The Sly Steward

This is my interpretation of Luke 16:1-13

A man of wealth once accused his steward of recklessness. Distraught, worried how he’d survive without his position, the steward devised a scheme to lighten his burden. Before he was relieved of duty, he summoned all who owed his master money.

“You there! How much do you owe? A hundred? No, make it fifty! And you! How much must you pay? Well whatever it is, take off twenty!” And in this way, the steward made himself beloved amongst the people so they would take him in at the end of his time.

The man of wealth, upon hearing this clever plot, actually praised the steward for his shrewdness. It turns out that those who worship the wealth of this world are much wiser than those that seek only enlightenment. Through ill-gotten gains, they buy friendship, constructing a refuge for their time of need.

So if you too want to ensure a safe-harbor for yourself when all else fails, buy as many friends as possible while using whatever illegitimate means are at hand. Yet, consider that devotion to a part reveals devotion to the whole — and whoever deceives in a little reveals their overall dishonest nature.

But besides that, if you haven’t proven yourself with dirty money, who would trust you with truer treasures? And if you haven’t proven yourself with someone else’s possessions, who would give you any of your own!?

I’m being facetious of course. The alternative to an uncertain path paved with unprincipled profits, is a path to God. You obviously can’t follow two opposing routes at once. You can recognize God as your source of sustenance and eternal refuge — or you can make money the source of your salvation.

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A Reasonable Response

Elder One: Who is this man that speaks as if he has divine authority?
Elder Two: He is a popular teacher it seems. But what he teaches corrupts the people, it diminishes the law and our authority over them.
Elder Three: A trouble-maker it seems. Let us send him to the civil authority to be executed. He is guilty of heresy by our laws and of treason by theirs.
Elder Four: Do you think it wise brothers, to condemn a man to death for merely interpreting our creator in a manner that’s proving popular with the people?
Elder Two: It is a corrupted teaching that violates the letter of the law!
Elder Four: But he’s committed no measurable offense.
Elder Two: A slippery slope! He must be dealt with lest we all fall!
Elder Four: Surely this is an overreaction. If he continues and the people follow, their fervor will dissipate over time. Whereas if we rob them of him, they will cling to his message even more.
Elder Three: A quick cut and the infested branch will be gone! There will be no spread of his message once the source is severed.
Elder Four: We are talking about killing a man just because he draws a few crowds? And if the creator placed this man on earth, as he placed us all, who are we to intervene?
Elder One: Enough of this! Let us concern ourselves with more important matters. It’s almost lunch!
Elder Two: Now you’re talking!
Elder Three: Oh thank goodness, I’m starved!
Elder Four: Finally, a reasonable response!

The story of a dystopian world where Christmas never happened.

Religion of Politics

For some, government is God. You’ve got your high-priests and adherents divided into many branches and sects. You even have your proselytizers attempting to rally others to join them. “Register, and all your sins are forgiven!” Pick a side and vote the party line and you too can put your faith in politics. Things didn’t go your way this time? Well don’t worry, just trust in the power of elections and prosperity will come to you in the next round!

There is a fundamental question that we all must answer for ourself, and that is: How do things get done in the world? Politics is one answer — but it’s not the only answer. For some, it’s God or a form of spirituality. For some it’s science, for others it’s magic. By our nature, we select an answer whether we want to or not.

Everything happens for some underlying reason — and this foundational belief is your religion. You might not call it that, but it is what it is. “But doesn’t government get things done?” Well that’s certainly what its followers would like you to believe. Is it true? For some perhaps — but for others it’s their prayers, wishes, and vision-boards that get things done. And to others, the principles of science get things done.

Isn’t government and the political process simply an added layer placed atop our foundational belief? No, it is without a doubt its own religion. And engaging with multiple primary beliefs necessarily dilutes and confounds one’s system of belief. People often speak of having or lacking “faith in government” — it’s a religion through and through.

But like any religion, it has its good and bad qualities. We can’t judge political-believers based on the extremists that want everyone to consume their particular brand of religion. My point is this: Politics is not the answer for everyone. As Jesus once said: Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.

In other words, if you’re a spiritually-minded person, you’re barking up the wrong tree if you’re trying to achieve your aims via political means. A tempestuous external world is a direct result of inner turbulence. For the spiritually-minded, God is found within — and His company is best appreciated by keeping our own house in order. What’s the point of slapping a fresh coat of paint on a house that’s crumbling from within? The external relies on the internal, not the other way around.

The spiritually-minded person must answer this question: is matter your master or your manifestation? Are you only to wait and hope and vote for the material world to get itself together before you find satisfaction? Your time is right-now, in this moment. NOTHING need be fulfilled in order for you to enjoy life. The door is always open — and by the appreciation of life in this very moment, you enter.

Mother Earth

If you’re gonna have a relationship with God, you’re gonna need a way to relate to God, and most likely a way of envisioning God. I didn’t grow up with religion, so I don’t really have much of a preconceived religious-style image of God. I did watch a lot of TV and movies though. As a kid in the 80s, I used to see God portrayed by George Burns in the “Oh, God!” movies. But that’s not really my style, I’d rather picture something that aligns with my particular tastes.

I think I’d relate better to a gentle and caring motherly type. So to me, God is a mom that gave birth to the world — and the world is full of her children all running amok. She cares for them like a garden since she has so many to tend to. All the little sprouts have to deal with weeds and pests until she makes her rounds. We’re to grow independently within the garden, just as any plant would.

We mustn’t get too full of ourselves though, believing ourself a gardener, lest we get cast out. The good little plant maintains itself within the provided spot. And mamma nudges and cajoles when a plant grows off course. Some plants will fight their constraints and feel the strain of the support-stick propping them up. Sometimes a seed gets planted in the wrong place, and that’s fine, she knows this and loves her plants all the same. Hybrids are fine too.

Really, she just gardens for the sake of it. There’s no purpose behind it besides the joy of seeing little-ones grow and blossom. For example, I’ve seen life through a child’s eyes, the excitement and joy over simple things, it really can be a source of great amusement for the parent. She adores her garden and tenderly cares for it as a whole, as well as each little sprout. She enjoys the variety of sizes, scents, and colors.

I grew up with siblings, so I can relate to the fact that I often have to wait for attention — and that’s true with God too. But that’s a good thing, it gives the little plants time to try and work things out on their own. No one likes the pressure of constant attention. Plants grow better when left alone from time to time. But if she sees us struggling, she won’t hesitate to help, we just have to willingly accept it — we can be stubborn little sprouts.

Our bodies, firmly rooted in this world, bloom and grow under the devoted effort of God our gardener. But we are not just plants of course, for within us is the seed of God herself, forming a concurrent root system that reaches deeper than dirt, into a realm beyond earth. And from our seat of consciousness we watch and delight in all the ongoings of the garden — tiny sprouts aware of their own growth.

Matthew – Factual Summation 01

Foretold by prophesy, Jesus descended directly from God. Seeing the underlying foundation of this world, he was not tempted by materialistic trappings. He told others of this foundation, relieving their confusion and healing their ailments. He said, the kingdom of heaven is at hand, they need only grasp it. The hopeless and the sad, the weak and the wronged, the caring and the good, the peaceful and the abused — all can experience the heaven they seek — comfort and satisfaction are theirs when they shine their light into the dark world.

But to enter this state, one must excel beyond the ways of mortal justice. Anger, impatience, cruelty, carnality, treachery, blame, vengeance, and intolerance — these are the evils that plague men’s minds, injustices that must be eradicated by those seeking the abode of God. Be warned though, that this perfect path should not be used as a means to impress other men.

Know this: that God already knows what you need — and God provides. By God we are forgiven, thus we must forgive as He does — God’s ways should become our ways.

Whatever you treasure, wherever you focus, that is what defines you. Therefore, put no faith in the physical world, but have faith in God the provider. Whatever nourishment and care you require, trust that God supplies it. Worry, only shows your lack of faith. Seek closeness to God, for by Him all things are given.

This world is not for you to judge and criticize. If by a condemning eye you see the world, then you shall find the negativity you seek. For whatever it is you ask, you’ll get. Knock, and it’ll open! Or do you believe God so inept that He would give less than your heart’s desire? To have others see the good in you, see the good in them.

This is not an effortless path without dangers. Beware those that claim closeness to God yet truly hunger to catch prey by trickery — differentiate them by their results — the wholesome produce what is wholesome, the rotten produce what is rotten. Know those that simply say they are holy, are not so — only those that follow God’s ways enter into his abode.

Let these words be the foundation upon which you build your life and you will weather any storm. Whereas those that fail to act upon these words will lack strength, crumbling under the storm. And so it was that Jesus spoke, having an insight beyond that of mortal men.

By their faith in what he said, many were healed of their afflictions. The diseased, the disabled, those tormented by darkness, and even the recently deceased — it took but a word to heal them all. Jesus regularly demonstrated the immaterial nature of the world — that which exists in the physical, doesn’t have to be — belief makes it so. Even the wind and waves obeyed his command. While others trembled, he calmed the surrounding turbulence.

The religious leaders of the day looked to undermine him and accused Jesus of wrongdoing, but he saw through their wickedness. What Jesus taught was a new way to perceive the world, an outlook where forgiveness and compassion prevail. Jesus was concerned for the people, as they were so lost to the world, and he wanted workers in great numbers to help them all.

But what he had were twelve, twelve disciples he told to travel by faith, relying not on their own considered preparations, but on what God provides along the way. Jesus told them to cast God’s light, healing those in need, those lost within a darkened world. Yet he warned them of the persecution they’d face by predators holding power in this world. But he told them to be fearless against these foes. That although this is truly a battle in which lives will be lost, lives will surely be won. That their service is of the utmost importance, and the reward great for such dedication and faith.

As Jesus spoke, the people as a whole did not listen. Despite the miracles performed, they could not grasp that the goodness of life, heaven itself, was within their reach. And as he predicted, the predators sought ways to convict him and his followers of wrongdoing. Yet he continued to tangle with these religious leaders, debating the supremacy of mercy and compassion over the law, and whether it was he or they with the best intentions.

Jesus explained to his closest followers that heaven is hidden from those that do not seek it, and so he spoke to the crowds with analogies that were difficult to decipher. The goodness of life, God’s kingdom, is entered into by a dedicated faith — a trust in its presence. And those that ignore these directions, give up easily, or succumb to negativity, will never see it. All these types of people exist together, but only those with faith truly see. And truly, the kingdom of God is worth more than anything already owned.

Jesus continued speaking to crowds and healing their sick. And at one point, in a remote location, having only a few loaves and a couple fish to feed them, Jesus blessed the food and all were fed until satisfied. Later on while he was praying near the shore, his boat-bound disciples found themselves tossed about by waves — seeing his form walking on water, they were afraid, yet he reassured them. One even attempted to walk to Jesus, until his faith faltered.

Jesus continued debating the religious leaders about their hypocrisy and how they teach the laws of man as if they come from God. He warned his disciples that those leaders were like blindmen leading blind followers into a pit with their dangerous teachings. Oftentimes Jesus would rebuke his closest followers for their lack of faith and inability to understand what he meant by his words.

Jesus then warned his disciples that he would soon suffer at the hands of the religious hierarchy — and if they continued following, they too would suffer. But if they continue, great will be their reward. Soon after, Jesus took a few followers up a mountain where he glowed like the sun before them. God himself spoke and confirmed that He is pleased with His son.

A man with an unwell son came before Jesus and said he first went to the disciples but they were unable to cure the illness. Jesus rebuked the entire generation for their unbelief and proceeded to cure the boy. He told his disciples that they were unable to offer a cure because their faith was so minuscule, yet if they had but a little bit more they could move mountains — nothing would be impossible.

At one time when Jesus was asked to pay a particular tax, he told his disciple to go and catch a fish — within its mouth was found the necessary payment.

Jesus spoke with his disciples about the supremacy of children, about attempting to win over those that sin, and forgiving those that sin against you. He told them of the difficulty in seeing God’s kingdom for those so heavily invested in earthly treasures. He also debated religious leaders about divorce, proclaiming a couple that joins together becomes one flesh through God and should not be separated by man.

Jesus warns that those seeking power and position in the kingdom of heaven come in last, whereas those that serve others come in first. And as Jesus went on his journey to Jerusalem, he healed two blind men with only a touch. Once there, he flipped tables and cleared the temple of those using the house of worship as a means to make a profit. And upon returning to the city the next day, a hungry Jesus permanently withered a tree for its lack of fruit and told his disciples that such powers are possible through faith, and that those lacking doubt have the power to cast even mountains into the sea. With belief, all things asked for are received.

In the temple, Jesus debated the religious leaders that challenged him. They tried to trick him into admitting fault but he saw through their wickedness — and with analogies, he rebuked them for their poor stewardship over the people. He told them their preeminence over others is coming to an end. When asked which was the greatest commandment, Jesus said it is to love God completely — and the second greatest is to love your neighbor — these form the foundation of God’s law.

Jesus then told the crowds that those leaders were nothing but hypocrites that held their positions for the esteem given them by men. He told the crowds not to seek status and titles, placing themselves above other men — you are all brothers and there is but one father, teacher, and leader above all. The greatest among you is he who humbles himself and serves others.

Jesus says the religious leaders prevent the people from entering into the kingdom of heaven, nor do they go in themselves. He calls them blind fools that care more about the superficial aspects of religion rather than the deeper meaning. They appear well kept on the outside but inwardly are full of uncleanliness. They willingly persecute and even murder God’s messengers.

Jesus then went out and spoke with his disciples warning them not to be misled, but hang-on till the end despite the suffering they may endure. He said they should remain alert for his return, ever faithful. They must do good with what they’ve already been given and by their stewardship they’ll be given even more. For when you care for and comfort those in need, you care for me. Yet woe to him that cares not for those in need.

As the religious leaders plotted to kill Jesus, he warned his followers of his impending crucifixion. One follower went to the religious leaders and offered to betray Jesus if they would pay him. During his last supper, Jesus made mention of this betrayal. Afterwards, he became troubled while awaiting the appointed hour. Eventually his betrayer came with an armed group ready to seize Jesus who offered no resistance because he knew what had to be done.

Jesus was brought before the religious leaders and asked whether he was the Christ, son of God. When he answered, they convicted him for blasphemy. And as Jesus had earlier predicted, one of his disciples denied even knowing Jesus when he was asked by a bystander.

Jesus was bound and delivered to the civil authority. The disciple that betrayed Jesus felt remorse and returned the money he was paid and hanged himself. Due to a tradition, the crowds were given the choice to release Jesus or a known criminal — the crowd chose to crucify Jesus. Prior to crucifixion, Jesus was whipped and mocked by the soldiers.

While hanging, those that passed-by mocked and insulted Jesus. Even those hanging next to him hurled insults. Eventually, after hours past, Jesus let go. A wealthy follower of Jesus came and asked for the body and had it placed within a rocky tomb. Because Jesus had said he’d rise again after three days, the religious leaders demanded a guard be placed upon the tomb so that disciples couldn’t steal the body and claim it had risen.

On the third day an angel came and removed the rock from the tomb and frightened the soldiers. The soldiers were paid hush money by the religious leaders to claim that disciples actually stole the body while the soldiers slept. But in truth, Jesus had returned just as he said and appeared before the remaining disciples. He tasked them with making disciples of all nations and said he’d be with them always.

Instantiate World

Instantiate World

Alone atop a self-made world, an infinite being sat.
For the fun of it, he split into near-infinite shards,
each one reflecting a particular perspective,
becoming a creator playing amongst his parts.

Modern Metaphor

A metaphor only works when we can relate to what’s being compared. This is why many of us in the modern world can’t relate to ancient spiritual teachings. The messages may be true, but the metaphors are meaningless. This was my problem until I stumbled onto an updated metaphor, simulation-theory, that says existence is comprised of a computer program in which everything is mere flickering pixels. For me at least, this modern metaphor makes sense.

People that propose simulation-theory don’t always tout it as a spiritual idea, but at its core, it most certainly is. Like any religion, it can provide a comforting backstory for our earthly existence, it can explain different phenomena in our surroundings, and it can be used to construct meaning for ourselves, allowing us to find fulfilling roles within an otherwise meaningless world.

The funny thing is, once I began to embrace the concept of virtuality, all the ancient spiritual stuff started making sense. I now have a working metaphor by which I can relate to what they were saying. Aha! As someone that could not previously grasp spirituality in any form, I can tell you that the before and after is remarkable. The answers were there, I just didn’t get it.

What all these teachings are trying to say, from ancient to new-age, is to be your authentic self, play the role of you but without the fear. The “you” shrouded in anxiety is a selfish beast that feels besieged by danger, thus ready to lash out. But the actual you is a character in a game that’s here to fulfill his role with dignity and grace. The role of you has already been written, just play along.

A game without obstacles isn’t worth playing. So in life, we really do want problems to solve. The trick is in embracing those problems, not lamenting their existence. Furthermore, we get to pick from a menu of options. Whatever issue we focus on becomes ours. We don’t necessarily have to accept every problem that crosses our path — we can pick some while ignoring others, or at least focus on the aspects we prefer.

Now, do unenlightened anxious people distort religion due to their fear and feelings of lack? Yes. There’s no limit to what a confused mind might manifest. So religion can certainly suffer from corruption, which is why it might be good to start anew every once in awhile. Religions are simply collections of ideas that remind us we have nothing to fear. With an appropriate religion tailored to our tastes, our minds are able to rest upon answers that satisfy our existential angst.