From the Heart; To the Heart

I wish to share something special on this Valentine’s Day, but I also want it to be real. Gooey sentiment abounds in the commercialism of this day, so I want to share something that won’t be lost within the abundant (and often dutiful) sappiness. I wasn’t sure what I might offer until I read TheGodGuy‘s post Valentine’s Day “Massacre.”

I have seen statistics that support the statement, “Marriage is being massacred!” It only stands to reason that, as more marriages fail, the following generation has fewer role models demonstrating how to make marriage a success. If people are looking for alternatives like “temporary contracts,” then those same people recognize the failing condition of the institution of marriage. However, you cannot assess the quality of an apple by comparing it to an orange.

Pre-arranged marriages thrive in cultures that also create pressures to enforce those marriages, not because any spiritual challenges are embraced. There can be no comparison to a culture where people attempt to employ Love as the foundation for marriage. TheGodGuy suggests that the problem lies in not recognizing God as part of the marriage contract. If people accept the predominant western (Christianized) belief that “God is love” (1 John 4:8 KJV), then those who choose Love as the foundation for marriage are acting reverently. Regardless of whether they are religious or not, a Shekhinah should naturally form between people who love one another. It would be rash to presume that the massacre of marriage is evidence to the contrary.

The origins of marriage, at least in some cultures, apparently revolved around matters of inheritance; men wanted assurances that those who would inherit their estate were truly of their bloodline. Marriage founded on love indicates that the institution is developing along a positive path. Pre-arranged marriages remain from a previous stage in that development, and there are reports that some cultures which adhere to this practice also practice the mutilation of women’s bodies. This raises a question in my mind about the role of domestic violence in the massacre of marriage, and therefore, is the sanctity of marriage more important than the well-being of the participants?

The “increase of online dating services” is not evidence that people desire the “intimacy that marriage promises.” People have been known to marry for the wrong reasons, and a technological development is not a measure of human behavioral development. The alleged massacre of marriage is more likely evidence that people still marry for the wrong reasons. Unless one lives in a social vacuum, it is hard to ignore that the desire for power, money, sex, and convenience still produces marriage contracts; marriage is treated more like a business than a holy union (which is often the case with pre-arranged marriages.) Temporary contracts make sense if people subscribe to these culturally capitalistic values, but such values do not preclude the use of dating services.

It is true that people do not like change, but change is one of the few constants in our world. Temporary contracts not only make sense in this changing world, but they may be the salvation of marriage as a union founded in love. Let those who want to engage in a union for capitalistic values engage in temporary contracts because the needs and desires of both parties will change, and laws should be altered or enacted to reflect the legality of such contracts to protect the interests of both parties. This would then leave marriage as the proper vehicle for a holy union born of love, and the massacre could be alleviated. Aren’t prenuptial agreements evidence of capitalistic values corrupting the sanctity of marriage?

It is ironic that dominant religious factions in the United States fear same-sex marriages will corrupt the sanctity of marriage, but fail to notice the adverse effect their culture has had on marriage. The dominant religious factions within the United States appear powerless to instill the high ideals of their God within their own congregations. Marriage cannot be massacred without the help of a dominant demographic segment of the population. Perhaps they should pay more attention to what goes on in their own backyard, instead of judging and persecuting minorities like the LGBT community, Pagans, Atheists, or anyone else. Perhaps they could incur some respect for the laws of God, if they incurred some respect for the Law of the Land in the process!

I do not disagree that marriage is being massacred, or that some responsibility falls on the shoulders of influential religious factions. I do believe that there are many individuals who desire the intimacy that marriage suggests, but have been tainted by the realistic observation that marriage promises nothing. I believe this is actually the result of a society that has stopped teaching its young basic social skills.

The current generation of adults has become so preoccupied with careers and leisure, that important matters have been left to strangers to teach their children in the schools. For example, there are groups within the U.S. that want Judeo-Christian creation lore taught in public schools. The legal issues should not be paramount here, but rather the question: why do people want strangers teaching their sacred traditions? Are they too busy or too lazy?

An essential lesson not being taught to young people today is a matter of honor; if your word means nothing, then you are a nobody. This is the difference between the intimacy marriage suggests and the intimacy marriage promises; the marriage vows are meaningless if not backed by honor. Today we teach that nobody can be trusted, get everything in writing, but having it in writing is still no guarantee, so pay close attention to how things are worded. The end result is a nation full of bureaucrats looking for loop holes. However, we choose to follow this teaching, so we can still change and choose the path of honor. Honor is essential to Love because Love involves trust.

A second essential lesson not being taught to young people is that Love has nothing to do with receiving; Love is exclusively an act of giving. I frequented public events in my youth with the purpose of increasing my exposure to romantic possibilities. We didn’t have online dating services in the 70s and 80s, we had dance halls, which seems preferable over online dating services because you usually have fun regardless of whether or not you meet that special someone. A song came out with the line “lookin’ for love in all the wrong places” which opened my eyes. I realized that most people were so busy looking for love, that few were showing it. Frustration will continue in this matter from generation to generation until people learn this simple truth about Love being an act of giving.

A third essential lesson not being taught to young people is that change is constant and inevitable. If you are alive, you are growing, and therefore changing. The same holds true for anyone you choose to entangle yourself with. If you and/or your partner are not growing and changing, then one or both of you are either dead or an extreme bore. Boys always seem to like girls just the way they are, then the girls change. Girls want to change their guys and they do change, but often not the way the girls planned or expected. Despite the immature tendencies of youth, most do not seem to recognize the possible effects of change in a long term relationship, much less whether they are prepared to deal with that.

A fourth essential lesson not being taught to young people is that it takes two to Tango, and it takes two to make war. We always have the ability to choose. We can choose to grow together, or to grow apart. However, if one chooses to grow together, but the other chooses to grow apart… need I say more? This brings us back full circle to a matter of honor and how much trust you can have in a potential marriage partner, or that they can have in you, when trying to make a good choice in Love. Nothing is ever guaranteed, though.

I finally settled down and married the love of my life at the age of thirty-six. We will have been married twenty years come September. Our marriage has been no bed of roses, and many thought we would never last. We did have many obstacles to overcome, and there were times when I wondered if we would end up divorced. We still encounter obstacles in life, but we understand each other much better now. We are now amazed at how often we agree on things, but I don’t believe either of us has changed; we have simply learned how to understand each other.

I didn’t want to marry someone like myself in that they agreed with me on everything. As a human being, I am imperfect just like anyone else, so I actually wanted a partner whose strengths would balance out my weaknesses, and vice verse. I certainly found her, but that meant we had to work out our differences. Our fiery trials tempered our relationship, so we now seem able to simply take the challenges life offers in stride.

I cannot imagine being married to anyone else. I know that she is only concerned about my well-being by her words and deeds. I don’t need to be too concerned about my well-being because of her concern, which leaves me with more than enough time to be concerned about her well-being. I only hope that my words and deeds reveal my love for her, as her words and deeds reveal her love for me. It certainly has been worth the work it took to get to this place. My wife, Bobbi, is the love of my life, my soul-mate, and the best Valentine I could ever have.

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The Divine Rights of the People

The divine right of kings was a simple principle from which monarchs derived their right to rule from the will of God. An important derivation of this divine right was that no earthly office or individual had the right to question the rule of a monarch, regardless of how tyrannical or oppressive that rule might be. This divine right was overthrown a few short centuries ago in the Age of Enlightenment, which is also called the Age of Reason. The yoke of the divine right of kings was cast off for what essentially is the divine rights of the people.

The Age of Enlightenment spanned an approximate period from the middle of the 1600s to the end of the 1700s. The names of many famous people are found within this age like Spinoza, Voltaire, Locke, Newton, Descartes, Diderot, the founding fathers of the United States of America, and many more. This was not only a time of revolutionary thinking, but also of revolutions. The U.S. Declaration of Independence was a product of this era and expresses well the principle of the divine rights of the people.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. (The Declaration of Independence)

It is a shame that today’s Americans seem to have forgotten the significance of this document in world history. I suspect that most are not even aware that this document is the cornerstone to the foundation that the United States of America was established upon. This document established the legitimacy of the government that would later be formed with the Constitution of the United States. The founding fathers of this nation confronted the divine right of kings with the divine rights of the people with the words “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights…” This is a very significant document.

The Constitution of the United States is an important document, but it is not the most significant work of the founding fathers, or even their second most significant work. The Constitution simply delineates the democratic form and structure of American government, or what constitutes this government. The dedication of the founding fathers to the divine rights of the people is revealed by their awareness that democracy, or majority rule, could diminish the divine rights of individuals outside of the majority, otherwise known as minorities.

The first ten amendments to the Constitution are called the Bill of Rights, and this is the founding fathers second most significant work concerning the divine rights of the people. These amendments were considered so important that it was made very difficult to alter or eradicate them. Americans should hold the founding fathers in great esteem for the care and concern they had for the divine rights of the people. However, there are factions within the United States that demonstrate a lack of respect for this work, and therefore for its authors.

The principle of the separation of church and state, as set within the First Amendment, has been continually violated by groups attempting to advance their religion on public grounds and in public institutions within government administration. There are those who still want their religious beliefs about the origins of humankind taught in public schools. However, the claim that the founding fathers intended the United States to be a Christian nation is a serious aberration that portrays the work of the founding fathers with contempt; it suggests that the founding fathers were not capable of accurately expressing their intentions. This is a disrespectful assertion born of selfish motives that ignores the historical record.

The work of the founding fathers within the historical context already described reveals them to be people of outstanding intelligence and conscience who were concerned with the divine rights of all people, rather than favoring any particular group. These were statesmen who set a standard that puts the majority of today’s politicians to shame, particularly the ones that pander to a religious majority. Conduct indicates that the average modern American politician holds little understanding of the work the founding fathers did concerning the divine rights of the people, much less to hold them in esteem and view them as role models.

The contrast between the standard set by the founding fathers and the conduct of modern day politicians and citizens reveals the degree of corruption to American ideals. The founding fathers did carry the divine rights of the people into their third significant work, the Constitution, as revealed in its Preamble:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. (Constitution of the United States)

How can our politicians accomplish the purposes of their offices as outlined in this Preamble if they favor the corporate entity and/or a religious entity over the corporeal entities of the People of the United States? This nation is in dire need of leaders who will “promote the general Welfare” instead of giving partisan politics or re-election campaigns the higher priority. We need leaders who respect the divine rights of the people regardless of whether the people belong to a majority or a minority.

How can we Americans expect higher caliber leaders if we do not hold them accountable for their words and deeds? How can we hold them accountable for their words and deeds if we are ignorant of the inheritance left to us by our founding fathers? How can we find higher caliber leaders if they are drawn from a general population that has become generally ignorant of their inheritance?

This nation was born out of thirteen colonies under the British monarchy. The principle of the divine right of kings included the right to declare a state religion. The Separatists that are commonly known as Pilgrims came here to practice their religious beliefs without persecution due to irreconcilable differences with the Church of England, but both factions were Christian. If the contentious religious factions in modern America successfully eliminated the separation of church and state aspect of the First Amendment, how long would it be before one domination won favor over all others? The only way the divine rights of the people can be secured for one is if they are secured for all. The founding fathers were smart enough to realize this truth which should be self-evident.

It should be self-evident that We the People have common ground in these troubled times to set aside our differences to find and elect leaders of integrity who will perform the duties of the offices they will occupy to “promote the general Welfare.” We need leaders who will uphold the Constitution and guard the divine rights of all the people.

An Apology

I am compelled by my conscience to apologize to the few people who read my blog. I have been engaged in the study of Kabbalah for the last month or so. You may wonder what connection this has with an apology, or (at least) I hope you do, so I may offer an explanation.

Kabbalah is actually a fascinating subject, even from a Pagan perspective. In the short time I have been engaged in this study, I have found even more reason to believe that there is little difference between the numerous faiths. These findings cannot be considered conclusive because I have found a reason to abandoned these studies prematurely, though. Anyone doubting what I am about to tell you is welcome to test these things for themselves at the Bnei Baruch Education Center. A free introductory course is offered at regular (academic) intervals.

The primary consideration you should keep in mind if you choose to investigate the discipline of Kabbalah is that the Kabbalist sage probably has no knowledge of anything else; it is a lifelong study. They claim it is not mysticism, but they will tell you that Kabbalah has been hidden until Messianic times (now) when it is appropriate for the hidden worlds to be revealed. If you do not find this odd, check out the definition of occult, as well as the definition of mysticism. However, this is not a justifiable cause to abandon Kabbalah; it is more likely a simple symptom of single-minded focus. Nevertheless, Kabbalah presents some eye-opening concepts.

Kabbalah is not a religion, but it appears to be the seed of a religion; Judaism. While Kabbalists deny religion, there is much discussion concerning the Torah. Judaism appears to be a much later development of Kabbalah. Perhaps one of the most redeeming aspects of Kabbalah is that it offers a reasonable answer to the question about where the people of Nod came from in Genesis. The downside is that the explanation makes the average Christian look absolutely ignorant. That is obviously not cause to abandon the study of Kabbalah, either.

My particular problem with Kabbalah can be found in the historical derivatives; if Kabbalah spawned Judaism, and Judaism spawned Christianity (which it did), then what went wrong? My problem with Kabbalah is that it answers this question with the utmost simplicity, but in the process Christ becomes so much more realistic, as does God, the Father. The question most likely to cross the average Christian mind at this point is, “So what’s your f—cking problem then?

The problem is that the common “Christian” mentality (specifically in the U.S.) diminishes the dignity of Christ; they have no real idea of what He spoke of. Following this path to its most obvious conclusion leads to a very dark place. This has reminded me of why I abandoned the so-called “Christian” religion many years ago. While there are exceptions, the average American Christian is a flaming fool. After writing “The Vision,” I realized that I was coming back to a very dark path once again; one that I cannot accept; one that I left many years ago for this very reason. Knowledge of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit should carry awe, wonder, joy and peace. Awe, wonder, joy and peace are things that I only experience following the Pagan path, though. The Pagan way is not so polluted.

Kabbalah teaches that the difference in spirit is a measure of quality, not a physical distance measured in inches, feet, meters or any measure of quantity. Therefore, it only stands to reason that the quantity of members of American Christendom is not a measure of quality. In fact, attempts to break the Law of the Land, particularly the First Amendment, is criminal and disgraceful. Harassment and physical violence towards people who do not subscribe to the same beliefs is not only discriminatory and illegal, but it is also disgraces Christ. It is odd that alleged Christians are ignorant of this simple fact.

Perhaps I will expand upon this in the days to come, but maybe not. I need to ground and center for awhile. I do not equate Kabbalah with Christianity. Kabbalah has been very enlightening in a very short time, but there is far too much indirect connection to Christianity for me at this time. If I was to return to Christianity, I would be more concerned with discovering Christ’s new name, rather than with other people’s “sins.”

Blessed be.