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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A trip to Israel, or Israel in me

Posted by Don Paine

I was talking to Nitsan about a possible trip to Israel where she lives and where "love beyond words" (www.beyondwords.org is bringing peace to troubled land.  I commented to her that I had no desire to "walk where Jesus walked"as I get that that is what some people seems to want or need to do which draws them to travel to Israel.  I recalled how my brother, Phil and his wife Debby did that as God put that on their heart.  I totally get that for some but it is not my thing.  I then, perhaps a defensive part of me or Self not sure, said to her:  "I would rather walk in the footsteps of the way Jesus Walked, I do not need to walk in the footsteps where Jesus walked."  She said I really like that can I use it change it?  I said it i snot mine as I spoke it to her I had never thought of it in that way before.  She shifted it a bit and it became.

"I would rather walk in the way Jesus walked than to walk where Jesus walked"  We both agreed that we both liked it.

I then told her that several years ago I had a vision about running the Israel Marathon and crossing the finish line holding the hands of other communities of faith in celebration that the parts of religion create conflict but the heart of religion, is the harmonizing SELF and Spirit of all faiths.  Nitsan is Jewish.  She looked at me and said:  "That would be a picture of the way of Jesus.  We can work on that happening!"

"That they might be one"

Love WIns or does it

Posted by Don Paine

I just reread Rev. Rob Bells book, "Love WIns" which  I think has been misunderstood and misused by many.  I do not even know Rob Bell but I sense his heart for people and for truth that is transforming not confusing.

So here is my thought to transforming love.

Love wins and love loses like nothing else because it lives like nothing else.  Jesus lived like no one else had ever lived and he is the model in whose "way" we are to walk.  Jesus walked the way of serenity, surrender, and sacrifice all in the name of love. Love was unconditional, agenda free, accepting of all, and audaciously uncompromising.

Love wins even when it chooses to lose for the sake of love and in the spirit of loving.
It is internal and eternal.  It is in Spirit and Truth offered to all.  It transforms everything and everyone.

So love wins and loses in a dynamic and divine dance of life.

A thought that came put of me to a client

Posted by Don Paine

"Speaking is not about convincing, Listening is not about agreeing"

Day One: Compassion and Calmness

Posted by Don Paine

The first day of the conference had a very special experience for all of us.

We were in one room and another group was in the room next to us.  When we were let out for a break there was a huge coffee and break table with food and snacks.  Some of our people, assuming toi was for us began drinking the coffee and eating the snacks.  There was a hotel person sitting at a table asking people to not eat it as it was not for them.  There was no intention to be rude and insensitive but insensitivity and rudeness was experienced.  This escalated as the day went on.  I asked at one point that we make an announcement to our group that the coffee set up in the hall was not for us and that ours was down the hall.  We were judged to be a rude group even though we were working on this multi-eye way of seeing the world and our internal parts.  I talked to the lady and understood the problem but was having trouble getting the "eyes" of understanding in place.  They saw us as rude and obtrusive.  We saw them as trying to forbid us a break.  We both saw in one way what was happening.

When I got the attention of t=one of our leaders and helped her to understand at least what I saw had happened, she said she had talked to someone in the elevator who was upset with us and wanted to know who and what we were about.  He laughed when she said "sensitivity and awareness training" group.

We agreed that part of the problem was the hotel logistics set this up as they had put the coffee break table for the other group right where we were.   Either they could have put us in a different room or the coffee table for them inside their room.  They had put it right in the middle between both rooms.

I said it is like God put the tree right in the middle of the garden.  He could have put it to the side then we would not have rudely and obtrusively just did what we wanted.

Regardless of where the tree or the coffee table is we all have the responsibility to be respectful and considerate of all regardless of anything.

We did write an apology letter noting there was no intention to be rude even though that was the effect and we wanted to accept our responsibility in the matter.  Increased awareness and sensitivity are a good thing.

Seeing with more eyes

Posted by Don Paine

I was at a conference this past week, Internal Family Systems, Conference in Boston.  Some people think it is just a model of therapy but it is a way of seeing, of being and of living.

the way of IFS is to welcome all parts regardless of anything and to regard everything and every one from
the core qualities of calmness, compassion, courage and creativity.

To see not with just a myopic point of view but with multiples-eyes that see more not less.  To no be a one eyed cyclops but a multi-eyed, open and affirming person.  Open hearted love toward all and an affirmation of peace in all is at the heart of IFS.  We see not only as we see but as all others see.  A face of many eyes is an image of God who sees all in the way of "multiple eyes" in which all creation is valued and validated.

It is not judgmental, non-pathologizing, non-theologizing, non-restraining, and counter intuitive.  It opens a new way of seeing the world and of practicing an inner peace as the seeds of outer peace, inner love as the seed of outer love from inner loving.

The sense of peace and love was amazing.

What is finished

Posted by Don Paine

I am finished.  That could mean I am ready to die, I am done continuing to do what I have always done,  I am done with you, I am going to stop doing whatever.

Jesus said, "It is finished" for years I thought of that as his life was done.  Recently I began to see more in that statement.  Yes his physical life on earth was done.  Yes his journey on earth was done.  Yes his time of suffering and pain, of rejection and loss, of chaos and confusion, of trying and failing, and of living and dying was done, all of it was done, finished!

It is finished also means the work of leading people out of a focus on earth into a focus beyond earth, leading people to surrender holding on to life for fear of death, leading people to sacrifice for others while rising to the reality that one never really dies, allowing the Creator God to suffer, bleed and die (not just for our holding on to sin but to lead us into how to release ourselves from the grip of sin, slain from the foundation of the earth not to appease a wrathful God but to release us from the projections of wrath onto God).  It is finished means Jesus was done being limited in time and space to return to the sacred and eternal space and place that is the reality of the universe beyond the physical universe in which we live.

I am at the iFS Conference in Boston and took this note earlier today that is behind this blog.  Beyond the words of truth are the eternal truths that are beyond words.  Here are my words to convey the sense of writing above.

It is finished. 
The separation and integration is complete

Not the work to die for my sin but to be led into putting aside the lead weight that weighs me down with thinking that I have to do or cannot do anything.  Exchanging the reality that when I let all suffering be not against me but for me, I am led to eternal living.   As if what is finished is the part of me that wants to make it about doing or thinking right,  it is about being or creating space for others being.......that is right!  Right not as in left or right, correct or wrong but right as in true and honest from Self that is the eternal presence of love and peace.

War for Peace

Posted by Don Paine

I saw a bumper sticker the other day that said "End War" and another that said "Endless War".  I mused that that is the opposite of "Endless Peace".

Everyone says they are for peace but the peace that they are for is outer peace over their enemy, perceived to be real.  Believing the enemy of peace it outside of me in another persons aggression fuels the flame of war, perpetuates abuse, violence and oppression.

Jesus could not, did not, and would not end war for profit or for outer peace.  The advent of the peace talks that Jesus began were about everyone surrendering their desire to win and fear of losing to the highest good of humanity:  to live in love and peace.  At his birth and through out his life the angles message was, "Glorify God in the highest, and on earth there will be inner peace and good will acts of loving kindness automatically happening toward all by all.

The religious machinery and the political malcontents coupled together to kill him because the message of inner peace served neither of them and threatened both.  The threat was  to shift the focus from religion and military attempt to promote their agendas for peace that only served the sea of turbulence and violence that perpetuate abuse, oppression and resentment.  Jesus message was not about religion or against politics but for "inner peace focus" that perpetuates deference, respectfulness, liberty, and justice for all by all.  Their is an internal resiliency to and for peace when the propensity of fear of loss and of desire to win are set aside and surrendered to the natural flow of inner peace.

"Glory ot God in the Highest and on earth peace good will toward all humanity.

Covenant or Creed, what identifies you

Posted by Don Paine

Covenant 1765 Williamstown

We desire and by the aids of Divine Grace do promise to walk in all the statutes and ordinances of the Lord to assemble for his Worship to keep Holy the Sabbath Day to maintain family religion and secret prayer and to honor our high and holy vocations by lives of piety toward God and benevolence toward our fellow man, and so do now join ourselves into this church and covenant to walk with it in brotherly love and faithfulness according to the rules given us in the holy word
Thus we do in humble dependence on God praying that he will enable us to be faithful and steadfast in thus covenant.

This is a covenant I came across in a church in rural Massachusetts.

I imagined the people in 1700 debating, deliberating, and diligently dedicated to making a working covenant
as a witness to their community and God.

What do we covenant to do with God's help in the 21st century church.

"We covenant to put loving care and compassion for one another and for all in our neighborhood ahead of anything or anyone, ahead of anything we believe, or any behavior we embrace.  We willfully and with discipline seat aside our creed whenever it gets in the way of love and compassion.  We commit to maintain our beliefs without letting those beliefs separate us from humanity and allow us to feel superior or right.  The highest nature of God in us helps us to live in loving compassion and in affirming attitudes toward all humanity regardless of anything.  To this end we covenant our selves with the help of God" 

Ok a bit wordy.  What would you add or delete.

Speak and Listen with Love and Undrestanding

Posted by Don Paine

How do I say what I honestly feel without hurting the one I love?

So I was asked to day.  So I said how do you not tell the one you honestly love what you honestly feel.
So often we either keep what we feel to ourselves because we do not want to hurt the one we love or we get so frustrated that we scream and rage at the person we love who then feels venom, not love and feels a victim, not cared for.

In Ephesians 4, Paul tells us to "speak the truth in love" so that we might contribute to maturity (growing up) and mutual respect.  I have pastored two churches for nearly 20 years and I never in any training or teaching had anyone nurture a way of being honest and forthright while remaining compassionate and calm.   I witnessed people saying things that were true in my judgment but they were saying them in hurtful ways with venom spilling out everywhere.  I also witnessed people holding truth back because they were afraid the person would not receive or respond well and they did not want to hurt them.  What no one saw is that giving truth without grace and withholding truth for fear of causing hurt both caused incredible hurt and presented a poor witness to the world.

So here is a shot.  Suppose I had a friend who did something really stupid that I wanted to call him on.  If I said "you were stupid" that night be true but it would be judgmental and cruel.  But if he was being a jerk and stupid I would not be a good friend if I just kept it to myself for fear that he would be hurt by or angry toward me.  However, if I said, "You know you are a good friend and a part of me knows you are smart and insightful many times so that is why it is so hard for another part of me to have heard you say what sounded to me, just plain stupid. Then again, a part of me might have heard you totally wrong or inferred something that you never intended but I want you to know it sounded stupid to some of my parts.
There is another part of me that wants and needs to be honest with you about how I feel while being open to understand your intention and concerns.

So do you hear the honesty spoken clearly and confidently but not arrogantly and demeaningly.  Do you hear the calmness that does not judge and the compassion that channels love and truth with grace?

Practice speaking truth in loving ways and watch the respect and maturity blossom before your eyes and in your spirit.

Sad and Serene day

Posted by Don Paine

Today, I attended my cousin's wife's funeral.  There was sadness in the air.  There was serenity all around everyone especially my cousin Ken and his son Steve and daughter Lauren.

Their pastor told the story of how, just months earlier, Lynn Ewell was a vibrant, faithful, always there Mom attending to her daughter, Lauren's wedding.  A fife and drum parade that usually blanketed another part of the little harbor town of Essex, CT was taking over and shutting down Main Street where the church was located.  A state police officer had stopped the limo with the wedding party.  Lynn told him it was her daughters wedding day and no parade of Fife and Drum Band was going to get in the way of her daughters wedding.  At the top of the hill the wedding party exited the limo and extended their parade in their wedding attire toward the church. As the parade of fife and drum Corp marched up the street, Mom and the wedding party marched down the street.

The pastor spoke of the inconsistencies of life.  You never know what is going to happen.  The inconsistencies meet head on the consistence and constancy of God;s love and grace regardless of anything.  The Fife and Drum Corp celebrating 1814 as history met the consistency of a Wedding of Love celebrating future.  The convergence of the past and the future meet in the present always.  In every present moment God;s grace is abundantly present.  God's presence is the consistency in all life's inconsistencies.

Whenever two opposing forces converge God's presence always wins.  Today life and death converged and life wins.  Mortality and immortality converge and immortality wins. Cancer of the body and communion of the saints converge and the communion of the saints wins.  The corruption and decay of the body meets the incorruption and transformation of the body and transformation wins. Life so short meets life everlasting and life everlasting wins. Earth and heaven converge and heaven wins. Hurts and healing converge and healing wins.  Loss and Love converge and Love wins.

There is one absolute truth:  God is love and Love triumphs over all, in all, through all, and to all.

Lynn is sending another message:  No parade of fife and drum or anything will stop the parade of God's love that welcomes you home where there is healing, wholeness, and consistent loving presence forever and ever Amen.

later on in the day as we drove to the cemetery there was some rain, then some sun, then some rain, then some sun, then we gathered at place where Lynn's loving body would be placed with love in the earth.  As the pastor offered consistent consolation and comfort of God's presence, it began to rain harder and harder until a deluge forced everyone closer together under the canopy.  When the pastor completed the service a voice said, "I think Lynn is again speaking, 'huddle up, get closer together be there for each other".  When the sun is shining enjoy.  When the stormy rain comes consistently draw closer together and find God close at hand.  Consistently right there through all the inconstancies of life.

"And Lo I am with you even unto the end" and in the end we discover that there is no end.  Amen.  Thanks be to God!

The Jesus I now know

Posted by Don Paine

 When serving as a pastor here in Albany, Pineview Community Church (1986-1995), my focus was always on loving and caring for people, introducing then to the peace of God that passes human understanding, and offering this as a witness to God’s love to transform, through faith in Jesus, anyone’s life into “abundant living”.  I still believe all of that and live and preach it.   At the same time I do not believe that anyone has the right to define the “Jesus way” as any particular ecclesiastical or theological way that is itself exclusive, excluding, and elitist.  Jesus was none of that.  Jesus was inclusive, including and humble to the point of sacrificing his life rather than to win a point and thereby to make a point.  The point Jesus made is often lost in the ecclesiastical and theological garb in which we religiously robe ourselves.  I did.  I met Jesus in the most deeply painful places of my life and learned that it is about being “willing to sacrifice” all my agendas and all the conditions I want to put on how God works and witnesses to people.  To not restrict or define how God leads people to a life of sacrifice, surrender, and serenity.
The Jesus way is the way of sacrifice, surrender, and serenity.  The Jesus way is the way of inner peace, that leads me to live in peace with all people that is serenity.  It is also the way the surrenders “my way, however I define my way” to “the way” which is the way of “peace and love”.  This way is a way of unconditional love and agenda free loving.  Compassion without conditions and without agenda is not religious as much as it is spiritual.  Spiritual can be assisted by religion but religion does not produce spirituality.

John Lennon sang a song, “Imagine”.  In it here asked us to imagine “no religion” as a way to imagine living in love and peace, "living as one".  The reason behind that line is that religion is so often a part of the hostility in the world.  In the name of “truth and right” we have become untruthful and wrong.  Not in what we believe but in what we believe about others who believe differently.

I used to believe that my belief, about who Jesus was and is, was correct and I had to correct everyone else who had a wrong or at least faulty understanding of Jesus.  I was sincere in my love and concern for the “lost”.  What I was blind to was that I was lost in being right and correcting others which fed my ego needs more than clearly represented a God of love.  The God of love and peace, sent Jesus in love and peace into a world of anger, violence, and blindness.   Jesus confronted the people who thought they were right about what they thought about God and yet lived inconsistent with what they knew.  In the 21st Century I believe Jesus is again asking us to, set aside the parts of us that feel like our theology or ecclesiology are right, and embrace the an inner peace that is agenda free, a love that is unconditional, and a belief system that welcomes everyone regardless of anything into a community of faiths that embrace these three qualities of God and of Christ.  Namely, the qualities of serenity, sacrifice and surrender are the way of love and the way of Jesus.

The way of Jesus is not some particular ecclesiastical or theological or religious way.
The Jesus way is the way of being willing to sacrifice, surrender and serenity.  Many if not all religions of the world teach this way but do not call it the “Jesus way”.  This may actually be because we who hold to faith in Jesus have represented the Jesus way in such a narrow exclusive and self-serving way that the true Jesus was unrecognizable.