Friday, March 20, 2015

Friday Ramble Wild Grace

Friday Ramble Wild Grace
"The word for this week is grace, and it is one which pops up frequently in English language usage - perhaps more frequently in Romance languages such as French, Italian and Spanish. It comes to us from the Latin gratia", thence from "gratus" meaning pleasing or thankful. We use grace as a name for a beloved female child, in our deepest and most heartfelt prayers and meditations, to describe someone who is pleasing to the eye, or who is poetry in their motion.

Wendell Berry wrote of the indwelling balance, harmony and grandeur of the natural order as being "the grace of the world", and grace is present in every perfect word Mary Oliver writes. One of my favorite authors of urban fantasy, Charles de Lint, once described the great mystery at the heart of existence as simply "the Grace". No other word can ever begin to delineate the wonder of the perfect round world in which we breathe and dwell and wander all our days - the fertile ground underneath our feet, the water, rocks and trees around us, the radiant moon and oceans of dancing stars above us on a fine summer night, the company of good companions on this, our earthly journey.

I cannot claim to be graceful in my movements, lurching and fumbling along life's trail with an expression thoughtful, astonished and dazzled by turns. There is no poetry in motion here, and hiking boots, runners, sandals and "wellies" are more my style than ballet slippers - it would be deceitful to lay claim to any graceful movement whatsoever. Nevertheless, there is grace in this old life, and it is boundless grace of the most elemental and natural kind - the wild grace dwelling at the heart of life of which so many poets and authors have written eloquently.

Without saying the word aloud or even thinking it, what I am seeking in my slow rambles around the beaver pond or deep in the woods is a whisper, a mere hint of the world's indwelling grace, a fleeting glimpse into the perfect untroubled heart of things. Grace resides in new leaves, wild waters and old trees, in the stately movement of herons, the iridescent flash of bluebirds' plumage, the sundown songs of loons. When I encounter such grace, I breathe deeply and easily, and no matter what the troubles the earlier hours of the day have held, they vanish.
Sunday, March 8, 2015

Wordplay Epicure

Wordplay Epicure
As is well-known, the word epicure comes from the ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus (341 - 270 BC), now fairly synonymous with the word 'gourmet', although there is a more pejorative sense of an addiction to sensual enjoyment, particularly in earlier usage. It is perhaps less well-known that both of these usages have their roots in anti-Epicurean propaganda, an ancient determination to discredit, suppress and distort a powerful and remarkably modern philosophy.

Almost all of what Epicurus wrote is now lost, but we have enough fragments and references to form a pretty good idea of his philosophy. Ironically, Epicurus himself was something of an ascetic who ate frugally, drank mainly water and valued friendship above worldly goods and desires. He taught that our ultimate aims in life should be to live without anxiety, to cultivate friendship and ignore the gods, for he argued that the gods cannot conceivably be affected by what we do and therefore cannot possibly have any interest in us. He also taught that atoms are the fundamental, indivisible building blocks of the universe, that what we see around us is made of combinations of atoms and that there must be an infinite number of worlds, not merely the one we humans happen to live on.

The suppression and distortion of Epicurus' teachings is one of the great philosophical tragedies, probably accounted for by what he said about the practical irrelevance of the gods. Our use of the word 'epicure' is a reminder of our loss.
Thursday, March 5, 2015

Psychic Self Defense

Psychic Self Defense

PSYCHIC POWER:

Every thought, emotion, desire or action is Karma. Each of these has a

vibration of its own. Every vibration has an effect, every action has a reaction.

We may not realize it but every thought, dream or feeling that we project knowingly or unknowingly has an effect in the world and creates our future. This means we all carry a lot of psychic power within us.

Psychic power comes with a responsibility too. We are all

interconnected in the matrix of life and whatever we project comes

back us sooner or later to teach us the lesson of love and compassion.

PSYCHIC AWARENESS:


Not everyone who has psychic power has been aware of their power. Many times we have sent anger, envy, hate towards others without even realizing that it is having a potential to harm others and us (if something could harms another it harms us as well).

We may have said - "Go to hell" or "get Lost" for example in a fit of anger and it is a negative energy that returns to the sender. When you were talking negatively to someone or yourself about life, the world, any happenings, relationships, etcit was also creating negative energy for the listener and yourself. We all are to constantly work on modifying such behaviors and adopting a more affirmative life.

PSYCHIC ATTACK:

There are also people who have been aware of their psychic power and know how to send highly focused vibrations. They may not have been doing this in a responsible way and may harm others intentionally thereby harming themselves too (if not sooner than later and with interest - the harm sent comes back multiple times to the sender until they learn the lesson).

This is what happens in a psychic attack. Some people who suffered from lack of full knowledge and were ignorant of the importance of magickal ethics were low on the responsibility part and used their third-eye or psychic power wrongly.

PSYCHIC RESPONSIBILITY:


We all are responsible to think pleasant thoughts and feel positive

emotions, to desire good things and to indulge in ethical behavior and

actions - towards ourselves and others. This is psychic responsibility

and people who had sent psychic attacks or negative vibrations to

themselves or others knowingly or unknowingly may have been less spiritually aware of the law of karma and about psychic responsibility due to lack of inner wisdom and absence of proper magickal and spiritual training and guidance.

Thankfully cutting edge magickal training and spiritual guidance is now available and is being accessed by many so we are becoming both psychically and spiritually aware of our psychic responsibility and ethics and people are learning how to be more positive and loving.

THE WICCAN REDE:


"Harm None Do as You Will" is a beautiful code of ethics that is

followed by many today as Wicca gains prominence as a religion and a

coherent spiritual system for enlightened masters. (More on www.globalwicca.com)

How to Know if you are under a Psychic Attack:

* You may have felt irritable, angry or unhappy without reason and prone to say or do something that harms you, your relationships or your life

* You may have found object breaking eg. glass, crystals, photoframes, etc, especially things that were significant to you

* You may have suddenly fallen ill without known cause


* You may have found that bad luck chased you suddenly, eg: you became accident prone, stumbled more, ran into losses or trouble for seemingly no specific reason

* More severe symptoms have sometimes been observed


* In case the person's mind was possessed by the negative attachment or energy, the individual may have refused to accept healing or be in a state of denial as well

* You may have recieved visions, intuitions and dreams that indicated psychic attack.

* Basically you may not have been the direct cause of these but a victim of a psychic attack.

* The best way to confirm is through divination (eg tarot cards) through the help of a reputed psychic expert.

WHO IS VULNERABLE


All that happens to us is a result of our inner world, Our subconscious beliefs, thoughts, emotions and desires become real. Even a psychic attack is somehow linked to your fears and insecurities as the universe is within us.

All of us have a little vulnerable child within who is innocent and needs to feel safe and this also makes us vulnerable. Even if we are powerful spiritual masters we need to constantly amplify our positive energy and keep ourselves strong.

Magick is not a one time thing but a constant way of life.

Some new age experts talk a lot about creating positive energy without giving due focus on cleansing, repelling and transforming negative. Its like wearing fresh clothes and perfume without taking a bath. Banishing negative is equally important.

HOW TO PREVENT AND HANDLE A PSYCHIC ATTACK

- PSYCHIC SHIELDING: This works best if you have learn energy healing

methods. Just visualize a shield around you in the beginning of the

day and at night before sleeping and again whenever you need it

through the day or night. This can be a sphere of blue or white light

in its simplest form.

- CRYSTALS: Hematite is known to shield you psychially. Wear or carry

hematite in the form of ring or pendant for example. It can also

absorb a strong psychic attack and break thereby warning you and

protecting you else the energy may have hurt your life instead.

Tiger's eye is a good reflective crystal and good against negative

energies. So is cat's eye. Tourmaline is absorbent and helps protect

you to an extent. Other crystals are garnet, amethyst, sugilite (a

powerful crystal related to Archangel Michael
).

- HERBS: Sage, Angelica, Hyssop, Witches grass, Rue, Sulfur, and many

others can be used in spells, potions, oils and herb form.

- TALISMANS,YANTRAS AND AMULETS: The pentacle and the star of David are popular talismans for protection. There are several others too

from various cultures that are magically powerful. The evil eye from

turkish culture is one way of preventing jealous energies.

- ANGELS, GODS AND GODDESSES: Being in touch with your higher self

that can take the form of angels, gods and goddesses is a good idea.

"- MEDITATION, SPELLS, MAGICKAL SKILLS, ENERGY HEALING AND GROUNDING:"

Meditative techniques, spells, magick and energy skills are a

must-learn for all of us and should be taught since childhood. Spells

are some of the more powerful ways to prevent, repel and reverse

psychic harm. Grounding for example is a way of releasing negativity

and converting it to positive energy. There are candle burning spells

and rituals and several other advanced methods that need to be learned

or followed under professional guidance.

A CASE STUDY OF A PSYCHIC ATTACK:

I have been using Hematite rings for quite some time now and havefound they usually do not break unless they absorb negative energy. Last year for a small period of time they broke continuously though I kept replacing them. It was brilliant that some of them broke spontaneously

without any externally visible force.I also used tiger's eye in angel and pendant form to provide additional protection and these too broke almost immediately - an indication of a strong psychic attack.When we start working with energy things become even more clear to us.

I performed a divination and also recieved psychic messages of who the attacker was and found that there were more than one. It is important that we do not return a psychic attack with an attack. Harm in return of harm can only spoil things further. I focused on sending healing vibrations to myself and others.

I found the reason for this was the emotional insecurity of

the senders of this psychic attack whose negative belief systems were

creating this type of energy for me and a friend of mine.

I also did chakra-meditations and spells to heal the negative and

convert it to positive, for example a binding spell to prevent the

person who is trying to harm you from harming you further.

I also performed a spell to reverse the negative effects of the attack

from my past.

If the person who attacked you tries this again as I found out in this

case we need to give further healing. Recently I found that this

individual once again tried to send a psychic attack to me creating

ripples of confusion and misunderstanding between me and a significant

other for which I had to perform a ritual cord cutting and banishing.

It is necessary to cut the cords between you and the attacker so that

the same scenario can be prevented in future and to send blessings and

healing to all concerned including the sender of the psychic attack so

we all become more positive and less prone to negativity.

Thankfully I know many spells to repel and reverse negative energy but it is great to be warned clearly and I am glad that I have the knowledge and skills to identify negative energy and heal the same.

I focused on forgiving myself, the attacker and all others who played a role in this situation. It is not necessary for us to carry the pain and suffering in our heart no matter what others may have done. It is up-to us to release the pain from ourselves and forgive so that we can move on further, detached from the negativity. This does not make what they did right. This only means we stop hurting now and release the unwanted energy and emotions.

I also send love and compassion to myself and others including

the one who intends me harm as I believe that people who are happy and loved do not harm others. We all need and deserve love and happiness, and happy people do not hurt themselves or others. I focus on creating happiness and focus on sending love to myself and others.

When I find myself becoming bitter and insensitive I try to realize the same as soon as possible and to cancel out these negative effects through healings and spells and by looking within me for answers.

"NOTE: ALL TECHNIQUES MENTIONED ARE ADVANCED METHODS TO BE LEARNED OR ATTEMPTED UNDER THE RIGHT GUIDANCE OF AN ESTABLISHED EXPERT"

MOST IMPORTANT ADVISE

Do not go looking for negativity and do not make it a habit to obsess over psychic attacks and so called black magic or dark arts constantly. There are some people who have been blaming all their life problems on black magic and psychic attack instead of meditating and discovering how they attracted this to them in the first place. A Psychic Attack may be in some way or another your own negative karma coming back your way.

If these things exist they are only indicators of our own inner vulnerabilities and weaknesses that they expose bare open. When something like this happens try to address the inner weakness and vulnerability that they represent within you. Always remember - The Universe is Within and each thing we observe and experience, each person, place or situation, is only an aspect of our self that needs love, healing and positive transformation.

"KNOW THYSELF, HEAL THYSELF"

Blessed Be


(*)

"REV. SWATI PRAKASH"

Tarot, Magickal and Spiritual Expert

Head - Global Wicca Tradition

www.globalwicca.com

PRODUCTS, SERVICES AND COURSES AVAILABLE.

CONTACT MAGICK, MUMBAI: 65250328, 64104135. VISIT US IN OUR 16TH ROAD STORE AT BANDRA WEST

More on Magick: http://www.magickalawareness.com

More on me: http://www.swatiprakash.com

More on Wicca: http://www.globalwicca.com
It was brilliant that some of them broke spontaneously

without any external visible force. When we start working with energy

their presence becomes even more clear to us. I performed a divination

and also recieved psychic messages of who the attacker was and found

that there were more than one. It is important that we do not return a

psychic attack with an attack. Harm in return of harm can only spoil

things further. I focused on sending healing vibrations to myself and

others. I found the reason for this was the emotional insecurity of

the senders of this psychic attack whose negative belief systems were

creating this type of energy for me and a friend of mine.

I also did chakra meditations and spells to heal the negative and

convert it to positive, for example a binding spell to prevent the

person who is trying to harm you from harming you further.

I also performed a spell to reverse the negative effects of the attack

from my past.

And last but not the least forgiveness.I focused on forgiving

myself, the attacker and all others who played a role in this

situation.

It is not necessary for us to carry the pain and suffering in our

heart no matter what others may have done. It is upto us to release

the pain from ourselves and forgive so that we can move on further,

detached from the negativity.

If the person who attaked you tries this again as I found out in this

case we need to give further healing. Recently I found that this

individual once again tried to send a psychic attack to me creating

ripples of confusion and misunderstanding between me and a significant

other for which I had to perform a ritual cord cutting and banishing.

It is necessary to cut the cords between you and the attacker so that

the same scenario can be prevented in future and to send blessings and

healing to all concerned including the sender of the psychic attack so

we all become more positive and less prone to negativity.

Note: All techniques mentioned are advanced methods that must be

attempted under the right guidance of an expert

Blessed Be


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Athena Statue

Athena Statue
This Athena Holy being Carving depicts Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom, war, the arts, employees, fair play and mediation. She was the gorgeous child of Zeus. She had sprung now then disposed out of her father`s front. Her mother was Metis, goddess of wisdom and Zeus's young group.

In attention to detail that Metis would manage a son mightier than himself. Zeus swallowed her and she began to make a robe and hat for her toddler. The hammering of the hat caused Zeus incalculable strain in the form of headaches and he cried out in harass.

Clever Hephaestus ran to his father and separation his president open and from it emerged Athena, now then disposed and fashionable her mother`s robe and hat. She is the virgin mother of Erichthnonius.

This Athena Holy being Carving can be used a bottom thesis in rituals and spells that encirclement fair play, official cases, expeditious inner wisdom and knowledge, divination, and for confronting negative energies and demonic entities.

Athena Holy Being Carving Specifications:



Icon Casted

Approx 12" Far Above The Ground



Origin: wicca-teachings.blogspot.com
Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Circle And Sigils

The Circle And Sigils
In responding to a question about the spells I have posted here I realized that I omitted a couple of points regarding the performance of those and other similar magical workings. In "Liber O vel Manus et Sagittae" Aleister Crowley writes the following:

1. The student must FIRST obtain a thorough knowledge of "Book 777", especially of columns i., ii., iii., v., vi., vii., ix., xi., xii., xiv., xv., xvi., xvii., xviii., xix., xxxiv., xxxv., xxxviii., xxxix., xl., xli., xlii., xlv., liv., lv., lix., lx., lxi., lxiii., lxx., lxxv., lxxvii., lxviii., lxxix., lxxx., lxxxi., lxxxiii., xcvii., xcviii., xcix., c., ci., cxvii., cxviii., cxxxvii., cxxxviii., cxxxix., clxxv., clxxvi., clxxvii., clxxxii.

When these are committed to memory, he will begin to understand the nature of these correspondences. ("See" Illustrations "The Temple of Solomon the King" in this number. Cross references are given.)

2. If we take an example, the use of the table will become clear. Let us suppose that you wish to obtain knowledge of some obscure science. In column xlv., line 12, you will find "Knowledge of Sciences."

By now looking up line 12 in the other columns, you will find that the Planet corresponding is Mercury, its number eight, its lineal figures the octagon and octagram. The God who rules that planet Thoth, or in Hebrew symbolism Tetragrammaton Adonai and Elohim Tzabaoth, its Archangel Raphael, its Choir of Angels Beni Elohim, its Intelligence Tiriel, its Spirit Taphtatharath, its colours Orange (for Mercury is the Sphere of the Sephira Hod, 8), Yellow, Purple, Grey, and Indigo rayed with Violet; its Magical Weapon the Wand or Caduceus, its Perfumes Mastic and others, its sacred plants Vervain and others, its jewel the Opal or Agate; its sacred animal the Snake, &c., &c.

3. You would then prepare your Place of Working accordingly. In an orange circle you would draw an eight-pointed star of yellow, at whose points you would place eight lamps. The Sigil of the Spirit (which is to be found in Cornelius Agrippa and other books) you would draw in the four colours with such other devices as your experience may suggest.

That sounds like a lot, but it's actually simpler than it at first appears. The study of "Liber 777" is important for two reasons. First of all, when performing a ritual you want the correspondences to immediately leap to mind, which is impossible when simply working off a script. While it is possible to work magick successfully from a text, the better you know the symbols and objects corresponding to your operation the better your magical results will be. Second of all, knowledge of the correspondences will enable you to make your own personal adjustments to the scripts as they are written here. You can add appropriate magical weapons, incenses, essential oils, stones, metals, and so forth based on the correspondences and in many cases this will help to amplify the effect.

I don't work with physical circles very much any more since I have a permanent temple setup with altars at the quarters and so forth, but there was a time when I did. I often get questions about the best way to set one up, especially on a temporary basis. My personal favorite method is crepe paper. You can get rolls of it inexpensively in many different colors and it can be taped to the floor or a rug to in the appropriate shape. Traditionally a magick circle is nine feet in diameter if you have the space. Once you've laid out the circle, you can make the appropriate number of points around it evenly and set down the proper lineal figure. At each of the points of the figure you would then place candles, preferably encased in glass like seven-day candles. You don't want to inadvertently knock one over and set the crepe paper on fire - one downside of using it is that it burns really easily. You can use plain white candles or candles that are an appropriate color to the operation. For my rituals posted here, this would be the color of lineal figure, which should match the color of the hexagrams traced in the Greater Ritual of the Hexagram.

The Sigils from Agrippa can be found here. Scroll to the bottom of the page and you will see the Table, Seal or Character, and the Sigils of the Intelligence and Spirit of each planet. The Table is used to derive the Sigils but it is not generally traced on a talisman or ritual implement. The Seal and Sigils, however, should be. The Seal corresponds to the supernals on the Tree of Life, the Qabalistic worlds of Atziluth and Briah. It should be drawn in the King and Queen Scale colors. The Sigil of the Intelligence corresponds to the Qabalistic world of Yetzirah and should be drawn in the Prince (or Emperor in "777") Scale color. The Sigil of the Spirit corresponds to the Qabalistic world of Assiah and should be drawn in the Princess (or Empress in "777") Scale color. There are a few oddities, such as Sigils for the "Intelligence of Intelligences" for the Moon and Venus and the "Spirit of Spirits" for the Moon. As far as color goes, a spirit is a spirit and an intelligence is an intelligence, whether or not it is plural.

Generally speaking, the symbols should be drawn together on one piece of paper or parchment that will then serve as a talisman linked to the operation. For certain kinds of magical work, such as healing spells, you might want to draw the Sigils on your own body in the appropriate colors if you are healing yourself or on the body of the person you are trying to heal. In such a circumstance it is perfectly fine to use some sort of water-soluable marker for this since the Sigils only need to be present while you are performing the ritual. It you decide to use a paper talisman for such a ritual, though, carry it around with you after the ritual to maintain a contagion link to the spell or have the target of the operation do the same if the ritual was worked for someone other than yourself.
Monday, February 9, 2015

A Nation Under God

A Nation Under God
EXCERPT FROM "THE DARK SIDE: HOW EVANGELICAL TEACHINGS CORRUPT LOVE AND TRUTH" (Each week during the summer and fall of 2006, one chapter from this book will be posted on exChristian.net.)

PREFACE: A NATION UNDER GOD

"

Our goal is a Christian nation.... We have a biblical duty; we are called by God to conquer this country. We don't want equal time. We don't want pluralism. We want theocracy.

Theocracy means God rules.-Randall Terry, Head of Operation Rescue, 1993

NOT LONG AGO, AN ASSOCIATED PRESS STORY CAUGHT MY EYE. TEXAS GOVERNOR Rick Perry signed two bills into law, one opposing gay marriage and the other restricting abortion. Rather than conducting the ceremonial signing in a state office, flanked by officials or staff, he stationed himself in the gymnasium of an Evangelical school, with Christian symbols in the background and an out-of-state evangelist at his side. Shouts of "amen" rose from the audience. Meanwhile, outside the school, protesters called for separation of church and state. For days after the signing, the internet crackled with similar "amen's" and protests.

The afternoon after I read about Perry's bold fusion of Christian symbols and governmental powers, I went to my hair dresser, let's call her Ann. While Ann worked, she told me about an experience that had shaken her the night before. She had gone to a movie with an old friend. Afterward, over coffee, the friend expressed how worried she was about Ann going to hell. She explained that the only way out of this fate was to be saved by Jesus Christ. "I told her that I just couldn't believe that stuff," said Ann. "I tried to explain why, but I didn't want to get in a fight. She wouldn't stop. Finally I said that I had to leave because I needed to get up early. But I was so upset that I didn't get much sleep afterwards. I can't believe the same things she does, but I get scared that maybe something is wrong with me. I need to talk to her because I don't want this to wreck our friendship. I don't know what to say." The questions examined in this book have never been more relevant.

When I was growing up in Arizona, most of my friends, neighbors, and role models shared my Evangelical beliefs, and when they did not, we didn't talk about it. When I was in graduate school working on a degree in psychology most of my fellow students and professors shared my religious misgivings, but we didn't talk much about that either. When I settled in the Northwest, I also settled into a posture of "don't ask, don't tell" with regard to spiritual questions. Religion had little place in conversations, whether among colleagues or friends.

In this, I was not alone. Except in churches and religious forums, the general consensus in our pluralistic society during the latter part of the twentieth century was to keep private faith out of social conversation and public debate. Since the year 2000, something has changed. Religious beliefs and moral values are now discussed in every form of mass media. They have become topics of conversation among even casual acquaintances. George Bush and the religious right, for better or for worse, have reopened a conversation in America, a conversation about the meaning of faith and morality and Christianity. This conversation has been driven by Evangelicals, and consequently, much of the debate has been about Evangelicalism itself.

Led by organizations that focus more on advocacy than theology and emboldened by increasing political clout, Evangelicals have come out of the closet. In November 2004, the religious right claimed credit for putting George Bush back in office and demanded payback in the form of laws that advanced a conservative social agenda: funding for faith-based social services, restrictions on reproductive education and contraception, bans on civil unions for gays, and changes in science curricula to make room for the biblical creation story. The media sat up and took notice. Articles began cropping up in the mainstream press about dominionism: the belief that Christians have a moral responsibility to run the country, and ultimately the world, according to biblically derived principles of governance. Conservationists bewailed "end-times" theology, which predicts the impending return of Jesus Christ, making climate change and species extinctions matters of indifference for some believers.

Recently I had lunch with a small group of people who are trying to build public policies that protect the poor, the ill, and children: those whom Jesus called "the least of these." During the conversation, one person, a young attorney, announced that he was Evangelical, adding for emphasis that he prayed to Jesus every day. No one else had announced his or her spiritual beliefs, and yet nobody flinched at the proclamation or thought it off topic. The young Evangelical said that if the group wanted to succeed in helping vulnerable populations, they needed to engage others who shared his beliefs. All at the table agreed.

Why could the young attorney make his announcement, confident that it would be well received? For two reasons. First, although he may not have been among other Evangelicals, in virtually any gathering in the United States it is safe to assume that the majority of people present are people of faith. Second, thanks to the prominent role of Evangelicals in the press and in public life, non-Evangelicals are increasingly aware of the growth in Evangelical religion and are anxious to understand how this growth may affect their own communities, deeply held values, and spiritual priorities.

Newspaper headlines, evangelists, and astute politicians may talk about a secular assault on religion, but the truth is that the United States is more religious than any other developed nation. In a recent poll, ninetyeight percent of Americans said they believe in God (in contrast to about fifty percent of Germans). In U.S. census data, less than one half of one percent self identify as atheist, and another five percent or so call themselves agnostic. About eighty-five percent of Americans identify themselves as Christian and forty to fifty percent call themselves born again or Evangelical. A secular assault on religion? Politicians know better. They accuse their opponents of shunning faith and religious values precisely because potential constituents across the political spectrum are virtually all people of faith in one form or another.

The strong inclination of Americans toward religious belief is neither new nor news. Non-Christians have always been a small minority of the American population and non-theists an even smaller minority. The change that has occurred in recent decades has been primarily a shift within Christianity itself. For over thirty years, while enrollment in mainline Protestant churches has been declining, Evangelicalism has been quietly gaining ground, offering a very clear set of core beliefs and behavioral rules to those who otherwise might hold more convoluted or vague forms of faith. Utilizing good marketing practices and modern technologies, Evangelicals have built communications empires that broadcast their message around the globe. As traditional communities have fragmented, Evangelicals have built communities centered around churches that offer not only meaning but also friendship, counseling, legal advice, leisure activities, and mutual aid.

These benefits come with conditions attached. They are offered only to believers or prospective believers of a very specific sort. Some faith traditions provide social services to nonbelievers simply for the sake of promoting a more humane society. Catholic Community Services or Lutheran Family Services, for example, are open to all comers, with few strings attached. Evangelicals do things differently. Social services are offered to outsiders first and foremost as a means of winning converts. This means that testimonials, teaching, Bible studies and so forth are a part of the package. Evangelicals call this witnessing or sharing the faith.

Without this piece, which offers the hope of salvation through faith to those who are otherwise lost in sin, social services have little value. In fact contact with nonbelievers in general has little value, and when Evangelicalism is at its worst, the nonbelievers themselves have little value.

Evangelicals, as they like to say, prefer to be "in this world but not of this world." They see themselves as a people apart. The most devout buy their books almost exclusively at Christian bookstores. A small but significant minority home-school their children if they can't afford private Christian schools. Many socialize only with members of their own church communities or people they meet through related organizations. In spite of their growing influence, Evangelicals often see themselves as an embattled minority. And because many don't believe that other Christians are Christians, they see Christianity per se as an embattled minority religion.

On a plane in India, I once sat in front of an American teenager who was part of a youth missions trip. He was talking earnestly to an adult companion about how hard it had been to approach young Indians, interrupting their conversations and activities to tell them the Good News: that they, too, could be saved by Jesus Christ. The young man speculated: "What if someone threatened me? What if they even threatened to kill me? Would I have the courage to face death in order to carry God's message to the world?" I remembered, as an earnest Evangelical youth, asking myself these very same questions. The adult mentor might have reassured him: History suggests that Christianity has been lethal to missionaries far less often that it has been lethal to those on the receiving end of the message. Instead, the mentor responded as such mentors often do, with stories of martyrs and language of warfare that both affirmed the rightness of their mission and cultivated a sense of imminent threat.

Otherness and threat, political power and moral certainty. It is no surprise that this combination is generating anxiety among nonbelievers and non-Evangelical Christians. In the past, when political power has accrued to any Christian orthodoxy that demands exclusive allegiance, the result has often been dangerous for both outsiders to the faith and Christians who don't hold the dominant view. Is such an environment in the making? At least among some Evangelicals such a possibility has become thinkable.

A recent book review in "Christianity Today", a mainstream Evangelical publication, ends thus: "[Flannery] O'Connor once wrote that 'more than ever now it seems that the kingdom of heaven has to be taken by violence, or not at all. You have to push as hard as the age that pushes against you.'...we mortals are playing in a world increasingly given to moral relativism. As the title of one of [O'Connor's] best stories put it, 'The life you save may be your own.'"

"What is Evangelicalism?" a bewildered friend asked recently. "How does Evangelicalism relate to fundamentalism?" These questions are not easy to answer. The term "Evangelical" has been around since the Reformation, and its meaning has varied. In modern terms, Evangelicalism is a kind of Christianity that structures itself around one particular, ahistorical interpretation of the Bible. From the Bible, which is taken literally and accorded absolute moral authority, Evangelicals justify a set of doctrines that govern day to day life in realms ranging from prayer and parenting to civic life. These doctrines are described in detail in Chapter 2, and their implications fill the remainder of this book.

Fundamentalism is a movement that arose within Protestant Christianity in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, largely in reaction to modernism. The name comes from a set of essays called The Fundamentals that were published between 1910 and 1915. These essays were intended to combat the ways that theology was changing in response to scholarship in archaeology, linguistics, anthropology, psychology and biology. They reaffirmed the traditional Christian doctrines that form the basis of modern Evangelicalism. Fundamentalism and Evangelicalism are closely related, and both are offspring of traditional Christian orthodoxy. However, the term fundamentalism is now used to embrace a variety of absolutist approaches to religious faith both inside and outside of Christianity. Few Christians call themselves fundamentalist. Many call themselves Evangelical.

Those who do, hope and pray that others will join them. In their eyes, there is no alternate path to God and, ultimately, no other form of goodness matters. This means that, as context and culture allow, Evangelicals will continue to speak out, both in the public sphere and over coffee.

What should you say when a dear friend or family member expresses concern for your soul and offers you a path to Salvation? How should you respond to Evangelical advocacy in your community, your workplace, your school, or your government? The answers depend in large part on your own values and spiritual identity. But in order to form those answers, it helps to have a clear understanding of the core teachings of the Evangelical movement and when these teachings pose threats to love and truth.

Chapter one: Leaving Home

If you are interested in reading further, "The Dark Side: How Evangelical Teachings Corrupt Love and Truth, "is available at www.lulu.com/content/220355; more musings by this author at www.spaces.msn.com/awaypoint

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(ESTABLISHING SHOT) A weary ADVENTURER, wearing battered armor
and 10 glowing rings, clutching a potion bottle, and laden with all manner of weapons, magical devices, and sacks of gold, lies panting on the ground outside of the seedy-looking entrance to a grimy Dungeon.
The nearby scenery is uniformly grey and uninteresting.

Bluff Male Voice: Retrieved the Amulet of Yendor too many times to
count?

Sultry Female Voice: Can't see anything in the Eye of Larn?

BMV: Eaten one too many Zombie corpses?

SFV: Run out of Greater Gods to kill?

CLOSE-UP: The ADVENTURER's sweat-streaked face, which is
nicked and bruised. He has a black eye.

The ADVENTURER nods wearily, and, it seems, with some boredom.

MBV+SFV: Then take the ultimate challenge... The final quest... OMEGA!

(PAN VERTICALLY TOWARD SKY)

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir: Ooooooo -- mega!

A shaft of brilliant sunlight pierces the overcast sky,
revealing a Mystic Portal in the sky. A rainbow bridge lances from
the portal toward the ADVENTURER. As the ADVENTURER hesitantly sets foot on the bridge, he (with the viewer) is swept through the M.P.
in a masterpiece of computer animation. There is a flash of light,
and a TRANSFORMED ADVENTURER, in newly polished and chromed armor,
wielding a flaming sword, strides confidently toward an edifice that makes the Castle of Ultimate Darkness look like a sandcastle. The
landscape is vibrantly colored, and we feel that there are new
challenges awaiting just over the horizon.

TMTC: Magnificat! Magnificat! Magnificat!

BMV: Coming Soon to a site near you!

SFV: Challenge Omega -- The Final Quest!

As the ADVENTURER passes through the entrance to the AWESOME
CASTLE, a giant portcullis slams shut behind him with the force of
a Death Star bulkhead, and we hear a muffled scream, soon cut off.

Satanic Male Voice: If you dare!



Source: spellscasting.blogspot.com