Friday, December 17, 2010

Free-Style Taoism

And Surrender

I received an email recently from a facebook friend who I've not met in person. Here's an excerpt from that email:

It seems like your thought process is similar to mine. However, I have gone a different route than you have, in that I have concluded that the Bible is true. As a result of that I end up with different conclusions. For example, I am not focused so much on this life. I do view this life as important and endeavor to make it count so that when it ends I will not feel like it is unfinished, however, I am not so concerned as you are in living MY life. I am content even if I do not fulfill my self and my plans in this life, as long as I fulfill the plan God has for me. I think I am more tolerant of being personally stifled, which is good becasue I have been stifled, not to say that I like being stifled. Basically, all this is to say that I find your thinking stimulating and an echo of much of my own, but we will collide on some things.


Here is my reply:

You and I might not be quite as different as you may think. While I don't believe that the Bible is true and consider myself a "Free-style Taoist", I think I live similarly to the way you do. I do want to live my life as opposed to yours or someone else's life, but not my life as opposed to the one that feels most deeply right, or what I think you would call "God's plan".

As I often put it, I don't want to write my part in this play we find ourselves in, I want to find my part, the one that feels most deeply right. I leave it to God or the Universe to do the writing. I just want to find the life that doesn't feel forced and willed into being. I want to surrender into the life that feels natural and right. I do this by constantly listening and following the right feeling in my body/heart/mind/spirit.

I am pretty sure that my plans will remain unfulfilled, that I will miss the mark most of the time, and that before too long the stuff of what I call "me" will merge back into the one-ness and re-emerge in some other form. If I worship anything, it's not the sacred "me", it's the whole of Nature, this marvelous balancing act from which I believe I came, and to which I believe I go, if I ever in fact, leave it at all.

So, sure, we are different. But I think the overall attitude of surrender to a larger life movement is similar, even if it takes different forms.

Another difference between us might be that I don't feel compelled to produce songs which together make up a coherent and consistent world view. I used to, but not any more. I think I've switched internally from a kind of benign dictator form of government to a more parliamentary system. I have many "ministers" inside myself and I give any of them that wants to sing their song or two. So I have songs from many different and sometimes contradictory points of view.

(Here are videos of two such contradictory songs:



The release of charge that I get from writing songs is more important to me than having a consistent message. I feel that what I call my "self" is so vast, so mysterious, so intertwined with everything else, that purifying that self, or hammering it into some consistent form is futile, limiting and forever incomplete.

I think of myself as I think of life, or anything else really, as a great, invisible unknowable mystery. Each song, thought, or insight is like firing a tiny paintball at this vast invisible thing, making a small part of it more visible and touchable. I don't have enough paintballs, and never will, to completely reveal who I am, or what anything is in any complete way. But I do enjoy firing them and seeing what I can see and touch.

24 comments:

  1. Gene,
    I was listening to your new song "put the ass back into christmas " and I have to tell you that I was offended . You seem to be mocking god . Why would you want to mock the one who loves you unconditionaly ? He loves you more than any mortal man ever could . Why would you push him away ? why do you mock him ? He (jesus) has a great plan for your life . trust him . He is real . on the cross he said "it is finished " . He died for ALL your sin ,His burial was proof and he came to give you LIFE . all you gatta do is believe in him .

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  2. I have to tell ya I love your songs and I even bought your book ,but I can't wait to hear your songs that you write praising jesus (god) . That will be a day that I will jump up and be so so joyfull . I can't wait !

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  3. I'm sorry you were offended. That was not my intent. Nor was it my intent to mock God, or the creator, or the Tao or whatever higher powers may or may not exist. I don't share your beliefs, but it was not my intention to mock them, merely to poke a little fun at the whole season. I can see how you could be offended by such a song, but that was not my intent. And sorry, but you may be in for a long wait... ;~)

    Be well. GB

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  4. Gene ,
    I'll wait .

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  5. My brother is super Christian, and how I describe my views are more similar to what you here call free style taoism. Last night my brother and I had a discussion which sounded similar to this post. I mentioned to my brother that sometimes a part of me feels envy towards his faithful Jesus-oriented attitude, because he seems to feel very confident that The Truth is something very easy to understand and very easy to accurately put into words: "Jesus is Lord", etc. But for me, I cannot with confidence tell myself that these words are the only true way of expressing the nature of the relationship between "myself and reality", or however you want to put it.

    Sure, I can see the value in such a way of thinking, but unfortunately for my "please-stick-with-something-concrete-that-I-can-understand" aspects, I can see just as much value in many other ways of thinking and many other names for the unnameable. In some ways it feels disconcerting that my foundation is liquid instead of solid, but in other, vaster ways, that disconcerted feeling is acceptable, because the ocean supports and accepts all things.

    I think I do constantly praise what my brother calls Jesus Christ, but the belief that it must be vocalized in a specific way and pictured in a specific way just plain boggles me.

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  6. Thanks Bryan, for the thoughtful comment.

    I find being able to tolerate ambiguity, fluidity, alternate points of view, and ultimately mystery, to be very useful in navigating and enjoying life, even if they sometimes frustrate and confuse my more logical brain.

    If I can just hold the questions in my heart without being too attached to finding a definite answer, I find the tension there to be very fruitful and creative. It's like holding the question "What is true?", without getting attached to a specific answer, is like holding open some huge heavy door inside me and through that door all kinds of creativity, insight and magic can enter. As soon as I nail down an answer, that door shuts.

    I post this quote very often:

    Ring the bells that still can ring
    Forget your perfect offering
    There is a crack~A crack in everything
    That's how the light gets in

    from Anthem by Leonard Cohen

    And here's one from me:

    But there's a fire that's older and deeper
    And it burns at the center of doubt
    It'll burn up whatever you want to
    If you can handle the heat 'til it's out

    from Dancing ©2008 by Gene Burnett

    Thanks and be well in the New Year.

    GB

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  7. The problem that I see in chistianity today is christians beating people over the head with "the law " some"cristians" are constantly condeming and judging people for their behavior. The truth is that Jesus (god ) took care of ALL sin on the cross . Being accepted by god has NOTHING ! to do with behavior, NOTHING ! the following post are the true nature of gods grace .

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  8. GOD ACCEPTS US

    We're accepted. "He made us accepted in the Beloved" (Eph. 1:6). The word translated accepted means "to grace, to favor". He has graced us and favored us. We are standing in His grace (Rom. 5:1)! He has welcomed us in and embraced us. We're adopted into His family and are His beloved children. The Spirit confirms this and tells us to call Him "Daddy"! He loves us with the same love He has for Jesus (John 17:23)! We're accepted no matter what happens, no matter what we do. We are accepted at our lowest, even. We are accepted as we are, not as we should be (Brennan Manning). We are taken in, brought into His circle of love. He is totally okay with us. And this acceptance is never based on us our our performance but always on Him and His nature of love. His acceptance is freely given and never needs to be "earned".

    This was one of the first big grace truths that God showed me, and I'm still needing to hear it daily. It changed my life to find out that what I had been trying so hard to get - His acceptance - was mine already. The cross is God loving us, embracing us, ACCEPTING us. So we are okay to God! He's not angry with us, disappointed with us, or frustrated with us...He's happy with us, content with us! We are accepted! Thank you for that, Jesus!

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  9. CHRIST IS IN US, AND WE ARE IN CHRIST

    We are in union with Him! God created us for intimate union and constant fellowship with Him, and that's what we have right now and for all eternity because of Christ's finished work!

    The one joined to Christ is one spirit with Him (1 Co. 6:11). We are all we were ever meant to be: one with the One who is Life (Dan Stone). There's no more separation. His Spirit is in us. We're hidden with Christ in God. We're in Him, and He's in us. We're one with Him as He is one with the Father! No need to try to get closer to God, for we're in Him - you can't get any closer than that!

    Our life is a dance with our Lover, and we'll gaze into each other's eyes for all eternity! We're wrapped in His arms of love and can't get away. Nothing can take us out of Him. He's always with us and we're always with Him. We'll never be alone! We have all of Him in us already, right now! We're filled with God through our union with Christ We have everything since we have Christ (Col. 2:10)!

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  10. GOD IS NOT DEALING WITH US ON THE BASIS OF SIN

    God is not dealing with us in reference to sin - the cross finished that. On the cross Jesus took away all the sins of all people for all time. He took away all sins - past, present, and future (John 1:29). Our sins are all forgiven and taken away (lifted off of me). The punishment due to humanity for sin was taken by Christ - our death He died - so there is no punishment left for us.

    When we sin it changes nothing in our relationship with God. We don't go out of fellowship or stop being "right" with God or need to try to get forgiven. The sin is already dealt with and we are forgiven people at all times. We're right with God forever because of Jesus; that won't change no matter what we do. That means that even in the midst of our worst sin, God is looking on us with a smile and delighting in us! He's already taken care of that sin completely at the cross (Jesus' work is FINISHED) so it isn't on His mind; what's on His mind is His love for us and His joy in the new creation He made us in Christ!

    Thus sin can never come between us and God. All guilt and shame and condemnation are removed; if we feel any of that, it is not from God. At the cross all sins were forgiven and God is not counting the sins of the world against them. Sin, being taken away at the cross, is not longer an issue between us and God. God is not pointing out what's wrong with us; He's pointing out what's right with us because of Christ! God doesn't see our sins. He sees us in Christ as holy new creations with Christ's righteous life inside!

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  11. GOD IS NOT DEALING WITH US ON THE BASIS OF LAW

    God is not relating to us on the basis of law; the cross dealt with that. Christ nailed the law, with all its ordinances and requirements against us, to the cross (Col. 2:14). He fulfilled the law for us. He took it out of the way, and the law is now obsolete. He is the end of the law for righteousness for all who believe (Rom 10:5). We died to the law by the cross and were married to Christ (Rom. 7:4).

    God makes no demands on us. We have no requirements or obligations before God. God doesn't "should" on us. We have no Christian duties or obligations. We are free from the law! We are not under the law but under grace. We don't think about good and evil, right and wrong, do's and don'ts; we think about Life! We now have Christ in us, with His righteous nature and desires inside. Christ is our life, and He will live through us and keep us. We are truly free from worrying about what we should or shouldn't do, free to enjoy our relationship with Christ!

    We never need to do something to get God's favor, for we already have it as a gift by Jesus' work, not our own! And we never need to do something to "regain" the favor we feel we've lost by sinning. The fact is, we don't lose His favor when we sin. (Since His favor is based on Christ's perfect work, the only way we could lose that favor would be if Christ were to sin! Not gonna happen!) We are truly free from trying to get God's acceptance and a perfect relationship with Him, free to enjoy the acceptance and perfect relationship we ALREADY have with Him as a gift through Jesus!

    The Christian life isn't about what we must do for God; it is about what Jesus already did for us. It's not all up to us, but all up to Christ, and Christ's work is finished! All that's left is to enjoy the party!

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  12. WE ARE COMPLETE IN CHRIST

    There is no need to try to become something we already are or get to a place where we already are. We are complete in Him (Col. 2:10). God says He already foreknew, predestined, called, justified and glorified us (Rom. 8:29-30). God says He already washed, cleansed and sanctified us (1 Co. 6:11). We're home. We're sitting on Daddy's lap, held close by Him, at home with Him. We already have all of God and all in Him. We are not lacking in any way. We're already close to Him - one with Him, in union, "in" - and you can't get any closer than that! We are already pleasing to Him - as pleasing as Jesus is. We are already communing and fellowshipping with Him. The Spirit even prays for and in us, and that's perfect prayer.

    Our relationship wasn't put in place by our works and it isn't maintained by us, either. Nothing we do can change His love for us. We're not trying to get righteous, get closer to God, get God's favor, or get an intimate relationship with God - we already have a perfect relationship with God. We are righteous and accepted right now, so there is no need to strive to get what we already have. We're perfect to God right now, perfected forever by the one perfect sacrifice of Jesus!

    We live out of what is already true. We live in the land of "already there", not the land of "trying to get there". We are full of Him; we shall not hunger, shall not thirst, shall not walk in darkness, shall not lack!

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  13. WE ARE RIGHTEOUS BECAUSE OF CHRIST

    Since Christ is in us, the spirit is alive because of righteousness. Christ has given us His righteousness; we're not only declared righteous, we are righteous because we have a new nature, the nature of Christ within - His very life and righteousness! When He died, He took our old sinful self down to the grave with Him, and when He rose He raised us up a new holy, self in Him! We're new creations, with a new self created in righteousness and true holiness (Eph. 4:24). We've been perfected forever (Heb. 10:14). Since we've been justified (made innocent and right with God), there's no condemnation because it's God Himself who says we're right with Him!

    We delight in God's law in the inner (real, true) self. We don't want to sin; it's not our nature. We've been given a new heart that desires to do good and longs to please Him, and He has caused us to walk in His ways. He's given us a new heart that won't turn away from Him, and He's promised He won't turn away from us or stop doing good to us (Jer. 32:40). He's taken away our sin and made us good! When joined to sin, we were separate from Him. Now joined to Him, we're separate from sin! So now we can stop worrying about sin and just enjoy our being together with Him!

    Having His perfect righteousness, we have a perfect relationship with Him always (righteousness means right relationship). We are right with Him always, even when we sin or fail! We never lose that relationship or go out of fellowship! Christ earned all this for us and gave it to us as a gift.

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  14. GOD LOVES US UNCONDITIONALLY

    God loves us. To love is to give value, thus God's love for us shows us that He see us as valuable and important to Him. To love is also to delight in, thus God's love for us shows that He delights in us and wants us around. He likes to be with us. He actually likes us! He made and likes each one's personality and enjoys being with us. He knows us in every way, knows us in our nakedness, and loves us as we are! He rejoices over us and sings of His love for us (Zeph. 3:17)! We are the pearl of great price that He "found" and just can't give up!

    His love is so deep and wide it truly fills Him and encompasses everything He is, so much so that He is actually defined as love! And it is a perfect love. God actually loves us with the same love Has has for Jesus (John 17:23)!

    His love for us is a great big love. It cannot get any bigger, and nothing we do or think would ever make it get smaller. His love absorbed all our sin on the cross, taking away anything that would keep us from fully enjoying that love. Yes, it is in Jesus' life, death and resurrection that His wonderful love is revealed. He went through the hell of carrying all our sins in order to bring us back - that's true love!

    He doesn't relate to us in order to "use" us, and He has no hidden agenda - just showering His love on us and being with us is an end in itself. In fact, just being with us in loving union the "main thing" with Him (John 17:26)! His focus is not on changing us but on loving us. Relationship with us is the most important thing to Him! God has a wonderful plan and goal for our life, and it is to love us, to love us, to love us...

    God's love is without condition, given for free. We don't have to do or be anything to get it or to keep it coming. It's ours already - now and forever - freely given just because that is how He is! He will never relate to us on any other basis than love! Not on the basis of sin, performance, law, change, growth, teaching a lesson, - not anything else but LOVE!

    And this love is a forever love. It will outshine the brightest stars and outlast eternity. We are loved for good, for all time, forevermore!

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  15. WE ARE SAFE AND SECURE

    Because of what Christ did for us, we are safe in His hand and nothing or noone can pluck us out. The evil one cannot touch us (1John 5:18b). God will never leave us or forsake us - so there's never anything we or anyone else could do to ever make Him leave. Sin is the only thing that brings alienation, and since He's taken all our sin away already, we'll never be alienated from Him again, no matter what, ever!

    We're stuck together by "grace glue"! He promised He'd never turn away from us or stop doing good to us, and He's given us a new heart that won't turn away from Him (Jer. 32:40). He'll neither leave us nor let us go. We can fail and still be "in" - that's security in His love. He put us "in" and keeps us in by His grace, not be any work of ours; and since it's up to Him and His work, it's done and sure.

    We're not vulnerable. We don't have to think that "anything" can happen to us; we're safe in His hand. He won't harm us. He won't send evil things on us, for He only gives good gifts. His Life in us will buoy us up in every situation. He will never leave us alone no matter how we react to hard times. He will carry us safely in His arms no matter what. He always leads us in triumph (2 Co. 2:14).

    God has a hold on us and He's not letting go. His Spirit sealed us for the day of redemption - we're secure in Him. He will finish what He's started in us. He will bring us physically to the heavenly kingdom (I say physically because our spirits are already there, relaxing on His lap on the throne, "seated with Him in heavenly places" - Eph. 2:6). With Jesus, we cannot lose. And we can't mess this up, it's a done deal. As R.F. Capon says, "You can't get away from a love that will not let you go!"

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  16. GOD'S GOAL FOR OUR LIVES IS RELATIONSHIP, NOT CHANGE

    The goal of God for our lives is not to change us but to love us. We won't always have perfect circumstances or perfect behavior, but the cross brought us and God into a perfect relationship. The goal of God for our lives is for us to enjoy that relationship.

    God wants to hang out with us. He likes for us to just enjoy everyday life together. Our life with God is a dance of two lovers who gaze into each other's eyes and swirl around with joy.

    God didn't love us in order to improve us, change us, fix us, or use us for His program. He loved us in order to share everything of Himself with us. God's "main thing" is Life. He made us alive with His Life and shares His Life (Himself) with us.

    We can relax and just "be" with God. Our mission and purpose is just "being" with Him, knowing and being known, sharing life together, enjoying Love. This is eternal life - knowing Him! That's the whole reason He brought us to be alive in union with Him. We are in eternal union with God. There is no end to this dance of love. He will forever be whispering in our ear "I love you. I love you. I love you." There is Someone who knows all about us, our hopes, our fears, our pains, our loss, our doubts, our failures, our insecurities, our longings, - and LOVES US AS WE ARE! There is a Holy Lover. There is a True Friend. There is Someone who will always listen to us, always understand us, always be there for us. He will be faithful forever, for no matter where our confusion may sometimes take us, He will be traveling down that road with us, loving us perfectly, gently, truly.

    We are accepted in the Beloved. We are at home in God! We were made for this! We are known and understood, accepted and held forevermore!

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  17. GRACE IS FOREVER

    Grace is forever. Grace means that God will always be for us and never against us. He will always hold us. He will always love us. He will always accept us.

    Grace always comes to us and grace always finds us. No matter what we've done, where we've been, or who we've become, He will always accept us. Always welcome us. Always means always.

    Grace, whose other name is Jesus, will never let us down. The love that formed the universe will uphold our hearts and uphold our souls. And uphold our eternity. We will be forever loved, forever accepted, forever held.

    Grace always comes to us.
    Grace always holds us.
    Grace is forever.

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  18. YOU ARE 100% FORGIVEN ..Even if you are not saved

    Thats the kind of god we have ! he loved us so much that he gave us JESUS who died and took away the sins of the WHOLE WORLD ! He took away ALL your sins Forever ! There is NOTHING that you can do to make yourself any more forgiven than you already are !

    1Jo 2:2 -
    He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

    TO :Those who need him , HE IS HERE FOR YOU !!

    NO MAN OR WOMAN WILL EVERY GO TO HELL FOR THEIR SINS !

    YOU MUST RECIEVE JESUS TO GO TO HEAVEN . JESUS CAME TO GIVE YOU LIFE

    If you want JESUS to SAVE YOU must go TO HIM and ask him to come into your heart and be your lord and savior Not to a man

    Joh 3:16 -
    "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

    Joh 10:10 -
    The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

    Joh 11:25 -
    Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies;

    BEFORE LIFE COULD BE GIVEN SIN HAD TO BE TAKEN AWAY .

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  19. **** UNDER THE NEW COVENANT JESUS TOOK AWAY THE SINS OF THE WHOLE WORLD AND HE REMEMBERS THEM NO MORE ******
    Mt 1:21 -
    She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins."

    What will JESUS save his people from ?

    2Co 5:19 -
    that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.

    Is GOD counting mans sins against them ?

    Eph 1:7 -
    In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace

    Through his blood what do we have forgiveness of ?


    Col 1:14 -
    in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

    What do we have forgiveness of ?

    Heb 7:27 -
    Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself.

    JESUS was the sacrifice for who?


    Heb 8:12 -
    For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more."

    Will god remember your sins ?


    Heb 10:17 -
    Then he adds: "Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more."

    How many of your sins and lawless acts will GOD remember ?

    What should you do every day ?

    THANK GOD ! Thats right ...Thank god that all your sins (past,present,and future ) god remembers them no more !

    No need to BEG GOD for forgivness no need to feel guilty

    No need to go to a 12 step group or a priest and confess your sins or try to clean yourself up it was already done for you when the lord JESUS was crucified on the cross 2000 years ago !

    Thats the kind of god we have A LOVING GOD so just thank him..... just thank him .....


    SADLY MANY PEOPLE COMMINGLE THE OLD TESTAMENT AND THE NEW TESTAMENT ..... THEY TEACH THE OLD TESTAMENT AND THE PSALMS LIKE IT IS DOCTRINE FOR US TODAY -it is not

    The definition of commingle is com·min·gle (k-mnggl)
    v. com·min·gled, com·min·gling, com·min·gles
    v.intr.
    To become blended.
    v.tr.
    To cause to blend together; mix.


    *********first of all we need to understand that we as christians live under the new covenant*****

    THE BIBLE CLEARLY STATES THAT WE ARE UNDER A NEW COVENANT ! The new covenant is our doctrine
    God has given us a framework that holds the various elements of the gospel in place : THIS FRAMEWORK IS CALLED THE NEW COVENANT . it encompasses everything that christ has accomplised for us through his death ,burial,and resurrection. That is why it is of utmost importance for every believer to understand the New Covenant.
    Heb 8:6 -
    But the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, and it is founded on better promises.
    Heb 8:13 -
    By calling this covenant "new," he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear.
    Heb 9:15 -
    For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance--now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.

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  20. Believe in jesus christ and we be saved , thats what its all about . Jesus(god) died for ALL our sin . his burial was proof amd he rose to give us eternal life . thats the gospel .

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  21. @ Anonymous I hope you are right. I am not trying to be deserving or perfect, only trying to be myself in the most natural and unforced way I can by doing what feels most deeply right and letting the chips fall where they may.

    I think you have summed up your views very well here. In the interest of fairness and to avoid unnecessary repetition, I would appreciate it if in the future, you feel moved to write the same words again on some other thread, that you simply refer people to this thread.

    Like say I post something on being accepted and you are reminded of what you've written here. You could just say: God accepts us as we are. I have fully elaborated this view in the comments section of the following thread: http://geneburnett.blogspot.com/2010/12/free-style-taoism.html
    This way readers who wish to go in that direction can simply go there and readers who do not can stay where they are.

    Also, have you considered starting your own blog? I know you feel passionately about what you believe, but I have very few followers and the comments section at the bottom of a single post will not be seen by very many people if any. If you had your own blog you might have a better shot at being heard. But if you don't feel like doing any of the above, feel free to comment on my posts. I'd just prefer the reference thing I mention above. Thanks for your interest. Be well and have a Happy New Year.

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  22. If you would like more info read any books by Bob george or steve Mcvey . and line it up with the bible . Its the truth . No one knows if there is a god so of course that is only if you decide that to be your belief .

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  23. Sorry gene ,I got a little carried away . Your right I am very passionate about telling people how much god loves them and I have been thinking about staring my own blog . Thanks for helping me to see that . take care !

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  24. @Anonymous No problem A. If you start a blog, I'll be your first follower.

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