Dodie sitting on top of the world Dodie's World title bar
"Therefore, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed me, not only in my presence, but much more now in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you...."
St. Paul
Philipians 2:12
The New Oxford Annotated Bible
New Revised Standard Version
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The following is an excerpt from the January 4, 2009 sermon entitled "God" by Rev. Moira Foxe
Redondo Beach CRS Center for Spiritual Living


".....God is no good to me if I can't experience God....
Where will I find God?
Look in the mirror.
How will I know God?
Know what's in the mirror.
How will I experience God?
Experience what's in the mirror.
Experience your best self.

Get on the inside of your best self, and there's where you'll experience God.

Know yourself! Know yourself as the Divine, in form.

Recognize and identify with yourself as the Divine, in form.

See yourself as the Divine, in form.

And here's the thing: Everything that's reflected in the mirror is God. The ceiling is God, the floor is God, YOU are God....

Whatever is reflected in the mirror of life... is God... everywhere present....

So, the next time you look in the mirror, look in the mirror differently and just look at your eyes, nothing else. Just your eyes. And keep looking at your eyes for a while and I'll guarantee you, you will be surprised at what looks back at you. Because, what's looking back at you is what's looking in the mirror.

Wherever you go, God goes with you. Whenever you're out searching for God, God is searching through you. That which you're looking for is going along with you."

"The Science of Mind:
A Philosophy, A Faith, A Way of Life"

by Ernest Holmes

from the back cover:
"....Ernest Holmes weaves the sacred teachings of both Eastern and Western traditions, the empirical nature of science, the deep insights of psychology, and the wisdom from the great philosophers, to create one of the most innovative and important books of our time.

.....Using creative techniques and clear guidance, Holmes takes the reader step by step into a new and powerful mastery of the amazing powers of the mind. He explains the Universal Principles that surround us, and illustrates how to use them to bring purpose, meaning, and freedom to your life. In addition, he gives new understanding to vital topics such as prayer, meditation, spiritual healing, gaining self-confidence, finding and expressing love, overcoming negativity, and countless others."

March 15, 20009 is This Thing Called God???

I slept too late and dawdled too much to make it to church this morning, so I decided to settle in with my needlework, and listen to some podcasts that I've been collecting from various churches. The first one I listened to was the Redondo Beach CRS Center for Spiritual Living in Redondo Beach, California, a talk entitled "God" by Reverend Moira Foxe. This is the first in a series of talks which cover the first four chapters of the book "The Science of Mind", by Ernest Holmes.

I like "The Science of Mind" because I feel it gives me more of an explanation, of what God is, how God works, and how I, myself, can more fully experience the 'Presence of God' that some people talk about--although, ultimately, no one can really answer these questions because the very concept of God is far beyond our human ability to comprehend. I think that for some people, instruction like this isn't needed--they seem to be eager and naturally quite able to embrace, believe in, trust, and experience God. And my minister is constantly reminding us that we need to "get out of the 'how' ".... and just let God work out the details, I suppose. Now maybe it's just the way my mind has been trained to operate, maybe it's my past experience that presented God as something to fear, not trust, but I just have never been able to grasp what these ministers and churches are telling me. I've always been fascinated by the 'spiritual' people who declare that they 'walk with God' or 'have Jesus in their heart', but I always wondered: 'HOW' does one do that? And they're not able to explain it to me, I guess, because it's so much a part of them, it just seems a natural thing. Maybe they think it should 'just happen' to everyone.

I've always felt a great reluctance to hand my life over to something or someone that I really don't know or understand or trust. That certainly includes God! What small amount of understanding I was able to glean about 'what God is' was far too scary and far too uninviting for me to make such a leap.... even if my mind would have allowed me to do so. Still, I kept returning to the search, always wondering why I did so, and whether there even were any answers to be found.

When I discovered the Unity school of thought, I was introduced to a quite different version of God, an all-encompassing, everywhere present, and most importantly ALL LOVING AND ACCEPTING kind of God. I was dubious. After all, I'd heard all my life how judgemental and demanding God was. How God was literally unable to 'look upon sin'. That was the reason this God had to send his son to literally be executed as a substitutionary 'payment' for the 'sins' of humanity. Apparently this otherwise all-powerful God, was unable to understand and forgive anything which displeased him. This is pretty much the point where I always got all bogged down in theology and said, "This is crazy! I don't understand this God, or his attitude. I don't understand this notion of 'atonement' " and, well, I just threw the whole thing out (including God) because it didn't occur to me that there might be any other definition of God. (And let's be honest here--there continued to remain in the back of my mind the question: "What if they're right???? Childhood programming is a powerful, powerful force!)

Science of Mind, like Unity, is part of a movement originating in the mid-1800's, called "New Thought". However, there is not the emphasis on a 'personal God' as is taught in traditional Christianity (and to a certain extent in Unity also). Ernest Holmes refers to God as "The Thing Itself...."

"....First Cause, Spirit, Mind or that invisible Essence, that ultimate Stuff and Intelligence from which everything comes, the Power back of creation--The Thing Itself."
He goes on to say,
We accept this "thing" and believe in It. What we desire is to know more about It, and how to use it." [emphasis mine]
Now this caught my attention! Since I've always been so puzzled by things spiritual, and could never find anyone to tell me how it works, I was intrigued. I haven't gotten very deeply into The Science of Mind--in fact, I've pretty much concentrated on these first four chapters:
  1. The Thing Itself
  2. The Way It Works
  3. What It Does
  4. How to Use It
I find that the concept of God, as presented in this book, actually resonates with me in a way that the strictly 'personal' God never could. As I said, maybe it was just the way that personal God was presented. Perhaps if I'd been taught about a personal God who loved and accepted me, I would have been more drawn toward 'him' when I was young and impressionable. Perhaps, my thinking would have gone in a completely different direction than it has. No doubt it would have!! But, this is where I am--here and now--a result of each and every thought and experience I have had up until this point. And I'm beginning to be okay with that. I'm beginning to finally develop an idea of 'God' that suits me, my temperament, my yearnings, and my ability to understand. This 'impersonal God' does not incite the 'fear of God' that the old way did. It does not use most of the old 'trigger' words of traditional Christianity that always produce such intense and negative emotions. And because the idea of God as 'Principle'--the 'Essence' and 'Source' of everything that exists--includes even me, I find it to be far more personal than 'God as person' ever could be.

I can see how such ideas might be disturbing to more traditional Christians, perhaps even a bit blasphemous in light of their beliefs about God. And I'm certainly not advocating that everyone needs to accept these ideas as 'ultimate truth.' If there's anything that I've become overwhelmingly convinced of as a result of my long spiritual trek it is this:
There isn't any 'ultimate truth.'
There isn't any 'one true way.'
Each person's 'truth' will be unique and suited to them alone.
Each person has to find their own way, search their own heart and mind, and eventually have the courage to live according to what they find there. Wherever it may take them. And, yes, even if others find it troubling or disturbing. This part still bothers me. Maybe it always will. But I know I will never be truly happy if I continue to conduct my life according to what others deem to be true, no matter their reasons or good intentions. This is a fairly new idea for me, one that I have to re-learn almost every day. But if I have to continue this re-learning for the rest of my earthly life, so be it. Happiness is worth it.

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