In October 1971, I attended basic training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. One day while maneuvering up a muddy trail through the woods, it felt like I had been here before. On another occasion while marching on a sandy road to a rifle range, off to the right, the column passed a cemetery. The E-1 felt drawn toward the head stones and trees. If I had not remembered where I was and what I was doing, I would have gotten into trouble. Having caught the Civil War buff bug in the early 1960s, I thought perhaps I had been there in 1865 with Sherman’s army.
In 1972, I was stationed in the Militrary District of Washington and studied Vietnamese. Watergate and Nixon’s re-election were the story and I wondered why there would no action before the election if crimes had been committed.
Instead of going to Vietnam in 1973, I worked at the National Security Agency. Yes, the agency had capabilities…
In the mid-1980s, I had a hypnotic regression and returned to Columbia….different race, different gender, different century. Sarah the slave did not work in the fields nor was she a house servant, rather, she helped people as a healer and gave away food. When Sherman’s bummers, or foragers, came through the area, Sarah warned the Yankees that Rebels were nearby. When the Rebel militia returned, they accused her of choosing sides, even though she did not know what the fighting was about. “Why do you have to fight, if you have enough food?” she wondered. Sarah was lynched, watched her body swinging from the rope and crossed over the river with people who seemed friendly. In that life, I learned that helping others without expecting anything in return is expected, a universal law.
In 1975, I became a student at Ohio State…we beat MICH: 21-14. Based upon what I have read, that year was the first occasion when students misbehaving badly celebrated the victory on High Street. Unbelievable, all the TP in the trees and the throng of marching humanity blocking the street. Buses were stopped and we climbed aboard one, on the roof.
Four years later the Bucks beat MICH: 18-15. Again students took over the streets and I found myself south on High Street near Chittenden. A bus was stopped, surrounded by students. I decided to repeat my 1975 exploit and indeed something compelled me to get on top of that bus. I had to get on top of that bus. Mission Accomplished, but the bus began moving…it was time to get off. Holding on to the edge of the roof, I dropped awkwardly, landed sideways on the curb and broke my left arm; I’m left-handed. Though exceedingly painful, the cast on my arm allowed me to drop a class I was failing, else I would have lost my GI Bill and flunked out.
During that Autumn Quarter I took a religious course about the Bible and learned about the J-E-P-D theory concerning the Old Testament. The following February, I began seeing flashes of Light. Once in a while they manifested as pulses, but my data base of knowledge had no explanation for this phenomena. Study and experience provided the answer.
During the 1980s my Bible study progressed – William Barclay – and I concluded that the Old Testament was less important than the New Testament. Indeed, the Old Testament, written for a group of people, the Jewish nation, is relevant in my opinion only as it relates to the New Testament, which was written for the Church. The invention of the printing press, however, rendered the New Testament a subject of study for individuals.
An open key to understanding the New Testament is recognizing that in the ancient world the heart was associated with the mind because the circulatory system was understood better than the nervous system. In particular, this was true among the Stoics.
Examples of heart meaning mind found in the New Testament include:
And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think you evil in your hearts?
And because you are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.
…you do well that you take heed, as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns, and the day star arises in your hearts.
II Pet. 1:19.
And of course, when you have a change of heart, you change your mind…
Also, in Jewish thought, water symbolized Wisdom. As water gives life to the body, Wisdom gives life to the soul.
In the GJn, the famous verse states: Jesus answered, Amen, Amen I say unto you, unless a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God.
Every commentary I have ever read asserts that water in this instance means baptism. What is more important, baptism or Wisdom? John was the Baptist; Jesus was a Teacher of Wisdom, which explains why his words were remembered.
Jesus answered her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never thirst again; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I don’t get thirsty, neither come all the way here to draw.”
Exploring the depth of meaning in the Bible also included studying the history of Christianity. Beginning with the fourth century, I learned about Athanasius, numerous “isms” such as Arianism, Hildebrand and Henry IV along with Francis of Assisi, a true saint, or witness for Christianity. My survey of Christian history ended with Martin Luther in the sixteenth century. I concluded that Christianity failed in the fourth century when orthodox beliefs, IDEOLOGY, became more important that the fruits of repentance, not penance.
The New Testament consistently relates that the individual is judged according to deeds, not beliefs.
Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.
Jn. 5: 28, 29
And if you call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear…
I Pet. 1:17
Around fifteen years ago, I concluded that God wants the individual to repent, in order to recognize grace, which establishes faith Around 2006, I discovered this exact sequence in Acts 11.
Repentance is the message of a prophet. In the Greek, metanoia means a change in thinking, or a change in attitude. This intrinsic Christian word does not appear in John’s gospel. Even though the Son of God is recognized as a prophet, the Fourth Evangelist presents Jesus as a pre-existent Wisdom figure while the other gospels portray Jesus as a teacher of wisdom. In the GJn there are no parables. Jesus teaches with dialogues in the manner of a Greek philosopher where a disciple asks a question and the Teacher expounds, e.g., Jn 14.
Grace is God’s beneficial influence in the individual life while faith is trust in the Lord and belief in the power of God. Last August, I went out to my car, a Camry, and saw a puddle underneath. Bending over to investigate, to my dismay, it was gas. The sturdy steed I bought new in 1991 was done, toast. Then and there I knew it had to be replaced, but how?
The Trinity is functional, not ontological.
For as touching those who were once enlightened and tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the age to come, and then fell away, it is impossible to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.
Think a true thought, see the Light.
That weekend was very stressful; I confronted an existential crisis. On Sunday, while playing hearts on my pc, I thought, even if I get it fixed, it will break down again. That true thought produced a Spiritual Light which indicated I must obtain a new car. A short time later, I went out to the crippled Camry and began removing my personal items.
The next day I drove to a shop that had done repairs on my car before. When they put it up on the rack, I could see that both the brake line and the gas line were leaking. It would cost a thousand dollars to fix. One of the mechanics said Lindsay Honda was giving cash for clunkers; I hoped that would be my salvation: meaning well-being in the Greek. Driving to the car dealer, I hoped my car would make it, and arrived there around 9 AM. I returned home with a brand new Civic around 3 PM. It was a non-supernatural miracle by the grace of God.
From 1984 until 1991, I worked for the Post Office, at a bulk mail center, where I unloaded trucks. After nearly seven years I quit because I was tired of being treated like dirt by dirtballs. Subsequently, no matter how hard I tried, including re-training, I could never gain long term traction in the job market which resulted in becoming homeless in 2003. Without the faith that comes from experience and the Lights, I would not have been able to endure and overcome that period in my life.
Let us fix our eyes on the blood of Christ and understand how precious it is unto His Father, because being shed for our salvation it won for the whole world the grace of repentance.
The ministers of the grace of God through the Holy Spirit spoke concerning repentance.
Therefore, brothers and sisters…I ask of you as a reward that you repent with your whole heart, and give salvation and life to yourselves. For doing this we shall set a goal for all the young who desire to toil in the study of piety and of the goodness of God.
My message is the ancient message: repent. Changing attitudes among the power elite toward the citizens of the republic represents the only manner in which our world will EVER become a better place.
Additionally, should a global calamity like a volcanic eruption afflict the world, international cooperation, not military confrontation, is essential for human survival.
In 1983, when I began reading about Napoleon’s campaigns, I had a dream. He was young, smiling, standing outside a stone hut; perhaps it was the second Italian Campaign. Knowing that the soul retains memories of previous lives I thought…but not until I met a retired police officer who had been told he was Marshal Ney in a previous life, did I accept the impossible was possible. Gene’s story met the theory of verisimilitude. I have met other people I knew in a previous life, including Josephine. Two of those people can be seen here:
What I know From Experience