim men, women, and children. Later, when these same Christian knights went on to conquer Jerusalem, they boasted that they rode into the city through Muslim blood. Many in the region today, fairly or unfairly, see the current violence as being imposed by foreign military occupation.


Thoughtful radicals are challenging the cycle of violence with prayer.


And what is perhaps most undervalued in the Middle East today is a genuinely radical theology practiced by thoughtful radicals willing to challenge the cycle of violence with confident prayer that refuses to accept killing as indigenous, inevitable, or natural.

Nearly two thousand years ago, the Apostle Paul was at least as familiar with the region’s blood feuds and tribal treacheries as anyone today. He walked through all of it every day. Yet he saw beyond the violence and was able to declare, “Ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.” He went further, boldly seeing beyond tribal differences: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”

Paul’s radical theology was based on the even more revolutionary theology of Jesus that does not sanction holy wars, crusades, or jihads. It is a theology that is the antithesis of violence.

Jesus called on us to pray for those we perceive as enemies.

Jesus declared, “But I say to all of you who will listen to me: love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who treat you spitefully.” He called on each of us to pray for those perceived to be enemies.

Try though we may, there is no intellectual wiggle room in Jesus’ words. Exceptions were not made then, and are not allowed now—even if Israelis have stolen your patrimony, your father’s house in Ramla, or killed your son with a “rubber bullet” in Ramallah. Or if Palestinians blew up your beloved daughter or wife on a bus in Jerusalem. Or even if US soldiers forced indignities upon your family when they searched your house in Baghdad.

Today, when we are tempted to say, “Yeah, but they don’t think like that” or “They don’t think like we do,” we need to remind ourselves that Paul insisted we are all children of God. What matters most is not how they think, but how we think.

Exercise your right to be spiritually radical—to pray.

Imagine yourself as a journalist or civilian contract employee in Iraq, and that you have been kidnapped, blindfolded, and threatened with execution. Would you not instantly exercise your right to be spiritually radical, your right to pray—especially if someone were holding a knife at your throat or a gun at your head?

What could be more radical than seeing your assailant as Paul did—as a child of God? That is the kind of prayer that causes the haters to put down their knives and guns.

Christ Jesus set the ultimate standard for the spiritual radicalism that changes the world. At his crucifixion he prayed, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” His demonstration also proved that we don’t have to be crucified because we practice his radical theology of loving our neighbors as ourselves.

Mary Baker Eddy once wrote: “The Christian Scientist cherishes no resentment; he knows that that would harm him more than all the malice of his foes.” And then she added: “I say it with joy,—no person can commit an offense against me that I cannot forgive. Meekness is the armor of a Christian, his shield and his buckler” (Message to The Mother Church for 1902, p. 19).

This is the real, radical theology. It blesses all who practice it, because with nothing to forgive, there ceases to be any destructive sense of victimization, which drives the violence.

Reprinted from the August 7, 2006, issue of the Christian Science Sentinel.
Radical thinking:

Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy:
462:25-30
King James Bible:
Gal. 3:26-28
Luke 6:27,28
Luke 23:34

2 Comments:

Blogger Larry said...

Nothing so radical about prayer. It is prayer that can move mountains.

Even ultra conservative Ronald Reagan often quoted a verse in
II Chronicles 7:14.

We are to pray for those we believe to be enemies.

There is nothing so radical about prayer.

10:16 PM  
Blogger Lydia Cornell said...

In this article, they are saying that these days everything is so upside down, we act as if killing is actually new or radical. "Radical islam" or radicalism is actually old and tired.

What will change the world is radical prayer: complete reliance on God. There is no "wiggle room" in Christ's teachings. Contrary to what the "Christian" warmongers want to believe.

11:44 PM  

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