Love Returns Ministry

I’ve engaged LegalZoom to set up a DBA in California as “Love Returns Ministry.” The logo is in the final stages of jewelry design, which I’ll be taking around the gift shops to raise funds. I’ve reserved the love-returns.org domain through WordPress, but have to figure out how to get it transferred to a new blog (currently it will redirect to this home page).

This has been building for a while. Through my writing, I haven’t been able to engage intellectual or religious leaders, which means that they aren’t the people that need me. I encounter those that do while dancing or getting my hair cut or at the lunch counter. They are people hanging on to love by their fingernails, just doing the best that they can. They are courageous and determined, and they need reason to hope.

So I threw this together a couple of Saturdays ago:

MEN

Jesus proved that we have the power and strength to create a world ruled by

LOVE

Each of us has a part to play, but teams don’t win games unless they know the rules and their opponent, and share a strategy. Without that, we score two points and give up four. If you are a good man, you know that struggle.

THE BOOK OF REVELATION

Describes the love and strength that God has invested in preparing us to win the game. Now is the time to

UNITE FOR VICTORY OVER SORROW

And to create a safe place for

WOMEN TO HEAL US

Then last Saturday, I went out to the pier and my new friend Harold asked me “Are you a Christian?” I stopped, having considered this moment, and coyly replied “Well, I’m about as Christian a man as can be.” We started discussing points of theology, and I realized that everybody was listening to me speak. Struggling with hubris, I knelt on the boards, testified that “I need to humble myself.” Harold reached up to the sky and started offering praise to the Father for the teaching that I had brought to them that day.

I’m struggling with logistics still. The DBA will take a week or so. The announcement needs some graphic design to attract the right people. My color laser printer is on the fritz. I need to get the new blog up, and figure out how to organize the material logically, rather than by date.

But in between I’ve outlined some of the discussions, focusing on the nature of love and sin; the nature of the heavenly realm; the reconciliation of Darwin and the Bible. I have this vision of an open Socratic discussion, myself doodling on a flip chart to explain the science and philosophy and history of the Human journey, and realizing that people seeking answers have every reason to trust what I have to say.

In those visions, I feel their brokenness reaching out to me, and responsive power moving through my heart from the Father.

He loves us. We are strong enough. Come to Him.

“Man” and “Woman”

The driving motivation for the writing of The Soul Comes First was a reading of the Book of Revelation as just what John said it was: a visit to the Holy Mind in which the angels revealed their relationship to and experience of Christ. The difficulty of the writing is that the insights are like the M.C. Escher drawing of hands drawing each other. Genesis makes sense only if you’ve read Revelation, which makes sense only if you’ve read Acts, which depends upon the Gospels, the chain continuing to a dependency on Genesis.

We have to grok it all at once. I’m afraid that I didn’t succeed very well with that problem.

But the insights continue to trickle in.

Genesis 2:7 says [NIV]:

Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

This has been interpreted literally as meaning that Adam was the first instance of the species homo sapiens sapiens. There are those that take a different tack: that Adam and Eve were the sole human survivors of a geological catastrophe such as a major volcanic eruption. But the continuity of the archaeological record undermines all of these interpretations.

Revelation 4 starts where Genesis starts [NIV Gen 1:2]:

Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

This is the scene that John encounters: the “Spirit of God” being the corporate body of the angels united under the guidance of Unconditional Love. In John’s vision, there are twenty-four of the former – described as “elders” – gathered around the “one on the throne.” We should understand the latter to be Unconditional Love, which is warded by fearsome beasts that prevent the approach of the elders.

So this is the initial state of Heaven before the investiture of God in the Earth. What comes next in Revelation is the sequence of that investiture: a scroll with seven seals is opened, and selfishness is given dominion over the Earth. Then from among the twelve princes of heaven, twelve thousand are sent from each down to Earth. These are the masculine angels that generate change; the feminine angels are held in reserve until a measure of safety is created.

Paleontology tells us that it took approximately a billion years before that safety was attained. Finally, in homo sapiens sapiens, God recognized a species with the potential to express love.

Genesis 2 starts with God’s reflection on that process. The species “man” was created from the dust of the ground, rising up only through an enormous commitment of intention and attention to the manifestation of the potential for life to receive love. If done too early, the gift would have been wasted: it would have been corrupted by selfishness. So love was held in reserve when the 144,000 were sent down from heaven, and remained aloof for a billion years.

God having spawned homo sapiens sapiens as an animal with the potential to elaborate love, Unconditional Love then breathed itself into one such animal, Adam, making him Man. Love was joined to biology, making it possible for us to escape the brutal practices of natural selection as described by Darwin. Recognizing that Adam should not be alone, Unconditional Love then sought for a mate to share the stewardship of spreading love throughout the world. Thus was one female animal imbued with love, creating Eve – the first Woman.

This is what we celebrate when we call them “First Man” and “First Woman” – not the material superfluity of their physical forms, but the transformation that comes with becoming imbued with Unconditional Love.

How did this make Adam a “living being”? Because one of the forms of selfishness is death. Through the link with Unconditional Love, Adam was freed from that captivity. He acted with fearless generosity. It was in seeking to become God’s equal that our thralldom to selfishness was reimposed.

In reflecting on all the evil we have committed since, I have called it “the great working out through the flesh of our dependency on sin.” Each generation becomes a little stronger, and with Jesus to light our way as an exemplar, eventually love will have its way with us.

Who Is in Charge Here?

A common motif in corporate management is the analogy of competition as a sport. A certain visceral energy comes into a community of people when they stand over their fallen enemies.

One of the challenges employers have in managing me is that I recognize the fundamental nature of that experience: the energy comes from feasting on the spirits of our foes. It’s literally vampirism. It’s wrong, and I refuse to participate.

A survey of the lives of prominent business and political leaders reveals a trend – not universal, but powerful: many of them crave attention. They are needy. They are unable to bring energy from within, and so must consume that produced by others. This creates conditions in which the culture of our organizations is not controlled by the needs of its constituency (workers and customers), but by the personal needs of its psychologically neediest members.

This is not an abstract problem. It severely damaged America during the terms of Presidents 42 and 43: Clinton hungered for the attention of women, and his indiscretion led to wasteful impeachment proceedings. W hungered for a father, and his need to outdo Bush Sr. in the Gulf lead to rash decision-making that cost the nation trillions of dollars and tens of thousands of ruined lives.

Why does that happen? Why do we allow these men (in many cases, empower them) to run our lives?

This is, in fact, the central conundrum of the Bible, starting with Cain and ending with Christ. Some women think of Christianity as a “men’s club”, but I don’t see it as something to be proud of. The Bible focuses on men because our weakness is the greatest problem to success in the mission we have been given.

When John is invited into heaven (Revelation 4), he encounters twenty-four “elders” celebrating the presence of unconditional love in their midst. Twelve are identified as the patron angels of Israel; the other twelve are encountered in the tiara of the holy mother who comes to bring the savior to humanity. So in heaven, there is a balance between the masculine and feminine angels.

Why don’t we feel the presence of those angels? The intimacy of their involvement with the doings of Earth is described so beautifully by John [Rev. 4:9-10] (emphasis added):

And when the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, to Him who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders will fall down before Him who sits on the throne, and will worship Him who lives forever and ever

In reading this, I have the image of a great welling up from all the living things of the Earth: the animals, plants, fungus, even the bacteria. This welling up travels up through the souls of the elders where it literally forces them to their knees in praise.

But after Eden, humanity was placed under quarantine. We are not allowed to participate in this upwelling, for as it says [Gen 3.24]:

He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.

Being cut off in this way, our experience of life is dominated by the material world, and predominantly by the fear of death. When wielding fear to control others, men, whose natural participation with the creation of life is so distant, have less compunction than women. Too often, those that cherish life submit to the terrorism of aggressive men.

What Jesus demonstrated to us was the power that is available to us when we relinquish fear. It is to enter again into that upwelling, and with disciplined minds not only not to pollute it, but moreso to help to channel it. In so doing, we are embraced and sustained by it, just as Jesus was. It is this channeling, and not physical control, that was meant in Genesis 1:28:

God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.

In that divine relationship, the power of love sweeps all else before it. I once had an employer tell me that I was a “free spirit.” Not at all: I am constrained to avoid the use of fear, which in this world is to surrender power over people. But in surrendering that power, I have submitted to the purposes of a power that overwhelms all others, and so I cannot be turned by fear as others are turned.

Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it. [Matt. 7:13-14]