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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Another year over

Posted by Don Paine

As the year ends I had a reflective moment.
I saw a ribbon with:  "I love my pet" artfully written in the flow of the ribbon. But my eyes projected so I saw a different message. From inside of me I saw the ribbon artfully sending a different message:
"I love my parts"
I started 2011 with angry, hurt, rejected, rejecting, suicidal, dead,  pained, griefted parts.  I end 2012 with a renewed love and peace in me for all my parts. The concept of welcoming all my parts is now a reception of all my parts which feels like redemption.  My parts are not redeemed not by an external but by an internal source.  I am deemed to be as I was created to be, at peace and with love toward all as love is in me toward all my parts.

So put it as a ribbon around your heart, affix to your forhead so you see everyone through its lens, put it as a ribbon on the doorpost of your dwelling so you will welcome all parts of all people into your sacred space of peace and live.  Live it into your children and their children.

See the // in Deuteronomy 4:6?

Merry Christmas

Posted by Don Paine

All parts of all of us are welcome parts.   No matter what the role every player in the first Christmas pageant were people and creatures, all,  on whom God showed favor in a multiple of different ways.  No one was more loved or favored that another just favored in different ways.

So today, Christmas morning, God conveys "favor" on every person and all creatures regardless of any thing and because God's love has no limits nor limitations.  Every role from the lowly shepherds to the exalted wise men and everyone in between are all highly exalted and find favor with God. All regardless of human stature or human dilemmas, all are favored with love this Christmas. Now live favor toward all!  

That is the greatest and my Christmas gift to ___________.

No favorites just favors to all.

Santa Claus and a God Image, or not?

Posted by Don Paine

so the song is a reflection of reality or an attempt to threaten or manipulate reality?

I was sitting with someone who was feeling "undeserving and bad".  It triggered a part in me that went back to my childhood and began singing a different version than I learned of the song, "Santa Claus is Coming to Town":

"He is making a list and checking it twice and gonna find out who is naughty or nice. So you betta watch out you better not shout you better not pout I am telling you why cuz Santa Claus is coming to town,  He sees you when you're sleeping, he knows when you're awake, he knows if you've been bad or good so be good for goodness sake".

I wear a hat for Christmas that says "naughty" on one side, and "nice" on the other.  It is for fun but maybe has a serious message. What is true is that we are all naughty adn nice at different times.  What is also true is that God loves us in our naughtiness and in our niceness.  He loves us out of our naughtiness and into being nice.  The idea that Santa projects is that if we are naughty we are undeserving of gifts and are unloved.  That is just not true.  What is true is that we are loved and that there are gifts for us regardless of anything.  The Santa message is not the Jesus message.

So lets not play Santa, let us be Jesus in loving kindness toward all regardless of anything so here is the new version:

"He sees you when you are sleeping, and knows when you're awake, he knows when you are bad and good, and loves you for Jesus sake.  So no need to watch out, no need to put on a pout, it is better to shout, I am telling you why for "You and everyone you know are loved" for Jesus has come to town.

Okay it needs a little work but you get the idea!

Pray for my grandchildren as they hear a new version of an old song this Christmas!

Side tracked and focused

Posted by Don Paine

I have two special women in my life who have attempted to teach me something that I am slowly learning.  "Focus, focus, focus" and "make friends with comas!"

It is so easy to get side tracked.  I do it all the time.  Good things, good points, good acts of compassion can side track us from the better.  As I think about Christmas I am so glad God did not get side tracked in his sending the gift of love into the world.

400 years earlier in the end of Malachi (4:6) the prophet's message we read, "He will turn the hearts of the Fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers."  God in giving his son was opening his heart to all his children and asking all his children to open their hearts to him.  Sadly many of us find no room in our hearts for open heartedness.  Understandably as we have had hearts that have been hurt, wounded and we have parts that want to protect ourselves from further hurt.  Hurt, pain, and a need to protect can cause us to get side tracked.  We can lose the focus of "love".

I was wondering if the church of Jesus has been side tracked.  It has focused on sharpening the message of the gospel, attempting to define God and how to know him or her, and acting to protect the sacred truth of the Gospel. They have developed dogmas and doctrines to protect the message of the gospel then to defend to the death (literally) their particular brand of Christianity.  Great things have been done in the name of Jesus but equally horribly things have been done as well. We have been side tracked into thinking it is about what we do or believe.  We can do Jesus to people and not be Jesus toward people.

Jesus was and is God's gift of love toward people.  Lowly and looked down upon Shepherds, and looked up to Wise Men, and everyone in between received the gift of love that night.  It is the love of that night and the silent peace of that night that is the focus of God and it is to be our focus.  To live in love, authentically and daily, and to be at peace, internally and eternally, toward all people. Regardless of how anyone treats us and regardless of what we believe differently from them, and without anything in us thinking that we are more special than anyone else, "we simply and profoundly love".

Could it be that while attempting to sharpen the focus of the Gospel we have actually dulled the message and it has lost its main, mysterious, miraculous and mystifying point.  God simply and profoundly, "loves" everyone, regardless of anything.

Love is our focus not wisdom, not doctrine, not dogma, not good deeds, and not being right.
Our focus is to be right in our hearts toward all people regardless of anything.  It is not being right about theology or ecclesiology but it is being right in our heart toward all.  An "open hearted love" turned toward God and all God's children.

It is not to do right things, or believe right truths.  It is to be, in truth right, in our hearts toward all.  To be at peace and to act in love, these are the gifts of Christmas.

"Glory to God in the highest and on earth: peace and goodwill,  intentional acts of kindness and love, toward all humanity"

I want to be the center of the univesrse

Posted by Don Paine

At the center of the solar system is the sun.  It does not take from all the members of the system it gives energy to the system and gives balance to the movement of the system.

When most people say they want to be the center of attention they want to be fed and nurtured as of great worth because they do not feel of worth.

What if we saw and nurtured at our core a caring presence full of all the energy the system needs to move and be.  What if instead of holding on to energy we gave energy out.  The expansive nature of energy would fill all space.

The sacred space of compassion and calmness woudl invite all into the wealth of that compassion and calmness.

Guilt and Grace

Posted by Don Paine

I was sitting with someone today who was overcome with guilt.  As she looked at her guilty part she noticed that it felt guilt and shame because of something she did not do,  She also noticed another part that felt she did what she needed to do.  The guilty part was hammering her and the grace part was warming her from the inside with compassion and care.

I thought:  Grace is God's posture. Guilt is our pressure on ourselves.  Then I pictured God watching Adam and Eve that first day when they defied the command of the God who made them. I told the person of the picture in my head and asked her what she felt was God's first response to Eve and Adam eating the fruit?

She hesitated and said, "anger, disappointment, punishment".  God's first response was to do and say nothing.  It was not that God had nothing to say.  It was that God wanted what they had done to be respected and allowed to sink into their being.  To often we act impulsively and judgmentally to the wrong people do so they have no opportunity to feel and sense their wrong.  By the time morning rolled around they had felt their shame and guilt and were in hiding.  Shame and guilt drive people into hiding.  Grace invites people into loving presence.

So the first thing that God does is nothing.  the second thing God does is come into the garden with the same desire to fellowship with them that he had the day before.  For God nothing in his heart toward them had changed.  All that had changed was in and around them.  The third thing God did was to reach out with grace to seek to invite them out of hiding and into the presence of compassion and calmness.  Everything God did that day was of grace not to introduce guilt bu tto counter balance guilt with grace.

Guilt is like a sink hole that sucks people into it. Grace always fills the hole and makes a person whole.

Death with Dignity

Posted by Don Paine

Massachusetts will be considering a referendum in 2012 on allowing people in certain justifiable cases to elect an "end of life" agreement with a physician.

Already people are emotionally reacting to the control of this issue.  Freedom of choice is an essential right of all humanity.  We only limit choices when our choice imposes or affects someone else's right to choose.

I understand that if I am depressed and feel hopeless to allow me in that state of hopelessness to end my life just because I no longer want to live, is arguably to let emotions rule.  However, if I am terminal with no hope of recovery from illness, is it not inhumane and arguably letting emotions rule to force me against my will to lay for days weeks or months in a bed waiting for death.

I believe God gives life.  Humanity has come to a place that we see it as humane to keep life going no matter what.  That can at times be inhumane.

Agathanasia is the concept of a "good death".  It comes from the couplet of two Greek words: "Thanatos" or death and "agathos" or good.  Euthanasia much more well known is merciful death that people have translated into mercy killing.  Emotionally reactions will be present during the debate but in the end I hope reason, thoughtfulness, and mindfulness will overcome the emotions that have us react in a way that wants to control others rather than control our emotions.

In the end freedom of choice is the issue.  Allowing people to have the freedom of choice is inherent in the creator's fiat.  It does not direct or control it just steps aside from the role of controlling and embraces the right of a person to chose to die in a way that for that person brings dignity to the final sentence of life.
To withhold that freed is to impose cruelty and suffering that is neither necessary or redemptive.

When Jesus said, "into your hands I commend my spirit", he chose to die.  Thank God he had the right to choose to die because in fact no amount of pain or suffering would have resulted in his death for he is God.

Favor not favorite

Posted by Don Paine

Jesus was born to display favor on all humanity.  Mary was told she found favor with God.  We have worshipped her as if she was somehow God's favorite.  People and religious groups want to be "the favorite".  In relationship people want to be the best friend, mom's favorite etc.

However God has no favorites.  Love favors all but has no favorites.

Conveying favor on all is different than selecting favorites.

If I favor one of my children in one moment in some particular way it does not mean they are my favorite.

Being the favorite feeds the ego and the pride of heart.  Conveying favor and receiving favor feeds the sense of love in the heart and the capacity to be loving form the heart.

Favor is not favorite.

What is Just, Justifiable, Justified, Justice

Posted by Don Paine

Today is the 70th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor.  I was not alive at that time.  Our territorial United States was attacked.  The horror of that day is not just about history it is about people.  We declared war.  In many ways that war was a justifiable response to an act of willful and deliberate violence against the United States.  We were clearly justified.  Does that make World War II a "just war"?

In my life time, planes did not drop bombs on a military harbor, they became bombs, missiled into buildings with innocent people inside.  Our response of violence and war in Iraq and Afghanistan are justifiable and our response justified but doe that make it a "just war".

I do not believe there is ever a "just war" as humanity and all humanities perceptions are based on human perspectives and both are essentially self-preserving, self-promoting, and self-vindicating.

Justice is welcoming all perspectives and perceptions without prejudice and acting with calmness and compassion toward all regardless of anything.  If everyone one would embrace this concept of calmness and compassion there would be peace on earth and there would be justice for all.  There would be no war not because there was a war to end all wars but because all accepted a way to end the fear of being conquered and the desire to conquer.

For me that is the "Jesus Way".  War is humanities way.  Witnessing peace and love toward all is divinities way.

Journey inside, to the center and find God anew and be renewed

Posted by Don Paine

"Going Inside" is the idea of entering into the innermost regions of your heart, mind and soul and finding in that innermost place parts that feel fear, anger and hurt.  These parts believe that they have to do something to get attention and care so that they feel acceptable and worthy of care. At the core, deep inside, there is also a warm compassionate, wonderfully calm, wildly courageous, and welcoming acceptance that calms and cares for the parts from inside, where God dwells.  Regardless of what you call this reality it is the spiritual core in us that reflects the "image of God".

I recall as a kid hearing the we needed to love God with all our heart, soul and mind.  For years I thought this meant that I needed to seek something out side of me to get approval or acceptance as if the only God that existed was outside of me.  Today I know that the seed of God's love as well as the seed of self-centeredness are both in us.  The freedom of our choice is to nurture the presence of acceptance, affirmation, and appreciation.  What is also true is that we often, because we fear losing or we desire to win, reach for the food that nurtures self-centeredness rather than to see the Spiritual-Self as at the center and feel cared for by that center.

In nature there is a witness to this reality. At the center of the solar system is the warm, radiant, resilient light of the sun.  If we could journey to the center of the earth we would find increasing warmth as at the center of all things is the warmth of compassion and calmness reflective of the creator.

So at the core of who you are is the God who made you as you are.  The image of God inside you can be "quickened" stimulated by many different relgious experiences.  I personally believe that the message of Jesus is to let that love of God we see and witness in Jesus come inside of us stimulating the love of God that is already in us to "life".

The journey inside finds everything we need and want already in us.  This is the sacred space for the sacred place to un-blend ourselves from the fears and longings that distort our perceptions and blend the heart, soul and spirit into the innermost experience of acceptance, appreciation and affirmation of ourselves and all others.

Going inside you find all you ever needed you already had you just did not know it.  Jesus came to help us to know it.  God's internal and eternal love that is accepting, affirming and appreciative of and to all.

Feeding of the 5,000 and more

Posted by Don Paine

As I was walking I began to imagine Jesus feeding all the hungry people in the world.  He asked all of us who have food to share what we have with those who have not so that everyone would have plenty to eat.  Then when the clean up crew came on the scene there would be more clean up than what we started with.

So what is the miracle I thought.  It was that they all were fed because those who had were willing to sacrifice what they had and because they were willing to give up what they had it was multiplied and all were blessed and fed.  The Self, the true spiritual self separate from the self-serving self, the balanced self that cares for others as it cares for itself with full acceptance, compassion, courage, and in total peace and calm.  If from this spiritual center we let go of all our prejudices, our particular theologies, our preferential status, and our pandering to certain groups, what would happen?

When Jesus came into the synagogue and on the Sabbath defied the "prejudices of piety" it was a shake down and a shake up.  He was shaking them down from thinking that they were "God's chosen".  God did choose the Jews to serve a particular purpose but never to be God's favorite people for God has no favorites.  God can bestow favor on people but that does not make them God's favorite people.  That is what feeds the ego of the religious people and the spiritual heart can go unchanged or even untouched.

God is asking us to give up the "food we have" so that all can eat of the food God has for all.  When  you give up what you have you always get back more than you gave.  The scraps that you collect are a statement of the miracle that comes when you are willing to sacrifice.

When I give out compassion and care without agenda and with acceptance the hunger of humanity is satisfied and the left over scraps will fill everyone.

Jim Elliot said, "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose".  As powerful and truthful as I think that is I would add another dimension.

"He is no fool who gives up and out what he could keep to himself, to spread the food of favor with all humanity in which everyone wins".

What is given in giving loving acceptance and appreciation to others is the food of kindness which will feed all and will have a loving spill over.