About Me

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I am a pastor and a clinical psychotherapist. My life's passion is defining healthiness from a human perspective and paralleling it to the holiness of God, divine perspective. Shifting perspectives creates a paradigm that is alongside of rather than over and against. The parakalein of God and the paradoxes of humanity are redefined. Humanity is all about winning and yet we are losing ground everywhere. Divinity is all about letting go of the desire to win and the fear of loss. The Divine embraces the world with loving care regardless of anything.

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September 11th

Posted by Don Paine

A Day of remembrance and forbearance.   Some say, never forget the attack on NYC.  Other's say, you have to forgive.  The recent warfare of words about the Muslim site at "ground zero" is a good illustration of what forgiveness is and what it is not.

It is not about saying that it was okay that someone murdered intentionally thousands of innocent people.  It is not even about forgetting what happened that day.  Who can forget such a horrible day in human history.  It is about remembering that many people and nations, ethnic and religious groups, people all over earth and through out human history have been the victims and perpetrators of horrific acts.

What the world needs now is not a self-centered love that days, "God bless America" but a compassion toward all people of earth from the pitt of hell that 9/11 reminds us of we can speak God's love for all people.  When we can without prejudice but with open heartedness invite the Muslims and any other religious group and even the atheist group into a place a acceptance and embrace we are practicing the essence of the gospel.  Jesus loved those who loved to hear him and those who killed him.  He embraced the hatred of his enemies with love from and in his heart.  This did not mean he liked it approved and or welcomed it.  It did mean he saw beyond it to the hurt and aching heart of the perpetrator and offered that heart an understanding and compassion that was simply "open hearted".

This indeed will make us vulnerable to abuse and misuse as indeed Jesus received.  It will also open our hearts to understand that our enemies are us not them.  War will only cease when our hearts are not enraged by anger and fueled by fear.  Compassion does not condemn of condone anyone or anything.  Compassion lives the transforming power of love into the heart of the enemy.

9/11 is a call for us to shout, Forgive us our sins and forgive our enemies their sins against us.  It is a call to pray, God bless our World with love and peace.  Help us to live in peace and receive in love all peoples of earth.

An Open Heart of Forgiveness

Posted by Don Paine

God’s heart that was hurting and broken as God saw the choices of humanity.  God sent his son into the world not to forgive the world so much as to lead the world into a category three storm of forgiveness.  A storm of forgiveness that will swirl around us and have us spin away form a physical and temporal focus on forgiveness to an internal and eternal focus on forgiveness.

God let his heart be broken by the anger and vengeance of humanity toward the gift of the Son to teach us to get out of the world of condemnation into the world of compassion and care.

God said do whatever you like to me from whatever angry and hurt part of you wants to do it and know that I remain in an “openhearted” posture toward you.
God is more than anything, hopelessly devoted to pouring into our lives hope and devotion.  Jesus came not to “condemn the world” there is already too much self-righteous condemnation of others.  Jesus came to lead us into a place of healing of the hurts that propel us to un-forgiveness.

Where is that place of forgiveness?

Forgiveness is About Open Heartedness

Posted by Don Paine

Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us?

This is a troubling part of the Lord’s Prayer that I have prayed often without really thinking about it.

So if we do not forgive other’s, God does not forgive us?  Many of us do not really forgive other’s.  We say things, like I forgive you then we proceed to isolate, undermine, passively or aggressively attack. 

In my work with couple’s whose marriage’s end, the person who says they are forgiving is not really forgiving and the person who is pursing the end of the marriage is cast into the role of intentionally hurting the other person.  Often that is the person who has forgiven and is attempting to move on gracefully while the other person infers in an infuriating way that they have forgiven.

So what is this about anyway?  What is true forgiveness?
Paul tells us that Godly sorrow leads to change and leaves no regrets.  Is there a hint here about forgiveness.  I think so.

As the Japanese proverb says, forgiveness without repentance is like writing on water.  True forgiveness is the prompter and promoter of change of heart.  Forgiveness is about open heartedness.  It is letting go of the hurt not to be hurt again but to free oneself up from perpetuating the hurt.  The sign of true forgiveness is that my heart is loving and caring toward the one who has hurt me.  Anything that allows me to stay in an unforgiving state contributes to non-forgiveness even if it is my saying “I forgive you”.

So if we forgive people who have hurt us by having an open heart of love and car e toward them.  We are free of our “non-forgiveness” of the one who hurt so our hearts reflect the very heart of God.  This is true forgiveness which is what we get onlywhen we give it.  Otherwise what we call forgiveness is convincing ourselves that we are right and the offender is wrong but we will do our duty to forgive.  Only to do so in words rather than in heart.

Thankfully God forgives us in heart and words.  Indeed we need to do the same.

MACUCC Conference

Posted by Don Paine

This is a video of a sermon preached at the Mass Conference of UCC at which we were delegates.  It was inspiring not just for the content and delivery but for the clarity of what "Welcoming and Affirming" is all about.  Watch, see and learn the heart of the UCC message that "all are welcome" not just in words but in attitudes and actions of its membership.

Sermon from 2010 Mass. Conference Annual Meeting from Mass. Conference UCC on Vimeo.