2001-12-16-Fate & Fortune

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Topic: Fate & Fortune

Group: Nashville TeaM

Facilitators

Teacher: Ham

TR: Rebecca

Session

Opening

Ham: Greetings, children, I am Ham and once again do I greet you and welcome you here this evening. Tonight, we shall discuss fortune and what you call fate.

Lesson

Experience, Value

Human beings have always thought of their fortune as being influenced by divine forces. Early societies thought of good luck and bad luck as being the whim of some god-like being. Fortune could be influenced by propitiating the gods by sacrifice and so forth. When these devices were unavailing, one had no recourse but to accept the fate one was dealt, to be in a sense resigned to one's fate.

When Jesus lived his life upon this earth, he spent a good deal of time trying to explain to humans that God does not send misfortune into your lives as punishment. God does not will the suffering of his children, but in an imperfect world suffering is part and parcel of existence. There is value in all experience, including and sometimes especially in those experiences which we would term suffering.

The Master's message was not believe in me and you will not suffer, nor was it that he would show you a way to avoid suffering. No, his message was wholly positive. Take all experience and find the spiritual value within it. Once you can do this, then all experience is valuable and therefore contains good. He never tired of instructing his followers to return good for evil and to find good in the evil that is done to them.

You, as spiritual beings, have the power to discern good within evil. You have the power to see past the temporary sufferings of the present to the future benefit that these sufferings will bring. As children, you did not learn to walk without falling down many times. You did not learn to run without skinning your knees. You can only find the better way after experiencing the way that is less than better. As spiritual beings, you are always seeking the better way to live and the better way to perceive reality. This constant striving is the beauty of the universe. Harmony is found after much experience with disharmony.

Likewise, society move forward in fits and starts. You learn to value peace, order, and prosperity by experiencing the opposite of those things -- war, poverty, and social strife. As you individually raise your values, you raise also the values of your world. When you individually strive for the ideal of loving all your brothers and sisters, then does society advance toward that ideal that much more. You, my children, are like the leaven in bread. Your ideals and your values will spread throughout the whole raising the entire society. Without the higher ideals the Master bestowed upon this world, your world very quickly degenerates into war, ethnic strife, and violence of all kinds. Revenge replaces justice. And when an eye is exacted for an eye, soon the whole world becomes blind. Justice must always be tempered with mercy and when this is done on a wider scale, when it is done between nations and between peoples, then peace can reign.

Your earthly religions must constantly refresh themselves with greater understanding and greater application of the Master's message. But further, it must constantly be renewed through individual revelation, individual experience with the realities of the spirit. And so, must your religions be always open, always lenient, always tolerant with the spiritual experiences of their members. For when religions are reduced to a memorized set of answers to a memorized set of questions, then does that religion become nothing more than a dead set of beliefs devoid of the living faith which is necessary to animate them. Then does religion become a burden rather than a joy. Then does this anchor society to outworn customs rather than opening its believers to experience the world a fresh with questioning active minds and with living spiritual experience. The Master came to set free the spiritual captives. For it is wrong to tether men's souls and to corral his spirit with tradition and dogma.

So what is man's fortune and fate? It is very much in your hands. Spiritual freedom is the freedom to find beauty and goodness and truth -- everything that is wonderful and exciting, everything that quickens the soul - in the average, everyday phenomenon of life. No true religion is threatened by questioning or by doubting. True religion is not threatened by science or scientific advancement. Religion, true religion, is not threatened by social change.

All these things are wonder and delight to the man who is absolutely sure that he is loved by a divine and perfect being. Certainty in God's love is your shield against the misfortunes and the misunderstandings of life. Tragedy and suffering will come, yes, but to the one who is certain of God's love, these things hold the promise of a greater revelation of his love.

What is fate? Fate is simply to live life -- long or short, rich or poor, in whatever circumstances you find yourselves - and with all to find the Father's love within every experience. There is a nugget of love to be found in all things. Sometimes, it takes some mining to find it for sure, it takes some perseverance, but be assured you will find it so long as you are free in the spirit and open. These are the treasures that none can take from you and the treasure you will carry with you when you depart this life.

Are there any questions at this time?

Dialogue

Bible, Christianity

Q: I was in church today and I felt glad that I know so much more now than is contained in the bible and how sad it is that everybody cannot know this.

Ham: Yes, but all in all, on your world, in this country, the people are opening up to greater and more personal spiritual experience. The Bible has brought you far. That is certain. But now, the hunger is such for a more modern and relevant revelation that practically no one limits their spiritual intake to the Bible alone, even those that don't admit that. As I have said many times, the Bible was written in another time for another time. Your society is moving very quickly now into new social and spiritual realms and the Bible is sadly inadequate to provide spiritual sustenance in these times. That being said, there is much in the New Testament that is still being explored. You are moving forward and expanding your concept of the Master's life and his purpose. You are going a step further with even the Golden rule, doing unto others not only what you would have be done to yourselves, but are starting to imagine what the Master would do and to love your fellows not only as brethren but as the Master loves, with a Fatherly love and a motherly love, a love of protection, self-sacrifice. This new level of religious thinking will take your world another step forward.

Fundamentalism

Q: One of the things that bothers me is when my nieces and nephews are being taught about religion, the are not being taught how to ask questions, but are being told to believe as we believe. For example, before they are even old enough to understand the science of evolution, they have been told to reject that and to believe literally the creation story in the Bible.

Ham: Yes, there is a phenomenon, generally with fundamental religions. These people are afraid of outside ideas and often isolate themselves from the rest of the world to insulate their children from supposedly evil concepts that are part and parcel of modernity. It comes from the kind of thinking that says, everything we need to know is contained in this book, or everything we need to have to live is contained within these traditions.

It is always these religions that are the most in danger of being absorbed into a greater society and having their fundamental beliefs altered. They have what you would term the shakiest foundations. They want to turn back the clock to a simpler time when they weren't bombarded with different ideas. But of course, they are like a putting your palm up to Niagara falls, you can back up a little bit of water but you cannot stop progress. The Islamic religion, likewise, is in the same position. They feel threatened by modern ideas, modern way of living, modern society. They want to shield their society and their children from the evils of modern progress, but this condemns them also to poverty and ignorance.