Images of Peace to Counteract Violence (School Shootings)

Matthew 5:21b-22 (from the Sermon on the Mount): You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder,[a] and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment

How, as spiritual people, may we circulate positive models of peace and justice, to counteract the dreadful images of violence that saturate our society and media?

An unbalanced guy posts on social media pictures of himself in military garb.  He makes use, indiscriminately, of Islamic extremist slogans. Some reports (rumors or reality) say that he has ties to white supremacist organizations. He boasts in a Youtube comment that he is going to become a school shooter. (See article link below).

Alienated and angry,  the twisted mind will feed upon images of supposed glory, as if hatching the plot to become a superhero. These poisonous images involve guns and slaughter.  The specter of violence, and glory through shooting, latches onto one’s aggressive impulses. Full-blown fantasies gather steam. The mind rehearses scenarios of punishment against enemies; the slaughtered attest to one’s triumph.  The imagination, twisted by violence, styles one as a hero who crusades against wrongdoing.

Activists may take to the streets to get guns out of the hands of reckless people; the US contains 4% of the global population and 40% or so of all guns. Others may reflect on how to develop role models for a peaceful society and counter-images to exhibit just ways of life.

Our religious and spiritual traditions could offer us a rich repository of such images and role models. If we do not find them in our holy books and traditions, let’s create them ourselves. Or let’s create them regardless. Such positive images and stories, of peaceful and honest ways, may operate like medicines to dissolve anger and fear, and to counteract the poison that enters the human imagination, when alienated people feed on violence and fantasies that associate glory with guns.

See this article: Florida Shooting Article NY Times




Healing by Jesus and Reiki #2



Japanese Madonna

Hello Lightworkers,

According to Mrs. Takata, who helped to disseminate Reiki healing in the United States, the founder of Reiki, Mikaomi Usui, had been a Japanese Christian schoolmaster. He developed Reiki, in the late 19th century, at the prompting of a spiritual meditation upon the healing powers of Jesus. How did Jesus heal?

Mikaomi Usui pondered, also, the healing powers manifest among Buddhists. He prayed and fasted on a mountain in Japan, Kurayama, not far from Kyoto, in order to discover the secrets of spiritual healing.  There, a mystical experience occurred on day 21 of his retreat. He saw a bright light, which remained with him. Once he descended the mountain, his healing abilities were evident. He cured himself of a toe injury and a woman at a diner of a toothache.

Some historians of the movement say that Mrs. Takata, who brought Reiki to the USA after the second world war, in a climate of American prejudice against Japanese, created a legend about Reiki’s founder, so that it would appeal to Christian pieties. In fact, Mikaomi Usui had been scrutinizing Qigong methods, when he discovered Reiki healing modalities.5437109

Whatever the origins of Reiki, some Christians gain acquaintance with spiritual healing — including the healing powers of Jesus –through Reiki. These practices enable people to heal by “laying on of hands,” a technique practiced in the Bible by the early Christians.

Is Reiki a counterfeit version of authentic Christian healing? as some Christian evangelicals claim? See: Healing by Jesus and Reiki #1 Or: are Reiki and Christian healing both benign but only superficially similar? Again, does Reiki and energy healing come close to the kind of healing performed by Jesus himself and by Christians in his name?

12a4On the history of Reiki, see: History of Reiki and On the History of Reiki
For Christians who are beneficially influenced by Reiki or practitioners themselves, see : On Reiki and Christianity and Christian Reiki

Healing by Jesus and Reiki (#1)

Japanese Jesus Lightworkers,

There are Christians who believe that the Japanese healing technique of Reiki  is demonic. This judgment means (so I infer) either: a) demons give people the idea that something harmful (Reiki energy healing) is actually healing;  and/or b) the use of Reiki healing methods invites demons into one’s life. This explanation supposes  the reality of demons, i.e. unclean or evil spirits, which cause confusion, chaos, and morally debased actions.

In the youtube video below, please find the testimony of a former Reiki master, who meets up with a Christian evangelical group in Denmark, led by Torben Sondergaard.  (For a critical article about this leader see: Torben Sondergaard Article).

Apart from the question of the efficacy of Reiki — which I will not evaluate, here — the video raises a serious scruple about the Christian teaching of this Danish evangelical teacher. Before I make this critique, note that this group, called the Last Reformation, may have good things to say.

However, their critique of Reiki, and their larger theology, contain some dubious premises.  The leader of this group argues, in this video, that the Fall of Adam into Sin characterizes our lives unless we accept Jesus Christ as savior and the baptism by the holy spirit. So far his theology sounds like a standard evangelical Christian teaching.

If we listen more closely, however, it emerges that the God against whom we sin in our pre-saved predicament (i.e.  before accepting Jesus) resembles a tyrannical demon himself. This part of Sondergaard’s theology seems to promote a God who condemns us to guilt and fear.

For instance, Sondergaard says that when we come before God at Judgment Day, because God’s holiness is absolute and unparalleled — (infinitely grander and vaster than any human virtue or goodness)– our every sin will sink us. No matter how much good we have done, it will be our sins not our virtues, our evil not our goodness, that will be measured and judged.

According to Christian teaching, however– so it may be urged — God is infinitely good and wise. He or She rewards acts with the greatest mercy. Those who love God and have faith, even as small as a mustard seed, will obtain mercy. Though our sins be scarlet, he will make them as white as snow. Would a good and infinitely wise God really judge sinners in the manner of a tyrant or demonically angry Despot — as Sondergaard’s theology of intimidation suggests?

Is God himself a Vindictive, Suspicious, Angry Deity ? Such a characterization approximates the personality of a demon, according to  Webster’s Dictionary, whereby a demon is: a) an evil spirit angels and demons; b) a source or agent of evil, harm, distress, or ruin. This Pseudo-God (advanced by the Danish evangelist) seeks our harm, evil , distress, or ruin, insofar as anybody who fails to be baptized by the holy spirit and to recite the proper creeds will be condemned because of the slightest sin, no matter his or her goodness and righteous deeds.

Whatever one believes about Reiki in relation to Christian healing, it is surely lamentable that a Reiki master should fall prey to such a distorted preaching of the Christian Gospel. This kind of theology can make one suspicious of practices, like Reiki, which are either benign or innocuous in themselves.

Happiness and Healing : the example of Martin Brofman (1940-2014)

A puzzle about the Gospels: how does spiritual healing actually work? Did healing take place as described in the Gospels? and if so, how does spiritual — or specifically Christian healing — apply for our own day? Occasionally, we post about healers and healing (by spiritual means), in order to probe this question.

Martin Brofman (not a Christian) was given a diagnosis of terminal cancer, while he was still a young man. He decided that if he had only a small time to live anyway, he would live his remaining days in peace and freedom. He began a quest for happiness, to mold his life according to his deepest desires.

In the process, he healed himself — against all the odds — and taught others to do the same. Surely, this interconnection between happiness and healing follows from, and confirms, a spirituality of abundant life and love. That is good news.


Faith Healing: How to Prove or Disprove?


Hi All,

The evidence for faith healing relies not on statistics and scientific procedures, primarily, but on personal testimonies. Testimonies, which are designed to strengthen one’s own faith while convincing or converting an audience, can be faked and dissimulated.

Semantically, a healing testimony or faith claim enacts an exchange between the giver of the message and its recipient. If the recipient doubts, the faith testimony has failed, in a sense, since it has not achieved its goal of converting the listener. If the giver of the message is lying, then even if the listener believes it, this faith healing is untrustworthy.

Nor does quantity of evidence matter so much as quality, when it comes to healing miracles. A multitude can be tricked and deceived, just as a single person of discernment may be sufficient to vouch for the truth of a miracle or faith claim.

Further, proof of spiritual matters — such as healing or prayer – can be quite elusive. One believes in the causality of the Spirit, through prayer or healing, once one receives its benefits. Yet, the mind and ordinary reasoning kick in very soon afterwards. Doubts crowd in and ordinary explanations assert themselves, thus undercutting the validity and credibility of one’s faith or healing testimony.

How then do we decide faith healing claims?  It may be that the mode for gaining trust in a faith claim is not unlike our ways for ascertaining a trustworthy character or a reliable experience of love.

The heart can be deceived, yet after some time, and some testing, by our intuition we do know, if we are honest with ourselves.  We recognize the one we love, the one who loves us. We can ascertain who is trustworthy. Likewise, we know when faith plays a role in healing; it will be obvious to the heart that is open and discerning.

Some have made use of new scientific paradigms in order to test phenomena like distance healing and the use of thoughts or intentions to provide beneficial outcomes. See, for instance, the interview (below) with Lynne McTaggert, author of The Intention Experiment.

Here are some resources, for your own exploration.

1. Here’s a discussion of the science of healing, prayer, and paranormal experiences by the researcher Larry Dossey : a podcast interview and an older article

Dossey Interview podcast

Dossey NY Times 90’s

2.  Here are testimonies of faith claims by Christians:

Christian Scientists: Christian Science Healing Video

#2 Christian Science Healing Video

Evangelical Christians: Testimonies: Christian Assemblies International

3. Fraudulent Faith Healing

Faith Healing Scam Article

James Randi : Skeptic

4. Interview with Lynne McTaggert about distance healing and such phenomena: