Thursday, November 10, 2005

Tomorrow's God

Our Greatest Spiritual Challenge

Recently, I finished reading a thought-provoking book by Neale Donald Walsch, author of the “Conversations with God” series, called “Tomorrow’s God”.

In it he encourages us to honor those religious traditions that serve a worthwhile purpose, and to let go of those beliefs that are empty, or even harmful.

“Seek, on a regular basis, spiritual inspiration and sustenance for your soul… honor that which is divine… Do this in whatever way feels fitting to you. Go to church, temple, mosque or synagogue regularly if that is where you find inspiration. Yet do not be afraid to ask questions there. Do not be afraid to contradict there, if a contradiction appears in your heart. Do not swallow anything whole, and do not accept anything on someone else’s word, and do not “go along with the crowd” because it is the easiest thing to do…"

He continues, “Educate yourself … If you haven’t ever understood what happens at a Quaker meeting of the Society of Friends, go to one. See what goes on there”, (page 228-229). As one who has experienced the wonder and beauty of a meeting of “Friends”, I could relate to this.

Simply put, the message of the book seems to be “We are all One”.

There is no God separate from (us)”, and “ALL OF (US) WILL AWAKEN”, (page 31, 155, 168).

On page 386, Walsch summarizes the message of “Tomorrow’s God” in 9 simple points:

1. Tomorrow’s God does not require anyone to believe in God.
2. Tomorrow’s God is without gender, size, shape, color, or any of the characteristics of an individual being.
3. Tomorrow’s God talks with everyone all the time.
4. Tomorrow’s God is separate from nothing, but is everywhere present, the All in All, the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, the Sum Total of Everything that ever was, is now, and ever shall be.
5. Tomorrow’s God is not a singular Super Being, but the extraordinary process called Life.
6. Tomorrow’s God is ever changing.
7. Tomorrow’s God is needless.
8. Tomorrow’s God does not ask to be served, but is the servant of all Life.
9. Tomorrow’s God will be unconditionally loving, nonjudgmental, noncondemning, and nonpunishing.

It is a well written, thought provoking, and an interesting read suitable for the masses.

Up for a challenge,
URfriend, Dean Johnson

P.S. Some related sites
http://www.newspirituality.org/
http://www.cwg.org/
http://www.humanitysteam.org/index.htm

12 comments:

URfriend, Dean Johnson said...

Our Greatest Spiritual Challenge

God is all in all ( 1 Corinthians 1:28).
Or said in another way, if God was an ocean we would all be waves in the sea.

Panentheism requires a rethinking our theology of Who God is, who we are, how we relate to one another, how we choose to live in the world, and how we can create a better future for ourselves.

“Tomorrow’s God” seems to be an attempt by Neale Donald Walsch to redefine our concepts of God and our relationship with the divine given the revelation of God as all and all.

Now, unnecessary are the old concepts of Yesterday’s God that were built on the previous revelations of separation, that brought us step by step to the realization of Oneness that we have today. Exclusion, punishment, separation, alienation, and guilt, are replaced with unconditional love that includes, liberates, accepts, receives, connects and reconciles all creation with one another in a universal harmony that requires a rethinking of how we will relate to God, one another, and to all things.

This changes everything. How will we recreate our world?

Letting this eternal reality, this “new” worldview dawn in my consciousness,
URfriend, Dean Johnson

URfriend, Dean Johnson said...

It has occurred to me that some of the visitors to this posting about “Tomorrow’s God” at URfriendly Reflections, who have come via Dean Johnson Ministries, which is a more Biblically centered site, may be wondering why I would be promoting a book like “Tomorrow’s God”. The answer is simple. This is our greatest spiritual challenge. How are we going to understand and envision “God”? Within Christian theology revelation is progressive. Our understanding increases as we move toward the consummation. We will not always see dimly. We will eventually see clearly as we move toward the understanding of God as “all in all” as portrayed at the consummation, (1 Corinthians 15:28). There is a sense in which this “God as all in all” is also a present reality, and can affect our lives now. And so there are questions that need to be asked. What does this revelation do to our worldview? How will a new revelation of God change our world, and the way we see each other? And also important is the realization that our theology of God will determine our actions and the world we create. This is our Greatest Spiritual Challenge. You and I may not agree with all the conclusions or logical outcomes that Neale Donald Walsch reaches in his book, but at least he is asking the questions, and making us think.

I am currently writing an article suggesting that the consummation is not just some far away hope, and that “God as all in all” is not just a prophecy of the future, but rather a present reality. If this is accepted, then some serious thinking needs to happen. The implications are staggering. Indeed, this could be our Greatest Spiritual Challenge.

Any insights on what “God as all in all” would be or is like? What are the implications that you see?

URfriend, Dean Johnson

Steve said...

Since you asked for comments, how is "Tomorrow's God" distinguishable from "no God" or a detached God (one that doesn't interfere with the universe)?

On the list, #3 is the only one that implies an activist God, and yet that one is problematic for those like me you remain unconvinced of a divine hand in real life; for don't many people claim to hear God speaking and yet violently oppose each other? If so, either we cannot tell the difference between God's voice and other voices, real or imagined, or God is couselling dissension.

URfriend, Dean Johnson said...

Steve,

Tomorrow’s God is not really detached. There is one body (Ephesians 4:4). We and all things are God's hands, feet, and voice. We are One with God, and so we are intimately connected with each other, and with all creation. If we see the oneness of the body, we are less likely to do violence to ourselves, and the world around us. Co-laborers together with God, we create the kind of world we desire.

The old philosophies that engendered division give way to harmony and peace as we accept that God is the all in all. Violence no longer makes sense.

We don’t all hear or experience the divine the same way. Not requiring uniformity of belief (#1) may be one step toward co-existence.

I think that Neale Donald Walsch would probably suggest that we adopt what works for us, and that it is not required that we accept that God speaks to everyone (#3). (Which by the way is one of my favorites.) I see the divine voice touching, and giving insight to everyone, including the atheist with just whatever we need, whenever we need it, even if we don’t recognize the divinity of it (Romans 10:17-18).

Watching the old worldview of separation passing away,
URfriend, Dean Johnson

Steve said...

Dean,

Thanks for your reply. I recently listened to some podcasts from the BBC on suicide rates and depression around the world. One of the interesting aspects of the piece was the observation of two major suicidal impulses: egoistic and altruistic. The egoistic one is rooted in self-centredness or selfishness: it's about "Me" and how bad I've got it, how I am being mistreated, unloved, etc. The altruistic impulse is rooted in one's impact on others: I'm a burden on my family, society, etc.

The programme demonstrated that, as you'd expect, the egoistic impulse is much more common in nations that emphasize a very strong sense of individuality and personal freedom, countries such as Canada, America and many European countries. The altruistic is more often seen in countries that traditionally place the role of community above that of individuals, such as Japan.

This makes me wonder whether a really close identity of God as "All in One" - effectively the elimination of individuality is going too far. Is there not a balance to be found?

When I look around at society and history, I see the ever-present desire to distinguish oneself - either individually, nationally, racially, or spiritually from others. This appears to be the monster your doctrine wants to slay.

(continued in next posting)...

Steve said...

Biological scientists observe life on earth and declare that it expresses differentiation: that's how we get a variety of species and how we ensure that some creatures will always survive dangers and disasters of the future. Through mutations and evolution, we "compete" in the biosphere.

If they are right, then is your quest for unification noble-but-futile? is it dangerous itself (in the sense that lack of biodiversity also increases the risk of annihilation)? How do you approach these dilemmas?

Put more succinctly, even if you could eliminate otherness, would is be wise to do so?

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Julie said...

For those of you out there interested in this book....I would suggest calling your local library and see if the book-on-CD is available. In many ways the ideas within the pages truly come alive when read by Neale, reading as "himself"...and GOD, read by Ed Asner AND Ellen Burtyn. These "two-sides" of GOD being read throughout the book work very well to really HEAR this intersting and thought provoking message.

I think the concept of this shift, is something that has been going on during our very lifetimes...and we are maybe somewhat unaware that this shift is even happening. This GOD-shift....this new "tomorrow's GOD"...a GOD who reflects something unique for each and everyone of us. HOW we see/feel/connect with our own concept of GOD....is changing/evolving as this book states. The biggest difference seems to me....NOW we can experience GOD as we choose...the opening in society is happening. Maybe NOT everywhere can one branch out into this new thought/practice....but it is amazing to see how even the "possibility" for this change is now emerging in pockets around the world within the last few years. The shift is happening.....so then I think there is Great Hope then, for our future times.

SocietyVs said...

Does tomorrow's God ask anything of us? If not, why not? I see a self-serving spirituality there (God loves me so much and only wants to know me) and not much about 'what we can do for others'? Call me a pessimist in this regard, but if our God is about only our relationship with him...count me out...I care too much about the poor and destitute to serve myself to the table, while others watch us.