Sunday, August 7, 2016

Walk with the Dreamers...

"Walk with the dreamers, the believers, the courageous, the cheerful, the planners, the doers, the successful people with their heads in the clouds and their feet on the ground. Let their spirit ignite a fire within you to leave this world better than when you found it."  

Today, I wish to give thanks for some of the people who have ignited my spirit.  My parents, sweetheart, children, grandchildren, family and friends are all part of this long, long list, of course, but today, I want to recognize those gentle souls who may not be as obvious.

As a very young girl, the artwork of Vincent Van Gogh touched me in a way that I still find difficult to describe.  His images awakened in me an understanding that to be different was pursue your passion was what life was about. When I first saw Starry Night, I believed he had painted it just for me...a touchstone in time, given so that I could remember my passion.  


Another artist whose work I have loved from the first time I laid eyes on it is Mary Engelbreit. Her illustrations are found in many books as well as posters, household items and on Facebook. What touches me are how real the people look in her sketches/paintings.  The emotions of the characters are easily read on their faces. However, it is her messages that I like the best...always bringing love, peace and hope to the world.

The late Dr. Maya Angelou's words resonated in my heart and soul, also.  Her wisdom sits with me still...leading me forward as a woman and peacemaker.  When I read her words, "I am a Woman/Phenomenally./Phenomenal Woman,/that's me." from her poem, Phenomenal Woman, I saw myself.  This was her write words that spoke to all people.  

Finally, the music of George Gershwin and Glenn Miller informed my less than talented musical side. Something about the tone, melody and lingering notes of their music gave me the ability to see the music in life.  They heard, not simply saw, the trees sing, the stars harmonize and the seas beat rhythms.  When I sit quietly in nature, or even on a busy city street, I hear their music ringing in my ears.

 So, as Wilfred Peterson said, "Let their spirit ignite a fire within you to leave this world better than when you found it." Namesté!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Rev. Teal Gray N.D. - There’s a Spirit in my Spirituality - Aligning the Para Into My Normal

Today, I have a guest writer, the Rev. Teal Gray, ND.  Rev. Teal and I became acquainted during a discussion on how to talk about being and interfaith minister. After that talk, we shared other beliefs and comments with each other.  One of the topics we have covered in our short time as friends is our experiences with spirits and the paranormal. 

The following are Rev. Teal's thoughts on why she keeps an open mind on this topic, questioning, interviewing and sharing what she finds.

 “But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.” (1 Corinthians 12:7-11) 

We have entered a time of increased power and abilities in our God given gifts. There are more individuals who are “knowing” the future or catching a glimpse of the unseen world. Along with this, is the increase of questioning; “Is this real, is this of God, am I crazy?” 

To begin let’s look at what we are really talking about. Someone who defines themselves as religious may also define themselves as being spiritual, while to be sure, someone who is spiritual does not have to be religious. In the United States, those who identify themselves as religious are the least likely to hold paranormal beliefs. Whereas a person operating from the identity of Spiritual, is very open to the idea. 

Most major religious faiths in the world scope, do have a belief in the existence of ghosts of some type or definition. The doctrinal teachings may not say the word "ghost," but spirits that behave like ghosts are well known within the theologies of most other world cultures. 

I understand this questioning and yearning to make sense of what is referred to as a paranormal event of prophecy, and seeing spirits and other entities. I have struggled with it since my earliest memories can recall. I have “known” things that came to pass. I have seen what I believe were Angels. One was of light the other darkness. I have seen ghosts. I have been given messages from the dead that I could not have known myself, and many were for complete strangers. But all the messages were not only true, but detailed and some were deep hidden family secrets. Who was I really seeing? Who was I getting these prophecies and all this knowledge from? I don’t know, is the true answer. I still do not know. I pray to God and ask mostly not to know or see, but it persists. I ask only to interact with God or his good Angels or messengers. But can I tell you who? No. So when I say I understand it can be a confusing and frightening to experience, and that it is compounded by not feeling able to share for fear of judgement, I am telling you my truth. 

So why all the judgement? Well as a society we are taught if not by our families, certainly in the earlier decades in school that there is good and evil and things are black and white and there is no in between. If you experience knowing something that comes to pass, you must be some sort of witch. If you see a ghost, it must be a demon. So even those seeking answers in the Bible are confused by the different versions and terminology. They are referred to as spirits, fantasmas, ghosts, familiar spirits, which are not one in the same. For example, let’s examine Luke 24:37-39. 

 In Luke 24:37, 39 King James Version, the Lord appears to his disciples after his resurrection. It’s recorded that they were terrified and supposed that they had seen a spirit. Jesus said “Handle me and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones as ye see me have.” The New International Version and Holman say: "thinking they saw a ghost, and Jesus then says "a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have." In other bible versions the vary in the usage of ghost or spirit. 

Another passage concerning ghosts, is when Christ was walking on the water. His disciples thought he was a ghost stated in Matthew 14:26. Suggesting even Christ’s disciple’s experienced, and the teachings they had allowed for ghosts. Christ never corrected this in any following passages. In Matthew 14:26 it says: When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, "It is a ghost!" And they cried out in fear. Commentary from Adam Clarke states, it is a spirit - That the spirits of the dead might and did appear, was a doctrine held by the greatest and holiest of men that ever existed; and a doctrine which the cavaliers, free-thinkers and bound-thinkers, of different ages, have never been able to disprove. Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible that, they were troubled - They were afraid. The sight was remarkable. It was sufficient to awe them. In the dark night, amid the tumultuous billows appeared the form of a man. They thought it was a spirit an apparition. It was a common belief among the ancients that the spirits of people after death frequently appeared to the living.  

Now that being said, the term familiar spirit is completely different in perceived origin. The word familiar is from the Latin familiaris, meaning a "household servant," and is intended to express the idea that sorcerers had spirits as their servants to obey their commands. Those attempting to contact the dead, even to this day, usually have some sort of spirit guide who communicates with them. 

Every instance of prophecy and visions of the dead or other entities must be answered by discernment. First Thessalonians 5:21-22 tells us of our responsibility to be discerning: "But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil." The apostle John issues a similar warning when he says, "Do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world”, and in 1 John 4:1 from the New Testament, discernment is not optional for the believer-it is required. 

I have known very credible Christian people that have experienced what is referred to as paranormal encounters with spirits in person, on film and through hearing voices or receiving messages. Each has made their own conclusion about the experience. Some believe the message was directly from God to them. Some believe the spirit they saw was not a demon or lost soul, but actually their beloved family member or loved one. Others think a spirit captured on film was a glimpse into a parallel universe just a thin veil that exists between the living and the dead. I believe for my part that is has been a mixture of divine interaction with messengers of God. Other experiences I firmly believe were low level energies, possibly demons. Interestingly enough, I have never seen the spirit of any of my family members that have crossed over. None. Several ghosts that I have seen appeared to be going about their business without even knowing I was there. The Angels I encountered, I believe came from different sources due to the fact that one passing was natural and happened the morning of the appearance, the other foretold a murder that came to pass three days later. 

It is a vast subject and we only lightly touched on several possibilities here. I wish you peace and I hope this has helped you make sense of what you have possibly encountered. 

Blessings, Rev. Teal L. Gray N.D. 

Reverend Teal Gray is an Ordained Interfaith Minister. Studies with the American Institute of Holistic Theology, lead to her Ordainment. Teal has explored many faiths and mystical traditions throughout her life, giving her a unique perspective and understanding of life’s journey.

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